By Lynda Love(Rxiris@aol.com)
Summary: After a car accident threatens Lois' life, Clark feels an urgency to share his secret with her.
Author's note: This story is set shortly after "The Phoenix." This story also assumes "Top Copy" did NOT air.
"Clark, I love you."
Clark smiled. He'd been hearing those words with an enjoyable frequency lately.
"Lois, I love you too."
Lois glanced at him quickly, then returned to concentrate on her driving.
"Too bad your source didn't pan out."
"Well, tomorrow morning we'll hit our other leads. I know we'll find a way," Lois said.
Clark leaned back, resting his head on the headrest. Lois shot him a quick glance.
"Clark, why don't you get some rest?"
"Are you sure you won't want me to drive?" he asked, but he already knew the answer.
"Sure I'm sure, partner," she said with a smile. "If I change my mind, I'll let you know. Just lean back and get some rest, okay?"
Silence enveloped them as Lois drove through the darkened countryside. Her head felt heavy. She struggled to keep her eyes open. She had just decided to let Clark drive when her eyelids slipped closed. Without her guidance, the Jeep veered into a guardrail on a bridge they had been crossing. The guardrail, rusted through from years of neglect, gave way and the Jeep plunged into the river below.
The impact awoke Clark, who suddenly realized he wasn't dreaming. Dark, icy water filled the vehicle quicker than he expected. He got a good gulp of air before the Jeep filled completely with water. He could faintly see Lois slumped over the steering wheel. Reaching over to unbuckle her seat belt, he pulled her out of the car and swam to the surface. As he inhaled, he realized Lois wasn't responding. Still holding her tightly, he rose out of the water and flew to the shoreline, where he laid her down on the first level surface he could find.
Clark focused on one extremely important task: saving Lois Lane's life. He tilted Lois' head back, then leaned over and listened. Her heart was beating, albeit slowly— a good sign. But she wasn't breathing. After pinching her nostrils shut, he gave her a breath. "Come on Lois," he whispered. He watched her chest rise, then fall. He gave her another breath. Then he checked her pulse again. Still OK. He told himself not to panic as he resumed rescue breathing.
Suddenly Lois coughed violently and gasped for breath. She coughed again, then vomited. Clark quickly rolled her onto her side. "Oh Lois, please!" he said softly. She kept coughing— horrible rasping, uncontrollable coughs. When her coughing subsided somewhat and Clark was satisfied she was breathing on her own, he wiped her face and began to examine her more carefully. Using his x-ray vision, he checked for fractures or broken bones. He found a single fracture in her neck. He surmised her seat belt must have prevented further injury. Concerned over the fracture, Clark decided to do his part to help her. Focusing his heat vision through her skin on the injured vertebra, he attempted to heal the fracture. A check with his x-ray vision showed he was successful.
Clark considered flying Lois to the nearest hospital, but then he heard sirens in the distance. Unknown to him, someone with a cellular phone saw the accident. When he saw the ambulance approach, he thought, This is the best way. Even I can't do everything. Lois needs to be in the hands of the medical profession. Lois shivered in his arms, her ice-cold body further reaffirming his decision. He held her tightly. "Lois, I'm here. Everything's going to be OK," he told her as he tried to warm her body with his own. He tried not to think about the tragedy that had just occurred—a tragedy he had been unable to avert. He continued to speak reassuring words to her as he rocked her gently in his arms while he waited for help to arrive.
The paramedic looked at the young man with amazement. "Sir, are you okay? Here, let me check you out."
"No," Clark said, "I'm OK, just a bit shaken up." He looked up at the paramedic staring at him. Automatically, his hand flew up to his glasses.
"Uh, I was asleep when it happened. I guess I was lucky."
"Lucky indeed," the paramedic muttered as he turned away.
Clark watched the paramedics check Lois over before wrapping her in a blanket. The doors closed and the ambulance sped away.
"They'll take her to Parkview Hospital," came a firm but gentle voice from behind Clark. He turned and saw a state patrol officer.
"From what I can see, you saved her life," he commented.
The officer's pronouncement helped soothe Clark's guilt. For a moment, they both looked out at the river. The officer laid a hand on Clark's shoulder.
"Come on son, you need a blanket?"
