Your head hurts. It starts at the nape of your neck and wraps all the way around to meet itself, an oroborous of pain. The headache is so familiar you've given it a name: the Lionel Express, pounding through your head with the ferocity and regularity of a bullet train. The Lionel Express laughs at Excedrin Migraine, guffaws at prescription levels of Ibuprofen, smirks unintimidated at Tylenol Codeine. It takes serious drugs to derail the Lionel Express but fortunately you're prepared.
You swallow the handful of pills, all perfectly legal prescriptions of course, wash them down with a healthy gulp of single-malt, and slump onto the couch to await relief. In the old days when the Lionel Express pulled into Cranium Station you'd down every drug you could find and go out to do something. Anything. Everything. Just so long as it was outrageous enough that the knots at the back of your neck would let go from pure shock. But that was before Smallville. B.S., you snicker to yourself.
You miss it. Some days you get sick of wearing the goddamned suits, playing out your part, carrying the fate of an entire town's livelihood at an age when you should still be going to keggers and deciding on a grad school. Somewhere underneath the ferocious desire to prove yourself to your father lies an even greater fury that he's narrowed your choices so much. Ruling the world does have its appeal, but honestly. Business can be so painfully boring. The only time it holds your full attention is when you're fucking someone over. God, there must be a dozen more interesting ways to achieve dominion over - well, everything. You could be in a lab matching wits with nature, not staring over the board (bored) table at a bunch of half-wits. Some days you swear you can feel your intellect rotting inside your head. But Lionel needs an heir for his empire, and he doesn't particularly care if the heir's intellect is half-rotted or not. Lionel would probably like you better that way actually. But sadly, and it is so very sad, you and Lionel are stuck with each other. He'd kill you before he'd ever let you go.
Suddenly the tie you wear is choking you and you jerk it off, begin pulling off the stupid suit that suffocates you, popping buttons off your tailored dress shirt in your haste to free yourself. Before you know it you are standing in your study clad only in a pair of black boxer-briefs, and you begin to giggle. Evidently your friends the pharmaceuticals are beginning to kick in, but it still feels like your skull is trying to squeeze your brain into the smallest possible area.
You think, you need clothes. The house is never entirely empty of staff and you aren't stoned enough yet to imagine yourself stately and intimidating in your underwear. So you gather up the pile of suit and traipse toward the closet upstairs.
In the closet you are accosted by rows and rows of fucking suits. Beautiful, expensive, exquisitely cut, Armani, Versace, the works. Size 46 prisons on hangers. At this moment you hate them all. If you could find your lighter you would create the world's largest designer bonfire. You push by them in disgust until you find what you're looking for. Black leather freedom. Club clothes.
You shimmy into a pair of black leather pants, only marginally tighter than they had been in your heroin chic days, and a black stretch tank. As soon as you zip the fly you can feel the knots in your neck begin to loosen just a touch. Still barefoot, you pad back downstairs to the study because that's where the whiskey is and you are nowhere close to being finished for the night.
Once there you pour your glass full and drain it. Then you pour it full again and sip your way over to the stereo to wax nostalgic. You put in a mix cd from the era of hedonism and crank the stereo to eleven. New Order's remix of "Confusion" storms through the room and the knots loosen just a little bit more.
Hit the lights, so there's only the hall light spilling into the room and the green glow of the stereo controls. Drain the glass again, set it on the desk next to the prescription bottles. Look at the papers scattered there from the day's work, feel nauseated and sweep them to the floor where they can't be seen in the dark. Better. Start dancing.
As you dance your friends the pharmaceuticals are doing their own little boogie through your bloodstream, and you remember.
Stepped through the doors, and the music swept over you. Everything outside vanished like it was never there. Inside smelled of the sugar of spilled liquor, salt sweat and the close musk of fresh sex. You'd take a deep breath and hold it, like a toke of good weed, just to let the scents swirl around in your lungs. And those constant, hard knots of confusion and doubt and ache that always sat at the back of your neck couldn't stand up to the scents and the music. Two steps in, two breaths, and the tension surrendered and was gone. Sweet relief. Made even sweeter when the dose kicked in and you were finally high and climbing higher. Everything narrowed to just that present moment, the zen of debauchery, all self-consciousness, all expectations, all Lionel's disapproval lifted from your back, leaving you free.
You started making your choices while you danced. Sweat-damped red hair, glitter cheekbones, six-pack abs cut like statuary, curves sleeker than the Porsche you just bought. Any one or two or more - everyone around was beautiful and willing. There was never any question that you'd get what you wanted. After all, you were beautiful, too. Well, that and everyone knew that you had the best drugs. Everyone wanted to get some.
