By vuvu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Tired of seeing Clark moping around, depressed all the time, Martha decides to take matters in her own hands. If only she could slip away from Clark and Jonathan to have a private chat with a certain lady friend of Clark's, she's sure things would work out for the best.
A story that takes place sometime during the middle of Season 2, "definitely before 'The Phoenix,'" the author says.
Author's note: This idea had been rolling around my head for a while, until I finally challenged myself to actually try to write it. This is my first fanfic, and I would really like any comments that you may have, positive or negative. Don't worry, I've got thick skin and you are not going to insult me or hurt my feelings. So be honest!!! If you think it stinks and that I should never be allowed to write another fanfic, then just say so. I don't want to continue to torture you guys. <g>
I would just like to thank my proofreaders, Erin Klingler, Rachel Royce, and Kathy Brown, for all of their help and suggestions.
I would also like to dedicate this fic to two particular FoLC buddies. First to Rachel, whose encouragement and constant threats of bodily harm <g>, inspired me to finally finish this story. And a very special thanks to Erin Klingler. If not for her constant encouragement, praise, and help, I would have given up long ago and not even bothered to finish this fic. I'm also being forced to, er I mean, would like to, announce that Erin and I made a bet a while back to see who could get their fanfic done first. So being the good loser that I am (I've had a lot of practice), I'm publicly admitting defeat and declaring Erin the winner. Seriously though, I would like to thank you both for everything, (and notice how I didn't crack one blonde joke. <bg>).
Hope you enjoy!! And please send me comments.
* … * indicates thoughts
This story takes place sometime during the middle of Season 2, and definitely before "The Phoenix".
Sitting there in the farmhouse, watching Clark staring at his plate and picking at his food, Martha knew that something was troubling her son. She and Jonathan always enjoyed it when Clark was able to fly home for a decent meal and spend time with them but between his job at the Planet and his other job as Superman, he wasn't able to visit as often as they would like. But tonight's dinner was a little less enjoyable for Martha, partly because Jonathan was out of town at an auction, but mostly because she knew that something was bothering Clark, and she felt that universal parental need to help. Even though she wasn't exactly sure what was bothering him, she had a pretty good guess that it had something to do with two little words: Lois Lane. So she decided to try to pry whatever was bothering Clark out of him.
"So, Clark, it looks like you had a pretty tough day today."
"Yeah," Clark responded as he continued to stare absent-mindedly at his plate and pick at his mashed potatoes.
*Well, that didn't work very well,* Martha thought. *Let's try this again.*
"So, son, you must be working on a big story, or something."
"Yeah," he replied, as he remained in his trance-like state.
*Strike two.* Tired of talking to a brick wall, Martha decided that she needed to resort to drastic measures to break through her son's trance.
"Hey, Clark, there's a runaway nuclear missile heading straight for our house!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah." After a second or two, he finally snapped out of his trance. "What!!! Where! I'll stop it … " he started to explain frantically. He was just about to speed off, when Martha, smiling, put a hand on his arm to stop him. Clark, realizing what was going on, sat back down.
"Relax, Clark. Man, I'm glad that I was finally able to get your attention. I've been talking to you for the last few minutes, and you haven't heard a word I've said. What's the matter?"
"I'm sorry, Mom. I was just kind of zoning out and thinking about some things, that's all. There's nothing wrong." He was really hoping that his mother would believe him about that last part. *There is no need to bother her with the same old problem,* he thought.
"Clark, what makes you think that you can fool me? I know that something is bothering you. What is it? Is there something wrong between you and Lois?" she asked softly. Of course, she already knew the answer to her question, but she thought that it would be better if Clark initiated this particular conversation.
"No. … Yes," he replied, as he let out a deep breath. Martha knew exactly where this was headed, but decided to remain silent for a few minutes.
"I don't know, Mom, its just that sometimes I get a little down and depressed." His voice was sad and soft.
Martha raised an eyebrow at him knowingly. "A little down and depressed?"
"Okay, okay, very down and depressed. Anyway, it is getting harder and harder for me to bury and hide my feelings for Lois," he said as he pushed his chair away from the table a little.
Martha looked sympathetically at her son, "Clark, why don't you just tell her how you feel about her. We both know that you're in love with her. Why not tell HER that you're in love with her?"
"It's not that simple, Mom," he responded, the sadness apparent in his voice.
"Oh, it's the whole 'she's-in-love-with-Superman-and- doesn't-know-that-I'm-him,-and-I-want-her-to-love-me-as- Clark-and-not-as-Superman' thing that we've talked about before, isn't it? I know that you are not ready to tell her that you are Superman, and I agree with and support that decision because I don't think that either you, or Lois, are ready for that revelation, but you've got to do something. Honey, how can you be sure how she feels about you, or Superman, if you don't talk to her and tell her how you feel?"
"To tell you the truth, Mom, it doesn't really have much to do with the Superman issue. Well, it does to a certain degree, but it's just that Lois has been through so much this past year, with the whole Lex situation and everything, that I just don't want her to get hurt anymore."
Suddenly feeling fidgety, Clark succumbed to the urge to get up and moved into the living room and flopped down on the couch, depressed. Martha followed and sat next to him waiting for him to continue.
"Anyway, that day in the park, she made it clear that her feelings for me were just friendship, and nothing more. If I tell her that I'm in love with her again, I might really hurt her and lose her entirely. I don't think that I could handle that. If friendship is all that she feels for me, then I will just have to accept that and make sure that I keep my true feelings hidden."
"Clark, how long do you think that you can keep doing that? I mean look at you, you are completely miserable. You can deny it all you want, but I know that this is tearing you apart inside. You have to do something," she said frowning. As she continued, a small and warm smile replaced the frown. "And anyway, how can you be certain that Lois doesn't have feelings for you? You know that she is an introvert, especially when it comes to her feelings and emotions. Maybe she's just a little scared about trying another relationship. Let's face it her last one with Lex wasn't exactly pleasant. I have a feeling that she does think of you as more than a friend, but is a little nervous about admitting it."
