Date With a Stranger

By Mobile Richard <>

Rated PG-13

Submitted February 1999

Summary: After spending a passion-filled night with Superman, Lois discovers that her feelings for Clark run deeper than she'd ever realized. How will she cope with her growing feelings for her partner in light of her blossoming romance with Superman?

This heart-wrenching romantic comedy delves into the minds of our favourite couple as they desperately try to sort out one of the most peculiar love triangles of all time.


Lois stole a furtive glance at Clark's desk as she stepped off the elevator. Clark was already at work, typing furiously. She was glad he was so engrossed in his story because she wasn't quite sure she could face him yet. Not after last night; not after she and Superman had… She felt her face flushing rosily.

She had spent the evening with Superman…well, part of the evening. He had stayed for an hour, longer than he had ever stayed before, before he had finally left, mumbling about something he had to do. She had hoped he would return to her, had waited in her apartment this morning until she knew she would be late for work, but he had never come back. Well, he would be there tonight, she was sure. He wouldn't stay away now.

She bent her head over her desk and hid a smile as she wrapped herself in memories of the evening. She couldn't believe it…she had finally persuaded Superman to…express his feelings for her…had finally worn down his defenses. She had been forced to use a little trickery, of course, but only a very little. He had saved her life last night…again (How many times was that? She had lost count), and had flown her home afterwards. That was when she had tricked him. When he tried to leave, she had clung to him and cried that she was afraid to be alone and couldn't he stay just a little longer? He had shifted his feet uncomfortably and suggested that Clark stay with her but she had only cried more and said that she needed *him*…she wanted *him*.

He hadn't seemed too happy about that so she had said hastily that she would call Clark and ask him to come over if Superman would stay with her until Clark came. He had changed his mind then, and said that he could stay…for a little while. She had guided him to the sofa and sat next to him (why kid yourself, Lois, you practically sat in his lap) and had hugged him and clung to him, and before he knew it, she was kissing him and running her hands through his hair and down his neck, and caressing his back, until he had been kissing her and murmuring endearments in her ear.

To crown it all, he had whispered — and she was certain she had heard him correctly — that he loved her!

"'Morning, Lois," said a voice at her side.

"Good morning, Clark," she said, trying not to smile too broadly when she looked up at her partner. She did a quick double- take and examined his face in concern. "Are you all right?" she asked. Even in her love-intoxicated state she could see that Clark didn't look too well this morning. He was pale and had dark circles under his eyes as if he hadn't slept much.

"I'm okay," he said, avoiding her eyes. "I just have a headache. Do you mind if I don't go with you to Bridwen's today?"

"That's okay, Clark," said Lois, pleased that she wouldn't have to spend the day hiding her secret from Clark. "You go home and rest. I can handle Bridwen." Clark nodded and turned to leave. "And then you'll be rested for our stakeout this evening," she added, remembering their assignment just in time.

Clark halted in his tracks. He had forgotten that they were to stake out Winger's this evening. For a moment he struggled with himself, wanting to back out of any close contact with Lois, yet knowing that he needed to watch out for her so he could keep her safe.

"Okay," he said, making up his mind at last. "I'll see you there. Nine o'clock." He turned and strode away.

At home, he sank onto the sofa and put his head in his hands, groaning. What had he done? How could he have given into temptation and acted that way with Lois? As Superman!

He had really messed things up this time. For sure. Because he couldn't keep seeing her like that. Not as Superman. But how was he going to tell her? He groaned again, getting to his feet and pacing rapidly back and forth, trying vainly to think of a way out of this, willing himself to *want* to find a way out of this. For truth to be told he did not want to give up Lois. He thought of her soft lips touching his face, her voracious tongue probing his mouth, her little hands caressing his neck, and he writhed. How could he give that up…how could he face never feeling that again?

He ran his hands through his hair and paced. And paced.


Back at the Planet, the first rosy glow had faded and Lois was beginning to feel tired. And a little guilty. She was wondering how she was going to keep this a secret from her partner and best friend. And keep it secret she must; not just because it was Superman, but because of…well, because of Clark. She knew how he felt about her and she just didn't think she could tell him about her and Superman. Not yet anyway. He'd have to find out sometime, of course; she couldn't keep such a secret forever, but…she let out her breath…she didn't think she could face telling him just yet.

