Title: Someone to
Watch Over Me
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 Sinjun. She's mine.
Summary: Clark's cousin moves to town. Told between alternating
viewpoints of Lex and Sinjun.
Warnings: Yes, there is sex in this. What did you expect??
WATCH OVER ME
Part Two - Apathy
I've got to
hand it to you now
You're a hard one to please
When it looks as though, you've got all you need
All the many times I've dreamed
I could walk in your shoes
What a nightmare it must be
Just being you..
Just That Good – The Calling
Sinjun St. Claire is the
type of person who could easily fade into the background and never be noticed.
I actually think she prefers it that way and I have yet to understand what
reasons she could have for it. Maybe some people just don’t crave the
attention. Clark’s like that. He’s the hero of Smallville, but no one really
knows it because he never makes mention of it, never wants others to make
mention of it. I, on the other hand, was raised in the spotlight, even when I
didn’t want to be. “You’re a Luthor” my father would say, “People want to see
you, and they don’t care about your delicate sensibilities.” Delicate
sensibilities. I was nine fucking years old and bald. Delicate sensibilities
I gripped the steering
wheel, forcing myself to calm down, and back off the gas pedal which I currently
had floored. Though any of the Kansas State Troopers would know better than to
pull me over, I still knew 140 mph was a little over the top for I-70. Besides,
if I allowed anything to happen to the Aston Martin, Sinjun would most likely
have me crucified. Of all my cars, she loved this one the best. The first time
I had pulled up to the farm in it, she had squealed. Actually squealed. I
didn’t know anyone really did that. She had begged me to let her drive it,
which of course I had said yes, and we had peeled down the driveway with her at
the wheel, her uncle watching disapprovingly from the farmhouse. That was when
I had discovered Sinjun was a Bond freak. She knew all of the movies by heart,
could name each and every villain, gadget and Bond girl ever. I told her she
really needed a new hobby. She had replied as to if the car came equipped with
an ejection seat. I knew better than to try to one-up Sinjun’s banter.
It would have been easy
to have never really noticed her. Sinjun is a self-described wallflower and had
the accident with the forklift at the plant never happened, she probably would
have remained as such to me. She would have been little more than the
administrative assistant in the front office, who I never would have taken a
second glance at, no matter how many phone calls she transferred. But Fate, it
seemed, had worked to push her into my line of sight. I had yet to decide if it
were a good thing or not. And I’m fairly certain she felt the same.
The manner with which she
had quickly taken control of the situation had impressed me. Her loyalty to the
plant had impressed me even more. She hadn’t seemed afraid of me, nor
intimidated by who I was. And yet, she was still very much like her cousin --
a little naïve, somewhat innocent, open and trusting. Somewhere along the way,
I realized I had become fascinated with studying her. Sinjun seemed to know it,
too, for it always made her fidget more around me. She was like an open book,
her eyes constantly revealing everything she was thinking and feeling. She’d be
horrible at poker. It was the main reason I normally let her write press
releases and speeches but rarely let her give them. In most situations, the
press would eat her alive. She was a terrible liar, which is why I think she
preferred not to do so.
Having been away from
Smallville for almost a month, I found myself smiling as I drove past the city
limits signage. A year ago I never would have believed I would actually be
happy to return to such a … quaint little town. But then, a lot had changed
since my “banishment” to Smallville by my father. I had friends now, close
friends. And I actually felt as if I belonged. It wasn’t something I was used
to and I had issues with not fighting against it. Not everything was perfect in
my new home, not everyone had accepted me the way Clark and Sinjun did. But it
was some sort of strange new beginning that I doubt my father had in mind for me
when he sent me out to take over Plant Number Three. If he had, I really don’t
think I’d be here.
I made the decision quite
quickly not to go straight home, and taking the next left, I turned onto the
road that led to the Kent farm. I knew that Sinjun was in the middle of a two
week vacation I had granted her to help out with the planting of the corn and I
was curious to see how she was faring. And truthfully, though I would never
admit it, I had missed her. Hell, after almost a month in my father’s company,
I found I missed just about everyone, including Jonathon Kent. His obvious
dislike for me was preferable to whatever it was I received from dear old dad.
Pulling onto the dirt road that led to their farm, I slowed to what for me was a
crawl, then glanced to the passenger seat to make certain the files I needed
were still beside me. Parking the car, I opened the door only to immediately
feel the oppressive Kansas heat that drew past me as it reached in to suck out
the cooler conditioned air. It was promising to be a hot summer. Only the
beginning of June and already in the nineties.
Grabbing the files into
my hand, I stepped out, looking over at Martha who was working on the flowers
near the front of the house. She was watching me, smiling. She rose as I
approached and walked over to meet me.
“Lex, when did you get
back in town?” She asked, shielding her eyes from the sun with her
“A few minutes ago,” I
smiled. “Is Clark around?”
“He’s in the fields with
his father. Sinjun’s in the barn.”
I raised an eyebrow at
that. Maybe Martha could read me a little more easily than I really wanted. “I
wouldn’t want to bother her,” I began.
