Jilly Milly – Chapter 06
Written by marknew742 :: [Monday, 07 March 2005 13:45] Last updated by :: [Friday, 21 June 2013 14:56]
“Clark, I really think you should try to get out today.”
He didn't want to, and he said, “I'll see Ma. I'm just too tired.”
His father poured another cup of coffee. “Son, we don't know how long it will take for your powers to come back. But as long as you're an ordinary boy, you need some fresh air and exercise to keep you healthy.” Ma Kent nodded in agreement.
“OK. I hear you. I'll make sure I get out later.”
“Jessica is coming over to visit with Emily later,” Martha noted hesitantly.
“Maybe while Emily and I visit, you kids can go to the carnival that's starting tonight. If you don't have to go on patrol for awhile, at least you can have a little fun, like an normal teenage boy.”
“Sure, that would be fine,” Superboy agreed.
“Good. I know Jessica enjoyed her visit with you this week. I'll call Emily and make sure she brings some warm clothes for tonight.”
Superboy was about to get up, but his father put his hand on his arm. “Wait a minute son. I want to talk to you. You know, this is lasting longer than red kryptonite has ever lasted before. I'm not sure that's the problem. You didn't mention anything about the tingling you usually feel when you're exposed to it. Maybe this is something else, more serious.”
Superboy swallowed. “I know. It, uh, has me worried too.”
“Don't you have anything in your kryptonian archives that could help you? Why don't we take a drive out to your hideaway and check them.”
“I can't.” Superboy looked down at his feet. “I'm not strong enough to get inside. Only someone with super-strength can open the door.”
“But what about the code you put in – in case you lost your super-powers?”
Superboy was too ashamed to face his father and said even more softly. “There is no code. I know you told me to do it – but I … I couldn't imagine ever losing them. I just didn't do it.”
“You didn't – oh that's just great!” he said, exasperatedly. “That's the only time you'd need it!” He slapped his forehead. “No way to get in!” he said to Martha.
“Jonathan, he feels badly enough,” Martha said soothingly. “Clark dear, there must be another way to get inside. We'll find it. Maybe we can use the tractor.”
Jonathan threw up his hands. “It's in the middle of the woods, a mile from the road through the forest. We'd never get the tractor there. And it's reinforced with titanium anyway. We can't even dynamite it!”
“Jonathan!” Martha spoke sharply. She put her hand on Superboy's shoulder. “Don't worry about it today. Take a walk around the farm this morning and then rest awhile, and you'll have fun at the carnival tonight. We'll find a way!”
“Well, YOU look pretty happy for someone who's about to get grounded!” Allen said gleefully as Jill joined him and their mother at the kitchen table.
“Shut up Allie,” Jill said.
“Jilly I don't want to hear such language in this house. And Allen, this is between Jill and her father!”
“Yes Mom,” Jill said brightly and gave her a kiss.
Mrs. Pell smiled at your daughter. “Well! I'm glad you're not sulking. It's a pleasure to see you smile at breakfast for a change.”
“Uh-huh. I'm going to talk to Daddy and try to convince him I'm mature enough to stay out later.”
“Yeah, like you have a chance!” Allen said.
“Allen! Jill, I really don't think this is the time to ask for more privileges. Your father won't be pleased that you haven't obeyed the rules he's given you already.”
“I know I made a mistake last night, but everyone makes mistakes. I just think I'm ready.” She took a few bites of her cereal. “I'm also going to ask him if I can try the contacts again too. My eyes have been better and –
The front door opened. “Hello everyone!”
Allen ran to the door. “Hi Dad! How was your trip? You won't believe what Jilly's done. She –
“Can I settle down for one minute without hearing about Jill's behavior!” Dr. Pell said, annoyed already.
Mrs. Pell came over to him and kissed him on the cheek. “Good morning dear. How was the conference?”
“It was very good, Sharon, very good. My suggestion for a network of public health clinics was fully accepted and I have a meeting with the Governor's representative next week. But now, I'm looking forward to being home again, although I will unfortunately have to spend some time at the hospital tonight.”
“But dear, the dance at the club-”
“I know. I know. You should go without me, and I will try to join you as soon as I can.”
