One of the drawbacks of having an alien metabolism was the complete and total inability to get shitfaced drunk unto oblivion.
Drowning ones sorrows wasn't quite as easy for someone who's body burned off the alcohol faster than it could be drunk. Drinking heavily, Clark Kent was discovering, did nothing but make him have to piss like the proverbial racehorse. It made turning twenty-one more or less the same as turning nine.
He sighed, and ordered another beer. Why, he had no clue, because it was costing him a fortune, tasted like crap, and was of course, making him have to use the restroom every ten freakin' minutes. Still, sitting in a campus bar listening to what were supposed to be his peers engaging in a belching contest in the corner, was better than sulking alone in his dormroom.
Especially since it was his birthday, or at least, his legal Earth birthday.
It wasn't a leap year, so technically he didn't have a birthday. He could go by his "real" birthday, but translating it from the Kryptonian calendar to Earth's calendar would be a pain. He really didn't even have a Kryptonian birthday anyway, since he was conceived in a test tube and developed on route to Earth in a womb-cum-spaceship. How did one translate some vague span spent in a time-space continuum into a date on a calendar? He might as well pin a calendar up on the wall and throw a dart at it.
"There, that's my birthday."
With his luck, Clark's birthday would be the letter "U" in June.
Idly he did math in his head, multiplying Pi by itself and then squaring it.
It gave him a headache.
He ordered another beer.
His parents had sent him a card with money in it. They were in Florida courtesy of his grandparents who had thought their daughter deserved a vacation after so many years married to "that farmer." Clark could have flown down to see them, but he didn't feel like it, and who was he to ruin their only vacation ever by moping around their condo all day and all night.
"Get out, get some sun!" His mother would say.
Why? He didn't tan, what would be the point?
Clark winced. The belching was starting to bug him.
"Haven't you had enough?" The bartender asked cautiously. He'd no doubt been harassed before as a result of asking the same question, judging from the flinch when Clark rolled an eye in his direction.
"Do you see me engaged in a belching contest or puking on the floor?" Clark asked archly.
"Then I haven't had enough."
He'd had twice as much as the belchers, and the bartender knew it, but because Clark looked and acted stone cold sober, he gave up and moved away. Or, possibly, it was because of the glower Clark gave him.
Clark had been practicing his glower lately, hoping a more serious look would in turn have people take him more seriously. His opinion of the expression was that it resembled a more flamboyant version of his pout, but his pout coupled with a severe bout of constipation. Perhaps the bartender was less concerned that Clark was going to hit him than he was Clark taking a dump on the barstool.
"Can't get drunk, can't glower..." Clark growled, drinking his beer.
He licked foam from his lips, and wiped it off the end of his nose with a swipe of his sleeve. If his mother had seen that, she would have killed him, and Clark didn't care. He was twenty-one today, and damn proud of it, and he could damn well do as he damn well pleased.
Blushing as a result of all his mental damning, he hunched over his beer, ashamed of himself.
"Damnit, can't even curse properly."
That morning Clark had been in a much better mood. He'd gotten up and immediately called Chloe, hoping to get together with her after classes to celebrate his birthday. There was a Hitchcock movie marathon showing at the campus theater as part of their "Week O' Mystery" promotion.
"Can't, I have a date," she'd said, after spouting a great deal of angst ridden language regarding telephone calls at the crack of dawn, and the fact he was incredibly lucky she wasn't going to shove a very large dictionary so far up his butt it would have to be removed through his nose.
"A date?" Clark had repeated, aghast. "But..."
How did one break it to one's best friend that she'd forgotten his birthday and he was about to be a big baby about it? He was quite sure he could produce a tear or two if necessary. He'd taken drama as an elective the previous quarter and was quite willing to put his costly education to good use.
"Yeah, with Tony, from my psych class. Big guy, blond...."
"Whitney on steroids? Hulk Hogan? You're going out with Hulk Hogan?" Clark had sunk down onto his bed and groaned. "Chloeeee."
"I thought we had a rule about this, Clark. We're not a couple anymore, therefore no scathing criticism of date choices."
"I'm not going out with a guy who thinks Pythagoras is a man eating snake found only in Brazil."
"Clark, you are so breaking the rules here."
He'd frowned into the phone.
"I heard that. Come on, Clark. We can to to the movies tomorrow. March first, there's a new movie open...."
Sitting on the bed, picking at a hole in the quilt, Clark had smirked when he'd realized she'd figured out her faux pas.
"Oh, Clark. I'm sorry. I didn't realize. It's not a leap year so I..."
"Forgot. No big deal. Technically it's not really my birthday anyway."
"I am so sorry!"
"Don't worry about it Chloe," he'd said. "Have fun with King Kong's cousin Vinnie."
He'd hung up on her.
It had felt good to hang up on her.
Until he'd started feeling guilty, and called her again, only to get her voice mail.
Hanging up on the voice mail wasn't nearly as satisfying.
Classes were, as usual, boring, but Clark's spirits perked up when he'd collected his mail that afternoon and found the card from his parents. He'd called them after the fiasco with Chloe, leaving them a message on the answering machine regarding his plans for the evening. If he couldn't go to the Hitchcock marathon with Chloe, he'd fly to Smallville for a home cooked meal from his mother.
Greetings from Florida, was not what he'd been expecting. No wonder they hadn't been answering the phone. They weren't even home. The card had been sent before they'd left on vacation, informing him of the trip, but it had been delayed by the foibles of the campus post office, which frequently delivered Clark's mail to Carrie Kent (no relation) a girl living down the hall from him. Instead of simply walking his mail down the hall, Carrie always sent it back through the system.
"They'll never get it right if we correct their mistakes for them, Clark."
Clark wanted to put her upside down in a metal trashcan and beat it with a baseball bat.
Instead, like the nice guy he was, he only smiled, and politely agreed with her.
And got his mail a week and a half late all the time.
The topper to Clark's wonderfully happy, joy-abounding birthday, was the telephone call from Pete.
"We're getting married!"
Clark hung up on him.
Pete called back.
"Hey, we must have gotten cut off. Did you hear? I asked Lana to marry me dude, and she said yes! Can you believe it?"
He'd wanted to vomit in a very bad way.
"We wanted you to be the first to know!"
Clark had felt as if he'd swallowed a badly chewed Kryptonite tortilla chip and it was ripping his throat to shreds on the way down.
