Title: Improbable Eden
Author:  Aelora
Author email:  missjedi@fandomchicks.com
Author webpage:
Genre: Het, Original character, Drama, Romance
Rating: R
Pairing: Lex/Cady
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Brothers.  Except for Cady.  She's mine.
Summary: Clark's cousin comes to live with the family, and challenge Lex's outlook on life.
Warnings: Yes, there is sex in this.  What did you expect??  It's Lex!! 
Notes:  Thanks to my inspiration, Rael, for being the perfect Lex!




Chapter Two


My friend assures me 'it's all or nothing'
I am not worried, I am not overly concerned
My friend implores me: 'For one time only make an exception'
I am not worried

“Anna Begins” – Counting Crows




The next week went quickly and smoothly for Cady and her transition into life back in Smallville.  She began her work at the Ledger, making some new friends and enjoying the simplicity of stories involving small town Kansas life.  She reported on various news items from the Smallville High Crow’s football victories over neighboring towns to a rash of wolf attacks on the chicken population of Smallville.  Cady found it all incredibly amusing when it could have been downright tedious.  Her aunt Martha commented one evening over dinner that it was Cady’s ability to see the humor in everything around her that seemed to keep her much less stressed than most people.  Cady replied that she didn’t see how anyone could not find the wolf attacking the local chicken population story hilarious.   


Cady was relieved from any boredom that weekend when her roommate from college, Lydia Dupuis, called and invited her to the opening of a new club in Metropolis on Saturday.  Cady caught the train to the city, met up with Lydia at her apartment where they got ready together and headed downtown to Club Metropolis.  Two other girls had joined them, DeeDee and Shurrie, who Cady vaguely remembered from school but had never been more than mere acquaintances with.  They were all in great moods though, and getting along well as they presented their passes to the bouncers outside and were allowed admittance.  Lydia made some offhand comment that they must have dressed appropriately and they laughed, knowing that if they had been found wanting in looks and/or appearance, no pass would have gotten them in, even if it had been from God himself.


Inside, it was loud and dark and crowded, and Cady made a mental note not to tell her uncle a single moment of the experience.  It had been hard enough to get him to let her out of the house when he had heard the words “club” and “Metropolis” in the same sentence.  Luckily, it had been aunt Martha who had sided with Cady, saying she was a little too old to be cooped up in the house on a Saturday night.  Truthfully, she didn’t know how she would handle life on the farm without her aunt.  It was one of the reasons she had chosen to get dressed at Lydia’s – she doubted uncle Jonathon would have let her out of the house in the skin tight, brown suede pants and matching vest that showed a little more cleavage than she was certain he would have approved of.  Lydia had curled and teased her hair into a wild mess, sprinkling it with a dusting of gold so that it sparkled in the club lights.  The four young women made an impressive group and it wasn’t long before they were surrounded by a gaggle of male admirers in the middle of the dance floor, drinks being offered to them at every interval. 


It was well into the third song and Cady was already losing track of who she had danced with and who she enjoyed dancing with as opposed to who was just a little too touchy-feely, when she felt hands on her hips, gently guiding her back.  A little annoyed, she attempted to glance behind her, but every time she did, her new dance partner would duck out of her vision.  She attempted three times to pull free, but was always guided back by a slightly forceful and demanding grip.  Craning her neck, Cady attempted to look for Lydia or Shurrie or DeeDee but couldn’t see any of them in the crowd.  She was drawn to the edge of the dance floor, when the mysterious interloper finally turned her around to face him.


Cady’s eyes widened.  “Lionel Luthor… “


Lionel smiled down at Cady O’Rourke, thinking briefly that she had never been attired quite so provocatively the other two times they had met.  If she had been, he never would have dismissed her so casually.  But then, he should have expected it.  Blake O’Rourke had been considered a handsome man by the female members of his staff and his wife, Karen, had been equally attractive with her dark blonde hair and light blue eyes.  Cady resembled her father in coloring, but her mother in face and form.  She had the kind of figure that made a man think of cold nights snuggled in an enormous bed, wrapped around curves too numerous not to be explored.  Even now, Lionel found he couldn’t pull his hands away from her rounded hips, even though she was still attempting, albeit less obviously, to pull back from him.


“Cady O’Rourke… its been, what?  Seven months?”


Cady nodded, worrying her lower lip for a moment as she realized there was no escape from the man before her at the moment.  She still couldn’t understand what was going on, why Lionel Luthor had decided to choose her out of the crowd to latch on to.  Maybe because he knew her?  That made little sense.  Obviously, she had little course ahead of her but to find out what he wanted. 


“I was so sorry to hear about your parents.  Tragic loss.  Your father was one of my most valued employees.”


It was on the tip of Cady’s tongue to ask if that were true why had he not seen fit to show up to the funeral or at least send one of his many underlings in his place?  Hell, he could have even sent his son. Instead, there had simply been an enormous and overly gaudy Peace Lily and some form card stating that the relatives of the deceased were in the thoughts of the LuthorCorp family.  Cady had promptly thrown the card out and left the plant for the next funeral.  It had severely ticked her off.


