Lex Luthor didn't often lose his cool. If he had learned nothing else from his biological father, he had learned that when you lose control you lose plain and simple. It was one of the few things in his life he had found to be helpful that Lionel Luthor had actually taught him. For the most part the rest was just pain, suffering, betrayal, and disappointment. But when he was eighteen all of that had changed. He had managed to almost hit Clark Kent with his car, and both the car and the boy had gone off of the bridge. It had been decided that he would spend a summer living with the Kents as some sort of way to repay them and to teach him a lesson. He had had no idea that one simple summer would change both who he was and who he would be in a way he could have never imagined.
The Kents had become both mother and father to him and they loved him with an intensity that amazed and honored him still. And he had gotten Clark as a little brother in the deal. All in all it was the best thing hands down that had ever happened to him in his life. But even having said that, just as parents do the Kents had some expectations of him. They were loving but strict parents, but they treated him no differently than they treated Clark, and that made him feel like he belonged. Although Lex had taken much abuse at the hands of his real father, Jonathon Kent had been the only man in his life to take a firm hand.
And Lex smiled as he thought about how often that firm hand was busy assaulting his behind for one thing or another. He hadn't believed that such a thing could happen, but Jonathon felt that spanking worked and Lex had to admit it was the one punishment that he would go great lengths to avoid. And he knew Clark felt the same way too. Lex had just graduated from college, and luckily he hadn't been on the receiving end of one of Pop's 'hand to butt' lessons in the last year, and he hoped that all of that was behind him now. But with Pop you just never knew.
And Lex had so much respect for the farmer that if he told him tomorrow he was going to punish him that way, Lex would not be happy about it but he wouldn't argue about it either. And if Pop knew what was going on here this evening that might be just the case. "I swear Clark, if I get my ass warmed up again after all this time because of you, I am gonna murder you myself."
He walked to the kitchen and pulled back the curtain scanning the driveway again for any sign of either Clark or the Porsche. He must have been out of his mind to let Clark talk him into this. What in the hell had he been thinking? Lex knew just what it was too. Clark had looked at him with those big sad eyes and said, "Oh please Lex let me take the Porsche. I promise nothing will happen."
For someone with such a brilliant and intuitive mind he certainly could be a sucker when the occasion called for it. The whole thing had started with the best of intentions. And yes he did realize the irony of the whole concept of the best laid plans of mice and men. Mom had called his condo about two weeks ago saying that she wanted to surprise Pop for his birthday and take him away. He had a cousin that he loved but never got to see in Oregon and he had always wanted to go and visit him. So Lex said he would buy the airline tickets for her, which he had, and then wouldn't let her pay him back for them. And he made all the other arrangements too, to assure that they had a wonderful time, including a weekend alone in a beautiful hotel suite. Pop would never allow him to spoil either one of them, and he knew that when they came home he would be taken on the carpet over this, but for once he simply didn't care. They had loved and cherished him when no one else had, and he wanted for once to go overboard for them.
The only thing left had been Clark. He was sixteen now and just recently started driving and Mom didn't want him staying alone. So again Lex had stepped in like the good son, and volunteered to come home and stay for the week to take care of little bro. It had been a great week with Clark managing to ignore the need to run out and save the day. Pop had really laid down the law before he left, and Clark knew exactly what would happen if he didn't get a good report about how the week had gone. While Lex hadn't recently felt Pop's hard hand, he knew that Clark had more than once in the last few months. And he also knew that Clark wanted to avoid it in the future as much as Lex did.
"So why then if that's the case is he still not home!" Now Lex realized that he was talking to himself which was a sure sign of just how bad things must really be. He paced the floor for the next hour alternating between being worried sick and wanting to kill Clark himself. Which he realized given the circumstances with Clark's powers wasn't possible but the fantasy felt good. He finally heard the sound of a car in the driveway and prayed that it wasn't the police.
He pulled aside the curtain at the kitchen window and felt a lot like Mom suddenly as he had seen her do that a million times. And there was little brother climbing out of the Porsche like he had all the time in the world and to make it worse the little shit (well actually at the rate he was growing lately it was the tall shit) was actually smiling. With a quick glance at the expensive watch that adorned his wrist he saw that it was now one o'clock in the morning. Oh someone was so dead now.
