Change. took me away from you
Change...took me away from you
By D Partyka
Pairing: Clark/Lex, Clark, Chloe
Type: Angst, Clark's POV
* Indicates flashbacks
For the most part I expected it would happen, but then again you want to hope it never does... right?
You grow up around certain people, learning their habits, what kind of personalities they're going to have. You think you know someone after spending years around him or her, but that necessarily isn't the case. I can tell you from my own experience that I know pretty much nothing about Chloe Sullivan. I mean I thought I did, being that I grew up with her. I even dated her, and boy has that come back to bite me in the ass.
I'm not saying that I hated it, but I can honestly admit I told her I was more comfortable with it than I really was. I think I was doing it more for her than for myself.
I can remember I use to be afraid to hold her hand. Sound childish I know, but nonetheless it was still hard, and only because I didn't know how to act. Well at first she pulled back, but I think she got far more familiar with it than me.
Our first date was actually the Spring Formal. With enough pestering from Pete and my mother, I finally had the courage to ask her to be my date. Go figure she smiled that `beautiful Chloe smile' and said yes. I felt a sense of completion knowing that I had asked her. Just having her smile at me like she did made it all worth it.
But those are what I call `forget as fast as you can' memories. That's all they are now, because other than Lana, Chloe was one of my most short-lived girlfriends ever. Right after the dance when the twisters hit, Chloe insisted that we become friends again. I knew why... because I left to save Lana. It was supposed to be her day and I ruined it. I wish that she could have understood that I had to do what I did.
Lets just say I haven't actually dated much either and some where along the lines of being fifteen to seventeen I've realized girls aren't the only thing that peek my interest. When Lex Luthor entered my life at the age of fifteen my entire thoughts and ideas on love and dating went out the barn door. He was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. He's always been there for me; sure there were some rough spots, but some how he and I always pulled through. Things just didn't work out that way between Chloe and me. She was to busy constantly complaining about the things I didn't do to realize the things I did. There was the whole jealousy thing with me being with Lex and the not paying enough attention to her. How could she say something like that? I tried the best as I could, wanted things between her and me to smooth over, but she kept pressing the matter. I was actually beginning to feel like an alien, as her and her damn reporter instincts just dissected me alive. I'm aloud to have other friends, date other people. The world didn't revolve around her. Well that didn't seem to stop Chloe from thinking so.
I think one reason I found it so easy to let her go was that I was just sick and tired of everything between us. Sick of the fighting, sick of her remarks, and sick of how she thought she could understand me so well. Enough is enough, I couldn't take it any longer and when I started showing it she hated it, simple as that.
I wouldn't say that Chloe's and mines relationship ended abruptly. It was more along the lines of dating, not dating to friends, no longer friends. I mean I tried to hold on as long as I could but I couldn't. It got so bad that I couldn't even stand to acknowledge that she was in the same room with me. I didn't want to. To me, Chloe Sullivan didn't exist anymore. And as sad as this might be, I wanted it that way. I had to move on, and if Lex was the one person I could do that with then I couldn't change that.
I can remember when I was in the Torch Office after school finishing up gathering my things after she wanted me to quit. We'd barely glanced at each other and then she spoke.
"My dad's thinking about moving back to Metropolis because of his job."
At first I didn't say anything as I stood about a foot away from her by her desk. I think she wanted me to say something but I just couldn't then.
"Hm... you know I don't even think you'll miss me when I'm gone." She'd said with a sad smile.
I paused for a brief moment, and then told her the first thing that came to mind.
"How can you say that? You know that I'd miss you."
"Well for the longest time I just didn't believe that. I still don't."
Thinking of it now, I know I lied to her. I didn't actually believe I would have missed her. Things between the two of us had gotten so bad that by her leaving I felt relived, like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I'd felt almost mean thinking that but I had, so I talked to Lex about it.
"Chloe told me she might be moving back to Metropolis." Clark said.
"I told her I'd miss her, and that I didn't want her to go."
"Is that how you really feel?" Lex had asked.
I remember looking off into the fire Lex had lit moments before.
"So then, how do you really feel?"
"I'm kind of glad she might be leaving. Does that make me a mean person Lex?"
Lex just shook his head. "No"
"I just feel relieved that she will be going away."
