By IRC Round Robin
Submitted December 1998
Summary: Lois and Clark host Thanksgiving Dinner at their house.
An IRC Round Robin by Mackteach <Mackteach@aol.com>; Misha <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Zoomway <email@example.com>; AMCiotola <AMCiotola@aol.com>; chrispat <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Eraygun <email@example.com>; Lansbury <Lansbury1@aol.com>
Clark replaced the phone's receiver and tuned in to find Lois. He smiled as he headed down the stairs of their townhouse. Lois was in the kitchen. Talking to herself.
He pushed the swinging door and walked toward Lois. Her head was bowed, looking at a list, pencil in hand. As he neared, her muttering became clearer.
" … Perry … Jerry … Mom and Dad … Lucy and whomever … "
Lois held her pencil aloft. "Just a sec, Clark. Klein and Friskin … Jimmy and Clarissa … " She looked up at Clark and smiled. "Plus your parents and you and me … that makes fourteen for Thanksgiving dinner."
Lois frowned and counted the names on her list once more. "No, fourteen."
"Thirteen, honey. That was Lucy on the phone. She just broke up with … with, um … "
Clark smiled. "Right. So, she's coming for dinner alone."
Lois scowled. "Well, that's just great, Clark! Here I've … we've … been planning for fourteen people … the turkey's about to be stuffed … and I got out the good china. Boy, is her goose cooked!"
Clark leaned down and gently kissed her. "It'll be fine, Lois. That just means more leftovers."
"Does your mom know any recipes?"
Clark looked at Lois, his eyebrow raised. "Honey, this is *Mom* we're talking about."
Lois smiled sheepishly. "Oh, yeah. Right. Of course she has recipes." She scanned her list once more and crumpled it up. "So much for pre-planning." She looked at Clark. "So, when were you going to put the turkey in the oven?"
"Me? I thought you said *you* were going to do the turkey and I'd do all the side stuff."
"Wait a minute, buster! Opening some cans of cranberry sauce and putting out butter patties does *not* constitute a partnership in my book!" She grinned slyly. "Besides, you cook much better than I do."
"That's because I *always* cook."
"Except for breakfast." She wrapped her arms around Clark. "Anyway, I seem to recall you telling me that I got a five-star rating in *other* rooms … " She leaned up and kissed him.
Clark closed his eyes and returned her kiss. "True … *very* true."
"So … " She tickled him behind the ear. "You'll do the turkey?"
Clark hugged her to him. "How about we *both* do the turkey?"
Clark leered at her. "Maybe later … "
"Or while it's cooking?"
"We'll see … "
Lois sighed dramatically. "OK. Let's get this started then."
Moving out of Clark's arms, she went to the oven to turn it on as Clark set out the ingredients for the stuffing as well as double checking that there was enough foil and that the roasting pan was nearby. The sack of potatoes was already on the counter; they and the carrots would only take a few seconds at superspeed.
"Clark?" Lois asked over her shoulder. "What should I set the oven to? Five hundred?"
Clark paused, the roll of aluminum foil in his hand. He looked up at the ceiling, seeking divine intervention. "It's gonna be a long day … "
Clark moved to Lois' side and reached around her to turn the oven down. "Try about half that, honey. You want the turkey to roast, slowly, simmering in its own juices … "
"Oh, you mean like Kyle Griffin is doing at Blackgate right now?"
Clark chuckled and kissed the side of her neck. "Exactly. Could you get out the turkey while I chop the vegetables for the stuffing?"
"Sure." Lois grabbed the front of his apron as he turned back to the other counter. "But I get a reward first."
"Yep. For agreeing to help cook."
"Waitamin … " As their lips met, Clark decided not to protest. "Mmm … " He mumbled into her mouth.
"Oh, I was just saying that you taste good, but you'd taste better after you got out the turkey."
"Fine." Lois released his apron front slowly. She patted his chest with a smile, then twirled toward the refrigerator. "I can do that."
Clark sighed happily and turned back to his vegetables. Within seconds, the celery and onions were chopped and he was reaching for the saute pan. A solid, heavy thunk behind him rattled the dishes, and he turned around.
"Clark, how are you going to stuff this? It's still frozen."
"Oh no … " Clark groaned, shutting his eyes. " I meant to defrost it yesterday, but I had to run to Australia for that earthquake."
Lois wrinkled her nose. "Well, zap it with your vision gizmo," she waved at the inoffensive lump of ice and meat, "and let's get this show on the road."
Vaporized water started rising from the turkey and the ice-white skin slowly turned pink. Lois' fingers did a rat-a-tat dance on the counter.
"Lois." Clark's head didn't turn, but Lois stilled her finger tapping. "Why don't you find out who's about to knock on our door?"
"Who-" The doorbell cut off the rest of her question, and Lois flung up her hands. "Santa Claus. I knew it. I married Santa."
Lois removed her apron as she opened the door.
"Daddy, Mother, you're … early."
"I know," Ellen sighed. "But I thought you might need some help in the kitchen."
Lois eyed her mother suspiciously. "Bring a chef in your purse, Mother?"
"I know I was never a great cook, but I had my moments."
Sam nodded. "I thought we'd never get the Chicken Pacifica off the ceiling."
Ellen tossed her purse, gloves and jacket on the chair. "I never used a pressure cooker before. It was an honest mistake."
