Mr. and Mrs. Clark Kent
Martha slowly walked up the stairs and listened to the sound of the kitchen door closing. After the very deserved tongue lashing she had just given Clark she felt tired and actually laid down on the bed feeling both emotionally and physically drained.
She could not believe the choices that her son had made in the last few days and she remained more than a little worried. And if that wasn't enough she was also was concerned about Jonathon.
He had taken this last situation with Clark particularly hard. She knew that he was struggling with how to handle the problem. And Jonathon being a good father had always tried to make Clark understand how poor choices could ultimately be very costly. While she still wanted to shake her headstrong son she also was worried about how this would affect his relationship with his father. Jonathon was not one to suffer in silence. If he was upset or disappointed he was very likely to share that feeling with the person responsible.
She closed her eyes and while she didn't fall asleep she knew that about an hour had passed. The door to their room opened and she was surprised to see her husband walk in. Usually at this time of day he was very busy attending to all the things that made the farm run. She could tell by the look on his face that he was still as upset as she was about Clark and his impromptu marriage.
"She just left" he said in an amazed voice.
She sat up and stared at her husband. "Who just left?"
"Alicia, that's who." He got up and began to pace the room.
"Even after all that he has done she is still coming here to see him and he doesn't seem to find any thing wrong in that."
Martha shook her head as if she hadn't heard him correctly. "Why in the world was she here?"
"I don't know, but I did walk into the barn in time to catch them in a 'the world is against us' embrace."
Jonathon sat down on the bed next to his wife and shook his head. "I can't let this go Martha. I need to make him understand that this behavior won't be tolerated."
She moved over to reach out and rub his shoulders. "I know Jon, but we can't blame him for what he did while he was under the influence of the red rock can we?"
"No but we can hold him responsible for the choices that he made leading up to that point. And as I recall we have made our feelings abundantly clear about that girl and still he was just out in the barn in a major squeeze with her."
Martha sadly nodded her head. "I know but we can't tell him who to love."
Jonathon became very angry at this. "The hell we can't! This isn't some girl who we dislike because we just don't think she's "right" for Clark. This is a girl with serious mental issues who has been violent in the past and undoubtedly will be in the future. We would be fools to sanction that relationship."
He stood up and resumed pacing. Martha knew that she had to be the voice of reason. "Look Jonathon if we push too hard he will end up marrying her for real the next time."
She could see that her reasoning had little effect on her stubborn husband. "Martha this is not about us trying to control Clark. This is about us helping him to go in the right direction. This is about keeping a promise to him that poor choices have consequences. After he ran away to Metropolis and I brought him back you know what happened then."
Jonathon could see the look of distress on his wife's face at the memory of what happened that night but still he continued. "And as much as none of us enjoyed it, he did start being more careful about the choices that he made. He knew what would happen if just started making decisions on his own, and ignoring the rules that we have laid down for him. And that's exactly what has happened here. And even if you don't want me to, you know what needs to happen now."
Martha felt her eyes fill with tears because she indeed didn't want Jonathon to do what he was threatening and also because she knew that it needed to be done. As if he had some idea of what they were talking about, at that exact moment Clark knocked on their bedroom door. "Dad, are you in there?"
Jonathon responded by opening the door. Clarks face was flushed and it looked as if he had been crying. "I would like to talk to you about all
Clark couldn't even meet his father's gaze and continued to stare at the floor. Jonathon nodded his head in agreement. "I very definitely think we need to discuss this. Go on downstairs your mother and I will be down in just a minute."
Clark followed his father's instructions and went back down stairs. Jonathon looked at his wife and said "If this is going to be too hard for you I can handle it alone."
He wasn't surprised when she stood up and shook her head no. "The definition of the word parents does involve two actual people. I need to be there both to back you up and to make Clark understand that we are united about this."
"I am not going to change my mind about this sweetheart. No matter how much he tells me he's sorry or how much he cries. I will see it done."
Martha felt tears come to her own eyes but said, "I know Jon."
Together they went downstairs into the living room where Clark was standing looking out the window. Martha's heart twisted as she looked into his handsome face and even as old as he was she still saw the little boy that he had been. The little boy who now was in one hell of a lot of trouble.
"Sit down Clark so that we can discuss this."
Clark sat down in the armchair as his father had instructed him to do. Jonathon and Martha sat together on the couch facing him. No one said anything until Clark could no longer stand the silence. "Look Dad I know that you're angry with me."
