The smell of cinnamon always brought a smile to her face.
The kitchen was full of inviting and pleasant scents this afternoon. Martha had been baking her traditional apple pies all day, in preparation for the annual bake sale down at the Smallville Woman's Social Club tomorrow. They were always popular items at the sale, usually selling out in the first hour or two. This year, she had also tried her hand at some gingersnaps, dark-chocolate brownies and, Jonathan's favorite, carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
The other ladies in the SWSC tried to pry the recipe from her every year, but she had never cracked. It was an old family recipe. Martha's grandmother had taught her mother, and her mother had taught her. Martha could remember helping her mother baking pies before she was tall enough to even see over the counter. She was sometimes a little sad that she had no daughter of her own to pass the tradition on to.
As much time as Clark and Chloe spent together, Martha had once thought of taking the girl aside, and offering to teach her the secret. However, as she grew to know the teen better, she realized Chloe was not really the baking sort.
Every bit of space on the counters in the Kent kitchen was full of homemade treats, all wrapped in colorful plastic wraps. Wiping her hands on her apron, Martha stepped back and admired her handiwork. If there was anything more gratifying than an overabundance of baked goods made by hand, it was seeing her boys enjoying them. She'd even baked a couple extra batches of brownies for Clark. He never could seem to keep his hands off of them.
She closed the oven on the last round of pies, picked up a cloth from the sink, and began wiping down her work area. Glancing at the clock on the microwave, she saw it was nearly three o'clock. Jonathan and Clark should be home from the auction in another hour or two. That left plenty of time for her to finish what was in the oven, tidy up a bit more, and maybe take a quick shower --
She was startled out of her thoughts by the telephone. As is always did when Jonathan or Clark were gone, her mind immediately prepared for the worst. Someone calling to tell her there had been an accident. An animal had gotten loose, and trampled someone. The truck had gone off the road. Those thoughts were fleeting, and she dismissed them as silly, but she still clutched the towel in her hands a little tighter.
"Kent residence." She stated, trying to keep her voice calm and friendly.
"Hello, Mrs. Kent. It's Lex. Is Clark there?"
Martha closed her eyes, and released a quiet, relieved sigh. "Hi, Lex! Sorry, but Jonathan and Clark are in Metropolis at a cattle auction today. They won't be back until later this evening. Didn't he tell you?"
"You know, now that I think about it, I believe he did mention it. I'm sorry to have disturbed you."
"Oh, well, you haven't really disturbed me, Lex. I was just finishing up some baking, and needed a break anyway."
"Is that for the Social Club's bake sale tomorrow?"
Martha's face broke into a wide smile. "Why, yes, it is. But, how did you know that?"
"Clark mentioned that you were a member. I was in town yesterday, and saw a flyer in the Beanery's window." Lex said. "I should have guessed that no bake sale in Smallville would be complete without some of your delicious contributions. It's too bad I'm also out of town, or I would sample some myself."
"Oh, you'll give me a big head with talk like that. Anyway, I made plenty of extra, and I'd be happy to send some over with Clark for you. Or, you could come over and pick them up when you get back. If you want."
"I have to get off the phone now, but that offer sounds too tempting to resist, Mrs. Kent. I may have to take you up on it."
The tone of his voice dropped just a little there. It was a small change, but it was still enough to cause Martha to shiver. There was something dangerous, nearly predatory in it. She realized she was a little intrigued, and she wasn't quite sure what to make of that.
"Please, uh, call me Martha, Lex. And, you know, feel free to stop by any time. Even if the boys are out, I'm usually here."
"You can count on it... Martha. Thank you." And with that, he ended the call. Martha hung up the phone with a slightly shaky hand.
Unlike her husband, Martha had never seen anything worthy of disdain in Lex. It was obvious, to her anyway, that a lot of his problems, such as his distorted view of money and what it could buy, stemmed from his father. Lex himself had been nothing but polite, and had never appeared to be anything but sincere to Martha.
