Pairing: Clark/ Whit, Jason/Whit
Summary: All about what Clark learns on his summer job.
The previous parts are here, throwing their bags into the car, adjusting their kicky little berets and driving off with a song on their lips…say…doesn't that look like *your* car?</i>
That weekend Jason went to Metropolis and he never came back. He disappeared, dropped off the face of the earth.
He was gone and it took a few days to sink in—it was Whit looking for him that made Clark realize something was wrong and then Gabe came looking for him, and was angry then sad, and Jason's name came off the board at work. Not long after that, the cars were driven away from the weird ranch house on the hill, and then house was closed up and that was that.
It was weird to grieve so hard for someone you really didn’t even know, he thought, but there it was. He missed Jason, he mourned Jason. The loss was like a hole in his chest. After a while, he had the decency to wonder how Whit was feeling, but Whit kept everyone at arms length and Clark didn't quite have the balls to push past that.
"Maaan, this was a long ass summer wasn't it? I mean, it's not over but it's over, you know what I mean?"
Clark nodded. "Yeah." He was lying on his bedroom floor, bored, sad, and kind of drifting…he tried to pay attention to Pete, he really did…his epic tale of clothes shopping with Chloe which he was beginning to understand had been a little like descending through the various levels of hell went on and on, and Pete's voice was…well, kind of a soporific. If he could package it and sell it he'd be rich....
"Okay, mother fucker. You haven’t heard a fucking word I've said…I bet you didn’t even hear about the threesome me and Chloe and the sales girl at Wet Seal had, did you?"
"What!" Clark fumbled the phone, "You *what*? Oh my god, you're lying, you a-hole!"
"Of course I'm lying, you fucking maroon! Do you ever fucking listen me? Tell me one time you've ever really listened to me? In fact, tell me why we’re even friends!"
"Oh gosh--Pete—Pete. I'm such a jerk. You're right--I'm sorry. You know I love you, C.C.P.—I do. It's just…I was thinking about…crap. You know."
"Geez, Clark—go speak to the man! Tell him how you feel. Tell him you're sorry about Jason. Tell him something, for god's sake!" before I kill you was unspoken, but kind of hung in the air…"And yeah, you giant fairy, I love you too. Obviously, or I would have drop kicked your ass into space a long time ago, Clarkbar."
"See? We're meant to be. I don't know Pete…" Clark rolled to his feet, and wandered around his little room. He yanked at his hair, frustrated, angry with himself…"Talking to him…it's been too long. Now I'll just look like a—an enormous jerk." He pushed shiny new notebooks, crisp folders and fresh pencils to the side of his desk and sat down. His work schedule was on the desktop, and he had no shifts with Whit, no way to kind of run into him. "Change of subject--did you decide if you're leaving next week?"
Pete let out an exasperated breath, but he was used to Clark's clunky segues and went with the flow. "Yeah, hell yeah. School's starting up, and Billiam's finally got his foot off my neck. I'm chillin' for the rest of the year. Well, you know. As much as possible."
Okay, so Billy was still undecided, Rog was leaving and so was Pete. Clark felt a spike of guilt over Greg…Greg who'd pulled so far back into his weird ass shell that it was a fucking relief that he was quitting—to devote more time to his hobby, he said. Greg was breaking into weird little pieces all over the place and it seemed like no one was noticing it but him…maybe being back at school would help pull Greg back together.
Truth to tell, he was more than ready for school to start again.
Clark sighed and stretched his arms out to either side of him. He was laying spread eagled in a block of hot light the sun threw on the floor boards. The combination of the grass scented breeze blowing through the open window, and the boards warm with sun made him feel lazy, he liked the way they smelled, like home and comfort and a little bit like lemon oil…he felt good, not anywhere near as buzzy as the beginning of the summer where he felt like he hardly had control, this was more…coasting on the feeling, purposely letting it fill him. His heavy eyelids slid shut, his arms slid under his head. Sleep creeped up on him like a warm blanket, and in a few minutes he was snoring.
Anyway, that was summer. It was the best of summers, it was the worst of summers or something like that. He made friends and lost friends and losing them sucked the hardest. He should have tried harder, with both of them. He should have hung on but he didn't. His fault.
