Diamonds Are a Girl's Best … Medicine

By Glenda M. Hernandez (

Summary: Cassandra Hathaway, a woman who committed many dark deeds in her obsession for Clark, is back. She seems to have reformed, but Lois isn't so sure. A sequel to the fanfic "Queens of Hearts."

A sequel to "Queens of Heart"

{Author's Note: When I wrote "Queens of Heart," I thought that it was going to be the last time that I would write about Cassandra Hathaway and her evil ways but I was wrong. Upon reading, "Queens" many times over, I realized that Cassandra's story was not over and that she still had a couple of tricks up her sleeves. The key was; "how to bring her back?" This story answers that question and also presents many more questions. Prepare, this will be a loopy ride, we've got "Waff" but we've also got some "Whams." All I ask, is that you trust me (and you *can* trust me), in the end everything will work out. So, enjoy the story and remember, *all* comments are welcome. Special thanks to my colleague Ketsia Lerebours (JLerebours)for asking the questions that needed to be asked and for her support. 8-) GMH}

"Characters in this story are based on the television series "Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It is copyrighted by December 3rd Production, Warner Brothers, and ABC. No infringement is intended in any part by the author(s), however, the ideas expressed within this story as well as characters created specifically for this story are copyrighted to the author(s)."

Some material inspired by Homer's The Iliad


"There's been no change since she arrived, two months ago." The nurse commented as she walked down the corridor accompanied by the woman in black. "The doctor says that her condition appears irreversible. Maybe you should speak to him before seeing her--" The woman in black stopped suddenly and looked down at the nurse with a look that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand. "Perhaps not. Actually, you're the first person to visit since she's been here …" The woman did not respond. They walked in silence down the dark, narrow corridor. The two stopped before a greyish door with a small window in the middle. "Would you like to see her before going in?" The nurse probed, as she opened the small window. The woman leaned forward and looked through it. She took a deep breath and motioned to the nurse to open the door. "You go in, I'll wait here for you, ma'am." She glanced at the nurse briefly, never saying a word. The woman entered and the nurse closed the door after her.

Inside the ghost of a once powerful woman sat, staring at the cracked walls with a vacant look in her eyes. She wore a pale gown, her dark hair appeared tangled and saliva dripped from the corners of her once luscious mouth. Her name is Cassandra Hathaway. A name once respected, admired and even feared. A woman who used people too much, who took her life for granted, but more importantly a woman who willingly crossed the line between love and hate. Now, she sits alone in a cell at the Metropolis Deter Mental Hospital; a victim of her own obsessions and fury. Her vacant eyes can't tell the tale, her mouth cannot pronounce the words and yet, her mind reacts with every passing day. She is trapped in a useless body, without hope of relief.

The woman in black walked slowly toward Cassandra, as though fearing that her every move would harm her. She stood before her and slowly kneeled. The woman stared at Cassandra for a long while, occasionally shaking her head in disbelief and mumbling inaudible words. She ran her feminine hands through Cassandra's hair, slowly and tenderly. There was no response, not even a twitch. The woman suddenly stood and strode briskly out of the room. She continued her determined walk up the corridor, oblivious to the nurse, who was struggling to catch up. Before the nurse knew it, the stranger had disappeared just a fast as she came in.


Early Monday morning, at the offices of the Daily Planet, Metropolis' leading newspaper, Lois Lane and Clark Kent stepped out of the elevator. They were conversing and laughing like any couple in-love would as they made their way down the ramp to their desks. "Clark, you must be crazy! You know the Bulls are going to kick major butts."

"In your dreams, sweetheart. Orlando's the team to beat."

"Care to make a little wager?" Lois asked with a devilish smile.

"Oh, no! I'm not falling for that one, again. The last time you wanted to wager, I ended up making you dinner for a week." Then in a hushed tone. "Not to mention, the midnight flights to San Francisco for Ghirardelli chocolate." He smiled and tenderly touched her nose with his finger. "Yeah, but you had fun. Admit it. You did." Lois replied as she nudged him on the ribs.

"No comment." He stated with a smile as he made his way to his desk.

"I know you did." Lois winked at him as she sat at her desk. He shook his head and smiled.

Suddenly, Perry White, the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Planet ran from his office. "Lois, Clark, there's been a break-in at STAR Labs--" As he announced this, Lois and Clark shot quick alarming looks at each other. "Get on it. Move it, people!"

"Yes, Chief!" Lois and Clark said in unison.

The two gathered their belongings quickly and making sure Perry was out of sight, Clark walked over to Lois. "I'll meet you there," he whispered.

"Okay." Lois agreed, as he slipped out of sight to change into his alter-ego, Superman.

A few minutes later at STAR Labs, Superman stood surveying the crime scene. It was obvious that somebody had caused substantial damage. Papers were strewn everywhere, the floor was covered with broken glass and file cabinets were left in shambles. A look of worry became a permanent fixture on Superman's face.

"Superman! Glad You're here." Dr. Klein remarked as he spotted him. "You'll be happy to know that all the kryptonite is in place. Strange really. We did a complete inventory and nothing was taken. I mean, somebody did break in but not a single item was taken. If anything they just made a mess of the place."

"Dr. Klein, are you sure?"

"Superman, we have a sophisticated and detailed listing of every item that we keep. There's no doubt, everything is in place."

Superman took a deep breath and exhaled as if relieved. "Good. I'm still going to take a look around. Maybe, our culprit left some clues."

"Feel free, this is your home." Dr. Klein stated as he walked off to talk to some of the reporters who had gathered.

Superman rummaged through the mess using his magnifying vision as well as his x-ray vision. He was unable to find any clues that would lead him to the identity of the intruder. It was as if the destruction was caused by a ghost. Lois Lane walked in just as Superman completed his examination.

She looked around to make sure they were alone. "Clark, what happened?"

"Somebody managed to break in but not a single item was taken." He explained. "I was just looking around for clues but the place has been wiped clean. There aren't any prints, anywhere. Whoever did this, knew exactly what they were doing."

"Obviously. But, why go through the trouble of breaking in and not take anything?" Lois asked as she surveyed the mess.

"I don't know. A prank, maybe?"

"Some kind of prank. At least we know two things; One, The Prankster is still in jail, so he couldn't have done this. Two, everything that has to be here is here. God knows we wouldn't want any maniacs to get their hands on some of this stuff."

"That's for sure."

"I guess that's it, then. Is it?" Lois asked with a concerned look on her face.

"I hope so."


Later that afternoon at the Metropolis Deter Mental Hospital, two figures walked briskly down the cold, dark corridor. "I'm glad to see you again so soon, ma'am. I'm sure that having visitors will help her." The nurse said as she fumbled for the keys that would open the door to Cassandra Hathaway's cell. "Nobody realizes how important a human touch is to these patients." The nurse continued as she searched for the key. "I mean, imagine the isolation. I mean not necessarily physically since we *do* let her commune with the population, but mental. These people live in their own world. Yes! Here's the key." The nurse inserted the key and turned slowly to open the door. The woman in black stood watching calmly and quietly. "There you go. I'll wait right here. If you need anything let me know." The woman nodded as she entered the cell. The nurse closed the door behind her and assumed her post by it.

The nurse stood quietly outside, occasionally leaning her ear against the door. She had been caring for Cassandra ever since she arrived two months ago. When she first laid eyes on her, the nurse couldn't believe that the woman who now existed in an almost vegetative state was once famous, beautiful and rich. In her heart she held nothing but pity but in her mind she felt there was something about her patient that was very unusual, and yet she couldn't figure out what it was. In the two months since her arrival, nobody ever visited her, so the nurse had taken special care of her as one would do an orphan. She had taken a special interest in Cassandra's recovery by often reading to her, exposing her to music and other inmates, all in a vain attempt to free her patients mind. Imagine her surprise when after two months of useless therapy and abandonment, the mysterious figure now enclosed with her patient appeared. The nurse did not question the sudden appearance of the woman. She was simply happy that somebody had come at last. As she considered this, she noticed that the dark corridor appeared brighter. The nurse wondered where the sudden brightness was coming from. It was a bright, warm, yellow light. She looked around curiously until she realized what was the source. It was coming from the door as if the door were glowing. She was momentarily transfixed by the light. But suddenly, the thought of her patient's well being prompted her to open the door. In all her years of caring for catatonic patients, the nurse had never been witnessed to such a miraculous sight.

"How are you, Ms. Catano? I see you've met my mother." Cassandra stated as a matter of fact while her mother kneeled before her with a glorious smile on her face.

"Doctor! Doctor!" Ms. Catano yelled as she ran up the corridor like someone who had seen a ghost.

"My darling. You sure make quite an entrance." Cassandra's mother said as she helped her daughter up from the floor.

Her name is Francesca Hathaway. A woman in her early fifties who retains many of the qualities belonging to women half her age. She's five feet nine, a height she shares with her daughter. She has long satin-like golden hair and large expressive green eyes, framed by thin arched eyebrows. Francesca is the total picture of elegance and sophistication.

She had traveled many miles to come to her daughter's aid. When she first heard of her daughter's predicament, it had been a surprise, because in her mind the daughter she raised and loved with all her heart was invincible. Francesca could have never imagined the state her Cassandra was in and upon seeing her for the first time in several months, she felt her heart break. It was then that she became determined to bring her back and she knew from the beginning, what had to be done. Now, as Francesca eyed and listened to the newly revived Cassandra, she sent a quiet prayer to the gods above.

"Oh, mother. Can't tell you how happy I am to see you." Cassandra stated as she stood and walked toward her bed.

"Of course you are, baby. How are you feeling now?"

"Alive." Cassandra rubbed her arms seeking warmth.

"That's the first step, dear. The next would be to get you a decent hairdresser and a gown. Just look at that horrid pale, opened in the back thing you're wearing." She declared with disgust in her eyes. "I don't think this could play in Paris, darling."

"I am really glad you're here." Cassandra told her with a bright smile. "What took you so long?" she asked suddenly in a concerned tone.

"Darling, news don't get to you as fast as you would want them to. Once I heard, I had to arrange everything to get your "medicine." You don't know how hard it is to find a reliable private detective. I'm sorry though. Sorry that you had to spend even one day in this place." She stated with a contemptible look on her face.

"I understand, mother." Cassandra replied lovingly. "I'm just glad you came."

"I am your mother and I will *always* be here for you. That's what moms are for." Francesca stated simply while sitting beside her daughter. "Kiss, kiss?" Cassandra beamed as she received her mother's soft kiss.

That evening, after the doctor had examined Cassandra and determined that she was cured, the two women sat in a larger waiting room at the hospital, waiting for the arrival of Cassandra's attorney.

"Darling," Francesca started, "in all seriousness, what are your plans now?"

"It all depends on the lawyer, mother. I don't know if I will be transferred to jail." She took a deep breath. "I have to admit though, I did some pretty horrible things."

"Some of it cannot be proven, darling." Francesca displayed a mischievous smile.

For a long time now, Francesca had been aware of her daughter's penchant for staging mock suicides. She had covered for her in the past, uttering the same words of phony remorse that Cassandra so freely uttered. In Francesca's mind, her daughter was an exceptional example of pure power and for that reason, she had sworn to revere her for as long as she lived.

"I know. But, I'm not talking about that." Cassandra sighed.

"Then, what?"

"Clark Kent." Cassandra told her simply, with a hint of regret.

"Him, again? Did I ever tell you, how tired I am of that name?"

