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 Three


Disarm you with a smile
And leave you like they left me here
To wither in denial
The bitterness of one who's left alone

Ooh, the years burn
Disarm – Smashing Pumpkins


Sinjun hadn’t been lying when she said that everyone would be bidding on a picnic basket for dinner.  It seemed every woman who was connected to the Plant – employees, spouses, daughters, sisters, whatever – had created a special “meal for two” in a picnic basket which was then bid on in an auction and the winner got both the meal and the choice to share it with it’s creator.  All of the money raised was going to the Local Farmer’s Disaster Fund .  It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of.  I stood in the back and watched as the baskets quickly sold, with those made by women who were known to be good cooks going for the highest dollar.  Martha Kent’s basket was announced and there was about 2.5 seconds there that I considered bidding for it until I noticed her husband scowling at me.  He and Clark and a few others bid on it and Clark finally won.  I had no doubt there was enough for the family packed away in it anyway.  I glanced around for Sinjun, prepared to tell her that I had been there long enough and was going to head home but she had disappeared sometime earlier to help with the auction.  I knew I couldn’t leave until I saw her.


Randy McAllister was the hawker for the auction and I watched as he paused for a moment, grabbing another basket, whispering to someone to the side of the stage then moving back to the microphone.  “Okay, our next basket has been prepared by a certain someone without whom we would not all be here today, sweating our ever-lovin’ asses off!”  The crowd laughed appreciatively.  “And I just get the feeling the bidding is going to go through the roof on this, just for the chance to spend some quality time in this young lady’s company.  So, without further ado, why don’t we start the bidding on Sinjun’s basket at twenty dollars.”


I blinked.  Sinjun?  My gaze narrowing, I scanned the front of the stage to see her just below Randy, rolling her eyes at his antics.  Around me, the bidding was quickly rising, just as my dock supervisor had predicted.  Even her uncle was bidding.  Then I heard a familiar voice call out, “Fifty bucks!”


I glanced in the direction of the voice and recognized that Neanderthal named Bubba, or whatever, who Sinjun had recently gone out with.  The “handsy” one that Jonathon Kent didn’t trust.  I didn’t hesitate a moment longer.


“Two hundred dollars,” I called out.  There, see if Bubba tries to outbid that.


Around me there was silence as all eyes turned to me.  I kept my gaze trained on the front of the stage where Sinjun stood, grinning knowingly in my direction.  Damn her all to hell. 


“Uh… “  Randy stammered.  “Two hundred dollars.  Going once, twice… And Sinjun’s basket goes to Mr. Luthor for two hundred dollars.”


Lex, dammit.  The crowd seemed to snap out of their fugue and began chattering to each other all at once, and I looked over at Jonathon who was really giving me a flat out dirty look and I considered smiling or something but found myself just looking away.  Sinjun had grabbed the basket and was moving through the crowd toward me, stopping occasionally to speak to someone before moving on.  I wanted her to hurry.  Too many people were casting speculative glances my way now, and I was beginning to wonder if there weren’t some secret small town code that doesn’t allow people to bid higher than fifty dollars for a goddamned meal.  Not that I would have been surprised to find out I had screwed up again.


Sinjun came up to me, basket hooked under her arm.  “Will that be cash or charge, Mr. Luthor?” She asked coyly.


I frowned, pulling out my wallet and handing her two hundred dollar bills.  She stared at them for a moment then looked up at me, shaking her head.


“You know, it’s probably not safe to walk around with quite that much cash on you.  What was in there?  Like a thousand?  Two thousand?”


“You never know when you’re going to have to buy an over-priced picnic basket,” I replied.


Sinjun laughed.  “Well, here you go.”  She handed me the basket then turned to leave.


“Hey!”  I grabbed her arm, pulling her back.  “I thought you’d be eating with me.”


“Oh, I’m extra,” she told me innocently. 


“Sinjun – “


“Relax, Lex.  I’m teasing.  Just let me go give this money to Randy, and I’ll be right back, okay?”


I nodded, watching her closely as she walked off.  I wished Brandon were there, then he could be holding this silly looking basket instead of me.  I’d never felt so out of place in my life.  People were still staring.  I stared back, frowning at each and every gaze until they finally looked away.  I relaxed a little when I saw Clark headed toward me, grinning from ear to ear, his mother’s basket hooked under his arm.


“You sure paid a pretty penny to have your stomach pumped,” he joked as he reached me.


“Are you warning me off from your cousin’s food?”  I asked, turning to greet Martha as she walked up to join her son.


“Now, Clark,” Martha told him.  “You hush.  You know very well that Sinjun is an excellent cook.  Don’t go scaring Lex like that.  Just because she had some issues with the chicken…”


I raised my eyebrows at that.  “Chicken?  Is there something I should know?”


Clark chuckled.  “Sinjun cooked dinner for us last week and made fried chicken.  Almost set the house on fire.  The chicken was blacker than coal.  Mom made us eat it anyway, to be nice.”


I was ready to ask for my money back.


Sinjun appeared suddenly at my side, glaring at her cousin.  “She made you eat it because you were making fun of me, and it pissed me off,” she countered.  “Besides, it wasn’t my fault.  I told you I can’t handle frying things because the grease scares me but no you demanded fried chicken.  You did it on purpose.”


Martha looked at me and rolled her eyes between the two of them while they both resorted to sticking their tongues out at one another.  I tried to remember if I had ever stuck my tongue out at someone.  Maybe a few of my nannies.  But not in the last 12 years or so. 


“Are you two going to join us?”  Martha asked.  “We brought the big blanket and have a perfect place already picked out for the fireworks.”


“I don’t think so,” Sinjun replied.  “I’d like Lex to enjoy himself and try to relax before he implodes or something equally unsightly, and I don’t see uncle Jonathon allowing that to happen.”


I sighed.  Martha made a face.