"That's great, Pete," he'd replied, emoting "perky" as only someone having a quarter of drama under their belt could do. "Congratulations."
"I want you to be the best man."
Said tortilla chip had been dipped in Kryptonite laced jalapeno pepper salsa, just to make things that much more agonizingly painful.
"Oh, and happy birthday. We sent a card, did you get it?"
Following the rest of the telephone conversation from hell, Clark had gone down the hall and raided Carrie's mailbox. In it was a bundle of his mail, wrapped in a piece of pink Hello Kitty stationary upon which was written a scathing admonishment of the campus postal delivery system. He'd taken it back to his room and read the card from Pete and Lana.
"Hugs and kisses, Pete & Lana."
That was when he'd set the bed on fire.
He hadn't meant to set the bed on fire, but the heat vision was still a bit wonky and the card was not that big so he'd "leaked" a little. He'd missed the curtains by inches, and had instead singed one of the Greek Literature professors as she passed by the window of Clark's room. He'd also set the bed on fire. Beating it out with the pillow had been a good idea, until the fire burned through the case and the feathers exploded all over the room.
The stench of burnt feathers was compounded by the stench of wet feathers when the sprinkler system went off.
At that point Clark decided life basically sucked, and it was not worth trying to be Mr. Nice Guy. He would be Drunk Frat Dude, even though he did not belong to a fraternity, and thus far drinking had proven to be an exercise in futility. His visions of Animal House had turned into Little House on the Prairie because he was failing in the worst way to become anything other than Really Sweet Farm Boy.
That pissed him off.
He glowered, and ordered a shot of tequila.
He wondered what would happen if he combined his ability to blow cold air, with the strength of his lungs, and added a beer powered belch. Would it be enough to blast the other belchers out the front window of the bar?
He did advanced physics in his head.
Burped quietly as an experiment.
And decided that either he was losing his mind or the alcohol was finally getting to him.
A burst of laughter issued up from the corner. Clark wondered how long it was going to be before they started trying to belch out the Gettysburg address. He could belch out the Gettysburg address, in its entirety, because he and Pete had done it one afternoon as part of their ongoing Coke and Pop-Rocks experiments. They'd determined that a combination of Coke and Pop-Rocks did not eat out your insides, but that it did produce a great deal of gas with which to belch. Clark, possessing lung capacity exceeding that of your average human kid, not only burped out the Gettysburg address, but had followed it with the Star Spangled Banner.
Pete had been both amazed and somewhat appalled.
Clark wondered about the belchers and the Gettysburg address, and he also wondered if Pete and Lana would ever speak to him again if he decided to give the Best Man's Speech in "Burpese."
"God, I am so depressed."
He ordered more tequila and another beer.
The bartender gave him a "look."
Clark returned the "look" with one of his own, and after tossing back the shot, recited the alphabet backwards.
The bartender went away again.
There was another burst of noise from the table in the corner, but this time it was neither belching or laughter, but rather a low wolf whistle and a series of catcalls. Clark had learned that in "Smashedspeak" this meant someone belonging to the opposite sex had walked into the bar. As a result, the testosterone was flying hot and heavy throughout the veins of his fellow students who were now going to engage in rather unglamorous displays of he-manitude. To Clark it sounded like someone had released a pack of gibbons into the room and given them each a bottle of No-Doze.
Wired hormonal monkeys, just what the doctor ordered.
Clark's wondering turned into a "you wouldn't even miss me if I were dead" self-pitying session.
He calculated his own mass divided by how much Kryptonite it would take to kill him, got somewhat panicky at the very idea, and decided he was a big weenie. Abandoning his trip to theoretical martyrdom, he turned around to look at the poor girl who had unsuspectingly wandered into Phil's House of Primates.
Plus one alien.
She ignored them all as she stomped snow from boots with heels that looked like they should be registered as deadly weapons, then removed the long black leather coat she wore.
The belching gibbons howled appreciatively.
The one alien nearly fell off his barstool.
Clark was immediately distracted by having to wage a major kick-ass battle with his brain as it sought to de-evolve into that of a gibbon, or the Kryptonian equivalent of a gibbon. The equivalent of Kryptonian testosterone woke up and said "howdy" and his salivary glands kicked into over drive. He barely resisted the temptation to add another wolf whistle.
"Uhm," he thought. "Wow."
Or possibly, yum.
This girl, this very sexy girl in the tight jeans and the black leotard, made Lana Lang and Chloe Sullivan look like twin Creatures from the Black Lagoon. There was a passing resemblance to Chloe, mostly due to the short blonde bob similar to the style she'd affected in high school, but this girl was much taller and thinner. Long, very long, lean legs, a delicately curved hourglass figure, and breasts....
She turned her head, looking slowly around the room as if memorizing every detail. Her slightly uptilted green eyes, very much like Lana's, narrowed as they took in the primates in the corner, then turned away to regard Clark with a slow, sultry gaze. He knew he looked, at that moment, like a complete moron with his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open, but he was at a loss as to what to do about it.
Her mouth quirked into a smile, and with a toss of her head she jerked her eyes away, sitting down at the bar halfway between the gibbons and Clark. In a very pretty soprano, not the low growl he'd expected, she ordered a drink.
Clark forced himself to be extremely interested in his half empty mug.
Beer was pretty. It was a pretty color, sort of sunshiny and stuff. It smelled like urine, but it was a pretty color, and in modern society pretty usually won things. What would beer win for being pretty? One would assume a sort of beer drinkers' appreciation award of some kind, or....
Holy shit, that girl is sexy.
The vision of licking beer off the breasts that just barely peered over the neckline of her low cut, very tight, leotard, swarmed into Clark's mind and taunted him. It was a very mean vision. It said, "nyah nyah" in a very evil manner.
There was a construction site not far from campus. Perhaps he should go whack himself in the head with a steel girder or two until he came to his senses.
His looked her way slightly, and out of the corner of his eye he watched her drum long, and wickedly sharp nails on the counter as she waited for her drink. The boob-licking vision went away, but was immediately replaced by a "nails down the back" vision. Clark very nearly shot beer out his nose.
He kept watching her surreptitiously. The bartender brought her drink, which was something made with cream, and she stirred the cloudy white liquid before she raised it to her lips and drank. She left a smear of rose colored lipstick along the rim of the glass. Her tongue ran over her lips, removing any of the cream which might have remained, before slowly withdrawing back into her mouth.
