By Round Robin
Submitted September 1998
Summary: Lois and Clark move house and discover some surprising new things about each other.
A Challenge Round Robin by Zoomway (email@example.com); SUPERcat — SUPERfan (CKandLL4ever@juno.com)& CiceroCat (); carrielu (firstname.lastname@example.org); PeaceEv (email@example.com); Misha (firstname.lastname@example.org); Mackteach (Mackteach@aol.com); Lansbury (Lansbury1@aol.com); Eraygun (Eraygun@aol.com); chrispat (email@example.com)
From Brutal Youth, written by Tim Minear:
LOIS: You didn't …
CLARK: You seemed to really like the place. I mean — it's in the city. It's got character. And a secret compartment — which I've gotta tell you is hard to find in a building this style. All you have to do is say the word. It's ours if you want it.
He looks for her reaction — finally … she smiles.
LOIS: Well … you know I love it. But is it really you?
CLARK: No. It's us.
Each participant was assigned two items at random from a list which they had to work into their section within the 20-minute time limit.
<zoomway> [Lois' stuffed animals and Clark's neckties]
Clark sat in a chair that was staying behind with his old apartment. He watched Lois carrying the last box into the center of the all but deserted living room.
She glanced at him. "Thanks, Superman. Don't get up."
Clark laughed weakly. "I'm sorry, honey, but you're fun to watch. That bending over thing you've got going—"
"Okay, okay," he said, rising reluctantly.
He looked at the most recent box addition to what was becoming the Lois and Clark warehouse.
"Yes," Lois said, the edge of a defensive tone creeping in.
"Honey, I *promise* to keep you warm at night."
"I don't sleep with them, Clark … well … not anymore."
Clark smiled. "Do you need *all* of them, honey? I mean I really don't want to sleep in a girl's bedroom."
Lois folded her arms. "Most guys dream of that."
"You know what I mean," he smiled and opened the unsealed carton. "You have a stuffed anteater?"
"Uh huh … oh, and a stuffed .. what *is* that?"
Lois grabbed the animal in question. "That's an echidna."
"It looks like a sea urchin with hose," Clark continued as he rummaged through the box. He smiled. "I remember this guy."
Lois touched the teddy bear. "Clarkie."
Lois sighed. "Don't make that face. I slept with him two years before I slept with the *real* Clarkie."
"Honey, I promised not to call you 'Stretch', please don't call me 'Clarkie'."
"Deal," she said, and started placing the animals back in the box.
"They're all cute, Lois, but maybe *some* of them could be donated to the Coates orphanage?"
Lois walked over to another box and opened it. "Think they could use sixty-one neckties?"
Clark raised his eyebrows. "Sixty-one? Really?"
"Clark you have enough neckwear to open a specialty shop at the mall."
"But they at least serve a function."
"Well," Lois said after a moment. "If you and I have a fight, the stuffed animals can replace you for the evening."
"Ah," Clark sighed. "Yep, we sure do need all those animals."
<SUPERcat> [The bed and Lois' Ultra Woman costume]
"Hmmm, Lois, where will you sleep with your animals? My bed or yours?" Clark asked.
"*Our* bed, lunkhead!" Lois replied, swatting Clark with the stuffed bear.
"Fine. I like that," Clark went on, "but we'll be keeping your bed, right?"
"No, Clarkie— sorry, *Clark*," she said as he shot her an irritated look, "we're keeping *your* bed."
"Honey, I donated it to the Salvation army. They'll be here to get it at 1:00 o'clock along with the chair and some spare bookcases. I thought we'd use yours."
"You did WHAT?"
"I donated —"
"But, Clark, I gave my bed to Lucy. She needed it for her new roommate!" Lois interrupted. "They'll be here to get it at 1:30!"
"Then … we don't have a bed?" Clark asked, confused. "I thought we might have two and have problems deciding which one!"
"Where are we supposed to sleep?" Lois said. She was obviously a bit worried.
"Well, we could try out other surfaces … " Clark said, eyeing the kitchen counter.
"We could." Lois started to move towards him, then turned and walked away as she realized something. "If we start trying *other* surfaces, we might never get packed."
Clark followed Lois with disappointment in his eyes.
"What are you doing?" he asked as she picked up a box. Clark's eyes widened as the lid fell back and he saw her UltraWoman suit. "I like that," he grinned. "Why don't you try it on?"