“How are you holding up?”


Cady bristled.  “Fine, thank you, Mr. Luthor.”


“Lionel, please.”  He smiled, noting the flash of anger in the green eyes before him.  He found himself looking forward to this little conquest.  Breaking someone who was obviously both innocent, and quick to temper, could provide hours of amusement. 


“Mr. Luthor,” Cady stressed.  “I really must get back to my friends – “


“Nonsense.”  Lionel tucked her arm into his and moved through the crowd, up the steps toward the second level.  “Have a drink with me.  Tell me what you have been up to.  LuthorCorp looks out for the families of its employees.  You disappeared quite abruptly.  Back to Smallville, wasn’t it?  I am curious as to how you are doing, what I might be able to do for you…”  Or to you…


Cady glanced back helplessly, hoping Lydia would see her.  Unfortunately, there was nothing but a crowd of faceless strangers around her.  She might be a tad bit sheltered, but she wasn’t stupid enough to believe that being in Lionel Luthor’s company was actually a safe place to be.  Obviously, she was going to have to figure her own way out of this one. 


Lex didn’t want to be there.  The opening of his father’s latest acquisition meant little to nothing to him, though it would have not too long ago, before he had been relinquished to Smallville.  Now though, the crowd around him he found shallow, the heavy smell of perfume, liquor and cloves enough to make him sick, the false laughter and cloying women who occasionally recognized him in the darkness, annoying.  Leaning lightly against the railing of the second level balcony, Lex stared down at the dance floor below him, the untouched drink held indolently in his slim hand.  A few more minutes was all he was giving himself.  He had made his cursory appearance to keep his father happy; he was free to leave.  It was strange that he had come to regard Smallville as his own personal haven in such a short span of time and he knew he couldn’t allow himself to think about it too closely or it would begin to upset him.  He wasn’t the same person he had been six months ago, Lex could readily admit that.  Still, he didn’t want to peer too deeply into the reasons or implications of that change.  His father had noticed, and for now, that was enough.  Enough to have him practically begging Lex to come back to Metropolis, back under his watchful eye and ruling thumb.  Lionel Luthor was showing some cracks in his usually crystal veneer, and Lex was enjoying every single one of them.  What more would it take, he wondered, before his father gave over to those emotions he always accused Lex of being ruled by?  The thought made Lex smile inside.


Setting his almost full glass on a nearby table, Lex’s gaze swept over the surrounding area, making certain his father was no where near so that he could make good on his escape.  He did catch sight of Lionel, on the same level as him but across the building, his attention completely riveted on some poor, unsuspecting female.  Then again, she could have been completely suspecting, some vapid fortune hunter who thought she might actually have a chance at controlling the ruthless billionaire.  Lex shook his head slightly, about to turn away and get the hell out of there, when something about his father’s current conquest caught his eye.  Turning back to look more closely, a momentary frown crossed his pale features.  Thinking he had to be mistaken, Lex pushed his way through the crowd, making a path in the opposite direction of his original intent – toward his father rather than away from him.  Keeping his eye on Lionel so as not to lose sight of him, Lex made his way quickly from one side of the building to the other, his gaze narrowing as he drew closer to the darkened booth where Lionel had sequestered himself and – if Lex was not mistaken, and he was certain he wasn’t – Clark’s cousin, Cady O’Rourke.


Reaching the table, and not being noticed, Lex shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket and rocked back on his heels, watching the flicker of fear that darted across Cady’s face as his father leaned near her, before she quickly masked it.  She was brave, he’d give her that much.  Of course, she was also extremely foolish for allowing herself to get into this position in the first place.  But he’d save that lecture for later.


“Cady, I was wondering when you would get here,” he commented casually, ignoring his father as he turned to regard him.   Lex kept his gaze on Cady, whose large eyes raised up to meet his with an expression that could only be described as pure elation.  Lex doubted anyone had ever looked at him like that before, ever.


“Lex,” Lionel drawled, frowning at his son’s unwelcome intrusion.  “I’m a little busy.  Why don’t you come back later?”


“Sorry, dad,” Lex drew out the last word with more than a hint of sarcasm.  “But you seem to have cornered my date.”


“Your… “  Lionel glanced over at Cady who was watching the both of them with more than a hint of interest.  She smiled suddenly at him.  He frowned again, knowing that something wasn’t quite right, such as the absurdity of his son dating a farm girl from Smallville.  “Miss O’Rourke, why didn’t you mention that you were acquainted with my son?”


“You didn’t ask,” she replied reasonably and Lionel itched to smack the triumphant smile on her face.


Remembering the sharp tongue that Clark’s cousin had on her, and knowing that his father could easily reduce her to shreds should she attempt to take him on, Lex held out his hand.  “Cady?”


Lionel moved out of the way as Cady wriggled past him, taking Lex’s hand and allowing him to pull her to his side. 


“Thanks… dad,” Lex drawled before moving away with Cady.