But Martha rolled her
eyes. “Lex, don’t be silly. She’s been wondering when you’d be back.”
I smiled. For some
reason this woman always made me feel like a misbehaved little boy. And there
were times that she looked at me with such… parental concern, I guess, that it
made me more than slightly uncomfortable. I wasn’t used to it. Though I
sometimes found myself envying the relationship Clark had with his parents, I
still didn’t think I could deal with the constant awareness of what I did with
my life. I turned and headed toward the barn, glancing once toward the fields
to see Clark and his father with the tractor far in the distance. I didn’t see
how they could work all day in this heat and dirt. No wonder Clark was the size
he was at his age.
The barn was no cooler
when I entered, the shade offering no resistance to the humidity. I stopped
just inside the door, unable to contain the smile at the sight before me.
Sinjun was kneeling on the ground, a screw driver in hand, staring at piece of
farm equipment in front of her. She was dressed in faded jeans and one of
Clark’s old flannels – I could tell by how large it was on her – with the
sleeves cut off. Her dark hair was in two braided pigtails that fell over her
shoulders. I wondered what my father would think if he saw my PR Director now.
“Well, if it isn’t
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” I called out.
Sinjun turned to look at
me and an incredibly bright smile lit up her face. Amazing. It was something
someone could get used to. I was no fool. Like I said, Sinjun was an open book
and I could read her better than she probably could herself. I knew she was
interested in me. I knew she fought against those feelings as well. I’m glad
she did. I didn’t want to be the one to have to tell her no. I think she was
smart enough to realize we came from two different worlds and she would never be
comfortable in mine.
“Lex!” She climbed to
her feet as I walked over to her. Placing her hands on her hips, she shook her
head in exasperation. “How do you do it? Summer in Kansas and still you wear
dark colors and long sleeves and don’t break a sweat.”
I smiled. “Luthors don’t
Sinjun rolled her eyes
heavenward. “Of course not. You defy the laws of nature as well.”
I laughed. She always
did that to me. “How are you, Sinjun?”
“How do I look?” She
asked, tossing the screw driver to the floor. “I’m exhausted. I thought I
missed living on a farm. Then I realized that was only because I had been on
one as a child with fewer responsibilities and more time to play.” Shaking her
head, she smiled up at me again. “How was Japan?”
“Both beautiful and
boring,” I replied blandly. “A great place to visit but not when your main
company is my father.”
Sinjun made a face at
that. Her initial meeting with my father had not gone well and her opinion of
him was probably lower than that of her uncles. Not that I minded.
Unfortunately, his opinion of her hadn’t changed either. He was still on me to
hire what he referred to as a “professional”. The more he bothered me about it,
the more determined I was to keep Sinjun around. Maybe it was unfair of me to
her to place her in the middle like that but whatever worked against my father
was okay by me.
“What’re those?” Sinjun
asked, pointing to the files I was holding. “Don’t tell me you stopped by on
your first day back just to give me more work.”
“As much of a slave
driver as you seem to think I am, Sinjun, I am not that cruel.” I held them out
to her, quieting my tone as I told her, “They’re your father’s files. Going
back to when he first began working for the company. You were right in your
assumption that he worked on Level Three. Apparently, he was one of my father’s
top biochemical engineer’s. He made some discovery during his work on Level
Three – which unfortunately is not documented and will take more time to learn –
which is why my father had him transferred to Plant Number One to take over
Sinjun took the folders
from me without replying, wandering over to a hay bale where she sat down and
began flipping through the papers. I followed, hovering above her, watching
quietly. Finally she looked up at me and gave me a half-smile. “Thank you,
Lex. I really… well, thank you.”
I shrugged. I actually
still had people looking into her father for me. There were certain loose ends,
questions that I had regarding the work he was doing for my father before his
death. Something wasn’t quite right but I wasn’t about to tell Sinjun anything
until I knew for certain what I was looking for.
“Oh!” Sinjun glanced up
at me sheepishly for a moment and a slight flush filled her cheeks. “I forgot
to mention – I planned a little party while you were away.”
Like I said, her eyes
gave her away. Currently there was some mischief sparkling in their green
depths and I knew instantly that when she said “party”, she didn’t mean a small
gathering of friends here at the farm. I raised an eyebrow at her, flashing my
most haughty and intimidating expression. “And just what is this little party
you forgot to mention?”
She faltered a bit at
that and I immediately felt a pang of guilt. But then she cocked her head to
the side and watched me for a moment and it must have occurred to her that I
wasn’t really as scary as she believed. Sinjun smiled. “Nothing really, Lex.
Just a little get-together for your employees.”
“My – “ I stopped
myself, shook my head. “I don’t want to hear this, do I?”
Laughter. She jumped to
her feet and started toward the door, glancing back to make certain I was
following. I moved ahead to hold it open for her and she whispered a quiet
“thank you” before stepping out into the sunshine. There was a stick of hay
lodged in one of her braids that I reached out and grabbed, tossing to the
ground. If Sinjun noticed, she didn’t make mention of it.
