From the moment I could start to comprehend my life, I understood that I was meant for a throne. Maybe it wasn't a literal throne, but there was certainly a figurative throne that I would conquer one day. Every word that came from my father's mouth told me that he wanted me on the throne ever since my mother died. I guess he lost hope for another heir to his throne that day, so he started preparing me the best he could, considering I came out the wrong sex. My father always wished for a boy. He never said it out loud, to his credit. No, instead he said it with the far-off looks he got when he looked at me, the disappointed air around him when he talked to me about business, and the robust and happy way he told stories about great kings and male warriors who ruled with great terror and power and slayed dragons. All my life has been spent trying to reach the extremely high throne Lionel Luthor would give to me when he died, if the old man would ever let go of his empire for fear of losing his monopoly. He probably could stay alive out of sheer stubbornness and probably has with all the things the Luthor family has been through. Why did he even need an heir? He'd just hang on until I died from some mysterious accident anyways and appoint one of his corporate sharks to be CEO. After all, he trusts them more than he does me. I don't blame him. I don't trust him either.
Being Alexandra Luthor isn't all it's cracked up to be.
That was why I developed a nicotine addiction in my teens. It became something to soothe my nerves when I was stressed out, and suddenly I was stressed out all the time. Mysteriously, I've never hacked up a lung because of it or shown any signs of lung debilitation. I don't remember being sick since I was nine years old, when I got rid of my asthma. At the same time, my hair fell out. I was suddenly a bald little girl with spectacular health. Most kids thought I was going through chemotherapy or something and isolated me when they found out I wore different wigs. High school swimming was a bad idea. Wigs weren't something you could swim in. Swim caps couldn't hide everything, and the girls in private schools were sharks. My father had all of their fathers go suddenly bankrupt, but the idea that I wasn't normal stayed with me, even at twenty.
I was driving my favorite Porsche to Luthorcorp's plant in Smallville, my father having told me that it was a potential opportunity for me to prove myself. I was supposed to take it over and run it without Daddy's help so that he could see if I could hold my own. He was surprisingly overprotective at the moment, calling me every five minutes to confirm my location. When the cell phone rang again, I pressed the send button, keeping it on handsfree. "I'm fine, Dad. I'm not lost. I'm pretty sure I'm in Smallville considering how many cornfields I've passed." I reached for my purse in the passenger seat, pulling out a cigarette, sticking it between my lips, and searching for a lighter.
"Are you sure, Lex?" came Lionel's worried voice. "What landmark are you at?"
"I'm at some bridge," I mumbled through my cigarette, having a hard time of it. I brightened when I finally found my elusive lighter, flipping the Zippo open.
"Are you smoking again?"
"No, Dad--" I suddenly looked up as the wheel slipped out from under my hand's grip, turning sharply right. My eyes widened as I saw a teenaged boy in a red jacket standing right in the middle of my field of vision, then even more when I saw the bridge's railing behind him. I slammed on the brakes, but it didn't work, the car already going too fast to be stopped. I could swear my heart stopped as I was slammed forward, a flash of red on the windshield as the car buckled from breaking through the railing. Everything went dark as the car plunged into the water, feeling pain sting my head as I slipped into unconsciousness.
When I woke up, it felt like the San Andreas Fault had packed up and moved into my head. Everything I saw was blurry as my eyes opened to slits, and I faintly felt something on my chest. A voice muttered something out that seemed ethereal to my ears, and I felt lips on mine...before I turned my head sharply to the side, squeezing my eyes shut as I pushed out a great pressure in my chest, spitting out a good amount of water before I regained myself. Groaning, I looked up to see the boy I thought I'd driven into, my eyes squinting in confusion as his gazed back at me with concern. "Wh...What happened?" I could barely ask before I was wrapped up in blankets, being pulled to my feet and guided to a flat rock to sit on.
"Miss Luthor, are you alright?" It took me a few seconds to register that it was a paramedic, shining a penlight into my eyes and making me squint. "That's a pretty nasty cut on your head. It doesn't look like it needs stitches, though." He bandaged it with two thin strips with me disoriented the whole time, fixing my eyes on the tall boy in the red jacket who was looking at a limo that pulled up behind the ambulance.
