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 Three


Violate all my love that I'm missing
Throw away all the pain that I'm living
You will believe in me
And I can never be ignored

#1 Crush - Garbage



Cady was in a fairly good mood when she woke up Sunday morning, especially since it was the one day of the week that everyone in the Kent household got to sleep in – instead of getting up at five-thirty, they got to sleep until six-thirty.  Martha still woke up before everyone else though and already had breakfast ready by the time chores were done.  When Cady arrived from her foray with the chickens, there were expectant looks all around the table.  She grinned as she slid into her seat.


“So, how was Metropolis?” Martha asked curiously.


“Same as always,” Cady responded while she grabbed a biscuit before her cousin could.  “Noisy, crowded, dirty.”


“Exciting, then.”  Martha smiled knowingly.


Cady laughed. “Yeah.”


Her uncle grunted.


“What was the club like?” Clark piped up while sprinkling a little too much salt over his eggs.  “You didn’t get kicked out or anything did you?”


“Hardly.”  She rolled her eyes.  “Turns out I’m friends with the son of the owner.”


Jonathon groaned and flashed a scowl in Cady’s direction.  “Don’t tell me… “


Cady shrugged.  “Is there anything in Metropolis that Lionel Luthor doesn’t own?  Including the souls of its million or so inhabitants?”


“Was Lex there?” Clark asked, suddenly a little more interested in hearing how his cousin’s evening had gone.  He was always curious as to how Lex behaved outside of Smallville, loved seeing him in his “natural habitat” even though those times were few and far between.


“Oh yeah, he was there.”  Cady nodded, ignoring the clanking of her uncle’s silverware against his plate.  She glanced up at Clark who, she could tell, was wanting more information.  “I don’t think he wanted to be there.  He looked bored out of his mind.  And he was extremely testy, too.  But then, I’ve come to associate that with your friend.”


“Testy?” Martha raised her eyebrows at that.  “That doesn’t sound like Lex.”


Clark chuckled.  “You know Cady, mom.  She could bring out the nastiness in a Saint!”


“You know, Clark, I saw a particularly fat and ugly bullfrog this morning that is just dying to share your bed,” Cady warned with a fake smile.


Raising his eyebrows, Clark challenged, “Bring it on.”


“No more animals – amphibians, reptiles or otherwise!”  Martha declared with a hard look at both Clark and Cady.  “I about had a heart attack the last time I changed the sheets and found that snake!”


“Sorry, mom,” Clark replied contritely but his gaze at his cousin still held the challenge to which Cady simply grinned.  Turning back to his breakfast, Clark picked up the forgotten conversation regarding Lex.  “So you obviously talked to Lex if he was testy.  Did you hang out long?”


“What’s with all of the questions?” Cady asked pointedly.


Her cousin shrugged.  “No reason.  I’ve just never seen how he acts at a nightclub is all – “


“And we would prefer not to know!” Jonathon added with a grunt.


Cady glanced at her uncle for a moment while he shoved a biscuit into his mouth, knowing fully well his family would continue with this conversation with or without his approval.  Clark was still watching her in question and even her aunt was occasionally flashing her an expression of curiosity.  What was it about Lex Luthor that obviously had this family so enthralled?  Even uncle Jonathon, who didn’t want to hear anything about the billionaire, would likely not mind if Cady had told him Lex had slipped and broken his leg or something.  This was worse than the gossip columns in the Inquisitor!


“You’re worse than Mrs. Hatcher,” Cady commented to her cousin, referring to Smallville’s local gossip.  Clark just grinned.  “Very well.  Yes, Lex and I talked.  Not about much really and, as always, I succeeded in ticking him off momentarily.  Then we danced – “


Clark choked on his eggs.  “You danced with Lex?!”


Jonathon stood up abruptly.  “I’ve got work to do.” 


