Title: Golden Fried Dough In All Its Glory (1/1)
Pairings/Characters: Clark/Lex, Jonathan/Martha, Sandra Swenson, Alma Rossetti, Joan Randall, Lem Vandervoort, Axel Maycomb
Genres: Challenge, Holiday, Humor, Romance, Slice-Of-Life
Summary: Martha is in charge of the Halloween Festival and dragoons Lex into helping this year.
Date Of Completion: October 15, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 31, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC and Warner Brothers do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 5560
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Notes: Written for the clexmas 2012 Super Sexy Scary Challenge. Also written for my 2012 DCU Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Prompts: Smallville, Apples, Pumpkin Lights, Black, Witch, Jack O’Lanterns, Black Cat, Pumpkin Muffins, Leaves, Bats, Pumpkin Bread, Candy, Apple Pie, Trick-Or-Treat, Black-And_Orange, Ghost, Moon/Moonlight, Candy Apples. Also written for saavikam77’s 2012 DCU Free_For_All Autumn Challenge. Prompts: Special Prompt No. 3: Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns; Special Prompt No. 4: Trick-Or-Treating; and Special Prompt No. 9: Apples.
Along the ground
And tiny feet patter
Up the drive,
Then it’s Halloween
In all its
“What’s going on, Clark?”
“Huh?” Clark nearly knocked the box of produce off the mansion’s kitchen table. “Sorry, Lex.”
“You seem distracted.”
“Do I?” Clark pushed the box away from the edge of the table. “I suppose so. Sorry.”
“What’s up?” Lex leaned against the counter with folded arms. He hoped it didn’t have anything to do with meteor mutants.
“Mom’s in charge of the Halloween Festival this year.”
“Yeah, it’s her turn. The last time she put it together was six years ago.”
“Is she nervous about it?”
“Pretty much.” Clark sighed. “She wants it to be perfect.”
“She’s a good organizer. What’s her worry?”
“I don’t know. Nerves, I guess. The Festival is a big deal on the Smallville social calendar.”
Lex smiled fondly. At one time he might have come out with a mocking observation of small-town society as compared to the big city, but he had learned to appreciate living here. He would never completely understand Smallville’s citizens, but he didn’t expect to. As long as he had the chance to try and understand one citizen in particular, he was happy.
“Well, then, it’s not surprising Martha is anxious.”
“Dad says she’s running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.”
Lex smirked. “Now there’s an image I don’t often associate with your mother.”
Clark grinned, too. The brilliance of that smile never failed to captivate Lex.
“Well, I have to get home.”
“Can’t you stay for a game of pool?”
“Sorry, with Mom so much on edge it’s better that I get back. I have to help her.”
“All right, you know the invitation’s always open.”
Clark left through the kitchen door after a pleased, “Thanks, Lex!” and Lex unpacked the box, putting away the fresh apples and ears of corn. He placed the box on the back step for Clark to pick up next time.
Lex left the kitchen and walked down the hall. All the servants had left for the day. Lex kept a minimum staff, preferring privacy. He employed a cook, butler, two maids, a gardener and his helper. The helper could serve as a chauffeur in a pinch, but Lex liked to do his own driving here in the country.
He understood the phrase ‘rattling around in an empty house’. The mansion was big and empty and his footsteps echoed in the long corridor. Sighing, he decided to turn in early.
The next day, Lex drove to the Kent Farm. Clark needed a book from his library but had no time to stop by after school, so Lex had volunteered to drop it off.
He was honest enough to admit to himself that he was happy to have an excuse to go to the farm. He always looked forward to Clark’s visits after school and was inevitably disappointed when he couldn’t see him. The book gave him the perfect excuse.
He drove his silver Porsche up the gravel driveway, amused at the decorations already adorning the farmhouse. Tiny pumpkin lights framed the door and were twined around the porch pillars. A black cut-out of a Witch was taped to the door, and giant Jack O’Lanterns were placed around the porch and smaller ones in the windows.
Lex parked and got out of the Porsche, carrying the book. He stepped up to the porch and rang the doorbell. He’d seen Jonathan’s truck in its usual place and figured that he must be in the barn. Clark might be in his loft but he could be in the house, too.
As he heard footsteps approaching, he was amused as a black cat with yellow eyes slipped in around one of the Jack O’Lanterns. “Did the Kents adopt you, sweetheart?”
The door opened and a harried Martha greeted him. “Oh, hello, Lex. Are you looking for Clark?”