"What happened?" I repeated.
"It appears that your car hit a coil of wire and went out of control--," the paramedic started to respond, but I cut him off, still looking at the boy.
"I wasn't asking you. I was asking him." I seemed to get his attention then, and he milled over to me. I suddenly had the reflex to check my wig, the strands beneath my fingers assuring me that it was still there. Good. "Lex Luthor." I proffered a hand, and he took it, having a strong grip that I had to shake my hand at afterward.
"Clark Kent." His blue eyes were brighter than mine and less gray, his black hair wet and stuck to his head, looking mussed and making him appear disgustingly innocent and adorable.
"Nice to meet you, Clark Kent. I guess I should thank you for pulling me out of a river and saving my life." I gave him a small smile, one I rarely gave anyone else. I cocked my head to the side, shaking it lightly and closing my eyes for a moment. "I could've sworn I hit you."
"I'm still here," he said simplistically as I tried to wrap my mind around what happened, him shrugging his shoulders a bit. "You must've missed me by a few feet."
"I still feel responsible. Here you were, peacefully enjoying your afternoon on a bridge, and some crazy lady nearly hits you with a car." God, that smile was adorable. Were all farm boys this appealing?
"I don't know about crazy. You seem pretty sane to me." That was my last peaceful moment before Lionel descended on me, pushing Clark completely out of the way and gripping my blanket-covered shoulders.
"Lex! Are you alright? One moment I was talking to you, and the next all I hear is screaming brakes and a crash before your phone disconnects!" To his credit, Lionel managed to look disheveled, his long mane of hair a little messed up. Perfect appearance for the so-called caring dad.
"I'm fine, Dad. I went underwater, but luckily Clark Kent was there to pull me out." I motioned to him and Lionel turned his attention on him, me giving Clark an apologetic smile and a small shrug of the shoulders.
"Why, thank you, Mr. Kent...I'm personally indebted to you for saving my daughter's life. If there's anything you need, just call me." Lionel flashed a smile and gave Clark a business card.
I was taken to the hospital, Smallville Medical Center, as a precaution and released the next day. Lionel was nowhere to be seen for the moment, so I decided to go sight-seeing. Because of my car's untimely mutilation, I ended up walking around downtown, nothing of real interest appearing to me. I went inside an arts and crafts store where an elderly woman was watching me closely from behind the counter, examining some objects I found interesting because of their historical value. The door made a 'ding' sound as a man with a basket of fruit stepped in, looking rugged in plaid and jeans. I could sense his immediate dislike as he laid eyes upon me, setting the fruit next to the woman's counter. "Thank you, Mr. Kent," said the old woman, the man nodding in response. He looked displeased when I took an interest, the woman getting out her purse to pay as I approached.
"Mr. Kent? Are you related to Clark Kent?" My curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know why he looked like I should have been incinerated on the spot.
"What business of it is yours?" he nearly hissed, anxious to get out of the small shop.
"I'm Lex Luthor. Your son saved my life yesterday." I extended my hand, but he just looked at it, turning down the handshake as my hand retreated to my coat pocket.
"What are the Luthors doing in Smallville? Seems like bad luck anytime the name Luthor's heard, especially in a small town like this." His tone was coated with disdain, the corner of his lip pulled downward into a frown.
"I was going to investigate the Luthorcorp plant here before I had a car accident. Your boy pulled me out of the car and gave me CPR. I got released from the hospital today, so I decided to do a little sight-seeing." My tone was calm and pleasant, even though Mr. Kent's displeasure was growing exponentially as each minute passed.
"The people here didn't want that plant to be built, but your father illegally gained some land contracts by intimidating the owners of a few farms out west. Those farmers happened to be some of my best friends, so excuse me if I'm not dripping with excitement about another Luthor coming to destroy more lives." His hand was clenched into a fist, his knuckles turning white.
