By Jacqueline Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted August 1998
Summary: Lois calls a radio show to ask advice on how to tell which man she really loves.
Anything set in *asterisks* is emphasized as in bold print.
Lois had cried herself out after telling Clark good night. She took the wad of Kleenex and put it in the trash can. What was she going to do? She couldn't tell her best friend her troubles; he was half of the problem. Lois realized that she had to talk to someone and the sooner the better. In the background the radio was running a late night call-in talk show, or maybe one should call it an early morning show now that it was 2 a.m.
"Yes, tonight we have Dr. Pierce here. Just about everyone has read his book 'Love Is All You Need'. We are ready to take our first call-in now."
Lois was impressed by Dr. Pierce's tact in handling smarmy, hysterical and embarrassed callers. 'He just solved that woman's problem; maybe he could solve mine. He could tell me how to know which man I love most or tell me what's wrong with me.'
Clark had just flown in from his late night patrol over Metropolis. He decided to turn on the radio and let it help him unwind from the tense situation he and the cops had just settled. Sometimes even Superman couldn't do it alone. He pulled the suit off, got some Twinkies and milk, and sat down in his skives next to the radio to listen some music. 'Oh yeah, this channel had good music all day, but only talk shows in the small hours. Bet a lot of insomniacs call in and lonely people too. What was the subject for tonight?'
"And now back to Dr. Pierce and our next caller from here in Metropolis. What is your name please?"
"I'd rather not say."
Clark choked on the Twinkie as he recognized Lois' voice. He missed the next couple of words while hacking the Twinkie back out of his lung.
"…call you Flame; if that's ok with you?"
Lois: "Flame will be fine."
Host: "I understand you have an uncommon problem romantically speaking. Please explain it to Dr. Pierce."
Lois: "That song [sings] 'torn between two lovers; feeling like a fool' is the position I'm in. I am deeply, and I am *not exaggerating* here, deeply in love with two men. It's incredible; I never would have believed it was possible to love two people the same way. I don't want to hurt either of them or myself, but the situation has to be resolved someway soon before I have a nervous breakdown."
Dr. Pierce: "Flame, do you feel the same desire for both of these men? Is sex with one of them better than sex with the other? What different things do you enjoy doing with them? Tell me a little bit about the situation. Call your friends A and B."
Lois begins pacing while twirling the phone cord.
Lois: "Yes, I do desire them both. I have never had a sexual relationship with either of them, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that they are both virgins. They know each other and are very good friends. I met both of them about the same time. I realized this evening that they are the only men I've trusted in the last 5 years. Lately B seems to be backing off from me as if he felt he was infringing on the other's turf. I don't really know what is going on between them but I know that B still loves me because I catch the look in his eyes. A and I work together and go out on dates. B's work keeps him on an erratic schedule; we get together when we can, but we are both subject to beeper interruption. So we have less time to spend together."
Dr. Pierce: "Do you know why don't you trust men?"
Lois: "My father walked out when I was 14 and I didn't see him again until I had grown up. I trusted a man once. I was infatuated and thought I was in love. I slept with him, but he didn't know it was my first time because I stretched instead of breaking. And he didn't keep his mouth shut. Everyone at work knew what had happened. I found out all he wanted was credit for my work. I decided then that since my judgement was so bad, I wasn't going to bed with anyone else unless I married him first. Every time I think I have found the right one, I find he is another user. Heaven help me, I almost became a trophy wife!
Dr. Pierce: "What happened?"
Lois: "I thought I had a wonderful man: kind, generous, thoughtful, practically perfect. As I walked down the aisle, I realized I was thinking about A instead of 'him'. So I called it off as soon as I joined 'him' at the front of the church.' It was a good thing I did since he turned out the worst *USER* of them all."
Dr. Pierce: "How do you feel when you're with A and B?"
Lois: "Safe, cherished, loved, protected. When they kiss me, I feel like I am flying."
Dr. Pierce: "When you say they, is this a menange a trois?"