“Yes, I am. I have this book he wanted.”
“Oh, thank you.” Martha took it with a smile but was obviously distracted. “Clark’s with Jonathan in the north forty.”
Lex hid his disappointment. “Well, I’m glad I could drop this off.” He pretended to look at his watch. “Guess I’d better go.”
Martha smiled and began to close the door when a buzzer went off. “Damn, I thought I had five more minutes!” She started for the kitchen when she turned back to Lex and grabbed his arm. “Can you stay for a few minutes?”
“Sure.” Lex’s curiosity got the better of him.
The kitchen was surprisingly chaotic for the usually-organized Martha. Something good was in the oven and a pot of stew was bubbling on the stove. Several pumpkins were on spread-out newspapers on the floor in the corner, one whose top was already sliced off. A large carving knife was set beside it. A mass of papers were scattered on the table and the dishes were submerged in soapy water in the sink.
Martha grabbed quilted oven mitts as she opened the oven, the smell of warm pumpkin wafting out. She slid out the cupcake tray and set it on a wire rack.
“Would you like me to start on the dishes?” Lex asked.
“Oh, would you? I’m sorry to ask…”
“No problem, Mrs. Kent.”
“Better call me Martha as long as I have you doing the dishes.”
Lex laughed as he removed his long, black coat and draped it over a chair. “I’ve had practice doing these with your son.”
Martha was about to answer when the phone rang. She took the handset off the wall and said, “Martha here. Oh, hi, Emma. Right now I’m working on the pumpkin muffins. Clark and Jonathan will be back soon and we’ll be working on the pumpkins.”
Lex plunged his hands into the soapy water and started scrubbing. He had long ago stopped trying to figure out why the Kents didn’t have a dishwasher.
“We need to make sure that we have enough Jack O’Lanterns for the Festival. If every family in town carves at least two or three, we should have enough. No, I don’t think we need guidelines…well, maybe you’re right. I do remember Calvin Jones’ carving a few years ago. Damn.”
Lex was surprised to hear Martha swear. Granted, it was a mild one but it was still startling.
“Okay, that sounds good. Now what about the flyers? Everyone knows about the Festival but we need to get information about particulars out to people.”
A sudden gust of wind rattled the windows and Lex looked out into the growing dusk. He saw Clark and Jonathan walking in from the north forty, the two of them laughing and Jonathan flinging an arm around his son’s shoulders.
Lex felt a pang as he always did when he saw a genuine father/son moment between the two. He certainly had no such memories with his father.
He returned his attention to his task and a few minutes later the kitchen door opened.
“Lex! Great to see you.”
“Same here, Clark. Hello, Mr. Kent.”
“Hello, Lex. I see my wife has you pulling K.P., eh?”
“Jonathan, the stew!” Martha cried as she lunged for the stove.
It was starting to bubble over but Jonathan got there first and shut off the burner, removing the pot from the stove after slipping on the mitts. He put it on a trivet on the counter.
“My hero,” Martha said and Jonathan laughed, accepting a grateful kiss.
“Do you need help with the dishes, Lex?” Clar asked.
“Want to dry?”
Clark picked up the dishtowel and tackled the dishes already on the drainboard. Lex was happy, amused at the domesticity of the scene. He had never washed dishes in his life before coming to Smallville.
“Could you get started on those pumpkins, honey?” Martha asked her husband.
“Thanks. Emma, what about the candy booth? We should have apples and fudge but what else? Okay, candy corn, but we should have pumpkin muffins and bread.”
“And pie!” Clark interjected.
Martha smiled. “And pie.”
Lex asked, “Just pumpkin pie?”
“No, apple and all kinds of other fruit,” Clark answered.
“Sounds yummy.” Lex finished up the dishes. He wiped his hands on a clean dishtowel as Clark put away the last plate.
“Sure, Emma, but…oh, boys, help Jonathan, will you? We need a lot of Jack O’Lanterns.”
“Okay, Mom.” Clark picked up a carving knife and produced one for Lex. “Choose your pumpkin, Lex.”
“I, um, don’t know how to carve pumpkins, Clark.”
“Watch me." Clark demonstrated by plunging the knife into the pumpkin and pulling out the top. He started taking out the orange filling and seeds, dumping them all on the newspaper.
"Looks messy," observed Lex.
"It is, but it's fun. Definitely It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!"
