Just Another Night
He hesitates before the door, stands there for a moment with his Italian leather dress shoes on the welcome mat and the key to the apartment building in his hand. The door is scratched, the varnish peeling, and when he slides in the key and twists the doorknob, the door’s rusted hinges groan in protest. He steps into the dark foyer, closes the door carefully behind him.
Yellow light from a streetlamp outside spills through a curtain-less window, illuminating the bundled stacks of old newspapers crowding the living room floor. They are arranged in almost maze-like precision, and he smiles slightly to himself as he navigates through them. The bedroom is dark, like the rest of the building, and the only light comes from the glowing red numbers on the digital alarm clock sitting on the bed stand. The covers on the bed stir groggily.
He smirks, leans against the doorframe. “Care to guess again?”
“Clark.” The man sits up quickly in bed and the covers fall away, pooling around his bare waist. Clark glances appreciatively at the bared torso.
“Do I want to know,” he asks casually, pushing away from the door to amble toward the bed, “what the talented Ms. Lane could be doing in your bedroom at this time of night?”
Lex sits motionless on the bed, watching expressionlessly as the other man approaches. “Clark, what are you doing here?”
Clark smiles, spreads his arms wide, before carelessly stripping off his suit jacket and tossing it to the floor. “I thought it was obvious. I’m apologizing, you see.” The red silk shirt comes off next. “It’s not something I do often.” The leather belt clunks onto the chair. “So you’ll have to excuse me.” Shoes and socks thump against the wall. “Although you’re always something of an exception for me, aren’t you, Lex?” Grinning, Clark finally stands in only his suit pants. Lex is silent. The smile disappears suddenly then, too suddenly to have ever been real. “Aren’t you, Lex?” Clark repeats quietly.
“I should have changed the lock.”
Clark grins viciously. “Should have. Didn’t.” He climbs onto the bed, takes Lex’s face between his hands. “Couldn’t.”
Lex’s eyes glitter in the darkness. “Don’t be so sure.”
The teeth Clark bare then is anything but a smile. His eyes are dark. “I’ll prove it to you.” He leans in for him, but Lex jerks away. There is a desperate violence in the motion, in the turn of his face, the loathing twist of his lips.
“I hate you,” he says harshly, emptily, as if he’s reciting the line from an over-played script.
Clark smiles terribly, tenderly. He understands the ritual. “I hate you more.”
And this time when he reaches for Lex, Lex reaches back.