Letting out a sigh, Clark leaned back against the couch and began to stare at the ceiling. "You know, I used to think that too. I kept hoping that Lois would give me some kind of sign, no matter how small, that maybe she does feel the same way about me, but it's never happened. And I don't think that it ever will happen, especially after I told her that I lied that day in the park when I told her that I loved her. Boy, that was a slick move, wasn't it? You tried to warn me not to do it, but did I listen to you? Noooooooo."
Martha smiling sympathetically, patted him on the leg, reassuringly. "Yeah, I was afraid that wouldn't work out too well."
"Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was trying to make it easier on Lois. I just thought that with everything that she went through, she was in no condition to have to deal with my confession, so I told her I lied. I figured it would be best for her if things just went back to the way they were before the whole Lex fiasco. All I was trying to do was help her so that she wouldn't feel uncomfortable around me."
Clark, who was sitting up now with his elbows resting on his knees, felt his mother's hand on his shoulder. He slowly looked up to meet her eyes as she began to speak.
"That's the problem with you sometimes, Clark. You are always thinking of others first, which is great and it's what makes you so special. But sometimes, you don't stop to think how what you do for others will affect you. That's exactly what happened when you decided to tell Lois that you lied. You really wanted to help and do what was best for her, but you didn't realize how your actions were going to affect you and make you feel. Sometimes you have to think about yourself too. It's not selfish to think of yourself once in a while, and you should realize that. Even Superman is entitled to think of himself every once in a while."
Clark knew exactly what his mother was trying to say, and he had to admit that she was right, as usual. But it was getting late, and he felt mentally drained and decided that it was time to bring this particular talk to an end.
"Speaking of Superman, it's getting late and I have to get back to Metropolis and fly a few quick patrols before turning in."
Martha followed behind him as he walked towards the door. As he turned to give her a hug, he realized that she wasn't quite done with their conversation. "Clark, think about what I said, okay? You really do need to do something about this whole thing with Lois. You can't just expect it to go away, or fix itself. If you need to talk or anything, give me a call, or fly on by. Got it?"
Clark nodded and gave her a hug. He was almost completely out the door, when he remembered something and stuck his head back to the doorway.
"Oh, Mom, you guys are still coming to Metropolis to visit this weekend, aren't you?"
"Of course, Clark. Our flight should get in at about 8 o'clock Friday night. You can still pick us up at the airport, can't you?"
"Sure, no problem. I almost forgot, but could you tell Dad that I was able to get tickets to the ballgame that we wanted to go to on Sunday afternoon?"
"I sure will, your father will be very excited. He really wanted to go to that game."
"Great, I think he'll have a lot of fun. Well, I'll see you on Friday. Bye."
"Bye, Clark. Be careful flying home," Martha said as she closed the door.
She was deep in thought as she walked back towards the kitchen. "So, Clark and Jonathan are going to be gone all afternoon on Sunday, and I 'm going to have some free time to myself," she said to herself. Then suddenly everything clicked in her mind, and she began to formulate her plan. She knew she shouldn't stick her nose in where it didn't belong, but this had gone on long enough, and what Clark didn't know wouldn't hurt him, right? A huge smile came across her face. She knew exactly how she was going to spend all of her free time on Sunday. But more importantly, she knew who she was going to spend it with.
Martha thought that Sunday afternoon would never get here, but it finally did. She had spent the past few days finalizing the plan that she was going to carry out this afternoon. All that she needed to do to get her plan set in motion was to get rid of Clark and Jonathan, which was proving to be a little harder than she thought. The three of them had just finished lunch, and were sitting at Clark's kitchen table. Clark and his father were talking about the basketball game that they were getting ready to go to, and Martha was beginning to get a little impatient.
"I still can't believe that you were able to get tickets to today's game, it's been sold out for weeks. How did you do it?"
"Well Dad, it wasn't really hard. The sports editor at the Planet owed me a favor, and he had a couple of extra tickets, so he gave them to me."
Martha's patience was really beginning to wear thin. *Would you two get out of here already!* she thought to herself.
"Clark, make sure that you thank him for the tickets the next time that you see him."
"You know, if you guys don't get going, you're going to be late. I'm sure that the traffic is going to be terrible." *There, that should get them out the door,* she thought.
"Your mother is right; we better get a move on it. I don't want to miss any of the game," Jonathan said as he moved towards the front door.
"You're right, Dad. I'm right behind you." On his way to the front door, Clark turned towards his mother. "Mom, are you sure you are going to be okay here this afternoon? I feel kind of bad running off and leaving you here with nothing to do."
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. I'm sure that I'll find something to do. Just enjoy the game." She tried to suppress an evil grin as she thought to herself. *You bet that I'll find something to do.*
"Okay, see you when we get back," Clark said as he walked out the front door.
"Bye, Clark." *YES!!! They're finally gone!!!*
Within seconds of Clark and Jonathan's departure, Martha walked to the couch, got her personal organizer from her purse, and began flipping through it looking for a specific phone number. After finding the number, she walked over to Clark's phone and began dialing, and soon the phone on the other end began ringing. *Please let her be home. Please let her be home.* After the third ring, a familiar female voice answered. *Yes!!!*
"Hi, Lois. This is Martha, Clark's mom. How are you doing?"
"Uh, hi Martha. It's … uh … really nice to hear from you. I forgot that Clark mentioned that you were going to be visiting this weekend." Martha listened as Lois mentally shook herself. "I'm doing pretty good, how about yourself?"
"I'm alright, except for the fact that Clark and Jonathan ran off to a basketball game and left me alone over here bored out of my mind, which is kind of the reason why I called. Are you doing anything this afternoon?"
"No, not really. Since I knew that Clark was busy this weekend, we didn't make any plans, so I figured that I would just spend the day relaxing. Why?"
"Well, I was wondering if you would like to get together and maybe go shopping or something. I haven't seen you in a while, and thought that it might be fun. It can be kind of like a 'girls' day out'. What do you say?"
"Martha, that sounds wonderful. I'd love to go. How about if I pick you up in about twenty minutes?"
"Great. I'll see you then. Bye."
