This story takes place in an Alternate Universe of Smallville where Clark and Lex meet much earlier in life. Clark is 12, and Lex is 18.

Friendship Chapter 4

The next two weeks went very well for everyone on the Kent farm. Lionel didn’t call, and Lex didn’t miss him. Lex and Clark both felt that their friendship was stronger now. Martha was determined to prove to Lex that he did belong there, and she made sure to hug him often, and to tell him stories of her past when she didn’t live on the farm. Jonathan found that he was more and more protective of Lex the longer he stayed with them. He often felt like going to Lionel to give him a piece of his mind, but he doubted that it would do any good. He did make sure to praise Lex when he did a good job, and hugged him as often as he hugged Clark.
Lex for the most part was happy on the farm, and he wasn’t looking forward to leaving. While trying to figure himself out one day he came up with the thought that there were two distinct sides of him. There was the Lex on the farm, and the Lex off the farm. He believed that he would revert back to his old ways about three days after leaving the farm whether he wanted to or not. He liked Lex on the farm. Lex on the farm was a nice guy, who didn’t have to drink or be high to get through the day. He was friendly, and hard working, and happy. He had a friend and a surrogate family. But he also knew that Lex off the farm was lying in wait to come out and take over again, and he dreaded it.
Lex had been there for a month and a half, and he had one month left when Lionel called again. Jonathan answered the phone with a, “Hello?”
“This is Lionel Luthor, may I please speak with Lex.”
There was a pause and Lionel said, “Hello?”
Jonathan said, “What do you want to talk to him about?”
Lionel was furious that anyone would question him about talking to his son. He said, “Mr. Kent, I want you to think about what you’re going to say next for just a moment. How much do you enjoy your farm?”
“Is that a threat Mr. Luthor?”
Lex, who had been at the kitchen table jumped up and grabbed the phone from Jonathan. Jonathan was so startled that he didn’t have much time to react before Lex put the phone to his ear and said, “Hey Dad. What do you want?”
Jonathan crossed his arms and gave Lex a look that clearly said he was not at all happy with what Lex had done. Lex had to look away to concentrate on what his father was saying. “Ah, Lex. How are you?”
“I would suggest that you tell Mr. Kent never to try and keep me from you.”
Lex paled at the thought of his father hurting the Kents, and he knew that his father could and would if he felt threatened. “I will.”
“Good, see that you do.”
The line was silent for a few seconds, and Lionel said, “I called to tell you that there are quite a few college brochures here at the mansion, and we need to decided which one you’re going to. I thought maybe you could come over for dinner.”
Lex said, “I really don’t care. Just pick one.”
“Now Lex, how can you not care? You’re going to be there for at least four years, and different colleges specialize in different things. There are many fields of study that you could go into that will help you move up and thrive at Luthorcorp.”
Lex said, “Fine. Send all the brochures here, and I’ll let you know in a week.”
Lionel was silent for a few seconds. Then he said, “You can look through them son, but I will have final say.”
Lex yelled, “Then why the fuck did you even ask my opinion!”
Martha who was making soup in the kitchen raised her eyebrows at Jonathan. Lionel said, “There are at least five that I would agree to you going to.”
“Then only send me the brochures that you approve of.”
Lex thought that Lionel almost sounded sad when he said, “Okay son.”
Lionel hung up, and Lex glared at the receiver, and slammed it down. He stood there breathing hard and being angry for a few seconds until he felt a hard swat on the seat of his pants. He whirled around and glared at Jonathan. Jonathan had his arms crossed again and said, “You don’t grab the phone out of my hand when I’m talking Lex.”
Lex looked away and said, “You can’t ever challenge my father Mr. Kent, especially when it comes to me. He is dangerous, and he will find a way to hurt you, and then it would be my fault. He knows that I care about you, and it pisses him off already, so let’s not give him any more reason to hate you.”
Jonathan shook his head and pulled Lex into a hug. He said, “You are not responsible for your father’s actions Lex.”
“No Lex. You caring about us is a wonderful thing, and you can’t go through life trying to protect everyone that you care about, or worse yet, refuse to care about someone just because your worried about what your dad will do to them.”
Lex sounded a little pathetic to himself when he begged, “Please Mr. Kent. Please don’t challenge him. You don’t need to protect me from him. I know how…”
Jonathan pushed Lex away and held him at arms length so he could look in his eyes and said, “I do want to protect you from him, because I see that he hurts you. But I can also see how important this is to you, so I’ll try not to flat out challenge him.”
Jonathan said, “But you still don’t take the phone away from me when I’m talking. You understand me?”
Jonathan patted Lex’s shoulder and said, “So what did he call about?”
Lex went to help Martha set the table and said, “I have to pick a college, and he’ll be sending over brochures for the ones he approves of.”
Martha said, “Well that sounds like fun. What do you want to study?”
Lex shrugged and said, “Nothing”
Martha laughed and said, “No, really.”
Lex looked at her and said, “Yeah, really.”
Martha looked confused. She said, “I don’t understand.”
“It doesn’t matter what I study as long as I don’t have to go work for my father for four years or more. I plan to take as few classes as possible, and party most of the time.”
Martha and Jonathan looked at each other. Martha looked back at Lex, who was setting the table as if what he had said didn’t matter at all. She said with a hint of pity in her voice, “Lex honey, you’re so much better than that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Why would you want to throw away an opportunity like that? I know you hate Lionel sometimes, but you shouldn’t let that hatred sabotage your education. There are so many people out there who would love to have the education you’re going to get.”
Lex got a little angry and said, “Then let them have it! I didn’t ask for it. Hell, Dad never once asked me if I even wanted to go. It’s just expected, and of course if I don’t go to college he’ll find a way to make me go to Luthorcorp. I just…it’s just…a mess.”
Martha went over and hugged Lex and said, “The reason for being there may be messed up, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn it into a good thing.”
“But I…”
Martha cut him off with, “Just think about it for a few days for me before you make a decision. Will you go tell Clark that dinner’s ready?”
Lex walked outside to find Clark, and Jonathan said to Martha, “Do you think we can change his mind about it?”
“I hope so.”
Once they had gone to bed, Jonathan and Martha talked about Lex and college, and agreed that they should try to help Lex if they could.

