"The Temptation of Lex Luthor"
This story is an overview of the relationship
between Clara Kent and Lex Luthor while they were getting to know each
other. It hits some highlights that may or may not be covered in
the other accounts of events in Clara's life that I have written.
Use this material to discover whether or not you would be interested in
reading more. The mature rating is due to the attempts Lionel
Luthor makes to break up the relationship and the situations that arise
from those attempts.
It had been the happiest few months of Lex Luthor's life. His favorite spot in the world was the large rock where he and Clara sat during their daily talks. In his fantasies, he wanted to build Clara a house on Mars, put that same rock in a dome-covered back yard and sit and talk with her forever -- with no other human being within a million miles of them. When she was near him, he believed in magic again. The possibilities were endless. The world was a beautiful place.
On their second get-together at the rock, Clara had given Lex a set of rules he must follow if he wanted her to continue meeting with him. He was never to buy her anything. They could hold hands sometimes and he could kiss her on the cheek when they said their good-byes. When Lex wtried starting their get-together with a “good-bye” to get an extra kiss, she limited him to one good-bye per meeting. She insisted that they were just friends. She didn't want the fact that they were of different genders to be a distraction. She never dressed up and didn't wear make-up. If Clara allowed people to get a close look at her, most would assume that she wore an understated but professional looking application of cosmetics. (In fact, she couldn’t wear make-up. Her body radiated an aura that protected her from harm but had the side effect of shedding make-up, dirt or anything making contact with her skin. Even leaving a finger print was impossible for her unless she crushed some extremely dense material with her hands.) Lex played along with Clara’s rules. He prayed he could be patient and someday win her heart. The hardest thing for him was to keep himself from shouting out that he loved her every time she showed up for their talk. Refraining from touching/embracing her was like a slow torture for him. He took every opportunity to hug her when she allowed it.
One day he started excitedly telling Clara about his plans for the future. He was going to get away from his father's influence and found a company he planned to call "LexCorp" (to differentiate it from his father's conglomerate called "LuthorCorp"). As he told her about ways he expected to get market share and beat the competitors in order to amass wealth and power quickly, Clara looked at him sadly. Eventually, she reached out her hand and placed it on his chest over his heart. Her touch made his pulse race. He could hear his heart pounding in his ears. He clasped his hands over the hand she held to his chest and asked, "Why so sad?"
Clara said, "I hear what your head is saying about making money. It sounds like people only represent opportunities or obstacles to you. It sounds like only money and power matter. You are competing with your father at his own game rather than making a life of your own. By playing his game and competing in his world with his methods, you are molding yourself in his image rather than becoming the man you have the potential to be. What is your heart saying to you? What does your heart say you should do?"
Lex said, "You are young and isolated here, Clara. Philosophy is a beautiful thing. It's like a fine perfume. It smells great. But under the perfume, the reality doesn't smell so good -- often it reeks. I am going to have to make my way in the real world, not in some utopia of brotherly love. Maybe I can protect you and keep the real world from the door so you can remain an innocent, but I have to do business out there. I need to be willing to do anything necessary to insure that I have the resources to build a wall between us and everyone else -- especially my father. His pockets are deep. Mine have to be deeper to keep him from being a threat to what we have. If I'm being selfish, I'm being selfish for US -- for BOTH of us!"
Clara said, "Your father can't change how we feel about each other. WE control our feelings. The choice is ours to make."
Lex said, "But he has any number of ways to separate us -- none of them pleasant."
Clara said, "I'll just have to have faith that he won't be able to end our friendship ... and, as sad as that may be, if he succeeds, maybe our times together weren't meant to continue."
Lex said, "We can't rely on faith. If we want this, and I certainly do, we have to fight for it with all our strength and determination. I'm willing to use any means to make my dreams for us come true."
Clara asked, "Are you good at pretending Lex? I am. I pretend every day at
school that I fit in. But I'm going to pretend even more as I grow up and I
hope I'm strong enough to keep pretending. I'm going to pretend that people
matter. I'm going to pretend that people deserve respect and a chance to prove
they deserve it. I'm going to pretend that I can make verbal contracts and
trust people. I'm going to pretend that, when given a chance, people would
rather love than hate, be your friend rather than your enemy and live in peace
rather than make war. I am a lot stronger than I look and I will need all my
strength because I will take the loss every time someone falls short of the
trust I give them. I will need my strength to continue to pretend. I'll be out
in that world too, but I will pretend and surround myself with people that
pretend the same things. And, maybe, just maybe, in a hundred years or so, I'll
look around and everyone will be pretending the same thing. Only it won't be
pretending anymore. Because everyone will have become what we pretended they
were -- the prophesy will fulfill itself."
Lex looked at her sternly and said, "The people you give your trust to -- the ones you intend to help ... they're going to chew you up and spit you out."
Clara answered, "Well, they had better have a good set of teeth on them because my skin is mighty tough."
The entire time they talked, Clara had kept her hand on Lex's chest. Now Lex slid her hand down and away from him. As she talked, Lex had gotten the closest he had ever been to being angry with her. More than that, he was disappointed in her and questioning whether she was as smart as he had imagined her to be. He had shared his hopes and dreams with her and had expected her to admire his business sense and forward thinking. He had opened himself up to her and left himself vulnerable. In return she had criticized him and, even worse, compared him to his father. Maybe it was time for him to take off the rose colored glasses. As smart and mature as she seemed in their previous conversations, this was just a naive kid sitting opposite him. Yet, the thought of not spending the rest of his life with her gave him a stabbing pain it the chest. He attempted a smile before saying, "See you tomorrow. Same time. OK?"
She nodded her approval then he walked away without giving her his permitted kiss on the cheek. As he went to get in his car, she said, "You don't have to meet me here again if you don't really enjoy our talks anymore."
Lex spun on his heel, walked back to her, grabbed her shoulders and gave her a big kiss on the cheek then said, "I wouldn't miss our times together for the world. See you tomorrow." He walked back to his car and drove off.
Lex arrived home to find his father waiting for him. Before Lex could say anything, Lionel started in with, "A 15 year old? Lex! Really! If you want something young, we can go do some business in Thailand. I thought you knew better than to pull stuff like this in a town where we do business."
Lex said, "I thought you were through with this town, Dad. It doesn't matter anyway. What Clara and I have is something pure and wonderful. I'm not doing anything immoral with her. I love her. I'll wait until she is old enough and then I'll marry her ... if she'll have me. And if she won't, I'll go to a monastery."
Lionel said, "I'm worried about you, Son. Even if you don't do anything wrong, it will be viewed as wrong -- and perception is everything. Speaking of perception, how did you pick out this one? She's not exactly the kind of girl you would want on your arm at an upscale social function. I will admit that I do have some candid shots of her that are striking -- she doesn't have any shades on that barn loft she sleeps in and isn't always cautious about changing clothes at bedtime. She may have a body, but her fashion sense is atrocious. It's like she's TRYING to be ignored. All that's missing from her is a pair of taped together glasses and a pocket protector and she would fit the stereotypical image of a nerd. As to "pocket protectors," I hope you wear yours when you're with her because this type of girl likes to get pregnant so she can cash in."
Lex said, "DAD! I told you that there is nothing like that going on. Furthermore, I will not stand to have you spying on her. I want the negatives of any pictures you took."
Lionel said, "My men did use high-resolution cameras so I'm sure you will be quite happy with any prints you make from the negatives. I have a poster sized one of her in the moon light that I am tempted to market."
Lex said, "You should be happy for me. Instead you are trying to make this out to be something perverted."
Lionel said, "The sex drive is something that is very natural -- especially in competitive men like us. But, fine. I understand. You want her? I want you to be happy. You can have her. I'll even arrange it. I'll go flash some money at her, dress her up for a few nights of adult fun and have her at a Metropolis hotel suite for you tonight. Who knows, if I'm in the mood when you're done with her, maybe I'll go a few rounds with her myself. What do you say?"
Lex said, "WHAT DO I SAY? I say get out of my sight this instant or I'll kill you! Tough one hair on her head or as much as let your shadow fall across her path and you're dead! Understand me?"
Lionel said, "Son, is that a backbone you're showing? I've got a saying: never let your … "joystick" get between you and your family. I'M your family Lex -- NOT her. Remember that."
Lex said, "And my mother, was she family too?"
Lionel said, "Not really. She was a tool ... quite lovely but just a tool. Her family had resources I wanted. She had a pedigree and a respectable family name and I knew that I would need an heir someday. I would have kept her around longer because she never kept me from doing as I pleased and you seemed to need her, but she was flawed ... and a bad influence on you. We're stronger without her. Her death allowed you to grow up a little, but your affair with this farm girl shows you still have a lot of growing to do."
Lex said, "What Clara and I have is no affair."
Lionel said, "It certainly is lacking. You
are wasting the best parts -- like eating the core of an apple and
throwing away the sweet, juicy parts. Women aren't like us
son. They serve their purpose, but they have to go if they fail
to perform their function satisfactorily or stand in the way of
something better. Fortunately, they are easily disposed of and
even more easily replaced. Sometimes it's hard to not form an
emotional attachment to one of them ... like a good dog or a
comfortable chair, but learning to avoid those attachments is a
necessary skill. So, go and have your fun. You have my
blessing. I can understand a man not
wanting to share his toys. I'll stay out of it. I'll go. I'll let you
to come to your senses. But, take my advice, take her somewhere
her in bed and then do whatever you want to her to get her our of your
Lionel left the room and exited the mansion. Lex wanted to start breaking things but he resisted that urge ... just like he resisted the stronger impulse to strangle the life out of Lionel as he berated both Clara and his mother.. He knew he needed to get away from his father, but how? How could he protect Clara from Lionel? He sat at his desk and tried to calm himself. He pictured himself sitting on a large rock ... a rock on Mars ... looking at the sky ... holding Clara's hand.
Lex had nightmares all night. He would look in the mirror and see himself becoming Lionel. Everything he did made him look more like Lionel. When he saw Clara in his dream, he would be happy until he looked into the mirror and saw that it was his father that was at Clara's side. Lex couldn't stand the thought of Clara being with his father or anyone like him. If he was to be with Clara, he could NOT become his father. He had to step off the path he was on before he went too far to find his way back.
When they met the next day, both Lex and Clara were a bit more careful and guarded with each other than normal. When Lex finally began to tell her how he would alter the methods he would use to become rich and powerful, her hand was soon on his chest again. She asked, "Is that really what your heart is telling you? It sounds like you are more willing to help others, but it's still conditional on you becoming a big success -- a big success as your father might define it."
Lex said, "Not to defend my father in any way, but he's not that different from other successful men. I've studied business in college and have had many mentors. They all preach the same things my dad has pounded into me all my life. I don't know how else to approach it. I want what I want ... and what I want is for both of us. I'm being as honest as I can be with you. I really don't care that much about other people. I care about you -- more than you want me to say. What can I do to be a man you could love? My life and experience are what they are. How am I supposed to change the way I plan my future? What can I say?"
Clara said, "I always imagine someone coming to me -- a stranger I never met. Somehow he knows what I want without asking me. He even knows what I want when I don't. He gives me what I want and what I need and fulfills my highest hope without asking for or accepting a thing in return. No conditions. No strings. When I think of that stranger and believe that he will come to me some day, I know that I want nothing from him and would accept nothing he offered. But in thinking about it, I finally realized what it is that I truly want."
Lex said, "So what is it that you want?"
Clara answered, "I want to BE that stranger. I want to be the one that makes it possible for people to fulfill their dreams and find happiness. I can't imagine anything that would make me happier." Lex just sat quietly, so Clara continued, "What is it that you want the stranger to give you Lex? What do you want more than anything else in the whole world?"
Lex looked her straight in the eye for a minute. He had a look that combined hunger, loneliness and a deep sadness. As his eyes began to tear up, he said, "You. I want YOU! That's all. That's everything."
Clara said, "Well, Lex. You never knew my birth parents. They were strangers to you. Not knowing you, they sent me here. They gave me to you. So, you have what you want. You have me -- now and always, for better or worse. Now, what are YOU going to give someone, someone you don't know? What are you going to give them that they want and need? What will you give unconditionally. It can't be money. I know you have that to give, but that's not something personal. What will you do out of your happiness for being given me?"
Lex started to say something but he stuttered and fell silent. Clara pressed harder on his chest again and said, "Try again. Speak from your heart."
Lex said, "Dad's going to close the LuthorCorp plant in town. I think he's doing it to get me out of Smallville and away from you. I looked into an employee buy-out plan that would let the workers buy the plant. When I worked it all out, I would have to cash in all my trust fund and all my assets and work like a slave to get everything set up and running. At best, I would make less money than if I left the money in an interest bearing account. At worst, I would lose everything. It's not a good business deal for me, but I would at least be out from under my father's thumb. I would be able to stop working for LuthorCorp and found LexCorp. But if the venture doesn’t succeed, I would end up crawling back to my father and work for him for the rest of my life. The people of Smallville don't like me and they don't trust me … and I don't think I care enough for the people of Smallville to take the risk."
Clara said with emphasis, "PLEASE care, Lex. CARE! Maybe you won't feel it now. Maybe you won't feel it tomorrow. But the more you exercise your heart, the more you practice being a loving person, the easier it will be to care for people -- to learn to love them without having to make an effort."
Lex said, "And I am supposed to take this chance because I have been given what I want?"
Clara said, "Yes ... or you could do it just because it's the right thing to do or as an experiment."
Lex said, "I just want to clarify something you said. You said that I have you. Do I? Do I really?"
Clara said, "Yes. You know you do. You're the best friend I've ever had. I'd do anything for you."
Lex said, "Really? Anything?"
Clara paused a while before answering. She said, "I guess I spoke carelessly. There are things I could never do ... not for anyone. And there are all kinds of things that I desperately don't want to do, either because they are illegal or go against things I strongly believe in. The things you asked of me would have to be considered based upon the situation and on how urgently you need or want something."
Lex said, "Thanks for your honesty."
Clara said, "I'm glad you asked me to rethink what I said because I wouldn't want you to go and do something for me based upon ... a blank check promise that I couldn't bring myself to honor. But honestly Lex, "You aren't going to ask me to break laws or hurt people or do things that would publicly embarrass me or my parents, are you? I mean, I would embarrass myself for you to some degree. I mean ... I really would need to know why you wanted me to do something if it was extreme. You should never need any more than I'm willing to give you."
Lex said, "The key word there is need. Strictly speaking, there is very little that I need that I don't have. Want, on the other hand ... I very much doubt that you can truly fathom how much I really want."
Clara said, "Believe it or not, I'm not immune to wanting. I'm as greedy about the things I want as anyone else."
Lex said, "I know that's not the case. You're a shirt off your back kind of person in a world full of people who would take candy from a baby kind of people. ... But, back to your proposal. Based upon the degree to which I "have you" and how blessed I am because of that, I promise to make an effort to be less focused on myself ... and on us. I will try to be, to a degree, like that stranger you describe ... to be a little more like you and the you that you aspire to be. It will be at least, as you suggested, an interesting experiment ... on how flexible my personality can be."
Clara said, "Just don't do it for me. Do it because it could be the right thing for everyone. You are a special man Lex Luthor. You can change the world. I don't doubt that you will. It's just a question of what kind of change you will make."
Lex forced a smile, kissed Clara on the cheek and whispered, "Goodbye,
you tomorrow." Clara responded by giving him a tender kiss on the
lips. He walked back to his car and took a long last look at
Clara as he drove away.
That night, Lex called the managers of the plant together, told them of his father's plan to close the plant and offered them a way to avoid it. The managers suspected his motives, but took his handouts explaining the proposal. The handouts were neatly typed and bound, but the name of the company on the covers had been crossed out and changed. The name "LexCorp" was changed to "LexCare."
As the days passed, Lex grew happier. He chuckled at his Dad's efforts to slow down the sale of the plant and to side track his romance. New paperwork was sent from Lionel to Lex on a daily basis. The couriers got prettier and bolder each time. Lex laughed off the attempts at seduction. His days were busy now, but never too busy or exhausting to keep him from his rendezvous with Clara – though sometimes he fell asleep and used her shoulder or lap as his pillow.