Clark decided she was what he wanted for his birthday, and with the day he'd had, he damn well deserved to get her.
He started to ease from his stool, but then stopped abruptly.
As usual, one of the other posturing males in the vicinity had beat him to the first move. A gibbon had broken free from the troupe and was making his way towards the girl at the bar. It didn't surprise Clark in the slightest. He should have known that the bad luck he'd had all day would hold, nor that he'd been beat to the punch again. He frequently wondered how he could be so fast, and yet, so slow.
Big dumb E.T.
He issued sigh number two-thousand and two of the evening, and slumped in his seat.
Beer was pretty.
He ordered another. This time the bartender just rolled his eyes.
No friends, no girl, no presents, and not even a cupcake graced Clark's unhappy day. He couldn't drown his sorrows in alcohol, and not even a nice comfortable bed awaited him in his room if he wanted to just crash. His bed was singed and soggy. Nothing at all was going right, and if ever Clark Kent felt like bawling his eyes out, this was the time.
He glanced at the guy making rather clumsy moves on the girl, drank his beer, and scowled unhappily.
Maybe he'd go sleep on a park bench in the snow and let the pigeons shit all over him. He already felt shit on anyway, why not let the pigeons add to it.
Poor Clark, he froze to death on his birthday. Chloe would say blue was a good color on him. Lana would cry, maybe, and then drag Pete off to make out behind the stand of flowers in the corner while Clark lay there all dead and forgotten.
In Clark's martyr fantasies he was far from invulnerable. Perhaps he didn't freeze to death at all, but was only in a coma because of catching some horrible pigeon poop virus. He could actually hear everything they said about him. He learned the truth. Nobody cared. He was just flotsom in the journey of their lives, cast out to sink into the cold, dark and lonely depths of the ocean of time as they sailed merrily along...
"Back off, twerp."
Clark closed his eyes and groaned.
There was nothing worse than having a good wallow in self pity interrupted by the need to play hero.
Damnit, just damnit all to heck and back again.
Of course, he reminded himself seconds later, the hero frequently did get the girl, particularly if the girl was a stranger and didn't know that Clark was a big geek most of the time.
Clark looked directly at the girl and her pest just as the girl planted a knee in said pest's center of manliness. The pest went from gibbon to puddle of goo in a matter of seconds, rolling on the floor clutching his groin, and making very interesting noises. He sounded less like a primate and more like Mickey Mouse with a head cold. The girl very calmly turned back to her drink.
It took Clark a minute to realize that his hero opportunity had been quickly and tidily rendered unnecessary. He blinked in surprise, staring unabashedly at the girl and her writhing companion. She saw him looking, and glanced up at him.
If Clark had approached her at that moment, all he would have been able to say would have been variations upon, "guhgk." He also would have been unable to look her in the face, because his eyes seemed incapable of moving away from her breasts. She had swiveled on her stool, and now sat facing him so he could see the gentle curves of pale flesh, and the dark beckoning cleft between them. Her nipples rose against the tight fabric as he watched. He wondered if he were going to faint.
Two of the bigger monkeys approached.
For the briefest moment Clark thought they were talking to him, and he prepared himself to give a variation of the, "I swear I wasn't looking through her shirt, honest!" speech that he had once had to deliver to his mother. It didn't take him long to figure out that they weren't talking to him, but the girl herself, and that they were quite unhappy about what she'd done to their little buddy. From the way Little Buddy was still writhing on the floor, it was possible that she'd rendered him sterile.
"Hey," Goon One slurred. "Don't I know you?" He stepped over his floor bound companion and tapped the girl on the shoulder. "Say, don't I know you?" His rather puffy face, which would have been considered attractive had he not been three sheets to the wind and drooling, spread into a sickly grin. "Yeah, yeah, I know you. I know you."
Frowning because her slow torture of Clark had been interrupted, the girl turned and looked at Goon One after shooting a look of disgust at Goon Two, and the kid on the floor who was now crawling back to his table.
"No, I don't think you do. I don't think you do," she said. "What's wrong with you, stuck on replay or something?"
Goon Two pointed at him. "Shuddup, dorkfuck."
Clark shut up, and turned his attention to his drink, or so it would have appeared to those who were too sloshed to pay close attention.
He sincerely hoped that guy was attending college on a scholarship, anything else would have been a horrible waste of money.
"Yeah, you're that chick who's been hookin' down on Campusview. My buddy Tad told me about you."
"I think you have me mistaken for someone else."
Goon Two laughed. "Ah, nah. This is her, tough bitch. Hey, baby, why don't you show us the goods. See if you're worth paying for."
Her voice was chilly, and held not the slightest bit of fear. "I said, I think you have the wrong person. Now back off of me."
"Or what, gonna knee me?" Goon One grabbed one thin arm and jerked her off her stool. "Com're sweetie..."
Goon Two stepped up behind her and grabbed her around the waist, slipping one hand around to pull at the leotard. In a matter of seconds, despite her best attempt to escape, the two big jocks had her pinned between them as their compatriots cheered. She cursed at them, still not showing any fear, until Goon One managed to free one breast into his rough grasp.
That was more than enough for Clark. He switched the hormones into "idle" and got off the bar stool, moving so swiftly in the short distance between himself and the "incident" no one saw him coming. Before they knew what hit them, he'd grabbed both jocks by the hair. He pulled them off the girl, knocked their heads together with a solid "thunk" and dropped them to the floor. They lay there, motionless, moaning.
The gibbons fell silent.
One dared speak.
"You are so dead, punk."
They burst up from the table in a bunch, accompanied by shouts and the clattering of chairs falling against each other. The girl pulled up her leotard, and Clark saw her eyes widening as she looked from the gang coming at them, then back to Clark. She still showed very little fear, only mild concern, but her decision was swift and quickly undertaken.
One slim hand closed around Clark's wrist, and she jerked him along behind her.
Startled, Clark obeyed, stumbling over a chair and just out of reach of a grasping hand. She paused to snatch up her coat, and the two of them scurried out the door with the gibbon group on their heels. How she did it Clark didn't know, but by the time he'd cleared the doorway, and recovered from a nasty slip on the ice outside, she was swiftly outdistancing him across the snowy street. A car barely missed the tails of the leather coat flying out behind her.
