By Molly <MPSL27@aol.com
Submitted February 1999
Summary: When Lois and Clark are forced to take time off work, they decide to take a vacation together. Will Clark be able to hide his secret identity? How will Lois cope without life threatening situations? Will Mattress Man and Bumper Boy succeed where others have failed? Find out in this fun story!
[Author's Note: This is just a piece of fluff … a long piece of fluff … that I wrote because I wanted to write something where Lois and Clark just have fun together. This story takes place in the early second season, probably right after "Operation: Blackout". Lois and Clark are still just friends, but Clark would like to be more, and Lois doesn't know what she wants! Thanks to Jenn, for making me finish this. Hope you enjoy it!]
"Lois, I was wondering — "
"Yes?" Lois said, shuffling through a stack of papers. Only when Clark didn't answer right away did she glance up at him. "Did you want something?"
"Yes, actually," Clark said nervously. This wasn't going to be easy. He adjusted his tie a few times, and prayed he didn't have any food stuck in his teeth.
"Clark, if you've got something to say, say it," Lois said, sounding impatient.
"Okay. Lois — I was wondering. Um, do you want to go to a movie with me?"
Her eyebrows shot up. "Sure," she said, trying to hide a smile, as she quickly turned back to the papers she was sorting. She hoped Clark wouldn't notice the smile.
"You do?" Clark could hardly believe it.
She turned back to him, the smile suppressed, and tried to act cool. "Sure, Clark. You and I are friends. We're allowed to go to the Cineplex every once in awhile. Well, as long as you're paying," she added, jokingly.
"Okay," Clark agreed. "But, Lois — I wasn't. I mean, I didn't really want us to go as — as friends. I was kind of hoping this could be like, like more of a date."
"Clark, you're beginning to stutter," Lois said.
"No, it's okay!" Lois assured him. She had to feel sorry for Clark — the poor guy was obviously becoming something of a major wreck. "Now, Clark, listen to me. I'd love to go to the movies with you. And if you want to go as 'more than friends', that's okay, too. But this is not a date."
"Well … what's the difference?" Clark was confused.
"When two people go to the movies as 'just friends', they go to an action movie. When two people go as 'more than friends', they go to a romantic comedy."
Clark nodded. "Go on."
Lois continued. "And when two people go to the movies on a date, it really doesn't matter what they see, because they only care about one thing and one thing only: making out in the back of the theater." Lois smiled, proud of her movie-viewer analysis.
"That's very insightful, Lois," Clark said.
"Thank you, Clark. So, when are we going to the movies as 'more than friends'?"
"How about tomorrow night?" Clark suggested.
"Fine," she said, smiling. "Now we'd better get back to work before Perry explodes. Not that it wouldn't be fun to watch, but think of the mess! It wouldn't be pretty."
"Okay," Clark grinned, and high-tailed it back to his desk, just seconds before Perry bellowed: "Lane! Kent! In my office! Now!"
"Uh-oh, we're in trouble," Clark muttered. He snuck a glance at Lois, who didn't look at all worried about the possible wrath that Perry had in store for them.
"Sit down," Perry ordered, and Clark and Lois sat.
"What's this about, Perry?" Lois asked eagerly. "Is there a scandal? A murder? I need a good story," she added.
Perry shook his head. "I have something even better."
"Ooooh, what is it?"
"Some time off."
Lois just sat there. "You wanna run that by me again?"
"Lois, you two have been through it all, lately. Lois, you've nearly drowned. You were kidnapped. There have been bombs going off, and villains seeking revenge … it's a miracle you two aren't playin' for the Angels by now!"
"Perry, I'm always getting kidnapped," Lois whined. "It's no big deal, it goes with the job description."
"Lois, I just don't want you two to get burned out. Now, I'm giving you both *at least* a week off. If you need it, you can have two weeks. What do you say, Clark?"
"I say, 'great'!" Clark said.
Lois glared at him, then turned back to Perry. "Chief … "
"Now please don't 'Chief' me, Lois! Just go home, and relax. I'll see you back here soon enough."
"But — "
"Lois, do I need to remind you who's in charge around here?"
Lois frowned. "No. But you haven't heard the last of me!" she said, before turning and stomping out of Perry's office.
Clark stared after her. "Thanks, Chief," he said to Perry. "Really."
"No problemo," Perry said. "Oh, by the way, on your way out, would you tell Jimmy I need some jelly doughnuts?"
"This is ridiculous!" Lois informed Clark as they left the Daily Planet building. "TAXI!" she yelled.
"Lois, you do realize that most people in your position would be thrilled to be getting some paid vacation?"
"I'm happy, Clark. Really," Lois said, not sounding at all convincing.
"Are you sure?"
"Totally. This will be a fascinating week for me. I can do my taxes. I can work on my tan — well, except that it's November. I can call my mother. TAXI!"
"I have a better idea," Clark said, sounding hesitant but hopeful.
"And that would be? Where are all the taxis? This is Metropolis, there's supposed to be at least one cab in sight at all times. Metro cabbies are so unreliable, I swear … "
"Why don't we do something?" Clark suggested. "As friends," he added quickly. "We could … take a trip."
"A trip?!" Her eyebrows nearly shot right off her forehead. "Clark! You … and me?"
"Sure, why not? We could stay in separate hotel rooms, of course."
She gave him a strange look, then turned away from him to consider this. The perplexed and thoughtful look slowly seeped off her face, and she smiled. "Okay."
"Okay?!" Clark cried.
She laughed. "Yes! We only live once, and Perry's right. We won't be around forever, not with evil villains on the loose, ready to pounce."
Clark rolled his eyes.
"So," she continued. "Where should we go?"
"You said you wanted to take a trip. Now the question is … where?"
"Why don't we go to Krazyworld?" Clark joked.
"Wha — perfect!? Lois, I was kidding."
"Why not? I've always wanted to go there."
"You have?" Clark asked incredulously. "Boy, I learn something new about you every day."
She smiled sweetly at him. "I still have *some* secrets," she informed him.
"Yes. Really. So it's settled then?"
Clark just stared at her.
She raised her eyebrow at him. "All right, I'll call the travel agent first thing in the morning. This is going to be great, Clark." She patted him on the back. "We'll have fun."
"Lois, are you *sure* you need four suitcases?"
It was two days after Perry had given his two star reporters some time off, and Clark had just arrived at Lois's apartment. They were going to take a cab from there to the airport.
Clark set one suitcase and a small duffel bag on the floor of Lois's living room.
"Yes, I need four suitcases," Lois answered. "One for clothes, one for shoes and socks, one for hair accessories and make-up, and one for everything else: my camera, a notebook, some reading material, some Double Fudge Crunch Bars … wait a minute. Did I just say that out loud?"
"Yes you did. Do you have the tickets?"