"No, I'm…" he paused, "yes, officer, that would be great."
They walked to the police cruiser. Handing Clark a blanket out of his trunk, the officer asked, "She your girlfriend?"
Clark wrapped the blanket around himself. "Uh, yes," he replied, feeling emotionally drained.
"Come on, I'll get you a ride to the hospital," the officer said.
Clark was about to refuse the offer when he thought better of himself. The paramedic had already given him a strange expression—he didn't want to arouse further suspicion.
The officer radioed in for additional help. Then he turned to Clark and asked, "You want to tell me what happened?"
Clark thought a moment. For the first time, he realized he didn't know how the accident occurred.
"Officer, I'm afraid I won't be much help. I was asleep when the accident occurred."
"Did you fall asleep while driving?"
"Oh no, officer! My partner was driving. I fell asleep and the next thing I knew, I was in the water."
Through the night Clark stayed with Lois as much as possible through what appeared to him as endless medical tests. The medical personnel in Parkview's emergency room were amazed by Lois and Clark's relative lack of injury. Clark downplayed his role to keep attention focused on Lois. If they only knew, he thought.
When he wasn't ejected from her room for a test or procedure, Clark sat quietly with Lois and held her hand. In spite of the activity around her, Lois was incoherent most of the night. While maintaining his vigil, Clark's mind was active, turning over events and thoughts from his and Lois' recent past.
It was around three o'clock in the morning before Lois' physician had time to approach Clark about Lois' condition. Dr. Gray repeated her surprise at Lois' lack of injury despite the seriousness of the accident. Clark ignored her statement and asked about the X-ray results. When told there were no fractures or breaks, Clark breathed a sigh of relief. However, Dr. Gray was still concerned about Lois' lungs. She told Clark she would keep Lois for observation until at least late afternoon.
As dawn approached, Lois was wheeled into a room where she would be kept for observation. She was still not coherent, so Clark took the opportunity to slip home and change into clean clothes.
The shadows were long on the hospital floor when Clark softly tapped the open door of Lois' room. Hearing no response, he hesitated before slipping into the room. He floated just above the floor so he wouldn't awaken her. She was pale, but still so beautiful and peaceful. It was hard for him to believe that only a few hours ago she was almost—well, he didn't want to think about it. More importantly, she was alive, and as far as he knew, she would again be well.
Clark slipped down into a chair near her bed and stared at her sleeping beauty. During the night, he decided this accident had been too close, and he felt guilty. She was too important to him. Since the revelation of their love for each other, Clark felt like he wanted to walk on air all the time. He took a deep breath and decided he was ready for the next step. For him, there was too much at stake anymore—the time had come.
For a long time Clark watched Lois sleep. The shadows on the floor shortened as the sun rose. The sounds of the hospital were a distant background noise. Finally, emotional exhaustion set in. As if hypnotized by her face, his own eyelids closed and he dozed off.
Lois was sitting on the bottom of Hobbs River screaming. A heavy trunk lay across her legs, preventing her from swimming to the surface. She struggled with the trunk, but it wouldn't budge. Suddenly, she heard someone cry out her name. Looking up, she saw Clark swimming down toward her. As he approached, Lois noticed there were great white wings on his back. Astonished, she struggled again, but to no avail. "Shh, Lois, I'm here," he said as he effortlessly lifted the trunk from her legs. He gathered her into his arms and swam to the surface. Once he broke the surface of the water, his wings started to flap and they rose into the sky. Higher and higher they flew, until all around them was white. Lois laid back in his arms. She felt safe and warm.
Feeling like she was trying to climb out from under layers of sleep, Lois finally opened her eyes. The whiteness of the room surprised her. She turned and looked up at an IV bag hanging beside her bed, the fluid dripping methodically into the drip chamber below before running into her arm. She became aware of the stiffness of her body, as if she had been thrown about like a rag doll. She also became aware of someone else's breathing.
She turned and was surprised to see Clark dozing in a chair beside her bed, his head nodding to the side. How strange that he was here and she had just had this wonderful dream about him. Shifting her weight slightly to get a better look, she was struck by how handsome he was—she had never stared at him like this without interruption. He started to look familiar. She blinked. "No. Crazy thought," she said to herself.