Lionel watched his son leave in silence, his mind mulling over what had just occurred.  Once more, Lex was attempting to make Smallville, and any of its rural denizens, his personal property, not to be interfered with by Lionel.  He didn’t for the briefest moment believe that his son was actually seeing the daughter of Blake O’Rourke, the idea was laughable.  As well as completely unacceptable.  The point was, though, that Lex had hindered his momentary fun with the naïve chit, and that he couldn’t have.  Someday, Lex would learn his lesson once and for all about interfering in his plans. 


Silently pondering his father’s interest in Clark’s cousin, Lex led her down the staircase to the first level of the club and away from Lionel Luthor.  They stopped near the bar where he ordered a couple of martinis, then glanced over at her.  She was pale, her eyes wider than normal, her expression strained.  Obviously she had been more frightened of the situation than she had let on.  Hopefully she had learned her lesson. 


Feeling his gaze on her, Cady finally turned to look at Lex, feeling her cheeks redden slightly under his scrutiny.  “Thank you for that,” she told him finally. 


“How did it happen?”  Lex handed her a glass when the drinks arrived and took a careful sip of his own as he watched her.


His blue gaze was unnerving.  Cady had to look away, feeling suddenly as if he were judging her, and found her severely lacking.  “I... I’m not certain.  I was dancing with my friends one moment, and the next he had me and was leading me off the floor.”


“Did he say why?”


Cady shook her head.  She wanted to tell him that maybe his father found her attractive because it was obvious by Lex’s tone that he was completely baffled as to why Lionel Luthor would have any interest in her whatsoever.  But for the moment, she kept her mouth shut.


“You shouldn’t have let it go so far,” Lex admonished, as if he were speaking to a child.  “You should have pulled away on the dance floor.”


“Don’t you think I tried?”  Cady snapped, turning to glare at him.  “It’s not every woman’s dream to be accosted by a billionaire, you know!”


Lex just raised his eyebrows at that, like it had to be seen to be believed, before he leaned back against the bar, his gaze moving out to the dance floor.  Silence fell between them, for which he was grateful, and he spent the next few minutes watching some of the more attractive women dancing not but a few feet away.  Some of them tossed smiles and speculative glances in his direction, but he could read each and every one of them for what they were.  Sometimes Lex couldn’t help but wonder how stupid some women were.  Did they truly believe that he couldn’t see their only interest in him was his money or the lure of being seen with the bad boy freak Lex Luthor?  Again, he found himself wanting to return to the haven of Smallville.  Even that lonely, drafty old castle was better than being ogled like some prize stallion.  Of course, as long as his father was still here, he wasn’t going to leave Cady O’Rourke alone.  Lex could only imagine trying to explain the date rape at his father’s hands to Clark and Jonathon Kent.  Just the thought gave him a headache.


“Wanna dance?”


Lex was pulled from his thoughts by Cady’s question.  He didn’t know how to react to it exactly.  He just cast a her a blank gaze.  “I don’t dance.”


“Too undignified for someone of your… significant means, huh?”


He found himself raising an eyebrow at that remark.  Lex couldn’t help but wonder how it was that everything Clark’s cousin said seemed to hit some indefinable part of him. 


Turning to face her, he commented, “That’s a bit rude for someone who just saved you from the clutches of Lionel Luthor.”


“I don’t need your protection.”  Cady raised her chin just a notch, tossing her dark hair.


Lex almost smiled at the unconscious bravado displayed before him.  “I never said you had it,” he replied, taking another swallow of his drink.


Cady cast a quick glance at the man beside her.  She had been attempting to get her bearings back from the moment she had spied him standing beside the booth where Lionel had trapped her.  She didn’t know what it was about Lex Luthor that knocked her completely off-balance, but that was certainly the way she had felt for the past ten minutes.  Off-balance, off-kilter, completely out of sorts.  And it had to do with more than how incredibly handsome he was in his black suit and dark purple shirt, a color that seemed only to serve to make his coloring all the more ethereal.  Women all around them couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off of him and Cady couldn’t help but feel a little pride in the fact that she was the one standing beside him. 


Of course, his last comment only served to stir the ire that had been rising in her ever since his father had dragged her off the dance floor.  There was more arrogance in the Luthor men than should be allowed in mankind as a whole.  The truth was, she itched to throw her martini in his face.  She wondered what the crowd around them would think of that, a little nobody farm girl like her splashing her martini all over the Lex Luthor.  The thought made Cady smile.


“Don’t even think about it,” his voice warned, a little too near her ear.


Cady turned to find he had moved closer, their faces only inches apart.  He was watching her with a knowing expression that left her even further unsettled. 


“Don’t think what?” She almost squeaked.


“Whatever it was you were thinking.”  Lex leaned back against the bar once more, his gaze moving away as if he were effectively dismissing her presence.


That more than angered her.  Cady’s gaze narrowed as she watched him grin at some slutty female on the dance floor.  “You are the most arrogant human being I have ever had the misfortune of knowing.”


Lex shrugged, letting her know that her opinion of him meant very little.  What he didn’t know was that for the second time within the space of only a few moments, he had almost had a martini tossed over him. 


“I don’t have to be subjected to this crap,” Cady commented, turning to leave.