Martha was smiling from ear to ear as she hung up the phone. *Phase one - complete,* she thought as she began to get ready for what she hoped would be a wonderful and promising afternoon.
Lois and Martha spent the next two hours at the Metropolis Mall doing some heavy-duty shopping and talking about a variety of subjects, but one way or another it always seemed like Lois would bring Clark up in their conversations. This fact didn't necessarily surprise Martha, and to be quite honest, it thrilled her. It was obvious that Lois cared a great deal for Clark and their friendship, but Martha noticed something else during their conversations. Whenever Lois talked about Clark, she would get this gleam in her eyes that just screamed that her feelings for Clark were definitely beyond that of friendship. However, as the afternoon went by, Martha could see that there was something else in Lois' eyes, too. It was a little difficult to categorize, but finally Martha realized that it was a combination of nervousness, uncertainty, and fear.
Martha thought back to her conversation with Clark a few nights ago. She was right, Lois was interested in Clark and wanted to take their relationship a step further, but was scared to do so because she had gotten hurt so badly before. As a result, Lois had built up some very strong emotional barriers to try to protect herself from getting hurt again. Martha was sure that deep down Lois knew that Clark would never intentionally hurt her, but these barriers had been such a fixture in Lois' life that she found it difficult to lower them, even for someone as sweet as Clark. It was obvious to Martha, and even to Lois herself, that Clark was beginning to break through these barriers, but until she felt comfortable enough to lower them completely, Clark was going to continue to suffer. After thinking about all of this, Martha decided that it was her mission to try to help Lois resolve this inner conflict and tear down those barriers for good.
As they were walking through the mall's parking lot towards Lois' car, Martha wasn't the only one that was deep in thought. Lois was thinking about how wonderful the afternoon had been. It was so nice to hang out with another woman for a change, and the fact that this particular woman was Martha made her feel even closer to Clark. Lois didn't really have any female friends, and to be completely honest, she really only had three friends in Metropolis; Jimmy, Perry, and of course, Clark. But the more she thought about it, she realized that this wasn't even really the case. Even though she was close to and loved Jimmy and Perry, they really didn't fit into the general category of "friends".
Lois considered Perry to be more of a father than a friend, and she had to admit, he was more of a father to her than her own was. She never really had any type of relationship with her dad, at least not one that she cared to remember, and as she got older, she realized that she really missed and needed that father-daughter relationship. Perry knew this and provided that type of relationship for her, and as a result, Lois cherished their relationship very much. He filled a very large void in her life, and Lois loved him more like a father than anything else.
Lois' also realized that her relationship with Jimmy wasn't really what she would call friendship, either. It was just as strong as friendship, but a little different. Being a little younger than Lois, Jimmy was more like a brother to her than anything else, which was great as far as she was concerned. Even though Lois had a younger sister, who she loved dearly, she always thought that it would be kind of nice to have a younger brother to be able to pester, pick on, and be protective of, and since she met Jimmy, he had filled this role perfectly. Also, since Jimmy had come from a difficult home life, just like herself, she felt that she could relate to him and what he had gone through. So she had decided to become his surrogate big sister, so to speak. Sure she would yell at him, and even pick on him at times, but at the same time she was very protective of him. She loved him just like the brother she never had. At this thought, Lois had a sudden bout of deja vu. *Love him like a brother. Where have I heard that before? It sounds so familiar. Oh well, must be my imagination.*
Anyway, that just left Clark. After thinking about Jimmy and Perry, it was not difficult to categorize him. He was the best friend that she had ever had, and as she had just realized moments before, he was the only true friend that she really had. He always put up with all of her moods and stupid stunts. Most importantly, no matter what she did or how badly she treated him, he was always there for her when she needed him the most. Whether it was words of encouragement, or a shoulder to cry on, or simply a hug, Clark always seemed to know exactly what she needed. She was comfortable with Clark and felt like she could be herself when she was around him. She had never really allowed herself to open up to anyone, but for one reason or another, she found it extremely easy to do so with Clark, and she had to admit that it felt really good to be able to do that. She loved and valued Clark's friendship above everything else, and she now realized that this was exactly what the problem was.
Shortly after that day in the park when Clark told her that he was in love with her, she started to realize that her own feelings towards him were more than that of mere friendship. But then he recanted his confession, and she just didn't know what to think. It was a very slow realization, and she continued to try to deny the fact that she was in love with him because she was scared that if she was to admit it, things between them would change and she may end up losing him entirely. What if they tried a romantic relationship and it didn't work out? Would they still be friends? COULD they still be friends? She asked herself these questions everyday, and everyday she realized that she just didn't have the answers. However, there was one thing that she did know, and that was the fact that she would have to make a decision soon because she couldn't keep going through this. She just wished that there wasn't so much at stake.
Lois and Martha finally reached the car and proceeded to put their bags in the back. As Lois was unlocking the door, Martha glanced at her watch and decided that she still had plenty of time left before the guys would be back from the game.
"Lois, we still have some time left before I need to be back, so why don't we stop and get a cup of coffee and maybe a snack."
"Sounds good to me. I know of this great little diner that serves the best chocolate cream pie. It is just heavenly."
"Well since you put it that way, let's get going," Martha said knowing that a nice quiet diner would be the best place to carry out the rest of her plan.
When they reached the diner, Martha was surprised to see that it was fairly busy, so she decided to guide them to a small table back in a secluded corner where they would have a little more privacy. When the waitress came, both Martha and Lois ordered a cup of coffee and a slice of that famous chocolate cream pie. It only took a couple of minutes for their order to arrive, and once the waitress left, they began eating.
"Mmmm … You're right Lois, this is the best pie I think that I've ever had."
"Well, like Clark has probably told you, I am an expert on chocolate, so I know where to get the good stuff," Lois responded as she took another bite. After swallowing, she continued. "Martha, I just want to thank you for inviting me to come with you this afternoon. I really had a great time. Since my sister moved away, I don't really have anyone to go out shopping with and pal around with at the mall. Of course there's Clark, and he's great and we do a lot together, but he just doesn't appreciate the fine art of shopping. Do know what I mean?"
