Nell gets the phone call at a quarter to five on Friday night. By all rights she should have told the caller that she already had plans for the evening. Instead, she tells Dean something unexpected came up, and heads out to meet Naomi for drinks at the Holiday Inn by the Metropolis airport.
She hasn't seen Naomi Sandburg in a good 5 years, and is not sure she really wants to now. Five years isn't really enough time for her to forget what they hadn't shared. There had been a spark between them, but Nell had been too afraid of risking her newly solidified good reputation. It probably wouldn't have mattered. Naomi never stays in a relationship. She doesn't so much follow her own path, as bash her way through her own forest.
She leaves her son to find his own way, which he always seems to do. Nell knows Naomi wouldn't have thought twice about leaving Blair with his friends, the way she questioned letting Lana stay with the Sullivans. But then, she doesn't think she's ever known a child as needy as Lana.
They talk over Cosmopolitans. Blair has grown into a fine young man, though Naomi is very concerned about his oddly intense relationship with an older Northwestern cop. She says they're "partners", which really could mean anything. Naomi is proud that no matter how often they've lived apart, Blair is always thrilled to hear from her.
Nell doesn't tell Naomi that Lana couldn't bear to leave Smallville, has little regard for her stepfather, and has to be prodded into calling her aunt. "Lana's fine", she says. "She's staying with a friend in Smallville. She wasn't ready to move."
Life is all about choices. She made hers, and has a niece who doesn't appreciate her, and a fiancee she knows she settled for. She doesn't often think about what she and Naomi might have had, what could have happened if she'd accepted her invitation to join her on her travels. Just every once in a while, over drinks, in a hotel bar.
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