Jonathon did not want to hear that besides his teenage son, Lex Luthor was now corrupting his niece as well.  He stomped out the door, slamming it behind him.  The three at the table watched the door in silence for a long moment before both mother and son turned back to Cady, who was in the process of buttering another biscuit, their gazes full of questions.  Cady rolled her eyes at both of them, wondering if by living with her relatives she would never have another moment’s peace in her life.  Her own mother was never this curious!


“Yes, we danced,” she replied quietly, liberally swabbing the biscuit with strawberry jam.  “Lex wasn’t particularly in the mood to do so, but I… convinced him.”


“Convinced?”  Clark raised a disbelieving eyebrow at that.


“Okay, tricked,” she amended.


Clark laughed.  “No one can trick Lex into doing anything.  He’s smarter than that.”


Cady shrugged without reply and ate her biscuit.


Okay, now Clark really was curious.  Even his mother seemed to want to ask where the evening went from there.


“So… ?” Clark prompted.


“So what?”


Martha laughed.  “Cady O’Rourke!  Stop teasing us!  Your cousin and I want to know what happened between you and Lex!”


It was Cady’s turn to almost choke on her breakfast. 


“Happened?”  She burst into laughter.  “As if anything would happen between me and Lex Luthor.  Everyone out here must be desperate for something exciting to occur.”  Cady continued to chuckle as she finished her bacon.  “Look, we danced half a dance, then we… well we talked some more and Lex offered to drive me home.  That was that.”


She glanced up.  Clark didn’t believe her.  What was worse, aunt Martha didn’t appear to believe her either.  Cady rolled her eyes.   


Swallowing down the last of her juice, she stood, telling them, “I need to get started on those produce deliveries… “

As she started out the door, Clark called out, “Don’t forget!  The Luthor castle is the last on the list.”

Cady turned back to say something but words escaped her as her aunt and cousin burst into teasing laughter.  Shaking her head, she walked out the door, slamming it about as hard as her uncle had earlier.




“Hello?  Produce delivery!”  Cady called out, peering around the door as she entered the enormous kitchen of the Luthor Castle.  She stood for a few moments holding the crate, staring in abject wonder at the room around her. 


It looked more like something one would find in an old restaurant, with long, wide islands, steel counters, a grill large enough to cook a whole cow on and walk-in refrigerators.  There were beautiful stainless steel pots and pans hanging overhead and a selection of knives that Cady was certain would really live up to those Ginsu-cut-through-anything commercials.  Setting the crate on the nearest island, she allowed her love for cooking to guide her, and began exploring the vast kitchen, peeking into cabinets, going through drawers and counting with unparalleled glee the dozens and dozens of spices that were perfectly labeled and barely touched.  Forget writing articles!  Cady was prepared then and there to apply for a job as cook at the Luthor Castle!


“Having fun?”


Cady jumped in surprise, turning to find the castle’s owner leaning languidly against the doorframe, watching her with a mildly annoyed expression.  Or maybe it was mildly amused.  Truthfully, Cady couldn’t tell.  Her gaze swept over Lex briefly, from his usual black slacks to the dark purple pullover and blue bottle of water he held in his hand.  He raised it up to his lips, taking a drink, and she couldn’t seem to tear her eyes away from the swallowing motions of his slim, pale throat.


“Do you regularly go through other people’s property?” Lex queried, dropping the bottle back to his side while he licked the last drops of water from his lips.


Cady only blinked momentarily, wondering to herself why the hell she was having so much difficulty forming a coherent sentence.  Finally she raised her gaze to his unreadable one.


“I… no.  I mean… there was no one here and this place is so huge and… “ She frowned.  “Its not like I took anything, see?”  She held out her hands.


The merest wisp of a smile touched his mouth.  “I never said you did.”  Pushing away from the door, Lex walked over to the produce crate and peered into it, taking another drink of water before turning back to Cady.  “Where’s Clark?”


“They’ve put me in charge of deliveries now,” Cady replied, wondering why everything out of this man’s mouth put her on the defensive.  “But if you would prefer that Clark – “


“Not important,” Lex cut her off, shrugging. 


