Family, Friendship, and Love



Part Eleven

 

 

Lois Lane, twenty-five, brunette, happily single and sadly virginal, loved working for the Daily Planet.

She just hated her job.

Lois was meant to be a hard-hitting investigative journalist, not a society fluff writer. Her fast-thinking, inquisitive mind paired with her take-no-prisoners attitude had won her scores of journalistic awards in high school and college. Her byline had been on the front page since she started writing at age twelve for the Junior High Post. She had contacts. She had enemies!

She was stuck writing about the hemlines of the celebrity lovelorn.

"I don't care that Betsy Johnson spilled her drink on her husband. I want to know if she said anything about the insider trading rumors!" Lois groused, pecking angrily at her keyboard. "I want to know how Lionel Luthor really feels about his son's success."

"Lionel can't decide whether to be peeved or proud."

Lois' head shot up, dark hair flying in her face. She brushed it out of the way and stared at the tall, kind of cute guy standing by her desk in the open, noisy bullpen of the Daily Planet. "Who are you?"

"Clark Kent." He smiled and held up a bundle of mail. "Mailroom." He plopped the bundle in her neighbor's inbox.

"How do you know what Luthor feels?"

Clark shrugged enigmatically. "It's pretty obvious. If Lionel really didn't like Lex, he would have declared war on LexCorp and crushed it."

Lois was quickly annoyed. She wanted facts, not opinions. Especially not the opinions of the mailboy. "Of course, you would know. After all, you're on a first-name basis with him," she mocked.

"Who is on a first-name basis with who?"

"Mr. White!" Lois shot to her feet. "I was just speaking with Kent here about the Luthors."

Perry White, Editor-In-Chief of the Daily Planet, looked like a television dad, but had the attitude of a bulldog. Silver-haired and stocky, he narrowed his eyes at Clark. "Who are you? Do you work for me?"

"I'm Clark Kent. I work in the mailroom."

"You're on a first-name basis with one of the Luthors?" Perry queried.

"So he claims," Lois spoke up skeptically.

"I am, both of them, though it annoys Lionel," Clark replied with a quick frown to Lois. "I won't use my personal relationship with them for the Planet's benefit, though."

"Integrity. I like that," Perry said, and then completely disregarded it. "Tell me: were you at Lex Luthor's dinner party Saturday?"

"I was," Clark said, looking confused.

"Great! Find yourself a computer and write me a five hundred-word article on the party. I want it in my hands by three o'clock."

"Uh... okay."

"Super!" Perry turned to Lois and lowered his voice. "We'll give the kid a chance to prove his claim, but I want you to finish your article, just in case he's full of crap."

Lois' smile was tight. "Yes, Mr. White."

"Good girl." Perry turned to Clark again. "Three o'clock, kid. Consider this your trial run."

Lois seethed as Perry walked away. She angrily eyed the puppy that might steal her inches. "You did that on purpose!"

"What?" Clark would look adorable in his confusion if Lois hadn't wanted to kill him.

"Don't give me that," she growled. "All wannabe journalists start in the mailroom, waiting for their big break."

"I'm not—"

"You'd better pray for another job, because if you don't know the Luthors you'll be out of here like that!" Lois snapped her fingers in emphasis. That'd put him in his place.

Clark's spine stiffened, fire sparking in his eyes. "Show me to a computer, and I'll show you how well I know the Luthors."

Lois accepted the challenge. She closed out her computer window, opened a fresh page, and stepped aside. She patted the seatback of her chair. "It's all yours."

Clark's eyes narrowed briefly. He cracked his knuckles, straddled the chair, and began typing.

Lois looked over his shoulder, reading the words at they appeared on the computer screen. The first sentence snagged her attention. The first paragraph told her all the particulars: who, what, when, and where. The second paragraph made her want to read more. Irritation flared. Clark Kent's writing was good.

"Where'd you go to school, Kent?" she asked. "MetU? Kansas State?"

"GED."

"Where's that? I've never heard of that college."

"That's because it's not a college," Clark said, not pausing in his typing. "I only have a GED."

Now Lois was really miffed. The puppy hadn't even gone to college and he wrote this well? How unfair was that!

"Hey, Lois. I've got those pictures you wanted." Jimmy Olsen, camera slung around his neck as always, approached, holding a manila envelope. "I think you'll really like the third one."

"Thanks, Jimmy." She took the envelope from him and flipped through the pictures. He was such a great kid, an even better photographer, and she had him wrapped around her little finger. She used him often as a freelance photographer, for pictures for her society articles, but always on the lookout for an exposé.

"Don't I know you?" Jimmy asked Clark.

