By Peace (

Summary: Lois plays Cupid for her friend Lizi, who wants to date Superman. (After all, she gave up the superhero for the farmboy, so why be stingy?) Lois arranges for them to double date with her and … Clark. Oops.

Author's notes: The recognizable characters in this story are the property of ABC and December 3rd Productions, KKMJ Majic 95.5 is a real radio station (in Austin, Texas), and Stephen Michael Kerr is the DJ who hosts the Majic Love Songs dedication show on Saturday nights, but Lizi and the story are mine — *all mine*.

**For Sherry — who was *my* best friend in high school, and for Debby Stark, from whom I borrowed a line or two. /thoughts/ *emphasized words* {radio voices}

I'd love to hear your comments on this story!


"So, Lois, now that you're out of circulation, so to speak, what's going to happen with Superman?"

Lois stared at her friend Elizabeth in surprise. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you and Superman used to hang out, you told me — uh, something about romantic dinners and flights over Metropolis—" Lizi gestured airily, "— and now you've started dating Clark. So where does that leave Superman?"

"OK, for starters, you've got *one* thing right: I've just *started* dating Clark, which doesn't mean I'm necessarily out of circulation. Yet. And as far as Superman goes, well, we haven't really talked about it, but I think he knows about Clark and me, and he has a lot of respect for Clark — he hasn't been hanging around trying to steal me back."

"Unlike that Scardetto person, who wouldn't take no for an answer."

"His name was Scardino, Dan Scardino, and he was very sweet … "

"Uh-huh, and he almost screwed things up for you and Clark."

Lois smiled a little grimly — she really didn't want to talk about Dan Scardino. "You were talking about Superman..?"

"Yes. I was. Um.. So, um, well.. Is he.. um.. you know.."

"Is he..? What, Lizi? Spit it out — I can't read your mind!"

"Is he.. seeing.. somebody.. anybody.. these days?"

Lois' eyes had a dangerous twinkle as she swiveled her head to look at her friend. "Why? Are you interested?

"Hel-lo? This is me, remember? Lizi 'Crazy-About- Men' Lyons? Of course I'm interested! Why don't you fix me up with him? Isn't that what married friends are for, to fix up their single friends?"

"I'm *not* married — I just started dating the guy, remember?"

"Still, you got a man — and what a man, if you don't mind my saying so —"

Lois grinned, partially appeased.

" — so get off your duff and help *me* get one, too!"

"And you want Superman."

"Hey, aim for the stars, right?"

Lois took a long sip of her Coke, considering. She had always hated having her married friends trying to fix her up, but maybe that was because the men they fixed her up with were all such losers. /Well, obviously Superman is not a loser, and neither is Lizi, and if she *wants* me to fix her up with him … /

"I'll tell you what," she offered finally. "I'll invite Clark and Superman over for dinner on Saturday, you come too, we can rent movies, hang out, and see how it goes." /That way/, she decided, /if Superman isn't comfortable with Lizi, it isn't a real date, and I haven't totally put him on the spot./

Lizi pumped a fist in the air. "All right," she crowed. "I got a date with Superman!"

Lois looked warningly at her. "Chill, Lizi. This is a friendly little get-together. This is *not* going to be a big romantic evening, unless you *and* Superman hit it off and make it one." /Why do I have the feeling this is a huge mistake?/

"Hey, relax, Lois, this is me! What's not to hit off?"

"Right. Whatever. Just—"

"Lois! Are you jealous?"

"No! Of course I'm not jealous!"

"You've got Clark, now — you didn't *want* Superman."

"I wouldn't exactly say—"

"You're not allowed to have them both, you know. Share the wealth!"

"I know! I know! Just.. take it easy with him, OK? After all," Lois tried to smile conspiratorially, "you wouldn't want to scare him off by coming on too strong, now, would you?"

"You didn't scare him off."

Lois started to look offended, then changed her mind. "Good point."

"Relax, Lolo, it's gonna be fine."


"You did WHAT?" Clark couldn't believe his ears.

"I invited her to have dinner with you and me and Superman tomorrow. She asked me to set her up on a date with him, and I figured this way if they don't hit it off after all, they're not stuck spending a whole evening alone together."

"How thoughtful of you — like he sticks around for a whole evening!" His sarcasm didn't seem to phase her so he tried a different tack. "Have you talked about this yet with Superman? I mean — what makes you think he'll go for it? He's a pretty independent kind of guy."

"No, Mr. Negative, I haven't seen him around much lately — " /I've been too busy looking at you, but I'm not going to tell *you* that just yet./ "— haven't seen him at all since I talked to Lizi yesterday — but he's gotta eat — at least I think he does — so why shouldn't he eat with us? And if I happen to have my best friend from high school over.."

