I'm surpised I kept this, actually.
In Which I Cut a Scene For the Greater Good.
Glass House has a private entrance in addition to it's larger front one. Not exactly a surprise, since Lois found it almost as soon as the restaurant opened, but a novelty. The car is taken by a very perky female valet who looks Lex over like he's a meal and nearly squeals when he tips her. Inside, they're ushered to a table and Clark pretends not to see how everyone's looking at them.
Right, Lex is in divorce proceedings. Hmm. This could go strangely.
Lex is picking over dessert over an hour later before Clark, blissfully absorbed in tirasimu, thinks about things like weight gain and empty calories. Hmm. Lois eats like a small army and laughs when the idea of counting calories is even mentioned, but the woman is living motion. There's a chance she doesn't even sleep.
"I'm not engaged to Lois."
Lex looks up, almost dropping his fork.
"You know, it did occur to me around the time you accepted the invitation," Lex says, and returns to dissecting his cheesecake with a lot of energy. "Any particular reason why half of Metropolis--"
"Chloe, you mean."
"--thinks you are?"
Taking another bite--God, this stuff is good--Clark considers the question.
"Because Lois and I went undercover four months ago for an expose as a married couple and Chloe's never gotten over the romanticism of it." There's a brief moment where Clark wonders what she'll say when she hears about this, but he dismisses the thought. Definitely not something to consider while eating.
Lex nods, still studying the remains of his cheesecake. Plain, no fruit. Something about mixing the purity of flavor, though Clark's not clear on the specifics.
"Are you in love with her?"
This is probably second-date conversation, but then again, Clark has that history of dating one person while obsessing over another and Lex knows all about it. Leaning an elbow on the table and ignoring manners, he waits until Lex looks up.
"She's my best friend. I love her, but--" Lois is--herself. It might have been different if he'd been older when they met, or she'd been less involved with Lex, or hell, any number of things. "We've never dated. We're never going to date." Lois had made that clear very early on Crystal, in fact. So clear that Clark can still hear her voice, explaining in simple English what would and would not happen. At the time, he hadn't understood. Sometimes, he still thinks he doesn't, but that's them. That makes it possible for Clark to crash on her couch after a bad night and Lois to open up with him the way she does with no one else. They eat together and work together and brood about their horrible love lives together. Frankly, they might as well be married, except for all that lack of sex.
"Are you?" This sucks. This is *third* date conversation at very least. He finds himself holding his breath a little, because it's *Lois* and he can't imagine anyone not falling for her like a brick if she so much as smiled in their general direction.
Lex thinks about his answer, and that doesn't help at all. Lex thinks way too much.
Metropolis is different at night now.
Clark can't figure out a way to describe it, so he doesn't try, leaning back in the Porsche's comfortable, warmed leather seats with far more appreciation for luxury design than he's ever had before. Dinner was uneventful and the looks from the other patrons had been--interesting.
Lex had grinned and offered him bites of cheesecake, and right, subtlety? Not happening here.
"Does it look different?" Lex asks, and Clark jerks from his contemplation of the skyline, turning curious eyes on Lex.
"Yeah. Harder to see the stars. Ambient light--" Clark breaks off, wondering how to explain his vision to Lex, but Lex probably knew by now. Probably had piles of documentation the subject of Clark's vision--hell, Clark wouldn't be surprised if Lex knew more about it than Clark himself.
"I didn't think of that." A thoughtful pause follows, then Lex's grin lights up the car. "What's your curfew?"
Clark chokes on a laugh, half-turning to watch Lex's face. "I set my own, thank you. What do you have in mind?"
"I'll show you." Glancing briefly at the traffic, Lex seems to weight traffic laws against instant gratification, and Clark breathes out when he decides to simply exit and not just drive over medians in his efforts to get wherever he wants to go. Downtown again, and Clark remembers too many nights just like this, flying high above the city, no time to simply look and see.
It's beautiful. LexCorp's the tallest building in Metropolis. Glass and metal, the architect had been chosen by competition from among the best and brightest in the world, and unlike his dad, Lex liked to balance the artistic with the functional. As they slide to a stop in the no-parking zone just in front, a coated figure appears almost instantly, as if he was waiting all along.
Which means either Lex told him to be here or there's simply always someone on duty on the off chance Lex shows up.
"You'll like this," Lex says, getting out and tossing the keys. Clark watches the man nod, belatedly realizing that he should get out. Lex is waiting when he steps into the cold of Metropolis November, and he pulls his coat on, shivering at the chill.
"Not used to it?" The hand on his shoulder is startlingly warm, even through layers of wool and leather.
"Cold and hot? Not really." It makes him smile even through chattering teeth. *Human*. He wonders if he'll ever stop feeling it like this, like something wonderful and new and amazing, every time. "I never--" Clark stops, looking at Lex, seeing years and a lifetime ago. "It's amazing."
Lex nods slowly, almost thoughtfully.
"You don't regret it?" The quiet voice makes Clark wonder what he's thinking. "You could fly over the entire world. Now--"
"Now I can get burned when I make dinner and be late to work because of traffic," Clark answers, hands fisting in his pockets from the cold. "I can sleep late and hurt my hand when I hit the alarm clock. I can--" Clark stops, turning his gaze to the concrete of the sidewalk. "You've never wanted to be ordinary. I've never wanted to be anything but."
