|Loving the Luthors - Episode 1|
|What: Leo and Fern have Lex over for dinner and a proper introduction between father and girlfriend.|
Leo relaxes in his apartment, some oldies music playing quietly in the background. The apartment is as clean as it typically is, the white design with the accents of black, red, and blue are vibrant against the white backdrop. Bandit lounges over Leo's lap happily on the couch they sit on, and honestly? Leo is watching Fern as she works in the kitchen that has never before been used. He is still waiting for his Father to show up, but he's enjoying the quiet time of just having Fern around in his personal space.
Fern sings along with the music, her voice lilting through air scented with roast beef, red wine, vegetables. She's well versed in making Sunday roast, having spent years helping her mother in the kitchen, and, while she's a little nervous this particular Sunday, it's turning out as well as she had hoped. It took some searching around, but she found everything she needed in the well appointed kitchen (and even some appliances she still can't identify).
Her boots tap lightly as she half dances from the sink to the oven, poking lightly at the resting meat with a fork, just enough to test it's tenderness. There was some dithering on what she'd wear, but Fern decided to just keep it simple. If Leo's father is going to like or hate her, it's going to be based on who she actually is and not something she puts on in hope of winning favor. She wears a simple sweaterdress, turquoise and black striped, with tights that match the turquoise. She looks over to Leo, smiling as she says, "Everything should be timed right."
Going off to a store in Upper Metropolis the wine selection greeted him. Paying for a 1500 dollar bottle of wine he smiled to the clerk then went off to Leo's place. He said to bring wine so it was going to be one of the best white wines he could find. Heading up to Leo's place Lex knocked at the door. He adjusted his white tie that matched his button up shirt and vest which was hidden by a black suit.
Pulling out his phone Lex checked the time. Along the way he did pick a single red rose. It was for Fern. While they had met before this was before she began to date his son. So he wanted her to feel welcomed into the family. Breathing out Lex waited for the door to open.
Leo chuckles, "I never knew cooking was such a fine art. I knew sushi was, Japan does like to make it an art form." It is about then that Leo hears his Father at the door. He pushes Bandit off whom is half hopping off himself to bark excitedly at the door and try to open it himself! "Good thing you aren't a guard dog Bandit." Leo rolls his eyes and moves to open the door.
Leo himself is in designer jeans and currently barefoot. He wears a tight black t-shirt that has print across the front, it reads: THE IN-LAW YOU WISH YOU HAD. Luckily it's mostly covered up by a stylish vest, a dark green in color. What is with Leo and his funky t-shirts lately? Sigh, fads....
Leo actually grins at seeing Lex, "Father." He slides a foot out to block Bandit from tackle licking his dad, before he reaches out to grab Bandit's collar and pull him back. "Calm down cowboy," teasing Bandit. "Anyway, I'd give you a hug, but both our hands appear full," humor in his tone. "Please, come on in." He waits till his Father steps inside to close the door behind him.
The timing couldn't be better, and Fern unties the apron from around her waist, putting it aside and quickly washing her hands to give father and son a moment to greet each other. And wrangle Bandit. She takes a deep breath, and turns to move from the open kitchen area toward the entryway, hanging back a few steps, politely. Their past meeting had been so brief that Fern hardly expects that Lex would even remember it; even she hadn't given it much thought at the time, not being particularly knowledgeable about the business world and the major players within. She'd offer to help with Bandit, but she's not quite sure yet that she wouldn't end up trampled by the gigantic pup.
