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The Fordmans closed business for the day and went home. Betty Fordman looked at the handsome boy walking beside her, holding her by the waist with such gentle yet firm protectiveness. He smiled at everyone and had something to say to everyone who stopped to greet him. The Fordman charm was in full force, not to mention the slightly mischievous twinkle in his eyes when he looked at her, cracking silly jokes, making her laugh just like the old times. How long had it been?
Out of nowhere, she was reminded of what her dearest high school friend Rose had said when she’d come to see her after a long long time.
“Bets! You’re positively glowing honey! Goodness are you.. pregnant?”
She had shrieked at her.
“Rose!! How the hell did you know?”
In return, Rose had squealed with delight and hugged her. And they’d danced around while she just kept on asking.. “how did you know Rose? How did you know?”
Back in the present, Betty was smiling at the distant memory.
//Where are you Rose … am I glowing today..? I’m pretty sure I am glowing today… //
She looked at Whitney as they drove home in the truck he brought back from Clark’s farm.
//He looks happy!// Mrs. Fordman knew her son looked more happier than … well.. in a long long time.
//I’d better thank Lana next time I see her. //
Lana did turn up.
She came soon after she was done at the Talon to see Whitney. She got the surprise of her life when Mrs. Fordman gave her a loving hug. She just stared at her for awhile before knowing what to say.
“Thanks Mrs. Fordman” She smiled weakly, guilt clawing at her guts.
“No, thank You Lana. Thank you.”
Whitney came down then and his mother left them alone.
“What was THAT about?” Whitney asked.
“Don’t know.. you tell me.”
Whit just smiled and shrugged, slightly embarrassed by it all. He realized it was something to do with the story that Whitney had spent the night at her place on Saturday.
They went out for a stroll and talked and talked. Seemed like they were doing a lot of that now than they ever did when they were actually going around.
Lana found Whitney to have become more mature in his outlook. He wasn’t the snobbish brat anymore. He seemed to have found a greater purpose in life, was impassioned about the Marine Corp and his role there. And today when she met him, there was something that had been missing three days ago when she’d met him at the Zinc. A certain.. quality of.. peace?
She’d taken him to the new place thinking it might be more in sync with his new big city interests, what with being a Marine and all? She was wrong, he seemed happier and more relaxed at the Talon today than at the Zinc that night. Between friends.
Lana found herself falling for him again.
“Can I ask you a personal question, and its okay if you tell me to shut up 'cause I’m expecting you to anyway.”
“How… how did you.. you know.. how did you escape .. that night?”
Whitney hesitated. He didn’t wanna talk about this, but he owed her an explanation. But before he could say anything..
“Hey.. if you don’t want to talk about it just...”
“Its okay Lana..” He drew a deep breath. “What do you think happened out there?”
“Tha.. That Nigel Mahaney tried to avenge his brother’s death by.. you know.. b-but.. as usual Clark came out of nowhere and got you out, somehow.”
She grinned confidently, “Has to be Clark.. its always Clark.”
Whitney laughed at that too.
“yeah… it is always him isn’t it?” He sighed again and nodded. “yeah… that’s what happened.”
“Don’t worry.. I’m sure you’ll get out of this mess. When do you have to return?”
“Sunday. I got one more week. I gotta explain all this to my CO once I get back to the base too. Not exactly looking forward to that.”
She then changed the subject.
“Hey you and Clark seem to have really hit it off.”
Yikes. Not a very good change of subject though.
Whitney laughed nervously and licked his lips.
// ‘Hit it off!’ Bulls eye princess//
“Yeah .. he’s .. you know him and me had always been at loggerheads because of.. you know..”
“.. yeah ..and now that Lana Lang is not the issue anymore..!?”
Lana completed it for him. Whit didn’t wanna hurt her. He stopped walking and turned toward her.
She looked at her feet then back up, smiling but swallowing deeply.
“Its okay Whitney.. things change.. people change..”
Whitney didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t agree more that’s for sure. Two guys and a girl.. guys at each other’s throats over the girl.. only to later ditch the girl and shack up themselves! If it were some other guys and some other girl, he would have found it really really funny.
Lana’s eyes were moist. Then she laughed suddenly,
“Hey remember how you took Clark aside that night you had to leave and told him to watch out for me?”
She was laughing a lot. “I.. I thought you were like .. warning him to stay away.. marking your territory or something.”
Whit chuckled at the memory.
“I had to do something. I knew you both would get together as soon as I was out of earshot!”