At nine o'clock that evening Clark slipped quietly into the seat of the car.

"Clark!" said Lois brightly. "Are you feeling better? You look terrible! Are you sure you want to do this?" She half hoped he would back out and go home so she wouldn't have to spend an entire evening *not* telling him about her and Superman.

"I'm fine, Lois," said Clark quietly, not looking at her.

"I brought Chinese take-out," said Lois, "in case we get hungry, and I brought tapes…" she held out a handful of cassette tapes — more than they could have listened to in a week, let alone one evening, "…and some cards so we can play gin, and I've brought a bottle of wine…" maybe she could get Clark to drink himself into a stupor so she wouldn't have to talk to him, "and we can…"

"Lois, it's fine," said Clark tiredly. "I'm not hungry and I'm not thirsty and I don't want to play cards. Why don't you put in a tape and we'll listen to music?"

Lois hastened to do as he suggested, her fingers trembling so much that she could hardly insert the tape. What was the matter with her…why did she feel so nervous?

And what was wrong with Clark? He seemed so upset, almost as if he knew; but he couldn't know, could he?

Then she thought of something that made her blood run cold. What if Clark had come to her apartment last night? What if he had heard her…them? What if he had heard her with Superman? She cringed, even as she wondered why she found the thought so upsetting. She didn't know why, but suddenly she couldn't bear the thought of Clark knowing. It would hurt him and she couldn't stand to think of hurting her partner and dear, dear friend.

The two sat in silence, each busy with his own thoughts. Eventually, Clark's head began to droop and his eyes closed. He had not slept in two days…after he had left Lois's last night he had flown around the city until dawn, and until now he still had not slept. As he became more drowsy, his head came to rest on Lois's shoulder. Her first impulse was to push him away, then she thought of the hurt that was in store for him and her heart reached out to him. Slowly she placed her arms around him and pulled him down until his head was resting on her breast. "Poor Clark," she whispered tenderly, stroking his hair once or twice. She dropped her own head and rested it against his, closing her eyes.

Clark slept heavily at first, then gradually began to awaken. He was in heaven. He was lying in Lois's arms, his head cradled against her while she stroked his hair and spoke softly to him. In his foggy state, he couldn't hear what she was saying, but the tone was unmistakable. Half dreaming, he reached for her, kissing and nuzzling her neck.

Lois stirred and smiled in her sleep. She was lying in Superman's arms, reveling in his caresses as she felt desire awaken. She opened her eyes sleepily and saw…Clark…fervently kissing her neck. Clark! It was Clark who was making her feel so good, Clark who was awakening in her more ardor than she had felt ever before…even with Superman! Squealing with rage, she pushed him violently from her.

"Wha…!" Clark woke up completely and stared at her in astonishment. Lois drew her hand back and slapped his face, hard. Finding that even that wasn't enough to relieve her feelings, and unmindful of the stinging sensation in her hand, she slapped him again. And again. He was backing away from her as far as the seat would allow, pressing against the door as he put his hands up to ward off the blows.

"Get out!" screamed Lois in fury.

"Getoutgetoutgetoutgetout…!" Her hands had balled themselves into fists and she was raining blows on his arms, his hands, his chest, any part of his body she could reach.

Clark, devastated by the loathing he saw in her face, and with no way of knowing that the loathing was for herself, not him, opened the door and fell into the street. Stumbling as he hurried away from the jeep, he retreated into a dark alley, where he spun into his Superman costume. His first thought was to take to the skies and go away…anywhere…but he couldn't leave Lois alone; this stakeout could become dangerous for her. So he flew to the roof of a nearby building and kept silent watch over her for the rest of the uneventful night. It was only when she started the car and drove away with the first streaks of dawn that he flew home and at last allowed himself to give way to despair.


Expelling Clark from the car had not discharged the last of Lois's rage. She sat frozen in her seat after the door closed behind him, her mind reeling. Never had she been aroused to such passion…anger or desire. And it was Clark who had done it! Why had he done it? Shy, quiet Clark, kissing her like that. How dare he! HOW DARE HE! She beat her fists against the steering wheel, sobbing. How dare he kiss her like that and how dare he make her feel such desire and how dare he make her love him! She dropped her face into her hands, crying bitterly. For she did love Clark. She did love him. Not just as her partner and her best friend, but she loved him…like that. Like she loved Superman. She sobbed her heart out as she realized at last how much Clark meant to her. And now it was too late. She had just begun a relationship with Superman! What was she going to do?