Lois smiled. "Well, I was only about nine when it happened. I thought it was pretty cool having a kitchen that rained pineapple chunks."
"Sweetie," Sam interrupted. "Mind if the old man cranks up the TV? The games will be starting soon."
"Sure, Daddy, and Mother, you just relax. Clark and I will handle dinner."
"Whatever you think is best," Ellen said, and seemed relieved that Lois hadn't taken her up on her threat … her offer to help with dinner.
"But if other guests arrive, you can be the official greeter, Mother. I'll be too busy."
"No problem," Ellen said cheerfully. "I love playing hostess."
"Good," Lois said, a lack of conviction in her voice.
She went back to the kitchen. "Okay, my parents are here," Lois said as she headed for the spice cabinet. "They aren't fighting … yet, so we're ahead of the game."
"Speaking of "game", football will be starting … "
"Not till you finish the cooking." Lois smiled sweetly as she placed spices on the counter. "Besides, you missed the Superman balloon in the Thanksgiving parade."
Clark grimaced. "Every little boy's dream, to grow up and be flown in bloated effigy over several city blocks."
Lois laughed. "Well, it was pretty impressive. It took thirty handlers."
"Ah," Clark half-smiled. "That was their mistake. It only takes one sexy newswoman to handle Superman." He dropped a kiss onto her laughing mouth.
"Mm," Lois sighed against his lips. "Don't forget it."
The doorbell rang again. Clark turned and glanced over his glasses. "Perry and Jerry, and they brought some kind of covered dish."
Lois sighed. "Probably remember the last gourmet meal we prepared for them."
Clark hugged her from behind. "Don't worry, honey. I said a covered dish, not a pizza box."
Ellen went to the door. "Perry! It's so nice to see you. Please, come in."
"Well, Ellen, you're looking festive," Perry smiled. "This is my son, Jerry."
"How do you do," the young man said politely and handed her the casserole dish. "My mom's candied yams. I used to think that was her name when I was a kid," he laughed. "She'd come to the door and people would say 'candied yams' instead of her name."
Perry laughed and put his arm around Jerry. "Let's find a good spot for football."
Ellen took the dish that Perry had brought. "I'll just take this into the kitchen. You boys make yourselves comfortable, and I'll tell Lois and Clark you're here."
She pushed open the kitchen door expecting to see the turkey being stuffed. Instead, the turkey was nowhere to be seen, and Lois and Clark were locked in a passionate kiss. She cleared her throat, and they jumped guiltily apart.
Lois smoothed her hair and smiled nervously. "Oh. Mother. I didn't hear you come in."
Ellen looked around suspiciously. "Where's the turkey?"
"Oh. Um. It's in the oven. Cooking, you know."
The doorbell rang again. Ellen rushed off to answer it.
Lois looked at Clark and breathed a sigh of relief. "Whew, that was a close one. No more superspeed stuff today, okay?"
Clark leaned down for another kiss. "I promise. Now let's go say hello to Jimmy and Clarissa."
Lois groaned. "Oh, God. Do we have to?"
In the entryway, Clarissa was handing over another covered dish.
"Hi, I'm Ellen Lane, Lois' mother, and you are?" Ellen asked as she took the casserole dish from Clarissa.
Clarissa gave Ellen a wan smile. "Bored and uncomfortable."
Jimmy laughed nervously and stepped in front of Clarissa. "Just kidding!" he interjected. "She is such a kidder. It's because she has such a wonderful sense of humor!"
Clarissa rolled her eyes at Jimmy.
"Well, how *nice*," Ellen replied, with a tight smile of her own. "I've always thought a good sense of humor is important. I don't know how I would have survived without mine."
Standing in the kitchen doorway, Lois and Clark exchanged quizzical looks and a strained silence settled over the hallway until Ellen decided to speak up once again.
"So what did the two of you bring today?" she said cheerily.
"It's a broccoli, beet, and tofu casserole," Clarissa replied flatly.
"Oh, that sounds *interesting*. I'm sure it will be just delicious with the turkey."
"I wouldn't know. I've never eaten animal flesh. I believe it's a form of cannibalism."
Ellen was just about to make a comeback to Clarissa's comment when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Here, let me take that from you. Lois is still in the kitchen and I wanted to come out and see if everyone knew each other."
Ellen looked at her son-in-law. "Oh, we introduced ourselves," both women said at once. Clark looked at Ellen and what he saw made him squirm. She was still eying the younger woman.
"My dear, you must pay a visit to my hairdresser. She can work miracles on bleached hair. I don't think I've seen that shade of blonde since I had the misfortune to be at the mall when this dreadful country singer was giving a concert.
Clark pulled Clarissa and Jimmy further into the room, before either had a chance to reply. Clark looked over his shoulder and gave Ellen a stern look.
"What did I say? I was only trying to help the poor thing, but since I'm no longer needed in here, I'll go help Lois."
"No, don't do that. She has everything under control in there." Clark took the couple's coats and left them with the rest of the other guests. Still balancing the casserole in one hand and the coats in the other, he rushed to Ellen.
"Here, let me take that, and you go entertain your guests." Before Clark could stop her she had the casserole in her hands and was heading for the kitchen. "Yooo — hoo, Lois. I come bearing more food."