One day, Lex was concerned that he was getting ill. Everything he had eaten or drank that day tasted a little off. He glanced at the clock and realized that it was time for him to leave to meet Clara. He stood up suddenly only to fall back into his chair. His head was pounding. He looked about the room and everything was different somehow. One of the servants ran to him and asked if he was OK. The servant was insistent that Lex’s personal physician be called. Lex refused, he had something special planned. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a little box that he had placed there. Then, slowly this time, he stood up and became painfully aware that he had an erection unlike any he had ever experienced before. He knew he was excited to be seeing Clara that day, but he had no idea that he was “that” excited. On his way towards the Kent farm, he drove with the top down to get some fresh air. He turned off the radio because it seemed too loud. Today, he was glad that Clara tended to talk softly. He was still concerned that his erection hadn't faded and that it might come to Clara's attention and make her uncomfortable. To distract his thoughts, he tried focusing on the beauty of the day. The sky was a brighter blue than he had ever seen it. Strangely, the clouds had an unusually blue cast as well. He pulled the car off the road in his customary spot just as Clara walked up to their rock. She smiled and waved in greeting. He was pleasantly surprised to see her wearing a flowing summer dress. So often she had worn a loose flannel blouse over a casual pair of (un-becoming) dress pants. Today she looked especially feminine to him. He always was attracted to her, but he thought it must be something about that flowing blue dress that aroused him so. He would have to be especially careful today not to cross any lines that he would regret in the long run. He knew he wouldn’t have to worry because Clara would be angry and stand-offish today. He had broken a rule. He had gotten her a present. He expected that he wouldn’t even get his goodbye kiss on the cheek, but since she started allowing him a hello kiss, he wouldn't suffer too much.
Lex had a hard time getting his leg out of his sports car. He looked away from Clara and tried to visualize some road kill he had seen on the way there, but that didn’t seem to soften his problem. He found himself wondering why the groundhog’s carcass was purple. He made his way over to Clara and kissed her cheek. He slipped forward slightly and put his nose into her hair and inhaled deeply saying, “You smell great!”
She said, “I don’t know why. I didn’t shampoo and I didn’t put anything on after my shower.”
Lex caught this mental image and stiffened. He said, “Nothing?”
She said, “No perfume or cologne or powder. What did you think I meant?”
Lex said, “I thought you meant “nothing” … ah … like you said that you weren’t wearing any … perfume. Sorry. I’m a little … off … today. I have a really huge ... headache.”
Clara said, “If I kiss it would it feel better?”
Lex said, “Kiss what? OH. No. Uh, no thanks. That’s OK.”
Clara said, “You are strange today. It’s not like you to pass up a kiss. You shouldn’t have come if you’re so sick. I would understand. I know you can’t call me at home and let me know, but I will trust that it was something important if you don’t show up occasionally.”
Lex said, “I had something special in mind for today so I couldn’t miss our appointment. Look. You won’t tell me when your birthday is. You can’t deny me giving you a small birthday present. That wouldn’t be fair. And since I don’t know when your birthday is, I figured that today was as good as any day.”
Clara said, “Oh, no. I’m embarrassed getting presents. I feel even more awkward than normal anytime someone gives me a present.”
Lex said, “Well, it’s not much. I spend more on a business lunch. That’s another thing. I can’t even take you out to eat but you bring me snacks all the time. Don’t hide it. You brought me something today. Didn’t you? It’s not fair.”
Clara said, “It’s just a banana. It’s got potassium.”
Lex said, “Still, it’s not fair. You can give me a banana, but I can’t give you a banana.”
Clara said, “OK then. If it REALLY isn’t something expensive, you can give me a birthday gift.”
Lex said, “I checked with the school and I know you thought about getting one but didn’t.” Lex handed Clara the small box.
Clara gave Lex a “you didn’t and you better not have” look. She opened the box and saw a Smallville High School ring with a glowing, red stone. She said, “Oh, Lex! You shouldn’t have. It’s beautiful. Would you put it on me?”
Lex nodded “yes” and put the ring on her finger. Clara staggered. He looked into her eyes and saw her pupils expand to the full size of her irises. He asked, “Are you all right?”
Clara said, “Oh, Yeah! I’m perfect. Wanna see?” Clara pushed Lex back against the rock and he fell to a seated position. She hiked up her skirt and jumped onto his lap face forward, legs straddled his and her arms around his neck. She asked again, “Well, do you wanna?”
Lex gasped, “Wanna what?”
Clara said, “Wanna see how perfect I am? Wanna be my first? Wanna show me how it’s done? Wanna take your turn hiding a banana? I wanna do it and I can’t without you … well, I can but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun without your help.” When he hesitated and turned away, she turned his face back towards her and kissed him so passionately that he almost lost control. She said, I want that other present you have for me in ... the big one in your pants. Wouldn't it be more fun to try to fit it into me rather than down your pant leg?" She took a deep breath and pushed up hard against him and asked, “So, is it me and you ... or do I run into town and find someone who will?”
Lex shouted, “What’s wrong with you?!”
Clara said, “Nothing’s wrong with me, Lexy. I told you, I'm perfect! See?” Clara stood up, pulled her dress off over her head, threw it over a nearby bush and posed for him in her underwear. She said, "Just because I want to get dirty doesn’t mean my white dress has to get dirty.” Clara found the bag with the banana that she had brought with her. She pealed the banana and pushed it down her throat in one piece as she stared at him.
Lex asked, “White? Your dress is white?”
Clara said, “White and as pure as I will be for the next 2 minutes, because that’s how long you have to decide.” Clara discarded the banana peal and began to run her hands up and down her body.
Lex asked, “And your underwear is blue?”
Clara said, “No, They’re white so they wouldn’t show through my dress. I don’t know why I was hiding what I’ve got like that. You know I want you. I’ve always wanted you since you knocked me into the river and I pried you out of that tin can you were in. Why aren't you undressing? What I want is still in your pants -- I could see it from a mile away. It wants out and I want it out ... NOW! Waiting for sex is about as hard as what I'm waiting for? Hard means ready, right? Are you just being polite? Ladies first? That's fine with me! This underwear isn’t very sexy at all anyway. It’s time I put it where I put my dress.”
Lex said, “NO!”
Clara said, “Is it because you want to take my underwear off for me?”
Lex said, “No, it’s because someone might come along. We’re on a public road.”
Clara said, “I don’t mind putting on a show. I’ve wasted too much of my life being shy. Oh, Lexy, is it your headache? That’s a pity. You know I wanted you to be my first but I don’t think I can wait if you say “no” again. You know what to do, right? You’re not a virgin like me are you? I think I know what to do from biology class and from watching farm animals. I need your help though. Do I need to dance or something to get you in the mood? From what I can see, it looks like you're all ready. I hope me being all excited and talkative like this isn't what's keeping you from ... I almost used the 'F' word. Would me talking dirty to you turn you on or off?"
Lex asked, “Clara, you must know that I think you are the most beautiful woman there is ... and this show you are putting on for me ... and denying you what you are asking for is sheer torture to me. But I know that, in your heart, you really don't want to do what you are asking for.”
Clara said, “I REALLY do! I want to end your suffering here and now. Then I want to go to your place. Do you have a hot tub? Do you have videos to show me some ways to ...? That's right. I can't watch videos. Maybe we could go to an orgy together and I can learn by watching ... and doing.”
Lex knew something had happened and that Clara wasn't herself. He tried to think of something to do. He said, "Not long ago, you said you didn't want me to ask you to do anything illegal. What you are asking me to do is illegal."
Clara said, “Oh, yes! I like it when you buy me things. I didn’t thank you properly. But I will now. Help me get my bra off!”
Lex said, “Wait a minute. I thought you wanted to wait until you got married.”
Clara said, “I told you. I’m NOT waiting and I’m getting tired of all this talking. I want some action. NOW! This is your LAST chance!”
Lex said, “Well, look what I’ve got.” Lex pointed at his ring. “There are 10 flawless diamonds on this ring. Do you want to pretend that we are married? Want to pretend that we’re on our honeymoon?”
Clara squealed, “YES!”
Lex said, “OK. Give me that ring and I’ll give you this one.”
Clara said, “They go on different fingers. I want both.”
Lex said, “Well, I’ll need a ring too if we’re married. I just thought you’d like a diamond ring better. But we don’t have to play this game.”
Clara said, “OK, Oh! Here!” Clara took off the ring and tossed it to Lex. She stood dazed for a couple of seconds, then she put her hands over her face and screamed. To Lex, it looked like she changed from having a blue cast to her skin color to being an all-over shade of purple. She dove 12 feet through the air and into the bushes. She pulled the dress from the bush and put it back on, but stayed hidden behind the bush.
Lex asked, “Clara, are you OK?”
Clara cried, “NO!”
Lex asked, “Are you coming out?”
Clara cried, “NO!”
Lex said, “I’m not feeling well. I need to go home. Will I see more of you tomorrow?”
Clara cried, “You’ve seen too much of me already. I’m not showing you more than I already did. I wish I were dead!”
Lex said, “It’s OK. I understand.”
Clara asked, “Understand what? That I’m a whore?”
Lex said, “I understand that the ring did something to you. It wasn’t your fault. I had no idea it would have that effect on you or I wouldn’t have given it to you. I hope you don’t blame me.”
Clara said, “I don’t blame you.”
Lex said, "Someone must have known my plans and gave me a ring that was rigged. It probably has a small needle on it that injected a powerful drug into you. I'm so glad it wore off so quickly. I was running out of ideas on how to protect you from yourself."
Clara said, "I wasn't exactly drugged. That red stone must be like those green stones from the meteor shower years ago. They give off radiation that effect some people. I'm more sensitive than most. That's why I don't go into gift shops in Smallville. People sell those stones as a local novelty item."
Lex asked, "But you're better now?"
Clara said, "I think so. That kind ... and that size ... must not effect me much unless it is really close to me."
Lex asked, “So will I see you tomorrow?”
Clara said, “If you promise not to talk about this until I’m ready.”
Lex said, “OK, I promise.”
Clara said, “And don’t tell anybody what that red rock did to me. They could use it against me.”
Lex asked, “I wouldn’t tell. How would they use it against you?”
Clara answered, “As a date rape drug. And they could have witnesses that I did … stuff … voluntarily.”
Lex said, “Would it have the same effect on other women? Should all the class rings be confiscated by the police?”
Clara said, “Maybe. Just don't tell them my name if you tell them how I reacted!"
Lex said, "Don't worry. I won't involve you. Maybe I'll just buy up all the rings that have been sold and all the red meteor rock that have been found."
Clara said, "Odds are, I'm the only person they
will effect like that. The green ones effect people in different
ways. The green ones
can make some people mutate and they make me sick.”
Lex asked, “The mutated people make you sick?”
Clara answered, “No, the green rocks make me sick ... but the mutants are known to behave badly, so I wouldn't exactly like to socialize with them. I’m not supposed to tell people about the green stones making me sick. I trust you because you didn’t take advantage of me when I was ... trying to act seductive … unless … it was because … you didn’t … want me.”
Lex said, “HELL Clara, I’m going home to take an ice water bath right now and even that probably won’t make the swelling go down. Not giving you what you were asking for was maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And speaking of hard things, I’ve REALLY got to get home and do something. Are you coming out from behind that bush before I leave?”
Clara said, “No.”
Lex said, “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Clara said, “I hope your head feels better. Be careful driving.”
Lex got home and found a car with MD plates near the front door. He went to his study. A dark-haired woman glared at him and said, “Are you Lex Luthor?”
Lex answered, “Yes, Ma’am. And you are …?”
The woman answered, “Pissed off! I was called and told that you were very ill and to rush out here. I’m on night duty tonight so I had just gotten my first 10 minutes of sleep in 24 hours when I got this call.”
Lex said, “Well Dr. Pissed Off, I AM sick. I never should have left here feeling like I did, but I instructed my employees NOT to call my personal physician. Why they called you ….”
The woman interrupted, “I’m covering for him while he’s on business upstate.”
Lex said, “I have trouble believing that you rushed out here with 10 minutes sleep. You have no dark circles under your eyes and your make-up is flawless. If I had to guess, I would say that you had been preparing for our meeting for quite a while before you “rushed” here. Do you often stop to clean up before making emergency calls?”
The woman answered, “Don't flatter yourself. Not that it’s any of your business, I was at a required social function this morning. I got home, changed into sleeping attire and collapsed into bed without washing off my make-up. I sleep on my back so I didn’t get mussed up. And I’m not prone to dark circles under my eyes. I didn’t waste a minute getting here when I was called, but I have had 25 minutes to cool my heels and freshen up while waiting for you to return. The name is Helen Bryce -- DOCTOR Helen Bryce. Now that we’ve had our friendly little introductory chat, what is the nature of your medical emergency?”
Lex said, “I have a massive headache, everything looks blue and Willy Boy is so stiff that I can hardly walk. I need an ice water bath because my mind keeps wandering to a place I don’t want it to.”
Helen said, “First off, I’d recommend you lay off the Viagra and other stimulants you’re taking unless you have a real need or someone waiting in the bedroom for you. These medications you’re taking are not recreational drugs no matter what Heffner says….”
Lex said, “HOLD ON! I DON’T use the stuff. If anything, I need something to pull back the reins a bit.”
Helen said, “You’re saying that you have a normal, healthy sex life without drug enhancement?”
Lex said, “Define healthy.”
Helen answered, “A young stallion like you should be having intercourse every day -- three times a week at minimum. How’s your score?”
Lex answered, “I’m in love ….”
Helen interrupted, “Good for you. Double digits then?”
Lex said, “To finish what I was saying, I’m in love with and faithful to a beautiful young lady who wants to wait until the wedding night.”
Helen said, “What a waste! So you’re going to risk the health side-effects of staying celibate while you’re in your prime.”
Lex said, “What are you talking about? What cracker jack box did you get your medical degree out of?”
Helen said, “Harvard Medical. When did you last see this girl friend of yours?”
Lex said, “15 minutes ago.”
Helen asked, “And she didn’t touch you or attempt to arouse you?”
Lex said, “Well, today was a little different.”
Helen said, “My God! So she teases you and insists on celibacy too.”
Lex said, “No she doesn’t doctor. She doesn’t tease me and ….”
Helen asked, “And she doesn’t arouse you.”
Lex said, “YES she arouses me, but she doesn’t have to do anything to arouse me. She doesn’t tease and she doesn’t require me to remain celibate or to see only her. I choose those things because I want to make her happy and I know that we will ultimately be together … AND she’s the only woman I have a desire to be with. What happened today was an accident – more my fault than hers.”
Helen said, “All you told me is that she is a very manipulative young woman who can tease you and appear to be innocent at the same time. But be warned, another “accident” like that could kill you. Even without checking, I can tell that your blood pressure is through the roof."
Lex said, "Maybe part of it is due to your bed side manner."
Helen said, "If you get me anywhere near a bed, I
wouldn't give you a thing to complain about. Here, take these two
pills and a
full glass of water.”
Lex asked, “What are these?”
Helen said, “A very mild tranquilizer and something to help your headache.” Lex poured himself some water and took the pills. Helen said, “Good. You’re being cooperative. Cooperative patients get rewarded. Is there some place where you can lie down? I need to do a thorough exam before we go any further. I think someone slipped you Viagra and some other sexual stimulants – you may have been overdosed. Did your girlfriend offer you anything to eat or drink?”
Lex answered, “No. Well, she offered me a banana and then ate it herself.”
Helen said, “Very Freudian. Is there a place to lie down? Anywhere?”
Lex said, “There is usually a massage table in the closet here but it appears to be missing. That’s odd.”
Helen said, “Look. I don’t have a lot of time and maybe you don’t either. If there is a bedroom you can use. You would probably be most comfortable in your own bed – especially if the pills I gave you kick in and you want to have a nap when I’m done with you.”
Lex said, “I guess we could go to my bedroom – if that’s OK.”
Helen said, “That would be great, but hurry. I’m in no mood to carry you.”
In the bedroom, Helen ordered Lex to undress and sit on the edge of his bed. When Lex sat down, Helen took off her trench coat and threw it on a chair. Lex bolted upright and shouted, “MY GOD, WOMAN! WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?!”
Helen calmly said, “Well, thank your not so little friend for the salute. I’m a doctor but I’m also a woman as you can plainly see. Like any woman, I like to be appreciated."
Lex said, "Do you make a habit of making house
calls in a sheer lingerie?" Lex shook his head and lowered it
into his hands.
Helen said, "I told you that I was in bed
when I got the call. I didn’t stop to change clothes. Normally, I don’t wear
anything to bed but I dressed for a male friend who I expected to visit me. His loss, your
Lex said, “Huh? Rogaine!? Is that a crack about my lack of hair?”
Helen chuckled, “I said “YOUR GAIN!” The pills are taking effect. You’re getting a little groggy."
