You're a hard one to catch, Clark. Difficult to pin down, one might say. But now you're here. And you won't be leaving, will you? (Though of course I applaud you for trying.)
I have a story to tell.
There we go. I suspect I finally have your attention. How long has it taken, to get you here like this? To have you really listening to me? (Clark, you have no idea.)
And now we're off and running because you look away, so angry. Like you can see anything anyway. I had the blindfold and gag made special just for you. It's not easy finding tailors who will work with Kryptonite, you know.
Now that we're done with the routine formalities, may I begin? (Don't blame me for bringing you here. If only you hadn't interfered--when did it become your duty to police the world, Clark? Was that desire always in you? Was it something else I never managed to see? )
Enough of that. I'm going to tell you a story. (Yes, really.)
Once upon a time.......What? How else would you have me start off a story of the type of treacly sweetness that I'm about to tell?
And oh, there goes an eyebrow arching up. Disdain. (I hate you. Oh yes, I do. Look at what you've reduced me to, Clark. Hate. Are you proud of yourself?)
Once upon a time I woke up in my Smallville house in my Smallville world and it was an ordinary day. You remember. Back when we were young. (I think that may trump the 'once upon a time' by the way.)
I woke up in my Smallville house and it was lovely and gleaming and quiet inside and out. (So fucking quiet.) It really was a lovely house, wasn't it? (Don't act like you can't recall.) I wandered through my morning. The usual routine; shower, breakfast, ride to work. Are you picturing me in the shower?
There goes that eyebrow again. Bit of a weak show, though. (Your neck is flushing. I know all your tells, Clark.)
Then I was at work. Luthor Corp in those days was so.... boring. Merge with this, take over that. No vision, Clark. That was my father's problem. (That and he was an asshole.) I shuffled papers, I answered email. (You used to send me messages from school. Remember that? My, that got an emphatic headshake of denial, didn't it? Liar.)
I talked to my father. Well, that's not quite true. I listened to my father. He did so love to hear himself talk. (I'll bet you're thinking 'he did indeed' and then wondering if he reminds me of anyone. Trust me Clark, I'm way ahead of you there. I understand my lineage better than you ever will.)
So my father talked and I listened, fuming silently and wasting valuable time on regrets. I should have spent my time plotting ways to send him down an elevator shaft or something. Speed him on his merry way to hell.
(Trust me, Clark, it's plenty funny.)
And then I had to deal with Colleen, my secretary. Can't forget her. She organized my calendar of nothing, reminded me of all the prickly thorns my father strew in my path--useless reports to write, nothing phone calls to make, third-rate conferences to organize (as if I was some party planner). Reminders that he had his eye on me. Now, you see, I would have simply disposed of her.
Oh, not like that. (Though you like to think so, don't you?)
Clark. You used to believe in me.
You've made me forget where I was going. Distractions aren't good, Clark. They make you lose focus. Probably one of the few true things my father ever told me. Where was I? Oh yes, Colleen.
Now I suppose I'd ship her off to a low-level office somewhere remote and useless. New Zealand or something. Pretty country there, though. Have you ever seen it?
I've been everywhere.
I suppose Kansas was enough of a punishment for her though, really. I see that eyebrow, by the way, but in this case you are right. Kansas probably was her punishment. And me. I was her cross to bear. She never said it but I could tell. She used to leave me post-it notes everywhere. Remember this, your father wants you to do that. To this day I can't abide them.
So that was my life. Post-it notes and tedium. I should have been miserable. I should have been planning. I should have---imagine where I could be now, if only I'd started seeing things as they truly are then.
But I wasn't. Miserable, that is. Or seeing things clearly. (I'm going to untie you a bit, Clark.)
What's this? You're flinching away from me. (Careful, my feelings might get hurt.)
Ah, is this what's bothering you? Well, as much as I'd love to take it off, I'm afraid I can't. I'm so partial to the color green, you know, and this necklace has a lovely stone.
Am I too close? (Too much memory in my eyes? Does my breath in your ear remind you of things you want to pretend away?)
Do you ever think about the way things were? (I suspect I'm wasting my time.) Back to the story, then. Your hair is as soft as it always was, Clark.
I hate you for that too.
I drove home from the office. Left a bit early. (You know this story, don't you? Don't turn your head away.) And why shouldn't I have left early? There certainly wasn't much to do. I probably told Colleen to lump it. Maybe my father too. I was so good at petty rebellion then, back when I was young.
