Thanks to my betas, Wook and Tresca. You guys are the best!
Jonathan walked into the empty auditorium twenty minutes before the class was scheduled to begin. He enjoyed being early. Not only because it was a sign of respect, as his father had drilled into him over the years, but also because it allowed him free reign to pick out his seat. It was the first day, and he wanted a seat near enough to the front that he could hear professor, but far enough away that he might not have to answer any questions.
Although he would never admit it if asked, Jonathan felt slightly intimidated by his fellow students. While he knew he wasn't just a dumb hick by any means, it was still a bit a culture shock for him to be here in the city. Back in Smallville, everyone knew and respected the Kents. He was well-liked, had gotten decent grades and even managed to make several memorable plays on the field for the Crows. He was a big fish in a little pond. Here in Metropolis, however, he was just another guppy in the ocean.
He found a seat near the bank of windows, and settled in. Warmed by the sunshine pouring through the windows, he pulled his dog-eared copy of "Lord of the Rings" out of his book bag, removed the receipt that marked his place, and started reading. He'd already read it several times, but it was like an old friend, and oddly comforting in this unfamiliar place.
Ten minutes passed, and as several small groups of students began filing into the room, his quiet solitude was interrupted. Slipping the book back into his bag, Jonathan sat back, observing.
He had always been fascinated by the interaction between people raised in the city. It was so different from Smallville. They were all so guarded and distant, even the ones who were supposedly good friends. He caught snippets of several conversations, on topics that varied from the latest in the women's movement, to the recent rash of streaking on campus.
Had to suppress a grin at that, remembering his first day on campus and his encounter with the infamous Metropolis streaker. That was one day he wasn't likely to forget any time soon.
A noticeable hush fell over the room as a mature woman with steel gray hair entered through the side door. Her commanding presence, combined with the smart, business-like briefcase, made it clear that she was the professor. Slipping through the same door a moment later was a young woman with long, chestnut hair. As she turned to close the door behind her, Jonathan got a quick glimpse of her face, and his breath caught in his chest.
She was beautiful.
No, wait... that wasn't enough. She was more. Exquisite. Captivating. Bewitching.
Possibly the most stunning woman Jonathan Kent had ever laid eyes on in all his twenty-one years on Earth. He simply stared as she stopped and exchanged a few quick words with the professor. He found his eyes glued to her every movement as she made her way to the back of the classroom. When she sat down at an empty desk, she glanced in his direction, and her eyes locked onto his.
He was graced with a small smile that lit up her face and hinted at the adorable laugh-lines around her warm eyes. Finally, however, when he realized the professor had already begun her lesson, he was forced to turn away. Forced to drag his eyes from the lovely creature sitting four rows back. Forced to pay attention to a lecture on the basics of Finance in America.
He'd always taken great pride in his work-ethic. Under normal circumstances, it would nearly take an act of God to dissuade him from the task at hand, once he had set his mind on something. Devoted and hard-working Jonathan Kent, that was him.
But focusing on taking useful notes in class that day was the hardest thing he'd ever had to do.
Well over an hour later, the professor finally finished, and released them from the class. Jonathan stuffed his notes into his bag, and quickly turned, hoping to at least learn the name of the woman who had driven him to distraction. He slipped past several students still discussing the finer points of corporate finance, and looked to where the girl had been sitting.
But she was gone.
Jonathan sighed heavily, and lowered himself on to a bench outside the student union, near a softly trickling fountain.
He had waited in the classroom for several minutes after class ended, hoping that the red-haired beauty would return, but no such luck. Now, he realized he didn't even know her name. It seemed obvious to him that she was some sort of teaching assistant, so all he could hope was that she would return the following day.
He leaned back on the bench, crossing his long, denim-clad legs out in front of him. The bright sunshine seeped through his flannel shirt, and he basked in its warmth. Pulling his book and a large apple from his bag, he prepared to sit here and enjoy his surroundings until his next class.
There was a light breeze blowing through his hair, and he could just make out the sound of a radio coming from a nearby dorm over the fountain. He kept his eyes closed, listening, and he recognized the opening chords of a favorite Simon and Garfunkel song. He smiled.
"Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the mornin' last.
Just kickin' down the cobblestones,
Lookin' for fun and feelin' groovy."
Drawing in a deep breath, he took a sizable bite of his apple. He opened his book, preparing to start on a new chapter, when a shadow fell across his lap.
"Oh, I love that song." He looked up, and there she was. The girl from the class. She smiled sweetly at him as he gaped up at her.
"Yeah. Me, too." He was surprised at how remarkably even his voice sounded. His heart was pounding, and he knew he was probably grinning like an idiot, but it really didn't bother him. He was spellbound by her mouth, the subtle color of her lips.
She dropped carefully onto the bench next to him. "So, you have Business Finance with Professor Schneider, right?"
"This morning, yeah." He was a little confused. That was where he had seen her... what was this?
"Well, I was sort of wondering if I could borrow your notes. I had to leave early, and I'm sure I could never catch up without some help!" She laughed softly, and let her hand come to rest on Jonathan's bicep.
"Sure! I've been told that I take pretty good notes." He immediately pulled his notebook out of his book bag, and handed it over to her. "Keep them as long as you need to."
She quirked her head in the most adorable fashion, and Jonathan had to smile again. "But, you don't even know me. How can you be sure I'll give them back?"
"I prefer to believe in people," he answered simply.
Her eyes were filled with a strange, distant look suddenly, as though as she was lost in her own thoughts. A slight shake of her head, and her eyes cleared.
"Just so we can say that you do know me, I'm Martha Clark. It's a pleasure to meet you," she said, extending her hand.
"Well, Martha, I'm Jonathan Kent. And the pleasure is mine, believe me." He reached out and took her hand, careful not to squeeze too hard. Never shake a woman's hand harder than she shakes yours, or so his father had always said. His father had also said that a lot could be learned from a person's handshake.
Jonathan was impressed, and his face broke in a small grin.
Martha had a very firm handshake.
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