Lois looked up as she saw her mother. "Mom, I need Daddy. Go get him now. Don't ask questions, just GO!"
Ellen placed the casserole on the edge of the counter and immediately turned around, exiting the kitchen, heedless of the teetering casserole dish.
Lois gasped and reached for it, a split second too late. She watched as the dish fell off the counter, only to be returned safe and intact, thanks to a pair of super-speedy hands.
"Thanks, Clark. What is that, by the way?"
Clark smiled and raised the lid, peering at the concoction. "Looks like a broccoli, beet, and tofu casserole, honey."
Lois wrinkled her nose in distaste. "Clarissa?"
"Clarissa," Clark confirmed. "What did you need your father for?"
Before Lois could answer, the door swung in to reveal a frowning Sam Lane. "Yes, Princess? Ellen said it was an emergency. What's wrong?"
Lois sighed and shook her head. "Nothing, Daddy. I just need you to keep Mother out of the kitchen."
Sam nodded, understanding. "I'll do my best, Princess, but you know your mother. Her intentions are good … "
Lois interrupted. "Please, Daddy. Spare me a listing of Mother's good intentions. I know them by heart."
Sam started back to the living room. "I know, Lois. I heard about the Swiss Bell Ringers."
At the sound of the doorbell, Lois left the kitchen. "That must be Lucy. I'd better warn her about Mother … " She paused and held the kitchen door open, listening for the tirade that would indicate the mother and daughter reunion. When it didn't happen, Lois frowned.
Clark came up behind her and leaned down to whisper. "Dr. Friskin and Dr. Klein, honey."
Lois breathed a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank goodness!" She turned to look back at Clark. "I still can't get used to the idea that they're seeing each other socially.
Clark smiled at her. "Stranger things have happened. As long as they don't share case studies about a certain alien superhero and the woman that he loves."
They stood there smiling and looking into each other's eyes. The sudden ringing of the phone startled them out of their momentary reverie.
"Hello? Lucy! Where are you?" Lois covered the mouthpiece. "It's Lucy."
"I got that, honey. What's the matter? I can hear her sniffling."
Now concerned, Lois spoke into the receiver. "Luce? Is everything all right? … Uh huh … I see … okay … " Lois looked at Clark. "Okay, Lucy. Lucy? Listen to me, kiddo. Stay right where you are. Clark has to go pick up his parents. I'll have him swing by and get you, too. … Excuse me? Say that again?" She sighed. "OK, Luce … I'll see if that's possible. Uh huh … yeah … right … bye."
She hung up the phone and sighed heavily. At the familiar sound of spinning, Lois turned and smirked. "You heard."
Clark stood there, clad in his red and blue suit. "Yeah. And if Superman picking up Lucy is what it takes to have our families together for Thanksgiving, I'm willing to do that."
"Remind me to thank you later."
Clark winked. "Count on it. I'll bring Lucy here and then get Mom and Dad at the airport."
Lois stepped forward and hugged him. "Make it quick."
Clark smiled and kissed the top of her head. "I will." He paused and listened for a second. "Besides, I want to catch the last quarter of the football game."
With a soft kiss, Clark whooshed off to get Lucy.
Lois sighed and started to walk toward the living room. The timer dinged and Lois groaned. "Great. And the potatoes aren't even peeled … " Sighing, she looked around for the peeler.
"I told you I never wanted to see you again!"
Superman dodged the flying telephone and peered in the open doorway of Lucy Lane's apartment. "Miss Lane?"
"Superman?" The stridency was kicked out of Lucy's voice at high velocity. Clark could have sworn he heard it follow the phone out the door. "Oh, I'm sorry!" She appeared around the corner of the kitchenette, a concerned frown on her face. "I thought you were Jason."
"Lois asked me if I could come and get you for dinner." Now that the threat of flying appliances was gone, Clark folded his arms over his chest.
Lucy brightened. "Oh, great!" She picked up the suitcase waiting by the door. "I'm so glad. I really wanted to go, and then Jason decided he wanted me all to himself, and this was my big chance to introduce him to the family and then he tore up the plane tickets and I threw him out- I tried to pitch him out the window, but he made it to the door first."
Clark ignored the broken shards of two plastic cups peeking out of the dented wallboard by the door. "I see. Are you ready to go?"
Lucy took a deep breath. "Sure. But could you do me one favor?"
She pointed to the other suitcase waiting patiently by the door. "Dump that in the ocean before we get there?"
Clark managed to convince Lucy to donate the suitcase and its contents to a shelter rather than the deep blue sea, and deposited her on the doorstep of his house not ten minutes later.
Superman waved and smiled at everyone inside as he set Lucy's suitcase down, and zoomed around to the kitchen. He caught Lois in his arms before she made it to the kitchen door.
"Mmmm … what was that for?" Lois asked dazedly as Clark held her until her feet were steady again.
"Oh, just a quick kiss for strength. Has anyone been in the kitchen since I left?"
"Mm … just Daddy, and I told him you were in the bathroom."
"Good, because I remembered that Mom told me she didn't want to be juggled with the rolls she's bringing. She thinks I'd pay more attention to them than her."
"What are you going to do?"
"Use the Jeep." Clark grabbed the keys off the counter and opened the kitchen door for her. "Lucy's here. Go put her in the guest room, and I'll get the potatoes when I get back."
