By Quin Rhodes


I had to see him for myself.I tried to resist it, but couldn't.Everyone told me I should just let it go, that I should remember him as he was.They didn't know what they were asking.I needed to see for myself, to know for sure.He looked nothing like himself, too calm, too peaceful, too still.I needed closure and I'm glad I did it.


I had wondered about this day for a long time just minor irritation at someone interrupting a rare moment of peaceful reading.

He died at the scene.I'm very sorry."He gave the details that he knew and told me which hospital had my father's body.I told him to call the lawyers and do whatever Father had inevitably told him to do in the case of his death.Father always had a plan for everything, I was sure his death would be no different I sure didn't need all of those shrinks I was sent to see to tell me that.I just can't believe that Father never realized it.Of course, it could be that he never cared.

When I was younger, I really tried to be what he wanted.I tried to be tougher and meaner than the other kids.After the meteor shower almost killed me, I thought we might have been given a second chance.I was told that my father had been at my bedside every day, so he must have been scared for me.But as soon as he was told I would make a full recovery, and before I had even woke up, he was gone again. I thought we could start over after that day, that maybe some good would come out of my freakish appearance.If anything, though, he was more distant after I got home from the hospital.

Mom wanted us all to be a family then, and for a few months I really thought we might make it work.Of course I grew out of that fantasy even before Julian died and Father pulled back once again. I saw how he looked at me and then Julian.I knew that Dad would never let us be true brothers, no matter how much I wanted it.

Only recently I had figured it out.He always accused me of being too emotional, but his emotional reaction to my injuries must have scared him more than the injuries themselves.Julian's death heightened his awareness of this perceived weakness.He backed off in fear and stayed away by what must have become habit.After a while, it was just easier for both of us to simply avoid each other.Mom finally stopped trying to push us together and when she died, all hopes of me being close to him died with her.

I haven't cried, I haven't been angry.I haven't been happy, I've just been numb.How ironic is it that my Father would die in a car crash not ten miles from where I drove my car off of a bridge and miraculously lived?Clark Kent had a lot to do with my survival.I guess he wasn't out patrolling that stretch of road last week.

I haven't slept much since the crash.My hours have been so crazy I hardly know when it's morning or night.Ben and Graham organized most of tomorrow's festivities, but I've had my own trial and tribulations to deal with.

His wishes would have been simple for an ordinary man; a viewing and service followed by a procession to the cemetery to be laid in the Luthor family plot next to Mother.But Dad was anything but ordinary; it's taken all week with both assistants working overtime to organize the cathedral, the dignitaries, and the police support for the procession.

I was almost surprised to find out that he still named me sole heir to the family fortune.I had half expected to be cut off, or at least cut out of most of it due to my behavior over the past few years.I had been challenging him more and more lately, and I didn't know if turning down the advisor job raised my stock with him or might have been the last straw.

For all his complaining, he knew that I would be able to run Luthor Corp. in his absence and the company wouldn't survive intact without a Luthor at the helm.

I have no illusions that this little vacation from business will last any longer than it takes for my father to be laid in that hole tomorrow.I've already heard rumblings about corporate espionage and hostile takeovers.If Luthor Corp.'s enemies think that the change in leadership in the company will do anything to soften the company's dealings, they'll be sorely mistaken.

The only person I was even starting to consider a friend was Clark.I'll miss him.I wonder if he'll be at the funeral tomorrow.I wonder if his parents will let him come.The way he was raised would seem to indicate that he would try to be there.But his parents never approved of me as a friend to their son, and they may see this as an opportunity to sever all the ties between us.

I haven't been able to get myself to call him back.It would be too much like admitting that I need someone.If I can just get through tomorrow alone, I will have proven that I need no one, even during such a seemingly emotional time, and then I can call him if I want to.

I don't think I've ever met a person that looked past it completely until Clark.I really don't understand him.Even his parents are hung up with the Luthor money.Mr. Kent has some sort of bizarre history with my father, but I never bothered to ask my father about it, and Mr. Kent never seemed to want to share it with me, other than lumping me in with my father and whatever he had done.

He wanted to get to know me, not my money.It took me a while to figure that out, and now that I finally have,I can't pursue it.I'll be too busy running a multi-national corporation.

If Father had known how much I wanted to befriend Clark, I would be tempted to believe that he died just to force me away from it.He always had a knack for finding out exactly what made me happy, no matter how hard I tried to hide it, and crushing that happiness as soon as possible.

I guess I'll be finding that out soon.My father defined me in ways I never realized until this week.By trying so hard not to become him, my life had a goal, a purpose.I have nothing to fight against now.The struggle has ended and left me with no idea of who or what I want to become.I never realized how little I was my own man even though I thought I had been fighting that battle as long as I could remember.

I can do whatever I wish with them now, without the great and powerful Lionel Luthor over my shoulder.My path is mapped out in that I am destined to run these businesses, but now I have the resources to take them in any direction I want them to go.It's a path that has me tied down to it, but it's a broad path that can lead almost anywhere.

Lionel saw that when he offered me the advisor's role in Metropolis.I wasn't ready to face thetemptations of the city then, and I'm not sure I'm ready now.I like the man I've become.I like the strides towards friendship and the simplicity I've found in that little town that was my exile.

I don't like what I know I'll become with this move back.I guess everyone's destiny is set by the circumstances of their birth.I know mine was.