"Wait - get off - hey!" Clark batted away a monkey-boy and raced after the girl.
He easily outdistanced his pursuers, who, after just a few short yards of running, all stopped and threw snowballs and curses instead. A flicker of street light off the black leather of her coat revealed the girl swiftly turning a corner around of one of the old shop buildings. Clark ran after, pausing at the corner to look around.
She was gone.
Or so he thought, just seconds before she jerked him back into a shadowy doorway.
Where she kissed him.
The run didn't make him pant, but the kiss sure did.
"Whu - what was that for?"
"Saving me from being groped," she said, and ducked her head out of the doorway. "They still coming?"
"No. They gave up." Clark swallowed, and tried to recover, giving his hormones another smackdown. "You know you really shouldn't be out here this late all by yourself. You could get into trouble."
"Already did." Her smile was wide, and pretty, with bright white teeth that flashed in the darkness of the alcove. "You sure they aren't coming?"
He peered through the edge of the building. There was no one coming after them. "Positive."
"Great. It's been real nice, see ya."
The girl slipped out of the alcove and started walking down the nearly deserted street, away from the campus area and towards the city proper some distance away. Clark blinked after her, surprised again by her abruptness, then followed.
"Do you have a car? Maybe I should walk you to it or..."
She glanced over her shoulder at him. "Sure Dudley, whatever floats your boat."
She kept walking, her hands in her pockets, her coat billowing out behind her. Moving swiftly, and gracefully, she neatly avoided any slippery patches, obscenely sure footed despite the high heeled boots. Clark loped up beside her.
"Oh." He wasn't sure if he should be insulted or not. "Well, my name...."
"I don't care much for names," she said. "But if you want to walk me to my car, that's fine. Whatever."
Clark was also not sure what exactly he thought he was doing, nor how to proceed with doing it. He still thought the girl was incredibly sexy, especially after being on the receiving end of one of her kisses.
He fell into step beside her. "So - uhm - do you go to school here?"
"Oh, sure," she laughed.
Pleased to find a common ground, Clark grinned. "What's your major?"
"Sex education." The look she gave him over her shoulder was wry, and more than a little disconcerting.
"Are you normally this slow?"
"What - I mean - no! I - no!" he stammered. "No, I just - you're really a h-hooker?"
Things came to yet another abrupt change in direction as she stopped and looked at him with a fierce expression.
"Are you a virgin?"
"I - what?"
"Simple question Dudley, are you a virgin? I'm conducting a poll. That is the question. Answer it."
If he grew any warmer he was going to melt all the snow in the immediate vicinity. She stared, he looked away, and then she turned and started walking again.
"Yeah, right. My car is this way."
"So, you don't believe me?"
"No," The flash of a smile, and the girl skittered across the street.
Clark's brain screeched a jaywalking warning, and he resolutely told it to shut the hell up. He followed her, reached out a hand to steady her as she slipped a little on the opposite sidewalk, but withdrew the hand quickly as he realized she had recovered on her own.
"Why not?" he asked.
Her laugh echoed through the nearly deserted street.
Apparently it had been that obvious. He resisted the temptation to look at his reflection in one of the dark shop windows in order to see if he had "virgin" tattooed across his forehead. Stupid blush.
They turned a corner and stopped. Digging around in her pocket, Clark's companion pulled out an electronic key and pushed the button. The lights and horn of a nearby car indicated that it was the one she wanted.
"Get in," she said.
Clark looked at the car and got a very, very bad feeling. It felt sort of like the time he'd stuck his finger in one of the big transformers at the Metropolis Electric Works, just to see what would happen. It hadn't hurt, but it had been somewhat....
And he'd accidentally shorted out power to half the city.
Her eyes narrowed. "What, you don't take rides from strangers?"
"No - I mean - yes but...."
Leaning on the roof of the car, half in and half out of the driver's side door, she slapped the metal and grinned. "Oh, come on Dudley! Live a little. You're what, nineteen?"
"I am not nineteen." Clark mumbled. "As if anyone cared, I'm twenty-one, as of today." Or yesterday, considering it was after midnight, or never, considering the twenty-ninth of February didn't exist that year.
"Well happy fucking birthday, baby face. Get in in the car."
He hesitated. "It's a Porsche."
"Whoa! No kidding! And you got into college how?"
"I just don't have very good luck with Porsches."
"Really? How so?"
"Their owners usually end up really ticked off at me."
Like certain bald billionaires.
Lex hadn't been happy about the jail thing, even though he'd eventually bought his way out of it and covered up any record of having spent any time at all behind bars. Clark really didn't like to think about what nasty thing was being cooked up to spring on him in revenge for it. He kept picturing Lex sneaking up on him in class, and stabbing him in the back with a Kryptonite dagger.
"Unless you plan on sticking your hand down my shirt, I'm not going to get ticked off at you. Get - in - the - car."
Clark got in the car.
She looked at him before she started it, and the grin was almost feral. "Of course if you did try to stick your hand down my shirt, I might not mind. You're pretty damn cute Dudley."
The car roared into life, and Clark's blood rushed into his cheeks.
"Oh, sorry. I forgot. You've probably never seen a breast before, let alone felt one. Since it's your birthday maybe I should let you cop a feel." Her eyes were wide. "Hmm?"
He didn't trust himself not to say "gughk," so he said nothing.
The car peeled away from the curb, fish-tailing a little in the snow before its tires found purchase on the salted part of the roadway. Clark watched as they neared the city at a rapid pace, leaving campus, and his nice safe dormroom, behind them.
"Where are we going?"
"Oh, I don't know. You just looked like you could use a little fun, and of course since it's your birthday...."
The car skidded around a corner. A glance at the speedometer revealed that they were well over the legal speed limit for sports cars on city streets. In fact, they were well over the legal speed limit for sports cars on the freeway too.
"Shouldn't you slow down?"
Her smile broadened as she stepped on the gas pedal. "No, what for?"
It suddenly occurred to Clark that he was: a) sitting in a car with a prostitute and b) sitting in a car with a prostitute and said car was speeding....
And being asked to pull over by a cop dashing up behind them with sirens blaring and lights flashing.
He could see the phone call to Florida now.
"Uhm, Mom. I'm in jail."
His father would keel over dead as every artery in his heart, lungs and brain exploded.
"I got picked up for soliciting, and speeding. Oh, and I wasn't wearing my seatbelt either."
