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??
Notes: Thanks to my inspiration, Rael, for being the perfect Lex!
“But I don’t want to go among
mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat; “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Alice in Wonderland – C.S. Lewis
Clark Kent watched his
cousin, Cady, from a perfect vantage point near the side of the yellow
farmhouse, where he had been standing, watching her, for the past half hour.
Inside, the warm house was still crowded with relatives and friends, each and
every one of which was there to offer their condolences regarding the deaths of
Cady’s parents. It had been an unfortunate car accident in Metropolis, where
Clark’s uncle Blake apparently lost control of the car on a wet road and it
careened off of an overpass. As if Cady losing both of her parents so suddenly
had not been enough, it was quickly discovered that something was wrong with
their life insurance, and their savings - of which there had been very little -
was quickly depleted, forcing Cady to drop out of college and move back to
Smallville to live with Clark and his family.
Truthfully, Clark was
overjoyed to have his cousin back permanently. Her father had moved the family
to Metropolis when Cady was thirteen, so that he could take a job at the
LuthorCorp laboratories leading a team of scientists. While Cady still visited
every summer, Clark had still lost the pseudo big sister that he had spent days
upon days following around the fields when they were younger. When she had
entered college, Cady had rarely visited the Kent family at all, and now Clark
had her right under his nose, and he was quite prepared to keep her there. Cady
had always been fun to have around, and while he understood she was going
through a rough time at the moment, he knew her unique zest for life and
penchant for finding trouble wherever it lurked would once again shine through.
Plus, after having Ryan around, Clark was beginning to realize just how lonely
it was to be an only child. He wanted a sibling, and Cady had always qualified
for that when her family had lived in town. With Ryan gone, Clark was willing
to take her as a suitable replacement. Besides, he knew his mother loved having
another female around the farm as well.
Thinking she had spent
enough time alone, Clark wandered over to the fence where she stood watching the
herd. He stamped his feet against the frozen ground, watching for a moment as
little clouds of steam appeared in front of his mouth as he breathed into the
chilly January air. Leaning over the top rail, cast an appraising glance toward
his cousin. Then he flashed an award winning Clark smile.
“The aunts are looking
for you,” he told her.
“That’s enough to send me
scurrying back to the city,” Cady replied, not removing her gaze from the
Clark chuckled. “Last I
heard, mom was subtly trying to explain to everyone how tired we all were and
that perhaps it was time to leave. I figure that the house should be cleared in
about… oh, two more hours.”
A slight smile. “I don’t
know of anyone among the Kents or the O’Rourke’s who understand the ‘subtle
hint’. It could be a lot longer than two hours.”
Reaching out to first
brush a stray strand of dark hair from her face, Clark put his arm around Cady’s
waist and pulled her close for a hug. “Tell you what. To get you away from the
very good odds of having your cheeks pinched again or hearing the words ‘we
can’t tell you how sorry we are’, why don’t we go into town for a few hours?
It’ll get your mind off of things and we might even run into Chloe or Pete.”
Cady smiled up at her
cousin, wondering for a moment if he was going to continue to grow taller every
year. There was a point in their lives that she had actually been taller than
him. She had been like eleven at the time. Then, like a month later, her eight
year old cousin had an inch on her. And she wasn’t short by any means at five
foot nine. Someday she would simply discover that he was actually Paul Bunyon
“Sounds like a decent
idea. One of your first in many, many years.”
“Hey now!” Clark flashed
his cousin a mock warning as he led her toward the truck. “I’ll have you know,
you haven’t been around for some of my more brilliant ideas these past few
“Oh really? And what
would those be?” Cady asked as she climbed into the passenger side.
Clark started the engine
and pulled the truck down the drive. “Umm… well, there have been quite a few
actually. Give me a moment.”
Cady laughed and shook
her head, turning her gaze out the window to watch as the countryside passed
them by. There had been the lightest dusting of snow the day before, so instead
of everything being the typical Kansas winter brown, it was now typical Kansas
winter gray. Forecasts were calling for sleet later in the week, which would
then turn everything to typical Kansas ice. At least then, Cady knew, the bare,
slim twigs of the trees would appear somewhat more pleasing to the eye encased
in ice crystals. Still, something about the Kansas countryside called to her
more than the city ever had. As much as she had enjoyed the fast-paced life she
had experienced in Metropolis, there was something about the people in
Smallville that set them above their city-counterparts.
