By PurpleHayley <email@example.com>
Submitted: October 2004
Summary: Clark makes a life-altering decision on New Year's Eve. But will it have the effect he expects?
Clark sat back in his chair and scanned the newsroom. It was 5pm on New Year's Eve. Christmas decorations still hung from the ceiling in the Daily Planet bullpen, while faint Christmas carols could be heard floating through the air from a distant radio. Most of the people around him were finishing up the last of their work before heading home to get ready to celebrate well into the night.
None of that for Clark though. A weight leaned heavily on his heart that afternoon. Her name? Lois Lane. Today was the last day of his old life and tomorrow, the beginning of his new one. It was a decision that he had not come to lightly, but he knew it was for his own good. If he wanted the kind of life that he knew he deserved then there really was no choice.
He switched off his computer and desk lamp then turned to grab his overcoat. He glanced at her desk — strewn, as usual, with masses of papers, a dying pot plant, several chewed pens and a couple of empty chocolate wrappers (I'll give them up tomorrow — my New Year's resolution — she had told him). He smiled, a small indulgent smile, one that from tomorrow he would not allow himself to do anymore.
She was adorable. Everything he wanted out of life and nothing that he could have. She was beautiful yet tough, soft-hearted yet hard when she needed to be, gentle yet feisty, ambitious yet equally comfortable to let her hair down and play hooky with him. She was his best friend, his soul mate, his life, but to Lois, he was just her good friend, journalistic partner, buddy, one of the gang.
He loved her — with every fibre of his dense molecular structure, yet she seemed to notice him only when he was wearing 'the suit'! Dazzled by the 'god in a cape'. Why could she not see the man underneath it all? These questions went over and over in Clark's mind. This had gone on for five years now. How long could he continue to be there for her but only on her terms, when he got very little back in return? He was a very patient man, but that patience had reached its limit.
Oh, he'd seen her date a few men over the years — Lex Luthor, multi-billionaire, Claude Cheval, fellow journalist, to mention but a few. But in the end, they never went the distance. She always confided in him, moaning about her latest beau's inadequacies, which only made Clark even more certain that he was the one who was right for her.
That was until today. Lois had entered to newsroom in her usual brisk manner, but today there was something very different about her. As she headed down the bull pen ramp, he realised it was the broad grin covering her face. She removed her coat, hat and gloves and then, as she turned, Clark spotted what had caused that smile. The poisoned dagger that went straight through his heart — a diamond ring on the third finger of her left hand. He sat there, in shock, for several seconds and didn't notice that Lois was actually talking to him until she waved that gem-adorned hand in front of his face to snap him back to reality. She continued to torture him with the fine details of how 'Dan' had proposed to her last night and how she had accepted. Clark felt like all the oxygen had been sucked from the room. His head started spinning and his heart beat at least twice its normal speed. To anyone else watching them, Clark looked as if he was staring into space, bored by Lois's babbling. Little did they know that, in reality, inside the 'Man of Steel' was turning into a heap of rubble.
That had been eight short hours ago and in those eight hours, Clark's world had been turned upside down. He trudged, head down, to the elevator and then out into the brisk Metropolis air. He had every intention of walking back to his apartment, giving him time to plan out his strategy, but screeches invaded thoughts and he ducked into the alley and swiftly flew to where he was needed most.
Several hours later, he landed on the balcony of his apartment and headed straight into the shower. He stood under the steaming water and let all the traumas of the afternoon's rescue float away down the plughole.
After dressing and making himself a warming cup of oolong tea, he wandered into the living room, where his laptop flashed at him accusingly. With steely determination he realised that it was time to get this done.
He set the cup down next to the computer, took a deep breath, and started to type.
I didn't quite know how to start this letter, but as it's New Year's Eve, I guess it's a time for resolutions and new beginnings.
I can't tell you how many times I've tried to have this conversation with you, but either there never seems to be the right time, or we get interrupted or it's wrong for many of the other million reasons that seem so unimportant now. But now, tonight, it is the right time. I know it may seem cowardly to do this in a letter, but writing, for me, is the best way I know to put my thoughts and feelings in order. So here goes…
I have been in love with you for the past five years — since the first moment I met you — a scary thing! I know that it's not a complete shock to you — I'm obviously not as good an actor as I think I am! Hiding my feelings has been a burden I have carried for such a long time and one that I have carried alone — with the exception of my parents, with whom I could shed a little of the load. For their discretion and confidence I will always be grateful. In a way, it was with their support that I have found the courage to deal with this head on.
