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
And he must
All the impure thoughts of his beautiful temptress
Although he keeps it all bottled up inside
Although he keeps it all safe within his mind
Things Don’t Always Turn Out That Way – The Calling
I did something a little
out of character for me. I called up Samantha Danfield, a woman I had dated
briefly in Metropolis, and invited her to stay with me for a few weeks.
Samantha came from an old Texas oil family, an eccentric group that my father
preferred to ridicule rather than emulate. I liked Samantha quite a bit – much
better than any of the other women I dated. She was just a bit too strong for
my tastes, aggressive and forceful. Of course, she was already in charge of her
father’s wide-spread oil empire, and had been since his death just after her
eighteenth birthday. She was twenty-five now and a force to be reckoned with.
I’ve always enjoyed going
out in public with Samantha just to see people’s reactions to her. She stood
six feet tall, and would wear heels to purposefully tower over myself and the
other men she dated, which was one reason I called it off between us in the
first place. It was just a tad daunting to have to crane your head to look up
at the woman beside you. But she was an amazing sight. Golden blonde hair that
fell to her waist in soft curls, dark blue eyes that could cut with just one
look, a full sensual mouth and legs to her neck. Men would clamor over each
other just to get near her. She was a living, breathing goddess. Too bad she
wasn’t my type. One could only imagine the children that woman would produce.
Deep inside I knew this
was a somewhat childish and selfish response to my recent reactions to Sinjun.
I needed to get Clark’s cousin out of my mind and I needed to make her
understand that there could simply never be a future for us. It was my hope
that she would see the type of woman I was interested in and realize she didn’t
have a chance. Then maybe she would end the attempts to get me to notice her.
Unfortunately, even I
knew I was well past simply noticing Sinjun. The work at the Plant didn’t
help. I started trying to work out of the office at home as often as possible,
leaving her and Gabe to deal with the day-to-day activities. She noticed my
withdrawal, she would have had to have been blind not to, but she never made any
mention of it. As was Sinjun’s typical behavior, she always greeted me warmly
when we did see each other and acted as if nothing were amiss. But I knew her
too well for that game. I could still read her as well as ever and there was
always a visible hurt in her gaze that I knew I was putting there and every time
I walked away from her, I felt like a complete and total bastard. Which I knew
I was but that didn’t help me feel any better about behaving that way toward
her. Even Clark seemed to notice something was wrong between us because he
finally came out and asked me about it. I had just said something about
inappropriate employer/employee relations and left it at that. The damn kid gave
me one of those knowing looks that left me feeling even lower than I already
I was in the middle of a
phone conversation with my father’s Da Vinci contact when I heard the
unmistakable sound of Samantha’s heels as they clicked down the hallway. She
entered the library, immediately dominating everything in the room, wearing
little more than a skimpy bikini and sarong, diamonds dripping from her throat
and wrists. Samantha was a poster child for the “Life of the Rich and Famous”
even more than my old man. I took a moment to appreciate her legs, showed off
to perfection in four inch heels, while the man on the other end of the line
told me he would be contacting me soon with a date and time. I tossed the phone
to the desk, watching as Samantha poured herself a drink.
“Taking a swim?” I
“That beautiful heated,
indoor pool and you never use it,” she commented in her honeyed voice, turning
to me. She slammed the scotch back quickly and I briefly remembered how she
could easily drink me under the table.
“No time to swim,
Samantha. I have work to do, “ I replied blandly.
She made a face at that.
“Really, Lex. You need a social life. While this is Smallville and likely has
little going on, you need to do something other than sit behind that desk and
perfect your plans for taking over the world over and over again. Keep that up
and you’ll turn out just like your father.”
If there was any one
thing about Samantha that I admired – beyond her legs – it was her honesty.
“Thanks for the encouragement.”
I was about to tell her
that I was thinking of joining her for a swim when I heard the front door close
and footsteps approaching down the hallway. Looking up, I was surprised to see
Sinjun make her way into the library, dressed smartly in a white skirt and
double-breasted jacket with low heels and her hair rolled into a bun on her
head, held in place by a pencil. I hid my smile at her unique fashion sense.
She was looking at me as she entered but then her gaze drifted to the right and
she spied Samantha leaning against the couch, her Amazonian body displayed to
perfection while she gave Sinjun the once-over. My PR Director’s jaw seemed to
hit the floor.
“Sinjun,” I greeted, not
getting up. “Surprised to see you.”
“I… umm… “ She stared at
Samantha a while longer before finally turning her gaze to me. “I didn’t mean
interrupting. This is the houseguest I told you about last week. Sinjun, this
is Samantha Danfield. Samantha, Sinjun St. Claire, the Director of PR for the
Samantha walked over to
shake Sinjun’s hand. Night meet day, day meet night, I thought to myself,
watching the two women before me with a slight smile. Sinjun seemed at a
complete loss for words, which was quite a victory on my part. She was never at
a loss for words.
“It’s nice to m… meet
you, Ms. Danfield,” Sinjun finally stuttered.
Samantha smiled. “You
too, sugar. Have you worked for Lex long?”