You surround yourself with memories and dance harder, imagining that the cold, empty room is full of warm, gyrating flesh. The blond boy from the night of the Best Ecstasy Ever (tm) is dancing in front of you, rubbing his denim-clad erection on your thigh, and behind Marco is grinding into you and nibbling your ear. Tina and Alaria are kissing passionately to your right while Alaria strokes your bare arm. The skin dances up in gooseflesh where she touches you and the Lionel Express dissolves in a flash of white spots and a rush of intoxication.
The song melts into something faster and you pick up the pace. The pain's gone and you don't care what you look like, you're lost now. The music's sewn itself into you and it's running the show. But if you were in charge you'd only manage to fuck everything up anyway, so that's fine. Better than fine.
And then, just when you're really getting your groove on, you realize that there's someone else in the room. You open your eyes and there's a silhouette in the doorway, six feet four inches of what looks like Clark Kent. You didn't think the drugs were that good, but you are cheerfully willing to ride it out. You keep dancing, and ghost-Clark turns to lean his back against the door frame. The hall light flows onto his face and you see his expression, something of confusion mixed with amusement. It's so specific, that look on his face, but you've always had a really excellent imagination. You banish the other ghosts dancing around you and you crook a finger at ghost-Clark to come and join you. His mouth moves in response but you can't hear him over the music. You smile and shrug and keep beckoning.
At last, he joins you on the dance floor although he just stands there in a decidedly un-dance-y manner. And it's only when you put your hand on his shoulder and dance closer to him that you realize that the drugs aren't that good. The flannel under your palm, the boy under the flannel under your palm - all too real. You drop your hand in shock and stop dancing for a moment, trying to comprehend how Clark, real Clark, could possibly be there in the middle of the night. His brows have a tiny line between them and his lower lip is jutting out just a little bit more than usual. It's the patented Clark Kent Pout of Concern, you realize, a look that strikes fear into the cold, dead hearts of billionaire businessmen everywhere. You start to laugh and your poor beleaguered head gives up the effort to make sense of any of it. The music claims you and you start dancing again, not touching Clark but not stepping away from him, either.
"Welcome to Club Lex!" you shout over the music.
"You're drunk, aren't you?" he shouts back.
"Not so much, no."
His eyes widen. Now, that just has to be an act, you think. It is physically impossible for an American teenager to be as innocent as this kid looks. "Did you take drugs?"
You can't help but start laughing again. "Prescription, Clark. I had a headache."
"You're dancing because you have a headache?"
"I don't have it anymore. Come on, dance with me!"
With all the light coming in from behind him you can't see him blushing, but you can see it in the way he shuffles his feet nervously. He says something but you can't hear it.
"I don't dance!" he shouts back.
"Everyone dances, Clark," you answer. "Maybe not well, but everyone can dance. Come on, loosen up! Get down! Shake your groove thang!"
You're laughing again, but you keep dancing. You sidle up a little closer to him, grab his hands and move them around a bit, trying to drag him into the beat. You can see his teeth flashing as he grins but he's still not dancing. You start to get a little sexy with him, moving way into his personal space, dipping your shoulders in to almost brush his pecs. You're really high now, and you know it, but the funny thing about being high is that knowing that you're high doesn't keep you from doing all the things that demonstrate to others just how high you really are. And the moment you consider that sentence, it turns inward on itself and implodes and flies right out of your head the way sentences sometimes do and you're still dancing around Clark.
Clark is really sexy. All dark curls and wide blue innocence, with a body so perfect it could almost convince you that there's a God. Clark's very existence makes gay porn redundant. You wonder if you just said that out loud, but since he's still standing there with that silly, uncomfortable grin instead of fleeing in terror you probably didn't.
"What did you say?" he shouts.
Or maybe he just didn't hear you. "I said you were born to dance!" you lie. "Come on!"
He laughs and shakes his head, but he must be somewhat tempted or he wouldn't keep standing there. You dance even closer, moving your hips in to brush his gently, not really grinding, just testing to see what he'll do.
You'd swear you feel something hard pressing against you for a just a moment, then Clark's jumping away and moving unbelievably fast toward the couch. Shit, you think. So much for gay porn. You are very careful not to say this out loud.
You follow him over and flop onto the couch beside him. You're sweating and sort of ready for a break anyway. Thirsty. You spot the bottle of whiskey and get up again to retrieve it and your glass. "Want some?" you ask Clark.
"I think you've had enough of everything for both of us," he shouts back.