For the next two days, Lex did find himself thinking about college, and what he thought it would be like. He had hated high school, and had been kicked out of five of them. He had only graduated after his father had hired a tutor, and then threatened Lex with sending him to public school if he didn’t at least pass his classes. Lex knew that at college he could hire someone to do most of his schoolwork while he partied. He had been planning on that for a few years now, and even looking forward to it. Now he wasn’t so sure that was what he wanted. But he did think that after a few months at school he would end up doing that whether it was what he wanted or not.
The brochures arrived two days after Lionel had called. After dinner Martha and Lex sat at the kitchen table looking at them while Jonathan and Clark played cards in the living room. There were six colleges to choose from. Martha looked at them and said, “Your grades and SAT scores must have been really good to be able to get into these schools.”
“My grades sucked. My SAT scores weren’t bad, but they weren’t much above average.”
Martha looked confused for a second and then she said, “Oh. I see.”
Lex shrugged and said, “At least the money Dad gives them will go to help the school.”
Martha nodded. She said, “So what are you interested in studying?”
“There must be something you enjoy studying.”
Lex shook his head. Martha said, “Think back to when you were younger. Was there anything you wanted to be? Anything that excited you back then.”
Lex had a sudden memory of his mother reading to him about Alexander the Great, the man he had been named after. He said, “History.”
“Have you ever thought about getting your degree in history?”
“No. That seems pretty useless to me. I don’t want to be a teacher, and really, what else could I use that for?”
Martha smiled and said, “I thought it didn’t much matter what your degree was in, since you weren’t going to work at it, or use it after you went to Luthorcorp.”
Lex thought about it. He said, “I guess. I’m sure Dad would hate me getting a history degree. Dad probably wants me to be a business major so I can start to learn all about running a company.”
“But would you like to learn about that?”
“Maybe. I’m not sure.”
“Anything else you can think of that you used to enjoy learning about?”
After a few seconds Lex said, “I don’t think so.”
“Then let’s look through these, and see if any of them specialize in History or Business.”
Two hours later, Martha and Lex had picked the college that looked best. As they were putting things away Martha said, “New York is a long way away. I think it’s the college that meets your needs the best, but are you sure you want to go so far away?”
“That part doesn’t matter much when Dad has a couple of privet jets. And I have enough money to get a regular airplane ticket every week if I want to.”
Martha nodded. Once everything was put away she put her hand over Lex’s hand on the table. She said, “So have you thought about being serious about school?”
“Sometimes I think it sounds good. It sounds like something I could be proud of myself for, and even maybe make my dad proud of me too. But I know myself too well. I know that once I’m out there, even if I start out doing things right, I’ll end up blowing school off in favor of partying. And sometimes I think partying sounds like so much fun that I don’t really care if I ever show up for a class. I could enjoy the look on my father’s face when I failed all my classes.”
Jonathan and Clark had finished their game a few minutes ago, and were now listening to what Lex was saying. Jonathan patted Clark’s knee and said, “Time to get ready for bed.”
Clark said, “Okay. Night everyone.”
Clark went over and kissed his mom before going up to get ready for bed.
Jonathan went over to Lex and put a comforting arm around his shoulders as he sat in the chair next to him. He said, “You know your time here this summer will be up in a month.”
Lex nodded. Jonathan said, “And you’ve had a pretty good time here with us for the most part right?”
Lex nodded again. Jonathan continued, “Well, I want you to think about something for me.”
Lex sounded wary when he said, “Okay.”
“Martha and I both think you should try hard to do your best in college. We would be proud of you for working hard at it. So if you decide that you want to be serious about it too, but you have doubts that you’ll make yourself follow through, we could make an arrangement. While you’re going to college, you could come spend one weekend with us every month and I could check on your grades and get updates from your teachers on how you’re doing in classes. If I think you’re screwing off, and could do better, I’ll make sure you’re….inspired to do better by the time you go back.”
Lex didn’t know what to say. On the one hand it sounded wonderful to have someone still caring about what he did, but on the other hand, it would mean hard work and self-discipline which he wasn’t looking forward to. He said, “I’ll think about it.”
Martha smiled and hugged him when she said, “Good.”

The following week the phone rang and Martha answered with, “Hello?”
A male voice said, “Um hi. Is Lex there?”
“Yes, can I ask who’s calling?”
“I’m a friend from school. My name’s Steve.”
“Okay. Hold on.”
Martha put the phone on the counter and walked to the front door. She could see all three guys out in the field working on the tractor. She yelled “Lex! Phone!”
Lex waved to let her know that he heard her and headed for the house. Martha went back and told Steve that Lex was on his way. Lex came in and said, “Is it my father?”
Martha went back to work on canning tomatoes as she said, “Nope. It’s your friend Steve.”
Lex looked surprised and picked up the phone. He said, “Steve?”
“Hey man, it took forever to track you down.”
“I’ll bet. How’s your summer going?”
“I’ve been in France with my mom. It was better than last time. Being eighteen has its benefits. We just got back last week. But that’s enough about me. What are you doing in fucking Smallville? When I finally got a hold of your dad’s secretary I thought she was joking. I didn’t think there was a place called Smallville.”
Lex laughed and said, “The name suits the town too. I’m here staying with some friends and helping them out on their farm this summer.”
The line was silent for a few seconds and then Steve broke out laughing. When he calmed down a little he said, “Oh, man you really had me there for a minute. Helping out on a farm! No really, what are you doing there?”
“It’s true. Believe it or not.”
“Give it up Lex. Do you really expect me to believe that you have friends who live on a fucking farm? Give me a break.”
“What did you want Steve?”
The line was quiet for a few seconds again. Then Steve said, “Fine don’t tell me what you’re doing. I called to tell you that I’m having a party this Saturday at my mom’s place in Metropolis. I was hoping you could come.”
“Sounds like fun, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get away.”
Steve couldn’t believe that Lex was passing up the chance to go to a party. Lex had thrown more parties than all of his other friends put together, and he had never missed one that Steve could remember. He said, “What’s wrong with you Lex?”
Lex got kind of upset. He had never really liked Steve all that much, and when he really thought about it, he had never really liked any of his friends all that much except for Clark. He said, “Nothing’s wrong, I just don’t think I can come.”
Steve said, “I’m gonna have some premium coke.”
“Sounds nice for you.”
“Man you’re fucked up Lex. I don’t know what happened to you, but I hope to God it doesn’t happen to me.”
“Whatever Steve. Have a good party.”
Lex was about to hang up when Steve yelled, “Hey! Do you remember Sherry?”
Lex had been friendly with Sherry in school, and he had thought about asking her out a couple of times, but never had the guts to do it. Lex thought she was beautiful, and he knew she was smart, so he figured she wouldn’t see anything in him. He said, “Yeah I remember her.”
“She’s gonna be here, and she just broke up with Ralph.”
Lex thought about it and said, “Your mom’s place on Saturday huh?”
“Cool. See you there.”
Lex hung up and thought about it. He hadn’t had sex for over a month. Before he lived with the Kents he had sex at least a couple times a week, but he had never been with someone he hadn’t paid for. He’d been to lots of parties, and he’d seen lots of girls get drunk and give it up to some guy they just met. Lex had never had this experience, because he always brought a prostitute with him to parties. Now he wondered if he had done that just to keep from getting rejected. His thoughts of Sherry slightly drunk at the party were interrupted when Martha said, “What did Steve have to say?”
“He’s having a party on Saturday in Metropolis, and he wanted to invite me.”
“Do you want to go?”
Lex turned to look at Martha and said, “Would you guys let me go?”
“I’ll have to talk to Jonathan about that.”
Lex shook his head and sounded unhappy when he said, “I didn’t think so.”
“I didn’t say no, Jonathan and I just have to think about it first. Make sure we think it’s safe.”
Lex got suddenly angry. He yelled, “I’m eighteen, and I can go where I want, when I want, no matter what the hell you and Mr. Kent say!”
Martha gave Lex a disapproving glare and walked around the bar to stand in front of him.
Lex couldn’t believe he had yelled at Martha. He hadn’t done that before, and as quickly as his anger came it went away again. He actually cringed when he saw her walking around the bar towards him. He was terrified at the thought of her not caring about him any more. All he could think about was Martha telling him to get out of their house. As soon as she was standing in front of him he whispered, “I’m sorry.”
She said, “You should be. You, young man, don’t speak to me like that.”
Lex nodded and felt his face go bright red. Martha said, “You can spent the rest of the afternoon in your room.”
Lex looked at the stairs and back to Martha to see if she was serious. Before he had time to argue, Martha had grabbed his ear and was pulling him to the stairs. She let go of him and said, “Your room, now. I’ll come get you when you can come out.”
Lex hadn’t felt this kind of humiliation in a long time. It seemed almost worse than getting spanked. He looked at her one more time, and slowly made his way upstairs and into his room. He closed his door and sat on his bed. He almost laughed at the irony. He thought, ‘Way to go Lex. Spouting off about being eighteen got me sent to my room like a five-year-old. I don’t think I’ve ever been sent to my room before. But then back home my room has enough electronic gadgets that I could be happy for days.’
Lex looked around his room and realized he didn’t even have a book to keep him occupied, because the one he was reading was downstairs on the coffee table. He sighed and lay down to stare at the ceiling while he thought. ‘At home no one would have sent me to my room, because no one cares what I say. Here everyone cares. I hope she doesn’t tell Mr. Kent what I said. I guess there’s no hope of going to the party now, unless I sneak out again. I would get caught, but it might be worth it to go to the party and talk to Sherry. They wouldn’t know where I was, so I wouldn’t get caught until I came back. Why would I want to come back when I know Mr. Kent would spank me for running off?’
After a few more seconds Lex said to the empty room, “Because I want someone to care about me.”