“A few months,” Sinjun
replied quickly, turning her gaze to me almost imploringly.
I wasn’t going to let her
off that easily. Standing, I walked around the desk, slipped my arm around
Samantha’s waist, ignoring for the moment that the woman beside me was four
inches taller. Sinjun watched us for a long moment then quickly glanced down.
I had to steady myself not to snatch my arm back and move away from Samantha. I
could feel my houseguest watching me from her perch beside me at the desk and
knew she would most likely ply me with questions once Sinjun left.
“What can I do for you,
“I… well… I – “
muttering,” I commented. Damn, I was a rat bastard.
She shot her gaze up to
me, meeting my eyes. “I just wanted to tell you that I had an interesting
meeting with a representative from Fortune magazine this morning. They want to
do an article on you and the Plant. It seems that in the past few months
production has risen so dramatically that Plant Number 3 now has the highest
output rate in the country.” She smiled at me. “I told him I would speak with
you and set a date for an interview.”
I raised an eyebrow.
Well, that was unexpected. Wonder what my father will think of that?
Undoubtedly it would only serve to piss him off. I seriously questioned the
chances of the article ever making it to print. But Sinjun was standing before
me now, fairly bursting with excitement and pride that was written all over her
face and there was this part of me that wanted to share in that with her. I
wanted to invite her to dinner and celebrate and encourage her in her enthusiasm
and bask in some of that glow that she was currently projecting. Unfortunately,
the realistic side of me knew it would be a short-lived celebration and only
support Sinjun in her interest in me. I had perfected the ability to be cold
and unemotional – even if my father liked to accuse me otherwise – and I knew I
had to hold on to that now. If I didn’t, I would collapse under those arms I
could see Sinjun was craving to throw around me in celebration.
“Interesting,” I replied
finally. “Wonder who my father paid off for that?”
Sinjun blinked. Looked
from me to Samantha and back. “I… “ She gnawed at her lower lip uncertainly.
“I think this was sincere, Lex. I mean, things have been going well and the
quarterly numbers are beyond expectation… “ She trailed off, as if she had
suddenly convinced herself that I wasn’t buying it.
I hate to say it but
Sinjun is positively enchanting when she is nervous. Those eyes of hers only
get wider and her cheeks redden and she starts sucking on that lip. She was
fidgeting before us and I knew I was only drawing out her discomfort and it was
cruel of me beyond reason and yet I allowed it to continue.
Finally I helped divert
her mind by asking, “How is the picnic coming? Only one week left. I hope
everything is in order.”
“It’ll be a great
celebration!” Sinjun enthused, her eyes lighting up once more and her
confidence returning. “Everyone is looking forward to it. Aunt Martha is going
to bake a bunch of pies for the bake sale and uncle Jonathon is helping with the
tent set up. The Carnival company arrived today and they are putting the rides
together. Oh! And I received the bill from the fireworks company you work
I grimaced. “I’ll bet
that isn’t pretty.”
Sinjun shrugged. “We’ll
just forward it to your father.”
Beside me, Samantha
laughed. “I think Miss St. Claire knows just how to handle the Luthors.”
Sinjun made a face at
that but said nothing.
“Yes, and I think I know
just how my father would handle the receipt of that bill,” I responded, fixing
Sinjun in her place with my gaze.
“Will you be attending
the picnic, Ms. Danfield?” Sinjun asked, turning her attention and good manners
to the woman beside me. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. It would be a shame
for you to miss it if you will be in town.”
Amazing, I thought. I
should have expected Sinjun’s good manners to override the jealousy that I
momentarily glimpsed in her gaze.
Samantha glanced at me
then back to Sinjun. “Well I wasn’t planning on leaving for awhile so I may
just have to take you up on that offer, Miss St. Claire.”
“Sinjun,” she corrected
“That’s a beautiful
name,” Samantha told her and I watched as Sinjun relaxed a little more, became
less intimidated. “Is it a family name?”
“Er… no. Just something
my father came up with.”
I found myself losing my
concentration once again. My body barely acknowledged the gorgeous woman
standing beside me while my mind was firmly locked on the fidgety girl/woman in
front of me. I wanted to ask her to stay and have dinner with us, I wanted to
tell her how grateful I was that she came over and presented the news about
Fortune magazine to me in person. I wanted to thank her for believing that I
had something to with the Plant’s recognition.
Instead, I said, “Well,
Samantha and I were just headed for a swim. So if I don’t see you before then,
I will see you at the picnic.”
I think this was the
first time I had ever dismissed Sinjun as if she were little more than the
household help. She even looked at me blankly for a long moment before slowly
“Yes… I… I’m sorry again
for intruding.” Sinjun looked over at Samantha and offered a smile. “It was
nice to meet you, Ms. Danfield and I do hope you make it to the picnic.”
“Well thank you, sugar.
It was nice to meet you, too.”
She didn’t look at me
again, moving in a rush to leave the room. The moment she disappeared,
everything seemed darker, especially my mood. Sinjun had such a palpable
presence and more and more I found myself wanting her around. And I knew I had
to fight that. Every few minutes I spent in her company made me long for more,
long for something I would never have and certainly did not deserve. I shook
the thought from my head, disengaging my arm from Samantha’s waist and walking
back around the desk to my chair.
