Boardwalk with Hotel
by Gigi Sinclair
Disclaimer: Blah blah blah, ownership not mine, etc. And Monopoly, by the way, belongs to Parker Brothers. (Coming soon: A slash involving the Monopoly guy and one of the Hungry Hungry Hippos!)
Hotel on Boardwalk
So it had come to this. Years in the best English public schools. A degree from an Ivy League university. A lifetime of being groomed to follow in his father's business-savvy, Italian loafer-wearing footsteps. Only to end like this. Bankrupt at age twenty-two.
Of course, Lex thought, desperately, he was still young. If he got a few breaks, there was time to rebuild. If he could only keep out of jail. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, Lex looked at his main creditor and said:
"What's the damage?" Clark grinned and looked at the deed card.
"Marvin Gardens with three houses. Eight hundred and fifty dollars."
"But I don't want all three houses." Lex snapped. "I'm a silver top hat, for God's sake. Why do I need three houses?" As a landlord, Lex had soon realized, Clark was about as sympathetic as Ebenezer Scrooge.
"That's the way it is. Pay up."
"I don't have eight hundred and fifty dollars."
"So mortgage one of your properties."
"I only have two left." They were on the wrong side of the tracks, too. Baltic Avenue and Oriental Avenue, in the middle of that skid row between Go and the jail where he seemed to spend so much of his time.
"Does that mean you're quitting?" Clark smiled, but not even that was enough to cheer up Lex.
"I never quit." He picked up his very small pile of multi-coloured cash and began counting.
"Don't sulk, Lex." Clark leaned across the board to punch him lightly on one shoulder. "Or I won't buy you that house on St. James's Place I promised."
"I don't think my dad would let me accept gifts from you, anyway." Clark laughed and, Lex had to admit, for once he didn't really mind losing. At least, not as much as he usually did.
After weeks of avoiding him, Lex had allowed himself the privilege of running into Clark at the Talon the previous afternoon. Clark hadn't been alone, unfortunately, but sitting with Chloe and Pete talking, for some reason, about games. Lex, disappointed, had been prepared to say 'hi' and then leave again, pretending he had nothing better to do with his time than wander aimlessly about Smallville. But Clark had smiled at him, grabbed a chair from another table, and said:
"What's your favourite game, Lex?" Several possible responses flashed through his mind, but since none of them were suitable for mixed, underage company, he settled on:
"That's not a real game." Chloe sighed with an exasperation that didn't even come close to matching what Lex felt for her. "That's something you play with your grandfather. We're talking about board games." Lex looked at her, although, even in Smallville, he couldn't quite make her disappear through sheer force of will. Not yet, anyway. There was no telling what those meteor rocks might do from week to week.
"I don't play board games."
"Not even when you were a kid?" Because Clark sounded so interested, Lex shuffled through the mental family album that contained his Hitchcockian childhood memories.
"I used to play Russian roulette with my father." For a long moment, Lex savoured the look of shock on the three adolescent faces. It was, he thought, quite possibly the first time ever that Chloe had been struck speechless, and it was very enjoyable. He would have left it at that, but Clark also looked disturbed, so he continued: "Not with guns." Not because Lionel had any morals, but because he wouldn't have wanted to lose his heir. At least, not until he'd bred a replacement. "With employees. It was complicated. People usually ended up getting fired."
"But you never played any other games?" Chloe recovered and began to list games like one of Santa's more irritating elves. "Scrabble? Trivial Pursuit? The Game of Life?"
"I've always considered myself rather successful at that." He smirked at Clark, on the hopeful belief that, if he ignored the other two, they would eventually go away. Pete seemed to have already lost interest in the conversation. He was staring with rapt attention at a busty waitress who was leaning over a nearby table pouring coffee. "But I've never played the board game." Chloe continued inanely:
"Risk? Mousetrap? Clue?"
"I've heard of that one. But I'm not very good at solving mysteries." This time, Clark didn't smile back. Instead, he blushed fire-engine red and became suddenly intrigued by the floor.
"What about Monopoly?" Chloe shouted, in the same tone Hamilton used to shout 'Eureka' until Lex threatened to play employment Russian roulette if he didn't stop. "You of all people must have played Monopoly at some point in your life."
"No." Now that he thought about it, Lex did, however, recall an evening of naked Twister when he was at college, but he saw no need to mention it. Especially since, as far as he could remember, the other participants had been called Juanita and Raoul.
