By Mary Scibetta <Meg4076@aol.com>
Submitted October 1998
Summary: There is a Halloween costume party at the Metropolis Opera Hall, but who is the mysterious benefactor behind the party? A "Phantom," of course.
"So, Lois are you going?" Clark passed by Lois' desk in the Daily Planet building and dropped a bright orange leaflet in her lap. Picking the leaflet off her lap, Lois smirked at Clark as he sat down at his desk.
"What is this?" Lois opened the leaflet and saw a bunch of little black cat glitter pop out.
"It's Perry's idea of impressing Alice. I guess he figured the more times he takes her out, it'll make up for the rest of the time. But actually, I think it could be fun. " Lois continued to wipe the glitter off her lap and dropped the invitation into the garbage.
"Clark, I love Perry with all my heart, but this is ridiculous. A bunch of overworked reporters dressing up to hang out at work a little longer. I could do better." Lois turned back to her computer, desperate to find something more exciting than talking to Clark. Lois had started to become more standoffish since the death of Lex and her dating of Dan.
"Ok Lois, whatever you say. It sounded fun, especially since this year was not going to be at the office. Perry said something about the Opera House in the invite." Lois looked once again at the invite in the trash and flashed a dirty look at Clark. "By the way, the whole party thing wasn't Perry's idea. He said a whole bunch of invitations came in his mailbox with no return."
Lois gave Clark a strange look, wondering who would throw a party that lavish as a surprise. Thinking there could be a story in it, Lois decided to give it a chance. "Well, I'll give the night a definite maybe on the calendar. Now, don't you have something to work on Clark?" Clark smiled in his relief that she at least was considering going to the event, trying to figure some way to convince Lois Dan has nothing to offer her.
Lois for the last few months had avoided discussing her personal life at all costs. Clark sometimes thought that he had made a grave mistake by telling he had lied about his feelings after Lex died. Thinking back, he almost thought she was going to tell him the same thing. Now, Lois had moved on to the 'man with no plan,' Dan. Just hearing his name made Clark feel sick and knowing Lois was asking him to the Halloween Party felt like suicide. But Clark had learned that there are ways of getting Lois' attention. Now, he had a week to plan.
The next morning the newsroom was already buzzing when Lois decided to grace the office with her presence. Clark had been there for several hours. "It's nice to see that you decided that to come into work," Clark heard behind him as Perry walked by. "Maybe now that you have decided to come in, you think you and Clark could go check out the chemical fire at the pesticide plant last night."
"Pesticide fire. Is this new Clark?"
"Last night — on TV. I called you, where were you?"
"I was out last night, but that won't be happening much more." Lois dropped her stuff on her desk and stomped over to the coffee machine while Clark and Perry tried to stay out of the way. From across the room, she tried to continue her conversation, "You know the more men I meet the more I have decided I would rather sometimes be with a woman."
Perry and Clark both flashed each other a strange and disgusted look and walked over to Lois at her desk. "Lois honey, you want to talk about it?"
"I thought that was what I was doing," she turned and looked at them. "Anyway, we went out last night and he showed up first at my door in this really god awful tight outfit that made him look more like a bouncer than a person. Then I went with him anyway to this party for a friend of his and these other women started hanging all over him. You remember that nice charm that picked me up," Lois gestured and batted her eyes as to imitate him. "Needless to say that I was NOT dressed for the part they evidently played in their very strange world. The rest of the night was a total blur, mainly because I sat at the bar and basically got wasted. Now, Dan either produces some evidence that he was drugged during work or I am not seeing him. So now I have a headache bigger than Metropolis and not in the mood to listen to you get on my case. So, Perry your story is going to have to wait and Clark, I guess I'll go with you to the little party that I have to go to. Tomorrow we'll worry about some costume or something."
Clark pat Lois on the back and smiled, "Lois, I think you should breathe." Lois smiled at him as Perry walked off. "Lois, I wanted to talk to you about that actually. I was afraid that you might expect that we go together since we do almost everything together."
"I hear a but coming on."
"Amanda in printing asked me out. It's kind of a crush thing. I'm sorry but she asked me yesterday. I thought you would go with Dan and would have never thought."
"Well, maybe it's just as well that we don't go. But promise me that I get at least one dance with you."
Walking back to his desk, Clark smiled over at her, "There is no way anyone can keep me from dancing with you Friday." Walking past her again, he rubbed her cheek as he walked toward the elevator, no doubt to get him and Lois the scoop on the fire. Lois sat at her desk and watched as the elevator door close, wondering how she could be so stupid for not telling him how she felt.
Lois went through the rest of the day depressed and decided to make it worse by going by the costume shop during her late lunch.
"May I help you with something?" A woman dressed in a little blue suit walked up behind Lois.
"Actually, I need a costume for the weekend. I just don't know quite what I want."
"Well, are you going with someone or want a costume with a theme?" The saleswoman continued to follow Lois right behind each rack and made faces as Lois would look at different things.
"Well, I thought I had a date, but you know how things go."