Clark waved to the growing throng in the living room, paused a moment behind the sofa as a Metropolis U quarterback fumbled, shook his head, and continued to the door.
Lois hugged Lucy. "I see Superman got you here safe and sound."
"And just *why* did Superman bring you here?" Ellen asked, stepping between the two sisters.
Lucy shrugged. "No plane ticket, and so Lois was nice enough to ask Superman to pick me up. Why? "she asked and folded her arms. "Think I'm dating Superman now?"
Ellen sighed. "One daughter making a spectacle of herself over Superman is enough."
"I did *not* make a spectacle of myself over Superman," Lois protested.
Jimmy cleared his throat and Perry whistled and stared at the ceiling.
"Not a *complete* spectacle of myself," she amended.
"Well," Lucy beamed. "I thought it was all so romantic. I mean, I saw the news footage of you kissing him good-bye when he went to stop that asteroid."
Lois blushed. "Um … well, it was just a … kiss for luck."
"Lois!" Lucy laughed. "You gave the man a tonsillectomy!"
"Don't let 'em get you down, Princess," Sam soothed. "So you had an affair with Superman and it didn't work out. At least you're still friends."
"Daddy! I did *not* have — "
Jerry approached Lucy quickly. "Hi, I don't think we were introduced," he said, extending his hand. "I'm Perry's son, Jerry White."
"Hi," she said casually, but then looked at him more closely."*Hi*. It's a pleasure to meet you," she said, that dangerous dreamy quality in her voice. "You sound just like Richard Dreyfuss. That's so sexy."
"Really?" he said, and became even more nasal trying to sound as close to Dreyfuss' tonal quality as possible. "I never thought of that voice being sexy though."
Lois picked up Lucy's suitcase. "Compared to Mickey Mouse … " Lois' voice trailed off as she toted the suitcase to the spare room.
"Oh, I love Richard Dreyfuss," Lucy gushed. "He's so sensitive, caring — "
"Short," Sam laughed.
Jerry swallowed. "Well, I admit there's no face as pretty as yours upstate, Lucy."
"Upstate?" Ellen asked as she brushed lint from Lucy's sweater.
"Well, I made a mistake — a big one, and was at the prison up there."
Without asking, Sam handed a small bottle of aspirin to Ellen.
"Just take two, honey. Remember your colitis."
"Prison?" Ellen fumbled with the child-proof cap. "I keep having this nightmare of what Lucy's wedding album will look like — "
"A priest marrying them just before the groom walks the last mile; the best man will be a jailer named Hugo — "
"Actually, Mrs. Lane, the jailer's name is Rich, but we like to call him 'Tiny' because of his — "
"Anybody want coffee?" Lois interrupted before her mother had a heart failure.
With a shrug everyone retreated into their own areas of the living room. The men were soon engrossed in the football game and Lois hoped that Lucy's sudden interest in Jerry would be enough to keep her mother occupied and out of her kitchen. She sighed, wondering how Clark was making out at the airport.
Clark had made good time getting to the airport, but when he got there the traffic was incredible. Even though he had no problem getting to his parents on time, he could not believe the people who did last minute traveling. Being one who never had to rely on good old-fashioned airplanes, he'd never had to worry about it, but now he was a little anxious about getting back to the house on time. He didn't want to leave Lois alone with the kitchen — or her mother — for too long.
"Clark, there's a booth opening up over there. Think you can get to it?" Jonathan was pointing to the right.
"I don't know, Dad … let me see." As he began to maneuver his way out of his line a car came from nowhere, totally blocking him off. This left him stuck in the same line and in the same position he had been in for the last half hour. If only he could just get out and fly the car home.
Meanwhile, back at the townhouse, Drs. Klein and Friskin were cuddling in the corner of the sofa.
"Bernie, I am so glad you invited me to accompany you today. I don't know when I've witnessed a more interesting dysfunctional family. Do you mind if I take notes?"
Dr. Klein grinned. "I knew you would enjoy it, Ruth, but I asked you because I enjoy your company."
Dr. Friskin sighed. "Oh, Bernie. You are so romantic. But I really think Lois could use some help … and maybe I can explore that fascinating relationship she has with Superman. I wonder what Clark thinks of that."
Lois had retreated to the kitchen. At least the turkey wouldn't criticize her, and if she had to watch Lucy throwing herself at another jailbird and their mother's reaction to same, she would start to scream. Oh, Clark, where are you? she thought, and was tempted to scream 'Help, Superman.'
She opened the oven and stared doubtfully at the turkey. She was supposed to do something to it, but for the life of her, she couldn't remember what. Just then, the kitchen door opened.
"And just how do you feel about that turkey, Lois?"
Lois jumped and then started to laugh. "Oh, Dr. Friskin. I'm so glad it's you."
Dr. Friskin's eyebrows rose. "You are?"
Lois grinned sheepishly. "Yes. I thought it was my mother."
Dr. Friskin smiled. "Please, call me Ruth. I think I'm beginning to understand you a lot better, Lois. Is there anything I can do to help?" She gestured at the open oven.
Lois turned back to the oven. "Clark said I was supposed to do something to the turkey. Do you have any idea what?"
Ruth thought for a moment. "Oh. I know. I think you're supposed to baste it." She looked around and spied the baster. "I'm not much of a cook, but I saw Julia Child do this on TV once."
