Rated PG-13

May 2006






A caravan of trucks headed down River Road on their way to the Kent farm.  In the lead truck, Lionel Luthor told the man seated next to him, “You had better be positive that you saw what you say that you saw.”


Hilton Smith said, “I can only tell you what it looked like … it looked like something from outer space.  It looked like a small spaceship.”


Lionel said, “If what you are saying is true, there may be more to Clara Kent than meets the eye.”


Hilton Smith asked, “Do you think she’s an alien?”


Lionel said, “More likely someone in the service of aliens … but she did appear out of nowhere at the same time as the meteor shower.  A meteor shower would be a great cover for someone wanting to arrive on Earth undetected … speak of the devil!”


The trucks passed Clara Kent as she walked up the road.  Hilton asked, “That’s Miss Kent?”


Lionel said, “Yes.”


Hilton said, “She looked ordinary enough.”


Lionel said, “That’s the strange thing.  She is very ordinary … maybe less than ordinary.  Yet she has an unbreakable hold over my son.  If you knew my son, you’d know that he’s always had a disdain for anyone or anything that was less than his idea of perfection.  Then along comes this frumpy, farm girl – a social misfit … and he thinks he’s in love.  It isn’t natural.  There’s something behind it – drugs, mind-control … SOMETHING!”


Hilton said, “Love is a mysterious thing.”


Lionel snapped, “It is NOT love!  She did something to him.  And I’m going to put a stop to it.    We’re almost there.  Did you get the credentials you need to confiscate the device?”


Hilton said, “Of course.  These trucks are more regulation army than most army trucks.  And my papers are certainly good enough to fool a small town farmer.”


Lionel said, “Jonathan Kent is no hick.  And his wife Martha is as smart as they come.  You had better not have assumed they could be easily fooled and gotten lazy with the documents.  Too much is at stake here!”






Clara stood on the road looking towards her home with her telescopic vision.  She saw the army trucks pull into the driveway and a couple men get out and head for the front door.  She saw men lowering a forklift attached to the back of a different truck.  She looked through the trucks and saw Lionel Luthor sitting inside of one of them.  Then she turned to look down the road the other way.  She saw Lex Luthor in his car on his way to meet with her.  She said, “Sorry Lex.  I wanted to see you today, but I have to go home.  Your Father is up to his old tricks again.”  Clara turned and started walking home.






Hilton Smith was walking up the steps to the front porch when Jonathan Kent opened the front door and walked outside saying, “What’s going on?”


Hilton said, “I’m with Homeland Security.  We have become aware that you have technology hidden on this farm that could either be a threat to this country or invaluable to its defense … depending upon who controls it.”


Jonathan said, “That’s rubbish!  The most sophisticated equipment that we have here is our milking machines and pasteurizing equipment.  What is the source of your information?”


Hilton said, “That information is classified.  Will you surrender the technology or do we have to take it?”


Jonathan said, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”


Hilton handed Jon some papers and said, “This gives us the right to search your farm and take whatever we deem to be a threat to national security.”


Jon quickly leafed through the papers and said, “I’d like to call my lawyer.”


Hilton said, “So you do have something to hide!”


Jon said, “No, but I do have something to lose.  Having your men rummage through my farm equipment will disrupt the operation of this farm.”


Hilton said, “Call your lawyer, but we are beginning the search now.  Cooperate and we’ll let you go about your business.  Interfere and I’ll have you and your family detained.”


Jon saw Lionel Luthor get out of one of the trucks.  Jon said, “What is he doing here?”


Hilton said, “He is involved in the development of certain classified items for our government.  We have asked him, along with some of our own scientists, to look at whatever we find and determine if it is a product of any known, current research … and excluding that, help determine if the items found are of a possible extraterrestrial origin.”


Jon said, “That’s … that’s LUDICROUS!”


Hilton said, “It’s time for me to get to work.  Stay out of our way and you’ll be fine.”


As Hilton walked down the porch steps, Martha came outside and stood next to Jon.  Martha asked, “Did you find out why they’re here?”