Take the Kents for
example. From the moment she had called to inform them of her parent’s
accident, they had immediately been there for her. They had appeared within
hours at her dorm, helped her pack to move in with them and taken care of all of
the funeral arrangements, bills and other issues Cady had no idea how to deal
with. Sure, it had been very childish and unadult of her to just sit back and
let her aunt and uncle take care of everything, but at the time, she had wanted
nothing more than to be a child again. Things were safer then. There had
always been someone looking out for her, telling her what she should do and how
she should do it. Being an adult sometimes sucked. Like now. And Cady knew
she was still refusing to face reality. She still held on to the key to her
father’s safe deposit box at the Bank of Metropolis, knowing it more than likely
contained little more than the family passports – which she knew she wouldn’t
need – and other things like birth certificates and social security cards. Her
family didn’t exactly have a cache of jewels hidden away. So she figured that
little task could wait.
As Clark pulled on to
Main Street, Cady found a soft smile somewhere inside for the inability of a
place like Smallville to change. Even though the population had risen
significantly since the meteor shower in ’89, the town itself still refused to
grow. One main street was all it seemed to need. Most of the larger businesses
surrounded the outside of town, such as the LuthorCorp Plant. On the west side
of town, where the Kents lived, there was nothing but farm land as far as the
eye could see. On the other side, there were housing developments that
stretched almost all the way to Libertyville. A person could spend time on the
west side of town and never realize there was a much larger and more populated
side to Smallville than was visible. Cady found herself pretending that the
east side of town really didn’t exist. It seemed more like Topeka to her, when
the west side reminded her of Bonner Springs or Hayes.
Clark pulled up to the
Talon and put the truck in park. He noticed Cady frowning up at the building,
her gaze sweeping over the marquee.
“Since when did the movie
house become a coffee house?”
“Since Lana didn’t want
to see the building torn down,” he explained as they climbed out, both
immediately wrapping their coats more tightly around them against the bitter
wind and racing for the door.
“Lana?” Cady raised her
eyebrows at her cousin as he held the door open from her and they hurried
inside. “She pulled herself away from cheerleading practice long enough to open
a coffee house?” She asked incredulously.
“Lana isn’t a cheerleader
anymore,” Clark replied with a frown. “And this place means a lot to her. Try
to be nice, by the way.”
“I’ve always been nice to
Lana,” Cady commented. Then added in a mutter, “As nice as a wallflower can be
to the homecoming queen that is.”
Clark led her to a table
in the corner, his gaze scanning the place for any sign of Lana. Nothing yet.
He cheered up a bit when Chloe came in through the door though, shaking off an
apparent chill, her bag clutched closely to her as if she were expecting someone
to snatch her laptop away at any moment. Their eyes met and she flashed her
perky smile, immediately moving toward them.
“Hi guys!” Chloe leaned
over and hugged Cady, who she had seen only hours earlier at her parent’s
funeral. Blake O’Rourke and Gabe Sullivan had been good friends through their
association with LuthorCorp. “Glad to see you out and about. You doing okay?”
“Better now that we
escaped the relatives,” Cady replied with a small smile. “What brings you out?”
“Dad was getting all
maudlin, looking at old photo albums and such. I just needed out of the house.”
She scooted into the booth next to Clark. “I swear its getting colder out
there. Have your cows frozen yet, Clark?”
“I keep telling you the
cows won’t freeze, Chloe.” Clark grinned.
“But then where does ice
cream come from?”
Clark and Cady both
groaned loudly at the bad joke. Chloe just grinned.
“Hey! How are you?”
Lana called out, walking up to the booth and smiling at the small group.
“Lana!” Clark’s grin
grew as he stared at the beautiful girl before him. Her eyes and smile were
sparkling as always. And, as usual, he could swear he could feel a sigh welling
up in him at the simple sight of her.
Chloe gave a soft hello
to Lana before glancing down at the table, an action Cady didn’t miss. She
frowned briefly before turning to greet the perky brunette.
“I wish I could have made
the funeral, Cady,” Lana told her quietly. “I couldn’t get away from here
“That’s okay, Lana.
Don’t worry about it,” Cady replied with a smile. “Clark told me this
establishment is all your doing. Congratulations. It’s very nice.”
“Thanks.” Lana smiled
again with a little nod of her head. “It’s a lot of work but I’m enjoying it.
It gives me a feeling of accomplishment every day.” She glanced back over at
Clark and Chloe. “What can I get for all of you?”
They placed their orders
– and espresso for Chloe, a coffee for Clark and a hot chocolate with extra
whipped cream for Cady – and Lana walked away. Cady was dying to ask her cousin
if he would ever get over his crush on the ex-cheerleader turned coffee house
maid but she didn’t think Chloe was in the mood to hear about it. Obviously,
Chloe’s was another unfulfilled crush still waiting to happen. What was it
about this gaggle of friends that refused to see past the tips of their noses?
Maybe later, on the way home, she could tease Clark about his unrequited love,
at the same time feeling her way about to see if he even knew Chloe was carrying
a torch for him. She doubted it. Clark always had been a bit thick-headed
about some things, and those things usually involved the faire sex.