“Thought we were going
for a swim?” Samantha commented with a knowing look.
“I changed my mind,” I
replied, not looking up.
I felt her lean across
the desk toward me. “That Sinjun is positively adorable.”
“Hmmm.” I tried to
appear engrossed in my work.
Samantha tapped her nails
against the desk. “She is obviously enthralled with you, though after the way
you treat her I positively can’t understand why. She is a sweet little thing
though, so maybe she is just more forgiving than I would be in her position.”
I sighed. “Sam, do you
have a point to all of this?”
The blonde goddess
laughed at me and stood. “I must say, Lex, I don’t think I have ever seen you
so riled over a female before. You’re actually losing your cool.”
“I thought you were going
swimming,” I snapped, turning back to my monitors.
“Don’t know if I should
now. I may accidentally drown,” she replied sarcastically.
I sighed, glared at her,
which just made her laugh.
“Fine, Lex. Remain
behind that brick wall of yours. I really don’t care. I’m off for a swim.
Call me when dinner’s ready.”
I was beginning to
rethink my decision of having invited Samantha. She obviously saw something I
thought I had been hiding relatively well. Then again, Samantha was extremely
worldly and wise for her age. She had a lot of growing up to do in the past
seven years and I have no doubt she saw more things than most. She was jaded
and cynical like me but didn’t have the issues I did with letting people in.
Then again, people have always liked her, never judged her. The fact that
Samantha instantly liked Sinjun said something for her character. I leaned back
in my chair and sighed. I knew that after today’s little performance, my
houseguest wasn’t going to let me get any peace and quiet.
The next day I was going
over the accountants from the Plant while Samantha lounged on the couch,
flipping through some trashy romance novel. I was having difficulty
concentrating or even keeping my eyes open. I had suffered through another
nightmare shortly after falling to sleep and couldn’t find the strength to shut
my eyes again afterwards. This time my father had been standing over my
mother’s dead body, a bloody knife in his hand. When I had asked him why he had
done it, he had said that this was what happens to all people who fail him. And
then he had come at me. I had been unable (unwilling?) to fight him off and he
had shoved the knife through my chest. I had quickly awakened myself after
that. I usually did after my father murdered me in my dreams. Oh yeah, it
wasn’t the first time.
I looked up with a smile
to see Clark walk into the room, much more comfortable around my place than he
used to be. Looking properly farmboy dressed in jeans, snug-fitting t-shirt and
work boots, Clark always seemed larger than life when he entered a room. And
Samantha certainly noticed him, her gaze sweeping over him appreciatively.
“Must be produce day,” I
commented with a smile, climbing to my feet.
“That it is.” Clark was
looking over at Samantha, his gaze thoughtful.
I introduced Clark and
Samantha to one another. “This is Sinjun’s cousin,” I added for Samantha’s
“Oh?” Samantha stood
from the couch to shake Clark’s hand. I saw his eyes widened in obvious
pleasant surprise as he looked at her. “That adorable young lady who was here
yesterday? I see the resemblance.”
“Clark’s adopted,” I told
her blandly. “So they aren’t blood related.”
Samantha turned a cool
gaze to me. “I meant in their manners, Lex. Something which the Luthors have
always been obviously lacking.”
I raised a brow at that
but didn’t respond. Instead, I turned to Clark who was grinning at both of us,
obviously enjoying our little interplay. “Would you like to join us for lunch,
Clark? I’m certain Samantha would love to have an audience while she further
“Lex, sweetie, I don’t
need an audience for that,” she drawled.
Clark laughed, caught my
look and quickly sobered. “No.. erm… I have to get the rest of the produce
delivered and then run a few errands for my mom. I actually stopped by to give
you an invitation.”
smirked. “Are the Kent’s having a dinner party? And how the hell did you
convince your parents to invite me?”
“It’s not like that,” he
corrected, grinning. “Sinjun’s birthday is on the third and we’re throwing a
little party for her and knowing how you are friends and all, mom wondered if
you would be interested in coming by. It’s just gonna be a small gathering, a
few friends, a barbeque and cake, stuff like that.”
“I don’t think – “ I
began but Samantha quickly cut me off.
“We would love to,
Dammit. I glared. She
smiled. Clark looked between us, confused. I finally gave in and turned a
smile to Clark.
“We’ll be there. But
probably not for long. Just enough to bring the birthday girl a gift, say
“I’m sure you don’t need
to bring her a gift,” Clark commented, hooking his thumbs in his jeans. “Sinj
will just be happy to have you there. This is her first birthday without her
parents. Mom wants it to be special.”
Samantha glanced at
Clark. “She lost her parents?”
He nodded. “A few months
ago in a car accident.”
“The poor thing,” she
sympathized then flashed me a glare as if it were my fault or something. “You
will most certainly put in a stronger appearance than simply ‘stopping by’, Lex
Luthor,” she told me.
Clark laughed again,
obviously enjoying my discomfort. “Sinjun was right about you, Ms. Danfield.”
