Title: THE TASTE OF CAVIAR
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Category: Vignette, romance?, first-person POV
Spoilers: Takes place after "Jitters"--also mentions points from Pilot and "X-Ray"
Rating: Probably PG-13
Summary: Clark contemplates a change of circumstance
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 NOTE: This piece can be considered a companion or followup to "First Fruit", which can be found elsewhere on my webpage. You don't have to read it first, but it might help for the next installment.
COPYRIGHT: (C) December 18, 2001, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.
Lex Luthor kissed me today.
We were in the barn, with the smell of peculiar flowers just above the hay and fertilizer.
His hands clutched at my shoulders, his eyes all I could see until they got too close, and his lips touched mine.
I'd just been doing my chores after school, and he'd dropped by. I don't think Dad saw him, which made me breathe a little easier.
He was wearing a suit, which looked so silly next to the worn wood walls, and was carrying this bouquet, which looked even sillier.
I guess he'd just found me by radar, because I hadn't heard him come in. Then he was there in that suit with those silly flowers and what would have been a grin if he'd been brave enough to look me in the eye.
Greeting him from the loft, I clambered down the ladder and went to shake his hand. "Hey, Lex!" I called, adding jokingly, "Are those for me?"
He looked at the flowers in his hand like he'd just remembered they were there. "Um," he fumbled, "maybe you can give them to your mom..."
Tipping my head to look at all of the exposed blossoms, I noticed the deep hothouse scent that wasn't part of my mom's rose garden. "Weird flowers. What are those?"
"Birds of paradise, some orchids, and a couple of anthuriums." The tilt of his chin pointed out a flat, waxy, red heart-shaped bloom with a very suggestive yellow stamen sticking out of it.
"They look like dicks."
A pink blush crept across his cheeks and colored the tips of his ears. "So must I. I'm sorry... I shouldn't have come." Luckily, he didn't budge from the spot.
"No, wait," I said, pointlessly. "Don't mind me. They're nice. Are they a gift?"
His mouth hung open for a couple seconds, like he was waiting for his cue. Finally he answered, "I just wanted to thank you for yesterday, at the plant."
"It was no big deal," I replied.
"No," he interrupted. "It was. You really shouldn't make a habit of saving my life, you know." At last, he looked up at me. "People will talk..."
"Fuck 'em," I said with a laugh. "Let 'em talk."
His eyes went a darker blue as they searched mine. "I think there's a lot of people who would rather I not be here, either."
"You mean in Smallville?" I scoffed. "Don't be silly. You're just doing your job."
"No, Clark. I mean *here*." He took a step closer to me, and the bunch of flowers almost brushed the front of my shirt.
My pulse speeded up in a way that I hoped he couldn't hear. "In the barn? With me?" I might have whispered that last part.
Dropping his gaze, he chuckled to himself. "No, although I don't think your dad would be too thrilled with the idea..."
"Too bad," I replied, and suddenly it was. Suddenly all that mattered was that Lex was my friend, and Dad didn't really have any say about whom I chose for my friends. "You were saying that people would rather you not be here. What do you mean by that?"
Earnest again, his gaze flew up to mine. "I mean here. At all." His fine reddish-brown eyebrows knitted together as he mouthed a single word: "Alive."
If I'd still been holding my pitchfork, it would have clattered to the ground out of my grip at his assumption. I grabbed his arm tight, not unlike how I'd grabbed it the day before, similarly careful not to snap his wrist. "Don't you dare think that!" I scolded him. "You're important to this town."
"Oh, yeah?" he challenged, with his tone and with his look.
"You're important to me," I asserted, brotherly love taking center stage, just like my mother and my Sunday school had taught me for so many years. So the flowers wouldn't get crushed, I took them out of his hand and tossed them onto a step out of the way. Then I pulled him close and held him in a warm hug for a moment. "I care about what happens to you."
The tension he had been holding in his shoulders released like his air valve had been pulled. He clung to me like I was pulling him out of that cold, filthy creek again, and I hung on tight.
"Thank you, Clark. Thank you for caring. It's nice to know that someone does."
He loosened his grip so I held him at arm's length. "Well, certainly your dad..."
Cutting me off with a sharp glance, his voice grew harsh. "My dad only pays attention to me when I screw up, or when the cameras are on him. He doesn't care, not like your mom and dad care about you. I saw them yesterday... I watched them supporting their darling boy, and it stung that I didn't have anything like that in my life."
I couldn't think of anything intelligent to say to that. "I'm sorry, Lex. I'm sorry if that hurt your feelings. I didn't know..."