“Part of PR, Lex, is good
relations with your own employees,” she explained as if I didn’t already know
that. I just continued to watch her with an expression of interest. “And you
want to be able to secure the best possible attitudes among your employees
before those government inspectors come out, so… “
I waited for a moment for
her to continue. When she didn’t, I looked over to see another guilty flush
staining her cheeks. “What have you done, Sinj?”
She grinned at me. “I
sent out an invitation to all of the employees and their families for the First
Annual LuthorCorp 4th of July Spectacular!”
“The employees and their
Sinjun thought that over
for a moment then admitted, “Actually, all of Smallville.”
I think she must have
seen me pale.
“Well, I mean, much of
Smallville is helping in putting it together. The local farmers are providing
the food, Fordman’s and Riley Lumber are helping with supplies and the tents and
all, Libertyville’s Party Carnival is supplying games and rides and such – “
“My father isn’t going to
like this, you know,” I commented blandly.
“Well, that’s okay.
Because he isn’t invited.”
I laughed at that. She
obviously didn’t realize that once he heard of her little shindig, he would
invited himself. Just to be there. Just to make me miserable. But I didn’t
say anything to her, not wishing to ruin the enjoyment she was obviously
“So is there anything
else I should know about this party of ours?” I asked.
Sinjun thought about it
and then shook her head. “Not really. Unless I can convince you to volunteer
for the kissing booth.”
I rolled my eyes at that
and started back to the car.
“How about the dunk tank
then?” She asked, following behind. “I’ll bet I could have them lining up for
Stopping, I turned to her
and frowned. “Sinjun St. Claire, are you suggesting that there would be a
bigger line to drown me than there would be to kiss me?”
attempted to muffle her laughter. “I didn’t suggest anything, Lex. I’m flat
out saying – “
I placed my hand over her
mouth, not wishing to hear yet another statement against my character. She
watched me with obvious amusement in her eyes. “No one should take such delight
in belittling their boss, Sinj,” I warned her.
Sinjun’s eyebrows raised
at that and she replied, “Mmmmuufffttt ooooo ccccfffttt nnnmmmvvvvbbberrrrr –“
I took my hand away from
“Be belittled, Lex,” she
finished with a laugh.
I shook my head. “I
don’t even want to know what you said.”
Turning, I moved up to
the car, casting a wave back to Martha before opening the door. Sinjun was
eyeing the car appreciatively as I climbed in. She walked over to stand by the
“Come by my place
tomorrow and we’ll discuss these plans of yours,” I told her, starting the
“You’re not mad at me,
are you, Lex?” She asked.
There was the slightest
hint of vulnerability and innocence in her voice and gaze. It only served to
remind me how much alike she and Clark were. “No, Sinj. I could never be mad
I drove home with the
memory of her beaming smile to keep me company.
Brandon greeted me at the
door of the castle when I arrived. He wrinkled his nose distastefully as I
“You smell like a barn,”
he commented, taking my coat. “I trust the rest of your luggage does not smell
And I thought I was
pompous. Brandon regularly puts me to shame in that regard. I’ve always wanted
to ask him if he went to a special pomposity school before my father hired him.
“I stopped by the Kent farm on the way into town.”
“Ah. Miss St. Claire.
Intriguing young woman.”
I raised an eyebrow at
that. “What makes you think I stopped by to see her?”
Brandon shrugged his
narrow shoulders, moving down the hall to hang my coat in the closet. I
followed, working my way towards the study.
“And what’s that comment
supposed to mean, anyway?” I asked as I entered my favorite room, glancing at
the pool table like an old familiar friend. “Intriguing young woman,” I
mimicked in his nasal tone.
He stood in the doorway,
hands clasped in front of him, appearing for all the world as if he were looking
down his nose at me. At me! “Miss St. Claire stopped by here a little over a
week ago to drop off some reports from the plant. She seemed… impressed with
your library. Even played a game of pool while we talked.”
“You let her play pool?”
“I do not believe she
asked my permission, sir.”
I grinned at that. “She
probably batted her eyelashes and you became a puddle of goo.”
Brandon flashed me an
expression that clearly told me exactly how unlikely that event was. I dropped
down into the chair at my desk, glancing over the stacks of messages and the
folders of reports. I would have to remind my father that leaving the country
for a month at a time wasn’t very good for business, no matter if there were
companies to take over or not.
“Shall I have Cook
prepare your dinner this evening?” Brandon asked, poised to depart at any
moment. I always wondered where he went and what he did with his spare time.
This was, after all, a fairly large place that one could become lost in.
I shook my head. “No.
“Very good, sir.”
Brandon inclined his head and quickly disappeared, leaving me to my work.
I spent the evening going
over the reports that Sinjun had brought over from Gabe as well as the media
clippings she had saved from the past month’s Ledger. The image of the Plant
seemed to be improving, at least in the media’s eyes, and I made a mental note
to point that out to my father, along with Gee, dad, maybe my choice of PR
Director wasn’t so bad after all. I knew he would still disagree though. After
all, it had been my choice, not his.
It must have been
sometime after one in the morning when I dozed off in my chair. It was a
habit. Sometimes the master bedroom was too big and empty to tempt me into
retiring to it, so I would stay up working until I fell asleep at my desk, catch
a couple of hours sleep and then get up. I rarely needed much rest anyway.