“Oh?” Samantha turned a
curious expression to him. “What did she say?”
“Only that you were the
nicest and most personable of Lex’s friends that she’s met.”
She hooted at that.
“What an absolute darling she is!”
And then Samantha
playfully punched me in the arm. Only it wasn’t that playful and it hurt like
“Well I need to get
going,” Clark told us. “I’ll let mom know you’re coming.”
“Great,” I responded,
trying not to drown in sarcasm. Clark just gave me a strange look, then waved
and disappeared around the corner.
commented with a smile. “If there are more like him around, I could be
convinced to give up Dallas for Smallville.”
I groaned. “He’s
fifteen, Sam. Down.”
She shrugged. “The
younger they are, the easier they are to train.”
I sighed. How did I get
myself into these situations? Sometimes I wondered if there wasn’t someone up
there playing some great cosmic joke on me. I had spent the past few weeks
doing everything I could to forget about Sinjun and get her to forget about me.
And now I was going to her birthday party.
And there was a hidden
part of me that couldn’t wait until that day got here.
I spent the rest of the
week between trips to Metropolis with Samantha where the paparazzi seemed
determined to dog our every step and a couple of days at work where I rarely
glimpsed Sinjun. I think she was avoiding me as much as I was her and while I
should have been pleased that my plan was working, I found that all I really
wanted to do was take her to lunch, invite her into the office to go over some
media releases, talk to her about nothing in particular. Twice that week I
picked up the phone and almost pressed the speed dial to her cell. Both times I
convinced myself otherwise before doing so. More and more I began to wonder if
hiring Sinjun had been a wise idea in the first place.
Maybe for once my father
When Samantha and I
pulled up to the Kent farm the night of the third, there were picnic tables sat
up under the trees in the yard, covered in brightly colored table cloths,
ballooned centerpieces and bowls of food. Pete and Clark stood near a large oak
where Chloe was blithely swinging back and forth on a tire swing. Martha Kent
was setting out a heaping bowl of potato salad on the center table where Gabe
Sullivan was chatting with his wife and others from the plant, including Randy
McAllister and Roland Chalmers. Jonathon was hovering over the barbeque toward
the back of the yard. He looked up as we entered the grassy area and frowned.
I waved, turning my attention to Martha who was walking up to greet me and
“Lex, I’m so glad that
you could make it. I know Sinjun will be pleased.” Clark’s mother smiled
It always amazed me how
welcome she attempted to make me feel. I wondered selfishly if I was ever the
cause of arguments between her and her husband. “Good evening, Mrs. Kent.
Thank you for inviting me. This is a friend of mine, Samantha Danfield.”
“Nice to meet, you Ms.
“The pleasure is mine,
Mrs. Kent.” Samantha smiled. “Where is the birthday girl?”
“Oh, she is inside on the
phone with a friend from college. I’m sure she’ll be out soon. Please make
yourselves at home. Drinks and snacks are set out and dinner should be ready
Martha hurried away from
us over to Jonathon, probably warning him to be on his best behavior for the
evening. Samantha moved away from me, saying she was going to grab a few drinks
for us and say hello to Gabe. I tossed Sinjun’s gift to the table, glanced over
at Clark, thinking about going over to talk to him but Pete was there and things
were still a little uncomfortable with the whole attempted shooting thing. The
day was unbelievably hot and standing in the shade did nothing to cool it. Damn
Kansas weather. At least in Metropolis one could hide out in air conditioned
buildings without ever stepping outside. I moved toward the house, telling
myself I was only going inside to cool off, while opening the back door and
stepping into the kitchen, knowing I was lying to myself.
Sinjun was leaning
against the counter, the phone against her ear, dressed in dark blue shorts and
a white tank top, showing off her tanned, toned arms. She glanced over as the
door closed behind me and her eyes widened slightly in surprise. I gave her a
small smile, looked away, trying not to listen to her conversation, found myself
doing so anyway.
“Well, thanks for
calling. I really appreciate it but I need to get going… “ She laughed and I
found myself looking in her direction again, enjoying the smile that spread
across her face and the animation in her eyes. “I’ll remember that… Yeah, well
you’re no spring chicken, either!... Hug your mom for me. Talk to you later.
“You don’t need to hang
up on my account,” I told her as she set the phone down.
Sinjun flashed me a nasty
look. I mean, I wasn’t accustomed to getting such a reaction from her. I guess
my behavior the other day worked to achieve what I had wanted it to. And now I
“Like anything I chose to
do would be on your account, Lex,” she quipped back at me, grabbing some napkins
from the counter and pushing past me to move outside.
I reached out, touching
her shoulder, stopping her. I didn’t like this tension between us. Not one
“Sinj, did I do something
to upset you?” Okay, I know I was playing stupid but I couldn’t admit to her
that I knew I was being ass and had been doing it all on purpose and now found
myself regretting that decision.
Sighing, she shook her
head. “No,” she lied. “Just edgy I guess. I am always like this on my
birthday. I hate getting older. And… “ she trailed off.
I knew what she was about
to say. Birthdays were supposed to be shared with family. Hers wasn’t there.