Mrs. Pell sighed. It wasn't the first time her husband had to work at the hospital the night he returned from a long trip. She didn't understand why, as head of his unit, he couldn't get someone else to do it, but she knew well enough not to argue. “All right. I hope you can get there soon. Why don't you go upstairs and take your shower? I'll come with you and help you unpack. Jill, will you clean up the kitchen?”
“But Mom, Allie's been down here too and-”
“Jill! I asked you. Allen has to go to football practice now.” Allen grinned at Jill and, as his mother left the room, blew some crumbs onto the floor and stuck his tongue at Jill. Jill looked at him coldly but said nothing and Allen left the room, pleased to have won a round against her this morning. He couldn't wait to hear about how his father would punish her.
Jill tidied the kitchen while eavesdropping on her parents. She couldn't tell whether his father was more annoyed at her for her behavior or at her mother for dropping it on him, but she was sure she would bear the brunt of his anger. Or would have, if it had been a normal day. But not today.
She was nearly finished cleaning when her mother came back down and gave Jill a significant look. “I'm afraid your father is in a terrible mood. You should think again about asking him for anything.”
Jill shook her head. “No. I think I can persuade him. By the way, Mom, do you think you could let Mrs. Simmons join the Garden Committee this year?”
“Mrs. Simmons! Why would we ever let that woman on the committee! What would she possibly have to contribute?”
“Well, you know she does like to garden and her gardenias-”
“I know for a fact that she bought those gardenias in a garden store in Hope. There is no way that I would ever let that woman bore us to tears with her silly stories, meeting after meeting. I'm surprised at you Jill; you know what I think of her. Claire is a perfectly nice girl, but her mother is impossible! Please don't ask me again, and especially not with Claire around. I wouldn't want to embarrass her.”
Jill nodded. “Well, I just wanted to know what you thought about it.”
Mrs. Pell looked at her again. “You father will talk to you in his office at 11. Until then, why don't you work on your homework.”
“Oh, I finished it already.”
“You did? When? You were out all night last night?”
“At school. During study hall.” She smiled at her mother. “You see how responsible I'm being? You're wrong Mom. Daddy WILL let me stay out later. I just know it.”
Mrs. Pell sighed. “Don't say I didn't warn you. Well, go up to your room then. I want you to stay there until you've spoken with your father.”
Jill was about to argue when she nodded and smiled again. “OK Mom. See you later!”
Mrs. Pell gave her a puzzled look as Jill dropped the last crumbs from the dustpan into the trash and then skipped upstairs. She supposed that she had been as much of a mystery to her mother when she was a teenager too.
Jill ran upstairs to her room. It was hard not to fly, especially when she was so excited. She closed the door and sat on the bed, rehearsing her arguments.
After two minutes, she got bored with that. She wondered what else she could find out. She looked down at her father's office and cast her eyes over his prescription log, his patient notes and his appointment book. What was this? Superboy was seeing him on Monday! It didn't say why, but it was obvious.
Well, she could turn that to her advantage as well. She felt almost giddy. She had to calm down, do something less exciting. She changed into one of her most conservative outfits and put her glasses on so that she wouldn't forget to wear them, then lay down on her bed and put on her Bach CD until it was time to see her father.
At exactly 11 she knocked on the door of his office and walked inside and closed the door. He was sitting behind his desk, his face stern. She started right in. “Hi Daddy, I know I was home late yesterday, and I'm sorry about that, but I was going to ask you if you would eliminate my curfew altogether, and let me come and go as I please, so long as I keep my grades up.”
He looked at her in disbelief. “Jill. I'm amazed that you're asking me this. I'm very, very disappointed in you. There are rules in this household, just as there are rules in our society. You cannot break them with impunity, and if you do, there will be consequences. I certainly won't give you more freedom if you can't handle the liberty we give you now. In fact, I'm taking away your telephone and for the next two weeks I want you in the house by 6 pm. And you're not to use the family telephone except for homework.”
“That's not …” She controlled her temper. “Do you always follow the rules Daddy? Should you be punished too if you break the rules?”
Dr. Pell's face turned red. “This isn't about ME young lady. You have a lot of nerve to talk to me like that!” he shouted.