Lex said, “Unless I’m seeing dots before my eyes too, I can see right through that night gown. There’s a robe in my closet that would fit you.”
Helen said, “I don’t need a robe. I’m perfectly comfortable if you are.”
Lex said, “But I can see your ….”
Helen says, “Well, I can see yours too. It’s only fair. Now just sit down and relax.”
Lex said, “Relax? Are you kidding?”
Helen took Lex’s blood pressure and listened to his heart and lungs. Then she started probing areas below his waste. Lex tolerated it for awhile, but he was getting embarrassed and afraid that something even more embarrassing might happen. He kept hearing Dustin Hoffman’s voice in his head saying, “Mrs. Robinson, I believe you are trying to seduce me.” He tried to picture Dustin Hoffman’s face to try to distract himself, but when Helen started doing things to Lex that no doctor had ever done before, he yelled, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”
Helen said, “This pressure MUST be relieved. Some doctors would leave the matter in the patient’s hands, but I take a more hands on approach. Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing. How do you think I paid my way through medical school?” Lex tried to pull away but he felt too weak and groggy and ended up on his back in bed. Helen said, “You know, I was expecting to get a little action tonight. I’ve been too busy to find boyfriends to meet my needs. I was going to get some needed relief tonight and you interfered with my plans. You OWE me. I have NEEDS! You have NEEDS! And that homely little farm girl is ignoring your needs. I think if I rub my problem up against your problem, together we may get a solution.”
Lex asked, “How do you know she’s a farm girl? Who sent you?”
Helen said, “I sent myself. I saw you with that disheveled little girl before. You should stop toying with her or make a woman of her. You know what they say, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” If you won’t make her a woman, I’m plenty woman already … and I’m here … and, like I said, I have needs. AND I have girlfriends who have needs too. They should be here any second. They are all extremely attractive ... and very photogenic. We could all have a big party. If you want to work with us on this, I can give you a shot of stimulants now and we can keep going all week. What do you say?”
Lex shouted, “GET OUT. GET OUT NOW!”
Helen said, “You’re mumbling dear. Did you say “Get on now?” Your wish is my command! But first let me introduce you to my friends that I told you about. Here they are. Aren’t they gorgeous? And Chad here is our cameraman. Chad, could you lay today’s newspaper on the bed next to Lex? I want people to know that Lex takes time from his busy schedule to keep up with current events.”
As Helen continued to touch him, Lex turned away from her towards the paper that had been put next to his head. He read the headline on page one. “Lex Luthor Weds Dr. Helen Bryce in Secret Ceremony.” That was the last thing Lex saw before he lost consciousness.
Lex woke up in his bed and could find no evidence of what had happened. He dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. Then he noticed a clock and saw that it was nearly 3:00 in the afternoon. He grabbed the newspaper to see if there was anything about him being married. Then he noticed the date on the newspaper. He had lost a day. He hoped that Clara had assumed that he was sick. Maybe she hadn’t seen the newspaper. He wanted to explain it to her. She just HAD to believe him.
When he arrived at the meeting place, things seemed strangely different. He found that a couple of the larger trees had been broken off at the base. Another tree had a six inch diameter hole punched through it as it if had been used for artillery practice. Then he found a small pile of ashes. In the pile were fragments of photographs. He recognized his bedspread pattern in one of the fragments. Lex sat back on the rock to consider what to do next. After a while, he decided to wait a day before talking to her, but he felt the need to see her anyway. He thought that maybe he could catch sight of her in her yard. As he drove on the road in front of the Kent farm, he saw something over the roof of one of the smaller out buildings. As he focused his eyes and watched, he saw Clara’s head and upper body appear over the roof line for a moment then disappear. Again and again he saw her until his mind put the puzzle together. He decided that she must be bouncing on a trampoline ... and that she was good at it! Lex reached into his glove box and pulled out his pair of opera glasses. He watched her do back flips and all kinds of somersaults and turns. She bounced so high that he became afraid for her. He watched her face and noticed that she had her eyes shut and looked very relaxed. Suddenly her eyes popped open and there was an angry look on her face. It looked like she hung motionless in the air for a few moments just staring back at him. Then she disappeared behind the building and didn’t re-appear. Lex watched for a few more minutes but she was no where in sight. As he reached over put the opera glasses away in his glove compartment, someone was standing by the passenger side of the car. His heart jumped and he narrowly avoided screaming in surprise. There was Clara with that same angry look on her face. He asked, “Clara, how did you get over here so fast?”
Clara said, “So you’re the one who’s been spying on me! Didn’t you get a good enough eyeful the other day? Why the binoculars? Forget to bring a camera with the telephoto lens?”
Lex said, “What you’re thinking – It’s not true. None of it.”
Clara said, “That was some ice water bath you took. You needed 5 women to warm you up afterwards.”
Lex said, “I was drugged. I didn’t see the photos but I would bet that I didn’t look like an active participant in any of them.”
Clara said, “I did see the photos and I wish I was able to forget what I saw, but I’m not wired that way. That one – Helen, your wife – she had on your diamond ring!”
Lex said, “That proves it. The newspaper I saw had to be printed before we last met and it had a photo of a woman wearing a ring like mine. If I was married before I met you that day and gave her that ring when we got married, how would I have it on my hand when I met you?"
Clara said, Matching rings?"
Lex said, "Damn. You're right. That's
not proof. Look ... I swear I didn't marry anyone. I’ve been
asleep more than a day. I was drugged. I resisted and
passed out before I did anything. I have no idea what they did with me
was unconscious. Why would I do something like that and then leave
Clara said, “I figured that your wife left those pictures as a way of staking her claim to you and telling me to back off. I know we were just friends … but under the circumstances, I don’t think we should meet anymore. I felt guilty enough not telling Mom and Dad about our meetings, but I’m an adulterer now!”
Lex said, “But we didn’t do anything!”
Clara said, “Well I thought about it and I must have wanted it to happen and, according to my faith, that makes me just as guilty as if I had acted on what I felt like doing. Maybe I would have controlled my thoughts better if I had known you were married, but probably not. I'm not totally beyond temptation or I never would have accepted that ring from you. The more time I spend with you, the more likely I am to do something regrettable … so it’s better that it stops here and now.”
Lex said, “I’m NOT married. They may have bought some forged legal documents, but I WILL get to the bottom of this. How can I prove to you that I’m telling you the truth? I’d never lie to you. Just like I know that you would never lie to me.” Clara quickly turned her head aside as if Lex had hit her. Lex asked, “Why are you turning your head away? I HAVEN’T lied. You haven’t either, have you? Is that it?”
Without turning to face him, Clara gasped out, “Yes. I lie every hour of every day. Everything about me is a lie. Maybe that’s why I think people are lying to me.”
Lex said, “You couldn’t be lying about anything important.”
Still without facing him, she said, “It is important. I don’t have a normal life, but I can't have any kind of life at all if I don’t keep my secrets. Nobody gets hurt if they don’t know the truth. But anyone who knows can get hurt … or use what they know to hurt my Mom and Dad.”
Lex said, “But in our talks, you don’t lie about what you believe in or how you feel about things.”
Clara said, “I lie by not telling you things. I lie through omission.”
Lex said, “Is it something bad? You know that you can tell me anything.”
Clara said, “The truth is a mixture good and bad things. I lie when I don’t tell you that I love you. I lie when I say I only want to be your friend and that I won’t mind if you see other women. I lie about where I’m from. Rich people are very particular about where their friends come from and I haven’t a clue how you would feel about where my parents come from. I might want to have babies some day if possible and you might not want babies with me if you can’t check out my family tree. That tree is dead and gone and I’m the last of my family. The last reason I lie ... but not least by any means, I made a vow not to tell anyone my secrets unless it became necessary – and I take vows very, VERY seriously. I hoped that one day, you might understand just how seriously I take vows.”
Lex asked, “Are you in the witness relocation program?”
Clara turned and shouted, “NO QUESTIONS LEX! I promised I wouldn’t tell and I won’t. I won’t help you guess by playing 20 questions with you. This is no game. It’s my LIFE! If you want to keep seeing me, I’ll give you a thumbs down when I can’t talk about something. I won’t use the thumbs down to avoid something embarrassing or something I don’t feel like talking about – just for things I really can’t talk about. I won’t put up with you being sneaky to get at it. I know you taped my voice to try to discover where my accent is from. Feel free to keep trying with that one. You won’t find out anything. I will tell you this. If you love me, the secret I have won’t mean anything to you. If you don’t love me, then the secret is something you don’t need to know. I can’t stand to lie to you anymore, but I won’t answer you when I can’t – and I won’t see you again until I see a verifiable document showing me that you are not married. When I see that document, I’ll stop thinking about the photos left for me on the rock and the photos of me and you together that were left in the mailbox for my Father to find.”
Lex said, “What photos?”
Clara said, “Here’s a hint. I was wearing a high school ring and not much else. Add those to the earlier photos of me in my loft window and the note about the nasty things that would be done to me if I kept seeing you. Don’t worry. Dad didn’t see any of it or your wife might be a widow right now. Lex, I love my father and I don’t like keeping secrets from him. I don’t know how I could have survived without him and Mom.”
Lex quietly said, “I’ll get a court document for you soon so we can get back to meeting at the rock. There are a few less trees there now. Do you know anything about that?” Clara gave Lex the thumbs down. Lex continued, “Sometime after your 16th birthday, I’ll come by and ask your Dad’s permission to talk with you. You’ll have to let me know some how that you’ve turned 16 if you still can’t tell me your birth date. Maybe when that day comes, you can show me your home and farm. Then we can go out behind your shed and you can show me some of your tricks on the trampoline.”
Clara asked, “What trampoline?”
Lex said, “I know.” He pointed his thumb down then said, “I’ll see you soon.”
Lex got legal documents declaring that he was not married. He got the major newspapers to print retractions. He questioned Lionel but he claimed no involvement. He sent private eyes to search for Helen Bryce but she had mysteriously vanished. His Doctor said he had never heard of her. The staff seemed to have no idea who called for a doctor for him or why they were all given the afternoon and evening off that particular day. A few months passed and the daily get-togethers between Lex and Clara seemed to return to what they had been before what Lex referred to as his “blue day.” He was delighted that nothing or no one had destroyed the happiness he had found spending time with Clara.
Months passed. Lex continued visiting with
Clara at their special place or at a farm she had purchased at an
auction with money she made from making quilts. One day Lex was
talking on and on and finally noticed how quiet and
withdrawn Clara was. He begged her to tell him what was wrong and
all came out. Clara said, “I hate school. I HATE IT! It’s a waste of my
I’ve read all the books. The teachers are too stupid to answer any
might have, but they go over the same things again and again for all
students until I want to scream. I HATE IT! I’m totally bored. I’m
time. I have better things to do and I CAN’T STAND IT ANY MORE! DAMN IT
Lex was in shock. He had never seen her like that before. He said, “I never would have believed it! Clara Josephine Kent is HUMAN after all!”
Clara looked at him angrily and shouted, “I AM NOT! THAT’S A TERRIBLE THING TO SAY TO ME!”
Lex said, “Calm down! Just tell me what’s REALLY bothering you.”
After being quiet a while Clara took some deep breaths and said, “The guidance counselor had people from Metropolis University come down to meet with me. They want me to go to college now on a full scholarship. They want to design some advanced academic programs for me. They say I’m too smart to be in High School or in a normal college program. They say they’ll let me work at my own pace and get any degrees I want – as many as I want.”
Lex said, “My God, that’s FANTASTIC Clara!”
With great sadness in her voice, Clara said, “Why did they tell me all that? Why did they make me think I could ever go to college? WHY?”
Lex asked, “Why can’t you go?”
Clara said, “I would have to go to Metropolis at least 3 days a week.”
Lex said, “So?”
Clara shouted, “I CAN’T.”
Lex said, “I didn’t know that “can’t” was in your vocabulary. Metropolis isn’t that far. You could get a dorm room. If they want you that badly, I’m sure they’ll pay for it.”
Clara said, “Dad NEEDS me on the farm.”
Lex said, “You’re old enough to drive now. You could just …. Oh! OH! Now I get it!” Clara said nothing. Lex continued, “It’s your claustrophobia.” Clara bit her lip and looked like she was going to cry. Lex had never seen her cry before and prepared himself to not give up his resolve no matter what she threw at him. Lex said, “You make me go toe to toe with Lionel Luthor – a man that could scare a polar bear into wetting himself. You make me face him just to save a few local jobs for a bunch of people who don’t even like me, … but you let a little claustrophobia stand in the way of your future.” Clara still said nothing. Lex said, “Clara, get in my car.”
Clara said, “What? OH! No, I can’t. Please, don’t ask me to ….”
Lex said, “I’m not asking. I’m telling! Get in my car this second Clara Kent! The top of my convertible is down but, I’ll warn you now, it won’t be down for long!”
Clara said, “No. You can’t make me. YOU CAN’T!”
Lex said, “You want to bet?”
Clara said, “No.”
Lex said, “Get in the car … NOW!”
Clara walked to the car. She was noticeably trembling and the tears were flowing. Her face was contorted in fear. Lex ran over to open the car door for her. Clara said, “Maybe tomorrow??/”
Lex said, “NOW!” Clara slowly slid into the passenger seat. She wanted to grab hold of something, but she knew she would crush anything she held – so she grabbed hold of her knees. Lex ran to get into the car before Clara could change her mind and get out. He drove slowly at first, but he was annoyed by all the cars passing him. Finally, Lex put up the top. Clara choked back a scream. Lex took the car out on the highway. He said, “Look, it’s a straight shot and as flat as a board all the way into Metropolis.”
Clara screamed, “WE AREN’T GOING TO METROLOPIS ARE WE?!”
Lex answered, “And back!”
Five hours later, Lex’s car pulled up to the sidewalk leading to the front porch of the Kent home. Clara got out of the car quickly but froze when she saw her Father waiting impatiently on the porch swing. Lex got out of the car and yelled to her, “And we’ll do the same thing tomorrow and the next day and the day after … and we’ll keep doing it until you get to like it. And we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing by the side of the road for a year, but we’ll do it in the car.”
Jon walked up to his daughter. He could see even by porch light that she was crying and looked like she had been crying for hours. Jon looked her in the eye and asked, “What happened?”
Clara said nothing. She just returned his stare until his look told her that she couldn’t get away without answering him. Then she blurted it all out saying, “I told him “No” again and again, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He MADE me do it. No way did I want to. I thought he would be satisfied just having the top down, but that wasn’t good enough for him. He took me all the way and back again. Lex told me that he will make me do it again and again as many times as possible with him and with anyone else who is willing to put up with me. Don’t worry. I didn’t break anything. I kept my hands on my knees the entire time so I wouldn’t lose control.” Clara started to say more, but she burst out crying and ran into the house.
Lex walked up to Jon very proud of what he had just done. He said, “I’m glad I did that! It’s time we stopped treating her like a child and treat her like a woman.”
Lex never saw the fist coming.
Lex awoke to the feeling of a cold compress being applied to his face. He slowly opened his eyes and saw the ceiling. Then a wave of pain hit him. He was wondering how he had ended up on a couch in some middle class family’s living room. Lex looked around and saw Jonathan Kent sitting in a chair staring at him. He said, “Mr. Kent, what happened?”