"That's insane! I bet you'd be really good at it, too. Don't you think, Clark?" Clark looked up reluctantly, his face still flushed.
"Why don't we have a Monopoly party?" Clark had once said something about Chloe being unstoppable once she got the bit between her teeth. Lex wished there was a bit. At least it would have shut her up. "We could have it at Clark's place. Or better yet, why don't we have it at yours, Lex? You've got a whole castle, I'm sure there's somewhere we could play..."
"Chloe," Clark interrupted. "Lex isn't a baby-sitter. He doesn't need us bugging him to play games." This was true. What was even truer, however, was that if even he didn't need it, Lex desperately wanted Clark to play games with him. Not of the board variety, and certainly not with Chloe and Pete present, but if that was the only thing available at the moment, then Lex would take it.
"I don't mind, Clark." He tried to ignore the insufferably smug look on Chloe's face and continued: "How about tomorrow after school?"
As soon as he got back from the Talon, he told Enrique to go out and buy whatever food he thought appropriate for a teenage party. Then, remembering that Enrique had been with the Luthors a very long time and probably considered caviar and fois gras appropriate for a teenage party, Lex called him back and clarified:
"I mean chips, pretzels, stuff like that. Cookies. And get the cook to bake some cakes."
"How many guests are we expecting, sir?"
"Just two." Pete having declined in favour of a date with the well-endowed waitress. "But one of them's Clark Kent." Although Lex had no doubt Chloe could put away her share of food as well. "Better get some pizzas, too. We don't want him going hungry."
"Certainly not, sir." Lex thought he detected a soupon of sarcasm in Enrique's tone, which turned into a bushel when he continued: "I can't think any young man has ever gone hungry in your presence." Lex looked at him levelly.
"You know, Enrique, my father taught me a special kind of Russian roulette..."
"I'll do the shopping immediately, shall I, sir?"
The next day, with chips and pretzels arranged in Royal Doulton bowls and two varieties of pizza on the Lalique crystal serving plates, Lex waited in his office for more than two hours before Clark and Chloe were due to arrive. It was beneath his dignity to be excited about anything, so he spent most of this time trying to concentrate on his work, failing miserably. Finally, he gave up and took to pacing the carpet. When he heard Enrique in the hallway, he jumped onto the couch and arranged himself as suavely as possible. Then he realized he looked stupid just sitting there, so he grabbed a folder off his desk and sat down again just as the door opened.
"Mr. Kent, sir."
"Oh?" He made a point of reading to the end of the paragraph--no easy task, since the folder was upside down--before he looked up. "Thank you, Enrique. Hello, Clark." Enrique withdrew and Lex was left with Clark. Who was alone, the Monopoly box under one arm. He fidgeted nervously, his eyes on the carpet.
"Chloe can't make it. She's busy with the paper or something, I guess."
"Oh." Casually, Lex stood and put the folder ("The Effect of Methane Emissions with a Twenty Mile Radius of a Manure Plant: A Ten-Year Study") on the desk. "What a shame." Not even he could pull that one off successfully. Clark smirked a little, but he didn't meet Lex's eye. "Are you hungry? We can eat now, if you like. Or after the game. Whatever you want." Clark looked over the adolescent buffet with something approaching lust. Well, Lex thought, it was better than nothing, although he had rather hoped Clark's lust would be directed at him, and not a bowl of pretzels.
"How about both?" Clark answered. It took Lex a moment to realize what he meant.
While it may not have been the best day of Lex's life, it certainly ranked in the top ten. Clark, happy to be the one who knew what he was doing for a change, explained the rules of Monopoly in minute detail. He laughed when, on his very first turn, Lex landed in jail. In between pieces of pizza and handfuls of chips, he laughed even more when Lex proved to be the most inept Monopoly player ever. Lex wasn't entirely pleased about this development. He liked to win, after all, and it was what he was used to. But he soon realized that losing masses of paper money was a small price to pay for an afternoon of being buddies with Clark. After all, he thought, remembering the rejected truck, he'd been willing to spend considerably more in real money to attain that same goal.
Lex's composure only slipped once. It came after they'd been playing for about half an hour. It was still early, but Lex was already on his second brandy. He wasn't going to drink Coke, even for Clark, and he'd had enough coffee while he was waiting to keep him shaking into the next millennium. He sipped his drink as Clark moved his silver battleship onto the "Chance" space and drew an orange card.