Lex reached out and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back before she could get very far.  “I wouldn’t suggest that.  My father doesn’t give up easily.”


“I think I would prefer your father’s presence to yours at the moment.”


Immediately, Lex dropped his hold at that, his gaze turning to ice.  “So go.”  He looked away, his eyes returning to the dance floor.


Cady rubbed at the wrist he had held, surprised that the grip of a billionaire’s son had been so strong.  She didn’t know what she had expected really, something weaker perhaps, softer.  What she really had not counted on was her own reaction to the coldness in his voice when he had told her to go.  Cady could easily admit – to herself, in the dead of night, when she didn’t really have to face facts – that she was attracted to Lex Luthor and wanted him to notice her.  Obviously, this constant barbing between them wasn’t the way to go about it.  If nothing else, there was an even deeper chasm stretched between her and the man before her than previously. 

Reaching out, Cady touched his arm, noting the flinch from him and the glare he leveled on her hand when she did so.  She pulled back, letting her comment on his reaction go for the moment.  “I’m sorry,” she said when his gaze met hers.  “I didn’t mean that.  I’m grateful for your help.  I know Clark would be too.”


Lex seemed to accept her apology because his expression wasn’t nearly as cold, though it did remain neutrally blank.  He gave what she thought to be an imperceptible nod and Cady realized it was what she would have to accept.  She climbed onto a stool beside her, settling her elbow on the bar, chin in hand and stared at the man beside her as he continued to behave as if she wasn’t even there.  Cady wondered to herself how long he would put up with her watching him before he reacted.  She almost smiled when Lex shifted in an uncomfortable manner, turning his head even further away from her gaze. 


“It’s a shame,” Cady commented in a woeful voice.  “I’ll likely never again get to attend such a once in a lifetime event, especially being relegated to Smallville as I now am, and I hardly even got to dance but to a few songs.”


Lex remained silent and unmoving as if he hadn’t heard her.


Cady continued, “Every girl growing up as a teen in Metropolis dreams of attending one of the most popular nightclubs, dancing under the brilliant lights, being seen by the most influential, popular people – “


“Oh for Christ’s sake!”  Lex muttered, turning to grab Cady’s hand and drag her toward the dance floor, pointedly ignoring her soft giggles behind him. 


He made a mental note to point out to Clark exactly how annoying and obnoxious his cousin truly was.  And how again she really needed to be taught some manners.


Lex’s only reprieve came from the fact that the minute they hit the dance floor, a slower song came on and he was saved from making a fool of himself by gyrating around like some hallucinogen-induced teenager.  Wrapping his arm around Cady’s waist and pulling her roughly to him, Lex shoved his other hand into his pant’s pocket and stared over her shoulder as they began swaying softly to the music.  Clark was going to owe him for this, he thought silently.  He was going to owe him quite a bit.  Maybe this was enough to make up for the whole life saving thing.  Maybe.


Cady bit her lip to keep from laughing as she tucked her head under Lex’s chin and allowed him to lead her in the dance.  He really was amusing when it came right down to it.  Though outwardly Lex did everything to show a calm veneer to those around him, he really had a short fuse that she had somehow discovered how to trigger.  Clark had spoken of his friend as if he were completely unflappable but Cady didn’t think so.  At least, she hadn’t been shown that yet.  In fact, Lex Luthor was one of the easiest people to rile that she had ever met.  She wondered what kind of fireworks she could see out of him if she really pushed?  Not that she had any intentions of doing so at the moment.  The song was nice, and the feeling of the man against her even nicer.  Just as his strength had surprised her, so did the hard feel of his chest beneath her hands and cheek.  He obviously didn’t spend his days lazing about some dark gentleman’s club playing chess.  Lex still smelled impossibly nice as well, a scent that invoked the image of fancy billiard rooms, leather-cased volumes of history books, cigars and brandy sifters.  It was a fanciful thought, steeped in too many readings of “Jane Eyre”, but then there was something indefinable about Lex Luthor that brought to mind Gothicism and romance.  Cady doubted he would see it the same way but those were the thoughts that crossed her mind whenever she thought of him.


And unfortunately, those thoughts came much too frequently since the day they had met.


Raising her head to make some comment that might mend the rift between them, Cady noticed that Lex’s gaze was fastened ahead and there was the slightest hint of a smile hovering over his lips.  Discreetly, she followed his gaze, only to find it was fastened on a dark blonde dressed in a skin-tight, barely-there red dress, who was watching him with equal interest.  Cady knew she was no model, knew that she couldn’t begin to hope to capture the eye of a billionaire playboy who had likely dated women that would rival the goddess Venus in looks, but still she couldn’t help but think that the least he could do was afford her some courtesy in paying attention to her while he danced with her.  Obviously, that was too much to expect.


Stepping away from him, trying very not to let her hurt show, Cady commented, “It appears I am keeping you from your real conquest of interest for the evening.  So I will thank you again for rescuing me from your father’s clutches and for the half dance and I hope you have a pleasant evening.”