I knew the feeling. I also knew that my actions the past few weeks had upset
her but she wasn’t willing to admit it and I wasn’t going to force her to
acknowledge it. Instead, I picked up on the one emotion I knew I could at least
“You wish your parents
Sinjun looked up at me,
watching silently for a long moment before finally nodding. “Yeah. Yes, that’s
it. And I feel selfish and spoilt for wanting that. Aunt Martha and uncle
Jonathon and Clark have done everything to make me feel at home and to make
today special and I feel wretched for wanting more. I just… It feels very
unfair to me that they aren’t here, that they never will be here again and I
don’t even want to celebrate without them.”
I reached out and tucked
a strand of dark hair behind her ear, my fingers brushing over her cheek. I
shouldn’t have touched her, I shouldn’t have attempted to offer comfort. It
wasn’t in me to do so and yet here I was and I should have walked away but I had
gotten used to seeing Sinjun with happiness and joy in her gaze and she sure as
hell shouldn’t have been hurting on her birthday. At that moment I would have
done anything to make her smile. And that was my mistake.
“You’re going to have to
let them go eventually, Sinjun. I didn’t know them but I am fairly certain they
wouldn’t want you to be unhappy on your birthday. I think they would want you
to forget the past and look on to the future, share in the happiness of this day
with those people who care about you.”
I said too much. I was
babbling. I was opening myself up and I should have backed off. I should have
walked out of there at that moment. I realized my hand was still lingering over
Sinjun’s cheek and my thumb moved out to stroke across her jaw line. I found
myself imagining what it would be like to place my lips there, to trail my
tongue down her neck, to nip at the sensitive skin at the juncture of her
shoulder and soothe it with kisses. My fingers were suddenly moving down her
neck, as if following my imagination, acting out what I was envisioning. Sinjun
was staring up at me, silent. We were so close that I could see the soft gold
flecks in her eyes, which were darkening slightly as I touched her. I
recognized that emotion – desire. Something I was well schooled in. The tips
of my fingers rested at her collar bone. I realized that all I had to do was
lean in, just the space of a few inches, and Sinjun would be instantly mine.
The thought was both tempting… and immediately sobering.
I dropped my hand,
stepped back, pulled away from her gaze. I thought I saw a flash of
disappointment. I ignored it. “What I mean,” I continued as if I had not
stopped. “Is that you should concentrate on what you have, not what is missing
from your life.”
Sinjun laughed bitterly
and it was an ugly sound. “Maybe you should follow your own advice.” Then she
was out the door and it was slamming against the frame.
Damn. Shit. I followed
her out, immediately went over to Samantha, wrapped my arm around her waist,
pulled her close, focused on her blonde hair and blue eyes and ignored the dark
haired, green eyed innocent who was standing beside her aunt, complete oblivious
to the turmoil she sent spiraling through me. Damn her, she sent my senses
reeling. I never thought straight when she was around. I found myself wanting
something I couldn’t have. Wanting to be someone I wasn’t. I forced myself to
focus on being the person everyone expected me to be. I kissed Samantha’s bare
shoulder, winked at Chloe who was watching me with narrowed eyes. I spread on
the arrogance as thickly as I could. Pete shifted uncomfortably, looked like he
wanted to run away. Clark cast a quick glance my way but continued his
conversation with Samantha.
I just wanted to leave.
Run away. Hide in my mansion and never come near the Kent farm again. I ever
briefly considered firing Sinjun, just to rid myself of the temptation her
presence always offered. I would never do that, though. Not to her. Not to
I didn’t want to stay but
we did. Samantha seemed to be getting along with everyone, even Jonathon. We
sat at the table with Gabe and the other plant employees for the meal, which
consisted of potato salad, ribs, corn on the cob and greasy biscuits. It was
the richest food I had ever eaten but to be polite I ate every bit of it. It
was very good, I can admit that. Just not what I was used to. I grinned over
at Samantha who dove into it like a pro, commenting that it reminded her of
family gatherings back home in Texas. The conversation was comfortable and
animated but through it all, I keenly felt Sinjun’s presence across the yard
where she sat with Clark, his parents and Chloe and Pete. Their laughter
continued to float over to us and I found myself wondering if I had ever been
that free and exultant. I don’t think so. I don’t think I ever could. Was
there really such a thing in life as the joy and freedom to laugh with such
carefree abandon? I hated myself for asking the question. And I hated myself
for coveting what Clark and Sinjun had all of their lives.
By the time we left,
shortly after nightfall, I was in a wretched mood. Everyone had caught on and
basically left me alone. Clark had approached once and tried to get me to talk
to him but I had smiled to try and lessen the refusal, telling him it was
nothing important. Samantha had whispered I was being an ass and I told her I
didn’t care. I just wanted to leave. She made our excuses for me while I had
headed to the car. I frowned at the memory as I turned down the road toward the
manor. I’m certain Jonathon Kent had a few things to say regarding my
“Interesting gift you
gave Sinjun,” Samantha commented dryly beside me.
I had gone for the most
impersonal thing I could think of.
Everyone had gathered
around after dinner to watch Sinjun open her gifts. Gabe and the others at the
office had pooled together and bought her the entire collection of Bond books.