"Win second place in beauty contest," he read out loud. "Collect ten dollars."
"Second place? I'd like to see the competition." The words were out of Lex's mouth before he could think about them.
"Am I that ugly?" Clark laughed and got his money from the bank. Lex froze, silently applauding himself. Well done. Now he had to laugh and joke and insult Clark. Or...not. Just to be safe, he put the drink on his desk and pushed it out of reach. Then he looked at Clark evenly, as if this was the most natural thing in the world.
"I meant I'd like to see the guy who won. He'd have to make Michelangelo's David look like the Elephant Man. It's the only way he could beat you." Lex held his breath, waiting for Clark to laugh nervously. Or look uncomfortable, or make some excuse to leave. He did none of these. Instead, he looked steadily at Lex, even as his cheeks turned scarlet.
About five minutes later, Clark made his own slip, although Lex liked to think it might have been intentional. On one of his rare forays out of jail, Lex landed on the Electric Company, one of the few properties Clark didn't own. Lex scraped together enough cash to buy it. As Clark was handing over the deed, he gave Lex one of his more dazzling smiles and said:
"Now you can turn everyone on." Lex dropped the deed on his pizza. "You know," Clark continued, clearing his throat. "Instead of just your girlfriend."
"I don't have a girlfriend." Lex kept his eyes on the laminated square of paper, as if there was nothing more important at this moment than getting the pizza sauce off the deed to the Electric Company.
"No wonder," Clark joked, although to Lex it sounded a little more forced than it had a few minutes earlier. "You've been in jail four times."
"There. Eight hundred and fifty dollars." Lex handed the Marvin Gardens rent money to Clark.
"Thanks. I won't even count it."
"You're a real pal." The easygoing camaraderie had returned shortly after the awkward Electric Company moment, and Lex was both pleased and disappointed.
"I trust you." Clark rolled the dice and moved his battleship onto yet another property he owned himself. "Although I'm amazed you're so bad at this. I thought you were a brilliant businessman."
"This isn't business." Lex took back the dice. "It's luck. I've never been lucky."
"Oh, no. You were born the son of a billionaire, you survived a near-fatal car crash, you've been knocked unconscious how many times and you still have no sign of brain damage, you haven't been lucky at all..." Clark trailed off as he saw where Lex's top hat landed. "Oh, man, Lex! Boardwalk with hotel." He all but clapped his hands. "Are you ready?"
"I suppose this agorophobic top hat wants to rent the entire hotel, right?"
"All right." Lex sighed. "What do I owe you?" Clark bit his lip.
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"Two thousand dollars."
"It's a very upscale hotel."
"I didn't pay that much for a suite at the Ritz."
"Don't make me get the hired goons."
"I don't have two thousand dollars." What he did have was one, pink five dollar bill and the deed to Baltic Avenue. Mortgage value: Thirty bucks. Clark laughed.
"Tell you what, Mr. Trump, buy me a muffin next time we're in the Talon and we'll call it even."
"No?" Clark looked more relaxed than Lex had ever seen him. Well, Lex thought, it's easy to have fun when you've got the upper hand. He knew.
"No. Luthors pay back their debts. In full."
"You don't have any money."
"I know," he admitted. "But there are other ways I can pay." Clark stopped laughing. Lex hadn't meant it as innuendo. Not consciously, anyway. He'd actually been about to offer to buy him dinner at a fancy Metropolis restaurant. But, if he played his cards right, he thought, as he looked at his young friend, this might just be better than dinner.
"Really?" Clark swallowed so loudly Lex could hear it from the other side of the Monopoly board. "What ways?" Clark's lips remained parted even after he had, technically, finished speaking. Lex couldn't have stopped himself even if he'd wanted to, and he really didn't want to. He leaned over the board and kissed Clark.
The instant their lips touched, any semblance of self-control went flying out of Lex's stained-glass window. He stepped over the board and pushed Clark down until the younger man was lying on his back. As soon as Lex moved on top of him, he heard Clark murmur: "Stop," but he didn't listen.