Downstairs after Martha heard Lex close his bedroom door, she walked outside to where Jonathan and Clark were working. Jonathan looked worried and said, “Was it Lionel?”
“No it was a friend of Lex’s from school.”
Jonathan said, “Well that’s good.”
“His friend, Steve, invited him to a party on Saturday in Metropolis.”
Jonathan thought about it for a few seconds. Clark didn’t say anything, but he was a little jealous that Lex had other friends, and that they invited him to parties where he knew he wouldn’t be wanted. Jonathan said, “Do you think we should let him go?”
Martha said, “Well I was going to say yes, but now I’m not so sure.”
“He asked me if he could go, and then when I said I’d have to talk to you about it, he yelled that he was eighteen and could do whatever he wanted no matter what we said.”
Jonathan glared towards the house and said, “Oh he did, did he? I think maybe we need to have a talk about what being eighteen means.”
Martha smiled and said, “I sent him to his room for the afternoon.”
Jonathan looked back at Martha and saw her smile. He laughed and said, “Well, I guess that’s even better.”
Clark was embarrassed for Lex, and he wished his parents weren’t so old fashioned. But he remembered that Lex told him he wanted to be here staying with his folks, so maybe it was okay.
Martha lost the smile and said, “Maybe we should let him go.”
“After what he said?”
“He should have friends his own age. I think it might be good for him to go.”
“But from what Lex has told me, the friends he used to have were not the kind of people I want him to be hanging out with.”
Martha nodded and said, “He’s only going to be here for another month, and then he’s on his own. Maybe we should let him go to the party, so he can practice going out and having fun, and then getting back to being serious when it’s over. College is coming, and he seems to be worried that he’ll end up partying all the time no matter what. Maybe this will be a chance to show him he can go have a fun night, but then get back on track with work the next day. And he has to learn how to go to a party and not get drunk and drive himself home.”
Jonathan said, “I’ll think about it. Let’s talk about it again right before dinner, and we can let him know what we’ve decided.”

Lex had a long and boring afternoon. His thoughts would go back and forth between remorse for what he had said, and anger that he was being treated in what he perceived to be a childish manner. He thought about going downstairs a couple of times to tell Martha that he had had enough, but he knew it wouldn’t go over well, and he really was afraid of loosing her affection.
Right before dinner Jonathan and Martha decided to let Lex go to the party under some restrictions. Martha went upstairs and knocked on Lex’s door.
Lex had been looking out the window, and was both relieved and nervous when he heard the knock. He said, “Come in.”
Martha came in and shut the door behind her. She sat on his bed and said, “Come sit with me Lex.”
Lex went and sat next to her. She put an arm around his shoulders and said, “You can always disagree with me, as long as you do it in a respectful manner, but I won’t have you yelling at me in my house.”
Lex nodded and said, “I’m really sorry Mrs. Kent. I swear it won’t happen again.”
She gave him a hug, which he returned. She patted his back and let him go. She stood up and said, “Come on down for dinner. I made steaks just for you.”
He looked at her and said, “Why? I thought you were mad.”
She put a hand on his cheek and said, “Lex honey, even when you make me mad, I still care about you. This is my way of letting you know you’re forgiven.”
Lex was hit with a rush of emotion, and felt like crying. Martha kissed the top of his head and said, “You’ll feel better once you come down and eat something.”
Lex nodded and followed her downstairs. Clark was setting the table, and Jonathan was washing up. Martha said, “Will you get the salad out of the fridge please?”
Lex did and put it on the table. Clark looked up at him and whispered, “You okay?”
Lex got kind of red but nodded his head. Clark whispered, “Mom can be kind of scary when she’s mad.”
Lex looked back and saw that Martha was busy straining the vegetables and whispered, “What do you mean?”
“She almost never gets mad, so when she does you know that you really screwed up, and then she makes you feel so guilty that you just want to cry.”
Lex nodded and Martha brought the food to the table.

