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Whitney was back for only a week. Still wasn’t too sure why he returned. There was nothing to come back to, aside from his mom of course. Whatever, he went about the expected practice to catch up, meet his old buddies and clap them on their backs, run into old girlfriends and compliment them on their new pregnancies or something.
Meeting Lana was, well, different. Lana was the love of his life as far back as he could remember. There were so many girls before her. But none after. Lana was his salvation. His dream, his life partner. Lana was... in love with Clark Kent.
Still is, as was quite obvious by the bitter disappointment that came over her face when he asked her about him. Surely, he asked as casually as possible, she must have hooked up with him you know. But she didn’t. Or he didn’t. Or maybe they didn’t who knows. Point is, Lana is not with anyone right now, not even Clark.
Not exactly. Instead, Whitney was concerned by the sadness he saw on Lana’s face which he should only be trying to alleviate using his famous charms shouldn’t he? And why was Clark, who put him through hellish misery during high school over Lana, not interested in the very object of their contention anymore?
Clark had had more time to process this fact than Whitney. He had mulled, he had moped, he had moved on. To Chloe. How times change don’t they?
So anyway, Whitney dropped Lana home is his old red truck, that still rode like a dream by the way and on his way back home, he stopped at the gas station.
That’s where it began.
“Whitney? Is that you?”
Whitney turned around and came face to face with Mark Webber, his ex-classmate and ex-teammate and ex-gangmate. They were never too close but they sure went a long way back. Whitney couldn’t help but grin happily to see a familiar face.
They greeted each other like classmates on a reunion, slapping palms together with a loud smack. Mark suddenly pulled him into a giant bear hug. He sure seemed happy to see Whitney.
“Whats up dude? You’ve been gone so long. How long has it been?”
“Almost a year yeah”
“Academy treating you well?”
“Oh” Whitney laughed a little. “yeah absolutely man. Life in the services has been good for me. Hell a year ago I would have gone anywhere to escape Hellville.”
They both chuckled slightly at the other commonly used name for their town. Mark nodded vigorously.
“Yeah man. Wish I could get out too. But I guess I am destined to manage gas stations a little longer than initially planned.” Mark winked away the bitterness in his tone.
Whitney smiled. Couldn’t think of anything useful to say.
“Hey I remember. It was sure hell for you man.” Mark punched him slightly in the shoulder.
“But you’re a fighter aren’t ya? Hey remember the time we had a fist fight over the touchdown we missed, me and you? Right in the centerfield during the big match hey. You sure got a fist on you man.”
He laughed wildly. Whitney joined in.
“And don’t tell me you forgot the punch in the gut in the locker room when you were mouthing off about Lana.”
“Hey” Mark out both his hands up and gave his seriously serious look. “Honest mistake man. You know I couldn’t tell you were standing right behind me!”
And the laugh track again. They chatted a while longer remembering old times when they both were different people.
“Jeez man” Mark said, wiping his eyes of tears that had sprang up with the hard laughter. “We sure had some good times man.”
Whitney couldn’t agree more. However bad the last year might have been, he had to agree he was king for a long long time before that. He had everything, popularity, football, Lana.
“oh and remember the night after the game?”
“We grabbed that scrawny kid and hung him on the scarecrow post like a fucking pig on a stake”. Mark was laughing harder than humanly possible. “What's his name? Clark Kent eh? Didn’t look so scrawny without his clothes though don’t you think?” He winked again and scowled and chuckled again.
“Boy was that fun or what! Fucking crazy fun man!”
Whitney suddenly wanted to get back home soon as possible.
“Yeah well, Mark I gotta get moving now.”
“Come on man, what say we grab a few beers? If you wait, Hector, Dan and Brent would be here soon. We could go on a nostalgic rampage all of us!” Mark really wanted this. Whitney didn’t and it was obvious.
“Oh come on man, loosen up your military jocks a bit!”
“uhh not today Mark. How about we do this tomorrow night? Wherever you say.”
“OK. 9 tomorrow night, Zinc bar. Drinks on me.”
“It’s a night.”
“Alright.” Mark looked really happy. Guess the old Whit-worshipping was still going strong.
//Hmm, maybe it wont be so bad.//
“See you then!”
“Yep” Whitney waved at him and got into his truck and drove away. The wind in his face was soothing. Most of his usual buddies were not in Smallville. And he had two days of leave left. Might as well go. No self-respecting marine off-duty lets a chance to gorge on free alcohol pass him by.
Besides, it dulls the pain you know.
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