By Lara Blasingame <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted August 1999
Summary: Lois's wedding to Lex is fast approaching, but one night at Clark's apartment has her world turned upside down. Could she be marrying the wrong man?
I have been a FOLC since the very beginning. However, I did not have access to an Internet server until about eighteen months ago. Since that time, I have truly enjoyed the fiction written by fans from all over the world … from such authors as Wendy Richards, Demi, Zoomway, CC Malo, Julie Mack, Pam Jernigan, Sheila Harper, LabRat, Jenni Debbage, Chris Mulder, Irene Dutch … the list could go on and on.
I would also like to thank all of the writers of TUFS and Season 5/6 for their story contributions. I suffered from serious withdrawal when L&C was cancelled by "that" network. The author's tireless efforts helped alleviate some of my symptoms. In fact the very first story I ever found was Season 5's Episode 10. I was, at that point, hooked on fan fiction.
Now, without further ado, a little bit about my story. Deborah Joy Levine and Dan Levine scripted a great program in the first place. The dialogue, especially, between Lex and Superman was a brilliant piece of writing. I just thought it might be fun to give the story a new direction … so I rewrote it. And, since I have no one to answer to … I reworked large chunks of the program. You'll notice that I plagiarized … I mean "borrowed" much of the dialogue from that program, as well as from a few others. This could be described as a "what if … " story line.
I would also like to thank a FOLC (the before mentioned Irene Dutch) for volunteering to edit a Twenty-two points, plus triple-word-score, plus fifty points for using all my letters. Game's over. I'm outta here. fanfic written by a complete stranger. She's the best!!!
I would also like to thank Karen Ward for editing this story for the archive. She's amazingly fast and kind with constructive criticism. My story improved ten-fold due to these fine ladies.
My intention is not to infringe on anyone's copyright … Warner Bros., DC comics, the original authors, TNT, etc … I just wrote this piece for fun and to see if I could do it.
Feedback is greatly appreciated (positive or negative). You can e-mail me privately at email@example.com if you want to … just be constructive in your criticisms.
' ' These symbols indicate thoughts " " These symbols are used for dialogue (obviously) and for emphasis
Her life had spiraled into an endless parade of disappointments lately. Lois was absolutely miserable. The Planet — her life's blood, her saving grace, her friend when she didn't have anyone — had been destroyed, and it looked as if the deed had been done by a co-worker.
Jack, the newspaper's newest employee and a former child delinquent, had been charged with the crime. The evidence linking him to the bomb was found in his lunch box. His Superman lunch box. The police had apparently found their culprit.
But had they? Lex seemed to think so, yet her gut was singing a different aria. Why would Jack jeopardize his chances of having a normal, crime-free life? It didn't make sense. A lot of things lately didn't make a whole lot of sense.
She crawled into bed and tucked herself in. She just wanted to be alone. No more talk about the master bedroom or whether or not to build a 12 or 15 car garage.
'Why would two sane people need 15 cars? If you drove a different car everyday, it would take you over two weeks before you'd drive that particular vehicle again. Ridiculous.'
"What's ridiculous is that I am even contemplating the logic behind having that many automobiles. Now, I'm talking to myself. That's a sign. But, hey, maybe I'll learn to enjoy it."
She stared at the ceiling and her thoughts began to drift once again. The stillness of the night chilled her to the bone. She just couldn't seem to relax.
She thought about her new job at LNN.
Everyone treated her with indifference. The former newspaper reporter was accepted professionally. After all, she still had a lot of worthwhile contacts and a reputation for being a hard-bitten newswoman. But personally, everyone treated her like the office mole who was bent on revealing her colleagues' deepest and darkest secrets to the man in charge … Lex.
Her co-workers knew that she had no previous experience working in television. Everyone looked at her with clouded eyes. They just assumed that she had gotten the job because she was sleeping with the Boss.
Well, almost sleeping with the Boss. She had insisted that they wait until their honeymoon. She wanted it to be special. Special?
It's funny. Now that she stopped to think about it — did she have any romantic feelings for Lex? She admired him. Lex employed half the city. He gave generously to many worthwhile charities.
And he had asked her to marry him.
The third richest man in the world had asked for her hand in marriage. No one had ever done that before. A girl couldn't help but feel flattered.
But, did she want to make love to him? Did she want him to …
'Hmmm. Of course I do. Don't I? Oh, this can't be good.'
Now Superman on the other hand.
"Woof … what a body," she mused out loud.
Her sigh turned into a reflective tone. 'But he doesn't want you Lois. He rejected you. He even seemed bitter about the whole situation. So out of character. Just like … just like … Clark.
Clark was so upset with her. He had told her that he was in love with her. But she couldn't say that she felt the same way. Sure she loved him, but like a brother, a best friend. Clark was someone she could tell all of her secrets. Someone she could depend on no matter what. Someone she wanted to be partners with for the rest of her life. That wasn't love. Was it?
'It doesn't matter anyway. He's mad at me too. I sure do miss him … '
"Who are you trying to kid? Lex is right. I should just call Clark and say hello."
Lois looked tentatively at the phone sitting in its cradle. She made no effort to pick it up.
'What's going on? Why are you so nervous? He's your best friend. You tell him everything.'
"Yeah, well, we haven't exactly been getting along lately. I can't believe the way he's been acting. All he ever does is tell me how evil Lex is. Does he think I'm that naive? I know he's no boy scout, but he isn't evil. Is he?"
Her thoughts and comments began flowing faster than she could process them in her mind. Maybe she should talk to Clark. He usually had a way of making her think more clearly.
She gingerly picked up the phone and dialed his number. 'Well, no one will ever accuse me of not making an effort in this relationship … I mean partnership. I meant partnership. Why do I keep doing that?'