Lex wondered what the hell? as Cady gave her carefully prepared little speech and then pushed past him to walk off the dance floor.  He rubbed the back of his neck momentarily, while he attempted to figure out the confusing girl that was Clark Kent’s cousin before his gaze momentarily swept over the blonde who had been sending more than a few signals his way. Signals so blatant and overdone that he had found them amusing.  Then it hit him.  Ah, Cady had seen that.  He almost smiled at the thought of the farm girl rising so quickly to jealousy over his attention to another.  He wondered at the cause only briefly until deciding he had better locate her before his father did.  Walking in the direction she had gone, it didn’t take long to find her surrounded by three very drunk and very interested men.  Sighing, wondering to himself if Cady O’Rourke had just been born with the natural inclination to find trouble wherever she could, without so much as a ‘by your leave’, Lex reached out and grabbed Cady’s hand, pulling her away from the young swains and back into the crowd.


“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”  Cady demanded, slapping at the hand that held her.


“Rescuing you once again,” Lex drawled in an offhand manner, almost laughing at the furtive slaps she was throwing against his hand and wrist in her attempt to get him to let go.  If nothing else, Cady O’Rourke was amusing in a “make you want to throttle her and dump her body in the river” sort of way.  He found himself smiling at the thought.


“I don’t need rescuing – least of all by you!”  Cady shouted over the din, though she was no longer struggling to get free.  After all, Lex Luthor was paying attention to her and she certainly wasn’t to look at gift horse in the mouth.  Still, his behavior on the dance floor continued to needle at her.  “What happened to the blonde?  Certainly you found her of more interest than me.”


The jealousy actually seeped into her voice and Lex found himself enjoying it for some reason that he couldn’t quite identify.  Stopping near a corner where he could keep an eye on the crowd around them and the noise of the music wasn’t quite as deafening, he moved Cady up against the wall and leaned over her, catching her green-eyed gaze. 


Licking his lips, he asked, “Now what would lead you to believe that, Miss O’Rourke?”


Cady couldn’t pull her eyes away from his mouth.  His voice, which had dropped to the hint of a whisper and become incredibly husky in the process, sent chills straight to her toes.  She raised her gaze back to his, eyes which were normally ocean-blue but had changed to a haunting silver.


 “I… You… “ She stammered, wondering for a moment who it was speaking with that strange and unfamiliar voice.  “You were staring at her.”


Lex found himself enjoying the myriad of emotions that were flitting across the face of the woman before him.  He had never spent so much time with anyone as innocent and guileless as Cady before, and he couldn’t help but find her strange reactions to his flirtation enchanting.  Of course, none of it meant anything.  A woman like Cady wasn’t meant for him.  She was too nice of a girl, too good.  If she knew what he was really like, if she could glimpse inside of him, she would already be running straight back to Smallville.  As it was, Lex knew that she was entirely too accepting to think he was any different from Clark.  He was certain that his rescue of her from his father only helped to cement that belief.  Still, it was fun to play, even if it was only for the moment, and pretend that this flirtation between them could actually lead somewhere. 


Curious as to her reaction, Lex reached out and brushed a strand of hair from her cheek, tucking it behind her ear.  He noticed a slight catch in her breathing, the widening of her eyes, which seemed unable to pull away from his own.  He felt like a scientist, examining the curious and recently unexplored creature before him.  He felt like telling her she was much too open and honest in her reactions, and that kind of behavior wouldn’t get her very far in life.  Too many people would use it their advantage, and could easily hurt her with such knowledge.  But the thought of robbing her of such a natural inclination would be like telling Clark to stop being so trusting.  It would defeat the purpose of their being.  So instead, Lex found himself deciding to simply enjoy it, to experience what it was like to spend time in the company of a woman who had yet to be ruined by men like himself.  Not too long though, he silently cautioned himself.  Or you’ll be destroying exactly what you are seeking to preserve.


“I stare at a lot of things, Miss O’Rourke,” Lex replied finally, leaning against the wall so that their noses were mere centimeters from each other.  “I’m staring at you right now.”


“C- Cady,” she corrected quietly, wondering how she was finding the strength to speak.  Lex was too near, and the look in his eyes was too… well, just too anything.  “You… you make me s-sound like… like a spinster… or something,” she stammered.


“Oh, you’re no spinster, Cady,” Lex replied, moving his hand to rub his thumb along her cheek. 


Her skin was soft and he found his hand lingering there longer than he had intended.  She smelled like apples and honeysuckle and Lex found that seemed entirely appropriate for her.  He wondered if it was her perfume or shampoo or just a natural scent or perhaps everything mixed together.  Leaning nearer, close to her ear, Lex inhaled the scent of her hair, finding that was where the apple smell permeated from.  Beneath him, Cady jumped and he found himself smiling momentarily over her reaction.  He wondered how she would react if he were to press his lips against her neck…


Then the realization of who this was and what he was doing hit him, and Lex pulled back immediately, taking a step away from her, not noticing the look of hurt that flashed across her face.  Running a hand over his head, he blew out a low breath, his gaze returning to the crowd around them as he attempted to make sense of his behavior.  Normally he didn’t lose control so easily, especially when it came to a subject as important as Clark’s cousin.  Besides the fact that he couldn’t understand where his interest in someone so completely different from him could stem from, there was also the point that he would never allow himself to destroy something as untouched and unspoiled as Cady O’Rourke.  Lex knew enough about himself to realize that anything he touched he effectively ruined and he had done enough to kill the beauty that was Clark without doing the same to his cousin. 