The sky was very blue. (I remember so much, Clark. It's a curse, really.) I sang along with the radio. You might remember the song, if I hummed a bit of it. You were the one who messed with my radio, remember? Reset all the stations I had carefully selected. Told me there were songs I needed to hear.
Yes, I remember everything. Not like some. (Wounded eyes? Is that a tear I see? Good. I hope that fucking hurt you.)
You remember my driveway, don't you? I do. I actually miss Smallville sometimes, a little. (I didn't say I missed the people in it, Clark.) And who do you think I saw that day when I pulled in, blue sky overhead and my voice warbling out the last few words of some lamentably forgettable song? (You try remembering it all these years. It stopped being catchy after the first ten.)
You know what's coming next. (Say it. Just... say it.) Fine.
You. You were there, waiting. You had a backpack. You had books inside it. (Clark, back then I had no idea boys like you still existed. You were so--)
Well, now you've done it. Got me wandering off again. As if you don't remember what you were like when you were sixteen. (I bet you wish you could forget, don't you? I won't let you.)
No more pulling me off track. You were there. You and your backpack and your smile and you asked me how I was. You said, "How was your day?" (You smiled because you'd heard me singing. The sky was so blue over and behind your head.)
You had something for me, you said. (You can guess what I hoped it was, couldn't you?) Don't get all pinched face on me. (I guess I'm the skeleton rattling in your closet, Clark.) I'm talking about the beans. Green beans, in a small cardboard box, held out in your outstretched hands. (I remember everything I taught you to do with those hands. I only wish I'd taken pictures.)
Beans, Clark. I'm sure you know what's coming next. I'd never gotten beans as a present before. "We had extra," you said. "It was a good crop this year." (That was one of the things I never liked about you, by the way. Your ill-founded belief that everyone cared about crop yields.)
I took them from you. My hands may have brushed yours, briefly. (See how thoughtful I was there? I said may. We both know your fingers were eager to touch mine. I remember you had calluses on your hands. You and your 'farm chores.') I asked you to come inside and you did and I stood there, a box of green beans in my hand. (I think that I wanted to touch you was implied, Clark. It's very tiresome that you always have to have the last word.)
So there I was, inside my house. With you. And a box of beans. I'd planned to throw them away, (that surprises you? Clark, in some ways you haven't changed a bit.) but looking at you and seeing them right there in front of me--I sent for the cook instead. You shuffled your feet and grinned. (What, no smile for me now?) The cook came, took them, and I thanked you. (They were actually quite good; green and crunchy, lightly boiled and salted -- my cook of that time was not adventurous.)
We stood there, you and I, for a moment, and then I asked you to stay for a while. Some pretext or other. An excuse you needed. An excuse you wanted. (Careful, Clark. I might think you have a temper.) And so you stayed.
"Well," you said, when we were standing inside yet another quiet room. Close enough to touch. (Just like so.)
"I just wanted to--I just thought I'd--" you said, and you blushed, bright fiery red. (Those beans, Clark. They tasted faintly of summer and sweetness. I thought that maybe it was imagination and still tasted all those things anyway. I ate alone in my dining room and didn't feel lonely at all.)
You spoke and you blushed and there was warmth inside me, the curious soft relaxation only you were able to induce in me (an effect, I assure you, that vanished long ago) mingled with blood pumping furiously around and through my heart. (That's so pitiful, Clark. Of course I have one. You should know that better than anyone.)
I should have been scared. (Listen, this is important.)
I should have been scared. I wasn't. I stood there, watching you watch me, watching your face, your eyes, your smile. Listening to what you said and hearing everything you couldn't say.
"Me too," I told you and there. That moment. (I see memory in your eyes.) You smiled more, that farmboy angel grin that I always thought meant truth, and then there was silence. That moment, and that silence between us was a promise. One I knew would be kept.
I was so sure of that moment. Of you. (I don't trust anything you say. I don't trust your mouth at all. Look at that bottom lip. Do you remember how you used to--are you blushing? No, of course you aren't. Righteous anger, right Clark? You're so fucking predictable now.)
What's that? Oh, I'm afraid I can't hear you. The gag--makes talking a big dicey, I suppose.
Don't choke on it.
That promise in the air between us. That moment. That's what held me. That's what kept me lulled. Happy. (Don't you dare look away. Look--look at me. Don't be a liar, Clark. It's tedious.) I was happy then. I was happy there. With you. (It's true. You know it.)
I looked at you that day and I saw love. I saw trust. Clark--- (god, your skin, it's like it always was and I--this was never what I planned--this was never the future I saw.)
I never saw us here.
I think you always did.
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