Chloe would laugh her ass off.
"And they added public drunkeness to the charges because my breathalizer test indicated I was about fifty-bazillion times over the legal limit."
Lex would have some really big nasty guy with hair all over his back tattooed with Kryptonite, then send him in to give Clark a really hard time in the prison bathroom during shower hour.
"Are you going to pull over?" he asked anxiously, peering out the very tiny back window of the car. The cop looked really pissed.
"Not a good idea," she replied quietly, as if they were out for a country drive and not trying to escape a police cruiser.
"Hot, as in stolen."
"What?!" Clark shrieked.
"Shut up and hang on."
Downshifting furiously, feet and hands busy with the wheel, gearshift, and pedals almost simultaneously, the girl whipped the small car around in a circle in the middle of the street. Horns honked, tires squealed, and the police cruiser shot by as its wheels slipped in the slush when the cop tried to copy the maneuver with the heavier vehicle. Clark got a really good look at a very pissed off cop as the cruiser went by in a burst of light and sound. It slammed into a street lamp, which fell to the ground in a shower of sparks.
The Porsche shot down an alley, turned a corner, and zipped into a side street. It went airborne as it hit a small hill of snow the plows had missed.
Clark sank into his seat as far as he could go, wishing he'd stayed home, burnt mattress or no burnt mattress.
She continued driving in a series of switchbacks and weird turns, keeping to side streets and alleys, sometimes speeding, sometimes not. They just missed another cop car as it sped off in another direction. They were not pursued.
A phone rang.
"Get that, will you, Dudley," she said causally, taking the car up to sixty, then skidding around a corner and under a bridge, before dropping easily into a traffic filled street at a reasonable thirty-five miles per hour.
"My name isn't Dudley."
"Whatever. Get the phone."
Convinced he had somehow racked up enough bad karma to fill the Grand Canyon and just not known about it, Clark sat up and dug around in the console for the little square of a cell phone that was ringing. He unfolded it, thumbed it on, and spoke.
A male voice issued out of the speaker.
"Whoever you are, you'd better return my car to the place where you got it right now, because if you don't, I intend to prosecute to the full extent of the law, and I do mean, the full extent."
A chill went up Clark's spine.
He hung up the phone.
He was getting good at hanging up on people, he thought, as he rolled down the car window and threw the phone out into the snow. His chauffeur glanced over at him, frowning. He began digging around in the glove compartment. After a very brief search he found the registration papers and he did not need the map light turned on to see what they said.
Quietly, he returned the papers to the glove box. He sat back in his seat and stared at the road rushing past through the windows.
He pinched himself hard enough to actually hurt.
He was still in Hell.
"What is it? What's the matter Duds? You look like you're going to barf, and if you barf in this car, no breast fondling for you."
"I can't believe you stole Lex Luthor's car," he said softly, bleeping over the breast fondling comment by being completely distracted by the car issue.
There was a pause, followed by a very big grin.
"Really? That's cool man, he's such a prick."
"Should we wreck it?"
Her grin was just shy of wicked. "Well, regardless, we're going to have to ditch it somewhere now that Mr. Not-So-Clean has sic'ed the cops on us."
"Us?" Clark glowered, and felt as if it were the best one he'd yet managed. "What do you mean, us? I had nothing to do with you boosting Lex's car, and if he found out I was anywhere near his car he'd kill me."
Or try to anyway.
"Ooh, I sense a history," she glanced over at him as she turned the Porsche into yet another alley and brought it to a halt. Her eyes narrowed. "Man, Duds, if you tell me you're gay I'm going to be so disappointed. I was willing to do you for free."
If someone had taken their hand, stuck it down his throat, and completely ripped out his vocal cords, Clark couldn't have been rendered more mute.
She made a really rude gesture.
Clark's mouth fell open, cutting off his voice again in mid splutter.
"What did you do with that phone? Maybe we should call Sexy Lexy back and have him meet us somewhere for a threesome because that could be...."
Scrambling for the door handle, Clark tried to get out of the car. The alleyway she'd turned into was so narrow that he couldn't get the door open wide enough to get out. The only way he could escape would be to climb out the sunroof. He could bust the door and crash through the wall of the building next to them, but he didn't find that a viable option.
"Interesting," she concluded, and laughed as he slumped back into his seat.
"I've been abducted. I took a ride with a stranger and now I've been abducted and am going to be molested, unless of course the cops find us, in which case I'm going to be arrested. Happy birthday, dude, you've just ruined any future you might have as a journalist."
"Well, I'm going to make sure you don't get arrested, but I can't promise I won't molest you."
She playfully punched him in the shoulder. "I was just kidding, besides, I know you were going to make a move back there."
"Yeah, sure. Come on Dudley, my place is around the corner, you can at least finish getting me home. If we stay here we will get arrested."
The sunroof whirred as it opened. Silent and lithe, like a cat, she stood up in her seat and slithered out through the narrow opening. Clark, with a great deal of effort, and a slight warping of the roof, followed her after only a moment of hesitation. He dropped down into the alley, joining her as she walked away. Idly, she tossed the keys back over her shoulder, craning her head to watch as they fell through the sunroof opening.
"Someone will steal it!" Clark protested.
"Someone already did!" she crowed, and skipped off down the sidewalk laughing. Clark winced as she burst into song. He shushed her, but was somewhat flattered by the fact she was singing "Happy Birthday."
Not for the first time, he wondered how he'd gotten himself into this situation and how he was going to get himself out of it. It served him right for trying to drum up a rebellious streak years after most kids already rebelled. He concluded that it must be some sort of alien quirk, like spewing acid or reproducing via implantation of a nasty human eating monster inside said human.
Considering the circumstances, he hoped the latter would not be the case, because he wasn't sure he was going to be able to get away from this very desirable young girl without having sex with her.
Clark having sex, now that would really make Chloe crack-up.
"Clark, you're practically a priest!"
The girl turned, and looked at him through narrowed eyes. "What?"
"Nothing," he said, and caught up with her. "So, you want to tell me how you managed to steal Lex's car?"
She shrugged. "Pinched the keys from the valet at the restaurant where Lux Leather was apparently having his din din. I was skipping out on a gig and I needed a getaway car."
"A get - wait, what gig?"
"Well," she drawled. "You see Dudley, it's like this. I'm not really a hooker."