Lex watched grinding his teeth as Clark all but swaggered up the stairs. "Hey Lex."
Now Lex turned to him an incredulous look on his face. "Hey Lex? Do you know what fucking time it is now Clark?"
Clark actually seemed surprised at Lex's fury. "Well yeah I sorta lost track of time."
Now Lex tried with all he had to rein in his fury. "Oh well then that's fine, as long as you didn't intentionally stay out with my Porsche until one a.m.!"
He saw Clark squirm a little when he told him what time it was. "Oh gee is it that late now?"
Lex counted to ten in his head and was reminded of Pop and how he always managed to stay calm and cool when dealing with whatever issue of the day they threw at him. Trying to take a page from his book he took a deep breath. "What exactly did I tell you when you drove out of here a short six hours ago?"
Now he was pleased to at least see Clark look a little guilty. "Not to go over a hundred?"
After that smart remark Clark gave him a toothy grin, but instead of finding it funny it just made Lex even madder. Reaching him in two steps he grabbed a hold of his upper arm. "Do you think this is funny Clark? Are you amused by this? Is this a little game of see how far I can push Lex Clark? Cause I am not having a good time here."
Now Clark appeared to be thinking things over. "No, no and I'm sorry."
Lex just shook his head amazed that Clark continued to push and not realize just how deep he was in this time. "How about we just call Pop and tell him exactly what's going on here tonight? Do you think that will be funny?"
Instead of looking afraid as he should, Clark just continued to smile. "Yeah Lex we could do that, but we won't, cause one of the last things that I heard Dad say to you was to under no circumstances let me drive the Porsche. So I would be in trouble but then so would you."
Now Lex understood exactly what was going on with Clark. This was a power struggle plain and simple and unfortunately for little brother Lex was a master at those. Lex took a step back and looked over his opponent and knew just from the smug smile which was replacing the usual boyish grin that he had no choice but the obvious. "Yeah I guess you're right Clark go on up and get ready for bed and I'll stop by to say goodnight later."
He saw Clark visibly relax and he knew that little brother thought that he had won and that it was over. "Look Lex I'm sorry I shouldn't have kept the car out that long."
Looking him over again he knew that Clark was worried that he had hurt their relationship with his behavior and this was the wanting his cake and eating it too scenario. Because once Lex forgave him it was over and done with in Clark's mind. "We can talk about this some more when I come upstairs."
Lex was glad at least to see some concern on Clark's face as he nodded and went upstairs. Lex sat down at the kitchen table and thought about what he was about to do. He could just call Mom and Pop and interrupt their vacation by telling them, and then when they came home he had no doubt of what would happen. And he wasn't so concerned over what Pop would do to him, as he was over Clark's attitude towards him. And because of that he knew that he needed to take care of this.
More than a year ago he had been staying with Clark while the folks had gone out of town to celebrate their anniversary and while they were gone Clark had gotten himself into trouble and Lex had spanked him. For a long while after that their relationship had been different, and Lex knew that Clark was looking at him in a different light. But as time went by memories faded, and apparently now Clark thought he was big enough and bad enough to take Lex on. Not a good move at all. Lex decided what he needed to do and really there had been no choice, Clark had taken care of that. He gathered the things that he needed and headed up to Clarks room for the ultimate show down.
Taking a deep breath he knocked on the door to Clark's bedroom. "Come in."
Lex walked into the room and set the items that he had brought down on the dresser and turned to look at the young man who for all intents and purposes he thought of as his brother. He was not surprised to see Clark wearing his deer in headlights expression.
While he had thought himself tough enough to take on Lex he wasn't even close.
"Lex what are you doing?"
It pleased Lex to hear the question asked in a voice which was unusually high for the sixteen year old. "Well let's see I know for sure I don't plan on brushing my hair with that hair brush, and I also know that I don't plan on overpowering you with the meteor rock and brushing your hair either. I think you know what I've got planned."
Now he could see Clark struggle with panic. "If you do Lex I'll tell dad as soon as he comes home and you'll be in hot water too. The best way to deal with this is just to forget it. Really I know that I pushed it with the car tonight and I promise never to do anything like that again."
Now Lex shook his head fully prepared to call his bluff. "I intend to tell Pop myself what you did tonight. I figure even though he told me not to let you drive the Porsche you are still in for it again. And if I have to be punished to assure that happens, I am fully prepared to do that."