It was shortly before dawn when she reached the realization that she was going to have to tell them. Both of them. However painful it would be for all three of them, she would somehow have to tell the two men that she loved them both. And then, assuming they both still wanted to see her, she was going to have to choose.

When Collins appeared to take over the stakeout, Lois reluctantly put the car in gear and drove home. Reluctantly, because she really needed to be alone right now, and it occurred to her that Superman might have gone to her apartment and even now be waiting for her…

She was relieved to find no sign of him, no sign that he had even been there to read the note which she had left for him in case he stopped by while she was on stakeout. She showered and dropped into bed, exhausted.

It was late the next morning when Lois got up. She was glad this was a holiday weekend and Perry had given Clark and her four days off; she didn't want to face Clark until she had talked to Superman. Superman! Where was he, anyway? She switched on the television to listen for news of him. No, nothing. Well, maybe he was out of town…or even out of the country.

When Superman still hadn't shown up by the middle of the afternoon, Lois decided that she needed to talk. She really should talk to Superman first since she had (blush) already thrown herself at him, but she knew she had to talk to Clark, too, if only to set him straight about why she had repulsed him so horribly last night. She remembered the utterly crushed look on his face when she had driven him out of the car. What he must be going through now!

She dressed with care, then pale but determined, made her way to Clark's apartment. She knocked for quite some time without any response and was just about to leave, thinking he must be out, when the door opened. "Clark, I…" she began and stopped. He had looked upset when she had beaten him out of her car last night, but she was totally unprepared for the change in his appearance. Unwashed, unshaven, and still wearing the same clothes he had worn to the office on Friday, he presented the picture of a man in the depths of despair. It was the look in his eyes that frightened Lois the most. They looked so lifeless, so…so dead. She caught her breath. "Clark, may I come in?" she said quickly. He hesitated, then nodding dully, moved aside.

Lois stepped down into the living room and took a few hurried paces back and forth. "Clark, I wanted to talk to you. About…about last night."

Clark shook his head. "Lois…"

"I wanted to explain to you…"

"Lois, you don't have to say anything. I'm sorry I…bothered…you and it won't happen again." He turned and faced away from her, unable to tell her that he had decided to quit his job and leave Metropolis.

Lois ran around in front of him and placed her hands on his shoulders, looking bravely into his eyes. "Clark, let me explain. Please."

"That's not necessary…"

"Yes, Clark, it is. But, first I want you to know how hard this is for me…" she swallowed, then continued in a rush. "You see, Clark, I've started…seeing…Superman." Clark shuddered and put his face in his hands. "I'm sorry if it hurts you but I have to tell you, I have to let you know how I feel…"

"Lois, I know how you feel. Toward Superman and toward me. You've made that plain enough."

"No, you do *not* know how I feel and I have not made it plain. What you think is not what I feel!"

Clark blinked. He was too tired to try to decipher Lois's cryptic statements now.

"Clark, it's true you've known for quite some time how I feel about Superman, but what you couldn't know is that recently Superman and I have become…been…well, like, dating…" Clark gave a cry and put out a hand as if to ward off a blow. "Clark, I'm sorry if I'm hurting you, but this is hurting me, too, and you have to know because you have to understand…what you don't know, what you couldn't know, because I've only just realized it myself, the other night, when you were…kissing me…"

"Lois, no, don't…!"

"What you don't know is that I feel the same…that is…the way I feel about Superman…the way I feel about you…that it's the same…Oh, Clark, can't you see that I'm so confused! This is tearing me apart! I love Superman!"

Clark groaned.

"…and I love *you*! I don't know why, or how I can love two men at once and I feel so confused and so selfish and I know this isn't fair to you…to either of you, but it isn't fair to me, either, and I had to tell you and I'm sorry if I hurt you and I need to tell Superman, too, but I don't know how to find him…"

Clark had gone very still. Lois covered her face in her hands and sobbed. Why was she telling Clark all this? She knew she must be hurting him terribly. She was so selfish! She felt him come up to her and gently put his arms around her. "No, Clark, I can't!" she said, trying to push him away. "I haven't talked to Superman and I have to talk to him, too…"

"Lois, Superman knows," said Clark tenderly, as he gently but firmly kept his arms around her.