The three friends soon
fell into a discussion about the recent happenings around Smallville, which
included a dissertation from Chloe about the weirdness that went on around them
– from a bug boy to a girl who sucked the fat out of people. By the end of it,
Cady was more than prepared to head right back to Metropolis, thinking that even
rapists and muggers were safer than the freak show that was obviously taking
place in her old hometown. Sure, she vaguely remembered weird things happening
when she had lived here as a kid – three headed cows and purple chickens – but
these stories were a little beyond even her wild imagination. She would have
preferred not to believe them if both Clark and Chloe hadn’t been so insistent
that they were true. Cady teased for a moment that it was just like a “snipe
hunt” or the legendary “jackalope”, but they both assured her it was nothing
“Hey Clark… “
Breaking off the
conversation, which at some point had dissolved into a fit of giggles between
the two females anyway, Clark glanced up to see his good friend, Lex Luthor,
approaching the table. He immediately broke into a welcoming smile. “Hey Lex!
I was hoping I’d see you. I want to introduce you to my cousin, Cady O’Rourke.
She’s going to be living with my parents and me for awhile.”
Lex turned to the young
woman across the booth from Clark and Chloe and gave her a small smile. “Miss
O’Rourke, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He reached out to shake her hand.
“You too,” Cady replied
as they shook hands, wondering why she couldn’t think of something a little more
impressive to say to the son of Lionel Luthor.
“O’Rourke… Why is that
name familiar?” Lex asked.
Cady worried her lower
lip for a brief moment. “My father, Dr. Blake O’Rourke, worked at the
LuthorCorp Science Labs in Metropolis.”
Lex raised a light
eyebrow. “Ah. That explains it.”
Knowing that it was best
not to bring up her parent’s deaths at this precise moment, Clark quickly
steered the conversation elsewhere by asking Lex, “Why don’t you join us?” He
pointed to the empty seat next to Cady.
Glancing quickly at his
watch, Lex considered the invitation for a second before he slid into the seat.
“I can spare a few moments.”
“You have somewhere
important to be?” Clark asked.
His friend shook his head
and flashed another half smile. “No. Just a call from my father. And I’d
rather be home when it happened,” Lex answered honestly, watching Clark as the
teen first grimaced dramatically then offered a big grin. As always, Clark’s
smile made Lex feel a slight bit better though he didn’t really allow it to
Cady shifted nervously in
the seat beside Lex Luthor. Her cousin hadn’t warned her that he had such
prestigious friends and she was more than prepared to kick him for that lack of
information. Cady had met Lionel Luthor twice while attending functions with
her father but had never met his son – she would have remembered that, she was
To say that Lex Luthor
had an enigmatic presence would be an understatement. There was a definite
undercurrent in the room that had been significantly lacking before he had
arrived. That, and well, he smelled really, really good. She couldn’t tell if
it were some expensive cologne that only billionaire’s sons could afford or some
conglomerate of reasons, but the man beside her was currently sending her senses
reeling. She found her gaze continually drawn to him, too. Cady knew the story
of how Lex had lost his hair during the meteor shower in Smallville those twelve
years ago – who didn’t? – but knowing about it and seeing its effects were two
different things. She had heard disparaging remarks from friends in college who
had met him and now she wondered what they were talking about. In her opinion,
Lex Luthor was positively breathtaking to look at. His skin appeared flawless,
and Cady’s hands itched to touch it. He was pale, which only seemed to make his
light blue eyes stand out that much more, and he had a mouth that she knew would
be described in romance novels as “begging to be kissed”. She doubted he would
appreciate the same sentiment, but it was there all the same. Even the scar on
his upper lip – one that heightened her curiosity as to how he had received it –
only seemed to add to the rest of the symbols that seemed to be flashing and
carrying on silently that the lips of Lex Luthor were made to be kissed.
Lex felt the eyes of the
woman beside him. He tried to ignore it. He was used to people staring at him
– be it because they knew he was Lex Luthor or because he was bald. Since her
father had worked for his father, he doubted that it had to do with who he was.
This left her staring at him because he was a hairless freak. The thought made
his jaw clench tightly. Lex wondered if he should inform Clark that his cousin
needed to be taught better manners than that.
Lana returned with their
orders, took Lex’s and shortly returned with his before having to run off again
to avert disaster between two of the other servers. Clark watched her for a
long moment, an act which was not missed by either of the other three at the
table, all of whom seemed somewhat annoyed in their reactions. He turned back
to them, raising his eyebrows in silent question but none of them seemed willing
to mention his obsession with the raven-haired beauty.
“Have you heard from
Ryan?” Lex asked after a moment.