Jon turned to her and quietly said, “They know, Martha.  They know!  Today is the day we’ve always feared would come.  They’ve come to get Clara’s spaceship.  Do you know where she went?  We’ve got to get her out of town before they decide to take her too.”


Martha said, “She went on one of her walks.  Maybe I could convince my Dad to take her in for a while.”


Clara came out the front door and said, “I sneaked in the kitchen door.  Do you think that they are really going to take my Father’s spaceship?  They’ll dissect them, won’t they?  They’ll dissect my Mother and Father.  I can’t let them do that.  I won’t let them!”  Clara stared across the front yard to watch what the men were doing.  Jon watched Clara’s face as her expression changed from anger to puzzlement to amusement.  Jon and Martha were shocked when Clara started laughing.






Lionel stood in front of the tall cone-shaped object in one of the barns of the Kent farm.  It was about ten feet tall from its base to its blunt tip.  It had a flattened, elliptical, cross-section – about 40 inches deep and 80 inches wide.  Lionel smiled as he ran his hand along the smooth metallic surface.  It felt warm to the touch.  He tried to look at the side facing the wall but it was too close to the wall for him to see anything.  He signaled for a couple men to try to move the object, but they couldn’t budge it.


Lionel said, “Get a chain, we’ll use the fork lift to drag it away from the wall.  But be careful gentlemen.  This is the mother load.  I have never seen anything like it before.  It’s priceless!”




Jon asked, “What are they doing?”


Clara said, “They are all studying the furnace I built for you.  You know, the heat source for the pasteurizing equipment and all the outbuildings?  How stupid are they?  If they would just go behind the barn, they would see the water pipes and gas line connected to it through the barn wall.”


Martha said, “I wouldn’t call them stupid.  I thought you were building a spaceship the first time I saw it.”


Clara said, “It’s pretty advanced and very efficient, but it’s basically a boiler.  I don’t know how….  Wait!  THOSE IDIOTS!  You have to go out there and stop them Dad!”


Jon said, “Me?  You’re more able to stop them than I am.  Why don’t you stop them?”


Clara said, “I can’t!  You know why!  Please, stop them!  They’ll be hurt!”  Clara ran out of the house and headed for the barn where the furnace was located.  Jon and Martha followed her.  Men stood guard while Lionel, Hilton and the fork lift operator were inside.  Clara shouted at the men, “You’ve got to stop them!  They can’t move it like that.”


One of the men said, “Stay back Miss.  We’ll shoot you if we have to.”


Clara shouted, “OH NO!”  There was a sound of tearing metal.  Clara shouted, “You’ve got to get them out of there before….”


She was interrupted by a loud explosion.  A plume of fire shot out of the barn doors and windows.  The men guarding the door were knocked unconscious and thrown to the ground by the blast.  Two miles away, Lex Luthor heard the sound and headed for his car.  One of the men from the truck shouted for the others to look for a hose.  The men all ran off leaving the Kent family standing there.  Clara became a blur of motion as she ran to the barn.  She dragged the two men further away from the building then ran back to the door and stopped.  She turned back to look at Jon and Martha.  She looked worried and nervous but forced a smile.  She took a long last look and waved at her adopted parents before running into the flames.


Jon said, “That’s strange.”


Martha said, “What?  That she would go into a burning barn?”


Jon said, “No, I expected that.  I didn’t expect her to stop and look back.  I didn’t expect her to hesitate – especially when lives are at risk and every moment counts.”


Martha said, “Maybe she wanted to make sure that the soldiers weren’t watching.”


Jon said, “No … she knew they were gone before she ran over there.”


Martha said, “Maybe it’s because it’s Lionel Luthor in there.  He’s not exactly her favorite person.”


Jon said, “No.  Clara wouldn’t hesitate.  It wouldn’t matter to her who was in there.”


Martha said, “It might, she has hesitated before when she….  Nevermind.  You’re right.  She would never do that again.”


