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“Are you sure you don’t wanna tell the police everything? I don’t think we’d be prosecuted, it was self-defense. You .. we .. were the.. assaulted ones here. Plus we didn’t kill him, he killed himself.”
Whit trembles ever so slightly. Face a rigid mask of utter and disturbing serenity. Must be something they teach at the Corp. To hide your fear. But I can see it. This – from a guy who only minutes ago was sobbing like a child after having confessed his love for ..ahem.. Me.
“No. We stick to our story. But we need a plan.”
“For taking care that none of those bastards talk. For making sure Mark Webber doesn’t tell what really our fight was about and that he doesn’t press charges.”
“Someone saw your truck speeding towards Reiley field that night”
“Yeah I remember, those headlights…”
Whitney is losing himself to a painful memory. Its breaking my heart.
“Whit? Do you.. do you wanna talk about what happened out there?”
“Not really. No.”
“Besides I don’t know what happened exactly either. I have these gaps in my memory.. I was drunk and .. I don’t know .. I think I lost it sometime that night.”
I don’t know how to do this.. but I have to.
“Whit when I found you… you .. you were screaming your own name..”
Whit is deathly quiet.
“Do.. do you remember?”
“That guy.. Nigel.. you bit his tongue out remember?”
That brings a manic scowl to his lips. “Yeah.. The bastard he… he tried to..”
“Nigel make you scream like that?”
He stays quiet but starts to pace. “Whitney?”
“I don’t know damnit!”
Did he really not know? Did he not remember? Uhh.. how much .. did he not remember?
“Whit if you talk about it maybe it will…”
“Stop it Clark. I don’t wanna talk about it right now okay?”
Whitney is in a silent panic. I didn’t want this. I go to him but he pulls back. Pacing is the foremost thing on his agenda right now.
“I’m sorry Whitney.”
That ends the pacing and begins the charging. Towards me.
“You’re sorry? Why are you sorry Clark?”
He says, his face contorted in anger.
“I don’t need your pity.”
I can charge too.
“This is not pity you dumbass. Just like you were not about gratitude.”
Okay, finally I get through. Whitney calms slightly.
“I know. I know.”
He comes to me willingly and this time he stays. Shivering, angry, scared. But he stays. I bring my arms around him and stroke his sides.
“What were you doing there?”
Did he notice when I stilled? Did he notice my fake face coming on? The face I wear for the world, to hide my true self from people I don’t know, people I don’t trust? Do I not trust Whitney?
Please don’t hate me Whitney. I love you. I lie to you. But I do so to protect you. Protect you from what? I don’t know, but I have to. Please don’t hate me. I couldn’t bear it. Besides, I’m sure I hate myself enough for the both of us.
“I.. I was.. out for a stroll. I.. do that a lot.”
Whit looks at me the way a nineteen year old looks at a Santa trying to get him to sit on his lap and offer him candy.
“Clark that’s a real bad one.”
I feel like someone is choking me and I can’t speak.
“What are you hiding Clark?”
“How.. How long did you stay at the Zinc watching me?”
“Uhh… I.. didn’t know you.. noticed?”
He smiles very slightly. And sadly. “I noticed.”
I turn away from him. Couldn’t lie to him to his face now could I?
“I.. stayed as long as I could, but then.. Chloe..”
Oh God. The choking’s back. Chloe..
Chloe. Chloe. Chloe.
“Ch-Chloe she.. she had to go back home so I.. dropped her. And then.. I came back to the Zinc..”
I can hear the slightly amused tone in his voice. Oh Whitney…
“I guess.. the.. the guys you were hanging with had developed a dubious reputation after you left Whit. And when I saw you with them, I worried a little. So I came back ..”
I turn around.
“But you guys had left already. I got to know from someone that you’d stocked up on a lot of booze before you left and you’d taken your truck. I really got worried then, but there was no way for me to know which way you’d gone. So… I came back home.”
He is staring at me. Liar Liar.
“But… but I couldn’t sleep all night Whit..”
“I tossed and turned and.. finally around 3 am, I just had to get up and check you out for myself!”
He smiles sadly. “Clark..” his voice hardly a whisper.
“I went to your place, didn’t see the truck there. So I went out to .. to Hector’s hangout and nobody was there either. Then, I.. I..”
That’s great Kent… go on… you helluva master storyteller. You Sidney Sheldon you.