"I thought Linda and.. and.. what was her name? uh.. Sherry were your best friends from high school."

"Don't sidetrack me, Kent. As I was saying, if I happen to also have a friend from high school over for dinner, and they happen to enjoy each other's company, well, who knows? I might be a successful Cupid after all. You could bring something from your Cheese of the Month club, maybe a nice bottle of wine … " She put her arms around Clark's neck, smiling smugly as she leaned forward to kiss him.

Clark kissed her back, then pulled away slightly to look quizzically. "Now who's trying to sidetrack whom?"

"Shut up and kiss me, farmboy." She kissed his cheek, and nuzzled her way around to his ear.

"Lo-is! We should— mmmm … We've got t..mmm.." Clark realized that he wasn't going to be able to think with her kissing him like that, but.. well.. he still had all day and was so..mmm.. nice..mmmm … Clark dismissed the double date with all its disastrous possibilities from his mind, and settled down to enjoy Lois' attentions.


As Clark was on his way home that evening, still smiling to himself because.. well, just because.. his superhearing picked up the sound of shots being fired.

"Aw, man.." He had planned on getting in at least a couple of hours of dreaming about Lois tonight, but it appeared he would have to be the Man of Steel first. He only hesitated a microsecond before ducking down a dark alley, emerging at the other end as Superman.

A woman looking down at the alley from an upstairs window saw the transformation and blinked hard, then looked down at the drink in her hand. "Nah … "

When Superman got downtown, he discovered that a couple of thieves had tried to break into Tiffany's/Metropolis. They had set off a silent alarm and the police had responded. Now the thieves were holed up in the store, and seemed determined to shoot it out.

He landed in front of the broken glass of the front window, setting himself in the line of fire between the thieves and the police. He folded his hands over his chest, staring sternly at the men inside the store. One of the thieves, recognizing him, immediately put down his gun in surrender.

The other wasn't quite so perceptive. "Look at this idiot!" he yelled. "We can take him — use him as a hostage and get ourselves out of here!" He raised his gun and then suddenly the gun wasn't in his hand anymore. He looked around and realized that the "idiot" was behind him now, calmly crumpling his gun like so much aluminum foil.

"New here, aren't you?" commented Superman dryly.

"Uh.. ah..i..a..uo.." responded the thief before he fainted dead away.

Superman picked up the two thieves by their collars and carried them out to the police. "All yours, gentleman. Is everyone all right out here?"

"Thanks, Superman — yeah, we're all fine. These guys weren't exactly great shots. Lucky for us they did it at night — there doesn't seem to have been anyone in those buildings." The officer indicated several windows across the street that had been shot out by the thieves' wild aim. Superman shook his head, laughing in disbelief. Just then a familiar Jeep pulled up.

"Lois? What are you doing here?"

"Hi, Superman! Officer, I got a call from my editor, Perry White, about this robbery. Seems he got a call from someone crediting Intergang," she turned momentarily to Superman, "obviously someone who didn't know that *you* had saved the day again!" She smiled up at him, a little teasingly, and punched him lightly on the shoulder. Superman rolled his eyes, and the officer smirked a little as he started to turn away. "Officer? Care to comment on the Intergang connection?"

"Not at the moment, Ms. Lane."

"OK. I'd like to talk to your prisoners if I may."

The officer grinned and walked away. "Later, Ms. Lane, you know the rules."

"Yeah, yeah, can't blame a girl for trying … "

She turned back to Superman, who, amazingly had not yet flown away. In fact, he was looking at her almost tenderly /huh?/ which he tried rather unsuccessfully to cover up when she looked at him.

"Well, listen, I- I- I'm glad I got the chance to see you.. uh.." She felt a little flustered by the look in his eyes. "You haven't been around much lately, and I was hoping we could still be friends, even though Clark and I are together now, but I hope you know that I still care about you, and you shouldn't be a stranger and .. and.. I'm babbling, aren't I?"

"Your babbling has never bothered me, Lois," Superman admitted softly. Her scent was intoxicating, the knowledge that less than half an hour before she had been in his arms.. Clark's arms.. whoever.. It was a good thing, he reflected, that they were standing in the shadows, lest she see just how badly he wanted her back in his arms.

Lois stared at him, trying to conceal her dismay. /He loves me. He really loves me, and now I'm with Clark, and it's going to break his heart.. Why didn't he look at me like this before.. before.. oh, Clark, now what am I gonna do? Listen to me, I babble even when I'm talking to myself!/

With an effort, Lois pulled herself together and pasted what she hoped was a bright *just friendly* smile on her face. "Well, listen, come to dinner tomorrow, OK? Say about 7ish? We can have a nice chat and catch up on things." She patted his arm.

