Final chapter! And it's marginally longer than the others. Reviews for an old story are awesome! Even if they're scathing and mean, because I honestly get it. Or just a random string of letters. I'm just glad I've gone through and cleaned up all of my stories, and this really needed it.
Martha Kent sat in the living room of her Kansas farmhouse, staring at the wall. Since Clark's death, she had been virtually on autopilot. She let herself grieve upon hearing the news that her child was dead, but hadn't permitted herself to do so in the week that had since passed. She had to stay strong for Jonathan, but that wasn't the full reason – he was strong enough for the both of them. He had dealt with his pent-up emotions not by moping around the house, as she had, but by tripling the chores he did on their farm. He got up before dawn, fed the chickens, milked the cows, and did other similar deeds until late morning. After a quick lunch, he would revert to heavier labor-putting up fences, planting and tilling, grooming the horses, mucking the stables...by the time he came in at night, he barely had any energy left to eat a proper meal. She hadn't seen him shed a single tear.
No, she didn't let herself grieve purely for Jonathan's sake. In truth, she was afraid that if she mourned her loss, it would make it all the more real.
The future of their farm remained in question. Neither Kent had vocalized their concerns, but the reality of the situation was becoming painfully obvious. As many times as they had told Clark that they could handle the farm without him, that he should go to college away from home and live his own life, they had said it only out of love for their son. They knew that it was only Clark's abilities that had kept the farm running as long as it did. He could easily do the work of three men, but Jonathan couldn't. He hadn't yet complained, but he couldn't live every day as he had been lately.
Martha awakened from her daydream upon the familiar creak that followed the opening of the front door. It was dusk, and Jonathan was just coming in for supper. Martha got up, quickly plastering a smile on her face, and embraced her husband. As they pulled apart, she scrutinized his appearance. His face was streaked with dirt, his hands were rough and calloused, and his clothing was damp with sweat. These descriptors were all familiar to her, but one was new: the sadness in his eyes.
"Hey sweetheart," he said affectionately. "What's for dinner?"
"Roast chicken and potatoes – blueberry pie for dessert."
"Sounds great," he sighed, walking over to the table and sitting down. "I'm starving."
Martha brought the food from the kitchen, set it on the table, and sat next to her husband.
"Honey, I'm concerned about you. I know you've told me you're fine, but I think you're working too hard. Tell me how I can help."
"I'm not working too hard, and I don't want you helping. My father ran this farm alone, and his father, and his father after that. I ran it fine even before...Clark...could help. Besides, you keep this house running. You cook, clean, do the chores...no, I don't want you helping with farm work." He spoke with sharp, determined words. Martha knew his mind could not be changed.
"You're right sweetheart, I know what you're saying is true, but situations are different now than they were then. Prices for supplies have gone up, demand has gone up...and we can't forget your heart problems..."
"My heart is fine, Martha," he answered abruptly.
"I trust you," she said, "…and I know that you won't do any more work than you can handle, right?" She knew that she had him there. The work was too much for him, and he would never lie to her that directly. He could avoid the truth all he wanted, insist that he had to continue with the work, but he would never openly tell her that its effects hadn't begun to take their toll on him.
She was right. He simply stared down at his plate, not offering an answer.
"I just think," she suggested hesitantly, "that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to accept some help."
"You mean hire someone? Martha, you know that this land has only ever been worked by family. That's not what my father would have wanted."
"That's not the only type of help I'm referring to, Jonathan. You know, Lex has already offered, um, monetary support...new equipment, free fertilizer..."
Martha was surprised that her husband didn't immediately shoot down her suggestion. Whenever she had mentioned this prospect in the past, he hadn't even taken time to consider. She supposed the situation was different, now. Lex and Johnathan had never gotten along well, but they had made their peace at the time of Clark's death. Martha wasn't sure how, but she sensed it. There was no longer any animosity.
"Maybe," he said quietly. "Maybe you're right."
Chloe pulled her red VW Beetle through the Kents' gravel driveway, and stopped the car in front of the house. Lois was in the front seat, uncharacteristically quiet, while Lana sat in the back, her apprehension almost palpable.
The three girls got out. Lana walked ahead of Chloe and Lois, up to the front porch, where she stood, staring at the door. Chloe and Lois exchanged worried glances, then quickly rushed up to meet their friend. Lana had requested that they come with her for support when she told the Kents that she was pregnant, so they had come. She had barely uttered a word on the ride over, and Chloe was concerned. As she approached Lana's standing figure, she placed a supportive arm around her shoulders.
"It's going to be all right, Lana," she said soothingly.
"Yeah, as far as I know, the Kents have never murdered anyone," chimed in Lois.
"Thanks," said Lana, with a small smile. She took a deep breath. "All right, I'm ready."
Martha stood from the table. The doorbell had rung. It had served as a jolt of reality, causing her to jump back slightly from surprise. She had been so absorbed with her conversation with her husband that the loud noise had startled her. Wondering vaguely who it may be, she opened the door.
There stood a very timid looking Lana Lang, with Chloe and Lois standing right behind her.
"Hi, Mrs. Kent," said Lana breathily. May we come in?"
"Sure, honey, you all are just in time for blueberry pie. Would you like any?"
Chloe and Lana declined, but Lois had already begun to help herself to a heaping plateful.
"What?" she challenged. "I'm hungry!"
Everyone took seats on the comfy sofas in the Kent's living room.
"Actually, Mr. and Mrs. Kent, I came to tell you something very important." Feeling that there was no purpose to drawing it out, she continued. "I'm pregnant."
Martha gasped, holding her hand to her mouth, and turned to look at her husband. Tears began to form in her eyes. Jonathan simply looked shocked, but not at all angry, as Lana had feared.
"When...when did you find out?" he asked.
"Just yesterday," answered Lana, before bursting into tears. "I'm so sorry! I don't know what I'm g-going t-to d-do!"
"Oh honey, honey," cooed Martha, her motherly instincts instantly kicking in, "it's all right." She pulled her into a hug, and let Lana sob onto her shoulder. "It's all right. We're going to raise this baby together, okay? Everything is going to be fine."
Jonathan gave a small smile. "That's right. We'll be there for you all the way."
One year later...
Lana laughed as the holds her three month baby son in the air above her head. "Are you an airplane, Clark? bzzzzz..." She "flew" him around the room, the smile on her son's face bringing joy into her heart. The baby looked just like Clark, with her own almond shaped eyes and round face. He was a perfect combination of them.
She hadn't felt this happy in a long time. With some help from Chloe and Lois, she had placed a nursery in her small apartment in the Talon, and renovated the entire space into a comfortable apartment. She still worked in the coffee shop, and took college classes part-time at Met U – the Kents watched Clark when she was gone. They had taken immediately to their grandson, delighted to again have a baby in the house.
As for the farm? It was running better than ever. Lex had helped, but not only monetarily – his new stock of fertilizer had made the Kent crops the talk of the town, and money was pouring in. She was sure Clark would finally have approved of his friend.
I'm still not all that happy with this...I think the cheese factor is pretty high, but whatever. Haha.