"Tess, that's enough. I'm shipping you off to Smallville."

With these words, Lionel Luthor turned his back on his only daughter, and because of Lex's foolish drinking habits, his only child.

Tess took her bag and went to her car. She drove toward Smallville, more frustrated than she had ever been. Her father was a bastard and she knew it, but she was 17, and she didn't think that he would have actually sent her to Smallville. Yet, here she was driving toward the Kansas town, whose only recognition was "Meteor-Capitol of the World". She turned up the music and was humming along to the newest White Snake single, when she found herself speeding toward a dark-haired farmboy that was leaning against the railing. She tried to stop but couldn't and seemed to watch as if from outside her own body as she hit him and crashed through the guardrail. She felt herself sigh in relief as her seatbelt stopped her from slamming her head against the dashboard. She watched in shock as the farmboy she had hit, who seemed unhurt, tore her car roof apart as if it were made of paper. She saw her shock reflected in his eyes as he quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and pulled her to the surface.

She found herself gasping for air, and it was several minutes before she could say anything. She took another breath and finally found herself able to speak.

"You saved my life"

"It was nothing", he replied, his face reddening slightly. Tess could tell he was embarrassed and decided not to press him.

"I'm Tess Mercer", she said and they shook hands.

"I'm Clark Kent", he said and she was surprised to see that he had the most blue eyes she had ever seen.

Tess was wondering what to say next, when a blond farmer who appeared to be in his late forties, ran up to Clark and wrapped a towel around him.

"Who was the maniac driving that car?" he asked, obviously irritated.

"That would be me, sir. Tess Mercer.", she said extending her hand.

"Jonathan Kent and this is my son Clark", he said, shaking her hand.

"We've met; you've got a remarkable boy there Mr. Kent."

Jonathan nodded, his eyes full of loathing, while Clark just blushed.

One of the paramedics came over, and told Tess she was free to go. She nodded at Jonathan, smiled at Clark, and walked over to where a black limousine with LL on the front was waiting for her. She grimaced, hating to take anything of her father's, but she didn't have much choice. The driver opened the rear door of the limo for her, and she got in.

Back at the crash site, Jonathan watched Tess drive off. Or rather, be driven off, he thought with a bitter taste in his mouth. The Luthors were always thinking they were better than everyone else just because they had more money. Tess was just like her father, regardless of whether she called herself Mercer or Luthor.

Clark meanwhile was watching Tess drive off with a mixture of sadness and fear roiling in his gut. He felt he had seen an angel, and then she was gone. On the other hand, she knew his secret, and if she was anything like her father he could be in real trouble. His parents had always told him to keep his secret just that, a secret, and he hadn't even told Pete or Chloe, his two best friends. He decided that he would just try and avoid her, even though that was really the last thing he wanted to do. After all, if he never saw her, what could she do?

But Clark did see her again. That night, he had the dream he'd had for years about Lana, but instead of him kissing Lana, he was kissing Tess. He heard, as if from afar, a loud beeping. Clark woke up, and found himself floating in the air. Suddenly, he fell and swore as he hit the bed. It didn't hurt; as far as he knew he was invulnerable, but he would have to get a new bed, and that was the third one this month. His parents weren't going to be happy.

"Clark are you ok?" he heard his mom call from the bottom of the steps. Clark shook his head slightly as a smile formed on his lips. He was invulnerable to pretty much everything, and his mom still asked if he was alright when she heard him fall. It didn't matter how many times this happened, she still acted like it was the first. He guessed some things would never change, regardless of whether he was invulnerable or not.

"I'm fine mom!" he called down, and he heard her sigh in relief. In thirty seconds he had changed into his usual blue t-shirt, jeans, and red jacket and was downstairs sipping milk from the carton.

"Clark Hiram Kent, how many times have I told you not to drink milk out of a carton?", he heard his mother say from behind him. He quickly put it back in the fridge, and hugged his mother. She glared at him, but he could tell she was fighting a smile. He heard the back door open, and saw his father walk in, straw stuck in his hair.