I made a monumental decision today. One that I should probably have made several years ago, but was too scared and too self- indulgent to do. I have loved you since the moment I met you — first as a friend. We became the best of friends, in fact you're the best friend I have ever had and someone who has made a huge difference in my life. But, for me, that friendship and those feelings grew to be so much more. Timing has never been my strong suit and with you — it has been lousy. I have kept these strong feelings hidden inside, bottled up, and I guess in doing that they have intensified. But now they are too much. The decision I came to today was to get it off my chest and try and let it go. You don't belong to me — not that you ever did. And if I want all the things in life that I crave — marriage, children etc — then I need to deal with these feelings and try and overcome them. To do that, I have to try and distance myself from you and move on. I can't carry on the way I have always done; it's too hard and way too self-destructive.
It's difficult to put into words the connection I feel with you. I love that we share the same views on so many things, I love that we seem to be on the same wavelength, sometimes saying the same things at the same time, finishing each other's sentences! It's frightening sometimes — but at the same time oddly comforting. I love that we have 'our songs' and that passing an evening playing board games or crashing out in front of the TV with you sets me up for the rest of the week. I love that you have this hidden affection for trashy romance novels. I even love it when you infuriate me so much sometimes that your 'Mad Dog Lane' nickname seems like an understatement! I love our arguments and bickering and I love the way that a chocolate fudge sundae can bring a smile to your face when nothing else can. I know people often wonder why I am still single and why I have never had a serious relationship. Well the reason is simple — it's you. No-one compares.
Very few people are stronger than me but you don't let me get away with anything. I think you and my parents are the only ones that can do that. No-one makes me laugh like you do. No-one gets me the way I think you do. I rarely let myself be seen as vulnerable, but with you I feel completely safe. I am a better person when I am with you and I am blessed to have had you in my life.
I am as sure as I am typing this letter to you tonight that you are my Soul Mate — my other half. But what I've had to come to accept lately, especially today, is that maybe not all soul mates end up together in a romantic relationship. I know how sceptical you are about things like this and I can almost see you shaking your head as you read. There's an old saying that says that there is a lid for every pot. Well maybe your lid fits more than one pot, and there's always going to be one pot left out. Well this time I guess that's me.
My biggest regret in life is not telling you how I felt years ago. Life doesn't always work out the way you want it to or even the way it was meant to be. I believe that life is a series of paths and the decisions you make and the time at which you make them determine your future. In my life, I've made some wrong decisions and have wasted a lot of years. One of those wrong decisions was keeping part of myself hidden from you. A mistake that I now hope to rectify. You know me as Clark Kent, son of Martha and Jonathan Kent of Smallville Kansas. While that is true, I am also Kal-El, son of Jo-El and La-Ra of Krypton, sent to Earth as a baby, as a dying planet's last hope. This world knows me as Superman. I need you to recognise that I am not one or the other of these men but am in fact all three. I hope that in time you will come to understand why I have kept this secret from you, but I also hope that you will honour our bond and friendship and keep it a secret until the day you die. I trust you, Lois, more than I have ever trusted anyone in my life. My life is in your hands.
Withholding my true identity started as a way of securing my secret, enabling me to live a normal life while at the same time being able to help people in a way that no-one else on earth can. Keeping it secret from you was because, at first, I was afraid that the temptation of the scoop of the century would prove too much for you. Later on, as I got to know you and trust you both as Clark and Superman, it became more about protecting you. It is a dangerous secret, one that, if exposed, could cause a lot of problems for those around me from all sorts of undesirable people. But, in the spirit of honesty and openness, as I hope you understand this letter is, the main, selfish reason, was really because I wanted you to love the ordinary Joe and not the flashy superhero. What I have come to realise is that it was unfair of me to expect you to have feelings for only half the man I am, while denying you the other half. When you love someone, you need to love them as a whole — all parts of them. So now you know the truth. I hope that one day you will come to look back on this time with fondness and that any sense of betrayal or hurt that you feel at the moment will be a distant memory.
