Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Lex, OFC, CLex (Clark/Lex)
Rating: Soft R/M
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Say What Friday: "There is no free ride in this carnival world." -- Jimmy Buffett
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 1,690
Date Written: 4 June 2018
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters within belong to DC Comics, not the author, and are used without permission.
Lex strode out of his office and stopped in his tracks. He stared, his blue eyes widening slightly, as color built in his tightening throat and started working its way up his angry face. “MISS KRINGLE!” The younger woman, perched nude atop her desk, jumped. “WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!”
The blonde leapt from her desk and hurried behind it. “I -- I’m sorry, M-Mister Luthor,” she babbled as she started yanking her clothes back on to her shaking body. “I -- I just -- I just thought -- I most certainly didn’t think -- “
“THAT’S RIGHT,” Lex thundered. “YOU DIDN’T THINK!” His voice slowly lowering, he continued, “I can have a bevy of supermodels here with a snap of my fingers, Miss Kringle, if I wanted that kind of assistance.”
“I -- I just thought -- I certainly didn’t mean to imply -- I know you can have your choice of women, Mister Luthor!” As Lex’s face returned to normal, his secretary’s face was quickly flushing as red as her lacy underwear. “I -- I just thought -- “ she tried again, still fumbling with both her words and clothes.
“You thought it might endear me to you,” he said, his even voice still seeming to boom in the close confines, “or at least make it easier for you here. There is no free ride at Luthor Corp, Miss Kringle, and certainly not for something that anyone might pick up in the seedier areas of Metropolis -- or any corner in Gotham City for that matter.”
Kringle kept her eyes averted from her furious boss and her head down. “Yes, sir, Mister Luthor, sir,” she murmured quickly while fastly buttoning her blouse with trembling fingers. “I -- I won’t make that mistake again, sir.”
“See that you don’t.” He strode quickly toward his private elevator without casting her another glance, but just before the metallic doors opened, he added, “And, Miss Kringle, should you feel the need to share this story, or anything similar, with the periodicals that your ilk have coined the rag papers, know that it is the last thing that will ever bear the print of your name.”
“Yes, sir, Mister Luthor, sir. I promise you’ll never hear another peep from me about anything like this.” She mumbled something else underneath her breath.
Lex arched a single, bold eyebrow at her. “What was that, Miss Kringle?”
“I -- I -- “ The blonde’s face again turned beet red. “I was just saying, sir, that I should’ve listened to my momma, sir. She always said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I should have baked an apple pie instead.”
“You could have,” Lex returned, “but I promise you I would have again found such measures sorely lacking in the reason for which you were hired here in the first place. You were not hired for your body or your cooking abilities or lack thereof, Miss Kringle, and I assure you, when it comes to my palate, it would certainly be the latter. I have had the good luck to dine upon apple pie that would make Martha Stewart, Emeril, and Wolfgang Puck all green with envy. What you were hired for, Miss Kringle, were your secretarial skills and your skill with a keyboard. Use those and only those here at Luthor Corp, and you may yet find you have a career. Although at this point,” he allowed, straightening his tie as the elevator’s doors slid shut, “I would be surprised.”
As the new secretary, now unseen by Luthor, slouched against her desk, Lex allowed himself to collapse against the back of his elevator. He shuddered quietly at the memory of finding her in such a wanton position, offering to him everything of which a lesser employer would have swiftly taken advantage. Despite his words attaining to the supermodels, however, Lex had absolutely zero interest in naked women other than where keeping them away from his door, and especially his bedroom, was concerned. There was only one person who he still longed to see naked, and now that Clark Kent had left the Daily Planet under mysterious circumstances whose truth even Lex had been unable to attain, he wondered if he would see his former best friend, for whom he’d always felt so much more than friendship, ever again.