Lois stretched her sore muscles. Glancing again at Clark's sleeping form, she thought, Mmm… I'm alive… and in love. She felt strangely renewed.
Yet, Clark's resemblance to Superman piqued Lois' thoughts. She found herself comparing the two men: Superman hadn't saved her life, Clark had, and Clark was here, Superman was not. Clark had always supported her, while Superman's visits had become inconsistent at best. Lois hadn't felt rejected, rather she felt Superman had, if anything, steered her toward Clark. This she didn't comprehend, but she also didn't mind either.
Come back to reality Lois, she thought. You're lying in a hospital bed thinking about Superman, when the man you supposedly love is right beside you. She laid back, turning the word L-O-V-E over in her mind. She thought of Clark's tender kisses, the ones that set her on fire—the ones that made her come very close to stripping off her clothing. She wrapped her arms around her chest. Yes, this awakening of her sexuality felt deliciously good. She wondered what direction it would take her and when. So far, she was pleased with the pace of their relationship. Since they had revealed their love for each other, Clark hadn't pushed her in a sexual way. In fact, once she had pushed him, but he stopped her, saying, "Not now, Lois." He told her that he wanted to take the time to get to know her in a romantic way. She found this side of him interesting and refreshing.
Better yet, thanks to Clark, she felt she'd been given a second chance. Her life had been in danger before, and Clark had saved her life before as well, but this time was different. She had almost seen God. She looked at her best friend and hopefully, her future lover. As she gazed at him admiringly, she thought of the dream she had just had. Settling into her pillow, a slight smile played about her lips. A wonderful sense of happiness filled her body and grew in intensity until it exploded in laughter.
Clark awoke to the sound of Lois' laughter.
"Lois," he said gently and reached out his hand. She took it without hesitation.
"Clark, I'm so glad you're here." She held onto his warm hand, as if it were her lifeline.
"How are you feeling?" he asked.
"You know, I feel pretty good, especially now that you're here." Clark smiled, "I've been here most of the night. Besides, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
"Thank you," she replied and gave his hand a squeeze. A look of concern crossed her face.
"What about you? How are you feeling? Were you hurt?"
Clark thought quickly, "Oh, I'm okay, really. Just some cuts and bruises. My right arm is pretty sore," he lied, "I guess it helped that I was asleep when the accident occurred. I was relaxed, like when drunks are involved in accidents, and they're barely hurt because they were relaxed from the alcohol." He hoped she would accept his explanation.
Lois settled into her pillow. "I must be the luckiest woman in the world," she sighed.
"What do you mean?" Clark asked, eyebrows raised.
"To have a man like you," she said seductively, lowering her chin slightly.
"You saved my life." She paused, "Wow… what a reward I get."
She stared intently at him, her lips parting slightly. Still holding his hand, she folded her arm across her body until their entwined hands rested lightly on her chest.
Her motion caught Clark entirely off guard. He quickly drew in his breath. He felt like he was on fire. Leaning forward slightly, he breathed, "I get a reward also." They stared into each other's eyes. In one smooth motion, Clark rose up, leaned over, and kissed her. Her lips eagerly met his. But he was aware of where they were, and ended the kiss. As he stood up, Lois reached out for his other hand.
"YOU," she said forcefully, "are amazing."
"Really?" he replied as he sat down again.
"Yes, really," she smiled.
"How so?" he grinned.
"Don't push a compliment, Kent," she laughed, then continued, "No really, I have a feeling there's more to you than meets the eye."
Clark worked on his poker face. He held onto her hand and studied the IV tube attached to her wrist. His heart was pounding. What had she figured out? There was a long pause.
"Do you know how long they will keep me here?" Lois finally asked.
Clark exhaled. He was safe for now. "I'm not sure. Dr. Gray said she would keep you until late this afternoon for observation."
Lois thought for a moment.
"I see… I don't know Clark, I feel really happy to be alive, and I'm glad you're here. But the passage of time has been so strange. I'm not sure what I remember, and I'm not used to this. What do I remember really happened, and what is a dream? I'm really not sure."
Lois was sure about the dream she'd had about Clark, but she kept this knowledge to herself.
