Lex was incredibly smart, but in regards to maturity, was very much an 8-year-old.
"...It was a winter house such as some field mice moved to when...fart." Lex giggled.
"Alexander, please stop doing that. Read it correctly." He was reading random words that began with the letter "F" as the word "fart."
"It was a winter house such as some field mice moved to when...fart." He laughed even harder this time.
"Alexander, read it correctly. You have to read this chapter and you still have fraction homework after this." She had heard whispers that Lex would be going to boarding school the following year and Lionel had his sights set on one in Massachusetts. Pamela wondered if Lex was up to it.
"It was a winter house such as some field mice moved to when...fart." Lex erupted into laughter.
"Lex," Pamela said. His nickname actually carried more weight than his full name.
"Nooo!" he yelled, then grabbed the book and threw it across the room.
"Go get the book now!" Pamela said firmly. Lex just whined and squirmed.
"I don't want to."
"Go get the book, Alexander," Pamela commanded. Lex ignored her.
"Let's read this one," he said cheerily, grabbing another book in the stack. He opened it up and began reading. "Dear Teacher: This book is designed to introduce your young students to the world of basic arithmetic in preparation for the abstract mathematics they will explore in the future."
"Alexander, put the math book down and go get the Rats of NIMH. If I have to tell you one more time, you're on television restriction for the rest of the week." Lex wagged his head.
"My dad said that you can't put me on TV restrictions because this is his house and not yours." They just stared at each other.
"Lex, go get it."
"Nooo," he yelled and punched her in the arm.
"That's it," she said. She grabbed both of his wrists and pinned them together and took him over to the discarded book on the other side of the room. Mid-trip he began screaming at the top of his lungs, but she didn't relent. Then he kicked her in the leg, sending them both crashing to the floor, with Lex underneath.
"Little imp," Pamela murmured under her breath while rubbing her sore leg. Lex scowled at her then went running. After picking herself up, she walked to the door to see a flash of red that could barely be seen above the banister whizzing up the stairs. The red flame was screaming bloody murder.
Pamela made her way up the stairs behind him. When she finally reached Lillian's bedroom, she saw Lex cuddled in her arms in a chair by the window. She couldn't imagine what tale he had conjured up. Lillian was speaking.
"Now stop crying. I'm sure Pamela didn't mean to fall on you. She was just trying to help you with your homework. I can't help you with it all the time, Lex." Lex looked up sniffling. "Now tell Pamela you're sorry." Lex started whining again.
"But she called me a demon child." Lillian turned to Pamela.
Pamela came close to lying, but as strong as that fortress of a house was, the walls were paperthin. She wasn't liked among the staff, and had even overheard the maid call her the "house-slave." If she lied, more than a few would be breaking their necks to tell the true story.
"I might have called him an imp," she said finally. Lillian raised one eyebrow.
Pamela couldn't believe it. She was being vindicated!
"Lex," Lillian said, a little sterner.
"I'm sorry Pamela," Lex said through renewed sobs.
"For?" Lillian asked.
"For keep saying fart."
"And?" Lillian goaded.
"For hitting you."
"I forgive you Alexander." Pamela said, with a bit of a chuckle.
"Now go to your room and I'll join you shortly to finish up your reading," Lillian said. Lex walked towards the door and Pamela followed behind him. "Can I speak to you a moment, Pamela?" Pamela turned around. Lillian waited until Lex was gone. "I think you owe Lex an apology as well."
Pamela was stunned.
"Excuse me?" she asked. On several occasions, Lionel, and on the rare occasion Lillian, had called Lex much worse. They knew he could be provoking.
"You know you are not permitted to use corporal punishment with him." Lillian said.
"And I don't," Pamela replied.
"He told me you grabbed him and drug him across the room."
"I walked him over to the book, Lillian. It's not like I spanked him. I bet he didn't tell you he kicked me."
"He told me he hit you."
"And kicked me," Pamela insisted.