"I did something unforgivable. I don't think I'll ever be at peace, if I don't take care of it." She took hold of Francesca's hand.

"You mean like tie loose ends?" Francesca inquired with a smile on her face.

"I think that would be the appropriate thing to do."

"Whatever you think is best, darling. Mom, will always be with you."

Cassandra's attorney proved to be very helpful. Although initially, she was charged with kidnapping, tampering with goods and assault, the district attorney found it hard to gather sufficient evidence to convict, even with Lois' testimony. Cassandra's kidnapping victims proved to be unreliable witnesses since they had no recollection of the events; the FDA was unable to find any evidence in her cosmetics that would be sufficient to charge her with tampering; and her frail state of mind was enough to excuse her for assault. Therefore, upon returning from her comatose state, she was free to go, under the condition that she remained in Metropolis under Francesca's custody for one year and that she contacted her psychiatrist every first Monday of the month. Cassandra and Francesca could not have been happier because once again, the Fates appeared to be on their side. For Cassandra, this meant a beginning and a new life as a free woman.


Tuesday morning, Lois, Clark and Perry sat in the conference room discussing the story about the break-in at STAR Labs. Even though both Lois and Clark were relieved that nothing was missing, the experience still left a bad taste in their mouths. Perry was just concerned about the story and its impact.

"People, if we run the story, it'll let criminals know that the Lab was vulnerable," he started, "but on the other hand, we are in the business of telling stories and we can't censor ourselves." Perry concluded.

"Perry, I agree, but you have to remember, some of the items in the Lab can cause some trouble for Superman. Aren't we loyal to him?" Lois argued impatiently.

"Lois, Perry's right." Clark interceded. "We can't censor ourselves. Anyway, I'm sure STAR labs will revise their security system."

"Can't censor ourselves? Just two months ago, we decided not to run with the story of Cassandra's ring? Why can't we do the same in this case?" Lois asked as Perry and Clark briefly glanced at each other.

"Lois, honey, that was a special case. An unusual case. Remember?" Perry asked arching his eyebrows.

Lois looked at Clark who was shifting uncomfortably in his seat. "I remember. Believe me, I remember. Okay, you are the Chief. Just pray that it won't happen again with worse results. You have to remember also, that *I* was able to get in," then in a somber tone, " that is when I wasn't myself."

Clark walked over to Lois and put his hand on her shoulder trying to comfort her. "Lois, I'm sure that everything's going to be fine. Superman's going to work closely with the Lab to improve security. It won't happen again."

"Great!" Perry declared. "Let's get to it then. Write it, people! I want it on my desk two hours ago." Just as the words left Perry's mouth, Jimmy Olsen, rushed in, almost breathless.

"C.K., Lois!" Jimmy paused for a minute trying to catch his breath.

"What is it, Jimmy?" Lois asked in a concerned tone.

"C.K., Cassandra Hathaway …" He paused again.

"What about Cassandra?" Clark pressed as he started to move forward toward Jimmy, while Lois instinctively grabbed his hand.

"They let her go. She's free!" Jimmy finally managed to say in a tone full of disbelief.

"What!" Lois, Clark, and Perry chorused loudly.

"What happened?" Clark pressed on.

"She recovered." Jimmy answered in a baffled tone. "The wire came in a few minutes ago, she recovered and they had no choice but to let her go."

"I can't believe it." Lois started angrily. "That goes to show that you can no longer keep an obsessive homicidal delusional maniac incarcerated, anywhere, any more." Lois quickly strode out of the conference room, followed closely by Clark, Perry, and Jimmy. "How could they let her go like that?! The woman is insane! She's a monster! She's delusional! She's evil! They must have been on drugs!" Everybody was paying attention to Lois as she vented her anger and nobody noticed the woman standing in front of the elevators, listening.

"You are right, Lois," Cassandra acknowledged as she made her way down the ramp toward the group. Everybody was shocked. They never would have imagined that she would dare come near them again. Cassandra, on the other hand, looked very humble. She was dressed simply, in a nice summer dress, she wore no makeup, no jewelry, and her hair was tied in a pony tail. She was the perfect picture of innocence, simplicity and beauty. Though she was in her late twenties, her apparel made her look like a teenager. She walked down the ramp, bravely, humbleness radiating from her emerald eyes.

"What nerve!" Lois yelled obviously very angry. "I'm, I'm sorry for showing up like this. I understand your surprise and I agree that I was horrible." Cassandra stated quietly.

"What are you doing here, missy?" Perry abruptly asked in an angry tone.

"Mr. White, I'm not here to cause trouble or upset anyone." Cassandra spoke quietly and shyly.

"Too late." Lois expressed in a sarcastic tone.

"I just had to see you," Cassandra breathed deeply as though seeking courage, "I had to apologize to you, Clark, and you, Lois, for everything that happened."

"An apology! Oh, boy! I need to sit for this one." Clark looked at Lois as she pretended to sit.

Clark was obviously disturbed by Cassandra's appearance but not for the reasons that many would have imagined. It was true that Cassandra had been obsessed with him and that her obsession had driven her to do unspeakable things. However, with all the anger and disappointment that Clark felt at one time, the only feeling that remained was guilt. He had felt responsible for Cassandra's descent into madness. He had managed to control those feelings, but as he saw her walk so bravely toward the hostile group, the feelings came back again, full force.

"Lois," Cassandra continued, "you certainly have a right to be angry …"

"It's not a right. It's a God-given privilege." She stated simply as she stared at Cassandra harshly. Cassandra lowered her head in recognition of Lois' feelings.

"I know I did horrible things. The details escape me, my mind is a total blank but I have this unshakable feeling that it was horrible." Cassandra continued humbly.

"Horrible is too much of a kind word for what you did." Lois replied her voice revealing her increasing anger. Clark continued to stare at Cassandra as the guilty feelings continued to grow.

"How much do you remember?" Clark asked while Lois glanced at him with a concerned look. His face was tensed as a result of the realization that while Cassandra was in her disturbed state, she had managed to figure out that he was Superman. "I don't remember anything. Mostly, it's a feeling that I can't shake. A feeling that tells me I was out of my mind. There are no images, just feelings. I've been told what happened but I can't see it. Still, I have no reason to doubt that I did horrible things." "I see." Clark's face relaxed, slightly.

"I don't want to make you uncomfortable. I just came to apologize. Nothing else." Clark and Lois gazed at each other briefly.

Clark moved closer to Cassandra. "I can't speak for Lois, but I see that you're really sorry. And, well, I accept your apology." Lois shot him a quick questioning look.

"Thank you, Clark." Cassandra said, obviously relieved. "Lois? Do you forgive me?"

"No." Clark glanced at her with a surprised look. "Clark can forgive you, that's just the type of person he is. I'm not that noble. I don't trust you, Cassandra. I know very well what you're capable of, even if it cannot be proven." Cassandra lowered her eyes as Lois continued her attack. "I don't want you anywhere near us."

"Lois, don't you think you're being a bit harsh?" Clark asked in a hushed tone.

Lois looked at him as if she couldn't believe those words were coming from the same man, who was hypnotized and left at the mercy of an obsessive maniacal person such as Cassandra Hathaway. "No, Clark. I'm not being harsh. It just takes more than an apology to get on my good side after a person tries to forcefully make me join her cult. Not to mention, make a slave out of the man I love." Lois answered curtly while staring at Cassandra.

"Clark, I understand. It was wrong of me to come. I didn't mean to bother you. I'm sorry, I'm really sorry …"

"Well, you know where the door is …" Lois added in a scornful tone.

"Yes, of course. Goodbye." Cassandra started to make her way up the ramp toward the elevators.

"Cassandra, wait!" Clark yelled after her. Lois, Perry and Jimmy glanced at him with astonished looks on their faces.

"Clark, what's wrong with you? Let her go." Lois insisted.

"Lois, when somebody comes to me asking for forgiveness, I can't just turn my back. Especially if I drove them to it. Lois, I drove her to act that way. I AM responsible." Before Lois could dissuade him, Clark made his way toward Cassandra. Lois was left alone in the middle of the press room watching him walk away.

Clark brought Cassandra back and took her to the conference room. Lois followed. Before she could enter, Clark stopped her at the door.

"Lois, let me handle this, okay? No more insults, please."

"I'm sorry. I'll try to contain myself."

"Thank you." He kissed her gently on the lips. The two walked into the conference room, where they found Cassandra sitting at the far end of the table waiting for them.

"I can't tell you how much I appreciate this. You guys had every right to throw me out into the street." Cassandra remarked as Lois and Clark took seats to the left and right of her.

"Cassandra," Clark started, "you were released. That must mean that you're better."

"Oh, I am, Clark. I am. I really am."

"When did they let you out?"


Lois, who had been sitting quietly watching the exchanged, couldn't help but roll her eyes after Cassandra's last comment. Their conversation was very civil, Clark was gentle and Cassandra was grateful, while Lois kept quiet. With every comment Cassandra made, Lois would make faces which expressed her disbelief and mistrust. Yet, even she, could not deny the depth to which Cassandra had fallen. In the course of their conversation, they found out that Cassandra was poor, having lost her cosmetic company and assets as results of countless lawsuits. They discovered that presently she was residing in a rundown hotel in Hobbs Bay. They learned the terms of her release and that presently there was another person in Cassandra's life. As she detailed her present condition, Clark's face revealed all the guilt that he felt. He firmly believed that he had driven her to this point. As the thought crossed his mind, he promised himself, that he would do anything within his power to help her. He never really considered how Lois would feel about it because he was blinded by a strong desire to make things right. Cassandra conversed until noon, afterwards she left with an obvious satisfied look on her face. This reaction assuaged some of Clark's guilty feelings, however, upon spying Lois' face, the only thought that came to mind was concern.


That evening at Clark's apartment, Lois and Clark sat on his couch hardly talking as they watched the basketball playoffs on TV. Suddenly and without warning, Lois picked up a couch pillow and threw it forcefully at Clark, knowing full well that he wouldn't feel a thing.

"What was that for?" he asked, obviously surprised.

"That's for being so nice to Cassandra, today. And this," she picked up another pillow and threw it at him, "is for the basket Shaquille just made."

"Lois, what's wrong with you?"

"What's wrong with me? Where should I start?" Lois pretended to think of an answer. "I just can't believe that a quality in you, which I find so endearing, can be the same quality that drives me crazy!" Lois shouted as she threw another pillow at him.

"Hold on. What are you talking about?" "I'm talking about today. With Cassandra." She told him in calmer tone.

"What about it?" He inquired, sincerely unaware of what she was talking about.

"You were so nice!"

"Yeah, so?"

"Clark, are you suffering from amnesia? No, wait a minute, that's my role." Lois stood and walked to the kitchen.

"Lois, you're not making sense."

She opened the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of Dr. Brown's Cream soda, then walked back to the couch and handed him the bottle to open. "Clark, when I saw that woman today, everything that she did to us came back. Boom! Just like that. You couldn't have forgotten everything she did? Clark, she hypnotized you, she wanted to use you as a slave. She wanted ME to join her entourage as one of her sisters. All, in a failed attempt to become a modern amazon queen. She killed men, by making them jump from buildings and worse of all, somewhere in her little evil mind, she knows you're Superman! Doesn't that make you nervous? Clark, she's evil! She's a murderer, even though officially the death of Dr. Robertson and Pathos are considered suicides. But I know she did it." Clark stared before him, listening to her every word, without making a sound. Lois attempted to control her exasperation, hoping to reach him and make him see the truth. "I know it was rough on you, Clark. She was your college buddy, your friend, and to suddenly find out that she had a thing for you the way we did, was tough. However, I thought we agreed that you weren't responsible and yet today you told me you were. How come?" Lois sat next to him on the couch and took the bottle of cream soda from his hand.

