Clark shook out his rose-colored linen napkin uneasily and placed it on his lap. The table gleamed with china plates and cups, set on a matching rose-pink tablecloth. A centerpiece of fresh red roses smelled sweet.
Classical music washed over Clark, discreet and cultured. Waiters in black tie and frock coats glided to their tables, serving pate de foie gras and other delicacies off silver serving trays.
Waitresses in frilly caps and ruffled collars and sleeves glided silently to offer butter from silver containers and fresh apple and blueberry muffins from handwoven baskets.
Clark was dressed in his usual rumpled blue suit, nervously straightening his red tie. He would have preferred jeans and a red flannel shirt, sitting in The Bluebird Diner back in Smallville with a slice of apple pie and talking with Irma behind the counter and Sam in the kitchen as music from the jukebox played.
He looked at Bruce, dressed in a dark-blue Armani suit costing several of his paychecks, wearing gold cufflinks and a tieclip with the Wayne family crest. His hair was perfectly coiffed, and he spoke flawless French to their waiter.
Clark felt like he didn’t belong in this fancy restaurant. He always felt as if he was going to use the wrong fork, and that the waiters and waitresses were contemptuous of him, knowing that he didn’t belong here. He imagined that he could hear scathing whispers of “Country bumpkin.”
He sighed quietly. He and Bruce were truly from different worlds, and he didn’t mean Krypton and Earth.
Bruce was literally from the Manor born.
He was a simple farmboy.
Bruce felt comfortable in a five-star restaurant while Clark preferred his hometown diner.
Bruce was one of the wealthiest men in the world.
Clark had grown up as a member of the working-class and had worked hard for every penny.
He felt clumsy and awkward while Bruce was sleek and elegant.
How could he honestly have believed that this relationship could ever work?
“What’s the matter, Clark?”
“You’re being pensive.”
Clark looked up at his lover, whose expression was amused.
“What’s the problem?”
Clark smiled sheepishly. “It’s nothing. It’s silly.”
“No, it’s not. Not if it’s bothering you.”
Clark sighed, waving his hand. “It’s all…this.”
“You don’t like the food here?”
“The food’s fine. It’s just…” Bruce waited, his patience admirable “…we’re awfully different.”
Bruce chuckled. “Of course we are. Night and day.”
“I don’t mean that.” This wasn’t a Super/Bat thing.
Bruce cocked his head. “Then, what?”
“This is like the Prince and the Pauper.”
“What?” Bruce leaned back in his chair. “You make a good living.”
“I’m not a billionaire!”
“Not many people are.” He sipped his water. “What is this all about?”
“We’re from different worlds.”
Bruce’s eyes sparkled. “Oh, yeah.”
Clark rolled his eyes. “I don’t mean that.”
“You’re comfortable here. I’m not.”
Bruce frowned. “I’m sorry.”
Clark sighed again. “No, I am. I wish I could feel more comfortable.”
“Clark, you don’t need to apologize for what you feel.”
Clark raised an eyebrow. “Has Dick been talking to you again?”
Bruce laughed. “That boy is ‘in tune’ with his feelings, for certain.” His smile faded. “Do you want to go somewhere else?”
“I…we’re so different, Bruce. Our backgrounds…”
“…haven’t precluded us from working together in the JLA or as…a couple.”
Clark’s heart ached as he saw Bruce’s uncertainty. He reached out and grasped his lover’s hand.
“So, you’re not ashamed of being seem with a humble reporter who gets his suits off-the-rack?”
“Well, about off-the-rack…”
Clark laughed as Bruce’s eyes sparkled, and Clark squeezed his lover’s hand.
Yes, from different worlds…but somehow able to blend those differences into what worked.
Clark’s insecurities vanished in the warmth of Bruce’s smile and he relaxed as the waiter brought their food, his order of prime rib with braised carrots, broccoli, and red bliss smashed potatoes a mouthwatering combination, while Bruce enjoyed duck l’orange with baby carrots and caramelized onions. The wine was French and of the best vintage, and Clark resolved to relax and enjoy the five-star food.
Why not enjoy the perks of having a rich boyfriend?