Jon began to talk but with some difficulty – as if he was just trying to come to terms with something that bothered him and that he wasn’t quite ready to deal with. He said, “Lex … Lex, I’m sorry. Clara doesn’t stay out late unless we know where she is. Even then, it doesn’t happen often. She never has even gone to one of those girl sleep-over parties. She’s always been some what stand-offish with people she doesn’t know … and even those she does know, which has made our family a little more tightly knit than normal. I knew she had been seeing someone. She seemed happier so I hoped it was a good thing. I hoped she’d be telling me soon who her friend was. We never hid things from each other until now. I told her she could tell me anything but I may have been wrong about that. There’s bad blood between your father and me and I have trouble trusting you with something as precious as my daughter. When Clara didn’t come home tonight, I panicked. She sometimes has an allergic reaction and needs help. I thought she might be out there in trouble somewhere. I am particularly skilled at hiding my panic – it’s something I learned by having a daughter as special as Clara. I’ve experienced things that could shock the skin off a crocodile. When those three tornados came through that day – the day that Whitney Fordman married our neighbor Lana … I believe she works for you – well, when those tornados came through, I almost didn’t even take cover. I no longer react to things like most men do. But there is something that can set me off every time – Clara’s tears. For a young girl, she doesn’t cry very often – or at least doesn’t let people see her when she does. One time she called me and was crying. She had wandered off and had to call home. She wasn’t scared because she was lost, it was getting into the phone booth to make the call that upset her. I almost couldn’t tell who was calling. She makes a wide circle anytime she gets anywhere near a phone booth these days. Fortunately, not many of them are enclosed anymore. And once she was very upset because her cat died. And another time she played a little too rough with one of our farm animals and hurt it. I stopped using the expression “bullshit” because it would remind her about that incident and she’d get sad again. She doesn’t like to hurt anyone or anything. She’s taken a vow about causing physical harm to others. That girl won’t make a move if it means breaking a vow she’s made. Sorry. I’m wandering here. I just don’t get to talk very much about Clara. The point was that I’ve only heard Clara cry 4 or 5 time in the 8 years that we’ve been blessed to have her. …. So, Clara was late. I panicked. I saw that she had been crying. I thought she said that you had forced her to … um … be "intimate" ... and I thought you confirmed it. Next thing I know, you’re on your back and my fist hurts. I had Clara carry you in here. I was sorry when she told me that you hadn’t … NOT that I wanted you to ... I mean ... I don't ... not unless .... I mean I was sorry I misunderstood the situation and hit you ... and I was even sorrier when I heard that you were trying to help Clara with her claustrophobia. We’ve been trying to get Clara comfortable in small places for years. We’ve read all the books, talked to professionals, the whole 9 yards. She’ll do anything I ask of her without a thinking of herself … anything but get into a car or any other small space. Sometimes a person’s immediate family is too close to help one of their own. The person knows they will be loved unconditionally no matter what, so they will refuse help if the solution to their problem is too tough for them to face. She said she got into your car because you told her that she had to. That’s like the tide not coming in because you told it not to. She must care for you more than I can imagine. Anyone having that kind of power over her scares me more than you could possibly understand. But I am grateful for what you are doing to help her over come her fears – grateful enough to not stand in the way of you seeing her. Legally, she is just 16, but we had to guess at her age when we found her. It’s hard to believe how small and fragile looking she was. But whether she is actually 14 or 18, she’s certainly mature enough to start dating. She’s no air-head but she is trusting and naive. If I ever find that you’ve taken advantage of her, our little truce here will end ... and punching you is the least I would consider doing as a proper response. She’s very private and sensitive about where she came from and how she is different from other people, so don’t press her on those issues. Just know this, her differences can be assets to her if she can become comfortable just being herself. All parental prejudice aside, she is one special person – not some disposable plaything for you. The girl is all heart, so don’t you break it. Do we have an understanding?”
Lex answered, “Yes, Sir.”
Jon said, “It’s Jon. I apologize for the long speech. If you had stayed unconscious longer, I would have had more time to organize my thoughts.”
Lex said, “You did fine, … Jon. This is your first time giving this speech?”
Jon said, “Yes. And if you’re VERY lucky, I won’t be giving it to anyone else. You may think that landing a successful business deal is hitting the jackpot – but the true treasure is the kind of love that the women of this house hold can give the right man. I know I’m the luckiest man on the planet. Maybe someday, you’ll be the second luckiest.”
Two weeks later, as Lex drove Clara to Metropolis in the smallest car he had, she told him, “Dad wants to make up with you for hitting you.”
Lex said, “He already apologized and I accepted.”
Clara said, “That’s not enough. He wants to do something to show he’s sorry and to show that he accepts you as a friend.”
Lex asked, “What does he have in mind?”
Clara answered, “You are invited to go on a fishing trip.”
Lex said, “Oh, no.”
Clara said, “He’s never had a son to take fishing, and you need a chance to get to know him.”
Lex answered, “I said no.”
Clara continued, “It will be just you and him. I’m staying home.”
Lex said, “HELL NO!”
Clara said, “And you’ll wear a hat with fishing hooks in it.”
Lex said, “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Lex fought hard to hold back a smile.
Clara giggled and said, “Oh, yes I can. I’ll let you start out the day without the hat if you use some SPF 30 on your head, but I guarantee that by the end of the day you’ll be wearing that hat and loving it. I can’t have you getting a sunburn on that beautiful head of yours.”
Lex finally let go with a laugh then said, “Look at you! You’re in a small car but having a casual conversation. You’re able to smile and be calm and joke around. You’re more comfortable than I’ve ever seen you. Maybe this was your last battle and you know inside that nothing can keep you from your dreams now. Maybe after this, you’ll just fly through the rest of your life unafraid of whatever may wait for you out there. I’m proud of you!”
Clara said, “I may be smiling but I’m not joking about you going on that fishing trip with my Dad. It’s a pre-requisite to Advanced Dating 101. You catch them and I’ll clean them when you get home.”
Lex said, “Just as long as you’re not going to be the one that gets away from me. Well, if turn about is fair play, maybe I should arrange a day trip for you and my Dad.”
The smile left Clara’s face and her complexion paled a little. She very quietly said, “Think about what you just said.”
Lex said, “I’m sorry. That just slipped out. I shouldn’t even joke about something like that. I don’t want him anywhere near you.”
Clara said, “I wish he’d stop making offers and threats. I’m a little sick of it. Next time you see him, tell him that I have everything I want. I wouldn’t have even taken the college scholarship if he had arranged it. AND I wouldn’t have taken it if you had something to do with it.”
Lex said, “Why not?”
Clara said, “There are things that a person needs to earn on their own.”
Lex said, “I want to go back to something you said earlier. You said that my bald head is beautiful. Do you think it is my most attractive feature?”
Clara answered, “Hardly. Bald definitely works for you and it makes you stand out, but I wouldn’t call it your best feature.”
Lex said, “So what is my best feature?”
Clara said, “I kind of like the whole package, but if I’d have to pick something, I’d say the twinkle in your eyes.”
Lex said, “That is so funny!”
Clara asked, “Why?”
Lex said, “Because you’re the one that put the twinkle there.” Clara blushed a little. Lex asked. “Aren’t you going to ask what I think is your best feature?”
Clara blushed even more, “No.”
Lex said, “Scaredy cat.”
Clara said, “Meow.”
Lex said, “Well, since you asked ….” Lex took a moment to give Clara a good looking over.
Clara said, “Don’t! You don’t even know my best features yet.”
Lex said, “Oh, I bet I do.”
Clara said, “I may look like an average girl, but I’m kind of like a car used for street racing – ordinary on the outside but souped up under the hood.”
Lex said, “Well, I know that looking under the hood is out of the question … and a test drive is REALLY out of the question. So I’ll have to settle for kicking the tires. I had intended this just to be a fun chat but you kind of hurt my feelings.”
Clara looked concerned, “Really. I didn’t mean to. What did I say?”
Lex said, “Do you think I’m the kind of guy that would hang out with someone “average” or “ordinary?” I know you’re special inside but you can’t hide from me. Loose flannel shirts and unflattering pants don’t disguise your strong physical presence. If you don’t think you’re physically attractive because I’m honoring my arrangement with you by not attempting to cop a feel at every opportunity, then maybe it’s time I made some moves on you.”
Clara said, “No! You wouldn’t.”
Lex said, “I don’t really understand how I’m able not to restrain myself. I’ve never been able to hold back as long from something I really want. No Christmas present made it to Christmas day unwrapped. It’s just that I want more than a physical relationship with you. I want your trust and I want something permanent. But if my denying myself is hurting your self-image, I would gladly put aside my restraint and let you know in no uncertain terms that you push all my buttons.” Clara turned away and didn’t say anything. Lex said, “I know you want things the way they are for now, but don’t let me hear you putting yourself down anymore. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you don’t have to put yourself down – there are always plenty of people standing around willing to do it for you. So, back to the topic of what about you first sparked my attraction to you." Clara prepared herself to be embarrassed. Lex smiled and said, "Your fishing skills are what first drew me to you.”
Clara was surprised and relieved. She asked, “How did you know that I’m good at fishing?”
Lex answered, “Because you fished me out of the river – and thank God, you haven’t thrown me back yet!” Clara flashed Lex a smile that made him tingle all over. He said a silent prayer thanking God for putting Clara in his life and asking for the strength to wait until Clara is ready for him.
Clara had driven a tractor for years. She enjoyed speeding around on motor bikes and off road vehicles – anything that didn’t enclose her. She even enjoyed riding bulls and dreamed of joining a rodeo until she got over-enthusiastic one day and hurt Jon’s prize bull. Clara could have easily run to and from Metropolis to attend the university, but that would have increased the odds of her being seen. It would have also been hard to explain if someone questioned her comings and goings – and the Kents were well aware that their activities had been watched on a regular basis since Lex's accident on the bridge. Lex was able to get Clara to the point where she could travel in a car comfortably. She had even started sleeping in the house at night and was able to shower with the curtains drawn.
Clara got her driver’s license within a couple days of getting her learner’s permit. She had a few cars to choose from that she had salvaged from the fields of the farm she owned, but most were on blocks (unlicensed and uninsured). A college student already commuting to Metropolis to go to MU offered to let her share the ride to save money -- and Clara was all for saving money and carpooling. He drove an older car that had a bench seat and a passenger door that wouldn’t open. A couple miles from Metropolis on the way home from Clara’s first day of college, he made it clear that, in return for the free ride to school, he expected a "free ride" from her after school. When she told him to let her out of the car and he refused, she tried the passenger door and broke it off. The door had been welded shut accidentally on purpose. Clara threw the door into the back seat of the car and walked away. When he drove past the Kent farm two hours later, Clara was busy in the front yard waxing a car with temporary tags on it. From that day on, Clara drove herself to school.
Clara kept the college staff busy preparing course work for her. On the side, Clara found work proof-reading and correcting transcription errors on court transcripts for court stenographers. Every stenographer she worked for considered Clara their little secret. She was fast, met every deadline, was 100% accurate and charged only 10 cents a page. Soon she was checking the bulk of the court transcripts in Metropolis. The work allowed Clara to learn about the law, legal procedures and the way that courtroom “justice” really works. Her car was paid for in no time.
Everything was going well until the Dean called her into his office. She was being expelled. A trusted source had reported that Lex Luthor was having her work done for her by a team of experts. She offered to do whatever it took to prove her innocence. At first, they refused. When Lex intervened and threatened to sue the University for slander for the accusations made against him, Clara was offered a chance to prove that she was able to do the work on her own. The offer was made knowing that she would refuse to submit to the testing imposed on her. She surprised them all by accepting their demands. Clara had talked the situation over with her father and he had told her to not play dumb or hold back in any way. He felt guilty for the necessity of making Clara hide her physical abilities, so he decided that showing her mental prowess would be an acceptable risk. He wanted Clara to have an opportunity to shine. After all, it was his complaints to the Smallville school board about their failure to provide an adequately stimulating curriculum for his genius daughter that led to the testing that, in turn, led to MU's initial interest in her.
On the day the exams began, three medical professionals who were chosen at random gave Clara a thorough body search. These women looked for marks on her skin and checked her skin with ultraviolet light. They checked her eyes for contact lenses, her ears for communication devices and ran a fine tooth comb through her hair. Finally, they gave her a white linen robe that had no pockets. This was to be the only garment she would be allowed to wear while being tested. She was to stay at the facility day and night so she would have no contact with anyone who could assist her in any way … and she would be accompanied at all times, even during bath room breaks. She was taken to a room and instructed to sit on a stool in front of a panel of professors. Professors would leave and be replaced as they concluded testing in their area of expertise. The testing was recorded on multiple video cameras from different angles so that the tapes could be studied later for any evidence of cheating or coercion with any of the professors. The professors knew that there was pressure from the top to break Clara’s spirit and put an end to this embarrassment.
Clara was questioned for hours on topics she had formally studied and many that she hadn’t. She was asked to solve equations at a marker board and perform lab work while she was closely observed. The questions got more obscure, but she continued to answer correctly. One professor asked her to recite the Declaration of Independence just to watch her fail. When she recited it word for word, she was asked to recite the Magna Charta. When she succeeded at that, they decided to test her knowledge of medical science and theoretical physics. Whenever she failed to come up with the textbook answer for a physics problem, she would ask the professor to show her how her equations were wrong. When they couldn’t find the error, she would point out the assumptions made in the textbooks and why those assumptions were incorrect. They allowed her to eat and sleep under a watchful eye. Most of the professors were getting a little scared of Clara and thought of her as somewhat inhuman – perhaps genetically enhanced. They didn’t know how close to the truth they were. On the third day of testing, Professor Hamilton, who had been overseeing a portion of the testing each day, got up and started shouting in protest about how unfair the entire testing procedure had been. He said, “Despite these outrageous tasks set before this young lady, no one has caught Clara Kent in an incorrect answer – at least not an answer that they could PROVE to be incorrect. My God, had Regis Philbin been asking her these questions on his gameshow, she would be a billionaire by now!” The professor demanded that they go back over the transcripts of the inquiry and determine which fields Clara had shown enough proficiency in to qualify for a degree. This caused a great commotion and a lot of arguing back and forth. The professor yelled, “Over the course of the past few days, this woman has become my personal hero. Why are we, who are supposedly fighting for a more enlightened world punishing Clara Kent for being a genius?” Only a few of the professors knew for sure that the unofficial mandate of the inquiry was to arrive at the conclusion that Clara Kent cheated to excel academically. But even these few had to finally agree that Clara had demonstrated enough knowledge to be granted 8 degrees and to qualify for 4 more upon completion of some additional work.
In the month following her inquisition, Clara successfully finished the work required in order to get all 12 degrees. Then she continued to study other academic areas that she wanted to pursue.
At LuthorCorp, Lionel Luthor was handed a report. It was an annual report that recommended which college students in the world were most promising for research positions at LuthorCorp. Each division submitted a list of the top 25 students that they felt that LuthorCorp should aggressively recruit for their particular specialty. Normally, the people on the list were offered whatever it took to get them to work for LuthorCorp – either in the way of salary and benefits … or in the form or a threat if they refused. If all else failed and the listed people still refused to work for LuthorCorp, then they would be prevented from working for the competition – at all costs. Lionel read the first name on the first list and crossed it out with a marking pen. He began flipping through the lists and in each case the top name was the same – Clara Josephine Kent. Lionel stood up and shouted, “IS THIS SOMEBODY’S IDEA OF A JOKE!”
Sheriff Adams showed up at 10:00pm one evening with a warrant to search Clara’s car. The search turned up heroine and a supply of syringes and other drug paraphernalia. Clara was read her rights and taken to jail. Her car was impounded. She was told that three students at MU had signed statements saying that they had witnessed Clara in a bathroom at the university … injecting herself under her right breast. They were able to describe in detail a birth mark that not even Clara knew that she had. A drug dealer who had recently been arrested on campus signed a statement that Clara had sold drugs and performed sexual favors for him in return for heroine. Clara’s body was searched for needle marks but none were found. This wasn’t considered proof of innocence. A nurse was on the way to draw blood for drug testing purposes. Clara waved her rights in return for a private conversation with Sheriff Adams. In a closed room without mirrors, Sheriff Adams put a tape recorder on the table and started recording. Clara said that she would only give consent and co-operation for drug testing if Sheriff Adams drew the blood in private. Sheriff Adams told Clara that she wasn’t very skilled with a syringe but Clara said that it wouldn’t matter. After the nurse delivered some syringes and vials and left them alone in the interrogation room, the Sheriff began attempting to draw blood, but she couldn’t make the needle penetrate Clara’s skin. The Sheriff said that she was sorry, but she must be doing something wrong and the nurse would have to help. When the Sheriff stood and went for the door, Clara made an awkward lunge towards her. Sheriff Adams pulled her gun. Clara grabbed the end of the gun and easily pulled it towards her stomach despite Sheriff Adam’s best effort to stop her. Clara pushed the Sheriff’s finger forcing her to fire. Then Clara went back and sat down. Clara said, “I really liked that shirt too.” The Sheriff pulled up Clara's shirt and saw that there wasn’t even a mark on Clara. She knelt down and picked up the flattened bullet from the floor. Clara continued, “I’ve told you that I don’t use drugs of any kind – not even aspirin. I think that it is obvious that I haven’t been injecting myself with a needle ... so 3 witnesses have lied. The medical examination of my body showed that I am intact, so the statement about how I paid for drugs isn’t true. But I do have something to hide and I’ve just demonstrated what I am hiding. I have a secret to keep so that I can have a normal life without becoming someone’s lab experiment. I have shared that secret with you. I can’t be hurt by bullets or pierced by a needle, but I can be hurt by lies and planted evidence. But the truth won’t set me free -- it will make me somebody’s property. You have been suspicious of me before. You think that I’m always there when something goes wrong. I am not. I’m there when things ALMOST go wrong. Because I can’t be hurt, I sometimes place myself between those who intend to hurt others and those they intend to victimize. I use myself as a shield … just like you wear a shield as a symbol of what you are here to do – shield the innocent. Since I am blessed, I feel an obligation to those without my gifts. I try to show up when people need my special help. That made you even more aware of me than our little encounter when I was nine. But it made others aware of me as well – others who have reason to discredit me and to get me out of their path. Tonight, Sheriff, I am the one that needs help. I need a shield. Can you help me? Please? Can I trust you?”
