Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author webpage: http://www.watchersjournal.com/aelora/aelora.html
Genre: Het, Original character, Drama, Romance
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!
My life has been a nightmare
My soul is fractured to the bone
And if I must be lonely
I think I'd rather be alone
Save Yourself – Stabbing Westward
Lex stared at the spreadsheet in front of him without really seeing it. Around him, voices of the Talon’s patrons rose and fell in pitch, blended with occasional laughter but none of it really reached him. He was too focused on the events of the afternoon, on the realization that no matter what he did or how hard he tried, he would never win the approval of Jonathon Kent.
And why did that matter so much to him? Lex was afraid to answer that. Afraid to face the reasons behind his continual efforts to gain the attention and trust of the Kents. He had gone there today once more in the false hope that he might have done something of which Jonathon would approve. Lex had believed that his offer of the Shark’s tickets, for that special father-son time between Clark and his dad, would be seen as a friendly gesture by the head of the Kent household. Unfortunately, Jonathon had seemed more inclined to crush Lex under a hay bale than offer him any kind of gratitude. And with his parting comment, Lex found himself wondering if there was truly any act that he could commit that would meet with his approval. He doubted that even saving a dozen orphans from a burning building would change Jonathon Kent’s mind regarding his personal worth.
Of course, the situation had not been improved by Dominic’s purposeful slip to Jonathon Kent regarding Lex’s investigation into Clark after the crash. He had to admit, he was a little surprised that Clark had never mentioned it to his parents. Such an action didn’t seem very… Clark-like. It was unimaginable to Lex that he might have kept it to himself because he was protecting his friend. Such devotion and loyalty was unacceptable. And yet, very much something that shouldn’t have surprised Lex in the least when it came to Clark.
It hurt. And that was what bothered Lex the worst. He could not understand where this weakness – this need to be accepted by Clark’s father – stemmed from. Yes, he was envious of the closeness that the Kent family shared. Yes, he often wondered what it would have been like to have grown up in such an environment. Yes, he occasionally found himself wishing that Jonathon and Martha Kent were his parents. But where did those thoughts get him? Did he actually expect the Kents to open up their arms one day and say “Welcome to our family, Lex”? In the end, what would any of it gain him anyway? He was weak for wanting it, for even thinking about it. It was moments like this that Lex understood his own father’s disappointment in him.
Thoughts of Lionel Luthor brought Lex’s attention back to the spreadsheet in front of him. Ever since his refusal to go back to Metropolis and join his father, Lionel had been subtly picking at him here and there. His recent invasion into Lex’s life included sending Dominic to Smallville to do an audit of the Plant’s financial records. It was annoying Lex much more than he would care to admit. To even imply that he was spending funds foolishly or did not have the sense it took to properly run a factory was just another in the long line of insults his father enjoyed tossing his way.
No wonder Jonathon Kent would never accept him. Not when his own father…
Shaking the thought from his mind, Lex leaned back in his seat, lifting his gaze to glance around the coffee house. He didn’t know how long he had been there but the sky outside had begun to darken. The thought of returning back to the castle to Dominic’s unending questions and snide little barbs was less than pleasant. He gazed around the room for one of the Talon’s waitresses or Lana to refill his cappuccino, when he caught the door opening out of the corner of his eye and the familiar form of Cady O’Rourke walking in.
Great, he thought with a grimace. One more person to point out my many faults.
For a brief moment Lex considered getting up and winding his way out of there, but he really had no other place to go at the moment and he wasn’t the type to run away from a challenge. And if Clark’s cousin had entered into the same vicinity as him, then there would likely be a challenge following. So he forced himself to remain in his seat, even as she glanced his way, watched him for a moment and then started over. Lex’s expression remained impassive and neutral as she approached, though inside he found himself tensing defensively.
“Hello Lex,” Cady greeted as she approached his table, her gaze sweeping over him briefly.
Cady wondered if Lex expected his cold tone to send her scurrying off. She slid into the seat across from him. “How are you?”