“Don't yell at me Daddy. I can hear you just fine when you speak in your regular voice,” she said calmly, and continued quickly, “and I think it would be better for both of us if Mom doesn't think we're fighting. Just so I understand, do you break the rules when you go to Mrs. Wilton's house, when you're telling all of us you're at the hospital? And what rules are you breaking when you make deals with the county and put money in your “red” accounts?” Dr. Pell's face went from red to white. “I'm just wondering, Daddy.”
“What do you think you're … how did you?”
Jill took a deep breath. She finally had the courage to say this. “I've known about Mrs. Wilton for a long time – a couple of years – ever since I wanted to show you an “A” I got in history and ran after you when you said you were going to the hospital. When you went a different direction, I followed you there, hoping I'd catch up to you, and then I saw you go into Mrs. Wilton's. I figured you were just making a house call, and I didn't want to bother you, so I just waited, but after an hour I got bored, so I left. But I was curious, so I checked on you a little more. It wasn't hard. I mean, she's very pretty, and her husband's a jerk, so I guess I understand.” She thought back to the day she'd figured it out. Actually, she was crushed at the time, and thought her parents were going to get divorced and everything would be ruined. But she'd gotten used to it after awhile, and since nothing had happened, she'd stopped worrying about it. Everything would go on, just as it always had.
“Jill, please. Don't say that. Don't say you understand. Maybe when you're older, more experienced, perhaps you'll understand that – but you're still a young girl!”
She shook her head. “I'm old enough to understand a lot of things. Maybe not everything. Not how my father could – So, do we have a deal?”
“Are you BLACKMAILING me?” Jill raised her eyebrows. “Jill! These rules are for your own good. You have to listen to your parents. You still need protection. You can't be running around at all hours. No parent could let a sixteen year old girl go out without a curfew.”
“Are those red accounts legal? Do you get money from the county that you shouldn't? Would the Mayor and your accountant get in trouble too if people knew about those deals?” She looked him directly in the eye.
“Jill! That's business! You know nothing about these things! We – you – live very well, very comfortably. You couldn't want to put all that in jeopardy.”
“I thought so. You'd be in real trouble if word got out. You might even go to jail.”
“My own daughter! You would really think of turning me in?!”
“Daddy! I don't want to betray you. I'm good at keeping secrets. I've kept your OTHER secret for a long time. Now, I told you what I want you to do. Oh, and I want you to tell Mom that it's OK for me to wear contacts again. All you have to do is do what I ask and no one will know anything.”
Dr. Pell shook his head in disbelief. “What's happened to you Jill? What kind of person are you? You're so cold. I feel I don't know you.”
Jill's heart beat more quickly, and tears were welling in her eyes. He DID know her. She was his little girl, still! Wasn't she? But she COULDN'T start crying. Not now! She wanted to say, “Oh, Daddy!” and run over to him and sit in his lap, but that would ruin everything. She took a deep breath. “I want more freedom,” she said, her voice shaking a little. “I want to be able to do what I want to do.”
“How can I let you do that? It's not safe for you.”
“You don't understand!” she said. She took a deep breath. “Do you know WHY Superboy is coming to see you Monday?”
“No, I don't. I just found out this morning, when I went into my office, just half an hour ago. How do you know? Did he tell you? Or did you find out when you were going through my files?” he said, his voice quiet but brimming with anger.
“He's coming because he's lost his powers – after the transfusion.”
“He WHAT? Are you sure? But how? How could this have happened? Was he wrong about the theory? Was the collector defective?”
“No. It was me!”
“You? I don't understand.”
“I TOOK them from him.”
“YOU TOOK AWAY HIS POWERS?!! But, how? What did you do? Why?”
Jill couldn't hold back her emotions. “He – he stood me up at my party. He was supposed to come … and I told everybody … and he just didn't show … and they all laughed … all of them … all those creepy girls who think they're so great … who never liked me or gave me a chance! Oooooh! I don't WANT to be CRYING!!” She slammed her fist on the metal arm of her chair, crushing it.
She looked down at it in horror and then up at her father, who had seen and understood everything immediately.
He nodded and spoke slowly and softly. “I see. You used the collector to transfer his blood to you and yours to him. And now my daughter has super-powers and Superboy is an ordinary boy.” He looked her in the eye. “Very interesting. Have you told anyone, Jill?”
She looked at him. “Only Claire,” she said, her voice sounding very small all of a sudden.