"Um … just to see if it still looks right. There might be a tear in it or something … "
"I'll try it on, but only if we can … test drive some new beds when we go mattress shopping tomorrow," she smiled.
"Tomorrow? What's the matter with now?"
<carrielu> an email and a white rose
Clark leaned over to kiss Lois when suddenly the phone rang. Lois rolled her eyes.
Clark pecked Lois on the lips and turned to answer the phone. "To be continued later," he said with a grin. Lois smiled.
"Uh.. hello, CK?" Jimmy replied. "Am I interrupting anything?"
"No, Jimmy. Lois and I were just packing some things." He turned to see Lois looking through one of his boxes.
Jimmy continued, "I just sent you an e-mail."
"Yeah, what's so important about an e-mail?" Clark said.
"You remember the story you and Lois did on a brownstone?"
"Yeah. Lois and I investigated the murder of a real estate agent," Clark answered.
Lois took a white rose out of the box and smelled it. She walked over to Clark.
"Well, the guy who killed the real estate agent, Tom Colby, broke out of jail."
"What? You're kidding me?" Clark said, annoyed.
Clark hung up the phone and turned to Lois.
"Clark, who was that?" Lois questioned him.
"Tom Colby just broke out of jail" Clark answered her.
<PeaceEv> [Color of the living room walls and Batman comics]
Lois rolled her eyes in disgust. "Oh for crying out loud," she said. "Clark, we're in the middle of moving — we don't have time to deal with villains or clones or amnesia or Lex or-"
Clark grinned and stopped her babbling with a quick kiss.
"It'll be okay, Lois," he assured her. "Why would he want to come back here?"
"Famous last words … " growled Lois, only partially appeased.
She picked up another box and began pulling books off a shelf. After a moment of packing in grumpy silence, she mumbled, "Sorry, Clark … I just … I just don't want anything to interrupt today, you know?"
"I know." He smiled at her. "So have you decided what color we want to paint the walls?"
"Well …" Lois hesitated.
"What?" Clark prodded her.
"I was thinking maybe we could do wallpaper instead of paint …"
"I thought we decided that painting the walls was safer after our discussions about wallpaper," Clark said with a quizzical look.
Lois shrugged, "I know but—"
Clark nodded easily. " That's okay. It should take me about two minutes to do the whole place. So all we ha—"
"No, Clark!" Lois interrupted. "I want us to do it together. Slow."
"Slow." Clark stared at her as if she'd grown a second head. "Why?"
Lois scuffed her foot around sheepishly.
"Well, I was reading this book-" she poked through the box she'd just packed and pulled one out to wave at him, "and it talks about couples doing stuff together in their first place — "
"Lois, I can think of a lot more interesting things to do with you than wallpaper," Clark grinned.
Lois made a face at him. "You have a one track mind, did you know that, Clark?"
"Do you really object?"
"No," she grinned back at him.
Clark headed for the bedroom. Lois watched him suspiciously. "Clark, where are you going? We don't have time for that *now*!" she protested.
"Heh! Now who has the one track mind? I'm going to get some stuff out of the closet!"
"Oh … sorry …"
When Clark returned from the bedroom, he noticed Lois pulling a stack of slim volumes from the bottom shelf of the bookcase.
"Whatcha got there, Lois?" he asked. "I don't remember noticing those before …"
Lois blushed. "Just … stuff … " she mumbled.
"Come on, Lois, give!"
She glared up at him.
"It's my Batman comics, okay? Are you happy now?"
Clark's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "Batman comics?"
As Clark started to chuckle, Lois glared at him some more then suddenly grinned. "That's right, just laugh at me! Your turn's coming!"
<Misha> [*the suits* and video tapes of "The Ivory Tower"]
"Oh really?" Clark's smile changed into a challenging grin.
"Oh, yes … " Lois sashayed towards him. "But not now." She veered towards the front door at the sound of knocking, trotting lightly up the steps.
She found Perry standing there, Jimmy hot on his heels. "You're early."
"I didn't take … " Perry began.
"Well, I was wrong about … " Jimmy blurted out " … that … guy … " He trailed off. "Sorry, Chief."
Perry eased off his glare at Jimmy, and turned his attention back to Lois. "I've got the van out front, if you're ready to start loading."