Lois: "*No!* They are very straight — traditional gentlemen in the best meaning of the word. They seem to be doing ok. I am the one with the problem. I am starting to understand how well-meaning people come to commit bigamy. In my case it would be polyandry if it was legal. I just spent an hour crying my eyes out after getting a wonderful kiss from A. It was so fantastic I broke away when I started getting weak in the knees and shut the door in his face. It's ridiculous because when I kiss one of them, I feel like I'm being unfaithful to the other one, regardless which one I'm kissing. I know I can't keep this up. A minute ago I thought I can end all of this stress — by throwing myself out the window. *NO*, I can't because Superman would save me. It's just the type of thing he would do - darn it! Then I started thinking about pills; he wouldn't be likely to notice that. But I'm not going to do anything stupid like that so I turned on the radio to take my mind off things and there you were."
Dr. Pierce: "Flame, do men come on to you?"
Lois: "Yes, ever since I was in high school. But I found a sharp tongue can chase a lot of them away. They call me beautiful, but don't want to pay attention to what is important to me. They don't see me as a person, but as a object or a trophy. I think that is a reason why I love A and B - they *BOTH* listen to me. What I need is to know is how to tell which one of them I really love."
Dr. Pierce: "Flame do you ever make lists?"
Dr. Pierce: "I want you to make a list of the good and bad points of both men and what you love, like, and find interesting in both of them. Then call the station after the show goes off the air. Will you do that Flame?"
Lois: "Yes, and thank you."
Dr. Pierce: "You're quite welcome"
Clark: "Oh, NO! I have Lois so confused she wants to die. She mustn't do anything drastic. I have to tell her she is not in love with two people, just me!"
Clark goes to the patio door and opens it. Then he remembers his state of undress and shuts the door. Should he dress in the blue jeans or the blue suit? Being in a panic didn't help make up his mind. He thought, 'Which one of us would she be most likely to let in at 2:15 a.m. Clark or Superman? I could call first and then she wouldn't be shocked if either of us showed up. No, if I call, she could figure out that I had heard her on the radio. She would tell me it's too late for visiting. But if Superman flies by, sees her light on, and wants to know if she is sick or something, that would get him in and he can tell her. What am I thinking — Me, HIM, am I developing a split personality? I have got to talk to Lois right *now*.'
A tap on her window (several storeys up) made Lois look up from the lists she was making at the table.
She unlocks the window.
Superman: "Lois, may I come in?"
Lois opens the window and moves aside so he can enter.
Superman: "I know it's late, but I saw your light and wanted to make sure that you weren't sick or anything was wrong. Are you ok?"
Lois: "I'm physically fine."
Superman: "What about the rest of you? You look upset. Lois, you've been crying? What's wrong? Please tell me."
Lois: "All I can tell you is I'm the worlds biggest fool! Not only…"
Superman: "You're not a fool Lois; you are the most wonderful woman I have ever met! How can you say you are a fool?"
Lois' frustration has just reached a new high, an explosive grade high, so instead of turning the question aside, she told the truth, the fury she feels shows in her words. Even as she speaks the revealing truth, Lois is mortified that she said it.
"I'm the type of fool who falls in love with two men — you and Clark. I didn't want to. I just can't help myself."
Lois covers her face with her hands and turns away from Superman. He can hear that she has started crying again.
Superman: "Please turn around. I want to show you something that will make it all make sense."
Superman takes Lois' shoulders to turn her around. When she resists the turn, he picks her up just high enough to make her feet dangle and puts her down facing him. Then he started prying her fingers from her face.
Superman: "Lois, you can't see what I want to show you with your eyes covered. Just give me a minute of your attention and you won't have a problem."
Lois looks up and Superman whirls into Clark Kent.
This time Clark speaks with Superman's voice. "You see we are one and the same person. Clark is who I am; Superman is what I do. And both of us are in love with you."
Lois: "No problem! You super jerk!"
She runs into her bed room, slams the door and locks it.
Clark looks through the door at Lois who has thrown herself down on the bed and is crying the type of tears that make one gulp and shake. 'Great going Kent, she was already suicidal; if you keep this up, can changing that to murderous be called improvement. I wonder where those pills are?'