Clark nodded. “He called
yesterday as a matter of fact. He seems to be enjoying himself in Edge City and
he really likes his aunt.”
“Think you’ll see him
again?” Lex sipped carefully at his cappuccino as he watched the teen over the
rim of his glass.
Ryan, and his ability to
read minds, had made Lex slightly nervous. He couldn’t have imagined what it
would have been like had Ryan stayed in town. There were some things that were
better left in the privacy of one’s thoughts. Besides, he didn’t relish the
idea of being tossed out of a moving vehicle again. He was still covered in
scabs and bruises that were taking longer than usual to heal.
“I hope so,” Clark
replied. “But I doubt it. I’m certain that once Ryan becomes comfortable in
his new home and makes some friends, he’ll forget all about me.”
“I didn’t know it was
possible to forget about the Clark Kent,” Cady commented with a wiggle of her
“Yeah,” Chloe agreed with
a smile. “I mean, you had so much to offer Ryan as an older brother type and
“Not to mention sharing
the same age level, mentally speaking,” Cady remarked as she flashed a smirk.
Clark kicked her under
the table while Chloe laughed and even Lex offered a small smile. Conversation
dwindled after that, to comments about the weather, upcoming events at school
and gossip around town.
Chloe was the first to
speak up and say she needed to get back home and finish a couple of articles she
was working on. At her departure, Lex glanced at his watch and commented that
he too had best get going. Clark looked over at Cady who nodded, knowing she
couldn’t hide out from the relatives and reality forever. The three walked out
of the Talon together after saying goodbye to Lana, and Lex headed over to his
Aston Martin which was parked in front of the doors.
Cady’s eyes widened in
appreciation and she left her cousin, who was currently saying something to Lex
about the produce delivery. She moved around the car, her gaze sweeping over
every inch of it, not noticing that she was being carefully watched by its
Finally, “Like what you
see?” Lex asked in slight amusement.
Cady nodded, leaning over
to peer into the window. “I’ve never seen a DB7 in person.”
Lex raised his eyebrows
at that. “Know your Aston Martin’s, do you?”
A shrug. “It’s a Bond
Opening the door to his
car, Lex commented, “Well, maybe someday Clark’s cousin will merit a ride in
it. See you later, Clark.”
Cady stood staring with
her mouth hanging slightly agape in astonishment as Lex drove off, tires
screeching against the asphalt. She turned to Clark, her gaze narrowing. “Was
that just a really well-placed insult?”
Clark chuckled. “I doubt
it, Cady. Lex was just being Lex.”
“Ah.” Cady nodded.
“Arrogant, spoilt brat. Got it.”
“No, Lex isn’t like
that,” Clark corrected, then quickly amended, “Okay, arrogant, sure. But he
really is a good guy once you get to know him. He’s a little put-offish at
first, which you figure was ingrained in him since he was a child, what with
people wanting to be his friend just because of what he could do for them.”
He started toward the
truck, his cousin following.
“How’d you get to be such
“I… uh… saved his life.”
Cady stared incredulously
at her cousin before climbing into the cab as he started the engine. “You
what? Clark Kent to the rescue and all that?”
“It wasn’t that
spectacular.” Clark shifted uncomfortably under her gaze. “His car went off a
bridge and I dove in and pulled him out.”
“Not all that
spectacular, huh? More of a made-for-TV movie as opposed to a summer
blockbuster?” Cady grinned. “So I guess I should be glad he didn’t offer me a
Laughing, Clark replied,
“Yeah. Lex isn’t exactly the safest driver in Kansas, that’s for
By the time the cousins
returned to the farm, the relatives had left and Martha and Jonathon Kent were
sitting at the kitchen table, having a cup of coffee and quietly talking with
one another. The question had come up, as it had quite a few times in the
previous days, as to whether or not they should let the newest addition to their
family in on the truth of Clark’s “adoption”. Cady’s time spent at the farm
before had never been for long enough intervals that it had been too difficult
for them to continue to keep the secret. But if she were to be living with them
for a year or more, how long could they possibly keep the veil of secrecy in
place? Clark wanted to tell her, Martha was leaning towards the idea as well,
but Jonathon was still hesitant.
Jonathon adored his
sister Karen’s daughter, always had. She was bright, lively, fun-loving and
good-natured. Even though he did not completely agree with the way his
brother-in-law had chosen to raise her, he made no judgments based off of her
parentage. Certainly, Cady was sometimes willful, spoilt, and a tad too
independent but he couldn’t hold those faults against her. She had always
gotten away with too much when it came to her parents and her father had treated
her like a little princess. Unfortunately, those were exactly the reasons why
Jonathon worried about telling her about Clark. Cady was naturally curious, had
a knack for finding trouble wherever she could – she had broken more bones on
the farm than he could count in her childhood – and tended to invite anyone
within a radius of one hundred miles into her life. His brother-in-law, Blake,
had always made more friends than Jonathon had thought wise. Blake had believed
in the natural goodness in everyone. Jonathon was certain his brother-in-law
was insane, but he never really said as much to anyone but Martha. Still, Cady
was a good person, with a kind heart, which is why his conscience was nagging at
him about not telling her the truth regarding Clark.