As he leaned, breathing hard against the elevator’s screeching metal and making a silent note to have the electricians attend to it first thing Monday morning, Lex thought of the lack of free rides in this cruel world and apple pie. Martha Kent’s culinary endeavors easily put any other chef’s to shame; a part of him still wished that she would have allowed him to sell her foods. Another part of him simultaneously recognized that as long as Jonathan Kent had been with his family, neither Martha or Clark would have gone against his wishes. They had in one area and one area only, and for a short time, Lex had dared to dream, as a young man, that he could have become more than a Luthor, more than what his father had always expected of him.
He remembered well spending most of one Summer with the Kent family. He had tried hard to please them all, but although he would always treasure the memories of the private moments he and Clark had shared, he had long ago come to realize that that time in his life had never been meant to last. Jonathan Kent would not have allowed it. He had tried everything to please that man but nothing had worked. Nothing could have worked for Jonathan had never seen him as anything more than the spawn of his father, who Clark’s father had hated with every bone in his body.
Lex recalled laboring in the heat that Summer after Jonathan had given him the speech that there were “no free rides in this carnival world”, but no amount of wood chopping or farm tending could have earned him that stubborn man’s appreciation or even tolerance. He’d been right about one thing, though, two things really, Lex had to admit. The world was crazy as well as vicious, thus the “carnival” coinage, and Clark had eventually awakened to realize that he could do better than Lex and deserved better.
Lex closed his eyes and realized that his hands shook, sweat beaded his brow, and his breathing labored. What had just transpired in the waiting room to his office had been far too close a call, but the young woman had no idea, nor could she even begin to guess, how much he absolutely did not want any naked woman. She wouldn’t go running to the newspapers without embarrassing herself, and even if she did, she had no idea of his past or where his heart truly belonged. She, like the rest of the world, had no idea that Lex was in love and had been since he’d been a young man, still foolishly hopeful that he could be loved back.
The elevator began to slow. Lex straightened himself, forced his hands to cease their shaking, and quickly fixed his million-dollar suit. When he reopened his eyes, there was no sheen of tears or hint of the past or regrets. They were as hard, cold, and calculating as the world expected of Lex Luthor. Lex strode out of the elevator and through the ground floor of the corporation he now owned, just as his father had always said he would when he was gone. The worker ants scurried out from around him, not a one eager or daring enough to be caught in his crosshairs.
As he walked outside, Lex caught sight of something zipping through the sky. He looked up in time to see a flash of blue, red, and white and scowled. He wondered what the Supercreep was up to this time but let him go. He had done nothing wrong today, although he had yesterday and probably would tomorrow. He had done nothin to garner the attention of superheroes or the world and slid, without a word, into the backseat of his limousine.
His chauffeur noted with a glance that he had settled and took off through the city, the city that was rumored to belong to Lex. Lex sighed as he let himself relax his posture in the back seat. This city was not his, and even if it was willing to be, he was not willing to possess it. There was only one thing he wanted, only one person, and he would never be his.
He sighed and checked his phone, but there was no sign of Clark Kent. Not that it would have mattered if there had been for Clark most certainly did not want him. It was true what they said not just about free rides but about the rich. A man could own the world and still have nothing that mattered if he did not have the one person whom he loved. Lex owned everything in his sight, but none of it mattered. None of it mattered because he did not have Clark. Clark did not love him.
He thought again of Jonathan Kent, and his lips pulled back in a silent, dark scowl. You were right, he thought, looking up at the bright blue sky through the tint of the limo’s windows. You were right. He doesn’t love me, and thus, I am left with nothing. I hope you’re right. Yet, even as the words came to him, Lex knew he was not. Jonathan had never intended to leave his family so soon, but he had. Now Martha and Clark struggled every day without him as Lex struggled without Clark.
The thought was not lost on him that their lives could have been vastly different if only Jonathan had accepted him when he’d had the chance, but he hadn’t and what had transpired had led them all to these horrible places. At least Martha and Clark had each other, but Lex was alone, as Lionel had always told him he would be. He was alone, and he bowed his head in silence as life passed them by.