“I felt this fear creeping up in me Whitney.. I didn’t know what to do.. so I went out for a stroll… if you remember I had come running to the field. I was somewhere near when.. when suddenly I heard these awful screams.”
Whit lets out a sad sigh. And now, I don’t know what gets into me… this is when I decide to switch to the truth.
“What I heard was.. someone in Reiley field calling out to a.. Whitney in such agony and… I.. at first I thought maybe he was calling out to you to… to.. let him go. That maybe you.. you had scarecrow-ed him and he was screaming to … you know..”
He looks away. Hurt. My turn to panic.
“Whit what was I to think? I was so … I don’t know.. I was just concerned about what you might have done this time and then when I saw you up there.. on the stake.. it was like the world came crashing down on me. I just lost it baby.. I was so … mad with rage and.. and pain! I felt physically pained.. and so angry and.. so.. in complete rage and …. just so…”
Silence can be so deafening. Who said that again?
“More at myself maybe… for having doubted you Whit.”
I can see how much my misjudgment has hurt him. He is fighting back tears. So am I. Then he suddenly jerks his head as if to shake it all off and says..
“Hey I understand .. anyone would have assumed something like that. Specially you.”
“After what I did to you ..”
He looks up at me, his face riddled with the pain I’d caused with my choice of the truth.
“I’m surprised we’re even standing here together like this.. talking. Cordially! I’m surprised you.. you..”
“Whit stop it. I never held anything against you and you know that.”
“I’d been expecting you to jump me all of that year. Some kind of payback but no. I drove myself fucking crazy with it! Why the hell didn’t you?”
“Shut up Whit you’re giving me a headache.”
“Oh wait no. Clark Kent does everything the sophisticated way – the suave way right? Lana right?”
Now what the fuck is he saying. “Now what the fuck are you saying?”
“Was Lana your way of getting back at me?”
Okay there’s only so long I can control my tear glands. They function quite humanly thank you.
“You really expect an answer for that?”
He sees the moisture, and his voice becomes really soft and he lowers his head.
“I know Clark – you didn’t need revenge. You were not the jerk, the animal that I was. No doubt you thought I was up to .. my old ways again.”
“You weren’t an animal.”
A short burst of laughter there. And along escapes a sob. And he is still keeping his distance. I don’t know what to say, so I use the corniest, most abused line in the world.
A moment ago I didn’t know what to say, now I can’t stop the words from flowing.
“I’m sorry I doubted you Whit. I really didn’t know you had changed so much. You.. you’re all.. grown up now”
I add a chuckle. He does too.
“You were always the mature one Clark. Still are. Look at me I just.. keep .. freaking out on you.”
“I can take it.”
“That’s what I’m here for.”
We stare at each other in silence for a while. And then he lets out a huge sigh.
He pouts miserably. He looks so cute pouting.
I, in my super-wisdom assume maybe this is the last we’ll ever have to talk about the damn night. Too much pain there.
Oh shit. “Yeah..”
“How the hell did the arm come off?”
I look at him. “You don’t remember?”
He looks confused. “I.. I think I saw him pulling out a gun..?”
“And then I.. I saw you fighting him and then he took out this knife and came at you… and then… Clark how could you just… did you really…?”
I smile sadly. “Yeah”
He looks so baffled. There were a number of un-normal things he must have seen but thankfully (for me and my selfish ass) didn’t remember. I decide to be helpful.
“I.. I don’t know Whit how I did it.. I guess.. all that..”
Whitney is teasing me now. And he is smiling too. That beautiful .. strained smile. So is he willing to let it go at that?
Whit stares at me silently for the longest time. Thinking what? I do not know. But I can sense his confusion and his desperation to just put everything behind him. Finally…
“Stranger things have happened. And you Kent, you’ve been the epitome of weird ever since I’ve known you.”
The cloud is lifting.
“Frankly.. everything’s weird about me Fordman. You better be forewarned.”
“Check” He agrees very seriously.
“Besides, its kinda cool to know that love doesn’t just make you weak.”
I don’t know what to say. But I can’t stay at that distance anymore. I go to him and pull him into my arms. I kiss his face and rub his back earnestly, trying to ease away the tension but not succeeding too much. We hold each other for a long time… and then he remembers something else.
“I could use that lunch now.”
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