"I had nothing to do with the plant until yesterday, Mr. Kent, and I certainly have no influence over my father's actions. As you can see, I'm not my father. I have no intention of doing anything harmful during my stay here." Despite the accusations, I remained calm, being quite used to them over the years. People mistook my fashion style for corporate coldness, considering I didn't dress provocatively. I had on a button-up shirt that was conservatively buttoned paired with some khakis and a black trench coat. Mr. Kent finally got his money, heading out of the store. I followed him to his red pick-up, the windows being rolled down and allowing me to speak with him. "Mr. Kent, please don't judge me by my father's actions. It's something I have to deal with every day of my life, and I'd like a little peace every now and then." Mr. Kent said nothing and gunned the truck into drive, leaving tire marks where he peeled out and took off. Heaving a small sigh, I rolled my eyes as my brand new cell phone rang, drawing it from my pocket and flipping it open to my ear. "Lex Luthor."
"Lex, I found some beautiful property on the edge of Smallville. I've already bought it, so you can't change your mind. Your things are being moved in as we speak."
"You aren't trying to get rid of me in Metropolis, are you, Dad?"
"Far from it, darling. You'll appreciate it when you see it. There should be a limo coming to bring you here. This piece of real estate is a real beauty, Lex."
The black limo pulled up beside me, and, unsurprised, I got in, shutting the door and ignoring the looks I received from people on the sidewalk while doing so. "You couldn't send something a little more inconspicuous? Say, a camouflage-painted Jeep or a double-decker bus?"
"Oh, honey, just because these smalltown podunks aren't used to seeing a limousine doesn't mean you shouldn't ride in one. You can't sacrifice style for being adored."
"Tell me again why I've been sent to watch over this plant."
"You've got to start small. You have to prove yourself to me before you can work higher up with me and our corporate partners in Metropolis. If you do big things with this little plant, I'll know you're ready." Everything in my life was a test. I was almost getting tired of it.
"Well, you know what happened to Alexander the Great. He waited too long to let another rule and his palace sank into the sea with all his riches."
"Ah, yes, but Alexander's palace was cursed with mythological reverence. His palace held evidence of the cradle of life itself. I don't think Luthorcorp is up to those standards quite yet."
"I'm here, Dad."
"I'll be out front in a moment."
Flipping my phone closed, I got out of the limo, looking up at the castle my father picked out for me. Literally, it was a castle. Stained glass windows and everything. No doubt, it was beautiful, but I wasn't planning on staying in Nowhere, Kansas, for the rest of my life. My father came out to hug me, leading me inside. He went on about the historical importance of this building while I mostly ignored him, looking at the beautiful marble floor beneath my feet, my heels clicking with every step. This place was perfect. "Dad," I interrupted and smiled. "I'm sold. But couldn't I have managed the plant from Metropolis?" Several people went past us, carrying furniture and clothes. "Are they bringing all my things here?"
"You have to be available at all times, Lex. Yes, they're bringing everything from your penthouse in Metropolis." He smoothed back his hair, an action that annoyed me periodically. I'm sure he knew. He grew his hair out to mock my inability to grow mine, but he'd never said anything like that. Of course, he wouldn't. He was supposed to be a loving, compassionate father. At least, that's what the PR said.
For the first week in my new residence, I was busy going over my new responsibilities as plant manager, but I wasn't busy enough to forget what Clark Kent did for me. I sent him a nice truck, something he'd appreciate. Over the weekend, I decided to visit him and see what he was up to, taking one of my other Porsches and driving to the address one of my assistants found for me. He lived on a farm, the quaint little place even having a sign that said 'Kent Farm' hanging over the drive. My present was still sitting there with the bow on it and everything, making me perk my brow questioningly. Getting out of the car, I heard noise coming from the barn, going inside to find a red-headed woman leaning over a log. I didn't see the chainsaw in her hands until she turned, making me throw my hands up and back off. "Whoa! I come in peace!" I was scared she was going to cut my head off, so I couldn't help but laugh nervously and quip a little. Her mouth opened in a wide 'o' as she turned off the chainsaw, lifting her goggles to reveal a kind and caring face.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry! Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm Lex Luthor." I extended my hand out of courtesy and was glad that Mrs. Kent wasn't as cold as Mr. Kent, receiving a warm handshake.