"Son," Lex awkwardly hugged his son then went down to Bandit. The dog slobbered all over his face. Smiling Lex petted the dog, "Good Bandit. Who's a good boy? You are," he said in the typical dog-voice. The dog made the smile grow. Standing up "Ahhh. Fern. Giver of the great canolies has stolen my son's heart," walking toward the woman he handed her the rose. "For you," when she took it he gave her a hug then kissed her cheek, "Welcome to the Luthor family." His gaze went between the couple, "I will want to hear how you two met and how it changed from friends to lover." A few sniffs went into the air, "What is cooking today? It smells good. You two may spoil me this evening. My own cooks will need to be taught a few new recipes if it tastes half as good as it smells," he was being serious but the compliments were stretched out. Honestly this was new territory for Lex. Lionel Luthor wasn't one for family gatherings. So to have a family gathering now was a rare treat. Sure it was unconventional because it should have been Lex hosting a party instead of his son for their first big family meal, but beggars could not be choosers. "I brought a crisp white wine. I wasn't told of the entree so I hope this works," for a second his gaze shifted. He wasn't sure if the wine was a good move, but Lex was hoping to impress the pair as a unit. The role of father still had its surprises. Tonight was one of them.
Leo actually makes a choking laughter sound at Lex getting licked by Bandit. "You and Bart are the only ones that call him 'good boy' after he licks you in the face." But then he's blushing at Lex's words to Fern. Yep, totally blushing. He clears his throat, "Umm...roast, and it does smell good. Apparently if it isn't meat loaf, her mom knows how to cook, because she taught Fern."
Leo nods, "You have excellent taste Father," just not in women, totally not saying that now, teasing for later after liquor!!! Though he does look at the wine and make a sound of appreciation. "Did I say excellent? More like f'ing awesome taste." He really likes that white wine selection. And yes, he curbed his language in front of his Father.
But then he remembers, "Fern, my Father: Lex Luthor. Father, this is Fern Fiddlehead, and yes...as dramatic as you put it earlier, it is true, the woman that stole my heart."
Fern steps forward easily, smiling warmly at Lex as she accepts the rose, then the hug and kiss to the cheek. "It's wonderful to get to properly meet you, Mr. Luthor, Leo talks about you so often. Thank you," she adds with a nod to the rose, "That's very thoughtful." Leo's comment about the meatloaf earns him a pointed look, then a wrinkled nose. "She makes a darned good meatloaf, there's just something wrong with your tastebuds." The words are light and teasing, and she ducks her head to sniff the rose and hide the light blush that surfaces at the 'dramatic' introduction. "Leo, if you'd like to hang up your father's coat, I'll get out the corkscrew and you can pour a glass of wine before dinner?" It's sort of a half question, half statement, and she's already turning to hunt up the corkscrew.
Catching himself from yelling at Leo for the language Lex remembered this was not his home and that meant these weren't his rules. Seeing how the pair bickered about Meatloaf made him smile. He took off his coat then handed it to Leo, "Do as the Queen wishes son or else the King will be unhappy later." A wink went to Leo as Dad's comments were lighthearted and teasing. It was weird to see his son so well adapted to life. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine Leo being so acclimated to life. The routine, everything that came with just living, Leo was doing. "Where can I sit?" he looked at the pair not sure when Dinner was to be set or what protocol they had established. Right now this was Rome and as the old saying held true, Lex was just going to follow the lay of the land.
Leo rolls his eyes, "Yes your majesty," teasing Fern playfully, but he goes to hang up his dad's coat. Leo also had a lot of help from Fern and Emma, and he still has his moments with issues of living daily life, where he sticks out badly. But he has adapted much and is proud of his own achievements. Leo then asks Fern, "Counter or couch? I don't care." Leo never really eats at home, so not like he had a normal kitchen table or dining room table installed. But his counter is set up to eat at with stools and is shockingly elegant and beautiful. Leo made sure he had some place semi-official just in case with the designer of his apartment. And on either side, there is room for two each, a total of four.
There's a soft laugh at the teasing from both the Luthor's, Fern's voice floating back, "Finally, the respect I deserve." She thinks she remembers seeing a corkscrew in one of the drawers, so she starts there, and it only takes her three tries to find it. Leaving it on the counter, she turns to put water in a glass, giving her rose a temporary home, then gets three wine glasses down from the rack. "I think the counter? The meat is just resting, gravy and potatoes are done, so we can eat whenever you both want. It won't hurt it to set a few more minutes, either." She leans, her eyes settling on Lex, "Is that alright, Mr. Luthor?" If he has a preference, she'll happily go along with that, too.