Well what had you expected? Cady asked herself angrily, wondering if it were simply in the Luthor genes to toy with the affections of every female in the vicinity.  Maybe it was some special game for the evening between the two of them – the “mess with Cady’s mind” game or something.  For a moment, she had almost believed that Lex might have been interested in her.  But then, that was just ridiculous.  After all, he was a sought-after and gorgeous billionaire and she was… well, she was little more than a frumpy, plain farm girl.  Oh yeah.  That was a romance novel in the making.  Wake up, Cady, she thought angrily.  This isn’t fairy tale land.


Knowing she suddenly wanted out of there, Cady glanced at her watch.  “There’s just enough time to catch the last train,” she commented, not caring if Lex heard her or not.  “I’m going to go.”

“Wait.”  Lex found himself thinking he hadn’t done one thing right yet this evening where Cady was concerned.  “There’s no need for you to take the train.  I was on my way out of here earlier anyway.  Let me drive you back to the farm.  Its not as if its out of my way or anything.”


“Thank you, Mr. Luthor.  But you shouldn’t feel obligated – “


“So formal suddenly,” Lex admonished with a slight tone of disappointment.  “And it has nothing to do with obligation.  It would be ridiculous of you to take the train when I can easily give you a lift.”


Cady didn’t appear in the least bit convinced.


Realizing he was going to have to do a little bit more to get her to agree, and forgive his earlier indiscretions, he thought for the briefest of moments before reaching into his pocket and pulling out his keys, which he dangled in the air before her. 


“I drove the Vantage,” he taunted.


One dark eyebrow raised.  “Is that supposed to entice me to accept your offer?”


“Depends on if its working or not?”


A slight smile.  “Maybe it is.”


It was Lex’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “What more would it take?”


Careful consideration, then, “Let me drive.”


Lex opened his mouth to refuse, then realized he had no choice.  It wasn’t as if he could admit to Clark that he let Cady take a train home from Metropolis in the middle of the night when he could have easily given her a ride.  Swallowing back the trepidation he felt at allowing someone else to drive one of his vehicles, he nodded slowly. 


“Very well.”


The keys were snatched out of his hand in milliseconds and the girl/woman in front of him squealed happily before throwing her arms around him and kissing his cheek.  Lex could only keep himself from falling off balance and briefly put his arm around her before she darted off toward the door, calling out:


“Hurry Lex!” 


What have I done?  It was too late to back out now.  Letting out a deep breath, Lex followed Cady through the crowd to the front door and out into the chill air where she immediately hurried over to the valet, handing him the keys and instructing him on which car to get.  Lex could do little more than stand there, rocking back slightly on his heels while he put the entirety of his life into this farm girl’s hands.  He wondered briefly if she even knew how to drive a manual.  Around them, cameras were flashing as the paparazzi made their bids to get as many photos as they could of Lex, since he rarely made it into Metropolis anymore.  He had no doubt that they were curious as to Cady’s identity, and for a moment he regretted being seen with her, as he walked over to the driver’s side door when the valet pulled the Aston Martin up and he held it open for her.  It wasn’t that Lex had any qualms with being seen with Cady -- it was his worry for what might be said about her in the papers once her identity was discovered.  Luckily, few people in Smallville actually read the Inquisitor or the Planet. 


Smiling at Lex as she slid into the driver’s side, Cady took her time to adjust the mirrors and seat as Lex joined her through the passenger door.  She barely noticed the flashing cameras around them, so intent was she on the realization that she was going to be driving an actual Aston Martin. 


“You can drive a manual, can’t you?” Lex asked quietly as he attempted to relax in his seat.


“But of course,” Cady almost purred as she slammed the car into gear and pulled away from the sidewalk with a screech.


Lex was about two shades paler than usual moments later as she sped through the second red light.  Clutching the edge of the seat beneath him, he cast a look of daggers at the woman beside him.  “Are you trying to kill us?”  He demanded. 


“Oh, relax,” Cady said with a wave of her hand.  “There was no one coming.”


“Do slow down,” he gritted out between his teeth as she tore down the onramp into the I-70 traffic, speeding across four lanes without even touching the signal.


“Do as I say, not as I do, eh?” Cady commented with a grin, only pushing the car to a greater speed. 


Lex doubted he had regretted anything more in his life than he was the moment he had offered to let her drive.  “Really, Cady, you’re not used to handling this ca – watch out for the truck!”


Cady laughed as she swerved around the eighteen-wheeler that she had pulled up on incredibly fast, weaving in between two more cars before pulling back into the passing lane.  “Really, Lex.  I’ve never driven off a bridge before.”