Martha could feel her husband fighting to remain calm. "But even you have to agree that it was because of the red rock and really I was sort of blameless in all this."
Martha knew that Clark would have been better off to just admit to all the things that he had done and accept his punishment. This whole 'I wasn't responsible' thing would just result in Jonathon being harder on him. As if he could read her mind she felt Jonathon lean forward towards Clark and say "Bull!"
She saw the color rise in Clark's cheeks and she knew that he had to know how much trouble he was in. And he had to have some idea of what his father was thinking about doing to correct the situation.
When Clark had come into their lives it had been as if they had been given the greatest gift of all. By and large he was a great kid, loving and kind and helpful. But like any child he did get himself into trouble from time to time. And especially with his "gifts" he really tried their patience. But they had been able to make him understand just how important it was to use those special abilities carefully. And while they never wanted him to feel ashamed of the things he could do they taught him a great deal about discretion.
But underneath the strength and speed was just a kid- then and now. And because Jonathon was an excellent father and mentor for their son he was always firm and consistent. And so like most children (she supposed) there had been a few occasions where Jonathon had spanked Clark. They had found out about his weakness to the green rock long ago and while they didn't like to have to use it when the situation was grave enough that was exactly what Jon had done.
It was always only for very serious things and Martha often thought that she and Jonathon hated it as much as Clark did. But she had to agree with her husband that Clark needed to realize that poor choices often come with unpleasant consequences. The last time Jonathon had spanked Clark had been after he had brought him back from Metropolis and the whole running away thing. And that one had been a doozy.
Jonathon had spanked him long and hard with the belt and Clark had cried like his heart was broken. But she knew that the guilt of all the things that he had done and the people he had hurt had been eased by the severe spanking that he had received. Clark had sworn to her afterwards that he would never do anything to earn another spanking like that. And at the time she had believed him, but time had passed and apparently memories had faded.
They loved their son and wanted him to grow into the man that they knew he could be. And now that he was a senior and a big football hero, maybe he thought that their relationship had changed. He was about to get a big reminder that it had not. Jonathon was still the dad and Clark was still the son and he still needed to obey the rules that were set up for his own good. She silently prayed that he would remember that. The thought of him running away again was enough to break her heart.
She looked back at father and son. Clark still had not responded to what Jonathon had said and silence hung heavy in the air. Finally Clark looked up into his father's face. "The truth is that you just don't like that I'm grown up now, and you still want me to obey your every command."
Martha held her breath at this comment and wondered if maybe Clark had a brain tumor or something that would make him say such an incredibly stupid and dangerous thing to Jonathon. Her gaze immediately fell to her husband and she could see the tightness across his shoulders and neck. Oh Clark, this is not the way to talk yourself out of this, she thought.
"So you think that you're grown now son? Just because you're as tall as I am, and have an impressive set of muscles, and you're shaving- that means that you're an adult then?"
She could see from the look on Clark's face that he knew just from the tone of his father's voice that this was bad. But for some reason he persisted in his argument. "Yea Dad that's right, I'm an adult now and next year I'll be off to college and in complete control of my life and my love life and the ability to use my powers."
And while he sounded totally defiant when he said it the look on his face was one of uncertainty. But he hadn't needed to be unsure because Jonathon was just about to show him in painful detail just how not grown up he was. "You will be an adult and a man when you act like an adult and a man. That includes refusing to make the easy choice when you know it that could get you or someone else hurt. You know drinking and driving, being too lazy to excel at school, putting everyone you know in harm's way by dating a girl who is mentally unstable, getting married and running up a huge bill for a hotel room on your father's charge card. Just all the usual teenage stuff."
"Oh, did you think that I was finished Clark? Well I'm not- not by a long shot. Maybe the things that you did while you were under the influence of the red rock were not completely your fault. But how is it that Alicia even knew about it or knew how to use it against you anyway? You knew from experience that this girl was trouble and yet you jumped right back into it with her. Being a man is also being able to control your hormonal urges and not being enticed into a relationship with the first girl who wants to make out with you."
Martha could tell that Clark was quickly becoming as angry as his father. "That is just none of your business Dad."
Much to her surprise Jonathon nodded his head in agreement. "That's right son and if this wasn't a mentally unbalanced girl, and you hadn't been drugged by her and run off in a drug induced haze to marry her and run up several thousand dollars in bills on my credit card which you just helped yourself to I would agree. If you wanted to be treated as an adult son then you need to behave like one."
Martha could see for the first time since this began that Clark was beginning to realize just how much he had to atone for here. Much to her son's credit he took the bull by the horns. "Okay then just how long am I grounded for this time?"