Chloe had found an old picture of Sinjun’s parents from the Prom at Smallville
High when they had attended and Pete had purchased a frame for it that they had
placed it in. Earlier in the day, her aunt and uncle had gifted her with a real
horse, something I guess she had been wanting to replace since she had left
Smallville with her family originally. Clark gave her an English saddle and
bridal to accompany it. Then Sinjun opened my gift. Impersonal, remember.
She blinked. Looked up
at me. I could see her trying to think of something to say. “Business cards.
Um… thank you, Lex.”
I ignored the strange
looks I was getting, especially from Samantha. Well hell, its not as if they
were cheap. They had the LuthorCorp logo embossed in the corner and they were
etched in gold leaf and proclaimed her as the Director of Public Relations for
Chemical Plant Number Three in Smallville. Well they were a hell of a lot more
practical than spy novels.
The worst of it was, as I
was hurrying towards the car, trying to get out of there, Sinjun had followed
me. To thank me, both for coming to her party and her gift. I hadn’t known
what to say. While she stood there looking up at me, being gracious and
thoughtful, all I kept thinking about were the things I had really wanted to
give her. I would have gladly used my father’s connections to get Sean Connery,
Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan to come to her party. I would
have purchased her a gold Aston Martin, just like Bond drove in Goldfinger. I
wanted to give her a herd of Arabians and a double-decker Carousel besides, just
to sit in the yard. I could have flown her and every guest to Paris where we
could have celebrated in style on the Eiffel Tower, with fireworks exploding in
the night sky to mark the occasion. I would have done it all and more.
But I couldn’t.
“Was that your way of
telling her you weren’t interested?” Samantha asked, pulling me from my reverie.
I frowned. Sometimes her
prying was damn obnoxious. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Sam.”
Samantha laughed. “Of
course you don’t, Lex.” She shook her blonde mane. “You know, I have always
wondered what it is you are constantly punishing yourself for.”
I pulled the car into the
garage, glared at her. “You’re making no sense. You do realize that, don’t
“I am making perfect
sense, Lex, and you know it.” She slammed the door as she got out of the car
and followed me toward the manor. “In the years that I have known you, I have
seen you many times start to go after something you want and then, just when you
get within reach, you deny yourself. Now you’re doing it again and for the life
of me, I can’t figure out why. Is this some form of self-inflicted torture you
learned from your father?”
Was I that obvious? I
tried not to let her see my concern. Unfortunately, Samantha had no plans to
let me off that easily.
“The problem is, when it
has always come down to your desire for a woman, you have simply taken what you
wanted. This is the first time I have seen you deny yourself the baser
“Shut up, Sam,” I told
her, walking into to the library for a drink.
She followed me in,
continuing, “Could it be that there is something different about Sinjun St.
Claire? Could it be that Lex Luthor is looking for more than a simple romp in
the bedroom with this little country girl?”
“Samantha.” I turned to
her. “You might want to stop before you really piss me off.”
Raising an arched brow at
that, she replied, “You don’t scare me, Lex. You can’t touch me and you damn
well know it. Besides, I am simply trying to be a friend to you right now. You
are obviously attracted to her, though I will admit she seems a tad provincial
for your tastes but then, maybe I have simply never known the real Lex Luthor.”
“You haven’t and you
still don’t.” I slammed back the scotch in one swallow, dropping the glass
loudly to the bar.
“I think I hit a nerve.”
“Get out of here, Sam,” I
snapped, walking over to my desk, determined to lose myself in work.
Samantha shrugged. “Very
well. Have a nice evening.” She turned to leave then turned back. “By the way,
I am going back to Dallas in the morning.”
“What?” Ah hell.
“Sorry, sugar, but I have
a business to run, you know. As much as I have enjoyed these few weeks with
you, I must return to all of my darling cowboys.”
“Can’t you wait until
after this infernal picnic tomorrow?” I asked in frustration.
“Nope. You’ll just have
to go by yourself, Lex. Call me and let me know how it goes. Goodnight,
She walked off, leaving me to ponder my strategy for getting out of tomorrow’s
Unfortunately, I couldn’t
think of a proper excuse not to make an appearance at my own Fourth of July
celebration so I finally convinced myself to just drive out to the Plant and get
it over with. I didn’t want to see Sinjun and hoped that she was too busy with
everything going on to notice my presence there. The longer I dwelled on it,
the angrier I was with myself for how I had treated her the day before. I
should have given her a thoughtful gift as opposed to something that would keep
my own emotions safely shut away.
I parked near the office
and took my time circling the building to the back field where the celebration
had been set up. It was like walking into the middle of a permanent carnival.
There were rides, including a small Ferris wheel, a row of games including the
pie throw and dunk tank, food vendors, clowns with balloons, a petting zoo and
tents filled with ongoing events. A nearby Barber Shop Quartette was competing
with the loud sounds of a Blue Grass band from the other side of the field.
People streamed past me – employees and their families, townspeople, kids
everywhere. Some said hello, others frowned, whispered to one another, hurried
by me as if I were a venomous snake.