He watched the woman before him quietly for a long moment as she fidgeted under his gaze.  It really was quite ridiculous, him standing here in the kitchen that he rarely ever entered, talking to a twenty-year-old woman who looked as if she just walked off of Sunnybrook Farm.  The flannel and jeans were one thing.  The braided pigtails were entirely another.  Lex found himself wondering when she would present her pet pig, Wilbur, to him.   God, he really needed to get out more. 


Tucking her hands into her back pockets, Cady slowly rocked back on her heels, her gaze taking in the rest of the kitchen in one sweep.  “So… is the rest of the place as impressive as the kitchen?”


Lex took another sip of his water before replying, “Was that supposed to be a not-so-subtle hint that you would like a tour of Castle le Luthor?”


Again, Cady couldn’t tell if he were amused or perturbed.  She decided not to care.  “Yes, I would like a tour.”


Not bothering to hide the long-suffering sigh, Lex nodded his head, indicating for her to follow him, and led her out of the kitchen.  Cady was fairly bouncing beside him as she followed the billionaire through the transplanted Scottish castle, listening as he offered what she considered very little in the way of details.  She made up for that by asking questions, shooting some out faster than Lex had the chance to answer and more than once he would flash her a look of annoyance.  Much to his chagrin, she never seemed to notice.  That or she was pointedly ignoring those looks, which Lex was much more likely to believe.  Why he couldn’t get this funny little farm girl to tremble and quake with fear when he wanted her to was beyond his understanding.  On the other hand, she seemed more than capable of being able to stir his ire with barely a blink of an eye.  He could only imagine what his father would have to say about that.


“An indoor pool and a grand ballroom!”  Cady sighed as he led her into the library, the only room in the place Lex truly did enjoy. 


He stopped near his desk and watched her as she perused this room in the same manner she had all of the others.  Truthfully, he hadn’t realized he had a ballroom in the place until today when they had come across it quite by accident.  Standing in front of his sparse desk, bottle in hand, he watched as Cady took it all in. Lex found the different reactions that sped through her amusing. He sort of smiled and sipped at his drink. For a moment, he considered breaking the silence, saying some comforting words that might put her more at ease, and but then decided against it. After all, this was his domain, and she had invited herself in. He just continued to watch with a blank expression.


Cady was more than slightly impressed with the tour she had been given.  After all, it wasn’t often that one toured a castle in the middle of Kansas. It was extremely elegant and beautiful and... cold. Like a museum. Or mausoleum. She did feel so completely out of place that if she had allowed herself to think about it too hard, she probably would have made herself sick. She was afraid to touch anything. So she wrapped her arms around herself and just stood there, wondering if there was a corner she could hide in or something.

She started chewing on her nails.  “This place could be showcased on Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless,” she commented without a hint of avariciousness.  


Lex allowed a small smile as he finished his water.   He sat the empty bottle down on the desk looked around the room as if he had never seen the place before.  Putting his left hand in his pocket, he turned to her.

“Yeah. Grand isn’t it?” He sneered and sort of rolled his eyes. It wasn’t her fault this was his prison. Maybe he should have been a little nicer, but he was really starting to feel like a freak again. I’m the freak, and this is my cage. Like it?


Cady frowned, realizing she had somehow said the wrong thing. Lex was transforming right in front of her eyes into someone else. He suddenly seemed so lonely and... as strange as it was to think in his own home, out of place. The more she looked around, the more it struck her that there was little of personal value set out. No pictures, no trinkets. Like there was no personality here... or the personality wasn't allowed to be shown.

Even knowing as she did that he didn't seem to respond well to teasing, Cady felt she suddenly had very little choice left. There had been an ease between them throughout the tour, even with Lex’s occasional annoyed glances that he sent her way, that she didn’t want to lose completely.  To say that she was intrigued by the beautiful and mercurial man before her was an understatement.  Cady found herself dying to know what exactly made Lex Luthor tick.  And how often she could make him laugh.