"No, you don't understand! I haven't talked to him! I have to tell him!"

"Lois, listen to me! I'm telling you Superman knows! Look at me!" He put his hand under her chin and gently raised her head. "Watch," he said, loosening his tie and beginning to unbutton his shirt. Lois pushed him away in sheer fright.

"Clark, I can't!" she almost shrieked, the scream dying on her lips when he pulled his shirt open and revealed what lay beneath it. "Clark, what are you doing?" she said, her lips white. "Why are you wearing that Superman costume?"

"Because," said Clark, "I'm…" he choked. He couldn't say it. He still couldn't tell her. After all this time; all these months of wishing for it, longing for it, he still couldn't tell her that he and Superman were the same person. He stopped, breathing hard while he watched her face, waiting for her to realize the truth. Then, because she was staring at him without any real comprehension, he took off his glasses, holding them in one hand. Her face had gone very white. She backed away.

"No," she whispered, "it can't be."

"It is," said Clark, reaching for her tenderly.

"No!" screamed Lois, striking out at him.

For the second time in two days, Clark felt the full brunt of Lois's anger. She stormed and screamed, pacing back and forth in a frenzy of anger while Clark stood still, not trying to stop her in any way, but waiting and hoping for the storm to pass. He hardly heard her tirade, though; one thought was dancing in his head: Lois loves me! Lois *loves* me!

At last her arms fell to her sides and she stood with her head hanging, sobbing. Clark reached for her with a new tenderness, murmuring her name, but she struck him angrily away. "How could you??" she spat.

Clark looked at her tear-streaked face and tried once again to put his arms around her, trying to tell her how much he loved her, but she was through. She jerked away from him, and snatching her bag, almost ran from his apartment. The joy that Clark had felt at Lois's revelation died as quickly as it had been born. He wanted to run after her, but she was clearly too enraged to talk rationally with him now. He couldn't let her go out alone in this state, though, so he spun into the Superman costume and took to the skies, keeping a watchful eye on her all the way home.

Lois stumbled into her apartment and flopped down on the sofa, still trying to deal with the blow she had just received. Clark is Superman. *Clark is Superman!* How is that possible?

She put her head in her hands and moaned as she realized the implications of what Clark had just revealed.

There is no Superman! No alien who came to earth to fight for truth and justice! The noble superhero who mysteriously dropped out of the skies to rescue her…to rescue everybody…did not exist! It was Clark the whole time! Just Clark. The ordinary farm boy from Kansas.

She began to cry at the sense of loss. No Superman. No mysterious hero swooping down to right the wrongs of the world. She put her face in her hands and cried disconsolately.

In a very few minutes, though, she stopped crying and raised her head as a new thought occurred to her.

This was all wrong; wasn't she looking at it backwards? The man who had saved her, had saved the whole world, in fact, was Clark.

The superhero she had looked up to and worshiped all this time was Clark. Superman existed all right, and he was Clark. Lois squirmed as she began to remember all her previous interactions with Clark. Clark was Superman and Superman was Clark. It was Superman she had been so contemptuous of the day he had joined the staff at the Daily Planet! It was Superman whose story she had stolen! She shuddered. It was Superman she had taunted and humiliated and browbeaten and treated with offhanded near-contempt.

Lois writhed with shame.

Then the final, appalling thought sank in; *the man she had come on to, the man she thought was Superman, was Clark.*

She had put the moves on Clark. All her carefully-erected barricades, all the rules that she had painstakingly explained to Clark when she had first met him, had been voided with her partner and her friend, completely without her knowledge. She had walked into the office the next morning to face her shy partner, unaware that he had seen her violate her precious rules and she hadn't even known it.

It was a horrible trick.

She felt violated. And sick.

It was at this rather inopportune moment that her telephone rang. Lois disregarded it, pacing back and forth while rage bubbled up in her again. The answering machine beeped and Clark's hesitant voice said, "Lois, it's Clark. I think we should talk. I'm sorry about…about everything, but I want to tell you…" he choked, "Just give me a call, Lois, okay? Please?"