Late that afternoon, Clark escorted Lois home. She still felt tired, so he helped her into her apartment.
"Are you sure you'll be okay?" he asked.
"Yes, Clark, I just need to get some rest." She flashed one of her devilish smiles. "Being dead takes it out of you."
"Oh, Lois!" Clark hugged her.
"Are you sure you don't want to stay with me?"
Clark laughed, "No, Lois, you said it yourself—you need some rest."
Lois managed a fake pout. "OK, you're right, mother." She hugged him.
As she drew back, she bit her lip, then looked up at him and said, "Would you, uh, like to get together tomorrow night? I mean… I should feel better by then."
Although unprepared by her question, Clark had already thought of his own plan. He decided to take the offensive.
"Sure Lois, how about if you come over to my place. I want to cook for you."
"You want to do WHAT? I didn't think you cooked."
"Lois, I enjoy cooking—I just don't get a chance to do it very often. What I want to make for you is a real treat. I want to make you moussaka. It's a traditional Greek dish. I think you'll like it."
"Sounds good," she paused, then laughed, "Geez Clark, will your talents know no end?"
"Lois, you have no idea," he said, and before she could question him, he kissed her. As the kiss ended, she seemed distracted enough.
Clark quietly shut the door to Lois' apartment. He realized he had a lot of thinking to do. A good place to start would be to visit his parents. Soon he was streaking across the Midwestern landscape.
He found Martha preparing dinner. Although surprised at first, Martha had become accustomed to her son's occasional unannounced visits.
"Stay for dinner, Clark?"
Later over dinner, Clark explained what happened to Lois and him.
"Is she going to be OK?" Martha asked anxiously.
"Yes, thank goodness. But I feel bad about this happening."
"Clark, didn't you say you fell asleep?" Jonathan asked.
"Well, yes, but I couldn't prevent the car from falling into the river."
"That's my point exactly, son. If you weren't who you are," Jonathan paused, "we would probably be making your funeral arrangements right now."
Clark thought of the paramedic's strange expression.
"Yeah, you're right, Dad," he looked up and managed a smile. "Thanks."
Clark changed the subject. "I've invited Lois over to my place for dinner tomorrow night. I'm going to make her moussaka."
Martha nodded. "Oh, Clark, she'll like that."
In his travels, her son had picked up many culinary delights. Occasionally, he shared them with his parents, but he still enjoyed Martha's home cooking. However, as a result of Clark's influence, even Martha had to admit a more international touch had crept into her menu planning in her choice of meals to serve Jonathan.
Clark interrupted her thoughts.
"I'm going to tell her."
Martha was confused for a moment. She glanced at Jonathan.
"Tell her what?"
"Tell her you're Superman?" Jonathan asked.
"Yes. I just don't know how."
"Oh Clark!" Martha said and hugged him.
Jonathan, ever cautious, asked, "You're sure the time is right?"
Clark replied, "Yeah, Dad. This accident really showed me it's time to tell her."
"Think it through carefully, son," Jonathan said.
Martha stepped back and looked up at her son's downtrodden expression. "Oh Clark, I know you'll find a way!" She smiled, "You know, I'm looking forward to her knowing about you. It'll be fun."
Jonathan grinned, "Interesting, no doubt."
As night fell, Clark became increasingly distracted. He wanted to check on Lois, but didn't want to chance awakening her. So he flew to her apartment. The draperies over her bedroom window were closed, but he scanned through them with his X-ray vision. Lois was asleep in her bed. Satisfied Lois was sleeping soundly, Clark flew to a private place he had found for himself. It was a mountain in a national forest north of Metropolis. He laid back on a large boulder and stared at the star-filled sky. In a futile effort to distract his own thoughts, he started to pick out constellations. The anxiety created by his decision to reveal himself to Lois was difficult for him to comprehend. It was neither a villain he could outwit, nor an evil he could put a face on. Like so many issues in his life, he had to find his own limits. He had no one to ask how to tell her. Even his parents couldn't provide a clear answer. He felt the familiar loneliness begin to stir.