Waving a hand toward Fern Lex shook his head, "Quite alright if it waits for a moment. " Sitting on the couch Lex smiled as bandit join him. Petting the dog, "Hey boy, I missed you too." A smile was on his face. "How long have you two been living together?" Petting underneath the dog's chin he was just happy to be part of a functioning family for the moment. Breathing out he just stretched, "I wanted to talk to the two of you about something. Leo, you need a vacation and you're taking Fern with you. All expenses paid the two of you. I was thinking Hawaii or someplace warm with beaches. If need be it can be on a private plane so Bandit can be with the two of you. Penthouse suite, the full nine yards."
Waiting a few moments he spoke, "Leo you have done a lot of work for Lexcorp. This is your reward for learning so much so quick. And sometimes you need to recharge your personal battery. This is me giving you that opportunity many workers would kill for." His green eyes shifted to Fern, "And you have the important task to make sure he actually enjoys his vacation as it's meant to. He is -not- to go any Hawaiian LexCorp facilities," his smile pulled at his lips. Now he was waiting for shocked reactions and ones of protest depending on who was going to ask him what.
Bandit is someone that Leo keeps an eye on so he doesn't try and topple his Father, but over time, Bandit starts to calm down. He does hop onto Lex's poor slack covered thighs though with wagging tail for pettings! He pants happily and barks at the personalized greeting.
Leo soon heads to the open kitchen to start prepping the wine and setting the table, "Huh? Vacation? But I still haven't even been able to operate without my tutor at my position." The tutor has already admitted he is almost at his limit, Leo is a sponge for knowledge and a dedicated worker. To Leo, stealing an afternoon away or single day is one thing, but something a couple days long? He studied the weirdest stuff in Japan to keep himself entertained...then again, he would have Fern with him.
Bandit would love the beach and it isn't like Leo can just fly with him off to places for a day..., but that isn't the point! "Wait...Fern would have to take vacation herself, and...when does the shooting start Fern?" Leo is so lost. He likes the idea, but he isn't sure how practical it is. Leo gets a little lost when he closes control over a situation, which is easy to do with his Father, though no hard feelings. He looks over at Fern to see how she feels about the idea, as if to use it as guidance to straighten out his mixed feelings of 'want' verse 'should'.
Something in particular Lex says widens Fern's eyes for a moment, and she's quick to speak up, "We aren't living together, sir." Unless he meant Leo and Bandit? But if Lex had paid attention to his own surveillance on his son, he would know that Leo is often too busy for him and Fern to get much 'quality time' together. And she doesn't hang out at his apartment like it's a coffee shop when he's not home.
The offer of vacation time with Leo would solve that problem, except she doesn't think he'd settle for very long even on vacation. And then there's the issue Leo himself brings up, and Fern's lips press together in a regretful frown. "I'm supposed to fly out next week for my scenes, and that'll be two weeks." But it is in Hawaii, and Leo did say he'd come visit if he had time. "It's such a generous offer, Mr. Luthor, thank you so much. I'm afraid that it's something I can't reschedule." One doesn't reschedule Spielberg, he reschedules you. Hey, it's Lex's fault, anyway.
"I mean when it works in your schedules. This is not like that Eddie Money song. Within the next few months you two determine when works. Then the two of you head out to vacation, ignore the world, focus on the two of you and relaxing," Lex explained trying to smooth it all over. Yes Fern had some movie things to work out thanks to Lex pitting producers and directors against one another for fabricated buzz on her. Now said fabrication has turned into something tangible. Sometimes things just needed a little push.
Looking to Leo, "Same to you, but she is the Queen and I can control your schedule," Lex gave a devious grin. The joys about being the head of your own company, you had the ability to do what you wished to any employee when it came to scheduling. When Fern's scheduled lessened, Leo was going to be on a vacation.
