Authors Note: This story is an Alternate Universe of Smallville the TV show. In my story Clark and Lex meet much earlier in life when Clark is 12, and Lex is 18. Written - August 10, 2004 (Revised September 2009)
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters, and I am not making any money from these stories.
Warning: Disciplinary spanking of an adult by a parental figure - dubious concent.



Friendship Chapter 4


Lex had been staying at the Kent farm for a month and a half, and had one month left of summer, 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?"

"Fine."

"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."

"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."

"Fine. Send all the brochures here, and I'll let you know in a week," Lex said.

Lionel was silent for a few seconds before 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."

"Okay son," Lionel said. For a moment, Lex thought his father sounded sad, but quickly dismissed that as absurd.

Lionel hung up, and Lex glared at the receiver, and slammed it down. He stood there breathing hard 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."

Looking away, Lex said, "You can't ever challenge my father Mr. Kent, especially when it comes to me. He's 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."

"But…"

"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."

Sounding slightly pathetic to himself, Lex 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, held him at arms length, looked 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."

"Thanks."

Jonathan said, "But you still don't take the phone away from me when I'm talking. You understand me?"

"Yes….sorry."

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?"

"Nothing," Lex said with a shrug.

"No, really," Martha said with a laugh.

"Yeah, really," he said honestly.

Martha's eyebrows drew together in confusion. "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 exchanged a look at that statement. Martha turned back to Lex, and 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."

Getting angry Lex 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."

Pulling Lex into a hug, Martha 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…"

She 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?"

"Okay."

When Lex was outside, Jonathan asked, "Do you think we can change his mind about it?"

"I hope so," she answered.

That night in bed, Jonathan and Martha talked about Lex, and decided they would do their best to help him take college seriously.

For the next two days, Lex did find himself thinking about college, and what he thought it would be like. He'd 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 in college he could hire someone to do most of his schoolwork while he partied, and he'd been planning on that for a few years now. He'd even been looking forward to it. Now he wasn't so sure that was what he wanted. But he believed he would end up partying, whether it was what he wanted or not, after being on his own in that environment for a couple of weeks.

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."

After a moment of confusion, Martha said, "Oh. I see."

"At least the money Dad gives them will go to help the school," Lex said.

"So what are you interested in studying?" she asked.

"Nothing."

"There must be something you enjoy studying."

Lex shook his head. Unwiling to accept that answer, Martha prodded, "Think back to when you were younger. Was there anything you wanted to be? Anything that excited you back then."

Suddenly Lex remembered his mother reading to him about Alexander the Great, the man he had been named after. "History could be interesting."

"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. "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."

After taking a minute to think about it, Lex 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?" Martha asked.

"I don't think so," Lex shook his head.

"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."

Nodding in understanding, Martha put her hand over Lex's hand, and asked, "So have you thought about being serious about school?"

"Yes."

"And?"

Being completely honest, Lex said, "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."

"Okay. Night everyone," Clark said before kissing his mom and going up stairs.

Jonathan went over to Lex and put a comforting arm around his shoulders as he sat in the chair next to him. "You know your time here this summer will be up in a month. And you've had a pretty good time here with us for the most part right?"

Lex nodded, and Jonathan continued, "Well, I want you to think about something for me."

"Okay,"

"Martha and I both think you should try 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. "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?"

Going back to continue canning tomatoes, she answered, "Nope. It's your friend Steve."

With a look of surprise Lex picked up the phone. "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," he said with a smile.

"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."

Slightly annoyed, Lex said, "What did you want Steve?"

"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 Steve couldn't remember a party that Lex didn't show up to. "What's wrong with you Lex?"

"Nothing's wrong, I just don't think I can come." Lex realized he'd never actually liked Steve all that much. And when he took the time to think about it, he realized he'd never actually liked any of his friends, other then Clark.

Trying to entice him, 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?"

He did remember Sherry. He thought she was beautiful, and he knew she was smart. Because of those two things, he doubted she would think much of him, and had never ask her out. "Yeah I remember her."

"She's gonna be here, and she just broke up with Ralph."

Reconsidering, Lex said, "Your mom's place on Saturday huh?"

"Yes."

"Maybe."

"Cool. See you there."

