Chapter 1 [Kent Farmâ€”Morning After]
A cold mist settled across Lowell County following the heavy downpour. Beads of wet glistened on the yellow grasses. While a few animals scurried about the woods, most remained in their dens for warmth.
Clark couldnâ€™t take such measures. He barely managed to sleep during the previous night; his mind swimming with his and Lanaâ€™s encounter with Bizarro on the previous day. He hefted two hay bales from the truck into the barn and set them on the rest of the pile moodily. He knew that a talk with Lana was in order but he felt scarred and betrayed.
Heâ€™d tried to help Kara and Jor-El but nothing he did proved good enough for the Kryptonian family. Hell, in unleashing his motherâ€™s construct, heâ€™d restored his vindictive uncle, Zor-El, to full potency as well. And for his efforts, Jor-El imprisoned him in an icy prison for the previous month.
While that was the case, Bizarro usurped his life. Heâ€™d lived in the house, worked the chores, consorted with his friends and came damn close to stealing Lana totally away.
Worse of all, he couldnâ€™t believe that Lana didnâ€™t notice the differences between him and his imperfect doppelganger. From what she had said in Oliverâ€™s penthouse, she had never felt more in love than she had during the previous month with Bizarroâ€”a definite shot in the gut if there was one. Sheâ€™d missed how the otherâ€™s face changed in the sunlight and all of the other cues that something was amiss.
Then again, she liked how different things seemed at that point.
Why canâ€™t she understand? WHY? He hated the heaviness in the house. But he also felt the jealousy and rage brewing inside of himself. He threw a hay bale over the Loftâ€™s rail and against the upper wall. He clenched his fist in frustration. Jor-El trapped me up there. Iâ€™m romantic! If I didnâ€™t have these responsibilities, Iâ€™d be fine!
â€śWow. Somebody fell out of bed on the wrong side this morning. Maybe you should cut back on the Wheaties, Clark?â€ť
He turned to find Chloe standing just inside of the doorway. â€śHey, Chloe. Whatâ€™s going on?â€ť
â€śYou tell me. Normally you donâ€™t go pitching things like that. Moody and sulky, okay. Making like an Olympic shot putter not so much,â€ť she responded. â€śI thought you got rid of Bizarro. Whatâ€™s going on?â€ť
â€śJust doing chores. Chasing Bizarro and tracking down Dak-Sur took time,â€ť he reported.
She rolled her eyes knowing full well he could do everything in the blink of an eye if he had wanted to. â€śBeen there, know that. Sorry I couldnâ€™t sleep so I decided to see what my favorite couple was up to. Lanaâ€™s already gone. Now I find you like this. You can talk to me, you know.â€ť
â€śJust some things Lana and I need to work out, Chloe. It isnâ€™t a big deal,â€ť he informed her pointedly.
â€śIsnâ€™t a big deal? CLARK, COME ON! This is LANA weâ€™re talking about! Youâ€™re just going to give up like this?â€ť She threw her hands up in the air in disgust. â€śShe thought Bizarro was YOU! Okay? Yeah she was with him. She enjoyed the romance. She was swept off of her feet. But that was because she thought he was YOU!â€ť
He brooded over the situation. â€śI wish I could have Jor-El take my gifts away for good this time. That week without them was great.â€ť
She snickered. â€śOh yeah if you count getting waylaid by the Belle Reeve escapees or breaking into LuthorCorp with me or nearly dying. In all of those cases, Clark, yeah it was awesome. The worldâ€™s not going to stop just because you want it to! More people know your secret than you care to admit. They arenâ€™t going to forgive and forget just because you want them to!â€ť
â€śThen how can I have a life, Chloe? Oliver and the others can handle it! I just want to be left alone!â€ť he retorted fiercely while whipping a bale over the Loftâ€™s rail and smacking it against the far wall.
â€śSome people have a higher calling than others. Clark, youâ€™re a hero to so many people. Thereâ€™s sacrifice wrapped up in that. If you want to have a life with Lana, both of you are going to have to find a balance in that,â€ť she pointed out. â€śIn the meantime, Lanaâ€™s your priority. You have a choice. Either sit here and pout in the barn with your telescope or surprise her with something. Meantime, how about a break from the Bomber Farmer routine and get some coffee on me? Thereâ€™s a coffee place in Granville thatâ€™s okay. You can check on Alicia and Kyla if you want to.â€ť
He nodded. â€śIâ€™ll shower and change. Thanks, Chloe.â€ť He took off toward the house at super speed.
Thatâ€™s our Speedy! She took three steps toward her car.
That was all the time it took for Clark to rejoin her in a fresh set of clothes and in a better mood.
â€śSee that put a spring in the Romeoâ€™s step!â€ť she teased. â€śCome on, Clark. Letâ€™s get those ideas rolling.â€ť
As they pulled away, he felt himself relaxing. A coffee break was in order. So were the visits in question. That and an idea was starting to form in his brainâ€¦..