Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. They are the property of AOL Time Warner/DC Comics/Millar Gough & Tollin Robbins.
Notes: Please read and review, if you can.
He sits at the table like everyday. She's smiling at him and the juice is orange, like always. The bacon is crisp and her nails are painted with little stars and he smiles back. He's got class today and tomorrow and next week and he's got to study because his grades aren't so good right now. The semester is nearly over and he's barely been in class.
The question he gets from her is the one he gets from them, from everyone. The question he answers only with a fierce nod, eyes averting the truth. He's got class today, no time for melancholy, useless thoughts.
In class he sits alone, in the back, where the tiny slivers of sun fall upon him. He always sits here but he likes the rainy days better. The sun is far too bright. He likes to wear sunglasses. She teases him for wearing them even after sunset.
He's looking out the window, towards the skyline and it's still there, although long taken over by some other name, another conglomerate. He notices the plants far up on the penthouse terrace are brown, shriveled, dying. He closes his eyes. For just a moment he swears it's not Microeconomics, it's not 2006, and that he hasn't been eating his pencil. For a minute he imagines another reality, one involving speed and the scent of leather and candles....but these kinds of thoughts aren't productive and he has a quiz today.
"You're alright. You've always been alright."
It is quite easy for people to think everything's fine. It's human nature to delude oneself. He knows this and lets them believe what they like. He's nibbling on popcorn and watching television with her and it's gray outside and he knows it will snow sometime soon. He remembers a warm fire and a gentle touch and then it's gone because she's licking his neck and he's not resisting.
Two years together and she's nice and honest and not a whore and she smells like clean water. He doesn't like to think about water, though, so he likens her to that fresh detergent smell, or bleach, or a certain other, lost scent that tasted like heaven and smelled of bleach. He's nearly forgotten what that other thing was. He's not sure he's ever tasted the other thing outside of dreams. He wants to run his hand over something smooth.
They were in town last week, brimming with eggs and apples and smiles and he was glad to see them. They told him Lana was married in Gotham last week, to some Joe she'd met abroad. He was glad for her. The darkness had finally lifted from around her. She'd climbed out of the pool.
They were brimming with hope, as well....hope that he'd stopped thinking about the past, about wire and concrete and choices and choices and dreams that one best should forget. They have always been so good at moving on; they are Teflon, nothing touches them. He wonders where they learned their skills of delusion...perhaps the day he dropped from the sky...he wonders why said skills won't work with him.
Senior year of high school he took a pottery class and no matter how hard he tried, everything he created turned into a pile of terra cotta mush, runny and irrelevant and tragic...faces forming in the mix like that face that Fall, that face he doesn't remember, a face that begged.
His father always said beggars are weak men. That the strong fight for their place. His girlfriend says he's a good guy, a decent man, a good boyfriend. His old friends say he's reliable and safe and strong. The face in the plastic, in the pottery, in the orange juice; the face says otherwise. It says 'coward.'
He sits alone in the museum and stares for a long while at the breastplate. Never comes here, can't come here, for fear the face will stare back from between the exquisite rubies and diamonds. Today it was different; she had to go to the Magritte retrospective for class and he tagged along. He just sits and thinks about the tuna fish he ate earlier, out of the can...and how he needs to cut his hair and how he definitely needs to be more attentive to Chloe and try to give her what she needs. He thinks about an upcoming test and a magazine he wants to read. There's a bird somewhere singing and he hears it and begins to cry. The sun is out and she's ready to go and he composes himself and everything's fine, it always is.
They eat dinner and she's playing with his hair and grinning and rubbing his belly and he should be happy. He is happy. Everything's fine, it always was. They play, they fuck, they talk the usual talk-like work, it's routine, but he owes her...she deserves to be happy-he hopes she is. There's a chill and he wraps the blanket up around her and she's asleep in a flash.
He draws the bath and steps inside the tub. He notices he reeks of lavender and sweat and that isn't so unpleasant. Somewhere, a hint of sandalwood, of leather....he plays with his toes and notices that it's dark in the bathroom, pitch black. He sinks deeper in the water and remembers it's freezing. He never uses hot water. His hair is matted from their lovemaking and he sinks deeper, hoping the water will untangle it. He rolls gently around in the tub, dark liquid enveloping him, until he sees a familiar face. It is smiling, He is smiling and that's wonderful because it's getting harder to maintain this image of his. Only the face is twisting and spitting at him and Lex looks frightened and scared and Clark realizes that he can never, will never, forget that day when he was fifteen; that day he found out he was immortal. That day a speeding car hit him.
He can never forget that day at seventeen when Lex drowned in front of him, in the pool, by the marble, under the sun his eyes pleading, his body fighting to stay afloat.
Clark's strong, he's decent, he's noble. Parents love him, girlfriend adores him. If he studies a bit, he just might pass Economics. Clark's so many things. If only he could have been honest.
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