"Lois," he turned to her and took hold of her free hand, "when you saw her today, all the bad memories came back. When I saw her, all the guilt came back. I can't explain it. I'm used to helping people, you know? I'm supposed to help, that's my role and I'm not here to cause pain. But, I did. I caused a lot of pain to Cassandra. I don't know how to deal with that. I saw her today and it was a wake up call. I am responsible. There's no doubt. I am."

"Clark, was I responsible for Lex's rampage? Because, based on what you just said, I was."

"It's not the same thing, Lois."

"How is it different? You got two obsessed people and they were nuts in their own right. Without our help, may I add. I don't think I had anything to do with what happened to Lex and you didn't have anything to do with what happened to Cassandra. Can't you see that?"

"It's different, Lois. You never led Lex on."

"I almost married him. I think you can classify that as leading him on. You, on the other hand, were just yourself. It's not your fault if she had an overactive imagination compounded by delusions of grandeur."

"Cassandra was different. I mean, when I first met her she was so young. Eighteen or nineteen. I saw her like a sister and I treated her like one. It never crossed my mind that she was a woman with feelings. She was my buddy! I should've known how she felt. I never noticed and I often wonder why? The only answer that comes up is that, I was so busy hiding myself, and trying to be normal, that the really normal things in life escaped me. I was self-centered, and the result was Cassandra."

"I think you're taking too much credit for what she became. Need I remind you, about her ring?"

"Still. I had something to do with it."

"Clark, I'm trying my best to understand you. I see you're hurting and I want to help yet it's hard to stand by while you let her into your life again. (God knows, what she's planning.) I don't trust her."

"I know, Lois. But, this is something I must do. I have to help her get on her feet again. Maybe, if I do, this feeling will go away. Please, understand." He pleaded with his eyes and Lois' reservations were torn down. She picked up another pillow and threw it at him.

"Now, what did I do?" He asked, once again surprised.

"Shaquille just blocked Michael's shot." She told him with a wicked smile.

"Oh, really. I'll show you blocking …" The two started to wrestle on the couch, Lois laughed hysterically as Clark picked her up over his shoulders. She kicked and tried to get loose and he dropped her on the couch. Clark stood above her, as she giggled, tears rolling down the sides of her face. He had never seen such a beautiful sight. He lowered himself by her, bringing her to him. Lois looked deep into his eyes, knowing full well what he was thinking. She moved closer and put her arms around his neck.

"Oh, Mr. Kent," she sighted in a sensual tone, "you surprise me, every time, in every way. What am I supposed to do with you?"

Clark took a deep breath and exhaled. "I'm sure you can think of something. But for now, a kiss would be the right place to start."

"I can do that." Lois happily complied, while Clark fumbled for the remote control.

They didn't need to see the game tonight. There were other things that needed to be taken care of, and anyway, J.Lerebours in the sports division would be happy to give them the score.

Meanwhile, several miles on the other side of town, Cassandra walked into Metropolis Eastside hotel. The hotel was firmly established in the middle of Hobbs Bay, a depressed area of Metropolis. Cassandra walked in rapidly, eager to get to her new dwellings where her mother was waiting. She opened the door and walked in without a backward glance. Inside, Francesca stood by the window, staring at the ships that were making their way into the bay. She didn't have to glance behind her, she knew the moment Cassandra entered the room. She knew that every time Cassandra made an entrance, the whole world felt it.

"How are you, dear?" Francesca asked in a sleepy tone.

"I'm great, mother." Cassandra responded as she threw her pocket book upon the sofa.

"Really? Tell mommie what happened."

"The day was very productive. I was forgiven, mother. Clark forgave me for all the horrible things I did." Cassandra was obviously excited.

"Of course, just look at that face." She pinched Cassandra's face tenderly. "The boy would be crazy to hold a grudge. How about Lois?"

"She's angry, understandably so. I can't blame her. If somebody tried to hurt the man I loved, I would react the same way. No, I don't blame her."

"Darling, *do not* compare yourself. What are you going to do now?" "I have to start from the beginning. Look at me, I'm unemployed, my company has been dissolved, and my reputation is shot. I guess finding a job should be the first thing on my list." Cassandra explained as she took a seat on the sofa.

"Good Luck!" Francesca said sarcastically.

"What do you mean, mother?"

"Cissy, dear, who is going to hire an ex-looney?"

"Mother, really! I resent that term."

"Excuse me, darling. The 90's had not caught up to me. Not politically correct, right? Well, how about, mmm, an ex-nut, ex-rubber roomer, ex-cuckoo, ex …"

"I get it, mother." Cassandra rolled her eyes. "But, I really don't think my record is going to be a detriment. I'll get a job, just you wait. And, I'll start over."

"I believe you will. Remember--you can always count on mommie."

"Like now?" Cassandra asked in a hushed tone.

"Like always. Ready for your medicine?" Francesca asked with a cunning smile.

Outside, birds were momentarily confused for a bright yellow light suddenly illuminated most of Hobbs Bay. So bright was the light, that many thought it was daylight again. All, who witnessed this phenomenon, would have been shocked to discover that such a bright light came from a single solitary window on the fourth floor of the Metropolis Eastside hotel.


Wednesday morning, the elevator doors at the Daily Planet opened and Cassandra Hathaway stepped out. She was wearing a dark suit, scarcely any makeup, and her braided hair hung down her back. Cassandra looked blindingly beautiful and very professional. She walked straight to Clark's desk, oblivious to the eyes that followed her every move and to the whispers that increased in volume with every step she took. Clark sat at his desk, talking on the phone, and didn't notice the figure standing in front of him.

"Hi, Clark." Cassandra greeted him with a sweet, charming smile.

"Cassandra? What are you doing here?" He asked as he hung up the phone.

"I needed to talk to you. I hope I'm not disturbing …"

"No. Not at all." Clark looked around him briefly, noticing the countless looks focused on them. "What can I do for you?"

Without missing a beat, Cassandra started. "I've been having problems with my job search. I guess nobody wants an 'ex-looney' working for them …"

"No, no, don't say that." Clark told her as he directed her to the seat by his desk.

"It's true, Clark. Everybody knows about me. Probably they read Lois' article and people are understandably weary. Lois is a good writer, isn't she?" Cassandra reached into her pocket book for a handkerchief.

"Mmm, yeah, she is. You know Cassandra, getting a job takes time …"

"Time, I may not have." She stated as she brought the handkerchief to the corner of her right eye.

"What do you mean?" Clark appeared very concerned.

"It's my mother. She's not feeling too well. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out how I'm going to take care of her and myself without a job? … That's why I'm here. Can you help me, Clark? You must know a lot of people …" Cassandra paused suddenly as if a thought suddenly occurred to her. "I'm sorry. I don't deserve your help …"

"No. I--I'll help you."

"You will?" She dabbed her nose with the handkerchief.

"Sure. Tell me. What can you do?"

"Anything. I mean, I'm a good typist and I can answer phones. I did a little moonlighting as a secretary in the early years. I was pretty good at it."

"Let me see what I can do. Stay here."

Clark walked away from his desk toward Perry White's office. As he walked, Cassandra found it impossible to take her eyes off of him. In the office, Clark found Perry listening to old Elvis Presley tunes on his walkman. So engaged was he with the music that he did not notice Clark as he continually knocked at the door. Finally, out of the corner of his eye, Perry noticed him.

"Clark! My Boy! Come on in!" Perry yelled as he still was listening to his walkman.

"Chief," Clark started saying.

"What?! Speak up!"

Clark motioned to his ears, helping Perry realized that he was still wearing his walkman. "Oh, oh. Sorry. It's the music, Clark. It just takes over ya. I should've gotten one of these walkman back in the eighties. Lemme tell you, the music comes alive. Anyway, how can I help you, son?"

"Perry, do you know if we have any openings for a secretary?"

"Maybe. Why are you interested?"

"A friend needs a job … I was thinking, if we had an opening …"

"Any friend of yours is welcome here. Tell him to come in tomorrow."

"Actually, *she's* already here."

"Who is she?"


"Oh no, no, no, no! Not her! No way!" He gestured his negative feelings with his hands.

"Chief, please. I know, she won't cause any problems."

"I'm not concern about her. Lois, on the other hand, scares me. You saw her yesterday, if she could've, she would've ripped Cassandra's throat. I don't think I could afford world war three at the Planet."

"Lois, won't mind. I talked to her yesterday and she was calmer."

"I don't know."

"Just meet her, that's all I'm asking."

"For you, I will. Tell her to come in."

"Thanks, Perry."

"Be sure to mention your appreciation in my eulogy, when Lois kills me …" Clark smiled as he exited the office. He took Cassandra to Perry's office and left them alone as they talked. Clark felt good about what he was doing. He figured that if he helped Cassandra get back on her feet, that his guilt would diminish and he would finally be able to move on. He knew he had to do his best to help her. Ten minutes went by and suddenly both Cassandra and Perry exited the office. They were laughing and talking in an animated manner. Clark was surprised but at the same time relieved.

"… and I told her; 'don't be cruel to a heart that's true, honey'." Perry concluded as both he and Cassandra walked toward Clark. Cassandra laughed sweetly and it was obvious that Perry was charmed.

"Clark! Thank you for bringing this funny lady to my attention." Perry smiled brightly. "I just met the only person who knows more about The King, than I do."

"No way, Perry. You're the guru, when it comes to The King." Cassandra put her arm around Perry's shoulder.

"You're my competition, honey." He smiled.

"That's great. What about the job?" Clark asked, interrupting the fun.

"Yes! Business. Cassie here is the new employee of the Daily Planet. I decided that I need a secretary and she'll surely fit the bill." Perry announced with a big smile.

"Can you believe it, Clark? I have a job! Thanks to you." She kissed Clark sweetly on the cheek. "No. Thanks to Perry. I didn't do anything." He told her, his face revealing his embarrassment.

"Yes, you did. Don't be humble." Cassandra insisted.

Perry interrupted. "It doesn't matter who's responsible. Main thing, people, let's get to work!" With this, Perry walked back toward his office.

"You're right, Perry." Clark agreed. "Congratulations, Cassandra." He added with a smile.

"Thanks." She lowered her head in gratitude. "Better get to work. I don't want to make a bad impression …" She followed Perry to his office. Clark smiled.

"What are you smiling about?" Lois asked as she walked in, dropping her briefcase upon her desk. Not noticing the female figure, who gingerly followed Perry.

"Something happened." He answered, still smiling.

"Yeah, what?" She moved toward him.

"I helped Cassandra get a job …" he answered quietly.

"Really? That's good, I guess. Where?"

"Mm, here."

"Here? Here, where? In Metropolis?"

"You could say that."

"Where? "

"Here--at the office."

Lois took a deep breath. "She's going to be working HERE at the Planet?"

"Perry hired her as his secretary …"

"I can't believe this." She told herself but quickly realized she had said it out loud. "I mean, fine, whatever." Lois walked back to her desk and slumped in her chair, noticing that all the eyes in the office were upon them.

