Pairings/Characters: Clark/Lex, Jenson, Jonathan/Martha
Genres: Fluff, A Touch Of Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Summary: Lex accepts an invitation to dinner at the Kent Farm. Yes, there will be loving descriptions of food! ;)
Date Of Completion: February 27, 2012
Date Of Posting: July 7, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 2120
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Sarah Jean O’Reilly
"The Simple Pleasures"
The Boston Globe Interview
July 7, 2013 C.E.
Lex was bone-weary. He shut his cellphone as he chewed on his lower lip. Whenever he verbally sparred with his father, he was either highly stimulated by the war or words or exhausted. Today was definitely the latter.
He rubbed his face. He was so tired of never letting his guard down. Always on his toes, always ready for the verbal jab that could skewer and eviscerate. Sighing, he wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with his father without wondering about ulterior motives all the time.
Lex looked up and smiled. “Hello, Clark. What can I do for you?”
Clark came into the mansion’s library. “Nothing, Lex. I was dropping off your weekly produce order and just wanted to say hi.”
Warmth spread through Lex. “Always glad to see you, Clark.” He rose and came out from behind the desk.
His heartbeat speeded up at the sight before him: a smiling Clark clad in well-worn jeans, blue T-shirt and red jacket. Work boots were scuffed but in good repair. Black, glossy hair framed a perfect face with sparkling green eyes that never failed to delight Lex.
Oh, you’ve got it bad, Luthor.
Lex wasn’t about to make his move on a teenaged Clark, but for now friendship was enough. The feelings he enjoyed around Clark were far more than carnal. Friendship was first and foremost, and this occasionally stumbling teen seemed more than capable of genuine friendship.
“Want to play some pool?”
“You’re not too busy?” asked Clark anxiously.
Lex thought of all the work he still had to do. “Nope.”
He was rewarded with a brilliant Clark smile. Smiling himself, Lex led the way to the pool table, picking out a cue stick while Clark did the same after discarding his jacket. As they chalked up the tips of their sticks, Clark said, “I broke first last time, so you go first.”
Lex broke, the clack of the balls loud in the quiet library. The fire crackled in the fireplace, giving the room a cozy feeling.
Cozy was not something Lex was used to, that was for certain. He had never needed cozy, the cold walls of stone castles and chrome-and-glass-filled penthouses his usual environs.
Clark made everything warm in so many ways.
“Ha! Got that one!” Clark beamed as the six ball rolled into the corner pocket. “Now, four in the side pocket.”
Clark’s hands were large, a farmer’s hands, though remarkably uncalloused. Clark could be clumsy with his big frame, but could be amazingly delicate when it came to handling fragile things.
Even a pool cue, he thought wryly. He watched Clark sink ball after ball, walking around the table and bending over for a better shot. A great view every time.
They enjoyed the game, Clark on a run. He won the game as he sank the last ball. Straightening, he flashed a victory smile.
“Looks like you deserve a reward,” Lex said.
“Do I?” Green eyes sparkled.
Lex thought of many ways to reward Clark but settled for…
“Thanks, Jenson.” Clark eagerly took the plate of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies from the elderly butler. “Mmm, tell Cook thank you.”
“Of course, sir.”
Two glasses of buttermilk were also on the tray. Lex nearly laughed. He had truly traveled light years away from his Metropolis clubbing days when now he thought that shooting pool and eating chocolate chip cookies while drinking buttermilk was the epitome of high entertainment.
Oh, Dad, what would you say if you could see me now?
Lex’s amusement showed in his face. Clark smiled as he bit into a warm cookie. “What’s so funny?”
“Oh, just thinking that I’ve become quite fond of buttermilk.”
Clark chuckled as he shook his head. “Up for another game?”
“Sure.” Lex smirked as Clark brushed by him. So much for absolute innocence. Clark tried to hide his smile. “Rack ‘em up, farmboy.”
“Okay, city slicker.”
After they completed two more games and the cookies and milk were gone, Clark said, “Well, I guess I’d better get back home. You were my last delivery but there are still chores waiting.”
Lex put the pool cue back in the rack. “Thanks for the delivery. I’m glad you could stay.” He thought of the work he had to do and nearly sighed. The glow of this pleasant interlude would last him for a long time.
“Come to supper, Lex.”
“What?” Lex turned around, startled.
“Come to supper. Mom’s making fried chicken tonight.” Clark smiled hopefully. “She just baked an apple pie, too.”
Lex was strongly tempted. “I don’t think your mother would appreciate a last-minute guest.”
“She won’t mind. I’ll give her a call and she’ll be fine with it.”
“Use my phone.”
As Clark made the call, Lex dug the balls out of the pool table pockets. He rolled them to the center of the table, placing the triangular rack around the balls.
He wasn’t quite sure about this invitation. He doubted that Jonathan would approve of a Luthor at his dinner table. Though to be honest, Clark’s father didn’t seem quite as hostile anymore. And Martha Kent seemed accepting of him.
He couldn’t blame Jonathan all that much. If he had a sweet, beautiful, slightly naïve son like Clark and the son of Lionel Luthor was sniffing around, he probably would have gotten out more than just a shotgun.
“Okay, Mom, thanks!” Clark hung up and beamed at Lex. “It’s all set. She’s making fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn.”
“Anything your mother makes would be amazing.”
Clark’s pride shone from his eyes. “You’re right about that. Come for 5:30. We usually eat any time between 5:45 and 6:00. I know it’s early, but I’m afraid farmers do everything early. It’s a consequence of having to get up when the sun does.”
“I’m fine, Clark. Your mother’s good cooking will keep me from going hungry all evening.”
