Monday, April 03, 2006
Sunset, Chapter 1
Season 5, expansion of/sequel to "Hypnotic"
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC comics, not me
Prelude to the "Trust Me" series
“My feelings for you have changed.”
I’d been watching the sun set from my loft in the barn, and it dipped below the horizon just as I said the words. Which was fitting, as it seemed to put Nature’s stamp on the end of our long relationship. Although we’d only been truly dating for a few months, I’d been in love with Lana Lang for years, and the words were painful for me to utter.
Lana, however, didn’t seem inclined to accept the words at face value. Not surprising, considering how many breakups we’ve had in the course of our relationship.
She walked toward me across the wooden planks of the loft floor, and looked up at me, her eyes welling with tears. She’s a very pretty girl, but when I think about it honestly, I can’t quite figure out why I’ve loved her so long and so desperately. We don’t really have that much in common, and I can’t say that I admire her the way I admire my friend Chloe Sullivan. Lana is a sweet girl, but our conversations tend to be kind of strained, as if we don’t have a lot to say to each other. To be perfectly blunt, there doesn’t seem to be much binding us together besides physical attraction.
I think my adoration for her might be a Kryptonian thing, like maybe Kryptonian guys latch onto the first female they see at a certain age and can’t let go. Because there’s no rational way to explain the way I feel about her otherwise.
Or the way I felt about her. I’m not really sure what I feel now.
“Look into my eyes,” she challenged, “and tell me you don’t love me.”
I gazed blankly into space for a minute, then looked down at her, staring straight into her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Lana,” I said. “But I don’t love you.”
It was a lot easier to say than I’d expected. It made me wonder if maybe I really didn’t love her, after all. When I’d talked it over with Chloe, she’d warned me to be careful, telling me that if I really broke it off with Lana this time, it would be over for all time. I’d gone ahead and decided to do it anyway, telling myself it was wrong to keep hurting Lana, to keep lying to her about what I really was. I thought I was doing it for Lana.
But the words came so easily I had to wonder if maybe I had another reason for breaking up with her, deep down.
I’ve hurt Lana more than once—in fact, that’s the reason I finally decided I had to break up with her-- but I’ve never seen her look as hurt as she did when I said those words. And beneath the hurt, she looked angry. Infuriated, even.
I couldn’t quite understand why she was so angry, since she’d been the one to break up with me first. About a month earlier, she’d lost patience with my awkward and obvious lies (I’d finally decided not to tell her I was an alien from the planet Krypton, and let’s face it, that isn’t the easiest thing in the world to lie about convincingly), and she’d informed me haughtily that she needed “a break.” Right after that, my dad had died and we’d kind of drifted into dating again, but the knowledge that we’d had a big blowout was still standing there between us, like a giant crack beneath the smooth surface of our relationship.
Given everything that had happened, the idea of us breaking up really shouldn’t have come as a huge shock to her. But she certainly looked shocked. Maybe somehow she sensed that I really meant the words. She staggered backward and sat down hard on the railing of my loft. I went toward her and knelt in front of her, with the half-formed idea of saying something to make it easier for her to accept. But she waved me away.
“No,” she said in a hoarse voice. “Not another Clark Kent apology.” She blinked hard, then looked down at me, her face set in cold, hard lines.
“It’s over, then,” she said. “Forever.”
After Lana left, I sat for a long time in my loft. The golden rays of the sun had long since faded, and the sky turned to black velvet studded with diamonds. I sat there, as I often do, wondering how many of those stars I’d passed on my way to Earth as an infant.
Lost in vague reflections though I was, I heard familiar footsteps on the wooden stairs. Chloe can’t sneak up on me, because I can hear her footsteps from miles away. I’m conscious of the sound of her heartbeat even when she’s in Metropolis. Which, now that I think about it, is odd, because I’ve never heard Lana’s heartbeat unless I listen for it.
But even though I knew she was there, I didn’t turn, and her voice spoke from the darkness, hesitant and soft. “Clark?”
Somehow I’d known Chloe would turn up. She’d probably talked to Lana on the phone and tried to console her, then headed straight to Smallville to give me support. It was a long drive from Metropolis, and it was late at night, but Chloe wasn’t one to let little things like distance or darkness get in her way.
For the first time it occurred to me to wonder if by breaking up with Lana I’d put Chlo in the middle, so she’d feel obligated to choose one or the other of us. Lana was her roommate at Metropolis U, and they’d been close for a long time, so close that Chloe had once listed Lana as her sister on a family tree school project. But Chloe and I had been friends even longer. I hated the thought that Chloe might have to choose one or the other of us.
And I couldn’t bear the thought of not being the one she chose, because I didn't know what I’d do without her.
That’s weird, I thought. I just broke up with Lana, yet the girl I’m worrying about losing... is Chloe.
Read Chapter 2 here.
Posted by Meg at 2:15 PM