The dream began in the house in Metropolis I
grew up in. I was wandering down the hallway, toward my mother’s sitting room,
when I heard her whisper my name. Speeding up, I hurried to the room, entering
only to find my father with his hands wrapped around her slender and pale neck.
She was looking at me, such love in her eyes, such pleading, begging me to help
her. I ran to her, knocking my father out of the way, pushing him to the
floor. I turned to my mother and there were tears in her eyes.
“Alexander,” she whispered. Her hand reached
out, she cupped my cheek. I felt all the warmth and love she harbored for me.
“What happened to you, my sweet Alexander?”
I shook my head. “Nothing, mom. I’m the
“You loved me once.”
“I still love you, mom. I will always love
you,” I told her, crying. “I’ll always love you.”
“No. You’re like him now. You don’t know
how to love.”
“That’s not true!” I shouted, grabbing her
by the arms, shaking her. “I can love! I do love!”
“You destroy. You corrupt. You ensnare.
But never love.”
“Stop saying that!” I raged, shaking her
harder. “I am not him! I am not him!”
My hands crept to her throat. I began
choking the life out of her, all the while insisting I wasn’t like my father.
That I could love. I was crying, shouting, my hands constricting around the
throat clasped between them.
I stopped. It was no longer my mother that I
held in a death grip but Sinjun. She looked at me, pleading, begging, all the
while loving as I killed her, my hands unable to let go, no matter how much I
cried and told her over and over again that I could love. That I wasn’t like
him. Not him.
“Lex,” she whispered with her last dying
breath. “How could you do this to us?”
I started awake, my heart
thudding painfully in my chest, the last vestiges of the nightmare clinging to
my mind. I pushed myself out of my chair, over to the bar where I poured a
double shot of scotch, swallowing it down. I ran a shaky hand over my head. I
was sweating. Luthor’s never sweat. I heard Sinjun’s mocking laughter in my
I knew I wouldn’t sleep
the rest of the night and went back to work.
It was about noon the
next day as I was staring at an email from Dr. Hamilton regarding the latest
setback in the experiments he was conducting when I heard Sinjun’s voice call
I looked up to see her
peaking around the corner of the doorway, as if it would be easier for her to
make a quick getaway as long as she didn’t bring her whole body forward. I
stood, waving her in.
“Not too busy that I
can’t put it on hold for a bit,” I told her, walking around the desk. “Up for a
game of pool?”
Sinjun grinned at that.
She had replaced her pigtails with one high ponytail that swung back and forth
as she walked. “I take it Brandon told you about that, hmmm?”
“First name basis with
the staff. Impressive,” I intoned.
She rolled her eyes at
me. “So you wanted to talk about the party.”
“Straight to business.”
I smirked. “I thought all work and no play – “
“Make Lex a boring man,”
she interrupted. “Yes. I know. But I can’t stay long. I have a date.”
My eyebrow twitched.
Literally twitched. I don’t know why. I reached up and rubbed it for a moment,
then glanced over at Sinjun who was already making her way over to the pool
table and racking up the balls. Following her, I asked, “A local farmer boy?”
“Something like that.”
“How quaint.” I don’t
know why I was letting the sarcasm issue forth but she just kind of looked up at
me when I said it then returned to what she was doing. I continued to watch
quietly as she leaned forward with the cue stick and then crack! the balls split
apart, three of which instantly disappeared through the holes. I frowned. “You
aren’t trying to hustle me, are you, Sinj?”
“Lex, I don’t even have
anything worthy of hustling you with.” She walked around the table, leaned
forward again, positioning the stick. She was wearing form-hugging boot-cut
jeans (I never even knew there was such a thing before moving to Smallville!)
and a small t-shirt, that when she moved, showed glimpses of her midriff.
I returned my attention
to the table, tapping the end of my cue stick against the floor as I leaned on
it. “What about the party? I win, you cancel it. You win, I pay for whatever
you want to have at it.”
Her green eyes glanced up
at me, wider than usual. “Those are fairly high stakes, Lex,” she commented
I shrugged. “I’ve played
She grinned. “I’ll bet
you have. But I haven’t.”
“Afraid to lose?” I
taunted. I watched her eyes. For once, I couldn’t read anything there and
wondered if she was beginning to take my advice.
Sinjun just smiled.
“You’re on… Lex.” Then I saw it as her eyes flickered back to the table. Just
a glimpse. An assuredness of victory. I’d already made the bet and couldn’t
back down now. But her poker face still needed work.
She cleared the table.
Twice. I glared. A ringer. I should have known.
“You hustled me,” I
commented, dropping into the chair behind my desk after an hour of being fairly
Shrugging, Sinjun sat
across from me. “I told you I didn’t date much during those two years in
college. I hung out at the Student Center and played pool every night.”
I wondered how many
others she had suckered in with her innocent expressions in those two years.