Martha nodded and decided that it was time to make her move.
"Speaking of Clark, do you mind if I ask you kind of a personal question?"
Lois was a little apprehensive about where this conversation was headed, but she decided that Martha had always been so sweet to her, she couldn't possibly refuse.
"S-Sure," Lois answered trying really hard to hide her nervousness.
Martha noticed just how nervous Lois was and decided to proceed with caution. *It looks like I'm going have to be careful. It wouldn't do Clark any good if I end up pushing Lois even further back into her shell.*
"Relax, Lois. I just want to start by telling you that anything that you say to me is just between us, and vice-versa, so there is no need to be nervous. I can tell that something is bothering you, and I think that I know what it is. I just thought that you may need someone to talk to. Ok?"
This seemed to make Lois relax a little, and she nodded for Martha to continue.
"Lois, how exactly do you feel about Clark?"
Lois began to squirm a little in her chair and ,unconsciously, her hands fidgeted with her napkin. She knew exactly where this was headed, and decided not to completely spill her guts, not yet anyway. Looking up at Martha she took a deep breath, trying to think of exactly what to say. Finally, she decided on the right words.
"Well, Clark is great and I really care about him. But most importantly, I trust him more than anyone else, which means a lot to me because trusting people has never been my strong suit. He is without a doubt the best friend that I've ever had, and probably will ever have."
After she finished, she let out that deep breath that she seemed to be holding. She looked straight at Martha, for what seemed like hours, hoping that she was satisfied with her answer. But she could tell by the frown on Martha's face that she wasn't. Lois was trying to think of something else to say when Martha broke the silence.
Looking at Lois, Martha decided that it was time to play her trump card. *If Clark knew what I'm about to do, he would kill me, but its worth the risk.* As she began to speak, her eyes met Lois' and a small smile appeared on her face.
"Best friend, huh? Lois, I think that your feelings for Clark are much more than just friendship. I can see it in your eyes every time you talk about him; you can't hide it because I know that look all too well. Clark has had the very same look in his eyes for the past two years, ever since he met you. He would kill me if he knew that I told you this, but do you know that he is completely, totally, head-over-heels in love with you and has been since the first day he met you?"
Lois was completely shocked and just sat there staring at Martha not quite knowing what to say. After a few moments, when some of the shock wore off, she finally worked up enough courage to speak.
"H-h-he is? But he told me that he just wanted to be best friends and that was all," she responded in a surprised tone.
"Oh, you're talking about that time shortly after your wedding when he told you that he lied to you when he said that he was in love with you. Well, the truth is that he lied to you that day. He had his fingers crossed, if that means anything," Martha responded nonchalantly.
Lois, still trying to take everything in, continued to sit and stare at Martha in shocked silence with a confused look on her face. She just couldn't believe what Martha was telling her. *Why hadn't Clark said anything? Why did he lie to me?* The same questions kept running through her head, and she had no clue what the answers were. She had to know, so with a questioningly look on her face, she simply asked.
"Martha, I just don't understand. Why did he do it?"
"Well Lois, you know Clark well enough to know that he always tries to help people. The problem is that sometimes he acts before he thinks about all of the consequences. So sometimes, he ends up causing more harm than good, and in some cases, he even ends up getting hurt. That is exactly what happened when he decided to tell you he lied about being in love with you."
"I'm not sure that I'm following you, Martha."
"Let me explain, Lois. See, Clark knew that you had already been through a lot and that you still had a lot to deal with. He didn't want you to have to deal with the added stress of dealing with his confession. He realized that it had already created some friction between you two, and he didn't want you to feel uncomfortable around him. It was obvious that you needed someone to help you get through everything and be there for you, and he couldn't do that if you were uncomfortable with him. So he thought that it would be best for you if he recanted his confession and try to reset things back to the way they were before the whole fiasco started.
"I tried to talk him out of it. He took a big step when he told you how he felt about you, and it would be best for you two to work through it, but he wouldn't listen."
Martha paused a moment, and looked seriously at Lois, whose eyes had been fixed on her the whole time that she was talking. She could see that she was getting through to Lois, who seemed very touched by her story. After a few moments, Martha started again.
"So Clark decided to go ahead with his plan. However, the problem was that he didn't think it completely through, and so, he didn't realize how hard and painful it was going to be on him. It's been very hard on him to try to always hide his feelings for you whenever he is around you. He thinks that you don't feel the same way about him and that if you knew how he really felt, he would end up losing you completely. Ever since that day outside the Planet, Clark has been completely miserable. Oh, he tries to hide it whenever he is around you, but when you're not around, he is so depressed. It's tearing him apart."
By this time, Lois was on the verge of tears. She tried to hold them back, but she finally lost the battle, and a single teardrop rolled down her cheek. She just sat there for a few moments staring at Martha, shocked that anyone would go through so much and make so many sacrifices for her. Sitting there, she opened her mouth to try to speak but was so choked up that she couldn't form the words. She tried again with the same result. Finally, on the third try she was a little bit more successful. With her eyes still glassy from unshed tears, her words came out as a hoarse whisper.
"Y-Y-You mean, he did all of that for … for me?"
"Yeah. Clark really loves you," Martha replied, close to tears herself.
"He has been putting himself through an emotional hell just because he thought that would make things easier for me. That is so … so sweet."
"Yes, I guess you could say that."
"God, Martha, I feel so guilty knowing what Clark has been going through is because of me. I can't believe he would do something like that just for me. I'm not worth it," Lois said as she lowered her head and stared at the table, unable to look Martha in the eyes anymore.
Martha reached across the table and put a reassuring hand on her arm. Lois looked up and saw Martha smiling sympathetically at her.
"Lois, I want you understand that you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. I didn't tell you all of this to make you feel guilty or ashamed. I did it to show you how much Clark cares about you and how much you mean to him. He did what he did because he cares about you, and he definitely would not want you to feel guilty. And one more thing, Clark most certainly thinks that you are worth it, and so do I."