Superman was so involved in calming down his aroused state, visions of sugarplums and other delightful things dancing in his head, that Lois' invitation barely registered. "That'd be great, Lois, I'd like that," he agreed vaguely. A news bulletin on a passing car radio caught his attention, and he turned his head slightly concentrating on hearing as much as he could.

{We've just received word that the nuclear sub Enterprise is experiencing difficulties while en route to Hawaii. They have surfaced, and are evacuating the crew into lifeboats. No word yet about the danger of radioactive contamination.}

"You have to go, don't you." It wasn't a question — she'd seen that look on his face too often.

"I should go check that out — they may need help. I'll see you later!" He was already turning to go.

"Tomorrow," she prompted.

He leaped into the air, calling over his shoulder. "Tomorrow. I'll be there!"

He was out over the Pacific and speeding toward the sub when the invitation suddenly registered. He pulled up short in mid air, slapping his hand to the side of his head. "Tomorrow? Lunkhead!"


It was several hours, just starting to get light, before he was able to get home. He had been able to confirm that the sub's nuclear reactor did not have any leaks, but was not able to determine the cause of the breakdown in its propulsion system that caused it to dive and surface erratically. The crew had been evacuated because the abrupt movements of the sub had tossed them around like dolls in a little girl's carrying case. He stayed with the lifeboats until a Navy ship arrived to pick them up — these were shark-infested waters after all — and let the skeleton crew who had volunteered to remain aboard the sub ride their "bucking bronco" back to harbor.

/Good thing it's Saturday, and I don't have to go in to the Planet. I can sleep a few hours, and then figure out how to get me and Superman.. er.. get *myself* out of this mess with Lois./ He spun out of the suit, and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

He woke up feeling groggy, and wandered blearily into the kitchen for some orange juice. He couldn't understand why he felt so sluggish until he glanced at the clock. /6 p.m.?! I slept around the clock! No wonder I feel so bleh. Mom always said sleeping too much made you more tired — I guess she was right./

He wandered into the living room with his juice, stuck his head out the front door to get his newspaper, which had been sitting there all day (a fact which always amazed Lois — she had once assured Clark that if she didn't snatch her paper out of the paperboy's hand, it would be stolen before it hit the floor), and sat down to flip idly through it. Lois' ongoing series on Intergang had made the front page again, with the news of last night's attempted robbery, and Clark himself had a good-sized piece that started on the front page and continued on page 5, profiling one of the leaders of Intergang who had been indicted a couple of days earlier.

Clark grinned. /Lane and Kent strike again! Lois! Dinner!! The double date!! Oh, man … /

He slumped on the sofa, trying to think how to get out of the problem. It seemed like almost everything he did that was more than rescuing kittens in trees made the news — there was even an article in the Planet that day about him with the Enterprise — so having Superman called away for something big enough to keep him away all evening wouldn't work. Well, it would for the evening, but then the next day when Lois checked the wires and found no mention of Superman, she would realize that nothing like that had happened and she would feel snubbed.

He considered telling her that he had been called away to Smallville for an emergency, but he really hated lying to her, and it seemed like he was always having to spin some tale to get away and go be Superman … Besides, she would want to go with him. He sighed. There was no way around it. He was about to go on a double date with himself. The thought made him laugh, and then he remembered Robin Williams' restaurant scene in MRS. DOUBTFIRE, where the comedian had changed back and forth into and out of drag to have dinner with two different people in the same restaurant, and laughed harder. /No beer for you tonight, Kent,/ he thought. /You're going to need a *very* clear head to pull this off./

He took a superspeed shower, spun into a clean supersuit, and then looked in his closet for the "Clark" portion of this evening's attire. Lois had said it was going to be very casual, but it was cool out, so he would be expected to have on a jacket, even though changes in temperature didn't bother him until they got much more extreme than this. He finally settled on neatly pressed blue jeans and his black leather jacket, eschewing a tie for a white linen band-collar shirt — his mother had sewn it for him, with extra fabric down the middle so that if it should happen to gap open his supersuit underneath wouldn't show.

He glanced at the clock: 6:15. He considered hopping over to Bordeaux in France for the wine, and maybe down to Brazil for an orchid, but such exotic gifts would be difficult to explain, and besides, Superman had done that when *he* was seeing Lois and … /I hate thinking about myself in the third person!/

He decided he would stop by a flower shop to get one long stemmed red rose and a small bouquet of yellow daisies — both for Lois — /Clark can give her the rose and Superman can give her the daisies — I gotta stop doing this!/ and then at a liquor shop to choose a bottle of wine. He did, however, make a quick dash to Wisconsin for brie.

Next problem: He was going to be tremendously busy sending Superman out on small fake rescues so that he could show back up as Clark — the last thing he needed was some sort of real emergency to take up his attention. After a long moment, he dug through his address book, and pulled out an embossed business card. He picked up the phone, and dialed the number on it.