"That's a relief."
"Most of the time."
"Okay, short moment of relief."
"I'm a thief."
Clark stopped walking. "Oh, no."
She grinned, pulled a handkerchief wrapped something out of her coat pocket, and tossed it to Clark. "See the pretty thing I found. It was just lying around under glass at the museum."
He peeked inside the cloth, and nearly dropped the object as he received a nasty shock. It took a double take before he actually believed what he was seeing: a solid gold Egyptian cat about five inches in height with emerald eyes. He recognized it from a news story he'd seen about rare Egyptian artifacts being temporarily displayed at the Metropolis Museum of Art.
"Oh, man! This is the Tutankhamen cat everyone's been talking about! Are you crazy?"
"Nope, just broke. I've got a fence waiting back home to sell her for a whole lot of money."
"You've got to give it back!"
"Oh, no way!"
Scurrying back to him, she tried to grab the sculpture, but Clark held it just out of her reach. She jumped up and down, trying to get to it, then started to pull at his arm.
"Give me that! It's mine!"
"It isn't yours, it belongs to the museum."
Her shin kicking was ineffective. "Give me!"
He turned away from her, trying not to laugh as she chased him around in a circle. "I'm going to take this, and Lex's car, back to the museum."
"You better not! I'll rat you out, tell them you did it!"
"Lex knows me, he'll never believe you. Oh, no you don't!"
Clark did laugh this time as she jumped at him, and wrapping her long legs around his middle, tried to climb up his body towards the golden cat he held at arms length away from her. She held on, tugging at his sweatshirt.
"Dudley, you dweebus, give me my kitty!"
She stopped trying to climb up him, and instead remained hanging off of the front of his sweatshirt. "You know, a quarter of a million dollars could buy you a lot of really cool birthday presents."
"Look, I don't know you from Jane, okay, but you can't steal things like this! They'll lock you up forever if you get caught. Let me take this back, and I'll -- I'll give you whatever you need to get back home, okay?"
Her eyes glittered as she regarded him solemnly. "You don't look like you have a quarter of a million dollars," she said softly.
"I don't, but I don't want to see you get in trouble."
"Why? Like you said, you don't know me from Jane, we just met in a bar. Why should you care what happens to me?"
"I just do, I'm like that, ask anybody." Clark grinned. "BGC."
She cocked her head. "BGC?"
"Big Geek on Campus."
Her laughter was light, and pretty, and in the light of the streetlamps, so were her eyes.
Clark suspected he was in deep shit.
"You're a nice guy, Dudley, and I mean that sincerely," she whispered.
They stared at each other a moment longer.
She kissed him again, holding herself up to his mouth by shifting her legs downward and her torso up tightly against his chest. One hand was wrapped in the cloth of his sweatshirt, the other cupped his neck as she caught him in a more delicate version of their first kiss. It lacked the ferocity. Sweet, yet passionate, it lingered until she pulled away with a soft sigh. His lips felt very warm, and so did every part of his body that was pressed against hers.
Clark now suspected he was in the bottomless pit of doo doo, particularly when she started to slide down his body and her parts brushed against his parts and his parts decided they liked it.
He looked down at her....
And down her shirt.
Yep. Big, big trouble.
"Uhm," he said.
"Apartment is down the street," she replied, and grinned broadly.
He barely got the words out. "Okay, but I'm still taking this back."
She glanced up at the cat he held over her head, slowly nodded, then loosened her grip on him to drop lightly back down to the pavement. Clark wrapped the handkerchief around the cat, and put it in his pocket. Together they moved down the street to the front doors of an old brownstone apartment building. There was a black cat sitting on the top step; it mewed as it saw them approaching.
"Madame, this is Dudley." The girl said to the cat. "He's a nice guy. Say hello to Madame, Dudley."
Clark frowned. "It's a cat."
Her glare was somewhat ominous, as if not saying hello to the cat was an inexcusable offense punishable by the removal of one's internal organs with an ice cream scoop.
"Say hello to Madame, Dudley," she growled.
He raised an eyebrow, and said hello to the cat.
Apparently he was about to have sex with a psychopathic cat lady. He wasn't sure if it were the "about to have sex" part or the "psychopathic" part that frightened him more. If there were fifty cats inside her apartment, he was going to turn around and go home either way. He was still reeling about how he had gone from an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon with Chloe, wherein he would stuff popcorn down her shirt in a very platonic manner, to going home with a thieving, psychopathic, cat-loving hooker, with whom he would be doing - other stuff - in a very non-platonic manner.
Happy birthday, welcome to adulthood.
Madame was not impressed with the sincerity of Clark's greeting, and turned around to show him her butt.
"Now, Madame, be nice to Dudley."
The cat meowed plaintively.
The girl fumbled at the lock for a moment, then opened the door, allowing the cat to shoot inside first. It ran up the stairs and waited at the top step, its tail whipping back and forth as it waited impatiently for Clark and its owner to get up the stairs. The three of them entered the upstairs apartment.
"Nice," Clark said, looking around the place. "Antiques, huh? Which ones are stolen?"
"None of them."
The girl padded into the kitchen, which was spotlessly clean. In fact, the whole place was spotlessly clean and the only cat in sight was Madame, who was being fed some "Kitty-Crunchies" on a paper plate.
"Honest, they aren't. They came with the apartment," she grinned, and walked out of the kitchen.
Clark didn't like her grin, it was a bit too smug. "You stole the apartment..."
"I'm house sitting. The owners are away in Europe." Her grin broadened. "But of course, they don't know I'm house sitting."
"Can my day get any worse?"
"Relax, they aren't due back for a while."
"How do you know?"
She disappeared into the bathroom. "I listened to all their messages. Figured it out from there."
He rolled his eyes. "This is called breaking and entering."
"House sitting," she called brightly. "It's only breaking and entering if you steal something."
"You've stolen their whole house!"
"I've borrowed it."
She padded out of the bathroom, and Clark had to sit down very quickly.
She was completely naked.
The first thing that attracted his attention was not her nakedness, although that seemed to have captured his body's attention immediately, but her hair. Instead of the blond bob, she now sported a short coif of black curls, which she ran her fingers through as she approached.
"What happened to your hair?" he asked, and immediately felt like an idiot.
"Took it off," she grinned. "Took it all off."