“I don’t think your uncle will – “


“Oh yes he will,” Clark, Sinjun and myself all replied at once. 


Martha laughed in surprise.  “All right.  I won’t ask again.  You two have fun. Come on, Clark.  Let’s go make certain your dad isn’t making himself sick off of corn dogs.”


Sinjun and I watched silently as they walked off, then I looked down at her and she looked up at me and grinned.


“Did I do good saving you like that?”


I smiled.  “Yes.  Although I could have had fun ruining your uncle’s day.”


She punched me lightly in the arm.  “Be nice.  Come on, let’s get a spot in the field before all of the good places are taken.”


Sinjun led me through the throngs of people enjoying the games and rides, until we finally reached a small path that led through the trees toward another field that was still a part of the Plant property.  If possible the day was becoming even more humid and as I glanced up at the sky, I noticed gathering storm clouds in the distance.  I hoped for my employees’ sakes that nothing happened to deter from the fireworks display planned for the evening.  When Sinjun had come to me with her ideas for it, I had simply told her to spare no expense, to pay whatever it took to make her vision come to life.  There were many great advantages about having inexhaustible funds at your disposal – seeing Sinjun’s eyes light up the way they had that day was one of them.  With that thought, I turned to look at her, only to stop in confusion when I realized she was no longer beside me.


“Sinjun?”  I called out.


“Up here.”


I looked ahead to an enormous old oak a few feet in front of me, on which Sinjun was currently scrambling up the trunk.  I watched silently, uncertain of what to say as she continued to climb higher and higher above me into the branches.  Swallowing nervously, certain that at any moment she would come tumbling through the leaves, I said, “Come down from there, Sinjun.  Now.”


She peered down at me.  “Does this make you nervous?”


“As a matter of fact,” I replied with a frown.


“You mean you wouldn’t climb up here and save me if I got stuck?”


“Hardly,” I muttered, glancing away to see if anyone were nearby to help in case she fell.


“It’s just a tree, Lex.  Certainly you climbed plenty of them as a child.”


I turned to reply to that when her face suddenly appeared in front of me and upside down, causing me to jump and her to laugh.  For a moment, it disoriented me, reminding me of the incident a few months back when Amanda’s brother had sought revenge for his sister, and strung me upside down in a straight jacket in the now shut down Club Zero.  She was hanging from one of the fatter branches, her knees hooked around it.  It would have been a good six foot drop right onto her head.  I tried not to worry about her safety, focusing instead on her last comment.


“Actually, no.”


“No?”  Her upside down frown looked like a smile from the Cheshire cat.  It was more than slightly unnerving.  “You’ve never climbed a tree?”


“Luthors don’t – “


“Climb trees,” she finished with me, rolling her eyes, though from the angle it was down instead of heavenward.  “Do Luthors do anything except count their money?”


“Yes, we make more of it,” I bit back in exasperation.  “You know it isn’t the life goal of every child alive to climb a tree.  Now please get down.”


“It isn’t?”  Sinjun reached up and grabbed the branch then flipped backwards to the ground to land on her feet before me.  She brushed her hands off on her shorts.  “You are seriously lacking in your education, Lex Luthor.”


I made a face at that.  “And I suppose you plan on educating me?”


Sinjun nodded, looping her arm through mine and leading us on once more.  “Yes.  We’ll begin with Tree Climbing 101, How to Properly Enjoy a Carnival, and When It’s Okay to Dress Down.”


“I have an image to maintain, you know,” I told her, thinking there was nothing wrong with what I was wearing and suddenly feeling self-conscious at the same moment.


“Which is why for now we’ll keep you in private courses until you advance up to the level of the other students,” she teased.


I glanced over at her.  “Exactly how many others students are you privately teaching?”


She punched me in the arm.


A few minutes later, we stopped at a clearing that Sinjun deemed as perfect for picnicking and the fireworks display.  She shooed me to the side while she carefully laid out the blanket then began digging through the basket while I sat down across from her.  I prepared myself for a meal of burned fried chicken and greasy biscuits but soon found my eyes widening in pleasant surprise as Sinjun began filling two plates with much more familiar and welcomed food.  Crab canapés, olive tapenade on sourdough, baked parmesan oysters, roasted garlic goat cheese and crackers, tomato fusilli salad, and a bottle of port wine.  I looked up to find her smiling at me.


“As great of a cook as Martha is,” I commented.  “I just don’t see this food being served in the Kent household.”


Sinjun laughed.  “No.  My mother taught me to cook.  And since dad was always entertaining important scientists and researchers, she learned out of necessity to prepare things other than biscuits and gravy or dumplings, both of which have their proper place at the dinner table, but not for sophisticates from Gotham or Metropolis or wherever.”


I shook my head with a smile, wondering if this woman would ever stop surprising me.


“Not bad for a little farm girl from Kansas, hmm?”


Recalling my words to her before the dunk tank, I felt a guilty flush spill over me.  “Sinjun, about that – “ I began.


“It’s okay,” she interrupted, handing me a plate assorted with the different snacks.  “If you can’t flip out on a friend, who can you flip out on?”


She was trying to make a joke of it, make me forget it had happened, and I was more than willing to let her do so, but that didn’t mean that I would forget.  Setting the plate beside me, I grabbed the wine and corkscrew and opened the bottle, pouring each of us a glass in the plastic goblets she had brought.  I went to set the bottle back down then glanced at it, frowning.


“Where’d you get this?”


Sinjun grinned.  “Brandon got it out of your cellar for me.”


I laughed, shaking my head.  “I’m going to have to have a little talk with him.”


“You don’t mind, do you?”


“Well, since I am the one drinking it,” I acknowledged, shrugging my shoulders. 


“See?  I told him you’d be reasonable about it.”


I almost choked on the sip that I had taken.


“Eat your food,” she told me.


I grinned.  “I would but I am still pondering your cousin’s warning regarding a stomach pump.”