"Thanks, Perry." Lois smiled. "We've only got a few more boxes to tape up and then I think we're set."
Perry walked over to the nearest full box, clearly labeled "Clark's Stuff", and peered in. He stared at it for a moment, then, "You sure you want this, Clark?"
Clark peered in and blushed.
"Gee, CK, I didn't know," Jimmy piped up.
"That's an old box!" Clark started to protest.
"Aw, c'mon, Clark, you know you love "The Ivory Tower"!" Lois held onto an escaping giggle by the skin of her teeth. "It's your favorite show!"
Lois lost hold of the giggle and it slipped out as Perry and Jimmy caught on.
Jimmy grinned at Clark's exasperation. "Say, CK, y'know when I called to tell you about Tom Colby?"
"Well … " Jimmy suddenly couldn't look Clark in the eyes. "I was wrong—the guy who told me about it said Tim Colby, and well … "
"That's ok, Jimmy."
Before Clark could get too understanding and sympathetic, Lois shoved a box at Jimmy. "Here. As lovely as all this cardboard is, I'll bet it's prettier at our new place."
"And you … " she whispered to Clark as Perry and Jimmy exited with their boxes, "need to pack your suits before they see them!"
<MackMe> [a photograph of an old boyfriend or girlfriend and the statue from Borneo]
Clark looked toward the door and saw that Perry and Jimmy were already outside. He tossed a quick wink at Lois and swooshed around the kitchen, returning before Lois could finish her giggle, with a box in his hands. It was firmly sealed against prying eyes.
"There. All done."
Lois shook her head and smirked. "You do come in handy once in a while."
Clark grinned. Placing the box with the others he walked over to Lois, intent on taking that smirk off her face.
He had just reached her side when she straightened up, holding a photo album in her hands.
Uh oh, he thought. "Um, Lois? Let me put that away … " His voice trailed off as Lois walked to the dining table and opened the album.
She looked at the pictures. Some were dog-eared and some had the brown sepia tones that a professional photographer might use. She continued to turn the pages. Her eyes focused on one particular picture and its inscription.
Lois read it aloud. "Clark, For everything that you mean to me. Always."
She raised her head and looked at her husband with raised eyebrows. "Who is she, Clark? She's beautiful."
Clark walked over to stand alongside his wife and looked at the picture. He let out a long sigh and touched the plastic that protected all the photographs. Turning to face Lois, he answered her question. "Someone I met in my travels, honey. A long time ago." A soft smile played on his lips. "An island princess."
Lois heard the tone in his voice and smiled. There wasn't any jealousy on her part. She knew exactly where Clark's heart lay. But she was curious. This was someone from Clark's past, from his travels. She knew about Lana Lang and Rachel Harris, but she didn't know about anyone else.
"Obviously, you have some fond memories of her."
Clark looked at Lois. He reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Yeah. She was a friend in a place where I didn't have any."
"Did she love you?"
Clark shrugged. "Maybe. Maybe I loved her a little too." He stared intently into Lois' dark eyes. "But not the way that I love you."
Lois smiled and brought her hand up to his. Holding his touch against her face, she reassured him. "I know that. What was her name?"
Clark chuckled. "It's difficult to pronounce. But it translates to 'Beautiful Gift.' "
"Tell me about her."
They sat at the dining table and Clark began his story. "I was traveling all over the world, trying to find where I could fit in. I always seemed to gravitate to the Pacific and the islands there." He took Lois' hand. "You'd love it there, honey. The people are so warm and open. So friendly. They accepted me even though I wasn't one of them."
Lois returned his smile. "I'm glad you found some peace. And even more glad that you decided not to stay there. Where in the Pacific?"
"Actually, more towards Southeast Asia. Borneo to be exact."
"Borneo? As in … " Lois' gaze left Clark's face and settled on an object now leaning against a wall.
Clark laughed out loud. "Yes. As in that statue."
Lois' eyes returned to Clark's face. They twinkled with merriment. "This is gonna be a good story."
"It's pretty short, honey. The princess and her father needed some help and … "
"And lucky for them, you were there."
Clark nodded. "Yeah. The entire village was grateful. They wanted me to stay. I had become their 'lucky charm' I guess."
"So, the statue … "
"Was a gift of appreciation from her father and the village."
"And the picture?"
"Her gift of appreciation."