"Yes!" Lois said happily. "At least I didn't lose those in all this mess. Here," she said, handing them to Clark. "They'll be safer with you. I've had a heck of a morning, Clark. You wouldn't believe how many vases I've broken."
"Oh, you know, one thing always leads to another. When I started packing, I realized I didn't have nearly enough sun block. After all, we are going to Florida, and even in November, I think we're going to need sun block. Anyway, I figured I could just run to the store for some. So I did. But when I got back, I realized I also needed toothpaste. So instead of just charging back to the store, I decided to just start a list. That way, I could write down everything I need and just go shopping at once. A list is an amazing idea, Clark, someone should have thought of doing that sooner. Anyway, so then I got home and tripped over an open suitcase and broke the lavender vase, so adios lavender vase, and *then* when I was digging through my closet, looking for my flowered sundress, I saw what looked like an arm. An *arm*, Clark. I was so scared, I backed up really fast, bumped into my night table, and knocked the clear vase off. So, as you can see, I've had quite a morning."
"Breathe, Lois!" Clark begged. "Now what were you saying about an *arm*?"
"Oh, it turned out to be the hose to the vacuum cleaner."
"Those things can be deadly," he said.
She rolled her eyes. "Come on, let's get going. The plane leaves in two hours." She paused. "Two hours? Aren't we being just a little bit *too* prepared?"
"You can never be too early for a flight, Lois."
"Ah, ancient Smallville wisdom rears it's head. Thank you, Clark."
"Anytime," he said, picking up two of her suitcases. "Lois?"
"We are *never* going to get all of these suitcases downstairs."
Twenty minutes later, after quite a bit of consolidating and leaving behind useless items ("An electric blanket? Lois, I think the hotel will be providing blankets."), Lois and Clark were lugging two suitcases apiece. Lois's purse was over her shoulder and Clark was struggling with his duffel bag. Down the elevator, out the front door of the building, and out onto the sidewalk they went.
They had a much easier time snagging a cab that day, and made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare before their flight.
"I'm so excited, Clark," Lois said, as they were waiting to board their plane.
Clark smiled. He was more than excited, but he wasn't going to admit that. Spending any time with Lois, even at work, was completely thrilling to him. Now they'd be vacationing together. Sitting next to each other on the plane. Staying in adjacent hotel rooms.
Could life get any better than this, he wondered?
Their flight was announced, and Lois and Clark boarded the plane with only the light load of their carry-ons (those pesky suitcases had been sent to the baggage department). Lois was elated to discover she had a window seat, and she made herself comfortable right away.
"Oh, look, Clark! Look at all these magazines!" Lois exclaimed, poking through the little pouch on the back of the seat in front of her. "The Wall Street Journal, Hamburger Helper Monthly, The Fisherman's Guide to Quilting … " She looked troubled. "Why on Earth would anyone want to read that?" she wondered. "Oh and look," Lois said, trying hard not to laugh. "The ever-handy air sickness bag. I've never, ever seen anyone use one of these things," she informed Clark.
"Believe me," Clark said, taking the barf bag from Lois and burying it behind the magazines. "That's not something you ever would *want* to see."
When the fasten-your-seatbelts sign light turned off, Lois unbuckled her seatbelt and stretched her arms. "I'm thirsty," she announced.
"The beverage carts will be coming by shortly," said a tall, bony flight attendant, who was passing by and had happened to overhear Lois's comment.
"Thanks," Lois said, rolling her eyes when the flight attendant had left. Clark saw that and grinned. "You know, Clark, this feels like a dream."
A dream come true, Clark thought. But all he said was, "It does?"
"Yes. I've never been the kind of person to do this — I mean, just *decide* to go on a trip like this."
"I thought you went to the Bermuda Triangle in September," Clark said.
"No, that never worked out. It's a long story," she added with a sigh. "The last time I took a vacation was a little over a year ago. I went on this Daily Planet ski trip, and I ended up breaking my ankle. What a nightmare! Before that? The last time I took a vacation was when I was in college. You?"
Clark let out a deep breath. "I don't even remember," he said. "Before I came to the Planet, I traveled the world, but I wouldn't exactly call that a 'vacation'. Sure, I got to see the world, but I was working on stories for various newspapers the entire time."
"The 'Borneo Gazette'," Lois remembered, chuckling.
"Yeah." He grinned.
She looked at him strangely. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I just can't … seem to get comfortable," Clark said, changing positions in his seat. "I guess I'm not used to flying," he said, not really aware of what he was saying.
"It's not for everyone," Lois said.
What's not for everyone? Clark wondered. Being so in love with someone, that you can't even sit still because every bone in your body wants you to get up and scream with joy because the woman you love is actually sitting next to you on a plane, something you never thought would happen, and you can't even get up the nerve to tell her how you really feel?
"I guess not," was all he said, and was relieved when the beverage cart came rolling by. He ordered coffee. Black. But what I really need, he thought, is a good smack upside the head. Lois ordered cream soda. Clark swore to remember that she loved cream soda. Someday, maybe, there would be a reason for her to come over to his apartment. Some reason other than "there's a madman out to get me!" And she would be thirsty, and he would offer her cream soda, cold from his refrigerator, and she would say "thanks, Clark. It was really sweet of you to remember that I liked cream soda." And he would smile and say, "That's what friends are for … " And then she'd …
"If you're not going to finish that coffee, could I have it?"
He handed her the coffee. "It's all yours," he said.
She took the cup and sniffed it. He watched her, amused. "Clark, what's with the black coffee?" she asked. "If I know you, you're more of a gimme-all-the-cream-and-sugar-you've-got coffee drinker."
"People change, Lois," he said, the whole time thinking to himself — she knows what kind of coffee I like! And at the same time, wondering why the heck he had ordered black coffee, since airline coffee tended to taste like cardboard, anyway, and besides — he hated regular coffee.
"Yes, people change," she echoed, sipping the coffee.
The in-flight movie started just then, and Lois and Clark rented headphones. Lois eyed her headphones carefully before putting them on. "I hate these things," she confided in Clark. "You never know where they've been. Think of all the ears that have touched these. All those ears … "
"Well, you really should only worry about the ears of the person that touched the headphones the last," Clark said. "Here, put yours on."
She did. He did the same.
"Now switch," Clark said. He removed his headphones and handed them to Lois, and she removed her headphones and handed them to Clark. They put on their new sets of headphones.
"Still worried about the last pair of ears that touched your headphones?" Clark asked.
"Not anymore." She smiled. "You?"
"Not in the least," he said, and they settled back to watch the movie.
"Oh, Clark, this is beautiful!" Lois exclaimed, dropping her suitcases in the doorway of her hotel room. "And your room is right next door!" she said. "There's even a door that joins the two rooms. Quick, go into your room and unlock your side of the adjacent door! Neighbor," she added, playfully.
