Title: Someone to Watch Over Me
Author:  Aelora
Author email:  missjedi@fandomchicks.com
Author webpage:
Genre: Het, Original character, Drama, Romance
Rating: R
Pairing: Lex/Sinjun
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??  It's Lex!! 



Part Two - Apathy

Chapter Two


And he must confess
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 had.


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 asked. 


“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 to interrupt.”


“You’re not 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 Plant.”


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, Sinj?”


“I… well… I – “


“Sinjun, you’re 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 with.”


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 automatically.


“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 nodding.


“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.”


“Goodbye, Lex.”


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.


“Hey Lex!”


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 benefit.


“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 humiliates me.”


“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.”


“Invitation?”  I 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, Clark.”


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 hello.”


“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.


“Yes, mother.”


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 hell.


“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.


“Well,” Samantha 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 was right. 




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 Samantha.


“Lex, I’m so glad that you could make it.  I know Sinjun will be pleased.”  Clark’s mother smiled warmly. 


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. Danfield.”


“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 soon.”


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.  Bye.”


“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 regretted it.


“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 bit. 


“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 empathize with.


“You wish your parents were here.”


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 myself.


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 behavior. 


“Interesting gift you gave Sinjun,” Samantha commented dryly beside me.


I winced.


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 you?”


“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 instinctual pleasures.”


“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, darling.”

She walked off, leaving me to ponder my strategy for getting out of tomorrow’s activity.



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 yourself?”


I shrugged.  “Aren’t I always?”


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 the crowd.


“Cotton candy?” She offered.


“Erm… no, thank you.”


“See?  No fun.”


“Unfortunately, unlike 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 chili.”


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 ask.”


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.”


Damn.  “No.”


“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.”


Sinjun laughed.  “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.   


Continue to Chapter Three

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