Flashing me a nasty look, Sinjun reached to snatch my plate from me, but I moved out of her reach, laughing at her indignant expression.


“I’m teasing, Sinj,” I told her.


“I know,” she replied.  “And it’s unnerving.”


I laughed again, and we fell into a companionable silence, eating our food and sipping the wine.  Sinjun soon stretched out on her stomach, her legs up behind her, feet kicking in the air absently.  Sometimes she seemed like such a child, and at others she was wiser than many.  She was such a contradiction, a mystery I found myself wanting to solve.  Again and again I worked to destroy this friendship or whatever it was that was growing between us, and again and again I found myself wanting to mend those burned bridges, asking for her forgiveness, pulling her back.  It made me feel weak.  It made me feel strong.  I didn’t know what to think anymore.




 Her voice pulled me from my thoughts.  “Hmmm?”


She had rolled to her side, holding her head up on her hand, regarding me thoughtfully.  “I want to know about you and your father.  I want to know what happened between you two.  I know you probably think I’m prying but… “  Sinjun trailed off, sighing, worrying her lower lip in thought before continuing, “We’re friends, right?”


I smiled slightly.  “Yes.  We are.”


“So, as your friend, I would like you to be able to feel like you can talk to me, that you can tell me anything.  That you can trust me.”


I looked down at my empty plate.  “I don’t trust easily, Sinjun.”


“Okay.  Then we’ll start small.  You try to give me the best possible reply that you can, without feeling as if I am invading your privacy completely, and a few weeks from now, we can see if I have earned your trust.”


She made it sound so easy, though I knew it wasn’t.  To trust someone meant opening yourself up to hurt, exposing yourself, making you vulnerable to attack.  Physical attack was easily avoided or mended, emotional attack could ruin someone.  In all my life, I had only really trusted one person – my mother.  For awhile, I had felt the same about Clark.  But through the past few months, I have realized that he is keeping secrets from me.  Everyone has their secrets, and I am certainly not innocent in that regard, but he lied to me, I know it, directly to my face.  I don’t know what about, and I don’t know why he felt the need to, I just know it happened.  There is nothing I can do about it and so I go on.  But the trust was damaged.  And now Sinjun is asking for that very same trust.


And the worst of it was, I found myself wanting to give it to her. 


“It’s really been the past twelve years that things have been like this between us,” I began slowly, wondering if I was making a mistake by saying anything, unable to stop myself from doing so.  “Ever since the meteor shower… when I lost my hair.”  I paused, staring off at the copse of trees across from us.  “We’d never been close.  My father isn’t like that.  It’s not like we ever tossed a ball in the backyard or attended the father/son trips in school.  He was always off on business somewhere and on holidays I would receive a gift from him to make up for his absence…  Mom would give me a quick hug and say something like You know you’re father or something like that, and it would be forgotten.


“After the meteor shower though… “  I shook my head, not wanting to continue.  I was doing little more than opening old wounds that I had learned the hard way to keep closed.  This was none of her business and yet… “It was like he couldn’t even look at me.  I was no longer his son, just some freak he was now stuck with and didn’t know what to do with.”


“I doubt your father thought of you as a freak, Lex,” Sinjun denied, her expression clearly showing that she didn’t think it was possible for any parent to regard their child in such a manner.


God she was naïve.  “No?  Trust me, Sinj, I heard it from his mouth more than a few times,” I told her, ignoring her gasp of shock.  I didn’t want her pity, couldn’t stand that from her or anyone else.  I thought about leaving.  Then realized I would only be running away, and I was the one who had started talking.  There was no way out of this but to continue.


“I spent those first two years, between the ages of nine and eleven, in and out of every hospital, clinic, and lab the world had to offer.  I had become my father’s very own guinea pig, his experiment to see if he could turn a freak into a normal child again.  They poked, prodded and covered me in every ointment ever conceived of.  Nothing worked.  My hair wouldn’t grow back, the follicles were dead, my asthma was gone with no explanation.  On the inside I was a healthy eleven year old boy with a slightly elevated white blood cell count.  On the outside, I was some freakish child not worthy of being called a Luthor. 


“Then, when I was eleven, my mother got pregnant.  It was a total surprise.  I’ve never seen my father so happy.  At last he had a chance to have a son he could actually love.  Not some freak.  But one morning, my mother found Julian dead in his cradle.  After that, dad stayed away.  He came home long enough to attend my mother’s funeral, where he stood silently beside me, speaking not a word, then getting in the limo and returning to the airport.  He sent me off to boarding schools, where I was teased until I was forced to strike back, then sent home only to be shipped off to another one.  During breaks, I spent holidays with the staff at the house where I would receive my cursory gift from him, signed To Lex, From Your Father.


“At first it hurt like hell.  I was just a kid, Luthor or no.  I didn’t understand why my father didn’t want to be with me.  Then I began to realize as the other students and teachers at the schools reacted so badly to my appearance that he was just like they were.  He saw the same thing they did.  So I learned to shut it out, to treat him as differentially as he did me.  Sure, like any teenager, I began reacting out against him, which he referred to as ‘bids for attention’.  Maybe that’s what they were.  Maybe they still are.  Somewhere in my mind I probably came to the conclusion that the only way to get my father to notice me was to force him to do it.  It’s rarely worked though.  Usually he hires someone else to deal with the ‘problem’.  Only when I interfere in something that has to do with his empire does he really stand up and take notice.  And then he makes me pay for it.”


I stopped.  I couldn’t believe I had just said so much.  I had never told anyone that much about my father and I, and I found myself feeling embarrassed, angry… and just a little better, like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  I steeled myself for Sinjun’s pity though.  To hear her say Oh I’m so sorry, Lex, or What a horrible way to grow up or something equally humiliating.  When no words were forthcoming, I looked over to her, only to find her stretched out on her back, her head pillowed on her arm, staring up at the sky above.  She looked as if she hadn’t heard a word I had said.  On the one hand, I was relieved.  On the other, I was angry that I had poured out so much only for her to ignore it. 


