Title: POWER LUNCH (Nourishment 13)
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Category: Lionel POV. Angst. (Sequel to "Fish Sticks")
Spoilers: None, really. Set before "Nicodemus"
Rating: R for language and implications of m/m interaction
Pairing: Clark/Lex established relationship
Summary: Where did all that tension in "Nicodemus" come from, anyway?
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: The rest of "The Nourishment Series" can be found elsewhere on my webpage - You don't have to read them all first, but it might help.
DEDICATION: For Tiff, who will hate me for this, and for an afternoon in Rosemont, for which she doesn't hate me at all.
COPYRIGHT: (C) July 12, 2002, 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 is an idiot.
I thought he knew I was coming in this morning at eleven o'clock to discuss business, and he's not home.
I let myself in, and find a very quiet house. No help to answer the door, no secretary on duty to summon him, not even a security guard, though this last item is becoming a common thing with him these days. It shows a disappointing lack of self-preservation, or even mere business presence. I always think that a little paranoia is healthy in the world in which we live. What did he do? Send everyone home?
At last, I hear noises coming from the kitchen, so I head that way. Maybe the cook knows where he's gone.
A lone figure in a red kimono and white socks stretches to reach the top shelf of an open cabinet. Jet-black hair, shiny-wet and in disarray. Broad shoulders, narrow hips. Has Lex hired some Japanese houseboy who has taken the opportunity of his boss being away from home to steal some vanilla wafers?
With a cookie in his mouth and his hand in the open box, he turns toward the refrigerator so I can see his face, which is astonishingly handsome and not Asian at all. He spots me out of the corner of his eye and drops the box he is holding, scattering little broken disks and crumbs all over the floor. Coughing as if he's swallowed the cookie he's been eating whole, he sputters, "Mr. Luthor?"
It takes me longer than it should to place a name to the face. "You're Jon Kent's boy, aren't you?"
"Yes, sir," he answers politely, stepping delicately through the crunchy debris to shake my hand, dusting off his own on the skirt of his robe. "You can call me Clark."
My hand is smothered carefully in a strong paw. "How do you do, Clark?"
"Very well, Mr. Luthor. And you?"
His father has taught him well. "Just fine, except for one thing. Can you answer a question for me?"
He scans about the kitchen floor as if he cares about the mess he's made with his snack. Interesting trait. "Maybe... If you're looking for Lex, he's not here."
"I gathered that much," I reply, turning and moving out into the dining room to continue my search, assuming the boy will follow me. "Where is my son at the moment?"
Coming to heel like a well-trained dog, he says, "There was an emergency meeting at the plant this morning. Oh, yeah... That's right. He said last night he was expecting you to come over."
His casual attire and just-showered appearance suddenly hold more meaning for me than I first expected. I spin to face him, stopping him dead in his tracks. "You've been here all night?"
The boy has every opportunity to offer some perfectly respectable explanation for my finding him here this late in the morning still undressed, but he hesitates to give me any. Instead, his guilty conscience wars openly on his face with his desire for honesty. I wish I could call it charming, given the circumstances. His hands, no longer occupied with the pasteboard box, self-consciously brush against the edges of his robe to check that it's still closed. This tells me all I need to know: he's naked underneath.
He knows immediately that I've discerned this, because he stammers out, "I, um... I've been helping dig up the flower garden, and I got sort of muddy, so I took a shower..." The lie is as pathetic as any I've ever heard--he seems to realize it as soon as it leaves his lips.
"I see. So, tell me, Clark," I continue, striding out of the dining room and on to the library, the farmboy tagging along dutifully, "how long have you been sleeping with my son?"
I sit back on a leather sofa and watch him struggle to answer. Despite his huge-eyed expression of having his mind read against his wishes, he doesn't deny it automatically, so I ascertain that my supposition is true. Here I was, under the mistaken assumption that Lex might have learned something about my distaste for homosexual activity. Not only has he left my home, but now he's apparently left my teachings and good sense behind, too.
Call it a cliche, but young Kent blushes hard enough to blend in with his kimono for a moment. He should be embarrassed, just as much as if I'd discovered him in bed with my son. Mouth working fitfully, he mumbles beneath my range of hearing and somehow manages to look at me and at the floor at the same time.
"He knows that I don't approve of this kind of thing. What did you do? Coerce him? Did you spot him as an easy mark for a pretty face?"
"No... no..." His contrition is appealing, yet I remain unmoved.
"I'm assuming you're both getting something out of this relationship. How much is he paying you? I'll double it if you leave right now and promise never to see him again."
Previously pale-green eyes flash nearly white in offense. "What? Are you suggesting that I'm prostituting myself to Lex?"
"I suppose that that's what you'd call it--yes."
Irritation shifts subtly to anger on the broad, unshielded face. "That's not it at all! This isn't some kind of financial arrangement! I love him, and he loves me!"
There. He admits that they're both queer. I've got to put a stop to this, to protect the reputation of the Luthor name if nothing else. "Love between men, eh? Disgusting stuff." I can see the wheels turning in his head to refute me, so I beat him to the punch. "Has Lex told you he 'loves' you, Clark?"