Clark opened the main door to his room and stepped inside. His room was identical to Lois's, except the furniture was set up a little differently. But both rooms had a queen size bed, a desk with a chair, a sofa, and a bathroom. Not to mention a sliding door that opened onto a small balcony that overlooked the resort.
Clark dropped his luggage and unlocked the door that led to Lois's room. She was waiting for him, and as soon as he opened the door, he was met with a grinning Lois.
"You won't believe this!" Lois said, taking Clark's hand and pulling him into her bedroom. "Look at all these souvenirs. Soap, shampoo, and a shower cap in the bathrooms … stationery and pens in the desk … and a phone so we can order room service!" she cried.
"This is great, Lois," Clark said. "I know what you mean, about what you said earlier. I can't believe we're really here!"
She smiled at him, as if they shared a special secret only they understood, and then turned toward the sliding glass doors. "Come on, let's see the view," she said.
Clark followed her out onto the balcony, and they couldn't help but gasp at the sight before them. Sprawled out over miles and miles was the most beautiful landscape imaginable. Water parks, a golf course, hotels … and, of course, Krazyworld itself. "That's it," Lois said. "Let's unpack later, we're wasting time here — let's get out there and start having fun!"
"You don't have to tell me twice," Clark said, running into his room to change.
Five minutes later, they met in the hallway outside their bedrooms. Both Lois and Clark had changed into more comfortable outfits that were suitable for the warm Florida weather. Instead of a purse, Lois had everything she needed in a little waist pouch. Clark, being a guy, had everything he needed in his pants pockets. Lois just had to tease him about that.
They took the elevator to the hotel lobby, walked past the elaborate fountains, and out the front entryway. From there, they boarded a tram that would take them to a dock, where they would board a boat that would take them to Hippo Island, which was supposed to be a lot of fun.
Hippo Island was crowded. Screaming kids swarmed about, being chased by frazzled-looking parents. Elderly couples walked along, hand in hand, lost in themselves, as if nothing else in the entire world mattered but them. Babies slept in strollers. Kids begged for ice-cream. Teenagers ran to get in line for the wildest rollercoaster of them all: The Terrifier. And in the midst of it all, Lois and Clark were having a blast.
By the time the fireworks had been shot into the air and the neon glowsticks the little kids were buying so they could twirl them in the air were not even entertaining those kids anymore, Lois and Clark decided it was time to call it a night. And so they went back to the hotel and consecutively collapsed in their own beds, and didn't wake up until seven a.m. the next morning, when they woke up, ready to start what they hoped would be a memorable day.
Lois was never one to be overly concerned about her appearance. When dressing for work, she usually wanted to look good, or, at least, professional, but the last thing she expected was to be concerned about her appearance while on a vacation at Krazyworld. Yet, here she was, trying to decide what sundress she thought Clark would like. And at the same time, she wondered when Clark's opinion of her had become so important. Deep down, she knew that no matter what she wore, Clark would tell her she looked great. So she threw on her dark grey Union Bay shorts and a white T-shirt with a big yellow smiley face, and prayed that Clark wouldn't think she looked like a freak.
He didn't, of course. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and he looked … amazing. In fact, he looked more amazing then she had ever seen him.
"You look good," she told him, meaning it as a friendly compliment and not as a … well, whatever would make him think she had a thang for him or something. Because she didn't. They were just friends. Weren't they?
Clark grinned. "So do you."
His smile, she thought, was also amazing. "Thanks. So, where to first?"
"How about breakfast?" Clark suggested.
"Breakfast it is," she declared. They found a great little restaurant on the lower level of the hotel, that claimed to serve "world-class, state-of-the-art, fabulous, mouth-watering pancakes." After breakfast, Lois and Clark sort of walked aimlessly outside the hotel, admiring the many fountains, swimming pools, and the shrubs that had been trimmed to be shaped like animals.
It was a little after nine a.m., now, and the warm autumn sun was starting to blaze down on them. Clark, of course, wasn't bothered by this, and Lois was grateful she had slathered plenty of sun lotion on before leaving the hotel.
"Why don't we go to one of the water parks today?" Clark said. "It's a great day, and I'm guessing it's only going to get hotter."
"Great idea," she said.
A short while later, Lois and Clark were showing their passes at the entrance of the water park. They changed into their swimsuits in the dressing rooms, stashed their stuff in a mini-locker, and prepared to get cooled off.
"I've never been to a water park before," Clark admitted.
"Really? Don't they have water parks in Smallville?" Lois teased.
He shook his head. "One of the few disadvantages to living in Smallville," he said, "is that we don't have three things: professional sports teams, huge shopping malls, or water parks."
"Well, then I have something to tell you, too," Lois said. "I've never been to one either."
"So this is a new experience," Clark said.
"Yep. Now, I'm dying to check out this wave pool everyone at the hotel restaurant was raving about."
Since it was still early in the day, the wave pool wasn't extremely crowded, and Lois and Clark were able to easily make their way to waist-level water. Lois looked around. "I don't get it … I thought there were supposed to be waves. Where are the waves?"
"Just wait!" a man next to her said. "The waves should come on in a few minutes … and when they do, the waves will probably go over your heads … this is the deep end. If you want to brave the deep end, you should get one of *these*," the man said, proudly showing off his blue air mattress.
"I'm a good swimmer," Lois informed the man.
The man just laughed. "Yeah right, and I'm John Travolta. You land lovers don't stand a chance."
A few minutes later, music started blaring through the speakers, and the water started to ripple.
Clark smiled at Lois. "Here come the waves!" he said. "Are you sure we're not in too deep?" he asked, sounding just a little bit worried.
At first, the waves just came up to the middle of Lois's stomach, but in no time, they were getting bigger and bigger. They WEREN'T waves like at the beach, the kind that break and make a white foam. They were just like very big ripples … and they were getting bigger by the second. Each time a ripple went by, everyone in the wave pool would be bounced in the air, and then let back down when the ripple went by.
Mr. Air Mattress Man was standing on his air mattress and trying to run over poor, defenseless swimmers. "Swimmers suck!" he shouted. "Wa-hoo!"
Mr. Air Mattress Man was having the time of his life, but Lois was starting to feel seasick. "Clark, let's go to the water slides now," she called. "Clark?" Another ripple went past, and she turned to look for Clark, but he was nowhere in sight. "Clark!?" she yelled.
The music coming through the speakers was deafening, and another ripple went by, this time bigger than the last … oooh, she didn't feel good. "Clark!" she called again as she was propelled in the air and just as suddenly, dropped again.
Mr. Air Mattress paddled in front of Lois and prepared to ride the next wave. As the ripple came up, Air Mattress Man flew right up in the air, and came down … right on top of Lois.
