By Kaethel <email@example.com> and Wendy Richards <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: June 2004
Summary: Clark tries to explain to Mayson. Story 5 in the "Yesterday" series.
Author's note: Many thanks to Elena for beta-reading. All rights in the characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros; no infringement is intended by their use in this work of fiction.
Yes, I know you said I shouldn't write to you. But I can't just ignore your letter. How could I? I had no idea I'd hurt you that badly. I had to write. Even if you don't read it. Even if you never get it.
I'm sorry. I have to start by saying that, don't I? But I really do mean it. I am so sorry, Mayson.
I'm not really sure why I'm writing this letter to you. Maybe it's out of a selfish need to get some things off my chest. Maybe it's out of hope that you won't honour your promise and that you will read it before you leave. Probably it's a little of both.
I do owe you an explanation. Most of all I owe you an apology for all the hurt I put you through. You might not believe me, but I never intended to hurt you, and yet I know I did. It took reading your letter for me to realise what I'd done and what a jerk I've been with you, but deep down I've felt guilt and remorse throughout our relationship.
We *had* a relationship. I won't try to deny there was ever anything between us, because there was. You're right. We dated. We kissed. That's not something I can throw to the back of my mind and forget. It's not something I can treat lightly. Yet I did. I know I did, and I'm sorry.
What was there between us? How many times have I asked myself that question? Were we friends? Were we more than friends? I don't have clear answers to either of those questions. Did we know each other enough to call each other friends? I cared for you, yes. I wanted us to be friends, yes. I wanted to get to know you better.
I liked you, Mayson. I always liked you. And I wanted there to be more.
I wanted to feel the way you felt.
I could claim I didn't know how you felt towards me. That would be another lie. I knew. Of course I knew. I refused to see it, but I knew all along. Even if I hadn't already known it deep down, Jimmy Olsen dropped enough hints, and that was nothing compared to the way Lois talked about you. And yes. Yes, our relationship made her jealous. I even told her once, and even though she denied it, I now know for sure that she was lying.
At first, I didn't care about making her jealous. Or maybe I didn't want to see that I cared. All I could see was that for once a woman was truly interested in me. There was nothing wrong with that. And I liked receiving your attention. I liked it a lot. I liked *you* a lot.
In case you don't believe me, think about this: I did tell my parents about you. They know who you are. They knew we were seeing each other. All the same, my folks have always known that I love Lois — but they also knew that I was trying to get past that. To move on.
The thing was, Mayson, I'd told myself that was what I was doing. Moving on. Forgetting Lois. Admitting to myself, finally, that she was never going to love me back. She would never want me. And so I had to stop waiting around, hoping that one day she'd look at me and see in me what I saw in her. It was never going to happen, I told myself. And that's why, when we met and you made it clear that you found me… attractive… I went along with it.
No, that's wrong. I didn't just go along with it. You're right. You didn't make all the running. I did plenty. And, Mayson, don't ever think that I didn't enjoy being with you. That I didn't like your company. That I didn't… want you.
I did want you. It wasn't easy to resist when you made it clear that you were willing to take things further. But I resisted because it wouldn't have been fair to you. I knew I was still in love with Lois. How would that have been, making love with you while I still wanted to be with someone else? It would have been taking advantage of you in the worst possible way. I've behaved like a bastard as it is, Mayson, but that would have been far, far worse.
I've been blind about a number of things. Most of all about my own feelings. For a long time, I believed that I could change, that one day I would love you the way you loved me, that I would forget her.
The truth is, I can't.
I'm sorry, Mayson. I'm sorry I tried so hard to be with you when I should have known all along that my feelings for her would never change. I'm sorry I've let you believe that I could be committed to you when I couldn't stop thinking about her. As I write these words, I realise how hard they sound and how painful they must be for you to read. Hate me if it helps — not that you need my permission to hate me, anyway. I hate myself for what I did to you.
In the last few days, I've hurt a number of people I care deeply for. My… 'death' hit my friends hard and, for reasons I can't get into, there was nothing I felt I could do about it. You're right. I should have called you after Professor Hamilton's research resurrected me. I should have thought about you. I should have realised that you would be just as distraught as my friends at the Planet.
I didn't think. Or, yes, I did, but you're right, I only thought about her. I love her, Mayson. No matter what happened between us, I can't stop loving her. And it took the past few days for both of us to realise that we can't go on like this, lying to each other and to the world around us.
Lying to you, too. I can't lie to you any more. I can't pretend that we can be together. I can't pretend that we can have a relationship. I wanted to. Oh, how much I wanted to. I was attracted to you, Mayson. I liked you, and I wanted to love you. I couldn't.
I wish I could turn back the time and not give you hope. I wish I had told you, the first time you kissed me, that there was someone else, that there would always be someone else. But because I was selfish, because I wanted so hard to forget her, I didn't think of you and how I was making you feel. Used. Cheated. And now abandoned.
There is no apology that will make you forgive what I've done to you, Mayson. I've shown little respect towards you and your feelings over the past few weeks, and yet I do respect you, and I admire you. Your letter showed me that you've got courage that I lack. I was a coward where we were concerned.
When you were pushing us towards more, trying for a deeper, more intimate relationship, I felt trapped. I didn't know how to tell you without hurting you, and look at what I did. I ended up hurting you more just because I couldn't face telling you before.
I just don't know what else to say, Mayson. Sorry seems far too inadequate for the way I've treated you — the way I've used you. I can't defend my actions. I can't ask you to understand. Why should you? But if it gives you any comfort at all to know that I did — do — care about you, then please remember that. Because it's true.
I'm so sorry that you feel you have to leave the job you love to get away from me. I wish it could be different. It's so unfair. I should be the one offering to leave — but I can't. I can't leave Lois — and there are reasons why I can't leave Metropolis. I hope you find happiness wherever you're going to. I hope everything works out for you. And if, some day, you can think of me without bitterness, please remember that I will always care about you and wish you well. And if there is any way I can ever help you, anything I can do to even begin to make up for all the hurt I've caused you, you only have to ask.
I wish we could still be friends, but I know that isn't going to happen, and that it's my fault. And I'm sorry. Again.
Be happy, Mayson. I truly hope that you will be.
Kaethel and Wendy Richards 2004 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org