You don't expect him to say yes, but you always ask anyway. You pour yourself a glass, and then nearly jump out of your skin because Clark's suddenly right beside you, examining the prescription bottles on the desk.
"How many of these did you take?" he asks.
"The recommended dosage to rid myself of the Lionel Express. Clark, trust me when I say that this is perfectly innocent compared to what I'm used to doing."
He looks at you like that's the saddest thing he's ever heard, but he just sets the bottle down on the desk and goes back to the couch. You follow him. It seems like you're always following him, or he's turning up at the most unexpected moments. Like this.
"Do you want some water or soda or something?" you ask, suddenly aware that you've been horribly negligent in your duties as host of Club Lex.
"What?" he answers.
"Do you want a soft drink?" you shout.
He shakes his head. "Can we turn the music down?"
You set your drink on the end table and dig the stereo remote from between the couch cushions where it always ends up. You hit the volume and flip the cd to whatever's next in the changer and silence descends. Then there's a saxophone and Sade's voice. Music to make gay porn by, you think. You start giggling and go to change it, but the brush of Clark's hand on your arm stops you.
He's smiling too, but he says, "Leave it. I like this album."
You shrug, and wonder if smoke is coming out of your ears as you try to figure out what *that* means.
"So," you begin, "Make any daring rescues today?"
"Not so far," he answers. "Lex, did something happen or is this just random, headache-induced drug abuse?"
You sigh and run your hand over your smooth head. You shouldn't tell him anything. You always end up saying too much to Clark, spilling old stories, sometimes in an attempt to share what you know, but sometimes just because it slips out before you can stop yourself. It's like he has some sort of secret confession-provoking power. Ma and Pa Kent could rent him out to the CIA and cover the farm debt.
"Dinner meeting with my father," you finally admit. "Not too bad, actually. A draw. I got the salary increases that I wanted; he got to humiliate me for two hours. Everybody wins."
A reappearance of the dangerous pout. "I'm sorry, Lex," he says. Your left hand is resting on the couch between you, and he covers it with his own hand. His hand swallows yours, and you can feel his palm on your skin, strangely velvet for a boy who spends so many hours a day at farm work.
"You must moisturize," you say.
"Lex," Clark says quietly, "I think you're really, really stoned." He squeezes your hand very gently but doesn't let go. And you are glad. It's so delicious to have someone touching you out of simple affection for a change.
"I couldn't sleep," he says, "so I snuck out and came over here to talk to you."
You grin at him. "Sorry, Clark, but I don't think I'm in Yoda mode at the moment. Hey, maybe I could be, though." You put on your best Yoda voice, historically guaranteed to make eleven-year-old boarding school boys pee their pants in laughter. "Ask her out, you should. Waits for no man, does time. Hmmm."
Clark laughs. "That's the worst Yoda I ever heard," he says.
"You're just jealous of my talent." You're still holding on to his hand, but you're trying to be subtle about it.
"Maybe it's just as well you're so out of it," Clark says, squeezing your hand again. You're beginning to really like that, but you're afraid if you mention it he'll stop doing it, so you try to think about something else. "When you don't remember any of this tomorrow I won't have to be embarrassed."
"Embarrassed about what, Clark?"
"This." And he leans over and kisses you.
Clark's kissing you and it's hot and sweet and seems much too real to be an hallucination. God, all those Machiavellian schemes you dreamed up to get Clark into bed and all you had to do was take a bunch of drugs, drink a lot and act like an idiot in front of him. Who knew it would be so easy? Your inner-Lionel is insisting that you take control of the situation, but you just can't. You're too fucked up and Clark's tongue is moving in your mouth and you can't do anything but enthusiastically submit.
It's just kissing, and it's a little awkward on the couch besides, and Clark's really more enthusiastic than he is skilled, but you're so turned on it's almost overwhelming. You reach up and pull him further into you, finally getting to tangle your fingers in his hair after months of wishing for it. Clark scoots closer and hooks a leg over yours, and his erection's rubbing on the leather of your pants, and you're so hard you're in danger of splitting open your zipper. He's running his hands all over your chest and you realize that you're probably going to die if you don't get to touch more of Clark's skin.
You start unbuttoning flannel by touch, since looking down would mean not kissing Clark and you plan on kissing Clark for as long as he'll let you, possibly forever. Finally the stupid shirt's unbuttoned and Clark obligingly takes it off, breaking off the kiss just long enough to divest himself of his white undershirt and fling it to the floor before diving back in with renewed vigor. You run your fingers over every inch of Clark that you can find. His skin is so smooth, just like his hands, like rainwater over the steel of his farm-hard muscles.
