“Aren’t those the biggest tomatoes you’ve ever seen?”
Bruce rolled his eyes as Clark laughed.
“Hmm, yes, they look nice and firm and fully-packed.”
Clark’s eyes sparkled. “Yes, they do.” He looked at the next display. “This crown squash is really delicious-looking.” He observed the flesh-colored vegetable, long and thick, Bruce smirking beside him.
“Mmm, all this fresh country air is good for a growing country boy,” Bruce said.
“Or a growing city boy,” Clark commented, still smiling.
The local Grange hall was filled with every fruit and vegetable known to man, or at least looked like it. Apples of red, yellow, and green mixed with orange and yellow gourds and squash, orange pumpkins, green zucchini, and ears of yellow corn. There were baked goods of every variety: cakes with pink and yellow frosting; pies of apple, blueberry, cherry, lemon, and pumpkin; breads of apple, cranberry, pumpkin, and zucchini, cupcakes with every frosting imaginable.
Bruce was being assaulted with color.
“See anything you like?” Clark asked.
Clark grinned. “I meant the fruit, Bruce.”
“Oh, yes, the fruit.”
Clark rolled his eyes and walked to the next table, Bruce smirking behind him.
“How do you like Mom and Dad’s prize apples?”
Bruce burst out laughing. “I didn’t know anyone said that anymore!”
Clark stuck his tongue out.
At the pie table, Martha’s entries were displayed. Her apple and lemon pies bore first prize blue ribbons, and her cherry had taken second place.
“Hmph, the cherry should’ve won first prize,” Bruce said.
They left the hall and walked down the fairway past booths of handcrafted dolls, jewelry, and clothes. They found Martha and Jonathan at the tent with teddy bears for sale.
“These are so cute,” Martha cooed, looking at bears in bib overalls, raincoats and ball gowns. “Oh, my! Look at these!”
Clark blushed as he saw the Superman bear sitting next to the Batman bear holding hands. Or paws.
Bruce studied the Batman bear. “Needs more compartments in the utility belt.”
Martha giggled. “Guess you’d know.” She squeezed Clark’s arm. “Honey, you should check out Addy Keller’s booth.”
“Okay, Mom.” Clark tugged on Bruce’s arm. “Come on, Bruce.”
Bruce followed Clark out of the tent.
“What’s at Addy Keller’s booth?”
“She makes jewelry. She really needs the additional income. She and her daughter Sally really have to struggle to make ends meet. Sally’s got MS.”
They reached the booth, and the ginger-haired woman behind the counter smiled as she saw Clark approach.
“Hello, Mrs. Keller.”
“Hello, Clark. I saw that your mother won some ribbons already.”
“A good tradition.”
Clark laughed. “One that the Kents are proud to maintain. Dad and I do K.P. and cut up the apples, help knead the flour, do anything that Mom says!”
“Good boys.” Addy’s brown eyes twinkled. “And this must be your boyfriend, Bruce Wayne.”
Clark blushed a little and Bruce smiled, holding out his hand. “That’s who I am, ma’am.”
Addy shook hands with him and grinned.
Bruce looked over the jewelry on display. “This is beautiful work. All your own hand?”
Addy nodded. “I do pieces on commission, too.”
Bruce studied the delicate necklaces, bracelets, and earrings of silver or gold, some with twinkling jewels.
“You also create hair ornaments?”
“Yes, those are over here.”
There were old-fashioned combs, butterflies, and wisps of feathers attached to jeweled clips.
“I also have some men’s jewelry here: tieclips, watchbands, rings…”
Bruce lifted up a gold tieclip set with tiny sparkling stones. “Dick would really like this.”
“Dick is your boy?”
“Yes.” Bruce’s voice held great pride.
“I’ve seen him on Entertainment Tonight and those celebrity shows. What a beautiful young man.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Keller.”
“Isn’t he dating that gorgeous redhead, the heir to the Queen fortune?”
“That he is.”
Addy laughed. “A lovely pair.” She looked at Clark and Bruce and smiled, Clark blushing slightly.
A smiling Bruce picked up a silver filigreed necklace. “This is good…actually, better…than jewelry I’ve seen in Gotham.”
“Thank you, Mr. Wayne.”
“Oh, it’s true, Mrs. Keller. Would you consider doing some consignment work? You would have to provide samples, of course, but I don’t think that would be a problem.”
“Oh, I certainly could!”
“Good, I’ll have some people get in touch with you.”
Bruce purchased a necklace for Selina and the tieclip for Dick. As he and Clark walked away from the booth, Clark said, “That was really nice of you, Bruce.”
“She’s got real talent.”
Clark looked at the necklace in his hand that he’d bought for his mother.