Lex turned to glare at her.  It was really his best glare, the one he usually reserved for his father or one of his father’s toadies.  The woman beside him should have shrank from it.  She should have pulled the car over immediately and begged for his forgiveness.  Instead, she laughed, and then reached down to turn up the music.  She laughed.  Lex could do little more than stare at that, before finally turning his gaze back out the windshield, waiting for the moment of his death.


Realizing that if she continued in this vain, the man beside her would soon go into a fit of apoplexy, Cady slowed the car to a sedate 90 mph, casting a sideways glance at Lex to watch as he slowly let go of the sides of his seat and seemed to relax somewhat.  Not completely, but enough that she didn’t have to fear him having a heart attack or anything.  Really, she wondered how he could blame her for not going a little crazy.  She could feel the power of the car beneath her fingers and it handled so smoothly and the ride felt so incredible… Well, she would just have to convince him to let her floor it once they got outside of the city.  A little past Lawrence, she figured, and they would be well away from any traffic. 


Turning her attention to the radio, Cady played with the stations until she found a song she liked, and then, without the slightest inhibition whatsoever of having an audience, she broke out into singing along with the words at the top of her lungs:


Sittin over here
Starin in your face
With lust in my eyes
Sure don't give a damn and ya
Don't know that I've been dreamin of ya in
My fantasies
Never once you looked at me
Don't even realize that I'm wantin you
To fulfill my needs
Think what you want
Let your mind free
Run free to a place no one dares to..”


The whole moment was completely surreal.  Lex could do little more than stare out his window and attempt to ignore the girl/woman beside him who was belting out Janet Jackson at the top of her lungs.  He even contemplated whether or not she had any idea what she was singing.  Certainly she wasn’t that innocent!  Still, he couldn’t think that it wasn’t entirely inappropriate, and what would Martha Kent think if she knew her niece was singing these words, next to him, after his behavior in the club. 


“If I was your girl
Oh the things I'd do to you
I'd make you call out my name
I'd ask who it belongs to
If I was your woman
The things I'd do to you
But I'm not
So I can't
Then I won't
If I was your girl…”


If it were anyone other than Clark’s cousin, Lex would find the moment amusing.  If it were anyone other than Clark’s cousin, he would take it as an invitation and have her pull over somewhere where they could get the preliminaries out of the way.  As it was, Cady was a farm girl from Smallville who had some unerring ability to make him smile occasionally with her outrageous behavior and remarks.  She wasn’t what he was used to.  She wasn’t what he expected women to be.  She wasn’t someone that he could just have his fun with and then they would go their separate ways and that would be the end of it. 


“You on the rise as you're touchin my thighs and
Let me know what you like
If you like I'll go
Down da down down down da down down
I'll hold you in my hand and baby

Your smooth and shiny
Feels so good against my lips sugar
I want you so bad I can
Taste your love right now baby
Day and night
Night and day
All i've got to say is… “


Ah hell, Lex thought, shifting, suddenly uncomfortable in his seat.  He refused to believe she had any idea what she was singing or doing.  He nibbled on his thumbnail, something he hadn’t done since high school, as he stared out at the passing countryside.  There was something about an innocent farm girl like Cady O’Rourke singing about going down on some guy that would have been amusing if it weren’t so downright disturbing.  Lex almost let out a sigh of relief when the song was over.  He was more than ready to forget the fact that while it had been both disturbing and amusing, the mere thought had also been incredibly arousing.  Damn it all to hell.  Now he was beginning to think that perhaps he understood why his father had been interested in cornering Cady that night.  Her innocence and untouched spirit were more than slightly alluring to men like him and his father.  Dangerous, really, when he thought about it.  It was no wonder that people like them, from such different worlds, were never meant to interact.  It was like fire and oxygen.  Only, who was the fire and who was the oxygen?


They drove for almost the first third of the trip in complete silence.  Occasionally, when one of Cady’s favorite songs came on, she would sing along with it and Lex actually found himself enjoying the sound of her voice.  He wondered if he had ever in his life been so uncaring of what someone else might think.  He doubted it.  Did the girl beside him have any inhibitions whatsoever?  He wanted to ask her but doubted that she would have any idea what he was talking about.  Not that he didn’t believe Cady O’Rourke to be intelligent – quite the contrary actually.  Lex didn’t for one moment believe she hadn’t planned this entire farce to get him to let her drive.  Just as she knew exactly how to get him to dance.  It was infuriating, actually, how easily she had his reactions to her pegged.  He wondered if she was like that with everyone she knew, or just him.  He’d hate to think he was the only one in the world gullible enough to fall for her antics.  Lex Luthor, gullible.  He mentally shuddered at the mere thought.


“You don’t mind if I kick up the speed a notch, do you?”


Lex glanced up at the innocently asked question.  His gaze took in the speedometer.  “You’re already doing ninety,” he commented dryly.


Cady sighed.  “I do ninety in a Honda.”


Barely grinning, Lex asked, “Oh?  How does it handle?  I’ve never driven a Honda… “


“Color me surprised.” She tapped her fingers against the steering wheel.  “Lex, please?”


She actually whined.  It was almost… cute.  Lex gave a long suffering sigh.  “Just don’t get us pulled over.”