Jonathon just shook his head no and Martha could see Clark fighting panic. "This is much more serious than that Clark. I promised you when you came home from your last red rock adventure that your mother and I would oversee your decisions, and you promised to come to us if there was a problem. And yet here we are again with you making a wrong and very dangerous decision without even consulting us. Add to that lying and stealing again and we are exactly where we were then. And on top of that, this smug attitude needs to change. I had thought that the punishment you received that night would have had a longer lasting effect but I guess not."
Martha saw Clark stand up and shake his head no. "I'm not a child anymore Dad. You can't make all the important decisions for me. And you can't make me obey you by threats."
Martha looked over at Jonathon who suddenly seemed calm but remained resolute about the situation. "No one is threatening you with anything son, I am just fulfilling a promise that I made to you that night about helping correct your behavior. In fact that promise goes back a lot further than that. It goes all the way back to when your mother and I found you and decided you were our son. I promised both you and your mother that I would be a good and strong father for you. That I would help you grow into the man that you someday will be. And unfortunately today that help will come in a very unpleasant form."
Having said that Jonathon stood up and walked into the dining room where he opened the hutch and took out the small box which held the meteor rock and carried it back into the living room. Immediately upon seeing the box which he hated, Clark's eyes began to tear. "Look, maybe I did make some bad choices but I'm way too old to be punished like this. This isn't fair for you to punish me for something I had no control over. And no one believes in that kind of punishment anymore anyway."
Martha was not surprised by her husband's reply. "You are clearly not too old Clark, and even if you think you are, I am about to show you that you're not. I am not going to punish you for the things that you did that you had no control over- only the choices that you made that you could have controlled. And it really doesn't matter who else believes or doesn't believe in this kind of punishment because I believe that it works. It has in the past and it will again today."
And with all the declarations of being a grown up that he had made she saw her son revert quickly to the little boy that he once was. "Please Dad don't spank me, I'm sorry."
And if his heartfelt plea wasn't wrenching enough, two fat tears rolled down his face. She knew that if the choice had been up to her she would have just given in to his anguish and forgotten punishment. Looking at her husband's face she knew that he had no such thing in mind.
And as if he could read her thoughts Clark turned to her with a pleading look. "Mom, can't you talk to him?"
Martha really didn't want to be in this position between the two men in her life. "Yes Clark, I could but I'm not going to. I happen to think that your father's right about all this."
She could see the hurt and feeling of betrayal on his face when she said that. "Of course you do, you never even tried to understand about Alicia."
Martha fought the tears that threatened to fall. Of all the things that Clark could have said that hurt the worst. She had always tried to understand and help him through anything he went through. And this thing with Alicia had been no different. Even if he hadn't seen it as help she had tried to be there for him. But she couldn't condone behavior that would hurt him. And that was exactly what continuing in this relationship was doing whether or not he could see it. Jonathon sat the small box on the coffee table.
"This isn't about your Mother son it's about you. We just discussed all the things that you have done and now it's time to deal with them. Martha it might be best if you went outside for a while."
Martha loved her husband with all of her heart for wanting to spare her this but she knew that she needed to see this through for the sake of both the males in her life. But she did walk out onto the front porch and sat in the swing so that her being in the room wouldn't embarrass Clark. He was going to be feeling bad enough as it was once Jonathon got started.
Two pairs of eyes watched Martha go out the door and onto the porch. And then Jonathon turned to his son and nodded. Clark tried once again to change his father's mind. "Please Dad, I know I might have been sort of wrong about some stuff maybe."
Much to his surprise his father laughed. "Well that is about as far from a stellar apology as you could possibly get. And no Clark that didn't change anything because we are past the point where an apology good or otherwise will fix this. Clearly you are not hearing the words that your mother and I are saying, so I will give you some more advice in a manner that you can't just ignore."
He stood up and took off his belt noticing that Clark was shaking his head. "You can't do this Dad."
Jonathon sat back down on the couch. "At what exact point did you begin to think that you had the right to make decisions about your future and didn't need to include your mother and me? And at what point did you think it was all right to totally disregard what we had told you? And since when do you think that marriage is something to be taken lightly- legal or not?"
Clark started to attempt to answer the questions his father had asked, but Jonathon held up a hand. "No son I don't want an answer I just want you to think about these things while I'm swatting your all too deserving behind."
He could see that Clark was beginning to panic about the imminent threat to his butt. "But Dad you said that you would never punish me in anger and you seem pretty mad right now."