Oh ya! That question! "Oh, ya, that be awkward. Live with me, then go to work at Hammer's office." Leo winces a bit at that image. Ironically, Dad did remove the surveillance, supposedly! In either case! A quiet hrm..., "In either case, depending if you can get the time off, you can extend your vacation in Hawaii, and later fly back with me and Bandit," Leo suggests when Lex clarifies how much time they have. "I'd need to take school work with me, but a lot of the office stuff I can do via video conference and E-Mail, and my assistant," really his tutor, "Can handle the rest that needs taken care of in person." He has come to appreciate the man's knowledge and skill. "Be nice not to be on a schedule and have to feel like we are stealing time," Leo confesses.
Leo's mention of Hammer is edited out by Fern's brain, as she's taken to doing whenever that name comes up. Not that it happens often. They've cleared up that Leo won't push the issue of her quitting her job, although it's something that's been on Fern's mind lately. And if this dinosaur movie turns out to be her break, the point would be moot anyway. There's mild surprise in her eyes at Leo's suggestion, she wasn't really expecting him to agree to being away for any length of time. "I'd like that," she agrees softly.
"Then it's settled. Fern, keep me in the loop with your schedule," his gaze went back to the kitchen. A hand gestured back to the roast. Time needed to pass before they were able to eat the roast. Some time did pass, "Leo you and I will agree to disagree about what you will and won't be taking with you." The pair were going to be divided about workloads. Sometimes Leo worked too much and this was coming from Lex Luthor, the man that had a sleeping quarters in his own office building.
Leo rolls his eyes at Lex's words. "Thanks 'dad'." But he's hiding a smile. But he then nods, "Table all set," and he goes to pour the wine, getting that set up, so that Fern can then start serving the food. Here is a slight smile to his mouth however, but this one is more of a content one. He has 2 of the people he loves most in the world with him right now, so he is starting to relax.
"I will, sir, thank you," Fern allows with a smile to Lex. She'll let them squabble over what Leo may or may not be bringing on the trip, she's just happy at the prospect of more than a few stolen hours. Although, it may be the chance for Leo to see just how boringly normal she is. But hopefully the exotic scenery of the 50th state will help spruce up Fern's crushing normalcy.
She bustles into the kitchen to plate the roast and vegetables, get the potatoes and gravy ready to go while the men get themselves situated. The roast is so tender that no carving is needed, she just shreds come pieces with a couple of serving forks, then leaves them on the plate. Everything gets put onto the counter, their pseudo-dining room table for the meal. "Leo didn't mention if you are allergic to anything," Fern notes, suddenly concerned that she didn't think to ask.
"No food allergies Fern," Lex said said then his green eyes roam over all the goodies. The roasted potatoes, veggies, the meat that fell off the bone it reminded him of Sunday Dinners he had at a young age. For a brief moment he was transferred back into another time and place. Holding his head down Lex began to speak with his head bowed low, "Dear Lord we thank you for the bounty we are to receive, Amen." Again he was taken to another time and place. Waiting to eat Lex handed his plate over to whoever was serving the goodies. "I'll say when." He gestured when it was done. Taking a couple of bites he nodded with approval, "Don't lose this one Leopold. She's quite good in the kitchen," the roast continued to keep him in that other time and place.
Alright, Leo double taked at that! He doesn't remember ever hearing his father pray before. He looks curiously at his Father, but doesn't say anything about it. He makes sure he is out of the way as self-serving isn't something he is familiar with, and let's Fern handle it all. When everyone is settled, Leo indulges in a sip of wine first (shame on him!). But he then takes a bite of the roast and blinks, "It is really good, point taken." He then winks at Fern. "Who knew, to gain his undying approval, you only had to cook for him Fern," teasing his paramour.