When everyone was done eating Jonathan said, “Martha and I have decided that you can go to the party if you want to Lex.”
Lex sounded surprised when he said, “I can?”
Martha said, “As long as you can stick to some guidelines you can.”
Lex couldn’t believe that they were letting him go, especially after what he had said. He said, “Okay, what are they?”
Jonathan said, “No drinking, and no drugs.”
Lex rolled his eyes and said, “I might as well not go then.”
Jonathan immediately came back with, “Okay. That’s fine with me.”
Martha put a hand on Jonathan’s knee under the table. She said, “Is being able to drink the reason you want to go?”
Lex looked down and said, “Not really.”
“Then why is it a problem?”
Lex was frustrated and said, “Because that’s not who I am. Everyone who knows me will expect me to drink. If I don’t drink they’ll know something’s wrong, and I’ll spend the whole night trying to justify not drinking. It’ll be hard enough to explain not doing some lines or smoking some pot.”
Clark said, “What are lines?”
Lex looked to Martha to explain it. Martha said, “Lines of cocaine.”
Clark looked back to Lex with disbelief. He said, “You’ve done cocaine?”
Lex sighed and looked away. He said, “Yes. So many times I can’t even count them. Plenty of other drugs too.”
“But you’re not addicted?”
“No. My dad wouldn’t let that happen. Whether I see him or not, I know he has people out there watching me, and they tell him what I do. About a year and a half ago I did coke three nights in a row, and Dad had me picked up and brought home.”
Lex shuddered and Clark said, “What happened?”
“He had two of his bodyguards take me out to see real drug addicts at work. My father had them buy a variety of drugs, and offered them for free to people as long as we could watch when they took them. I watched one guy die in front of me. He was having convulsions and puking blood. Once he was dead his ‘friend’ searched him, took his stash, and ran off. The bodyguards wouldn’t let me help. They just drug me off to see the next person. My father had given them a nice figure of fifty people, and even though I got his point after the first three, I still had to watch them all. I saw a twelve year old girl offering her….”
Lex looked to Clark and modified what he was going to say to, “…she was working hard to get enough money for another fix for herself and her mother.”
Clark looked horrified. Lex shook his head and said, “As long as I only do recreational drugs twice a week Dad seems to think it’s okay.”
Jonathan shook his head and said, “It’s not okay Lex. It’s not okay to do that to your body. I don’t care what your dad says about it.”
Lex smiled a sad smile and said, “I know. I’ve always known that, but it doesn’t always stop me.”
Martha wanted to get things back on track and said, “Do you think this party is going to have a bartender?”
“Yeah. Steve always has one.”
“Then it should be easy to avoid drinking.”
“Okay, how?”
“The first thing you do when you get there is slip the bar tender a fifty. Tell him to make all your drinks virgin no matter what you ask for. Tell him there will be another fifty when the night is done if he does it right. Then you can order drinks in front of your friends, and they will all think your drinking, but you won’t really have to.”
Jonathan laughed and said, “You, Martha Kent, are a sneaky woman.”
She smiled back at him and said, “And you thought I was drunk that night.”
Jonathan looked a little confused at first, and then lost his smile and got a little red. He coughed and said, “So Lex, do you want to hear the other guidelines, or did you decide you just don’t want to go?”
Lex said, “I could maybe do that. What else is there?”
“Well since it’s in Metropolis, you would have to drive yourself there, get a hotel room for the night, and then take a cab to the party.”
“Why? I could stay at Steve’s place.”
“I’m sure you could, but I don’t want you to.”
Lex shook his head and said, “I really don’t get it.”
Jonathan said, “Stop interrupting, and maybe you will. When you get to town, and get your hotel room, you call me from your room and give me your number there. Then take a cab to the party in case the bar tender doesn’t do what you ask so you don’t have to worry about driving under the influence. Then I’m gonna call your room at two am, and I expect you to be back in your room. It’s an elaborate way to keep tabs on you and give you a curfew when I’m a couple of hours away.”
Jonathan wondered if this would make Lex mad, but instead he laughed. He said, “It’s elaborate all right. Anything else?”
Jonathan said, “This last one is the hard one, and I want you to be honest with me, and yourself, so think about it before you let me know. I expect you to be up front with me, and tell me about your night no matter what. If you have a really great time, and you have no problems at all, I expect you to tell me about it. If you slip up and get drunk, and drive yourself around the city, I expect you to tell me about it no matter what the consequences are. If you don’t think you can do that, then I don’t want you to go.”
Lex slowly nodded and said, “I’ll think about it, and let you know tomorrow.”
Martha and Jonathan both said, “Okay.”

The next day Clark and Lex were weeding the garden together when Clark said, “Did you decide if you’re going to that party?”
“Would you go?”
“I think so. I’ve never been to a party like that, but it sounds interesting.”
Lex nodded and said, “I think I’m gonna go. There’s a girl that I know who’s going to be there, and I want to see her.”
Clark looked towards Lana’s house and said, “Then I would definitely go.”
Lex teased him and said, “You mean if it were Lana?”
Clark blushed and said, “Maybe.”
Lex smiled and said, “She’s pretty. Why don’t you ever talk to her? You could go horseback riding together.”
Clark looked down and said, “When I get around her I’m an idiot. Like what I want to say won’t come out of my mouth, and what does come out of my mouth is just embarrassing. It’s just better not to talk to her.”
Lex nodded and was serious when he said, “That’s a problem. I wish I had some advice for you, but I don’t.”
Clark shrugged and said, “It’s okay. I hope you have a good time at the party, even if you do have all those rules.”
They were quiet for a few minutes and then Clark said, “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course.”
“You won’t get mad?”
“I’ll try hard not to.”
“Why do you let my parents tell you what to do? Don’t you miss being able to do whatever you wanted?”
Lex thought about it and said, “I don’t miss it most of the time. I think when I leave here, I’m gonna miss them telling me what to do. To some degree I’ve been making my own decisions since my mom died. It’s kind of a relief to let someone else take responsibility. And….”
“And what?”
“It’s nice to know that someone cares about me.”

That night Lex said, “I’ve decided to go to the party.”
Martha nodded and Jonathan said, “And you agree to the guidelines?”
“And you believe that you’ll be able to tell me about your night, even if you screw up?”
“Yes I will.”
“Okay then. It’s tomorrow night right?”
“So after breakfast tomorrow, you can either take my motorcycle to your father’s place to get a car, or if you want, you can ride the bike all the way to Metropolis.”
Lex was surprised at this, because he knew the bike meant a lot to Jonathan. He said, “Are you sure you want me riding it all the way?”
“It’s fine with me if it sounds like fun to you.”
Martha was a little nervous about it and said, “You wear your helmet the whole time, even on back roads that don’t have any traffic, and you wear long pants and a jacket.”