Lex raised an eyebrow at her action. He didn’t remember inviting her to sit down. He made another mental note to speak with Clark regarding his cousin’s poor manners. “Fine,” he answered in a clipped tone.
She nodded, glancing at the paperwork before him. “What are those?”
Leaning his crossed arms on the table, Lex caught her gaze. “None of your business.” In response, she smiled – actually smiled! – at him.
Then, “Look, Lex, what I said last week – “
Lex held up a hand, cutting her off. “I think we’ve said just about all that needs to be said to each other, don’t you? It’s more than obvious that your attitude towards me closely resembles that of your uncle’s, and I think I’ve made my opinion of you fairly clear as well. So why don’t we cut the crap and stop pretending?”
Cady sat back and blinked at the man before her for a long moment. He never looked away from her gaze, as if they were silently locked in a fierce battle of wills from which neither apparently meant to back down. Unfortunately, as usual, Cady couldn’t begin to read Lex’s expression or thoughts. That was the most infuriating aspect of him – she was usually good at reading people just from their emotions. Only he never allowed his to show. It was a good trick and one that she thought she could take some lessons from.
“Do you really mean what you just said?” she asked finally. “Or are you looking for someone to strike out at after your little meeting with my uncle today?”
Lex’s mask dropped momentarily at his surprise over her knowledge of his conversation with Jonathon Kent. He shifted slightly in his seat, finally breaking his gaze away from hers to collect his emotions once more. Looking back up, he commented, “There you go, being all smart again.” It wasn’t a compliment.
She shrugged, still watching him. “Uncle Jon came in to lunch in a bit of a huff. Said you had stopped by. He reverted into a lengthy speech regarding your attempt to “buy” Clark’s friendship with gifts.”
Looking away, Lex swallowed hard at Cady’s words, once more struggling to contain those emotions that screamed in his mind, asking why Jonathon Kent hated him so very much. Was he really so much like his father, already? Were people able to simply look at him and say “Wow! He’s the exact replica of Lionel Luthor!” And if so, was it much too late for him to even bother fighting it?
Turning back to Cady, his mask carefully back in place, his tone bland, Lex commented, “I’m glad the Kents are so open with one another regarding my intentions.”
Cady sighed, kicking at the table leg for a moment before looking back up at Lex. “My uncle is a hard man to warm up to anyone, Lex. Clark didn’t pick up his innate trusting of people from his father. Believe me. He was simply born with it. Uncle Jon has always had difficulty accepting anything from anyone – even his own family members. He won’t even let me help pay room and board while I’m staying with them, though I know the last thing they need is an extra mouth to feed.”
“If you’re trying to make me feel – “
It was Cady’s turn to cut him off. “No, I’m not trying to make your mood all bright and sunny by assuring you my uncle will someday come around regarding his opinion of you, Lex,” she answered honestly. “I’m just trying to help you see how his mind works and understand that not every Kent thinks the same way. You know that Clark doesn’t. And aunt Martha stuck up for you as well, saying there was no need for you to buy Clark’s friendship since you already have it.”
“And what does all this free sharing of insight gain you?” Lex asked critically.
Shaking her head with an exasperated sigh, Cady replied, “Jesus, Lex. Not everyone wants something from you, you know.” She stood to leave.
Lex considered just letting her leave for about two seconds. Then he found himself calling out to her. “Cady… “ He should have let her leave. Wasn’t that what he wanted anyway?
Cady glanced back at him. “What?”
Lex hated apologizing. He stared down at his empty cappuccino mug for a moment before looking back up at her. “It’s been a rough week,” was all he said.
He hated explaining himself, too. It wasn’t any of her business what kind of mood he was in or why he was in it. People didn’t care what the reasons were anyway; he had learned that lesson long ago. Being a Luthor meant that he had everything, so of course the perception was that there was nothing wrong with his life. Money and power made everything perfect so what did he have to complain about? More than once Lex had a ‘girlfriend’ – and he used that term loosely – tell him on the way out the door that they would gladly accept the problems he had with Lionel to get everything else in return. Only, he never saw any of them actually going through with that challenge. In fact, Lex was the only person in his twenty-one years of existence who didn’t have the chance to simply walk away from it. Even his mother had found an escape.
