The signs had all been there, and yet Martha had ignored them until they were staring her in the face tauntingly. When Lionel and her had begun ‘dating’ three years ago she’d known that there were still many things about himself that he kept secret from her, but she hadn’t minded, had been sure that in time he’d open up to her.
And he had—in most things.
Still, she’d trudged on in the relationship, accepting his proposal when he’d offered it and they’d been married two years already, two apparently blissful years in which she’d been Senator Luthor, mistress of Luthor Manor and stepmother to Lex.
So many good things had happened during those two years. Clark had gotten over Lana and started pursuing a surprised Lois, Lex and Clark had strengthened their friendship and surprised the world (or maybe not so much considering how much time they’d spent together) by coming out as a couple.
Martha had noticed the tension between Chloe and Lionel, but she’d always contributed it to the bad history they had between them. Lionel hadn’t been an angel in his past, he’d tried to kill both Chloe and Lex on separate occasions, and the redhead could accept that they wouldn’t be peachy and comfortable with each other.
But she’d first realized the truth of the matter during her first thanksgiving after being married to Lionel. Chloe and Lex had come over along with Clark and Lois, and Chloe had gone to the cellar to get them more wine while Lex was in the bathroom.
After a couple of minutes Lionel excused himself with a kiss to her cheek, and while everyone continued talking, Martha couldn’t help but feel that something was wrong. She’d excused herself and decided to go and help Chloe since the girl was taking so long, and as she entered the open wine cellar she’d heard the young blonde hissing something and Lionel answering in his suave voice.
She’d hidden behind some containers and watched as Chloe glared at Lionel.
“I don’t need your help choosing wines.” Chloe glared at Lionel, keeping said bottle between them protectively.
“Oh, yes, I remember teaching you the fine art of wine appreciation.” His lips curled as his eyes drank in her appearance. “I remember teaching you to appreciate other things as well.”
The blonde's gaze went towards the doorway and then at Lionel, as if calculating the chances of her making it out of there if she made a run for it.
“You were always such an eager little learner…” Lionel moved towards her, pushing her back against the wall and tore the wine bottle away from her, throwing it carelessly over his shoulder. “Is my son enjoying my leftovers?”
“Please, you give yourself too much credit, Luthor.” Chloe sneered, apparently unafraid and unaffected by his closeness. “You think you’re the grand Casanova, but you left A LOT of terrain for Lex to explore and master.”
He growled and advanced on her until his body was keeping hers pinned against the wall. “Sometimes I think you just anger me to end up in these sorts of situations, Miss Sullivan.”
“Don’t touch me.” Chloe growled as he chuckled and lowered his lips to her neck, nibbling on the flesh and tasting the skin.
“So salty…” He whispered hoarsely. “I miss that taste.”
“Get OFF of me!” She hissed, wriggling under him, trying to buck him off.
One of his hands trailed down between their bodies and disappeared under her dress, and Chloe froze, eyes wide in horror.
Lionel tsked wickedly. “You’re wet.”
“Yes, well, Lex was doing some pretty naughty things with his hand under the table.” Chloe spat back before reaching quickly for a wine from its holder and brought it down hard against the back of Lionel’s head, causing the glass container to burst and the elder man to cry out in pain.
Pushing him away, Chloe grabbed another wine bottle and hurried out of the cellar as if the devil were after her.
Martha remembered being shell shocked, and had stayed there immobile until Lionel, chuckling to himself, had picked himself up and left the cellar to change clothes—thankfully the door was still open and she didn’t stuck down there.
She’d returned to the table when she was able to walk again, and had looked at Chloe. A worried Lex was looking her over before glaring at his father---who was smirking in his corner.
Martha knew that she should talk to Lionel, let him know what she’d seen, but she was sure that now that Chloe had put him in his place he would leave her alone.
April of the next year she realized how wrong she’d been.
Martha had had a horrible day at the senate and she’d left early, surprised to find Lex’s jaguar in the driveway. Apprehension filled her soul because she knew that Lex and his father were barely civil, and ever since he and Chloe had decided to move in together three months back things had gotten even worse.
She’d hurried into the mansion towards the study, determined to get in between father and son if need be--but the words that left Lex’s mouth on the other side of the door stopped her.
“If you don’t leave her alone--.”
“You’ll what? Throw an even bigger temper tantrum than the one you’re throwing now?” Lionel’s disgust was obvious. “I don’t understand what she sees in you, Alexander. You’re a pathetic replacement.”
Martha’s hand went to her mouth to silence her gasp as she realized what exactly they were arguing about.
“Father.” Lex’s voice as strained. “You’re married to a wonderful woman, leave Chloe alone!”
“Of course I’m married to a wonderful woman.” Lionel snapped, making Martha feel a little better. “And I love Martha, but I also know that that doesn’t mean that I have to give up on Chloe either. One day she’ll realize that she downgraded when she got with you.”
There was the sound of something like a glass breaking. “Dammit father! Leave her alone! Stop trying to contact her at her work and at our home! We’re both SICK of it!”
“Are you frightened, Lex?” The sneer was audible. “Are you frightened that she’ll stop fighting and give into the inevitable?”
“I’m much rather fuck Chloe. Again.” There was a chuckle. “Careful Lex…we wouldn’t want you bruising your frail knuckles, would we?”
