Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Chapter 26: Reacting

Just as Kelly stepped into the hall, she ran into Lex and stopped him before he entered Clark’s room. He was quite glad to run into the little nurse because it gave him the chance to discuss the caution further.

After several minutes of discussion, Kelly agreed with his conclusion and grinned as she waved him quietly over to the door, saying conspiratorially, “I think I’ve taken care of that for the moment.”

After looking in, Lex grinned back and nodded. It was clear to see that the cat had captured Clark’s full attention and was quickly lulling him to sleep. In fact, as Clark popped another piece of cookie into his mouth, he yawned a broad, wide yawn that let several small pieces drop out. As they watched, Tigger settled under Clark’s hand purring warmly as he stroked her coat. Slowly, Clark’s head began to nod as he drifted off to sleep.

“Unless I miss my guess, your friend will be out for several hours. Why don’t you go home and get some rest yourself? I heard someone mention this morning that he’s going home with you tomorrow, so it’s bound to be a long day. Tigger and I can stay with him tonight.”

Lex readily accepted her suggestion, happy in fact to have another few hours to mull over the news, but had a question for her before he left: “Can I ask what made you so certain that he shouldn’t be left alone?”

Quickly deciding that she liked Mr. Luthor’s blunt approach, Kelly checked back in to make certain that Tigger had the young man well-in-hand and gestured for Lex to follow her into the nurses lounge. After she closed the door behind them, Kelly poured a cup of coffee for each of them and gestured for him to sit on the couch.

“Do you have any brothers or sisters, Mr. Luthor?” Kelly suspected that at least some of the rumors regarding the wealthy young man were true. Certainly, those about his friendship with the Kent’s son seemed to be true, but in Kelly’s mind, it was always safer to ask than assume.

Lex nodded cautiously, “Yes, a brother, why do you ask?”

“Only as a point of reference: perhaps, you have some memory of discovering something about your brother that mystified you?”

Lex nodded noncommittally.

“For me, it was discovering that my sister used to cut herself. At the time, I didn’t understand that it was linked to clinical depression. It took years of study for me to finally recognize the symptoms…”

“I don’t see where this is going.” Lex interrupted her, “Are you saying that Clark…?”

Kelly stared at him sympathetically, before asking “When was the last time you saw him without his shirt on?”

“I don’t know, but there was some sort of accident this summer, an explosion…” What he was hearing couldn’t be right. Lex knew Clark… despite everything he had missed since the island, Clark couldn’t have changed this much.

When he looked Kelly in the eyes, Lex realized she had been waiting for him to stop.

“I’m sorry. I know it’s uncomfortable to discuss but, the scars on his chest are just too regular for it to be anything else.”

Lex sat for several minutes with his hands draped limply between his knees—stunned. She pushed the coffee between his hands and sat beside him as he began to sip at the proffered coffee—trying to marshal his thoughts. He certainly had access to the best resources for helping Clark overcome a problem like this, but Lex wasn’t entirely certain that he was ready to let someone else… even a trained psychiatrist go delving into Clark’s secrets before him.

Remembering his own recent treatment by a doctor who turned out to be on his father’s payroll, Lex suspected that he might be projecting his animosities on others of the profession. Nevertheless, there was too much Lex needed to find out first… Once I get to the bottom of things, Lex promised himself, I’ll make certain Clark gets the help he needs.

Still, he did have one more question for the intuitive nurse before he left… “He seems fascinated with … Tigger? Did you call her? Do you suppose we could arrange a visit or two while he’s recovering? I think he could use the distraction.”

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