She went on to talk about her ideas for the 4th of July party and I
listened. It was beginning to sound like an enormous carnival that LuthorCorp
was paying for. I didn’t mind but I knew my father would. Sinjun had a point –
it would be great for both employee moral and relations with the town. She was
planning a barbeque cook off and bake sale and rides and games and music and, of
course, fireworks that evening at ten o’clock. She said that she had snared
both Clark and her aunt into volunteering for the kissing booth but her uncle
was still holding out. I grinned, asked her if she planned on volunteering to
which she replied only if she absolutely had to. She brought up the dunk tank
again, to which I shook my head emphatically.
“I’m not saying no to be
difficult, Sinjun. I’m doing it for you.”
Sinjun raised an eyebrow
at that. “Oh? And how is that?”
I leaned forward on the
desk and met her gaze. “If your uncle had the chance to humiliate me in front
of the town again and again at a dollar a ball, that farm of his would be even
more in hock than it is now.”
Sinjun laughed. “Okay.
You have a point.” She reached down into her purse and pulled out a small
notebook. Scribbling something into it, she looked back up at me. “Think we
could get your father in there? I bet if I sent out fliers around the world, I
could raise enough money to buy LuthorCorp outright.”
I just shook my head, not
even dignifying that comment with a reply. My phone rang. Glancing down at the
caller ID, I noticed it was my father. Sighing, I flipped it open, commenting
to Sinjun as I did so, “Speak of the devil.”
Her eyebrows shot up
beyond her bangs. “Want me to leave?”
I shook my head that it
was unnecessary. “What’d I do now, dad?” I asked.
“Lex, who says you have
to do something wrong for me to call you?”
Civil laughter. The kind
that says yes you are right but I don’t need to admit it for you to know it.
“Actually I have a little business deal that I am working on that I need you to
finish for me.”
I was barely paying
attention. Sinjun had gotten up from her seat, in the manner of a child raised
by polite parents who would instruct their child never to listen to another
person’s conversation. She strolled away from the desk toward the little
staircase that led to the balcony where the books were stored. My father was
droning on about some original artwork by Da Vinci that he was getting a steal
on in exchange for the pieces of Elizabethan jewelry that were in our
collection. I made a face at that. Those pieces had belonged to my mother,
passed on from her family. They might mean nothing to him, but they sure as
hell did to me. Not that he cared. He needed more artwork for his office.
“The deal has already
been set, Lex. I just need you to go and make the exchange.”
“Why can’t they come to
your office?” I glanced up at the balustrade as I heard Sinjun exclaim happily
in delight over something.
“Who is that?”
“No one,” I replied.
Currently Sinjun had a
stack of half a dozen books cradled in her arms. What did she think this was? A
library? She reached for another then promptly dropped all of them to the
floor. She turned a mortified gaze to me, whispered that she was sorry, then
dropped to her knees and gathered them into her arms once more. I quietly
reminded myself not to let her handle any of the Waterford crystal.
“Are you listening to me,
“Yeah. You still haven’t
answered me, though.”
A pause. “It’s my first
time dealing with these people. They aren’t too certain of LuthorCorp yet so
they would prefer to make this deal on their terms.”
I frowned. No doubt that
made the artwork stolen. Sometimes my father did really stupid things all for
the sake of pride. Wayne Enterprises probably recently purchased a few Van
Gogh’s or something and now my father wanted to out do them.
“They will be contacting
you when they are ready to make the exchange.”
“Sure. Whatever.” My
eyes drifted up again, watching curiously as Sinjun sat on the floor,
crossed-legged, the books set before her, leafing through each one.
“Lex, don’t screw this
up. This should be relatively easy.”
“Gee, thanks, dad. Your
faith in me is astounding.” I hung up the phone, tossing it back to the desk.
“That was a short call,”
Sinjun commented from above me.
I looked up, walking over
to stand beneath the diminutive balcony. “Really? I thought it lasted
Sinjun peered down at me
between the rails. “Have you two always been like this?”
I frowned at the
question, not certain how comfortable I was talking about my personal life with
her just yet. Considering the question, I walked over to the bar and poured
myself a scotch. I heard Sinjun coming down the steps, the low heels of her
boots clicking against the wood. I didn’t turn around, listening carefully as
she stopped a few feet behind me.
“Sorry if I asked
something I shouldn’t,” she apologized. “I’m just… curious, I guess. I mean,
my parents and I were always close and Clark and his… well, you see how
wonderful my aunt and uncle are with him.”
I swallowed the scotch
back. She didn’t need to remind me of the relationship shared by Clark and his
parents. She didn’t need to remind me that the one I had with my father was on
the borderline between barely acceptable and outright hostility. I know Sinjun
only meant the best by asking. Most likely she wanted to tell me things weren’t
that bad or something like that but at the moment I wasn’t in the mood to deal
with her sympathy or pity or whatever it was she was offering.
“Don’t you have a date to
go on?” I snapped. I hadn’t meant to do that but it happened and I didn’t
take it back.
A long pause. I didn’t
“Yes. I do actually. I
guess… I’ll see you at work Monday. Talk to you later, Lex.”