Now Clark was finally seeing the whole picture. 'I didn't really mean for this to happen Lex, it was just so cool to drive your car and Pete was so impressed and Lana
Lex had known that if he let him continue to talk that he would hang himself, and he had. "I told you when you left only to drive to Pete's and not go cruising did I not?"
Now Clark looked worried. "But Lex we only drove over to the Talon to see Lana."
Now Lex fixed him with a Luthor look that he had perfected for years. It was both intimidating and hard. "What in fact did I tell you about driving around in that car?"
Lex was pleased to see Clark squirm. "Well not to drive it around anywhere but
Lex nodded and it sealed Clark's fate. "So you took that to mean that you should drive all over Smallville with Pete and even show it off to Lana."
Now Clark looked like he was rethinking the advisability of the decisions that he had already made. "Come on Lex, it was just one night and one little mistake and please don't go all Dad on me over this."
As if the pleading wasn't quite enough Clark was using the big sad eyes that Lex had such a hard time resisting. And for a second Lex had some genuine doubt about what he was going to do. "And that's all of it right? You have told me everything that happened tonight?"
And then, just when he had been thinking of letting Clark off the hook, he saw that there was more. He watched as those big eyes filled with tears and he just closed his own eyes and groaned. "What else?"
Now he saw Clark grimace as he answered. "Well there might have been one little dent put into the fender, but I swear it was an accident."
Now Lex could feel his own temper rising. "You put a dent in my fender Clark?"
He was happy to see that Clark must have understood just how bad that was and began to try and plead with Lex. "Look Lex please don't tell Dad about this, he'll kill me. I didn't mean to do it, but I miscalculated how close to the brick wall Pete had parked it."
Now Lex cut him off. "You let Pete drive my car?"
Lex pulled out the chair to Clark's desk and sat down. "I am going to ask you one more time Clark to tell me the whole story, and I damn well better hear it, or the next time I'll let the brush do the asking."
Clark's eyes got wide at the threat, and Lex just sat quietly while Clark told him about driving first to Pete's and then to the Talon where they showed the car off to both Chloe and Lana and then took it for a spin. Pete had apparently talked Clark into letting him drive and shortly after he had, that's when Clark had backed into something and put a small dent into the fender.
Lex sat in the small chair and listened with a heavy heart. He knew beyond any doubt what Pop would do about this, if nothing else because Clark had lied, several times in fact. He had absolutely hated when he had spanked Clark the last time, but he had known that he had deserved it. He had deserved the spanking he got that night, and that crime didn't even compare with this one. And as he had that night, he refused to allow Clark's misbehavior to interrupt one of the few carefree times that Mom and Pop ever had. Even if he didn't want to, he would deal with this.
"You know that I love you Clark you have been my brother for four years now. But because I love you, I owe it to you to handle this the right way and we both know what that is."
Now he wasn't surprised to see genuine tears rolling down Clark's face and if the truth was told Lex wasn't feeling far behind him. "Bend across the bed Clark. I'll save us both the embarrassment of making you bend over my knee."
He saw the boy shake his head from side to side and Lex gave him a minute to accept the situation. He gave his shoulder a squeeze. "C'mon lets just get this done and over with."
Lex held his breath wondering if Clark was going to comply with his demand. He knew that even with the meteor rock it wasn't likely that he was going to get Clark in the position if he didn't want to be. And part of it was he knew that Clark needed to just accept what he was going to do and submit to it, because that was part of the lesson that he needed to learn. He made sure his stern 'father face look' which he copied from Pop was in place, and he simply said, "Now" in a commanding voice.
He saw Clark turn and look at him with a tear stained face, and that felt like a blow to the gut to Lex. He waited until he had leaned across the bed and then he put the little metal box on the nightstand and opened it. He heard the groan that came from Clark, and he realized that he even hated this part of the process as he was sure that Clark did as well. He put a hand on the boy's lower back and rubbed, trying to help calm him or maybe it was to help Lex become calmer he wasn't sure.
"You made me a promise that you would only drive to Pete's and back if I let you take the Porsche. You not only broke that promise but several other rules by taking it joy riding with a passenger at night and after your curfew, and you even had so little respect as to let Pete drive, and then you even managed to damage the car. Add to that you didn't even let me know where you were and waltzed in the door at one in the morning."