“I can’t help but think
we are hurting her by not telling her,” Martha commented, staring down into her
coffee mug. “Its as if we’re saying we don’t trust her.”
“You know that isn’t
true, Martha,” her husband explained, reaching out to take her hand in his. “We
simply don’t know what to expect out of Cady yet. Its been a few years since
we’ve spent a lot of time together. We don’t know who her friends are or what
her current interests are or anything.”
“She would never hurt
“No, she wouldn’t,”
Jonathon agreed with a nod. “Not intentionally. But we both know how Cady can
get. We know her temper, which her father never taught her to curb, and we know
her frankness. Either of those traits could cause trouble.” He sighed when his
wife looked away, a troubled expression on her beautiful face. “Look, I’m not
saying we never tell her. I just say we give it some time, allow the four of us
to adjust to one another, see where it leads us. I’m just asking that we be
cautious, Martha. For Clark’s sake, as well as Cady’s.”
Before more could be
said, the two topics of their conversation entered through the screen door,
laughing over some remembered childhood prank they had played on the Miller’s,
stomping their feet to ward off the chill and making a general raucous as only
young people could.
“And just where have the
both of you been?” Martha smiled at the two cousins, who resembled one another
more than they should have considering they were in no way related.
Ever since Ryan had
entered into their lives so briefly, Martha had not realized how much she wanted
even more laughter and raised voices and tramping feet around the farm. She had
always adored Cady’s visits because for just a time she could pretend she had a
daughter, one that she could take shopping with her and do her hair and make
cookies together and form daisy chains in the fields on family picnics. Now
that Cady was older, she might be against making daisy chains and letting her
aunt braid her hair, but they could share even better times together, talking
and shopping and providing the ear of another female to listen to.
“Down at the Talon,”
Clark explained, moving over to the refrigerator to grab a Pepsi. “We just
wanted to get away for awhile.”
Martha stood and walked
over to Cady, hugging her tightly. Pulling back, she asked, “How are you doing,
“Better.” Cady nodded
and smiled at her aunt and uncle. “I take it the coast is clear?”
stood and stretched. “I need to take care of a few things in the barn before
bed. Cady, tomorrow morning you can pick up your usual chores around here.
Also, I am going to have Clark show you the produce delivery route so that you
can start helping out with that as well.”
“Okay, uncle Jon.”
Watching her uncle as he disappeared out the door, Cady glanced at her cousin
who was grinning at her. “No rest for the weary, eh?”
Martha and Clark laughed.
Cady fell into routine
around the farm quickly. She got up each morning at five-thirty to feed the
chickens and gather eggs. Then she would return into the house to help aunt
Martha fix breakfast, the men would come in and they would sit around the table
and talk about the day ahead while eating, and then she would do the dishes and
clean the kitchen. Throughout the days, Cady would help tend the garden, clean
the house, cook meals and whatever else could be done to help lighten her aunt’s
work load. They grew closer during that time and Cady could tell that her aunt
was very happy to have another female around the house.
For the first few days in
the afternoon, Cady took the truck into town to begin looking for a job. She
was determined to save up and try to get back to college in the next year or so
to finish up the last three semesters that she had to get her degree. She
dreaded the thought of taking out so many loans that she would be spending the
rest of her life paying them off. That would become a last resort only. Uncle
Jonathon had tried to offer to help her out, but Cady knew the dire financial
straights that the farm was in and in no way was going to add to that. Plus,
she wanted to help out with paying things around the farm - she wasn’t about to
allow them to support her completely.
Unfortunately, the few
jobs available in town included waiting on tables, which Cady knew she had no
talent at whatsoever, and check-out clerk at Fordman’s, another job that she
wished to avoid at all costs. Luckily, after speaking with Chloe one afternoon,
she got in touch with Chloe’s contact at the Ledger and learned they had a staff
writer position open. With her almost finished Mass Media degree and talent in
writing, Cady was offered a job after the first interview and would be starting
work there in another week. She had never had a particular interest in being a
reporter but it was better than the alternatives. Of course, now Chloe and
Clark teased her about reporting on all of the weird happenings in town.