"Well, things can always be made to go your way if you think about them." The woman brushed past Lois and pulled from the rack a shimmering dress that seemed drop glitter on whatever it touched. "We just got this piece in. It says — look at me — a guarantee winner at any party. Actually, the last woman that wore this swore magical things occurred."
Lois looked at the dress in it tons of layers. She felt like she was holding the dress right out the Cinderella movies. "You say it performs magic. Just thinking it might do something would be interesting. Sure, I'll take it." The woman smiled as she motioned for Lois to follow her to register.
"So, you find something Lois?" Lois turned around to see that Clark was right behind her.
"Please tell me you aren't trying to spy on me. I would like one thing of mine to be a secret to you." Clark scooted back to make sure whatever Lois was so protective of was not revealed. He watched as Lois quickly paid and made arrangements to pick it up later on that week. "I'll see you back at work Clark." Clark smiled funny as Lois seemed to skip out the door.
"Sir?" The woman behind the counter seemed to blush a little realizing there was more to their actions than just two friends.
"I came to pick up the costume I had reserved."
"Mr. Kent, always a wise choice you have made. And the party at the Opera House, this will be a grand choice. Let me get it wrapped it up and the other piece." Clark stood at the counter and signed the pick up form. A few minutes later he was out the door with his won secret. Inside the store, the little saleswoman went back to the rear of the store.
"Well, he's been by and she came to pick hers out."
"I know that. You think they suspect anything?" The woman removed her glasses and red wig. She turned around to smile at her boss and lover. "I just wish that you would at least listen to me about what Lois did to you and not get all obsessed."
Grabbing the woman by the hand, the man pulled her toward him, "Don't you ever belittle her. You follow the plan. Remember, I was the one who saved you. " The woman pulled away and left to assist the customer that had walked in. The man sat idle in his chair, still facing the wall.
Lois and Clark both had talked to Perry and split up in order to see if they could come up with anything for a news story. The city was starting to return to normal after the death and strange disappearance of Luthor. People around the city had pretty much given up on the fact of having a definitive answer to that puzzle. So, those stories never brought any big returns in the ratings department. Seeing there was no rush to find a story, Clark decided to drop in on his parents for the evening. Landing down in front of the house, he could hear the back door swing open before he hit the ground.
"Honey, how are you doing?"
"I'm fine mom. I'm sorry I didn't call, but I had a little time to get away and thought I would drop by." Clark and Martha walked into the old farmhouse and into the kitchen where his father was up to no good in the kitchen.
"Your father felt like cooking tonight. Jonathon, you need to make some more."
"Don't worry about me. I actually had a pretty large lunch — I went out." Clark sat down at the table while his mother poured something to drink and joined him.
"So, you and Lois went out again?"
"Actually, I went out with this other girl from the printing department, Amanda. She asked me to go to the Halloween Party and I said ok. We figured that we would go to lunch before trying the official date thing. She's a nice girl."
"But," Martha replied to the way Clark left his sentence open. Jonathon turned around to hear the reply. Both of the Kents had become fond of Lois like a daughter and seemed a little surprised that Clark would even blink in the direction of another woman since he met Lois.
"It's just a friendly thing. She asked me out and at the time I thought Lois was going with Dan. I found out later she wasn't, but I'm not going to tell this other girl no just because Lois is alone." Martha laughed at her son trying to defend his decision to his parents and took Clark's hand.
"Of course not. Besides, there will be many more parties and date opportunities. We would hate for you to lock yourself in so soon. Right Jonathon?" Looking over at his father, Clark waited for an affirmative nod from his father.
"Well, I hate to get in the middle of our son's thoughts Martha. Why don't we let him tell us when he needs help. Clear the table — these cows are going to be done soon." Clark and Martha cleared the table and sat down for dinner. Halfway through dinner, Jonathon changed his mind.
"Clark, I think it would be good for you to have other people you saw. We just went through this ordeal with Lois and Lex, Lois and Dan — why would you want to add to the fire right now by showing her that you will sit and wait. Go out with Amanda, have a good time. Did you enjoy your lunch with her?"
"She's very sweet. Like I said, she works in printing, which doesn't see much of the newsroom. I remember several days ago I had to go down to printing to turn in some redos. I happen to talk to her, and she seemed very sweet. I never thought anything of it. But yesterday I got this invitation on my desk, but she had asked if I would go with her to the party. I went down to talk to her about it and she said it was a dare. Dare or not, I said ok. It was impulsive. We went to lunch today and had a good time. She's a few years younger but from the Midwest. We have a lot in common. We're going to the party as the characters of the Phantom of the Opera. It was the only thing I could think of that didn't seem silly that would still hold as a secret identity. So, I pick her up at 7 on Friday."
Clark's parents sat idle listening to every word Clark spoke, wondering when he would finish. "That's great honey. I think you should stick with your date. What's wrong honey?" Clark started looking around the same way as always.
"I got to go. Love you both. I will call later." Clark dashed out the door and disappeared into the sky.
Lois threw her stuff on the floor as she walked in the apartment. Staring at the answer machine, she cussed under her breath at not getting any messages. She picked up the phone while yanking her hose off, dialed Dan's number, and then slammed the phone down. "Stupid Lois. Just impress the costumes off everyone on your own."
