Have a Holly Jolly Christmas … Or Not

By Gina Blank (sunnset@cadvision.com)

Summary: In Kansas, teen-age Clark Kent is having a great Christmas. In Metropolis, the holiday just keeps getting worse for Lois Lane and her little sister, Lucy.


Clark raced home after school so fast that the school bell hadn't even finished ringing by the time he got in the door. "I LOVE winter!" he shouted.

Martha came around the corner to greet her son. "Hi! How was your day at school?"

"Great, as always, but it's Christmas Holidays now! Look, it's been snowing all day! I love the snow!" Clark led his mother to the window where he showed her the snow piled two feet high on the ground.

"I see," Martha said.

"Where's Dad?" Clark asked.

"He's umm … I think he's in the barn, making room for the Christmas tree."

"He bought the Christmas tree already?" Clark asked, a slightly hurt look on his face. It was a tradition each year for Clark and Jonathan to pick out the Christmas tree on the last day of school. It was a special holiday father-son activity. Martha even joined them a couple years ago. They had the best time picking a tree.

"Oh, no, Sweetheart," Martha assured, noticing Clark's face, "he's just making room for it, so you boys don't have to do that when you come home with the tree."

"Oh. Well, I'm gonna go out and see him," Clark said, zipping back outside, not even putting on his jacket. Not that he needed one! "Hey, Dad," he greeted once he'd reached the barn. His father was in there, clearing away a couple of bundles of hay to make room for the tree that would soon occupy that space.

"Hey, Son! I've got the area here ready to let the tree thaw out once we get it. We can go into Smallville after dinner."

"Perfect!" Clark exclaimed. "And you know what?" Clark asked, pulling down his glasses, "I can see Mom starting dinner right now. Let's go back to the house."

"Sure thing," Jonathan and Clark exited the barn.

While Jonathan locked the barn door, Clark noticed that it had started snowing again. Clark smiled, "I love winter!"


"I *hate* winter!" Lois Lane exclaimed, stomping through the foot-high snow on the still-unshoveled sidewalk.

"I love the winter!" her friend Julie said. The two of them were walking home from school together, as they always did.

"Well, except for the fact that we get two weeks' vacation, winter bites. It's the coldest, busiest time of the year. And everyone's too cheery." Julie laughed at that. "Except my parents. This is the time of year when they compete with each other the most."

"They think we love one parent more than the other," Lucy Lane, who had been listening from behind, continued.

"That's odd. My parents agree on everything, and if they DO disagree on something, they talk it out until they come to an agreement."

"Not OUR parents," Lois continued, "I tell ya, for two people who love each other, they sure disagree a lot. … Well, I guess we'll see you later," Lois said, noticing they'd come to the corner of the street where the three of them separated.

"Yeah. See ya!" Julie waved good-bye and took of down the road.

Lois and Lucy continued down the other way a block, and climbed up the front steps into their house.

When Lois and Lucy had taken off their coats and winter wear, they moved into the living room to watch TV. When they got there, however, they noticed the TV had been moved, and a large space in the corner remained.

Both knew what that meant; time for the Christmas tree. Sam and Ellen Lane always picked out the weirdest trees. You could tell it was because they couldn't come to an agreement, and just ended up picking out the first one they saw. Lois and Lucy had even thought that they should go with their parents this year.

But just as the girls turned around to put their winter clothes back on, Ellen came into the front hall from the back room. "I'll be back in a little while, girls."

"Where are you going?" Lois asked.

"I'm getting the tree," Ellen said simply, grabbing her car keys.

"But I thought both you and Dad did that. And Lucy and I wanted to come with you this year," Lois exclaimed.

"No, it'll be easier for everyone if I just get the tree. I'll be back later. Be good!" With that, Ellen closed the front door behind her, leaving the girls by themselves in the house.

"If the both of them can't even get a tree together, they must have had another argument," Lois pointed out.

"I realized that!" Lucy snapped, heading into the kitchen for a snack.

Lois rolled her eyes, "I hate winter."