Clark started to say something but Lex quieted him "I don't need you to talk right now I just need you to think about these things while you are being punished."
He saw Clark nod his head and he reached up and rubbed his neck for a minute. Not wanting to prolong his exposure to the rock and hating doing this with all he had, Lex picked up the hair brush and smacked it down first on one side and then on the other. He felt like he might throw up at the sharp cracking noise it made. Clark remained still but was crying immediately, and Lex went to work with the brush.
Within a few minutes of solid swats landing, and even with the disabling effects of the rock Clark managed to throw his hand back to try and protect his vulnerable butt. Lex easily grabbed the hand and held it out of the way rubbing his thumb in circles on Clark's captured wrist. He delivered ten more crisp swats with the brush and now Clark was just wailing. But Lex noticed that not once had he asked that Lex stop what he was doing. Lex knew that Mom and Pop had instilled in Clark from a very young age the concept of accepting consequences for your actions, and he was proud that he was doing that. Even consequences as unpleasant as these were.
He looked down at Clark on the bed and felt a knife to the heart and he smacked him twice more and sat down next to him and started rubbing his back. "Okay buddy we're all done now. I'm sorry that I had to do that."
Clark continued to just sob. Lex wiped tears off of his own face, and then stood up, walked over, and closed the box. Lex was not only feeling sick with what he had just done to Clark, but he was thinking about the last lesson Pop had taught him with the hairbrush. The sting was so fierce that Lex had never forgotten it, and listening to Clark's heartfelt sobs, he didn't think little brother would anytime soon either. Lex hadn't wanted to be so hard with Clark, but it was some pretty serious stuff that they had been dealing with, and he didn't feel as if he had had any real choice.
Clark continued to cry as if closing the box had made no difference, but Lex knew better. He had asked Pop many questions about this when he had been told about Clark's abilities, and he knew that once the box was closed it no longer hurt. But Lex really didn't think the pain was entirely physical, although he hadn't doubted just how much it had hurt. But knowing Clark there were a lot of emotional issues and feelings here to be dealt with too. And he also knew that before it was over, they would need to talk about them one by one.
He had been in Clark's position many times since he had become a real member of the Kent family, and the way Pop treated him had been the biggest revelation to him of all. First the love, attention and concern that he received on a daily basis were all things that to this day he still didn't receive from his biological father, and knew he never would because he wasn't capable of love to that degree. And when he needed to be punished Pop always had certain intangibles, and to Lex that was a great comfort.
One was that he never punished Lex or Clark in anger. Then he always made sure that they understood why they were going to be punished, and the most important one was the one that he was about to attempt with Clark. That was that he always let you know after that he still loved you, and that it was done and forgotten. In a way Lex had never been easily able to forgive himself for anything, and knowing that he had paid that price and that it was all water under the bridge, made it so much easier for him to forgive himself. And of course knowing that there was a great deal of continuity in the way Pop dealt with him made him realize that he could always count on him in good and in bad, and that was something that he wanted Clark to realize was true of him too.
He bent down and gently turned Clark back onto his back and then pulled him to sitting. If he hadn't already felt like the meanest person of the face of the earth, one look at those swollen, tear filled, big sad puppy dog eyes, and he would have. But he knew both from being in Clark's position, and from seeing Clark in this position before, that he needed to remain firm but loving. "Now you know that your behavior tonight was the reason that this happened."
He sat down on the bed and put an arm around Clark's considerable shoulders. "Are you okay?"
He saw Clark's lower lip tremble and then the tears started again. "No I feel awful
please forgive me cause I really screwed up everything."
Lex hugged him hard. "I forgive you Clark and it's done now."
He felt Clark holding on tight and sobbing and he just tried to comfort him as well as he could. "You know though that I'm still going to have to tell Pop about this. I can't lie to him, and I won't. And even if I did and he somehow found out later it would just be bad for both of us all the way around."
Now Clark cried alittle longer and then finally his crying tapered off to sniffles. But Lex could tell that something other than the obvious was still really bothering him and finally he came out with it. "I feel so bad about your car Lex. I know it's a small dent but it's still a dent and you trusted me with it."