Clark: "Don't cry Lois. Lois, please open up and talk to me. I'm sorry that I'm a jerk. You can straighten me out."
'What was that Elvis music Perry was playing this morning? It said it well!'
Clark sings "Lois, I want you, I need you, I love you with all my heart. (Pause) Do you think your landlord will charge you less if I melt the hinges off than if I break the door down?"
He sees her head coming up as she says, "Don't you dare touch my metal door! I had it put up last month after our safety class and I had to pay for the whole thing and promise to leave it whenever I move out."
Clark: "You don't need a 'keep' with me Lois. You can come out and cry on my shoulder. Explain how I am a jerk so that I can improve. I know that this was a shock for you. Hearing you on the radio was a shock for me. When I realized what the problem was…how I had confused you… I was opening up my patio door before remembering I had stripped down to my shorts and flying over here might be embarrassing with so little on."
Lois: "Did you really?"
Clark: "I want to explain everything to you. And I would prefer not to have a door coming between us when I propose to you. Open the door or I will."
Lois pokes her head out. "Isn't marriage an extreme form of rescue? Hiccup."
Clark: "Yes, but someone has to save me from myself. If you won't, no one will. I fell in love with you that first day at the Planet. Every time I think it impossible to love you more, I find I am wrong again." He takes his handkerchief out and starts wiping the tear streaks off of Lois' face. He holds it over her nose and says "Now blow!"
Lois blows. "No, hiccup, one has helped me, hiccup, blow my nose since I was a little kid. Hiccup, hiccup, hiccup, hiccup." The hiccups are so hard they are shaking her body.
Clark: "We really need to do something for your hiccups!"
Lois: "Sugar a hic…a spoon of, hiccup, sugar will stop hiccups. Hiccup hiccup, I read it in the health section of the 'Whisper' hiccup"
Clark goes to the kitchen and gets a spoon and starts hunting for a sugar Bowl. "Lois where is your sugar?"
Lois: "Hic in the flour canister, of course. Hiccup, cupboard over the sink Hiccup, it just holds a 4 pound bag."
Clark returns with a loaded spoon. "Open up" and he slips the spoonful into Lois' mouth. "Then what do you put in your sugar canister?"
Lois: "My Darjeeling tea bags; a package fits perfectly."
By now Clark is laughing "And what goes into your tea canister?"
Lois: "Oh Clark, where else would I keep my instant coffee?"
Clark: "The coffee canister?"
Lois: "A small can of ground coffee for when I want to percolate. Not often, but sometimes I want really good coffee. The coffee pot and I had a major war and I finally won."
Clark: "And where do you put the flour that the sugar replaced?"
Lois: "Clark, I don't use flour; you forgot I don't know how to cook. I can open a can of soup and heat it up, fix a sandwich, a TV dinner, hot cocoa with marshmallows, coffee, tea, Kool Aid and that's the limit of my abilities in the kitchen."
Clark: "The sugar got rid of the hiccups."
Lois: "It's the only way that works. I used to try to drink water from the wrong side of the cup, put paper bags over my head, and all that stuff; nothing works like sucking on a spoonful of sugar."
Clark: "Let's sit down; it would be more comfortable."
Lois and Clark sit on the couch.
Clark: "Naturally the reason you felt the same way about 2 people was because it was really only one person, me. So you see there is nothing wrong with you at all. I must apologize. Both of my personas are in love with you and didn't realize the problem that was giving you."
Lois: "But which one is the real you?"
Clark: "Clark is who I am; Superman is what I do! I found out real fast that if I wanted to help people, and retain any type of private life, I had to have a secret identity. Superman *is* that identity. Without a secret identity everyone I care about would become targets for any villain who wanted to get to me. My folks, you, Jimmy, Perry, Starr, just about everyone I know would be in constant danger."
Lois: "Cheese of the month club. Ha! You have been using hair brained excuses to go to help, haven't you."
