WHEN THINGS FALL APART

Whitney Fordman sat on the bleachers on the football stadium and cried. He was all alone and no one would be around. It was Friday night and all his friends were out drinking and having a good time. He did not think he would ever have a good time again. All he kept thinking was the harsh words Lana had thrown at him in a crowded hallway at school. 'I feel like I'm trapped in this relationship by guilt.' was what she had said. He found out later she had been infected by some rare toxin, he felt marginally better. That was until he asked Chloe Sullivan for the whole story. The toxin released inhibitions but also killed the host. So Lana actually did want to move on, not that he could blame her. He was washed up before he even graduated High school. He knew how pathetic his life had become in a few short weeks. His Dad was not getting better, he lost his scholarship, and now he was horrible boyfriend material.

"What kind of joke have I become?"

The one person who actually seemed to care was Clark Kent and he wanted Lana for himself. 'Now that is ironic.' Whitney wiped his eyes and wondered if he would ever be happy. He wanted out of Smallville so bad and he had been so close but as with all things in his life, it was not to be. The days stretched for an eternity of working at the store and serving the community. His life was over before he could live it. That started a fresh round of tears. His father would have been disgusted by such a show of weakness but Whitney was not his Dad and never wanted to be in the first place.

"Fordman, drops back, reads the defense, ducks under the blitzing linebacker, turns left moves up, throws...perfect pass...TOUCHDOWN!" Then Whit stopped. He wanted to forget about all the moments that had taken place on this field, bitter memories that all his success was in the past. Whitney could not stop the sobs and gave up trying.

Clark was in the Torch offices finishing an article for Chloe. She wanted it properly formatted and loaded into the layout program when she walked in at 7:00am. Clark knew better than to fight with her. She was mean about getting things right for the paper. He was walking out the back when he heard echoes coming from the stadium. He walked around and saw a lone figure sitting in the stands. He noticed the tear tracks running down Whitney's face. For Clark it was a punch to the gut. He knew everything that was going on in the senior's life and no one deserved the amount of heartbreak that had been heaped upon Whit in the last few weeks. Clark stood staring at him from a distance then he saw the wrenching sobs and moved without thinking.

Whitney felt arms come around his back and soon he was engulfed in a hug. Whitney hugged back, knowing instinctively that it could only be Clark. Whitney held one with a fierce determination and let all his anguish be vented. When he pulled back he looked at Clark and saw that he had tears in his eyes as well.

"Thank you."

Clark reached over and wiped away a freshly issued tear with his thumb. "You want to talk about it?"

"What's to talk about. My life's over before I'm eighteen, my girlfriend doesn't want to be and I'm a big has been loser." Whit said all this without ever looking at Clark.

Clark lifted his chin and forced Whit to look at him. "My mom always says that every dark cloud has a silver lining."

"Clark, I don't have a dark cloud, I have a whole hurricane."

"Yeah, I can see that. Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"My house, I know something that will cheer both of us up."

"What?" 'Why are you upset?' Whitney thought but did not voice.

"Banana splits with lots of hot fudge." Clark graced Whitney with his string of pearls smile. Whitney could not help but return it. They walked to the parking lot and climbed into Whit's truck. As they drove down Main Street, Whitney saw Lana getting into a Porsche with Lex Luthor. He looked at Clark and saw what was causing him pain.

"Clark, I'm breaking up with Lana. You can have your shot. She may have been influenced but it does not change her basic feelings. She wants out, I can tell, so I'll let her go. I don't want a relationship based on pity."

"Whitney, I told you Lana and I are just friends."

Whitney pondered the longing look Clark had given the scene and it hit him that Clark wanted someone else. "Oh, okay then. Well, I guess she's already moving on then."

"Lex is taking her to a movie, to celebrate the Talon's success." Nothing was said after that.

Whitney thought about it and knew Clark was beautiful. He was too pretty to be in Smallville. 'Clark wanted Lex but what?' Whitney didn't care if Clark was gay or had a thing for Lex. Clark had been the only one there for him and truth be told Whitney liked guys but would never act on it. Whitney blushed and Clark noticed out of the corner of his eye but didn't say anything. He pulled into the farm and Clark lead him into the kitchen.