Lois was shoved under water. Frantically, she tried to push the air mattress off of her, but she didn't count on this claustrophobic feeling she was getting. She was holding her breath, but the ripples kept coming, and just as she was sure she was going to suffer death by an air mattress, someone grabbed her hand and pulled her to the surface.
Lois gasped for air. "Clark!" she cried, when she saw who had rescued her. "Thanks," she added, gratefully. "That stupid guy on the air mattress had me pinned under water — where'd he go?" she asked. She saw Air Mattress Man poke his head out of the water.
"Hey, where'd my air mattress go?" he yelled, but the mattress was nowhere in sight. "Hey, that thing cost me six bucks!" the man yelled, sounding very ticked off.
Clark guided Lois to the shallow end of the wave pool, and they stepped out of the pool. "Are you okay?" he asked worriedly.
"Sure, I'm fine, thanks to you," she said. "I wonder what happened to his air mattress, anyway?" she wondered.
Clark just shrugged, but as they passed a garbage can, he tossed something small and blue into it. Lois didn't notice.
Back at the hotel, Lois was lying on her newly-made bed and talking — loud enough for Clark, who was in the next room, changing his clothes, to hear. Naturally, he could have heard her, even if she was whispering in the middle of a crowded room, but she didn't know that, and he wasn't about to tell her.
"The water slides were fun," Lois said. "Except for that one. I swear, Clark, the guy at the top of the slide told me it was all clear to go down. How was I supposed to know there were two girls still in the slide? I didn't mean to run into them! When we got to the bottom of the slide and landed in the pool, I apologized a million times, but they looked like they wanted to kill me. But I swear — it wasn't my fault!"
Clark came into the room and sat on the bed. "I know it wasn't … but it was funny," he said, narrowly avoiding a pillow Lois decided to throw at his head.
"Promise me … no more water parks?" Lois begged.
"It's a deal," Clark said, laughing.
"All I want to do, for the rest of the day, is just relax," Lois said. "But if you want to go into Krazyworld, don't let me stop you."
"Are you saying you want some time alone?" Clark asked, not sure what, exactly, she wanted.
"No … " she said. "Unless you do."
Clark paused. "What??"
Lois tossed another pillow at him. "I know this vacation was just supposed to be for us, as friends, to take together. But we don't *have* to be together all the time. I mean, we have separate hotel rooms. And it's perfectly fine if we do things separately. So … do you?"
"Do I … what?"
"Do you want to do things separately?"
"Not really," Clark said. "Unless you do … I mean, I don't want you to get sick of me," he said playfully.
"Clark, we're partners. We work together, day in and day out. If I was going to get sick of you, it would have happened a long time ago."
"Good point," Clark said.
"What about you?
Clark raised his eyebrow. "Uh … you lost me."
"Are you sick of me?" she wondered.
"I could never be sick of you Lois," he said sincerely.
"That's so sweet!" she exclaimed. "So if I'm not sick of you, and you're not sick of me, do you think we can stand each other long enough to go out to dinner tonight?"
"I think that can be arranged," Clark said.
"Good," she said, a slow smile spreading across her face.
"What are you thinking about?" Clark asked.
"I'm just picturing the look on Perry's face, when we get home and he asks how we spent our vacations. Do you think he'll die of shock when we tell him we spent our vacations together?"
"I think you can bet on him needing some serious CPR," Clark said.
The next day, Lois had big plans. She and Clark were up early again, and they were going to spend the entire day at Krazyworld. The travel agent had given Lois a mini-book, "The Idiot's Guide To Krazyworld", which listed all the best restaurants and attractions, and in which order they should visit them. The book had been recycled, back in Metropolis.
And so they were pamphlet-less and adventurous — two thrill-seekers in the big land of Krazyworld.
The weather had changed a bit since the day before, and now it was cool with a chance of light rain in the late afternoon. Clark was wearing a pair of dark jeans, a blue T-shirt, and a flannel shirt. Lois had on a flattering white T-shirt, jeans, and a sweatshirt with its arms tied around her waist. They took the tram to Krazyworld, showed their passes at the gate, and entered the park.
"Where to first?" Clark asked, surveying the scene.
"Let's play it by ear," Lois suggested. Clark nodded in agreement.
They sauntered down Sunny Lane, and as they did, they could smell a million different things — lemon cakes and doughnuts from the bakery, spun sugar and chocolate from the confectionery, ice-cream from the ice-cream parlor …
Clark glanced at Lois. She looked like she was in Heaven, amongst the chocolatey aromas. Just being near her was better than having all the chocolate in the world, and it felt great. On an impulse, he took her hand in his. And amazingly enough, she didn't pull her hand away.
They went across a little wooden bridge, over a sparkling blue pond. On the other side of the bridge was a fancy entryway. "Come on," Lois said. "I think the rides are this way. Did I ever mention I love rollercoasters?" She grinned.
"I sort of thought you would," Clark said, smiling back at her as they went through the entryway and got in line for Bazoo Bear's Thunder Adventure. They had to wait in line for almost a half an hour, but soon they were being seated and strapped into little cars. And then the ride began.
A few minutes later, Lois and Clark emerged from the ride.
"What'd you think?" Clark asked.
"It was totally lame," Lois replied, matter-of-factly. "I'm more of a speed-em-up, ride-em-cowgirl type of girl. That ride? That was a let's-go-through-a-dark-tunnel-and-around-the-corner ride. My grandmother wouldn't be scared of that ride, and she's eighty-eight."
Clark laughed. "You're right. But are you sure you want to go on a roller-coaster? I mean, we just ate breakfast."
"Clark," Lois said. "My stomach can handle anything. Trust me! Now, I hear one of the best roller-coasters here is The Exterminator. And my gut instinct tells me it's … that way."
Sure enough, they reached the Exterminator, waited in line for awhile, and got on the ride. "This is going to be a blast," Lois told Clark as their little coaster car started to move into the darkness. Suddenly, they were propelled through the air, blasted into hyperspace, spun around, dropped, tilted, shot forward, dipped, skyrocketed, and shot like a cannon. The ride was over so fast, Lois barely had time to scream.
As she stepped onto the ground, she felt a little unsteady. Clark grabbed her arm and helped her over to a park bench. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'll be … fine," she said, as she watched the people walking in front of them do somersaults and other acrobatical things, before coming to a general standstill … and yet, keep walking. She managed a small laugh. "You seem to be asking me that a lot, lately. Am I all right? Am I okay? You remind me of someone … "
"Yes, but I'll be fine. Let's just try a tamer ride, okay?"
"Want to go on Bazoo Bear's Thunder Adventure again?" Clark teased.
Lois, who didn't have a pillow to thwap Clark with this time (and besides, her arms didn't feel like moving, let alone thwapping) suggested they just walk around some more. They wound up in a cheesy souvenir shop, where Clark dragged Lois into a photo booth, where you could get your pictures taken in a tacky Bazoo Bear frame.