Lex looked up in surprise from his musing when Cady slipped back into the seat across from him. He waited silently for some kind of recrimination from her, a reply that fell somewhere in the vicinity of why the hell should she care what kind of week he had. But none was forthcoming.
Instead, Cady smiled and asked, “So… how about those Sharks?”
Lex couldn’t help it. A chuckle escaped him and he was shaking his head, finding the simplest amusement at her blatant attempt to change the conversation. Cady just sat there, watching him with an all-too-innocent expression.
“What?” She asked. “It’s playoff time. It’s a valid question.”
Lex shook his head again. “You’re a football fan, huh?”
Cady nodded. “Dad kind of raised me on it. He had season tickets to the Sharks, so I grew up attending every game with him. We used to talk about what we would do with the team if we owned it.”
“I take it neither of you agreed with my father’s ownership practices?”
“It’s always seemed to me that he has very little to do with the team – except to raise ticket prices abhorrently high.”
Lex chuckled again. “You’re right. He’s never had the slightest interest in the Sharks.”
“Then why – “
“Prestige, of course. Nothing shows you have money to throw away better than to own a sports team that you have absolutely no interest in. Plus, it’s always a good bribe for business associates – invite them to the owner’s box, offer them playoff tickets, Super Bowl trips, whatever.” Lex didn’t add that it was also useful when a rival’s wife wanted to sleep with the star Quarterback. Arrangements like that always led to a wealth of information from the happily accommodated spouse.
“So I take it you’re not exactly a football fan either?” Cady asked with a raised brow.
A wisp of a smile. “I regularly sit around on Sundays guzzling beers and eating barbequed pork rinds with my buddies in front of a big screen.”
Cady snickered at the image. “Okay. Stupid question.” She smiled at the man across from her. “But football isn’t just a turn-off-your-brain sport, you know. When it comes down to the right plays to call, it can be as challenging as… well, chess for example.”
Lex raised a brow at that. “You play chess?”
“I don’t think what I do could be appropriately termed as ‘playing’, no,” Cady replied with only a hint of self-deprecation. “But my father attempted to teach me the finest points, yes. And he always said that football was just another game of chess – except the players didn’t wear wingtips and there were girls with big breasts on the sidelines.”
Laughter. Lex didn’t think he had it in him, especially this week. But it seemed that Clark’s cousin was able to bring it out in him time and again. He caught it quickly though, stifling it to a more acceptable chuckle before drawing any attention to their table.
“Your father sounds like he was a very interesting man. I’m sorry that I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting him.”
Cady shrugged, glancing down at the table for a moment to gather her emotions. Speaking of her parents still hurt on the whole, but each day it got a little easier. Especially when it came to remembering the good times and their very special points. She looked back up at Lex, thanking her father silently that he had been able to make the man laugh, and smiled at him.
“Father was, if nothing else, a scientist – a geek at heart. He really was. You know Egon from ‘Ghostbusters’? That was my dad – only better looking, downright gorgeous according to some of my friends.” She rolled her eyes much to Lex’s amusement. “Sometimes my dad’s best friend – my godfather, Patrick – would tease him when he was working on some new crazy idea and say ‘Remember that time you tried to drill a whole in your head?’ and dad would always reply ‘That would have worked if you hadn’t stopped me’.”
There was a shared moment of companionable laughter between the two over the movie quote. Movies were generally something that Lex would watch when a friend forced him to or he had absolutely nothing better to do, and they usually held little interest for him. Lex had enjoyed ‘Ghostbusters’ though, and he never understood why Egon had been given so much trouble by his friends. He had been smart, after all. Hearing that Dr. O’Rourke had been compared to the character had Lex intrigued.
“Your father was the Director of Crop Growth R&D, correct?” At his question, Cady nodded. “You don’t mind me asking about him, do you?”
