Part 1

The cover of _Newsweek_ showed them facing off against each other over Grant Tech: Bruce Wayne, the new face of old money and Lex Luthor, an extension of his father's corrupt power.

"They couldn't be any further from the truth," Bruce said, chuckling as he eyed Martha Kent's apple pie. Lana gave him a quiet smile as she cut a generous piece of the dessert for him and set it on a plate next to his coffee cup. She'd only showed him the cover out of curiosity, because she had yet to see proof either Lex or Bruce as hating one another. He explained that most reputable publications--Newsweek included--deliberately chose to disregard the whole miniature golf incident in favor of romanticizing old Luthor-Wayne feuds. If anything, however, their relationship seemed quite the opposite. Lex and Bruce were good friends, even if Bruce had carried off part of Lionel's company recently.

"Can I get you anything else, Mr. Wayne?" she asked.

"Bruce, please," he countered, reminding her of all times Lex had done the same. "Actually, you wouldn't happen to have some vanilla ice cream for the pie, would you?" He gave her a self-conscious grin.

The young woman gave a small laugh. "Shall I heat it for you, while I'm at it?"

"Couldn't hurt," the billionaire replied, echoing her laugh. He glanced around at the bustling coffee shop, and then turned back to her. "Busy summer?" he inquired.

"So-so." Lana eyed him, regarding the man intently for the first time since he'd walked into the Talon that afternoon. Dressed in blue jeans and a plain, white shirt, he looked nothing like she would have expected. "You still didn't answer my question, you know. What brings you to Smallville?"

"If I said it was the charming atmosphere you'd hardly believe me, would you?"

Lana shook her head, her smile twisting into an amused smirk. If Chloe were here, she'd be suggesting they test the water for meteor fragments. Why else would two of the world's best-looking, eligible, incredibly rich guys show any interest in the town? Shaking her head again, she slipped in to the small kitchen area to heat his pie.

When she returned, he had his back to her, leaning against the counter as he gazed out the front window. There a quiet, contemplative look on his face, and Lana almost hated to interrupt him.

"I bought a farm," he said, surprising her because she'd been so quiet in approaching him that she wasn't sure he'd heard her.

"A farm?" Lana was confused. What did Bruce Wayne need a farm for? Then again, why did Lex or his father need a castle in the middle of nowhere?

"The Tullson place, on the old Mill Road," he explained, and Lana was impressed that he'd gone to the trouble of learning the geography of Smallville. She was also surprised. She'd heard that someone had bought the place--who hadn't? The Tullsons had been in Smallville for generation, one of the founding families. The sale alone had come as a shock, but the news that Mr. Tullson was moving to Florida had come close to being scandalous.

"What--" she paused in her question, blushing when he turned back towards her and casually dug into his pie a la mode.

"What am I going to do with it?" he supplied, finishing her sentence before taking a sip of his coffee.

"Yeah," she responded. "That is, if you don't mind my asking?"

He smiled--a warm, wide smile, and Lana felt as if she could lose herself in that smile. "Not at all. I'm having the farmhouse restored to it's original condition, and then I plan to use it as a summer home. Someplace I can come to and relax."

"Oh. Okay..." Lana suppressed the urge to tell him he'd be better off buying property in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle if he was looking to relax. "Sounds good. How's that coming?"

"Should be finished by the end of summer, according to the people I hired. I was just out there, actually. My decorator wanted to run a few ideas by me." He paused long enough to take another drink of his coffee and have another taste of his pie. As he chewed, he stared at her with his intensely expressive eyes, and Lana felt as if he were trying to see inside her. It made her nervous, but a part of her liked it all the same.

"I--I should get back to my other customers," she said, willing herself not to blush under his gaze. She was losing the ability to think, just as she had the day at the miniature golf course when he'd been so close and so friendly.

Bruce shrugged, the motion a casual roll of his shoulders. "That would probably be a good idea," he quipped with a smile.

"Just let me know if you need anything," she told him, feeling a little more like herself now that she was focusing on her work and not his smile.

"Actually, there might be something you can help with."

This stopped her, clean tray in hand, and forced her to look at him. "I take it you're not talking a bout a refill."

"No," he chuckled softly. "This is a little embarrassing, but I really know nothing about redecorating an entire home. The closest I've come was when they let us put posters up in our dorms in boarding school." He gave a sheepish smile. "Lex says you and Nell did most of the Talon's decorating yourself, and I was wondering if the two of you might give me your opinions on my decorator's plans. Before I approve anything."

"Ahhh... " There was nothing like being put on the spot by a handsome man to make a girl feel flushed and flustered. "I can ask Nell, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind."

"Good. Call me when you know for certain."

Lana suddenly found herself holding a napkin with Bruce Wayne's cell phone number scrawled across it as she stared at his retreating back.

*&*&*&*

When Lana arrived home after her double shift at the Talon, there was a letter from Whitney waiting for her. His letters came every two weeks. They were usually long and full of sweet thoughts for the future. Sometimes a little too sweet, Lana often thought. He told her little to nothing about his job or his friends there, and always spoke of what things would be like when they saw each other again. Lana sometimes wondered if she'd even know him when that time came.

Or if she really wanted to.

This letter was a little different, however. After the customary "Dear Lana" Whitney went to say that he'd been surprised when his roommate at the barracks returned home with a tabloid from the grocery store, and her picture was one the front cover--with Bruce and Lex on the mini golf course. His roommate had recognized her and brought it home to show him. Lana had wondered if that would get back to him.

Of course, she'd written to him about the trip to Gotham in her last letter. It must not have gotten to him yet. Oh well, she thought with a sigh of frustration. If Whitney wanted to be jealous over a lot of baseless rumors, she couldn't exactly stop him.

That didn't mean the accusations in his letter had made didn't hurt. They did. He was acting like he didn't trust her, didn't know her. Sometimes, she didn't think he ever had known her, just thought he had.

Waiting for Whitney was a lot harder than she had originally thought it would be.

Wiping away the tear that was slowly running down her cheek, Lana folded Whitney's letter and put it in her sock drawer with the others. She'd write back later, when she wasn't so emotional. If she did it now, the words would come out wrong.

Instead, she decided to Nell about Bruce Wayne's rather unusual request. Bruce Wayne. Lana felt the smile creep back onto her face, and she straightened out of the dejected slouch Whitney's letter had left her in. If anyone had told her that one day she'd be faced with the prospect of helping Bruce Wayne pick out new curtains for his summer home, she would have laughed at them. She still might; it *was* an outrageous thought. Then again, this was Smallville. Stranger things had been known to happen.