"How remote was this village?"
"Not very. The closest town and photography studio was just a jitney ride down a bumpy road."
Lois closed the photo album and pushed it toward Clark. "Put this in a safe place, sweetheart. I want to hear more about your travels and the other pictures … later."
Clark stood up and walked to an open box. "What about the statue?"
"Who am I to say no to an entire village? We'll find a place for it … somewhere."
Clark grinned as he heard her low mutter. "Like in the guest room."
<Lansbury> [a box of chocolate cookies and something red (not the cape)]
Clark looked inside the open box and a huge smile spread across his face. How can one tiny woman eat all of these chocolate cookies? he thought.
He laughingly took a package out of the box. Carefully he opened it and took out three cookies. He was about to eat the last cookie when Lois came back into the room.
"Chocolate! I smell chocolate." Lois looked around the room to find what only her nose told her was there. She began sniffing until she made her way to Clark and the now closed box. "Clark, I know I smell chocolate. Double dipped chocolate chip cookies to be exact."
Clark had quickly stuffed the last cookie in his mouth as he saw her come towards him. He began chewing faster the closer she got.
"''oney, I dn't mell any hocolat."
Lois stared at her husband as he mumbled the words. A playful expression passed over her face as she leaned against him. "So, you don't smell anything chocolate, hmmm? Let me see what you have in your mouth."
Lois reached up and pinched at his chin to open his mouth, but she felt his jaws begin to move at superspeed.
"See, nothing there." Clark opened his mouth and Lois peeked inside. All she could see was his red tongue wiggling to and fro. "Well? Do you see anything?" he asked her.
Lois took a step back and put her hands on her hips. "You know, I couldn't see anything after you chewed at superspeed. The only thing I now know to do is the taste test."
A wicked glint passed from each as she raised both hands to place one on each of his cheeks. She pulled his head down until their lips met. Her soft lips closed over his. Her tongue began to move slowly across and over his, savoring the taste of him. A soft moan from deep in his throat escaped as she drew away.
"I thought I loved double dipped chocolate chip cookies just as they are but I love them even more now. You added something even more to their delicious taste."
They both smiled and were about to embrace when Jimmy and Perry came back into the room. "Hey, break that up, you two!"
<Eraygun> [something wicker and cooking utensils]
"Oh, come on, chief, give them a break. After all, they're newlyweds," Jimmy said as he walked over to the kitchen area and picked up a large wicker basket filled with spatulas, slotted spoons, and other cooking utensils. " Besides," he continued with a sly grin, "interrupting them is my job."
Lois smirked in response, "Yes, and you're entirely too good at it if you ask me."
"Look, you two lovebirds, I hate to hurry you along but I've got a truck half loaded with your stuff outside and a meter maid who keeps circling the block like a vulture. Maybe we can continue this at your new place?"
"Sure, chief," Clark replied. "Just a few more things, I think. Who's watching the truck while you and Jimmy are up here?"
"We'll be down in a minute."
"Or less," Lois added.
"I thought that might give you a little incentive," Perry said with a wink. "Come on, Jimmy."
As Perry and Jimmy returned downstairs, Clark turned to Lois. "We'd better get down there. I can pop back a little later," he said, making the hand signal for flying, "and pick up everything else. Are you ready?"
"I guess. We just need to pack up my fish tank in the jeep."
"Why can't it go on the truck?"
"Clark, it's practically a family heirloom. I inherited it from my Great-Aunt Hilda."
"The fish too?"
"I'm just teasing, honey. Let's finish loading the truck."
<zoomway> [living room decor and something broken]
After the short ride to Hyperion, Jimmy, Perry and Ralph gazed admiringly at Lois and Clark's new digs.
"You kids have your work cut out filling this old place," Perry observed. "I feel like I'm at the bottom of a big empty."
Jimmy smiled. "It's so cool, CK. Check it out, there's a banister!"
"My sliding days are over," Clark laughed.
Ralph looked around. "Needs painting."
"We have some wallpaper picked out, Ralph, and thanks for noticing," Lois said.
"Compromise wallpaper," Clark added.
Perry smiled. "Ah, sounds familiar."
"Perry, as much as I love muscle cars of the 60s, I didn't want to see that for the next five or ten years on the wall."