The young woman shook her head with a light smile. “No, I enjoy talking about him actually. Ask away.”
Lex did. For the next hour he asked her everything from Dr. O’Rourke’s schooling and training, to his first job with LuthorCorp and some of the more public projects that he had worked on. Cady knew quite a bit of information regarding her father and his work, fascinated by his knowledge of science as she was, though she really had little interest in it herself. Lex probed her for information regarding her father’s work on the meteorites until she finally broke off into laughter.
“Lex! Are you planning on writing my father’s biography or something?” He flashed a quick smile, and she felt her heart quicken at the sight.
“Sorry,” Lex replied, slightly chagrined. “I’ve read some of your father’s reports in the LuthorCorp files but they never seemed complete enough.”
Cady raised an eyebrow at him, sipping at what was her fourth hot chocolate with extra whipped cream. “Well, if you would be interested, I do have all of my father’s journals, notes and whatnot. You’re welcome to borrow them if you would like… “
Lex stared at the woman across from him, surprised at her offer, surprised that she was so willingly accepting of handing over her father’s personal materials to someone she hardly knew. But then, she was a part of the Kent family and Lex was beginning to understand, thanks to Clark, not to be surprised by anything they did.
“Does your silence indicate a yes or a no?” Cady asked with a slight smile.
“Yes.” Lex nodded, snapping out of his silent perusal of her. “I mean, thank you. That’s a very generous offer.”
Cady shrugged. “I have no real use for them. I only have the vaguest knowledge of half the terms and abbreviations he used in his writings. Who knows? He might have the answers to the universe hidden in there. I’d never know.”
“I’m sure you’re not giving yourself enough credit, Cady,” Lex replied, wondering momentarily why his voice suddenly sounded so warm.
Flashing a quick smile, Cady glanced down at her watch, and then looked up at Lex in apology. “If I don’t get going, I’m going to miss dinner and aunt Martha won’t let me live that one down!”
Lex stood as she did. “I’m sorry if I kept you.”
“Don’t be,” Cady returned, reaching out to touch the sleeve of his coat briefly. “I’m glad we had this talk. Take care, Lex.”
He didn’t know what to say to that, so refrained from saying anything. Hands shoved into the pockets of his coat, wondering idly why the skin beneath his sleeve where Cady had touched him burned briefly, Lex watched in silence as she disappeared through the Talon door.
Strange how your perception of someone could be changed with just a few shorts sentences shared between one another. That was the thought that, two days later, was going through Cady’s mind as she sat ensconced in her cubicle at the Ledger, staring at the story on her computer screen that she was supposed to be hard at work on. Unfortunately, she hadn’t made it past the first paragraph because her thoughts kept returning to a mysterious pair of silver-blue eyes that hid behind them a multitude of secrets, emotions and desires that, unless coaxed, would never see the light of day. Cady felt she had spent enough time with Lex in the Talon the other day to know for a certainty that his meeting with her uncle had upset him. And that one simple fact had changed her previous image of him completely. Now she understood what drew Clark to the young billionaire – Lex needed someone to accept him. And he seemed to need it fairly desperately.
Need. The story before her needed some actual facts. The worst of it was, Cady knew for almost an absolute certainty that her cousin knew more regarding the news story surrounding the “spontaneous combustion” of a couple of local inhabitants than he was letting on. She had poked at him the night before to get some answers, but none were forthcoming. Then when she had turned to Chloe, Clark had told his friend it was time to go home. Then he had told Cady to leave Chloe out of it. That’s when his cousin knew for certain he was hiding something, but Clark was like a brick wall, there was nothing she was going to get from him. So now she had to wrap up this story with little more to go on than the first story ran.
The ringing of her phone snapped Cady out of her momentary frustration and she hit save as she reached for the receiver.
“Cady… Lionel Luthor.”
Blinking in silence at the monitor before her for a long moment, Cady finally found her voice – hidden somewhere amongst the shock – and replied, “Mr. Luthor. Is there something I can do for you?”