Swallowing hard, he squares his shoulders before he replies. "Yes, he has. Frequently."
Giving him a moment to relish his self-righteousness, I shoot him down gently. "You are taking into account that he's a liar, aren't you?"
He's really angry now. It makes a nice picture, if nothing else. "I beg your pardon?"
"Lex doesn't love anyone or anything, except perhaps Lex himself. It goes with being a Luthor."
His fingers flex as if he wants to yank me up from my seat by my necktie, but his hands remain still at his sides. "You're lying," he seethes, his eyes beginning to glisten with tears.
"I've known him for twenty years longer than you have, son. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but whatever he's told you was just a strategy to manipulate you into giving him exactly what he wanted. Lex is incapable of love."
The boy's voice chokes up a little, but he stands his ground. "You're wrong! You don't know what we have together, how we feel about each other... He has always been kind to me, he's always there for me... I don't believe you!"
"I'm sorry, Clark. You're probably just some kind of project to him. He is a scientist, after all. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd like to dissect you in his lab, just to see what makes you tick!"
By this point, I am mostly baiting him, but I have to make him comprehend the wisdom of my words. I almost feel genuinely sorry for the kid, because he blanches in terror, and for a moment, he looks like he may vomit.
Standing to look him in the eye, I clap the poor faggot on the shoulder. "Trust me, boy. Your faith in him is admirable, but Lex doesn't really love you. You're just fooling yourself if you persist in believing that he does. Take my advice: get out of this house now and don't come back. You'll be better off in the long run."
His lower lip quivering, he stares at me incredulously for a moment, then stumbles off to the front coat closet as I watch him from the hallway door. A few moments later, he emerges dressed once again like his bucolic dad, and, with barely a backwards glance, vanishes out the front door. I sit back down in the library and wait for Lex to return.
Precisely two hours and six minutes later, the front door opens. The fruit of my loins takes his sweet time finding me in the library after making me wait for him in the first place.
He enters carrying a printed bag from a fast-food restaurant and the aforementioned red kimono. "Clark?" he calls as he steps into the room. His tone changes once he sees me there. "Dad..."
"Your boyfriend's not here, Lex. He went home a couple of hours ago."
The silk garment hits the floor, but he keeps his grip on his sandwich. At least he's a little more coordinated than his friend is. He looks down at his hands and chooses to set the food down on a low table and pick up the red cloth again, petting it with the other hand absently like it's a small dog. Appropriate. "What happened?" he asks when he finally looks at me.
"What makes you think anything happened, other than you forgot our meeting?"
"I didn't forget, Dad. Something came up at the plant. What did you say to Clark?" His eyes are dark and ominous, like storm clouds.
"Nothing? Look, you have to have said something. I know you better than that. Why isn't he here?" Spittle isn't flying out of his mouth--yet.
"Oh, I might have suggested that he had better places to be than here. I can't remember exactly."
He turns paler than usual. Almost whispering, though with his voice slowly rising in timbre, he continues. "You threw him out. You couldn't handle the fact that I might have found happiness with someone, just because that someone's another man. Didn't you ever wonder why it never bothered me to learn that you were sleeping with Victoria? I didn't fucking care about her! For God's sake, what did you say to him?" He storms out of the room and up the stairs to his office, still dragging the kimono along in his right hand.
I tail him step for step, never letting him out of my sight. "You can't be trying to say that that foolish boy means something to you, now, can you? Don't tell me that you're as big a faggot as he is!"
This brings him up short. He stops mid-stride and pivots on his toe. "Yes, Dad, I'm gay. Deal with it!" By now we're in his office, and he moves behind his desk, taking the strategic advantage it offers. "Now get out of my house. You are no longer welcome here..."
"Your house? Allow me to remind you who paid for this house. In fact, if I can't keep you any better behaved than this, maybe I should move here and keep an eye on you!"
Picking up the phone, he points it at me like a fencing foil, or, given the look in his eyes, like a gun. "This isn't over, old man. At least get out of my office. I've got to make a call... try to salvage what I can of my life..."
I politely give him a moment of privacy and move into the hall, shutting the door behind me. This doesn't mean that I don't listen intently to what's happening on the other side.
He must be putting on his most charming voice, for I hear him clearly through the solid wood. "Mrs. Kent? Lex Luthor here. Yes... What? You were expecting my call? Good... What? I'm... Sorry, I..." His tone drops, but I cannot tear myself away. "You say he won't come to the phone? Are you sure?" The sound from the office grows softer still. "Well, then, could you please give him a message? Yes, thank you, Mrs. Kent. Tell him I called... Could you tell him... Please... Tell him that I love him. Yes. That's it. You'll tell him, won't you? Thank you. I appreciate your concern, Mrs. Kent. Goodbye."
The office grows silent, but soon I hear footsteps approaching the door. Before I can decide what I want to say to him, I hear the lock turn, its click echoing loudly in the hallway. I decide to wait downstairs for him to see reason.
I was right. Lex is an idiot.
Well, at least he's got exquisite taste in men.
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