"T-Thanks, Martha. It's just, uh, that I 'm a bit overwhelmed. It's been a very long and confusing year, especially when it comes to Clark and our relationship. And to be honest, I have been doing a lot of thinking about it, especially lately."
"That's is exactly what I figured. So I guess that leads us back to my original question. How exactly do you feel about Clark?"
"W-Well, I guess you were right when you said that my feelings for Clark are more than friendship, and I started to realize that shortly after he told me he was in love with me. I was going to tell him that day outside the Planet, but he wanted to talk first. Once he said that he lied about being in love with me, I lost my nerve and decided not to say anything. I thought if I did, I would lose his friendship and I didn't want to get hurt again. But now, thanks to you, I know the truth and knowing what he has gone through the past few months for me, I know that I will never lose him."
With a huge smile on her face, Martha asked, "So what are you trying to say, Lois?"
Lois took a deep breath, smiled, and began nervously, "I guess what I'm trying to say … um, what I mean is … that … I … I … I'm in love with Clark."
Lois just sat there smiling at Martha, surprised not only at how difficult it was to finally say those words out loud, but also at how great it felt when she did. Martha was also smiling, glad that she was able to help Lois work through her fears and hoping that these two kids would finally get together, where they belonged.
"You know, that's the first time that I've been able to say that out loud. It feels great. I kept trying to deny it these past months, and every time I would almost accept it, I would find another barrier to throw up to keep myself from admitting it. Well, you know what, I'm done trying to dance around my feelings for Clark, and I'm ready to meet them head on and do something about them. Thanks Martha, for helping me sort all this out."
"You're welcome, honey. Like I said, I was pretty sure I knew what was bothering you and I thought you needed someone to talk to. But remember, not a word of this to Clark. He would kill me if he knew what I did. Got it?"
"My lips are sealed."
"So Lois, if you don't mind me asking, what is your next move going to be?"
"Well, let's just say that tonight Mr. Kent is going to have a dinner that he will never forget," Lois replied with an evil grin on her face.
"My poor boy doesn't stand a chance, does he?" Martha said, in between giggles.
"Not anymore he doesn't."
When Lois dropped Martha off at Clark's apartment, she gave her a huge hug, and thanked her once again.
"Now, Lois, I want a full report about how things go tonight, got it?"
"Well, I don't know if it will be a full report, I might decide to leave SOME things out, but I'll let you know how everything turns out."
They both started laughing at that comment, and then they said their final goodbyes and Lois was off to start preparing for that night's dinner. Martha danced inside Clark's apartment, smiling uncontrollably.
"Yes!!! Mission accomplished …" she said out loud pumping her fist in the air.
Martha had just finished packing when Clark and Jonathan came through the door. She knew that Lois would be calling Clark soon, so she decided that the sooner that they could get out of there, the better. She couldn't help but smile while they were babbling about the game that they had just seen.
"Boy, Clark, can you believe that game? What did Jordan end up with, 50 points? And that one dunk, I mean the only person that I've ever seen fly like that is, well, you, son. I guess that's why they call him the Superman of basketball."
Clark laughed at that reference.
"Hi, Mom. I hope that you weren't too bored this afternoon."
Martha suppressed an evil grin. "Oh, I found something to keep me busy. You two enjoy yourselves?"
"Yep, we sure did. So what is the plan for the rest of the day?"
Martha smiled. "Well, you are going to drive me and your father to the airport in a few minutes."
"But I thought that your flight didn't leave until seven."
"Oh, I forgot to tell you, I called and got us an earlier flight because we have to get back a little early and take care of a few things."
"Martha, we don't have to … "
Martha stopped Jonathan mid-sentence by giving him one of those stern "just go along with me" looks that married people can interpret instantly. Jonathan got the picture.
"Oh yeah, that's right, we do have to get back early tonight. I forgot, someone is supposed to call me at around eight to set up plans to go to that auction next week. I'm sorry, Clark. I just plain forgot."
*Yes!! Nice cover, Jonathan. That definitely deserves a reward when we get home,* Martha thought.
"Well if you guys really need to leave early, I'll take you to the airport. Just let me get my keys and I'll be ready to …"
Ring!!! Ring!!! Ring!!!
"Just a second, let me get that."
"Hey, Clark. How are you doing?"
As always, Clark's eyes lit up and his heart began to race at the mere sound of Lois' voice.
"Hi, Lois. I'm doing pretty good, how about you?"
"Oh, I'm alright. How's your parents? Didn't you say that they were visiting this weekend?"
"Yeah, they're fine. In fact, I was just heading out the door to take them to the airport when you called."
"Oh, sorry, I didn't mean to hold you up … "
"Don't worry about it, Lois. We have a few minutes before we have to leave."
"Good. Umm, since your parents are leaving now, I, uh, guess that means that you're free tonight?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Great, would you like to, umm, come over? We could get something to eat and maybe rent a movie or something."
By this time, Lois was nervously twisting the phone cord around her arm, waiting for Clark's answer.
"That sounds great. Do you want me to pick up some carryout on my way to your place?"
"No, that's okay. I'll take care of everything. All you have to do is show up. How's 7 o'clock sound?"
"Sounds fine. Are you sure you don't want me to bring anything? I mean, it's no trouble."
"No, no, it's my treat." *In more ways than one,* Lois thought to herself.
"Okay, if you insist. Well, we really have to get going because I'm sure the traffic is going to be terrible, as usual. So, I guess I'll see you around seven, alright?"
"Sounds good. See you then. Bye, Clark."
Clark hung up the phone and walked back to where his parents were standing. Martha, who had been trying to casually listen to the conversation, was trying her best to suppress a huge grin. Luckily, he was lost in thought, and didn't notice.
"Who was that?" Martha asked innocently.
"Oh that was just Lois. She wants to get together and do something tonight," Clark replied with a hint of concern on his face.
Martha noticed Clark's concern immediately.
"What's the matter, Clark?"
"It's nothing really. It's just Lois, she sounded kind of strange on the phone, almost like she was, I don't know … like she was a little nervous or something. I can't explain it. Maybe it's just me, I mean, she has been working a lot lately, maybe she's just tired or something. I hope nothing's wrong."