It was late Friday night,
Martha and Jonathon were already in bed, when the two cousins decided to stay up
and watch horror movies together. Martha had left them a horde of junk food to
munch on, which only served to spur the hyper moods both Cady and Clark were
already in. The requisite food fight and wrestling match started half-way
through the second movie and Clark had just prepared to smash a Twinkie into
Cady’s face when she resorted to tickling, knocking him off of her and dashing
out the door. Laughing, Clark climbed to his feet, allowing his cousin a head
start. When they had been younger, his parents had to warn him time and again
about how gentle he had to be when rough-housing with her. Only once had he
ever caused her harm – he had been seven at the time and had succeeded in
breaking her wrist. Cady had never held it against him and never asked how he
had done it. At ten years old, she obviously had more important things to worry
about, like the snakes she put into his bed afterwards for revenge. Now though,
Clark was well aware of just how careful he had to be and how to occasionally
allow her the upper hand in wrestling.
Moving out of the house,
Clark stopped at the top of the porch steps, bouncing on the balls of his feet
to ward off the chill, and scanned the area. Concentrating, he focused his gaze
on the barn and peered through the walls inside, finding her hiding within one
of the empty stalls. Okay, so he was cheating. He was more than certain that
Cady would have done the same if she could have. Smiling, Clark broke into a
slow jog over to the barn, pulling the door open quietly and stepping inside.
He tiptoed over to the stall where she crouched, then jumped in to grab her.
Cady squealed appropriately, bounding out the entrance and towards the barn
door. Breaking into pursuit, Clark chased his cousin down in the yard, grabbing
her and dragging her to the ground where he proceeded to sit on, and then tickle
Squealing once more, Cady
wriggled beneath her cousin, calling him every name she could think of between
her laughter and tears, trying to push him off, only to no avail. Clark Kent
was not budging, she caught on to that much. And if he didn’t let her go soon,
she just knew her insides were going to burst open. There was something about
the pain of tickling that defied all logic. Why was she laughing when this
obviously did not feel good in the least?
Clark was near to letting
his cousin’s torture end when he glimpsed headlights coming up the drive and the
unmistakable sound of a sports car. He stopped tickling Cady but did not get up
as Lex pulled the black Ferrari up to a stop a few feet in front of them, the
headlights splaying over them. His cousin was pushing against his stomach,
telling him to let her up, but he didn’t move. He grinned at Lex as his friend
got out of the car and walked over to them, hands firmly entrenched in the
pockets of his knee-length trench coat.
“Hey Lex.” Clark grinned
“Clark.” Lex’s gaze
swept between the two cousins as he attempted not to appear in the least bit
surprised to find Clark sitting on top of Cady in the middle of the driveway
shortly before midnight on a cold, January night. He nodded at his best
friend’s female counterpart. “Cady.”
“Hello, Lex,” Cady
gasped, still attempting to wiggle out from under Clark’s weight. She wasn’t
getting very far so she finally gave up and laid there, staring up at their
visitor. He was dressed in black slacks, a light grey pullover and black trench
coat. Cady couldn’t help but think it was a really nice look for him. His pale
skin seemed to glow in the moonlight.
“What are you doing
here?” Clark asked.
Lex tried to ignore how
absurd the picture before him was, especially with how comfortable Clark
appeared straddling his cousin’s hips as if he had nothing better to do at the
moment. The truth was, he had been going over numbers for the Plant in the
month of December when a very startling memory of sitting beside his mother on a
cold winter’s night had swept over him, leaving him in a particularly morose
frame of mind which he hated. Determined to ease his mind of the unwelcome
thoughts, Lex had decided to drop in on Clark.
In reply, he shrugged
with his hands, his coat kind of flapping out to the sides at the action. “Got
a little bored. Decided to come by and see if you were up. Surprised you
aren’t in the loft.”
“Cady and I were watching
some horror movies. Then she started a fight – “
“I didn’t start it,
brute!” Cady denied, smacking Clark in the stomach.
He remembered enough to
give a fake “Oof!” before continuing, “She started it… and I just finished it.”
“Hmph!” Cady folded her
arms over her chest and pouted which caused her cousin to laugh.
“Isn’t it a little… cold
to be wrestling on the ground?” Lex asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Freezing as a matter of
fact,” Cady commented from her position on the drive, earning her an amused
chuckle from her cousin and an almost-smile from Lex.
Rising to his feet, Clark
reached down and pulled Cady to hers, a little too quickly and easily, leaving
her to stare at him for a long moment.
under her gaze, Clark asked Lex, “Wanna join us for some movies?”
Lex glanced at the house,
wondering if Clark’s parents were about. He didn’t exactly relish the idea of
sparring with Jonathon Kent for the evening. “I don’t really think so, Clark.