"He is the child, you are the adult. Even when he's out of control, you have to stay in control. You owe him an apology."
"Lillian!" Pamela was in disbelief, "You tell me to be consistent with him and enforce a standard of conduct. But whenever I get firm, all he has to do is run up here screaming and everything I've done gets cancelled out. If I go in there and apologize, he's going to think he was correct."
They heard a call from the hallway. It was Lionel. He busted into the room.
"Lillian, how are we ever - " He saw Pamela. "What's going on?" Pamela gave Lillian a look that pleaded for mercy. Lillian looked firmly at Lionel.
"Lex came in here crying because Pamela roughhoused him. I believe she owes him an apology," Lillian said. Lionel's head snapped to Pamela.
"An apology?" he snorted. He moved towards Pamela stopping inches from her face. "I'd dismiss you immediately, if Lex wasn't so..." he paused for effect, "so inexplicably attached to you," he said. The words cut Pamela like a rapier. "But let me make myself very clear, Ms. Jenkins. If I learn that you have laid a finger on Lex to even brush a gnat away, you will rue the day we met. Do you understand?"
Pamela turned to Lillian, whose face was an impossible mix of pride and guilt. She looked back at Lionel.
"I understand very well." she said, and left the room.
She passed Lex in the hallway.
"I can't breathe," she heard him whine as he entered his parents bedroom.
She jogged down the stairs, through the corridor, past the cellar and out the back door, grabbing her keys and purse as she went. She picked up speed as she flew through the gardens towards the townhouses. She reached her door, and fumbled with her keys for what seemed like an eternity before going in. She dropped her keys and purse on her couch and marched onward to her room. She paused in the doorway a moment and scanned the room, breathing heavy.
She collapsed on her bed and wept.
She was in the exact same spot when she was awoken by the sound of a knock at the door. She fought her groggy haze and looked over at her alarm clock. It was 2 in the morning. She cleared her throat and rubbed her eyes as she made her way to the door. It was probably George the groundskeeper. He was sane, but had a touch of paranoia, and twice had knocked on her door in the middle of the night asking if she had heard anything. She rose on the tip of her toes and looked out the peephole. She could scarcely believe her eyes.
It was Lillian.
"Hold on," she yelled, running back to her room. She took off her clothes and put on a gown and robe, before returning to the door. She opened it.
"Hello," Lillian said. "I couldn't sleep. How about you?"
"Actually, I was doing pretty well. Did you need anything?" Pamela replied. Lillian shifted her eyes.
"I don't like the note we ended on today," she said. If she thought that was supposed to lead to some bear hug, Pamela thought, she was wrong. "And," Lillian continued, "I just wanted to see if you were offended."
"Today was certainly a revelation," Pamela said.
"Lionel can be very..." she groped for the word, "passionate." Pamela was almost amused by her word-choice. She was thinking something along the lines of cruel, hateful, proud and malicious. "But you know that we love Lex very much and struggle to find that right balance between discipline and limits and encouragement and inspiration."
"You know, Lillian, I don't what you're getting at, but tomorrow's my day off and I'm gonna need it. So if there's nothing else."
Lillian turned to leave but stopped.
"I'm sorry, Pamela," she said.
Pamela nodded, reassuringly she hoped. Lilian left. Pamela watched her as she made her way back to the mansion.
She closed the door and locked it. She glanced at a candid shot of herself with the Luthors that she had framed on the table. She picked it up, walked over to a drawer and placed it inside.
The apology had soothed some of her hurt. But it could never dull the barbed sharpness of what she had learned that day.
She wasn't one of them. She never would be.
She never forgot again.
Please post a comment on this story.
Title: Upstairs, Downstairs
Author: Marisol [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | G | gen | 8k | 03/18/04
Characters: Lionel, Lillian, Lex, Pamela
Summary: She isn't one of them. She never will be.
Notes: Pre-Smallville. But uses information from the episode Crush.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Not mine.
Feedback: I fiend for it.
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