The Sheriff put the bullet in her pocket and said, “Another souvenir. I have quite a collection at home.”
She turned off the tape recorder, pulled out the tape and handed it to Clara. Then she rolled up her sleeve and went to stick the syringe in her own arm. Clara said, “Could I help you. I am quite skilled using a syringe … on others.” Nancy Adams gladly gave the syringe to Clara who drew a blood sample before the Sheriff even knew that the needle had been put into her arm.” The Sheriff sealed the sample to prevent anyone from tampering with it, knocked on the door and handed the sample out to the nurse.
The nurse asked, “Is everything OK? I thought I heard a shot. I called a deputy. He’ll be back in a few seconds.”
The Sheriff said, “Call him back and tell him to continue his patrol. Can’t you tell a car back-firing when you hear it?” She shut the door and told Clara, “I have a favor to call in with the Governor. I can get this taken care of this time. I don’t like getting played and someone tried to play me tonight. I WAS saving that favor for something important so this is going to cost me. I may want something from you in return. Will you do anything I ask if I take care of this for you?”
Clara said, “No.”
The Sheriff let go a rare smile and said, “Good girl. Would you be willing to help me if I need you?”
Clara said, “It will depend on what you need.”
The Sheriff said, “If I ever run into a situation where sending in one of my men could get him shot, could I call you to go in instead … on the sly.”
Clara said, “Anytime. I’d love to. Don’t hesitate to call me. I’d enjoy being of service.”
Sheriff Adams said, “I can’t get your car out of impound tonight, so let me offer you a ride home.” As they walked out of the building, Sheriff Adams asked, “Have you considered a career in law enforcement? I think you would look good in a uniform.”
Clara said, “I prefer a lab coat. I want to be a doctor and do medical research. I have some ideas on how to cure cancer. But, like I said, I like to be of service. I’ll come if and when you call me if I’m able. You know, a year ago, I would have run away rather than spend a night in jail. I have claustrophobia but I have learned how to deal with it thanks to my boyfriend. If it turns out that you will get in trouble by trying to help me – or if the only way to help me is to tell my secret, I am prepared to go to jail rather than let either of those things happen. I know I could handle being locked up.”
Sheriff Adams said, “I know how to keep myself out of trouble and I know how to keep a secret, so don’t worry about that. You won’t be seeing any jail time. I’ll see to that. But you’d better watch out. Somebody with power or money or both is out to get you.”
Clara said, “Thank you. Thank you for everything. If it’s OK with you, I can get home on my own.”
The Sheriff answered, “Well, that’s a mighty long walk and I’d like to make sure that you get home safe.”
Clara said, “I’m pretty fast and there’s not much that can hurt me.”
The Sheriff said, “Well, OK, but don’t break any speed laws going home.”
Clara said, “I’ll try not to, but I don’t have a speedometer on me. Goodnight.”
The Sheriff blinked and Clara was gone. She said to thin air, “That girl could come in handy.”
Two months passed and Clara was starting to feel comfortable at the university again. The rumors about her cheating on course work, using and selling drugs and paying the police to drop charges seemed to quiet down but the suspicions never really went away. Clara was working fast anyway. She had no idea when the next accusation would fly and how soon it would be before she was no longer allowed to attend MU or use its resources to continue her studies and research. She knew that heads had rolled when she was granted degrees instead of being found guilty of cheating. Professor Hamilton was hired immediately by the Star Labs division of LexCare. Certain MU recruiters had been dismissed when patents were granted to Clara. It was discovered that the arrangements made when Clara enrolled at MU granted her to full patent rights for her inventions – no assignment of patents to the university was required as was usually the case. Had she invented a better pot holder or something or the sort, the university would have been annoyed that they didn’t have the rights; but when the patents would prove to be key to new developments in nanotechnology, AI, advanced robotics, fusion, and new fields she was pioneering (such as a force field generators capable of protecting entire cities from nuclear missile attacks), MU immediately fired the people who allowed Clara to enroll under those terms and hired top lawyers to look for loop holes in their contract with Clara.
But Clara let the politics swirl around her and found happiness staring at cancer cells on microscope slides using her microscopic vision. One day, looking at healthy cells and cancer cells at the same time, the puzzle seemed to begin to untangle itself in her head. She scratched her skin and made herself bleed a small drop of blood on a slide. She looked at her own blood and the other samples that were in from of her. She smiled and said to herself, “I have the answer! I AM the answer! I can’t wait to tell Lex!” Then she heard several noises -- a helicopter and the rapid clicking of a camera taking pictures. She looked out the lab window and saw a LuthorCorp helicopter. The man with the camera moved over and she saw Lionel Luthor look out the door at her. He waved at her, smiled widely and mouthed the words “Bye-bye.” Then he pushed the button on a hand-held detonator. It felt like a rush of wind as the lab table in front of her burst into pieces. The pieces bounced off her harmlessly and the fire burned off her loose outer clothing leaving only her tighter underwear intact. She had a moment to think, “Oh no, Lionel will have more racy pictures of me to sell and I’ll have to explain how I survived this unharmed.” But as the ceiling above her collapsed, the propane lines in the lab above ruptured and there was a second explosion. Clara started to feel weak and sick. She recognized the sensation only an instant before another explosion sent a flood of green liquid pouring down on her. More explosions rocked the building. Clara screamed and passed out from the pain.
Jon answered the phone call from the Metropolis University Hospital. The person calling asked Jon and Martha to come immediately to their facility because Clara had been in an accident. Jon asked how badly Clara was hurt knowing that she couldn’t have been hurt at all. The person said that hospital policy didn’t allow her to say. Jon told her, “It can’t be that bad. There’s no reason for me to go all the way in to Metropolis.” The person said that they couldn’t tell him anything over the phone but that “IF he loved his daughter ….” Martha saw Jon shouting into the phone in a rage like she had never seen. He was shouting that he loved his daughter more than he could say but that there had to be a mistake, “IT JUST CAN’T BE THAT BAD – IT CAN’T BE!” Martha took the phone and Jon stumbled into a chair. Martha talked for a second or two and said that they would be there as soon as was humanly possible. Then Martha’s knees buckled a little bit. She steadied herself on the table that held the phone. She didn’t put down the receiver. Instead she pushed the button that would speed dial Lex’s cell phone.
When Lex picked up the phone, she said, “No Lex, it’s Martha Kent. It’s probably nothing but Metropolis University Hospital called. They said that Clara’s been admitted. They won’t say how bad she's hurt – hospital policy. Jon is in no shape to drive and I’m kind of jittery myself…. OK. Thank you, dear. Thank ….” Martha dropped the receiver and then slumped to the floor and began to cry. In minutes Lex was landing in the front yard in the LexCare helicopter. Thirty minutes after that, the helicopter was approaching the university. Lex saw smoke and ordered the pilot to circle the building where Clara’s lab had been located. Lex, Martha and Jon gasped in horror when they saw that the top 3 floors were missing from the building. In what had been Clara’s lab, everything was charred -- everything but a path leading from the epicenter of the explosion to a nearby wall. On the wall was an untouched area that looked like the reverse image of a shadow – a human figure. The helicopter landed in the University Hospital parking lot and the three passengers got out and raced to the entrance. Soon, they were in a consulting room outside the intensive care unit. Both Lex and Jon looked like they were going to strangle the doctor. He paid no attention to their impatience as he gave his explanation of what had happened.
The doctor said, “Your daughter was alone in a lab working on a research project. There was a massive explosion. An experienced fire-fighter who came in here with minor burns said that he had seen fragments of a bomb. Your daughter’s outer garments seem to have been blown off by the explosion leaving her in her undergarments. Unexplainably, miraculously, there seems to have been no damage done to her from that explosion. I’ve heard of such things but never witnessed it first hand before now.”
Jon said, “You should have told us to bring her some clothes if that’s all she needed. We’ll go to a store and by her some clothes then come get her. You got us all upset for nothing!”
The doctor said, “I wasn’t finished! There were secondary explosions from ruptured supply lines running throughout the labs. There were all kinds of chemicals present used for lab tests … and there was material there stored for study. There was some slightly radioactive material in liquid form in a tank in a lab on a floor above the one your daughter used. The substance has been known to cause mutations. The secondary explosions doused your daughter in this substance and blew some of it – quite a bit of it actually, into her pores. It seems to have gotten into her bloodstream. You must be prepared before you see her. She looks like someone from another planet – her skin is a pale green like they used to say Martians look. She is unconscious and running a high fever. Blood work has shown that her blood has mutated in ways that we have never seen before – no doubt due to that green substance from the lab. We can’t transfuse her blood because her body has adapted to using the mutated blood and reacts negatively to all blood types. It’s amazing that she’s still alive because most mutations are not viable. You should spend every minute you can with her. I can’t imagine her lasting long. If you can find someone who talks her native language, they might be able to help rouse her. Nobody here understands what she is saying -- probably just unconscious babbling. Hopefully she will be able to wake up to say goodbye before she passes. I hate to mention this but I understand that you have financial concerns. LutherCorp has generously offered to pay all her medical expenses if you donate her body for medical research – I understand she wanted to go into research and perhaps she could make the contribution in death that she wasn’t able to in life.” The doctor finally paid attention to the look in Jon and Lex’s eyes and wisely left the room quickly.
The doctor had been accurate in his description. Clara was a pale green. Her open eyes stared blankly at the ceiling as she repeated a song-like chant again and again. The sound of her "song" had an almost hypnotic effect on anyone hearing it ... and was certainly beautiful. But the chant coupled with the way she looked in her hospital bed surrounded by advanced medical equipment made the entire situation seem more like something from a surreal dream than reality. The Kents and Lex certainly wished it was something they could wake up from.
Clara's hair was
soaked with her sweat. The room smelled strangely
sweet from her body odor. They all sat with her for hours. Lex became
transfixed by the music of Clara’s words. Absentmindedly, he turned on
recorder to capture the sound of her voice so he would have it should
happen. Eventually Clara went silent and slept, but her breathing was
The doctors wanted to keep her at the hospital to observe and study
her, but reluctantly agreed to release her in the morning so she could
spend her last
hours at home in her own bed. They knew that there was nothing they
could do to
The Kents insisted on re-arranging Clara’s room so that the bed was against the windows with a southern exposure. Lex carried Clara from the car. He paused briefly at the threshold to the house thinking of the way he had imagined doing this under very different circumstances. He took her to her room and arranged her comfortably in bed. The Kents insisted that Lex go home for a few hours a day to try to sleep. They didn’t care if he stayed all night, but they wanted him to stay away from 9:00am to 3:00pm. They told him it was just to establish a routine, but they had other reasons. They kept her dressed in only her briefest underwear. When Lex was gone, they pulled back the blankets and opened the blinds so that Clara could get as much sunlight as she could. Clara had told them that her abilities were at least in part due to solar radiation. The Kents didn’t know what else to do, so they did what they could.
Lex couldn’t sleep, so he sat in his office. He started playing the recording of Clara’s chant over and over again. Then he transferred the recording to his computer. He looked up the name of a noted linguist and gave the man a call. He turned out to be an arrogant little snob, but Lex threw enough money at him to listen to the recording. The linguist said, “It’s just babble. It’s no language I’ve heard and I’m the best – I’ve heard them all. One possibility is that it is a spontaneous language. Sometimes identical twins seem to develop their own language. You know? Like in the movie “Nell” -- “Wan a bee, chick a bee.” That’s all I could suggest.”
Two Claras was a pleasant thought but Lex still couldn’t sleep. He cursed himself for not having a good photo of Clara. She had a way of having her hair in her face whenever someone snapped a picture. He almost wished he had kept the photos that Lionel had had taken. He thought that going over tomorrow and taking pictures of her now would be a little morbid. Perhaps he would hire an artist to paint her as he saw her. Lex called someone from work who had a way with computers and practically lived on the internet. He asked him to post the audio file of Clara’s chant on the net and offer a reward to anyone who could identify the language and provide a translation. The offer was soon posted. When he heard the chime of an incoming message, he realized that he had been sleeping in front of the computer for hours. The message read:
“I have translated your recording for you. No charge. I have never heard that language spoken. It is quite beautiful. The translation is as follows, “Dear merciful Lord. At this, the hour of my death, let my spirit remain with him who is chosen of my heart … to guide him and keep him from any harm he may do himself or others in his grief. Dear merciful Lord. Hear my prayer. Let me remain near to the husband of my soul. May I watch over him until the day we are as one in spirit.” The message repeats without variation after that. I hope that this translation was of some benefit.”
Lex typed a reply, “In what language is this message?”
In response came a question, “What was the source of the message?”
Lex replied, “I can not tell you that. I will pay you any price you name. What is the language in the recording?”
An answer came, “Money is no issue here. If you can not trust me with the source of the message, I can not provide you with the source of the language.”
Lex replied, “I recorded it in a hospital … a refuge hospital. I am trying to determine the nationality of one of the patients so that we can locate her family.”
An answer came, “Wrong answer. Attempt no further communication.”
Lex shouted at the computer, “NO! DAMN IT!”
Every day, the Kents let in the sun. They scratched Clara’s arm to see if the scratch left a mark. It always did. Clara’s temperature seemed better but they didn’t know if that was good or not. Lex was neglecting his business and was in danger of losing LexCare to LutherCorp. He stayed every minute that the Kents allowed him to. He often slept in a chair near her bed. He talked with her as if she was awake and read to her from his favorite books. One day, after Lex left, Martha found an engagement ring on Clara’s finger. Finally, Lex stopped coming around. Jon was mad at first. He had come to believe that Lex truly loved Clara. He knew that any man who would give up on her wasn’t good enough for his daughter. Then Jon heard why Lex stopped coming. He had been committed to a mental institution.
Then came the day that Clara woke up. She asked for Lex. They tried to avoid telling her but she insisted on knowing the truth. She tried to get out of bed but fell. That night, Clara stumbled out of bed and made her way to the bank barn. She tried to move a large stone in the back wall but it wouldn’t budge. She rigged a tractor to it and, after several attempts, she pulled the stone down. She made her way into the hidden room and stroked the hull of the spaceship that was hidden there. In her native tongue she screamed, “PLEASE! PLEASE HELP ME! I’m sorry I haven’t visited you in a while but I was too scared to come in a room this small. I need your help. I’m sick with the green death. I’m not asking for me. I don’t care about me. Lex needs me. FATHER! MOTHER! PLEASE!” Clara fell to the floor. She heard Martha calling for her outside but she was too weak to answer. The ship started to glow and Clara’s body began to float. As she started to pass out, Clara saw Martha enter the room. When Clara woke up, the room was dark and Martha was lying next to her. She reached over and touched her Mother's throat and could feel a strong steady pulse. Her temperature felt good too. She couldn't understand why Martha was unconscious but she seemed uninjured and just in a very deep sleep. In fact, she looked better than she had in years.
Clara stood up and thought
about how she felt. The constant pain and weakness were gone. Having never
known that much pain, she had never experienced the kind of physical relief
that the absence of pain had given her. She decided she felt pretty darned
good. She felt like flying. But she had to do a few things first. She carried
her Mother outside and gently placed her in a pile of hay before returning to
the room. She knelt by the ship and whispered "Thank you" in her
native tongue. Then she left the room and replaced the stone to seal her secret
inside. She carried Martha back into the house and put her in bed. She kissed
her Mother and said, "Goodnight, Mom." Martha half woke and
said, "Good night, Honey" before stretching, yawning and curling up
next to Jon. Clara kissed her Father and returned to her room. She made quick
work of rearranging her room and cleaning the house to get ready for a house
guest. She went to the closet to find something suitable for flying. Tight
fitting clothes didn't get destroyed when she went all out with her powers. She
dug through her closet and found the blue body suit and short red skirt she
bought when she considered trying out for cheerleader. She had fantasized about
showing off her body and her gymnastic ability, but she knew that she would
never be able to go back to hiding her face behind her hair and her body behind
baggy clothes after if the guys in school became aware of her athletic build and ample bosom. She decided that
she could get her money's worth out of this outfit by using it at times like
this. She got dressed in an instant, brushed her hair back and looked at
herself in the mirror. She watched herself and she changed the way she thought
about herself. Tonight she would be someone else. She put away the quiet, timid
geek. She looked for every ounce of confidence she had. She continued to look
until she didn't recognize the person looking back at her.