"I see that," Clark swallowed heavily as he watched her glide across the living room. She was completely at ease with being naked, and being naked in front of a perfect stranger.
He had to remind himself that she was probably used to it; not a big turn on that, as the words, "where all men have gone before," popped into his head.
She was horribly sexy, more so than anyone Clark had ever encountered before, and more so than half the centerfolds he'd ever seen, not that he'd seen very many. Everything about her, from her pale skin, to her full breasts, to her flat stomach and long, graceful legs, was very well proportioned and nearly flawless. Catching his stare, her smile turned wry, and she turned around in a circle, displaying the sweet curve of her buttocks.
"Uh," Clark's brain shuffled through its molecular note cards searching for an appropriate response, dropped a few, and ripped its pants bending over to pick them up. "You're very fit," he blurted finally, and blushed so hard he thought his head would explode.
She only smiled at him.
"Really," he added. "Can I have a drink?"
"No," she mouthed, and eased onto his lap.
One finger pressed against his lips, cutting off any further protest.
As if he were a child being readied for a bath, Clark obediently raised his arms so she could remove his sweatshirt. She tossed it back over her shoulder and leaned forward to kiss him. Her breasts pressed into his chest and the thin cotton of his T-shirt was all that came between his bare skin and her nipples. He opened his mouth to speak, but she was there, kissing him, cutting off any words he attempted to produce. She repeated what she'd done in the doorway.
He decided he liked French kissing.
"Wait," he pushed her back, or at least started to push her back. When he raised his hands, they were suddenly filled with boobies.
He hastily removed his hands. "You've never told me your name you know."
"I know." She tugged at his T-shirt, and scowled as he pushed it back down.
"I can't - not without knowing your name at least."
Cocking her head to the side, her expression shifted into one of deep thought, and Clark decided that not only did he like French kissing, but he also liked black curly hair. He reached up a hand to finger the softness of it.
"Betsy," she said finally, and sank her claws into his T-shirt, pulling it up over his head.
"Is it really?"
"Of course not. Is your name really Dudley?"
"No," Clark said, his voice muffled by the T-shirt which decided it would get stuck around his head.
"Then what does it matter - oof!"
The shirt gave way, and "Betsy" nearly tumbled off his lap backwards. Clark caught her around the waist.
She threw the T-shirt aside. "This is a one night stand Duds," she looked down at his bare chest. "Shit, or should I say 'studs'."
"What difference does that make?"
"Do you really want to get tangled up in such things as names? Names bind people, and I want to be - unbound!"
Her laughter rose like the notes from a symphony as she flung her arms up into the air and arced her self backwards, her face turned to the ceiling with a beatific expression. Clark held on to her so she would fall back and brain herself on the coffee table. He couldn't help but smile at her.
"You won't be so free and unbound if you get arrested for stealing, breaking and entering, and/or prostitution," he said.
She lowered her arms and looked at him. "You are a killjoy. The name Dudley suits you." The scowl softened as she pinched one of his nipples between the nails of her thumb and forefinger. "Studly works too. Gaaugh, and you call yourself a geek? Are you blind? Have you never seen this six pack," She poked him in the stomach. "In the mirror? You are so droolworthy, Duds! You should be modeling for Abercrombie and Fitch! Or better yet, posing nude in Playgirl!"
Clark chuckled. "Oh, I don't think so."
"Whassa matter, you have a big hairy wart on your ass?" Her smile turned into a giggle as she groped for the button of his jeans.
She continued to grope around, and suddenly her eyes widened. "Oh my God, what is this...." Her grin was maliciously wicked. "What do you have for me here, hmm? I - oh."
She pulled the golden cat from his pocket.
They both laughed.
"I'll just put this somewhere safe..."
Clark caught her by the wrist and took the artifact away from her. "I don't think so." He hid the cat under the seat cushion.
Her pout was much better than his, although it somewhat resembled his glower. "You don't trust me."
"Of course not."
She grinned, "Good!" and began kissing him again.
Her hands strayed across his chest, and so his strayed across hers, finding her breasts and cupping them in his palms, his thumbs caressed the hardening nipples.
That in itself was a completely new experience. Clark found his mind reverting back to the age of nine as it formed a new mantra and repeated it over and over again.
I touched a boobie.
Two actually, and it was more than touching, it was groping, fondling, pinching, and....
She suddenly grew very still, but with Clark's face buried in her cleavage. He came up for a breather, discovering her arms resting on the top of his head and his hands - whoa - groping butt!
He wondered if he was capable of blowing a blood vessel, because he definitely felt as if he were entering stroke territory; although all his blood had long ago left his brain on route to another location. That location was throbbing painfully.
"Madame, do I ever interrupt your activities?"
Clark looked over his shoulder and very nearly fell onto the floor with surprise as he came nose to nose with the cat sitting on the back of the couch. Madame looked rather miffed.
"Mwowr," she said.
"Betsy" sighed, and moved away from Clark. "I'll be right back."
He watched her cross to the door with Madame trotting along at her heels. She was almost more graceful than the cat, gliding across the carpet as if her feet didn't touch the floor, with an economy of movement that made it look as if she were captured in slow motion. She was all barely contained energy and wiry strength, porcelain skin and delicate bone structure. More so than any girl he'd ever known, she seemed like a female version of himself.
She had a freedom he admired. She did as she pleased, when she pleased, and with whom she pleased. Clark didn't have those options and never would.
Guilt put a damper on his lusty thoughts. She let the cat out, started to return, and suddenly her breasts stopped being the Holy Grails of mammary glands. Clark's few hours of rebellious what-the-fuckitude fizzled out; he wanted to go home.
"Maybe I'd better go," he said. "Maybe this isn't a good idea."
She stopped, staring at him as if he'd just grown antenna; a beautiful, exotic, very naked, woman staring at him with eyes as big as saucers and a pouting mouth he very much wanted to kiss again.
"I mean we hardly know each other and...."
She burst into tears.
It was not what Clark was expecting. He'd been expecting her to throw herself all over him, not to start bawling like a baby.
"What is it?"
She kept crying, until Clark, unnerved as usual by female hysterics, had to get up and go to her, wrapping her up in his arms and holding her close. Snuggling in even closer, she continued to cry.
"I've never had a nice guy before!" Her sobs shook her thin body against his. "I wanted to sleep with a nice guy for a change, and I find one who's too nice to do it! I have the worst luck of anyone in the world!"