Walking forward, she turned about the room, taking everything in with a discerning eye before turning back to him and affecting the most haughty expression she could manage, one that she remembered using as a child when she would pretend she was a Princess. She flicked my fingers out and ran them across his desk, then peered at them as if they were covered in dust.  Looking back up, she arched a haughty brow.

"Yes, well... its passable, I suppose. Though it doesn't carry nearly the grandeur of mumsy and daddy's chalet in South France," she commented with the affected nasal tone of an Eastern socialite.

Lex laughed. It wasn’t an over the top, laugh-until-it-hurts laugh, but he realized he couldn’t stop it from coming out just the same. He thought,
This girl is funny.


Moving over to discard the empty bottle, bringing him just a little closer to Cady, he commented, “Cady O’Connell, comedian. Ever think of taking it on the road?” He grinned, and turned his back on her.  “If you do, will you tell me so I will remember to stay off the streets that day?”


For the longest moment, Cady just stared in silent shock. Not only had she succeeded in making him laugh (which so far only the master, Bruce Campbell, had done) but then Lex had turned right around and made his own joke back at her.  Cady felt a grin spreading across her face that she couldn't quite contain. She figured she probably looked as goofy as Clark at that moment.

"I'll ignore the sarcasm and take it as a compliment that I got you to laugh," she replied smugly, but it was hard to keep that up. "Which, by the way, was very nice. You should laugh more, Lex."


Lex was quick to notice that familiar megawatt smile.  As always, he found that particular grin endearing, but when she added that he should laugh more, all of the humor left his face, replaced once more by a careful mask. Why does this farm girl bring out the idiot in me?  He wondered with the briefest sigh.


He hadn’t intended on responding to her, but it slipped out anyway.  “I don’t think rich people are supposed to laugh, Cady. I think its against the rules.” Besides, if I laughed more they might take all my money away, he thought to himself, not wanting to say something that might again add to the humor.


Cady sighed, wondering if this guy was always so moody or just with her. Very well, if he wanted to get all reflective about the state of things in his life, she’d just show him she was not a complete buffoon for enjoying the sound and feel of laughter.

"Say what you want, Lex, but I just learned something about you:
No man who has once heartily and wholly laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad ~ Thomas Carlyle," she quoted quietly, not taking her gaze off of him.


Wondering if he had ever laughed heartily and wholly in his life, Lex looked up at her, his gaze momentarily assessing. She wants to play with quotes, huh? Very well.

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject… Winston Churchill,” Lex commented, unable to help but wonder if she saw his insult, and if she did, whether or not it would make her angry.


Cady’s eyes narrowed and she pursed her lips. Did he really think that one little quote would make her curl up in a corner and admit defeat? She tossed her head only briefly and met his gaze head on.  Maybe he expected her to be some meek little female who trembled at the thought of all the billions of dollars he could throw around, but the truth was, Cady only saw a spoilt, ill-mannered child standing in front of her.  One that really needed to learn how to play nice!

s it really worth giving up when one person frowns at the things that make the rest of the world smile? ~ Alfred McCullough," she replied.


Lex was a little surprised when it was apparent that his quote had not made her angry or upset, though he could tell by her face that she definitely understood it. He had briefly thought it would have been enough to send her crying into the next room, and there was that deeper part of him that had almost wished for it.  Instead, it was obvious that she was stronger then he had believed, and for some reason currently unknown to Lex, that realization pleased him though he did not let it show.

What was even more surprising was that it appeared she still wanted to play the quotes game.  Lex wondered if she really knew what she was getting herself in to?

I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves…Ludwig Wittgenstein.”