Fern ducks her head dutifully for the prayer; even caught off guard, some habits die hard. Her soft, "Amen." echoes Lex's, and there's a smile for them each as she looks up, quickly dishing everything out, looking pleased at the praise. "Every woman ever born, Leo. It's well known that the way to any man's heart is through his stomach. I have to admit though, Mom never puts wine in while the roast is cooking. I learned that one from my old boss, Julius, at Anita Bella." The man and his wife both have a talent for cooking, which is one of the reasons the little restaurant still does so well, in this time of little businesses being shut out by more and more chains.
Holding out his glass Lex wanted some of the wine. He saw the liquid slid down into his glass. Taking a few more bites of his meal, the wine chased it down. A satisfied "Mmmm," left his lips. "It's a trade secret amongst women but a well-known one son." A smile was on his face as everything was savored. "Tonight is turning out to be a perfect evening."
Wine provided for anyone that wants more with ease, that is something Leo can do, even if something natural like self-serving is weird for him. Leo nods at Fern, "I remember left overs from Anita Bella, I really should just go there sometime," Leo admits. "Their food was good." Leo then chuckles, "Like that saying Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars? I do believe it was a book title." But he does nod in agreement with his Father about a perfect evening.
Although they don't talk about it much, Fern has the distinct impression that the apple didn't fall far from the tree where the Luthor men are concerned, which means that Leo got his compulsion to over-work from his father. So the fact that she not only got them both to sit down for Sunday dinner, but that both seem to be thoroughly enjoying it is exactly what she had hoped for. Working hard is all well and good, but time still needs to be taken to relax and enjoy life every now and then. Still, she has to ask between bites, "When's the last time you made it away for a vacation, Mr. Luthor?"
Looking at his son he shrugged a little, "Sort of." Then Fern's question followed. Running his hands through his bald head he had to think about it, "I haven't in quite some time. No one good to go with. With Leo having his own life we can't exactly go to Disneyland together. So it would be a matter of finding my answer to the lovely 'Fern.'" For a split second his face frowned then he shook, "I'm too busy anyway. Being a super-hero, inventor, CEO, it's hard to take a vacation. Leo is more poised to do it as he has less, though not many, responsibilities."
"I think Japan was more of a working vacation, I suppose one calls them." Leo shrugs slightly. "Yes, so few," he says with a smirk. "My studies, a full-time job, and superheroing as well."
Bandit comes up to where Leo sits on the stool and whines for attention. Instictively, Leo reaches out to scratch behind the dog's ears with his free hand. "Plus responsibilities at the club, though surprised Emma did not yell at me for bailing from the party. Then again, I distinctively remember Namor flying off with her," Leo states with humor, "So she cannot scold me for much the same she did." Responsibilities there too, more than most normal teens.
Being a casual kind of girl, Fern doesn't really think about it when she uses her fork (not with anything on it!) to jab lightly in the air toward Lex. "Maybe busy, but if you don't take time to recharge and take care of yourself, even if it's just a long weekend, then you may burn yourself out. Even Einstein took vacations," she says, with authority. She has no idea if Einstein took vacations. She huffs lightly as Leo leaves one or two things out of his list of responsibilities, "And a dog. And a girlfriend." The two most important things! But, for some reason, she quiets as Leo mentions disappearing at the Hellfire Party. Boy this roast is good.
"True but getting in armored suit, being able to hit the Hulk with every ounce of strength is relaxing when you're not worried about crushed beneath green fists. I'm fine," Lex knew he probably wasn't. However Vacations lost their luster when they became sight seeing with no one to enjoy them with. Smirking at Leo, "Fern has a point. They are your first priority next to a child," he gave Leo a nod then ate his food. Right now Lex did think of seeing the Grand Canyon but maybe one day, just not today.
Leo actually starts laughing at Fern lecturing his Father. "Well, yes, but I don't consider you two responsibilities, but more like gifts." He smirks a bit at Fern as he takes another bite of food followed by some wine. "Mmmmm, maybe you aren't worried about it, but I always worry about you when you go out as Iron Patriot, Father." Leo then shrugs a bit and looks down at Bandit, "So apparently you're my baby, baby." Bandit just barks happily and wags his tail!