"Lois, please don't be mad." Clark quickly walked toward her. "I had to. She needed to find a job and nobody would hire her, being that she had her problem. I just figure that if I helped her, I will be able to move on and get rid of this guilt."

"At what cost, Clark?" Lois looked up at him for the first time.

"What do you mean?" "Never mind."

"No. Tell me."

Just as Lois was going to tell him what she felt, Cassandra walked in. Upon seeing her, Lois retreated and concentrated on her papers in an attempt to avoid looking at her.

"Lois, there you are. Did you hear the good news? I'm going to be working HERE."

Lois continued to look over her papers and did not glance at Cassandra. "Yes, I heard. Congratulations." She said flatly.

"I'm so happy. And, I owe it all to Clark."

Lois looked up at Clark, who appeared embarrassed. "No, Cassandra. I didn't do anything." "You're so humble." Then looking at Lois. "He's so humble."

"Yes, he is." Lois concurred in a slightly annoyed tone.

"I have to do something for you, Clark." Cassandra continued. "This really meant so much to me. I know what! Why don't you come over for dinner, tomorrow? It'll be a simple thing. You can bring Lois, also." She finished with an honest smile.

"Cassandra, really, you don't have to …"

"Nonsense! Please, let me do this. I'll cook. You've never tasted my cooking …"

Lois felt the need to interrupt. "I'm with Clark. You really DON'T have to do this."

"You guys don't understand. It means so much to me that you gave me a second chance. I know my presence here is a painful reminder of all the things I did, but that's why it's so amazing that you given me this chance. I HAVE to repay you. I have to prove to you that your faith has not been misplaced. Please, oh, please, let me do this." Cassandra pleaded in a sincere tone.

Lois and Clark looked at each other, each considering in their own minds what they had heard. Lois' eyes suggested her reluctance, while Clark's eyes pleaded for understanding. Finally, Lois assented with a nod.

Clark was the one who gave Cassandra the good news. "We'll be there."

"Great! You won't regret it, I promise." She smiled brightly. "Gosh, look at me, standing around when I should be working. I'll talk to you later to give you the address. Believe me, you won't be sorry. Tomorrow, I'll make the best dinner ever." With that, she skipped back to Perry's office, obviously very happy.

Lois and Clark looked after her as she returned to Perry's offices. Clark, turned toward Lois, who was still looking after Cassandra.

"It'll be fine, Lois." He kissed her gently on the cheek and walked back to his desk.

Lois considered his words for a minute and muttered to herself. "I hope so. But I'm not taking any chances."


Thursday morning, Lois awoke with a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach. The night before, she had found it difficult to sleep because she kept thinking about Cassandra. More specifically, she wondered what was up Cassandra's sleeve. All night she thought of this, often thinking about Clark and how he felt about his ex-college buddy. Lois kept telling herself that whatever suspicions she harbored, had nothing to do with jealousy but everything to do with a deep knowledge of true evil, as personified by Cassandra Hathaway. It was no wonder then, that this morning, her stomach and her whole being felt strange. She got off her bed and performed her usual ritual; she removed her rollers, brushed her teeth, exfoliated her skin, and prepared a nice hot mug of instant coffee. As she drank her coffee in the quietness of her kitchen, her thoughts took her back to Cassandra. There are too many questions, she thought, too many coincidences and not enough evidence. She smiled to herself, knowing exactly what she had to do. Lois walked to her red telephone and pressed the numbers quickly.

"Yes. Hello, Dr. Klein? It's Lois Lane. How are you? I'm glad. Dr. Klein, I was wondering--do you have time to see me this morning? You do? Great. I'll meet you in about thirty minutes? Excellent. See you then."

She hung up the phone and paused for a minute, staring at her hand upon the receiver. A thought of Clark, crossed her mind. She shook her head and walked to her room to change.

Thirty minutes later at STAR Labs, Lois sat in Dr. Klein's office waiting for him. She looked around, noticing the countless certificates and diplomas. Lois smiled thinking that for a genius, Dr. Klein was one sweet man, considering how many times he had helped her and Clark. She hoped that he would be able to help her this time, also.

"Good morning, Lois." Dr. Klein greeted her as he walked in with countless files under his arm.

"Good morning."

"How can I help you?"

"First of all, thank you for seeing me, I know you must be busy trying to get the place in order." "Don't concern yourself. I'll always make time for my friends." Lois smiled. "I called because I was wondering what have you found out about Cassandra's ring?"

"Oh, yes, the ring. I can positively tell you that it's a diamond ring."

"That's it? There must be more. We described what it did."

"I was concerned about that, Lois. We did all kinds of experiments, tested it with all kinds of chemicals, electrodes and so on. The result was that it proved to be an ordinary, in the narrow sense of the word, diamond ring."

"That's impossible." Lois insisted.

"You may be right. Considering what you told us, specifically about the light, we surmised that whatever powers the ring possesses can only be unlocked by whoever wears it. Some of us tried it on to test this, but nothing happened."

"All of you tried it on?"

"Well, there were Joe and Carter and myself, the primary researchers. We couldn't risk revealing it to everybody."

"I see. So, no women tried it on?"

"No." He thought for a minute. "I see where you're going."

"What if I tried it?"

"I wouldn't recommend it, Lois. Take into consideration, what happened to Ms. Hathaway. If your theory is correct, the risk is too high."

"You may be right. How about the scroll with all her ancient recipes?"

"The ancient recipes of beauty?"

"Yes, have you been able to confirm the content?"

"As a matter of fact, we are expecting a translator who is well verse in ancient Greek. If you don't mind waiting, he'll be along shortly.

"I have all day." She said, leaning back in the chair.

Lois waited patiently until finally a short, sweaty, pudgy man in his late forties with a thin mustache and thinning hair brushed in a comb over, entered Dr. Klein's office. His name is Professor Filakouris, the premier scholar on ancient Greek civilizations. He entered the office in a hurry, almost dropping all the papers he was carrying. "Professor Filakouris!" Dr. Klein stood to greet him.

"Dr. Klein, I presume. Heh, heh, small joke." He laughed as he stretched his hand to meet Dr. Klein's. Lois appeared amused.

"I'm so glad you made it." Dr. Klein continued. "Permit me to introduce you to Ms. Lane, she's a reporter with the Daily Planet." Professor Filakouris stretched his hand toward Lois in greeting. "She's also very interested in your opinion about the scroll."

"The scroll? I see now, yes?" The Professor suddenly dropped his papers upon Dr. Klein's desk.

"Of course, I see you're ready." Dr. Klein remarked.

"Yes, very ready. This quite a discovery. Never heard anything like it. Please, scroll now." He moved around the desk and sat on the Doctor's chair, making himself comfortable.

"I'll be right back." Dr. Klein told him as he went in searched of the scroll.

The professor was so busy arranging the desk to his liking that he momentarily forgot all about Lois, who still sat calmly awaiting the results of the examination. Suddenly, he looked and was startled by Lois' presence.

"My God! You scare me." He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief.

"Sorry." She shrugged her shoulders. "I can see that you're eager to see the scroll. Why?"

"Dr. Klein says that it contains recipes of beauty, yes?"


"This very interesting. If true, only one people could create. Long ago, one people live in small island but one day, poof! Disappeared, like magic. Long before Trojan war. If same people wrote the scroll, then only evidence of existence." He explained. Lois moved her chair closer to the desk.

"What kind of people were they?" She asked, obviously getting involved with his explanation.

"That important thing. Stories of town of women. Only women. Beautiful women. Very, very beautiful. They had own religion, not Greek Orthodox. Heh, heh, small joke, yes?" He smiled and stretched his arms upward as though making an announcement. Lois smiled. "Yes, small joke, Professor. Please, continue."

"Yes. Women with own religion. Worship, nature things. Like a, babies, no-no. Like a birth, and beauty, and death, and …"

"…strength, perseverance, courage, independence, and power?" Lois added.

The Professor smiled broadly as if for the first time he had encountered a kindred spirit. "Yes! Yes! All that! How you know?"

"Let's just say, I had a crash course." "Small joke, yes?"

"I wish. Please, go on."

"Yes. Women worship all that. But, worship queen more. Queen like the mother. Queen close to goddesses. She had to have all things worshipped, if not have, queen had to get. Queen picked sisters with needed qualities. This made queen stronger. Understand, only stories, no proof so far. That's why scroll very important."

"I think I have an idea of what you're saying." Lois appeared to drift away for a second searching for a two month old memory, but quickly continued with her interview. "How did they know who was the queen?" Lois asked as she kept moving her chair forward.

"That mystery. Some say, queen most beautiful of all. Some other say, queen had goddesses' eyes. Other say, queen had stone, no, precious stone. Some say, she had all three."

"A precious stone? Like a diamond?"

"Okay. Like diamond. Don't know for sure. Many stories of powerful women. Some say Helen of Troy was one of these women because she drove men crazy. Don't know, they disappeared. Many believe, they anger gods. Got too proud, maybe. The gods not like proud servants. Make them go away."

"You actually believe Greek gods exist and are gallivanting around?"

Before Professor Filakouris had a chance to answer, Dr. Klein entered the office and nestled in his hands, the scroll lay wrapped in protective material.

"Here we go." He announced as he lay the paper carefully upon the desk. At first, the Professor's eyes caressed every corner of the paper, almost afraid to touch it with his hands. His face displayed admiration and reverence. He slowly moved toward the scroll, holding his breath and patting his drenched forehead with his handkerchief. "Good. I see now. You got gloves?"

"Yes we do. Here you are." Dr. Klein gave him a pair of silk gloves.

"You got to be careful." He opened the plastic. "Very delicate, yes?" He inserted his hand and took hold of the paper. "Aah, see, nice and careful."

Lois continued to move closer, eager to see the mysterious scroll.

"Ms. Lane. Please, I see no light."

"Sorry, Professor."

"No problem." He started to read the passages. He squinted his eyes trying to decipher every word. At one point the strained was too much, so he had to rely on the power of a magnifying glass. With every word he read, his eyes grew larger. Lois watched his reaction closely. She didn't know whether she could stand the suspense anymore. Her leg was shaking. When the Professor finally looked up, five hours had gone by.

"What? What did it say?" Lois asked unable to contain her curiosity.

"It's the proof." He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. "Ms. Lane, it's true these recipes but …"

"But what, Professor?"

"It's history. Let me tell what I read so far. Understand much more information. It takes more time to decipher all. Still, let me tell," he breathed in deeply and exhaled. "True they exist long time before Trojan war. Most stories true. But two things, explained: First, the queen was queen when chosen by goddesses. If goddesses chose, queen wore precious diamond. Like a ring. Ring, give all knowledge and all passion. Queen free to quit at any time. Like that for many years, until, one queen did something bad. Queen seduced and conquered man that goddess loved. Queen thought she was better than goddess. "Passion took over her, I guess?" Lois joked.

"Yes. It did. Queen very proud. Goddess very angry, said if want passion you get *crazy* passion, forever. All other chosen queens, got knowledge and crazy passion. Another bad thing. Very a bad thing. Queen got passion and knowledge of omen people which was good. Yet, if chosen queen, a woman could not say no or quit. Only way quit by taking ring off. If take ring off and quit, goddesses took woman's mind. Only way can take ring off, by permission. If permission granted, woman could be like any woman. If anybody took ring off without permission, queen loses mind."

"Let me see if I get it." Lois started. "If a woman was chosen queen, she had to wear the ring. If at any time she took the ring off without permission, she would go crazy?"