I waited until I heard
the front door close before I turned around. I had another scotch, tried not to
think of my penchant for treating those who actually seemed to give a damn about
me like crap. Maybe that was why I always ended up as I was now, alone with a
drink in my hand. I feared letting anyone in, pushed them away instead and then
wondered why I had no friends. Maybe I really would turn out to be my father
someday. Bitter, alone and mean as hell. But rich. At least I had that going
for me, I thought as I sat down on the leather couch and leaned my head back,
closing my eyes.
I thought, Mom, I don’t
think I’m turning out to be the man you wanted me to be. I’m sorry.
Later that evening I grew
restless in the house and drove into town to see if anything interesting was
happening at the Talon. Granted, this was Smallville and very rarely did
anything equal to those happenings in Metropolis occur, but one never knew when
some mutant kid would show up and wreak havoc on the populace. Not that I was
looking for anything like that. Usually when something like that did occur, I
was stuck on the receiving end. I preferred not to get knocked around anymore.
Entering the coffee
house, I waited a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dimness of the interior
before stepping forward and almost running into Lana. She looked up at me, as
if surprised to see me there.
“Lex.” She blinked. “I
didn’t know you were back in town.”
“Keep looking at me like
that, Lana, and I will begin to wonder if you haven’t been embezzling money
while I was away.”
Lana didn’t say anything
to that. Just kind of looked at me as if she couldn’t decide if I was teasing
or serious. I guess I had just become too used to Sinjun, who I knew would have
probably replied with something like What makes you so certain I haven’t been?
Or something equally sarcastic.
Moving past that, I
glanced around. “Business seems to be doing well.”
“Oh we’ve been really
busy!” Lana replied enthusiastically. “Aunt Nell has already booked two bands
to play in the next few weeks.”
“Great.” I could only
imagine what a band from a barn in Smallville sounded like. To my credit, I did
attempt to sound interested. “Anything happen that I should know about while I
Lana shook her head.
“Nothing Aunt Nell couldn’t handle.” She peered over my shoulder at the door.
“Oh! There’s Whitney. I’ve gotta go. Bye, Lex. And welcome back.”
I watched as she scurried
past me to meet her boyfriend at the door and they disappeared into the night.
Walking over to the bar I ordered a cappuccino, my gaze scanning the room as I
waited. I noticed Clark sitting in a darkened corner by himself and when my
order came up I grabbed the cup and moved over to him. He didn’t seem to notice
my approach, his head turned to look over his shoulder, his gaze intent on
He kind of started then
turned to look at me with a quick smile. “Oh, hey Lex. What’re you doing
I shrugged as I sat in
the seat across from him. “Restless, I guess. Wanted to see what was happening
in town.” I raised my eyebrows as Clark turned to look over his shoulder once
more. “The question is, what are you doing?”
He looked back at me,
flashing a sheepish expression. “A favor for my dad, actually. You can’t say
anything or she’ll kill me!”
I took a sip of the
cappuccino, still watching Clark as if he’d lost his mind. “Who? What are you
The teenager sighed.
“Sinjun has a date tonight with Billy Preston. My dad doesn’t like him or trust
him. Said he’s a date rape waiting to happen. So he sent me out to – “
“Spy on them?” I
interrupted, finding that for once me and Jonathon Kent agreed on something.
“You mean there is someone else in town your father dislikes other than me?”
“Yeah.” Clark grinned.
“The way he talked, I almost think he would prefer it if Sinjun were going out
with you, actually.” At that we both kind of rolled our eyes, like the chances
of such a thing to happen were a million to one. Clark glanced over his
shoulder again. “They’re over there, in the back. While Lana was here I could
at least convince Sinj that I was here to visit but now… I no longer have an
excuse. Besides, I get the feeling she already knows.”
“How does it appear to be
going?” I wouldn’t have asked had he not made mention that his father hated
this guy so much. Suddenly, I didn’t want Sinjun in the vicinity of him
either. I thought I was trying to play big brother.
Clark shook his head. “I
can’t tell. Sinjun sure is fidgeting a lot though.”
I frowned. “She’s
I looked down at my cup
when Clark turned to me. There was a long silence where I knew he was still
“You and Sinjun are
getting pretty close,” he commented.
I looked up sharply at
that to find Clark grinning at me. I made a face. “I’m her employer, Clark.
We have to know each other to work well together.”
Clark grinned like the
teenager he was. “Work well together, huh?”
I pursed my lips. “You
know, Clark, sometimes I forget how old you are. Then wham! You remind me.”
He rolled his eyes.
“Gee, thanks, Lex. You’re a real pal.”
“Clark Kent, are you
spying on me?!”
Clark’s eyes widened in
surprise at me before he turned and flashed the most innocent smile possible at
his cousin who was suddenly standing beside our table, her arms folded over her
chest. I hid my smile in my cup as I took another swallow of the cooling
“Spy? Why would I spy on
you, Sinj?” Clark asked blankly.
Shaking her head in
exasperation, Sinjun turned to look at me. “Hello Lex.”
I was a little surprised
that she was speaking to me, and behaving so normally. I think I had been
expecting her to be angry, to pout and make me suffer for my rudeness to her
earlier. I found myself smiling at this unexpected but welcome change from most
of the women I had known.