At the hospital, Lionel Luthor stroked Lex's head and said, "It's for your own good, Son. Forget about Clara Kent. You're my son. We're family. She is destroying your potential. You can't let a piece of ass keep you from your destiny." Over Lex's protests, an appliance was put in his mouth to keep him from biting his tongue. A technician stood ready by the switch to the electroshock machine. Lionel was going to tell the man to go ahead when he saw a blurry blue cloud appear on one of the walls of the room. He strained his eyes trying to make sense of it as the cloud turned into a more distinct shape. It seemed that a striking young woman had somehow entered the room through a wall without leaving a mark. Before he could get a good look, Lionel asked, “Emily, is that you dear?” As soon as he asked the question, he could see that this was someone else – perhaps a woman from Paradise Island or one of the goddesses they worshiped. The woman gave Lionel a cold look then rammed both fists into the wall. She pulled a large conduit out of the wall and broke it. Electricity danced on the woman's features and then the lights went out. When the emergency lights kicked on, the bed was empty except for the mouth appliance and broken restraints. Lex Luthor was gone.
Lex admitted to himself that his Dad must be right. He had gone insane. Either that or some woman who looked like Clara was carrying him through the clouds. He looked up at her and asked, "Am I dead?"
Clara answered, "No, not this time either." Then Clara kissed him passionately. He felt the same rush of energy that he had felt the day he almost drown in the river. Feeling safe and protected, he fell into a deep sleep.
When Lex woke up, he was in Clara's bed in the Kent farm house. First he noticed an arm wrapped around him then he saw the woman of his dreams nestled beside him.
Lex asked, "Clara? Am I dreaming?"
She answered, "No, but you should be, go back to sleep."
He said, "It's not safe for you. I could hurt you. I'm not well."
She answered, "You're right. You aren't well. That's why you need to sleep. Someone's been pumping you full of drugs. Shame on you."
Lex said, "Shame on me?"
Clara said, "Yes. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." They did it to you before and they've done it to you again, Lex. I'm no snob but I'd suggest that you start drinking bottled water, but check the bottle's seal before drinking it. Maybe hire a food tester, too. Now, I want to sleep more so go back to sleep."
Lex said, "We're in your house, right? This is dangerous!"
Clara asked, "Why?"
Lex said, "Doesn't your Dad have a shot gun?"
Clara said, "Yes, he has Grampa Hiram’s hunting riffle. Don't worry about Dad. He gave me permission to nurse you back to health so you can go fishing with him again. As long as I'm the one doing the touching, it's OK with Dad for now. So, PLEASE, go back to sleep!"
Lex said, "Are you still sick?"
Clara said, "I'm great, but I may have a relapse if you don't let me sleep. I don't want to be awake right now. Go to sleep. Don't worry. I'll be right here if you wake up again. I don't have anywhere to go."
Lex said, "You must have some school work to catch up on."
Clara said, "Nope. No school work. I'm expelled."
Lex said, "What?"
Clara explained, "Reckless endangerment, destruction of university property, unsanctioned experimentation, use of chemicals not permitted in university labs. La tee dee, la tee da. I'm getting sued for damages by the university. I'll probably get arrested for reckless endangerment. They'll probably arrest me for kidnapping you, too. Before this is over, they will probably find a body and claim the person died in the blast that they say I caused. I'll be up for homicide. But I'll handle this all later. Just go back to sleep. I'd like to enjoy the comfort of my own bed with you. My cellmate might not be so pleasant … but hopefully she’ll keep quiet while I’m trying to sleep."
Lex said, "Don't worry Clara. I'll ...."
Clara said, "You'll go to sleep or I'll pinch some nerves like Mr. Spock does and make you GO ... TO ... SLEEP!"
Clara had learned that she couldn't hide her face or figure while doing super-stunts. Loose clothes tore off or burned. Likewise a mask would be tight and she didn't like wearing one. She had settled for disguising herself in her normal, everyday life. She preferred being unseen anyway. An incident with Sheriff Ethan when she was nine made her afraid of getting unwanted attention from men. She wore loose clothing, slouched and hung her head forward so that her hair obscured her face. After the accident, she got horn-rimmed glasses -- letting people assume that her eyes had suffered damage from the explosion.
Once word got out that Clara had come out of her coma, the police came and took her into custody. She was indeed being charged with reckless endangerment. There was even a rumor that Clara was building bombs for terrorists or at least developing more powerful explosives for them. Homeland security was involved. Sheriff Adams could do nothing to assist Clara this time. All evidence that there had been a bomb planted in the lab for the purpose of killing Clara had disappeared along with all the initial police reports. The detectives who had initially claimed that the lab was bombed by a radio detonated device had either disappeared, said that they were mistaken or just wouldn't talk about it. Clara was tried as an adult. She was found guilty and sentenced to 6 years. The sentence was reduced to 18 months in federal prison followed by 4 1/2 years probation. The court also ruled that Clara would be forbidden for life from working in a laboratory setting. Each violation of that restriction would result in a mandatory additional sentence of 3 years minimum. Clara told the judge that she accepted the finding and judgment of the court by still maintained that she was the victim, not the perpetrator. She pleaded with the judge to remove the restriction against lab work since her field of choice was medical research. She told the judge that she was close to ending the threat of cancer at the time the lab was destroyed and that she needed lab access to complete her work. The judge told Clara that her remarks to the court about curing cancer showed arrogance -- and arrogance would lead to over-confidence and risk-taking. The judge concluded that allowing Clara to enter a laboratory with that attitude would make a second accident likely in which lives could be lost. The judge revised Clara's sentence to 2 years in prison followed by 4 years probation. Clara was taken to Metropolis Federal Prison for Women where she would work as a medical resident in the prison hospital.
The civil trial began as soon as the criminal trial was finished. Metropolis University sued for $12.8 million in damages to their property and won. The university agreed to consider the settlement paid in full if Clara would assign her patent rights to MU. Clara and the legal representatives of MU signed a contract specifying the terms of her assignment of patents and research materials to them. The next day, the university sold the patent rights and materials for $142 million.
There were many failed attempts on Clara's life in prison. She was warned that any participation in jail house fights would result in additional jail time ... and they followed through on those warnings. Clara decided to provoke the toughest female inmate to a fight. When the inmate came after Clara with a dozen other inmates, Clara easily beat them. She let everyone know that, in no uncertain terms, she was queen of the prison population. They started calling her "the ghost." When anyone ganged up on someone, she would appear and single-handedly end the fight. When drug deals were being made, she would show up out of nowhere and stop the deal from happening and destroy the “merchandise.” When inmates told guards that Clara was out of her cell when she shouldn't be, they would always find her locked in her cell. When she was put in solitary to make sure that she didn't get out, prisoners still claimed that she was still wandering around the prison population at will enforcing the peace. She began to inspire fear and respect among the inmates. People who were weak, felt safe. People with a history of addiction found her a firm but effective counselor in helping them cope with the medical aspect of their problem. With Lex's help, Clara made hand held devices she designed available to the prison population. These devices subliminally stimulated the inmates to help them become more literate and better able to learn. The warden was at first concerned about Clara's control of the inmates, but became used to the peaceful atmosphere that settled in after a while. Clara had power inside, but she didn't exercise it abusively. After 30 months served, Clara was released from prison but volunteered to come back to work in the prison hospital should the need arise. There was a brief struggle for power among the inmates after Clara left until "the ghost" was seen in the prison population again -- milling about, enforcing her will when necessary. The inmates bowed to the will of their unseen Queen. On the outside, Clara began her residency at Metropolis Mercy Medical Center -- a charity hospital on the low rent side of Metropolis.
Lois Lane, star reporter for the Daily Planet, was tapping on the door in a small alley. An informant had asked to meet her there and give her some juicy information on Morgan Edge. No one was answering so Lois tried the door and found that it was securely locked. Behind her, someone said, "Mr. Edge sends his greeting Ms. Lane. She turned to see two men with automatic weapons aimed at her. She heard a spray of bullets and blinked. When her eyes opened after an instant, the men were lying unconscious. Before she could even begin to imagine what happened, there was a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see a woman in a blue body suit with a short red skirt and a gold belt with a golden-metallic diamond-shaped belt buckle. The buckle had a stylized "S" engraved in it. The woman had dark flowing hair and violet eyes that stared right through Lois and gave her the chills.
Lois said, "You again? I take it I owe you a thank you for helping me out here. Can you talk? Have you considered granting me the interview I asked for the last six times I saw you?"
Clara said, "I'm getting tired of going out of my way to keep you alive when you don't seem to have the sense that God gave a squirrel when it comes to self-preservation. You keep taking outrageous chances. You must be the most reckless person in Metropolis. I have a lot of demands on my time and a lot more important things to do than baby sit you. If we see anymore of each other, people are going to start saying that we're dating!"
Lois said, "Oh! Do you find me attractive? Are you gay? Or Bi? What is it you do with your free time?"
Clara said, "Stop it with the questions and stop sticking your neck into the line of fire."
Lois said, "I'm sorry, but I have a job to do."
Clara said, "You won't have a job to do if you're dead. Promise to tone it down a bit and I promise to give you an exclusive or at least first shot at most of what I encounter. OK?"
Lois said, "That sounds acceptable. Interviewing you would be something less risky then going after Morgan Edge. Let's start with a little background. You have a slight accent. Where do you come from? Are you an accidental mutation like the ones from Smallville or were you surgically enhanced? Sorry, I meant "were you abilities enhanced." I didn't mean that your chest was enhanced ... but if it was, can I have your surgeon's name?"
Clara said, "I don't share personal information. People will know too much about me too soon. Any information that is known about me gives the people working against me an advantage. I can't risk giving the wrong people the power to stop me. I'm here to help people. That's all. I'm a force for good."
Lois said, "We know that. But you are getting to be a celebrity and people want to know all about you. For instance, what can you do? Do you teleport around or are you so fast that people can't see you move?"
Clara said, "Do YOU have the power to hear? I told you NO information."
Lois said, "Can you confirm a rumor? Someone said you found their dog stuck in a drain pipe. They thought that you must have looked through the ground and seen the dog. Can you see through solid objects? What color underwear do I have on?"
Clara said, "I can't tell you what color underwear you had on before I showed up, but after those men pulled those guns on you .... Well, I'd suggest you change as soon as you can. Now, I'll leave it to you to decide whether I have enhanced vision or normal smelling ability."
Lana said, "OK. I'll skip that. At least, tell me if you are seeing anyone."
Clara said, "I'm spoken for."
Lois said, "That's more like it. I've seen you take a punch thrown by a guy that makes Mike Tyson look like a wimp. It didn't seem to hurt you at all, but the guy acted like he had hit a steel post. Does that mean that you can't be hurt ... that you can't feel anything? Would you be able to feel ... let's say ... a kiss on the cheek? If it is possible for you to be hurt, what does it actually take to hurt you?" Clara held out a fist and then pointed her thumb down. Lois asked, "What does that mean?"
Clara said, "It means "thumbs down" -- NO COMMENT! Now if you'll excuse me, have some work to get done up north." Clara disappeared from sight along with the two gun men.
Lois said, "Hmmm. The wonder woman of Metropolis ... No, Wonder Woman is taken. Oh! There was an "S" on her belt buckle. Siren ... no. Sexy ... sexy ... no. Silent Girl ... no. Super Girl ... Super Girl! YES! That's it! SUPER GIRL!" Lois felt a tap on her shoulder. Clara was back. "Oh! Did you decide to come back and answer some questions?"
Clara said, "Super Girl?"
Lois said, "Did you hear me or do you have psychic powers?"
Clara pointed thumbs down again and said, "Here's a question for you. Are you a girl reporter?"
Lois said, "I'm a reporter."
Clara asked, "Do you consider yourself being a girl?"
Lois asked, "As opposed to being a boy?"
Clara said, "Well, I'm not a GIRL to be messed with. I'm a WOMAN, a POWERFUL woman that isn't going to be pushed around or stand by while people who can't defend themselves are getting pushed around. And you CAN quote me on that. But DON’T call me "Supergirl!" Got it?"
Lois answered, "I've got it, ..." Clara disappeared again. Lois continued, "... Super Woman."
Clara headed north. She wanted to finish work on her snow fort at the north pole. She decided that it would be a good second home for her since she had always wanted to be Santa Claus. A US court had made it illegal for her to conduct lab experiments within their jurisdiction. She would obey the letter of the law. So she was building a secure, state of the art facility where she could work legally and without interference. This lab could explode and no one other than her would ever even hear it. Working at top speed, she easily finished her work by 4:00pm -- plenty of time to run by the prison and enforce the peace there before going home to get ready for a special dinner with Lex.
Lex had gone all out. The table was set with fine china and silverware. The room was full of flowers and lit candles. He had a big bottle of ginger ale on ice in a champagne bucket. The dinner was a Thanksgiving feast made Martha's recipes to make up for the Thanksgivings she had missed in prison. He looked at her across the dinning table in the flickering candlelight and smiled at her as she ate. Finally he said, "I can't do this anymore!" He stood up and went to the wall switch and flipped on the light. He went back to the table and picked up his place setting and put it next to Clara's. He slid his chair over until it touched hers and then sat down so that his arm rubbed against hers and then inter-twined his fingers with hers. He said, "I can't stay that far away from you and settle for seeing you in only half light. I need to see you fully. I need to be as near to you as I possible can. You may have been the one behind physical bars, but I was in prison too. If the police ever come to our door again, we will run away together because I couldn't live being separated from you like that again. I will be the most law-abiding man on the face of the Earth rather than risk being away from you for a single day. No mattress will be without its tag on my account. I will not cross the street between lights. I will not get close to speed limits. I will not copy videos or download music. Once the new LexCare building is finished, we won't ever even need to leave that building. The top 2 floors will be our living quarters and recreational facilities. The first 6 levels will be devoted to a free clinic that you will oversee. I want you to run it as my full partner."
Clara tried to talk and couldn't for a while. She reached her free hand over to stroke the back of his head and pull him forward into a hungry kiss. Finally she said, "I don't have any money to speak of, Lex. I lost everything to the university in my settlement with them. There will be new patents soon, but nothing I intend to profit on. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but I believe that the products resulting from my medical research will be too priceless to withhold from anyone. To be your partner, I feel that I would have to provide half of the capital for the new facility and buy a half interest in LexCare. We are discussing perhaps half a billion dollars. I have to refuse your partnership offer, but I would gladly run your free clinic ... as your employee."
Lex grimaced and said, "Sorry, no deal. I would never consider having my wife as an employee."
Clara said, "Your wife? Lex. Are you ... are you asking me ...?"
Lex smiled and nodded. He slid the chair back and sank on one knee and said, "Clara Josephine Kent, would you do the honor of accepting my proposal of marriage?"
Clara got a funny look on her face and then she burst out crying. After a time trying to compose herself she said, “You think you know me, but you don't. You can't really love me unless you know the truth about me. I'm not even human!"
Lex said, "I know that the explosion changed you -- mutated your blood chemistry. My blood chemistry is off too. It doesn't matter at all. I love you. The REAL you. Not your biology ... well, I love some of your biology ... but it's the person that you are that means everything to me. If we can't have kids together, we'll adopt ... or you can build us some. Or we'll spend our lives with just each other. Whatever makes you happy! You want to be the stranger that fulfills everybody's dreams. Well, I want to be the only one that you're not a stranger to. Stay with me always. Be my wife!"
Clara said, "I'm an ex-con."
Lex answered, "You were innocent. Even if you had been guilty, I wouldn't care. You paid your dues."
Clara said, "My parents ... you don't know."
Lex said, "I practically lived with Jon and Martha while you were in prison. They won't stand in our way."
Clara said, "I was referring to my BIRTH parents! They ... they ...."