Martha had heard enough, and she knocked rapidly on the door and entered, an oblivious smile plastered on her face as she entered and looked at them. “Hey honey, Lex.”
“Martha.” Lex nodded.
“Martha.” Lionel stepped away from his son and came to her, placing a kiss on her temple. “You’re home early.”
“I had a headache.” Well, she had one now.
“I should be going.” Lex walked passed them in silence, disappearing out of the study.
Martha watched him going and turned to Lionel. “What was that about?”
“Nothing.” He smiled, lying to her face. “Nothing at all.”
A little after that Chloe was transferred to the British branch of the Daily Planet, and along with Lex she moved, a little too happily. With Chloe gone, Lois and Clark started to shine, and slowly became the star reporters at the place. They kept in contact with Chloe, and when she informed them of the fact that she was now engaged to Lex, Martha had felt overjoyed, not only because she knew that Chloe and Lex truly loved each other, but because she was sure that now that Chloe would soon officially be a Luthor, Lionel would have to forget all about his little fascination with her.
Again, she was content to lie to herself.
As soon as the news reached Lionel’s ears he suddenly had ‘an important business meeting’ in London, and he left on his private jet that very night. Martha told herself that he was truly going for business, told herself that he would in no way go to look for Chloe, told herself that even if he did, it would be to welcome the blonde into the family like his daughter.
The sad part was that she knew she was lying to herself.
The proof was when he returned the next morning with the temper of the devil himself. He made some excuse not to attend the ceremony when, two months later, Chloe and Lex were married in London, with Lois, Clark, Martha and other friends and family in attendance.
Martha remembered the look in Chloe’s eyes when she’d told her that Lionel wouldn’t be able to make it.
It’d been relief.
Chloe didn’t want Lionel.
At least Martha hadn’t been lying to herself about that.
The ceremony had been a small, intimate, beautiful one, and Martha had cried watching the two interchange rings and self-written vows. They truly were in love, and the redhead had no doubt that they’d be together forever.
And Lionel would get over his fascination with the bride.
He just had to.
But he hadn’t--which she realized a couple of months later when Chloe and Lex came to visit, sharing the news that the new Mrs. Luthor was expecting a baby.
Martha closed her eyes, remembering the conversation she’d spied on between Chloe and Lionel the first night they’d been back.
“How could you do this?” Lionel snapped at the blonde who’d been raiding the kitchen during the night. Martha had known that he would search Chloe out, so she’d pretended to be asleep and followed him out when he’d finally left their bed.
“I was hungry.” Chloe didn’t even look up at him from the fridge. “Being pregnant does that to a woman.”
He glared. “How could you allow him to touch you? Allow him to impregnate you with his inferior child?”
She whirled around at that, eyes flashing. “This INFERIOR CHILD is YOUR grandchild, and I will NOT allow you to speak about it like that!”
“Of course it is.”
“My husband’s!” She growled, irritated. “Lionel, I’m sick and tired of you. You took advantage of me when I was a minor and emotionally vulnerable. No you didn’t rape me, and yes I enjoyed it while it lasted, but I don’t want you anymore. I haven’t wanted you for a long time now.”
She narrowed her eyes when he opened his mouth to speak, and he surprisingly enough, closed his mouth once more. “I love your son. You wouldn’t understand the concept, but I adore him. He’s everything I ever wanted or needed in a man, both mentally, emotionally, physically and sexually. I don’t need or want you.”
She turned her back on him and pulled out a plate of cold turkey, leftovers from that night’s dinner. “Remember that DVD copy of us you sent me a year ago?” She shut the fridge door loudly. “I still have it, and that will be enough evidence against you—along with my testimony—to have you investigated for Statutory Rape.”
“They’d never convict me.” He announced, though visibly disturbed by what she’d said.
“They mightn’t.” She agreed. “But your reputation would be ruined, and so would Martha’s--and she’s up for reelection in a couple of months, isn’t she?”
He froze, horror crossing his face. “You wouldn’t dare hurt Martha.”
“I wouldn’t want to, no, I love that woman like my mother.” She admitted softly. “But I’ll do whatever it takes to get you to leave me alone. I will take this public if you don’t stay away from now on.”
And with that she walked off in the other direction and Martha had hurried to the bed and was pretending to be asleep when Lionel returned a little bit later.
She knew that Lionel hadn’t approached Chloe since then, but she knew that he thought of her, and more than once she wondered if he had many DVDs of their sexual encounters, and if he watched them when he left their bed every night when he thought she was asleep, but she didn’t want to know. She didn’t want to have to lie to herself more than she already was.
She’d never confronted him about it, it’d stopped now, and that was all that mattered. Time would erase all the ugliness and they’d be happy and in as perfect a marriage as a marriage could be.
In time she’d stop asking herself if it was her face or Chloe’s he saw when he came.
In time Lionel would completely erase Chloe’s face of memory from his mind.
In time Lex and Chloe would come to visit again, Chloe already close to her due date. They were having twins, a boy and a girl they planned on naming Julian Gabriel and Lillian Moira.
Martha sighed as she laid in bed, listening as once again Lionel arose and left the bed once he thought she was asleep.
In time Lionel would love Martha, and only Martha.
She closed her eyes.
…It would seem she still hadn’t stopped lying to herself.