This was what summer was all about. Willow Pond and flies. The sun beating above but the tree branches granting merciful shadow to people after their swim. Pete loved the sounds of waves that lapped against the shore and the smell of nearby fields. He had just crawled from the water with half the pond in his nose. Clark was going down for that stunt later, by the way. Now he laid on one of the towels just soaking in the warmth and the freedom of summer. Everything was just perfect.
Well, except the company.
Clark was still splashing happily in the pond but the third party of their little excursion was sitting besides Pete, reading a boring looking book.
Lex Luthor, Clark's other best friend obviously didn't know anything about proper activities in a summer day.
Pete had tried to keep his dislike pretty much to himself but it was kind of annoying, how Luthor and Clark just seemed so inseparable lately. Gone were the days when they could just hang. Clark and him. Nowadays it was Clark and Luthor - attached to the hip.
And yes, Pete had caught the clue bus pretty early on that there was perhaps something little more going on with his giant alien friend and the scrawny city boy than just friendship. But they were men. They didn't need some teary coming out-conversation to fumble over. Pete was cool. He was down with alternative lifestyles. And Clark seemed really happy lately. Unlike during the decade of Lana-angst before this. Although that didn't mean Pete had to like Luthor any better.
Currently Pete's companion lounged against a tree branch wearing shorts and a T-shirt that still looked too expensive and not a bit rumpled. Even the fisherman's hat on his head, although plaid, was probably some designer brand. At least the mosquitoes didn't seem to respect the Luthor name, as Baldie had to idly wave his hand around between turning the pages of the book.
Maybe they were leftover bugs from Greg's unfortunate experiments and would give Luthor a really nasty rash or something.
Pete's musings were interrupted by an inquiring voice.
"Do you have any special plans this summer, Pete?"
That was obviously Luthor's "be nice to Pete, because Clark says so"-voice.
Well, Pete could rise to the challenge.
"Not anything really. I was hoping to see Rock City with Clark, though."
Luthor's brows furrowed a bit and he obviously didn't know what Pete was talking about. Secretly Pete wished that Luthor would start spouting something about ancient Egyptian or Greek ruins. Then Pete could mock him. Mercilessly.
"You want to go to...Detroit?"
The soda Pete was sipping almost spilled over.
"No, man. Not Detroit. Although I'd love me some Motown. Rock City is in Tennessee. It looked kind of cool in pictures, so I thought Clark and I could take a roadtrip or something."
There was a silence after that while Luthor obviously was deep in thought. Pete stared at an ant that was making its way along the edge of the towel. The sun was gradually setting bringing along a refreshing breeze. The ant had almost reached the other end of the towel when Luthor continued.
"Do you want to take one of my cars and go to that trip with Clark? You'd have to drive, though. Clark has issues with manual transmission."
Was Luthor serious?
"You'd really loan us one of your cars?" And loan Clark? But that was a silent question.
"Sure. The stereos are top notch in every one of them. You can listen to my Marvin Gaye collection the whole trip if you want."
Luthor's dry smile looked kind of sincere, actually.
"I don't know if I can wrestle Clark away from the radio controls. His taste in music is horrible and he sings along, too. And you like Motown?"
Luthor's shrug was almost imperceptible.
"I appreciate classics in all forms. There was some genius work coming from that era of music."
This revelation left Pete speechless for a moment. The son of Satan actually liked good music. And he'd let Pete drive his car. Maybe he wasn't so bad. Maybe Pete needed to make a bigger effort in the "Keep your best friend happy"-project.
"Lex. You're all right. I could even be persuaded to let you come along with me and Clark."
Luthor. No, Lex looked as hesitant as a certain future ruler of the world could.
"I'm sure you and Clark would be more comfortable as a duo. Friends need their roadtrips."
It was pretty obvious that the Clark-part of the sentence was just for appearance sake.
"Nah. I need someone to help me with the music selection. We can always overrule him two to one. And you can shut him up if he starts singing."
Pete made a mental note to draw the line at letting them make out at the backseat.
"Well, I've always thought that Clark's total tone deafness is due to his al.... adoption."
Well what do you know. Pete knew that Lex knew about Clark's otherworldly origins. And Lex obviously knew that Pete knew. The amount of knowledge between them was astounding. But it had never been officially noted. Until now. Lex's eyes were challenging and he looked ready to draw swords or something equally old fashioned. Maybe it was good for Clark to have both of them watch his back. Lex probably watched Clark's ass, though.
"Yeah. I heard adoption can cause that. Clark is just special that way, I guess."
That didn't make any sense but Lex relaxed and Pete turned his gaze to the pond.
Clark was finally rising from the water. All sun kissed smooth skin and dripping wet. Pete heard Lex's breath hitch a bit beside him but he really didn't want to think about the reasons for that. Pete was cool - Lex was surprisingly cool. But there was a no need overstep certain mental boundaries.
Clark approached them a bit warily. Ha! Like Pete couldn't be trusted to hold a civilized conversation with Lex.
"What's up guys?"
"How would you like to come to a roadtrip with me and Lex? To see Rock City."
Clark's smile was blinding.
"Sure. That sounds cool. Are we going to Greece?"
Pete exchanged a devious smile with Lex. Clark was so going to get mocked for this.
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