Lex said, "I don't care about your parents. I don't want to marry your parents. I want you. Let me show you something. Remember when I visited you in prison and I asked you to trace your right hand for me? I want to show you why I had you do that." Lex opened his shirt. The outline of her hand was tattooed over his heart. "I needed to have your hand on my heart ... reminding me to make decisions based on what my heart tells me. It was so counter-intuitive for me when I started practicing what you preached, but I've gotten richer than I ever dreamed I would ever be while losing myself in my attempts to help others. Without you, I couldn't have achieved anything worthwhile. I'm absolutely terrified when I think about the kind of man I might have been without your influence on me. I might have been in prison by now ... or dead. I owe everything to you. MARRY ME! In our hearts, we’re already married. You know that."
Clara said, "You don't know the real me!"
Lex said, "Then tell me. Tell me everything. Tell me anything. Can't you see that anything you tell me won't matter at all? I LOVE YOU!"
Clara held out a fist and then pointed her thumb down but her arm was trembling. Then she stared into Lex's eyes and took a couple of deep breaths then rotated her hand to give a thumbs up sign. Lex smiled brightly but Clara looked frightened.
Lex laughed and said, "You are so funny. You and your thumb. You and that Super Woman."
Clara said, "Who?"
Lex said, "Front page. Daily Planet. "Super Woman gives thumbs down to details about her powers and abilities." By all accounts, she is all powerful. What does she have to be afraid of? Just like you. You are afraid of me and what I might think about you -- but you have nothing to be afraid of from me."
Clara said, "What do you think of this Super Woman?"
Lex said, "A few years ago, I would have thought that she was stupid to have such power and waste it. Now, all I would say to her is "You go girl!" Wait a minute. Are you jealous? You don't need to be. No stranger could have the history and connection that we have. Physical strength and abilities are great and all, but it is the emotional strength and connection that we have that will keep anyone from ever coming between us. We can't be separated anymore. We're bonded. We may be apart, but we're still a part of each other. If people see me and you're not physically standing next to me, people think that we are separated, but that's just an illusion. You'll always be there. You'll always be part of me -- no matter what. Even if you decide to say no to my proposal, you will still be with me and be the better part of me. So don’t even think twice about this Super Woman. You’re my super woman and no one else could compare to you. … In addition to all that, the article about Super Woman says she is spoken for ... and so am I. Hearts may be breaking all over Metropolis tonight, but not mine. Plus the article says that she can’t stand bald men.”
Clara said, “It says WHAT?! Damn that Lois Lane! I hate reporters. What kind of idiot would want to write lies about people for a living?”
Lex said, “I was just joking about the “bald” thing. … But how did you know Lois Lane wrote the article if you haven’t read it? ... Oh, forget that. Forget Super Woman. Forget Lois Lane. Forget the entire world. I don’t care. Just come sit with me on the couch and tell me ... whatever it is you think I need to know so all this silliness can be over and we can be together from now on."
There was a small explosion at the door to the apartment. As Lex jumped to his feet, four armed men burst into the room. Lex jumped in front of Clara and said, "Take whatever you want, just leave us alone."
Morgan Edge said, "Don't you recognize me? I'm a close personal friend of your Father's. Lionel and I go waaaay back. He got word that you might be making a big mistake tonight and asked us to prevent it. He said we could wait until you had a little fun with her. Seeing how your shirt is open but her clothes are still on, we have arrived a little prematurely. If you want to do something now, we can wait. ... Whether you do or don’t, you won’t remember any of this after another little trip to the mental hospital. It’s kind of a waste killing her right away. I’ve seen her picture before, but in the ones where she’s wearing clothes, she never dressed this nice. Too bad we all can’t have some fun with her. But it’s too risky to chance. Lionel’s pretty pissed at me already. She survived the bomb on our first attempt. Of course, Lionel made things too complicated that time ... just because he wanted to detonate the bomb himself and watch her burn. My friends inside the women's penitentiary couldn’t manage to get the job done either – but not through lack of trying. So, I decided to handle everything personally this time. Lex, you can play with her for awhile if you want to but not too long ... and I’m afraid you’ll have to have us for an audience."
Lex said, "Go to HELL! I won’t let you lay a finger on her.”
Morgan said, "As much as I'd like to use my fingers on her, we plan to be a little more expedient this time. To insure success, we'll do some extreme overkill this time." He turned to one of the men and said, "Be firm but gentle, but get Lex out of the way."
Lex shouted, "NO!" But he was no match for the large men that Morgan sent to restrain him.
Clara looked at Lex and said, "Please don't worry about me. Relax and enjoy the show."
Lex was confused by what Clara said. He was scared witless that he was about to witness the loss of everything that mattered to him. But Clara just stood there calmly waiting for whatever Morgan Edge had in mind. Lex didn’t want to see what was about to happen but he couldn’t turn away.
As soon as they were sure that Lex was a safe distance away and unable to break away from the man who had him in a headlock, the three men unloaded the full clips of their automatic weapons at Clara. She stood there as if nothing was happening while her dress was ripped to shreds by the bullets. One man ignited a flame thrower and unleashed it on Clara as other men stood by with fire extinguishers. As the flames died down, Clara brushed off what remained of her dress and stood revealed in a blue bodysuit with a familiar belt buckle hanging from what was left of a short red shirt that had mostly burned away. She removed what was left of her glasses, straightened her posture to assume her full height and shook her hair before pulling it back out of her face. Morgan Edge tried to shake off the shock. He shouted, “I thought she was way too pretty to be Clara Kent. It's that Super Woman! She set us up!" The men made a dash for the door. Lex saw only a blue blur before Clara stood in front of him again. The men were bound and unconscious in a pile behind her.
Clara bit her lip. She looked at Lex sadly and said, "Sorry. I really wanted to tell you."
Lex looked at her blankly for a moment. Then he chuckled. Then he laughed hard for a few minutes until he could get control of himself. He looked at Clara and said, "One of my biggest fears is that someone would hurt you. Now, I haven't got a care in the world. Not a single one. I feel so light, I could float right off the floor and fly circles around the room!"
Clara said, "That's tough to do inside without breaking something."
Lex said, "If this is your secret, what's the big deal? I knew since the first time we met that you were a super woman. Is there anything else or can we set the date?"
Clara said, "There is more. Will you go with me to Smallville? I want you to meet my parents."
Puzzled, Lex said, "I know your parents."
Clara said, "My birth parents."
Lex said, "I thought they were dead. ... Okay. Sure."
Clara said, "Wait a minute." She picked up the phone and made a call to a detective in the police force. She told them that he could pick up Morgan Edge and 3 of his men at Lex Luthor's apartment and that she would be in to make a statement tomorrow.
When she hung up, Lex asked, "Do you want to drive to Smallville or fly?"
Clara said, "Fly."
Lex said, "I'll get my helicopter pilot on the phone."
Clara said, "No need for that." She walked over to Lex, picked him up, carried him out onto the balcony and shut the door behind them.
Lex said, "I thought I was supposed to carry you over the threshold."
Clara said, "Mom told me that you did that when you brought me home from the hospital. She also has a ring you left with me. She hid it somewhere in the house." Clara effortlessly hopped onto the balcony railing."
Lex said, "Hey, you're not going to throw me off, are you? I won't tell anybody your secret. Really."
Clara laughed and said, "You'd better not because I'll know where to find you." She bent her head down for a long kiss. When they stopped kissing, they weren't on the balcony anymore.
Lex said, "Oh my God! I had a dream like this once!"
Clara said, "If it was only once then you weren't dreaming. We'll be home soon."
Clara landed in the yard in front of the Kent farm house. She put Lex down and motioned for him to wait there. She stepped inside the front door and yelled, "Mom. Dad. I'm home!"
Martha said, "I see you burnt off another skirt. Maybe you should just ditch the skirt."
Clara said, "That would be a little too revealing even for Super Woman."
Martha said, "Is that what your are calling yourself now?"
Clara said, "That's what an obnoxious reporter
called me in the Daily Planet ... could have been worse! Speaking
of news, Lex asked me to marry him. We'll be
in soon. I have to show him what's ... who's in the bank barn before I
whether or not he still wants me."
Martha yelled bank, "Congratulations, Honey. It's about time. I hope Bruce Wayne doesn't take it too hard. When you get back in, I have something not so expected to tell you about. Something that we all thought was impossible."
Clara said, "It will have to be really something to top my news."
Martha said, "It is, ... but what isn't. You and Lex are already like an old married couple ... about as unexpected as your Dad taking a nap on the couch after supper."
Clara said, "We'll see. Lex is waiting for me. This shouldn't take. I'll be back soon. Hopefully, Lex will still be with me."
Martha said, "He will be. The man's not an idiot! I'll heat some soup for when
you come back in. It will help soothe his nerves."
Clara led Lex into the bank barn and up to the back wall. The wall was made of massive stone blocks – supposedly to hold back the pressure from the weight of the earth bank beyond the wall that served as a ramp to the barn’s second floor. She told Lex, “There is a hidden room behind this wall. I helped build it but it was too small for me to stand being in there for long until you helped me with my claustrophobia. Thanks for helping me get to the point where I can go in there and visit them again.” Clara reached over and effortlessly moved aside a block that must have weighed more than 2 tons. Until this moment, Lex had no idea how strong Clara was. Judging by how easily she moved the stone, he still had no idea what the limit to her strength might be. Clara reached inside and flipped on a light switch before leading Lex inside. Lex had thought he had guessed the truth – that Clara was a mutant. His jaw dropped at the sight of the spaceship. It floated effortlessly in the room without any support. It had an elliptical cross-section. It was 8 feet long 5 3/4 feet wide and 3 3/4 feet thick at its thickest point. Clara gently touched the spacecraft and the top shimmered and retracted into the rest of the ship’s body. Inside were the bodies of two adults who looked to be in their mid twenties. Their bodies were so perfectly preserved that they looked like they could sit up and greet Lex at any moment. They were beautiful beyond words. Clara said, “We had just left my home world Krypton when the planet exploded. Fragments of the planet struck the ship. The ship healed itself but a portion of the atmosphere was lost. My parents knew that one of us would have to die if the others were to survive. Without saying anything to each other, they reached out, took each others’ hand and telepathically ordered the ship to cut off their oxygen supply. They died quickly. I laid there between them the rest … the rest of the … way ….” Clara turned and buried her head against Lex’s shoulder and burst out crying. He gently rocked her in his arms and let his own tears flow.
He softly whispered, “I know they would be proud of you. I certainly am.”
Lex and Clara walked up to the house. Jon was on the front sidewalk waiting for them. Clara wiped away a tear and then kissed Jon on the cheek. She walked on past him and into the house and on back to the kitchen. Lex approached Jon and put up his hands to fend of a punch. Jon reached out his hand for a hand shake instead. When Lex reached for the hand, Jon feigned a punch. Lex flinched then they both smiled. Jon put an arm around Lex’s shoulder and escorted him inside. Clara went upstairs to put on some more clothes. Jon motioned for Lex to sit down. When they were both seated, Jon asked, “Did she show you the ship?”
Lex answered, “Yes.”
Jon leaned closer to Lex and whispered, “How much do you think that technology would be worth to your company?” Lex seemed puzzled for a second and then his jaw dropped. He was totally shocked at himself. Jon asked, “That never crossed your mind? Congratulations, Son. You are no longer Lionel Luthor’s son. Welcome to the family. You know, Lionel approached both Clara and me through channels on many occasions. Clara wasn't able to intercept ALL the photos that were sent. It was hard to deal with, but I was young and in love once. Now I'm old and in love and it's something you have to look forward to. But, back on track, Lionel offered Clara money to stop seeing you and made veiled and not so veiled threats. He appealed to me as the father of a decent girl to do what was best for my daughter by telling you to stay away from her. He offered me more money than they print in Washington in a year if I could get you two to call it off. But seeing the expression on your face right now is worth more to me that that money ever could. That was priceless! If I had a photograph of that, I'd have it framed!"
Lex said, "Glad I could amuse you, DAD!" Lex looked at the expression on Jon's face as it all started to sink in. Lex said, "And don't worry about the cost of the wedding. Clara insists on an extremely simple ceremony. We're limiting it to 10,000 of our closest friends not including the entire population of Metropolis Federal Women's Penitentiary and the guards." Lex watched the expression on Jon's face for a few seconds and then said, "You have some very interesting expressions too, Dad. I was just kidding. I'm just beginning to realize how hard it was on you to manage the farm with Clara in prison."
Jon said, "You have no idea. She did almost all the farm work for more than a dozen farms in this are almost entirely by herself. Fortunately, we were able to do well enough in the years before she got arrested to pay a full crew to do the work while she was gone ... but we barely broke even. The legal fees for Clara's defense were ridiculous and not worth it considering the results."
Lex said, "I wish you would have let me help with that."
Jon said, "You know we couldn't. I shouldn't have mentioned it. We did okay."
Lex said, "Well, don't worry about the wedding. Clara just wants the 4 of us, a neighbor or two and a minister. I have another 2 people in mind who can stand up with us. It would be hard to pick a best man and a maid of honor. Clara and I have been so involved with each other for so long that we hardly know anyone else anymore."
Jon said, "I don't want Clara to worry about the cost. I want her to have anything she wants on her wedding day."
Lex said, "She will have ... but what she wants has nothing to do with money. She wants to be married here at her home, in the yard if it doesn't rain. She doesn't want it to be a big event -- just real and sincere. She wants to do almost everything herself. Trying to bring in other people or over decorate would probably upset her."
Jon said, "That sounds like my girl. I just
hope and pray she isn't denying herself on my account. I don't
want her to have any regrets."
Lex heard Clara let out a squeal in the
kitchen. he got to his feet just as Clara came running into
the room with tears streaming down her face. She took Lex in her
arms and announced excitedly,
"Lex, Mom's pregnant! I'm going to have a baby brother or sister!"
While still holding Clara, Lex turned to Jon, flashed him a smile, punched him softly on the shoulder then shook his hand. Lex said, "Just think, if the baby is a girl, maybe you'll be having another night like this in twenty years or so."
Before Jon could react, Martha shouted, "Everybody into the kitchen. It's soup!"
Eight people gathered at the Kent farm for the service. Gabe Sullivan was asked by Lex to stand up with him. Gabe had been the only man to appreciate Lex’s effort to save the plant in town. He had held things together when Clara had been injured and Lex was unable to focus on work. Gabe brought his daughter Chloe to stand with Clara and be a witness to the ceremony. A widow who lived across the road from the Kent farm came as well.
Clara asked Chloe to come early and spend some time helping her get ready for the ceremony. Clara wanted to get to know Chloe personally before having her as part of the ceremony. They had seen each other in school but Chloe was so involved in her newspaper and Clara spent most of her time in high school lost in thought – unraveling the mysteries of the universe in her own mind. Clara was frightened since an early age that, if people knew anything about her, she would be taken away from the Kents. She kept to herself in school to the point of being considered rude and anti-social by most of the other students. When she left high school at 16 to go to college on a full scholarship, people assumed that she had just been an intellectual snob. Clara had actually been Chloe’s shadow for a few years. Chloe turned up the meteor freaks and Clara dealt with them covertly. Clara had been caught in the act a few times and Chloe had stared her right in the face on more than one occasion. Chloe never connected the strong, fast mystery woman with the girl in high school who always sat in the back of the class with her head down and her face behind a wall of hair.
Chloe sat stunned as Clara talked to her about the key to finding the cure to cancer and aids, success through "counter-intuitive selflessness" and techniques for "fostering world peace by appealing to people’s greed." Clara noticed that Chloe was staring at her and apologized for rattling on due to pre-wedding jitters. Chloe said, “Let me apologize for never noticing the real you. You are absolutely brilliant! You should be President of the US.”
Clara answered, “I could never be President – I’m an alien … I wasn’t born in this country.”
Chloe said, “I always thought you were spaced out on drugs or something. I couldn’t believe it when you got that scholarship to MU. I really wish I had gotten to know you better. In another life, we could have been best friends.”
Clara said, “It was my fault. I am naturally shy. I wanted to be more out-going like you were, but I was afraid to be in the spotlight. I guess I was right to think that way because as soon as I became somewhat known, I got accused of all kinds of things and ended up being framed and sent to prison. Anyway, I read all your articles in high school and had "The Torch" sent to me when I started attending college. You were my role model.” Chloe blushed. Clara asked, “So, since I wasn’t there to be your best friend, who was the lucky person to get the job?”
Chloe answered, “That would have to be my fiancé Pete Ross.”
Clara said, “You landed Peter? He’s great. We had a play ground encounter I'll never forget when I was 6. He even caught me watching him a couple times and tried to flirt with me. If he ever acted the least bit serious, I scurried away like a scared rabbit. Did you have any girl friends?”