Cady’s mouth twitched. The quote was rude... but amusing in a way. The thing was, she didn't believe he was really put off or upset by their little game. Though she did believe she had surprised him with her replies, and that above all counted for everything.  She wasn’t ready to give in just yet, either.  If there was one thing that she had learned from her football fanatic father, it was that winning wasn’t everything, it was the only thing.

One good, hearty laugh is a bombshell exploding in the right place, while spleen and discontent are a gun that kicks over the man who shoots it off -- Talmage."


Lex’s gaze grew icy once again.  For some reason, that particular quote of hers stung more than he wanted to admit.  Normally, such a thing wouldn’t have affected him.  He would have shrugged it off, flashed a fake smile, let the issue drop and effectively dismiss the person who had annoyed him in the first place.  But then, Lex was learning that nothing was ever that simple in his interactions with Clark’s cousin.  Not for him anyway.  And he didn’t like that; hated it, in fact.  Something about Cady O’Rourke’s manner with him made Lex feel off-balance, like a child starved for attention.  He reacted to her, and that was never supposed to occur.  She was supposed to react to him.


Meeting her gaze directly, Lex commented in a cold voice, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, Whenever they go…Oscar Wilde.”


Cady winced.  It wasn’t so much what Lex had said but the way he had said it that made her react in the manner that she did.  It hurt like a slap to the face. Suddenly what had been a game had turned into... well, back to the way things seemed destined to be between them.  The malicious “child” before her had lashed out, and while Cady was tempted to lash right back at him, she decided that would only lower her to his level, and she had more manners than that.


“Perhaps you’re right.”  With that, Cady turned and walked out.


Lex watched her go, rooted to the spot where he stood.  He wasn’t certain if he had achieved what he wanted to, or if he had achieved anything at all.  The “victory”, if it could be called that, seemed hollow and pointless.  Staring at the empty doorway a moment longer, Lex finally shrugged and returned to the figures he had been working on before Cady’s arrival.  He dismissed her from his mind completely twenty minutes later.




Cady didn’t even attempt to examine the reasons behind her anger over the altercation with Lex.  She didn’t want to think about it.  She didn’t want to think about him.   The fact that he had rarely left her thoughts since they had first met in the Talon was something else she chose to ignore.  If she had contemplated it, for even a moment, she would have likely bashed her head in over realization.


When Cady got back to the farm, parking the truck near the barn, Martha was chopping apples, for another batch of pies, in the kitchen.  She looked up as her niece entered the house and flashed a smile.


“Did deliveries go well?”  She asked.


Cady nodded, heading to the refrigerator for a drink, pulling the lid off of the milk and about to take a swallow from the bottle when she caught her aunt’s raised eyebrows.  Setting the bottle down, she removed a glass from the cabinet and poured the beverage into it, replacing the bottle into the refrigerator.  Eyeing the cooling pies on the table, Cady took a sip of her milk, saying nothing.


Martha wondered at her usually exuberant niece’s sudden reticence.  Thinking she was most likely tired from the night before, she let it pass. 


“Oh!  I almost forgot,” Martha said with a smile.  “There are some flowers in the front room for you – roses.”


Frowning, Cady grabbed her glass and walked into the family room, her aunt following behind her, to see an enormous bouquet of white and pink roses – her favorites – displayed on the coffee table.  “Who are they from?”


Martha shrugged as she wiped her hands on her apron.  “I didn’t read the card, Cady.  Why don’t you find out?” She gestured toward the envelope peering over the top of the petals.


“Weird.”  Cady lifted the tiny missive into her hands, pulling open the flap and withdrawing the card.  The initials emblazoned on the front of the card in gold caused her frown to deepen.  She opened it to read silently to herself:


Cady ~


My sincerest apologies for my rather direct behavior last night.  Had I known you were there to meet with my son, I would have, of course, taken you directly to him.  Should you ever be in Metropolis, and wish to spend some time with the mature Luthor male, feel free to call me.  913-555-6616


Lionel Luthor


“Well?” Martha asked from behind Cady.  “Who are they from?”