“You know, when Lucy and Linus bring home the pumpkin and Lucy starts carving.” Clark shook his head. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen it.”
“Can’t say as I have.”
“It’s a classic!”
“My education seems to be lacking,” Lex said dryly.
Clark continued with the procedure, finally ready to carve. Lex watched the deft handling of the knife by Clark’s big hand. Lex loved to watch Clark work with his hands. As hesitant and shy as Clark could be, he was always confident when working with his hands.
“See, it’s all in the wrist,” Clark said with a grin.
Lex smiled indulgently. He picked up a knife and pulled the nearest pumpkin toward him. He studied the pumpkin for five minutes, then started carving.
Martha hung up the phone. “Now, let me clear off these papers and set the table.”
“Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll do it” Clark said. “I’m almost finished with this pumpkin.”
“Good.” Martha began gathering up her papers and transferred them to the dining room.
It was quiet in the kitchen as Jonathan, Clark and Lex worked on their pumpkins. Lex asked a few questions but generally they worked steadily. Martha returned to the kitchen and set the table as she turned the radio on the counter on, setting it at low volume. Classic rock spilled softly out of the radio.
Darkness began to fall as dusk deepened, Lex feeling that sense of domesticity again. He was grateful that Jonathan was making an effort to tone down his suspicions and hostility toward him. Considering that Jonathan had tangled with Lionel in the past, Lex was lucky that he let him in the house or anywhere near Clark.
The smell of the stew was mouth-watering. Martha took out warm loaves of garlic bread and poured glasses of sparkling apple cider. “Supper’s ready, boys,” she said cheerfully.
“Mmm, smells delicious, Mrs. Kent,” said Lex as he pulled out a chair and sat down.
The bowl of beef stew was set before Lex and he happily took a piece of garlic bread from the platter that Clark passed him. He dipped his spoon into the stew and was impressed with the carrots, onions, potatoes, and celery that accompanied the beef. It was all savory with a touch of red pepper flakes.
Must be what people call ‘hearty fare’.
He thought of the exquisitely-prepared consommé that Cook would have prepared for him at the mansion, accompanied by baby vegetables, leg of lamb and a dessert of airy confectionism worthy of a French pastry chef. All excellent and what Lex enjoyed, but a part of him would always crave the home cooking of Martha Kent, worthy of a five-star restaurant.
Or a loving home.
Martha looked distracted again but Jonathan and Clark kept up a conversation to entertain their guest. Lex preferred to be thought of as more family than a guest. And, as he thought about it, perhaps that was the way he was thought of, after all. He knew that small town folk were informal, but did they impress their guests into dishwashing?
They finished supper and Lex helped clean up, another mark of his non-guest status, he was happy to observe. He and Jonathan and Clark resumed carving while Martha went into the dining room.
“There!” Lex finished carving with a flourish. “What do you think?”
Clark looked at the newly-carved pumpkin critically, then burst out into a smile. “It’s great, Lex!” Clark traced the whiskers. “Very clever.”
“Cats seem appropriate,” said Lex. “By the way, I didn’t know you had a cat.”
“I saw a black cat on your porch.”
“Oh, that’s Midnight. She’s the McCreadys’ cat. He likes to hang out here sometimes.”
Lex smiled. “She has good taste.”
Clark smiled back. “Yeah, I guess she does.”
Martha came into the kitchen. “Oh, great job, Lex. Now, can you help carve some more? We need quite a few.”
“You do such wonderful work. We could really use a fresh approach.”
Lex smiled. He knew when he was beat. “Sure.”
Martha beamed. “Thank you so much!” The phone rang and she grabbed the handset. “Oh, hello, Joan. Yes, we should discuss the bandstand decorations. Do we want spooky or something tamer?”
“I never knew Smallville’s Halloween Festival could be such a major production,” Lex said wryly.
“Oh, it’s just the beginning,” Clark said with a laugh.
“I can hardly wait for it to get really crazy,” came Lex’s dry reply but Clark’s eyes merely twinkled. Jonathan snorted but continued carving his pumpkin, sharing an amused look with Lex. Lex considered that a major victory.
Lex returned to the mansion that night feeling remarkably satisfied.
Lex found himself caught up in the craziness that was Smallville during Halloween season. He not only carved pumpkins, he painted them, and was dragooned into building booths and running around town with Clark, gathering fruits and leaves and picking up other people’s pumpkins for the town common decorations.