Just then there was a commotion at the front door.
Lois tossed the oven mitts on to the counter and headed out the kitchen door just in time to greet Jonathan, Martha, and Clark.
"Thank goodness you're finally here," she said with a huge grin as she helped her in-laws with their coats. "What took so long, sweetheart?"
"The traffic was unbelievable … " Clark began.
"It certainly was," Martha interrupted. "We would have still been stuck at the airport if it hadn't been for Superman."
"Superman?" Perry asked as he left the living room and came into the hallway.
"Yes, he convinced the airport officials to let him help collect the parking fees. He had everyone out of there in record time."
"Well don't that beat all," Perry said with a grin. "That boy really knows how to make himself handy."
"Yes," Lois replied as she raised an eyebrow and looked carefully at Clark. "I wonder if we could convince him to help out in our kitchen."
"I think that's my cue," Clark said sheepishly as he followed Lois through the swinging doors.
As the doors closed behind them, Clark began to apologize, but before he could utter a coherent sound Lois launched herself at him and pulled him into a long, slow, deep kiss.
"I thought you wanted me to help out in the kitchen," Clark murmured against Lois' mouth as the kiss finally ended.
"Believe me, Clark," Lois said breathlessly, "you have no idea how much you just helped me."
Both Lois and Clark were still in each other's arms when all the females who had gathered in their home came into the kitchen.
Ellen, who deemed herself spokesperson of the small group, piped up. "We know this bird of yours is still in the oven but we can't stand another second of watching grown men in skin-tight kneepants chase after a little ball."
"Speak for yourself, Mother," Lucy said in a stage whisper.
Ellen gave her younger daughter a disapproving look. "But we want to help." And with that she took Clark by the elbow and led him to the swinging doors. She gave him a little push. "Go in with the rest of the men and don't come back until it's time to carry the turkey to the table."
Lois felt the panic start at the tip of her toes and begin to rush to the roots of her hair. "You don't have to do anything. I … we have everything under control."
She looked at Martha who just shrugged her shoulders. "I tried to stop them, but I was outnumbered."
The ladies stood looking around the kitchen, each expecting to see dishes, pots, and pans stacked, waiting to be cleaned and put away. But to everyone's surprise it looked like the holiday kitchen from a magazine spread in 'Better Homes and Gardens.'
Clarissa was the first to comment on the appearance of the room. "Your mother said you would be elbow deep in dirty dishes and surrounded by boiling pans on the stove. The only thing I see on the stove is this one pan of cooked animal blood which you so calmly call gravy."
Lois walked over and took the lid from Clarissa. "It is not boiled animal blood. It's made from the drippings from the turkey. And if you don't like it then why don't you eat something else? I'll put extra carrots and celery next to you so you'll have something to still that mouth of yours. And while I'm at it, Mother, look around. I am not elbow deep in dishes and pots. The turkey and sweet potatoes are in the oven, the gravy and potatoes are on the stove. The salad and relish trays are in the fridge. I only have to put on the green beans and squash."
Martha gave her a loving pat on the arm. "You've done a wonderful job, dear."
Before she could say another word, Lucy spoke up. "Hey, Sis, where's the pumpkin pies? I don't see any desserts?"
Lois stood still. "CClarrrkkkkk!!"
In the living room, at Lois' yell, Clark got sympathetic looks from all the men. Sitting next to him, Sam laid a hand on his shoulder. "Clark, there's something that you should know about the Lane women … "
Clark looked at him, his brow furrowed. "What's that, Sam?"
"Don't keep them waiting."
With that, Sam pushed Clark up from the couch. Clark stood there for a few seconds, looking at all the men. His father, Perry, Jerry, even Jimmy — they all nodded in agreement.
Perry spoke up. "Especially around the holidays, Clark." He turned to Jerry. "Remember how your mother would get, son?"
Jerry nodded. "I sure do, Dad. Especially when another woman, like Aunt Sara, would go into the kitchen."
At Jerry's words, Clark went quickly to the kitchen door. Cautiously, he pushed it open. "Did you want — "
Before he could finish his question, all the women exited, talking rapidly among themselves. Clark caught snatches of their conversations.
" … She always was high-strung … "
" … All I asked was how did that make her feel … "
" … blood of butchered animals … "
" … what about dessert … "
" … I know, dear … "
He stepped into the kitchen and stood there as Lois rushed at him. Pulling her into his arms he held her tightly, whispering what he hoped were soothing words. Lois buried her face in his chest and Clark felt her shoulders shake. With laughter.
Not expecting that particular reaction, Clark pushed her to arms' length. "Lois? Are you all right, honey?"
Lois stood there laughing, tears running down her face. Finally, she took a deep breath and wiped her face. "Yeah … the whole situation just finally … got to me. And, rather than be upset about everything, I realized something."
"I'll tell you later.
Clark smiled, relieved that Lois had seemed to work it out for herself. "So. What can I do to help?"
Lois smirked. "Other than fly to France and get some French apple pies for dessert, find Jimmy a girlfriend who *is* a meat eater, make sure that Lucy doesn't fall for Jerry White, and find out who won the football game?"
Clark smiled. "Yeah."
"Well, you could kiss me and tell me how much you love me."