He's scoots farther over, so his thigh is happily placed where friction will do the most good, and you shiver all over with the first stroke and buck your hips into it. You hear yourself moaning, and you can feel the heat of Clark's erection through his jeans and your pants as he rubs himself against you. Dry-humping Clark is more exciting than a full-out fuck with anyone else you ever slept with.
Clark takes hold of the hem of your shirt and stops kissing you just long enough to pull it over your head. His hands are everywhere on your bare skin and you shiver again as he brushes his wonderfully warm hands over your nipples. He begins kissing his way down your chin, onto your neck, and you'd miss his lips on yours except that what he's doing feels so good. Kissing and licking your skin, and then little playful strokes with his teeth that make you hiss in pleasure.
"Clark," you whisper. "Harder."
And he takes little bites over your pulse point and you rub yourself against him so he's encouraged and he sucks a bit harder. Feels so good and you know that if this really isn't an hallucination that you'll have a mark to show for it in the morning.
He reaches down to stroke you through your pants and you gasp and press into his hand. He's licking the hollow of your neck, and now his hands are at the button of your pants.
"Leather's a good look for you, Lex," he murmurs against your skin as he undoes your fly and takes you in hand. He's stroking you lightly and all you can do is groan in response.
Groan, and reciprocate.
God, now you and Clark are jacking each other off on your office couch and it's a good thing because you don't think you could control yourself for anything more demanding. You lick your hand and you can smell him on you, musk and hay and something like clove, and you didn't think you could be any harder but now you are. Clark moans when he sees you and thrusts himself into your slicked hand when you close it around him. Three strokes, four, and he's coming and coming over your hand, head thrown back, spine arched, crying out your name like a benediction and it is one. And you're coming too at the sound of his voice, and his turquoise eyes so wide and impossibly dark with desire fulfilled, and his soft, golden hand wrapped around you ratcheting you higher, and you feel like you're coming forever.
Finally, you flop back sticky and spent, and Clark nuzzles alongside you with his arm wrapped around your shoulders. You lean your head back on his arm. The orgasm's taken a lot out of you and you feel a little dizzy. Happy, but dizzy. You're going to take a little breather here, and then convince Clark to come up to the bedroom and continue taking advantage of your condition.
"Lex, there's something I should have told you before we did that," Clark says into your shoulder.
"If you're trying to tell me that you're gay, Clark, I think that's pretty obvious." You wonder if the ceiling's supposed to be spinning like that. Did Enrique have a new ceiling-spinning feature installed without telling you?
Clark's laughing. "Actually I'm pretty sure I'm just gay for you."
You try shrugging but your shoulders aren't cooperating. "Well, as long you're gay for me, Clark, everything's a-okay." You giggle and your tongue feels thicker than it ought to. Wow, you think, that orgasm really did take a lot out of you. Or maybe you were a little excessive with the whiskey after all. The whole room's spinning now, not just the ceiling, and it's just not right. Someone really should do something about that.
Seemingly oblivious to the wacky rotations of the room, Clark's continuing on with whatever he thinks he's supposed to confess to you. But his voice is fading in and out as the room's whirling around you. ". . . not exactly human . . . spaceship . . . and really sorry about the hair . . . hit me with the car . . . trust you, trust you, trust you . . ."
Your last conscious thought before you pass out is that you've really got to follow up on all this when you're sober.
You wake up the next morning stretched out on the study couch with an afghan spread gently over you. Your fly's zipped up and you're tucked away and cleaned up like nothing happened except you over-indulged and fell asleep on the couch. You sit up, bleary-eyed but not too hung-over, and find a little note tucked into your left hand. It's a piece of note-paper from your desk, and it reads:
Club Lex was fantastic! Do you think it might be open this weekend? Sorry I didn't get a chance to say goodbye but you were asleep and I had to get back before my parents missed me. Call me!
It was signed with a big, goofy smiley face and the initial C. And then a P.S. :
Next time you have a headache, maybe you should try an Advil?
You head upstairs to the shower still laughing. Any doubt you might have that you really made out with Clark on the couch last night is put to rest by the gigantic hickey at the base of your neck. Oh, and also, still a little sticky. The hot spray does a lot to rid you of the cobwebs lingering from last night, and you get a nagging feeling that there's something else you should be remembering, something important, but you can't for the life of you think what it was.
You dress for your 9 o'clock meeting, back into the harness for another day. Somehow, though, it doesn't seem quite as confining as it did the day before.
On the way into the office, you call ahead to your assistant. "David, cancel the trip to Metropolis this weekend. I've made other plans."