Lex didn’t mind at all, not when he got the chance to spend time with Clark. Even the truck that rattled his bones didn’t bother him. Being with Clark was worth any inconvenience.
Clark was just as happy. He smiled at Lex as he drove the truck, careful to avoid bone-jarring ruts and holes in the road.
“I think we’ve got enough decorations for the bandstand.”
“I think we have enough decorations for the entire town,” Lex said dryly.
Clark laughed. “Well, in this case less isn’t more. Mom and the Committee want the full effect. Mom told me how she wanted the bandstand decorated. She and the Committee will be over after their meeting.”
“I’m glad you’ve got the plan.”
Clark grinned. “Lovingly detailed.”
Lex set to work alongside Clark, putting out the Jack O’Lanterns, buckets of chrysanthemums, cornstalks, and glittery paper bats to hang from the gazebo ceiling. They danced crazily into the wind from their strings, adding a little bit of spookiness to the proceedings.
Lex put down his final Jack O’Lantern inside the gazebo and his hand brushed Clark’s. Clark smiled shyly and Lex swallowed. While he was a glad that Clark was interested, it was frustrating to have to wait. Clark was young and beautiful, young being the operative word.
Well, he’s worth the wait.
Clark was dressed in his usual jeans and red flannel shirt, his dark hair slightly mussed. His skin was flushed pink from the crisp air and his green eyes sparkled. He looked incredibly beautiful as he went about his business, a faint hint of light, aromatic cologne tickling Lex’s nose. It was something cheap but pretty.
“Why are you smiling, Lex?”
“Oh, just enjoying myself.”
Clark shook his head fondly and finished fastening the last bat. He jumped down off the bench that ran around the interior of the gazebo.
“There, now we just have to pass inspection.”
Lex laughed, then realized, “You’re not joking.”
The Halloween Festival Committee arrived and did indeed perform an inspection.
Martha declared, “Great job, boys. Now, could you help us over here?”
Lex wondered if he should offer Martha a job with LexCorp. She was top-notch executive material as she took charge.
He found himself tying a scarecrow on a pole, the old clothes stuffed with straw. The business and house in town were decorated around the town to match the Common. Lex had to admit that the effect was well done.
The women were hard workers and moved heavy tubs of flowers around, though Clark and Lex helped when they saw elderly women trying to tug on the tubs.
“What a sweet young man you are.” Sandra Swenson said to Lex as he helped her move a tub of gold, orange and purple chrysanthemums.
“Thank you, Mrs. Swenson.” Lex smiled a charming smile.
“You are a doll. Such a famous man helping out in us folks in Smallville.”
“My pleasure, ma’am.”
Lex realized that it was his pleasure. Somehow he had gotten caught up in the life of this small town and knew he would carve a hundred pumpkins and decorate the Common every day just to be close to Clark. Being part of the town was a very nice fringe benefit. He had never truly felt a part of a community of people before. He liked that feeling.
As Halloween came closer on the calendar, Lex found himself running around town, mostly with Clark but sometimes alone. Martha had dragged him in and he was enjoying it.
After one flurry of errands for the Festival, he and Clark parted ways and Lex returned to the mansion. He did some LexCorp work and juggled that with tasks for the Festival. He worked on some baskets that would decorate the Town Hall steps.
The phone rang and he answered it, smiling as he said, “Oh, hello, Mrs. Kent. Martha. Yes, I have the baskets right here. I think you’ll like the results.” He beamed. “Thank you. I’m glad to help.” He opened a new file on his laptop. “I’ll bring them to Town Hall tomorrow. Okay, see you then.”
Lex hung up the phone. He had to see about recruiting Martha for Lex Corp. She had a silver tongue.
Halloween finally arrived. Lex drove up to the Kent farmhouse in his Porsche. He alighted from the sleek car dressed as a cat burglar, his black outfit and gloves giving him a mysterious appearance, and a black knit cap covered his bald head. The idea of being a classy sneak thief appealed to him.
Of course, someone might think as a big businessman, I already fill that bill.
Clark opened the door. “Park around back, Lex. We’re expecting trick-or-treaters and they’d be awfully tempted by that car.”
Lex drove around to the back and entered the house through the kitchen door. The kitchen smelled of warm pumpkin bread. Clark was dressed in a tuxedo, his hair slicked back.
“Very nice tux. And who might you be?”
Clark arched an eyebrow and adjusted his bow tie. “Bond. James Bond.”
Lex laughed. “It’s a good look on you.”