Then they went on the bumper boats, where Lois managed to plow into Clark's boat several times (he was very good-natured about it, she noticed), before getting bumped into, herself, by someone who looked very familiar …
It was Mr. Air Mattress Man, from yesterday! And as he recognized Lois and Clark, an evil grin cross his face as he planned his attack.
Lois quickly steered her boat out of the maniac's path, and sped ahead, but Mattress Man was closing in on her. Clark saw what was happening, and manoeuvred his boat in between Lois and Mattress Man.
CRASH! Mattress Man's boat slammed into Clark's boat. This gave Lois a chance to get away. Clark moved his boat away from Mattress Man, but Mattress Man followed Clark, yelling "You're gonna get it!". However, Mattress Man was no match for Clark, who had lightening-fast reflexes and managed to lose the guy in no time. Except, now, Clark had lost track of Lois, too.
He finally spotted her across the pond, frantically trying to get away from a kid in a yellow bumper boat. The kid, who looked to be about thirteen years old, had somehow managed to lock Lois in a corner, leaving her no escape route.
Clark sped his boat up and headed toward the boy at full speed. As he approached the boy's boat, Clark saw Lois point to him. The boy turned to see where Lois was pointing, and when the boy saw Clark heading toward him, his eyes got very wide and he sped off. Clark managed to slow his boat down, and avoided hitting Lois's boat.
"Thanks," Lois said, gratefully, just as a buzzer sounded, alerting all boats to return to the dock: their ride was over. "I swear, some people can be so rude!"
As they got out of their boats and stepped onto the dock, Lois pointed to something. "Hey, look!"
Clark looked. Mattress Man and Bumper Boy were joining up with two girls — the same two girls Lois had nearly killed (by accident) in the water slide the day before!
Lois and Clark looked at each other. "Small world," they said in unison.
"Scary," Clark added. He smiled at Lois, and they took each other's hands as they walked off to find a place to eat lunch.
Lois and Clark ate dinner at a cutesie kiddie place in Krazyworld. Bazoo Bear and Rickley Rabbit served them dinner. It was all Lois could do not to start cracking up, right as Bazoo was serving her a Chinese Chicken Salad with extra tomato.
After Bazoo left, Lois said, "Have you ever thought about who is inside those costumes?"
Clark pretended to look shocked. "Costumes? Lois, do you mean to tell me that isn't *really* Bazoo Bear?"
"Don't make me throw a piece of lettuce at you," Lois warned, laughing.
After dinner, they walked along the boardwalk overlooking Krazyworld Bay. As they passed a vendor selling cotton candy, Lois just knew she had to have some. "I'll take one cotton candy, please," she told the vendor. She paid a dollar-fifty and she and Clark were on their way.
She offered some cotton candy to Clark, and he took some, thanking her. Just as he did, he noticed she had a little cotton candy on her nose.
"Lois, you have — ", he said, trying to point without everyone in Krazyworld noticing.
"What?" she asked, sounding alarmed. "What do I have?" She felt her face.
"You have some … " he began, and then started laughing and couldn't stop.
"Clark!" she cried, sounding exasperated and amused at the same time. "What is it!?"
Helpless to the laughter that controlled him, Clark reached over and brushed the cotton candy off of Lois's nose. "You had this," he said. "On your nose."
She didn't miss a beat. "It's a new fashion statement," she informed him. "Cotton candy on the nose is all the rage in Paris … or so I've heard."
"Really," he said, suppressing his laughter for a moment.
"Yes, really. Here," she said, pulling off a bit of cotton candy. She put it on Clark's nose. "See?" she said. "You look great. Very fashionable. Very chic."
Clark grinned, and took some cotton candy of his own and placed in on Lois's nose. He pretended to look thoughtful.
"I wouldn't say 'fashionable'," he said. "But on you, anything looks great."
She studied his face, not sure whether he was joking or serious. But she said, "Why, thank you, Clark," and took his hand as they continued along the boardwalk, the destination: their hotel.
The next morning, Clark was awakened early by a steady knocking on the door. He got out of bed, threw on a shirt and his glasses, and realized that the knocking was coming from the door leading to Lois's room. He opened it.
"Yes?" he said, raising his eyebrow at Lois, who was fully dressed and ready to go.
"Clark, I realized about an hour ago, while I was lying in bed, that we only have two more days of vacation left, and plenty we still need to do. So," she said, inviting herself into his bedroom and sitting on his bed, "I think we should get an early start this morning. You with me?"
He gave in. "Why not?"
Her face broke into a smile. "Great! I'm going to go downstairs to the lobby, to the gift shop, to get a new strap for my sunglasses. How about if I meet you at the Pancake Shack in fifteen minutes?"
"Okay," Clark agreed, and Lois got up to leave. But before she went out the door, she seemed to have an afterthought, and she turned back to Clark. "This has been a lot of fun," she told him, and then turned, and left.
Clark quickly showered and got dressed, and went downstairs to meet Lois. They were staying on the tenth floor of the hotel. As the elevator descended, two teenage girls got on the elevator at the sixth floor, and an elderly gentlemen got on at the fourth floor. And somewhere between the third floor and the second floor, the elevator jerked to a stop.
"Um, what's going on?" one of the girls asked, looking annoyed.
"Probably an electrical failure," the old man said, sounding wise. "These things happen all the time. Very rarely do they result in a catastrophe."
"Very rarely?!" The girl cried. "You mean sometimes there are catastrophes?"
"Calm down, Jenn," the second girl said. "We're only on the third floor. If the elevator were to plummet to the ground, we wouldn't be in too bad a shape."
"Speak for yourself," said the old man. "Haven't you ever heard of an elevator catching fire? Spontaneous combustion? Bombs?"
"Bombs!" Jenn yelped.
Clark decided it was about time to intervene. "There are no bombs," he assured the girls, glaring momentarily at the old man. "Now, doesn't this elevator have a phone or something?" It didn't. So Clark pressed the emergency button, and covered his ears a split second later as an ear-deafening alarm went off.
"Now look what you did!" the old man scolded Clark.
Clark ignored the man and glanced at his watch. He was supposed to have been meeting Lois right now! Dumb elevator. If there weren't other people in the elevator, he might have tried to find away to super-escape. Then again, the elevators were probably monitored by security cameras — he checked — yep, they were, and the last thing he needed was for a super feat to be caught on tape.
The alarm was shut off just then, and a woman's voice came over an intercom. "Don't worry," she said. "There seems to have been a minor electrical failure."
"Told you," said the man, sounding very pleased with himself.
"We'll have you out of there in no time," the voice assured them. "Just please be patient … and stay calm! There is no need to panic."
"Sarah, why do they always tell you there's no need to panic, when there actually is a need to panic?" Jenn asked, sliding to the floor in a sitting position. Sarah joined her. Clark figured he might as well sit, too, if they were going to be there awhile. The old man just looked ticked off, and he made faces into the security camera.