“Hey Sinjun. How’s the
She glanced at the table
where Billy Preston was currently loosening the caps on the salt and pepper
shakers. She turned back to us, rolling her eyes. “I am beginning to wonder
which of us is more miserable – him or me? We’re both obviously being overly
polite to one another just to get through the evening. I have tried to think of
every possible way to call it off early but can’t come up with anything.”
Sinjun looked at me. “You know how well I lie.”
I laughed, getting to my
feet. “You really want out of this date? Let me take care of it.”
Clark and Sinjun looked
at each other as I walked off toward the back table where Billy Preston was
snickering to himself over the little prank he had just pulled. Some people
were like pests in this world and deserved little better than being squashed
Sinjun’s date looked up
at me. He had obviously been a football player in high school. All shoulders,
no neck, dull expression in his eyes. I really hoped this wasn’t the kind of
man Sinjun was attracted to. If so, I would have to lower my opinion of her a
“You’re that Luthor guy.”
Wow. He was brilliant,
too. “Yeah. Look, I need Sinjun for an important matter that has come up at
the Plant so you’re on your own for the rest of the evening, big guy.”
Shaking my head, I walked
back to the table where Clark and Sinjun were watching me. Call it my one good
deed for the day. Actually, I was discovering that the entire situation had me
unnerved and the good mood I had been in was quickly replaced by a darker one.
I barely acknowledged either of them as I passed by, telling Sinjun she was off
the hook because of some situation at the Plant and then I headed out the door.
I barely made it to my car before Sinjun was right beside me, looking up at me
with a slightly teasing expression.
“Wow. You change moods
faster than Kansas changes weather patterns.” She actually sounded somewhat
I glared at her. “Is
there something you want?”
“Well it would look kind
of strange if you said I needed to accompany you to the Plant and then didn’t
leave with you, now wouldn’t it?”
“What about Clark?”
“He said he was headed
over to Pete’s house.”
I ran my hand over my
head in frustration. For some reason, I felt this was a really bad idea. Maybe
it was Clark’s teasing about the closeness that existed between me and Sinjun.
Maybe it was that Neanderthal that Sinjun had gone out with. Or it could have
been how close Sinjun was standing next to me at the moment, her distinct scent
of honeysuckle and apples wafting around me. And maybe it was because I knew I
was going to give in to her, even before she decided to tease me one last time.
“Billy invited me to go
cow tipping with him, but I think I would rather do that with you, Lex.”
I tried really hard not
to smile at that comment. Really hard. It didn’t work. Sinjun giggled beside
me. Shaking my head, I opened the passenger door for her. “Get in, brat.”
She slid in and I shut
the door, moving over to the other side and climbing in. Sinjun was already
looking through my CD collection for something to listen to. She was frowning
here and there, making faces as I revved the engine to life and pulled away from
the Talon out onto Main Street. Removing the CD that was in the player, Sinjun
slipped another in. In moments The Calling was blasting through the speakers.
I was relieved that Sinjun had learned to be relaxed enough around me to make
herself comfortable. At first, when we had begun to spend quite a bit of time
together with work, I swear she considered asking me if it was all right when
she breathed. It used to be when I gave her a ride that she would sit stiff and
unmoving beside me, as if she were afraid she would break something. Especially
after the accident with the Ferrari. Somewhere along the way, I had convinced
her to behave around me the way she did with everyone else.
“So did Bubba really
invite you cow tipping?” I asked.
I glanced out of the
corner of my eye to see Sinjun smile beside me.
“Billy. Geez. And yes,
he really did. That was somewhere between my slapping his hands away and my
slapping his hands away again.”
My own hands gripped the
steering wheel hard. “He didn’t try – “
“Oh he did indeed,”
Sinjun interrupted, waving her hand as if it were nothing. “About the moment we
drove away from the farm, as a matter of fact. Luckily, he had to keep one hand
on the wheel. That was when I suggested the Talon, knowing it would be safer to
keep him in a public place.”
I clenched my jaw,
considering how exactly I could teach ol’ Billy Preston a lesson. I asked the
one question that was nagging me more than anything, “Why did you go out with
Sinjun looked out the
window, a purposeful turn of her head so that I couldn’t see her face. I knew
that maneuver well. Her small shoulders shrugged. “Guess I just jumped at the
chance of actually being asked out, of someone being interested in me.” She
looked over at me quickly and her smile was a sad one. “Should have known
better than to believe someone wanted to go out with me for me, huh?”
crap isn’t you,” I snapped angrily.
Sinjun blinked, turning
her gaze back out the window. “Sorry.”
I sighed. I hadn’t meant
to snap like that but I held the market for self-deprecating comments and I
didn’t want Sinjun to turn out the same way. It would be like allowing Clark to
believe he really wasn’t one of the most loyal and generous people on Earth.