Clark leaned on the mantle. "Lois said if I wanted that wallpaper she'd put it in a separate bedroom and I could have a bed shaped like a race car."
"I have a bed … um, had a bed like that," Ralph said, and then wandered quickly out of the room.
Jimmy laughed. "So what was wrong with the wallpaper Lois picked out, CK?"
"Nothing," Lois quickly interjected. "It was a black and white pattern."
"It looked like the exterior of a Jersey cow," Clark smiled.
"And the compromise?" Perry asked.
"It looks like corrugated cardboard," Clark mumbled. Lois folded her arms. "But *nice* corrugated cardboard."
"Speaking of which," Perry said. "We'll go get some more of the boxes and bring them up."
The few small boxes that had been carried in Clark set to the far wall in anticipation of the new ones being brought up. Lois opened one marked simply "the stuff".
"Clark, there's something broken all to pieces in here."
"I know," he said softly. "It's a telephone."
"You mean it *was* a telephone."
"It was a telephone I smashed out of frustration when I tried to phone you and I got a busy signal."
Lois looked up at her husband. "Remind me to put the alarm on my side of the bed."
He knelt next to her. "It's when you were trying to decide between me, Superman, and Scardino. I wasn't in the best of moods at the time."
Lois smiled and stroked his face. "It was always you. Dan didn't enter into it. Unfortunately, I have no tales of an island prince to regale you with. All my past loves were only royal pains."
Clark finally laughed. "You were the only woman, royalty or not, worth all the frustration, honey."
"Good," Lois said dipping back into the box. "Causing frustration is one of my best things." She pulled out a restaurant receipt with the words 'Forget it!' written on it. "I remember this." She shook her head. "You were good at that frustrating thing, too."
Lois looked at the name tag he'd kept from her class reunion, the restaurant check from their first date, a flattened carton from Ralph's Pagoda, and .. "A penny?"
"It's the one you didn't pick up when I teased you about checking the phone coin slot. I felt bad about that so I came back and got it. I knew I could give it to you one day."
<PeaceEv> [a stack of Sports Illustrated magazines and a bag of peanuts]
Lois laughed softly. "I can't believe you kept it all this time … you sentimental softie, you," she teased.
Clark rolled his eyes. "Come on," he said simply, "we have a truck to unload."
With five of them working, it didn't take long to get all the boxes and furniture moved from the truck into the brownstone.
At some point along the way, Lois called and ordered pizzas and drinks which they ate sitting on the living room floor or perched precariously on boxes.
As they finished up the last of the pizzas, Jimmy said, "Well, guys, you need some help unpacking?"
Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed the nearest box, dug out his pocket knife, and cut the tape open. Lois couldn't see the label on that particular box, and she held her breath. Clark quickly X-rayed it, letting out a quiet sigh of relief to see that it was magazines.
As Jimmy pulled open the box, he exclaimed in dismay, "Oh, no! the knife went too deep!" He picked up the top magazine — half of its cover and several pages slid to the floor, slit through by his knife.
Ralph, following Jimmy's lead, had grabbed another box, and was fishing for his own pocketknife. Clark X-rayed that box too, and saw it was his suits.
"Ralph, Jimmy, Perry — we really appreciate your help, but I think we can handle it from here," he said quickly.
Jimmy looked with dismay down at the magazine in his hands. "I'm really sorry, CK — and it was the swimsuit edition too," he mourned. "I promise I'll be more careful!"
"It's okay, Jimmy, I think those Sport Illustrated magazines were packed by accident anyway. Weren't they, honey," Lois said, and Clark quickly picked up on her cue.
"That's right — I'd meant to throw them out! So no harm done!" He began shepherding their helpers to the door. "We *really* appreciate your help, and we don't want to *keep* you any longer! I'm sure you've got *a lot* of things to do this evening! Thank you *so much* for helping us with this!"
By the time he stopped talking, the three men were out on the sidewalk, staring at each other in bewilderment.
A second later, the door opened again and Clark thrust the empty pizza boxes into Jimmy's hand. "Would you mind taking these to the dumpster for me? Thanks!"
Perry shook his head, chuckling. "Newlyweds!"
Jimmy looked at him. "You think-"
"Sure, why else would they push us out like that?"
"Did you see the look Clark was giving Lois? That was definitely a come hither look!"