Jonathon shook his head. "I am extremely disappointed in what you have done and in you in general. What you're seeing isn't anger son, it's the resolve to make sure I punish you well enough that you learn the lesson this time."
All the color seemed to drain out of Clarks face and that clearly had not been the answer that he had hoped for. The farmer sat down on the couch and motioned for Clark to come to him. Defiance was still evident on everything from his posture to the look on his face but he did walk to where his father sat. "This isn't going to change my mind."
Jonathon just shook his head at his son's stubborn refusal to see his mistakes. And he did feel alittle bit of anger at the attitude. "Yeah, well we will see if you still think so after I've done my job here."
Clark swallowed hard but continued to look at his father. "I believe you remember what happens next son."
Clark leaned over his fathers lap but felt Jonathon's hand on his upper arm pushing him back up. "Nice try but for today's little discussion those jeans need to come down."
Clark stood the rest of the way up and with tears coursing down his face unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans and pushed them down his legs and leaned across his father's lap. Jonathon pulled down his boxers and reaching over him opened the box and gave Clark a few minutes to adjust to the way it always made him feel. And in all honesty it gave the farmer a moment to reflect on what he was about to do. And in as much as he always hated punishing Clark like this he had never been so sure in his whole life that this was the right thing to do. The necessary thing to do and just like he had promised both Martha and Clark he would see it done.
Not wanting to prolong what promised to be a very unpleasant experience for his son he raised the belt and brought it down on the center of Clarks behind. He felt Clark jump alittle at the sting but he remained uncharacteristically quiet. He then followed the first swat with five more which he delivered hard and fast and still not a sound from his usually vocal son. He continued to punish and knew that Clark had to be hurting but he was apparently fighting not only crying but the punishment as well.
He began bringing the belt down in the same spot twice before moving on and he felt Clark's shoulders shaking with effort to keep from sobbing. "I love you son, and I sure as hell won't watch you ruin your life. And if you need to find yourself in this position on a regular basis then that's what we will do."
It was as if a damn had broken and he felt Clark just give in and wail. And the sound all but broke his heart and he hoped that Martha hadn't been able to hear it. But knowing his son, he knew that he needed to punish the boy a little longer and he continued, but Clark's harsh and raw sobbing was as painful to Jonathon as the belt was to Clark. He delivered ten more hard swats and finally Clark started begging him to stop. And as was always the case the promises of "being good" started. He put the belt on the couch beside him. "I want you to remember just how this feels Clark. Your mother and I love you and we will not allow you to endanger yourself or your secret."
With that he brought his hand down five more times. Clark was crying so hard that Jonathon reminded him to breathe. "C'mon son take a deep breath, it's all over now. It's all done buddy, Mom and I forgive you."
He was glad to hear Clark do as he was told and he continued to rub his back hoping that it would be some comfort. While he knew that the boy's behind was on fire, he also knew that it had been a necessary evil and soon he could close the box and the actual physical pain of the spanking would go away.
But he knew that his son was also a very serious young man and he had to make him understand that they loved him and forgave him. He also needed to make Clark understand that similar behavior in the future would not be tolerated. From previous experiences with the boy he knew that what ever he said in the next few minutes would be what Clark would remember most.
He pulled up the boxers easing them over the well punished behind and then wrapped his hand around the back of Clark's neck. Rubbing his neck for a moment he then slid his hand down to the boy's shoulder and pulled him to a standing position and pulled up his jeans. Then reaching up and taking the boy's forearm he tried to pull Clark down so that he would be sitting next to him on the couch. But the boy resisted.
"Clark?" he asked in a warning tone. But Clark just shook his head like he used to when he was four or so and had refused to sleep in his own bed for a week after he had accidentally seen something scary on television. Again he tugged on his son's arm and again the boy shook his head. Just as Jonathon was getting ready to stand up himself he saw tears streaking down the boy's face. "It's gonna hurt if I do."
Jonathon couldn't believe that the thing he had just spanked the boy for was running off and getting married. Because it seemed to him as if this was just a much larger version of the four year old Clark. "I know that's what happens when you get spanked. C'mon now."
He pulled on his son's arm again and Clark sat down and gasped, and then as Jonathon put an arm around him he began to cry again. But much to the boy's credit he hadn't asked his father to close the box which would have made at least the sore behind go away. "So do you still feel like I'm not going to change your mind?"