“Umm… “ Cady blinked at the card a moment longer, wondering if it was significant that his phone number had three 6’s in it, before shoving it back into the envelope.  “Just some guy I met last night.  I barely remembered him until just now.”


“Oh. One of those.”  Martha rolled her eyes.  “Some men never catch a clue, do they?”


Cady shook her head in response, considering the offering set before her.  She was at a complete loss as to why Lionel Luthor had even bothered, and what the hell he had meant by spending time with the mature Luthor male.  And how did he know what her favorite flowers were?  That was just plain creepy, not that getting roses from the owner of LuthorCorp wasn’t creepy in and of itself.  So one Luthor chose to insult her, and the other to send her flowers.  The events of the evening before suddenly became even more muddled to Cady.  Like her recent conversation with Lex, she decided to just ignore it for the moment.  Maybe later, she could reflect on just what the hell was going on.


Until then, she had to make certain that no one in the Kent household knew who she had really received the roses from.  That information just wouldn’t go over well at all.  No, not at all.


“They are beautiful,” Martha commented, again wondering at her niece’s silence.  She watched her for a long moment, noting that the normally vibrant green eyes seemed darker than usual, then asked, “Are you going to leave them here or put them in your room?”


“My room, I think,” Cady answered quickly, wondering how suspicious it would look to simply lock them up in her closet or maybe even throw them away.  Still, she loved roses and they would be pretty to look at.


“Cady, are you all right?”


The young woman glanced up at her aunt’s concerned question.  “Yes… Fine.  Why?”


Martha gave a small shrug.  “You’ve just seemed a little… out of sorts since this morning.  Cady, if there is anything you need to talk about… You know that your uncle and I are here for you.”


Nodding, Cady grabbed the vase of flowers in hand and started toward the stairs.  “I know, aunt Martha.  And thank you.  I assure you if I need to talk, you’ll know.”


Martha didn’t know what to believe as Cady hurriedly mounted the steps and disappeared from sight.


Hours later, Cady jogged up the steps to her cousin’s loft, a white rose in hand.  Clark was sitting on a chair by the doors where his telescope sat, staring up at the slowly darkening sky.  Cady hated winter for the simple fact that night always fell much too early.  She watched him quietly for a long moment, certain that he knew she was there and wondering why he hadn’t said anything yet.  Finally, sighing, she moved forward, tossing the rose into his lap.


Picking up the flower – a perfect long stem, neatly cut, the bud barely opened – Clark examined it silently for a few seconds before glancing up at his cousin.  “Mom told me about your delivery,” he commented.  “There were… what?  Two dozen of these?  Perfect roses.  Fancy vase.”


“Do you have a point, Clark?”


The teen shrugged.  “Just that there aren’t too many college age guys who can afford such extravagant gifts.”


Cady looked away, out at the fading sunset.  “Are you implying something?  Lex didn’t – “


“Oh, I know he didn’t,” Clark cut her off, glancing a look her direction.  At her questioning gaze, he told her, “I saw him this afternoon.  We talked.”


“Ah, so you learned of his unbelievable dislike for me.”


Clark grinned.  “I wouldn’t call it that, Cady.  You’ve just… well, you have a way of throwing some people off guard.”


His cousin rolled her eyes, frowning, then leaned over to peer through the telescope.  “Still watching Lana’s house I see.”


“Don’t change the subject.”


“Clark, I think I know very well how people react to me.”  She stood up and folded her arms over her chest.  “Most people like me.”


“Yep, I won’t argue with that,” Clark nodded.  “It’s a Kent trait, to be well-liked.”  He grinned. 


Cady rubbed a hand over her eyes with a sigh.  Between Clark and her uncle, it was a Kent trait to be arrogant, too.  Ah, but then most of the arrogance in the world was all encapsulated into two people – and both of them held the last name of Luthor.  Moving the telescope, she focused it on some distant stars and peered through the glass once more.  She could feel her cousin’s eyes on her but she attempted to ignore it.  It didn’t take long for him to continue the conversation without her direct attention.