"The covering doesn't change what's under the skin," Lex murmurs, and Clark hears himself laugh suddenly. Seeing Lex's curious gaze, he shakes his head.
"Later, Lex. Come on. Show me."
And there Lex is.
People are looking--oh definitely, it probably isn't every day Lex rubs shoulders with the common man, albeit accompanied by two women obviously and probably being watched by more. Sliding into the no-parking zone, Clark adjusts his rearview mirror and watches Lex warily approach the car.
"Mercy and Hope will be following." Lex steps back, looking over the car carefully. "Nice. And Lois'." Both eyebrows raise slightly. "She's letting you borrow her car for a date with someone else?"
"Did I tell you that you have lousy sources of information?" Leaning over, Clark pushes open the passenger side door.
"My source was good."
"Fire him." It's almost too heady, to watch Lex slide into the seat. Just for the hell of it, Clark revvs the engine. "He was wrong."
"Put your seatbelt on."
Lex fumbles for the belt, giving Clark a narrowed-eye look. "Clark, do you drive in the city?"
Clark checks his rearvie mirror, enjoying the nervousness in Lex's voice. "Sometimes. It's usually too bad in the mornings to bother, so I take the train." Okay, clear. Clark pulls out, wishing he coulud see Lex's expression at the jerk from first to second gear. "Um. My car's automatic, so standard kind of--"
"We're going to die, aren't we?" A glance over shows Lex clutching the door like he's not sure it'll stay on otherwise.
"You think Lois would let me take her car if I couldn't drive?"
"I think--" Lex hisses when Clark changes lanes, "that you're never driving me anywhere again. Fast *food*?"
Clark snickers as they stop at the first light. "Actully, no. This deli down on seventh--"
"Got it. You've been there?"
From the corner of his eye, Clark catches the slow shake of Lex's head. "I've ordered from there before, but been there? No."
"Annoy you to eat with the plebians?"
Lex makes an aborted sound of shock as the light goes green and Clark takes off. "No. I usually work through lunch." Lex sucks in a startled breath as they turn into the large public parking lot only a block from the deli. "You know, I do pay a lot of money in bribes to park anywhere I want--"
"Yes, but you're with me, the ultimate boy scout. I even put money in parking meters." There's a space on the second level and Clark pulls in, flipping into park and turning off the engine. Lex, seated beside him, looks a little green. "I still drive better than you."
"I'm still alive, so that's something. I'm sure Mercy and Hope aer thrilled." Slowly undoing the seatbelt, Lex gets out, and Clark grins as he watches Lex look around the parking lot. "Hmm. I think I own this."
"Not sure." Lex leans into the trunk as Clark locks the car, pocketing the keys, and a slim gloved hand touches Clark's shoulder lightly, turning him just enough for a fast kiss. Too fast, not nearly enough time, and Clark barely gets his hands up when Lex pulls away, giving him an impossibly hot smile that reaches straight into him and--the *bastard*.
"So you don't put out on the second date," Lex muses, leather fingers brushing Clark's face with a touch so light it's just a tease. "How are you on the third?"
"--should get to lunch." Pushing himself gracefully from the trunk, Lex looks him up and down like some kind of museum statuary. "Ready?"
Choking back a laugh, he follows Lex to the elevator, wondering where Mercy and Hope are. Probably anywhere at this point, lurking amongst the cars, but since Clark can't see them, he can pretend they didn't just see him making out with their boss.
There are looks. Lex is the ultimate in recognizable, whether he wants to be or not, and Clark occasionally catches glimpses of Hope as she keeps up. Despite the distance, Clark doesn't doubt she could make it to Lex at the first hint of a threat, even in the lunchtime crowd.
The deli's too crowded to even try to get a table--Clark orders two sandwiches to go, watching Lex survey the people that make a wide berth around him when they start recognizing. It doesn't take long--Kaatz's prides itself on its very fast service--and paying, he grabs the bag, catching a glimpse of Mercy looking very unhappy.
"They're very unhappy with me," Lex says as they emerge onto the sidewalk. "Park okay for you?"
"Yeah." Lex's arm brushes his as they watch for the light, crossing the street and taking the first path into the park proper they see. Lex is pulling off his gloves absently, tucking them into one pocket. "Do they follow you everywhere?"
"Since that business with Brenson Enterprises, yes." With a shrug, Lex reaches for the bag, finding the chips wrapped in thick butcher paper on top. "Hmm. I never ordered their chips."
"They make them every day," Clark answers, a little distracted by the brushes of soft wool into his arm and side from Lex's proximity. More distracted by the proximity itself--Lex, close enough to breathe, to touch, and Clark desperately tries to think of something that isn't sexy. Like Lex eating a potato chip--and licking his fingers afterward of residual salt.
"Clark?" Lex asks, and Clark stumbles, looking down belatedly to see he's walked off the path and onto uneven bare dirt. Oh damn. "Problem?"
Clark flushes. "No. Um. Bench. There by the lake. Come on."