Granny Smith Apple

by Teaphile

Written in response to the Crayola challenge.

Martha absently smoothed the shirt out on the table next to the dryer. It was soft in her hands, a very finely ribbed cotton, and it felt almost like knit silk. Long-sleeved, round-necked, it was a very cheerful shade of pale green. Martha smoothed the shirt, and wondered exactly when her son had started wearing pastels.

Jonathon always wore highly saturated colours, deep blues, reds, and greens that faded to something muted and warm over the years. He wore rough cottons, textured flannels, corduroy. His wardrobe was full of jeans and loose shirts, inexpensive and hard-wearing. Clothes that didn't show the occasional manure stain or small hole. Salt-of-the-earth clothing, she had joked with him when they'd started dating. Martha had made very little effort to change the way her husband dressed. It would be wasted effort, because Jonathon didn't dress up. There was nothing to dress up for, that didn't require a suit and tie. The closest he came to wearing pastels was the faded blue of chambray. He had always dressed that way.

Until recently, so had Clark. This shirt, however, this light green--the colour of new leaves--would show every stain and pull. He'd never be able to wear it around the farm. It was meant for greater things. Martha shook her head at that thought and started folding the shirt. She'd worked retail for a summer as a teenager, and still folded clothes into neat, tight packages that fit uniformly into drawers and on shelves. She took her time, reading the label as she worked. The shirt was from Eddie Bauer; not as expensive as it could be, but expensive enough. According to the label it was a large, which meant it was supposed to fit as tight as it looked. She hadn't noticed putting it in the washer, and when she'd first taken it out of the dryer she thought it was one of hers it was so small, one she'd forgotten. But no, she'd never had a shirt like that. It was Clark's. She pictured it on him, outlining his broad shoulders, standing out against his dark hair and tanned skin. It was perfect for him, if he was a different person, living a different life. If he was Lex.

Martha had been worried that Clark, under Lex's influence, would start to develop expensive tastes, tastes that only Lex could appease. She wondered idly whose money had purchased this, whose fashion sense had convinced Clark to wear it. She could think of only one person, and he wore pastels too. Martha prayed that Clark wasn't imitating his friend. Only bad things could come of that.

"Mom?" The thud of heavy work boots on the stairs startled Martha out of her reverie. She was still holding the soft shirt, and Clark noticed it as he entered the laundry room. "Do you like my new shirt?"

She smiled back at him tightly. "It's lovely. I'm sure it looks great on you. When did you get it?"

"Last Saturday in Metropolis. Chloe helped me pick it out." Martha felt her shoulders relax in relief. Clark took the shirt from her, and laid it on top of the rest of his clothes. He picked the pile up and headed back up the stairs.

Martha smiled genuinely now. Chloe had a good head on her shoulders. She wouldn't lead Clark astray.

She followed Clark up the stairs, and her heart sank again as he called out over his shoulder,

"Lex has one just like it."

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