Clark Kent hung his head miserably over the bottle of Corona he'd been nursing for the past hour. Since it was the middle of the week, no one else was loitering about in Bibbo's, a dingy dive that was home to Metropolis' biggest Superman fan and hangout for the employees of the Daily Planet. Bibbo himself, a former biker/boxer turned bar owner, was the only one there tonight as most went home early. The air was still stale from the crowd early, and the Jukebox in the corner played Nina Simone all night.
He wanted to get drunk, but it was near impossible since his alien physiology metabolized alcohol fast. The last time he'd gotten drunk was back when he was fifteen and he had his first taste of Vodka from Lex's wet closet. Nowadays, only a massive amount of alcohol could get him tipsy.
As depressed as he was now, he knew that he was going to have to face his life again soon. Perry White had given him a two-week leave to sort out his situation, sympathetic to Clark's problem. Jimmy, the closest person that he had to a best friend nowadays, promised to hold back Lois from asking too many questions. Pete and Chloe were elsewhere so there wasn't anyone that he could commiserate with. Lana and Whitney left to head back to Smallville, saying things would work out in the end. And Lex, well, he was in Japan. Being alone was good and bad at the same time, but right now Clark would settle for being alone.
Bibbo, sensing one of his favorite customers caught in his problems, brought out two shot glasses and some whisky from the bar. After a measure, the bartender managed to coax him to drink his fill and tell his story.
"It all started two years ago," Clark started. "I was getting married that day to Sheila Allister. I think I've introduced Sheila to you. Yeah, I think I did. You know that we met while we were both covering the earthquake at Gotham City. We fell in love during all those months. She was beautiful. Her red hair was straight, and shimmered like polished copper. Her skin was pale like porcelain, and just as delicate. Her eyes were green like bright jade and she was short compared to me. Ours was the affair that was so grand that people around us started to envy our relationship. We had been together for a year before I got on my knees and proposed to her." Clark smiled a bit and drank his glass empty. "You know, I proposed to her while she was in the middle of a news coverage. Me and her cameraman planned it in such a way that all this went live on the evening news. She was mad at me for days, but she accepted the proposal, saying that she'd been waiting for me to do that for months. Overnight, we became the most popular couple in Metropolis."
"Like I said, all this began that fateful Saturday. It was the night of my Bachelor's Party, Jimmy organized the whole thing. Old friends from my hometown were there and so were people from the Daily Planet. But the biggest surprise was when Lex Luthor came through the door. Why the hell would a billionaire like him be going to some stag party of some farm hick turned investigative reporter? Well, we were friends once. Very good friends. I sent him an invitation but I seriously didn't think that he would attend my stag, moreover my wedding. His appearance made up for the fact that we hadn't seen each other in close to six years. The bastard left in the middle of my senior year and never said goodbye. Should have killed him then and there but I forgave him a long time ago. He always did say that he was going to leave when Lionel, his Dad, became a problem. He did, you know? Lionel almost destroyed Smallville that year. If it weren't for Lex, most of the town would have been turned into dump of chemical waste. Son of a bitch should have died in that twister. "
Clark paused to see if he was making his listener bored. He was not. "Anyway, Lex arrived and everyone else was shocked that rich international playboy Lex Luthor was joining in my stag. It was funny to watch them drop their jaws." He laughed, and the load on his shoulders lightened a little. "Needless to say, it was one of the best parties in my life. Pete and Jimmy managed to hire four strippers for the event, two guys and two girls. What? You didn't know I was Bi? Sorry Bibbo! I thought everybody knew. No hard feelings, OK. And no, you aren't my type so don't worry about me jumping your bones."
Both of them shared a hearty laugh. Bibbo refilled their glasses.
"The stag was at this old hotel near downtown. Of course, everyone had gotten sloshed and rowdy by the time the four strippers came. Before the party ended, I managed to get a blowjob from one of them, a tall blond with lean muscles. I think I freaked Whitney out when I came back to the stag with the blond in tow. Must have thought that I had a crush on him or something." Clark sniggered. "By that time, everyone wanted to leave if anyone wanted to be awake at all for the ceremony. I left with Lex since I was the only one who knew where he lived. God! I still remember the words he said to me as I plopped him on his oversized bed.
Lex's Penthouse, Two Years Ago
"I love you, Clark," slurred Lex in his drunken haze.