"I have no idea," Sarah said. "But I have to go to the bathroom."
The man turned slowly away from the security camera, and looked at Sarah. His eyes got very wide, and he turned back to the camera. "Help!" he hollered.
Lois glanced at her watch for the thirty-third time. Where was Clark? Maybe he got delayed, she thought. She decided to go back up to their rooms to look for him. When she got to the elevators, there were some workers by one of the elevators. "What's going on?" Lois asked.
"Sorry, ma'am, the elevators are out of order," one of the workers said. That's when Lois noticed that there were signs pasted to every elevator that read: OUT OF ORDER.
Well, no wonder it's taking Clark forever to get downstairs! Lois thought. He had to walk down ten flights of stairs! She went back to the Pancake Shack to wait for Clark.
"We're going to die," Sarah told Jenn. "We're going to starve to death and then we are going to die."
"No we're not," Clark said. "We'll be fine."
"That's what I thought, when I was in the war," the old man spoke up. "There were paint bullets flying past me, but I told myself I'd be all right. Then I stepped in a booby trap and fell six feet into the ground. Broke my leg."
"What war was this?" Clark asked, looking confused. Paint bullets?
"I'll have you know it was the Annual War at Camp Callerbucky. My team, the blue team, won five years in a row. Until 1939, that is, when our team was sabotaged by the red team. God help them the next year, though, we told ourselves. We vowed revenge, but sadly enough, the camp burned down that November."
"Tragic," Clark said, glancing at his watch for the fifty-ninth time.
"Clark, where were you?" Lois demanded, both angry and worried, as Clark — finally — made his way into the Pancake Shack.
"Didn't you hear? The elevators got stuck. That's where I was," he said, sounding apologetic.
"You were stuck on an elevator?"
"Between the second and third floors," Clark said. "If you don't believe me, you can ask Mr. I-was-in-the-war over there," he said, pointing to the old man he'd been on the elevator with, who was being yelled at by his significant other for being late.
Lois studied him. "I believe you," she said. "Let's eat — I'm starving!"
"Strike!" Lois screamed, doing a little dance.
"Congrats, Lois," Clark said, grinning as he gave her a high-five. "I never knew you were such a great bowler!"
"What can I say?" Lois said. "I guess I was born to bowl."
"I guess so," said Clark, picking up his bowling ball and flinging it down the lane. He made a face as the ball rolled into the gutter.
"Better luck next time," Lois said, giving him a playful nudge.
"Thanks," Clark said, as he waited for the ball to come up through the ball return. When it did, he tried again. This time, he knocked over nine pins.
Lois won, 145 to 72.
"You're such a good sport," she told Clark as they left the bowling alley and emerged onto the crowded streets of Krazyworld. "I mean, if I went bowling with any other guy, they would be all concerned about showing off. And about winning. You … you're just there to have fun." She smiled up at him. "I like that."
"Thanks," Clark said, returning the smile. "You were great in there," he added. "A real natural."
Lois took a bow. "Thank you, thank you," she said.
They sat down on a park bench, and Clark ordered Sno-Cones from a nearby vendor. As they ate their Sno-Cones, Lois suddenly said, "Clark, this is the best vacation ever. Do you think, when we get back to Metropolis, maybe you and I could spend more time together, away from work?"
Clark didn't even have to think about the answer to that one. "Definitely," he said. And then he smiled.
"Step right up, win a prize!" the man in the striped shirt and funky hat called to all passers-by.
"Ring toss," Clark stated, eyeing the game in front of them.
They were back at Hippo Island, and had somehow found their way to the infamous ring toss. They watched some people pay and throw their rings, but no one was winning anything — until Lois and Clark stepped up.
"Ring a stick, win a prize," the man, who was starting to sound like a broken robot, said. Lois and Clark handed him some money, and the man handed them five rings each. "If you get at least three rings around a stick, you win one of those," the man said, pointing to a pile of jumbo plush hippos.
Lois threw. She missed.
Clark threw. He hit the ring man in the head. "Sorry!" he apologized.
"Heh, heh, that's okay," the ring man said. "Try again."
Lois threw — she ringed a stick!
Clark threw — he hit the ring man in the leg.
Lois threw — she ringed a second stick.
Clark threw — and ringed a stick.
Lois threw — and missed.
Clark threw — and ringed another stick.
It all came down to this. If either one of them ringed a stick on their final ring, they would get a prize.
Clark threw — he purposely missed.
Lois threw — and she won! The ring man handed her a giant purple hippo. As she and Clark walked off with their prize, Lois asked, "Do you think this is weird?"
"That you won and I didn't?" Clark teased.
"No, this hippo."
"Totally," Clark said. "It kind of looks like a bear, not a hippo. And the fact that it's purple, well, that sort of seals its fate as an object of weirdness. What are you going to do with it?"
"Clark!" someone shouted.
Lois and Clark both turned to see who had just called Clark's name. Clark gasped. "Mayson?"
Mayson Drake ran over to Clark and hugged him. Lois glared at Mayson. Mayson noticed the hippo and gave it an odd look.
"What are you two doing here?" Mayson asked. "I'm here on business."
Lois didn't believe her. "You're on Hippo Island … on business?"
Mayson didn't take her eyes off of Clark. "Actually, I'm in Florida on business, and I thought I'd come here for the day, just to see what all the fuss is about. Have you ridden The Terrifier yet?" she asked. "It's the most amazing roller coaster."
Clark glanced at Lois, remembering how she'd felt about The Exterminator. He'd bet his salary that she wouldn't very much like The Terrifier.
"I don't really like roller coasters," he told Mayson.
Mayson shrugged. "Oh, well, that's okay, they're not for everyone. Cute hippo, Lois … did Clark win that for you?"
"No, actually, *I* won it for me," Lois said matter-of-factly.
"It's … um, cute," Mayson said.
"Yes, you said that," Lois said.
Lois eyed Mayson like a cat that had just seen another cat cross into its territory. Mayson ignored this, and batted her eyelashes at Clark.
"So, where are you staying?" Mayson asked.
"Nowhere!" Lois said, before Clark could say anything. "And it was great to see you again, Mayson, but you know, darn … we have dinner reservations to go to."
"It's three in the afternoon," Mayson said.
"It's an early dinner," Lois shot back. "Come on, Clark."
"Bye, Mayson!" Clark called as Lois dragged him off.
Clark was laughing. "Imagine, running into Mayson Drake, of all people … of all *places* — here."
"This world is just so small," Lois said dryly. "And getting smaller," she added. "Oh look, Clark! The Flying Hippo ride! We have to go on that."
