Title: APPLES AND ORANGES (Nourishment 2.8)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback to: jfc@freeshell.org
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Category: Story, angst, Clark POV
Spoilers: Post-ep for "Dichotic"
Rating: R for language and implications of sexual interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: What happened next

DISCLAIMER: These characters do not belong to me. Smallville is the property of Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, Tollin-Robbins Productions, and Warner Bros. Television, and based upon characters originally created by Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: The rest of "The Nourishment Series" can be found elsewhere on this archive - Enjoy!

DEDICATION: For Tiff, who still believes. too.

COPYRIGHT: (C) February 5, 2003, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.


Lex isn't alone.

So this is how things are going to work.

All week, everybody kept accusing me of being jealous of Lana and Chloe with their respective flings with Ian, but that wasn't the problem at all. I had imagined all along that something was really wrong, and when I had my suspicions confirmed that he was playing one against the other, I was just concerned for the safety of my friends.

True, they are almost more than friends, but I didn't dare think about that in the context of their moving on to other relationships. Then again, it's not like I really ever had a relationship with either of them.

Lana was my first crush, of course, but her long-distance-whatever with Whitney and her frequent indifference have made me see that it probably will never amount to anything. Chloe is the girl I took to the dance, but she made no secret of how she felt about me the next day--I left her in the lurch to go off and save Lana, so I can't really blame her for wanting to be nothing but friends. Ian's warped interpretation of what happened between her and me didn't even make me jealous, though I'm sure that's exactly how it was intended.

Our last conversation in the Talon just drove the point home that I couldn't really expect either of them to see me as anything but the big, geeky guy in their class on whom they can't really count to be there for them. Sure--if either Lana or Chloe were interested in me as more than a friend, I'm sure I could deal with it just fine. But they're not, and I'm not, and that's that.

Besides, I'm in love with Lex Luthor, though you wouldn't think it was mutual to look at him now. I stepped out of the Talon this evening with every intention of coming over here to the castle and making out with my boyfriend, but I see that someone has beaten me to it.

Sure, Lex's dad has ordered us to find "suitable girlfriends" so he'll keep his mouth shut about our seeing each other. Therefore, I did take a closer look at the two women in my life to decide if either of them were acceptable, but I decided that there were good reasons to keep things friendly with both of them, and nothing more. The interpersonal bullshit with Ian just hardened my resolve about that.

However, Lex's little flirtation with Dr. Helen Bryce must have meant more than I first gave it credit for when I saw them together at the hospital. How do I know that? Here she is: with her back to me on the leather couch in Lex's parlor, long brown curls tossed over the back of the cushions with Lex practically in her lap, kissing her.

No--what I felt when I knew that Lana was keeping company with Ian, or when I caught Chloe making out with him--that wasn't jealousy. This is. There is this woman, whom I barely know, and she has my lover's tongue down her throat. How dare she?

Okay, deep breaths. LOTS of deep breaths. It's either that or start yelling or cry, and I'm not going to cry. I'm just not. Dammit.

I'm getting out of here before he sees me. I can't just stand here and watch this. A quick trot back down the hall, and maybe I can get out the front door before he--


Oh, shit. "Hi, Lex."

"I wasn't expecting you."

Time to face him like a man. I turn back to the man I love. "I got that general impression..."

"Maybe you should have called first." He looks at me a little more intensely. "Are you all right?"

Turning my head a little, I swallow hard and blink back nothing. No tears. Not crying. "Yeah, I'm fine. You just surprised me."

He steps closer to me. His shirt collar is open one more button than usual for this hour of the evening, and the fragrance that lingers on his skin is ladies' cologne. "You're not fine. You're upset."

My eyes drop to the floor, and I cannot answer him.

Lex's hand clutches my shoulder solidly. "Clark," he begins, "you know I love you."

"Oh?" I can't keep the sarcasm out of my voice, looking up at him. He looks so sincere...

"I'm only doing this for you."

"Thanks. Count a girl's fillings with your tongue for me more often, why don't you?"

"Come on," he groans. "Don't be like that. If I don't date girls once in awhile, my father won't let me see you. You know that as well as I do."

My raised hackles break down a little. "I know. I don't have to like it, though."

His hands slide up my neck and into my hair. "I'm sorry, baby. If I didn't care what happened to you, I'd forget all about Helen and let my dad throw us in jail for sodomy."

My eyes fix on his coolly. "Instead of standing up to him on my behalf, I see. Good to know that your dad's got you so well trained..."

At once, he drops his hands and paces away from me. "Dammit, Clark! Can't we just see where this all goes? Helen is interesting, which is more than I can say about a lot of the women I've dated. I figure I can at least try to abide by my father's wishes, at least for a little while."

"You certainly started looking pretty fast," I accuse.

"Look--I would never have gotten together with Helen if it weren't for that incident with the nine iron! And do you know what was really bothering me that day? You, or more accurately, the fact that I was going to have to give you up if I didn't find someone soon. I'd had an argument with my father about that topic late the night before." He leans his back against the nearest wall, looking defeated.

Suddenly I am contrite. "You never told me that."

"It didn't seem important," he says, more to the floor than to me.

Almost shyly, I sidle up next to him and match his posture against the wall. "So you're saying this all 'just happened?' You just touched base with Helen at that anger management workshop and it seemed like a good idea to spend more time with her?"

"Yeah--we can't always make new friends by nearly hitting them with a car," he replies with a chuckle.

Even I have to laugh a little at that. "So, you really like her, then?" I ask, completely guilelessly.

He gazes at me sideways with a bashful smile. "Yeah--I do. I can't put my finger on it, but she's special."

"You gonna fuck her?"

With a startled blink, he realizes exactly to whom he's talking. He smiles, but he knows I expect an honest answer. "Maybe. Maybe not tonight, but maybe. Is that okay with you?" He slowly reaches for my hand and intertwines his fingers with mine.

Squeezing his hand back, I counter with, "Is it okay if I plead the fifth? I haven't decided how I feel about this just yet."

A regretful smile turns up one side of his mouth. "Yeah. I don't think I know, either. I'm sorry."

Turning to face him, I wait till he follows suit. "Me, too."

As expected, his fingers break from mine and reach for the back of my neck to pull me in to his mouth. I open my lips to him and taste the remorse on his tongue as we connect as simply as we can.

A few sweetly sad moments later, we separate, our eyes caressing each other as our hands would usually do. "I love you, Clark," he says, starting to turn me toward the door.

"I love you, too," I say, letting myself be steered out of the house, at least for tonight. "Have fun," I add, tipping my head back to the parlor door. "Be careful."

"I will," he grins. "I'll call you tomorrow. Good night." He stands and watches from the door as I head down the path, glancing back at him at every bend. Finally, he goes inside, and I go on home.

Lex isn't alone tonight.

However, in the interests of keeping him in my life, I am. This sucks.


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