"I love you too, Lex. Now be a good boy and go to sleep. I'm going to get married in 12 hours and I want you there," said Clark, and pulled the blanket over Lex's smooth skin. He thought ruefully that he would have done anything to touch Lex's skin back when they were still in Smallville. Heck, in the occasional dream, Clark still pictured them together in a debauched state of tangled limbs and moans. He sighed mentally, thinking of lost opportunities and started to get up. He didn't get very far as a strong hand tugged his shirt.
"No, Clark. I really love you," Lex repeated, but this time Clark looked into his friend's steel blue eyes and saw the seriousness of his words.
Clark blanched. "Ho-ho-how long?"
"Ever since you saved me my life the first time. Why do you think I wanted your friendship? You're a gorgeous angel that haunts my dreams at night. Everyone noticed just how much I loved you, Clark, but you never saw it. To you, I'm just a friend who happened to be one of America's richest bachelors. To the rest of the town, I was a guy who wanted the most amazing jailbait in the history of Kansas."
By now, Lex was sobbing. This shocked Clark because he never knew Lex to cry, not even when Lionel was killed last year.
"Every night, I dream about how nice your arms and legs would fit against me. I wonder how your hair would feel between my fingers. I go crazy when I imagine your pouty lips kissing me within an inch of my life. I want to feel your muscles flex and move as we have sex. I drown in wonder every time I see your sea-green eyes. I hear your laugh and I go the deep end. I love you so much it hurts, Clark."
Stunned barely covered the emotions that Clark was feeling at the moment. He was too shocked to even register that Lex had pulled him down to kiss him. A second after their lips made contact, the desire that Clark felt for Lex poured out and he reciprocated the advance. A few seconds later, Clark noticed that Lex had stopped. He opened his eyes and saw that his friend, who confessed in inebriation his love for him, was out cold. Frustrated and confused, he left Lex to his slumber and raced out of the building. Once out of sight of anyone, he flew away to Mt. Everest to think.
Of course, Clark didn't mention the last part and said that he found a spot to contemplate everything until it was close to the wedding. Besides, Bibbo wouldn't believe him anyway.
"By the time I got to the church, everyone was in a panic because I was nowhere to be found. Pete and Jimmy had to rush me through to make me look presentable. While my mom sobbed about her losing her only baby, I was thinking about whether I was making the right decision."
Clark drained his fourth shot and continued with his story. "So there I was, looking at this reflection of a tall young man wearing a tuxedo and all I could think about was `What the hell am I doing?'
"My mind was swirling with thoughts. I honestly loved Sheila, but I've been in love with Lex like forever. It was exhilarating to hear him say he loved me, despite the drunken clich of it. I was still like that when Pete and Jimmy brought me to the altar. I searched the crowd and found Lex near the front; in the arms of a buxom brunette. We caught each other's eyes and he smiled at me, as if he'd forgotten about his declaration the other night."
A few tears trailed down but Clark went on. "It hurts so bad. And so I married Sheila not because I loved her more than Lex, but because Lex didn't seem to acknowledge the love he had for me. I tried not to show any trace of sadness, but Sheila noticed it. She cornered me during the reception and asked me about it."
The Allister-Kent Reception, Two Years Ago
"Clark, what's wrong?" she asked, while smoothing out her wedding gown as she sat beside her new husband.
He sighed heavily. "Something happened last night. Something that I never in a million years would have believed could happen." Sheila pressed her dainty hands on Clark's, urging him to go on. "Just promise me that whatever I say, you'll believe that I love you and I married you because I really do. No question about it." A long moment passed before Sheila nodded. Clark sighed again. "Remember that time we told each other's relationships, crushes and lust-at-first-sights included?" Sheila nodded, crinkling her brow with confusion. "Well, last night someone who I used to love told me that he loved me. Since that time, I've been thinking about things and I almost ran, Shea," said Clark, using the nickname he gave to his wife a long time ago.
"Was it Lex? I saw you looking at him during the wedding," she asked.
Clark rubbed his forehead with a back and forth motion, hoping that this wouldn't end bad. "Yeah, it was Lex. I brought him home and he told me that he loved me. He was drunk, of course, but he admitted it." His fingers then felt the contours of his lips. "He kissed me."
Then the atmosphere of the room shifted. The air was filled with unsure tension. Both participants were still, as if afraid that any movement would cause a breakdown. Someone had to give.