Now Lex hugged the still trembling boy. "The dent is just the least of it Clark, that can be fixed. It's just a thing like a tractor or a computer no more, no less. I'll get over the fact that you dented it, but the trust you are going to have to earn back a little at a time. Why do you think I punished you so hard tonight Clark?"
Now Lex could see the eyes fill with tears again. "Cause I didn't take what you said seriously, if it had been Dad that had been home I wouldn't have done any of it."
Lex gave Clark's shoulder another squeeze. "Thank you for admitting that Little Bro I know it can't have been easy."
He was surprised to see Clark drop his head and sob again. "What now?"
He watched patiently as Clark fought to get control of his emotions. "I should have had more respect for you Lex, it doesn't mean
Now Lex watched as Clark again dissolved into tears. "Hey, I know it doesn't mean you don't respect me or care about me. It was just a huge, dumb mistake; trust me I have made at least a million of those, and believe it or not, several of which Pop has corrected with that damn hairbrush."
Now Clark looked at Lex and nodded. "Yeah that thing sucks for sure."
Lex couldn't stop the grin that crossed his face. "Can't argue with the truth there Clark."
Lex sat on the bed next to Clark for a while and was glad to see that he seemed to be feeling at least a little better. Finally Lex knew they needed to talk about Pop. "I'm going to tell him what happened. All of it. But I will wait until they come home on Monday. There is no sense in ruining what little of their vacation is left."
Lex waited for the inevitable pleas from Clark about not telling Pop at all but to his surprise they never came. Finally he looked into the sad, once again tear filled eyes, and just asked. "You aren't even going to try and change my mind about telling him Clark?"
Now Lex watched as he fought to get his emotions under control. "No Lex, I don't want you to get into trouble to cover for me. Whatever he does and I know exactly what that's gonna be, I'll just take it. It isn't like I don't deserve it."
Even thought Clark said it in a very nonchalant way Lex knew that it was anything but. "Thanks for that Clark, now how about you get into bed, and I think I'll do the same. I'm thinking that since this is our last full weekend together before the folks come home we could do something special. And we still haven't figured out what to do about Pop's birthday."
He was relieved to see Clark look a little happier at least. "Like what were you thinking Lex?"
Now Lex tried to think about what Clark would really enjoy and what would help them to get their brotherly relationship back on track. The first and only other time he had spanked Clark, he had taken them out for pizza after, but he didn't think that that was going to cut it this time, as this one had been much harder on them both. Suddenly Lex had a thought. "Hey remember the last time we went to the Home Depot for Pop?"
Now Clark smirked at the memory. "Yeah and you told me that if you ran into anyone that you knew, I was supposed to pretend that we didn't see them."
Lex smiled happy to see a smile of any kind on Clark's face. "Well remember we looked at those covered swing kits and talked about how much Mom would like something like that? Well we have two days we could build one of those from a kit."
Now Clark shook his head. "Yeah we could but isn't this Dad's birthday Lex?"
"Yes it is but you know him, if she's happy he's going to be happy."
Clark couldn't deny the truth in that statement. "Okay then, if you think you can actually help me build it, I think it sounds like a good idea. But we don't even have the kit yet how are we gonna do all this in two days."
Now Lex smiled. "Just let me take care of that. Now go on and get into bed and I'll see you in the morning."
Clark stood up, and looking kind of embarrassed, reached out for another hug which Lex gladly gave him before walking out and turning out the lights. Instead of going to bed Lex went downstairs and made some calls. When Clark got up the next morning, he was amazed to see everything they needed sitting in the yard. Lex was right that working on the project really seemed to get things back on track with them, and when he hammered his thumb and Clark fell onto the ground rolling with laughter, he realized that maybe, just maybe this was behind them. Monday morning came far too quickly, and before he left for school, Lex had Clark help him throw a tarp over what he thought was a pretty nice covered swing.
"Hey Lex I just wanted to say that well I'm glad
." Now Clark stood staring at his feet and Lex was dismayed to see tears in his eyes again.
Lex reached him in two steps and pulled him, coat, backpack, and all, into a hug. "I love you too Clark. Now go on, before you miss the bus again. And don't worry I won't show Mom and Pop our surprise before you come home."
Now Clark looked at Lex like he was crazy. "Yeah that's not exactly what I'm worried about either."