They walked past colorful booths, filled with crafts, and booths with airy cotton candy, sizzling sausages, and sweet onion rings. Shrieks of laughter came from the carny rides, machines whirling and dipping, the Ferris wheel turning, the carousel spinning.
“Dick would love this,” Bruce murmured.
“There’s another fair over in Warren County next week. Let’s see if he could come. Roy, too.”
Bruce looked very pleased at the idea.
They walked back to the animal area, Clark gently petting cows and Bruce glad he’d kept his expensive Gucci loafers at home, wearing ratty sneakers instead.
Too many ‘surprises’ on the ground.
Bruce liked the big, gentle eyes of the cows. Sweet, inoffensive creatures, leading placid lives, needing protection…Bruce chuckled quietly. Protective instincts never turned off, did they, even for cows!
He liked looking at the rabbits and horses and even a llama.
“Are you enjoying yourself, Bruce?”
Bruce looked at Clark, whose smiling face drew a smile from him.
“Well, aside from dodging cow patties, I’m good.”
“What are you two giggling about?” Martha asked as she came into the open-air shed.
“Cow patties,” Clark smirked.
“Oh, yes, glad you left the Gucci loafers at home, Bruce.”
Clark was still laughing as he went to look at the Wheeler cow, Betsy, a favorite of his.
“Enjoying the fair?” Martha asked.
Bruce absently petted the cow nearest him. “It’s certainly different.”
“You’re not a country boy, are you?”
Bruce laughed. “City boy, born-and-bred.”
“Yes. Gotham’s different from Metropolis.”
“When I first visited your home after you and Clark became involved, I was amazed at how it felt, like a living thing.”
Bruce eyes shone. “Exactly.” He glanced at Clark, who was talking softly to Betsy while he petted her. “Clark is a little jealous of Lady Gotham.”
Martha smiled. “I can see you love your city the way Clark loves Smallville.”
“You’re good for him.”
Bruce looked at Martha, startled. “I…I hope so.”
“I know so.” Martha’s gaze was affectionate. “Clark needs someone who understands his crazy life.”
Bruce matched her low tone. “I guess someone who dresses up as a bat would understand crazy.”
Martha laughed. “You’re a good man, Bruce Wayne. You’ve done good things for the community, raised a fine boy, and made my boy happy.”
Bruce felt a little embarrassed at such praise, looking at the cow he was petting.
“It’s true,” Martha insisted.
Bruce looked at her a little shyly. “Thank you.”
Martha kissed his check. “Clark’s lucky, but so are Jonathan and I.” She laughed at Bruce’s blush and went to join Clark.
“Well, Elsie,” Bruce said wryly, “looks like I’m getting countrified.”
The cow flicked her tail and mooed.
& & & & & &
Back at the farm, Martha celebrated her prize ribbon by serving the apple pie after supper, everyone declaring it a winner.
“That corn relish you served…that was a prize winner, too?” Bruce asked.
Martha nodded. “That was Ella Wheeler’s relish.”
“Thank goodness I don’t live here! I’d be three hundred pounds.”
“A three-hundred pound Bat. Interesting,” said Jonathan with a twinkle in his eye.
Clark grinned. “The gargoyles wouldn’t like it much.”
After cleaning up they retired to the living room, Jonathan and Martha in their favorite chairs and Bruce and Clark on the couch. They watched TV, Martha complaining, “Half the time we can’t get the CW. The signal’s weak.”
“Favorite shows on that network?” Bruce asked.
“A lot of twentysomething angst shows, but pretty faces.”
“Mom!” Clark said.
“What, I can’t appreciate beauty?”
Bruce felt very relaxed, eyes closing as his head rested on Clark’s shoulder.
When he was roused awake, Martha and Jonathan were heading upstairs.
“Country air agrees with you,” Clark smirked.
Bruce yawned. “It’s been a long day.”
“C’mon, City Mouse, bedtime.”
Bruce willingly let Clark help him up the stairs, receiving a gentle push toward the bedroom as Clark headed for the bathroom. Stumbling inside, Bruce yawned again as he turned on the light.
Suddenly he froze, eyes widening.
“What is it?” Clark quickly appeared in the doorway, ready to do battle, and followed Bruce’s pointing finger to the bed. He burst out laughing.
The Superman and Batman teddy bears they had seen at the fair were propped up against the pillows, holding paws while their capes draped over each other.
“Thanks, Mom!” Clark called down the hall.
“You’re welcome, dear!”
Bruce rolled his eyes as Clark encircled him from behind, nuzzling his neck.
“C’mon, snugglebear, let’s go to bed.”
Clark laughed as he turned Bruce around and kissed him, SuperBear and BatBear smiling from the bed.