"Maybe because of all the stress she put on you, and knowing that she is going is causing more relief than it is sorrow. She put you under so much stress Clark; it's only natural that you want to stay away from someone like her. That doesn't make you a bad person."
I felt him sit next to me wrapping his arm around my waist.
"She's to high matinence Clark, believe me I've had enough girlfriends to know, I mean just look at when I dated Victoria."
Lex had had a good point. That was just how Chloe was. Sometimes I think she doesn't realize to the extent of how she is when she pushes so much, constantly wanting something. After that conversation I kept asking myself over and over if it truly bothered me that Chloe would be leaving, and every time it came back to the same answer... no.
Chloe had once told me that one of her fears was turning into one of those girls who were clingy and wishy-washy, and that was what she had become. I'd even found it better to hang out with Whitney then to be around Chloe anymore. And for the longest time I had feared being around him, but I was beginning to see the true Whitney behind the High school jock.
She blew up in my face for that as well. I was going to a school event and Whitney had asked if I'd go along with him. I said yes, and then asked Chloe if she'd like to go. Right off the bat she lectured me about what that would mean... wanted to know how I could even look at Whitney after what he did with the scarecrow.
Last time I checked it was my life, my choices. So hanging out with Witless Whitney would be another one of `my' choices wouldn't it?
I'd started realizing that Chloe was acknowledging the rift that just kept growing bigger between us when she gave me my birthday card when I turned seventeen. The white envelope had little cut out pictures of his favorite actor, and written on the front in her fancy handwriting was my name. The card's front had been two kittens, one giving the other a kiss, and at the top were the words `A little kiss'. I remember telling her I didn't want anything, but Chloe just wasn't the kind of girl who passed those moments up. When I opened the card it read...
~You're finally 17!! Welcome to the beginning of freedom; hope you like it there. Happy Birthday Clark! I hope you like the present, it's not much but hopefully you'll find it to your liking... And Clark, whatever happens between us I just want you to know I'll always have a place for you in my memory.~
With a big birthday wish! Happy Birthday
I kept that card, like every other one she gave me. I have a box for each person that I ever had something beyond friendship with. Right now I'd have to say that Lex's keepsakes are the only things I really want to keep. When I look back at all the notes and gifts from Chloe they just make me angry. Her last gift, well more like her farewell gift to me was something I didn't even want to open. She showed up at the loft one morning holding a large plastic bag with something in it. She stepped forward and handed the bag to me, no words, and when she was about to leave I made her wait. Walking over to my desk drawer I pulled out two books that she had let me barrow and handed them to her. For an instant my eyes met hers and I pulled away walking back to what I had been doing. When I turned around she was gone. I'd ended up staring at the gift for what seemed like forever before I opened it
Inside the plastic bag was a gray shoebox with a piece of purple ribbon taped across the words Amanda Smith. The shoes brand name I guessed. Opening the lid I saw red tissue paper and hidden within that were the many small gifts from Chloe.
A comic with two hippos, one helping the other from falling off a cliff, it read...
~Friends may not be able to PULL you up...
They will still think of ways not to let you fall...
I thought of you when I got it. I was gonna' send it to you but I don't think you have your e-mail up anymore.~
There were two packs of incense, one rose scented and one jasmine, a few burned CDs, a picture with some kind of song written on it, the picture Pete and I drew of her because she was drowning herself in the Torch, a little cut out piece of paper that had a red feather printed on it that said `Love is the salvation, I love you,' a necklace with the Japanese symbol for love on it, a note that said...
To a friendship that was once something special
And last, there were two letters. One dated back from October 1st, 2003, and the other was basically her letting out how she felt.