“Lionel, please,” the voice drawled on the other end, sounding vaguely amused. Or bored. “I was wondering if you received the arrangement I sent?”
“Yes. Yes, I did. Thank you. It was… unexpected.”
A low chuckle. “Catching people off guard is a good way to do business, Cady.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” she replied, standing for a moment to glance around the cubicle and make certain no one was eavesdropping. The last thing she needed was for word to get around that she was having an afternoon tête-à-tête with Lionel Luthor. Sliding back into her seat, she commented, “I found it a little strange that you knew what my favorite flowers were.”
“Impressed with that, were you?”
“I said it was strange, not impressive.”
Another slightly amused chuckle. “Your wit is keen, Cady. But you may not wish to exert it quite so much.”
“Is this supposed to be a lesson in conduct or something, Mr. Luthor? Because I do have work to do.” Cady sighed, glancing at her nails.
A long pause. Maybe she had been a little too rude with that remark. Cady wondered briefly exactly what Lionel Luthor did to people who were rude to him. Tie cement to their feet and drop them in the river? No, wait. That was the mafia. Not that Cady didn’t believe for one moment that Lionel wasn’t far from organized crime.
Finally, “I would like to make up the other evening to you, Cady. How about dinner in Metropolis this weekend?”
If someone had walked by with feather in hand, they could have knocked her over then and there. Briefly, Cady pictured the scene of walking into the kitchen and announcing to her uncle, Guess what? I have a date with Lionel Luthor! Oh hell yeah, that would go over well! Not. Then she remembered the way that the man had cornered her in that booth at the club, attempting to force her to take a drink of something she was certain had to be laced with drugs. Cady wondered if Lionel understood the expression not a chance in Hell?? She had only been saved that one night because Lex had shown up. She smiled for a moment at the memory. Her unexpected – and unlikely – knight in shining armor.
“Well?” His voice persisted.
“I’m… going out of town this weekend, Mr. Luthor.”
“Yes.” Cady glanced around her desk, her mind blank. Finally she noticed a slip of paper on the bulletin board behind her. “A journalism conference the boss is sending me to in… Nebraska.”
“Nebraska. How… charming.”
“Yeah, well… the things we do for work,” Cady replied, wishing suddenly that the boss would call her or something.
“Perhaps some other time… “
“Yes. That would be… great.” Taking the opportunity and running with it, Cady said quickly, “Well, I have to get to a meeting. It was nice talking to you, Mr. Luthor. Thanks again for the flowers. Bye.”
She tossed the phone back to its cradle as if it were a snake ready to strike.
“What was that?”
Cady jumped to find her cousin standing beside her. “Geez, Clark! Don’t do that! You about gave me a heart attack.”
Clark frowned down at his cousin for a long moment. He had heard the conversation as he had rounded the corner of the office looking for her. He doubted that when she said ‘Mr. Luthor’ that she was talking to Lex. What was Cady doing becoming involved with Lionel Luthor?
“So,” he prodded. “What was that about?”
Frowning up at her cousin, Cady replied, “Nothing. Wrong number.”
“Funny. I could have sworn you said thanks for the flowers.”
“You misheard me,” Cady snapped, wondering if eavesdropping was something Clark made a habit of. “What I said was I’m not Mrs. Powers.”
Clark would have laughed if he could have explained why he was listening in on her conversation. Instead, he just nodded. “Oh.”
“What are you doing here anyway?” Cady asked, turning back to her computer and the story she had yet to finish, thanks to Clark and his evasiveness. She was still tempted to just drop by Chloe’s and ask her fellow journalist some questions, but Clark would kill her if he found out. “Besides listening in on my conversations, I mean.”
Making a face, Clark replied, “Wanted to see if you would be interested in watching the Shark’s practice tomorrow night? Lex has arranged for Whitney to practice with them and we were invited.”
Cady turned in her chair and looked at Clark with a wide-eyed expression. “Lex did that for Whitney?” She raised an eyebrow. “You asked him to, didn’t you?”
Clark grinned, shrugging.