"Good evening, Alfred. This is Clark Kent, calling from Metropolis. Is Mr. Wayne in?.. Thanks … Bruce? It's Clark.. Fine, fine, yourself?.. Good … Oh, Lois is doing great. How's Dick?.. Good.. Um, listen, I've got myself into a jam here this evening and I was wondering if …"


At precisely one minute before 7 p.m., Clark parked his rented car in front of Lois' apartment building, and walked up the steps, carrying the red rose for Lois and the requested bottle of wine. He had considered getting a fancy, expensive wine, maybe even champagne, but he had finally decided against it /don't want to encourage her in this double-date nonsense./

Having a car was something she had pestered him about for months "I *do not* get your fascination with public transportation," but he had always resisted "I've gotten some good leads riding the subway." But for tonight, having a car to duck into and out of, and to drive off in to get things was going to be essential to the charade.

He raised his hand, but the door opened before he could ring the bell.

"Did I see you drive up in a car, Clark?"

"Were you watching for me?" The thought pleased him immensely.

"Well," she squirmed a little, flirtatiously, "yes, I was." She reached up and kissed him, and then rushed down the hall. "I wanna see your car!"

"OK." He shook his head, laughing. She had left her apartment door open, so he set the wine on the table and the rose across her plate, closed the door and followed her back down to the street. It occurred to him to feel relieved that he had hidden the cheese and Superman's daisies in a box in the floor of the back seat — easy to reach, but not easy to spot. He needn't have worried. Lois was busy admiring the lines of the elegant black car.

She looked up at him as he approached, her mouth gaping slightly in pleased amazement. "A Lincoln Town Car. How can *you* afford a Lincoln Town Car? *I* can't afford a Lincoln Town Car and I make more money than you do."

"Well," he shrugged casually, "it's just for one night, so I figured I would splurge."

"One night? It's a rental?"

"Yeah, I figured after we get rid of Superman and your friend—"

"Clark!" She slapped his arm.

He continued, unperturbed, "— we could go for a drive somewhere, look at the stars, maybe.. go.. run out of gas somewhere romantic.." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively at her.

"We could have gone in mine!"

"Lois, it's hard to steam up the windows in a Jeep. With bucket seats? Please."

"True. You are amazing, did you know that?"

"I like to think so.."

"And vain! Did I mention vain? Very vain!" She punched his shoulder, then cuddled up against him, unheedful of her neighbors' prying eyes.

"Wow! If I had known a car would get you this turned on, I would have bought one two years ago! I should have bought this one! Maybe I should go buy it *right now*— "

"Not a chance, Mister!" He had made a teasing move toward the car, but she pulled him back, drawing his head down for a kiss. After a moment she pulled away, leaving him aching for more. "Come on inside — Lizi and Superman should be here any time, and I'll never hear the end of it if they catch us necking out on the sidewalk."

"Yes, ma'am." He dutifully followed her inside.

"Oh, Clark, a rose — how beautiful! I saw you had something in your hands but —"

"—but you were so *turned on* by my car that you barely even noticed. Great, the woman loves me for my car … "

Lois ignored him. "And you got the wine, good — Oh, I like this one." Clark immediately made a mental note to himself to remember that wine. "Did you bring the cheese? I've got a cutting board ready."

"Cheese!" Clark made a big show of slapping himself on the forehead, Columbo-style. /Easy, Clark — you don't want to be too obvious./ He rushed out the door, shouting over his shoulder, "I knew I was forgetting something! I'll be right back."

"No, Clark, it's OK, it doesn't—" the door slammed "—matter. Why do I bother? The man is always running out on me. You'd think I could fall for someone who would stick around, but no-o-o—"

Outside, she heard Clark's car door open, and then his voice floated up to her. "Hey, Superman! How's it going?"

She rushed to the window, hearing the car start up and then roar away, as she scanned the sky. She craned her neck to look along the street —

"Looking for someone, Lois?" He had flown up from the other direction, having left the car a block away.

"Superman! Yes, you! How are you?"

"I'm fine." He hadn't really had a chance to look at her before, but now he had a moment to look, and found himself quite stunned by her beauty. She was wearing a short sleeved, creamy white cashmere sweater with a deep V neckline, and a short, dark brown skirt. Superman reminded himself to breathe (it worried her when he didn't), and said, "You look beautiful."

Lois blushed and smiled. "Are those for me?" She indicated the flowers in his hand.

"Yes! Of course. May I..?" It was his turn to gesture, and she stepped back from the window, flustered.

"Sure, please."