Clark sat cross-legged on the couch speed-reading all the books on the bookshelf in the living room.

"Clark," Martha laughed, coming into the room, "try reading a book at normal speed — you'll end up reading all the books in the Smallville Library if you keep speed-reading them!"

Clark looked up as he finished another book. "What can I say? I love to read!"

Martha chuckled, "that's great. Listen, I just came to tell you that your dad's outside, and he's ready to —"



" — go."

Clark zipped to and from his bedroom in less than a second fully clothed in winter-wear. "See ya later, Mom." Martha kissed the top of his son's head and Clark was gone.

"Come on, Dad — let's go!" Clark shouted, arriving at the truck. He hopped in on the passenger's side, putting on his seatbelt.

Jonathan came to the still-open truck door. "I'm coming. I just need to get the rope," he told Clark. He got the rope from the barn, dumped it in the back of the truck, and they were on their way to the Christmas tree lot.

When they arrived, Jonathan started looking at the trees near the front while Clark moved toward the back. As Jonathan was looking at a tall type of spruce tree, he heard Clark come up behind him. "Not that tree, Dad," he said softly.

"Why not?" Jonathan asked.

"The branches on the inside are starting to turn brown," Clark pointed out.

"How do you know that?" When Clark pointed to his glasses, Jonathan nodded in understanding.

"But, I have found a bunch of trees that are green through and through. Follow me."

Half an hour later, Martha was sitting on the couch, reading a book that Clark had read, although not nearly as fast. She dropped the book beside her as she heard the door open.

"Mom, come look at the tree we chose!" Clark shouted. So Martha got off the couch, put on her boots and coat on, and headed out to the barn. When she arrived, Jonathan was removing the mesh that was wrapped around the tree, and Clark was lifting it into the stand so it could thaw out.

"You like it?" Clark asked.

"It looks lovely. I know the branches haven't lowered yet, but the tree is nice and tall, and really green. You boys made an excellent choice."

"*Clark* made an excellent choice," Jonathan corrected.

"Well, it sure is a pretty tree!" Martha repeated, "come on, let's go inside."

The Kents headed out of the barn, Clark in front. He got ahead of his parents a little, and turned around to make sure they were still there. Clark smiled as he saw his parents kissing under the tree where his Fortress of Solitude was. He was lucky to have parents that cared for each other so much, knowing how many of his friends' parents were divorced. Clark watched as a pile of snow from one of the tree branches landed on his mother's head, and how she playfully hit her husband as he started to laugh. Clark continued to head toward the house, wondering if one day, he'd love someone as much as his parents loved each other.


"Lois sat cross-legged on the couch reading Arthur Conan Doyle's 'Hound of the Baskervilles.' It had been assigned over the Christmas holidays, and Lois had nothing better to do.

"Tell your mother I'll be back in a bit," her father said, coming into the living room.

"Okay," Lois replied, not looking up from her book. "Wait a minute," she said, realizing what her father had just told her, "where are you going?"

"Umm … well, I'm going to get the Christmas tree."

"But Mom's getting the Christmas tree."

"Well, she never told me. This is supposed to be a family thing. She shouldn't have decided on a tree herself."

"Well, if this is a 'family thing,' how come *we* aren't going out with *you*?" Lois asked.

"Umm … because … " Sam Stuttered.

"This isn't a family thing at all!" Lois exclaimed, putting her book down and standing up. "You just don't think Mom can get a good tree. Or you're afraid she'll get a great tree, so you just have to get one better. That's it, isn't it?" Lois looked at her dad with her hands on her hips.

"I'll see you later, Lois," Sam said, heading for the door.

"You know, you always do this — " Lois started.

"Good-BYE, Lois," Sam ended, slamming the door behind him.

"Ach," Lois said, flopping frustratedly back onto the couch. She picked up her book and continued from where she'd left off. Books seemed to consume her. She could escape from what was going on in the world around her. So when the door opened and shut half an hour later, Lois jumped a little. "Dad?" she called.

"Dad?!" Lois' mom replied, "Why would I be your father?"