Appearing from the bedroom a few minutes later, she slunk into her bathrobe and climbed on the couch. "Stupid, stupid, stupid," she went on as she went through her different possible next stories. Clicking the remote, she decided that TV was her best option for the evening. Watching not intently, one name caught her attention. Turning up the volume, she saw her next story.
"TONIGHT METROPOLIS POLICE HAVE REPORTED TO LNN THAT A MURDER OCCURRED AT THE COSTUME SHOP ON RIVERSIDE. THE APPARENT VICTIM WAS THE PARTTIME EMPLOYEE OF THE AFTERNOON. THE NAME IS NOT BEING RELEASED PENDING AN INVESTIGATION AND NOTIFICATION OF THE PROPER FAMILY MEMBERS. THE INFORMATION WE KNOW IS THAT THE MURDER WAS A RESULT OF ONE TAP TO THE HEAD WITH A SILENCED 45 AT CLOSE RANGE. MORE ABOUT THIS AT 10."
Lois picked up the phone and started dialing her partner's phone when she felt the wind start blowing. Looking up, she saw a person that seems to always pick the most embarrassing moments to visit.
"Did I come at a bad time?"
"No, I was thinking about going to bed early but with this news." Lois quickly got up and started straightening.
"I know. I was there. I don't care who it is that I miss saving, good or bad, it still hurts that anyone perishes."
"I understand. Wait, good or bad — that means you know something. Who is it?" Lois got up and ran over the window as Superman entered the living room.
"Lois, you know I can't tell you. You knowing is the same as if the rest of the press knew. But I will give you this. The police found the person in the back of the store. No forced entry — someone was already back there when the victim went back there. "
"You think it was a scuffle?"
"No, there was no sign of damage anywhere but the shooting. But they found tracks of a wheelchair." Lois thought for a moment and couldn't figure anyone in a wheelchair could get away so fast. "There was no one near there that was a wheelchair bound person. Whoever it was left long before I got there." He talked as Lois walked back into the bedroom and threw on some sweats. Superman, waiting in the living room, tried to control the temptation to look. Coming back out, Lois grabbed her purse and notepad and walked back over to Superman.
"Excuse me." Superman smiled at her funny and scooted back.
"Look, it would take me longer to unlock and relock the doors. Just take me downstairs or to the police station or to the murder site. Let's go. Clark isn't home, so I guess I'm on my own." Smiling, Superman picked Lois up in his arms and carefully slipped out of the window and shut it.
"I actually think he's there already." Lois looked at Superman and cringed at the thought of Clark getting the story before her. Beside the fact of beating her to the line, murders were her specialty and he had no right. Lois looked at Superman, put her head on his shoulder and patted him on the back, like starting a horse. "Ok, we're going." Flying through the air, Superman could feel her grip getting tighter around his neck. "You ok?"
"Yeah, I guess I just didn't get comfortable enough before we left." He felt her shift a little more in his arms and moved his arms to accommodate for her shifts. "Ok, I know this is a really stupid question but will you be coming to the Halloween party at the Opera House?"
Superman looked strangely at Lois, "I didn't know there was one."
"Yeah, all of society will be there and you are society. I'm sure they just didn't know where to mail your invite." Superman and Lois giggled at her statement as they landed in front of the costume shop.
"We're here." Lois started to speak but saw his head tilted away. "Lois, I …"
"I know — save the day and all. But what about the …"
As Superman started off, he stopped midair and turned. "Nothing will keep me from being there for at least one dance," he responded with a smile before he flew off. Lois let out a big sigh that he heard from the air and could feel himself grinning as he flew around the back of the building.
The next morning the newsroom got started early on the murder at the costume shop. Lois ran down the stairs and straight to Clark. "I got the story you won't believe. That costume murder — was not a real employee — a fake, it was Lex's old secretary. What do you think of that?" Clark looked up from his computer and saw Lois with her shirt half tucked in and her make-up streaked everywhere.
Standing up, he pulled a Kleenex and tried to fix Lois' face a little better, "I heard. Did you get anything else?"
"Well, Thank you," Lois took the wipe from him as he sat down, "the store manager said that evidently her fake identity was very thorough. And there were no signs of forced entry or prints. So the cops basically are staying very quiet and trying to play it down as an angry customer." Clark looked up at Lois.
"But, you think there's more?"
"Exactly, and I think there's something going to happen soon — like at the party." Lois smiled in adoration of herself and went back to her desk to madly start typing. Clark sat and watched her work furiously until he noticed that he was getting a dirty look from a very anxious Perry.
The rest of the day went quickly as several smaller stories came across to type up and piece together. Lois stayed until very late trying to talk to different people but with no leads. Clark finally got tired of waiting.
"Lois, you want me to wait on you?"
No, go ahead. I think after all the hangups I have got that I'm pretty much finished here," Lois waved to Clark as he passed by her desk. "See you tomorrow." Clark walked by her desk and hit the save key.
"Let's go. Like you said, you're done." Lois looked up at Clark who was holding her coat open for her. As she slid one arm in, the elevator door opened. Jumping over the banister, a plain dressed Dan walked up to Lois cooly.