It was another hot and
humid day. I rubbed a hand at the back of my neck absently, feeling a headache
coming on. It would be better if I left, I knew. My presence obviously made
some people uncomfortable and this day was for them and I knew I was completely
out of place among the crowd. I decided then that I would finish my lap around
the field, say hello to some of the supervisors and then head back to the
mansion. Confident in my decision, I had just made it past the cotton candy
stand when I heard:
“Where’s Ms. Danfield?”
I turned to find Sinjun
watching me, a half empty stick of pink cotton candy in one hand, a glob of the
fluffy stuff in the other. I found myself smiling automatically. “Actually,
she had to get back to Texas. She said to tell you she was sorry she couldn’t
make it but thanks for the invitation.”
“So you’re here all by
I shrugged. “Aren’t I
Sinjun frowned and I
realized I had said too much. I did that around her. Said things I normally
would have kept to myself. I took a step back.
“Well, I am just making
the rounds and then I am out of here.” I turned to leave.
“Oh no you don’t!” She
was beside me suddenly, sliding her arm through mine. “You owe it to your
employees to be seen here, to have fun. And you owe it to yourself too.”
“I am thinking of the
employees, Sinjun,” I told her in exasperation. “And they would be more
comfortable and have more fun if Lex Luthor wasn’t hanging around.”
Sinjun frowned again and
turned her gaze up to meet mine. “Do you really believe that Lex? Did you ever
stop to think these people are too busy having fun with their families and
enjoying themselves to give a damn what you are doing?”
I raised my eyebrows at
that. “Sinjun – “
“Oh hush, Lex, and try to
enjoy yourself for once,” she admonished. “You just might discover that life is
actually kind of fun.”
“I never said I didn’t
find life fun,” I grumbled but found myself allowing her to lead me deeper into
“Cotton candy?” She
“Erm… no, thank you.”
“See? No fun.”
some, I do not have any particular desire to eat pure sugar turned the
consistency of cotton.”
Shrugging, Sinjun tossed
what was left into a nearby garbage can. “Your loss.”
I frowned. “Why did you
throw that away?”
“Because if I ate that
entire thing along with the corn dog, funnel cake, caramel apple and candied
popcorn that I have eaten so far, I would be severely ill,” she explained as if
I should have known that to begin with.
“You’re not sick
already?” I was just hearing it.
Sinjun shook her head.
“Everyone knows that days like this are meant for stuffing yourself.” She
craned her neck suddenly, attempting to look through the crowd. “Speaking of,
its time for the chili cook off. Come on, you can be one of the judges.”
“I don’t think so,
Sinjun,” I told her, digging my heels into the ground to keep her from dragging
me off toward the nearby tent. “I’m not exactly a chili connoisseur.”
“No one is asking you to
be, Lex. Just go in there, taste each batch, compliment its maker and leave
your silent choice for what you thought was best. Trust me on this. These
people are going to be pleased that you simply took the time to try their
I did trust her. She
sensed my capitulation and grabbed my hand, pulling me through the throng of
people, some of which called out “Hello, Mr. Luthor”, “Nice to see you, Mr.
Luthor” “Happy Fourth, Mr. Luthor”. I just wanted to scream that my name was
Lex and I was not Mr. Luthor. I tried to be gracious though and smile back in
the direction that each greeting came from. We reached the tent sooner than I
would have liked and the judging committee actually seemed pleased to have me
there. I recognized each of them from the Plant floor but couldn’t remember
their names. Sinjun introduced them, knew exactly where they worked and asked
after their families. I watched her, impressed. This was exactly the type of
person you always wanted around you when dealing with your employees. I
wouldn’t have been surprised if she knew their birthday’s as well.
I spent the next hour
following Sinjun from table to table where she would introduce me to the
employee or the employee’s spouse and then we would each taste the chili they
had created. Some weren’t too bad. Others were downright horrid. There was
this one – I won’t say whose to protect the innocent – that we each took a bite
of and the simple looks we exchanged with one another spoke volumes. Sinjun had
wriggled her eyebrows at me humorously and I had to fight the impulse to just
lean over and kiss her. And I mentally kicked myself for allowing that impulse
to sneak in.
Most everyone we met with
appeared both mildly surprised and yet pleased that I was there. Oh I am more
than certain that there were a few who would have gladly slipped cyanide into
the chili had they been warned ahead of time that I was coming, but the majority
were friendly and welcoming. After tasting the last batch, Sinjun handed me a
score card and we whispered with one another for a moment while we filled them
out before handing them in to the committee. It was a few minutes while the
votes were tallied and then I was asked to read off the winner. It seemed it
was a unanimous vote for Becky Summers, whose husband was one of our onsite
scientists. Sinjun whispered to me that maybe we should hire the wife in her
husband’s place since her recipes seemed to get her further than his experiments
did. I poked her in the side to shut her up as the beaming woman and her
husband approached to collect the prize, which included a $200 shopping spree at
Fordman’s and her recipe to be printed in the Smallville Ledger.
“See? That wasn’t bad,
now was it?” Sinjun asked as we left the tent. She was smiling up at me, her
eyes going translucent in the sunlight.