“So… don’t you want to know my theory as to why Lex reacts to you the way he does?”


“Not particularly,” Cady lied, ignoring the lie, even to herself.


Leaning forward, Clark pulled the telescope away from her and caught her gaze.  “Well, I’m going to tell you anyway.”




“Because I like talking about Lex, and I can’t talk to my parents because my dad very nearly can’t stand him.  And mom gets all nervous.  And I have always wondered why Lex is friends with me.”


“You saved his life.  It would be kind of heartless for him to simply ignore you existed, Clark,” Cady pointed out, leaning back against the doorframe to regard her cousin. 


Then again, who wouldn’t want to be friends with Clark Kent?  Cady had to admit that even being related to him, she knew her cousin to be one of the sweetest, most loyal people she had ever met.  If Lex was friends with him for any reason other than those points, then he was most certainly the ass that she was beginning to think he was.


Clark was shaking his head.  “No.  Okay, maybe there is this part of Lex that holds on to the fact that I saved his life… I know there is.  But I think it is something else.  I think I intrigue him.”  Clark raised an eyebrow at her as he added, “And I think you do, too.”


Cady sighed.  “Just what I wanted to be.  An exhibit in the Luthor Museum of Oddities.”


A long pause, then Clark asked, “Don’t you want to know why I think this?”


Cady glanced at her fingernails, frowning that she had broken yet another one while fixing the fencing around the henhouse.  “No.”


“Yes you do.”  Clark stood and stretched his hands above his head, almost reaching the rafters above.  He grinned at her for a moment longer. 


Clark felt he knew his cousin pretty well.  Sure, there were four years between them – at least legally.  He and his parents didn’t really know his true age, after all.  He could have been nearer to her and Lex in years.  But still, they had always been close and when they were younger, he was always the one who got to hear all of her thoughts and dreams and imaginings.  They were the only cousins that each other had, and during family get-togethers, that had bonded them quite quickly.  Oh sure, there were second cousins and third cousins – enough to fill the barn full during family reunions – but Cady and Clark had grown up together and were as close as siblings.  So Clark knew Cady.  And he knew why she was refusing to speak of Lex.  And he knew why she purposely taunted Lex.  Even if she didn’t.


“Lex isn’t used to people reacting to him as anything other than the son of Lionel Luthor, billionaire.  Either people react to him with scorn and hatred or false fawning in order to gain his favor.”  Clark shrugged.  “Except, I saved his life, refused his gifts and became his friend.  And you have treated him no different than a member of the family – the same acceptance and teasing and occasional dislike for his behavior.”


“You planning on becoming a psychiatrist?” Cady asked in sarcasm.


Clark shook his head.  “No, I think I have a point.  Problem is, Lex has had a chance to get used to me.  I probably should have warned him about you.”


Cady gave a fake yawn.  “I’m going to bed.”


“You like him, don’t you?”


“What?!”  Cady stared at her cousin, mouth agape.  “Have you hit your head recently, Clark Kent?  There is nothing about Lex Luthor to – “


“Nothing about Lex Luthor to what?”


The cousins started and turned to find the subject of their conversation slowly strolling up the steps to the loft, his gaze drifting over their guilty expressions.  Hands in pockets, Lex came to a stop a few feet from them, his brow slightly creased in question, as he continued to look from one to the other.  Silently, he thought he shouldn’t have been surprised to find that people were yet again talking about him behind his back.  It hurt him that it was Clark, but then he should have expected it from Clark’s cousin.  He settled his gaze on her for a moment, knowing he was correct the moment her eyes shifted away guiltily.


“I must be interrupting something,” Lex commented coldly.  “Perhaps I should leave – “


“You just got here,” Clark protested, feeling horrible that Lex obviously thought they were speaking badly of him.


“I don’t want to intrude,” the billionaire said smoothly.