Lana punched him lightly in his gut. He let out an ouch. She’d unknowingly managed to hit one of his wounds. Then she grew serious..
“We did, yeah.. we did.”
She was lost in deep thought. Or painful memories maybe.
“It… it didn’t work out.”
That laugh again. Whitney didn’t know why she was saying all this.
“I’m sorry” //No you’re not!//
“Don’t be.. Like half the school, Clark too had a schoolboy crush on the head cheerleader that’s all. He loves me like a friend, sure he does. But I could see his heart was … someplace else, not with me.”
She said that very sadly. Whitney took her in his arms and she rested her head on his chest. Ironically, he had more in common with Lana now than ever before.
Lana stayed quiet for awhile and then looked up into the beautiful blue eyes. Whit lowered his head to meet her gaze.
And Lana kissed him.
Whitney was taken aback. Lana looked at him to gauge his reaction but all she saw was surprise, so she tried again. This time, Whitney moved back, and lowered his eyes.
“I’m.. I’m sorry Lana.”
Lana smiled sadly and slid out of his embrace. She stood at a comfortable distance from him and tried to regain the famous Lang ice composure. Had to struggle but finally got it. Smile in place she looked back at Whitney who was feeling really awkward now. Things sure had changed round here.
“I loved you Lana, I really did, with all my heart and soul. Its just that…”
He didn’t know what to say. She completed it for him again.
“One year is a long time. Yeah”
Then she smiled. “Hey.. don’t worry about it. Now that I understand everything, its easier for me to move on.”
“What do you mean?”
She moved closer and placed a hand on his rapidly beating heart.
“Whitney.. I am not blind. After you left, and I was with Clark for awhile, I think I had realised it right then but I didn’t wanna accept it so.. I ignored it. But now, after seeing you, I am sure.”
Whitney was still confused.
“Clark couldn’t be with me because I reminded him too much of someone he wanted to forget. He’d rather be with Chloe than with me.”
The last sentence came out with a tinge of bitterness.
Whitney held his breath.
“Inside, your mom hugged me because she wanted to thank me. She doesn’t know it but I do, that she was thanking the wrong person. She sees it too you know .. like me.. she sees how happy you are Whitney. How.. content, how at peace you’ve been after.. you spent these past few days with.. with Clark.”
Lana was both crying and laughing now.
"You just had what I can only imagine to be a horrible.. horrible night! And yet something or someone has managed to help you get over it and has actually made you.. happy! There's pain I see in your eyes baby, but there's also love.. pure undiluted.. unregretted love you've found in its wake.. haven't you?"
Whit was stunned at how perceptive Lana had been. She’d known that Clark loved him long before he did himself! He suddenly felt very very sad for Lana.
She sniveled slightly, and remembered how Whitney used to find that so adorable. She shrugged off the thought and continued.
"And today when I saw you two together at lunch, how you look at him, how he looks at you..?"
“And I am very happy for you Whit really I am!”
Whitney’s eyes brimmed with tears. He took her in his arms again.
“Me.. I.. I don’t even know who I want.. or what I want..”
She laughed manically.
“I am the odd one here Whit. You and Clark.. you’re wonderful. And you seem to make each other happy.. that’s all I want baby. That’s enough for me.”
Whitney whispered into her hair… the hair he’d loved so much.
“Thank you Lana.”
The two stood entwined like that for a long time. And the sun came down on them.
Whitney went back home with a heavy heart and yet relieved that he didn’t have to hide from Lana anymore. This vacation he had seen more emotional upheavals than he’d seen all his life. He was too exhausted for words and the throbbing was returning to some of the sorer wounds. But he held a brave face for his mom during dinner and afterwards when Anne wanted to talk and tell him everything and wanted to hear everything she hadn’t heard from him already. Whitney loved every moment of it, every look of adulation at his achievements and every admonishment at having taken unnecessary risks… he loved making his mother happy period. And she was.
Close to midnight, they finally decided to go to bed. Whitney tore off his jeans and shirt and in his boxers climbed into bed. He drifted off immediately. But a sleeping Whitney wasn’t meant to be. He was aroused by light nicks on his window pane. Someone was throwing pebbles at his window pane!
“Oh that’s really cheesy Kent!”
He got up in a gleeful huff and went to the window. Indeed, Clark Kent stood there and grinned widely when he saw that Whitney was awake. Whitney threw open the window.
“Hey beautiful…” Romeo whispered seductively.