"I asked the girl at the flower shop what would be good flowers to give to a friend, and she suggested daisies — " he floated into the room and handed them to her "— something about yellow being the color of friendship in the language of flowers. And you've already got flowers.." He tried to sound a little disappointed.

"They're beautiful, Superman, thank you! Yeah, Clark brought me a rose — isn't he sweet? I'll just go put these in water." Just then the doorbell rang. "Oh, would you get that? It's probably Lizi."

"Sure." He went the door, feeling like he was on another of those blind-dates-from-hell that people were always trying to set him up on, at least before he had started dating Lois. /You are on a blind date, idiot, with your girlfriend's not- best friend from high school, which she set you up on because she doesn't know you're.. well.. / He sighed, and opened the door, smiling uncomfortably. "Hi, you must be Lizi."

"Well, you're definitely Superman."

"Yes, I am. Nice to meet you, Lizi..?" He held out his hand.

"Lizi Lyons." She took his hand, with a flirtatious look that dared him to do something gallant, like kiss it. He didn't.

"Aren't you going to tell him your middle name, Lizi?" Lois called from the kitchen.

"Shut up, Lois."

"You have a middle name?" Superman quirked an eyebrow, going along with Lois' teasing.

"Private joke, Superman. I'm gonna get you for that, Lois Lane!" Since Superman didn't seem inclined to kiss her hand, she turned loose of his and wandered into the dining room.

"Hmm. Lois Lane and Lizi Lyons. You must have been quite a pair in high school."

"Yeah," said Lois, coming out of the kitchen with the daisies in a low vase which she set on the table. "We started our own L-club, just the two of us." She put Clark's rose in a bud vase, and set it on the highboy in the living room, between two lit candles.

"Nice touch," Lizi approved.

"Thanks." She opened the bottle of wine and poured them each a glass. "I wonder what's keeping Clark. He should be back by now."

That was the cue Superman had been waiting for. He knew how long it took for him to get from his apartment to Lois', but he wasn't sure how long she *expected* it to take him. He looked abruptly at the window, feigning intense concentration.

"Oh, no." Lois said. "You've got to go?"

Superman looked torn, swiveling his head between Lois and the window. "I hate to when I just got here, but I probably should go check that out." He held up his hands appeasingly. "I'll be right back. You go ahead and start without me." He waved a hand vaguely toward the table. He handed her his glass.

"Go, go. The sooner you go, the sooner you'll get back." Surprisingly, this came from Lizi. She sipped her wine.

He nodded, smiling gratefully, and flew out the window.

"Very good, Lizi — I think you just scored some points there."

"High five, girlfriend — I'm gonna reel him in tonight!"

Lois reached up to tap her friend's hand, and tried to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Lizi drained her wineglass, and was refilling her it when Clark breezed in, cheese in hand.

"Hi, hon, sorry it took so long." He kissed her cheek lightly, having already decided to avoid explanations as much as possible. He turned quickly to her friend and stuck out his hand. "You must be Lois' friend, Lizi."

"And you must be Clark — I've heard so much about you." Lizi gushed.

"Don't believe a word she told you!" Clark grinned.

"I shouldn't? What a shame! And she told me such nice things about you.."

"Oh, I walked right into that one, didn't I?" Clark laughed. "So where's Superman? I saw him arriving when I left — no, don't tell me — he had to go fix something, didn't he?"

"He'll be right back." Lois assured him.

He put his arm around her, and turned to Lizi. "Are you sure you want to get involved with this guy? He's always pulling stunts like this, rushing off at the drop of a hat."

Lois punched him playfully in the stomach. "Oh, you're a great one to talk." She waggled her hand, suddenly realizing it had hurt when she punched him. "I should stop doing that — you've got the hardest stomach — it's like punching a brick wall!" A slightly quizzical look appeared in her eyes, as if something was bothering her that she couldn't quite pin down.

Clark quickly began rubbing his stomach where she had hit him. "Well, I certainly would appreciate you stopping. You're gonna make me lose my appetite!"

"Wimp!" she teased.

Clark put on his best mock-offended look. "Ah! Thanks a lot! I can just imagine what you might call me if you didn't — I mean — "

"You mean, if I didn't just *love* you to pieces?" She pulled his head down for a quick kiss. /Gotta stop doing that, Lois. Don't want him to catch on too quickly. Mm, but he kisses so nice../ "Little telling what I'd call you."

Lizi had wandered over to the window and was looking out, sipping her wine, giving Lois and Clark a little privacy as she scanned the sky for Superman.

"Give it up, Lizi," Lois advised. "He'll *be* back when he *gets* back."

Clark gave her an admiring glance. /I never knew she was so calm about all the times I had to rush out on her. Or maybe it's because this time I ran out on someone else./

"Anyway, he said not to wait on him, and there's little telling when he'll be back, so let's go ahead and eat." Lois gave Clark a little shove toward the table, and went to the window to draw Lizi away from it. "Come on."