In two steps Lois was at the telephone. She picked up the phone and spat into the receiver, "I don't want to talk to you. Ever again." Click.

She couldn't say it. Couldn't say the words. "Clark Kent, you tricked me. How could you?"

She hadn't known it was Clark.

No wonder Clark had caressed her so freely when they were on stakeout the other night. He had already kissed her, made out with her.

How could he have done this to her? Betrayed her like this? He had disguised himself as Superman and tricked her into letting him come on to her. She groaned. That wasn't true; it was *she* who had come on to *him.**She* had come on to Clark. True, she had thought it was Superman, but it had been her hands that had stroked his hair, her lips that had kissed his neck and ears, her tongue that had plunged into his mouth, her insistent body that had goaded him beyond control…

But he should have told her that he was Clark. How could he have taken such advantage of her? He had probably laughed about it all the way home. And in the office the next day, coming up to her so innocently, knowing that she…that he…what they had done!

Then Lois remembered his heavy-lidded eyes as he stood in the office that morning.

His pallor.

How he had avoided her gaze.

He certainly wasn't laughing.

For the first time it occurred to Lois how hard it must have been for Clark. She had been practically throwing herself at him every time he came to her as Superman. And Superman, she remembered, had always been so standoffish. Now she knew why. He had been trying *not* to take advantage of her. Trying to avoid just what did finally happen.

She thought back, trying to sort out her feelings. She didn't know how long she had known that Clark loved her; it seemed like forever. She had been annoyed at first, then by turns pitying, resigned, accepting, and finally, she realized, loving it.

She remembered the dreams she had been having for months now and for the first time they made sense. In her dreams she would be kissing Superman, and just as the passion began to mount, his face would disappear, to be replaced by Clark's. She had been furious with Clark for intruding on her dreams of Superman; some mornings after having had such a dream, she had found herself being unusually testy with her partner.

She remembered the last dream she had dreamed, less than a week ago. She had been running after Superman, calling to him, and when he turned to face her and take her into his arms, she saw that it wasn't Superman at all, but Clark. He had bent to kiss her and she had raised her lips willingly to his… Strangely, she hadn't been angry with Clark after that dream, but had felt the beginnings of a new tenderness.

She paced back and forth in the kitchen, thinking hard. She had come to depend on Clark more than she had been willing to admit to herself. She had started counting on him being there when she needed him. And he always was. More than she had ever realized. For when he wasn't there as Clark, he was there as Superman.

She thought of Clark loving her despairingly the whole time, loving her as Clark…and as Superman. He could have come to her as Superman long ago and she wouldn't have repulsed him. And yet he had stayed away. Tried to, anyway. But she had tricked him.

And he had been upset.

She remembered Superman's face when he had flown away. That look, which she had misinterpreted as concern over some disaster that he had to attend to. And which she now realized was concern for what he had done.

Clark had been upset the next morning; that's why he had gone home from the office. He had said he had a headache, but Superman didn't get headaches, she remembered.

She remembered Superman's shy kisses. But it wasn't Superman; it was Clark. Poor Clark…she choked.

Suddenly she had to see him…she couldn't wait. She snatched her handbag and raced out the door, stumbling a little in her haste.


Clark was slumped at the table with his head buried in his arms, bitterly reflecting on how another of life's curve balls had been thrown at him. All his life, ever since he had begun to develop superpowers, he had been forced to hide that part of himself, convinced that his alien nature would drive people away. He had always feared that people would regard him with revulsion if they knew.

When he had decided to disguise himself as Superman and reveal his abilities to the world, the first person to be exposed to his superpowers was Lois Lane, and to his delight, rather than being repelled, she had been almost embarrassingly attracted to him. Clark had already *noticed* Lois, but her blatant attraction to his superpowers had sealed his fate forever. She knew he was an alien, yet she still loved him.

But, oh, the bitter irony! Because Lois, loving the alien, had scorned the man who had disguised himself as an ordinary Earthling.

Which put Lois as much out of his reach as if she had been disgusted by his superpowers rather than enamored of them. For Superman could never marry, couldn't have a girlfriend, couldn't even risk appearing too close to anyone. He had waited months for Lois to notice Clark Kent. He had just about given up hope. Which was perhaps why he had succumbed to her importunities when she had made advances to Superman three nights ago.