Clark stopped typing and looked up. "Um, I don't think so."

Jimmy studied him with a frown for a moment, and then his face lit up. "I know! You're that guy who was with Lex Luthor at the Mudhens baseball game last fall. There was a kid with you, too. I took your guys' picture and sent it to Mr. Luthor." Jimmy lifted his camera, smiling lopsidedly. "You can say I have a photographic memory."

"You took that picture?" Clark grinned, held out his hand, and pumped Jimmy's when he accepted the handshake. "Lex loves that shot. It's on his desk at work."

Lois didn't like the sound of that statement. "Wait, Jimmy. Are you saying Kent here knows Lex Luthor and you have pictures?"

"Yeah," Jimmy replied. "One of the shots is in my portfolio, if you ever want to see it."

Lois didn't need to see a sixteen-year-old's "etchings." She instead glared at Clark. "You know Lex Luthor?"

"Er, yeah." Clark looked at her like she was a few bricks shy.

"Why didn't you say something?"

Clark glanced at Jimmy in confusion, then back at Lois. "I think I did."

Lois dragged the chair over from the next desk, grabbed a pen and something to write on, and sat close to Clark. "So spill," she demanded. "How do you know Luthor?"

"I'm not going to answer that." Clark turned back to the computer and began typing again. "My relationship with Lex is personal."

"You have a personal relationship with him?" Lois scratched on her paper. "Lovers?"

The puppy blushed. Lois smiled predatorily and didn't believe it when he stated, "No." She might have to try and keep Kent around; having an inside to the Luthors would pave her way to the front page.


*****


Clark ushered Sam into Lex's LuthorCorp outer office, both of them dressed nicer than normal. They were there to collect Lex for dinner to celebrate Clark's promotion at the Daily Planet earlier in the week. Clark was ecstatic with the new job, except for having to be partnered with the tenacious Lois Lane. He was glad he had a child; Sam had taught him patience and he had a feeling he'd need a lot working with her.

The doors to Lex's inner office were wide open and Clark could easily hear the argument going on inside between Lionel and Lex. He picked up Sam, face creasing in concern, as he walked up to Laura's desk. Laura appeared outwardly calm, but Clark knew she was silently seething.

"Hey," Clark greeted her in a subdued voice, perching Sam on the high ledge of her desk. "What is Lionel mad about now?"

"You and Sam," Laura answered. "He found out about the adoption."

"Who's Papa Lex fighting with, Dad?" Sam asked anxiously, craning his neck to try and see into the office. He hated it when people fought.

"Your Grandpa Lionel." The name gave Clark a smile, even though the fight in the other room quickly washed it away. It was hard not to overhear. Lionel's voice was raised in anger and Lex matched him, tone for tone.

"You will get these orders rescinded!"

"I will not! This is my life, Dad. I'm twenty-five years old and you can't tell me what to do anymore."

"I can when it's my money."

"It's my money, and I can leave it to whoever I wish."

"Jesus, Lex! Kent is using you for a fool. I should have put a stop to your ‘friendship' long ago."

"Clark is not using me."

"He got you to sign over everything you have to him, on top of adopting that brat of his."

"Don't you dare say anything disparaging about Sam. He's my son now."

"Of course he's your son. You're practically legally married to his father!"

"Your point?"

"My point?! You've signed your life over to Clark Kent!"

"Isn't that what you did with Mom?"

Stunned silence, in the other room and with Clark. He had to have misunderstood. Lex couldn't have been implying...

Clark looked at Laura, whose surprise was tempered with a knowing smile, as if she already knew what Lex felt but didn't think he'd tell Lionel. Which meant that Lex's analogy was not misspoken or misunderstood.

Oh, wow.

Sam tried to jump off the desk and Clark helped him down. Sam headed immediately for Lex's inner office. "Papa Lex!"

Clark moved into the open doorway, as Lex picked up Sam. Lex and Lionel stood across from one another in the middle of the room, their postures stiff and expressions cold. Holding Sam didn't make Lex seem any less intimidating as he stared down his father.

"Why are you fighting with Grandpa Lionel?" Sam asked, using the label Clark had given Lionel.

Lionel bristled. "Grandpa?"

Lex smiled like a shark. "Congratulations. You have a grandson."

The comment incensed Lionel even more. "This isn't over," he threatened, moving to leave. Lex's calm, factual response made him pause.

"Yes, it is, Dad. Accept it and move on."

Lionel looked directly at Clark. Clark met his icy gaze steadily, although inside Clark was cringing. "I hope you're happy," Lionel said.

"Unquestionably," Clark said, "but not for the reasons you think."