"Crazy … Too general. More than that. Queen would cease to be like before. She would be alive but her mind would … Mm, her mind would be, how you say? Trapped?" The Professor tried to explain. "It all depends on ring and permission from goddesses."

"Her mind would be trapped?" Lois thought for a moment, trying to understand what The Professor had conveyed. "Yes."

"But, if she had permission, she could walk around like a normal woman?"


"What if she wanted to be queen again? Or could she be queen again?"

"Yes! Here's answer." He pointed to a passage in the middle of the second page of the document. "Second thing explained, if she took ring off, she loses all knowledge, all passion. To be queen again and get knowledge and passion, woman had to pray to individual goddesses and ask blessing. Remember, goddesses choose queen."

"How many goddesses were they?"

"Aah, here name three but many more. They must be prayed to in order and woman must have ring every time prayed. Order like this; Hera, for sweetness and wit; Aphrodite, for charm and beauty; last Athena, for strength and power. With every prayer, woman got goddesses' blessing, by third prayer, woman got knowledge and passion. Woman becomes queen again. Women wore ring again. Very complicated and magical."

"I'll say. What about the recipes?"

"A few, mostly to moisturize and keep young. Hard to find ingredients, today." "Let me ask you something, If a woman lost the ring by accident, she would lose her mind? I mean, her mind would be trapped?"

"Yes. No matter how lose ring. Must wear it always after third blessing."

"Another question, if the woman lost her mind, the only way to be cured is by praying and wearing the ring every time she prayed?"

"Back then, yes. Today, maybe but got doctors, yes?"

"Apparently very good ones." Lois said sarcastically.

"Small joke, yes?"

"Yes." She quickly turned her gaze to Dr. Klein who had been sitting quietly absorbing this most fantastical information. "Dr. Klein?" Lois startled the doctor who had been sitting enthralled, listening to every word.

"Yes, yes."

"Can the Professor see the ring?"

"I don't know, Lois. We're still doing tests."

"You have ring?!" The Professor asked, standing up abruptly.

"Yes, we do." Dr. Klein answered reluctantly.

"Please, must see it."

"Come on, doctor, what harm would it do?" Lois asked

"I guess so." He conceded unwillingly.

"Good. You guys, keep working on the scroll and the ring, I'll catch up to you later." Lois said as she picked up her things. "I have a dinner to go to. Call me if you find anything else." She exited the office quickly en route to what would surely become a very interesting evening.


Lois and Clark drove through the dark, crowded streets of Hobbs Bay, searching for Cassandra's hotel. Hobbs Bay was like a different city in itself. Buildings were torn down or condemned, businesses were scarce, litter covered the streets and the smell of hopelessness permeated the air. Clark could not believe how far Cassandra had fallen. The thought that he may have had something to do with her current state was as alive in his brain, as it had been when he laid eyes on her at the Planet. Lois was not affected by Cassandra's fall, in her mind, whatever fate had befallen Cassandra, was one she deserved. They finally drove up to the Eastside Hotel. It was a four-story building that had existed in the same area for forty years, and time and decay had diminished its once elegant exterior. Now, graffiti and broken down doors and windows were the decor of the day. Clark unconsciously shook his head in disbelief.

They got out of the car and walked to the building. The two paused briefly looking up at the structure before them. They managed to walk up the entrance stairs which were littered with cheap wine bottles and beer cans. Inside they encountered the stairs that would take them to the fourth floor, where Cassandra and her mother were staying. Lois could not help thinking that the last time she visited Cassandra's abode, it had been at one of Metropolis finer and most expensive hotels. How far the mighty had fallen, she thought. They walked up the stairs finally reaching Cassandra's door. They didn't have to knock. As soon as Cassandra heard their steps, she opened the door and greeted them with a big welcoming smile.

"I'm so glad you made it, " she said as they entered, "I see you were able to follow my directions. I was not sure if they were accurate. Please, come in and make yourselves comfortable."

Clark and Lois looked around them. The room was small. In the far corner there was an old sofa, while in the middle of the room a four-chair kitchen table was set. If one looked closer, one could notice that it was slightly leaning to one side. On the left side of the room, they spotted a small stove, upon which two pots were set. On the right side of the room, there was a door and out of it, a tall woman in her early fifties wearing a flowered house dress, eye glasses and slippers came out. She wore absolutely no makeup and her hair was set in a severe bun.

"Ma, they're here. Let me introduce you. Clark, Lois, this is my mother, Francesca Hathaway."

Lois and Clark smiled and extended their hands to Francesca, who stood surveying them from head to toe.

"So, you're the young man who helped my daughter get a job?" She asked, her voice sounding like one that had been abused by too many cigarettes and too many shots of Bourbon.

"I can't say I helped her …" Clark started.

"She said you did. How about you?" She looked straight at Lois with one eye brow arched.

"What about me?" Lois retorted, momentarily intimated by Francesca.

"Did you help my daughter, also?" Francesca asked moving ever so slightly toward Lois.

"I-I…" Lois attempted to answer, realizing in the back of her mind, that Francesca had asked a loaded question. One that did not have to do with Cassandra's employment.

"Ma," Cassandra interrupted, "why don't you let them sit, first. They just walked in. Ask your questions later."

"Whatever you say." Francesca dismissed her with her hand as she walked slowly to the old sofa. She sat and sighed.

"That's mother for you." Cassandra concluded. Lois and Clark just smiled. "Please, sit at the table, dinner is almost ready. Ma," Francesca did not respond, "ma!"

"What? What is it?" "Did you fall asleep again?" Cassandra asked in a concerned tone.

"No, no. I was just thinking."

"Well, come sit here, dinner's ready."

It was taking Francesca a bit too long to get off the old sofa. Clark, realizing that she was having a hard time, rushed to help her. Lois just looked on, hardly believing what she was witnessing and wondering why was she there.

"Thank you, young man." Francesca told him while patting him on the back. "My, you have a strong back. Do you work out?" Clark smiled.

"Ma, leave him alone." Cassandra told her as she stirred the content of the pots. Cassandra told them to make themselves comfortable. The table was set simply. Paper plates and plastic utensils took the place of porcelain and silver. Clark looked at Lois, traces of pity shining in his eyes. Finally, Cassandra served the meal. It consisted merely of macaroni and cheese and pale pieces of chicken. She appeared proud of her creation as she sat to the left of Clark, facing Lois. "Come on guys, dig in." She smiled and started to eat.

Francesca did not waste any time and attacked the meal before her. Clark could only smile as he attempted to chew the rubber-like piece of poultry. Lois was more obvious, she didn't take a single bite but instead shuffled the macaroni from one side of her paper plate to the other.

"Is everything okay, Lois?" Cassandra asked in between bites.

"Yes. It's delicious." Lois smiled and brought the cheese covered plastic fork to her mouth.

"You've hardly eaten." Cassandra continued.

"I must be honest, this food is …" She dropped her plastic fork by her plate.

"Lois!" Clark interrupted. "You ate that pastrami sandwich, didn't you? Now, you're not hungry."

Lois stared at him at first, not realizing what he was trying to tell her, his eyes helped her decipher the code. "Yes! That's right. I'm sorry. I just got very hungry earlier …" "That's okay, Lois. I understand." Cassandra kept eating.

"I like it." Francesca added, her mouth full of the cheesy pasta. Cassandra rubbed her arm. Clark appeared embarrassed.

"Mrs. Hathaway," Clark started in an effort to change the subject, "how are you feeling? Cassandra told me that you weren't feeling well." Lois just stared at him with a questioning look in her face.

"I could be better. It's this weather. It's hard on my bones."

"The warm weather's bad for you?" Lois asked in an incredulous tone.

"Not the warm weather. The damp weather. You noticed, we live by the water, right?" Francesca stated in a slightly annoyed tone.

"Yes, I did. Couldn't miss it."

"When we were in London we lived by the water, and she was always in constant pain." Cassandra explained. "You remember, ma?"

"London. Ugh, too wet. I liked Monte Carlo, better."

"When were you in London?" Lois asked, finding the conversation very interesting.

"A couple of years ago." Cassandra answered.

"And Monte Carlo?" Lois continued.

"I just came back from Monte Carlo." Francesca answered. "I had to leave it cause my baby needed me …" She squinted her eyes trying to contain the tears that threatened to spill out.

"Now, ma, don't cry." Cassandra took hold of her hand. Lois rolled her eyes. Clark was obviously touched.

"It must have been very hard on you …" Clark stated in a sympathetic tone.

"Hard? Imagine sitting in your home, when you suddenly hear that your baby's in a mental hospital, it breaks a mother's heart. And then, to find out that you have no money to reach her… I would've come sooner, I should've but it took me awhile to get the money." Francesca appeared distraught. "Ma, come on, it's over. I'm here, I'm okay now." Cassandra tried to soothe her.

The emotional level of the situation, added more fuel to the guilt Clark felt over Cassandra. Lois, on the other hand, appeared very calm. She was really enjoying the look into Cassandra's current life.

"You must have felt relieved, when Cassandra got better?" Lois pressed.

"It was like a blessing." Francesca smiled for the first time while looking straight into Lois' eyes.

"It seems like it. I mean, you just got back from Monte Carlo, went to see your daughter and just like that," Lois snapped her fingers. "She got better. How else would you explain it? It must've been a blessing." Lois stated as a matter of fact. Clark could not believe that Lois was actually conducting an interview.

"It was." Francesca told her, still staring deeply into her eyes.

"And Cassandra," Lois turned to Cassandra, "how do you feel now? You must admit, you experienced a lot. It must have felt like you were… Trapped." She stared at Cassandra with a look that told her, she knew everything about her. Cassandra just grinned and gave her a surreptitious nod, which told Lois that her challenge had been accepted.

"Lois, maybe we could talk about something else?" Clark asked quickly, eager to change the subject.

"I'm just making polite conversation, Clark. Which reminds me, I had an interesting talk today with an expert in ancient Greek civilizations. You'd be surprised about all the things that man knows." She stared at Cassandra, who was smiling slightly.

"What did you learn, Lois?" Cassandra asked, continuing the game.

"The most amazing things. Did you know that a long time ago there was a civilization made up of only women? Apparently, they disappeared suddenly. But I'm sure they left some reminders. Don't you agree, Cassandra?" Lois smiled innocently.

"I wouldn't doubt it. You never know what you may find *under* the surface." Cassandra remarked as she grinned.

"Lois, Cassandra must be tired of…" Clark interceded.

"Are you tired, Cassandra?" Lois asked, challenging her once again.

"Why, no. Not at all. So tell me, Lois, what else did you find out?" She leaned forward.

"Many things. Especially, having to do with jewelry."

"Such as?" Francesca asked suddenly, joining in the game.

Lois glanced at her, realizing that a new player had entered. "I was told that certain women in this civilization, wore a certain precious stone that indicated their rank in that society. And that special stone was very powerful. Even capable of * reviving* people." Lois explained while gazing from Francesca to Cassandra with a calculating look.

"Lois, that's fascinating. You should write a story about it." Francesca told her as her smile grew.

"Yes. Very interesting, Lois. I would love to hear more about it." Cassandra added. "But, you know what, I am starting to feel a bit tired, and ma has to rest also. Thank you for coming, you guys. I hope you enjoyed the meal." Cassandra looked straight at Lois. "We must do it again." She smiled brightly. Lois stared at her as though reading her every thought. Clark stared at Lois, wondering what was going on in her mind. Immediately after Lois and Clark left, Francesca and Cassandra sat side by side on the sofa. "Well, mother, what do you think?"

