It had been eerily silent between them for several minutes since Lois uttered the words, and a part of her wondered if maybe she shouldn’t have said anything at all.
She knew that he could completely shut down from her. He was already closed off from what he was feeling, what he was hiding, but most of all, what he was thinking. She hated it.
It was risky, offering him support—offering him a way to open himself up to her, but she couldn’t squelch her curiosity any longer, and she wanted to assure him that she was trustworthy.
She wouldn’t ridicule him. She wouldn’t tell a living, breathing soul about what she knew about him. And whatever he did tell her, if he did, would never leave her lips. His secret was safe with her, no matter what it was.
There were millions and millions of questions running through her brain, and have been ever since she first witnessed him using his abilities to save her life. It had taken literally everything inside of her, and a hell of a lot of determination to keep her mouth shut.
She was an inquisitive person. She didn’t like mysteries to go unanswered, and she wanted the answers to her never-ending questions. Normally she wouldn’t have thought twice about badgering him for answers, but this was different.
Clark was different.
She wouldn’t push for answers, knowing he could become even more isolated from her, and she didn’t want that. She wanted him to open up to her, but only of his own volition.
She had given him a little rope, now it was up to him whether he was going to use it or not.
After a few more minutes, of complete and utter silence passed, the truth was inevitable. He wasn’t going to say anything to her. It was obvious that he didn’t trust her, or anyone for that matter, which she couldn’t really blame him for.
She knew that he probably had a hard time trusting people, especially when he couldn’t determine whether he was putting his trust into the wrongs hands. She wished she could tell him that it was alright to trust her.
She wouldn’t betray that trust. Never. She might not know him very well, but she understood his dilemma, but a part of her held onto a sliver of hope that he would open himself up to her.
And then it happened.
It was rushed. It was barely audible. But, she heard him loud and clear when he uttered the words that she had never, in a million years, expected him to say. “I’m an alien from another planet.”
Her entire body froze. Her mind blanked, ceasing all coherent thoughts. Her heart stopped, started again, then stopped again until it was beating ferociously in her chest.
She slowly turned towards him, eyes narrowing, as questions ran rampart through her mind. “Mind running that by me again?” Clark never looked at her, his eyes staring at the ground by his feet, but he could feel her eyes burning holes into him.
He really, really didn’t want to say it again. It was hard enough the first time, but he vowed to be honest with her, and that’s exactly what he was going to do.
He slowly, and very carefully looked over at her. “I’m not from earth, Lois, I’m from a different planet.” She stared at him, for several excruciatingly long minutes, and never blinked…once.
Did she hear him right? Did he really just say that? It just wasn’t possible, was it? He had abilities, but that didn’t mean he was an alien, did it?
Then, she did something very Lois like, she laughed. She laughed so hard that tears began to fall from her eyes. She just couldn’t believe it.
It just wasn’t possible, of course, he had abilities, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t from this planet. He was either completely crazy or pulling her chain. She really, really hoped that it was the latter.
He was a good guy. He was sweet. He might be a little lost, but he wasn’t crazy. He couldn’t be. She really, really hoped that he was just pulling some huge joke on her.
He was feeling a multitude of emotions, as he awaited her reaction, and for a split second he thought that she just might believe him, but then she laughed. Her head tipping back, her shoulders shaking, and tears were falling down her cheeks.
He sighed. His head dropped, in embarrassment. His shoulders slumped, in defeat.
He didn’t know what he was expecting from her, but it certainly wasn’t this. It wasn’t her laughing at him, like he had told some ginormous joke. He was being honest with her. He was trusting her.
And she didn’t believe him. He couldn’t look at her. It hurt too much.
He always feared telling people the truth about himself, knowing they would look at him like a freak, and even though that’s not what she was doing, it still hurt that she wasn’t taking him seriously.
She had been so understanding when he didn’t want to talk about what she did witness, but now, now she was laughing at him, and that hurt…a lot.
He remembered when he had told Pete the truth about himself…
“So, you're some sort of... what? You're not a human?” “I don't know what I am. I don't know where that ship brought me from. I just know that I grew up in Smallville, and everything that I care about and everyone that I care about is here.”
“If you care about me so much, how come you never told me sooner?” “Pete, believe me, there wasn't a day that went by where I didn't want to tell you, but my parents thought it was too dangerous. Not just for me, but for anyone else who knew the truth.”
“You didn't think I could handle it?” “Can you?” Pete walked around him, slowly, like he was seeing him in a completely different light, and it wasn’t a positive one.