“Well that is very sweet of both of you.” She turned back to the computer. “And count me in. I would love to see the Sharks up close and personal like.”
“You’re not going to find a date, you know.”
Clark just chuckled. “I need to get home and finish chores. See you at dinner?”
“With bells on,” Cady replied, still staring at the screen before her as her cousin left the office.
Of course, now her mind was once more filled with Lex, and she knew finishing the story just became that much more impossible. Giving her head a quick shake, Cady leaned over the keyboard and simply began typing, filling the story with complicated words and explanations, finally bringing it to the proper word count needed. Reading it through quickly, she pasted it into an email and forwarded it on to the editor.
It was half past five when Cady finally made it out of the office and headed down the street to her usual parking place near the Talon. Nearing the car, she slowed as she noticed Lex leaning against the Aston Martin in front of the coffee shop, staring ahead as if he wanted to go in but couldn’t seem to make up his mind. Cocking her head to one side slightly in confusion, Cady approached him cautiously, knowing fully well that more often than not their meetings usually didn’t go over very well. Lex was wearing a lavender dress shirt and black suit with his customary ¾ length cut coat. She allowed herself a moment to appreciate how handsome he was in the outfit before she neared him.
Lex glanced up at his name, staring at Cady for a long moment before replying, “Oh. Hello, Cady.”
It was almost as if Lex had not at first recognized her. Which meant his mind had to have been elsewhere. Even now he appeared to be lost in his own thoughts, his gaze turning back toward the Talon, only Cady quickly realized he wasn’t actually looking at the structure, he was just staring ahead.
Moving closer, Cady asked, “Is everything all right, Lex? Are you waiting here for someone?”
Lex didn’t answer her immediately. In his mind, he was picturing his father’s face, the smile of pride he rarely offered to Lex as he called out “Well done”. Well done. He had drugged a man, tied him up and stuffed him into the trunk of a car for a two hour drive to Metropolis. Nothing less than assault and Lionel had congratulated him on it. And those simple words had sent a feeling of warmth through Lex, though he had tried so hard to fight, to disdain his father’s words, to act as if his approval meant nothing to him. Only it had. But it was the wrong kind of approval and still he longed for it.
“Lex?” Cady queried once more.
“Ever tell yourself you’re going to take a different direction but you end up on the very path you had tried so hard to avoid?” He asked suddenly, his gaze unmoving.
Cady seriously doubted that this had anything to do with a road trip. Placing her hand lightly on his arm, she asked, “Lex, what happened?”
Lex finally turned to look at the woman beside him, partly because her hand was on him and as before, he felt a slight tingling, burning sensation at her touch. And partly because the tone of her voice said that she was genuinely concerned. That gave him pause. The only other person he was used to hearing that tone from was Clark. Cady’s gaze seemed to say she was concerned as well, her bright green eyes watching him closely, scanning his face that he was careful to keep neutral.
“I think I did something right for once,” he told her blandly. “But the question is, was it the right thing to do?”
Cady blinked. “What? I don’t understand.”
Realizing he had said too much, Lex shook his head. “It’s nothing.” Standing straight, he nodded toward the Talon. “Want to grab a drink? I’m buying.”
Knowing she had missed something but uncertain of how to get it out of him, Cady could do little more than shake her head. “No. Thank you for the offer though. I need to get chores done before dinner.”
Flashing a forced smile, Lex nodded. “Of course. A rain check, maybe?” He was trying to be polite. He truly didn’t expect Cady to ever set an actual time to sit down with him over a cup of coffee and chat.
Cady didn’t expect any such thing either, no matter how much she longed to do so. “That sounds great.” She turned to move back to her car, then quickly spun back around. “You’re certain you’re all right?”
Why are you asking me, Cady? Lex thought to himself. Can you make it better? Do you want to try?
To her, he replied, “I’m fine, Cady. Thanks for asking.”
She nodded. They watched each other a moment longer. “Well, see you later then,” she told him.