"Flying hippos?" He grinned. "Now there's something you don't see every day." He and Lois found the end of the line for the hippo ride, and when they were almost to the front of the line, one of the ride operators asked them, did they want to ride in one hippo or separate hippos?
Lois glanced the purple stuffed hippo in her arms, and decided to go with "separate hippos," just as Clark replied "one hippo, please."
Clark stared at her. "You want to be in separate hippos?"
Lois shrugged and nodded. Clark tried to hide his disappointment as he told the ride operator, "Two hippos, please."
What's the big deal? Clark asked himself as he climbed into his yellow hippo car. Lois, meanwhile, was discovering that there just wasn't room enough in her hippo car for the two of them — that was, her and the purple stuffed hippo. She squeezed and smushed and stuffed it, and — although it was a tight squeeze — both Lois and the purple hippo were able to be seated in that hippo car.
The ride began. Basically, the hippo cars just went up and down, and they all went around in a great big circle. On each car, there was a control handle that allowed the person riding in the hippo to control how high or low their car went.
The problem was, that big purple hippo in Lois's car was blocking the control handle. She pushed it over a little, but she still couldn't reach the handle, so she pushed the purple hippo over even more. She finally got a hold of the handle and made her car go as high as it could go.
And her purple hippo chose that very moment to fall out of the car. Down, down, down it went. Lois dared to look down below as someone hollered, "Ow!"
As Lois and Clark were walking away from the ride, Clark noticed the absence of Lois's purple friend. "Hey, where'd your hippo go?" he asked.
"You mean *this* hippo?" a voice spoke up. Lois and Clark looked down.
It was Bumper Boy! And he did not look happy.
"Yeah, that would be THE hippo," Clark said, not even sure he wanted to know how Bumper Boy had gotten it. He found out a moment later, though, when Bumper Boy said angrily, "This hit me on the head! I'm going to sue you!"
Lois rolled her eyes. I mean, please! The kid barely came up to her chin. "It's a stuffed animal," she said. "How badly could it have hurt?"
"I'm still gonna sue you," Bumper Boy said. "What are your names!?"
"John and Jane Doe," Lois said sarcastically.
The kid looked smug. "Well, Mr. and Mrs. Doe, you'll be hearing from my lawyer! And I'm going to keep this hippo, as evidence."
"You do that," Lois said. "Come on *John*," she said to Clark.
Clark grinned. "Coming, Jane."
That evening, Lois wanted to see it all. "Clark, there's a light show we just *have* to see. And the fireworks! And we still haven't been on Splash Fountain, the Rascal Rollerderby, or the Arctic Frenzy."
They had returned to Krazyworld (the actual park) for their second-to-last evening of their vacation. Neither one of them wanted to acknowledge that tomorrow night would be their last night there. Where had the time gone?
"All right," Clark agreed, as they headed toward the rides. Just as they were about to get in line for Splash Fountain, Clark noticed a sign that said the line for the Go-Cars was only five minutes long.
"Let's do that," Clark suggested, and they were soon getting into separate Go-Cars. Clark's car was in front of Lois's. They hit the gas pedals and sped off through the course. About halfway through, they had to slow down because there were some slow cars ahead of them on the track.
As they slowed to almost a complete stop, someone plowed into the back of Lois's car. Lois turned around. "Hey, what do you think this is?" she shouted. "Bumper cars?"
The woman in the car just grinned. She was missing two teeth.
Lois sighed and turned back around. The slow cars up ahead were speeding up, and she took off. That's when the engine of her car just … died. She took it personally. "Hey, how could you do this to me?" she yelled at the car. "Dumb car."
The toothless woman crashed into her. Again.
"Great, just great!" Lois muttered, repeatedly pushing on the gas pedal, hoping to get *something* to happen, but the car wouldn't budge. She looked ahead for Clark, but he and his car were long gone.
Someone crashed into Toothless Woman. "Hey, what's the hold up?" the man yelled. Lois turned around to look at the man, and realized that he looked familiar … it was the old guy — the one Clark had said he had gotten stuck with in the elevator that morning!
Lois shrugged her shoulders. "My engine died!" she called to the people that were starting to line up behind her.
"Cars," Toothless woman was saying. "You can never trust 'em."
"I used to be a mechanic," the old guy offered. "But that was back in the war. Now I'm a dentist."
"Isn't that fascinating?" Lois muttered. "How is that going to help me NOW?" she shouted.
"I … I don't know," Old Guy said. "But ya don't have to yell!"
Lois glared at the old guy. She was trying to picture what he would look like — toothless.
"Thanks for getting me out of that mess earlier," Lois was saying.
They were back at the hotel. They had just gotten home from watching an amazing display of fireworks at Krazyworld, and even though it was almost midnight, neither one of them was tired. Lois was lying on Clark's bed, and Clark was sitting at the desk, writing his parents a postcard.
"No problem," Clark said, not looking up from his postcard.
"How did you know my car had died, though?" Lois asked.
"It was pretty easy to figure out," Clark said. "When I got out of my car at the end of the course, and waited for ten minutes for *your* car and you never showed up, I kind of had a hunch that something was wrong. So I told one of the ride operators. I'm glad everything turned out okay."
Lois nodded. "Yep. A really cute guy named Phil came and filled my Go-Car up with gasoline. Phil … filled … hmmm, weird coincidence. *Anyway*, I'm not tired at all. Are you?"
Clark shook his head.
"Well, I hear the hotel arcade is open 24 hours," she said, with a sparkle in her eye. "What do you say … Partner?"
"I say you better watch out, because I am an expert at pinball."
"Well it just so happens, I am an expert at Skee Ball."
Clark grinned. "You're on!"
The next morning, Clark woke up at eight. He listened with his superhearing, and heard Lois breathing softly and evenly in the next room — she was still asleep. He didn't know if he should let her sleep in or wake her up. If he let her sleep in, they would waste their last morning at Krazyworld. Their plane back to Metropolis was scheduled to depart in just twenty-six hours. But if he woke her up, he was likely to lose an arm or something.
Finally, he decided to wake her up … but gently. She stirred and then opened her eyes. When she saw him, she smiled. "Morning, Clark," she said.
"Morning," he answered. He dared to wish that someday he'd get another chance to wake her up in the morning. Everything about her looked perfect first thing in the morning. Even her hair, which was sticking out in every direction imaginable, looked great.
After breakfast, Clark and Lois changed into their swimming suits and went out to relax by the pools.
"This is nice," Lois told Clark.
Clark smiled in agreement.
"I'm going in!" Lois decided, after about ten minutes. She stood up and dove in the pool.
"Brrr!" she said through chattering teeth when she came to the surface. "This water is freezing!"
"Don't look at me," Clark said. "I'm not going in there if it's freezing."
"Oh come on!" Lois said.
"You big baby," she told him, before submerging. She came up for air a minute later. "Look at that," she said. "I can hold my breath for one minute, thirty seconds."