"I'm Martha Kent." I saw Mr. Kent come walking from the corner of my eye, going to Martha and supportively grasping her shoulders. She gave me an apologetic look. "I believe you've already met Jonathan."
"Yes. We had a quite candid conversation about genetics." My sarcasm was veiled, but it was there. Jonathan gave me the eye again, his brown eyes glaring into my blue ones.
"I don't appreciate you storming in on my farm and scaring my wife," Jonathan almost growled, and the situation was tense until Clark appeared on the scene with his bright, innocent smile.
"Hey, Lex." The farm boy wasn't accustomed to shaking hands, but he did so with me again. I was used to the gesture instead of a hug or anything, especially among strangers.
"Hey, Clark. Good to see you again. Do you like the present? Take her out for a test drive yet?" I was particularly proud in my ability to choose cars, and that truck was specifically expensive and fast.
"I liked it, but..." He paused and shifted a guilty look over to his father before he looked down at the ground.
"He can't accept it," Jonathan interrupted, stepping forward.
"Why not? It was money well spent, unlike most of my investments. Your son saved my life, Mr. Kent. I intend to repay him in any way I can, including fiscally."
"We're not in the habit of having people buy vehicles for us or accepting gifts from a Luthor. Usually that means we have to repay them in some way. I don't want that debt on my shoulders."
"I don't know what you've got against my father, Mr. Kent, but you're not the only one who holds a grudge against him, and probably with good reasoning. My name is Lex, not Lionel, Luthor, in case you missed that the first time. Your son obviously wants to keep the truck, so let him have it."
"It's just the Luthor that counts," Jonathan snapped, tossing the truck's keys into my hands. "You're not my son's mother, and you have no say in how we parent him. Clark is fifteen years old--"
"And old enough to get his permit if he goes through driver's ed. Then he can get his license and have his own truck already, saving you and Mrs. Kent from digging into your banks just to get him a car that won't run half the time anyways. This farm isn't exactly the Hilton, so I know you don't have the money to refuse my offer."
"John, I think we should just accept it. She's right," Martha stepped in, but it was obvious that Jonathan wasn't having any of it by his posture. His hands were on his hips, and he looked like he wanted to hit me. I turned to Clark, who was looking from me to his parents. I threw him the keys, turning to walk out of the barn.
"If you're not going to keep it, I'm not taking it back. If you don't want it, you're going to have to sell it." I have to admit that I got some pleasure from the scowl on Jonathan's face. "Bye, Clark. Feel free to drop by my mansion anytime you're in the neighborhood."
"Stay off of our property. Next time, I'm calling the authorities, Miss Luthor," Jonathan warned me. I got into the car and left, displeased with how the visit went. All I wanted to do was thank Clark for giving me the gift of life, and I was complicating things. Over the next few days, I tried to unearth the reason Jonathan Kent hated my bloodline, only finding out what he told me in the first place -- Lionel had bought off some of Jonathan's friends for their property. He couldn't be resentful enough to hold a grudge for twelve years over just that, could he?
I decided that a hot shower might help clear my thoughts. I rarely look at myself in the mirror when I'm not wearing a wig, but I did that day. My auburn locks I used to have in childhood were now replaced with a completely hairless scalp, making me look like an alien. I undressed, the rest of me being completely hairless at well, but I was picking at some of my faults. I had the best body I could possibly have, but nothing could ever make up for the fact that I'm bald. I'm different from most women, but men can't see past it. At least, not the ones I've dated. I got into the shower, and washed myself, taking longer than I should've and basking in the heat. I remembered what it was like when I was nine, being bored out of my mind when my dad brought me on some business deal in Smallville. I wandered off into a cornfield nearby, faintly hearing someone ask me for help. I only saw him for a second, a teenager stripped down to his boxers with a red 'S' spray-painted on his chest, before the meteors hit. One came right by us, burying me in debris. I assume the boy died. From that day on, I was hairless and completely healthy all the time. I didn't get hangovers, I didn't throw up, I didn't have my asthma anymore, and I didn't have hair.