Sighing, I snapped, “Sinjun – “


“Look!  There’s a bunny!”


I frowned, glancing out to the field, seeing nothing more than other picnickers, certainly no rabbits.  “I don’t see – “


“Up there.”


I looked over to find her pointing up to the sky.  Great, she’s lost her mind.


“Don’t you see it?”  She asked, still not looking at me.  “That cloud right there, just overhead.  There are the ears and a little fluffy tail to the side.”


I rolled my eyes.  “I see a cloud, Sinjun.”


“C’mere.”  Sinjun patted the blanket beside her, indicating that I should lay down next to her. 


I fought the urge to do so for about five seconds before finally moving over beside her and stretching out so that we laid side by side, staring at the clouded skies above.  I stared hard at the cloud she indicated but still saw nothing more than a storm cloud that was likely to open up and drench us at any moment.  I was still slightly stung that she had ignored everything I had just told her.  It made me feel like a selfish brat, wanting her to pay attention to my problems like that, and I realized why I had always kept them buried.  It was best to keep your hurt to yourself, because no one but you was going to care anyways.


“When I was little and got really upset or angry about something,” Sinjun began softly.  “My father would take me out into the pasture, and we would lay back together and pick out shapes in the clouds.  He said that whenever I was feeling alone in this world, all I needed to do was look up and find my friends and know that there was always someone near.  Of course, sometimes when I was really angry, my friends would consist of dragons and monsters and demons who were biting off the heads of those who had hurt me,” she laughed.  “But usually there was always a bunny or a kitty or the occasional elephant to keep me company.”


“What did you do on clear days?” I questioned blandly.


She turned her head to watch me.  I kept from meeting her gaze.  “Lex, no one can be unhappy on a clear day.  There’s some law against it or something.”


I would have loved to believe she was right.


“Certainly you see something up there in the clouds,” Sinjun softly encouraged.


An oncoming thunderstorm.  There were some streaks left by passing jets.  A hawk circling slowly above us.  I wanted to leave.  Then Sinjun quietly slipped her hand into my mine, lacing our fingers together, her thumb gently stroking over my own, and it hit me that she had been listening.  She had heard every word I said and had refrained from diminishing it by offering her sympathy or advice.  Instead, she had given me a part of her life, a small yet significant part that she always carried around with her, especially now that her father was gone.  I found myself concentrating more fully on the clouds above, wanting to give her something in return, wanting to let her know that I understood what she was trying to tell me.  I narrowed my eyes, strained my imagination (actually I didn’t even know if I still had one of those), tried very, very hard to see something, anything.  Beside me, Sinjun remained silent.  It was minutes before I realized I just didn’t have a talent for this.


“There.  I see a,” I thought quickly for something in my mind, “A dog.”


Sinjun snickered, then laughed outright.  “Liar!” She accused.  “You don’t see a damn thing and you know it.”


Well, she caught me on that.  I leaned up on my elbow, turning toward her, only to find that she was looking over at me, smiling.  A cloud passed over the sun, casting shadows across her face.  It made me think of my influence, of what would likely become of her should I ever allow anything to happen between us.  A brief chill passed through me at the comparison.  I was like a shadow, casting darkness over the brightness of her life, of any life I came into contact with.  Someday I would be just like my father, obliterating anything good and beautiful within my reach.  It scared the hell out of me.  I felt Sinjun’s hand tighten around me, as if she could read my thoughts.  I forced the morbid thoughts away, knowing that if nothing more came of this, I at least wanted to remember the moment fondly. 


She was still watching me.  I could count the light freckles that were dusted across the bridge of her nose.  The cloud passed away and her green eyes lightened once more against the sun.  There was a stain of wine on her lips, and I wondered what else I would taste there, I wondered what she would taste like.  Her distinctive aroma of honeysuckle and apples wafted over me, drawing me in.  My gaze trailed over her, from her white peasant blouse that bared her pale, slightly rounded abdomen to the denim shorts that were frayed along the edges, showing tan, smooth and muscular thighs and calves.  When I returned my gaze to Sinjun’s, her eyes had darkened with a look I had come to recognize.  Warning sirens went off in my head.  Her lips parted slightly, I saw her pink tongue dart out to lick them and I found myself leaning forward, drawn inexplicably nearer.  My hand moved, of its own volition, away from hers to splay across the bared expanse of her stomach.  Her skin was soft, naturally warm, I felt her muscles contract beneath my touch.  We were so close now that I could smell the wine that scented her mouth as her breath fanned across my lips.  Mere centimeters now, I could see the erratic beat of her pulse against her throat, hear my own heart thudding against my chest.  In fear, excitement, need.  Her eyes fluttered closed.  I swallowed, tightened my hand over her stomach, knew I was about to fall over the edge of the precipice I had been teetering on for so long.  


Thunder cracked loudly overhead.  We both jumped, I pulled back.  Sinjun’s eyes had fluttered open.  She looked in panic at the sky then over at me.  I climbed to my feet.  I knew what had almost happened, what I had almost allowed to happen.  And I had wanted it so badly I hadn’t cared about the consequences.  Pure selfishness had almost led me down the path of Sinjun’s destruction.  I couldn’t – wouldn’t – allow that to happen.  Not ever again.   


“I need to get back home,” I told her quickly, not meeting her gaze, not wanting to see the pain I knew I was inflicting.  “I… I’ve spent too much time here.  I’ve got work to do.  Enjoy the fireworks.”