"Have you done your chores yet?", his father asked him, and Clark ran out, and did his chores, and was back before his father had poured his coffee.

"Done", Clark said, and Jonathan couldn't help but smile. Clark heard kids laughing and realized he had just missed the bus. Picking up his bookbag, he hugged both his parents' goodbye, and ran through old man Miller's cornfield to Smallville High. He was standing there waiting when Chloe and Pete got off the bus. Pete looked annoyed; he couldn't figure out how Clark could miss the bus and still beat them to school. Chloe, just raised her eyebrows, wondering how long it would take for her to uncover the truth. As editor for the Torch, the school newspaper, she had made a habit out of solving mysteries in Smallville, and if there was ever a mystery, it was Clark Kent.

The rest of Clark's day was uneventful, unless he counted Chloe's constantly asking him for an interview about saving the new Luthor in town. He headed home, and was surprised to find a new red truck in the driveway.

"Nice truck mom. Who's is it?", he asked as he walked over to his mother. She didn't answer just handed him a note. Dear Clark, it read, drive safely always in your debt, the maniac in the Porsche. He smiled, and looked at his mother wondering whether or not she had the keys, but she just shook her head and motioned toward the barn, where he could hear his father grinding grain. He shook his head; he should've known the truck was too good to be true. He walked into the barn, and without looking up, his father turned off the grinder.

"I know how much you want it Clark, but you can't keep it."

"Dad, I saved Tess's life."

"So you think you're entitled to a reward?"

"No, look how about you take the new one, and I can drive the old one; then everybody wins."

"It's not about winning Clark, it's about doing the right thing"

I know dad, but I didn't ask for the truck, it was a gift, so why can't I keep it?"

"Clark, I don't want you having anything to do with Lionel Luthor.

"So that's what this is about, you're blaming Tess for what her father's done?"

"No, I just want you to know where the money came from that bought that truck."

Clark just nodded, knowing that nothing he did would change his father's mind.

"All right dad, I'll take the keys back."

Jonathan nodded and tossed his son the keys, and before he could blink, Clark was racing toward the mansion.

"Hello?", Clark called as he walked through the mansion. He continued down the hall, and still couldn't find anyone. He had just about decided that he'd better try again later, when he heard what sounded like swords. Walking quickly toward the sounds, he saw two people fencing in the middle of a large, opulently furnished room that looked like an office. One of the fencer's suddenly broke through the other's guard, and tapped him lightly on the chest. Taking off her mask, Tess looked at Clark, and for a minute all Clark could do was stare at her. Then realizing that he was being rude, he cleared his throat.

"Tess, if this is a bad time, I can come back later."

"Not all , I think John has sufficiently kicked my ass for today." She nodded to her partner, who left.

"What can I do for you Clark?", Tess asked as she went to the fully stocked bar and opened a sparkling water. She didn't drink, not after Lex's own drinking problems had caused him to die an early death.

"Well, it's about the truck", Clark said, unsure where to begin. He didn't want to appear rude and offend Tess.

"What's the problem, wrong color?", Tess asked as she took a swig of water.

"No, it's just my dad won't let me keep it"

"You don't have to say anything else Clark, I understand. He doesn't trust my father, and he figures that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

"I don't feel that way"

"Tell your dad to keep the truck", she said, and was surprised to see Clark's face grow even more worried.

"Clark, what's wrong?"

"Tess, we need to talk about what happened on the bridge"

"I'll admit I'm curious; how were you able to rip my car roof apart like it was paper?"

"I came to Smallville during the last meteor shower. My parents adopted me, and as I got older, I found out that I was stronger than the average person, and I'm a good deal faster too."

Clark knew he was fudging the truth a bit, but he wasn't lying, at least not technically. He didn't want Tess freaking out because he was an alien; after all he was taking a big risk just telling her the truth.

Tess just stood there, and wondered if maybe being shipped off to Smallville wasn't so bad after all.