*Oh, nothing's wrong, except for the fact that she finally figured out that she is in love with you, that's all. And of course she's nervous, silly. And you would be too if you knew what she was up to, but you'll find out soon enough what's going on, my dear boy,* Martha thought to herself, suppressing a giggle.
"Well, I'm sure there's nothing to worry about, Clark. Like you said, she is probably just tired." *Or in love*, she added mentally.
"I guess you're right, Mom. So, are you guys ready?"
As seven o'clock got closer, Lois grew more and more nervous. She knew that there was a lot riding on this evening with Clark, and that made it even scarier for her, but she decided that he was definitely worth it. Sure she was a little nervous and scared, but for the first time in months, thanks to her talk with Martha, she was no longer confused about her feelings for Clark. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Now that she was able to admit to herself that she was in love with Clark, all that was left to do was to admit it to him. There was still a small part of her that was apprehensive about telling Clark because every other time she had put her heart on the line and stepped up and said "the scary words", she had gotten hurt. However, tonight was the start of a new beginning, and she decided that she was not going to let her little fear ruin it. With that decided, she comprised her game plan for the evening and set her mind to the task at hand.
She had decided, for Clark's sake, not to try to cook anything, and instead ordered some carryout from her favorite Chinese restaurant. She had set her table with her best china, which her mother had given her many years ago, and in the middle she placed two candles and a small vase. In the vase, there were two roses, one red and one yellow. In her mind the roses symbolized the two types of love that she felt for Clark. She had just finished her final preparations when she heard the knock on the door. Shaking a little from nervousness, she made her way to the door. Pausing for a moment, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to relax.
"Well, here goes nothing … and everything."
Clark had been standing at Lois' door for several minutes, trying to clear his head and find the courage to knock. He sighed as he thought about spending yet another platonic night with Lois. It was really starting to take a toll on him, and with each passing platonic evening, it was getting tougher because he wanted so much more. But as he had told his mother several days ago, it was just never going to happen.
*Come on, Kent, snap out of it. You've got to get over it. She's your best friend and all she is ever going to feel for you is friendship, so just accept it and get over it. Yeah, right, easier said than done.*
With a feeling of dread, Clark raised his hand to knock on the door … ***
When the door opened, Clark couldn't believe his eyes. It was a good thing that he could hold his breath for twenty minutes because what he saw completely took it away. Standing before him was Lois, dressed in a short, black dress, looking more beautiful than he could ever imagine. It wasn't just Lois' immense beauty that took his breath away, but also the knowledge that Lois seemed to have gotten all dressed up for him, plain old Clark. For one of the first times in his life, Clark knew what it felt like to be weak in the knees and all he could do was stand there and stare at what he considered the most beautiful sight in the world.
Lois could feel the electricity in the room, and it just took one short glance into Clark's eyes to confirm what Martha had told her earlier. Clark was completely in love with her. *God, how could I have been so blind and stupid? Don't blow this, Lane, whatever you do. Okay, relax. Deep breath. There we go.*
"H-hi, Clark," she started a bit nervously.
"Wow!" he replied, still staring at her. He had wanted to say more, but that was the only word he could form.
"W-well, thank you, Clark," she said blushing. "Come on in, dinner is just about ready."
Clark smiled and made his way through the doorway, closing the door behind him. The entire time though, he couldn't tear his eyes away from Lois.
Lois, though flattered by his apparent pleasure with her appearance, was beginning to get a little concerned by his continued silence.
"Clark, are you alright?"
Still staring at Lois, he tried to answer, but again words escaped him. "Wow!" he repeated.
"Clark, you already said that. Are sure you're okay?" Lois replied with that smile that always made his heart melt.
"You look beautiful!" he finally said, his eyes gleaming.
Blushing, Lois replied, "Thanks. Uh, c-come on in. I-I hope you're, uh, in the mood for Chinese."
Absentmindedly, Lois reached down and grabbed Clark's hand and led him towards the table. By this time, Clark's senses were in overload, and when he saw the intimate table setting that Lois was leading him to, he knew that this was a dream come true.
That got Clark thinking. *Oh no, what if this is a dream. It's not like I've never dreamed of this before. Oh man, I bet that's it. This is just another one of my mere fantasies, which isn't that bad as long as I don't wake up. No! It can't be a dream, it just can't. Oh well, I may as well enjoy it as long as I can before I end up waking up.*
When they reached the table, Lois gave Clark's hand a squeeze before releasing it.
*She squeezed my hand! I felt it!! I'm not dreaming! Yes!!!!* Clark mentally exclaimed.
Lois started to pull out her chair to sit down, but Clark put a hand on her arm and wouldn't allow it. Smiling, he walked behind the chair and pulled it out for her. Lois couldn't help but smile. *He's such a gentleman. How sweet. I could get use to this type of treatment.* After she was seated, he walked around to the other side of the table and took his own seat. They sat there for what seemed like hours gazing into each other's eyes. They both realized that something special was happening between them, something that they both seemed to want very badly. Suddenly feeling a little shy, it was Lois who broke the silence.
"Well, I, uh, guess we should eat before the food gets cold."
Throughout dinner, they talked about everything from their childhoods to Clark's travels and Lois' experiences as an exchange student in Ireland. It was absolutely wonderful for both of them, and neither could think of ever having a better time. The evening was indeed turning out to be very special.
Towards the end of dinner, Lois realized that she still hadn't gotten up the courage to actually tell Clark how she really felt. It wasn't really because she was too scared, because she wasn't, well, not much anyway. Thanks to Martha, she already knew that Clark loved her, so that took most of the risk away as far as she was concerned. Of course there was still the risk that things wouldn't work out between them or that she would find a way to screw up the relationship, but she promised herself not to dwell on that this evening. The real problem was the fact that she knew that she had to find the perfect way to tell him, but hadn't figured out how. She didn't want to just blurt it out. It had to be special.
