Clark was bored. It was two weeks into summer break and already he was bored. Lex was in Europe until late August. Lana was in Southern California teaching at a riding academy. Chloe was in Dallas visiting her grandmother and Pete was at a football camp. All his friends would be gone most of the summer. He had no one to hang out with. It took no time for him to complete his chores and half of his dad's. It was depressing.

Whitney sat in a window seat of the Talon and drank his tea. He was reading a magazine that he saw on recommended reading list for Political Science at Metropolis University. It was over his head but he knew more about current world affairs than he ever thought he would. Just because he was not going to college did not mean he could not expand his horizons. He read the New York Times daily and he read the Wall Street Journal. He got more information from them than he ever did from The Ledger or the Planet. It had been a month since his dad had died and everything changed with it. His mom was depressed, they had been married for thirty years. He ran the store and was taking care of things at home as well. All the pity he had been feeling for himself had been let go to take care of his mother. He got angry at times because he was too young to deal with this much life but he did. So he took a break and had tea and read.

Clark was walking down Main Street. It was late afternoon but the sun was still high in the sky. He saw Whitney sitting and reading. It struck him somehow. He always thought of Whitney as active, never thoughtful or reserved. But there was Whitney being something out of the ordinary.
Clark walked into the Talon Cafe and ordered an iced mocha. 'Why not, we were friends towards the end of school so...' "Hi Whitney, can I join you?"

Whitney looks up and smiles, "sure. I'm not much company but you are more than welcome."

Clark sits and joins him. "What are you reading?"

"The Economist. I went up to Met U, to see what I could do to help myself and current events was something that was recommended."

", how are you?"

Whitney stopped for a second, "Well, okay I guess. Numb, really. I'm getting by day by day." Sighs, "How is your summer?"

"I'm bored. Chloe, Lana, and Pete are all away and so is Lex."

"So, I'm the consolation prize?"

"I...I didn't mean it like that."

" was a bad joke, sorry. I understand. Some of my friends have gone off for summer adventures. A few left for early admission. Me, I'm here running the store and trying to understand the world at large."

"What are you doesn't look like coffee."

"It isn't. To be honest, I don't like coffee much. It is apricot tea, very tasty."

" spent so much time at the Beanery...I could have sworn you liked coffee."

"If you noticed closely, I only went when I was with Lana. I never finished a cup. I'd get it refreshed to keep my hands warm."

Clark looked and smiled at Whitney. He noticed that he no longer had that jock arrogance about him. Clark knew that the last month of school had been difficult but that he had graduated. He saw Whitney smile back and Whitney offered him part of the Times and the next half hour passed before Whitney said goodbye, that he had to get back to work. Clark waved bye and left to go home.

Soon the pattern was established. Clark and Whitney spent late afternoons together and talked about what they had read on the Internet or saw on TV. Whitney asked Clark to go with him on an errand to Metropolis and Clark was happy to get out of Smallville for a day. They had fun, going to Best Buy to look at DVDs and saw a matinee of Star Wars. The drive home had been an animated conversation about the merits of sci-fi and what other movies they wanted to see. Whitney pulled into the Kent Farm.
"So Clark...I have next Tuesday off. Do you to catch another movie?"

"Yeah, I hate to go to the movies alone."

"Cool, so see you tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow, by the way, I don't like the apricot but I like the raspberry tea."

"To each his own." Whitney smiled and drove off.

School had been out a month and the Fourth of July holiday was around the corner. Clark and Whitney did not notice how much time they spent together. Clark had discovered Whit's quirky sense of humor and Whit discovered Clark's unique outlook on life.
Martha was up late and looked and saw Whitney's truck still in the driveway. It was after midnight. She saw the light on in the loft and walked out to see if they needed anything. As she walked in she heard the sniffles and she stopped.

"I'm sorry Clark. I miss him and its like my mom is gone too. She doesn't DO anything and I try but I can't deal with it anymore."