Leo has earned an adoring smile with his words, despite the smirk that follows them, and Fern wrinkles her nose, this time in a good way. She falls silent for a moment when they talk about 'the suit'. She'd only just read about it, and can't really claim to be surprised by the news. After all, Leo is out there superheroing, it only makes sense that his father would be the same kind of person. Instead of commenting on that, she waits until Leo talks to Bandit, then says, almost too casually, "It's never too late to take your kid to Disneyland." Just sayin'.
All of the worries about the suit didn't go unnoticed, "It's expensive rage therapy sometimes." Breathing out once, "I would like to go to Disney if you two want to go with me? A fun and a informal family vacation in the traditional sense. How about it? Vacation with the Luthors?" It felt odd for him to say out the last name like it was a sitcom family comedy name.
"Huh? You are kidding right...," Leo hopes so! Disneyland?! And then his father jumps on the bandwagon! Leo groans a bit, "If it makes you two happy. And I highly suggest against the reality show." Oh, now THAT is an idea people!!!
Fern can't help but grin at Leo's reaction, yet still manages to look pleased with herself. "And there's no business allowed in the Magic Kingdom," she cautions them both lightly. "I think getting you both away from it for a little while is a fantastic idea. All work and no play..." The thought trails off, they can finish it themselves, and she tucks back into her meal for a few moments, letting 'the boys' chew on the idea.
"Agreed. Just say when," Lex was quick to toss his name into the vacation hat while he finished up his meal. Taking more drinks of his wine. Tonight was a good night, "And no reality shows. I refused to see the Luthor name to become on par with Kardashians. 'Loving the Luthors' will not be a reality." His green eyes rolled as he looked at the group.
Leo chokes on a bit of laughter, "Oh no, I doubt it be called that. Maybe it would be called, The Throne of Luthors," making a terrible pun over The Throne of Swords. "Fern, you totally owe me by the way," for the Disneyland trip!! Really?! Can't they like...throw a LexExpo or something instead?
Fern's blue eyes roll, and she slips to her feet, "Don't look at me, I despise reality shows. When I make it, it's going to be because of what I can do, not just because I'm willing to have a camera on me all the time." She even shudders, repulsed by the very thought. "Anyone want seconds?" is asked as she collects her empty plate. "But, it's only fair to warn you that I've made a peach cobbler for dessert, so you may not want to fill up."
"I'm quite full thank you. And I wouldn't dream of seconds now that peach cobbler is on the horizon." Lex smiled then started to gather the plates of anyone who was done, left overs were scooped into Bandits bowl. Any looks tossed at Lex just earned a smile, "He's a growing boy." From there he set the plates in the sink and he sat down in the chair. "Thank you so much for this evening once again." Really it was a treat, a family get together that was heartfelt and nostalgic all at the same time. Money couldn't buy that no matter how hard anyone tired.
"Yes, totally growing." Leo rolls his eyes at that. The Great Dane is full-sized Dad!!! But he's hiding another smile. "And I'm fine Fern, thank you. It was delicious." And cleaning up after meals...epic fail for Leo! But he can at least rinse off and put on the dish washer! Maybe not properly, as women usually have this thing about how the dishes go into dishwashers, who knows if Fern is like that yet! "Want me to help with cleanup for dessert to be served?"
Fern moves to take the dishes from Leo, turning to put them with the ones Lex had gathered, then pops up onto her toes to give the young Luthor a quick peck on the cheek. "Go sit with your father, I'll do the dishes. It'll just take a minute to get them put away, and then we can relax a little before dessert." She leans in again, voice lower, as she adds, "I'm happy that you two have gotten over your disagreement." Although they haven't talked about it, it's pretty obvious whatever rift happened has been smoothed. Fern reaches for a dish towel and swats at Leo lightly, "Be manly men. I'll be right out." Grinning, she turns to the dishes, letting father and son and dog have some time to themselves.