I allowed a slight
smirk. “I may never eat another bite of chili again.” I glanced around. “So
what – “
“Sinjun! There you are!”
Sinjun and I turned to
see Gabe hurry over to us. He glanced at me as if he were surprised to see me
there, said hello, then turned to Sinjun. “Major problem. The Mayor can’t make
it for the dunk tank. So who do we sucker into it now? Principal Kwan has
already done his turn and I am not on for another two hours.”
I was shaking my head
before she even turned her pleading gaze to me. “No, Sinjun.”
“Oh, come on, Lex,” she
begged. “It won’t be that bad. Just give it a half an hour. That’s all I
I knew I was going to
have to think fast to get out of this one. I cast a look to Gabe and he quickly
caught on, telling Sinjun he would go see if he could find anyone else and moved
away. “I have nothing to change into.”
“I’ll have Clark run to
your place and grab some extra clothes.”
“Lex – “
“Pleading isn’t going to
help, Sinjun. A Luthor does not sit in a dunk tank.”
“What about Lex?” She
searched my face and I tried to shut her out, to put that mask back in place and
build up the reinforcements but it was too late. She had already found a crack
to peer through. “Why don’t you try not being a Luthor today and just be Lex?
The Lex who wants to make a difference in this town. The Lex I see and would
like everyone else to see.”
I flashed her a sharp
look. “You don’t know me, Sinjun. Don’t pretend that you do.”
She looked away for a
moment then turned back to me. “Maybe I don’t. But that’s only because you
won’t let me. What’s your excuse?”
I blinked. I couldn’t
believe I was having this conversation with her. I glanced around, glaring at
the few people who were surreptitiously watching us until they looked away. I
turned back to Sinjun, unleashing the sudden anger I felt at her insistence for
something that was never going to happen.
“Don’t start with me,
Sinjun. I am not in the mood for this. I’m sick of you trying to pretend like
you are oh so wise and in tune to who and what I am and what’s best for me,” I
snapped, asking myself why I was saying this with each and every word I
uttered. I didn’t stop there. “For a naïve farm girl from Kansas, you sure as
hell seem to believe you know what’s right for the son of a billionaire who
lives a life you can’t even begin to imagine.”
Sinjun was pale and
silent when I finished. I wanted to take every word back and I couldn’t. We
just stared at each other. Then she looked away. She started to walk away. And
I knew I couldn’t let it end there. I reached out for her arm, stopped her,
pulled her back, knowing I should have let it go. It would have made things
easier. The path would have ended then and there. But I foolishly continued
down the road set before me. Sinjun did that to me. She did all kinds of
things to me, very few of which I could actually make any sense out of. When I
was around her, I was torn between wanting to be like my father – cold,
dispassionate and emotionless – and something else that I couldn’t quite
identify just yet.
“Sinj, I’m sorry,” I told
her softly. “I didn’t mean a word of that. I’ve been so on edge lately and I
guess you just set me off. You know I would never hurt you.”
“Funny, since you just
did,” she replied, still refusing to meet my gaze.
I dropped her arm, looked
out into the crowd. “I know. I… “ I couldn’t think of what to say or how to
explain myself. Not here. Not now. Maybe someday, if I ever gave in to the
need to be alone with her. Turning my gaze back to her face, I asked, “Please
forgive me? Please believe that outburst was not directed at you. Isn’t there
anything I can do to make you believe that?”
I knew I was going to pay
for this one.
I spent a full hour in
the dunk tank. I refuse to admit to how many times I was dunked.
True to form, Jonathon
Kent showed up and spent twenty minutes dunking me as it was. He never missed.
Clark took a few shots too. I think he enjoyed it almost as much as his father
did. Was I humiliated? Hell yeah. But then again, there was a small part of
it that was almost fun. Sure, it drew one hell of a crowd and I doubted I would
ever be able to look any of these people in the eye again but then there were
some things that were more important to me at the moment, and that was not
loosing Sinjun’s misguided faith in me.
She was waiting for me
when I came out of the small tent that served as a changing room. Clark had
gone to the house and Brandon had given him a pair of navy blue slacks and
matching dress shirt to return with. Sinjun smiled at me as I approached.
“Well?” She asked.
“I told you your uncle
would hock the farm to humiliate me.”
“Actually, Lex, I think his opinion of you rose a few notches.”
I offered no reply,
thinking to myself how terribly wrong Sinjun obviously was. Changing the
subject, I asked, “So what next in this day of fun?” I tried to be sarcastic
but it didn’t really come out that way. Of course, I would never admit that
maybe I was having fun. Maybe just a little.
“Now you bid for a picnic
basket, find a spot on the field to watch the fireworks, eat your dinner and
wait for the show.”
Sinjun laughed at me and
took my hand. I adored her smile and enjoyed the feeling of her hold on me. I
had been trying so hard to ignore her and now I found myself wanting to just
ignore those promises I made to myself for this one day and accept all that she
was silently offering. I knew I couldn’t let it last and I knew I couldn’t
allow myself to become lost or comfortable in it. But maybe, just for a few
more hours, I could see what it was like to be a part of Sinjun’s world.
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