Timeline: Post-Exodus (from there follows the events of the Summer Friends series)
He and Lana had...his thoughts stopped there because he was still in a state of sock over what happened. Pete just hadn't expected... not with Lana.
It still didn't make sense to him. Lana had always been the one girl he shouldn't want, and since she was her and the chances of temptation were zero, she had been quite easy to avoid, ignore. For years he regulated her to one corner of his brain and labeled her 'property of Clark Kent'. But Clark left and she was alone and hurting and he was hurting too, though he was really good at hiding how much. Then somehow, together, they stopped hurting. Clark would kill him if he knew, but Clark was the one who left her, who left him, who ran away. Clark--left. Still, Clark was Clark and Lana wasn't really over Clark, he couldn't pretend those things weren't still true. And he knew Clark wasn't even any good to himself out there, where ever he was.
Pete decided to lose himself in the 'Neverending Story' for awhile and tried not to remind himself it was Lana's book. But he couldn't concentrate, so he got up and went for a walk.
Pete found himself at his cousin's house a few hours later. He really couldn't think of anyone else to talk to. Sam enjoyed teasing him to much (and wasn't exactly the best example in this case), he couldn't really have this conversation with his parents, even if Clark was around he wouldn't tell him. And Chloe... he could never tell Chloe.
Chris handed him a soda and they sat together sipping the drinks in silence for awhile.
"Where's Monica?" Pete finally asked.
"Gone," Chris said. "We had a fight last night, it's over."
"That's it, it's just over."
"Yeah, she was just to immature. So what's up with you?"
Pete was silent for a long time.
"Did something happen with Lana?" Chris asked.
Pete didn't reply and darted his eyes nervously around the room.
"Come on Pete," Chris said "You can tell me."
"I walked her home the other night, after we left here. No big deal I've been walking with her and giving her rides all summer."
"But then we kissed and I was going to leave it there and go home, but she asked me to stay. And then we went inside and things progressed."
Chris got a big grin on her face as if waiting for juicy details, but Pete stopped.
"Did you?" Chris asked.
"We did," Pete said. "I don't know how it happens. She doesn't seem like the girl who just jumps into bed like that. What am I suppose to do now? Hey Clark, glad you're home. Guess what happened between me and the love of your life?"
"That's if he comes home. Seems to me like you're worried about one big 'if'. Clark's not here."
"Sounds like something Sam would say."
"Well it's true. As much as you don't want to admit it, you're in the exact same position he was in."
"I'm not. This is one summer Chris, one summer that Clark needed me to take care of home for him. Clark he... do you know how many times he's had my back. He's my best friend, no matter where he is right now, no matter how messed up in the head he is. You know what, this situation. It's nothing like Sam, cause David was here when all that happened. Thanks for listening, but I got to go."
That night, the Ross house was quiet as the whole family sat around watching a movie. The only reliable distraction, Hayden was sleep on his mother's lap and for once no one seem to be talking much. Pete wished the Ross house wasn't so quiet that night, a little yelling might have distracted him. He knew what he had to say to Lana, he just didn't know how to approach it. She probably wanted to kill him right now, he hadn't called her or seen her since that night.
The doorbell rang, the first disturbance since they'd settled down to watch the movie. Pete got up to answer the door, just because he needed to move. And when he opened it, he found the last person he expected.
"Hey little Petey, where's your brother?"
"In the living room," Pete replied.
He led David into the living room, where he greeted a series of shocked faces. For awhile the room was captured in silence, no one said anything. David started to speak, but Sam spoke first.
"What are you doing here?"
"First, I have something to say to your mother. Something I should have said that day."
"Well, I'm waiting David," Mrs. Ross said standing up.
"You treated me like one of your sons, you were always kind to me, I should never have disrespected your house and I'm sorry."
"Thank you for apologizing."
"I know it's a little late."
"Better late than never."
David turned to Mr. Ross. "Same goes for you sir."
Mr. Ross nodded.
"Is that all you have to say?" Sam questioned.
"No," David replied. "Sam, you're my best friend."
"Don't you mean I was your best friend?"