"That I can do." Clark's mouth closed over hers and they stood there kissing as if they had all the time in the world. The kitchen door bumping into them interrupted their passionate embrace. Looking away from each other's eyes, Clark kept Lois in his arms as Jimmy poked his head in.
"Um, guys? I've sort of got a problem … and I need some advice."
Clark chuckled as he heard Lois mutter, "Figures."
"What's the matter, Jimmy?"
Stepping into the kitchen and making sure the door closed after him, Jimmy started. "It's like this. I'm with Clarissa, right?"
"How could we forget?"
"But, she's really starting to upset everyone with her talk about the football being the skin of a dead pig and the barbarity of the whole game … "
"No surprise there."
"And … " Jimmy paused.
"And?" Clark prompted.
"Is Lucy seeing anyone?"
Lois rolled her eyes. "Oy … "
Clark sighed. "Jimmy, I think I need to remind you of a few things."
"What's that, CK?"
"Lucy broke up with her boyfriend today, so she's probably still missing him." Or at least not hitting him as often as she'd like, judging by the shattered plastic around her door, he added silently.
"Oh. So I'd be the rebound guy, huh?"
Lois swallowed hard and turned to blindly stir the nearest pot, fighting down further laughter.
"Ah. Yeah. And since Lois and I are busy here, Clarissa is your guest. If she doesn't like football, then you should find something else for her to do."
Jimmy nodded, then shook his head. "Like what, CK? I think the soccer game ended fifteen minutes ago."
"There's Trivial Pursuit, or we've got some packs of cards in the desk. Dad likes bridge, and Mom plays a killer hand of poker."
"Uh, thanks- I'll try that." Jimmy reached for the swinging door and was nearly brained as Ellen stormed in, two boxes in her hands.
"You'll never guess what your father just did to me now, Lois." Jimmy slunk out the door as Ellen brandished the boxes in Clark's face. He grabbed the wildly waving bakery goods and placed them safely on the counter.
Lois sighed and turned. "What now, Mother?"
"He just went and got a store-bought pie! From CostMart of all places! Didn't you tell me that store was a den of thieves and crooks and organized crime?"
Clark looked at the boxes. Criminals or no, CostMart made darned good pumpkin pies. Two of them, in fact. "Ellen?"
Ellen stopped her advance on her daughter. "What?"
"Why does one of the pies have your name on it?"
Ellen gasped for air twice, then turned on her heel and strode quickly from the kitchen.
Lois wrapped her arms around Clark's waist and nestled into his embrace. "Is there any other disaster looming over us?"
Clark cocked his head slightly, tuning into the various conversations around the townhouse.
" … I've been dying to ask you this, Martha: How on earth did such a normal guy like your son fall in love with my sister?"
" … Jonathan, do you know much about Lois' sister?"
" … I don't care if it is a women's team, I refuse to watch any human desecrating the skin of one of Mother Earth's children by kicking it around a plasticized, pollution-creating, concrete amphitheater filled with over-fed ignorant peons!"
" … it's an interesting triangle between the three of them, and I have yet to see any demonstration of jealousy on Clark's part."
Clark sighed and hugged Lois closer. "Just the usual, honey."
Lois and Clark wisely began to set the table in the dining room as their guests communed in the living room.
Clarissa, having offended everyone else, turned the gun to Klein and Friskin. "Surely as doctors, you know the dangers of flesh!"
Klein stared blankly and blushed. "We use protection."
Friskin smiled. "I don't think she's speaking of carnal contact, dear."
Clarissa sighed loudly. "I'm not a Catholic. This isn't about priests, carnals, *or* the Pope! This is about eating dead animals!"
"Well, sweetie," Perry said as he passed by. "If you eat *live* animals, there's always an opening at a sideshow."
"There's an interesting anthropological precedent regarding early humans switching from goat grass to consuming animal flesh — "
"Oh, Bernie," Friskin practically squealed with delight. "You saw 'The Ascent of Man' too?"
"Of course, puddin'," he smiled and felt passion in his very soul that they had shared a PBS moment.
Ellen shook her head. "I never thought anyone could make me miss Baby Gunderson."
"Well," Sam shrugged, "I could always take out her battery pack."
"Okay, everyone," Clark called with all due cheerful caution. "Dinner's ready."
The assembled crowd, perhaps motivated to remove themselves from Clarissa more than any true hunger, stampeded to the dining room. Amazingly, no matter where Clarissa chose to sit, the person next to her found something wrong with the chair … and moved.
Lois grabbed Clark's tie and whispered, "Maybe we can set her up with a TV tray away from the main table."
Clark nodded thoughtfully. "I can set it up in Toronto."
Jimmy, finally, grudgingly, took a seat next to Clarissa since everyone seemed to be blaming him for the need of musical chairs in the first place.
Clark sighed. "Okay, two years ago, my dad carved the turkey in Smallville, and last year," he smiled down at Lois, "I carved the turkey for our first Thanksgiving in our new home. But this year," he said, handing the carving tools to Sam. "I think you should have the honors … Dad."
Sam took the carving utensils from Clark with one hand and scrubbed at his eyes with the other. "Thanks, son," he managed to croak. Then he picked up the carving knife. "Prepare to see a surgeon at work. I noticed how you massacred that bird last year, m'boy. Take notes."
Clark and Lois rolled their eyes at each other. Some things never changed.