"Lois must think Superman has an easy life," he said out loud. She did not know the isolation he felt—the need to always suppress who he really was, to always stay in control, yet still be himself—still be Clark. At times he detested the schism he had created in his own personality and in his life. He sighed deeply and acknowledged his deep feeling of isolation as another reason to tell Lois his secret. He wanted her to be a part of his life—all of his life. He also wanted to take their relationship further. He wanted to be intimate with Lois, but he couldn't in good conscience without telling her the truth about himself. His secret was a barrier between them he desperately wanted to tear down.
The next day passed quickly. As he dressed for the evening, Clark played a favorite CD on his stereo. The CD was still playing when Lois knocked on his door. Clark opened the door and ushered her in. At the sight of her, fear tightened his throat. He questioned his resolve to tell her his secret.
"These are for you," Clark said and handed her two red roses.
"Thank you! They're beautiful. But why two roses?"
"I'll tell you later." He placed the roses in a small vase on the table. "How are you feeling?" he inquired as he escorted her down the steps.
"Much better, thank you. I spent most of yesterday and today sleeping, but I'm feeling better now."
"Well, you look great."
"Thanks, so do you." She kissed him.
"Smells good. What's that music playing?"
"It's by a man named SEAL."
"Very nice. Better than Pearl Jam."
Clark grinned. Lois did look beautiful. She wore a lace blouse and full-cut black pants. Over the blouse she wore an embroidered black velvet vest. For his part, Clark chose to wear a fitted blue chambray shirt and navy blue twill slacks.
Lois put down her fork. "This is delicious!"
"Where did you learn to cook like this?"
"In Greece, where else?" Clark grinned. "This is a traditional Greek dish," he explained. "See, the trick is to pull the water out of the eggplant slices by sprinkling them with salt. The salt draws the water out of the eggplant, so the slices don't get mushy. This wonderful family I stayed with in Greece taught me."
Lois gave Clark a blank look. "I didn't know you could cook. What else don't I know about you?"
"Well," he said, making a conscious choice to ignore her question. "I don't get to cook very often, usually only on special occasions—like this one. Would you like more iced tea?"
"You ignored my question."
Not wanting to tip his hand just yet, Clark got up and began to clear the table. "I didn't know you wanted an answer."
He heard Lois' voice behind him. "OK, you're right. It was a rhetorical question. But I have noticed you've been rather nervous tonight. Would you mind telling me what's going on?"
"Nothing, Lois," he replied, avoiding her gaze.
"Clark…," Lois replied in her I-know-you're-lying voice.
Clark adjusted his glasses.
"Come sit on the couch with me," he said.
When they sat on the couch, Clark sat on the edge of the cushion and turned so he could face Lois.
"Lois, as you know, I have loved you for a long time. You are the most important person in my life. You're also my best friend." He reached for her hands. He caressed them for a moment before continuing.
"I never, ever want to hurt you. I want to do whatever it takes to make you happy."
"Oh Clark! You are so special," Lois crooned. She moved forward and kissed him. When the kiss ended, she settled back into the cushions.
Clark continued, "I have something to tell you. It's time to take the next step."
"The next…what?" Lois' brow furrowed. She was terribly confused. Was their relationship over already? Was Clark's little speech a cruel joke? Was Clark tired of playing second fiddle to Superman? Or, conversely, was Clark going to propose? She was happy with their relationship, but she was not ready for a marriage proposal. She looked in his eyes for a sign. His deep brown eyes were filled with uncertainty, but she saw no malice.
Finally, she cautiously asked, "So what's this about?"
Clark paused a moment and took a deep breath. He felt so afraid, yet this would be the last time he would have to refer to himself in the third person to Lois. He tried to force his heartbeat to slow down.
"There is something I have to tell you. It's about Superman."
Immediately, Lois jumped in. "Look Clark, let's get something straight. YOU saved my life. Superman didn't. It was you who made sure I got to the hospital. It was you who stayed with me until I was discharged, and it was you who took me home and made sure I got some rest. Superman didn't do any of that—you did it." She stopped, her brows furrowed again, "Wait, I've got it! Are the two of you competing over me?"
Before Clark could respond, she continued, "Clark, Superman's lost the battle if that's the case. I mean, he can fly and all that, but you—there's so much more depth to you," she paused. "Besides, you kiss better than him anyway," she commented and grinned.