Lex hung up and couldn't stop himself from thinking about Sherry. He hadn't had sex in over a month, because he'd been living with the Kents. This was the longest he'd gone without it since turning sixteen, but he'd 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. 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?"

"Would you guys let me go?" Lex asked tentatively.

"I'll have to talk to Jonathan about that."

With an untintentional pout, Lex 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," Martha explained.

Frustration and anger bubbled up inside him, and 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!"

With a disapproving frown, Martha walked around the kitchen bar to stand directly in front of him.

Lex was shocked at his own behavior. How could he have just yelled at Martha, when she'd been nothing but kind to him from the moment he came into her house? Before this moment he'd always been respectful to her, and his anger left as quickly as it had come. He actually cringed when he saw her walking towards him. He was terrified at the thought of her not caring about him any more, and all he could picture was Martha telling him to get out of her house. As soon as she was standing in front of him he whispered, "I'm so sorry."

"You should be. You, young man, don't speak to me like that," she said with her hands on her hips.

Lex nodded, and looked away, his face turning bright red with shame at her tone. She 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 again, and she pointed at the stairs. Slowly walking up the stairs, he went to his room, 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."

Once 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."

"Well that's good I suppose."

"His friend, Steve, invited him to a party on Saturday in Metropolis."

Nodding, Jonathan thought about that 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 asked, "Do you think we should let him go?"

"Well I was going to say yes, but now I'm not so sure."

"Why?"

"He asked me if he could go, and when I said I'd have to talk to you about it first, he yelled that he was eighteen and could do whatever he wanted no matter what we said."

Glaring towards the house Jonathan said, "Oh he did, did he? I think maybe we need to have a talk about what being eighteen means."

Shaking her head, Martha 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."

Embarrassed for Lex, Clark 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," Martha explained.

"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," Jonathan argued.

She nodded but 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 sighed, "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 like a child. He thought about going downstairs a couple of times to tell Martha that he'd had enough, but he knew it wouldn't go over well, and he was afraid of losing her affection.

Right before dinner, Jonathan and Martha decided to let Lex go to the party, with some restrictions. Martha went upstairs and knocked on Lex's door.

He'd been looking out the window, and was both relieved and nervous when he heard the knock. "Come in."

Coming in, she shut the door behind her, and sat on his bed. "Come sit with me Lex."

He immediately 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, patted his back, and stood up. "Come down for dinner. I made steaks just for you."

He looked up at her with confusion. "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 that 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."

He nodded, stood up, and followed her downstairs. Clark was setting the table, and Jonathan was washing up. Martha said, "Will you get the salad out of the refrigerator please?"

As Lex put it on the table, Clark looked up at him and whispered, "You okay?"

With a blush, he nodded. Clark whispered, "Mom can be kind of scary when she's mad."

Looking back, Lex 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 in agreement, while Martha brought the food to the table.

When everyone was done eating Jonathan turned to Lex and said, "Martha and I have decided that you can go to the party if you want to Lex."

With amazement he said, "I can?"

Martha answered, "As long as you can stick to some guidelines you can."

Lex couldn't believe that they were even considering it after the way he'd spoken to Martha earlier. "Okay, what are they?"

Jonathan answered, "No drinking, and no drugs."

Lex rolled his eyes and scoffed, "I might as well not go then."

Jonathan immediately came back with, "Okay. That's fine with me."

Putting a calming hand on Jonathan's knee under the table, Martha said, "Is being able to drink the reason you want to go?"

"Not really," Lex admitted.

"Then why is it a problem?"

With frustration Lex 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 a line or smoking some pot."

Clark asked, "What's a line?"

Lex looked to Martha to explain it. "Lines of cocaine," she said.

Clark turned back to Lex with disbelief. "You've done cocaine?"

Lex sighed and looked away. "Yes. So many times I can't even count them up. 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. Clark asked, "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 forced me along 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 at Clark's innocent face, 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 was 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 in disagreement, "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."

With a sad smile Lex said, "I know. I've always known that, but it doesn't always stop me."

Wanting to get the conversation back on track, Martha 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," she assured him.

"Okay, how?" Lex was at a loss.

"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 out loud. "You, Martha Kent, are a sneaky woman."

She smiled back at him and said, "And you thought I was drunk that night."