“You aren’t,” Cady replied, glancing at her cousin as her mind whirled for an explanation.  She looked back over at Lex, wondering briefly why she felt it necessary to put him at ease.  After all, he hadn’t exactly afforded her the same courtesy.  “I was just saying there was nothing about you to… to suggest that… that you would ever have the inclination to drive a… domestic car.”


Lex smirked.  He knew there was no way in hell that was the conversation he had interrupted but it was a good cover just the same.  Letting it slide, he commented, “I wouldn’t say that was entirely true.  I mean, if they produced a model that measured up to European standards, I might be convinced to give it a try.”


Clark was grinning hugely.  He owed Cady for that one.


“Wouldn’t be caught dead in a Ford, though,” Lex added with another glance at Cady.


The merest wisp of a smile crossed her face.


“What’s wrong with Ford?” Clark demanded, frowning.  He looked up to see Cady and Lex watching one another again, both with half-smiles.  He realized he was being purposely teased and shook his head.  “Okay.  No fair, this ganging up on people thing.  Whether the two of you are both ancient or not.”


Lex raised a brow at Clark, then turned back to Cady.  “I think your cousin just insulted us.”


“Its all an act, you know,” she replied.  “He’s not really nice as he pretends to be.”


“Hey!”  Was all Clark could think to reply.


Cady laughed.  “I’ll just leave you two alone to talk about… whatever it is guys talk about alone in the loft of a barn.”


As Cady moved past him, Lex reached out and grabbed her hand, a little surprised by his own action.  She didn’t resist though, immediately turning a curious gaze in his direction.  He had hurt her earlier that day, and he had expected her to be holding that against him, but there was nothing in her direct gaze to tell him that she was.  In fact, if anything, Cady’s eyes appeared friendly and inviting.  Lex didn’t know what to make of that.


“I wanted to apologize for earlier,” he said quietly, knowing that they had an audience in Clark but not exactly wanting to let him in on the conversation.  “I didn’t mean – “


“Yes, you did,” Cady interrupted but smiled to soften her words.  “I just find myself wondering which one of us were you directing it to… “


Lex looked away, his jaw clenching momentarily as he again wondered how this woman always knew the right things to say… to piss him off.  He dropped her hand, though his skin felt like it was burning where they had touched.  He shoved it into his pocket, still refusing to look at her, his gaze meeting Clark’s who was watching them both with an expression of concern.  Waiting until he knew his face was a carefully placed mask of nothingness, Lex turned back to Cady, refusing to acknowledge the fact that she had not once looked away from him throughout the past few moments.


“You’re a smart girl,” he commented blankly.  “Smart and funny.  Isn’t Smallville just blessed with your presence?”  His tone implied otherwise.  Flashing a quick gaze to his friend, Lex said, “I’ll talk to you later, Clark.”


He was gone from them almost immediately.


“Cady – “


“Don’t, Clark.”  She shook her head, still watching down the steps where Lex had exited, his coat flapping out dramatically behind him.  Why had she said that?  Oh yeah.  Because she thought he deserved it.  The worst of it was, Cady had not expected it to be true.  She truly had not expected Lex to react with such… honesty. 


She frowned, wishing suddenly that she could take her words back.  Arrogance, she thought.  Another disguise for pain and insecurity.  All of this from a man who has everything.  With a mental sigh, Cady headed back to the house. 


Clark stood in silence as his cousin wandered off, a frown creasing his brow.  Whatever was going on between Lex and Cady… He shook his head as if there were someone nearby to see him do it.  This time, he had almost physically felt it.  An electrical charge that appeared in the air when the two of them were in the same vicinity.  It hadn’t been a good thing.  In fact, it had made Clark downright nervous, left him uneasy.  Otherwise, he should have been able to avert their word play. 


Running a hand through his dark hair, he sighed, glad his father hadn’t been there to witness it all.


 Continue to Chapter Four

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