Lex nodded and Clark went out the door to catch the bus which Lex was pretty sure he had been missing on purpose just so he could be driven to school in the Porsche every day.
The morning went quickly with Lex leaving early to stop by the mansion and pick up a bigger car to go after the folks in. And before he knew it, he was standing in the baggage claim area at the airport waiting for them to arrive. He realized just how much he had missed them, and also that he couldn't imagine his life without them now. He saw them coming down the escalator. Pop was holding Mom's hand, and they were smiling and laughing, and he couldn't help the smile that crossed his face.
Within minutes he found himself on the receiving end of hugs and kisses, and they both acted like they hadn't seen him in a year, and he struggled with the tears that threatened to fall at just how much they cared about him. They retrieved their luggage and told him all about the trip and how much they enjoyed it. He had to admit that they both looked wonderful and well rested. He would have enjoyed the visit so much more if he hadn't known that he had to tell them both about Clark.
They were well on their way back to Smallville when Lex turned to Pop and told him all about what had happened with Clark and the Porsche. "I thought that I told you not to let him drive that car under any circumstances."
Lex felt a twist of anxiety in his stomach but realized that he would have to accept whatever Pop wanted to do about this. "I know, and I will accept whatever punishment you want to give me for that too."
He felt Mom place her hand on his shoulder from the back seat and squeeze. He continued his story and finished with how he had spanked Clark with the hair brush.
"Why didn't you just call me Lex? I would have handled it."
Now he turned to Pop sincerity evident on his face. "Because he needs to know that I am no different than you. He needs to have some respect for me as his brother. I know that he will behave when you and Mom are home, but he needs to know that if he screws up, I can enforce the rules too."
He could see Pop thinking about what he had just said very intensely. "The last time you punished him, I promised him that if you ever had to punish him again that I would also spank him when I came home."
Lex sighed knowing that that would come up again. "I know that you did, and so does he. He is perfectly willing to accept whatever you think he deserves. He really handled all of this pretty well."
Mom leaned in towards the front seat. "Is this Clark Kent that we are talking about here?"
Lex chuckled and felt her lean forward and plant a little kiss on the side of his cheek. "He was pretty mature about the entire thing I have to admit. But the whole spanking part was just awful. He cried, I cried. I don't know how you are ever able to do that Pop, it is just as bad when you are giving as when you are receiving."
Pop nodded in agreement. "True Lex but did you at any point that evening think anything else would have been as effective?"
Now Lex had to admit that Pop had a point. "No sir I knew exactly what his behavior called for, even if I didn't want to do it."
The rest of the ride home the subject was left alone, and they talked about all kinds of things. Lex's cell phone rang and it was Clark calling to tell them that he was home from school. "Are they really mad Lex?"
He tried to answer that question without actually answering. "Uh, that would be hard to say Clark, I guess we'll just have to figure it out."
Lex got off the phone and noticed Pop was smiling at him. "I bet right about now he is wondering just how upset we are isn't he?"
Lex tried to appear nonchalant. "Oh that? No, that was about some other
They arrived home soon after that and gathering the luggage they headed into the house. Lex could tell that Pop must have been deep in thought because he didn't even comment about the huge tarp covering their surprise. Walking into the house both Mom and Pop gave Clark several hugs and kisses, and made small talk for just a minute or two, but the tension was so thick that you could have cut it with a knife. "Okay then let's just get this over with. Into the living room please both of you."
Clark hung his head and did as he was asked, and for some reason Lex was suddenly feeling a great sense of dread too. Pop sat down in the chair while Lex and Clark took the couch. "Now Clark, Lex has told me all about your joyriding in his Porsche, staying out past curfew, the dent, letting Pete drive, and all of it."
Lex watched as a blush came across Clark's face and he again dropped his head. "Is that all of it?"
Now Clark vigorously shook his head. "Yes sir."
"And how was it when Lex paddled your behind with the hair brush?"
Lex felt sick to see Clark's eyes fill with tears again at just the mention of his punishment. "Bad, really bad, and not just cause it hurt either."
Lex could see the resolve on Pop's face and he knew what was coming. "Have you forgotten what I said the last time you misbehaved and we were out of town?"
"No sir I remember."