Jon said, “What are you talking about?”


Martha said, “Maybe she was turning around to let us know that they are already dead.  Then there would be not hurry.  Just wait a couple seconds and ask her when she comes out.”


Jon said, “That’s strange too!  What’s taking her so long?  She could have had that building empty, put out the fire and re-built the barn by now if she wanted too!”


Martha said, “Look.  She’s pushing someone out the window!”


Jon said, “Ouch!  That was a rough landing!  Why wouldn’t she just carry the people out?”


Martha said, “I don’t know.  She’s helping someone else out the window!”


Jon said, “Something’s wrong.  Why would she hesitate?”


Martha said, “She never likes going near that barn.”


Jon said, “What?”


Martha said, “Ever since she had you … OH GOD, JON!  Isn’t that where you stored the kryptonite that Clara asked you to keep handy?”


Jon yelled, “CLARA!”  He ran for the barn as fast as he could as Clara pushed Lionel out the window.  Jon tried to go in the door, but the flames were too intense.  He turned and yelled to Martha, “Get a blanket off the clothes line!  Soak it in water and bring it here!  FAST!”  Jon ran to a fenced area nearby, climbed in and dove into a watering trough.  He climbed out, ran back to the barn door and plunged inside.  A ceiling beam fell and hit Jon on the head.  He landed on the floor.  As he started to get up, he saw Clara lying nearby.  Here clothes were on fire and she wasn’t moving.  Jon crawled over to her and laid on top of her to put out the flames with his wet clothing.  He got up and lifted her.  He staggered a bit, but made his way through the flames and out the door.  He got as far away from the barn as he could before he dropped to his knees and put Clara on the grass.  Martha ran up and put the wet blanket over both of them.  When she was sure that all the flames were out, she pulled back the blanket and looked at Clara.  Most of Clara’s hair was gone and Martha couldn’t recognize he daughter’s face.  Martha screamed and began to cry hysterically.  Lex’s car pulled into the driveway and drove around the army trucks.


Jon sat up and looked at what was left of Clara’s face.  Her eyes opened.  She said, “Daddy…?”


Jon said, “I’m here Honey.  Why did you do that?  Why did you go into the barn knowing that you could get hurt?  WHY?!”


Clara looked at him and quietly asked, “Why … did … you?”


Clara raised her arm and put her hand on the side of Jonathan’s face.  Her hand felt hot.  He smiled at her, trying to be brave.  Then he noticed something happening to her forehead.  A large gash slowly opened.  Blood began to flow down her charred skin.  Jon was wondering what was happening to her until he noticed that his head had been throbbing in pain and now no longer hurt at all.  He realized what Clara was doing and jerked his head back and out of her reach.  Clara quietly whined, “Daddy … come back … you’re hurt!  Please come back Daddy.  I don’t want to be alone.”


Jon ignored her cries and went over to Martha and held her in his arms.  He wanted to be at Clara’s side, but he knew she would kill herself trying to cure his relatively minor cuts and burns.  He turned to look away from Clara because he couldn’t stand to look at her anymore.  He didn’t notice when Lex Luthor ran up and sank to his knees next to Clara.


Lex said, “Clara?  Clara … what … what…?”


Clara said, “I’m sorry … I didn’t … meet you today Lex.  I really … really wanted to … but I was needed at home.”


Lex said, “It’s okay.  I’m here now.”


Clara said, “I understand … if you don’t … want to … kiss me … today.  I’m a real mess.”


Lex said, “I’d love to kiss you, Angel … and hold you tight … but I’d be scared to hurt you.”


Clara laughed and said, “You can’t hurt me … I’m invulnerable!”  Clara laughed again and then passed out.  Her head fell to the side.


Lex stood up and pulled out his cell phone.  He dialed 911.  A second later the phone was slapped out of his hand.  It broke into pieces as it hit the ground.  Jon shouted, “This is none of your concern Luthor!”


Lex said, “She needs immediate medical attention.”


Jonathan said, “We’ll decide what she needs.”