Cady raised an eyebrow at
that. She hadn’t exactly received the best impression of Lex from their initial
meeting and had heard quite enough of her uncle’s opinion regarding him. Then
again, uncle Jonathon liked few people. Still, Cady thought it was rude that
Lex would bother not to accept Clark’s invitation.
In what was typical
behavior for her, when mouth acted before brain, Cady commented, “I take it
horror movies are beneath you. You must be more interested in films like “Wall
Street” or “The Firm”. Or maybe, something a little more akin to the Luthor’s
would be “Faces of Death” – “
“Cady!” Clark clamped
his hand over Cady’s mouth and shoved her behind him, flashing an embarrassed
look at Lex, who was currently watching his cousin with that stony expression
that Clark hated. It was one he had come to associate with Lex using as a
defense, when he didn’t want anyone to know what he was thinking or feeling.
Lex was really good at it too. Currently, everything about his friend was
completely blank. Clark wanted to kick Cady into the next county for her
behavior. “Ignore her, Lex. Sometimes her mouth moves before her brain does.”
“Don’t talk about me like
I’m not here!” Cady snapped, slapping her cousin’s shoulder, then immediately
whimpering in surprised pain.
Lex straightened a
little, moving his gaze from the young woman, who obviously regarded him in the
same manner as Jonathon Kent, and instead looking at his friend. “I should get
“Lex, wait,” Clark called
out, stopping him. “My parents are asleep. You’re more than welcome to join
us. We have a ton of food and some great movies and you can’t deny we haven’t
seen much of each other lately.”
Lex glanced at Clark,
then over at Cady for a moment. “I’m not entirely certain my presence is
Clark turned to glare at
Cady who immediately looked contrite.
Knowing her comment was
inappropriate, and that Clark would likely have her head on a platter the next
morning, Cady flashed a sincere smile at the billionaire. “I’m sorry, Lex.
That comment was completely uncalled for. Clark is right. I do tend to speak
before thinking. Please join us.”
It was strange. Lex
found himself believing Cady and her apology. At the same time, in the back of
his mind, he found himself admiring her barb against him. Besides which, it had
been amusing. With a mouth that sharp, he wondered how she would hold up
against some of the people he regularly dealt with, then quickly dismissed the
thought from his mind as absurd. Cady O’Rourke was no different from Clark Kent
– just as innocent and sheltered. In the week since he had met her, Lex had
done some investigating into Clark’s cousin. He knew she had been born and
raised in Smallville, to Jonathon Kent’s sister and her husband, until Blake
O’Rourke was offered a job by Lionel at the LuthorCorp labs in Metropolis when
Cady was thirteen. She attended West Side High and then Metropolis University
until her parent’s recent deaths that, due to financial problems, forced her to
drop out at the beginning of the recent semester. Lex was a little surprised
his father had not requested he attend the O’Rourke’s funeral as a
representative for LuthorCorp. As far as he remembered, Dr. O’Rourke had been
an important scientist and well-respected in the organization. Why Lionel had
chosen to blatantly ignore his death, Lex didn’t know. Just as he didn’t
understand why there had been insurance complications. LuthorCorp should have
taken care of that. He had made a mental note to speak with his father about it
the next time he saw him.
Interestingly enough, Lex
found himself wanting to spend a little more time in the presence of Clark and
his odd cousin. He agreed to stay, and followed the cousins into the yellow
farmhouse, where they led him directly into the front room. The TV was droning
on quietly, the current movie, which appeared to be “The Shining” left running
while they had disappeared into the yard, and food was scattered throughout the
room. Clark felt himself go red under Lex’s amused gaze and he quickly picked a
few things up.
“Sorry about the mess.
Umm… take a seat wherever you can find one.”
Lex found himself smiling
slightly as he took a seat on the couch. Clark carried some empty plates into
the kitchen while Cady knelt in front of the TV and switched out the tape on the
“Ever seen Evil Dead II?”
She asked, leaning back on her elbows to glance upside down at the man seated
Again, Lex found himself
feeling slightly amused at the undignified position of the young woman in front
of him. He thought for a moment that she had incredibly large eyes before
replying, “No. I haven’t.”
“For shame!” Cady
replied, as if she had just heard that he stole some orphan’s Christmas gift.
Sitting back up, she popped in another tape, hit play and then joined him on the
couch, tugging her legs beneath her, as Clark reentered the room, flopping into
the easy chair across from them.
