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This journal is basically on hiatus, since Mina has had something of a nervous breakdown and decided to leave the WAP fandom, either temporarily or permanently. I’m not going to go into details but I do have to say it might have been a good idea, since I was getting a little worried about her, especially as far as Izzy Wesson’s concerned. Nobody like a stalker, Mina. Feel better soon.

Before we go away, though, I found a few more bits of WAP, and then was asked to host a story. The writer apparently has a livejournal, but she's 'afraid of the meta', or something like it, though I personally just think it's shame because she herself admits it's unfinished. But hey, not nearly enough Cassie stories out there, so I said yes.



Life or Something Like It.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] greennet for encouragement and WAP trivia, and to [livejournal.com profile] cosmic who wanted someone to write this. Well, maybe not really this.
This is definitely missing a few scenes, not for any plot reasons (pffbt) but for flow ones. I have, however, given up on retaining the vibe. Enjoy.



“Dinner’s ready,” Chloe shouts, and Cassie grins at the sky and takes off her sunglasses as she stands up. It’s not that she hasn’t eaten a real dinner in years or anything. Her life being all about Rick rummaging through the kitchenette for leftovers and trying to drink her coffee without spilling anything while the bus trudges through a traffic jam, that’s an optical illusion, not reality. But there’s still something so surreal about Chloe’s life, her sheer normalcy. She almost wants to take her on an around the world tour or something, tarnish her a little, as though she’s no longer capable of understanding people who just live their own lives. She really needs to stop talking to Izzy.

**

“It’s not that I mind doing you, you know,” Chloe says.

Cassie, caught with her mouth open, tries to stop herself from laughing and can’t. She can’t tell if she’s supposed to be offended, but honestly, that’s so ridiculously funny.

“I have to say, I’ve been told I can be really unobservant,” she says. “But if I was supposed to pick up hints for this one, I really really missed them.” She’s still giggling.

Chloe gasps in mortification and Cassie giggles harder. “No! God, you – shut up.” She sits back, half regaining her composure, half uneasy still. “Just, the interview. What I said last night. It’s not that I minded, really. It’s just – this isn’t the job I’ve ever imagined doing.”

“Oh.” Cassie winds down, waits. Chloe still looks uneasy, and Cassie remembers, for the first time in days, it seems, that she really doesn’t know her very well.

“It’s not the kind of job that people necessarily get stuck in,” she says. “This kind of writing, I’ve seen a lot of people stop by there on the way to wherever they were going.”

“No, I know. I know.” She waves her fork around a little with its bit of egg still waiting, shakes her head when she realizes and eats it. “It’s just… if you asked me ten years ago what I’d be doing right now, I could have told you exactly. I knew just how things would work out for me, I knew I wanted it badly enough and everything else would just… go along. And now it’s ten years later and my biggest accomplishment is still interviewing Lex Luthor for a school paper, which was *before* the ten years started.”

Cassie blinks at her. “You interviewed Lex Luthor for a school paper?”

Chloe nods.

“Wow.” She tilts her head, half-grinning. “And Rick says we’ve done everything there is to do.”

Chloe smiles. “He lived in my town for a while, when I was in high school. A friend of mine knew him.”

“Huh.” She thinks that one over. “I actually met him once, at a party. He’s very charming. At least until you check the Daily Planet.”

“I’d believe the Daily Planet first,” Chloe says.

“Oh. You didn’t like him, then?”

“No,” Chloe says, as though surprised. “No, I did. People just, you know.”

Cassie smiles to show she doesn’t really. Chloe seems to get it, but she just stands up to go get the salt.

**

“Don’t you ever get tired of keeping secrets?” Chloe asks.

Cassie looks at the magazine. “It’s not really a secret, I guess. I mean, we talk so much around it. Nobody ever really asks.”

“Yeah,” Chloe says, “but none of you ever really tells.”

“I’m not even sure anybody would care, at this point,” Cassie says. She can tell by Chloe’s face that it’s a naive answer. She can tell by her own face that she can’t really explain why none of them had ever been photographed kissing the wrong person or holding hands on the street. When Izzy comes to a premiere with Christina on his arm, it’s mostly because they both find it hilarious, but they do live in the real world. They know what it means when they do certain things or decide not to.

Maybe she’d been a little too long around people who took her life for granted.

“It’s like a game, mostly,” she says. “And I guess, at some point, we’re gonna dance around it enough that somebody’s going to ask, and not let us off the hook. And I think we’re all gonna be okay with that.”

