A/N: Hi, everyone! I hope everyone's staying safe during this pandemic. I've been trying to update and work on a few chapters for different stories to change the monotony of quarantine life but as some of you know, I work for a mortuary and well, you can only imagine work flow at the moment. Avatar The Last Airbender on Netflix has also been a big distraction but no complaints on that end. Lol, anyway, here's to a new chapter of The Boy! Enjoy!
"You cry in your sleep. How come?"
The question hung suspended in the cold air for what felt like a short eternity. The smell of rain lingered in the breeze as the dark gray clouds slowly departed. They had stopped in front of an old tombstone that had long ago seen its last visitor. There had been a calm silence between them when he asked the question. At first, Lana remained silent, unprepared for the question at hand. Unprepared for the reality of the situation. She hadn't even been aware that he had heard her but at some point he had. Lana guessed that she had gotten used to living alone and that meant her suffering went unnoticed and unbothered by others.
Lana placed her hand on Johnny's shoulder, "I hope I didn't frighten you." Her eyes remained upon the grave with the fading name, too afraid to look her son in the eyes. She suddenly couldn't recall why they were still there. Lana guessed it was because she could never bring herself to leave Wendy behind. There was always an internal struggle between the past and the urge to move forward. She often felt as if her ghost was holding her back, unearthly fingers tightly bound around her wrist, holding her firm, preventing her from ever moving forward. Lana felt as if escape was inevitable.
"You didn't." He stated with a soft voice. His handsome face was leaving all traces of childhood behind and entering the features of early adolescence. Lana often wondered what he was like as a little boy. He had seen his school pictures and a few from the home but they lacked deep expressions and the personality of each age. She was sure he had been mischievous by the notes in the file delivered to her. It was all Lana had to take an educated guess. Of course, she could always just ask the boy.
Lana lifted her hand and with her fingers brushed back the hair from his face. What a darling boy, she thought. An opinion that she believed would never form. He truly was the best of two terrible people brought together by even worse circumstances. It would never cease to amaze her.
She tried to smile but her lips failed her.
"Do you get nightmares?" He asked next. His voice was a little lower that time as his eyes scanned the cemetery, suddenly nervous of any restless ghosts that might be lingering about. When he was still small and in the care of St. Ursula's, the nuns used to tell them stories about demons and evil spirits.
"Sometimes." Lana admitted. She often had dreams of Oliver Thredson hovering over her as his hands pinned her wrists down to the bed. Sometimes the nightmares were of Briarcliff or the creatures out in the woods. Such horrible things. "Do you?"
He nodded slowly. His ocean eyes averting her gaze in embarrassment.
"What are they of?" Lana asked, giving him a smile yet encouraging smile.
"The home." He answered without skipping a beat. "And the nuns."
"You weren't happy there, were you?"
He shook his head, "No." His gaze fell to the puddle at his feet and he kicked a small rock by his loafer, "But I don't think anyone was."
Lana brought him under her arm, "I think our fears are long behind us now, Johnny."
He leaned his head against her, inhaling the scent of her expensive perfume. All they could do was look forward. "You're not just nice. You're smart too." He told her and looked up at her with that boyish, handsome smile.
Lana tilted her head back and laughed, "Is that so?"
"I think you're just buttering me up now." She sighed softly and rubbed his arm, "Come on, let's go home."
Lana tucked him in that night after Johnny took a hot shower. His hands had felt freezing cold after their visit to the cemetery and she hoped he wouldn't get sick. Lana noted that Johnny always seemed so restless before bed. She wondered if he was worried that he would wake in the home again. She had a strong feeling that was one of the fears that lingered in his young mind.
She sat at the edge of the bed and studied his precious face. He made the same expressions that Oliver did when he was troubled. Lana could still see his face as if she had just seen him that morning. The passing years did so little to erase him from her memory but she didn't want to tell the boy that. As far as she was concerned, he had no father. And as far as Johnny was concerned, her word was law.
"Are you okay?" She asked him.
Johnny met her gaze and Lana wondered where those colored eyes came from exactly; He had not inherited the brown eyes of his parents. Genetics were such a strange and perplexing thing. Alas, Lana knew they must have come from Oliver's side, not her own.
Johnny had been thinking about all the people he had seen crowd his mother earlier that day. He recalled what Claude had mentioned in the car. Johnny frowned at the thought; he still felt like he didn't know his mother enough or at all. She had so many secrets and he didn't know where to start. "All those people like the book you wrote..." He began.
His comment caught Lana off guard. The boy was full of surprising questions and comments. She tried to force a smile, "Yes, I suppose so."
"What's it about?"
Lana became tense. She knew he would ask again. It was when Johnny turned his head that Lana heard the crinkle of a wrapper. She reached under his pillow and brought out a half squished moon pie. Lana's heart broke at the sight of the hidden snack and Johnny suddenly looked embarrassed and ashamed. His cheeks grew a fiery crimson, vibrant against the blue of his eyes.
"Johnny-" Lana began but stopped herself when Johnny immediately flinched at the sound of her voice.
"I'm sorry!" He blurted and brought the covers to his chest, sinking himself deeper into the pillow. "I- I didn't mean to."
Lana's eyes fell upon his shameful expression and sighed. She felt her shoulders slump and her heart break another inch. She smiled softly at him and caressed his cheek with her thumb. "Hey, don't be sorry. You did nothing wrong."
Johnny looked confused. "But I stole it."
Lana tilted her head, "Stole it?" She didn't recall taking him to the store, "From where?"
"The pantry…" He muttered.
Lana's expression softened and she gave a soft, little chuckle, "Johnny, everything in this house is yours too. You can have it whenever you want."
"Then why did you say you stole it?"
Johnny just shrugged. Lana brushed the hair out of his face and took his glasses off, setting them on the nightstand. "Oh, you silly boy." She gave him another gentle smile, "You'll be fine. I promise."
"I'm sorry." He apologized.
"Don't be sorry. You did nothing wrong but you can't keep hiding snacks all over the room or you'll get ants." She gently pinched his cheek, "We wouldn't want that now, would we?"
He just shook his head.
"Alright then. If you need me, I'll be down the hall."
Lana gently kissed his forehead and stood from the bed, "Goodnight, Johnny."