Saturday after breakfast was over, and the main chores were done, Lex put his bag with a change of clothes on the bike. The family all stood out in the yard to see him off. Clark said, “Have a good time.”
Martha hugged Lex and said, “You be careful, and we’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”
Jonathan gave Lex a quick hug and said, “You’re sure you’re ready for this?”
“Yeah, and even if I’m not, I only have three weeks left with you, so I better get ready.”
“You stick to the guidelines, but have a good time too.”
“I’ll try.”
Lex had a nice ride to Metropolis. It was sunny, but not too hot, and he was content with thoughts of Sherry. He got a room at The Palace and called the Kents. He gave Martha the phone number to his room so that they could call him that night. Once that was done Lex sat in his room for a few minutes thinking how strange it felt to be back in the city. He shook himself out of it, and started running errands. He hired a driver from The Palace for the day so he didn’t have to keep looking for a cab. He went to the bank to check on his accounts, and to get some cash. He bought himself a new suit, and had lunch while he waited for it to be tailored. He bought a case of champagne and had it sent to Steve’s mother’s house as a gift. He knew his father would be working at Luthorcorp, because that was where he spent all most all of his time, and he thought about visiting, but knew it would be a bad idea. He went back to The Palace and had a massage before dinner.
After dinner, he had the driver take him to the party. He was one of the first people to arrive, and Steve came to the door to greet him. Steve shook his hand and said, “Lex. I’m glad you were able to get away from whatever the hell you were doing in Smallville.”
Lex said, “Me too. Did you get the champagne?”
“I did, and I’ve already opened one. Did you want a glass?”
Lex laughed and said, “I thought you knew me better than that.”
Steve smiled and said, “Right, nothing but the hard stuff for you. Bar’s in the back.”
Lex said hi to the people who were there all ready. He was the only one at the bar when he got there, and he did what Martha had suggested, and ended up drinking an apple juice that resembled scotch on ice. Once Lex had his drink he went back to Steve, and said, “Is Sherry still showing up?”
“Last I heard.”
“How long ago did she break up with Ralph?”
“Two weeks ago. I hear that he was cheating on her.”
Lex shook his head and said; “Now that’s just stupid. Sherry is gorgeous. Why would anyone cheat on her?”
“Beats me. I know I wouldn’t.”
“So tell me about France.”
The spent the next half an hour comparing notes on their experiences in France. By the time they were done, the party was going full force, and Lex saw more than one person he knew from high school there. Three of his ‘close friends’ were there, and he was shocked to find that he really didn’t give a crap what they had to say about their summers. He kept looking to the door to see Sherry.
Finally he saw her walk through the door, and was extremely disappointed to see that she was holding hands with Ralph. He shook his head and thought about leaving. As he sat there looking lost, a girl he didn’t know came up to him. She said, “Hey, your Lex right?”
Lex rubbed his bald head and said, “What gave it away?”
She laughed and said, “You probably don’t remember me, because I was a year behind you, but I did go to the same school with you.”
Lex gave her another look and said, “Sorry I don’t remember. But I’ll remember you from now on. What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you Monica. Are you getting ready to be a senior this year?”
Monica rolled her eyes and said, “I’ve been ready for three years now.”
They talked for the next hour, and Monica put back three drinks while Lex charmed her. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Lex thought it was probably wrong to sleep with her since she was not of legal age. But he was pretty sure she was more than willing, so after she was laughing a little too much at his jokes he said, “Would you like to go upstairs with me? I know Steve’s room has a nice big bed.”
Monica smiled and said, “I thought you would never ask.”
Half an hour later they came back downstairs. Lex was more relaxed physically, but he found himself feeling somehow dissatisfied with the whole thing. Monica sat on one of the couches and asked Lex to get her another drink. When he came back with it she was asleep. He put the drink beside her and decided to leave. He found Steve and yelled above the din, “Thanks for inviting me. It was fun.”
Steve looked at his watch and yelled, “You’re leaving?”
Lex nodded and turned to go. Steve put a hand on his shoulder and Lex turned back around. Steve motioned for Lex to follow him into the backyard. Lex followed, and once the door to the house was shut, the noise level went back down to normal. Lex thought that Steve looked kind of nervous. Steve said, “I just wanted to talk for a minute before you left.”
Lex nodded and waited. Steve looked away and said, “I…I don’t really know a good way to put this. You know my dad and I aren’t close right?”
Lex nodded again and said, “I seem to remember comparing notes on what crappy dad’s we both have.”
Steve looked back at Lex and said, “Had.”
“My dad died last week.”
Lex said, “Oh man, I’m so sorry Steve. What happened?”
“Well that’s kind of what I wanted to talk to you about. Did you know that a few months ago my dad started working for your dad?”
Lex started feeling uneasy. He said, “No.”
“I wouldn’t have known either, except that my mom was all pissed about the child support. She has plenty of her own money, but she still gets some kind of sick pleasure out of squeezing every dime out of my dad. Not that I really blame her, ‘cause he’s an ass,….or was an ass. Anyway, he got a big raise when he started working at Luthorcorp, and Mom told me she just knew that he purposely waited until I was eighteen to get a better paying job.”
Lex nodded in understanding. Steve continued, “So anyway, I guess last week there was an accident at Luthorcorp, and my dad ended up dead.”
“What kind of accident?”
“That’s the problem. No one at fucking Luthorcorp seems to know what the fuck happened. They tell me there was an accidental explosion in the lab, and that he was the only one killed, but that’s it. They can’t tell me what exploded, or even what the hell he was working on. I mean how can no one know how someone died? My mom didn’t care enough to ask how he died, because Luthorcorp paid her a huge amount of money to shut her up. Well they said it was his corporate life insurance settlement, but I don’t buy that.”
Steve was quiet for a few seconds while he looked at the people partying in the house. Lex was unnerved by what he had heard and was quiet too. Steve looked at Lex again and said, “I know we weren’t like best friends in high school or anything, but I was really hoping you could talk to your dad and find out what happened. I know my dad wasn’t a good guy, but I just….I don’t think I’ll be able to put this behind me until I know what happened.”
Lex put a hand on Steve’s shoulder and said, “I’ll go talk to him about it tonight, and then give you a call in the morning.”
Steve smiled and said, “Thanks Lex. I really appreciate it.”
Lex turned and headed back into the party. He went to the bartender to pay him off, while thinking about visiting with his father. He shook his head and gave the bartender an extra hundred when he said, “Three shots of scotch in a glass straight, and no juice this time.”
He thought, ‘I just won’t tell. But that makes me a liar. But if I do tell….better not think about that right now. Jonathan would say that I don’t need it. Maybe he’s right, but it will give me confidence to face my father.’
The bartender happily handed Lex the drink, and Lex downed it in about five swallows. He coughed noisily and put the glass back down. He headed out the door and thought about how smart it was of Jonathan to insist that he not drive himself to the party. He knew that if he had his car there he would drive himself to see his dad at Luthorcorp whether he had been drinking or not, and he knew for sure that Jonathan would be very pissed if he did. As it was, he could sit in the back and relax while the driver took him there.
Once Lex got to Luthorcorp, he got out and went to the front door. The place was locked up, but he could see the guard at the security desk. The guard was an older black man with white hair. Joe, the guard, had worked for Lex’s father since before Lex was born. Lex smiled at his luck and knocked on the glass. Joe looked up and smiled at Lex. He got up and came over to unlock the door. He opened it and said, “Good to see you Lex. What kind of mischief have you been up to? We haven’t seen you all summer.”
Lex had always liked Joe, because Joe knew the value of humor, and of keeping his mouth shut. Lex shook his head and said, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you Joe. Is my father still here?”
“Now what do you think?”
Lex nodded and headed for the elevator while Joe pushed a button on the phone system and said, “Mr. Luthor?”
“Your son is headed up to see you.”
There was silence on the line for a second, and then Lionel said, “Thank you, Joe.”
Lex felt himself starting to sweat thinking about seeing his father again, especially when he replayed their last confrontation out in his mind. He got off the elevator and walked to his father’s office. The door was ajar, and he gave a little knock as he walked in and said, “Hello?”
Lionel looked up from his papers and smiled. He said, “Lex, I must say I’m surprised to see you after our last talk, but I’m glad you came by.”
Lex went and sat on the small couch on the side of the room. Lionel noticed what Lex was wearing and said, “You look good. New suit?”
“Have you left the Kents?”
“No. I just went to a party. I’ll be going back to the farm in the morning.”
Lionel smiled a fake smile and said, “So why have you come to see me?”
Lex said, “I decided to go to the college in New York.”
Lionel smiled a more genuine smile and said, “That’s wonderful, Lex. They have a wonderful business program.”
“I think I’m going to major in History.”
Lionel was quiet for a few seconds and then said, “I see.” as he went back to his paperwork.
Lex said, “I just came from Steve Boscco’s house.”
Lionel looked up and rubbed his chin when he said, “Boscco….Boscco….sounds familiar.”
Lex rolled his eyes and said, “He told me something interesting about his father.”
Lionel looked back at his paperwork and said, “Oh?”
Lex was starting to get pissed, because he just wanted his father to be up front with him about what had gone on, and he could tell now that Lionel was going to play one of his games instead of being honest. Lex said, “Cut the crap Dad. Steve just wants to know how his father died, so he can put it behind him.”
Lionel looked up at Lex pretending to be offended, and not doing a very good job of it. He said, “Lex. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Lex thought about yelling, but instead laughed and said, “Right. Let me help you with that. Steve’s dad was Rick Boscco. He died last week while working here at Luthorcorp. Something about an explosion that killed just him. Ring any bells for you Dad?”
Lionel snapped his fingers and said, “Of course.”
Lionel put on his face of regret and said, “Sad story really. Mr. Boscco hadn’t been working for me for very long either. He was designing a new security system for my lab.”
Lionel stopped to shake his head and tried to make himself look even more regretful. He said, “The poor man just wasn’t very bright. We told him that some of the lab experiments were volatile, and that he should under no circumstances touch them, but I guess he got curious. He was looking at one up close when a security guard startled him, and he bumped the table he was looking at. It caused an explosion that killed him.”
Lex shook his head. He said, “You know Dad, I’ve always known that you were full of shit, but after I’ve been away from you for a while, it’s just shocking how obvious you are about it.”
Lionel waved a dismissing hand at Lex while he went back to his papers and said, “See you in a month son. Have fun playing house with your pretend folks.”
Lex said, “So you’re not going to tell me what really happened?”
Lionel gave his son a look that clearly said, ‘how stupid are you?’
Lex said, “Steve’s dad was running a fucking steel mill last I heard, and you expect me to believe that he was designing a security system? I may not be as smart as you want me to be Dad, but I’m not a moron.”
Lionel didn’t even look up or respond to his son.
Lex yelled, “Answer me God damn it!”
Lionel looked up wearily at his son and said, “Did I say security system? I meant he was designing a new steel mill that we will be building next month.”
Lex yelled, “Aaarrrrggg! I hate you!”
Lex stormed out the door, and to the elevator. Once Lionel heard the elevator doors close Lionel made a phone call. He said, “My son is curious about the explosion. Please destroy all the records. Thank you.”
Lionel hung up and put his fingers on his temples to try and help his headache go away.