Whitney couldn’t keep the warm blush from coloring his skin from head to toe. He bit back the smile on his face and hissed..
“Hey yourself you jerk… You know what time it is?”
Clark frowned as if in deep thought and said. “No”
“Go away Kent. My mom’s a real light sleeper.”
“Hey why don’t you come down then. Lets go for a midnight stroll.”
“Its two in the goddamn morning!”
“So? Come on be a sport jock.. All you’ve done is sleep these past 3 days, aren’t you sick of it?”
“Oh that’s nice Kent. The three days that I’ve been in bed is because you kept me there! Now listen, I’ll come over in the morning.. I’m serious about my mom.. she’ll be up anytime now.”
“Come down Fordman, don’t make me…”
“Make you what?”
“.. don’t make me serenade you”
Whitney was spooked. “Wha.. WHAT!???!”
Clark crossed his arms, lush lips pursed in dead seriousness. “I’ll do it.”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
“I arise from dreams of thee…!!”
“oh fuck no”
“In the first sweet sleep of night….!”
“For the love of God!”
“.. when the winds are breathing low..!”
“I’m coming I’m coming!”
“And the stars are burning bright!”
Whitney pulled up his shirt and jeans as fast as he could, laughing and cursing as he did.
“I arise from dreams of thee…!!”
He grabbed shoes and a jacket, and stepped out the window onto the ledge below.
“And a spirit in my feet…!”
“Stop it will ya?”
Whit slipped down the pipe and landed right in front of Clark, who by now was grinning away like crazy.
“Hath led me - who know how?… To thy chamber window, sweet.”
Whitney recovered, and punched him in the gut.
And then Clark whacked him on his head and the two of them were soon playfully lunging at each other and hanging from each other’s throats. Whitney led Clark away from his house and they went laughing and sparring and wrestling each other.
Just then, a police car’s headlights shone from a distance and the two ducked to get out of sight. Clark, on account of being faster, dove first into a dark corner, taking Whitney with him as he went and now held onto him like a thief would hold on to precious stolen goods. He pressed a finger on his lips, while the van slid rolled away beside them.
Whitney took the opportunity to kiss the finger and then take it inside his mouth. He had this seductively mischievous twinkle in his eyes as Clark offered him another finger, then another, then his thumb and Whitney sucked at them all earnestly.
“Remind me to try this with something other than my fingers.”
Whitney blushed and nodded as he sucked at the thumb in his mouth. Clark felt his control slipping. He held onto Whit’s face with his other hand to stop him from using his sexy mouth and sighed deeply. The unit was far away now.
It was totally deserted and quiet as a graveyard. They got up and started walking towards nowhere together. Clark on one side of the road and Whitney on another. The distance .. so far and yet so dangerously close.. was exciting.
“where are we going?”
They walked silently, admiring each other from that distance, teasing each other from that distance.
“so how was your day?’
Clark hadn’t had a good day. He’d lied to Whitney about himself, he’d lied to Chloe about Whitney. He felt like he would drown in his own sea of lies and deception and lose the love and trust of everyone dear to him. He kept all that to himself and lied again.
“Good, Good. How about you?”
“Mine was cool too. Mom and me did a lot of catching up and we talked and she fussed over me and we talked some more…” He looked happy with himself.
“yeah? What you guys talk about?”
Whitney shrugged, “just.. mom and son stuff... Lana came over.”
Whitney considered telling Clark about his conversation with Lana that evening, but decided to hold on to it for later. Right now, guilt wasn’t what the two boys wanted.
Clark hadn’t missed the looks she’d given his Whitney during lunch. He turned his head to look at Whit.
“What did you guys do? You.. went out?”
“Nope. Just talked”
“Nothing really. Just .. stuff”
“Ex-girlfriend and boyfriend stuff?”
Whit jeered, “yeah kinda”
“Oh don’t tell me you’re jealous? Already the envious boyfriend huh?”
//Ohkay. Two can play this game.//
“Oh absolutely. You’re back two days and already you’re moving onto my territory, sure I’m jealous!”
“Oh..! Nice save Kent. But Lana aint your territory”
Clark had to agree. “Yeah that’s right.. she’s nobody’s Territory”
Whit nodded in agreement. “she’s her own Territory”
“more like a whole state actually.”
“maybe a small country?”
“yeah.” and they chuckled at their own bad jokes.
“Admit it. You’re jealous aren’t ya?”
“eeeeyyyeah.. sure I am.”
“.. Of Lana! Not me!”