I walked away, didn’t look back.  I scowled at every employee I passed, attempting to put my mask back in place, become the person they expected, the one that could ignore Sinjun and her sweet advances, her patience.  And yet, I was the one who kept screwing up, who kept pushing her away and then allowing her back in.  If I was lucky, she would hate me now, give up on me, let this all die away.  Unfortunately, I didn’t want that.  Deep inside, I wanted to stop fighting, and I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if the clouds above us had not issued their warning.




A few hours later I sat in the library, my fourth scotch in hand, listening to the fireworks that were lighting up the night sky from across town and the music that was playing low in the background of the room.  A few months ago, Clark had brought a CD by Creed over, saying he thought I would like it.  There was one track in particular, the title track called “My Own Prison” that I had quickly grown attached to.  In my more maudlin moments, such as now, I put it on repeat.  Usually, it did little more than serve to drown me ever deeper in my dark thoughts. 


My father had banished me away to Smallville but the truth was, I have always been the one creating my own exile.  Developed by years of non-acceptance from my peers, a lack of anything but derision from my father, the loss of my mother, I had quickly come to realize that it was easier to remain safely hidden behind steel-enforced walls within my own domain rather than take the chance of suffering more pain.  I wasn’t blind to that fact.  I used to hate myself for doing it, and now I simply accepted it.  It was easier to be hated and feared than it was to be pitied and ridiculed.  I think that was what my father had been trying to teach me all along, but I still stubbornly refused to acknowledge it.  At least to him.


Maybe there was a part of me that still hoped for a miracle.   


“A court is in session, a verdict is in
No appeal on the docket today
Just my own sin
The walls are cold and pale
The cage made of steel
Screams fill the room
Alone I drop and kneel
Silence now the sound
My breath the only motion around
Demons cluttering around
My face showing no emotion
Shackled by my sentence
Expecting no return
Here there is no penance
My skin begins to burn”


So wrapped up was I in my thoughts and dreams and fears that I never heard Sinjun’s entrance until I felt her presence in the room.  Looking up, I saw her standing there at the doorway, watching me while her hands clenched and unclenched into fists at her side.  I had hoped that Sinjun would have had sense enough to stay away, that she would have given us both some time to forget, to let it pass.  But here she was, forcing us to face up to that ‘almost’ moment on the field a few hours before.  It made me so angry I felt like throwing my glass at her.  I didn’t want this, not now.  I couldn’t deal with it.


“Shouldn’t you be watching the fireworks with your family or something,” I practically sneered, rising to my feet to pour myself another glass before I did throw it at her.


Silence.  Then, “Why do you keep doing this, Lex?”


I poured the scotch, gathering my thoughts.  I hadn’t expected her to be so direct.  I didn’t know what to think.  I called her bluff.  “Doing what?”


“Giving and taking all at the same moment, holding out your hand and snatching it back away.  Behaving as if you want something and then pretending it never happened.  I don’t understand it.”


Taking a deep breath, I turned and leaned back against the bar, crossing my ankles, watching her with the most disinterested expression I could muster.  “You’re imagination is on overload, Sinjun.  There is nothing like that going on.”


“So I held my head up high
Hiding hate that burns inside
Which only fuels their selfish pride
We’re all held captive
Out from the sun
A sun that shines on only some
We the meek are all in one
I hear a thunder in the distance
See a vision of a cross
I feel the pain that was given
On that sad day of loss


“You were going to kiss me today.”


I shrugged.  “I kiss lots of women, Sinjun.  You were tempting.  Then I changed my mind and realized you weren’t as tempting as I had at first thought.”


Sinjun shook her head.  “Stop it, Lex.”


I frowned, looked away, finished my scotch.  I didn’t know what she wanted from me.  No.  Wait.  I did.  But I knew I couldn’t give it to her.  Drinking in the anger I felt at this impossible situation, I slammed the glass down on the bar and stepped forward.


“What the hell do you want to hear, Sinjun?”  I demanded.  “Love poems and declarations of forever and sweet-nothings in your ear?  Well, you aren’t going to hear them, not from me.  That’s not what I’m about.  Do you want me to admit I’m attracted to you? Fine.  I am.  Does that make you happy?  I hope so because that’s all you’re going to get, Sinjun.  Do you understand?  That is all you get from me.  Nothing more.  Go back home where you belong.  Have your aunt tuck you into bed and read you a fairy tale about happy endings because this is real life we’re talking about here, and nothing like that is going to happen between us!”


Sinjun didn’t move.  “Why?” She asked.


I looked away.  I wasn’t about to open those flood gates.  I needed to think of something to say to hurt her, to send her running away from me.  To make her realize the kind of demon I was.  But she didn’t give me that chance.  She was suddenly standing directly in front of me, that piercing gaze of hers looking right through me, through the walls and the mask, and I knew in that instant she saw everything I was holding back.  I wasn’t about to let her win though.  I would fight it.  This was for her, after all.  Sinjun didn’t understand.  She couldn’t understand.  She was too sweet, too naïve, too innocent.  I would destroy her.  I had seen it.


“You think I’m too naïve to know you,” she softly accused as if reading my thoughts.  “You probably think I’ve placed you on some sort of pedestal, and you fear you’re going to fall off of it.”


I frowned.  “Well, haven’t you?”  I took the chance of meeting her gaze.  I couldn’t look away.


Sinjun shook her head.  “You think I have some glorified perception of who you are.  But you’re wrong.”


“Is that so?”  I didn’t believe her.  “Who am I then?”


“You’re an arrogant, spoilt, and greedy child.  You’re angry at the world around you for the injustices you faced growing up, and you both hate and love your father.  You want nothing more from him than his acknowledgement that you’re his son, and if it takes becoming like him to get that, then you’ll do so, even if you don’t want to.  A part of you wants to crush him for all he’s done to you and not done for you, but a deeper part just wishes that he would be proud of you, just once.” She paused, her eyes scanning my face, which I kept carefully neutral.  “The anger and pain you harbor have been pushed to the forefront as a defense against the world around you.  You would rather have people hate you than take the chance of ever letting them close enough to hurt you.  That gives you license to manipulate peoples lives as you see fit, all the while telling yourself it’s okay because they would have tried to do it to you anyway if you hadn’t gotten there first.”     


