Chapter 4: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
"Martha," Mr. Jones said when his hostess for the evening opened the door. "You are looking lovelier than ever. How are you?"
"Just fine," Martha Kent said as she greeted her guest, received the flowers he offered, and ushered him inside the Kent home. "These are just beautiful. Thank you so much."
"You are most welcome," he replied.
"Well, let's have a look at you. Are you getting enough to eat with being on the road all the time?"
Mr. Jones laughed. "I think so Martha, although it is rare that I come across anything that makes me want to eat like your cooking does."
"Oh, you," Martha said with a wave of her hand. "Well, come on in and have a seat. I'm just finishing up dinner, or at least what will be left of it after Jonathan finishes his nibbling in there. Lana and Pete should be over in a bit. Clark had to, uh, run back down to the store, but he should be in soon too."
"Hi there," Pa said as he walked in from the kitchen with a half-eaten biscuit and a guilty smile. "Glad you could make it."
"Thanks for having me Jonathan."
"Oh, any time," Pa Kent said. "You know you're always welcome here."
Mr. Jones inclined his head slightly. "I do know that. And thank you for your hospitality. To someone away from home, it's ... most appreciated."
Pa smiled and showed Mr. Jones to a seat. As Martha returned to the kitchen to complete her meal, the two men sat and talked. Jonathan asked Mr. Jones the standard questions about his work and travel. The conversation was pleasant, although Jonathan couldn't help but notice that his guest, as usual, was not overly forthcoming on matters concerning himself. Mostly, Jonathan noticed, Mr. Jones asked about Clark.
"Clark certainly seems to have grown into a fine young man. Is he handling the transition to teenager all right."
"Does Clark seem to still be somewhat ... shy?"
"So you'd say that Clark is pretty happy?"
To all the questions, Jonathan would nod thoughtfully and smile, and generally answer that Clark was doing fine. A bump in the road, here and there, but mostly doing fine. Mr. Jones would answer that he was glad to hear it.
As both men enjoyed the crescendo of aroma emitted by Martha's nearly completed meal, Jonathan chuckled and said, "You know, I do believe that you're the first person I've seen in a year from outside Smallville who hasn't asked me a slew of questions about our celebrity resident."
Mr. Jones opened his mouth, then closed it. "Why, that's right," he said. "I haven't asked you about him, have I?" Mr. Jones shrugged. "I guess I'm just more interested in the people I already know."
Jonathan smiled. "Oh, that's fine. Nothing wrong with it. Just ... wondered why you weren't curious."
"Well," Mr. Jones said, "I am. Of course I am. Who wouldn't be? But ... well, I don't know. Guess I didn't want to seem rude. Talking about this Superboy instead of your own son might seem ... not quite neighborly."
Jonathan smiled. "Wouldn't have though anything of it," he said assuringly. "That Superboy is certainly something to talk about."
"I'm sure he is," Mr. Jones replied, then looked up at the sound of a knock at the door.
"Come on in," Jonathan called to Pete Ross and Lana Lang through the screen door. As he stood to welcome them, he added, "How you kids doing?"
"Just fine, Mr. Kent," they responded as they stepped inside. "Hi, Mr. Jones," the pair again said in unison.
"Lana, Pete," Mr. Jones said. "I see that Clark isn't the only one who's shot up since the last time I was here. You're both looking so grown up."
The two teens smiled. "Thanks," Lana said.
"Yeah," Pete said, "thanks."
They chatted a bit, and Ma stuck her head in from the kitchen to greet them. "Is Clark around?" Lana asked.
"Oh, no, no," Pa replied. "He had to ... run back down to the store for me."
"Oh?" Lana said. "That's funny. We just walked back from downtown. Superboy was bringing a gang of criminals into Chief Parker. We didn't pass Clark though. I can't imagine how we'd have missed him."
"Uh, well ..." Pa stammered.
"Well, I don't know ..." Ma said hesitantly.
A gleam suddenly appeared in Lana Lang's green eyes.
This time, she decided, she wasn't going to let them get away with it.
Clark was Superboy, and she was going to prove it.
|STRANGE VISITOR Copyright 2000 Samuel Hawkins.  All rights reserved. This story is neither authorized nor endorsed by DC Comics. Superboy and all related previously established characters are TM DC Comics & © DC Comics, Joanne Siegel, and Laura Siegel Larson.|