Lex said, “She’s burned everywhere.  Her legs … her arms … her chest.  Everywhere!  Her face … her face….”


Jonathan said, “How dare you take advantage of this situation to look at my daughter!”


Lex shouted, “For God’s sake, she needs help NOW!”


Jon said, “We’ll take care of our own.  I suggest that you do the same!  Take your Father and get the Hell off my property!”


Lex said, “My Father?”

Jon said, “Who do you think is responsible for all of this?!  He caused the explosion and Clara felt compelled to go into the fire to save his butt.  So, go get him and get out of here now, or I’ll get my shotgun!”


Lex looked around and saw a man in an army uniform walking Lionel away from the burning barn.  He ran over and got on Lionel’s other side.  He put an arm around Lionel to support him and then waved the other man away.  As he walked Lionel towards his car, Lex looked down at Clara.  Then he looked at Lionel and noticed that Lionel was looking at Clara – looking and smiling.  He almost let go of Lionel.  He wanted to let him fall.  He wanted to kill him.  But he thought about what Clara would want him to do and continued to walk Lionel to the car.  He helped Lionel get into the car then walked to the other side and got in.  He saw Jonathan watching every step he took instead of running inside to call for help.  He drove out of the driveway and headed for the hospital.  On the entire trip, Lex kept his eye open for an ambulance heading in the direction that he was coming from.  But he didn’t see an ambulance until he pulled up at the hospital’s emergency room entrance.


Every ten minutes, Lex went to the emergency room nurse to see if any ambulance had been sent to the Kent farm.  Finally, he asked for the phone number of the Child Welfare Office.  When the nurse wrote the number down for him, Lex reached for his cell phone then cursed when he found it missing.  He went to the pay phone and looked for change in his pockets.  Finding none, he pulled out his wallet.  The smallest bill he had was a fifty.  He went to the gift shop and asked for change.  The cashier said that she wasn’t allowed to give change for anything larger than a twenty.  Lex grabbed several magazines and stacked them on the counter.  After the cashier rang up the sale, Lex took the magazines and his change and headed back to the waiting room.  He threw the magazines on a table then headed back to the pay phone.  He dialed the number he had been given.  When a woman answered the phone and asked how he could be helped, he said, “I know a minor who was adopted by a farmer and his wife.  They treat her like a slave.  From what I can tell, she practically runs the farm by herself.  She has just had a terrible accident and it’s critical that she get medical attention … but the couple that adopted her haven’t brought her to the hospital.  How do I get protection for her?  If at all possible, … I’d like to become her guardian.”


The woman answered him by saying, “You made the first step by calling us.  Guardianship will take time, but we can remove her from the home immediately and see that she gets the medical care that she needs.  What is her name?”


Lex said, “Her name ….”


The woman said, “Yes … what is her name?”


Lex stood silently for a minute, then hung up the phone.






Lex walked out of the hospital.  He didn’t even think about finding out how serious Lionel’s injuries were or when he was going to be released.  Lex got in his car and drove past the Kent farm.  The army trucks were gone and the fire had burned the one barn to the ground.  He parked nearby and waited for the sun to go down.  It didn’t get as dark as he hoped that it would because there was a full moon that night.  He took his flashlight and walked to the house and began to cautiously look in the windows.  He saw Jon and Martha washing dishes together in the kitchen.  There was no sign of Clara.  He went to the barn where he knew Clara slept at night.  He turned on his flashlight to make his way up the staircase.  It was lined with stacks of books all the way to the loft.  Lex made his way through the maze of books stacked in the loft.  He walked through a row of quilter’s frames to the window then circled back to find Clara’s bed.  She wasn’t there.  Lex decided to wait to see if she would show up.  Emotionally drained, he sat down on the bed.  He felt dizzy so he laid down.  The bed smelled like Clara only more intense.  He almost started to cry.  He began wondering how he could have waited to be with her.  He wished he had found some way to get Clara to agree to marry him and get her parent’s permission.  She was adopted and her exact age was something he could cast doubt upon in court if necessary.  Inhaling her sweet fragrance, he wanted her so much that he could hardly stand it.  He wondered if he had lost his chance with Clara … forever.  He tried to keep himself from panicking, but part of him believed that Clara was already dead.  He closed his eyes and fell asleep.