“A lion roars in the darkness
Only he holds the key
A light to free me from my burden
And grant me life eternally
Should have been dead
On a Sunday morning
Banging my head
No time for mourning
Ain’t got no time”


“And I suppose you want to fix all of that?” I replied darkly, not wanting her to know how dead-on she had been in her estimation of me.  “You think you can make me a better man.”




I blinked.  “What?”


There was the softest hint of a smile on her lips.  She stepped closer and looked up at me.  “Lex, I’m drawn to who you are, not who I want you to be.  Your drive and ambition are what make you, no matter the reasons for them.  You’re strong, and someday you’re going to conquer the world.  I can see it.  It’s in you to do so, just because your father has always told you that you can’t.”


I shook my head, refusing to acknowledge what she was saying.  Besides, her words were ugly.  I was ugly.  I knew it.  And my shadow was creeping over her.


“You want to be there to save me from myself,” I accused.


Sinjun shook her head, took another step.  We were almost touching. 


“I want to be there to see your greatness,” she whispered and a shudder echoed through me at her words.


She laid her hands over my chest, pressed herself closer.  My body reacted instantly.  There was no denying how much I wanted her.  My hold was loosening.  I had climbed back onto the precipice, but I was teetering once more.  I had to get her to understand, to make her see that this could never happen.  I wasn’t my father yet.  I could save myself and her.


“You don’t understand,” I told her, angry at her, angry at myself.  I shoved my hands into my pockets, tried to rock back from her touch, but she stayed close, the warmth of her hands marking me.  I ached with want.  Need.  “I’ll only hurt you.  You deserve… something different.  Someone who isn’t going to destroy that light inside of you, Sinjun.  Someone who isn’t going to – “


“Corrupt me?” She asked.


I nodded.  Her hand reached up around my neck, fingers stroking behind my ear.  Her touch was intoxicating.  I hadn’t expected this approach from her, she wasn’t letting up, wasn’t backing down. 


Sinjun leaned up, her warm breath brushing across my cheek as she whispered into my ear, “But what if I want you to corrupt me?”

“So I held my head up high
Hiding hate that burns inside
Which only fuels their selfish pride
We’re all held captive
Out from the sun
A sun that shines on only some
We the meek are all in one
I cry out to God
Seeking only his decision
Gabriel stands and confirms
I’ve created my own prison


I closed my eyes, heard strings snapping in my mind, releasing the last threads of control I had.  And then her lips were pressing against mine, her hand on my neck, pulling me down to her, insisting.  My mind blanked for a brief moment, and then I realized I had one last chance to end this by playing her innocence against her.  Pulling my hands from my pockets, I grabbed her by the arms and pulled her hard against me, my mouth crushing hers, ravishing it cruelly.  I buried one hand in her hair, tangling my fingers in the strands, pulling hard, bending over her as I did so, using my tongue to push past her lips, drinking in everything she had so foolishly offered, taking it without remorse.  I became lost in the taste of her, the feel of her body pressing against mine.  I was so engrossed in the feeling of finally having her as I had so often dreamed that it took a moment for me to realize she wasn’t struggling against me as I had hoped.  If anything, her hands were gripping the collar of my shirt as if she could not let go, and instead of protesting, I felt her sigh against my mouth.


I teetered and fell into the abyss.


Gentling my touch, I leaned up once more, holding her to me, my arms wrapping around her, enfolding her, imprisoning her.  Sinjun’s tongue stroked across my lower lip, and I trembled, pressing kisses at the side of her mouth, moving over her cheek, her jaw line, down her neck.  Her fingers danced over my head, at once caressing and pulling me to her.  I lost all sense of right and wrong.  All I knew was that this was what I wanted, what I needed -- Sinjun, here in my arms.


I finally pulled back, knowing that if I didn’t I would throw her to the floor and take her there in the library.  Looking at her, standing before me, I found myself wondering why I had never considered her beautiful.  She was at that moment.  Her cheeks flushed, her lips dark and swollen from my kisses, her eyes glazed with passion and desire.  Thankfully, I was still in control of my faculties enough to know that this had to remain her decision.  I knew I had the power to control her, to sweep her off her feet and make her believe it was her choice to be with me.  But I wasn’t going to do that.  Dropping my arms, I stepped away from her, walked past her, over to the doorway.  I turned back and she was watching me, her gaze haunted.  I realized then that she thought I was rejecting her once more.  God, if only I could!  If only I was strong enough to walk away just one more time, I knew that would be it.  But this brief taste had not been enough.  I was addicted to Sinjun.  I was addicted to what she was offering to me.  I couldn’t walk away.


I held my hand out to her.  “This has to be your decision, Sinjun,” I told her quietly, realizing my own voice sounded strange to me, heavy with desire.  Heavy with emotions I usually kept at bay.  “There is still the chance to walk away.  Once we start down this path, there is no turning back.  Nothing will be the same, Sinjun.”


She moved toward me, her eyes searching mine.  “Does that scare you?”


“A little,” I admitted.  I didn’t want to lose her.  I didn’t want her to learn how to hate me and yet, it was inevitable that such a thing would happen.


“As long as we continue to admit our fears to each other, everything should be okay,” Sinjun told me, slipping her hand into mine.


“What do you fear?” I asked, wanting to know.  Needing to know.


“You,” she answered softly.  “And me.  You pushing me away.  And never knowing this feeling again that I have when I’m with you.  This wonderful, terrible feeling that both frightens me and draws me in at the same moment.”