And then he had found out that she loved Clark Kent after all.

When it was too late.

Because he had tricked her. She was furious. And she was never, ever going to forgive him.

He groaned, wondering at the twists and turns fate had taken.

Suddenly he lifted his head, his sensitive hearing catching the sound of footsteps in the street below. Lois's footsteps. She was coming here! His heart thudded against his ribs.

He rushed to the bathroom and showered and shaved at super speed. Changing into a sleeveless sweatshirt and pair of shorts, he sat down to wait for her arrival, scarcely daring to breathe.

Lois pounded on the door to Clark's apartment. "Clark???" she called. "It's me, Lois. We have to talk. I know I said I never wanted to talk to you again, but I guess I've realized that we really do need to talk and I don't want to bother you but…"

The door opened and Clark was standing there. He looked better than he had earlier in the day…at least he had showered and shaved…but he was still pale.

"Can I come in?" asked Lois. Clark stepped back and allowed her to enter.

"Lois, I'm sorry…" he began hoarsely.

At sight of him she remembered what they had done the other night and suddenly she couldn't meet his eyes. "Clark, you…you and I…we…Clark, you kissed me and I didn't even know it!" she burst out, blushing.

"Lois, I know, and I can't tell you how sorry I am; what I did was unforgivable," Clark said, running his hands through his damp hair with a tortured expression on his face. Lois stole a glance at him. Clark seemed completely unable to look at her. He was the one blushing now. Clark was blushing! Somehow his discomfort restored Lois's own confidence.

She stepped up to him and removed his glasses, sweeping his hair off his forehead with one hand while she studied his face. Clark didn't move. He looked so miserable that Lois's heart went out to him. She wanted to hug him, but when she thought of what he'd done…! "You rat!" she said. She hit him again, as she had the night before, but lightly this time.

Clark caught her hand and held it to his chest. He looked down at it, then gazed into her eyes. "I wanted to tell you…" he choked.

Lois shook her head. "You rat," she said again. "We still have to talk."

Clark nodded and led her to the sofa. Lois sat down first, with Clark taking a position a little away from her. Lois felt a warm rush of feeling at his nearness. She had not expected to feel this way…she had thought she was too mad at him, but she found herself wanting to edge closer, to throw her arms around his neck and kiss him as she had the other night. But she wasn't going to come on to him *again*! Let *him* make the first move this time!

Clark cleared his throat. "Lois, I want you to know how hard this has been for me, and how glad I am that you know…" while he talked, he could feel the heat of her body. He shifted uncomfortably as he remembered how passionately her mouth had invaded his the other night. He wished she would kiss him like that again, but he guessed that she probably wouldn't want him as much now that she knew he was just Clark. Besides, she was justifiably furious with him. He wondered if she would ever forgive him.

Lois listened to Clark's explanation with growing impatience. She knew how hard this had been for him…she had figured that part out already! Her anger was gone and she wished he would just shut up and do something. She eyed him as he talked, his face flushing as he squirmed in his seat. She had been preening herself on kissing Superman, but the real triumph had been in succeeding in breaking through her shy partner's defenses, she suddenly realized.

And now she was going to have to do it all over again. A horrible thought occurred to her. Maybe he doesn't want me! Maybe I really did force myself on him! Then the memories rushed in…Superman's hot kisses, Clark's blind nuzzling on the night of the stakeout. She grew warm and found herself looking away. Well, if he really wants me, why doesn't he shut up and kiss me? Finally she could stand it no longer.

"Clark, you talk too much," she said.

"Wha…?" Clark's mouth hung open as Lois slid over to him and put her arms around his neck, giving him that glowing look that she had previously reserved exclusively for Superman and that the Clark Kent side of him had only begun to catch glimpses of in recent weeks.

"Clark," she said huskily, "you're not going to make me come on to you *again*, are you?"

"I…" Clark gasped, his eyes almost starting from his head. He began to stammer something so disjointed that Lois couldn't help smiling.

She edged closer, running her hands up the back of his neck and plunging her fingers into his thick hair. Clark closed his eyes, hardly able to take a breath. Unable to contain himself any longer, he snatched her to his chest and brought his mouth down on hers. Lois sighed and gave herself up to the moment.