~I couldn't fall asleep last night, and I finally did what I had the urge to do for a while now. I looked through the things I have from you, some notes. There was this one I broke out crying from reading it. I hope you don't think I sound stupid or I'm saying things just to say them. I'm so glad I know you and I wish that I would never have to know how it feels not to have you near. You are one of the most amazing people that a person can have a chance to come across, even if it's just for a little while. There's some lucky people that always talk about how they don't know how they ever existed before knowing a certain person, may it be a long lost parent, a sister, a brother, a friend, a lover, whatever it may be. Well, I can say that I'm one of those lucky people and you are my certain person. Sometimes I reach a point in my mind that I have come as close to your boundary of allowing people in as I'm ever going to get. But somehow you always find a way to pleasantly surprise me. And when that happens I want to thank every kind of power on earth for giving me a chance.~
~This I guess is along the lines of my last letter to you. You've said this to me more than once I guess I finally believe you. Our friendship is over. I guess you really wanted it that way since that was how you put it, it was gonna' end anyway, so why wait. There are things that we have to let go of sometimes; it seems in our case it would be each other. I don't exist to, and you don't exist to me... not in the same way at least. I never wanted things to happen like this, I still don't, but in this case I don't think I have a choice. We only have a month together, after that the semester is over and so are the classes that you and I have together. After that we might see each other occasionally that is if we run into each other at school or something, but that'd be all. It might be best that way though. There are things about me that you can't stand without being annoyed, and there's no point in getting you more agitated than you already are with me. Most of it has come as a result of your pride, but I can assure you that you have saved that. All of your comments and even generals signs of annoyance, however insignificant they seem to you, hurt. And not because of their meaning, but because of the fact that the person I cared about felt like crap because of me, and instead of dealing with it, threw it back at me like it was my fault. We had the same thing happen last year, and I thought we got through that, but here we are with the same story. Well I guess you really showed me what matters to you more, your pride or our friendship. And then in addition to that did it ever occur to you that the way you moved on from me being your best friend to someone else might have might have also had an impact. Even after we talked and agreed to just be casual friends, I did my part. I stopped with the questions and didn't try to initiate any `deep' conversations. I just let you be. But you kept up all your comments about my school and Wall of Weird stuff until I couldn't even tell yours and Lex's line from kidding to annoyance. I'm not even sure you could either. But then, that's what's good about the past; it's over and done with. I'm not really sure at this point what's gonna' happen with me, but I think for you things might finally start pulling themselves together, at least for some parts of your life. It's like a puzzle that's slowly trying to piece itself together, back the way it should've been before it got screwed up. The parts of that puzzle are your friendships and your relationships. I'm not gonna' go anymore detailed than that, but you might know what I'm talking about. And not very surprisingly enough I was always the odd piece in that puzzle. I think you've said this to me before and I kind of knew myself that I was different from the kind of people that you're usually friends with, and I could never be what you want. It's a good thing that you say you have a sucky memory that way you won't have to bother with stupid things like the little reminders of all the things passed. I don't know why I'm even saying this, maybe to account for the simple fact and finally let go. I thought about you a lot during the break, the summer when you left for Metropolis. It pretty much took me the whole time to write to you, and when I came to find you after you were gone and you pushed me away I realized one thing... that you didn't need me anymore. I'd go back and forth on how to act or what to say. I mean, do I try to save my pride and tell you to go to hell in so many words or do I be honest and tell you I'm gonna' miss you... but then I always seemed to circle my way around and come back to the same thing... What I do is not going to matter, I'm not breaking any last strings... you have already done so. Considering your last note you have pretty clearly stated your choice and I'm not really in a position to veto the fact that you don't want to be friends. You have found the qualities that you do want in a friend (relationship) Lex, and seem pretty happy with it. Now the last step is for me to let go peacefully. I've always admired emotional grace in people; maybe it's time for me to acquire some. None of that `I hate you, I hate you too' crap, but to the opposite, walk away with good memories. I hope that's still possible. I know I have many, I sincerely hope you do too. As I've already said, we only have a month left and I kind of ask you and at the same time hope that at least until then we can eliminate the tension during the time that we have to see each other. You'll have Pete to pay attention to and I promise I won't bother you. This is the last thing I ask you, though this might seem annoying and pointless to you, but it matters to me. I know I should be wrapping this up, but I feel like I have to tie up the loose ends so I'm giving you what I was planning to give you now and in the future, and I think