I knew what she spoke of.  I pulled her to me again, brushed my lips across hers, then stepped back and pulled her with me, up the stairs, down the hall to my room.  I wasn’t going to push her away.  Not this time.  I hoped she realized that, I hoped she knew that she would have to be the one to walk away this time.  I couldn’t say no anymore, I couldn’t deny myself or her.  I should have.  Maybe I lacked the strength.  Maybe I was as weak as my father always said.  I allowed my emotions to rule me.  And this time I didn’t care.  I wouldn’t care.  Not now, not tonight.  Not when her hand was so trusting and warm within my own.  Not when she followed me so willingly.  Not when my desire for her currently rivaled anything I had previously felt in my life.


When we entered my room and I closed the door behind us, Sinjun became suddenly shy and fidgety, once more her old self.  Seeing it made me ask myself what I was doing, made me realize I should stop this here and now.  It was too late for that though.  I had told her there was no going back and for me there wasn’t.  Samantha had been right.  Normally I took what I wanted, and this time I planned on doing exactly that.


“Come here,” I told her softly, my eyes never leaving her as Sinjun turned toward me and shyly stepped forward.


I took her by the arms and pulled her back against me, my mouth capturing hers, and I allowed myself to become lost again in her warmth and honeyed taste.  I felt her arms wrap around my shoulders, her hand at the back of my head, stroking, pulling me toward her.  I silently reminded myself to go slow.  I owed her that much.  But as I moved my hands over her, touching her, and she whimpered softly against my mouth, I could barely cling to reason.  I tugged at her blouse, almost tore it in my haste, all the while placing kisses along her neck and shoulders while I tossed the garment to the floor.  My hands devoured her skin, I couldn’t seem to stop stroking her.  I brushed my fingers across her right breast, teasing the nipple through the fabric until it hardened into a tight bud beneath my touch.  She moaned in the back of her throat and leaned into my hand, all trepidation seeming to have vanished.    


Her fingers were working against the buttons of my shirt and then her hands were against my chest, her fingertips teasing.  I dragged my hands away from her long enough to tug my shirt off over my head and then pull her back to me.  My fingers worked deftly at the hooks on her bra, releasing them, tossing it away, and then we were skin against skin.  I moved her back against the bed, gently pushed her on to it, running my hands down her shoulders, over her breasts, leaning over to capture a nipple between my lips, tenderly suckling.  Sinjun gasped, arching up to me, her hands clenching around my shoulders, while I stroked her other breast.  I continued to lavish attention on the twin orbs until the woman beneath me was writhing and whispering my name, begging me for something more.  I kissed her lips again, quieting her, my hands moving over her shorts, pushing them down her hips while I tugged her sandals off with my foot. 


Moving my mouth to her neck, I bit her softly, licked the spot then traced her collarbone with my tongue.  My hand drifted over her hip, down her thigh, back up her inner thigh to the juncture between, where it sought out her wet warmth and the already swollen nub.  Sinjun jumped at the contact, and I held my hand still, allowing her to become accustomed to the intimacy, all the while continuing to kiss her, whispering softly to her to relax.  Soon I felt her move into my hand instinctively, and I began stroking her once more, circling the nub with my thumb, smiling against her throat at the tiny whimpers of pleasure that were issuing forth.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had been with someone who had offered such an honest reaction.  With Victoria it had always been about performance, with Samantha it had always been about domination, with so many others it had been about what they could get out of it.  I didn’t want to dwell on that.  Though I tried to believe that Sinjun truly wanted to be with me, and only me, I couldn’t help but remind myself that everyone wanted something.   


“Lex… “ Sinjun whispered, her hands running down my neck, pulling me to her. 


I smiled, kissed her lips.  “Does that feel good?”


She nodded, bit her lower lip, turned her head in an attempt to bury it into the mattress.


“Look at me,” I instructed her, leaning over to kiss the side of her mouth. 


Sinjun opened her eyes, looked up at me, nervousness and a hint of embarrassment flooding her features.  In response, I slid a finger into her tight opening, and she closed her eyes again, moaned low in her throat, moved against me.  I leaned back down, kissed her breast, laved a nipple with my tongue, while I continued to stroke her, slipped in another finger.  Her nails were digging into my shoulders, holding me there.  She was all passion and honesty, and I couldn’t help but feel slightly guilty, knowing I was taking advantage of her, knowing that this couldn’t last.  There would never be anything between us but this one night.  It was impossible.  We were impossible.


“Lex!”  She whimpered, drawing my attention to her.  She was arching against me, pulling, pushing, near the edge. 


I kissed her chin, her lips. “It’s okay, Sinj.  Let it happen.  Come for me, lover,” I whispered against her mouth.  “Come for me.”


I felt her muscles contract around my fingers.  I pushed up on my elbow, watching her, losing myself in the way she arched off the mattress as her climax exploded over her, her skin flushed, dewy with perspiration.  I kissed her again as she trembled beneath me, her hands tentatively stroking my chest, the back of my neck.  She cried out when I pulled away from her, but I was too impatient to explain or assure her.  I needed her now, at that moment, I wanted to be buried inside of her and to hell with the consequences and the if’s and maybe’s and what would happen next.  Tomorrow I would be the bad guy.  Tonight, I simply wanted to be a part of Sinjun’s life.


I returned to her when I had divested the rest of my clothes, leaving them in a pile on the floor below us.  She had watched me quietly, her eyes hooded with desire, reaching out to touch me when I came back to her.  Sinjun pushed me down into the mattress, rolling over the top of me, her hands and eyes exploring me in the soft light.  She seemed freer suddenly, less shy, curiosity of me winning out over any intimidation she might have felt.  Her hands ran over my chest, down to my stomach where she pressed her lips softly, then she took me into her hands, gently stroking, touching, holding until I thought I would go mad from aching for her.  Grabbing her around the waist, I pulled her back up to me where she kissed my mouth, smiled against my lips.


“You never told me you were a redhead,” she accused.