"No, you are. And that's why it hurt so much that you were the one who took away the girl that I loved. And Jen, I bore my soul to you. I trusted you in a way I never trusted a girl before and never trusted a woman since. It still hurts that the two of you have each other and that kid and this wonderful life, everything that should have been mine! But it's done, I can either mope about it for the rest of my life or get over it and have my best friend back in my life. If you're willing, I'm willing to try and get past it."
Sam walked up to David. The room was in complete silence, movie forgotten. Hayden must have had a really active day, because even he remained quietly sleeping.
"I'm sorry about... all of this," Sam said.
"I know," David replied with a grin.
Then Sam smiled. The two shared a brotherly hug and everyone in the room breathed a sigh of relief. They knew everything wasn't solved in that moment, but it was the beginning of healing and that was always a good sign things were changing for the better.
As David and Sam reacquainted themselves, Pete made a decision. He left the house and drove down to the Talon. He knew avoiding the issue wouldn't make it any better. He saw her through the Talon doors, cleaning up as the last customers left. She was looking as hurt as she had that day he found her at the Kents, her heart broken because Clark had run away.
"Need some help," he said opening the door. He had to duck, because a tray immediately came flying at his head.
"Where have you been?"
Pete picked up a tray and walked over to her.
"I've been trying to figure us out. I was a little confused after what happened."
Pete dropped a tray on the table.
"You think this has been easy for me?" Lana asked. "I never planned."
"I know, neither did I."
They sat down at a table together.
"I know you regret--" Pete began.
"I don't regret it Pete."
"I mean I never planned... but I'm not sorry you were my first. It happened because it was suppose to happen. I don't know where we go from here, but we were suppose to talk about it. Figure it out together."
"Lana, I like you more than I ever thought I could like you," Pete told her. "But we both know what has to happen now."
"We have to stop fooling ourselves. This all happened because Clark's gone and we needed somebody. What happens when... if Clark comes back. I mean, if Clark were here this summer, that might have been you and him or maybe not, but it wouldn't have been you and me. I kept comparing this to what happened to Sam and Jen and David and what happened with you and Chloe and Clark. But the difference is, David was in their life when Jen picked Sam, it didn't happen because David went away, it happened even though he was there. And neither one of us can be sure things didn't go this far because Clark's not her."
"We can't take it back, I mean I still..."
"Care about Clark?"
"Of course I do, but--" Lana sighed.
"But what? That's the problem, you don't really know what you had with Clark, what you could have with Clark. You said it yourself."
"He cheated us out of that, he left. He could change his mind any time and come home."
"But what if he can't, what if one bad decision lead to a chain reaction of bad decisions that he couldn't stop."
Lana sighed, frustrated. "Pete why won't you ever just tell me what's wrong with him and stop talking in code?!!"
"It's just that.... he's more human than he thinks he is."
"What?" Lana asked confused.
Pete then knew he had been so caught up in what was changing between him and Lana, he hadn't been fair to Clark. Clark couldn't fight the feelings the red meteor rocks brought to the surface. He couldn't come back even if deep down he wanted to, something else had control. "He feels like he hurt the people he cares about the most. So he ran away from causing anymore pain, but he also did something to escape his own. He's not in control Lana."
"What does that mean? Is he on drugs or something, I can't believe that. Not Clark."
Pete didn't say anything else. Lana sighed and looked away.
"You know you're right. I mean we did exactly what you said, we were both worried so we escaped that with each other, but I won't... I won't sit still anymore."
"What are you saying?"
"We need to stop worrying about if. We're going to find Clark and bring him home and whatever comes of it, comes of it. Is that okay with you friend?"
"Sure, friend. We'll find Clark."
Pete had felt the air chill a little between them, but he hoped finding Clark would make things balance out again, redefine the rules of their friendship. As much as he had enjoyed his night with Lana, but he hated that just looking at her made him feel guilty, he wanted to be rid of that feeling. That wasn't him, he was Pete Ross, Pete Ross kept a cool head with the ladies, he could take them or leave them. As for Lana, he was happy being her friend, sharing laugh occasionally.
Besides, He had always been second best with Chloe, he didn't want to be Lana's second choice too. So he approached things with Lana the way he'd come to approached things with Chloe. If he and Lana were going to end up together one day he didn't want it to be because she couldn't have Clark and he was the next best thing. No, Clark had to come home and they had to figure out where they stood on their own. Besides, as he always said, there were other girls in Smallville.
-END OF SERIES-
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