Thanks to Te, Resonant and LaT for reading this over. Especially thanks to Basingstoke for telling me how it ended. Y'all rule.
The truck bumped as Clark turned onto Lex's driveway. He pulled around back and parked by the kitchen. None of Lex's cars were anywhere in sight, so maybe he wasn't home. Clark felt relieved, and then ashamed of being relieved. Lex had every right to still be mad.
Freaked out or not, Clark had been kind of a jerk. He wanted to say he was sorry for biting Lex's head off, he really did. He just didn't see how he could apologize without saying more than he wanted to, and less than Lex would probably be willing to accept.
It was sunny for November. Clark took Lex's crates out of the back of the truck, glanced at the sky, and decided to set them inside, in the shade. Balancing both crates on his forearm, he used his free hand to tap in the security code.
Lex's kitchen was old-fashioned, all dark wood and ornate hand-carved cabinets with brass handles. Most of the appliances were almost futuristic-looking, pearl-white geometric shapes lined with threads of silver. The clash made the kitchen the least elegant room in the castle. Well, that Clark had been in, anyway. He supposed Lex didn't spend enough time in the kitchen to really notice.
He nudged the back door shut with his foot, and set the crates down on the counter next to the tall walk-in fridge. It was warmer than usual inside the castle. Uncomfortably warm, maybe? Clark never could tell. He'd thought a T-shirt and his sheepskin jacket would be fine for today, but he'd still caught his mom eyeing him on his way out, obviously repressing the urge to tell him to put on a sweater.
"Well, stand and deliver," said a woman's voice, and Clark jumped, startled.
It was Lex's friend from the gala. She was just inside the door, she was smiling at him, and she was only wearing a slip. Or a negligee, because it looked too lacy to be a slip. The part cupping her breasts looked like mostly lace... Clark's ears started to burn, and he jerked his eyes away with an effort, staring down at his hands.
He supposed he shouldn't be so surprised to see her. Who would come all the way from England just to spend one night in Metropolis, anyway? "Miss Hardwick. Hi."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her tilt her head. "It's Clark, isn't it? From Lex's party..." she said. "You'll call me Victoria, won't you? Any friend of Lex's is a friend of mine."
"Okay," Clark said. "Victoria. Sure."
The museum gala had been almost a week ago. Had Victoria been here all week? That might explain why Clark hadn't seen Lex since the day he'd yelled at him, outside the Beanery. Maybe Lex wasn't really that mad. Maybe he'd just been spending time with his. Girlfriend.
Victoria came further into the kitchen, her bare feet padding on the hardwood floor, and it was just rude not to look at her at all, so Clark swallowed hard and turned. Victoria's toenails were red, and glossy as one of Lex's cars... Clark dragged his gaze up to her face with an effort, trying not to get snagged on the play of silk high on her thighs, the lace clinging to the generous curves of her breasts. He congratulated himself silently for managing to meet her eyes, but even that was somehow disconcerting.
Victoria reached over and picked a plum out of one of the crates, matching Clark's gaze. "Do you make many deliveries to the castle, Clark?"
"My family runs Kent Farms. So, yeah." Clark struggled to keep his focus steady. Victoria's eyes were a funny color, not brown like Lana's or green like Chloe's, but somewhere in the middle. "Once or twice a week, maybe."
"Ah." When Victoria smiled, she had a funny quirk to her mouth that was almost like Lex's. She bit into the plum, jerking her head forward a little in surprise as the skin split readily under her teeth. She licked her bottom lip to catch the juice and laughed, peering up at Clark from under her eyelashes.
Clark felt like his throat was closing up, and yeah, maybe it was too hot in here. God, no wonder she and Lex... She was like the Porsche of girls. You didn't see women like this in Smallville. He racked his brain for something to say, something that wasn't stupid. "So. How... how long have you and Lex known each other?"
"Since we were young. Our fathers move in the same circles, and Lex went to school with all my cousins... I don't have any brothers." She took another bite, swallowed, and held up the plum. "This is excellent."
"Thanks," Clark said, and then felt like a dork.
"I'm awfully glad Lex has made a friend here in Smallville." Victoria said. She leaned in, lowering her voice. "I hated to think of him here, wasting away from utter boredom. No offense, I'm sure. It's just that Lex..."
"No, I know what you mean." Clark smiled, warming to her a little. She must like Lex a lot, to come all the way from England just to spend time with him. "I think... I think Lex makes his own fun, though."
"Oh, we've always had that in common." Victoria's smile widened. Her teeth were very white. Clark blinked as she set aside her plum and stepped closer. And then her mouth was pressed against his and she was kissing him, long and slow.
Clark jerked back against the counter. Victoria followed, going up on her tiptoes, keeping their mouths matched. Her whole body was pressed up against his, every curve just as soft and warm and there as if she'd been totally naked. Flailing for a second, Clark fastened his hands around her bare upper arms and pushed her away gently, holding her safely away. She was smiling, eyes sparkling, and it reminded him again, bizarrely, of Lex.