So here we are on the cusp of a New Year with new beginnings ahead for both of us. You with a new fiancee, planning your future together. Me with nothing — alone — but determined to start a new chapter in my life and change that. I don't want to be alone. But what I want, I can't have. So it's time to get things out in the open, deal and move on. Making the adult decision to settle and compromise to ensure that I get the things in life that I deserve — a wife, a family and a future. But I need you to know and to understand that for my heart there is no- one else. Only you. That part of my heart I lock away today so you know it will always be yours, but the rest of it… well I hope that one day I will be able to share that with someone who will appreciate me, love and cherish me.
So, I end this letter with a series of Thank You's.
Thank you for being part of my life.
Thank you for all the laughs and jokes (and insults).
Thank you for the banter and the flirting.
Thank you for being strong for me when I couldn't be.
Thank you for your friendship.
Thank you for letting me love you from afar.
Thank you for letting me be part of your life.
I wish you love, laughter and happiness for all the days of your life.
All the things I wish for myself and that I am striving so hard to achieve.
Clark sat back in his chair and ran his hands through his dark locks. He let out a long sigh. He felt some of the heaviness in his heart lift. Writing out his thoughts and feelings had proved to be good therapy for him.
He glanced at the clock — 11.27pm. 33 minutes till he would deliver the letter and then he would be free. Where he went from here, he had no idea. Travelling maybe, starting a new life somewhere else. He had approached Perry White, the Daily Planet's Editor-in-Chief, that afternoon, while his plan was taking shape. He'd requested re-assignment, perhaps to one of the Planet's offices in Europe, citing personal reasons for the move.
Perry, while shocked and understandably confused, knew not to push the issue and said he would look into it for him. Meanwhile, he suggested Clark take a short two week leave of absence to reconsider. The older man felt sure that given sufficient time, Clark would change his mind.
Clark turned on the printer and watched hypnotically as the paper fed itself through the print mechanism, only to be cruelly spat out at the other end. Taking a crisp envelope from the drawer he wrote in his scrawly script, 'Lois, not to be opened before midnight', before carefully folding the sheets of paper and placing them inside. As he sealed the envelope closed, he almost felt a seal on his heart doing the same thing on his feelings. It was done. There was now only one final thing left to do.
He spun into his Superman suit and, clasping the letter in his shaking hand, headed out onto the balcony and up into the starry sky.
He hovered outside Lois's window, peering in through the curtains. The sight that greeted him surprised him. Lois sat, alone, on a rug on her floor, in front of a small fire, surrounded by half-eaten ice-cream tubs and several double fudge crunch bars. Her knees were pulled in tightly to her and her head hung low. He swore he could hear quiet sobbing. His heart, so recently sealed, started to open up again. He could withstand anything — extreme temperatures, raging fires, explosions even kryptonite — but the sound of Lois crying almost brought him to his knees.
What could have happened in the last few hours to leave her in such a state?
The distant sound of a DJ announcing 'only five minutes to go, folks, until the New Year' brought him out of his reverie. It was time. Time to let go, time to move on with his life. Just time. He sucked in a breath and squared his shoulders.
He floated slowly towards her window and pulled it open slightly. In the split second that it took for her to turn round to see where the draft was coming from, a blur of red and blue was replaced by a small white envelope sitting on her window sill.
Lois stood and walked over to the window. She grasped the envelope and read, through swollen eyes, the front. 'Lois, not to be opened before midnight'. It was Clark's handwriting. She glanced at the clock and saw there only two minutes to go. She looked out through the window but saw only her own reflection framed by the mirror image of her own apartment behind her.
She moved slowly to the couch and sat down, bringing her legs up under her, and waited, staring at the envelope.
Those last two minutes seemed like an eternity. Finally, the first chime of the New Year rang out and she carefully broke the seal, pulled out two sheets of paper, and started to read.
High above her in the sky, Clark's silhouette was illuminated by the dozens of fireworks that seemed to be heading straight for him.
It was a New Year. A New beginning.
With a deep breath and with not even one backward glance, he took off at super speed towards his new life and his future.
PS. There may be a sequel to this story, but as yet, I only have a basic outline of where to go from here. So keep the faith everyone. I'm sure all is not lost for our favourite couple.