"OK." Lizi looked at her glass. "I'm ready for a refill anyway."

"Lizi! Go easy on that — we've got all evening."

"I know, I'm just a little nervous — being around Superman and all." She drained the last bit and headed for the table.

"You're doing fine, relax." But Lois watched her friend with growing concern. Lizi had always tended to come on strong, but tonight she seemed be going overboard — even before that first glass of wine.

Since they were going to watch a movie while they ate, Lois had decided to serve dinner buffet style. They had filled their plates, and were settling on the sofa when the phone rang.

"Wonder who that is?" muttered Lois, as she set down her plate and went to answer it. "Hello?"

"Hi, Lois!" A perky voice that always seemed to interrupt at the most inopportune moments.

/I swear this kid's got a radar../ "Jimmy. Of course. What can I do for you?"

"Actually, I need to talk to CK — he said I could catch him there..?"

"Did he. How thoughtful of him. Hold on." She turned to Clark, a look of mild annoyance on her face. "It's for you." As he walked toward her, she whispered, "Do you plan on telling Jimmy every time you're over here?"

Clark shrugged sheepishly as he took the phone from her. "Hi, Jimmy."

"You wanted me to call at 7:45. It is now 7:45—" Jimmy announced.

Clark interrupted him. "You got it? Great!"


Clark could hear the confusion in Jimmy's voice, but he pressed on with his make-believe conversation. "It's with who?"

"Clark, what are you talking about?"

He dropped his voice to a stage whisper. "Hmm.. So that means I gotta go get it right now, before he leaves town."

"Hello, Clark. Earth to Clark. This is *Jimmy*. Who do you think you're talking to?"

Clark sighed noisily. "Lois is gonna be mad—"

Jimmy finally decided to just play along. "Absolutely furious, Clark, she'll probably never forgive you."

"Yeah, well.. whatever."

"My thoughts exactly," Jimmy agreed.

"Thanks, Jimmy, I owe you one."


Jimmy hung up the phone, and turned to his date. "One of these days, I may even find out what that was all about," he commented.

At Lois' apartment, Clark hung up the phone and turned apologetically to the two women. He hadn't entirely thought this part of the plan through, so his mind was racing, trying to flesh out the little he'd said on the phone into a believably vague excuse for rushing out. As a result, he completely missed, Lois looking at him speculatively through narrowed eyes, a cornucopia of emotions flashing across her face /He's going to run out on me again, just like.. just like Superman! No.. can't be.. but.. yeah, it is him. Wow.. And I just set him up on a date with Lizi.. Oh, man, I've got to help get him out of this mess./

"Let me guess," she said, forcing a sarcastic edge onto her voice. "You've got to go."

"Jimmy dug up a source for that story I've been working on.."

She nodded. "And you have to go meet him, now."

"He's fixing to leave town."

"Can I come?" still nodding, as if she knew the answer.

/Is it my imagination, or is she leading me through a script? Nah … you're overthinking things, Kent./ "No, he wants me to go alone. Besides you've got company." He gestured to Lizi. "And Superman will probably be back any moment.."

"I'm sure he will." Something in her voice made him hesitate, and she shooed him toward the door. "Go. Go! Just.. don't forget to come back.." This time it was his turn to initiate the kiss, and he was pleasantly surprised at how warmly she returned it, all things considered. "Be careful, OK?"

"I will — this shouldn't take long."

He hurried out the door at normal speed, moved the car down the block again, spun into the supersuit, and flew back to the window. /This is going to get old, really fast/ he thought grimly. /But at least I've got myself away for an indefinite time, and I'll just have to find some excuse to leave in a little while so I can come back. And I'm not even going to worry about how crazy that sounds!/

He flew through the window and landed lightly on the carpeted floor. Lizi apparently had just said something funny and was laughing loudly at her own joke, and Lois was laughing along, though not as heartily, and he couldn't quite keep all the acid out of his voice as he commented, "Well, I'm glad to see you ladies didn't miss me.." He glanced around the room. "Where's Clark? Isn't he back *yet*?"

"He came back with the cheese — you just missed him, and then he had to leave again—" she made an odd flying gesture with her hand /you're imagining things, Kent/ "to see a source about a story. So what was the deal with your..?" She gestured toward the window.

"Oh, bank robbery—" which was true — he had seen it from a distance. "—but it seems Batman is in town this evening, and he beat me to the punch."

"Batman!!" Lizi exclaimed. "Ooh, I want to meet him! He is *so* hot!" She rushed over to the window, as if expecting to see Batman floating around outside, fanning her flushed cheek with her hand, almost dropping her refilled wineglass.