He was confused for a moment, and then when he realized which night she was refering to, he blushed. Clearing his throat, Jonathan turned to Lex and asked, "So Lex, do you want to hear the other guidelines, or did you decide you just don't want to go?"

"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?" Lex asked. "I could stay at Steve's place."

"I'm sure you could, but I don't want you to."

"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. Then take a cab to the party just in case, 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 again, but instead it made him laugh. "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."

"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 fun."

"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."

Looking at Lana's house, Clark said, "Then I would definitely go."

Teasing him Lex said, "You mean if it were Lana?"

Clark blushed. "Maybe."

"She's pretty. Why don't you ever talk to her? You could go horseback riding together," Lex suggested.

"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," Clark admitted.

Taking him and his problem seriously, Lex said, "That's a problem. I wish I had some advice for you, but I don't."

With a shrug Clark said, "It's okay. I hope you have a good time at the party, even if you do have all those rules."

"Thanks."

After a few minutes of companionable silence Clark said, "Can I ask you something?"

"Of course."

"You won't get mad?"

"I'll try hard not to," Lex answered.

"Why do you let my parents tell you what to do? Don't you miss being able to do whatever you wanted?"

After thinking about it Lex 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 a relief to let someone else take responsibility. And…."

"And what?" Clark prompted.

"It's nice to know that someone cares about me," Lex admitted.

That night as Martha and Jonathan were about to head upstairs to bed, Lex said, "I've decided to go to the party."

Martha nodded while Jonathan asked, "And you agree to the guidelines?"

"Yes."

"And you believe that you'll be able to tell me about your night, even if you screw up?" Jonathan asked.

"Yes I will," Lex said, hoping it was true.

"Okay then. It's tomorrow night right?"

"Yeah."

"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."

Surprised, because he knew the bike meant a lot to Jonathan, Lex asked, "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 added, "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."

"Okay, it's a deal," Lex said with a grin.

# # #

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 hugged him also and asked, "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."

"Me too. Did you get the champagne?" he asked.

"I did, and I've already opened one. Did you want a glass?"

With a laugh Lex said, "I thought you knew me better than that."

"Right, nothing but the hard stuff for you. Bar's in the back."

On his way to the bar, Lex said hi to some of the people that were all ready there. 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. "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?"

"Monica."

"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?"

With a nod Lex turned to go. Steve put a hand on his shoulder and Lex turned back around. He 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. I…I don't really know a good way to put this. You know my dad and I aren't close right?"

"Sure, I seem to remember comparing notes on what crappy dad's we both have."

"Had."

"What?" Lex asked, not wanting to believe what that word implied.

"My dad died last week."

Feeling awful for his friend, 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?" Steve asked.

Feeling uneasy, Lex answered, "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."

Looking through the window at the people partying in the house, Steve 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."e; Turning back to Lex, Steve added, "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."

"Thanks Lex. I really appreciate it."

Heading back into the party, Lex thought about visiting with his father. He shook his head, headed to the bartender, and gave him an extra hundred as he said, "Three shots of scotch in a glass straight, and no juice this time."

Lex thought, 'I just won't tell. But that makes me a liar. But if I do tell….better not think about that right now. Mr. Kent 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. When he got outside, he saw the driver he'd hired standing by the car taking a smoking break. Lex realized in that moment, that if he didn't have the driver here already, he would have driven himself to Luthorcorp, no matter how much alcohol he'd had, and no matter how pissed off Mr. Kent would be after the fact. He shook his head, not very proud of himself, and muttered, "Guess I owe you one Mr. Kent."

When the driver pulled up to Luthorcorp, Lex 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. Not only because he had a good sense of humor, but also because he knew how to keep his mouth shut. Lex shook his head and said with a smile, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you Joe. Is my father still here?"

"What do you think?"

Nodding, Lex headed for the elevator while Joe pushed a button on the phone system and said, "Mr. Luthor?"

"Yes?"

"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 started to sweat while thinking about seeing his father again. His mind kept replaying their last confrontation. He got off the elevator and walked to his father's office. The door was ajar, so he knocked once as he walked in. "Hello?"

Looking up from his papers, Lionel smiled and said, "Lex, I must say I'm surprised to see you after our last talk, but I'm glad you came by."