"So, you married me because you wanted a safe way out?"
Standing suddenly, Clark paced the small room. "God No! How can I make you understand? I love you so much, Shea. I love you more than whatever experiences I had with Lana and Chloe. Lex was too afraid to take a chance with me. He lost that opportunity a long time ago. Seeing him with that bimbo at church and acting like nothing happened made me realized that I never had him. Getting him now would be so easy, but I would be selfish if I did."
He stopped his pacing and kneeled right in front of his wife. "I love you, Sheila. Believe me when I say it. I married you because you made me feel like I'm human, even when I told you about myself. With Lex, I always had doubts about everything, but he taught me so much that history doesn't sever emotions that easily. I married you because I love you. Please believe me. I'll do anything," he begged.
Sheila considered Clark for the longest time, before hugging and kissing him in assurance. The smile on Clark's face made her grin as well, but deep in her heart she knew that she didn't have everything that Clark had to give. But still, she wanted her husband to be happy.
A knock on the door interrupted them and both of them looked at the peeking face of Lois Lane.
"There you guys are. Well, I hate to disturb you but it's time to cut the cake," said the female reporter. With a wink, she left them alone.
Placing a faint smile on her face, Sheila said, "Well, let's get back to the reception before Lois sends out a search party for us." Clark laughed, relieved that everything seemed all right.
Bibbo felt for him as more tears fell from his face. He offered some tissues from the bar and Clark accepted, dabbing his eyes furiously.
"We lived happily for 2 years in wedded bliss. Though I knew Sheila was afraid that I might leave her for Lex, I reassured her every time that I wouldn't, even when Lex himself became a more visible fixture in our lives. We would invite him to dinners in our apartment, and he, in turn, invited us to Luthor functions. It got easier as time passed and we both felt like nothing like that `stag' incident would ever occur again."
His throat hitched a bit and he swallowed his fifth glass quickly. "Then Sheila said that she was pregnant. I was shocked and happy at the same time. We drove to Smallville the next day to tell my parents and they were overjoyed too. We were careful for the next few months until I lost her."
Metropolis General Hospital, One Week Ago
"Clark, I love you. Please take care of our baby," said Sheila as she grasped at a few more moments of consciousness. "Promise Clark!"
He was holding her hand tightly, afraid that if he let go, she would be gone. "Sheila..."
"Promise me, Clark," she stated again. "Call him Aiden, after my dad." Tearfully, he kissed her hand and nodded. She gave a beautiful, but tired smile before her eyes closed permanently and the heart monitors gave the tell-tale signs of a flat line.
An hour later, Clark was still crying as he held his son to his chest.
"And so that's what brings me here. Sheila's been dead for a week now. Just buried her and I'm yet to run out of tears. I have a son that's a few days old in my apartment now who's being watched over by my parents for me since they insisted I went out tonight. My boss gave me a few weeks leave to grieve. Everyone is walking on eggshells for me and I'm not exactly happy about that. I wish my best friends weren't far away because I need them now." His breathing got caught in his throat. "I want her back."
Bibbo didn't really have any words to offer, since he was a man of little smarts, but he tried his best anyway. "Man, don't be so hard on yourself. Things will get better and there are better things out there for you."
The platitude wasn't much but it lifted his spirits a bit. Clark thanked Bibbo for listening to his woes and left the bar to see his son.
"Hey Bibbo! It's been a while, hasn't it? Well, guess what? Lex proposed to me today. You're shocked, I see. Yes, I know it's only been a year since Sheila's death but you knew that this was coming, right. We've been living together almost that long since I couldn't stand staying in the apartment that Sheila and I had lived in. God bless Lex for taking care of me while I healed and grieved. I almost felt guilty about accepting but I knew Sheila would have wanted me to be happy. At least Aiden will have another parent around while he grows up. I just hope that Lex doesn't spoil him that much. God knows I get headaches with the stuff that he gets for him." Both of them chuckled loudly.
"We're having the wedding three months from now and I want you to be one of my groomsmen. I've shocked you again. Listen, you've helped me a lot by just listening to me in the past year. Thanks for helping me cope."
Bibbo bristled slightly and continued wiping the whisky glasses.
"Anyway, I want you to meet Lex. Lex, I would like to introduce to you Bibbo, Superman's greatest fan." Well, second only to Lex, in Clark's mind.