“Now whatever gave you that idea Fordman?”
“Oh forget it.”
Whitney quit exasperated. Clark chuckled and came towards him. Whit ducked out of reach, fast enough even for superboy leaving him surprised.
//Now that’s new //
“Forget it freshman, not in the mood” He teased.
“I am.” But Whit ducked again.
“So?” He walked backwards, away from Clark, facing him, only now and then turning to see where he was going.
“You know what your problem is Kent?”
Clark followed him at the same pace, not once speeding up, smiling, indulging him.
“You got too used to having your own way that’s what”
“Yeah. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. You’re getting famous round here dude.”
Clark found that a little worrying if true. “Really?”
“Uh-uh. Too many people bending over backwards to do your bidding, maybe return a favor. Pretttty neat!”
Whit was playing him. Clark loved the way his eyes twinkled and the half-smirking, half-teasing expression on his face.
“I never asked anyone to bend over backwards for me.”
“Sure you didn’t!”
“You don’t believe me?”
“I believe what I see.”
“and .. what do you see?”
“That.. this Clark Kent is not the same kid I knew one year ago.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“Hmm.. depends. Cant say I liked the old clutz too much.”
Whit chuckled when he saw Clark pouting. And they kept walking.
“At least he was better than this new Kent who thinks he’s some kind of superhero who … hey!!”
Clark had suddenly lunged for him but Whit barely jumped out of reach.
Clark let out a huge “whew” like he was surprised at his agility while Whitney directed his index finger at him and guffawed like an excited six year old. Clark let Whit have his way for awhile as he chased him around, laughing and squealing, missing him by a heartbeat, until finally he lunged with hardly half his effort and his hands wrapped around Whitney’s waist from behind. He closed his mouth on his neck as Whitney stopped laughing and started sighing. And then Whit heard the words hissed with such deliberation he trembled.
“What I want Fordman, is to bend you.. forward.. and fuck. you. senseless.”
The hair at the back of his neck stood painfully erect as he bent his head to make space for Clark’s ministrations, and Clark’s hot breath as he whispered to kill...
“and you’re right. I always get what I want….”
They were in a sparse area of the town with only the full moon to light the way and no sign of life for miles around. Clark had earlier located a deserted barn and now started towards it with Whitney in tow. He turned Whitney around so he was facing him.
Eyes, green as the kryptonite of Lana’s necklace.. dark with desire.. lips, red as a sun on the rise.. and plush with passion.. the shadow of a smile on his face, naughty, sexy… evil. And when he moved, he moved with such feral grace.. slow.. seductive.. dangerous. Whit knew in that moment of truth that he had lost. Lost himself to an obsession that would know no gratification, no end. Ever.
He shivered to think there might be no turning back for him, that he might have closed all doors of escape. For a second time, Clark Kent had managed to ruin the life he’d created for himself. He’d shattered all his illusions of a future, of himself. And amidst all the shattered pieces of glass, he saw himself, as clear as he saw Clark. He saw himself through the eyes of Clark Kent. A boy lost.
And found. In love.
Suddenly coming out of his trance he saw Clark holding him by the waist, close, one hand creeping up to between his shoulder blades and gently rubbing there. He was saying something.
“Whit you with me?”
Clark smiled. He’d won alright. Without another word, he lowered himself slightly, hauled Whitney over his shoulder and stood up. Whit jerked into total consciousness as he found himself hanging over Clark’s shoulder, his legs held tight but upper torso flailing for support. In the briefest of flashes, he was reminded of the delightful giddiness he’d felt as a child when his dad would throw him up in the air and he would tumble squealing, back into the strong trusted arms.
//Do it again daddy do it again!//
He jerked his head in panic.
Clark adjusted his grip of Whitney and started walking towards the barn. One arm was around the two calves while with the other hand, he lovingly massaged a plump buttock.
“If its not much to ask could you please just.. PUT ME DOWN!”
“I can walk thank you very much!”
He responded to that with a smack on his butt and carried on walking.
“Enjoy the ride lover. Let me carry you.. let me keep you ...”
Whitney didn’t know what to say. He sagged against the stronger frame and closed his eyes, relishing the feel of Clark’s hands on him, at the same time riddled with anxiety on what was to follow.
“You trust me?”
Whit opened his eyes at that and gripped Clark’s jacket with both hands. “I trust you”
Clark pressed his face into Whit’s side and took a a deep loving whiff.
“Then don’t be scared baby… its going to be a beautiful night.”
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