He felt Clara crawl into bed with him.  She laid on top of him and stared down at him.  She was more beautiful than he had ever seen her.  She said, “You can sleep some more if you want to … or you can put me out of my misery.”


Lex said, “What do you mean?”  Clara put her full lips on his and began kissing him as her hands ran up and down his body.”  Lex turned his head and said, “No Clara, don’t!”


Clara said, “YES Lex!  Let’s do it … let’s do it all night until we’re too tired to do it any more.”


Lex found it hard to control himself.  He rolled over on top of her and looked into her big, beautiful eyes.  As he stared at her, her flesh began to change.  Soon he could see her muscles though openings in her blackened flesh.  He hesitated for a moment before deciding that he didn’t care how she looked.  He needed her.  He held her tight and kissed what was left of her mouth.  Soon she was beautiful again.  Lex smiled at her and she smiled back.  He put his face next to the side of he head and moaned into her ear, “Oh Clara, I love you so much.”  He closed his eyes for a moment and reopened them to find out that he was holding tightly to one of Clara’s pillows.  He glanced over and saw Clara’s alarm clock.  It was 1:00am.  Lex said, “Where is she?!”


Lex carefully made his way back down the loft stairs.  All the lights in the farmhouse were off.  Lex considered sneaking inside to find Clara, but decided that it would be better to return in the morning with someone from the Child Welfare Office.  He prayed that it wouldn’t be too late.  He headed back towards his car, but tripped and fell hard on his left knee.  He got up and limped to his car then drove back to his mansion.


Lex went into his den.  He decided to call the hospital to see if Clara had been admitted.  He saw the blinking light on his answering machine and, without thinking, hit the button to play back the messages.  He didn’t pay much attention to the first three messages but was fully alert when he heard Clara’s voice.


The message said, “Lex … I hope your Dad is okay … but mostly, I’m worried about you.  It’s about 5:15.  I think I can sneak out soon.  I’ll be at our meeting place at about 5:30 or 5:35.  I’ll wait for you.  I really think that we need to talk.  Bye-bye.”


Lex limped as fast as he could back to the garage.  He started to get into a car then found a small truck to drive.  He knew Clara wouldn’t get in a car with him, but maybe she would get into the back of a truck and let him take her to the hospital.  In a few moments, he was racing back towards the Kent farm.







Lex arrived at the big rock and parked.  There was no sign of Clara.  He pounded on the steering wheel and said, “IDIOT!  She wouldn’t wait that long!  Oh ….  What exactly did she say?  Maybe she left that message yesterday.  Maybe I didn’t listen to messages today.  SHIT!  Wait … she asked about my Dad … didn’t she?  I’m so tired ….”  Lex got out of the truck, limped over to the truck and sat down.  He said, “Clara, Damn it!  Why did you go into a burning building?!”


Lex was startled when a mumbled, whining voice said, “Daddy, can you let me sleep another 20 minutes.  The cows can wait that long, can’t they?”


Lex looked over and saw Clara lying curled up on the ground near the rock.  She was wearing a ski mask.  Lex got up, limped over and carefully lowered himself to the ground next to her.  He said, “Angel … let me take you to the hospital … please.  I brought a truck so you can ride in back.”


Clara opened her eyes and said, “What?  Lex? What are you doing in my …?  Oh.  We’re at our place.  What took you so long to get here?”


Lex said, “I didn’t expect you to come here.  I didn’t think you would be able to.  And my cell phone is broken so I didn’t get any messages until I got home.”


Clara sat up and said, “I need to talk to you about what happened today … but I’m scared how you’ll react.”


Lex said, “I saw your injuries.  It doesn’t matter as long as you’re alive.”