"Really? Hm…" Clark was surprised, "I'll take that as a compliment."
Lois, however, was on a roll. "I think Superman knows what's going on here too. If you must know, I think he's been steering me toward you for quite some time. And… I really don't mind. In fact," her voice intensified, "I'm glad he did. It helped me to open my eyes about you.
Besides, I was really selfish, Clark," she paused, "Superman doesn't belong to me. He belongs to Metropolis—and the whole planet!"
Clark digested her words carefully. She told him what he wanted to hear, yet he knew he had to go further.
"Well, that's good to hear, but what I want to tell you is a little different."
Lois looked at him with a puzzled expression. "Do tell," she said.
Clark ran his fingers through his thick black hair.
"Before you accepted Lex's proposal," he began, "you had a conversation with Superman where you told him you would love him even if he were an ordinary person."
"Oh no, not this again," Lois moaned, burying her face in her hands.
"Lois, please bear with me. I need you to remember that conversation."
Lois sighed heavily, "How could I ever forget it?"
"Lois, talk to me."
She hesitated a long time before the words poured out. "I told him if he were an ordinary man I would love him just the same." Her eyes filled with tears as her voice shrank to a whisper.
Clark reached for her hands. As he caressed them, he wondered if he was going about this the right way.
"What did he tell you?" he asked as gently as he could.
Lois looked up. A tear rolled down her cheek. "He said, 'I wish I could believe that, Lois, but under the circumstances, I don't see how I can.'"
To her surprise, Clark spoke Superman's words along with her.
Her voice trailed off at the end of the sentence and she stared at him, her eyes wide. "How did you know about that?" she demanded, "I never told anyone about that conversation! Did Superman tell you?"
"No?" Lois' brow wrinkled in confusion. "Then how did you know exactly what he said?"
Before Clark could open his mouth to answer, Lois exploded. "I will never forget that day, the look of hurt on Superman's face, the biting words he said!" She leaped up and paced the floor. She stopped, hands on her hips and fired at Clark, "And now you know the exact words he used?!?"
"Lois, please. Sit down and listen to me," Clark pleaded. He waited for her to calm down. "Lois, I'm trying to tell you… I'm that ordinary man. And,"
he held up his hand as Lois opened her mouth to interrupt, "I was hurting too."
"What? What do…" her voice trailed off as the meaning of what he'd said hit her like a ton of bricks. Stunned, she looked down at her hands twisted together in her lap. To her, a light went on, but she wasn't ready to face that light. Furthermore, she knew what he was trying to tell her, but she wanted to be deaf. She wouldn't even look at him. Her heart was beating so hard she thought it would leap out of her chest. In her mind, the assumptions and fantasies she had made about Superman went up in proverbial smoke.
The silence between them was deafening. Clark reached out and gently lifted Lois' chin.
"Lois, I can see you're afraid."
"I'm scared too. But Lois, I have to tell you—what I'm trying to tell you is…"
"…that you're Superman?" she finished the sentence for him, her voice breaking.
Startled, Clark reached up to adjust his glasses, then looked down at her. "Yes…"
Lois looked down, her stomach tied in knots. In her mind, the word NO repeated over and over.
"No. You are not Superman," she stood up quickly, turning toward the door. "If you were Superman, you would have told me."
Clark sighed, "Lois, it's not that simple."
Lois turned on him. "You're exactly right! It's NOT that simple! That's why you aren't Superman!"
Clark guessed what she was going to do. He absolutely could not let her run now.
"No! You can't be!" Lois exclaimed as she leaped up the steps leading to Clark's front door. And stopped.
Clark was already there, standing in front of her.
"Wha…?" Lois stared up at Clark. His jaw was set with a determination she had seen on Superman's face, but his eyes were still uncertain.
Clark returned her intent gaze. There was fear in her eyes now. He raised his eyebrows, inviting her to speak.
In her mind she was screaming, No, no, no, too easy! Besides, if it is true, then… She spoke her thought, "If it is true, if you are Superman, then I'm an idiot."
Clark sighed heavily. "You are no idiot, Lois," he said gently. "Come on." He put a hand on her shoulder and guided her back to the couch. Lois dropped onto the cushions.