“Somehow I get the feeling no cop in Kansas would pull over these license plates,” Cady commented as she threw her foot down on the gas.


Well, no, they wouldn’t.  But Lex was not about to tell her that.  He remained silent, his eyes on the road before them as she took it up to 130mph.  Truthfully, he drove with a lot less concern for his life than Cady was, but that wasn’t the point.  The point was, he was not in control, and that was driving him insane.  Lex wanted nothing more than to beg her to pull over so he could drive but that might let her know how uncomfortable he was and he couldn’t do that either.  It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust her – okay, he didn’t trust her – but then he didn’t trust anyone, it wasn’t anything personal.  Still, Cady would most likely take it that way and then Clark would want to know what Lex didn’t trust his cousin and Lex wouldn’t feel like explaining things and….


He was getting a headache.  He pinched the bridge of his nose, attempting to stave it off.  Beside him, the little farm girl was smiling and occasionally laughing and looking for all the world like she was having the time of her life.  That realization gave Lex pause for a moment.  He tried to think back to the last time something he had done had actually pleased someone so animatedly.  He couldn’t think of anything.  He blinked.  But then, it was obvious that Cady O’Rourke was just easily entertained. He would have to store that information away for future reference.


Cady was having a blast.  Too bad all good things must come to an end.


It was just outside the city limits of Smallville that the rabbit darted across the road.  Cady, loving all animals and feeling that most deserved to live above humans, was not about to hit it, even if it meant killing her and Lex.  So she slammed on the brakes and swerved.  The car did a 180 degree turn before finally coming to a rest on the other side of the road, mere centimeters from actually going into the ditch.  The rabbit stopped in the center of the road, raising up on its haunches to sniff at the air for a moment, before hopping safely back to the same side of the road from which it had emerged.


Cady’s heart was racing against her chest, though it had nothing to do with the near accident and everything to do with the silent man beside her who was currently gripping the dashboard, his jaw clenching.  Sitting slowly back in her seat, she dared a glance at the car’s owner, blanching slightly when she did so.  He still hadn’t moved, his expression hadn’t changed, but there was enough tension in the manner of how he held his shoulders that Cady instinctively knew he was really, really pissed off.


Thinking quickly as to how she could rectify what had happened, Cady commented, “I couldn’t hit the bunny.”


Silence.  The passenger door opened and Lex stepped out.  Cady sat glued to her seat as he walked to the other side of the car and yanked her door open, standing there silently, waiting.  She climbed sheepishly out of the car, reluctantly meeting his gaze.  Unfortunately, it was completely unreadable.  Just a blank mask that stared back at her, the only telltale sign that something was wrong was the right side of his jaw clenching and unclenching.  Letting out a soft sigh, Cady wandered over to the passenger side as Lex slid into the driver’s seat.  She said nothing as she fastened her seat belt and the car pulled away from the shoulder, turning and pulling back into the road on a heading into Smallville. 


Once he was behind the wheel, Lex allowed himself to relax a little bit.  It wasn’t as if they had been in any real danger but still, the last thing he wanted was to do was explain to Jonathon Kent why his niece was in the hospital, why she had been driving Lex’s car, why she had been in the same car with Lex at all, why… Well, the list could go on and on.  He knew he should probably say something to Cady to let her know he wasn’t really angry but he just didn’t feel that magnanimous at the moment.  Maybe that would teach her about driving too fast.  Heh.  Funny thought, considering who it was coming from.


It was a few minutes later that Lex pulled into the Kent driveway, slowing to what he considered to be a sedate crawl in fear of waking someone and having to go through that whole explanation thing that he would rather avoid.  Cady hadn’t said anything the rest of the drive and he was kind of glad for her reticence.  Something about Clark’s cousin was bothering him, and he just couldn’t put his finger on it at the moment.  It was something he would think on over the next few days, maybe get some insight from Clark on it.  Lex figured that normally with such thoughts he would be worried, except that Cady happened to be a farm girl, and not all that threatening.


As the car pulled to a stop, Cady climbed out, then turned and peered back down at Lex.  “I really couldn’t hit the bunny,” she told him softly.


Why was it everything that came out of her mouth made him want to smile?  This time, Lex allowed it to happen.  “I know.”


Cady smiled back.  It was one of those Kent megawatt smiles that almost made Lex believe there was some good in the world somewhere other than just on the this particular farm in this particular little corner of the planet.  He couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to see both cousins smiling like that at the same time.  He’d probably have to go immediately to the dentist or something for a cavity – do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200 or your teeth would rot out.


“Thanks for the ride,” Cady said.  “Thank you for… well… thanks.”


Lex nodded and she closed the door and he found himself waiting until she got up to the porch and had the door open before he shifted into reverse.  Because that’s the kind of thing one was supposed to do, wait until she got to the door to make certain she was all right and what not.  He hadn’t expected her to turn back and wave or flash a smile at him, acknowledging the fact that he had stayed.  He hadn’t counted on it and hadn’t really wanted it.


But there it was.  And Lex found himself thinking about that smile almost all of the way back to the castle.


 Continue to Chapter Three

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