Lex’s gaze moved between
the cousins as he wondered if he had, at any point in his life, ever appeared so
relaxed and at ease anywhere. Dressed in dark blue sweat pants and a
fire-engine red t-shirt and bare feet, Clark’s long limbs were draped casually
over the arms of the chair, his hair tussled, cheeks rosy from the foray into
the cold. Glancing over at Cady, Lex was struck by how much the cousins
resembled one another, even though Clark was adopted. Her long hair was as dark
as Clark’s, even though it had hints of red throughout as opposed to the bluish
tint of her cousins. Her eyes were more green than hazel, but just as wide and
expressive, clear, and very pretty to look at, actually. The most amusing
aspect of Cady O’Rourke at the moment though was her clothing. She was wearing
purple flannel pajamas and furry, pink bunny slippers. It was beyond silly for
a girl of twenty to be dressed in and yet, it seemed to suit her perfectly.
Cady giggled at something
in the movie and Lex found himself turning back to it, attempting to
concentrate. He declined the chips and popcorn and sodas that were offered to
him, ignoring the exasperated sigh of the female beside him as he tried to make
some sense or plot out of “Evil Dead II”. It wasn’t exactly what he would
qualify as horror, especially if any of Cady’s side-splitting laughter was
indicative of it. As Lex settled into it, he began to realize it was more of a
comedy, though that left him slightly uncomfortable. As much as he enjoyed
humor, Luthors were not caught laughing like goons in any situation, unless
perhaps it were at the bankruptcy or take-over of a rival corporation.
Unfortunately, when Ash said “Swallow this”, Lex found a chuckle erupt into a
quick burst of full blown laughter. He quickly stifled it, especially when he
caught Cady staring at him silently. Clark, on the other hand, hadn’t gotten
off so easily. He was still rolling in his chair.
When it ended forty-five
minutes later, Lex commented, “That has to be one of the strangest films I have
ever been subjected to.”
Cady raised an eyebrow as
she glanced over at him. “Ah, but you enjoyed it, didn’t you?”
Lex found himself smiling
suddenly. “It’s entirely possible.”
Returning the smile, she
replied, “See. I knew I would be right. I’m always right.”
“Is that a fact?” Lex
asked with a raised brow.
“Yes, it is.”
Cady’s smile and reply
were so confident, filled with such complete belief in herself, that Lex almost
laughed. Almost. Instead, he found himself silently contemplating the oddity
that was Clark’s cousin. There was a confidence in her that was severely
lacking in Clark, a confidence that bordered on arrogance, something he knew
quite well. But at the same time, she shared the same flashes of naivety and
innocence as her cousin. At moments, there would be a brief spark of cynicism
in her eyes, obviously acquired from those few years spent in Metropolis, but
always it would be replaced with an expression more akin to acceptance. The
most unsettling aspect of her was the familiar smile she would offer, one that
was frighteningly close to Clarks. Between the cousins, Lex wondered if they
couldn’t power the entire city of Metropolis on their like-megawatt smiles.
Thinking of the hero of
Smallville, Lex cast a glance in his friend’s direction. At some point toward
the end of the movie, Clark had fallen asleep. Unconsciously grinning, the
billionaire silently pointed that fact out to the young woman sitting beside
him. Both Lex and Cady watched him for a long moment without a word before Lex
finally stood, pulling his keys from his pocket.
“I’d better get going.”
Cady stood and followed
him out the door and onto the porch. It was the polite thing to do, even though
the temperature had obviously dipped below freezing. She folded her arms across
her chest and tried to keep her teeth from chattering. Glancing back at her
cousin, Cady looked up at Lex and commented, “I think Clark was really glad you
decided to join us. Thank you.”
nonchalantly, though the truth was he was pleased that he had joined them as
well. “You should get inside. I would hate to be blamed for your developing
The young woman laughed.
“I’m made of heartier stuff than that. I was raised on a farm, you know, no
matter how much the city might have knocked that out of me.” She laughed again
at a sudden memory. “When Clark and I were little, we used to dare each other
as to how long we could stand out in the dead of winter in our bare feet and
shorts! Unfortunately, he always won. His body has some freakish ability to
adjust to any temperature. Meanwhile, I was always sent to bed with piles of
warm blankets and a horrid scolding.”
“Indeed.” Lex couldn’t
imagine what it would have been like to have been a child in the Kent family.
To have pulled such pranks not as a bid for attention but because it was fun and
child-like and there was someone beside you to spur you on and laugh with you
when you realized how stupid it was. “Tell Clark I’ll see him later.”
“I will.” Cady nodded,
wondering what it was that she had said to cause Lex to end the conversation so
abruptly. Again, she found herself wondering if her uncle might not be right in
his assessment of the young billionaire, then quickly dismissed the idea. There
was something about Lex Luthor… No, she would think about that later.
Cady stood staring beside
the door as Lex walked back to his Ferrari, climbed in and drove off. From
somewhere deep inside, she found a sigh well up and burst forth. Frowning at
herself, and her reaction to the confounding Lex Luthor, she reentered the
house, closing the door, and wandered her way over to her cousin to wake him and
get him up to bed.
to Chapter Two
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