The characters in this story do not belong to me. I'm making no money from this.
Author's note: I see a parallel between Fred's isolation, both in Pylea and directly after, and Clark's forced secrecy. Also, I remember fondly some conversations I'd had at my local coffee shop before it closed.
Martha sat, staring morosely into her coffee. With a quiet sigh, she surveyed her surroundings. The Saturday morning was quiet at the Talon with only two or three other customers, all but one of which Martha knew. Usually Martha took this time, after delivering her pies, to relax and enjoy the atmosphere before she had to return to the farm and her chores. Today she was too worried about her family to really enjoy her quiet time.
Clark and Jonathon had had another fight about Clark's friends and the need to keep his abilities a secret. Though Martha shared her husband's fears for their son, she knew that Clark would, one day, have to make a decision to trust people or be alone forever.
Martha sipped her coffee and looked up in time to see the slim stranger talking to Lana with a large smile and an even larger slice of pie. She couldn't help but smile as the girl began to eat the pie with gusto that was startling on some one so thin.
Going back to her coffee was almost like going back to her worries, but she couldn't seem to stop worrying over the best way to handle it. Side with her husband, and condemn Clark to a life a lies; or side with her son, and have to fear that he would trust the wrong person and be taken away.
A quiet, "Hi" was Martha's first clue that she was no longer alone with her thoughts. She looked up to see the girl that had been eating pie earlier. Automatically smiling to welcome the girl, she returned her greeting.
"I feel kind of silly now that I'm over here." The girl gave a nervous laugh. "I just wanted to say that you make the best pie I've ever had."
Glad for the break from her thoughts, and pleased by the compliment, Martha indicated the chair across from her. "Thank you. Have a seat. I'm Martha Kent."
"Fred Burkle, it's nice to meet you." She replied, as she pulled out the chair and sat. She looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "I hope I'm not bothering you, you looked kind of... broody. Something a complete stranger can help with?"
Martha was startled by the offer, but very tempted. Though well liked, she had few close friends in Smallville. What could it hurt? "Just worried about my family." Fred's intent expression encouraged her. "My husband, Jonathon, and son, Clark, are always fighting about Clark's friends. Jonathon thinks Clark is too trusting. He's a good boy but he's very determined to find the good in people that Jonathon doesn't think are trustworthy.
I'm worried that all this hounding about his friend will either drive Clark away from us or make him so hesitant about people that he won't trust anyone." As Fred frowned and nodded, Martha wondered what on earth she was doing unloading on a total stranger.
"I can understand why you're confused. It can be dangerous to trust people sometimes. A lot of them aren't very nice. But if a person doesn't ever trust people, then they go crazy and lock themselves in a room and write all over the walls and..." She stopped for a moment, seemingly embarrassed. Then continued with a grin. "Sorry, I babble. Anyway, my point is that your family should try to find a middle ground. Maybe if your husband and son sat down and talked about each of these people. Why they should or shouldn't be trusted, then they could work it out. One thing to remember is, that it's dangerous to dictate to a teenager, eventually they'll rebel... Listen, to me, talking like an expert." Fred laughed at herself. "I'm really not. I just remember going through similar things. I'm sorry, you probably want me to butt out."
"No, actually you were quite helpful. I'm not sure if I can get Jonathon to sit and talk rationally about some of Clark's friends, but I'll certainly try. Thank you for trying to help." Martha smiled at Fred and finished her coffee.
"No problem, it's the least I could do for some one that can make that good of pie."
Martha glanced up at the clock, I should really get going but... Deciding to talk for a little while longer, she waved to Lana to request a refill. " So what brings you to Smallville?"
"I'm driving to Texas to see some of my family. I actually took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up driving for nearly an hour before I could figure out what I'd done wrong..." Fred happily launched into her story and Martha sat back to enjoy a little uncomplicated company.