I'm doing the same thing with words. I'm not the type of person to keep grudges. Everything I gave you (if it ever was anything) is yours to keep. Whatever happened between us happened, simple as that. You know, the good part about saying things for the last time is that you don't have to deal with the consequences. Somehow you were always afraid that you weren't this or that you weren't that for people, but there was something you didn't see. I even intended on telling you this, that I was happy and content with you. I kept putting it off until the next time I could simple talk to you without you being annoyed at me for the Torch or the Wall of Weird, or the reporter ness in me or for god knows what else. That time never came, so I'm telling you now, kind of following the theory better late than never. I'm going to go now. I wish you a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. Hopefully you will very soon find something that will make everything in your life worth it. "The time for a new start, new people, and new lives." I hope he takes care of you Clark.~
When I read this I wanted to rip every piece into tiny shreds. Chloe acts like she had no fault in any of this, but in fact she did. I was sick of trying to live up to her expectations as a friend and as a boyfriend. She acted like she couldn't get over the fact that we weren't together as boyfriend and girlfriend anymore, wanted to hate me because of being with Lex, but I just felt safer. I didn't know how many times I had to tell her why. I think she believed that they may have been excuses, and that deep down I didn't want to be with a girl. That may be so, and it also may be the fact that I always thought Chloe was more interested in girls herself. In her eyes I never seemed to suck up my problems enough, but in fact she had been the one to tell me to be open with her. I tried, what did she want me to do. She said that she was causing me pain and wanted me to suck it all up, well you know what I got sick of absorbing it all, I got sick of trying to make myself feel happy everyday, got sick of watching everyone around me be better. It wasn't even that which bothered me; it was the fact that she kept complaining when she caused her own discomfort. There's the point at which you just don't feel good enough. And my pride? What did that have to do with what severed things between the two of us? Maybe Chloe's right about me breaking everything up. I couldn't keep going like that. I just didn't want it anymore. She may want the memories, but I don't, she can keep them, every single one. I think that in knowing I hurt her makes me feel bad sometimes, but then I realized the only thing that I was at fault with was never feeling good enough. I did everything in my power for her including shunning my family and causing my mother the most devastating pain a child could... telling her that I hated her. My entire life was thrown upside down to accommodate her in it. I thought it was worth it, but it just wasn't. Not worth the stress and pain I felt every waking moment. There was a partial happiness with Chloe that I thought I could keep up and running. And every time I reached my limit she would push for more. Tell me I didn't spend enough time with her, that I hung around Lex too much, or that I wasn't showing her enough physical gratification. You know that all scared me; scared me because I felt she really was the only person left for me, thought that if I messed up with her I'd never be able to move on, but you know I tried. I tried when I wanted to be just friends. Yet again that wasn't good enough for her. Said I moved on to someone knew to fast, took hold of what Lex was offering, but did Chloe try and see that he was all I really had left, and his father and my parents were even making that stressful. I needed someone to support me at the time so badly and I wouldn't get that by myself. I feel safe with Lex, like we're on the same level searching for the same thing. It couldn't be helped that we found different roads to tread. Chloe couldn't live with the fact that my attention wasn't fully hers and hers alone. There are other people in my life, but I was to nave to see the signs years ago, like with Lana and Pete.
I found myself constantly asking Lex for advice, spilling my feeling out for him to listen to. And being the nicest friend he listened giving back to me the best advice he could. He wasn't afraid to say what he really thought. I think that sometimes he thought he might break me.
"Clark, are you and Chloe still not talking?" Lex asked looking up as he walked into the libraries study.
"So are things between you two final... or is this just another spar that will soon fix itself?"
I knew that he wasn't trying to be cross.
"No, I do believe things are broken for good this time, and they're staying that way." I replied.
"Clark," I saw him walking out towards me from behind his desk. My eyes flashed downwards so very interested in the patterns on his floor. "It's ok to be angry."
"Life takes the strangest of turns sometimes, especially when you are not ready for them. The basic of needs are all accompanied by feelings such as guilt, sorrow and anger Clark. You can only deal with them the best you know how."
I can remember Lex wrapping his arms around me hugging me softly and I felt him turn my face in as he kissed me.
I looked at the items Chloe gave me once more before I ripped them up and burned them. Every piece, and the necklace, I never will wear it. It's somewhere up in my room. For Chloe time will give her the memories she oh so much wants to hold onto, and for me, it will give the time needed to erase them... now I can start to rebuild ones I'm not so afraid to remember.
I looked up seeing Lex holding out his hand, a set of car keys in the other.
"Yeah, I'm coming." I stood straightening my wrinkled shirt. We walked out to his Ferrari. "Where are we going?"
He smiled. "Anywhere you want to go."