Superman looked at her, disconcerted. "What, you got a superhero fetish or something?"

"Or something," she agreed, apparently unaware of the sensation she was causing. She had apparently abandoned all pretense of sipping her wine — she tilted up the glass and drained it. "Wouldn't it just be amazing if he came by here?"

Superman tilted his head at Lois, widening his eyes slightly as if to say "Who is this person?!" Lois shrugged fractionally back at him, mouthing "I had no idea.."

"Right," Superman said aloud. "Uh, maybe one of these days I can introduce you to him — the next time he's in town.."

"Oh, that would be *so* fantastic!"

Lois smothered a giggle behind her hand. "Superman, why don't you take Clark's plate — it's all fixed and he hadn't eaten anything off it yet."

"That's fine." Superman picked up the plate and headed over to the sofa, hoping to sit next to Lois, but Lizi maneuvered them so that she sat in the middle of the sofa, between Superman and Lois.

"So tell me," she cooed, batting her eyelashes at him, "what's it like, flying around like that all the time?"

"Breezy." Superman was suddenly not in the mood to chat. He just wanted this evening to be over.

"Breezy — that's funny. I didn't know you had a sense of humor." "Oh, Superman can be a real riot when he wants to," Lois cut in smoothly. "Eat, Superman," she ordered, "you must be hungry after all that flying around. Now let's see, which movie do you want to watch first, Lizi? GOLDENEYE or MRS. DOUBTFIRE?"

Superman almost choked on his cheese — he hadn't seen Lois' selection in videos.

"Oh, GOLDENEYE, definitely!" Lizi exclaimed. "I just love Pierce Brosnan!"

Superman just barely managed to contain himself. /This woman is absolutely bizarre! How much wine has she had?/ At least Lois seemed to have understood how uncomfortable he was, and appeared to be helping him out. /Thank goodness for small miracles./ Maybe Lois hadn't seen this side of her friend. He settled back to watch the movie, and removed Lizi's hand from his thigh. A moment later it was back, and so he stood up and went back to the table to refill his plate, which wasn't actually empty yet. When he went back to the sofa, Lizi had moved a little closer to where he had been sitting, and he grabbed the opening it gave him.

"I'm sorry — I was crowding you on the sofa! I'll sit over here." He settled into the recliner and, ignoring Lizi's frustration and Lois' amusement, concentrated on the movie.

At least, he tried to concentrate on the movie. Lizi scooted down the sofa as close as she could get to the recliner, and made goo-goo eyes at him for a while, which was amazingly distracting. Then she offered to take off his boots, "so you'll be more comfy!" and when he assured her that he was fine, she offered to get him more food.

"Actually," he finally said in complete exasperation, "I've had enough, thanks. Lois, this was great, but I've got to.. um.."

"Uh, go make your rounds, I know — I'm so glad you came."

/Is she going to push me out the window?!/ Superman had never seen Lois so cooperative about having him leave. "Uh, Ms. Lyons—"

"Lizi, please!"

"Right. Lizi. It was nice to meet you." He shook her outstretched hand, then turned to Lois. "I'll see you around."

"Mmhmm. Goodnight." Lois moved close to him as he went to the window, and breathed in a voice only he could hear, "I'm so sorry — I've never seen her like this before. I have no idea what's gotten into her."

He smiled down at her. "It's OK. I'll see you." He leaped into the air.

"Bye." Lois closed the window and turned back to Lizi. "Batman?!?"

Lizi didn't seem to hear her. "He hated me."

"I told you not to come on so strong — what were you thinking?" Lois snatched the wineglass from Lizi's hand. "How much had you had before you came here?"

"Just a couple of margaritas — I feel like such an idiot!"

"How appropriate." Lois shook her head in disgust.

"You're not helping, Lois."

"I'm not trying to! I am *totally* embarrassed — he'll probably never come here again. I can't believe you!" She knew it wasn't true about Superman not coming back, but she was too angry with her friend to care. /You stick your neck out, you put a friend on the spot, and look what you get!/

"I'm sorry, Lois, I just lost my head. I should go."

"I'll call you a cab."


Superman knew that for Clark to show up again immediately after Superman left would be too much of a coincidence — he was already stretching the bounds of the believable. And besides, he needed some time to cool off — he was *so* aggravated at that woman. And not the kind of aggravation he had originally felt with Lois, which was underlaid with admiration and the stirrings of something more. No, this was the kind of aggravation that made him want to move to another planet, just get away from her.

After a couple of leisurely turns around the continent, he was calmer, and headed back to Metropolis. He started toward Lois' house, but then a thought occurred to him, and he headed to a local easy listening radio station that advertised "the best mix of the seventies, eighties and today." A quick chat with the DJ was all it took to handle his business there, and he took to the air again.