Clara said, “I know you aren’t superficial Lex.  Otherwise you would never have let yourself be seen with someone that was as plain and unsophisticated as I am.”


Lex said, “You were beautiful Clara … and you still are.”


Clara said, “Yeah, I know … I’m beautiful on the inside … like always.”


Lex said, “I know this has got to be a terrible time for you right now.  It’s terrible for both of us … because you’re part of me now.  But we’ll get through this together.  I’ll get you any kind of help you need.  Please let me take you to the hospital.  The sooner you get there, the better.”


Clara said, “I know you aren’t going to understand this Lex … but I’m okay.  I really am.”


Lex said, “You can’t be.  Don’t let your parents keep you from getting the help you need.  I won’t stand by and let them neglect you like that!”


Clara said, “You don’t know anything.  My Mom … my Mom wouldn’t stop cooking.  She prepared all my favorite foods for me.  I can’t tell you how much I ate.  She really loves me and so does Daddy.  I couldn’t have found better parents in the entire universe.  If I hadn’t seen Mom that first day … I might have run away and lived my entire life as a hermit if it wasn’t for her.”


Lex said, “Keeping you from medical care when you need it is neglect!”


Clara said, “Stop saying that.  My parents always do what’s best for me.  They want to protect me!”


Lex said, “Please let me take you to the hospital!”


Clara said, “NO!  I need to show you something.  And I need you to promise that you won’t tell anyone what you saw at the farm.”


Lex said, “Stop protecting them.”


Clara said, “I will never stop protecting them … not until my dying day.  But this isn’t about them.  It’s about me.  Please promise that you won’t tell anyone what you saw!”


Lex said, “No.”


Clara said, “I’ll show you anyway.  I’ll trust you to do the right thing.  I’m going to take off the ski mask now.  Be prepared for a shock.”


Lex said, “I’ve already seen what you’re going to show me.”


Clara said, “I know you have.”  She pulled off the mask and stared at Lex.


Lex’s jaw dropped in shock.  He said, “Your face … your face is perfect!”


Clara said, “No, it’s not … but it looks like it did before the fire … maybe a little pinker.  It’s all new skin.”


Lex said, “How could that happen?  Am I dreaming again?  Pinch me.  OUCH!  I didn’t mean that literally!”


Clara said, “But you deserved it for insulting my parents.”


Lex said, “How?”


Clara said, “Dad kept meteor rocks in the barn.  The shelf they were on fell over when the boiler exploded.  I was lying in the barn surrounded by them when my Dad came in and got me.”


Lex said, “Do you think that the meteor rocks made you heal faster?”


Clara said, “All I’m telling you is what happened.  I was burned.  Dad was burned.  But now, both of us are fine.  Except for my new punk hairstyle, I’m the same as always.  Fortunately I have a wig I can wear.”


Lex said, “Thank God that you’re all right!  But we should take you to the hospital anyway … just to make sure that the meteor rocks didn’t do anything else to you.”


Clara said, “No!  That’s why I wanted you to promise not to tell anyone how badly I was hurt.  I don’t want to get hauled off and studied in a lab.  Haven’t you noticed?  Anyone affected in any way by meteor rocks gets taken away.  Belle Reeve is full of people like that.  I don’t want to join them.”


Lex said, “I won’t tell … but my Father saw you too.”


Clara said, “He had just been in an explosion.  His testimony would be unreliable.  I’ll take a couple days off school and wear a stretch bandage over my face when I go back.  My wig has long hair so I’ll try to keep my face hidden behind my hair as much as possible.”


Lex said, “I’d still like you to see a doctor … my personal physician.”


Clara said, “I don’t trust doctors.”


Lex said, “Yet you want to be one.”


Clara said, “I trust myself.  I’ll make a deal with you.  I won’t go to a doctor, but I will see you every day and let you take my temperature.  You can start right now.”


Lex said, “I don’t have a thermometer on me.”