"I can take it here Kent, but thanks." Clark looked at Lois in anger.
"Clark, I had no idea. Dan what do you think you are doing?" Lois tugged the rest of her coat out of Dan's hands as Clark shoved his hands in his pockets.
"I'll see you Lois," Clark walked up to the elevator and quickly exited, leaving Dan and Lois alone to talk. He felt awful by leaving Lois but knew she needed to work out something with Dan. Back in the office, Dan sat down in Clark's chair and pulled it over to Lois, who sat down again.
"Look, I am sorry about the other night." Lois kept her lips pressed tightly together intent on not letting Dan get to her. "How about we go to that great party? I'm sure you have heard about it. It sounds stunning." Lois looked at him again and kept typing in frustration. Finally, she turned.
"Look, you really have been pushing it with me. First it was the cancellations, now the new look and now just having me jump at every whim. No, not anymore." Dan whimpered at Lois, as she started stomping toward the elevator. Dan caught up to her.
"Come on Lois. People make mistakes." Lois got in the elevator right in front of Dan.
"Not me. Not anymore," Lois pushed the ground floor button and stared straight at the doors. Arriving at the ground floor, Lois let Dan exit first and watched him walk out the rotating doors. After seeing him cross the street, Lois walked through the doors and saw someone in a overcoat leaning next to her car in the lot. Lois quickly walked toward her car.
"I decided I would rather have a ride home tonight," Clark smiled as Lois tossed him the keys. "Seriously, are you ok?" Clark put his arm around Lois as he walked her over to her side of the car.
"I'll be fine. I don't think Dan is going to be an issue anymore. So, I hope you and Amanda have fun, but I guess …" Lois stopped in midsentence. Clark looked over at her as she pulled out on the street.
"What is it?"
"I just remembered back a few months ago when I was with Lex that you were so angry all the time and you told me that you loved me. Then you said you didn't. Boy, talk about confusing a girl. And then I started getting the same response from you when Dan was around." Lois stopped and looked over in Clark's direction. He was staring right at her. Lois blushed from seeing him looking at her so intensely. She took Clark's hand from the armrest. "But I think now that I got all my problems and psycho people out of my life, I'm ready to admit a lot more to myself."
Clark smiled and looked out the window, hearing what Lois meant. Clark sat and thought about her small hand in his and wondered if this was the moment he had waited for.
"Not to mention Clark that you get really strange when I mention Superman. It's like he's your other competition. Who can compete with that? Clark?"
Clark, on the other hand, had become very distant again at that statement. Realizing she was still hung up on him, he decided it was still not quite right. "Sorry, I was thinking."
"Another idea to impress me. Clark, I'm ready to admit it. I like Superman — ok I really like him. It's some real obsessive thing, I get chills when I see him and have no idea why, but he's not real. He's a — like a god, albeit a friendly one. You're Clark — simple, friendly, sweet, and …"
Clark looked over at her as she tried to finish the sentence and then in the road. "LOIS!!"
Lois looked up to see the other truck coming right toward her. She was in the wrong lane. As Lois screamed "CLARK," Clark could feel her grip get tighter and her heart race. Putting his arm out against her chest, he tried to limit her movement, but the car began to swerve as he took the wheel. Slamming on the brakes, Lois knocked her head into the side windshield. Clark looked over and could tell from Lois' posture, she had knocked herself out. Taking the wheel, he tried to not hit the newsstand in front of the car or the car from the other lane, but turned the car on its side. Slinging the car, Lois' body slipped into Clark's lap; Clark tried to keep her body from rubbing against the door panel. Clark could see that sparks were already forming by his feet from the friction of the street and metal. Sliding on its side, he felt the car finally stop against the curb at the opposite end of the road. X-raying the car quickly, he found no leaks dangerous to them and unfastened his belt. Seeing that no one was coming, he covered Lois with his coat and knocked the door out. He looked at the other door and Lois leaning over with her head balanced on the door's armrest. As he undid Lois' seatbelt, he heard her stir as he carefully pulled her from the top of the car. Clark laid her out on the street and was about to take off when he felt a hand on his arm.
"Where are you going?" Lois whispered.
"I was … going to call 911. Or Superman. I'm ok, but you need a hospital." Lois was crying.
"Lois, save this until later. I have to …"
"No," Lois gripped harder and pulled his hand to her chest. "I'm fine. I don't need Superman. We can do this. Phone in, " Lois trailed off as she pointed back at the Jeep. Clark climbed in and got the phone from her purse and started dialing.
"I can call him. Lois, it's taking a long time."
"No, don't run off. Not this time." Clark sat with Lois' head in his lap, x-raying her over and over to make sure she was really ok. He had since also called Perry before the ambulance arrived.
When the ambulance arrived, Clark was whisked away to give statements about the accident to the police and then checked out with the other ambulance team. Perry arrived a few moments later to look over the accident and to shoo the other reporters and cameras away from the scene.
"Is she going to be ok?" Clark rubbed his neck as he and Perry walked around the car.
"We were both really lucky. She had a few cuts on her head, but nothing that good makeup can't cover up. "
"I don't see how you made it. You were on the side against the ground. And of all the times for Superman not to save Lois."