Lex stormed out of the elevator muttering to himself. Joe knew that look and quietly went to unlock the door before Lex could yell at him to do it. Joe quietly asked, “You all right?”
Lex yelled, “I’m fucking FINE!”
Joe nodded and stood by the door waiting to lock it again once Lex was gone. Lex walked through the door and was surprised when his thoughts turned to Martha, and what she would think about what he had just done. He turned and looked at Joe. He said, “I’m sorry about that Joe. I’m angry with my father, but it’s no reason to take it out on you. You have a good night, and I’ll see you next time.”
Joe stared at him blankly for a full minute. Lex felt a little awkward and said, “Bye.”
Lex started to walk towards his rented car, and he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned back around to see Joe. Joe said with complete sincerity, “Good for you kid. It looks like you finally grew up, and I believe you’ll be a better man than your father.”
It was Lex’s turn to stand there staring. Joe closed and locked the door as he said, “See you next time.”

When Lex got back to his car he looked at his watch. It was 1:30 in the morning. He told the driver to take him back to The Palace. He got back to his room in time to answer the call from Jonathan. Jonathan was pleased that Lex was back in his room on time. He said, “Hi Lex. How was the party?”
“It was okay.”
“Were you able to stick to the guidelines?”
Lex really didn’t want to tell Jonathan what had happened, but he didn’t want to lie either. He wanted more time to think about what he was going to tell Jonathan, so he said, “Can we talk about it when I come home tomorrow?”
Jonathan was quiet for a few seconds. He said, “Okay Lex, but I want you to remember what we talked about before you left. You told me that you would let me know about it even if you messed up, and I expect you to keep your word about that.”
Lex felt guilty for even thinking about lying, and he blurted out, “I had one drink, but that was all.”
Jonathan tried to sound reassuring when he said, “Good job telling me Lex. I know it was hard. You can tell me the whole story when you get home, but now you won’t have to worry about telling me what you did. I’m really proud of you.”
Lex felt a little better than he had, and he laughed at the irony. Jonathan asked, “What’s funny?”
“You’re proud of me even though I broke the rules you gave me.”
Jonathan smiled and there was humor in his voice when he said, “I’m proud of you for facing up to your mistakes. That’s one of the hardest lessons to learn as an adult. A person who tries to hide their mistakes, isn’t much of an adult in my book.”
Lex said, “I guess I agree with you.”
Jonathan yawned and then said, “I’m gonna go back to sleep, unless there’s anything else you want to talk about right now.”
“Sleep good, and I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”
“See ya.”

Lex sat on his bed thinking about things for the next hour. He decided to tell Jonathan that he went to see his father, but not what it was really about. He planned to get up early in the morning and call around to find a private investigator to try and find out what had really happened to Rick Boscco. He called the front desk for a wake up call, and then went to sleep.
The next morning Lex looked in the phone book and found some private investigators. He called three before he picked one. He set up a meeting for that morning. Next he called Steve. He got the answering service for Steve’s cell phone. Lex said, “Hi. This is Lex. I’m gonna be busy most of the morning, but I’ll give you a call early this evening and let you know what I found out…which isn’t much.”
He got some breakfast and packed up his stuff. He paid for the hotel room and went out to get the bike. He road over to meet with the private investigator, Mr. Miller. Lex told him, that he wanted to find out what had happened to Rick. He told him that his father was hiding the truth, and that he would have to probably find an eyewitness to get the real story. Lex said he would pay the eyewitness very well for the true story. He also told Mr. Miller as much as he knew about Rick to help him along. By the time the meeting was over, it was later than he wanted it to be. Lex thought he would be a little late back to the farm.
On the ride home he thought about what his conversation with Jonathan was going to be like. He didn’t think it would go well, and he couldn’t help but wonder if Jonathan was going to spank him or not. He thought that he probably would, but he hoped that he wouldn’t. He was already berating himself for having the drink.