“And you’re a…burglar!”
“That’s right.” Lex buffed the nails of his right hand on his chest. “A master jewel thief, in fact.”
Clark grinned. “C’mon, we have to man the front door for the trick-or-treaters. They get an hour or so before the Festival starts in town.”
“Hurry up, Jonathan!” Martha said as she clattered down the stairs. Dressed in a green gown trimmed in gold and rubies, she wore a Juliet cap. Lex figured they were fake rubies but the effect was the same as if they were real.
“A fair Renaissance lady, I presume?” asked Lex as he bowed.
Martha smiled. She curtsied and her red hair bobbed in ringlets. “You’re right, kind sir.”
Jonathan came down with a disgruntled expression as Clark and Lex stifled their laughter.
“Really, Martha? Tights?” His dark-green outfit consisted of doublet and tights, a soft cap on his head with a yellow feather stuck in it.
“Green pixie boots, Dad?”
Jonathan grimaced. “The only people who wear these work in the circus.”
“Aww, Dad, it’s Halloween.”
“Yeah, and you’re wearing a cool tux,” Jonathan grumbled.
Clark laughed while Martha kissed her husband. “You look very sexy, dear.”
“You boys take care of the trick-or-treaters. Once they’re done, come directly to the Festival,” said Martha.
“Yes, Mom.” Clark kissed her on the cheek. “Now get going.”
The Kents left in the truck and Clark closed the back door behind them. He shook his head fondly at Martha’s anxiety. “Lex, go on into the living room and get comfortable.”
Lex settled on the couch, seeing the TV tray set by the door with a large ceramic bowl of candy on top. Clark brought in a try with two glasses of ginger ale and two slices of his mother’s apple pie.
“You might not get a chance to eat anything tonight though you can nosh on some of the apples if you can grab one.”
“Nosh?” Lex teased as he took a bite of pie. It was fantastic, as always, with just the right amount of cinnamon sprinkled in the apple filling and on top of the flaky crust.
“Yes, nosh,” Clark said loftily. His green eyes twinkled.
Clark clicked the radio on a local station playing golden oldies, Lex figuring it was lucky that it wasn’t all country tunes.
Damn, Clark looks so good in that tux.
Lex’s restraint was being sorely tested. Gorgeous, sweet, tempting Clark was too much for a mortal man.
“You okay, Lex?”
“Oh, sure, I’m fine.”
Clark set aside his plate on the coffee table. He had finished the pie and all of his attention was concentrated on his friend. He tentatively reached out his hand and grasped Lex’s.
“I’m sorry that we can’t, you know…”
Lex squeezed Clark’s hand. “It’s all right, Clark.”
“What about a kiss?” Clark leaned forward and brushed his lips over Lex’s.
Lex returned the kiss, keeping it chaste. If he took it further, he wouldn’t be able to stop.
Clark broke the kiss and leaned back. “Aren’t you interested in a little fun, Lex?”
“Sure, Clark, but we have to be careful.” Stop looking so edible in that tux!
“Just a little more, Lex, please?”
Clark kissed his friend again, tentatively slipping his tongue inside Lex’s mouth. He tasted of apple and cinnamon.
Lex’s hands slid around Clark’s waist and he drew him close. He could smell the light, spicy scent of the young man’s cologne, feel the strength of his arms as they wrapped around him.
He was tempted, oh so tempted, to go further, but stopped himself. He had the image of being caught inflagrante delicto by Clark’s parents even though he knew they wouldn’t be back for hours.
Imagine, a Luthor with a conscience.
The thought of getting caught was the worst Halloween horror he could think of, so he reluctantly broke the kiss. He ran his thumb over Clark’s cheek.
“I’m glad you’re interested.”
Clark smiled. “Why wouldn’t I be? You’re hot, Lex. And more importantly, you’re my very best friend.”
Lex was touched. He cupped Clark’s face. “You’re the same to me.”
Clark beamed and Lex wondered if he’d be blinded by the brilliance
You’ve got it bad, Luthor.
The doorbell rang and startled them, Clark nearly falling off the couch. He grinned sheepishly and jumped up from the couch and opened the door.
“Trick-or-treat!” chorused young voices.
“What have we here?” Clark picked up the bowl of candy and handed out a piece to each trick-or-treater, dropping them into garish black-and-orange bags or plastic pumpkins. “A Witch, a ghost, Buzz Lightyear, Princess Leia and Count Dracula.”