"Perry, she refused him. I was ready to get his help and she said no." Perry put his arm around Clark.
"Isn't that what you've been waiting for?" Clark paused and looked at Perry, who started back to his car. "Let's go son. Let's go see her." Clark followed Perry to the car and listened to yet another Elvis love story on the way to the hospital.
Arriving at the emergency entrance, Clark got out and went on into the hospital as Perry parked. Clark walked up to the desk and asked the woman where Lois was. The woman, without looking up, pointed in the direction of a slightly beaten up woman walking toward him.
"Lois, what are you doing?"
"They already checked me out and said I'll be fine. A couple of Aspirin for the pain and some bandages that will have to changed and I'm good to go." Lois hugged Clark and whispered, "I could have only done this with you." She let go off him and started walking for the door. Clark caught up after standing dumbfounded for a few seconds. She had found Perry walking in worried and hugged him. She was talking about how wonderful Clark had been by taking care of her through the whole thing. Perry tried to slow her down and keep her calm to no avail. Finally, Perry cut her off, "You are the same old Lois." The three walked out of the hospital door after Lois paid. Clark got Lois' stuff out of Perry's car and then flagged a cab down for him and Lois.
Kissing Perry, Lois smiled, "I may be in a little late tomorrow, but I will be there." Perry hugged her back and let her go with Clark. Watching Clark let Lois in first, Perry quietly let a "yes" drift from his lips.
As the cab pulled up in front of Lois' apartment, Clark watched her get out carefully and followed her. "You need anything?"
"Go home Clark — you've had a long day." Clark sighed in agreement and started to turn. "Clark, I really do hope you and Amanda have a good time tomorrow night. I wasted all my time and couldn't see the forest through the trees. I'm glad you didn't wait. It's a really good lesson for a girl like me. Can you tell Superman to come by if you see him." Clark moved closer to her and cupped her face and kissed her on the cheek.
"I will. Don't stay up too late waiting." Lois pulled away and wiped her tears that burned in some of her cuts. Clark watched as she opened and closed the door before he headed up the street toward his place. Clark went home, checked his messages and called his parents. After explaining everything, he found himself up well past 2 and figured Lois would be in bed long past.
Floating in front of the window he usually entered unobtrusively, he could see all the lights out except the little desk lamp. He saw a shadow move and knocked quietly. He saw the shadow pull back the drapes and saw Lois smiling, but not like before.
"You got my message."
Superman climbed down into her living room, "actually, I was just around. Caught a few people bashing pumpkins, but nothing real exciting. Did you need me?"
"Yes and no. I really don't know." Superman touched her face, running his fingers gently along the bandages on her face and her arms.
"Are you ok? I heard what happened. Why didn't you call like before?" Lois pulled away and poured herself some tea. She watched as Superman sat softly on her couch. Moving next to him, she still couldn't believe what was going to happen.
"I'm fine. Clark was with me. He's ok too, but he took care of me. You can't be everywhere and I understand that now. And …"
"Lois, I need to …" Superman started pointing out the window. Lois smiled.
"I'll be here." Superman seemed to instantly leave the couch and the city in a matter of seconds. She turned on the TV and saw the bus accident he must have been going to. A band trip gone rotten. Lois clicked the TV off as Superman showed up and went and laid down.
"Superman, there's still students in the bus. The instruments fell and piled on them." The instructor could hardly speak as he watched Superman disappear into the bus and started pulling out cases in order to get to the children.
"Superman, we're here!!" He could hear two girls' voices but saw three kids. Returning from dumping one more case, he felt a girl's hand and pulled her and her friend out safely. The paramedics arrived about that time and offered to help as Superman dashed in for the last student and pulled him from the wreck.
"I need everyone to scoot far back please." Watching that everyone was out of harm's way, Superman pulled the bus from the sinkhole and using a piece of the bus' steel, he closed up the broken water main that was busted. "You need to get water works down here to fix this and repair the road. The water has been leaking and caused the dirt to cave."
"Superman, could you pose for some pictures?" He thought quickly and agreed to a few pictures and signed band shirts. Some of the boys imitated him for the girls as the girls continued to sigh and squeeze toward him for another look.
"I have to go now. Ya'll play well."
He could still hear the goodbyes as he arrived again in front of Lois' apartment. This time no lights were on. He tapped on the window and felt it move open. Climbing inside quietly, he felt awkward walking around in her place without her knowing. Turning the corner, he could see Lois in bed curled into a ball. Looking around the room, he found another blanket to cover her.
"Superman, I had a headache."
"Shh. It's ok. I was gone longer than I thought. We can do this later." Lois slowly sat up and took his hands.