He was looking at him like he was some kind of a freak, and that hurt, terrified, and disappointed him. “Pete, another reason why I didn't say anything is because I knew people would look at me the exact same way that you're looking at me right now.”
“And how's that?” “Like a freak. Pete, I've tried my whole life just to blend in, to try and be more normal than anyone else. Would you just say something?”
“Call me... call me an alien, call me a monster. I don't care, just say something.” “It's like I don't even know you.”
“Yes, you do know me. I'm the same kid that used to camp in your backyard. We used to ride our bikes in the woods, we used to play basketball with your brothers. Nothing has changed.” “Yeah, right.”
He stepped closer to his best friend, carefully. He didn’t want to upset him even more so. “Pete—” He abruptly backed away from him, and interrupted him. “Back off, man!”
“Pete, I would never hurt you.” “Too late.” He rushed past him, leaving him alone in the storm cellar, wondering if he just made the biggest mistake of his life, wondering if he just lost his best friend because he was an alien.
He quickly shook the memory away. Would she react the same way Pete had? Would she look at him like he was some kind of freak? Would she be terrified of him?
She felt like she couldn’t breathe, she was laughing so damn hard, and after several minutes managed to calm herself down. She wiped the tears from her eyes, and playfully punched him in the arm. “That was a good one, Clark!”
He closed his eyes. He couldn’t look at her. He couldn’t say anything. He was just…hurt. She sobered immediately, when he didn’t respond, and eyed him, curiously.
He wasn’t looking at her. His head was lowered. His shoulders were slumped. He looked miserable, like someone had just killed his puppy, but worse than that, he looked hurt. Did she hurt his feelings?
Her eyes widened. Her heart accelerated. Her mind went into overdrive. Was he telling the truth? Was he serious about this? Was he really an alien? Was he really not from earth?
She gulped, silently, and cleared the lump that had suddenly dried up her throat. She needed to know if he was being serious about this because, if he was then that meant everything she once believed to be true wasn’t, and that was disconcerting. “C-Clark?”
He slowly looked over at her, pleading with his eyes for her to believe him, that he was telling her the truth. It was hard enough to tell her the truth about himself, worrying that she would look at him like he was a freak, but he wouldn’t be able to stand it if she didn’t believe him.
He needed her to believe him. She stared into his emotion-filled aquamarine eyes. He was pleading with her—pleading for her to believe him, and that’s when she knew the truth.
It was staring back at her, and it tilted her world on its axis. He was telling her the truth. He was deadly serious about this. He was really an alien. He wasn’t from earth.
“Y-You’re not joking, are you?” He softly shook his head. She believed him, but what did that mean exactly?
She slightly gasped, covered her mouth with her hands, and snapped her eyes shut, as the hurt expression on his face bombarded her mind. It was her fault. She put that there.
He had told her the truth about himself—a truth he had probably never told anybody before, and she reacted so…harshly. She wanted to kick herself, slap herself, anything to take back the obvious pain she had put him through.
He was honest with her, he was putting his trust in her, and she had laughed at him. She thought it was some big joke, but in reality, he was putting himself out there to her, and she had made fun of him for it.
She opened her eyes, feeling the hot, prickly tears building behind them. “I’m so, so sorry, Clark.” He looked over at her, and frowned. “What?” “I’m sorry for laughing at you. I’m sorry for everything.”
He realized that she was feeling bad for the way she had reacted. She had laughed at him, and was apologizing for hurting his feelings.
He couldn’t exactly blame her for her reaction, he supposed, that it was better than screaming at him, running from him, or recoiling from the sight of him. A tear slipped down her cheek. He hated it.
He never wanted to see her cry again. It clenched his insides, and he wanted it to stop. He slowly reached out, and wiped it away with the pad of his thumb. “It’s okay, Lois.”
How? How was this okay? She hurt him. He didn’t deserve that. He deserved to be accepted—to be understood—to be appreciated, not to be made fun of.
It wasn’t right what she did, and she regretted her reaction to the very being of her core. She shook her head, vehemently.
“No! No, it’s not okay! I laughed at you! I made fun of you because I thought you were joking! I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt your feelings. Clark, I swear, I never wanted to do that.”
He softly smiled. She had the biggest heart that he’s ever seen someone have. She was amazing. He grabbed her hand, and softly squeezed. “Lois, I know. It’s okay. Really.”
She stared into his eyes, and all signs of hurt was gone. She sighed, slightly tilting her head to one side. “So, it’s true then? You’re really an alien?” He cringed, slightly, at the use of that word.
He really, really hated that term. He corrected her, “Intergalactic traveler.”
To be continued...