Talk about being put between a rock and a hard place.
"Well, maybe it's your career choice."
That made her cry harder.
Clark ran his hands over her back. "Okay, okay! Just calm down! What if the neighbors hear and call the cops!"
Her sobs gradually turned to sniffles.
"You really do need to stop stealing stuff, though."
Like people's virginity, he thought a moment later as she dragged him towards the bedroom. She shut the door behind them and crouched to untie his boots. He looked down at the elegant curve of her back as she removed the boots, and into her tear streaked face as she raised her head to look at him. Her hands ran up his thighs. Her fingers caressed him in a very sensitive place.
Her tongue traced a circle around slightly parted lips as if she were hungry. Her eyes glittered mischievously as she pulled his jeans and underwear down at the same time, revealing that although his mind still had misgivings, his body didn't. The gaze she swept across his naked form was appreciative, as if devouring his lean, muscular abdomen, his broad shoulders, and strong, sculpted biceps. She rose to her knees and sank her long nails into the flesh of his flanks. The feral smile returned.
"Wrrrowwwrl," she said.
Clark wasn't sure what that implied.
After a minute, he really didn't care.
He rolled over.
Clark rolled over, and off the side of the bed, hitting the floor with a thud and barely avoiding taking out the nightstand with one flailing arm. His head hit the wood floor and he swore even though it didn't hurt, that he saw stars. He did, he realized after a minute, have a headache.
Apparently he couldn't get drunk, but he could get a hangover. He considered that incredibly unfair. What was the point of drinking if all one got was sick? That sucked.
He lay on the floor looking up at the ceiling. The hangover made his eyes hurt, and he would have closed them except for the fact he was trying to figure out where the hell he was, because he knew for a fact his dormroom had industrial grey carpet and not polished wood floors. He blinked stupidly. He felt stupid. Big, clumsy, stupid and....
Oh, yeah. Not a virgin.
The grin hurt.
Maybe, if he asked nicely, she'd let him show her what he'd learned last night.
Pushing himself up off the floor, he peeked over the side of the bed.
It was empty.
He scrambled to his feet and hurried out into the living room, digging beneath the middle cushion, but turning up nothing besides the handkerchief and a scrap of paper. The Tutankhamen cat was gone. So was any sign of "Betsy" and her cat. Clark slumped to the floor and sat there trying not to throw up; and attempting to decide, with post-alcohol muddled brain cells, what would be his next course of action.
It was decided for him. He heard the rattle of keys in the lock accompanied by voices from the hallway.
"It's good to be back home."
Equation: apartment owners, plus naked man who is not supposed to be there, equals incredible amount of explaining to do to parents and authorities.
Clark snatched his T-shirt and sweatshirt up off the floor, dashed back into the bedroom, and was dressed and out the window before the door was even opened. His botched landing in the alley, as he slipped on the ice and went careening into a row of trashcans, went unheeded despite the cursing and the loud banging. In seconds he was up again, and jogging out into the street. There had been no sign of Lex's Porsche either, resulting in more cursing and another bang as he kicked a mailbox.
He stopped, stared at the dent he'd made in the mailbox, and sighed.
It was then that he remembered the paper that had been under the sofa cushion. He'd stuffed it into his pocket as he'd been getting dressed. Now he pulled it out and read it.
"Thanks Dudley. Sorry to have to run, but that's how it goes. I left you a present at the museum. Love, Betsy."
Clark shot off towards the museum.
The place was crawling with police, the media, and several people who looked like they would be important people if it hadn't been the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning and they weren't there looking like they'd just crawled out of bed. The only person there who didn't look like he'd just crawled out of bed was Lex, who looked incredibly pissed off instead. The last time Clark had seen Lex with that particular expression it had been focused upon Clark himself, and he was rather glad he wasn't the one in trouble this time.
Lex was explaining to the police that he had no idea how, or why, his car ended up on the front steps of the museum with a stolen Egyptian artifact in the front seat.
Clark, peering cautiously out from behind a paddy wagon, looked at the front steps of the museum, and groaned.
There, halfway up the steps, was the battered remains of Lex's black Porsche. One headlight was gone, and the front bumper was askew, giving it a rather drunken appearance that went right along with Clark's headache. Across the hood, written in what appeared to be bright red lipstick, were the words: Happy Birthday Dudley.
"For the thousandth time," Lex raged. "I don't know anyone named Dudley!"
Clark tailed the car as it slipped silently through the city streets, gliding high above it where its occupant could not see him. One of the drawbacks of bright red and blue clothing was that he tended to stand out like a beacon. Of course, unlike some people, Superman didn't really need to be stealthy.
"She stole my car." Bruce had said.
It had been some time before Clark could stop laughing.
"It's not funny," The man known as the Dark Knight had grumbled. "It's embarrassing."
"What makes you think she's coming here?"
"She said she was, but for what reason I couldn't guess."
Sure enough, it had been only two days after the phone call that the Batmobile showed up in Metropolis. Clark had nearly shot coffee out his nose when he'd seen it go by that morning as he and Lois had breakfast at an outdoor cafe near the 'Planet. Lois had wanted to tail it. He thwarted her by stepping on the back of her shoe and breaking off the heel, forcing her to return to the office for tennis shoes. By the time she got back the car, and its occupant, were long gone.
He'd called Bruce, who had sounded almost relieved, and not because the car had been located.
Clark felt as if he were in high school again.
"You like her, dontcha?"
"Shut up, Clark. I do not."
"Sure," he'd grinned, and leaned back in his chair, cleaning under his nails with a bent paper clip. "You like those bad girls."
"Just get my car back, Superdork."
Clark had laughed, and then been dumped backwards out of his chair when he tipped it back too far. Lois felt it justice served due to her broken shoe.
Now, some twelve - plus a few - hours later, Clark was trying his best to behave himself, and not to snicker, as he followed Bruce's car down an alley...
Where it stopped.
He set down beside it and knocked politely on the driver's side window.
There was a click, and a whir, and the window glided down. Sleekly clad all in leather, her long nailed hands wrapped around the steering wheel, Catwoman stared out the window at him. Her expression exuded innocence.
Then her face, or the part that was visible beneath her cat mask anyway, spread into a broad grin.
"Hiya Dudley!" she crowed. "Ya wanna lift?"
Clark's jaw hit the pavement.
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