“Thank you!” each child said, and the sound of tiny running feet could be heard as the children ran down the driveway.
Clark shut the door as he placed the bowl back on the TV tray. “They’re so cute.”
“What costumes did you wear as a kid?”
“Oh, a cowboy one year, and Buck Rogers another.”
“Buck Rogers?” Lex laughed.
“Yep. I was Hawkman another year. Mom helped me make the wings and the mask.” Clark sat down on the couch. “I wonder what happened to all those heroes from the JSA.”
“Politics caught up with them. The heroes of World War II often got caught up in the Cold War paranoia. I remember reading people’s mistrust of the Justice Society’s masks. They got hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee, I think.”
“We studied that period in school recently. Now I remember the part about HUAC. You’re right, they were brought up before the Committee.”
“Nasty business.” Lex changed the subject. “Buck Rogers?”
“What can I say? I love the classics.”
“I’m surprised you weren’t Flash Gordon.” Lex winked.
Lex took the next batch of trick-or-treaters, which turned out to be only one. “Well, fairy princess, aren’t you pretty?”
“Thank you,” beamed the little girl as she presented her bag.
Lex dropped two pieces of candy into her bag. She really was cute. She skipped down the driveway where her parents were waiting.
“They’re all pretty cute, aren’t they?” Clark smiled.
“Yep, especially fairy princesses.” Lex closed the door and put the bowl back on the TV tray. “How long does trick-or-treating last, you say?”
“Oh, about a couple of hours. It’s dark easily so the little ones are brought out early.”
“That’s smart, considering the dangers of Smallville.”
“Well, except for the meteor mutants we wouldn’t be any more dangerous than any other small town.”
“Right, except for that little thing.” Lex sat back down on the couch.
“Ha, ha, I never knew you were a stand-up comedian.”
Once the trick-or-treating was over, Clark locked up the house. He and Lex extinguished the candles inside the Jack O’Lanterns in the windows and on the porch, Lex liking the eerie effect.
“You said you took pictures of your house?” Lex asked.
“Yes, we did before you got here. We took pictures of our costumes, too.” Clark smiled as he took a small camera out of his jacket pocket. “Smile, Lex.”
“Clark…” Lex smiled automatically as Clark clicked the camera. “A cat burglar shouldn’t have his picture taken.”
“Sorry ‘bout that,” but Clark was clearly unrepentant. “Let’s go in that fancy car of yours to the Festival.”
Lex tossed Clark the keys. “Watch out for trick-or-treaters.”
Clark glowed with excitement as he grabbed the keys. He loved to drive the Porsche. Considering the old rattletrap truck was the only vehicle he regularly drove, Lex couldn’t blame him.
Clark was a good driver and a careful one for a teenage boy. He was certainly less reckless than Lex.
The road into town was deserted as they passed the fields of cornstalks. Most of the harvest had been taken in though some ears wee still in the stalks. A full moon shone down on the fields.
Lex remembered the first time he had met Clark, saving his future friend from being used as a human scarecrow tied to a pole. He had been beautiful, a vision half-naked and a green meteor rock glowing on a chain around Clark’s neck.
Lex lightly rested his hand on Clark’s thigh. Clark smiled and increased his speed a little more.
They drove into town and Lex admitted, “Looks good.”
“It should. You and I slaved over the decorations enough.”
Lex laughed. “You’re right, but it all looks different in the nighttime.”
The Town Common was colorful with the Jack O’Lanterns, cornstalks, and leaves arranged artfully under the supervision of the Committee. Clark parked the Porsche in front of the drugstore.
The good citizens of Smallville were enjoying the Festival. Children ran around while the adults talked and sampled apple cider, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and candy apples. The smell of sizzling sausages and fried dough drifted on the cold air.
“Ever have fried dough, Lex?”
“Can’t say as I have.”
“I know it’s not good for you, but it’s what you eat at carnivals and festivals on a cold autumn night.”
“Looks like I’m going to get to eat after all.”
“I’ll get you a small piece. Mrs. Rossetti, a small sample, please.”
“Of course, Clark,” the motherly woman said with a smile. Her dark hair was fashionably coiffed as she worked in the fried dough booth, wearing a traditional Witch’s costume.
“And butter, please.”
Alma Rossetti fried up a small sample of dough, drizzling golden butter over it. Clark thanked her and added a sprinkling of powdered sugar and brown cinnamon from a nearby condiments table. He presented the dough to Lex on a napkin with a flourish.