“But still,” Chloe says, but then lets it drop.

“Alex always beats me in Monopoly,” Cassie says, thoughtfully. “I wonder if that’s a bad sign.”

Chloe grins. “I don’t know. Are you usually the car?”

“With Alex around? Um, no.”

She nods wisely. “Then I’d say that’s probably your bigger problem.”

**

“What about you?” She asks later, when it’s dark all around them and Chloe’s fingers are going through her hair. The television is showing a bad soap, and Chloe is done laughing at Cassie for knowing all the characters. “Did you ever have any secrets?”

Chloe smiles in the flickers of bluish light from the screen, and it might be rueful. “I have other people’s secrets.”

Cassie thinks about that. “That’s a good line.”

“As in, ‘I have no idea what that means, but it’s a good line anyway?’” Chloe’s shoulder moves underneath hers in a shrug. “Yeah, I kind of feel the same way.”

**

Jana calls her to ask where her red shirt is, but can’t talk long because Izzy is taking her to the zoo. Cassie asks how everybody is, but Jana’s knowledge about Alex is about three days older than her own, and they speculate about where he’d disappeared to this time.

“Russia,” Jana suggests.

Cassie wrinkles her forehead. “Wasn’t it Rick who wanted to go to Russia?”

“Not if he wants to come to the zoo with us,” Jana says.

When she hangs up Chloe looks up from her desk and smiles. “Did she really just call you from another continent to ask about a shirt?”

“Yeah,” Cassie says. She passes by for a kiss and goes to the fridge. “I’m all out of chocolate.”

“I’m going to ignore the fact that you put a wicked witch’s house worth of chocolate in my fridge two days ago,” Chloe says. “Wouldn’t it be cheaper to hire someone to buy her a new shirt?”

“It’s a better question why she thinks I know where her things are better than she does from half the world over,” Cassie says, “And even a better one why she’s right.”

Chloe leaves alone the chocolate, which is a horrendous lie anyway, and the phone. “You pack for her? Hey, I want to be your friend too!”

“I really really don’t,” Cassie says. “She only called me because Rick has his cell phone turned off.”

**

Chloe tells her about the summer her cousin spent in Smallville when Cassie asks about her dream job.

“She was drunk, of course,” she says. “But she was definitely flirting there. I only came in in time to see about half of it, but… very surreal.”

“And you think it was because of you?” Cassie asks.

“I don’t know,” Chloe says. “Really. I mean, I don’t even know if it was conscious if it was or just some psychological wackiness. It’s not like I even realized how I felt about it back then. But the one thing I know is that, based on all evidence from as long as I’ve known her, Lois doesn’t even like girls.”

Cassie gives her the coffee and puts a little whipped cream off her hot chocolate on top of it before Chloe takes it away. “So what happened?”

“Nothing,” Chloe says. She takes a sip, nips at the whipped cream. “I mean, even without the alcohol, Lana was about the second most oblivious person I’ve ever met. Somehow I always end up falling for the clueless ones.”

It’s only their third week, so there’s nothing awkward about it, and Cassie is glad. She puts a little more of her whipped cream in Chloe’s coffee.

“You know,” Chloe says. “Sometimes I think me and Lois are a little too much alike. And then sometimes I think, no, we aren’t at all. But I think it’s probably the first one.”

**

You can barely hear the music with all the windows down, and Cassie considers asking if it’s okay if she rolls them up at some point, but then she looks at Chloe’s face and doesn’t want to.

She’s never particularly liked to drive, but Chloe’s joy with the speed and the wind and the road is contagious. She lets Cassie change gears for a while, and Cassie wonders for a minute, absently, if their insurance terms would allow her to install a seat by the driver on the bus.

But on the bus she can’t lean in to sneak a kiss to someone’s shoulder while the someone swats at her and laughs, and their hands on the gear shift wouldn’t meet by maybe-accident, and there wouldn’t be a hand on her thigh when she lets go, because their last driver tried that with Alex and lost his job on the spot and his ear drums in the bargain. Charlie never sings with the radio, so she can’t watch his profile and wonder if his moving lips have anything to do with beat and lyrics she can’t hear over the wind, even if she wanted to do any of it.

So it’s probably window seats in the back for her for the foreseeable future. Maybe she can get Chloe to come work for them.