“Does Superboy know?”
“He knows some. He doesn't know I have all his powers. It's been happening slowly and then … last night … I got everything.”
“Well. I can understand your requests better now. And my own position.” He looked at her steadily. “Yes, you can stay out as late as you want. You can wear contact lenses, or no lenses at all, I suppose. But Jill, what ARE you going to do with these powers you've stolen? Are you going to keep them? Are you going to take Superboy's place? Are you going to be – Supergirl?”
“No! They're mine now, and I'll do with them whatever I want. I have …
He looked at her. “I suppose it's difficult for me, given what you know about me, to lecture you about your obligations to society, and to Superboy. But those obligations do exist. You must think carefully about them.”
She shook her head. “I'm NOT giving them back to him. I deserve them just as much as he does. And I'm NOT going to become a super-cop. No way! I'm going to have fun, and help people I like, people who are good, like Claire.”
“And hurt people you hate? Like me?”
“Daddy! I don't HATE you. Just don't … don't get in my way!”
“Well. I consider myself warned. Tell me, those girls from your high school, the ones I referred to the skin center in Kansas City, did they laugh at you after your party?” Jill nodded. “Yes. I see I HAVE been warned. I won't betray your secrets and I will hope you won't betray mine. I will be honest with you Jill. You still are my daughter, whom I love. I have always been afraid for you, wanting to protect you from any harm at all. Now I am afraid of you too, but I still love you. Life is complicated. We make difficult choices, some are right, others wrong. You can see in yourself the results of some wrong choices I have made. Yes, I've made mistakes. But I am not an evil man, Jill. I love my family. I do a lot of good work for my patients, my town, my State. I will always be your father, your Daddy, whatever you or I do.”
She looked at him, not knowing what to say, tears rolling down her cheek. She nodded.
“And don't hurt your mother, or Allen. I understand how you feel about me. I know Allen gets you angry. But Jill, they are your family. Remember that.”
“OK,” she said in a shaky voice.
“Now, when Superboy comes Monday, what do you want me to do?”
“Tell him there's nothing you can do for him.”
“And what if he threatens me?”
“I don't think he will. He's too ashamed of what happened. He's not going to do anything.”
“I understand.” He looked at her carefully. “You'll be watching, I suppose, with your super-vision and listening with your super-hearing? You can do these things?”
“Yes, I suppose that's how you looked through my files. Incredible.” He took a deep breath. “Well, someday you'll have to tell me all about it. Not now.” He stood up, a little uncertainly and looked down at his daughter. “A supergirl! Who would have imagined!”
She smiled. “Oh Daddy. One more thing. Would you tell Mom that she has to invite Mrs. Simmons to be on the Garden Committee?”
“Mrs. Simmons! Why that silly – as favor for Claire, right?” Jill nodded.
“Yes. I'll talk to her about it.”
“Thanks. And, uh, one more thing. Can I have some money, for shopping?” Dr. Pell raised an eyebrow. “I KNOW I'm supposed to use my allowance, but I need more this time.”
“Um,” she crinkled her face, “$500?”
He nodded slowly and walked across the room to his safe and opened it. “I suppose I should be pleased that you're asking me instead of just taking it.” He took out a wad of bills and counted it. “Here's $1,000. Buy yourself something special.”
She took it. He was NEVER this generous.
“Now, you go on and have some fun. But Jill, I want you to promise me you will NOT let your powers go to your head. Understand that strength and intelligence are very different from power and wisdom.”
She looked at him solemnly. “Thanks Daddy. I won't disappoint you. I promise.” She stood up and looked up at him, then floated higher so that she could kiss him on the cheek. She flew to the door of his office, then settled onto the ground and left, closing the door firmly behind her, and walked downstairs.
Dr. Pell stared at her, then went to his desk and put his hands on his temples, deep in thought. He did not emerge until early afternoon.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Pell had been reading the newspaper in the kitchen while her daughter and husband were talking, but she put it down and looked at her daughter as soon as she came in. “Well?”
“Daddy agreed with me. No punishments, and I can stay out as late as I want.” She smiled. “See you later Mom. I'm going to Claire's.”
Her face froze, and Mrs. Pell looked at her in astonishment. She only got up to wave good-bye to her a full minute after she'd left.