"Dear, I really cannot think of anything until I take this darn, ugly flowered dress off! I need makeup! Where's the makeup?! Brush, I need a brush! Where's my Todd Oldham?!"

"Mother, calm down. It's not that bad."

"Sure, darling, and Chanel's last collection can be found at Walmart." Francesca undid her hair and let it drop down her back. "Ooh, That's better." She shook her head and her hair fell gracefully down her back. "Cissy, can't we go now? I had enough of this horrendous room. Let's go back to our "little" hideaway. It's so much bigger and better."

"We'll leave tonight but for now, we have to wait awhile. Lois and Clark could still be out there." Cassandra stood and walked to the window.

"Sure, while we wait, some maniac can come in and kill us …" "You're exaggerating. Anyway, it's necessary to wait."

"Well, on the bright side, I think you accomplished something tonight."

"I think so too!" Cassandra exclaimed brightly. "You should've seen the look on his face when you told him how sad and hard it had been for you." Cassandra mimicked her mother's performance, " 'Took me awhile to get the money…' A classic, mother, you play poor very well. You think they would've been surprised to find out that you hold all my liquid assets?"

"More surprised if they ever find out I transferred them back to you, today." Francesca walked toward her daughter and embraced her. "Darling, my performance only goes to show that mother can keep a secret. Did you like the old lady routine?"

"I hear the Academy Awards calling …"

"You did an excellent job, also. That food! Oh, that food! How horrendous. Vomiting wouldn't hurt right now." Francesca faked sticking a finger down her throat.

"You seemed to enjoy it. Lois, on the other hand …"

"I don't think Clark liked what she did. Playing with the food like a kid. How immature."

"It was precious, mother."

"Darling, I REALLY don't like her. Why don't we, you know? Accidents can happen…Especially from high altitudes… "

"No, mother. You know, our pledge prohibits us from killing any of us. ( At least with our own hands.) Besides, if anything happens to her, Clark would be forever haunted by her memory. It'll be a hollow victory."

"The only thing I know, dear, is that often in a barrel, we must get rid of certain rotten apples. That is, before they ruin it for the rest of us."

"I cannot risk it, mother. Not now. I'm truly enjoying this little game we're playing way too much to quit. I have a feeling that Lois may crack under pressure. Maybe…I can break them up without my powers. I think I should try it." Cassandra told her with a calculating look on her face.

"Fine, you know better, but I still think she's dangerous. She may not be as dumb as we think. Just tonight she tried to trick us. All that talk about jewelry and ancient civilizations, so obvious." .

"You have to admire her Perseverance. She is smart but still, not smart enough. Like tonight, she demolished her credibility with Clark. He was surprised when she mentioned the expert. Imagine, his partner at work and in love, going behind his back." Cassandra hugged herself and smiled. "I anticipate very good things, mother dear."

"I'm glad, darling. But, should we take care of the so- called expert?"

"No, mother, it wouldn't do us any good at this time. Anyway, how much can he find out. It's not like our history is easy to decipher." Cassandra glanced at her mother with a secretive smile.

"I'm sure you are right. Still, I should've grabbed that darn scroll."

"Spilt milk, mother. Don't worry about it."

"If you say so." Francesca looked around the small apartment. "Can we go, now?"

"I think it's safe." Cassandra started walking to the door. Francesca followed closely.

"Darling, just look where we are, how safe can we be?" Francesca said as they exited the room. Cassandra smiled.

Meanwhile, Lois and Clark drove to her apartment. The ride over had been a silent one. Each had been lost in their own world. Lois was more convinced than ever that Cassandra was hiding something and in her mind she struggled to figure out what. Clark had been haunted by the image of Cassandra living in that run down hotel, by the mother who was obviously hurt by what happened to her daughter, and by the belief that he was responsible for it all. But now, while they sat in Lois' car, he found it hard to understand Lois' cavalier attitude in the face of such misery. "Lois, what happened tonight? The other day you seemed to understand how I feel about Cassandra, but tonight … you seemed so …" She looked at him, knowing exactly what was on his mind.

"Clark, I never denied that I have strong feelings about her. Bottom line, I don't trust her. I understand your feelings, but I'm not going to deny mine to make you feel better. Especially NOT when it comes to Cassandra. I don't think that's the type of relationship we have." She told him sincerely.

"I would never ask you to do that, but how can you deny what we saw? Cassandra is not the same person. She's proven that, don't you think?"

She looked out her window at the stars above them. "I admit that she has fallen on hard times. Still, I know she's hiding something."

"And you based this on your conversation with the ancient civilization expert?"

For the first time, Lois realized what she had done. She had gone behind his back. Deliberately hiding information from him, but then revealing it as a way to entrapped her Cassandra. She felt bad, but at the same time she found comfort in the knowledge that it had to be done.

"I'm sorry, I should've told you. I was going to… But I feared you would think I was obsessing, again."

"I feel like you're keeping me out of the loop. I thought we were partners."

"We are, Clark, more than partners. It's just that we have different opinions about this and rather than keep on fighting, I…"

"Lois, can you admit that there's a chance that Cassandra has changed? I think she has."

"Maybe." She told him with a faint smile. "It's hard to let go of what happened, though. She almost destroyed you, destroyed us. What we have is the most important thing in my life, and when somebody threatens it, I have to fight." She paused and stared tenderly into his eyes. "I don't know if I'll ever get to a point, when I look at her and not see the monster she turned out to be."

"I know it takes time, Lois. But I feel like the only one that's being hurt here, is you, by holding on to the past. He reached for her hand. "Lois, I love you, and nothing can change that. Not even Cassandra." He kissed her hand softly.

"I know, Clark." She looked tenderly at him. "I love you very much also." Lois told him softly.

"Then, what's the problem? Knowing that we love each other so much, should give us the strength to deal with anything." Clark reached for her and embraced her.

"Sometimes, it all seems like a never ending *test* of our love…" Lois whispered as she shivered slightly. Clark hugged her tightly seeking to protect her and dissolve her fears.

"Lois, nothing will ever ruin us." He told her in reassuring tone.

"You promise?"

"I give you my word." Clark looked down into her eyes and smiled. She reached up seeking his warm lips. The two sat for a long time in Lois's car, comforted by each other and the love they felt.


Friday, at the Planet, Cassandra sat at Clark's desk, working. She seemed very comfortable. She was dressed in a stylish blue suit, her hair was worn loose falling down her back, and she displayed a moderate amount of makeup. Lois walked in and was surprised by the sight that awaited her.

"Lois! Good morning!" Cassandra said, smiling brightly.

Lois took a bit too long to respond.


"Oh, good morning." She answered without emotion. "Where's Clark?"

"He is not in yet. I've been here for a while, Perry wanted me to double check some articles. By the way, loved your story about the break-in at STAR Labs. Who could've done such a thing?" Cassandra asked with a mischievous smile.

Lois stared at her and Cassandra returned the stare. The two continued the staring game as Jimmy approached them.

"Good morning, Lois." Jimmy walked over to Cassandra and leaned against Clark's desk. "Good morning to you, Cassandra." He stated with a boyish smile.

Cassandra turned from Lois to Jimmy, her face reflected joy and charm. "Jimmy, you handsome devil, you. You're a sight for SORE eyes." Lois turned away repulsed by the spectacle and walked to Perry's office.

Perry sat at his desk examining articles.

"Perry…" Lois called as soon as she walked in.

"Lois, how are you?" "Perry, one question, how long is Cassandra going to be working here?"

"As long as she wants. Why do you ask?" He asked, suddenly curious as to the purpose of Lois visit.

"I don't want you to think that I'm playing the role of the jealous girlfriend, but I think she's dangerous."

"I agree that at one time, I would've thought the same. I mean, after what happened with Clark and all. However, I don't think so. People CAN change, Lois. I think that little lady has done just that."

"Perry, trust me when I tell you, she hasn't changed."

"On what do you base this?"

"It's instinct." She said simply.

"Lois, you're a seasoned reporter, you know the rules of the game. Instincts are good but not that good. Honey, you got to have something to back it up. That means facts. Who? When? Where? How? What? And most importantly, Why?"

"I'm working on it."

"Lois, sometimes we get distracted by "ghosts," make sure you aren't chasing any."

"It's not a ghost. There are too many unanswered questions about her. Yesterday, I spoke to a man who knew a lot about Cassandra's ring and what he told me could explain Cassandra's sudden recovery."

"Like what?"

"He told me that, whoever wore the ring was deemed the queen. If at any time the ring was removed, the queen would lose her mind. Or something like that." She paused briefly, noticing a disinterested look on Perry's face. Lois was struck by it but refused to believe that he didn't care. "Anyway, based on what happened to Cassandra, you can describe it as losing her mind. He also said that she could regain it by wearing the ring and conducting some type of ceremony …"

"I see." He retorted in a patronizing tone. "One problem, does she have the ring?"

"As far as I know, no, but…"

"She doesn't have it, right? Do you think then, that explains her recovery?"

"Perry, fact is STAR Labs was broken into …"

"Nothing was taken."

"Seemingly so, but what IF something was taken?"

"Can't prove it. Can you?"

"I may."

"It sounds a bit farfetched to me." Lois could not believe what she was hearing. Perry had always supported her in anything she did, but now he seemed reluctant. He seemed unwilling to give her the benefit of the doubt. She felt disappointed and hurt by the man who was like a father to her.

"Perry, what's going on? It seems like you don't even want to listen to this."

"Lois, I've gotten to know the girl. She's okay. She's a wonderful assistant, in just two days she has proven herself reliable and efficient. She's charmed everybody here. Everybody likes her. I have no complains."

"She charmed everybody before … And then she went nuts." Lois stated, suddenly getting aggravated.

"Calm down, honey. Think of the why? Why would she risk it all, now? She's got a good job, she's free, has a new life in front of her. Why ruin it?

"You have a point but …"Lois suddenly realized that to keep on arguing would not lead her anywhere. "I guess you're right." She conceded quietly.

"That's the only way to look at it. Okay?"

"You're the Chief." She told him flatly as she exited the office and walked back to her desk. Suddenly she spotted Clark walking down the ramp with a cup of coffee in each hand. "Some things never change." She told herself with a smile as she walked toward him. Suddenly Cassandra appeared before Clark.

"Good morning, Clark. Oh, is that for me? You read my mind." Cassandra grabbed one of the cups. Clark looked surprised but didn't take the cup back. "Clark, I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your desk. It's so big and spacious." She smiled as she brought the cup to her lips.

Lois could not believe her eyes. "No, of course not. Make yourself comfortable." Clark told her.

Lois walked up to Clark, her face looked tense.

"Hi, Lois …" Clark smiled and leaned to give her a kiss on the cheek. Cassandra was standing in between them viewing the scene. Her face revealed a slight grin.

"Hi." Lois said, receiving his soft kiss.

"Want some coffee?" He offered her the remaining cup.

Lois glanced at Cassandra who continued to enjoy her beverage.

"No. That's okay. I have to cut down, you know how coffee can make you go bonkers, sometimes." She remarked, as she stared at Cassandra out of the corner of her eye.

"Sure, if that's how you feel." He said, a bit confused.

The two walked toward her desk.

"How are you feeling?" Clark asked as they walked.

"I'm fine. Couldn't be better." She said in a sarcastic tone.

"What's wrong?" He insisted.