Ralph dug into his pocket and pulled out a bag of peanuts. "Well, I gotta get this truck back — you guys coming?" He tossed a handful of peanuts in his mouth and got in the truck.
<chrispat> [a box of contraceptives and the chicken suit from the Metro Club]
Clark closed the door and leaned back against it. "Whew. That was close." He pretended to mop his brow as Lois giggled.
She approached Clark and wrapped her arms around him. "Alone at last in our new home," she sighed, nuzzling his neck.
"Yeah. So shall we celebrate?" He rubbed his hands over Lois' back and bent his head to kiss her gently.
Lois sighed again, but pulled away. "Let's get some of this stuff put away first. Besides, we need to find the sheets." She slapped him playfully on the butt and went to the box Ralph had started to open.
Clark let her go regretfully and opened the secret compartment. Lois lifted the suits out and hung them up carefully. "This is fun," she said. "If the National Whisper even suspected -
"Lois … " Clark groaned. "Don't even think about it."
Lois laughed. "Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me."
They both went to open another box. Clark grabbed the nearest one, hoping it would be sheets, but was surprised when he found a box of miscellaneous stuff.
When Lois saw what box he had opened, she gasped. "I'll get that one."
"Um, because —"
"Too late, " Clark laughed, as he lifted out the Chicken Suit. " I didn't know you saved this. And what's this?"
He pulled out a box of contraceptives that had been hidden under the suit.
Lois blushed and launched into full babble mode. "Well, I bought those when we got engaged. I didn't know if you would have thought of them, and then you told me you were a v … very patient man, and I didn't want you to know I bought them, and …
Clark chuckled and silenced the babble with a kiss. "You are amazing," he murmured against her lips. "There I was, worrying about putting too much pressure on you, and you were all prepared."
Lois pulled back a little and gazed into his eyes. "Are you sorry we waited?" she asked, a bit anxiously. "When I bought those, I thought that you would be like most men and expect more. I'm really glad you were so patient with me."
Clark cupped her cheek with his palm in the way that she loved. "No, honey. I'm not sorry. It made our honeymoon much more special. Although …" He grinned wickedly. "Now that I know what we were missing out on all that time …" He bent his head and recaptured her lips with his own.
<SUPERfan> [Cable TV problems and a picture of Lex hidden in a box]
As nice as Clark's kiss was, Lois was focusing her attention on the box behind him. If I can just reach a little further, she thought. She stretched her arm as far as it could reach …
Clark pulled away. "Why are you going for that box? Is there something else interesting in there?" Clark started reaching for the box.
Lois jumped in front of him and slowly eased him away from the box. "Clark, my TV is messed up. The cable is coming in wrong. All I can get is VH1, and they're doing MadonnaRama. Could you fix it?" Lois was pulling him further and further away from the mysterious box
Just as she discreetly pulled a framed photo from the box, Clark came back. "There you go. Now you can watch all the CMT you want, Lois. There's a Mindy McCready video on— Lois what *are* you hiding?" Clark asked.
He was starting to x-ray when she ran to the other side of the room.
"You can run, but you can't hide!" Clark announced as he hopped in front of Lois with the help of superspeed. He kissed her before she could start talking.
Clark slowly slipped his hands around Lois' waist while she was distracted and grabbed a picture of "Lex?!?!?"
"Lois, what is this doing in our home?" Clark asked.
"I can deal with Jimmy interrupting us, but Lex?" he said.
"Well, you see, Lex gave that to me a long time ago. It was back when we were going to be mar- um, when we were together, and when the police thought he died, they returned it to me. I didn't know what to do with it and —"
"Lois, calm down." Clark grinned. "It's not that big a deal. You can have a picture of Lex collecting dust bunnies under your bed as long as I'm the one in the bed."
<Misha> [Where to place the computers and a salt shaker collection]
"Clark … " She traced his hairline with a finger. " … I don't want Lex or his picture anywhere near us or our bed." She smiled shyly up at him. "Besides, now that we're married, I don't have to use his picture as a dart-board anymore."
Clark looked a little closer at the large picture. The glass that normally protected the portrait was missing, and the face and shoulders were speckled with tiny holes. Lex's eyes, especially, had been peppered with enough darts to be worn through to the paperboard backing. Clark couldn't hold back a wry grin.
"What can I say?" Lois shrugged and smiled. "I got a little frustrated while you were being patient."
