Sitting on her veranda, Nemo sleeping at her feet, Cassandra sipped at a tall glass of iced tea and listened to the rain as it fell against the roof above her head. Smallville had been suffering under an oppressive heat wave for what seemed like an eternity and the cool rain was a welcome blessing. Bringing children and adults alike out in droves to play.
The steady, drumming on the roof was a peaceful, comforting sound that brought up memories of her childhood. From before the meteor shower when she'd still had her sight. Rain like this would have brought her running out doors, giggling with delight, much as her neighbor's children had done if the shouts of excited laughter had been any indication. Those sounds still echoed from both sides of her property and she smiled lightly. The large property on which her house sat had long been a favorite place to play and in this case, it was no different. Listening, she could easily follow their movements through the grass and trees as they played a very noisy game of tag.
Her smile became one of warm remembrance but she couldn't suppress the pang of regret that went with it. She missed being able to play like that. Even with Nemo's aid, running out onto the uneven ground of her yard was a risky venture. Particularly when she considered the fact blind or no, she hadn't been gifted with the grace of a swan...
All the same, she didn't mind as much as she once had, there was something about the serenity of sitting and enjoying the sound of the rain that she loved so very much. It was just so easy to picture her surroundings in her mind, the birds splashing about in the birdbath blissfully unaware that Eames, the cat, watched longingly from nearby, hiding beneath the fence. The image of the black and white feline stood out vividly in her mind's eye, thanks largely to the detailed descriptions of Eames' proud mistress, Tamara, the neighbor's youngest child. The little girl had spent hours describing the animal to her, anxious that her friend not miss out on the fun of the new pet. Cassandra had always enjoyed her visits. Though, with the arrival of Eames, Nemo's patience was sorely tempted.
As if he could read her thoughts, the off-duty German Shepherd shifted at her feet, lifting his head and barking a warning. The sound of an answering hiss and paws scrabbling for a purchase against loose gravel told his mistress just what he'd been warning.
With a laugh, Cassandra leaned over to lightly pat the big dog's side. "Scaring Eames isn't nice you know." She scolded, unsuccessfully disguising the mirth in her voice.
Nemo licked her retreating hand affectionately, unconcerned by her words. His and Eames' long-standing feud was one of species principle by his canine logic and a few words, even from his beloved human, could not end it. He was, after all, a dog and Eames - a cat. There could be no peace.
Reaching for tea, Cassandra rested her head back against the rocking chair, listening to the rain. Puddles were starting to form, the dry earth having absorbed it's full, and the sound of splashing children reached her. It seemed Tamara and her siblings were having a ball with the age old art of puddle jumping.
A new sound, that of a car's engine, drowned out the rain and drew her attention.
Even as she murmured, "Company, Nemo," she felt the dog perk up, his tail beginning to move, a steady thumping against the wooden floor. He remained at her feet but clearly wanted to run to greet the new arrival. The only thing holding him back was the fact his mistress hadn't given permission to do so and had no intention of doing so. By now, the ground was no doubt good and muddy and she could all too easily imagine just what kind of a mess a mud-covered dog would create of her guest's clothing.
Listening to squishy footfalls, she tracked the progress of her visitor across the front yard, waiting for them to reach the front step before greeting, "Hello Lex."
Lex's chagrin was apparent in his voice as he walked up the steps. "What gave me away?"
She stood, sundress falling into place about her legs. "Well, I am psychic you know." She teased with a laugh before adding, "That, and Nemo. He hasn't been this excited since the last time you dropped by."
Crouching down to rub the dog's ears, Lex couldn't help recalling a time when Cassandra's constant companion had been far less jovial toward him. A time when he hadn't dared to venture near the animal much less actually pet him. "Excited to see me, huh? Guess the whole man's best friend thing comes into play sooner or later."
"That..." Cassandra agreed dryly as she offered him a glass of iced tea, "or the doggy treats you slip him when you think I'm not paying attention. Bribery works wonders on that dog."
"Oh, come on, Cassie," Lex adopted his most innocent tone. "Would I do that? Buy Nemo's goodwill?"
"Yes." She retorted mildly, sitting down again. After giving him a few moments to relax, she brought her own tea to her lips, sipping the cool liquid before asking, "So, I trust the former Mrs. Luthor has been sent packing?"
She didn't need her sight to know Lex winced in response to her comment. "Heard about that, did you?"
"Lex," Her voice became the epitome of long-suffering patience as Cassandra answered, "There are little villages in the very heart of the deepest, darkest, most remote part of Africa still talking about the mysterious whirlwind affair, marriage, and annulment of Lex Luthor and Desiree Atkins. It has everyone all abuzz with speculation."
Contemplating the secrets and marketability of Cassandra's iced tea, Lex spared his friend a glance. "You're enjoying this."
"Hardly." She denied with a smile. "I will admit the situation is the special kind of ridiculous that God and the meteor rocks reserve for good old Smallville...but, I can tell it has had quite the impact on you."
"More than I'd like to admit." He agreed quietly. "I've been thinking and rethinking the whole thing, everything that happened since the moment she walked up to me, and I still can't believe I let myself get that caught up in a woman."
With a mild laugh, Cassandra turned her head in his general direction. "Why? Afraid to admit that even the great Lex Luthor is fallible?"
"No..." he countered immediately then, reluctantly, murmured, "Maybe a little afraid of admitting he is vulnerable."
"You mean human." She corrected gently. "Courtesy of enhanced pheremones or no, Lex, we've all made moronic romantic choices at one point or another. Most of us don't have the excuse of the other person being the victim of the meteor shower with a hyped up sex drive. We get ourselves into it with just good, old-fashioned, grade A regular lust." Her smile turned wicked, surprising him. "Though, I suppose, those lovely pheremones must have made for quite a lively marriage, as brief as it was."
Lex gave a grudging nod. "You wouldn't be wrong in supposing it. Sexual chemistry was the only real thing Desiree and I can lay claim to having." He exhaled heavily. "I was so sure I loved her, Cassie, I was absolutely convinced of it."
Getting up from her chair, Cassandra walked forward until she felt his hand reach out to take hers and pull her back to stand beside him. Not letting him pull his hand away, she smiled up at him. "Don't blame yourself for that, Lex. Never blame yourself for caring about someone. In this case, Desiree took advantage of your humanity but that doesn't mean it's a weakness, no matter what your father's told you in the past. If you shut that side of yourself away, you protect yourself from all the Desirees of the world but you do so at your own expense by shutting out the people who love you. Being human isn't a weakness, Lex, it's a strength and that's something Lionel will never understand. Don't be worried when being hurt causes you to feel the hurt...be worried when it doesn't."
"Why would I," Lex prompted, his smile heard in his voice, "when I have you to do the worrying for me. Fantastic job you're doing by the way."
Laughing, she felt the tension of the moment abate. "Yes, well, be a merciful employer and avoid anything bizarre, or dangerous for a while, okay? I think I've done enough worrying about you lately. More than enough if you ask me."
Unable to resist teasing her, if only a little, he innocently inquired, "What about the bizarre and dangerous things? Those don't count do they?" Cassandra pressed her lips together and gave him a feigned a look of annoyance in response. Lex laughed and pulled her close enough that he could kiss her forehead. "Okay, I promise. Nothing bizarre or dangerous in my near future. You can check to be sure if you'd like."
"I trust you." Cassandra said simply, leaning against him, comfortable. "Stay for dinner?"
"Why wasn't I invited to your wedding?"
The sound of the rain was the only response.
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