Clark shook his head. "No sir, I was wrong about it all and if you don't want me to see Alicia again because you think that she's dangerous I won't."
Jonathon nodded his approval. "That's a good start- then you will get a part time job to cover all the things you put on our credit card. And you are going to write a thirty page report about the sanctity of marriage, for your mother and I."
Clark didn't look too thrilled but he nodded his head. "And here's the big one- unless I see a major change in your attitude I will give you another spanking just like this one next week."
Jonathon watched as Clark's eyes filled with tears. "No Dad please anything but that."
"You have the ability to make sure it doesn't happen son. Stop thinking that you don't need to consider your mother and me in making important decisions and listen to what we tell you. And the smug attitude has got to go."
He looked into the tear filled eyes and pulled the boy close to him. "Now I know that Alicia was here today and I also know that you can't control where she goes and what she does. But I do expect that if she is here you will at the very least tell your Mother or me about it. And there will be no hugging or kissing or contact of any sort. Because this girl is totally infatuated with you and that kind of thing will only convince her that you feel the same way about her."
"Yes sir." Jonathon closed the lid on the small box.
Jonathon called to Martha knowing that both he and Clark would feel better if she were part of this conversation. They both looked to the doorway as Martha came in. She immediately went to Clark and sat down next to him. He turned and sought solace in her arms like he had always done since the day he came into their lives. She held him and let him cry and looked to Jonathon who she could see didn't look a lot better than Clark. "It's all right baby, we love you so much. Are you okay sweetheart?"
Clark shook his head no and she like Jonathon could see the child that he had been. "It hurt so bad Mom."
But she knew that she had to be strong just as Jonathon was doing. "But it's all over now and some things are going to change right?"
Clark nodded. "Yes Ma'am. But I have to write a report and pay back all the money and stay away from Alicia."
Martha looked to her husband trusting that he was doing the right thing for Clark. "And dad said if my attitude doesn't change that he was gonna
Martha couldn't imagine what Jon had told Clark was going to happen that would upset him so. "He said he was going to do what honey?"
Clark looked at his shoes as if he couldn't look into her face. "Spank me again in a week."
Martha was surprised but she fought to not show it. Whenever Jonathon spanked Clark it was all said and done after the spanking was over. If anything this just proved to her how determined her husband was to keep Clark from making any life changing mistakes here again. "But that doesn't mean it will happen, if you do what Dad has told you there won't be anymore right?"
Clark nodded his head but didn't look too convinced. Jonathon grasped Clark's chin in his hand and turned him so that they were eye to eye. "I told you when I was spanking you that if I needed to spank you again to keep you on the right path I would. Now that's not so different from any other time in your life. You know both the rules and what happens when you break them. If you don't want another spanking you know how to avoid it. But even if I do have to spank you again, it won't change the fact that your mother and I love you and always will. We will always be proud of the fine young man that you are. Not one of us is perfect and mistakes are how we learn. This is no different. Now go on up and wash your face that will help you to feel better."
Clark stood up and rubbed his behind even though they all knew that it felt better. "I'm so sorry Dad."
Jonathon stood up himself and wrapped the still crying boy in a hug. "I know that you are son, I know. It will be all right you'll see. You're still our boy and we still love you."
Martha also stood up and hugged her son, standing on tiptoe to place a soft kiss on his cheek. They watched as he slowly climbed the stairs and walked out of sight. The farmer and his wife sat down on the couch and he pulled her to him. She held on tight telling him that she loved him and what a great father he was. They sat that way for a few minutes and as they pulled apart Martha saw him wipe tears off of his face. "Damn it I hate to have to do that."
She smiled at him sadly. "It wasn't like you had any choice Jonathon."
"No, I really didn't." He stood up and put his belt back on. "I had to be hard with him sweetheart, I had to know that he got the message."
"I know and just like everything else it will turn out okay." And Martha knew that to be the truth because she trusted both her husband and her son. Even when she was disappointed with Clark she knew that with a little guidance he would make the right choice.
"Hey why don't we go into town and have supper there and then go and see that new action movie that Clark has been talking about all week."
Martha looked at her husband in surprise. "This offer is coming from the guy who works all day, every day?"
He gave her the smile that she had fallen in love with. "I think we need a nice family evening. I think we all need it."
She stood up and hugged him. "I couldn't agree with you more. You go and finish up your chores in the barn and I will tell Clark and get movie times on line."
He gave her one last kiss and walked out to the barn. And she stood where she was thinking of all that had gone on and for the first time today felt like everything was going to be okay after all.
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