Once again, he chuckled to himself. "Of course not," he chided. "How could you? There was no reason for you to notice me. I'm just the demon seed of Lionel Luthor, living in the shadow of the great man who owns half of Smallville."
Half of me was mad at Lionel for raising his son to have so little self-esteem, and the other half was mad at Lex for refusing to hear what I had been saying. "You're selling yourself short, Lex. You were pretty brave to run into the plant like that. I think you're a pretty great man yourself."
It looked like this compliment brought him up short. "Really?" he asked me, his eyes doubtful, but with a hopeful glint around the edges.
"Really," I assured him. "I said you were important to me, and I meant it. I don't lie about much," I hedged.
"So we're friends, then?"
"Of course, Lex. I never thought otherwise."
His eyes fell on mine hard. "Is there any chance we could be more?"
"What?" I was sure he'd burst out laughing because he was kidding me, or at least in amusement at my confused expression, but if anything, he looked at me with more seriousness and more pure interest than I'd ever really noticed on his face. Was this how he looked at me when my back was turned?
I could hear him swallow, even over the sound of a passing airplane. "Do you think we could ever be more than just friends?"
More... So much for brotherly love. So much for my mother, and Sunday school, too, for that matter. Something in my head was demanding further explanation, but I don't think it was me. Just--another option. All I could do was look at him. I didn't want to say yes just yet, but there was no way I could say no.
Hands shifted, and his fingers gripped my shoulders gently. I could feel myself being drawn in--by his gaze, by his arms, by the siren call of his silently-parted lips.
Lex Luthor kissed me then, pushing against my mouth and touching the tip of his tongue to mine, which just happened to be there, I think. I could be wrong.
Pulling back, his eyes still closed, he smiled so softly that I wanted to wrap myself in it and sleep forever. "Nice," he said.
"Yeah," I answered, making his eyes open in surprise.
We stood there without speaking for several heartbeats. "I'm sorry," he said finally, shaking himself a little and letting me go. "I can't stay. Work to be done, you know."
"Yes, I know..." I trailed off, sounding absolutely wistful.
"I just wanted to thank you, and bring you these..." He gestured marginally to the forgotten flowers on the steps to the hayloft.
"For my mom," I corrected, needlessly.
"Right! For your mom," he echoed, smiling broadly. "Even though they do look like dicks."
I couldn't help but chuckle at his remembering my comment. "Kinda yellow, bumpy, misshapen dicks, but yeah... I like them."
He obviously picked up on my tease, because he continued, "You like dicks?"
Almost unconsciously, my tongue snuck out and tasted the bow on my upper lip where his had just been. "I didn't know that I did before, but yeah. Maybe..."
As he shook my hand warmly, his palm lingered against mine a few seconds too long. "I'll remember that. See you soon, Clark."
And as unnoticed as he arrived, he was gone.
The internal movie of his kiss started running in my head on a repeating loop, even though I'd never heard of a movie with tactile cues before. Every moment--his smile, the warmth of his lips, the dampness of his tongue--came back to me over and over again.
I had kissed Lana before. Correction: I had kissed Tina who looked like Lana. That was nice, even though I could tell it wasn't the girl on whom I've had my eye for most of my life.
Kissing a girl was what I was expected to do. It was normal--guys did it all the time. You were supposed to go on doing it for the rest of your life. It was like you were required to settle down and eat fried chicken for every meal until you died. Sure, it was ordinary, tasted good, and could sustain you for a very long time. Everybody likes fried chicken.
Kissing Lex was not like eating fried chicken at all. It was mysterious, exotic... It was like tasting caviar. Oh, sure, I'd had an eensy bite of the real thing at some reception at the Luthor Mansion sometime, just to be polite. Little black fish eggs tasting of salt water and fishiness, and someplace very far away from Smallville and Kansas and everything that you expected to find every day for the rest of your life. I hadn't liked it at the time.
It was "an acquired taste", my mom had said as I'd guzzled Orangina to wash away the salt on my tongue.
I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to acquire a taste for the stuff. Until today.
Not everyone likes caviar. Not every guy wants to kiss another guy again, at his earliest opportunity. Not everyone suspects that they might prefer caviar to fried chicken.
I picked up the discarded bunch of flowers and carried them into the house. If there wasn't any caviar in the pantry, which I was pretty sure there wasn't, maybe I could find a can of sardines to tide me over until dinner...
All the while, in my head ran movie scenes of me hugging Lex Luthor, of Lex Luthor's eyes looking deeply into mine, of Lex Luthor holding me firmly by the shoulders, and of Lex Luthor kissing me this afternoon.
And of me kissing him back.
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