After her experience with Perry, she didn't think she could stand another person telling her that she was wrong about Cassandra. Especially, Clark. "Seriously, I'm fine." She told him in a tone that indicated that the subject had to be closed. "If you want to talk …" "Sure. Later."

Clark looked at her as she pretended to type in her computer. He had never seen her like this. He wanted to hug her and make her feel better. He knew the cause of her distress and yet he couldn't go against his own feelings. Feelings that told him that things were not the same with Cassandra. Feelings of guilt which blinded him. He turned toward his desk, where Cassandra was still sitting.

Cassandra had been a witness to the whole scene, she couldn't help but smile. "Let me pick this stuff up." She started to organize all her papers, as soon as she saw him walking toward her. "Perry has not given me my own desk yet, so I have to use whatever's available." She explained while organizing her papers.

"Take your time, it's okay."

"You're so nice to me." She looked at him with a sweet look on her face. "You're the best friend I've ever had." He smiled shyly.

Cassandra stared at him and returned the smile. Then something caught her eye, a familiar figure exited the elevator and was standing looking down at them.

"Ma? What are you doing here?!" She asked loudly. Francesca smiled and made her way down the ramp toward her daughter. She was wearing a loud flowered summer dressed, thick eye glasses and her hair was set in a severe bun. In her right hand she carried a small paper bag. Both Lois and Clark turned around to witness Francesca's descent.

"You forgot your lunch." She said raising the paper bag. "Ma, you didn't have to, I could've waited till I got home."

Lois shook her head at the sight of the theatrics. Clark walked over to them.

"Hello, Mrs. Hathaway." He extended his hand to greet her.

"You're such a good friend to my Cissy. No handshakes, give me a hug! And I'll let you call me 'ma.'"

Clark hesitated but then complied. Francesca hugged him tightly displaying a large grin.

Lois felt that she couldn't take anymore of it. She couldn't believe how blind everyone was. She knew they were dangerous and that was the problem; she was the only one who knew. She was lost in thought, when Jimmy suddenly approached her.

"Hey, Lois. Do you think Cassandra likes me?" Lois stared at Jimmy blankly, as if his words had not registered.

"I don't know and I don't care." She told him bluntly. "Why don't you run over there and asked her majesty?"

"Lois take a chill pill. She's cool. Everybody likes her, even Clark. And besides she's such a babe." He looked up adoringly at Cassandra. "She can do no wrong in my eyes."

Lois felt like a fire was burning in the pit of her stomach. "That's it!" She yelled. Everybody in the office turned toward her and Perry ran out of his office, startled. She got up quickly and walked to where Cassandra, Francesca, and Clark stood. She grabbed Clark by the arm.

"I need to talk to you, now." Lois whispered as she pulled his arm. "What is it?" Clark was surprised by her reaction.

"Please, I need to talk to you."

Clark conceded and followed her into the conference room. He closed the door behind them. As soon as he did this, Lois started to fling her arms and pace, her gestures were large and it was obvious that she was quite upset. The whole office was witness to this. They were all worried about what was going on but only two people stood watching with bright smiles on their faces.

"Gee, mother," Cassandra whispered, "do you think Lois is upset?"

"Either that or she's having an epileptic attack. Hopefully the latter." Francesca remarked quietly.

"Look at him." Cassandra continued. "He's turning away from her. I don't think he is too happy."

"I could almost see the vein on his forehead bulging." Francesca noted in an excited tone.

"Wait! Is she crying?" Cassandra asked, as she took a step forward. "No, she's not. Pity."

"Darling, I am so proud of you." Francesca gushed.

"Too early to tell, mother. Only when I know that he has abandoned her, will I be happy."

"I think it's going to happen. Look at the way he shakes his head."

"He is so easy. Guilt and pity can get him to do anything. Maybe I didn't need my powers after all."

"Guilt and pity have been your advantage, dear."

"Can't look a gift horse …"

"…in the mouth?" Francesca looked at her daughter, who was grinning.

"There is no doubt in my mind, mother, pity and guilt do open doors." She put her arm around her mother. "And yet, I think it's time to visit Athena. I crave power and I miss the feel of my ring around my finger." She smiled.

"I'll get ready. This is going to be so much fun." Francesca announced excitingly. "Let's hope for the goddess' final blessing."


Lois and Clark left the office with the excuse that they had to investigate a story but instead they headed to Lois' apartment to continue their conversation. Clark had been astounded when Lois grabbed him and took him to the conference room. He couldn't understand what had set her off but while arguing in the conference room, everything seemed clearer. Lois, on the other hand, appeared quite agitated, it was as though all the pressures of the week came together, making her feel like she was drowning. She tried to hold on to the first person who came to mind--Clark. However, she soon discovered that they were indeed drifting in different directions. Understanding this, she suggested that they leave to converse in a quieter place. So they headed toward her apartment, hoping that the isolation would help them reach an understanding.

They entered Lois' apartment in relative silence. She walked toward her couch and sat with a sigh. Clark stood looking down at her.

"Why don't you sit?" She motioned for him to join her at the couch.

He hesitated but then walked toward her and sat. "Lois, I really don't know what to say to you."

"Obviously we have a major difference of opinion." She told him simply and sincerely.

"I know. We've disagreed before, but, we've always managed to come to an understanding. Why can't we do that now?" "Rational people communicate, irrational people just fight. Perhaps we've become a pair of irrational beings." She stood up and walked to her window. Lois looked back at Clark and laughed sarcastically. "And over what?! Cassandra Hathaway! The woman who almost destroyed us! You agree that she almost destroyed us, right? And you know what's amazing? It all took place just two months ago. Now, you want me to believe that in two months she turned from a delusional psychopath to a glorified saint? Give me a break!" She turned to her window and breathed deeply, seeking to calm herself. "Look at us. She's done it again. She's put a wedge between us. The sad thing is that nobody can see this but me." He shifted uncomfortably on the couch.

"So, what you're saying is that, this is ALL her fault?"

"In a manner of speaking, yeah."

"Lois, ever since she came back, you've been attacking her. You've refused to give her a chance. As far as I know, she had done nothing to justify your suspicions. Still, you keep at her. Just look at her, she has lost it all. How can she still be the same person? Besides, there's no indication that she still feels the same about me." He abruptly stood up.

"It's all about her, isn't it? How she feels, how she's doing, where she's going and on and on and on! You, Perry and Jimmy. The whole office! All of you mooning over her like teenagers." She continued in a mocking tone, "Ooh, she's a babe, she's so cool, so reliable, I feel so sorry for her." Lois shook her head. "It's like all of you have been brainwashed! Which it's not inconceivable."

"I gave you my reasons for my behavior toward her."

"Yeah! Good ole guilt." Lois walked toward him, looking him straight in the eyes. "What makes you think, that she doesn't realize this?"

"What are you saying?"

"Clark, you still believe you're dealing with the same naive girl you met in college. You believe she's still *Cassie Jones. * That's your problem. You have this permanent image in your head … And it doesn't let you see the real Cassandra."

"You're wrong. I see her as she is. "

"Am I? You don't realize that it's the same type of blindness that didn't let you see how she felt for you." Clark lowered his head. Lois realized that she had touched a raw nerve and immediately felt sorry. "Forget it. I'm sorry. I don't know what…"

"No. Say what you think, Lois." He spoke quietly but honestly.

"It doesn't matter. You won't believe me, anyway. You're stuck in this guilty mode and it seems like you don't even want to get out of it. Clark, assuming that you should've been more conscientious about her and aware of her feelings, does that really explain her behavior? Can that really excuse her actions? I don't think so. You didn't see her. You didn't see the fury in her eyes. It took all I had to fight her. I can't conceive that all that anger just disappeared. I can't. If I'm defensive or rude, believe me I have my reasons."

"What do you want me to do, Lois?"

"That's a hard one. If I ask you to go against what you feel, you may grow to resent me. I don't think I could stand it, if you resented me. Yet, if I stay quiet while she moves into our lives, I may grow to resent you. I love you too much, for that." She paused distracted by the look of sorrow in his eyes. "I don't know what to do. All I know, all I feel is that she could permanently ruin us." She slowly sat on her couch and brought her knees to her chest and hugged herself.

He wanted to comfort her but deep down he knew that it would be useless considering the current status. He walked to her and ran his fingers through her soft, dark hair, she leaned her head against his hand. "I love you, Lois. Don't you ever doubt that." Lois lifted her head and in her eyes he could see the promise of tears about to be delivered. "I love you, too."

Clark left her sitting in her couch with her arms hugging her knees like an orphan child. In his heart, he knew that Lois was right but his mind did not let him escape the feeling of guilt that had controlled him. He needed to think, needed to make a decision. Clark, exited her apartment and decided to walk through the crowded streets of Metropolis. He didn't feel the pavement under his feet, didn't feel the touch of strangers as they walked by him, didn't hear the sound of countless voices around him. His mind was focused on Lois. Specifically, he tried to imagine what his life would be like without her. Before he knew it, he found himself in front of the Eastside Hotel and in that moment, he knew what had to be done.

Clark glanced at his watch, it was 30 minutes past five, he knew that Cassandra had to be home. He knocked at the door and it opened. It hadn't been locked. He walked in calling for Cassandra. Suddenly, she exited her bedroom wearing a thin bathrobe and a towel around her head, looking very beautiful and seductive. "Clark! What are you doing here?" She asked in an alarmed tone.

"The door was opened, so I came in." He looked embarrassed. "I could wait outside …"

"Nonsense, come in. Make yourself comfortable." She told him as she sat on the sofa in her bathrobe. Clark, walked slowly and sat at one of the kitchen table chairs.

"Why are you so far away? Sit over here." She motioned for him to sit with her at the sofa.

"No. I'm okay here." He told her abruptly. That single gesture brought back a perturbing memory. One that had not crossed his mind in awhile. He had sat beside her before in a different place and time. In that instant, he felt apprehensive. He couldn't explain it, but in a way, Cassandra appeared different.

"You sure? The sofa looks old but it's comfortable." "Yes. I'm sure."

Cassandra immediately sensed that there was something wrong. She knew that Clark, in his current guilt- ridden state, would have never resisted her sweet gestures. "What's up, Clark? Are you okay? I mean, cause after the fight with Lois this afternoon …"

"It wasn't a fight. We were just talking …" He told her quickly.

"Really? That's good. Communication is important in any relationship."

"I know. Cassandra … " He started. Cassandra knew where he was headed and she didn't want him to go there.

"Clark, did I tell you? We're going to move soon."

"Move? How? You just started working, you don't have any money …"

"I know. But the job at the Planet helps and anyway I got a good deal in a small apartment. It's a better area."

Clark was not sure whether he could tell her what he planned to tell her. However, Lois's image as he left her, was imprinted in his mind and helped him move forward.

"Cassandra, I really need to talk to you."

"Go ahead. You can tell me anything." She told him, suddenly aware that he couldn't be stopped. She felt a tinge of anger rising within her.

He cleared his throat. "I'm really glad that you're doing better. I really am. I'm also glad that you're starting a new life and that you're moving forward." He looked straight at her. Cassandra shifted positions and revealed a naked leg. Clark continued to look into her eyes. Cassandra displayed a slight disappointment. "I want you to know that if you ever need anything, I'll be there."

"What are you trying to say, Clark?"

"I think it would be best, if you left the Planet."

"Why?! Am I doing a bad job?" She paused suddenly and looked into his eyes. "It's Lois, right?"