Clara said, “You won’t need one.”  She put her hands behind his head and pulled him into a long kiss.  When they stopped kissing, she asked, “Did I feel warm to you?”


Lex said, “Actually pretty hot … but I’d like to base my judgment on a larger sampling.”  Lex kissed her a little longer, then he nibbled her right ear and whispered, “I never realized how beautiful and tasty your ears are.  I definitely approve of the shorter haircut.  And yes, you are still very, very hot.”


Clara said, “Not surprising since I was on fire just this afternoon.”


Lex said, “I don’t know how you can joke about it!  I can’t even imagine how painful that was.”


Clara said, “Fortunately, neither can I.  I blocked it out.  It was the worst physical pain I’ve ever experienced, then thank God, it stopped.  All at once, I couldn’t feel a thing.  I was still on fire and I knew it but I couldn’t do anything about it … so I guess my brain just stopped listening to what my nervous system was telling it.  It was really awful.  I felt betrayed in a way.  I have always considered fire to be a friend.  This was the first time it ever burnt me.”


Lex asked, “You’ve never been burned before?”


Clara said, “Not by fire.  Last October, I burnt my mouth on hot chocolate … and got burned by hot water.  But never by fire before today … and hopefully never again.”


Lex said, “How about a sunburn?  Ever get one of those?”


Clara said, “No.  I can cope with the environment fairly well.  I can tolerate cold, but I like it hot.  I love moonlight … but I live on sunlight.”


Lex smiled at her and said, “This moonlight sure is loving you.  But since you mention it, it is cold out here.  I don’t know how you slept without a blanket.”


Clara said, “I layer my clothing plus, like I just said, I’m have a tolerance for extreme temperatures … but you can move a little closer to me if you are feeling cold.”  Clara pushed up next to Lex and he winced.  She said, “I’m sorry.  I thought that you’d like it.”


Lex said, “It’s not that.  I messed up my knee tonight.”


Clara asked, “Which one?”


Lex said, “The left one.”


Clara said, “Let me rub it and make it feel better.”


Lex said, “Better not.  It’s pretty sensitive.”


Clara capped her hand over Lex’s left knee and began to gently manipulate it.  He felt and immediate warmth and relief from the pain.  He moaned involuntarily.  Clara said, “I didn’t know I could make you make sounds like that.”


Lex said, “Second time tonight.”


Clara asked, “What?”


Lex said, “Umm.  Nothing.  I’ve just been thinking a lot about you today.    I’ve hardly thought of anything else.”


Clara said, “I’m sorry that I worried you.”


Lex said, “At least you learned an important lesson today.”


Clara asked, “Which is?”


Lex said, “Fire is not necessarily your friend and that it isn’t a good idea to run into a burning building.  That’s something I can count on you to never do again.”


Clara said, “You can count on me for a lot of things, but that’s not one of them.  If a life is threatened, I most certainly will do whatever I have to do to help the person in need.”


Lex said, “No life is worth more than yours – especially not my Father’s!”


Clara said, “Maybe he’ll like me now.  Maybe he’ll not try to interfere with our friendship anymore.  It would be great if he left me and my family alone … or even became a friend.”


Lex said, “Don’t count on it.  He seemed happy to see that you were injured.  I wanted nothing less than to take him back to that barn and put him back where you found him!  He doesn’t deserve having someone like you risking her life to save him.”


Clara said, “Your Father is something of an inspiration to me.  When the thought crosses my mind that someone is worthless, I think about your Father and I don’t allow myself to think that way anymore.”


Lex said, “MY Father?  You have got to be kidding!”


Clara said, “I’m deadly serious.  I think about all the terrible things he’s done and how, despite it all, something wonderful came out of him being here.”


Lex said, “Like what?”


Despite having only the moonlight to see her by, Lex could see Clara’s face blush vividly.  She tilted her head downward and whispered, “Like … you.”


Lex smiled.  He used a couple fingers to tilt her head up so he could look into her eyes.  He leaned closer and sampled her temperature several more times.  They sat in each other’s arms until the dawn.