Clark beamed again. “Great!” He shrugged his jacket on. “I’ll see you then.” He hurried out of the library, taking all the sunshine with him.
Lex ran a finger over the green felt of the pool table. It was so quiet all of a sudden. His mouth quirked into a smile as he returned to his desk. He could probably finish most or all of his work before he drove over to the Kent Farm.
Lex drove up the driveway to the Kent house. He was a little apprehensive. Despite his own thoughts earlier he was still uncertain.
Oh, Lex, if your father could see you now. He’d be horrified that you could be afraid of a simple farm family.
Lex parked his silver Porsche and shut off the engine. He picked up the bottle of wine from the passenger seat and alighted from the car.
He walked up the stairs and rang the doorbell. His white silk scarf was draped around his neck, a perfect complement to his pearl-gray overcoat. He wondered if he was overdressed.
Clark opened the door and smiled. “Hi, Lex.”
“Come on in.”
Lex obeyed, entering the warmth of the Kent home. He always found the slightly shabby gentility to be comfortable. Smiling, he handed Jonathan the wine.
“Thanks, Lex.” Jonathan went into the kitchen and Clark said, “Let me take your coat and scarf.”
Lex handed them over and Clark hung up the coat in the hall closet, folding the scarf and placing it on the old-fashioned pier table. He was glad that he had worn casual clothes: dark-blue pants and a light-blue silk shirt. No one had dressed up, which pleased him. He liked the illusion of being part of the family instead of being a guest.
“Make yourself at home.” Clark invited as he swept an arm out toward the sofa. He sat next to Lex. “I’m glad you could come on such short notice.”
“The chicken smells delicious.”
Martha came in, wearing a frilly apron over her green sweater and black pants. “Good to see you, Lex.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Kent.”
“Supper in ten minutes, boys.”
“Need any help, Mom?”
“No, dear, your father’s helping me.”
Martha returned to the kitchen.
Lex enjoyed sitting so close to Clark. His friend smiled at him and Lex was sure that smile was not completely innocent. Clark was a wonderful bundle of contradictions: innocent yet saucy, naïve yet wise, honest yet deceptive.
What secrets do you hold, Clark Kent?
Clark began talking about today’s lecture in history class. Lex allowed himself to relax completely, marveling at the effect that Clark had on him. No one else was so adept at making him so happy.
“Soup’s on,” Jonathan announced cheerfully as he poked his head into the living room.
“Thanks, Dad,” Clark laughed. As he and Lex rose from the couch, Clark suddenly looked nervous. “I know this is way more informal than you’re used to, and it’s awfully early…”
Lex put a hand on Clark’s arm. “It’s all right, Clark. If I was back at the castle I’d be eating soup off a tray if I remembered to eat at all.”
Clark looked relieved. “Okay, then, let’s go.”
Lex let his hand drop but he had noticed that Clark hadn’t pulled away. He hoped that he wasn’t reading the signals wrong.
He followed Clark into the sunny kitchen. He always liked being in this room. The yellow walls and green plants on the windowsills offered genuine, not forced, cheer. The magnets on the refrigerator and the blue willow plates displayed on a wall shelf all lent charm to the room.
Everyone took their places at the table except for Martha, who quickly set the platter of golden fried chicken to serve family-style, followed by bowls of buttery mashed potatoes and sweet corn.
“We froze the corn from our crop, so the flavor should still be fresh,” said Martha as she took her seat. Jonathan had poured glasses of apple juice for everyone. He had put the wine away since Clark was not allowed to drink yet. He and Martha would partake of the gift another time.
“Everything is delicious, Mrs. Kent,” Lex said after everyone had taken portions of food from the bowls and platter passed around and dug in.
“Thank you, dear.”
Lex felt warmed at Martha’s response and nearly blushed. He took another bite of corn.
The conversation was relaxed. Lex a little off-kilter. He was more accustomed to sparring in between courses, looking for an edge or parrying a verbal thrust when at home. Otherwise he was at a business lunch, some dinner date, or ate alone. None of these experiences had prepared him for a family just sitting around and enjoying each other’s company and the meal itself. He didn’t usually eat fried chicken but the blend of spices that Martha had used danced on his tongue.
There was a lack of hostility from Jonathan. Lex didn’t understand but was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, as the old saying went.
Lex even managed to join in the conversation, surprised at how relaxed he felt. He laughed and joked and had a good time with Clark’s parents.
After the meal was consumed Martha said, “Time for pie!”
Lex groaned as he patted his stomach. “I ate too much of your wonderful chicken, Mrs. Kent.”
“Oh, there’s always room for pie.”
Clark and Jonathan laughed as Lex groaned again.
He had to admit that Martha was right. There seemed to be plenty of room for pie!
It was the best pie: sweet apple with just a touch of tartness and a sprinkle of cinnamon between the flaky crusts and dusted on top. Martha Kent made the best pies in the county. Her multitude of blue ribbons were legendary and well-deserved.
Lex insisted on helping with clean-up, and Martha and Jonathan finally shooed him and Clark out of the kitchen.
They settled back onto the couch and Lex said, “That was a great meal, Clark.”
“Mom’s the best.”
“She’d be a five-star chef in the finest restaurant in Metropolis.”
Clark flashed that brilliant smile that never failed to dazzle Lex. He shyly slid his hand across the couch and laced his fingers with Lex’s.
The increasingly-familiar feeling of warmth spread through Lex. Sitting here on the comfortable couch in a room full of magazines, newspapers, vacation souvenirs on the wall shelf and the old Magnavox TV while he could hear Jonathan and Martha laughing and doing the dishes in the kitchen as he held Clark’s hand, he felt happy.