"I'd rather do it now." She waited until Superman agreed and continued, "I learned something I never thought possible. I learned no matter how strong you are, or powerful, you're different than us. One time I said that you lived above us. I know now that you live among us, which makes you really no different in spirit. You can be happy like us, but you can hurt like us too. And I know that I have been honest about how I feel about Clark to you. And you have been a great confidant. But I feel I have almost blown all my chances with him, and I need time with him to figure things out." Lois turned away from Superman as she whispered, "how do you dump Superman?" She felt his fingers rub along her arm again as he leaned closer on the bed, "You just did." Superman let go of her and started toward the living room. Lois tried to quickly move from the bed but was still sore. "Stay there. Lois, I'm glad you have made a decision and that you are honest. But, I will still be there- with you, with Clark. You are never out of my sight or my thoughts. Sleep well." Lois watched as he climbed into the windowsill, smiled one more time and flew away. Laying back into bed, Lois sighed and looked at the phone, "It can keep until tomorrow." Picking up the picture of her and Clark, she blew him a kiss and turned over.
"Lois honey, why didn't you stay at home. Perry and I have this under control." Clark followed her back to her seat as you booted up her computer to start typing up the story on the accident and the bus accident later that night. "Lois, I already did the accident piece. I thought you should read and just add to mine," he handed her his piece as she added little red squiggles and words to his copy.
"There. I actually didn't come in to work. I actually need to talk to you." Clark knew what this was about or so he thought, but there was no time.
"Lois, Perry has me on a story right now. The best thing I can do is say to talk to me at the party." Clark handed the copy to Jimmy and pointed in the direction of Perry's office.
"But Clark." Clark turned around to see Lois painfully trying to hide her disappointment, "Can I pick you up?"
"I'll meet you there. Amanda is picking me up. I can't wait to see you there." Clark ran up the stairs and started talking to some girl that he got in the elevator with. She was a petite little girl that had long brunette hair and perfect skin. Lois looked strangely at the way Clark looked so happy and wondered what really happened last night was just her dreaming while asleep at the wheel.
"Jimmy, who's that girl with Clark?"
"That's Amanda. The girl he's …"
"I know he's going with her." Lois turned around and looked at her blank computer screen, sighing. "Perfect."
Perry walked over and put his hand on Lois' shoulder, "You can't let him get to you. Wallowing won't get you anywhere. Go home and worry about this tomorrow. From what I hear, Clark said you have something stunning for tonight." Lois turned around and remembered she never picked up her dress.
"I have to go Perry. See you tonight." Lois picked up her things and left again.
The Opera Hall looked incredible. Since the old Opera House had been torn down when Clark first arrived, the city had constructed another more magnificent one with huge atriums and decorated with the best art. The party had the atrium dressed even more than normal with the traditional Halloween colors on the chandeliers and strange lifelike paintings hanging on the wall. As Clark and Amanda entered, people stared in fascination at the couple. Clark leaned over and asked Amanda something and she laughed. Perry was further back with Alice.
"Perry, what in the world."
"Clark — come on. I have Alice and the Rabbit. Somehow she thought the phrase, 'I'm late for an important date,' fit my profile to make me the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland." Perry looked over at Alice and smiled. Clark could tell she was thrilled about being out of the house again.
"I see you are pulling out all the stops on the Opera thing," Alice reacted.
"Well, the mask is a little of the pain, but doesn't this one look devastating," Clark responded as he spun Amanda around. Amanda smiled proudly and entwined her arm in his. "We're going to go do the mingle thing. I'll talk to you later." Amanda pulled away and walked over to the bar. Clark decided it was time to ask. "Have you seen Lois?"
"She's not here yet. I'm afraid this date with Amanda has really got her upset." Clark looked at Perry and shook his head. He never seemed to be able to win. As he walked over to the bar, he ran into Jimmy and his date.
"Jimmy, very cool. I had thought about that one but wasn't into the western thing. But Zorro makes you sophisticated."
"Thanks CK. I think you're being called." Clark looked in the direction of Amanda who was waving him to come. "See you later CK."
Clark walked over to the bar where Amanda already had two drinks for him and her. He and Amanda found a table and sat down to talk. Amanda started first.
"Clark, I really have to thank you for coming with me. I really didn't expect this to pan out with you being in love with Lois and all." Clark looked at her in shock. "Everyone knows. I mean, it's so obvious. Lois has this thing for you but hasn't told you how she feels and since not, you decided to go with me. But since I asked you, things have changed and now you really don't know what to think."
"Exactly, and why is she so scared to tell me anything."
"She's a woman. I mean I have been waiting to see what would happen with you and her and then Cat and then Mayson. It was now or never. But from what I heard, there is something really going with her and you still." Clark kept listening so intently that he didn't hear the commotion that was going on around the door. "Clark, let's go see."
Amanda took his hand and pushed through to the end of the walkway to see who was coming. Expecting a special celebrity, Jimmy still hunkered with his camera, even dressed as Zorro. Amanda then looked closer and saw. Letting go of Clark's hand, she started to slip away.
"Where are you going?"
"I have to go to the bathroom. Freshen up a little." Clark let go and watched her until she was gone. Looking back, the room started to part toward him. He saw a woman in an almost silver dress, layered lengths that seemed to be dropping glitter at every step. The shoes looked pure satin but the face was still hidden. Looking closer, the face was whited out completely with makeup and glitter streaked throughout this woman's hair. She seemed to almost float into the room, with one wrist holding up the immense layers of the dress. This must be the Cinderella everyone but he knew about. More than anything, she was headed right for him. Standing straight, Clark was curious why this person seemed to head to him. Stopping in front of him, she removed the hat that hid most of her face and handed it to the man that followed her in.