Martha's heart broke. It had been the worry of many that this might happen. Her husband had been the center of her life for more that half of it. Whitney could not grieve because he had to keep it together for her.

"Whitney...I'm your friend, call anytime day or night. I can't do much more than listen but I do that well."

" are a better friend than I deserve. Thanks."

Martha crept back out and wondered about this friendship. They spent most of their spare time with each other. She pondered her son and the patterns he developed. He became friends with Lana but never pushed. He spent most of his time with Lex and now with Whitney. She sighed and decided that what happens will happen will her nil her.

"Whitney, I don't know what you are going through but I do know what it is to question everything. I AM your friend so.. how was your day?"

Clark got the response he wanted when Whitney could not stop laughing.

Whitney went home and tried to figure out what he was feeling. He never felt this way before. The knots in the stomach, the sweaty hands, the shyness he felt. Whitney stopped and thought about it. He was supposed to feel this way about Lana but never had. The girls he had sex with had never made him feel this excited. He sighed. He wanted to expand his horizons but...he stopped. He promised himself that he would have no regrets. He would live life to the fullest. He would not lie to himself. He sighed again and actually wrote the words down.
I am in love with Clark Kent.

Clark was sprawled on the couch in the loft and wanted to comfort Whitney. Their friendship was very touchy-feely. A small touch here, a slap on the back, even a few hugs. It was a close friendship. He wanted to hold him and tell him it would be alright. He wanted to show him that he cared. Clark stopped. He reviewed his thoughts and realized that he wanted to be closer to Whit than he currently was. Clark did not want to burden Whitney with anything else. He was determined not to hurt Whit and to be the best friend he could.
He also did not want to confront the implications of a deeper friendship. He had come down this road with Lex but he cut it off when he began to doubt Lex and his motives. He had serious trust issues and Whitney was an open book. He stopped and looked out. He was sick of having to think about every action. Whitney was his friend and if something happened well, that path would be taken at that point. Maybe.

It was the Fourth of July and Whitney was closing up. He had the store open for Sunday hours and he would take the next day off. He and Clark were going to watch the fireworks and then head to his house to watch a movie. Whitney told Clark that his mom was going to stay with his aunt for the rest of the summer so he was going to be alone. Clark understood that Whitney wanted company and he was happy to hang out with him. Clark walked up as Whitney was locking up and was graced with Whit's dazzling smile. Clark returned it.

"Mind if we stop by my house so I can change? I want some shorts, its kind of humid out."

"Not a problem."

They climbed in the truck and drove to his house. Whitney dashed up the stairs and quickly showered. Clark was in the kitchen pouring a glass of tea. Soon he saw a wet smiling Whit looking at him with amusement glittering in his eyes.

"Did you forget to dry off Whit?"

"No, I didn't dry my hair though. Making yourself at home?"

"Yeah...want some?"

"Come on, lets head over and I'll buy you a hot dog."

"My, is this a date? If so I have to call and see what time I'm due home?"

"But Clark, its summer so there should be no curfews." Whitney's voice betrayed some of his apprehension about the word `date.'

"Come on said you'd buy me a hot dog so I'm going to collect."

"Okay." Clark sees that smile and melts inside.

The booths and the people were all full of fun. The band played but neither Clark or Whitney paid much attention. Each was trying to be a friend, trying not to let the new feelings ruin what was turning into a great relaxing summer. The casual touches and lingering gazes had become part of their friendship, the deeper meaning hidden by the need to have a friend. The issue wasn't forced and they walked and talked, enjoying the summer twilight. They found a secluded corner and sat near each other. The perfect spot to watch the dancing and latter the fireworks display.

Jonathan and Martha were dancing along with many other couples and had paused with the break in the music. Jonathan looked and saw in the shadows the boys sitting closely together. It was rare to see teenagers out here, most went to Metropolis to the Rockfest. Martha saw where her husband's gaze lead and she noticed also. The concept of personal space was gone. The boys were sitting very close to each other, oblivious to the world around them.

