Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Chapter 30: Challenges

Lex watched him wordlessly, never having expected to hear Clark share more of his feelings in those two minutes than he had in the past two years. He couldn’t deny what Clark had seen or explain it away… not in Clark’s current state of mind. The pain radiating from Clark’s eyes was far beyond anything he had expected, but was – at the same time – utterly familiar to Lex from his own troubled years.

Clark had clearly concluded that their friendship was over— and so, despite the presence of family and other friends, felt totally alone. The thought disturbed Lex, who was completely unfamiliar with the thought that his friendship could be so important to anyone who already had the love of friends and family. His connections… yes, his wealth… of course, but not his friendship.

“Clark…” Lex broke off… at an unusual loss for words. The moment felt trickier than many of the tensest business negotiations he had navigated lately. Clark clearly and desperately needed his friendship, confidence, and honesty, but just as clearly could not handle a simple direct discussion of Jonathon’s minor revelations. And, for every second he delayed, Lex could feel Clark withdrawing deeper and deeper inside himself.

After running through every approach that came to mind and deciding each was unsuitable… Lex pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger as he tried to think of others. Feeling Clark’s quiet glare on him, Lex irritably snapped, “Damn it. Clark, why are you making it so hard?”

Clark’s head shot up as the pain in his eyes flared, mixing with grief and anger.

In a harsh, almost brittle voice… he rasped “Hard? On you? Was I making it hard on you? I didn’t know. I thought I was making it easier on you. But, here, let me make it even easier…” as he spoke Clark reached out and grabbed Lex’s shoulders before Lex could set his defenses and pushed Lex backward to the door.

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