"Someone told me one time to stop and breathe," she spoke as she touched his chest, "now you breathe." Clark leaned down and then felt her hand as Lois looked up at him.
"Oh my …" Clark stared into Lois' eyes and could still feel her hand on him.
"You saved me more than once. Now it's my turn to save us." Lois took Clark's hand and led them away from the people staring. When they began to walk away, Clark spotted Amanda in the west wing.
"Lois, I came with Amanda."
"I know, but look," Lois softly replied as she pointed over to her. Amanda was standing with another gentleman talking while motioning for Clark to go.
"Lois, you look like Cinderella. You are so amazing." Lois covered his lips with her fingers and set his drink down as she led him to the floor.
"I was promised a dance as a friend," she said smiling up at Clark. "I am guaranteed a dance as yours." Clark held out his hand as Lois put the solitary curl in her hair behind her ear and joined him as everyone went on with his/her business. Perry pointed at the bandmaster to begin.
Past the point of no return … no backward glances. The games we played till now are at an end
Past the point of if or when. No use resisting. Abandoned hope and let the dream descend
What raging fire will flood the soul, what rich desire unlocks its door, what sweet seduction lies before us.
Past the point of no return, the final threshold. What unspoken secrets will we learn, beyond the point of no return.
You have brought me to the point where words run dry, to that moment where speech disappears into silence
I have come here hardly knowing the reason why, in my mind I have already imagined our bodies entwined, defenseless and silent … I've decided
Past the point of right or wrong, one final question — how long before we wait to finally walk without nothing at a risk When will the things at last consume us. We have passed the point of no return.
The crowd on the dance floor stopped with the end of the waltz. Everyone continued to clap as the band started on another classic. Clark and Lois took a seat across the room from the rest of the floor to talk. The rest of the newspaper staff looked on.
"It seemed like I was floating along that entire dance. That was the strangest feeling, but yet seemed so familiar." Clark smiled and adjusted the mask in somewhat nervousness.
"I have to go to the men's room, really." He paused, hoping that Lois would really believe him that time. She smiled and let go of his hand. Sitting back in the chair, she crossed her arms playfully to wait. "if I'm not back soon, you come get me." Clark got up and walked across the back of the floor and disappeared into the west wing of the hall.
"Way to go CK. We all wondered when Lois would learn," Jimmy remarked as they both entered the restroom. "Excuse me — whoa, look CK — another one of you." Clark looked over and saw another man in the restroom waiting area in a wheelchair.
"Good evening sir. You have a quite costume — I do believe ours look the same." Clark looked strangely at the man that continued to duck his head.
"Quite alright. I only had it last week." The man in the wheelchair shifted in agreement and reached in his coat. Jimmy walked further into the restroom while Clark straightened his costume, watching the man intently. Jimmy returned a few minutes later.
"My boy, could I ask of you a favor."
"Sure," Jimmy replied as he moved toward the man.
"Stop right here little one," the man spoke as he rose uncovered to reveal malformed face of Lex Luthor. "You ruined me Clark Kent. Now, you have taken not only my life, but also my lady. And for that, I will make you pay." Looking over at Jimmy with the gun in his hand, Jimmy started looking queasy.
"Luthor, the shop murder. All the life threatening angst you have pulled this week. Was the car wreck your doing?" Luthor looked at Clark in complete pleasantness and smiled. "And yet my beauty still came as angel of heaven, but for you. I am tired of being put aside for you." Clark saw Luthor's other hand hit another mechanism, and Clark felt something blow upstairs. The lights flickered and went dark. Clark reached out for the wheelchair but found nobody there. Running out into the atrium, Clark looked around and saw people baffled but not worried. Then Clark heard something he really worried about.
"The theatre was always a passion of mine. So, here's a little diddy. I gave you my music, Made you song take wind. And now, how you've repaid me, denied and betrayed me. He was bound to love you when he heard you sing. Lois …" Clark heard her name and knew that something very wrong was occuring. Looking around frantically, Clark saw no sign of Lex or Lois.
"You will curse the day you did not do … All that the Phantom asks of you."
The lights popped back on and Clark found himself standing on the dance floor. Perry came running across the floor to Clark. Jimmy wasn't far behind. "That was quite a trick you pulled Clark."
"No trick I believe you. Perry, Luthor is behind this. Where's Lois?"
"I thought that this was a gag for Halloween; Luthor's alive?"
I saw him chief," Jimmy leaned over, trying to catch his breath after running. "He said awful things about blaming us for his problems. I think Lois is really in trouble." Clark stood deathly still and thought where Luthor would possibly go that even Superman could be caught off guard. He heard Perry start setting up the police around the building.
"No, it will make him angrier. He spoke of it being my fault. I have to solve it."
"Clark, I don't think," Perry remarked but saw that Clark was already gone. Remembering that the hall had an underground changing and rehearsal area, he tried there first.