Chloe said, “Well, I baby sat for Lana Fordman a couple times, but her being married and a mother kind of kept us from getting as close as we might have. Plus she had the entire cheerleader thing going on. Now that she runs the Talon, I see her a lot. She makes great coffee even though she dispises the place and feels like her Mother forces her to work there. The only real girlfriend I have other than my cousin is someone I don’t even know.”
Clara said, “Oh, like a pen pal or a friend in a chat room on the internet?”
Chloe said, “No, stranger than a pen pal. You say you’ve read my stuff. I almost got killed half a dozen times and some miracle would happen and I’d find myself out of danger. It’s like there was a guardian angel following me or something. I got a good look at her sometimes. If I see her again, I’ll know it. I have a theory that she moved on. She disappeared for a couple years then someone fitting her description has been showing up in Metropolis. I think my secret Santa is none other than Super Woman.”
Clara said, “Oh. I thought that was a hoax or something to boost newspaper sales.”
Chloe said, “Oh no, she’s real all right. And, boy am I jealous! My cousin Lois Lane has got Super Woman in her back pocket. She even got to name her for Christ’s sake! If I had had that chance, I would have called her “Electra” or something cool like that!”
Clara said, “Oh my God! Lois is your cousin? Damn.”
Chloe asked, “Why “damn” ?”
Clara said, “It’s just I’ve bumped into her one too many times. I hope it doesn't hurt your feelings by being honest, but she grates on me. She is so pushy. That name "Super Woman" isn't even original. Remember Malia Yusufzai from high school? Her sister Elina started calling that person that detonated all those mine fields in Afghanistan "Super Woman" years ago ... and since you say that this Super Woman in Metropolis actually exists, she might be the same person."
Chloe said, "I can't wait to see Lois's expression when I tell her that her name wasn't original."
Clara said, "I didn't mean to insult your cousin. It's just that I wouldn’t trust her with an important secret. That's no
reflection on you. We’ve only
talked a few minutes and I’d trust you infinitely more than her. I’d
bet you wouldn’t print
something someone told you off the record – even if it would be the
story of your career.”
Chloe said, “I hope I could be trusted, but I really don’t want to be tested .. . or lose out on a big story.”
Clara said, “Well, since you are my maid of honor and all, I’ll promise you an exclusive interview if you won’t use my picture.”
Chloe said, “Sure. What’s the story going to be about? Prison life? The justice system.”
Clara said, “No, I’m afraid it will be more of a geeky kind of medical science thing.”
Chloe said, “That’s OK. I’m used to page 10.”
Clara said, “I think the title should be simple. Something like “Cancer Cured.” “
Chloe laughed, “Yeah, right.” Clara didn’t break a smile. Chloe said, “You’re not kidding? Holy SHIT! When?”
Clara said, “I’ll be back from my honeymoon in a month. Give me 2 months after that and I’ll be giving you a call.”
Martha walked into the room carrying the wedding dress that she wore when she married Jon. She had altered it for Clara. Chloe was still in shock from what Clara had told her, now she was in for another surprise. Clara took off her flannel shirt and baggy pants. She took off her horn-rimmed glasses and pulled her hair back from her face. She straightened her posture and took a deep breath getting ready to put on her wedding gown. Chloe’s eyes practically bugged out of her head. Chloe said, “I take it back – what I said about you being smart. Anybody that has a body like that and doesn’t flaunt it has got to be out of her mind. If the boys in high school had a hint of what you have, they wouldn’t have even noticed that I’m female. My God! Did you happen to go to a Halloween party at the school once ... for like half a minute?”
Clara said, "Stop making me self-conscious. I’m nervous enough as it is. Besides, anybody that didn’t know that you’re a female from a mile away would need a seeing-eye dog. I think you’re gorgeous.” Clara stepped into the wedding gown and Martha zipped it up without an effort. Martha had done an excellent job of tailoring the dress to show off Clara’s figure. The dress was simple but elegant.
Chloe said, “I’m glad Pete isn’t here to see you in that dress. He’d expect me to look like that in my wedding dress. Worse yet, he be cursing himself for not chasing you when you ran away from him in high school. How did you get a figure like that? I never saw you working out in the gym or at the YWCA.”
Clara answered, “Well, I do a LOT of farm chores.”
Chloe turned to Martha and said, “With Clara getting married, you’ll need some help around here. I’ll come over and start helping out tomorrow morning. Please let me work here. How does $100.00 a week sound? That’s all I could afford to pay you right now.” Martha laughed. Chloe said, “Do you think I’m kidding?”
Clara said, “I’m glad I didn’t tell you that it was from working out in prison because I'd hate for you to begin a life of crime hoping to get caught. Seriously Chloe, I train a bit but I eat like a horse. I think my figure is purely a result of my genetic background.”
Chloe looked Clara straight in the face, “Well your figure is out of this world, so if it’s your genetic … don’t I know you from somewhere ... somewhere other than classrooms at Smallville High? Oh my God, It’s YOU!”
Clara put her index finger to he lips and said, “Shhh!” Chloe mouthed the words, “Super Woman” and shook her head in disgust because she knew she could never bring herself to print what could be the story of the decade..
Lex was busy in the bank barn setting up video cameras to get a view of the wedding from every angle. He was very nervous. The minister patted him on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry Son, you’re doing the right thing.”
Lex said, “I know I’m doing the right thing. I’m about to marry the most wonderful woman on the planet. I’m just worried that she’ll start thinking about the other men she could have, realize that I’m not good enough for her and back out of the wedding.”
Just then, Gabe came running to say that Clara was on the way. Lex flipped a switch on the sound system and the music started to play. He ran to each of the video cameras and made sure that they were running. He hurried back and stood by Gabe at the alter just as Clara appeared at the door on Jonathan’s arm. Lex whispered to Gabe, “I must really be in love because nobody could possibly be that beautiful.”
Gabe whispered back, “If that’s the case, then I must be in love with her too. You are one lucky man.”
Clara looked Lex up and down in his tuxedo and her face burst into a brilliant smile. The smile hit Lex like a bulldozer and his knees buckled. Gabe was so distracted by Clara that he almost didn’t react in time to keep Lex from falling. Clara found it impossible not to smile and the smile was contagious. Everyone had big grins on their faces except for Jon, who seemed to have trouble with every step. Finally Jon and Clara reached the alter. The minister asked, “Who gives this woman that she may be wed?” Jon stood frozen. The minister asked again. Jon still didn’t answer. After a pained silence, Martha jumped up and shouted, “I do!” Martha grabbed Jon and maneuvered him into a chair and sat down with him. Clara stood close to Lex so that their hands brushed each other. They stood smiling at each other as if they would burst out laughing with joy and giddiness at any moment.
The minister said, “This couple has come to me today so that I may witness and bless their union and grant legal status to something that is spiritual in nature. This couple is already husband and wife. They have made their decision and committed to each other in their hearts. They have vowed to be faithful to each other in deed and in spirit.” Turning to Lex, the minister said, “Alexander Joseph Luthor, what have you to tell those assembled of your love for this woman?”
Lex reached out, put his hand over Clara’s heart and said, “I was traveling fast on a road to darkness and despair without an eye to what was ahead. I crashed and fell – destined to be lost, destined to burn. But I was baptized by the river and pulled forth by the woman before me. She sat by my side and became my teacher. I learned to forget myself. I became lost in others and discovered a new me. Today, we stand together and are one. If there comes a time when people see me and think that I am standing alone, they are mistaken. This woman is now part of me and will be with me always. My beloved wife, Clara Josephine Kent.”
Turning to Clara, the minister said, “Clara Josephine Kent, what have you to tell those assembled of your love for this man?”
Clara reached out, put her hand over Lex’s heart and said, “I was in prison. It was a prison of self-pity and fear. I believed that I was alone, the last of my kind. When you are smart and if you so choose, you can build strong walls about your heart shored up by reason and logic. I was thrown alone into the universe, but the universe conspired that I would not remain alone. Taught to feel safe loving others by my new parents, I pulled a lost man from a river. In him I saw someone who could either destroy me or free me to be who I could be. Having saved him, I felt responsible for him and chose to walk with him through a world often alien to me. I gave him power over me. He chose to use that power to save me from the fears that bound me. In turn, I bind my heart to him. There is and can only be one man for me. All that I am, I give to him. Everything that has been with held from him or denied to him shall now be given to him freely and gladly. I now belong to you, my husband, Alexander Joseph Luthor.”
The minister asked, “Alexander and Clara have chosen to exchange rings at a later time. Does anyone have any just cause why these two should be denied the union that they seek?” No one said anything. The minister continued, “Then by the power vested in me by the State of Kansas and by God Almighty, I recognize and bless the union of Alexander Joseph Luthor and Clara Josephine Kent. You may kiss the bride.”
Lex and Clara kissed while the few invited guests cheered and threw chicken feed on them. Chickens ran in to enjoy a meal as everyone but Lex and Clara went back to the farm house to eat a large meal that Martha and Clara had prepared. Lex turned off the cameras. Clara took hold of Lex's arms, stared into his eyes and said, "The ceremony we just took part in was done in accordance with Earth law and can easily be undone."
Lex said, "Maybe you don't think I take vows as seriously as you have told me you do. I made a vow and a legal commitment that I intend to honor until death ... and possibly beyond."
Clara said, "Let me finish and pay attention to what I am saying because this is deadly serious and permanent ... and may extend our time together far more than you ever bargained for. We are not the same species. If there is any hope for us to have a physical relationship and any possibility of us having children together, we must be more equally mated. To me, there aren't many consequences. To you, it might mean that you can't ever be with another human female. As far as I know, the process is not reversible. I know when people marry, they talk about forever ... but usually, it's not. If you follow me into the chamber where my parents' spaceship is hidden, we will be mated in a way that is LITERALLY forever ... and that is a heck of a long time for people to have only each other and not grow to resent or hate each other. That's too much for me to expect of you or ask of you, so I won't. I know this is more than a little late to have this conversation with you, but it has been something I've known since before I left my first home ... on Krypton ... and something that has hung over me like a dark cloud since I first developed feelings for you and imagined we might be at this point in our lives someday. I don't think I truly ever believed we'd get this far because ... because I ... I ... never really believed I deserved to be with you ... and still don't. So, all that being said."
Lex said, "You don't even need to ask me."
Clara said, "I must!"
Lex said, "There's NOTHING I want more. Forever is waiting. And so is that wedding cake. Let's do this!"
Lex and Clara walked, hand in hand into the bank
barn. Clara removed the stone to the secret room. Lex
and Clara went inside to have a private Kryptonian ceremony. The
spaceship glowed in acceptance of Lex as Clara’s mate. The glow spread
Lex and Clara as the ship prepared Lex to physically become the man
him to be. Just as Lex had shared his worldly possessions with Clara,
shared her other-worldly gifts with Lex. A few minutes later, as they
secret room, Clara asked Lex to close the door for her. He smiled at
her because he thought she was joking.
When he saw that she was serious, he lifted the stone easily and put it
place over the opening to the hidden room. He laughed and said, “I
assumed that that was a real stone. It wasn’t heavy at all.” Clara
covered her mouth to hide her smile. One more secret … just for a
while. They stayed in the barn for a long time, kissing each
other with such a need for each other that they couldn't force
themselves to stop. Finally, Clara led Lex away at a speed
to fast for human sight to see them pass. He assumed that
she was making him able to travel so fast. In a secret
place in the woods, their marriage was consummated.
Everyone had long finished eating before Lex and Clara returned to the
farm. They shared a meal and talked with their guests. They
couldn't stop smiling. Neither of them had ever been so happy.
Early that evening, a helicopter arrived decorated with tin cans and shoes and a “Just Married” sign. The couple said their good-byes, got in the helicopter and were flown to the airport. The couple took a commercial flight to Orlando, Florida and went on a Disney cruise. It didn’t matter where they were because they were together. After the cruise, they spent a week at Disney World, but Clara was dying to take Lex on a surprise trip to a place she had built for them. Lex had shared even his wildest dreams with Clara and she wanted nothing less than to make his dreams come true.
Clara took Lex to the beach and had him stand at her side. She wrapped an arm behind him and around his waist. She had him wrap his closest arm around her waist and hold on. Side by side, Clara and Lex took flight. As they went higher and faster, Lex took a deep breath. Clara said, “Trust me. Don’t worry. Relax. Breathe. No harm will come to you.” Her speed picked up and soon they were in space. Lex found that he was fine without air. He thought that Clara was somehow protecting him making it possible for him to survive in space wearing simple street clothing. As they approached the moon, Lex thought Clara was pulling one of her famous puns and had planned a literal “honeymoon” for them, but they passed the moon at a blinding speed. Before it seemed possible, they were slowing on approach to the red planet – Mars. They landed in front of a transparent dome that was so large that the structure was invisible from the distance. They entered an airlock and went through a corridor. Lex discovered that there was an Earth-like atmosphere complete with clouds inside the dome. After a short walk, they came to a house built from floor plans by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house was in Wright’s prairie style and was one of Lex’s favorite designs. The words “Lex and Clara Luthor” and the number one were on the mailbox out front. He looked inside the mailbox and found a handful of junk mail addressed to him. On the porch, Clara wiped her feet on the welcome mat and had Lex do the same. She opened the front door and jumped into Lex’s arms so he could carry her inside. As soon as he put Clara down, Lex started touring the house. He found some of his clothing in the closet. Clara said, “I’ll be waiting for you at our place as usual” and disappeared from sight. Lex continued to tour the house but couldn’t find her. He looked out the kitchen window and saw her sitting on their rock from River Road in the back yard. He went out and sat on the rock with her. They leaned against each other, inter-twined their fingers and took in the view. Lex said, “Our friendship … the stuff of legends.”
Clara said, “And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Morgan Edge had turned state’s evidence against Lionel Luthor. Lionel disappeared into South America for a few years. He returned in disguise to visit a Metropolis Hospital. The doctor came back in to see him after running extensive tests.
The doctor said, “You should have taken LexCare’s One Dose Weekly tab and you wouldn’t have needed to waste your time on this office visit. Fortunately, it's nothing serious. If you had come to me with a cold, I couldn’t have done much for you. Maybe she’ll work on that next.”
Lionel said, “She, who?”
The Doctor said, “Who else? Clara Luthor.”
Lionel snapped, “Don’t you dare say HER name in front of me!”
The doctor said, “As you wish. I’m happy to tell you that you have a case of cancer.”
Lionel said, “Doctor, that’s a very bad joke.”
The doctor said, “I’m not joking. You’re body is full of cancer, top to bottom. The pain must be terrible.”
Lionel said, “It is. Can you operate?”
The doctor said, “I could but it wouldn’t help. Even if it would help, I wouldn’t -- considering the alternative.”
Lionel said, “What alternative?”
The doctor said, “What rock have you been under? The cancer drug – Cure4All.”
Lionel asked, “Is it effective?”
The doctor said, “Totally.”
Lionel asked, “Side effects?”
The doctor said, “It makes you feel good. The pain goes away almost immediately. Some doctors actually inject fast growing cancerous cells into patients to quickly re-grow tissue then use Cure4All to convert the cancerous tissue back into healthy tissue. It’s a fast way to replace damaged areas of a person’s body. I would never have believed it without seeing it under clinically controlled conditions time and again without fail.”
Lionel said, “Well cost is no object, I want the drug.”
The doctor said, “Of course cost is no object. I buy it in bulk because the packaging is more expensive than the drug. That’s why it's mainly distributed in the form of a weekly, over the counter vitamin supplement called "One Dose Weekly." The drug has no negative side effects so there is no need to wait for cancer to develop to take the drug. Some communities are considering putting it in the water supply.”
Lionel said, “What stupid idiot decided to sell it that cheap?
The doctor said, “Sorry, you told me not to say her name. ... The sad thing is, if it wasn’t for that lab explosion a few years ago and ... the woman you don't want named ... being put in prison, the drug could have been available months earlier. The Aid’s cure she was working on has completed accelerated clinical trials. Cure4All was an effective treatment for Aids but the new formula will out and out stop it. Now that ... "that woman's" name has been cleared and she’s allowed back in the lab, who knows what she’ll do. I don’t know how she has time to do any work with all the children she’s been having – 4 in a little over 3 years! I wouldn’t be surprised if she finds out how to extend a normal human lifespan to 150 or 200 years. Maybe she can even extend it long enough for you to serve out your full sentence, Mr. Luthor. Yes, I know who you are. Some men from the FBI are waiting for you outside."