Clark grinned at that, and glanced at the box of contraceptives still in his other hand. Lois followed the track of his eyes.
"Oh, no!" Despite her protest, she was smiling. "Can we at least unpack the sleeping bags first? We don't even have a bed!"
Clark glanced around, then refined his vision so he could see inside the boxes. Lois watched him scan the room once quickly, then again, much slower. "Blast."
"I lent them to Jimmy last week when he and his friend wanted to go camping for the weekend."
Lois sighed. "Well, I guess we'll just have to keep unpacking." She reached for the nearest box.
Clark picked up an extra large one. "Try this one, honey."
Lois watched him with a skeptical look on her face as he slit the tape with a fingernail. "What's in this one?"
"Our computers." He pulled out a mouse wrapped in a flyer advertising a salt-shaker collection for sale. "And … " He lifted a large monitor out, revealing the padding underneath. "Our blankets and comforter."
Lois smiled. "Clark, just for that, I get to decide where your … hardware goes."
"All of it, or just the input devices?"
Lois pulled out a pillow from the box and threw it at him. "Put the computers upstairs in the guest room, and then we can discuss sleeping arrangements."
"Sleep? Who said anything about sleep?" Clark zoomed upstairs with the computers before Lois could throw anything more breakable at him.
<Lansbury> [Bed pillows and a newspaper subscription solicitation]
Lois scanned the roomful of boxes. "What gets opened next?" She moved to a tall box near her and as she started to lift the box flaps, she was surprised when the whole box moved. It was incredibly light.
"Hmmm … what's in you?" she said.
She moved away a dust ruffle to find two queen-size down pillows still in their plastic wrappers. A note was attached to the top of one.
To: Lois and Clark. May your heads always rest on clouds of softness. Love, Mom and Dad.
Clark came up behind her and read the note over her shoulder. "Mom knows I love down pillows. It was nice of them to get us a new set for a wedding present."
He lifted them out of the box and was headed upstairs with them as the phone began to ring.
"You go on up. I'll take care of this one." Lois began looking around the room for the ringing phone.
She moved box after box until she finally found what she was looking for. "Hello."
The person on the other end said in a perky voice, "I'm with the Metropolis Star and we're offering you free home delivery of our newspaper as a 'welcome to the neighborhood' gift."
Lois cut the person off before she could continue. "We aren't interested in your offer. We're getting the Daily Planet instead."
The voice on the other end moaned, "You mean the Planet beat me again? How do they do it? Do the people in circulation hire Superman to fly around looking for new tenants or home owners?" She was getting testy the longer she spoke, but Lois remained calm as she told her again she wasn't interested.
Then the woman made a fatal mistake when she said, "You know, you can't believe a word you read in the Daily Planet. Not with reporters like Lois Lane and Clark Kent reporting for them."
Lois looked at the receiver, "Lady, I wouldn't subscribe to your flea-bitten, rat-trap of a daily for any amount of money. The only good use for it is to wrap three day old fish or line a birdcage"
Lois was taking a deep breath to continue when she heard a gasp of surprise.
"There's no reason to be insulting," the woman said.
"No one, not you or anyone, will insult my husband, and you can quote Lois Lane on that." Lois put the phone back on the hook with a slight bang.
"Hey, what's happened?" Clark said from behind her.
"Nothing at all. We just got our first obscene phone call."
"Obscene phone call? What did he say to you?"
"It wasn't a him, it was a her. And she wanted us of all people to subscribe to the Star!"
Clark laughed and hugged her. He placed his chin on top of her head. "Such blasphemy!"
<zoomway> [The neighborhood deli, towels and the Godzilla doll]
Clark swayed Lois in his arms. "It's getting late," he whispered. "The comforter is spread out, the pillows are in place. We're the only thing missing."
Lois smiled her crooked grin. "You're a minimalist, Clark Kent. We're also missing a bed frame, box springs, mattress and a headboard." She turned in his arms. "What about unpacking stuff so that you can make us breakfast in the morning?"
"You're not going to *do* breakfast .. ever?"
Lois placed her arms around his neck. "Not a ghost of a chance," she said and then kissed his chin. "The deli next door delivers."
Lois sat down … hard. "Ouch. They call that a 'comforter'?"
Clark opened a box. "Maybe now we can find a use for your menagerie of stuffed animals. They can serve as a mattress." Clark began fetching plush creatures from the box.