"No. It's me. Cassandra, I've felt so guilty about what happened between us that I thought if I helped you out, the guilt would disappear. It didn't turn out that way. Every day that went by, I felt even guiltier. And every day, I tried harder to get rid of it. Never realizing that I was hurting the one person that means the world to me. It's not your fault or Lois'. But mine. I have to let go of it and understand that whatever happened was not my fault, entirely." Then he added quietly but unsure, "Perhaps, it was not my fault at all. The only way I can let go is by going our separate ways."

"I'll never be able to live my sins down, it seems. I mean, Lois will never forget it …"

"Lois is very passionate about things but she's not irrational. I'm not saying I agree with her but I respect her feelings. Anyway, I'm sure you'll be able to go on."

"You love her a lot, I can see it in your eyes." She acknowledged with a slight grin.

"She's my life. I just can't BE without her."

"I understand." Cassandra stood abruptly, aware that the game was over. "You're right! I should REALLY start over, with a new attitude and point of view. Who knows? Maybe things will turn out my way, after all."

"I'm sure they will." Cassandra smiled and arched an eyebrow as he stood and started to walk toward her door. "Do you want me to tell Perry?" "I'll do it. Thank you, Clark. For everything." She told him simply and sweetly.

"Bye, Cassandra."

"See ya later, Clark."

A few minutes after Clark left, Cassandra stood by the window watching the ships come into the bay. Her face betrayed no emotion except for the faint look of amusement. She suddenly reached into her purse and pulled out a cellular phone. She dialed the numbers quickly.

"Mother? Yes, he came. Thanks for the warning. I hardly had enough time to get here. I'll tell you what happened later. Are you still waiting at the same place? Marvelous! Any action? Not yet? Okay, that means I have enough time to get there. Fine. Mother! By the way, is everything set up for tonight? You're the best. See you in a few."

Cassandra took another look at the bay. In her mind, the movement of the ships upon the water just as the sun was setting was quite a beautiful sight. Even if she took a picture, it wouldn't do it justice. She thought for a minute and her smile grew wider.

"*Clarkie*, my love, I'm not a ship that will just sail away. I'm going to reach your bay. I swear it." She turned from the window and exited the room, without a backward glance.


Outside Lois's apartment, Francesca sat in her black Mercedes. She was dressed very elegantly, with a dark Chanel suit and a string of Mikimoto pearls around her neck, her makeup was impeccable and her golden hair hung loose down her back. In her hands she held a pair of binoculars. She placed them before her eyes and started to look up at Lois' window, spying for any signs of activity.

"Come on, Lois, you little witch. Show your face." She muttered in a menacing tone.

Out of the corner of her eye, Francesca spotted a figure walking down the street. She quickly lowered herself and hid from view. A couple of minutes past and she resurfaced. Placing the binoculars in front of her eyes, she continued to spy on Lois. Instantly, she noticed the shadows of two figures, standing by the window. She knew that Clark Kent had come back.

"Darn, where did he come from?! Lois only had to do ONE thing. Why couldn't she drive him away? She's such a loser! I REALLY hate her! "

Inside, Lois and Clark stood by the window, staring at each other. Lois' eyes looked puffy and red, a sure sign that she had been crying. Clark couldn't stand the thought that he was the cause of her suffering. He wanted to hold her but didn't feel like he had the right. They stared at one another, trying to find the door that would release their apprehensions and make things as they were. Suddenly, Lois brought her hand to his face. He turned toward it and kissed her palm. "I'm sorry, Lois." He told her as he kissed her hand. "No. I'm sorry. I was asking too much. Clark, I'll deal with it. Whatever it is that's making me feel this way, I'll deal with it. I just don't ever want you to leave me."

"I won't ever leave you, Lois. And I won't ever let anything come between us. No matter what."

"What are you saying?"

"She's gone."

"Clark, are you sure? I don't want you to go against …"

"You were right, Lois. But, I did this for me. I had to understand that feeling guilty over Cassandra was like a vicious cycle. It was never going to end, so I HAD to end it."

"I don't know what to say."

"Say you love me." He commanded tenderly.

"I love you, Clark." He reached for her immediately and began to kiss her desperately and passionately. Lois became a willing victim of his intense feelings.

Outside, Francesca continued to spy on the couple. She gagged at the sight of the two caught in a passionate embraced.

"What does he see in her? She doesn't have half the style my Cissy has. He *must* be blind. What's so sophisticated about her? What's so sassy? Compare to my Cissy, she's a heel wearing wimp." She was distracted from her reverie by a sudden tap at the window. Noticing who it was, she smiled brightly and opened the passenger's door.

"Darling, what took you so long?" Francesca asked as soon as Cassandra entered the car.

"I felt like watching the sunset, mother." Cassandra responded as matter of fact.

"A nature moment? Whatever makes you happy, darling. Any sunset is better than this disgusting sight." She continued to spy on the couple with her binoculars.

"Anything good on TV?" Cassandra joked. "I don't know … Is there a sitcom entitled 'We Didn't Break Up, You Lose'?"

"Not that I know of, mother dear. However, I can guarantee that if it exists, it will be canceled after the second show. No reruns and no syndication. Not even a straight to video release."

"Wouldn't that be a blessing?" Francesca asked, one eye brow arched.

"It will be. By the way, did you prepare everything?"

"Darling, I'm your mommie. I cleaned your bottom for gods' sake. Of course, I took care of everything. All that's needed is you."

"Tonight's the night, then. Tonight, I'll be crowned. Tonight, I'll wear my ring once again."

"Yes, darling, things will go back to normal. One thing, I hope you didn't enjoy your foray into the world of peons."

"Please, mother, how could you think that?!" Cassandra asked in an alarmed tone.

"I hope not. I went through a lot of trouble to get the ring back. I hired the best of the best, for a hefty amount of money, mind you. Of course, after the work was done, I had to make them admire our underwater sea life, with cement shoes. Such tiresome work." Francesca displayed an evil grin. "I hope the replacement holds them back awhile." She paused briefly. "It's still a diamond, after all."

"Diamonds, don't you love them? They are indeed the best medicine." Cassandra sighed dreamily.

"How about these two love birds?" Francesca asked in a sarcastic tone.

"I miscalculated, mother. For the second time, I miscalculated." Cassandra stated angrily.

"Darling, it was not your fault."

"Now, I know it. Only one person is to blame."

"I told you, darling. She's a rotten apple."

"Yes. Believe me, she *will* pay."

"How? What are you going to do?" Francesca asked, hardly containing her excitement.

"I'll tell you after tonight. First things first, Cassandra Hathaway HAS to return. After that, I swear, there'll be no pity." Cassandra stated, with fury in her eyes. Francesca looked at her, smiled and licked her luscious lips in anticipation.

Inside, Lois and Clark continued to kiss enraptured in the love and passion they felt for one another. Suddenly, Lois' phone rang, interrupting the magic. "I have to get that." She told him as she tried to regain her breath.

"You don't have to." He tried to convince her while he still held her tight against his body.

"Yes, I have to." He reluctantly let her go. She walked toward her phone while his eyes followed her every move. "Hello."

"Ms. Lane?" The voice on the other side of the line inquired.

"This is she."

"Ms. Lane. Is Professor Filakouris. Remember?"

"Yes. Professor." She looked at Clark, who was still standing by the window eagerly waiting for her return. "What's going on?"

"I have more information. We meet, yes?"

"Sure. Tell me when?" "Tonight, yes?"

She glanced at Clark once more. Lois knew that she couldn't leave him because tonight was too important to be interrupted by work. Anyway, she thought, Cassandra is gone. She knew where she belonged in that instant and she wouldn't have traded it for all the diamonds in the world.

"Tomorrow, Professor. I'm going to bring my partner, I think you should meet him. Okay?"

"If you wish. Tomorrow it is."

"See you then." She hung up the phone and returned to Clark, who smiled brightly as she approached him.

"Who was that?" He asked, genuinely curious.

"Not tonight." She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned her slender body against him.

"You sure?" He pressed on.

"I'll tell you tomorrow …" She started to kiss him and he eagerly returned her kisses.

For them, it was hard to imagine that only a few hours ago, everything seemed so hopeless. Now, the thought was like a vague memory. The type of memory that makes you unsure as to its actual occurrence. As they kissed, there was only one moment in time that mattered and that was forever.


Later that night, somewhere outside the city of Metropolis, Cassandra and Francesca sat with their heads lowered. The largest Canary diamond ever seen rested upon a golden velvet pillow between them. There was no noise and the only light visible came from two candles that sat at the left and right of them. Francesca, took the Canary diamond in her feminine, delicate hands and raised it above her head.

"Athena, thee of the grey eyes," Francesca started in a reverent tone, "thee of the bright eyes, hear our prayer. Thou two sisters, Hera and Aphrodite have bestowed their immortal blessing upon your servant, Cassandra. The namesake of she who stood upon Pergamus to view the heroes of Troy, a namesake of she who was as beautiful as your sister Aphrodite, of she who could see it all. Cassandra who kneels before you as the only heir to earth's throne. Cassandra who has sworn in blood to revere you and rebuild your home. Athena of strength and power, of war and passion, grant her thee blessing. Oh powerful, brave Athena, grant her the knowledge, passion, strength and power she so desires. Grant her the privilege to wear the symbol of your daughters, our sisters. Grant us thou choice for queen. " Francesca then placed the diamond ring upon Cassandra's finger.

As soon as she did this, a soft, rose-scented breeze began to blow inside the room. The ring itself began to glow, first dimly but then growing brighter and brighter with every passing moment. The ring shone bright and they felt a warmth that could only be compared to the warmth a baby feels inside her mother's womb. The ring continued to shine, until it seemed like Cassandra was glowing from the inside out. There she sat her eyes closed as her whole being shone like the sun and as her body was caressed by the soft, rose-scented breeze. Suddenly, three solitary bright beams shot out from the ring toward the ceiling and then everything went black. The only light visible came from the candles that were set to the left and right of them.

At first her eyes fluttered slightly but then she opened them. The green in her eyes appeared greener, her black hair appeared shinier and her lips appeared redder and fuller. She smiled as soon as she opened her eyes. Francesca waited for her first words impatiently. Cassandra looked at her mother, who bowed to her. She placed her now jeweled hand upon her head as if in a blessing.

"It's fine, mother. Everything is fine. The eyes have opened, the memories have materialized. It's all clear to me now. I know what must be done."

"What do you remember, Cassandra?" Francesca asked reverently.

"I remember a man, who play me for a fool. Who taunted me and tortured me by denying me his love. I remember wanting that man with all my heart. With all my being. I remember a woman, a sister who betrayed us. She must pay. I remember it all, mother." She drifted as if picking up all of the pieces. "The Fates have spoken to me. They have given me the answer. They know, I must be rewarded, one way or another." Cassandra stood up and walked toward her mirror. She looked at the image reflected, traced her face and body with her perfect hands and smiled approvingly. She walked back to her mother, kneeled before her and embraced her. "I'm back, " she whispered. Then louder and with a hint of maniacal laughter, she announced it to the whole world; "I'M BACK!"


Now that Cassandra is back, what tricks does she have up her sleeve? Will our favorite couple ever be at peace? Has Clark really gotten rid of all his guilt? Can he finally see Cassandra as what she truly is? Will he believe Lois?

All these and more to be answered in the conclusion, entitled, "CALLING A SPADE, A SPADE."