Lex nodded, then turned and walked toward the door of the Talon. He stopped when he reached it, glancing back once to watch as Cady drove away. When her car disappeared down the road, he finally walked inside.
Lex moved down the stadium stairs, his mind filled with the brief conversation he had just shared with Jonathon Kent. It was an uncomfortable feeling, this elation within him over the approval he had finally received from the head of the Kent family. He saw it for the weakness that it was – that unwanted need to be accepted by the man – and was slightly angry with himself for welcoming it the way he was. Another part of Lex told that voice to shut up and enjoy it while it lasted.
Reaching the track across from the field where the Sharks were scrimmaging with Whitney as their Quarterback, Lex watched Mr. Fordman and his wife for a moment, making certain that they appeared to be having a good time and that there were no problems, before turning and making his way over to where Cady stood on the sidelines. She was clicking pictures with her digital camera, occasionally taking a moment to yell a comment or criticism out at the nearest player, before returning to her picture taking. Moving up alongside of her quietly, Lex said nothing for a moment, wondering if she even noticed he was there, so intent she was on the action in front of her.
“Enjoying yourself?” he asked finally.
Cady snapped another picture before turning to flash a smile at the man beside her. “Of course! I about flipped when Clark told me I could come. Thank you for inviting me.”
Lex found a smile somewhere. Maybe it was just the night for it. “It was nothing.” He glanced at the camera. “Writing a story for the Ledger?”
“Please.” Cady rolled her eyes. “Give me more credit than that! These are for the Fordmans… with maybe a few for my own personal usage.”
“You know, our new Cornerback is single… “ Lex commented blandly, staring out at the players.
Cady glanced over at him blankly for a moment then broke into laughter. “You’re a funny guy, Lex Luthor.”
Another wisp of a smile. “I don’t think I’ve ever quite been referred to in that manner,” came the reply. Funny looking, yes. But he didn’t add that.
“Well, I didn’t exactly refer to you as Robin Williams,” Cady replied with a smirk. “But you’re definitely entertaining.”
Lex allowed a self-deprecating chuckle at that. “It’s my life’s goal to amuse you, Cady O’Rourke.”
She raised her eyebrows at that. “Wow. You seriously need a new life’s goal.”
They both lightly laughed at that, their attention quickly returning back to the field. Lex found himself glancing out of the corner of his eye at the woman beside him. Woman. She seemed more like a girl in her innocence and manner. Yet there was a sensuality that was undeniable about her the longer he was in her company. Maybe it was the mixture of her innocence combined with face and form, both of which, while not beautiful in the classical sense, were incredibly lush and entrancing. Her eyes were a bit too wide, and her nose turned up, with a dusting of freckles across the bridge, but her mouth was perfect, with lips that begged to be kissed.
Closing his eyes briefly and mentally chiding himself, Lex turned to look back out at the field though he barely noticed what was going on in front of him. He knew that Clark’s cousin was completely off limits to him. Aside from their obvious personality clashes and the fact that Jonathon Kent would likely take a shotgun to him were he to even make an attempt at asking her out, Lex would never wish to destroy the purity of the budding flower beside him. And he knew he would if he welcomed her into his life. If he so much as touched her. So it was much better if he simply looked his fill and moved on, thinking of others. Don’t touch, he thought to himself. Don’t touch.
“This was really a nice thing you did, Lex.”
He glanced over to see her
crouched down, taking field level shots. She hadn’t looked up when she had made
the comment. Lex found himself shrugging nonchalantly. “It was nothing.”
Cady looked up at him just as he looked back down, and they stared at one another for a long moment. “It’s something to Whitney and his parents,” she commented quietly. “It’s something no one else could have pulled off. And while I’m certain that there was someone else behind the idea,” she glanced over her shoulder at the stands where Clark was moving down the steps with his father, then turned to look back at Lex, “You were the one who made it happen.”
Lex didn’t know how to reply to that. He dropped his head for a moment, staring at the ground beneath him, wondering how many more in the Kent family would leave him completely speechless that evening. Finally, he turned his gaze back to her. “Thank you, Cady,” he finally replied in the same quiet tone.