"Yes, I am an idiot. I can't believe I never figured it out." She pulled a pillow onto her lap and clutched it to her chest.
"Lois, you weren't supposed to figure it out. Neither was anyone else." Clark reached up and slowly took off his glasses and set them on the end table. Lois followed the movement. She stared at the glasses, not wanting to look up yet. Clark reached across and gently put his hand under her chin, lifting her head upward to meet his gaze. Their eyes met and locked.
When Lois saw the uncertainty still in his eyes, she began to understand what he had done. He had gone out on a limb for her. Telling her he was Superman was barring his soul—and he did it for her. This was the last barrier between them.
She remembered her dream where Clark had wings on his back. She realized she must have known Clark's secret subconsciously. The missing piece fit into the puzzle.
Suddenly embarrassed by her behavior, she blushed and said meekly, "So, it is true."
"Yes, it's true… and I'm going to show you."
Clark began to unbutton his shirt. As he undid the buttons, she began to see the familiar blue and red suit underneath.
"Oh my…" she whispered, her eyes opening wide.
Seconds later he stood before her in the well known suit. He extended his hand toward her.
She looked at his extended hand. Then her eyes wandered up across his broad muscular chest. Finally, she met his gaze. Uncertainty was still in his eyes, but there was a new gleam in them as well. She grasped his outstretched hand and he pulled her onto her feet. Then he gently picked her up. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
Clark walked out onto the balcony. Looking down at Lois, he asked, "Ready?"
They flew up and over the city.
"Wow," she said softly. "Tell me I really did die and this is heaven."
"No, Lois, this is planet Earth and you are safe in my arms. And no, you're not dreaming either."
Clark smiled, "I love doing this."
"Flying over the city like this," he said. Turning to look at Lois, he noticed she was staring at him.
"Come on Lois, enjoy the view," he said, gesturing to the city below.
"I am," she replied and continued her unabashed stare.
He smiled and laughed, a friendly laugh Lois had heard many times before.
Boy, I've sure had blinders on, she thought.
They both noticed the orange glow on the horizon at the same time.
"Looks like trouble," Clark observed.
"Superman to the rescue?" Lois quipped.
Clark flew in the direction of the glow.
In an upper story window of a burning building, a woman holding a small child was screaming for help. Clark set Lois down on a nearby street corner. "'Be back," he said and flew up to rescue the woman and her baby. After setting the pair down, Clark turned and checked for other people in the windows, then used his super breath to cool the fire. Just then the fire department arrived.
Lois watched all this in quiet amazement, flush with new revelations about her Man of Steel.
His work done, Clark returned to Lois. As before, he picked her up and the two of them flew over the city.
"Great job," Lois commented.
"Thanks. Where to now?" he asked.
"Back to your place," she replied, a mischievous glint in her eye.
Clark raised his eyebrows and complied. Upon returning to his apartment, he set Lois down on the balcony.
"You must have questions," he said.
"Yes, I do."
"Uh, if you don't mind, could you give me a second? I want to get some jeans on."
"Sure go ahead," Lois replied. As he turned, his cape swirled around. "No, wait a minute."
Clark stopped and turned to face her. She took his hands and stepped back, appraising him. "I… just wanted to look at you like this for a moment more."
"Okay," he smiled.
"I must be the luckiest woman on the planet."
Lois looked into Clark's eyes. The uncertainty was gone. In its place was a deep, warm glow. Lois arched her body upward, her lips slightly parted. His hands slid up her arms and drew her close. Their lips met.
When the kiss ended, Clark stepped back and smiled. He gently released her hands and stepped into his bedroom.
No sooner had Lois sat on the couch and closed her eyes, than Clark reappeared in the doorway. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He looked at her for a moment before sitting beside her.
She opened her eyes. "Wow," she said.
"Seems to be the word for the night," Clark remarked.
"Hmm…" She laid back against him and closed her eyes again. Her body tingled all over. Clark let her soak everything in.
"I think I experienced every emotion in the book back there when you told me."
"I'm sorry Lois…"
"That's okay. I'm just beginning to figure some things out."
She looked up at him. "No wonder I've felt safe with you. I could never quite explain it before," she said, her eyes bright. "Now I understand—I'm in love with Superman!"