She was frustrated with herself, and was starting to feel a little closed in due to the confines of her apartment. *How do I tell him? ARGH, I can't think of anything. I need to get out of here for a little while to clear my head. Get a little fresh air. That's it!!!! A walk!!!!! Why didn't I think of that before? A nice little romantic walk with Clark. That's perfect!!!*
"Well, Lois, dinner was great. You really went all out," Clark said, breaking Lois out of her mental conversation.
"Thanks, Clark. I'm glad you liked it. Uh, you know it is really a nice night out, and I, uh, don't know about you, but I could use a little exercise after everything I ate. Would you like to, uh, take a walk?" she responded with a hopeful, yet shy smile.
Clark smiled at the suggestion. "Sure. Let me help you clean all this up real quick, first though," he replied, gesturing to the table and dishes.
Lois mentally sighed. *He is so sweet.*
"Don't worry about it, Clark. I'll take care of it later. Let's just go," she said with a sweet smile, which made Clark's heart skip a beat.
"You sure? Okay."
He got up and followed Lois to the front door, where he helped her on with her sweater. While doing so, he let his hands linger for a few moment on her shoulders, which made Lois tingle. *Get a grip, he is only touching your shoulders. You're acting like some silly schoolgirl who's going out on her very first date. You're only going on a walk with Clark. It's no big deal. Yeah, right and pigs fly.*
The sound of Clark's voice once again brought her out of her thoughts.
She turned around to see him smiling at her tenderly, and nodded. With that, they walked out the door and closed it behind them.
As they started down the front steps of the building, Lois could feel the butterflies begin to dance in her stomach. She couldn't remember ever being this nervous. Her mind was racing trying to figure out what to say to Clark. Suddenly she was broken out of her mental reverie when she felt Clark reach over and take her hand, tentatively lacing his fingers through hers. Even though a little surprised at Clark's move at first, Lois couldn't believe how natural and wonderful this all felt. She looked up and noticed that Clark was looking at her, almost as if he was waiting for some sort of assurance that what he just did was okay. She couldn't believe how much of a gentleman he was. But she also realized it wasn't just because he was a gentleman, it was because he was a still little unsure about what exactly was going on between them. So, she figured that he was being very careful not to jump to any conclusions, but she knew that would be taken care of very shortly. So she just smiled at him, letting him know that she didn't mind. He smiled back, and it was obvious that was all the reassurance that he needed.
They continued walking down the sidewalk, hand in hand, in a comfortable silence. Every so often they would look at each other and smile, which spoke more than words ever could. They walked in silence for a few more blocks, not really caring where they were going, but just enjoying being together. They crossed the street almost unknowingly, and suddenly found themselves in the park.
Clark gestured to an empty park bench nearby. "Shall we?" he asked.
Lois smiled and moved over to the bench and sat down with a happy sigh, which grew even happier when Clark sat down next to her and took her hand again.
Clark spoke first. "Sure is a beautiful night," he said, looking up at the star-filled sky.
*Yeah, it is a beautiful night, but the stars have very little to do with it,* Lois thought before looking up, also.
"Yeah, it sure is. The stars are so beautiful tonight. I don't think anything could be prettier," Lois said, still gazing upwards.
"Oh, I know one thing that is prettier tonight," he said, smiling softly at her.
Smiling shyly, Lois felt her heart melt. *Okay that's it, you've got to tell him now. If I can just think how to start.*
"Clark, I, uh, I need to tell you something," she started nervously.
Clark smiled at her and nodded for her to continue. After the way that this evening had been turning out, he had an idea where this was heading, and it thrilled him to think that Lois might actually have some feelings for him after all. However, he decided earlier tonight, that he was going to let her initiate things, and take the first step. Last time, he took the first step, and that turned out disastrous, so he vowed long ago that if anything was ever going to happen between them, it was Lois who would have to make the first move. Maybe it was his pride that made him come to this decision, or maybe it was just a defensive reaction, but nonetheless, he was going to stand by it.
"I n-need to tell you … uh, I want to s-say is that … um, what I mean is … I guess what I'm trying to say is … " Lois rambled as Clark looked at her expectantly.
*Damnit, why are you making this so hard and complicated. Just tell him, you idiot!* she mentally screamed.
Lois took a deep breath, and started again. "Clark, in the last year, a lot has happened, a-and we've been through a lot, and, and … w-what I'm trying to say is, uh … Clark, somewhere in the middle of all this, I fell in love with you," she finally said, her voice shaking with nervous anticipation. The whole time she was watching Clark's face, trying to gauge his reaction.
She watched as Clark closed his eyes and let out a deep breath, or was it a sigh? He stayed like that with his eyes closed for what seemed like an eternity, which only made Lois more nervous. *Why isn't he saying anything? Maybe Martha was wrong, and after everything I've put him through, he doesn't love me anymore! After everything I've done, who could blame him? I'm such an idiot!!!! Great!! And now, I've screwed everything up.*
Clark finally opened his eyes, and stared at her with a blank, unreadable expression on his face. All of her fears and insecurities came rushing back. *That's it, he doesn't love me anymore.* On the verge of tears, she panicked and decided she had to find a way to talk herself out of this situation.
She immediately clicked into high-speed babble mode, and as a result didn't really see the huge smile curving across Clark's face. "Clark, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. You obviously don't feel the same way. Let's just forget I said anyth … " She didn't get any further, because Clark leaned towards her, gently cupping her face with his hands, and kissed her tenderly, effectively stopping her babbling.
Lois felt a light, heady sensation at his kiss, and she felt herself responding. She slid her arms around his neck, delighting in the way it felt to have his lips on hers. She decided that this was definitely the best way anyone has ever stopped her babbling.
After what seemed like minutes, their kiss finally ended. Still in their embrace, they smiled into each other's eyes and then Clark leaned his forehead against hers.
"Lois, do you have any idea how long I've waited to hear you say that? I was beginning to think I never would." He pulled back slightly so he could look deeply into her eyes. "I love you, too, and have for a very long time."
With that he leaned in for another kiss, which put the first one to shame. Lois couldn't believe how natural this all felt, and she was overcome with this happy, tingly feeling that warmed her down to her toes. She knew that she was finally exactly where she belonged, with Clark.