"Oh … no reason," Lois said, seeing her mom come into the room with a fluffy, forest green Christmas tree.

"Help me get this into the family room, will you?" Ellen asked. Lois rose to help her mother move the conifer. "Where's your father?"

"He's … umm … out," Lois said, not wanting to reveal where exactly her father was. She didn't need to. At that instant, Sam came through the back door, carrying a tall, pointy, pink metal Christmas tree, like Lois had seen on 'Charlie Brown's Christmas.'

"What the — ?" Ellen started, peering around the corner to see Sam. "You got a Christmas tree? Why did you get a Christmas tree — you KNEW I was out getting one!"

"You didn't tell anyone!"

"Neither did you!"

"Don't change the subject!" Sam bellowed.

Lois managed to listen for about ten seconds before she clapped her hands over her ears and yelled, "STOP IT! Stop fighting! Why do you always have to do this? Why must you always compete with each other?! Do you really think Lucy and I pick favourites?! Well, we don't! And in *my* opinion, both trees STINK!!!" With that, Lois ran out of the living room, into the bedroom she shared with Lucy, slammed the door behind her, flung herself onto her bed, and started to cry.

Lucy, who'd been listening to her Walkman like she always did when her parents started arguing, rose and sat down next to her big sister on the bed. She rubbed Lois' back and listened to her sister. "Why do they always have to fight like this?" Lois sobbed, "Julie's parents don't, Peggy's parents don't. Whenever *they* disagree on something, they talk it out and compromise. If Mom and Dad love each other like Julie and Peggy's parents do, why can't they solve their problems like mature adults?"

"Maybe they *don't* love each other," Lucy whispered.

Lois lifted and turned her tear-stained face to look at her sister. "What are you saying?"


"Mom, if 9(n + 3) is equal to 7n - 3, what is n?" Clark asked his mom from the dining room table.

Martha chuckled, "Oh, honey, it's been years since I've done algebra! … Have you collected the like terms yet?" she asked, drying a dish.

"Oh, yeah!" Clark realized. "Thanks, Mom." Clark went back to doing his math homework. After about five minutes, though, Clark heard a crash.

"Oh, shoot," Martha mumbled.

"What happened?" Clark asked, rising from his seat to see over the edge of the table.

"I dropped the plate I was drying, that's all," Martha told him, bending down to pick up the pieces.

"No, Mom!" Clark cried, superspeeding his way over to the kitchen, "you'll cut yourself. I'll clean it up." Clark went over to the closet, got the dustpan, and started to sweep up the broken dish.

Martha kissed the top of her son's head. "You are the greatest son a mother could have," she commented.

Clark smiled. "Thanks!"


"Lois?" Lucy asked her sister.

"Mm-hmm?" Lois replied.

"What's 4/6 minus 3/10?" Lucy and Lois were both in their room, doing their homework, staying as far away from their parents as possible. Both lay on their stomachs on their beds. If you stood in the two foot space between each bed, and looked at each side, they'd look symmetrical.

"Umm … thirtieths … eleven … 11/30," Lois replied after a minute. "Lucy?"


"If 3 times (5x - 4) equals 8x plus 2, what's 'x'?"

Lucy looked at her sister like she was from another planet. "How should *I* know?!"

Lois giggled, "I'm just kidding, don't panic!" Lucy was about to say something when they both heard a crash in the kitchen. "Okay — now panic."

"What was that?" Lucy asked.

"I dunno — come on," Lois told her sister, already up and heading for the door. Lois and Lucy peered around the corner of the living room wall to see their mother looking impatiently at her husband.

"Were you guys throwing things at each other?" Lucy asked.

"Lucy!" Lois hissed, not wanting to have been noticed.

"No," Ellen replied quickly, "I just dropped the plate while I was drying it off. You go back and do your homework, Dear."

"Okay," Lucy replied, and went back to her room.