"That was *not* a minute and a half," Clark challenged.
"Fine! You time me this time," Lois said. "Ready? Go!"
When she came up for air again, she looked at Clark. "Well, how long was that?"
"Forty-seven seconds," Clark answered.
"Was not!" she cried. "That was longer than a minute!"
Clark shook his head. "Sorry, Lois."
Lois rolled her eyes. "Clark Kent, if you don't get in this pool right now, I'm coming out after you."
Clark's eyes widened. Pretending to sigh loudly, he stood up and sort of jumped in the pool.
"See? I told you its freezing," Lois said.
"Yes, it is," Clark agreed.
"Oh no," Lois said, sucking in her breath. "We have company."
Clark looked. "Oh, those are the two girls I was stuck in the elevator with yesterday," Clark said. The girls waved. He half-smiled and waved back.
Sarah and Jenn jumped in the pool and paddled over to them. "Hi," said Jenn. "You're Clark, right?"
"Yep," Clark said. "How are you?"
"Oh great, great," Sarah said, eyeing Clark. "You look great," she told him.
Lois rolled her eyes.
"Uh, thanks," Clark said.
"No problem," Sarah said, smiling. She looked at Lois. "Oh, I'm sorry, is this your wife? Hi, I'm Sarah and this is my friend Jenn."
Lois returned the smile. "I'm Lois, and I'm *not* Clark's wife, we're just friends."
Sarah looked elated. "Really? So you're single?" she said to Clark. "Wow."
"Yeah, wow," Jenn agreed.
"Uh, yeah," Clark said.
"So how old are you?" Jenn asked Clark.
"Twenty-eight," Clark answered, glancing at Lois, as if to say: Hey, I didn't ask them to come over here! Lois just raised her eyebrows and smiled.
Jenn gasped. "Twenty *eight*? As in … a two … and an eight?"
Sarah and Jenn started to paddle away. "Well it was nice to see you again, Clark!" Jenn called. "We'll be seeing you!"
"Bye," said Clark.
When the girls were far enough away so they *thought* Lois and Clark couldn't hear them, Sarah said, "Wow! An older man! Just wait until our friends at home hear about this."
"Hear about it!" Jenn cried. "We need proof. Go get your Polaroid and all the disposable cameras you can find. Now!" Sarah ran off.
Clark just laughed. Lois, who hadn't been able to hear the girls' conversation, gave him a strange look. "What?" she demanded.
"Nothing at all, Lois. Nothing at all … "
"Madame Tursi knows all! She sees all! And she'll tell all!"
Lois and Clark ducked as they entered a glittery purple tent and sat down in two wooden chairs. Krazyworld's resident psychic, Madame Tursi, was eager to read their palms and tell their futures.
Lois looked sceptical. Clark looked like he wanted to crack up. Clark handed Madame Tursi a ten-dollar bill. "This better be good," he whispered to Lois.
"Well, well, well," said Madame Tursi. "Just look at you two!"
Lois and Clark looked at each other.
"You are the cutest couple I've ever seen!" Madame Tursi squealed.
"For a psychic, you're not a very good one," Lois said bluntly. "Because we're not a couple, we're just friends."
"But zat can not be!" Madame Tursi cried. "I can feel a definite chemistry going on between you two. And you mean to tell me zat you are just friends?"
"Well, we're partners at work," Lois said. "Maybe that's the signal you're getting."
"No, no, I definitely feel something stronger!" Madame Tursi insisted.
"What a crock," Lois muttered. "What a ten-dollar crock," she sad, standing up. Clark pulled her arm and made her sit back down.
"Let's not waste the ten dollars!" he told Lois. Clark turned back to Madame Tursi. "What else can you tell us?"
Madame Tursi consulted her crystal ball. "My crystal ball tells me zat my suspicions are confirmed. You two *are* a … uh, what do you call it? An 'item'! Why is it zat you keep it a secret?"
Lois stood up, looking like she was ready to explode. "For the millionth time! We are *not* an item! We're just friends!" This time when she stood up to leave, Clark didn't try and stop her. Instead he got up and followed her, shrugging apologetically at Madame Tursi.
"Good luck with zat one!" Madame Tursi called.
"Thanks," Clark replied.
Lois ran down Sunny Lane. Clark didn't have any trouble catching up with her, but when she finally came to a stop in front of the indoor skating rink, Clark pretended to sound out of breath. He was surprised to see tears on Lois's cheeks.
"Lois, what's wrong?" he cried, reaching out to her cheek to brush away her tears.
"Why does everyone think we're in love or something?" Lois cried. "We're just friends!! Aren't we?"
"We are friends," Clark said.
"But … we aren't anything more?"
"We're not anything you don't want to be," Clark assured her.
"What if one of us wanted to be something more?" Lois asked.
"Then, I guess we'd hope that the other person felt the same way."
"And how do you feel?"
"I've always hoped someday you would feel the way I do," he replied honestly. "I don't know how I feel. I feel … everything. I can't help it when I'm around you. My tongue gets tied and I … "
"Do you love me?" she whispered. It was a definite question, but she sounded hopeful.
He hesitated. He felt weird all over, and he knew it all came down to this. A moment that could break their friendship, or take it to a whole new level. A moment where he had to decide whether or not to be honest with her about his feelings for her, or go on suppressing them, like before. Like always.
And at that moment, he knew he couldn't do it anymore.
She hugged him. "And I think," she said, "that it's a definite possibility that I love you, too."
"Oooh, look, Clark, they gave me two air sickness bags!" Lois exclaimed.
"Do you think you'll need them?" Clark asked worriedly.
"I hope not!"
They were leaving Florida behind. They were leaving Krazyworld, the purple hippo, Mattress Man, Toothless Woman, Bumper Boy, Sarah, Jenn, Madame Tursi, and the old guy behind. They were heading back to Metropolis — home, sweet home. The plane looked exactly the same as the last plane they'd been on. Only now, they were too busy holding hands and smiling at each other to care about renting headphones or watching the movie, or even caring about what kind of beverage to order.
"So, what do you think Perry will say when we tell him we're *dating*?" Clark asked.
"I think he'll tell us one of his infamous Elvis stories and tell us to get to work, there's a paper to get out," Lois answered, grinning.
"Hmmm, you're probably right."
"You know, Clark, this has been the best vacation! Even with all the bizarre things that happened, I had so much fun. Thanks to you," she added.
"No, thanks to *you*!" Clark said, grinning.
"So, when we get back to Metropolis, you wanna go to a movie or something?" Lois asked.
"Sure," said Clark. "But … are we going to go as 'friends', 'more than friends', or — dare I say it — is this a date?"
"This is a date," Lois told him. "But you know what that means," she said, a naughty gleam in her eye.
Realization hit, and he smiled. "Yes I do, Lois. Yes I do …"