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- "I finally feel like I'm shedding that fairy princess costume." – Lana Lang, Zero
Lana was a neighbor of the Kents while she lived with her aunt in Smallville. Despite being classmates in high school, Clark had always been shy with her. In reality he used to get sick around Lana due to the necklace she wore made out of a piece of the meteor that killed her parents. Lana had the habit of visiting her dead parents in the cemetery of Smallville and during one of these visits, she met Clark Kent and finally had the chance to talk to him.
Lana was a cheerleader as a freshman. She dated the quarterback, Whitney Fordman, as well as was admired by everyone, but just a month or two into the school's year, before the football season ended, Lana decided to quit the cheer leading squad and try something else, in search of her own identity. In her quest for identity, Lana found her mother's journal and learned that she was not happy in Smallville.
As Clark and Lana's friendship developed, her relationship with Whitney started to crumble. When Whitney was preoccupied, she spent some time with Clark, but when he rushed off to rescue someone else and left her alone, she started to become wary of him and preferred Whitney. However, Lana began to grow closer to Clark due to the details he showed to her. Having forgotten to attend her birthday party, Clark recreated her last happy birthday with a drive-in movie and Lana was really happy for this detail.
During this time, Lana also met up with Lex Luthor and became friends because of their connection to Clark. She also began to spent time with Chloe Sullivan, although at first they had difficulty getting along because of being in different social groups. Lana and Chloe became friends when Lana helped Chloe get her job back as editor of the school newspaper, the Smallville Torch. They established that they were both "just friends" with Clark: though they both seemed to know that Clark loved Lana and Chloe loved Clark.
Lana started working as a waitress at the Beanery, but was terrible at the job and fired in less than a week, but when her Aunt Nell decided to sell the theater where her parents met, she set herself on a mission. She convinced Lex Luthor to restore it rather than turn it into a parking garage. Lana oversaw the renovation and reopened it as a coffee shop named the Talon . She worked there as the assistant manager.
Lana's relationship with Whitney continued to cool and while under the influence of the Nicodemus flower, she dumped him, but they got back together again after Lana was cured. When Clark informed her what was happening with Whitney and his family, Lana stood by Whitney when his father, George Fordman, got sick and when Whitney lost his scholarship.
Lana was about to break up with Whitney but didn't get the chance because his father passed away. Lana attended the funeral by Whitney's side, but she seemed conflicted as to if she wanted to be with Whitney or Clark.
Lana's feelings for Clark continued to grow during the year. She tried to help him with his relationship problems with Chloe Sullivan, telling him that the right person could be right in front of his face without him knowing: it was unclear if she was talking about herself rather than Chloe. Lana seemed to get a little upset seeing Clark and Chloe's friendship grow and even seemed to get a little jealous when Clark asked Chloe to the spring formal.
Finally Whitney asked Lana to be his date at the spring formal, but then he enlisted in the Marine Corps and had to ship out before the dance started. He asked Lana to take him to the bus station and after an emotional farewell, Lana finally said goodbye to Whitney promising that she would wait for him. At the same time, a tornado hit Smallville and Lana's truck was lifted into the funnel of the storm. She started to cry for help and then Clark rushed into the storm to save her.