"Luthor, come out. You are going to lose this way. Lois doesn't love you." Out of the air it seemed that a voice sent an answer back.
"You don't know, your precious seems very content with you." Clark listened closer and could hear her heels dragging on the concrete. Feeling the vibrations of her kicking, he followed it. He could hear that besides the party going on upstairs, no one was concerned with the problem downstairs. Again though, someone cut into the regular gay sounding party upstairs to announce his intentions. Clark felt he was getting closer and kept walking to the end of a dressing room. X-raying the corner, he could see Lois being held with Luthor. She looked sickly and scared, which made Clark feel even sicker. 'Go as Superman or Clark,' he thought.
"Clark," he heard her whimper through Luthor's hands as he clutched her tighter. Luthor gripped as to know Clark was there. Once again, the loudspeaker upstairs went off.
"There is quite a show in the dressing room ladies and gentlemen. And where is the beautiful Lois Lane?" Luthor continued whisically, "Wait, I think my dear, we have a guest. Sir, this is indeed, this an unparalleled delight. I had rather hoped that you would come. And now, my wish comes true. You have truly made my night."
"Let her go. Show some compassion."
"The world showed no compassion to me."
"Then let me see her, " Clark pleaded, not being able to move too fast with a gun to her.
"Did you think I would harm? Did you think I would make her pay for the sins that are yours? Nothing can save you now except maybe your precious Lois. Start a new life with me Lois. Buy his freedom with your love. If you refuse, you will send him to an early death. This is the point of no return."
Lois turned around to face him, "The tears I might have shed for you are cold. They have turned to hate. Let go of me!" Lois fought away but quickly was pulled back into place.
"So do you end your days with me or send him to an early grave?" Luthor grabbed her hands and pulled them tired. "Make your choice, Lois." Luthor pulled her along as another man came around the corner at Clark with another pistol. "Choose. I, Lex Luthor, criminal genius or," Luthor ripped his mask off and then off of Clark, "this. For now, I am not the only one who has betrayed you." Luthor moved Lois closer to Clark.
Clark looked at Lois and couldn't believe what she saw. Clark — Superman; she couldn't believe that all this time he had hidden it. "You … you never said anything."
"I'm so sorry Lois." Luthor rolled his eyes and tightened his grip.
"So am I," Lois turned around to look at Luthor, moved close to his face, and pointed at the other gunman. At the same time, Luthor shot and grazed his head with a bullet. Lois screamed as Clark took the other man and his gun and then pulled Lois from Luthor's grip. Both watched as Luthor slumped to the floor. Clark leaned over and felt of his chest. "He's going to live, maybe like a vegatable." "Do you think he will remember the secret?" Clark looked again at Luthor and shook his head. "I should take him to the ambulance outside, along with this guy." Clark lifted both of the men as Lois tried not to look at Luthor, but then saw the mask on the ground. "Clark, you forgot something." Lois replaced the mask as she examined Clark's face.
"We have a lot to talk about now." Lois smiled and smoothed out her dress and fixed her hair as Clark carried Luthor and the lesser pal to the police that seemed to have arrived just a tad too late to help. Walking back, he could see that Lois was surrounded. "It was quite an ordeal, all to be published of course in tomorrow's edition." Perry halfway laughed as they all started back up the stairs, leaving Lois and Clark alone.
"I meant to tell you. That night of your accident I was so awfully close." They both seemed to walk in circles, "I just had to trust you, and myself."
"I wasn't very much help. I always either was putting one of you down; how could you not be confused." Lois stopped as Clark turned to look at her. Lois looked around and reached for the mask again and removed it. "I somehow though knew that something was always special about you."
Clark took the mask from Lois and touched her face, "I guess you got your Halloween spook for the evening. Between me and Luthor."
"Now that was a spook in itself, you were more like Casper … maybe you should have been Zorro." Clark rubbed his hand through his hair again. Lois took his hand, "that hand in your hair must be some nervous condition. You always do that when I say something embarrassing or complimentary."
"I guess so, guess I have some more human traits than I thought. Let's see if I have another one that would be important about right now." Clark cupped Lois' face in his hand and leaned into her. Closing his eyes, he could feel her arms go around his body as she lips and body to his. Upstairs, the party winded down with one more song. Hearing the music from above, Lois smiled as she left herself on Clark's shoulder and started moving.
Say you'll share with me one love, one lifetime
Say the word and I will follow you.
Share each day with me, each night, each morning.
Say you love me, you know I do
Love me, that's all I ask of you
Lois looked at Clark as the band announced that they were closing down for the evening and hoped everyone got a good spook for Halloween.
"How about a ride home princess?" Clark smiled and put out his arms.
"Well, I think I could deal with that. I mean after all this time, it should seem normal," Lois walked up the stairs with Clark and toward the back door. Clark stopped and looked at the poster on the wall near the exit.
"Look, Phantom of the Opera is going to be here next week, you want to go with a mild mannered reporter?" Lois smiled and laughed.
"As long as I'm not the star … long as I am not the star."
All the characters and situations are owned by D.C.Comics and Warner Bros.
The selections and quotes from Phantom of the Opera are owned by Really Useful Music Group.