Lois, on the other hand, remained in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. "Maybe that works on Lucy, but it won't work on me! Look, you can't smash dishes, okay? You can verbal bash each other all you want — *most* of the time I can ignore that — but you can't threaten each other with dishes, because even though you're acting like immature children, you're still *my* parents, and I don't want you getting hurt!" Lois looked at her parents with tears in her eyes. Things were silent for a moment. But even that minute of peace was soon broken.

"I need a drink," Ellen commented.

"I'm going out for a walk," Sam added.

"Wait!" Lois cried to both her parents. "Who's going to clean up your mess?"

"Well," Sam said, putting on his coat, "you claim to be more 'mature.' Why don't you clean it up?"

"Sam!" Ellen yelled, but he had already slammed the door and was gone.

"It's okay, Mom — I'll do it," Lois sighed, as she headed to the closet to get the dustpan. Lois took it over to where the mess was, and swept up the small pieces. Not thinking, Lois decided to just pick up the big pieces and throw them out. As she picked up the second large piece, she felt a large pinch in her finger. "Ouch!" she exclaimed, dropping the piece of dishware back on the floor. She looked at her finger. "Mom!" she called, "can you — oh, never mind." Lois noticed her mother's already drunken state. "Lucy!!!" she yelled.

Lucy came running out of her room. "What?"

"Get me a band-aid, NOW!" Lois ordered, as she ran her finger under cold water.

Lucy ran to the bathroom quickly, coming back with a band-aid. "What happened?" she asked.

"I was cleaning up the mess," Lois told her sister.

"I heard you talking to Mom and Dad," Lucy said softly, bending down to finish sweeping the broken plate. "If it means anything, I think you were really brave to speak to them like that."

As Lois finished applying her band-aid, she muttered, "Thanks."


"Clark?" Martha whispered, "Clark, Honey?"

Clark rolled over in his bed, and slowly opened his eyes to find his mother looking at her from the doorway. "Wha …?" he mumbled, half-awake.

"It's 10:00, I thought you might want to wake up," Martha said, "Besides, there's a phone call for you."

"Okay, okay, I'm up," Clark said, rising from his bed to pick up the phone at the opposite end of the room. Martha left him to talk. "Hello?"

"Clark? Did I wake you?" Derek asked.

"Yeah, but don't worry about it. What is it?" he asked.

"I was wondering if you wanted to come over," Derek explained, "I know it's Christmas Eve, so I'll understand if you're busy, but my dad bought a ping-pong table as kind of an early Christmas gift, and we just rented a couple of movies …"

"Sure," Clark replied, "when did you want me to come over?"

"Anytime you're ready," Derek told him.

"Okay. See you in about half an hour, 'kay?"

"Sure thing. See ya!"

The boys hung up, and Clark got dressed. He could have been ready to go to Derek's in about five seconds … but then how would he explain that to Derek? So, Clark took his time, doing things at normal speed.

Clark entered the kitchen to have breakfast. "'Morning, Mom."

Martha, who was stirring a bowl of waffle mix, turned around. "Hi, Sweetie! Who was on the phone?"

"That was Derek. I'm going to his house in about half an hour," Clark told his mother. "Where's Dad?" he asked, noticing he wasn't in the living room, reading the newspaper as usual.

"He left."


"Yeah, he's gone into town to get some more milk, and some Christmas candles for the living room. We just discovered our Christmas candles have all been burned to stumps."

"Oh, cool. You're not going to decorate the tree 'till I get back, right?"

"Oh, Clark, we wouldn't decorate the tree without you! But we don't want to wait forever. Can you be back here at about 3:30?" Martha asked.

"Oh, sure. No problem," Clark said.

After Clark had finished his mother's wonderful waffles, he showered, dressed, and then left for Derek's house, literally racing over there.

Derek answered the door. "Hey, Clark, come on in!

"Hey, " Clark responded, stepping inside. As soon as he'd taken off his coat, Derek led him downstairs to the rec room and showed him the ping-pong table.

"Cool, huh? Let's play!" Derek went to one side of the table, and Clark assumed his position on the other. The two of them played ping-pong for over an hour before they watched the movies Derek had rented.