"Do you like everything on it?"

"Yeah, where are your parents?"

"They went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in St. Louis. I am under strict orders not to have anyone over, but I'll make an exception for you."

"Thanks, yeah...I like my splits with everything." Clark made the banana splits and handed Whitney one and they sat and ate in silence.

Finally, "so why are you upset?"

"Whitney, I want to trust you but promise me nothing I say leaves this room, okay?"

"Clark, you're my savior, I promise not to say anything. This is in the strictest confidence."

"Okay...love sucks. I've had crushes on three people and well one, Lana, I'm over. She kissed me when she wasn't her normal self. There was nothing there."

"Oh, I see and the other two?"

"Um..."

"Clark, was one Lex?"

"How...yeah. He told me he was flattered but he didn't like me like that. It was really embarrassing. I kissed him and well...he was nice about it and we're still friends..."

"But rejection sucks...yeah I know. The third?"

"You're not freaking out?"

"Why would I? Clark, I'm not stupid or prejudiced. We all think about what it would be like to be with a guy, doesn't mean anything."

"Well when two out of the three people you've ever liked are guys, I'd say I'm beyond thinking about it."

"So you are gay?"

"Most likely...I can't believe I'm telling you this. Yes, I'm a big, geeky, gay farm boy."

"With a penchant for rescuing people from harm and themselves. You know this is going to sound dumb but you are the best friend I have and that is sad."

"Why is that sad?" Clark asked with a defensive tone in his voice.

"It's not you Clark. You are an incredible person. It's me. I've done nothing to deserve your kindness or your friendship. I'm sorry for everything in the past and thank you for helping me with...everything."

"I forgave you a long time ago and you are welcome."

"So, the third crush?"

"He didn't know I existed until last fall. I've had a crush on him since I was ten. I wanted to be him but I never will be. So, I've worked at being his friend and I have no idea how to approach the subject. I mean he is a guy, masculine, athletic, and handsome." While Whitney listened he felt a surge of desire and jealousy.

"And?"

"I have no idea if he even likes me. Until recently I thought he hated me."

"Well perhaps, well no, I was going to say 'ask' but you don't want to get the shit kicked out of you. Do I know him?"

"Yeah and I've thought about asking but I've already put one friendship in jeopardy, I don't want to place another one there as well."

"I guess we make a fine pair. What is the old saying, 'misery loves company.'"

"Lets go out to the loft, it's a beautiful night out." They left the kitchen and walked out to the barn. They were in no hurry. Whitney enjoyed the sudden closeness he felt to Clark. He could say anything and Clark would not judge him and listen to his opinions. He reached over and grabbed Clark's hand. They stopped.

"Clark, whoever that guy is, is an idiot. You are the best person in Smallville. He has no idea what he is missing, neither do Lana or Lex." Before Whitney knew it Clark was placing a gentle kiss on his lips. Whitney was surprised but began to return it. The kiss deepened, dispelling the pain and longing they each had held so close to their hearts.

"Wow, Whitney...I think he has a clue now." Clark watched as the realization dawned on Whit that he was the third crush. He saw a smile that shimmered in his eyes and was met with another kiss and a tight embrace.

TWELVE YEARS LATER...

Whitney supervised the movers as they unloaded all the stuff into his parent's old house. He had gone to college and was returning to teach Social Sciences in the fall. He could teach at any university in the nation but he and Clark wanted to return home to start a family. Clark was an author of several popular science fiction novels, having practical experience in the field. Three were slated to be made into movies. Clark came up from behind him and hugged him.

"Well, we've come full circle. We wanted to get out and yet we end up back here."

"Clark, my love, we've had our big city adventures and worldwide travels. This is home. I never thought I'd miss it."

"But we are small town folk and love the quiet. So...any bets on how long it will be before the gossip starts that there is a gay couple in town. Our parents have never advertised that fact."

"No bet...they can talk all they want. They only place I ever need to be is here, in your arms."

"I love you too Whitney...I have for most of my life. Even hurricanes have a silver lining."

"Come on, lets go break in the new bed..."

The End


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