The Beanery was quiet, comfortable, and the place where one of his best friends was desperately trying to remain employed. How it was that someone could ace school and not remember an order from the time they left the table to the time they made it back to where the coffee was, was beyond him, but he struggled manfully to smile and sip at the what'cha'macallit with extra cream Lana'd brought him it as if it was the most delightful thing that had ever passed his lips. He was pretty sure he'd asked her for a plain old latte but this thing had sprinkles of chocolate and tasted like hazelnut or maybe just nuts with too much milk and whipped cream on top and. Bleah.
"What's wrong, you don't like it?"
Jesus! Clark wiped cream from his nose and chin, and Whit plopped down in the seat across from him. "Hi."
Whipped cream dotted the table with Rorschach blots…he swiped at them casually. "Hi…how are you?" Clark blushed. Good, great, show Whit you're still the same giant fucking dork you were the beginning of the summer. God, he looked good, smelled good and his hair was…shit. He was just fucking gorgeous...and he was smiling at him, he was actually sitting with him and smiling. Maybe…maybe Whit decided to forget that he was an ass-hole. Or…or maybe he had news. Or maybe he misses you that much. Sure. It could happen. That and flying pigs.
Whit tucked a coffee stirrer into his mouth and pushed back on the chair. "Gabe says you're working out good in the office. Never figured you'd like office work, farm boy like you…"
Whit and Billy ran the new crew, but for now Clark was in the office a few hours on the weekends—at least until after harvest--the real busy time on the farm. The office was cool though, interesting *and* educational—he'd learned two things so far. Chloe's taste in music sucked balls and Doris…wasn't quite as much of a bitch as he'd thought. She was actually helping him, and kind of sort of being nice to him and…okay, she was still creepy. But apparently she was creepy with a heart of—some sort of yellow shiny metal. She'd taken him aside one day, tears in her eyes; at least he assumed they were tears. The little chips of obsidian poked into her doughy face definitely had looked glassier than usual…she rasped, "We all need to be nice to Whitney, Clark. He really misses his friend." Her wrinkled little claw tightened on his forearm for a moment, and she heaved an enormous sigh. "We all miss Jason," and then she turned back to her desk. "Oh, and Clark? The toilet bowl needs bleaching." It'd been an incredible bonding moment—
Clark shuddered. "Yeah. It's. It's…nice." He looked up at Whit. "How's um, college? S'that going…good?" articulate, fuck yeah.
Whit looked away, and chewed hard on the straw. "Good. I like CKU. The commute's a bitch but…" He shrugged and looked back at Clark. "Jason's not at MetU. I checked. He never showed. Still don’t know where he is. Maybe Europe…I think he said once that his mother had some places overseas."
Clark sighed. So, Jason wasn't hiding from them, and wherever he was, was probably not his choice….
"He'll be nineteen in a few months. If he wants to he can leave…I don’t…"
Clark put his cup down and tapped Whit on the arm. "Hey. Let's go to my house—come for dinner. Mom's making beef stew. You've never tasted anything as good as my mom's stew."
Whit tilted his head and stared at Clark and then…he smiled. *That* smile.
So Whit kind of became a fixture at dinner, and Clark wasn't really sure if was because of him, or if it was his mom's cooking that made it like that.
Important thing was, he was there.
Dad was pleased that Clark was happy and he had a boyfriend who wasn't a meth addicted mesh shirt wearing feather boa flinging…Clark told Dad over and over not to watch the Queer As Folk. Especially since he insisted Mikey and Brian were meant to be and that was just completely and totally *wrong*….
Mom was just. Well. She was warming up to the idea that Whit was his boyfriend. Slowly. Glacially. With occasional elbow nudges when a 'hot chick' crossed their paths at the Stop n' Shop. At least she did kind of like Whit and Whit was working it as hard as he could. Whit trying hard was irresistible. No one could resist the smile, the twinkle. You'd have to have a heart of stone.
It was a weekend night, and Whit was sitting in the chair he'd claimed as his, and they were just finishing dinner, which had been pretty damn good. Mom outdid herself and the fried chicken had been so good it practically jumped off the plate and sang, which this being SV would have given everyone pause for about …oh, a minute. So--dinner, fried chicken, incidentally Whit's favorite. Baby steps. Baby steps.