After the last movie, Clark looked at his watch. 3:25. "Yikes," he said, "I'd better get home. Our family's decorating the Christmas tree today. Thanks for having me, though — what a fun afternoon!"

"No problem. I love having people over. Do you wanna get together after Christmas?" Derek asked.

"Sure. Why don't you come over to my house this time?"

"All right. I haven't been to your house in a while," Derek noted as he opened the door for Clark, "Well, see ya later. Have fun decorating the tree!"

Clark waved to his friend as he walked down the street, and as soon as the door to Derek's house was closed, he raced back home.

"Clark? That you?" Jonathan called from the living room as he heard a door open and close.

"Yeah, I'm home! Let's get this tree decorated!!!" Clark shouted as he took off his coat and boots.

Clark could hear his parents laugh in response to his excitement. "Well, we're ready!" Martha exclaimed, as Clark entered the living room.

"Great!" Clark said, opening the boxes with Christmas lights, garland, tinsel, and various hodge-podge decorations.

Martha put on some Christmas music, and the three of them decorated the tree. When they were finished, they all stepped back to look at it. "I think it looks better than ever this year!" Martha said.

"I agree," Jonathan said, "Clark, you chose a perfect tree!"

Clark looked at the tree. It did look beautiful. Everything was perfect. This Christmas was turning out to be one of the best he could remember. Clark smiled.


Lois rolled over in her bed and slowly opened her eyes to find her sister looking right back at her. "Good morning," Lucy whispered.

Lois groaned, "What time is it?"

"10:30," Lucy said, looking at her watch. "I've been up since 8:00. Mom and Dad were fighting. It's been silent since 9:00, so they're probably giving each other the silent treatment again. Careful if you go in there."

"Well, just because they're fighting, that's not gonna keep me from entering the kitchen and having breakfast," Lois stated, getting out of her bed. Lois had a shower and got dressed, and when she was done, both girls entered the kitchen.

Ellen was in the kitchen vigorously stirring a bowl of pancake batter. "Set the table, please, girls," she said, knowing they were behind her without even turning around.

Lois and Lucy got out the cutlery and dish ware, and started setting the table for breakfast. "Where's Dad?" Lucy asked, noticing he was nowhere in sight.

"He left," Ellen stated.

Both Lois and Lucy stopped what they were doing. "Left as in left to get some more milk from the store, right?" Lois asked. "*That* kind of left?"

"No, I mean left. As in gone. As in *not coming back,*" Ellen grumbled, stirring harder.

Lois couldn't believe what she was hearing. It all registered, but she was *not* happy at the way things were going. She had hoped it wouldn't come to this. She slammed down her handful of forks and knives on the table, and headed for the front closet.

"Lois, where are you going?" Lucy asked, following right behind.

"Out," Lois said, putting on her coat.


"Lucy, I am not staying here — not right now." Lois pulled on her boots and opened the front door. "I'll be back later," she told Lucy, noticing the look on Lucy's face. With that, she slammed the door behind her and took off down the street. Lois ran. She ran down to the end of the block, turned left, and ran some more, until she reached her destination. She rang the doorbell of a very familiar house, trying to catch her breath.

"Lois!" Julie exclaimed, answering the door, "I was just about to call you — what's wrong?" Julie noticed Lois' eyes brimmed with tears — but not quite overflowing — and her heavy breathing.

"Can I come in?" Lois gasped.

"Of course!" Julie said, opening the door all the way to let Lois in. Julie let Lois take off her coat and boots, and then asked, "So what's going on?"

Lois motioned for them to go upstairs. They went up into Julie's room and Lois closed the door behind them. "My dad … he left," Lois said, looking directly in Julie's eyes.

"Oh, Lois, I'm so sorry!" Julie cried, giving her best friend a hug.

"I mean, why would he do that?" Lois asked, separating from Julie so she could pace. "Why at Christmas? — on Christmas EVE, nonetheless! Why so suddenly? And why at a time when Lucy and I need a father figure the most?" With this, Lois sat down on Julie's bed and started to cry.