Lex took a careful bite. “Mmm, not bad.”
Clark grinned. “I’ll have a piece, Mrs. Rossetti. Same size.”
He put the same condiments on his dough and the two friends strolled down the Common while eating.
“The mix of flavors is interesting,” Lex said.
“Plain’s good, but the butter, sugar and cinnamon really make it.”
All of this was definitely a new and interesting experience for Lex. He had never attended anything but high-class masquerade balls for the holiday. This was authentic folk celebration even if some of the costumes were store-bought or rented, the customs and rituals Smallville’s own.
“Most cultures know how to use dough, but this recipe happens to be Italian,” Clark said.
“Mr. Luthor!” One of the committeewomen hurried up to Lex and Clark. She was a middle-aged brunette who dressed stylishly but preferred comfortable clothes whenever possible. Her orange headscarf went well with her pumpkin costume. “You did such a great job helping us.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Randall.”
Joan Randall smiled. “Martha certainly knew what she was doing when she asked you to help out.”
“That’s sweet of you to say.”
Joan patted his arm. “You’re a real gentleman.” She bustled off to the ring toss booth.
“You’re winning hearts and minds,” Clark teased.
Lex sniffed but felt more relaxed than when they had first arrived. He stayed close to Clark, who knew everyone and who seemed to be well-liked by everybody.
Martha ran around in her green gown and Jonathan was nowhere to be seen, probably still disgruntled about his costume. One little girl squealed as she won at ring toss. A group of boys laughed as they told ghost stories by the sausage booth. Giant pumpkins were being weighed and every Jack O’Lantern glowed as prizes were awarded in different categories for the designs.
Lex found himself involved in a conversation with a group of farmers about crop rotation, enjoying the spirited discussion as the grizzled veterans weren’t afraid to argue with him. Lex had to give his reasons for his position without anyone being cowed by his wealth and status.
“Lissen, boy, you ain’t really sayin’ that our rotations aren’t doin’ what they should?” asked Lem Vandervoort, an ancient farmer whose blue eyes wee nevertheless clear even though he had just celebrated his 89th birthday.
“No, Mr. Vandervoort, I’m just saying the patterns could be changed.”
Lex gratefully drank hot coffee while he talked, glad that he had added a black leather jacket to his costume. It was getting colder.
Martha flitted by, smiling at Lex. He smiled back and ate an apple cider doughnut as the subject changed to Metropolis.
“The big city must have a lot of stuff you can’t get here,” Axel Maycomb said. A graying farmer of around fifty, his ruddy face showed the effects of working outdoors and probably too much moonshine, Lex thought.
“It’s got its advantages.” Lex thought of glittering clubs and the Stock Exchange, theaters, museums and the opera house, all things lacking here, but Smallville had quiet (when no meteor mutants were running around), clean air, and food as fresh as you could get. “But Smallville has its charms.” Not the least of which is Clark.
When the conversation broke up, Lex realized that Clark was not in sight. He looked around for his friend and wandered around the booths, stopping to talk with people until he reached the gazebo. He stepped inside and the tiny pumpkin lights twined around the exteriors twinkled as the Jack O’Lanterns glowed. During inspection, Martha had decided that the gazebo needed the lights and he and Clark had set to work. Jamming his hands in his jacket pockets, he looked up at the moon.
He heard the crunch of footsteps on the leaves behind him and smiled as Clark said, “You look really nice.”
“Why, thank you. I appreciate it from such a suave gentleman as yourself.”
“I appreciate it, too.” Clark’s voice lowered. “I’m Kent, Clark Kent.”
Lex laughed and turned around, his smile turning to a frown. “Why is your hair all mussed and your tie crooked? Did someone get fresh with you?
Clark laughed. “Fresh? Nah. I just had to help stop a zombie horde outside of town.”
“Oh, all right then.” Lex straightened Clark’s tie as the younger man beamed. Living in Smallville gave one a remarkable sense of blasé at times.
“I guess as a superspy I should really capture you, master jewel thief.”
“I think you should.” Lex grinned. “Happy Halloween, Clark.”
”Happy Halloween, Lex.”
“C’mon, let’s go get another piece of golden fried dough in all its glory.”
“Mmm, you make it sound great.” Clark’s eyes sparkled as he bumped shoulders with Lex and they left the gazebo to return to the tumult of the Festival.
Cross-posted to clexmas