"Lois, I'm just a newspaper reporter. Superman isn't who I really am."
"Uh uh, just a reporter my foot, Clark—you're the only reporter I know who can fly!" she exclaimed.
"Okay, okay," he conceded. "But outside of my parents, you're the only one who knows that."
"Hm… this is true," Lois agreed. "You know, this is all making sense to me. It's like finding the missing piece of the puzzle. The best part is, I wasn't even looking for it! But now that you have supplied the missing piece, I think my life will have a completeness I don't recall having before. That's a good thing, isn't it?"
"Definitely a good thing," Clark agreed and kissed her.
Lois continued, "I still had…" she paused, "sounds strange to say it that way—had, as if Superman doesn't exist anymore. Anyway, I still had feelings for Superman. There was a time where I thought I could love both of you." She laughed at the absurdity of the situation. "Then I realized I couldn't love two men. I can only love one. And it was about the time when you came to me as Superman and steered me to… you, Clark. Oh brother!" she laughed again.
"I used to think of you and Superman as two separate people, but with striking similarities," she stopped, and burrowed herself further into his arms. "Now you tell me that the two men I love are really one man! Geez! Sounds like something out of a cheap romance novel!" she laughed.
A new revelation popped into her head. "Wait!" she exclaimed, sitting bolt upright, "That's why you gave me the two roses, isn't it?"
Clark nodded. "Yes. One is from me, Clark, and the other is from me, as Superman."
"See Lois, you're not an idiot. You are an incredible, intelligent, talented woman—whom I love very much."
"Enough to tell me you're Superman?"
Lois turned more serious. "What I guess I don't understand is why you didn't tell me sooner."
"Well, having superpowers doesn't mean everything turns out the way I want it, Lois."
Lois instantly thought of Lex and frowned.
"Clark, why didn't you tell me? You… could have prevented a lot of heartache."
"Lois, it wasn't the right time. You know that. It would have been…" he fumbled for a word, "inappropriate for me to tell you then—not to mention dangerous for both of us."
"Yes, I see. You're right, of course. But you're taking a risk in telling me now."
"Our situation is very different." He looked deeply into her eyes, "This is a risk I'm prepared to take." He pulled her close. "I was planning on telling you, but I just couldn't figure out how." He paused and ran his hands through her hair before he continued, "Lois, when we crashed into the river, I thought I'd lost you forever… and I couldn't live with that. I decided then that I would tell you, because I wanted you to know how important you are to me. I want you in my life. I guess I couldn't tell you earlier, because for a while I was still defining who Superman was. It's been a learning experience for me, too. I didn't realize the impact Superman would have on everyone—especially you," he sighed, "I didn't know you would fall so hard for my creation. I wanted you to love me for me, Clark, not a red and blue suit."
Lois thought for a moment, then said, "I understand. I guess I would have done the same thing." She continued, "I guess that explains why I began to view Superman as one dimensional."
Puzzled, Clark repeated, "One dimensional?"
"Yes, you're always so serious when you're Superman!"
"Can you blame me?"
"Well, no," she conceded. She snuggled against him. A new revelation entered her mind. She formed her words carefully, "I, uh… think I understand why you didn't want to be intimate with me. It was because you wanted me to know your secret first, right?"
His response lit a fire in Lois' body. Her breathing quickened. Her body tense with desire, Lois deliberately took her time formulating her next question. "So… now everything is out in the open?"
"Y-yes," Clark stared at her. Lois looked like a cat ready to pounce. His heart rate jumped. He leaned forward slightly and was about to kiss her when she abruptly broke into laughter.
"You are a strange one, Clark Kent," she said between laughs.
Clark was confused by this sudden change in direction. Then he understood, and a smile spread across his face.
"Yeah, but I think I got you figured out."
"Really? Didn't take you very long."
"Humpf," she replied.
Clark grimaced, thinking he misjudged her intentions.
But she grinned and added, "Please do fall for me farmboy, I'll make time for it."
"That's my Lois," he said and wrapped her in his arms. He nuzzled her hair and kissed her neck. Then he lifted his head and met her dark eyes. The cat was there again, ready to pounce. He wanted her to pounce on him. This time, nothing stood in their way.
Slowly, they began to kiss.