Lex sat on a small couch on the right side of the room. Lionel noticed what Lex was wearing and asked, "You look good. New suit?"

"Yes."

"Have you left the Kents?"

"No. I just went to a party. I'll be going back to the farm in the morning."

With a fake smile, Lionel asked, "So why have you come to see me?"

"I decided to go to the college in New York."

A genuine smile appeared on Lionel's face. "That's wonderful, Lex. They have a respectable business program."

"I'm going to major in History," Lex informed his father.

With disdain, Lionel said, "I see." and went back to his paperwork.

Lex had been expecting this, and said, "I just came from Steve Boscco's house."

Rubbing his chin, Lionel said, "Boscco….Boscco….sounds familiar."

"He told me something interesting about his father," Lex prompted, not believing for a second, that Lionel didn't know who they were talking about.

"Oh?" Lionel asked, while focusing back on his paperwork.

Lex was starting to get pissed. He 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. Lex demanded, "Cut the crap Dad. Steve just wants to know how his father died, so he can put it behind him."

Obviously pretending to be offended, Lionel said, "Lex. I don't know what you're talking about."

Lex almost yelled, but instead laughed. "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." Putting on his face of regret Lionel 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. "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 caused the explosion that killed him, by messing around with one of thoese experiments."

Shaking his head, Lex 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. "See you in a month son. Have fun playing house with your pretend folks."

"So you're not going to tell me what really happened?" Lex demanded.

Lionel gave his son a look that clearly said, 'how stupid are you?'

"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 look up or respond to his son. Lex yelled, "Answer me God damn it!"

Wearily Lionel looked 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."

"Aaarrrrggg! I hate you!" Lex yelled before he stormed out the door, and to the elevator.

Once Lionel heard the elevator doors close he made a phone call. "My son is curious about the explosion. Please destroy all the records. Thank you." Haning up, he 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?"

"I'm fucking FINE!" Lex yelled.

Joe nodded and stood by the door waiting to lock it again once Lex had left. 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 back to Joe and 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. Feeling awkward Lex said, "Bye."

He started to walk towards his rented car when 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 be amazed, as Joe closed the door and 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, and said, "Hi Lex. How was the party?"

"It was okay."

"Were you able to stick to the guidelines?"

"Mostly," Lex said hopefully.

"Mostly?" Jonthan asked.

He 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 asked, "Can we talk about it when I come home tomorrow?"

Considering this, Jonathan was quiet for a few seconds before 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."

Feeling guilty for even thinking about lying, Lex blurted out, "I had one drink, but that was all."

Trying to sound reassuring, Jonathan 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."

Feeling better than he had, Lex 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."

"I guess I agree with you," Lex admitted as he thought about his father trying to cover up whatever had happened to Steve's father.

With a yawn Jonathan said, "I'm gonna go back to sleep, unless there's anything else you want to talk about right now."

"Nope."

"Sleep good, and I'll see you tomorrow afternoon."

"Okay."

Lex sat on his bed thinking about things for the next hour. He didn't want to lie to Jonathan, but he also didn't want Jonathan to try and stop him from looking into Rick Boscco's death. Eventually 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, and hire a private investigator to find out what had really happened to Rick Boscco. He called the front desk for a wake up call, and then went to sleep himself.

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 everything he knew about his father and Rick, and suggested Mr. Miller try to find some eyewitnesses. By the time the meeting was over, it was later than he wanted it to be. Lex thought he might late back to the farm.

On the ride home, Lex went over the up comming conversation with Mr. Kent in his head. He kept trying to picture Mr. Kent telling him that the one drink he'd had wasn't a big deal. But no matter how hard he tried, that picture wouldn't solidify. On the other hand, he could clearly picture Mr. Kent telling him he was going to get spanked. He desperately hoped he was wrong, but he suspected he was going to get some kind of punishment for that drink, and he was already berating himself for having it.

# # #

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. Giving the kid a quick hug, Jonathan said, "Good to have you home."

Even though he'd spent the last couple of hours worrying, those words made him smile. "It was good to get out, but it's even better to be back."

Jonathan patted his 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."

"Where are Martha and Clark?" Lex asked anxiously.

"They went to town for lunch, and to do some shopping."

With a small frown, Lex nodded and went to 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, and dragged his feet getting back downstairs.