Lois rose to her feet and rushed over. "Don't you dare! We are not sleeping on my friends."
Clark watched as Lois snatched the animals from the box like a protective mother. "Friends?"
"Well," Lois hesitated. "I'll make a deal. You can put your sports trophies next to the Kerth awards if we use towels under the comforter instead of my fr .. stuffed animals."
Clark laughed and patted the teddy bear. "Okay, fair enough. Give me your 'friends' and I'll put them carefully back in the box." Lois smiled and handed them back, and opened the box marked "bathroom linen".
Clark stopped and set the animals aside and reached in to retrieve the last item in the box. "I don't believe it," he whispered as he pulled out a Godzilla doll with an S painted on its chest. "You *kept* this?"
Lois started placing folded towels under the comforter. "Sure," she smiled. "It was my first lesson in humility. I found it disturbing, but … exhilarating."
Clark removed his glasses and set them next to the box. He took a seat on the now nicely padded comforter. "I never meant to humiliate you, honey," he said softly.
Lois sat next to him and leaned against his shoulder. "I told you I hate it when you edit my copy. I said "humility" not "humiliation'. Besides," she smiled at the distant memory, "I thought you earned seeing me all bedraggled and filthy going on that wild goose chase."
He put his arm around her and laid his head against hers. "You looked beautiful to me, Lois. Filth, rips, tears and broken heel."
"Uh huh," she laughed softly.
"It's the truth. What made you so beautiful is that you could have gone home, changed, and no one would have known what you went through." He put a hand on her chin and turned her face to his. "That was beautiful.
Lois couldn't resist his lips so close to hers, and his voice gone all ice cream soft with emotion. She kissed him and tasted the pizza and chocolate. She pulled away just an inch or so.
"I think it was the first time I knew I was doomed," she whispered against his mouth. "This upstart from Kansas had class. I was in *big* trouble."
"The upstart from Kansas was very impressed with the Mad Dog of Metropolis," he said and kissed her again.
"Honey," he said, pulling them both down on the comforter. "He *still* is."
<Mackteach> [Mack was challenged to give us a waffy ending <g>]
Lois smiled as his face loomed over hers. "So's Mad Dog."
Clark chuckled softly before his lips met hers in a tender kiss that conveyed all of the love he felt for her. Her lips moved under his, her head slanting to one side to allow for a more complete seal between their mouths.
They both sighed into the kiss, leaving each other breathless. Clark rolled onto his back, bringing Lois along with him. She broke off the kiss and opened her eyes slowly. As they focused, she heard Clark's soft sigh and chuckle.
"Oh … nothing. Just remembering that look on your face when you found out that I was behind your wild goose chase."
"Not exactly a tender look of love, honey."
Lois smiled as she remembered. "Well, you have to understand … I had an image to uphold at the time."
"Uh huh … "
"Hard-bitten news reporter and all that."
"You looked more like a *mosquito* bitten news reporter … and all that." Lois began to laugh. "But I loved you anyway."
At his words, her laugh softened and her eyes grew moist with tenderness and love. "I'll have to admit, I did start looking at you differently after that."
Clark's eyes widened just a bit at her admission. "Really?"
"Really. I figured that one good turn deserved another. And I certainly wasn't going to let you get the last word … " Her voice trailed off and her eyes twinkled with remembered mischief.
Clark came to a sudden realization. "So it was *you* who … "
"Nailed your desk drawer shut … "
" … re-arranged my computer's desktop," Clark finished.
"Oh. Yeah. That too."
They stared at each other for a moment before collapsing onto the comforter in a fit of laughter. As their laughs subsided, they both sighed and reached for the other's hand.
Lois squeezed Clark's and smiled as he returned the pressure. "We were something back then, weren't we? Partners, but not. Friends, but not."
"In love, but not," Clark added.
Lois sighed. "Yeah." She turned her head to study his profile. "But now … " Her voice trailed off as she thought of "now" and all of its implications.
Clark turned to her and raised onto his side. "Now … " He released her hand and gently traced her profile with his finger, his light touch teasing and tickling Lois from her forehead to the tip of her nose to her lips and finally to her chin. "Now," he said, "we are." His hand went to the side of her face, pulling her to him.
She sighed. "Yes. We are."