Clark: "I really do belong to the cheese of the month club; but you're Right. I was making getaways in emergencies. What would be the good of a secret identity if people noticed my always disappearing during emergencies when Superman appears. I had to have some cover to keep my secret."
Lois: "Why didn't you tell me? I would have been glad to help you get away."
Clark: "It wasn't safe."
Lois: "Dammit Clark, I didn't tell anyone about the kryptonite, why would I tell them about your secret identity? I don't want them to hurt you either."
Clark: "It's not that I don't trust *you*. I do. But when your father tells you at 4 years old: 'If anyone finds out what you can do, they'll take you away and dissect you like a frog.' By the time you are 25 you find it very difficult to tell anyone no matter how badly you want to. It's ingrained even more so to protect those I love since I went public as Superman. Lois, don't you know that having anyone suspect that you know who I am would put you in additional danger. Heaven knows that your being a friend of Superman's has already put your life at risk several times."
Lois: "But you always saved me. I still get into trouble on my own too. I did before you moved to Metropolis and still do now. All my danger is not related to knowing Superman!"
Clark: "Yes, and sometimes you have even rescued me. You are what Mom calls a strategic thinker."
Lois: "Yeah, I have enough strategy to get myself and occasionally you into a deep hole so it is a good thing that I can sometimes think my way out."
Clark laughs. "That's one of the many things I like about you, you don't take yourself too seriously."
Lois: "Speaking of seriously, what was that you said you don't do through a door?"
Clark: "Propose. I have never proposed through a door."
Lois smiling, "Have you proposed many times?"
Clark chuckles. "No, this will be my first proposal, but I feel it should be a face to face activity."
Lois: "It can't be that hard!"
Clark grinning. "If you think it is so easy, show me. I am a superfast learner. And remember to sound sincere."
Lois: "First tell me how much you lov…"
Clark: "No, don't tell me how to propose. Show me!"
Lois: "Do you want me to sound like you talking to me or me talking to you?"
Clark: "me talking to you."
Lois: "Clark, I have fallen in love with you. Not for any reason, not even for the special things you do. I just couldn't help falling in love with you. (Oh no. Isn't that another Elvis song — darn Perry.)"
At the point of mentioning "another Elvis song" Clark starts snickering remembering "I want you, I need you, I love you" that he had sung to her.
Lois: "Well! I don't think I am so funny."
Clark suddenly straightens up. "No Lois, it's not that. Remember what I sang at your door — another Elvis song. Perry has contaminated both of us. I finally broke down and bought an Elvis CD Wednesday. Now go on with the proposal."
Lois: "I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I can only do that if we get married. Say that you will marry me Clark."
Clark: "I will be happy to marry you Lois."
Lois throws the pillow off her end of the couch at him. "You rat. Now you will be telling everyone that I proposed to you."
Clark: "No I won't because Superman would get mad at me." He has started laughing so hard he can hardly stay on the couch.
Lois: "Laugh it up farm boy. Now it's your turn, just remember the rest of your life hangs in the balance. Split personality or not."
Clark suddenly sobers up, straightens up, and looks intensely into Lois' eyes. "It really does hang in the balance. I never got crushes in high school; never been in love before. I found out fast what being 'knocked for a loop' meant when I met you. Most of my friends were either married or in a relationship by then so I thought maybe there was some difference that kept me from falling in love with a human, and that I would have to spend the rest of my life alone. You destroyed that illusion just by walking in on my interview. When you walked out I was suddenly lonelier than ever because you had gone; I knew the funny feeling in the pit of my stomach was love. Dad had told me it hit him the same way.
[Lois' face has acquired the same intensity as Clark's as she strives to listen on every level to pick up every nonce in his voice.]