Julie sat down next to her best friend, not knowing what to say. "I can't answer those questions, Lois — I'll be honest," she started, "but I'm willing to listen, even if I can't offer any advice. *I* won't go anywhere." Just then the doorbell rang. "Except now. I gotta answer the door." Lois stayed in Julie's room while Julie went to get the door. "Lois?" Julie called a moment later, "it's for you."

Lois came downstairs. "Lucy! What are you doing here?"

"I followed you," Lucy breathed. "I'm not staying at home!"

"Why don't we all go downstairs and watch a movie or something?" Julie suggested.

"Great idea," Lois agreed.

After Lucy took her jacket off, the three of them headed down to the rec room to watch Miracle On 34th Street. After the movie, Lois and Lucy figured that it was time to go. "Thanks for having us, Julie," Lois told her.

"No problem. I'm always here," Julie looked directly at Lois. "See you soon." Julie waved to them as the headed down the street.

Just before they reached the corner of the street, Lois stopped. She looked in her coat pocket, pulling out a couple of bills and coins. "Perfect!"

"What is it?" Lucy asked.

"I have an idea … " Lois said slowly. Lois started to walk again, but instead of turning right to go to their house, she turned left.

"Lois, what are you doing? Our house is THAT way!" Lucy cried, pointing in the opposite direction.

"I know that! But I refuse to let Mom and Dad ruin our Christmas just because they hate each other," Lois told her sister.

"So you're going to the school instead?" Lucy asked, confused.

"No, silly. WE are going to the Christmas tree lot. We are going to pick out a tree to make our Christmas more merry. And it'll be a great tree because it's one we'll both decide on, and it will have been bought with *love.* ..Come on!" Lois started jogging down the block, with Lucy at her heels. When they reached the lot, Lois and Lucy immediately started looking around.

"Awww, Lois! Come look at this one — it's so cute!" Lucy called from the back of the lot.

Lois joined her sister to see the tree Lucy had spotted. It was a little green spruce tree about two feet tall, at the most. "It *is* cute!" Lois agreed. "I like it. Do you?"

"I love it!"

"Then let's get it!" Lois took the tree to the man in charge. "How much is this tree?" she asked.

"Tell ya what. You can have that little tree for free if you like him so much."

Lucy smiled, "thanks!" The two of them left the lot, tree in hand.

When they got into the house, Lois took the tree to their room, calling to Lucy, "get the popcorn maker and some thread!"

Lucy returned with the requested items. "Why are we doing this in here?" she asked.

"Cuz Mom's asleep in the living room, and if we don't need to wake her, I don't want to." Lois set the little tree on the bed side table between their beds, and went over to her desk drawer to find anything that would help decorate the tree. She ended up finding ribbons of various colours, and tinfoil in addition to the popcorn. "This'll be perfect!" she said. They got to work.

When they were finished, they stepped back to look at their masterpiece. "Not bad for two teenagers," Lucy mused aloud.

"Nope, not at all!" Lois agreed. "I don't know about you, but I'm feeling better right now!" Silently Lois added, *maybe this'll be a half-decent Christmas after all.*

Martha headed into the living room to turn out the lights before going to bed. She stopped, though, when she saw a dark figure sitting beside the tree. "Clark, what are you still doing up?" she asked.

"I was just thinking," Clark said thoughtfully as his mother sat down next to him. "I was just thinking that there's someone out there who's not having a very nice Christmas."

"Oh, Clark, Honey," Martha said, "there are millions of people who aren't having a good Christmas."

"I know," Clark said simply, "but there's someone out there who's not having a good Christmas, and she deserves one."

"How do you know this?" Martha asked.

"I just have this *feeling,*" Clark said, "it's a feeling like I've never had before. Maybe it's another special power I've got. Knowing when people are hurt or upset. I wish I could cheer her up, whoever she is."

Martha put her hand on Clark's forehead.

"I'm fine, Mom," Clark assured his mother.

"Okay," Martha said warily. "But don't stay up all night fretting about this girl, okay?" Martha got up, and started to head out of the living room.