On the farm, Jonathan asked Martha go into town with Clark to have lunch and do some grocery shopping, so he could talk with Lex alone. He didn’t really want to spank Lex, but he thought he should unless he had a pretty good reason for having the drink. Martha and Clark had been gone for an hour when Lex came riding up. Lex put the bike in the shed, got his stuff out of the saddlebag, and covered up the bike. He looked around and waved to Jonathan out in the field. Jonathan waved back, and headed for the house. Lex waited for him. Jonathan gave Lex a quick hug and said, “Good to have you home.”
Lex smiled and said, “It was good to get out, but it’s even better to be back.”
Jonathan patted Lex’s shoulder and said, “Why don’t you go put your stuff away while I wash up. We can have a late lunch and you can tell me about your trip.”
Lex asked, “Where are Martha and Clark?”
“They went to town for lunch, and to do some shopping.”
Lex nodded and went to go put his stuff away. He thought it was a very bad sign that Martha and Clark weren’t there. He had the sinking feeling that Jonathan was already planning to spank him. He dragged his feet getting back downstairs.
Jonathan had made sandwiches, and he was already half done with his. Lex didn’t really feel like eating, because he couldn’t stop thinking about what was going to happen. He sat down and took a bite, and then just sat there looking at his sandwich until Jonathan was done with his. Jonathan noticed that Lex wasn’t eating, and he said, “Aren’t you hungry?”
“Not really.”
Jonathan said, “Then why don’t you tell me about last night.”
Lex darted a quick look at Jonathan who was looking at Lex patiently, and with concern in his expression. Lex looked back down at his uneaten lunch and said, “After I called you from my room I went to run some errands. I rented a car and driver for the whole day, so I didn’t have to deal with the cabs. I had dinner at the hotel, and then went to the party. I did what Martha suggested with the bartender, and I was amazed at how well it worked. I ended up drinking apple juice for most of the night. I visited with my friends. I met a girl, and we… had a good time together. Then when I was about to leave I decided to see my dad.”
Jonathan’s eyebrows went up with surprise. He said, “Why?”
“I was talking to my friend Steve, the guy who was having the party, and he told me that his father died last week. He didn’t have a good relationship with his dad either, and he made me think about my dad, and I just…I went to see him and told him which college I was going to.”
Jonathan asked, “How did it go?”
Lex shook his head and said, “Not well.”
“What did he say?”
“He seemed happy about the one I had picked at first, but when I told him I was going to major in history he pretty much dismissed me. Told me to have a good time playing house with my pretend folks. I told him I hated him and left.”
“Then what did you do?”
“I went back to the hotel and got your call.”
“So when did the drinking come in?”
“Right before I left the party. I thought I would need some courage to face my father, so I paid the bartender off, and told him to give me a real drink.”
Jonathan shook his head and said; “Real courage would be facing your father without alcohol.”
“Yeah, I suppose that’s true.”
It had not escaped Jonathan’s notice that Lex hadn’t looked at him during this whole conversation. He said, “Look at me Lex.”
Lex looked at him. Jonathan said, “It seems to me that your relationship with your father is at the center of most of your problems. Since you’ve been staying here, the only times you’ve gotten into trouble have been because of your reactions to the things your father has said or done.”
Lex nodded and said, “I suppose that’s true too, but I don’t know what to do about it.”
“I think you’ve become better at dealing with it over the past month and a half, and I think with time you can be even better. I wish I could tell you to just never see the jerk again, but we both know that isn’t really possible. I wish I could go over there and make him see what a wonderful person you are, but I know that wouldn’t work. So the only way I can see to help you is to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”
“Having me help you on the farm?”
“No, that’s just to keep you busy. Giving you a set of rules to follow, so that when your dad makes you angry, you think about it before doing something you know is wrong.”
Lex looked away again and said, “I did think about it. I knew you wouldn’t be happy about me having a drink, and I knew you would probably…... At the time I told myself that I just wouldn’t tell you, but then when you reminded me that I had promised to tell you…..well, it just came out.”
Jonathan said, “I’m glad it did. And I’m really glad that you had the driver, so that we didn’t have to go over that again.”
Lex mumbled, “Me too.”
“So, what should you have done instead of having a drink?”
Lex looked blankly at Jonathan. He said, “Instead?”
Jonathan nodded and Lex said, “I don’t know.”
“You could have called me or Martha right before you saw him and right after. We may not be able to change the things he says or does, but we can help you to understand that his opinion of you isn’t justified, or even realistic. We can help you to see that you’re a good person, and that you do deserve to have someone care about you.”
Lex thought about it and said, “Maybe.”
“I want you to know that you can call us any time Lex. I’m really serious about this. If you have a problem at three in the morning you can call, and I’ll try to help. Even when you’re off at college and not living here anymore.”
Lex’s breath caught in his throat and he choked out, “Thanks.”
Jonathan nodded and said, “Anytime.”
Jonathan sighed and stood up. He put his plate in the sink and then pulled his chair away from the table. He said, “I’m sorry Lex, but I’m going to spank you for having that drink.”
Lex got red and started to protest, “But it was just….”
Jonathan interrupted him with, “I know it was just the one drink, and I know on the scale of things it wasn’t a very bad mistake. I’m also proud of the fact that you did so well with the rest of the night, but I truly believe that it will be better for you in the long run if I stick to having clear rules and clear consequences for you.”
Lex yelled, “I’m not even gonna be here in three weeks! How will this help me in the long run when I’m gone?”
“Because you’ll remember it. Hopefully remembering that I care enough about you to help you see clearly what is right and what is wrong, will help you make the right choices in the future. And I hope it will help you see that even if your father doesn’t have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong, most of the world does.”
“Right and wrong are opinions, and change from person to person.”
Jonathan shook his head and said with a small smile, “Okay, then I’m trying to show you what main stream society considers right and wrong. Now stop arguing, because I’ve made up my mind.”
Lex watched while Jonathan sat in the chair and said, “Let’s get it over with.”
Lex shook his head. Jonathan calmly said, “Lex, you knew this would happen when you had the drink didn’t you?”
Lex looked away and eventually said, “Yes.”
“And you did it anyway.”
Lex nodded at the table. Jonathan said, “And now it’s time to face the repercussions of that decision.”
Lex said nothing and Jonathan said, “So come over here.”
Lex felt his stomach clench. He knew Jonathan was right, but that didn’t make it any easier to walk to his own doom. He stood and slowly walked over to where Jonathan was sitting. Once Lex was close enough, Jonathan reached over and took his wrist. He gave a little pull and Lex was soon across his lap. Jonathan patted Lex’s back and said, “Good job Lex. I know that was hard.”
Jonathan raised his arm and started the spanking. Jonathan had already said all he wanted to say, so he spanked Lex hard and fast without talking.
Lex grunted with the first swat not expecting it to be quite so painful at first, and found himself trying to squirm away after the first ten swats. Lex yelled, “I’m sorry!…. Owww…..Mr. Kent…..Mmmph….I’m sorry!”
Jonathan started spanking the same spot three times in a row before moving to the next spot. After what seemed to Lex to be a few minutes, but was really a few seconds of this Lex started to cry. Once Jonathan heard Lex crying he paused and said, “I don’t want you drinking Lex. It’s not good for you, and you use it to solve your problems or hide from your problems, which then makes your problems worse.”
Jonathan gave Lex a few more hard swats concentrated on his sit spots, and then stopped. He rubbed Lex’s back while Lex cried. Lex realized it was over and started to push himself up. Jonathan put a hand on his arm to help him stand. Jonathan stood also and pulled Lex into a hug. Jonathan rubbed his hand up and down Lex’s back and talked soothingly while Lex cried. Jonathan said, “All done now. You’re gonna be all right. You’re forgiven, and I’m sure you’ll do better next time.”
When Lex was done crying he let go of Jonathan and wiped his face with his hands. Jonathan said, “Why don’t you go clean yourself up. I’m going to go start spreading some fertilizer. You can come help me when you’re ready.”
Lex nodded and headed to the bathroom. He used a cold washcloth to wipe off his face, and then looked at himself in the mirror. He thought, ‘Is this really me? Am I the guy who just let someone spank me for having a drink? I didn’t even put up a fight. But I do feel….better. Better than I have since taking the drink. That’s pretty fucked up Lex.’
Lex shook his head and didn’t want to look at himself anymore. He went out to the field and helped Jonathan for the rest of the afternoon. He felt even better when he started to work, and Jonathan told him a story about the first time he spread fertilizer with his father, and how horrible he thought it was at the time.