Now Lex actually saw a tear roll down little brother's face. Pop stood up and went to the hutch to get the box, and Mom seeing what he was doing headed in the other direction to the kitchen. Lex reached over and squeezed Clark's shoulder, and Clark looked at him all sad eyes. "It's my own fault Lex."
Pop came back and sat the box down on the end table and motioned Clark over to where he sat. Clark's eyes were wide with surprise. "In front of Lex?"
Now Pop chuckled. "The last time you were in this position Lex was doing the spanking, so yes I think he can stay."
Lex thought that was odd but he wasn't about to defy the farmer at this point in time or really any point. Clark looked over his shoulder at Lex, and Lex suddenly felt sick to his stomach and he looked down at his feet. Pop pulled Clark across his lap and opened the box. He placed ten stinging smacks on Clarks behind and then stopped. Clark was glad because the sting was becoming something to reckon with, but he was puzzled. Jonathon reached across him and closed the box and pushed Clark to standing. "Now that's done."
Clark rubbed his recently assaulted behind and looked to his father with confusion. "I only spanked you now Clark because I had promised you that I would if you ever got into trouble when Lex was in charge. I think that your brother did a very good job of handling both your situation and your punishment while I was gone. I don't really think I needed to add to the spanking he gave you."
Standing the farmer pulled his son into a hug. "You did learn something right?"
Now Clark nodded. "Yes sir I sure did."
"Good sit back down next to Lex I am not quite finished."
Clark rolled his eyes and mumbled under his breath. "How did I know that?"
"Now Clark you are grounded for the next month as part of your punishment, and you will pay Lex back every dime for the deductible he has to pay to have that dent fixed. Understand?"
Now Clark looked unhappy. "Yes sir."
Lex became uncomfortable as Pop turned a gaze his way, and recognizing both the look and the body language suddenly Lex didn't feel so good. "And you Alexander are also grounded for two weeks. You could have avoided all of this by simply doing as I told you and not letting Clark have the car. You will come home every weekend until your punishment is over."
Now Lex looked at him incredulous. "You do know that I am out of college now and have a job and a life and am like a bona fide adult?"
Now Pop bent down so that he was almost nose to nose with Lex. "Two things come to mind when you say that son. First is if you are an adult then try acting like one and not giving in to the wishes of a sixteen year old, and then the second thing is that we can just handle it like I just did with Clark if you are that unhappy."
Lex realized that he might have just overstepped his boundaries there and quickly replied. "No sir, I really think being grounded will be just fine."
Now Jonathon smiled at them both. "Okay then, I think we are all done here."
Standing and heading for the kitchen, both Lex and Clark knew that they had gotten off easily. "Hey Dad, Lex and I have something to show you and mom."
Now Lex smiled and threw an arm around Clark's shoulders. "It's for your birthday."
Together they all walked out to the yard where Clark made a huge production of pulling the tarp off of the swing. Mom cried and Dad beamed and kept looking at all the workmanship and talking about how proud he was of them both. And then Clark told the story about Lex and hammering his thumb and Mom and Pop sat down in the swing and laughed. Lex walked away from the scene because his eyes were full of tears and he didn't want to ruin the moment.
He stood at the fence and felt Pops warm hand on his shoulder. "Hey buddy, are you all right?"
Lex didn't trust himself to speak, and looked to the man he loved with all his heart and was amazed to see tears in his eyes as well. "I'm sorry Pop, I just never dreamed I would have this in my life. I never even wanted to wish for it. It has been the greatest gift I have ever received."
Now he felt Pop wrap him in a hug and he hugged back with all he had. "Want to know a secret Lex?"
Lex just nodded. "We never would have dreamed that we could have this family either. It is as much a treasure to us as it is to you. You are a fine man and we are so proud to be your parents."
Turning to smile he walked back to where Mom and Clark were. Lex felt like weeping but he held strong, and once again thanked his lucky stars for the day when he was driving too fast and with too little caution, and had started the events that had brought him to this point. He thought of what it meant to him to have a father and a mother who loved him more than anything in this world. He thought of what it meant to have a brother to share his life with and to care for and be cared for. He turned and looked at Mom, Pop, and Clark sitting in the swing talking and laughing, and he knew that his place in this family was secure for all of his life. Wiping the tears off of his face he walked over to join his family.
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