The rest of the meal passed in relative peace, in spite of Ellen finally noticing that the final count at the table was thirteen. She calmed down somewhat after Sam fetched her a Valium from her purse, but was heard muttering dire predictions as she and Sam went down the steps.
The doctors were the next to leave.
As she said goodbye, Dr. Friskin pulled Lois aside to whisper in her ear. "Lois, you don't know how much I admire you after meeting your family. Would you mind if I wrote up an article? Of course I won't mention any names. By the way, I would also like to explore your interesting relationship with Superman one day. Call me." She ran down the steps after Dr. Klein, leaving Lois gasping in her wake.
"Clark! Did you hear that?"
Clark turned from watching Jimmy and Clarissa follow the two doctors down the stairs. "Hear what, honey?"
Before Lois could say anything, their attention was diverted as the conversation between the two departing couples filtered back to them in the silent evening.
"Tell me, Clarissa. When you're around other 'cannibals' as you call us, how does that make you feel?"
"Like I'm the sacrificial limb."
"Um, Clarissa? That's 'lamb.' 'Sacrificial lamb.' "
"Jimmy! I told you! I don't eat meat! It cramps my aura!"
"She's obviously not familiar with 'survival of the fittest', Ruth."
"I am too, Dr. Klein! I even have their latest CD!"
The voices faded into the night, and Lois rolled her eyes again. She'd been doing that a lot today.
Lucy came rushing out. "Mother. Wait a minute. I won't be staying with you tonight. I'm going home with Jerry," she yelled. Ellen's shriek could be heard from the car.
Lois collapsed on the steps and buried her face in her hands. "Oh, Lord, Clark. I'll never hear the end of that, and it will be all our fault."
Lucy turned to them and chuckled. "Do you mind if I stay here tonight, Sis? I just wanted to get Mother's goat."
"Lucy!! I'm going to kill you." They were all laughing as Perry and Jerry came out.
Perry cleared his throat. "Lois … " he began. "Darlin' … that was a wonderful dinner. I didn't think you had it in you."
Lois smiled and looked at Clark. "Just like everything Clark and I do, it was a team effort, Perry."
Perry clapped his hands together and beamed. "I knew it! The minute I partnered you two together."
Clark grinned. "As far as I'm concerned, that was one of your better ideas, Chief."
Perry and Clark shook hands. As he headed down the stairs, Perry looked back at Jerry. "Let's go, Son."
"In a sec, Dad." Jerry turned to Clark and Lois who had stood up to stand next to him. "Lois, Clark. Thanks for inviting me. I really appreciate it." He looked at Perry briefly. "I know Dad appreciates it, too."
Lois smiled and took Jerry's hand. "It was a pleasure having you in our home, Jerry. You and your father are always welcome."
Jerry smiled. "Thanks." He cleared his throat and turned his attention to Lucy. "Um, Lucy?"
"I was wondering … "
" … if you could show me some of Metropolis' sights?"
"Actually … yeah, that's what I was wondering."
"I'd love it." Lucy cast a quick glance at Lois. "Don't worry, Sis. I'll be good."
"That's what I'm afraid of," Lois muttered. She took the sting out of her words by reaching out and hugging Lucy. "Have a good time. We'll have the den made up for you."
"Don't bother, dear. Lucy can use the spare bedroom."
Everyone turned at Martha's voice. Noticing that Jonathan was carrying their suitcases, Clark frowned.
"Mom? Dad? I thought you guys were staying with us."
"Normally, Clark, we would, but your mother has always wanted to stay in the honeymoon suite of the Lexor Hotel. And well, she doesn't often ask for anything … "
Lois smiled at Martha. "You'll love it. Take a bubble bath in the sunken tub."
Martha smiled and hugged Lois. "Is it big enough for two?"
The women all giggled for a few moments, looking at the shocked expression on Clark's face and the hopeful one on Jonathan's.
With a last round of hugs and handshakes, Lois watched as the last of their dinner guests left. Holding hands, they entered their home.
"Well, that didn't go so badly," Lois mused.
"Actually, I thought it went fairly well," Clark countered.
Lois smiled at him as they went up the stairs. "I married the eternal optimist."
Clark stopped on the step, pulling Lois to a stop. She turned back and stepped down until she was eye level with him. "What?"
"What were you going to tell me earlier? You said that you had realized something in the midst of all the pre-dinner chaos and confusion."
Lois smiled warmly at him. "Oh. That."
"Yes, that. What was it?"
She reached out and cupped the side of his face. Looking into his eyes, she softly said, "Just that we all have a lot to be thankful for. That no matter what life has thrown at us, we're all family. And that the love that we have in our hearts for each other makes us all that much stronger."
Clark smiled at her words. Leaning forward, he gently kissed her. "How'd you get to be so wise?"
Bringing her arms around him, Lois explained. "Because you taught me how to love unconditionally. And how to share that love." She kissed him again, thanking him once more.
Clark picked her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way up the stairs.
Setting her gently on her feet at the top of the stairs, Clark kept his hands at her waist. They stood there, looking into each other's eyes, soft smiles on their faces.
Turning away, Lois held onto his hands and walked toward their bedroom.
Clark let go of Lois' hand as he closed the door. Leaning against it, his hands behind him on the door knob, he watched as Lois slowly walked to the bathroom, her arms raised above her head as she stretched.