Martha and Clark got home in the late afternoon. Martha saw Lex and waved as she started to take groceries into the house. Clark ran out to the field and said, “Gross.”
Clark turned to Lex and said, “I’m glad you get to help with that and not me.”
Lex laughed and Jonathan said, “You can help too. Go get some work clothes on and get back out here.”
“But Daaadddd, I just got home, and……I have to help Mom.”
Jonathan shook his head. He said, “Did your mother ask you to help?”
“Nooooooo, but it would be nice of me if I did.”
Jonathan knew Clark hated spreading fertilizer, so he smiled and said, “Okay kiddo. You go help your mom.”
Clark grinned and said, “Thanks.” As he turned to go back inside.
Jonathan called, “And that means helping with dinner too, not watching TV.”
Jonathan looked to Lex who was smiling. Jonathan said, “I hope you don’t mind helping me with this. If you really hate it like Clark does, you can go in too.”
Lex shook his head no and said, “I don’t mind.”

When they were all sitting down for dinner Clark asked Lex, “How was the party?”
“It was okay. It wasn’t as good as I was expecting, because the girl I was really looking forward to seeing came to the party with someone else, but I met a different girl named Monica, so I guess it was okay.”
Clark said, “Where there lots of people there?”
“People you knew?”
“Yeah, there were lots of people from high school.”
Martha asked, “So are you glad you went?”
“I think so…..yes, I am glad I went. It’s the first party I’ve ever been to where I didn’t get wasted, so it was good. It’s different watching the people around you get drunk. Not as much fun as getting drunk, but it was interesting.”
When dinner was done Lex said, “Mr. Kent?”
“I want to call my friend Steve, but I was hoping to talk to him alone. Is there another phone in the house besides down here?”
“Sure, you can use the one in my room.”
Lex thanked him and went up to make the call. Steve answered with, “Hello?”
“Hey Steve, it’s Lex.”
“Hi. What did you find out?”
“My father wouldn’t tell me anything. I thought that if I went to him, and just asked him what was going on, he would tell me. Pretty stupid on my part. He gave me some bullshit about your dad helping him to design a new security system.”
“What the fuck? My dad didn’t know crap about security systems.”
“I know. When I reminded my dad what your dad did for a living, he changed his story and said Rick was helping him design a new steel mill. He didn’t even give a shit that I could tell he was lying.”
“Well, thanks for trying Lex.”
“I’m not done yet. I’ve hired a private investigator.”
“Wow. Are you sure about that? What will your dad do if he finds out?”
“I’m sure he will come up with some new way to make me miserable, but I don’t fucking care. I want to know what the hell he’s trying to hide, and I’m not going to stop until I find out. It’s not just a favor anymore. Now it’s personal.”
“Okay. When do you think you’ll know?”
“I don’t know, but I’ll call you as soon as I find out. I’m hoping the guy can find an eyewitness.”
“Oh, hey, before I forget, Monica was asking about you after she woke up. I think she would like to see you again.”
Lex thought about it for a few seconds. He said, “Do you have her number?”
Steve gave him the number, and they both said goodbye.

When Lex came back down Clark begged him to play some basketball before it got too dark out, and Lex agreed. While they were playing Lex said, “How was your weekend?”
“Boring until we got to go to town.”
“Well at least you got to have some fun.”
Clark’s tone was teasing when he said, “Yeah, but I bet you didn’t have fun while we were gone.”
Lex had jumped up to make a basket while Clark was talking, and he was startled enough by what Clark had said that when he came back down, he didn’t quite get his footing. He fell on his butt in the dirt. He grimaced and stood up as quick as he could.
Clark felt bad that he had teased Lex, and made him fall. He sometimes forgot that not everyone got to heal up and feel better the way he did. He mumbled, “Sorry.”
A pissed off Lex walked up to Clark and grabbed the front of his shirt. He said, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
Clark put his hands on Lex’s arm that was holding the shirt, and he stammered, “I’m s…sorry. I just….I overheard Mom and Dad talking about you drinking last night….and I guess….I thought…..well, I know what Dad would do to me….and I’m sorry.”
Lex could tell he was scaring Clark, so he let go of him and put a hand on Clark’s shoulder when he said, “I didn’t mean to get so upset. You just surprised me.”
Clark said, “I’m sorry.”
Lex gave him a glare and said, “Does your dad know you were eavesdropping on their conversation?”
Clark squeaked out, “No.”
“Then I wouldn’t be so quick to make fun of me if I were you.”
“I wasn’t….I mean…..I know it’s not funny…..I just thought…..if you were teasing me, I wouldn’t get mad…..well, maybe.”
Lex sighed and turned to walk away a few steps. He then said, “It’s okay Clark. It’s actually ludicrous that I let your father spank me, so what the hell. Laugh at me all you want.”
Clark yelled, “No! I’m NOT laughing at you. I’m….I’m commiizerating.”
Lex turned and said, “You mean commiserating?”
“Yeah. I know how awful it is to get spanked, so I just wanted to let you know I understand….and I’m sorry.”
Lex smiled and in a few seconds broke down laughing. He said, “Okay Clark, that’s the fourth time you’ve said you were sorry. I believe you, and I understand what you’re trying to say. I even think it’s nice that you’re trying to make me feel better…at least I think that’s what you’re trying to do.”
Clark nodded and smiled. Lex said, “So now that you know, I’m going to bed, ‘cause I’m fucking tired, and I don’t have the energy to do much more than sleep.”
“Okay. See you in the morning.”
Lex turned to go inside, and as he was about to open the door, Clark ran up to him and whispered, “You’re not gonna tell dad I was eavesdropping are you?”
Lex smiled and said, “Nope. Your secret’s safe with me.”
“Thanks Lex. Good night.”