Since then you have been the most important part of my life, even when we were on the outs, I loved you and worried about you. Because I love you I find it tempting to give in when I shouldn't. That is how a couple of those life threatening experiences happened. Lois, you mean more to me than anything or anyone. I want to spend the rest of our lives together. On this world and in this country, marriage gives the participants certain rights to protect and cherish one's partner. If you are injured, only family are allowed in the ICU; if you are killed, the other spouse automatically raises the children; and insurance companies also give special benefits to the married and their children both for life and health. A couple who just lives together does not receive benefits from the support systems in our culture, and their children are bastards. I don't want to just live with you. Lois, I want us to both be so fully committed to each other that the only way is to *marry* me. I don't want people calling our children names they can't refute. So I won't just live with you; but I will marry you if you are willing. Even though you mean more to me than my life, I won't lie to you. I won't pretend I'll be the perfect husband and won't pretend you'll be the perfect wife. That is something that we should get better at with practice. No doubt we will find idiosyncrasies to drive each other crazy unless we compromise and work our way through them. You already have my heart — take the rest of me Lois. After all a man cannot live without his heart. Just say yes Lois, say you will marry me."
Lois feels flabbergasted. "You really thought that through. When did you start planning this proposal?"
Clark: "When you walked out of the interview room. I was simultaneously trying to answer Perry's questions and think of what I could do to convince you to marry me. I remember thinking 'Love at first sight. This is ridiculous; she could already be married with 3 kids and a bad personality. She would think a strange man who proposes out of the blue is really strange.' So I decided to try to get to know you before I proposed, and if you were already married, just be friends. It was my good fortune to find out you were single with a wonderful personality."
Lois: "I don't see how you could think I was wonderful the way I treated you at first."
Clark: "It was easy to see your cause for resentment — Perry unexpectedly teaming you with a neophyte who might slow down or damage your investigations. I was determined to prove good enough that you would want me on your team."
Lois: "You did. I would fight Perry now if he tried to split us. We make a great team."
Clark: "We are a great team. We could make a great team in our personal lives too if you give us a chance. I had hopes when we started dating that if worked out you would consider me husband material."
Lois: "I had just about given up on marriage — my track record is terrible with men. I suddenly realized that I didn't love Lex when I was walking down the aisle thinking of you. As embarrassing as it was with the wedding underway, I told Lex I would not marry him; and then the police came in and the whole wedding turned into a farce. That was the proverbial last straw. I keep picking the wrong men; men who would make my life hell if I married them. The logical thing would be to take a lover instead; then breaking up would be much easier. Clark, I was thinking of you as lover material not husband material."
Clark: "There isn't any reason why your husband cannot be your lover. If you don't trust your own judgement, trust mine. I believe the reason for the high divorce rate is that people enter marriage with ridiculous expectations. They think falling in love will solve all their problems; instead they bring all of their problems into the marriage and can't figure out why they still have problems. Or they create problems by trying to change their spouse. If they didn't like them the way they were, why marry them in the first place. Few adults are flexible enough to handle such major life changes. Arguing gets serious and then they get divorced blaming it all on their spouse. Look at it logically. I love you, I don't want to just be your lover, I want to marry you, I don't plan to change you, I won't ask you to stop your career and stay home to knit. When we disagree on something, and we will since we always have, we can talk it out and compromise like we do at work. Believe me Lois, your best course of action is to marry me. Marry me and you get a husband who is a lover and a [grin] chef with chocolate recipes."
Lois: "I know I love you Clark. But I don't know if I could marry you. I feel so confused. I still can't seem to consolidate the two of you into the one of you. Hiccup, hiccup. You seem to have thought this marriage idea thoro..hic..ughly..cup. Those are very interesting point you brought up, and I want to think about it for a bit hic hic hiccup."
Clark runs into the kitchen and back at super speed with a teaspoon of sugar. "You must be having stress induced hiccups."
Lois, sucking on the sugar: "Better that than the stress induced nervous breakdown I was working on earlier."
"Oh go home Clark and stop with the puppy dog eyes. We both need to get some sleep."
Clark: "I'll go if you make me a promise."
Lois: "What promise?"
Clark: "No matter how things turn out, you won't commit suicide; [laughs] it would ruin the wedding."
Lois: "I will promise to not consider suicide for a week if you will go home right now. And that is my best offer." The straight face is cracking up and she begins laughing. "After all everyone should keep their options open."