He stayed there, the soft smile still on his lips, watching her move, her actions unconsciously sensuous, her curves enticing. As she paused at the door to the bathroom, he caught her eye.
Lois smiled. "Take a bath with me?"
Clark nodded and walked to her.
The sound of metal stretching caught their attention. Lois frowned.
"What was that?"
Sheepishly, Clark brought his hands from behind his back. "Guess I forgot I was holding it."
Lois giggled as she saw the remains of the door knob in his hand. "Forgot your own strength?"
Clark closed the distance between them. Putting his fingers under Lois' chin, he tipped her head up. "More like you *made* me forget."
Her eyes widened. "Me? Now how could I *possibly* do that?"
Clark smiled as he lowered his mouth to hers. "By just being you."
Any response that Lois would have made was swallowed by Clark's mouth closing over hers. The kiss made her senses reel, her arms automatically coming around him, pulling him closer, drawing her into his warmth and love.
Breaking off the kiss, Clark kissed the tip of her nose. "Thank you," he whispered.
"For making me forget … for making me part of something so incredibly wonderful … for loving me … " He kissed her lips once more, this time softly and tenderly.
Lois sighed, her eyes filling with tears. "It should be me thanking you, Clark," she murmured. "I thought I would never find a man to love … a man who would love me the way that you do … I thought … "
"You're not alone, Lois … you'll never be alone … "
"And neither will you … "
Clark smiled against her lips, the feeling teasing and exciting Lois. She sighed once more and began to move out of his arms.
"Here. Let me … "
She stopped and watched as Clark started the bath. She leaned against the doorway, a dreamy look on her face. Clark looked over his shoulder at her, his eyes full of love.
"After all, you slaved away all day in the kitchen over Thanksgiving dinner." His eyes twinkled in mischief.
Lois chuckled. "I may not have cooked the turkey, but I did have to deal with Mother, Dr. Friskin, *and* Clarissa."
As Clark finished setting up the bath, he walked toward Lois, slowly unbuttoning his shirt. "And that was a chore in itself, honey."
She watched Clark shrug out of his shirt, tossing it onto the laundry hamper. She continued to lean against the door, her eyes locked on Clark's, as he undid his pants and pushed them off his hips.
Stepping out of them, Clark reached out and pulled Lois into his arms. She smiled, her hand reaching up and caressing his face. "Want me to wash your back?"
Clark brought his hand up to capture hers. "As long as I can wash your front."
She raised her eyebrow at him, her hands moving to the back of her dress. Clark brought his around her neck and held her hands in his. "Allow me," he whispered.
Turning, Lois bent her neck and let him unzip her dress. She shivered as his fingers brushed against her skin. She closed her eyes and moaned softly as Clark pushed the dress off her shoulders, kissing the nape of her neck before kissing her soft shoulders.
The dress fell to the floor, puddling at her feet. Clark pulled Lois against him, her back against his chest and they both gasped at the skin-to-skin contact. Bringing his hand behind her knees, Clark scooped her into his arms and lifted her free of the silky material. He carried her to the the tub, placing her gently on the edge.
Kneeling before her, he quickly undid her stockings, slowly rolling them down to reveal her long legs. "Do you know," he murmured. "You were driving me crazy in this dress."
Lois reached forward and cupped the side of his face. "That was the idea … " As his hands continued to move across her skin, Lois closed her eyes, throwing her head back.
And fell into the tub, water splashing and spilling over the sides.
Stunned for a moment, Clark looked at Lois, her body half-submerged in the water. Recovering, a slow grin came over his face. "Are you okay?"
Lois moved to a sitting position in the water, the heat seeping into her pores, her body relaxing. With a sigh, she leaned against the tub. "Yeah." She looked at him and held out her hand, water droplets dripping from her fingertips. "Join me?"
Clark smiled and put his hand in hers and began to step into the tub.
Caught off-balance, Clark fell into the tub, more water splashing and spilling. Lois squealed.
Clark came up, sputtering, his hand combing his hair out of his face. He looked at Lois. "Why'd you do that?"
"You were taking too long."
Clark stared at Lois, her wide-eyed innocent look not fooling him for a second. He grinned. "Good thing this is a big tub."
Lois brought her hand up to the back of his neck. "Good thing there's lots of water." She pulled him toward her, their mouths finding each other. Water splashed against them, sloshing over and splashing against the linoleum.
Lois broke off the kiss, looked into his eyes and smiled. "You realize that we'll have to clean this all up afterwards."
Clark shrugged. "Yeah. Who cares?"
Much later, Lois sighed, her arms still loosely around Clark, and then held up her hand for Clark to see. "Time to get out of the water."
Clark chuckled as he saw her fingers all water-wrinkled. Scooping her up, he floated them out of the tub and toward the bedroom. Lois managed to grab a couple of towels as they floated by the towel rack.
Laying Lois on the bed, Clark wrapped her in the towels. Standing to the side, Clark looked down at her, focusing his heatvision for a few seconds. "Better?" he asked.
"Mmm. Warm and toasty." She watched as Clark quickly spun, drying himself and putting on a pair of sleep shorts.
Clark got into the bed and pulled Lois close to him. She snuggled, laying her head on his chest as Clark covered them both with the comforter. She sighed.
They lay there in silence, both of them counting their blessings.
Soon, the slow steady breathing of sleep was all that could be heard.