I laughed against her mouth.  I couldn’t remember the last time that I had actually done that while in bed with a woman.  Flipping us over so that I was back on top, I replied, “You never asked.”


“Good thing I like redheads almost as much as I like bald men,” Sinjun teased, laughing until I bit her lip.


I kissed Sinjun until she was breathless and writhing beneath me once more.  I wasn’t going to last much longer, but I knew I had to make this right for her.  I wanted her to remember this experience fondly; she could hate me later.  I reached between us, certain that she was ready for me before positioning myself at her entrance.  Slowly I pushed into her, stopping just at the untouched barrier, watching her face as her eyes widened slightly at the unfamiliar feeling.  Holding her eyes, I withdrew a bit then pushed forcefully forward, leaning forward to catch her cry at my intrusion with my mouth.  My heart slamming into my chest, the aching so bad within me that I was certain I would explode at any moment, still I remained unmoving, allowing her to adjust to me while I brushed her lips with mine. 


“Are you all right?” I asked after a moment.


“Mmm,” came her reply.  Then, “Lex?”


“Yes, Sinjun?’


“Don’t stop.”


I smiled at that, withdrawing just a bit to push within her again, gasping in pleasure as I felt her envelope me, her tight sheath closing around me, pulling me deeper inside as her legs wrapped around me. And then I was plunging into her and she was arching beneath me, crying out my name as we rocked against one another.  I felt her nails dig into my back and shoulders, heard her calling out my name, begging me to take her over the edge, and already I began to feel my body tensing, the blood pounding throughout, my senses reeling.  I moved my hand to stroke Sinjun once more, driving her with me toward the brink, pushing her over the edge.  She bucked and cried out my name suddenly, her muscles contracting around me, sending my climax roaring through me, as I spilled myself inside of her, our bodies shaking against each other with the force of it.  My mind reeled from the sensation, and I bit my lip to keep from speaking words that had no place being spoken here.


I fell against her, shuddering still, clenching her to me, knowing instinctively that something had happened just then, something that never had before but refusing to acknowledge that it had been special, that this had been special.  Why dwell on what cannot be?  Our hearts were beating in time to one another, and it was a strangely soothing sound as I continued to lay against her, still buried within her, not inclined to pull away yet.  Was that safety I felt?  Did I actually feel wanted?  The thought terrified me.  This was supposed to just be sex.  I wasn’t supposed to be thinking these thoughts right now, feeling these emotions.  It had been good sex.  Nothing more.


Rolling away from Sinjun, I laid back against my pillow, closed my eyes, sought sleep.  That’s what was supposed to happen.  It didn’t matter that I wanted to hold her and kiss her and ask her if everything had been all right.  I had taken what I wanted; I had given her what she wanted.  Wasn’t that enough?  This was when I should I have kicked her out of bed, told her to go to the guestroom if need be, whatever.  She just couldn’t stay here, not in my bed, not with me like there was anything between us.


But then Sinjun curled against me, her head against my shoulder, her soft lips pressing against my chest, her hand curling trustingly in mine and for some reason my arm wrapped around her shoulders, pulled her closer.  I kissed the top of her head, told her to get some rest, knew that I meant to keep her there.  And against my better judgment, I held her while we both slept.




Two hours later when I awoke, I panicked.  I had quickly crawled out of bed, dressed and escaped to the sanctity of the library where I remained silently staring at nothing while outside the thunderstorm rolled in. 


Upstairs, Sinjun lay sleeping in my bed.  Sinjun St. Claire, cousin to Clark Kent, my closest friend and niece of the man who most likely hated me more than any other person on Earth did.  Sinjun, the Director of Public Relations for the Plant.  A gentle, honest, and brave young woman who deserved a hell of a lot better than some billionaire taking advantage of her innocence.  And yet, it was too late.  I had allowed my emotions to take control and acted against my better judgment.  Now things would never be the same between us.  I knew what I had to do, but I knew it would hurt to do it.  Not just Sinjun but myself as well.  I would likely lose her friendship.  But if I didn’t hurt her now, I would end up doing so later, further down the road and maybe she would end up becoming someone she didn’t like and maybe she would blame me for it.  I knew this had to end before I sucked her into my world.


It was sometime later when I heard her footsteps in the hall.  I believed I had prepared myself for this but when I looked up and saw her standing there in the doorway, my emotions resurfaced.  Her hair was tousled and her gaze sleepy.  She had dressed but still appeared incredibly sensual, like she could be bare and moving beneath me again at a moment’s notice.  I glanced away from her to my laptop screen for a moment, remembering all that I had told myself, steeling my emotions against the girl/woman who continually seemed to scratch at my defenses.  Looking back, I knew my mask was in place, my expression cold.  Even Sinjun seemed to notice.  She began worrying her lower lip.


“I… The thunder woke me up and I realized you were gone,” she told me softly.


I would have held you and protected you from the storm if I could have, Sinj.  But it’s too late for that. 


“I had work to do.  Besides, I don’t like having to deal with all of that ‘after the fact’ crap.”


“Oh.”  The sound was small, fearful.  I hated myself.


Please forgive me.


“Shouldn’t you be getting home?”  I reminded her.  Coldly I added, “It’s late.”


For the briefest of moments, I thought she was going to take a step toward me, and if she had done that, I wouldn’t have been able to fight.  Instead, she blinked and I watched in fascination as this time a mask fell over her features, hiding whatever she had been thinking or feeling at that moment.  To me, it was worse than if she had suddenly burst in to tears.  Perhaps I was too late.  Perhaps the moment I had taken that first step down the path of destruction, there had been no veering from it.  Had I already destroyed what drew me to her in the first place?


“You’re right.  It is late,” she replied, raising her chin in the slightest bit of defiance.  That little gesture made me feel somewhat better.  “Goodnight… Lex.”


Don’t leave.  Turn around.  Stay.


She left.  I almost called her back.




Continue to Chapter Four

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