"Okay. I'll go to bed in a little bit. G'night, Mom."

"'Night, Dear."

When Martha had left, Clark stood up and looked out the living room window at the stars in the clear winter sky. "I don't know who you are, or where you live," he told the sky, "but whoever you are, don't worry. Things'll work out." Clark didn't actually know if that was true, but somehow he thought he needed to say that. Maybe even if just to reassure himself.

Clark closed the window curtains, turned off the dim living room lights on his way out, and went to bed. Tomorrow was Christmas.


Lois sat in the corner of the bay window in her bedroom looking out across the city, where the Christmas lights on the other houses twinkled a rainbow of colours. As Lois shifted positions slightly, she heard the old wood creak beneath her. She then heard Lucy roll over and wake up from the sound.

"What are you doing?" she asked, half asleep.

"I'm just thinking," Lois started.

"Oh … "

Lois turned back toward the window. "I'm just thinking of all the people in the world who are celebrating a lovely Christmas this year. I mean, I know there are people who *aren't* having a merry Christmas, and I don't want to sound selfish, but I never thought I'd be one of them … " Lois turned back to look at her sister, only to find her out like a light. Lois smiled, and then yawned as she realized how late it was.

Lois slowly slid off the bay window, making sure not to make the wood creak, and headed back to her bed. As she settled underneath the covers, though, she thought she heard something. A voice. "Don't worry. Things'll work out … " it said.

"Lucy?" she whispered, "did you say something?" But Lucy was still asleep. Lois was too tired to think of it as anything but her imagination, so she ignored it, although not completely, because that night she slept easier than she had in the past two nights.


Clark woke up on Christmas morning and rolled over to look at his alarm clock on the night table. 8:00. *Yikes,* Clark thought. *Last year I was up at 6:00 ready to celebrate.* Clark was sure that his family was up already, and so he himself got up and put a robe on over his pajamas. Clark put on his slippers and slipped out of his bedroom, heading down the hall toward the living room.

Clark noticed his mom and dad sitting on the couch, sipping hot chocolate, and just talking. "Merry Christmas," he said quietly, but loud enough to be noticed.

"Merry Christmas," Martha said, looking up. "Did you ever find out who that girl was?" she asked. Jonathan gave her a weird look, but she ignored it.

"No, but I have this feeling she'll be okay."

Martha nodded, "That's good … you ready to open presents?"

Clark nodded, and headed over to where he'd been sitting last night, which was also the spot by the tree where he had sat every Christmas since he was about three years old. As he handed his parents gifts from family and friends (and from him), Clark glanced out the window. It was snowing again. Everything was beautifully covered in white. *This has got to be one of the best Christmases I have experienced,* he thought. *Yup. One of the best.*


Lois woke up on Christmas morning and rolled over to look at her alarm clock on the night table. 9:30. *How pathetic,* Lois thought. *Last year, I was up at 6:00 ready to celebrate.* Lois looked beyond the night table and noticed Lucy was still sleeping. Lois decided not to wake her. Throwing back the covers, Lois stood up and headed toward her closet, where she put on a bath robe over her pajamas. She then slipped silently out of her bedroom, closing the door behind her.

Lois noticed her mom was asleep — possibly drunk — on the lazy-boy in the living room. So she headed into the kitchen to have breakfast. She poured herself a bowl of Cornflakes and sat down, thinking about the voice she had heard the night before.

*Who WAS that?* Lois wondered. She remembered she'd heard a boy's voice. It didn't sound like anyone from school. Not even Joe Malloy — the cutest guy at Metropolis High. No, this voice was … calming … and caring. But why would some guy she didn't even know care about *her*?

He had said that things would "work out." Lois looked around. It was somewhat true. Her mother and father weren't fighting anymore, now that they had split up, and she and Lucy had worked out the Christmas tree problem by getting their own. That had been fun. But even though things were less chaotic now than they had been in the last week, Lois realized that for the first time in her life, Christmas was just another ordinary day.