He slipped into his parked car and twisted quickly into his "Clark" clothes. He scanned Lois' apartment to see if Lizi was showing any signs of leaving, and was relieved to see Lois was alone, standing by the window. He smiled when he realized she was watching the street, not the sky. He pulled the car up to her apartment building and got out. To his surprise she met him at the door of the building, her jacket on, and the bottle of wine and two glasses in her hand.

"Lois, where are you going?"

"Out with you, I thought. You mentioned something about going somewhere to run out of gas … ?"

"What about Lizi and Superman?"

"Gone. Him out the window, her out the door. They didn't hit it off."

"What a shame."

She looked at him oddly. "Uh-huh. Let's drive."

He held the car door for her, then went around to the driver's side, grinning when he saw she had scooted across the seat to sit close to him. He started the engine, turned on the radio with volume turned low, setting it to the easy listening station, and then wrapped his arm around her. She rested her head on his shoulder with a sigh.

"Lois? What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just feeling a little foolish." She started to say more, then seemed to think better of it. "Let's just drive, OK? I want to enjoy at least part of this evening, and this music is nice." She leaned down to turn up the volume.

"OK." He held her close as he steered the car out of Metropolis.

The song on the radio ended, and a velvet, whispery voice that sent delightful shivers up Lois' spine said, {Continuous soft favorites on KKMJ, Majic 95.5. Love is in the air tonight. This is Stephen Michael Kerr and you're listening to Majic Love Songs and your love messages on the air. We'll get back to the Majic love line in just a moment, but right now we have a really special dedication: Superman brought this one around for his buddy Clark Kent, a dedication going out to Clark's lady, Lois Lane. Lois, Clark wants you to know that he can 'Love You Like That.' This is All 4 One, 'I Can Love You Like That.'}

Lois looked up at Clark, her eyes shining. "Oh, Clark!" She reached up to kiss his cheek, and cuddled back down against him to listen to the song. She knew the words, and sang along, very softly.

"You like romantic movies, and you never will forget

The way you felt when Romeo kissed Juliet …

I can love you like that

I will make you my world

Move heaven and earth

If you were my girl."

Lois smiled, almost in tears at the sweetness of the moment, as she felt Clark kiss her hair. "I am your girl," she whispered. "You know that."

"I will give you my heart

Be all that you need

Show you you're everything

That's precious to me

If you'd give me the chance

I could love you like that.."

Earlier, Clark had found a picnic spot on the highway a few miles out of town, which would be deserted at this hour, where they could talk without being disturbed, far enough from the city lights so they could see the stars, and that's where he headed now. When they got there, he parked the car, and held the door for her to get out. From the trunk, he pulled one of his mother's quilts, which he spread on the ground.

"Nice," commented Lois. "You came prepared. Do you run out gas here often?"

"Only with you," he smiled back at her. He reached again into the car and pulled out a long, plastic-wrapped French baguette. "A loaf of bread.."

Her eyes danced as she held up the bottle in her hand. " … a jug of wine … well, sort of … "

" … and thou," he completed softly. He leaned down to kiss her, and this time there were no prying neighbors' eyes, no dinner guests about to arrive, to make her pull away in embarrassment. Only the crunching of the bread being pressed between them.

Lois pulled back and grinned impishly up at him. "So, big boy, is that a French roll, or are you just glad to see me?"

Clark could hardly believe his ears. "Lo-is!" he laughed, amazed. "I can't believe you said that!"

She was turning beet red, but laughing too. "I can't believe I did either." She set down the bottle and the wine glasses on the quilt, took the bread from his hands and put it down as well, and drew him back into her embrace.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, as she twined her fingers into his hair and her mouth found his. She smiled against his mouth. "Now I know you're glad to see me."

With a groan, he pulled a little away from her, although he didn't turn her loose, and took a deep breath to try to calm himself. She didn't protest, just watched him expectantly. "Lois, before this goes any further, we've got to talk." He took off his glasses, trying to figure out how to say what he knew had to come next.

She smiled up at him for a moment, her soft hand stoking his cheek. "Don't worry, Superman," she whispered, pulling his head down to kiss his eyes. "I don't intend to set you up on any more dates that aren't with *me*!"

fade to black


"(i do not know what it is about you that closes and opens; only something in me understands the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses) nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands"

e.e. cummings "somewhere i have never travelled"

"I Can Love You Like That", written by Steve Diamond, Maribeth Derry and Jennifer Kimball; Diamond Cuts, adm. by Wonderland Music Co., BMI/Criterion Music Corp./ Second Wave Music/Full Keel Music Co./Friends And Angels Music, adm. by Full Keel Music, ASCAP. From the All-4-One album "And The Music Speaks".