Lex ran one hand through Clark's hair, and moved the other down Clark's body. It felt exactly as he'd imagined it would, only about a million times better. Sliding the hand back up again, he unfastened the top three buttons on Clark's shirt and reluctantly released his mouth so he run his lips over Clark's Adam's apple. No longer muffled by Lex's tongue, Clark said quite clearly:
"Lex, stop," but it was too late for that. He couldn't. Moving down, Lex got his hands under Clark's shirt and ripped it open. He didn't even care that half the buttons went flying. He was sure Martha Kent was a capable seamstress, and if she wasn't, there was always Enrique.
Lex licked his tongue down Clark's chest. He'd made it halfway to the belly button when he felt Clark's hands on his shoulders. It was the first time Clark had touched him since Lex had got on top of him, but he didn't get long to enjoy it. Moments later, Clark said:
"Lex, please stop." And pushed him away.
He hit his head on the side of the couch. Blinking through the stars, he saw Clark sitting up, his shirt ripped open, his hair disarranged and a look of real concern on his face.
"Lex? Are you OK? Did I hurt you?" Lex had cried maybe three times in his life, but, for a moment, it looked like this was going to be the fourth. Then he got himself under control, took a deep breath, and covered his eyes with his hands so he didn't have to look at Clark.
"No. I'm sorry." Sorry that he had ever been so stupid to think, even for a moment, that he could be worthy of Clark. Worthy of a man---a teenager---who, after being sexually assaulted and almost raped by someone he had trusted, could still be worried about harming his assailant. "You'd better get out of here. Tell your dad he was right about me. Tell my dad, while you're at it." After all, you didn't get much more heinous than the attempted rape of a minor. It would have been better if the rape had been successful, and if the victim had been Chloe or Lana, but Lionel would still be proud. Moments ago, the idea of Lionel admiring him would have turned his stomach, but now it seemed appropriate.
Lex heard Clark get up. Instead of leaving the room, though, he came to sit on the floor beside his host. Former friend. Near rapist, Lex added bitterly, before snapping:
"Clark, I'm serious. Go away. You don't belong here." Clark didn't move. Lex took down his hands and looked at him. He was mildly surprised to see that Clark had left his torn shirt on the other side of the room, but that wasn't his primary concern at the moment. "I'm sorry you were wrong about me, OK, but you were. I'm not the person you thought I was. He would never have done that. Only a real, dyed-in-the-wool Luthor could be such a complete bastard..."
"Lex." Clark blinked at him.
"What?" Clark extended a hand. For a moment, Lex wondered if Clark was going to hit him. He wouldn't have minded in the slightest. That was something he did deserve. But instead, Clark opened his hand to reveal a small silver battleship and a few green plastic houses.
"I was lying on the battleship. And the houses. It was really uncomfortable. Want to try?"
"I'll take your word for it." Lex felt the tears gathering at the back of his eyes again, so he blinked hard and bit his lip. They sat silently for a moment, until Clark said:
"I told Chloe you were called away to Metropolis. That's why she didn't come." He smiled sheepishly, a little kid admitting to licking the icing off his mother's bake sale cake. "I didn't want her to."
"What?" Clark put down the game pieces.
"So what was that move worth?"
"What?" Lex repeated, stupidly. Clark's smile widened.
"You'd know better than me. What would I pay to get..." he looked suggestively at the Monopoly board, which had been thrown into complete disarray. Houses and hotels had collapsed like a Kansas trailer park after a tornado, and a pile of cash big enough to give Scrooge McDuck an orgasm had amassed on the carpet. "That in the city?" Lex frowned.
"Get what? A Monopoly board?"
"No." Clark's cheeks reddened, but he soldiered on. "My shirt ripped off and my..." Lex cut him off, although it would have been interesting to hear how he would have finished the sentence.
"I don't know."
"You must have some idea."
"It would depend on who's doing it."
"Someone like you." Lex did not have a prostitute's price sheet in his room, at least not any more, but he gamely hazarded a guess, not sure where Clark thought this was going.
"Hm. I think you should take some off for not listening to me."
"Two?" Lex smiled.
"But add some on for feeling bad about it."
"Two twenty-five?" Clark reached out and lay his hand over Lex's.
"More like eight-fifty, I think." Lex looked at him, frozen. Not wanting to do the wrong thing. Not wanting to admit he didn't know what the wrong thing would be. Clark, on the other hand, seemed to be very focused. He put Lex's hand on his bare shoulder and said, calmly and confidently,
"What can you show me in the thousand dollar range?"