Day Of The Crock-Pot




It was the day that Clark brought home the crock-pot that Lex realized he was old.

“Isn’t it great?” Clark beamed as he unpacked the box with the $19.99 price sticker on the outside. “Now I can finally make mom’s roast beef for you.”

Lex set the mail on the kitchen counter and leaned back against the marble surface beside Clark. “We have a cook.”

“Family recipe, Lex,” Clark said. “Mom won’t share it with Mrs. Apple, and I know you love the roast beef.”

“I’m sure we have a crock-pot already, Clark.”

Clark’s smile dimmed, and Lex immediately felt like a heel. “I suppose I can return it,” Clark said, pushing up the thick hornrims on his nose in a long-ingrained habit of hiding himself. “I only bought it because Lois and I are working on a story about that mom-and-pop general store down on Franklin.”

Lex reached over and brushed the invisible lint from Clark’s suit-clad shoulder, a gesture of unspoken apology. “But then I won’t get to eat your mom’s roast beef.”

The dazzling smile returned full force, and Lex even got a kiss. “I’ll call mom and get the recipe,” Clark said, moving for the phone hanging on the wall near the garage door. “I know it takes all day to cook, so we won’t be able to eat it until tomorrow. I probably have to go to the grocery store anyway.”

“That’s fine, Clark,” Lex said, but Clark was already greeting his mother over the phone.

Lex shook his head in bemusement and headed out of the kitchen for the stairs. He was loosening his tie, halfway up the rose-carpeted steps to the second floor and even with the picture of Clark Kent’s extended family, when he had a moment of surreal clarity.

He was forty-eight years old.

He was two weeks shy of celebrating his twenty-first commitment anniversary.

He lived in an average two-story house in a quiet, gated community, for the past fifteen years.

He was in the Clark Kent extended family photograph on the stairway wall.

He was now the co-owner of a crock-pot.

Lex blinked as it hit him. He was domesticated. And old.

Where had the time gone? Where had his life gone? Wasn’t he supposed to be president by now?

Lex sank down on the step, propped his elbows on his knees, and buried his face in his hands. How did this happen? One minute he was planning on ruling the world by the time he was thirty, and the next minute he was teaching brainless college freshmen what atoms were.

Somewhere a glitch had occurred in Lex Luthor’s destiny. He was sure of it, simply by his last name alone. A Luthor wasn’t something as common as a professor at a state university. The name Luthor was associated with Fortune 500 companies and the biochemical industry.

Lex imagined phoning his father and asking where he went wrong.

“You fell in love,” the Lionel said in Lex’s mind. “Gave up everything for happiness, if I recall. Why? Is there trouble in paradise?”

No, no trouble. Only he was settled. And old.

“You’re old? I’m ninety-three and wear adult diapers. Get over yourself,” the Lionel in his head sniped.

Lex hung up the imaginary phone.

“Lex!” Clark’s yell came from the kitchen, thinking Lex was upstairs and having to raise his voice. “Mrs. Apple left cinnamon rolls! Do you want one?”

“Sure, Clark,” Lex called back, lifting his head from his hands.

Clark wandered out from the kitchen, a plate of rolls in hand. He was surprised to see Lex on the stairs. “Hey. What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Lex said with small headshake.

Clark’s brows rose over the tops of his glasses in disbelief. “Is there a reason you’re sitting on the steps, then?”

“Just enjoying the view.”

Clark turned to look at the front door, which was across from the stairs, and then looked back at Lex wearing a confused expression. Lex’s lips twitched. “I meant you, Clark, not the door.”

“That was sad, Lex,” Clark said after a short moment.

“I know,” Lex agreed.

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

Lex smiled reassuringly. “I’m fine, Clark. I’m feeling old today, is all.”

An evil gleam sparked in Clark’s eyes. “Does this mean you need help getting upstairs?”

“Oh, no.” Lex stood quickly. “I can walk just- Clark!” He suddenly had a plateful of cinnamon rolls in his hands and was being carried like a bride up the stairs. “Clark…”

“You’ll probably need help getting undressed, too,” Clark said, grinning rottenly. “And bathing. Plus, can’t forget about the cinnamon rolls. You’ll need to be hand fed. Oh, and sex. I guess I’ll have to do all the work, while you just lie there.”

An anticipatory smile spread across Lex’s face. “It’s hell getting old,” he commented, as he was put on their bed.

He was the co-owner of a crock-pot.

He was in the Clark Kent extended family photograph on the stairway wall.

He lived in an average two-story house in a quiet, gated community, for the past fifteen years.

He was two weeks shy of celebrating his twenty-first commitment anniversary.

He was forty-eight years old.

Lex laughed as he fought Clark for the cinnamon rolls, getting more on the bedspread and their clothing than in their mouths.

He was domesticated. And old. And he’d never been happier.



End



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