God, Lex. Clark winced and pushed her back a little more. Lex could be home any minute. If he walked in on this, Clark kissing his girlfriend... Lex would never speak to him again.
"Is something the matter?"
He stared bleakly at Victoria's dulled lipstick, tasting plum juice in his own mouth, powdery smudges on his lips. It was already too late. Starting here and now he had one more secret, another thing to lie about, one more thing Lex could never, ever know. "I think I should go, Miss Hardwick."
Victoria pouted, slanting a crooked gaze down at Clark's hands. And then a little further. "You do like girls, don't you, Clark?"
"Yes!" Clark said, stung. What, just because he didn't want to make out with his friend's girlfriend in his friend's own house, he must be gay? "I mean, yeah, but..." She'd been right up against him, anyway, she must've felt-- but that wasn't even the point. "You're Lex's girlfriend."
She actually laughed. "Relax, love. I'm Lex's friend. And you're Lex's friend... it's all right." Her voice was soft and insanely soothing, in contrast to her words, which were scattering Clark's thoughts like leaves in a gust of wind. She just couldn't mean... Victoria knew Lex. She couldn't think that he'd ever like Clark like that.
Victoria reached out, smoothing her palms over Clark's T-shirt clad chest, then scratched lightly with her nails. Clark gasped, and Victoria tried to move closer, then winced under his grip. He let her go instantly, reflexively, but instead of backing off Victoria draped herself against him, curling her arms around his neck. "Lex never minded me playing with his toys before. Sometimes we share," she breathed against his ear. "I'll bet you'd like that."
Clark's knees buckled for a dizzy moment, his heart racing. He'd never been this afraid of someone that wasn't a mutant. But Victoria was just a regular girl, and Clark didn't trust himself enough to push her away again. If he hurt her, if she got mad, if she told Lex--
If Lex came home--
He closed his eyes as she slid her hands into his hair, stroking her fingers over his face. The tightness under his breastbone was totally familiar, and so was the black mass of guilt pressing behind his eyes, massing behind his eyelids. God, why the hell not? He opened his eyes. What was one more lie? One more thing he couldn't tell his parents or Pete or Chloe or anybody...
Leaning down a little, Clark opened his mouth slightly, but Victoria just bit his lower lip and moved on, kissing his throat, scraping her teeth along his jaw. He took a breath, and put his hands on her waist, carefully. Silk slid under his palms, warm to the touch.
Lex. If Lex came home. If Lex came home and he wanted to... God, Clark was a freak. He didn't even know if Lex liked him any more, and here he was thinking maybe... He pulled Victoria against him, burying his face in her hair and breathing hard. Okay. He could deal. He was a slimeball horndog, he'd tripped into the porno universe, he was making out with another guy's girlfriend, he could feel her hard little nipples against his chest, Lex could walk in any second and then... then... well, whatever happened, it would be the least insane thing that had happened to Clark in at least three months.
Victoria's hand was at his fly, flicking the button open easily. Clark tensed as she tugged his T-shirt out of his jeans, her fingertips brushing bare skin just above his boxers.
Lex cleared his throat.
The world tilted. Clark jerked his hands off Victoria and stared up at the ceiling, his face burning. Victoria kept her arm around his neck and left her other hand in place as well, tracing a small, calming circle with her fingers.
"You're home early," Victoria said, glancing over her shoulder, but she only sounded pleased.
"I was worried you'd be bored," Lex told her, as though Clark weren't even in the room. He didn't sound shocked, but then, he never did. "But I see you've found something to amuse yourself with."
Victoria smiled and patted Clark's belly as if to say 'I told you so,' then leaned up and licked the corner of his mouth. "Are you playing, or just watching, then?"
Clark finally dared to look as Lex stepped away from the doorframe. He was wearing his long black coat and a crisp, light lavender dress shirt. The top button was undone, revealing a thin shard of pale skin.
He shrugged off his coat as he crossed the kitchen, letting it hang casually over his arm. Reaching out, Lex caught Victoria's chin in his hand and turned her face towards his. He was so close that his shoe pressed against Clark's boot as he leaned in to kiss her. Clark could only watch, enduring the soft sounds as their mouths met and parted, again and again. Finally Lex leaned his forehead against Victoria's, exhaling. He cleared his throat softly, then glanced sideways at Clark.
Clark closed his eyes and waited, his lips parted slightly.
"Go home, Clark," Lex said.
Clark blinked and opened his eyes. Victoria was managing to look somewhat apologetic, though still amused. Lex smiled into her hair, a bitter smile that Clark thought he could have read a thousand things into, if he only knew where to start. "Lex, I..."
"I don't feel like playing," Lex murmured. He wasn't smiling any more, but he touched Clark's cheek gently, then pulled his hand away. "It's all right, Clark. Go home."
Clark paused when he got to the door, but he didn't look back.
He could still hear Lex and Victoria kissing.
He went home.