When the first Roman shell burst over the horizon Whitney jumped. He had forgotten that it was time. He had been lost in the memory of last year and fighting with his dad that he hated this event and trying to placate his mom by going anyway. He wanted to turn back the clock. So much was different one year later. He would give anything to fight , or laugh with hid dad again, at least once more. It was then he heard the deafening `BOOM' and jumped.

Clark reacted to Whitney's surprise and held him, to calm him down. He had an arm around him and held him to his chest. It felt so natural that neither boy moved and they watched the fireworks like that.

Martha turned and saw Clark holding Whitney. No one was paying attention and they were hidden in the shadows but what she saw amazed her. Jonathan noticed as well. Clark was protective of Whitney. Before the fireworks ended the boys had left. Martha and Jonathan were going to talk to Clark as soon as they could.

The boys settled on Whit's queen sized bed and got the movie ready. Whit lost the 'paper, scissors, rock' game, so it was going to be one of Clark's favorites, Aliens. Two bowls of ice-cream and the movie was off. Soon Clark leaned back against the headboard and pulled Whit back against him. He was holding him, having him lean against his body. It felt wonderful.

Whitney was being held and could not help but relax. Soon they were stretched out side by side with Clark still holding him.



"What is going on?"

"A movie."


"A movie, that is what is going on."

"No, I mean here between us." Clark stopped the movie and they looked at each other.

"Whitney, I'd be lying if I said nothing. I like you okay and I like this closeness. And I want this" Clark leaned forward and kissed Whit.

Whitney was surprised but very happy to get kissed and returned it. It was wish granted. Soon the kiss deepened and hands began to map the contours of each others bodies. The movie was forgotten and two teenage boys spent the night stoking the flames of passion.

Clark walked in the kitchen and saw both of his parents waiting for him.

"Good morning."

"Hi Clark. Son, what is going on with you and Whitney?"

"Nothing" Clark lied.

"Clark if nothing is going on then how come you have a hickey on your neck?"

"What! That was supposed to fade..." Both of his parents were looking at him. BUSTED!

"Care to try that again."

"We...nothing is going on...we are close friends."

"Clark, close friends don't stand as close as you do. You were holding him last night."

"He's having a rough time."


"What do you want? I might love him, is that what you want to know?"

"Clark...we want. What about Lana?"

"Lana? She has nothing to do with this. They broke up in April. I really like him, okay. I don't want to think about it and I don't want to analyze it. I want to feel, act and enjoy it. If it gets serious then maybe you can worry. But right now, it is summer and I want to enjoy his company without boundaries."

Jonathan and Martha looked at each other and shrugged.

"Clark, please invite him over for dinner. I know he is alone and he doesn't need to be."

"Mom, that is my point precisely."

Whitney had kissed Clark good bye and got up to clean the house. Before he knew it two hours had passed but the house would pass inspection. He heard a knock on the door, so he answered it.

"Clark, I didn't expect you...come in."

"My parents know."

"Oh. What does that mean?"

"They would like you to come over for dinner tonight."

"Okay. Are you okay?"

"Whit...I don't want to question everything in my life. Can't this just BE. I want to enjoy your company and have fun this summer."

"Clark... I love you. I don't know that I can do what you are asking."

"Whitney, please...can we enjoy this month together and then in August decide what to do. Please? I don't and won't hurt you but I...I can't keep thinking about everything. I want to BE."

" are asking..."Whitney dropped his head and turned away. Clark came up and hugged him.

"Whit, I'm sorry. I am asking a great deal but all I want is this. Right now this summer, July, to relax and hold you and kiss you because it FEELS right. When August comes then we ask the where and the how, okay?"

"When you put it that way..."

"I promise not to hurt you. It's summer and it is about fun and friendship. I want the full package Whitney. The friendship without boundaries, all the perks and extras, including sleepovers."

They met in a searing kiss. They would take what each day brought and not borrow trouble.

To Part Two, Summer Returns

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