Jonathan had made sandwiches, and he was already half done with his. Lex was too nervous to eat. He sat down, took a bite, and then just stared at his sandwich until Jonathan was done with his. Jonathan noticed that Lex wasn't eating, and asked, "Aren't you hungry?"

"Not really."

Understanding why, Jonathan said "Then why don't you tell me about last night."

Darting a quick look at the man who was waiting patiently with an expression of concern, Lex started in on the story. "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. "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."

"How did it go?"

Shaking his head Lex answered, "Not well."

"What did he say?" Jonathan asked, trying not to let his anger at Lionel show.

"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?" Jonathan asked with confusion.

"Right before I left the party. I thought I would need some liquid courage to face my father, so I paid the bartender off, and told him to give me a real drink."

Jonathan shook his head. "Real courage would be facing your father without alcohol."

"Yeah, I suppose that's true," the kid admitted.

It had not escaped Jonathan's notice that Lex hadn't looked at him during this whole conversation. "Look at me Lex."

Lex did, and 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."

"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?" Lex wondered.

"No, that's just to keep you busy. Giving you a set of rules to follow and enforcing them, so that when your dad makes you angry, you think about it before doing something that you know is wrong."

Looking away again Lex 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."

"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?" the man asked.

With a blank look, Lex asked, "Instead?"

Jonathan nodded. At a loss, 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."

"Maybe." Lex had to admit, that might have helped.

With sincerity Jonathan added, "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."

"Anytime." Jonathan sighed and stood up. He put his plate in the sink and then pulled his chair away from the table. "I'm sorry Lex, but I'm going to spank you for having that drink."

Turning red Lex started to protest, "But it was just…."

Jonathan interrupted him. "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 to 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." Lex said, wanting to steer the conversation away from spanking.

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." Jonathan crooked a finger in Lex's direction and said, "Let's get it over with."

Shaking his head no with wide eyes, Lex stayed where he was. Jonathan calmly said, "Lex, you knew this would happen when you had the drink didn't you?"

Looking away, Lex tried to make himself deny it, but eventually he whispered, "Yes."

"And you did it anyway."

Lex nodded at the table, utterly miserable. Jonathan calmly continued, "And now it's time to face the repercussions of that decision."

The room was silent for a moment while Jonathan let Lex absorb that, and then he 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, took his wrist, and gave a little tug to get Lex across his lap. Jonathan patted Lex's back and said, "Good job. 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, especially since he had pants on. He 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 like a few minutes, but was actually only a few seconds, he started to cry. Once Jonathan heard the crying he paused and said, "I don't want you drinking Lex. It's not good for you. You use it to hide from your problems, but really it just makes your problems worse."

Jonathan gave Lex two more hard swats, and 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. "All done now. You're gonna be all right. You're forgiven, and I'm sure you'll do better next time."

When Lex had his crying under control, 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."

Nodding, Lex 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.'

He 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. Once he started to work, Lex felt even better. 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, which made Lex laugh.

# # #

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, but 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."

"Did your mother ask you to help?" Jonathan asked, even though he already knew the answer.

"Nooooooo, but it would be nice of me if I did," Clark said hopefully.

Knowing his son hated spreading fertilizer, Jonathan smiled and said, "Okay kiddo. You go help your mom."

"Thanks." Clark grinned as he turned to go back inside.

Jonathan called out, "And that means helping with dinner too, not watching TV."

"Okay."

Jonathan looked to Lex who was smiling. "I hope you don't mind helping me with this. If you really hate it like Clark does, you can go in too."

"I don't mind," Lex said.

Later 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 asked, "Where there lots of people there?"

"Tons."

"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?"

"Yes?"

"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 that I knew 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," Steve said.

"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," Lex said with hate.

"Okay. When do you think you'll know?" Steve sounded like his hope was back.

"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."

Thinking that might be nice, Lex asked, "Do you have her number?"

Steve gave it to him, 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."

"I'm sorry," Clark said again, wishing he'd kept his mouth shut.

With a glare Lex 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."

His anger faded, and Lex sighed, "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."

"You mean commiserating?" Lex asked.

"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. "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 too. 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, but 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 down at Clark's worried expression. "Nope. Your secret's safe with me."

"Thanks Lex. Good night."


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