Chloe leans her head back on the headrest and laughs, and Cassie can’t tell if it’s something in the song or the road sending up secret messages for her alone. Her hair is a mess – both of theirs, really – and she takes Cassie’s hand and tickles her palm, conveying the message from the road in a code Cassie still can’t read.

“I want to buy you a convertible,” she says, suddenly, because that’s all that’s missing in her head, a car more fitting than this six-years-old family model, because she doesn’t know anybody who deserves a convertible more than Chloe Sullivan and the idea of seeing her driving one isn’t actually hurting Cassie any.

She had realized, some time in the last few years, that the list of people she can buy anything she wants for – be it as big or as small as she wants, never having a second thought or another consideration – had gotten so small that it now only encompasses four people. With her family it’s always awkward, even after all this time, always the repetitive ritual of oh-thanks-so-much-no-I-couldn’t-possibly. With her old friends it’s trying to remember which of them will be so uncomfortable with anything too big that it would be much nicer not to do it at all, which of them would feel obliged to buy something they can’t afford in return, which of them would just be happy, which of them isn’t her friend anymore because it turned out after eight years of friendship that she was suddenly the best deal in town. With the people she meets who could afford anything she could as thoughtlessly as her, it’s the creeping horror that they would think, somehow, that if she saw an antique sword and thought of them, that must mean they should think of her the next time they see a diamond necklace. It’s frankly exhausting.

Her family buys her expensive things sometimes, things she likes or needs or hides in an attic somewhere, with money that used to be hers. She doesn’t *care*. But they do.

She wishes she didn’t think that way. She never thought she would, before she had this money. And it’s not like she’d give it away, or the ability to sometimes give someone a gift they’d never buy themselves, but she’s always been about the spontaneous gesture and sometimes it seems like that second thought – and isn’t that supposed to be the whole point, that second thought about the receiver the minute before you pay for their gift? – is just too heavy in the middle of it all.

Poor little rich kid, they tell each other, in case somebody forgets. She should just get people pen wipers, or her own finger paintings, but she hates how it’s okay to see a toy car and remember her nephew and it’s only maybe okay to see a table and remember his mom. So, four.

The guys don’t really get it. To Jana the thought of such book keeping is completely alien, while Izzy makes the gesture and lets you decide how you’ll deal with it. Selfishness, she used to think, and there probably is that in there, but now she thinks, survivalism.

Chloe’s face is full of laughter when she turns to look at her.

“You want to buy me a *car*?” She says.

“Yeah,” Cassie says. She should be feeling defensive, but she likes grinning better anyway.

Chloe reaches over and takes her hand again, her eyes never leaving the road. “Thank you.” It’s a hug that’s all fingers, somehow. Her thumb is smoothing over Cassie’s knuckles. “No. Not possibly. But thank you.” She brings Cassie’s hand to her lips and Cassie smiles and watches the road with her.

**

So it’s been three months around the country for her and here they are again, kissing in an airport. So yeah, it’s a little awkward. A little awkward.

Chloe puts her hand on her hip and smoothes it around to the back, up under her shirt, and it’s awkward to be sitting in a car, too. She bites Cassie’s lip by mistake and yelps a little herself, sympathy or embarrassment.

“Hum a few bars,” Cassie whispers. Chloe laughs into her mouth.



And now the interview bits. Pretty Cassie-centric this time: blame the Chloe muse.

(As far as I know, Alex, Rick and Izzy met Cassie and Jana in the theater, based on sites like [this one]. I’m pretty sure I remember them saying it in two or three interviews, too. They, however, don’t seem so sure.)

Cassie: Me and Izzy first met in college.
Izzy: I don’t remember that. Are you sure that was you?
Cassie: Yeah. And then we had that fabulous one night stand…
Izzy: (grinning) We did not.
Cassie: No, yeah, on the, the roof of the chemistry lab, I think it was?
Izzy: You’re going to make people think I’m easy. (Alex opens his mouth) Don’t do it, Alexander. I’m telling you that for your own good.
Alex: I was actually going to say, Cass, I think you confused yourself with Izzy and Rick’s origin story.
Cassie: But I thought you guys knew each other since you were, like, fifteen.
Rick: *I* thought we did…
Cassie: So if I didn’t have a one night stand, and you didn’t have a one night stand –
Izzy: I never get to have any fun.

Cassie: Jana can make you forget how young she is. Which can be a problem, because then you go around expecting people to forget how young *you* are, and you’re not Jana.

Cassie: I still sing in the shower. My family still complains about it whenever I’m home. I love that.

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