Not knowing what to say, I remained silent and the music filled the gap that had
grown between us.
give up on you I give up on me
If we fight what's true, will we ever be
Even if God himself and the faith I knew
Shouldn't hold me back, shouldn't keep me from you
Tease me, by holding out your hand
Then leave me, or take me as I am
And live our lives, stigmatized”
“I’m sorry about this
afternoon,” Sinjun said suddenly. “I didn’t mean to pry.”
She was apologizing to
me. I shook my head. “Sinjun, you have no reason to apologize to me. If
anything, I should be asking your forgiveness for how I treated you when you
were only trying to get me to talk.”
“We live our
lives on different sides,
But we keep together you and I
Just live our lives, stigmatized
We'll live our lives, we'll take the punches every day
We'll live our lives I know we're gonna find our way”
When she didn’t respond, I glanced over to see her chewing her lower lip,
another nervous habit of hers and one that was positively endearing. I wondered
what it would be like to… I mentally shook the thought from my head. She was
the last person I needed to be thinking like that about. And I felt positively
wretched for doing so. Sinjun was almost as innocent as her cousin. She didn’t
need my influence to corrupt her, turn her into something she wasn’t, something
she would one day despise me for. But I could admit to myself that something
about her continued to draw me in, each and every day I was around her. Like
She was dressed in a pale
green, snug-fitting sundress that came to just above her knees, showing off her
tanned, toned calves. She wore matching sandals with leather straps that
wrapped around delicate ankles. Her dark hair was down and hanging past her
shoulders, the way I preferred it. I allowed my gaze to flicker from the road
over her once again, wondering what it was that continued to pull me in when I
knew it was best to stubbornly refuse. Sinjun wasn’t beautiful by any
conventional sense. Her eyes were too wide, her face more rounded than oval,
her nose just slightly turned-up at the tip. She was… sensual. That was the
only word I could think of to describe her and it made me realize why
Neanderthal man had asked her out. You would never see Sinjun on the cover of
Vogue. But you might see her in Playboy. She was all curves and softness and
woman and she made you think of cold nights in a warm bed.
“Lex, wanna watch the
I started out of my
reverie just in time to miss going into the ditch and silently cussed myself out
for letting my mind wander. Especially about her. Especially the direction it
did. Sinjun was not like Victoria or Claire or Nicola or Samantha or any of the
others that I had used until I was bored or annoyed with them, enjoying their
bodies that they so willingly bartered in return for my money and power. From
the sounds of it, she was a virgin and would most likely marry the man who was
her first sexual experience and I could not believe I was thinking about this
stuff while she sat beside me, having no idea that I was wondering what it would
be like to have her in my bed.
“Lex, is something
“You look like you are
going to snap the steering wheel in two.”
I forced myself to relax
my grip. I couldn’t look at Sinjun. I started mentally calculating the
quarterly returns for the Plant. I thought about Victoria and her treachery.
Thought about my dad. Anything other than Clark’s cousin.
“We live our lives
on different sides
But we keep together you and I
We live our loves on different sides”
Thankfully, I pulled onto
the Kent’s drive a few moments later, stopping the car not far from the lemon
yellow farmhouse. The lights were on in the kitchen and the family room. The
damn place always looked so warm and inviting, like something on a Hallmark
card. I wondered what it was like to live in a house like that, where one got
fed home cooked meals made by mom that were likely from recipes handed down
generation after generation and there were always others to sit at the table
with and talk about your day and they actually cared about what you were saying
and what you had done.
“You always do that.”
I turned to see Sinjun
watching me. Sometimes I thought she saw too much. I frowned. “What?”
“Tense up when you get
here.” She cocked her head to the side and once more I feared that she would
see too much.
“Maybe its just fear that
your uncle will one day shoot me in the head,” I remarked flippantly, turning my
gaze back out the window. I wanted her to go and leave me alone. I wanted her
to stay and talk to me. I heard the car door open and relief flooded through
me. And so did utter loneliness.
I turned to look at her,
leaning through the door, watching me, her expression as ever unguarded and
thoughtful. There was concern there. I doubted it was directed at me, it was
most likely that she feared I was angry with her or she had done something
wrong. I tried to smile, to let her know that things were okay but I don’t
think it came out the way I meant it to because her expression only seemed to
become more worried.
“If you ever… “ She
hesitated, worried her lower lip again. “I mean, well… you shouldn’t be worried
about uncle Jonathon. Clark and I… we’re your friends, you know?”
She wanted to say more, I
could see it. I was glad she didn’t. “I know, Sinjun.”
Sinjun hesitated, then
she was leaning in the door, her knee pressed into the passenger seat and she
kissed my cheek. It wasn’t the first time she had done it. I doubted it would
be the last. She was a touchy-feely person and I had forced myself to grow
accustomed to it. It had been a while since she had last done this though and I
had forgotten how soft her lips were, or the feel of her warm breath against my
skin. For the first time, my body reacted to her nearness. In response, I
jerked away from her, growing tense. I couldn’t look at her. I took the car
out of park, my foot on the brake, waited for her to leave.
Sinjun sat back. “Wow.
Seems like I’m doing everything wrong today.” She pulled out and closed the
door before I could say anything.
It was better this way, I
told myself as I tore away from the Kent farm and Sinjun.
Back to Lex