"Prove it," Lionel challenged, and left.

Clark turned and watched Lionel storm out the glass doors of the outer office and jab angrily at the elevator button a short way up the hall. Lex and Sam came up beside Clark. "It's hard to stage a dramatic exit when you have to wait for the elevator," Lex commented.

Clark looked at Lex. "Are you okay?"

"Of course," Lex replied. He set down a wiggling Sam, and Sam hurried off to the bathroom. "I knew Dad would confront me as soon as he learned about the legal work."

"About that," Clark began. "Why did your dad say we were as good as married?"

"He was being a jerk," Lex answered with a shrug.

"Yeah, but you just adopted Sam. That doesn't give me anything."

"He was referring to the Domestic Partners Agreement, which entitles you to everything I have."

Clark blinked. "I don't remember agreeing to that. I wouldn't have agreed to that."

"You signed the agreement." Lex smiled slyly. "It's not something you can give back, either."

Clark suddenly remembered the papers that he'd signed — and hadn't read — on Sunday, and the title of the second bundle he'd barely glanced at. "Tricky, Lex. Very tricky. Why did you do it?"

"To better protect you and Sam," Lex answered. "I don't want you to ever have to worry about paying for Sam's schooling, or medical bills, or anything else."

"Is that the only reason?" Clark pressed.

Lex looked away. "Yes. What other reason would there be?" he said, before heading out to speak to Laura.

Clark didn't call Lex on this lie. He needed more time, anyway, to process the fact that Lex Luthor was in love with him.

Though for some reason, it wasn't much of a surprise.


*****


Lionel Luthor was not a happy man.

It had taken six weeks, two-dozen attorneys, and a frank discussion with the Circuit Court Judge, to come to the depressing conclusion that Lex's actions were legal and binding, and there were no loopholes to be found. Clark Kent owned Lex Luthor, and Sam was Lex's son.

Lionel was a grandfather.

The trust papers were pushed across the conference table at the bank. Lionel stood at the window of the conference room, looking out at the families in shorts and t-shirts, enjoying the summer day. Behind him, his attorney, Jonathan and Martha Kent were seated at the table in the air-conditioned room, at Lionel's request.

"What is this, Luthor?" Jonathan said, examining the paperwork.

"This is a trust, Mr. Kent," the attorney answered on Lionel's behalf.

"I'm not blind. I want to know what this is all about," Jonathan said.

"Mr. Luthor has set up a trust—"

Jonathan cut off the attorney. "I wasn't speaking to you."

"It's a gift, Jonathan." Lionel did not turn from the window. "For my grandson."

"You've got to be kidding me," Jonathan sneered.

"No," Lionel said. "I do not joke about money."

"Lionel," Martha said, "I think what Jonathan is asking, is why?"

"Carter, leave." The attorney did as told. After the door closed, Lionel responded to Martha's question. "As you know, Lex has adopted Sam." Lionel watched as a couple kissed on the street outside. "Lex has also signed over his entire fortune to that gold-digger son of yours."

"Luthor—," Jonathan began. Martha quieted him.

Lionel continued. "I have set up a trust for Sam to insure that he is the heir to the Luthor Empire upon Lex's death, not Clark. I am here today merely to inquire as to who you think would make a responsible trustee, should Lex die before Sam is twenty-one."

"You're serious about this," Martha said, not hiding her surprise.

"Completely."

"But what if Lex marries and has another child?"

"He won't." Lionel turned finally, accepting and moving on. "Lex truly is in love with your son."

"What?" Jonathan said in disbelief. Martha looked ill.

"Oh, come now, don't pretend you're shocked," Lionel said. "That was your goal, after all."

"It was not." Martha was the one who spoke up first, her tone pleasant and calm, which was more unnerving than if she had yelled. "If it was my choice, I wouldn't have let Clark within a hundred miles of Lex."

"Don't blame us because your son's a queer," Jonathan added, though he sounded more resigned than angry.

"Who Lex chooses to make a fool of himself over is none of my business, or so I've been told," Lionel said. "But now you understand why I am setting up this trust for Sam. Whether I like it or not, he is the next Luthor heir, and I will not allow my grandchild to suffer poverty because Clark squandered away my money."

Jonathan and Martha exchanged long glances. Jonathan returned his attention to Lionel. "Sam's nanny, Colleen Whitworth, should be named trustee. She has impeccable references and only Sam's best interests at heart."

"Thank you, Jonathan, Martha." Lionel headed for the door, planning to send his attorney back in for the paperwork. "I suppose I will see you at Sam's fourth birthday party in August. Good day."



Continued