Sure, he sometimes seemed little dark, a little mysterious, but Martha had to admit Lex had magnetism about him. She felt it when he walked through the door. His presence filled a room. He had an undeniable charisma, and he was unafraid to meet anyone's eye, even Jonathan. There was something utterly appealing about a man that confident.
And his voice. Especially as it had been during the last moments of their brief telephone conversation. It was gravelly, and more than a little sexy...
Wait. What was she thinking? This was just a boy. He was Clark's friend, for Heaven's sake. Like Pete, or Chloe, for that matter.
Only, he wasn't. He wasn't like them, and he wasn't really a boy.
He was young, yes, but he no doubt had experience in certain areas that Jonathan, and Martha herself, hadn't even imagined. Martha had lived in Smallville a long time, but she still remembered her youth in Metropolis. The clubs, the drugs, the cars, the people. It was a dangerous education. Luckily, she had had parents that cared, and helped to steer her clear of such "lessons". Lex had not been so lucky.
She pulled a pitcher of iced tea from the fridge, and poured herself a glass. As she dropped in a couple ice cubes, Martha remembered the time she and her best friend Jamie went to a club in Metropolis. Hard Knocks. A small smile emerged on her face. If Jonathan ever found out about that, he would probably have a heart attack.
She could only imagine how things had changed since then. The clubs were probably more outrageous, with drugs that might kill you, and people that certainly would. She closed her eyes, and shivered, imagining Lex, lost in such a crowd, with seemingly nothing to lose.
Lex, who no doubt owned his fair share of the obligatory leather that popped up at such places. Lex, in the center of a dance floor, surrounded by the beautiful people of Metropolis. The air moist with the heat of too many bodies in too small a space, the lights dim, manufactured fog punctuated by colored spotlights. Lex, swaying to whatever song was playing, colors swirling over his skin, glistening from the heat, and possibly from whatever was swimming in his bloodstream.
It was a powerful image, and Martha had no problem envisioning Lex there. His personality would still be bigger than any crowd. Even if no one approached him, he would be the center of attention. Martha wasn't blind... hair or no, Lex was quite attractive. Martha could just see Lex, arm wrapped around a scantily clad woman, moving so suggestively that it could not be ignored. His sensuality would probably attract both women and men alike, truth be told.
She could even see the way his hips would move, slow and painfully erotic, teasing. He would drape his arms around the girl's waist, keeping her near, but not as close as she no doubt would like to be. Martha could see him, temptation personified. Enigmatic, dangerous and sexy, all at once.
And completely aware of it. Using it to his advantage.
Her heart beating faster, Martha became aware of how warm it was in the kitchen. She leaned against the counter, fanning herself. How had she missed all this about Lex? How had she gone all this time, not seeing the young man's undeniable appeal?
Simple. She hadn't.
Deep down, a part of her had always seen it. The same part of her that had reacted to the change in his voice today. The part of her... Hell. The part of her that thought about him like that. The part that wondered it would be like to feel his lips on hers. That mouth, kissing down her neck, across the swell of her breasts. Those long fingers caressing her neck, her back.
A small gasp escaped her lips as she imagined him there, lifting her onto the counter, with no words spoken. Staring at her with those smoldering, hungry eyes, like he might eat her alive. Slipping between her legs, he would kiss her with an almost too-intense passion. His fingers work at the buttons of her dress, and then her bra, releasing her breasts. His hands sliding under her skirt, ghosting over her thighs, and then he leans forward, taking a nipple in his mouth.
She would throw her head back in pleasure, wrapping her legs around his waist to pull him closer. The hardness in his pants would be obvious, and delicious to her. To know that she caused that. She would put her hands on him, too. Run her fingers over his scalp, so bare and exposed, and down his chest. She would pull his crisp dress shirt out of his pants, and run her nails over the firmness of his stomach, hot and trembling with his excitement --
Martha jumped. The oven timer had gone off, indicating that the pies were ready to come out. Had it really been forty-five minutes? A quick glance at the microwave proved that yes, she had been daydreaming for nearly an hour.
After taking the pies out of the oven to cool, Martha decided a shower was definitely in order.
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