Whit stood when Mom did and said with a great big Eddie Haskell smile, "Clark and I will do the dishes, Mrs.K. You take it easy—right Clark?"
Fuck!Clark wondered if he'd ever develop the ability to kill someone with his mind…right now he'd settle for the ability to create a vicious cold sore. Sure Honeybunch, I'd love to do the dishes even though it's not my night. "Sure, Whit, that sounds like a good idea."
"Thanks men," Mom said and headed out to the TV room. "Say, Clark, why don't you make some cocoa too, I like the one with the little marshmallows in it."
Clark nodded, smiling wide as Mom and Dad left the room and then turned on Whit. "You see what you started? Next she's going to want breakfast in bed—"
"Hey. She said I could spend the night. In the loft, with you. Hello—who am I going to be nicest to?"
"To me, doof! You can be nice to Mom all you want, I'm the one who’s going to—you know," and Clark made a tentative little move involving hips and eyebrows and flailing hands.
"First of all, that combo of images is enough to kill a hard-on dead. As for whatever that little move was supposed to be—what *was* that move supposed to be? You're gonna what--teach me to dance? Fake a seizure in case I get captured by spies?"
"I hate you even more now, you jackass. Hand me that towel and don’t touch me. Ever."
Whit smiled and crowded Clark against the counter, fit his chin perfectly into the space between Clark's shoulder and neck. "See that? See how I fit so perfectly there?" he murmured. He slid his hands around Clarks hips, pulled him back against him and inhaled. "We fit together all over like that, we just…fit. Now, tell me not to touch you."
"Cheater…" Clark leaned back, closed his eyes and loved Whit's touch. There was not a chance of him telling Whit not to touch him…or speak coherently at all, really….
It was still pretty hot up in the loft; it would take a while before it gave up all its heat. He turned on the TV in the corner, and pulled out the sleep sofa. Between the two of them they made the bed up quickly.
Whit poked around in the trunk at the foot of the couch. "Where's that sleeping bag—ah, got it."
Clark watched Whit unroll it and put a pillow on top of the bag. "Aren't you sleeping up here with me?"
"Clark, shouldn’t we at least pretend that I didn’t sleep with you and I say that meaning all possible interpretations."
"Listen, oh Prince of Not Very Convincing Lies, I'm pretty sure that they know, and I'm not going to dwell on that. Pick a movie, please."
Whit shuffled through the collection of DVDs with such serious concentration that Clark had to smile. He really was cute.
"Man On Fire? Denzel is hot…or Riddick. Vin Diesel. Yum."
"Yum? Wow, what a deep and thinky critique of Vin Diesel's acting skills. He's yum."
Whit looked up. "Where you this sarcastic before we started dating, 'cause I thought you were a nice quiet boy?"
Clark beamed. "We're dating?" He slid lower on the bed and put his feet against Whit's back and Whit pressed against them.
"Well, yeah. We spend whatever free time we have together, talk on the phone when we can't be together, I'm doing your chores, you're wearing me out any chance you get…I'd say we're dating."
"So you're my boyfriend."
"I'm your boyfriend. Vin or Denzel?"
Clark took the movies out of Whit's hand and pulled him up until they were flush together, from chin to toe. "Let's pretend I'm Vin…and you're a sexy chocolate chip muffin…"
"You have very, very strange fantasies--"
The really great thing about the seasons changing was that he got to see how Whit looked in the fall, wearing big cable knit sweaters that he used to think were corny until he saw him in one, looking like he was glowing in that light that's only possible in autumn, sort of pure and magical….
Whit walking along the fields near the sunflowers was enough to make Clark thank god Those People sent him here and not to Mars or Venus or somewhere in the galaxy there was no Whit.
In winter, standing knee deep in pristine white snow, his nose, his cheeks red, only his eyes showing between the edge of his scarf and the edge of his cap—what was wonderful about that was that he was the one who got to warm Whit up, one kiss at a time, hands, and lips, and neck…taking layers off was like unwrapping the best present in the world. Whit and snow…
At Christmas, Mom kissed Whit, and told him how happy she was that he made her son so happy. That was the best Christmas gift ever.
Spring meant mud, and bright green buds and tulips, and the slow build up to summer, and no one needed to know that nibbling a trail of jelly beans off his boy-friend's outrageously tight abs was the best fun ever…almost.
And then it was summer again.