When the kiss ended, Lois smiled at Clark. "Wow!" she sighed wistfully.
Clark kind of chuckled. "That seems like a popular word tonight."
Lois couldn't help but giggle. "Well at least I only said it once, unlike someone else I know."
Clark laughed, and stood up, offering his hands to help Lois up. "Well, it's getting late, and it's been kind of a full night. I guess we should head back."
"Yeah, I guess so," Lois replied, placing her hands in his.
The walk back to Lois' apartment was the best walk either of them could ever remember taking. Not a word was spoken, but then again words weren't needed. The way they continued to look and smile at each other told the whole story. They were finally complete, and were exactly where they both needed to be.
The journey seemed to only take seconds, and they were both disappointed that the night was coming to an end. However, tonight had been a big night for both of them, and they both realized that now there were going to be plenty more nights like this for them to enjoy, together.
"Well," Clark said when they reached her door.
Lois smiled. "Well."
They looked at each other for a silent moment, then laughed. The uncertainty of the moment passed, and Clark stepped forward, taking Lois into his arms and kissing her tenderly. This kiss was even better than their last, and it left Lois breathless.
Finally, Clark stepped back. He lifted his hand to gently smooth her hair back from her face. "Goodnight, Lois," he said quietly.
Lois smiled into his warm eyes. "Goodnight, Clark. I'll see you tomorrow?"
He nodded, a grin spreading across his face. "You can count on it." Then, with one last parting glance, he turned and walked down the hall.
Lois watched him until he disappeared down the stairs, then went into her apartment.
After closing the door, Lois leaned up against it smiling dreamily. She couldn't remember ever having a better time or feeling so great. Then she remember that she had a phone call to make. Still smiling, she floated over to the phone, dialed the number, and waited for an answer. After a couple of rings, she was greeted by a familiar female voice.
"Hi, Martha. It's me," Lois responded in dreamy voice.
"Lois!! I'm so glad that you called. The suspense has been killing me all night!"
"Sorry about that, Martha. I would've called sooner but Clark just left," Lois replied dreamily.
"That's alright, honey, I understand. You sound a little strange. Everything go okay tonight?"
"Did everything go okay? No, everything didn't go okay. Everything went … ,uh, well, everything was … , um, I mean, the entire evening was … was … " Lois rambled trying to find the words.
"Was what? " Martha said with a hint of worry.
"The entire evening was absolutely … wonderful," Lois sighed wistfully. "Everything was perfect."
Relieved, Martha laughed.
"Whew, Lois you had me worried there for a minute. So you told him?"
"Yeah, I told him. It took me a little while, but I did," Lois said smiling, as she thought back over the evening.
"Was he surprised? I bet he was surprised. Of course he was surprised. What did he do? What did he say?" Martha was now in excited babble mode.
Listening to Martha, Lois couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"What's wrong, Lois. What's so funny?" Martha asked.
"Nothing really. It's just that Clark calls me the world's best babbler, and now it looks like it's rubbed off on you. You've been hanging around me too much," Lois said, in between giggles.
Now Martha was laughing, too.
"I'm sorry, Lois. I'm just so excited," Martha said, trying to stifle her laughter.
"I know what you mean, Martha. I'm excited too. It feels great. I …" Lois was starting one of her famous babbling sessions.
All of a sudden, Martha heard a beep on the phone. *Darn call waiting, it can be a real pain sometimes,* she mentally cursed.
"Lois, I'm sorry, but someone is on the other line. Can you hold on for a second?"
"Sure, no problem."
"Thanks, I'll be back in a second."
After about a minute, Martha was back.
"Sorry about that Lois, I'm back. You'll never guess who was on the other line. Clark!" Martha was smiling from ear to ear.
"Really. You're kidding?" Lois replied.
"Nope, he said that he had some terrific news that I just had to hear. Gee, I wonder what it could be?" That got them both laughing again. "Seriously, he sounded great, more happy than he's been in a long time," Martha said beaming.
"Well, I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that, because I feel the same way, and I owe a lot of that to you. Thank you," Lois responded emotionally.
"Ahh, you're welcome, honey. I didn't really have much to do with it. All I did was make you stop and listen to your heart."
"Well, I better let you go so you can get back to Clark on the other line. I know that you must be dying to talk to him. So … " Martha cut her off before she could finish.
"There's no need for that. I told Clark that I had a very important call on the other line, and that I would call him back in a little while when I got through."
"Really? You're kidding?" Lois was really touched.
"Yep, sure did. So tell me about what happened tonight. I want to know everything," Martha said excitedly.
"Well, the night started out great. I decided to have pity on Clark and not cook for him, so I ordered this fantastic Chinese food. And we had this beautiful candlelight dinner, and then we went for a romantic walk. And … " The dreamy smile never left Lois' face as she described the entire evening to Martha.
Lois and Martha ended up talking for about half an hour before finally deciding to call it a night. As she hung up the phone, Martha just sat there for a few minutes smiling radiantly. That is how Jonathan found her when he walked into the room.
"Martha, what are you smiling at? Uh oh, wait a minute, I know that look," Jonathan said with a hint of worry.
"And just what look are you talking about?" Martha replied innocently.
"That 'cat that swallowed the canary' look. You get it every time that you decide to be sneaky and do something behind my back. So what did you do this time?"
"Jonathan Kent! How dare you accuse me of such a thing? I have no idea what you are talking about. I would never do something behind your back," she responded with mock astonishment, trying her best to suppress a smile.
Jonathan chuckled. "Sure you wouldn't. Well, whatever you've done, I'm sure that I'll find out about it sooner or later. I'm going to turn in, you coming?"
"In a few minutes, honey. I've got a quick phone call to make first."
Jonathan leaned down and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "Okay, see you then," he said as he headed up the stairs.
After she was sure that Jonathan was upstairs, Martha picked up the phone and dialed Clark's number.
"So, Clark," Martha asked with a sly, wicked smile on her face. "I'm dying to know what is this terrific news that you were so excited about earlier?"