She smiled at him. He smiled back. God, when did I revert back to the seventh grade? He wondered momentarily as Cady went back to taking her pictures. Lex found himself watching her then, her hands – which were surprisingly small now that he looked at them closely – moving over the camera, zooming the shots in and out, how she occasionally flicked her hair in an irritated manner over her shoulder and out of her way, the small frown that would develop on her face when something wasn’t quite the way that she wanted. Lex realized that if he watched her for much longer, it might be easier to simply take a picture himself.
Welcoming the distraction, Lex turned to greet Clark as his friend walked up beside him. “Enjoying yourself, Clark?” He asked blandly.
Clark grinned. “Not as much as my dad, I think. He won’t show it but he is getting a kick out of this. Almost enough that I am sure if I asked, he would agree to the game on Sunday… “
The grin grew. “I figured fishing would be a lot more fun.”
Lex nodded. “Good for you.”
Clark was about to reply when he frowned past Lex at his cousin. “Did you just take a picture?”
Turning, Lex followed Clark’s gaze to Cady who was checking something through the viewscreen of her camera. She looked up at both of them and flashed a quick smile. “Just a nice photo of two friends,” she replied, rising to stand. She held it up for them to see.
Clark leaned over Lex’s shoulder, peering at the picture. Since neither of them had known the picture was being taken, it was an extremely candid moment. Clark had his trademark grin going, effectively lighting up the entire photo. But it was Lex’s expression that Clark loved to see finally captured in immortality. It was a look that Clark knew was only reserved for him, that very few ever got to see and would never believe him if he tried to tell them about it. There was the slightest hint of a smile hovering around Lex’s mouth and his head was slightly angled downwards, his gaze on Clark. It was entirely too vulnerable of a look and most likely why Lex usually held it back. But Cady had caught it, suspended the moment in time forever. Clark was going to have to ask for a copy.
Lex shifted uneasily, frowning for a moment at the picture before him, then turning his gaze back to the field. Beside him, his friend smiled, and he chose to ignore it. He wanted to tell Cady to delete the picture but he knew she wouldn’t. And Clark wouldn’t let her. Lex hated having his picture taken, especially candid photos. There was something frightening and uncontrollable about the thought of someone snatching a permanent record of your thoughts and expressions with a quick snap of a button. Enemies could use photos against you, which made them a very bad thing. Still, Lex knew he would ask for a copy, if for no other reason than to know he actually had a photo of him and his best friend… for a time.
The practice ended and Lex broke away from the cousins to speak with Whitney and his parents. Clark and Cady watched as the team shook hands with the Fordman’s and patted Whitney on the back as they left the field. Whitney said something to Lex and then his parents before heading into the locker room to change. Cady snapped another quick picture of Lex standing with the Fordman’s as Lana moved up to Clark’s side.
“That was pretty cool,” she commented with a smile and quick nod.
Cady agreed, covering the lens of the camera before enclosing the whole thing in its case. “Very cool. Think Lex would give me the same thing for a birthday present?” Cady glanced at Clark with a wink.
Lana made a face. “You want to play quarterback with the Sharks?”
Laughing, Cady replied, “No. I just want the team.” Swinging the camera case over her shoulder, she started off. “See you at the car, Clark.”
Lex watched surreptitiously as Cady walked off the field toward the stands. He felt the unreasonable urge to follow her, to talk to her, to… what? Ask her out? Where had that come from? Mentally, he shook the thought from his head. Cady O’Rourke was off limits. He just wished his mind would accept that. Besides, it wasn’t as if they had anything in common anyway. It would never work. They were two completely different people from different worlds with different futures ahead of them. Lex figured his attraction to her had to stem from those differences. He had never met anyone quite like her – except for Clark – and he was intrigued by her. It was little more than that. Certainly not enough to base a relationship on.
Turning his attention back to
the Fordman’s, who were thanking him yet again for what he had done, Lex quickly
put Cady O’Rourke from his mind.
Continue to Chapter Five
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