"Hi Clark. It's me."
"Hi. How are you?"
Not expecting his lack of enthusiasm. Lois tried her best to sound as upbeat as possible. "Terrific. You?"
Trying to match Lois' enthusiasm, Clark bravely moved on. "Great."
'Well he's certainly in a chatty mood.' Lois thought to herself. "So, how's the rest of the gang?"
"Perry is actually coming out to stay with me for a few days. We're a little worried about Jimmy. He … uh … He moved out of his apartment."
"He's okay? I mean … I mean you would think if he were in any kind of trouble he would call me … or you. Wouldn't he?"
Clark was quick to reassure her … not wanting her to worry. "Yeah, I'm sure he would." However, he quickly changed the subject. "How's your new job?"
"Oh, you know … settling in. You?"
"I'm busy … exploring my options."
"I'm sure you'll find something." He sounded so unsure. Lois had hoped to convince him to work with her … even if it was at LNN. At least, they would be partners. She missed him so much, but he had made it quite clear that he was not going to work for any organization headed by Lex Luthor.
"Yeah … well, it's getting kinda late, Lois. I guess … I'm gonna go to bed."
"Me too … Clark?" She found herself not wanting the conversation to end.
"I miss you." She had to let him know that. This was killing her.
Clark was afraid that he would only end up confessing his feelings again if he didn't hang up soon. "I miss you, too, Lois," he professed as he hung up the phone. 'Sure it was hasty, but at least I didn't say anything I'd regret.' He took solace in that … even though his heart was breaking.
Lois stared at her phone as the dial tone buzzed in her ear.
'That had to have been the lamest, dumbest … most heart-wrenching conversation that we've ever had. He must really hate me.'
She hung up the phone and slumped further down into her bed. Lois looked at the bedroom window and stared at what little of the sky she could see from her cozy nest.
Her thoughts drifted back to her partner. He wasn't even going to come to her wedding.
'Why is he doing this to me … to us. We're partners. We're best friends. It's not supposed to be like this!'
Lois suddenly jumped out of bed and proceeded towards her closet.
Clark turned off the lamp and rolled over to cuddle with … his pillow.
"Well, it looks like it's just gonna be the two of us tonight."
He laughed, even though this was the lowest moment in his life. His heart was breaking. Unfortunately, Lois Lane would always be the possessor of the other half of his heart, and she was all set to love somebody else … Lex. The thought made him cringe.
"How can she love him? How can love be that blind?"
He started to laugh once again. The very idea of her loving his alter ego and not recognizing him for who he really was … that was a whole other issue in itself. Lois had told Superman that she would love him … even if he had no super powers at all and was just an ordinary guy. "Hmmmph."
Clark realized that he wasn't going to get much sleep. He was too busy worrying about Lois … fretting about Lois … loving Lois.
He made his way into the living room and turned on the radio. He slumped on the couch and shut his eyes.
"You are listening to KVIL 103.7 on your stereo dial … Where we play lite rock and love songs until dawn … So, sit back, relax and unwind … "
The music began to filter throughout the room. Clark sighed. Another lonely night at home.
'We're partners … we're best friends. Can't she see we're meant to be together? It's not supposed to be like this!'
"Huh." Clark turned his head sharply towards the front door. It was Lois.
He grabbed a tee shirt and his glasses on the way.
"Hi, Clark. Do you mind if I come in?"
"Lois. What are you doing here? It's after midnight."
"I know … I know. I just couldn't sleep and I was hoping that we might be able to talk."
"Um … sure. Come on in."
He made his way back to the sofa and Lois sauntered in after him.
"Would you like something to drink?"
"No … Thanks! I would rather just talk."
She wanted to talk. His pulse rate quickened. "Okay."
The two just stared at each other in silence. They used to talk about everything. Now … well, now things seemed different. Neither one could envision a life without the other one in it. The future seemed so bleak.
Lois got up and began frantically pacing around the living room. She looked like she had a lot to say, but no words escaped from her lips.
"Hmmm … "
"You wanted to talk?"
"Hmmm? Oh … yes. I don't know where to start. Wait a minute … yes I do. I wanted to tell you that our phone conversation had to be, without a doubt, one of the lamest I have ever participated in. Even my mother puts up more of a fight."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean … a small forest creature shows more emotion than you did a little while ago."
Clark had no intention of putting up with Lois' abusive comments. That's not what he wanted to hear. "Look, Lois. If you just came over to insult me … oh, never mind."
"I just can't do this anymore. I just can't accept what you're doing with your life."
"So, you're just giving up on me … on us. What about being partners and best friends? How can you just throw that away?"
Clark's anger began to dissipate. "I can't."
"So, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I can't stand by and watch you marry Luthor. It's wrong. Can't you see that? How blind can you be?"
Lois found herself becoming more defensive with each passing moment. "I'm not blind … "
"Yes, you are."
"Yes." Clark simply said. "Do you love him? I mean really love him. Do you want to share your highs and lows with him? Do you want to make love to him? Is he the last person you want to talk to before you go to sleep at night? And do you want him to be the first person you see in the morning?"
Lois couldn't believe what she was hearing. "How can you even ask that? I'm marrying him, aren't I?"
"Yeah … but do you really want to?"
Clark slowly stood and made his way across the room. All they could manage to do was to stare at each other. The angry tension in the air slowly subsided. All they were left with was an aching need to find answers to all of their questions.
The only sound in the room was the radio playing …
" … soft hits from the 70's, 80's and 90's. Right now, it's foggy and 38 degrees. Tomorrow … partly cloudy with a chance of rain; highs in the lower 60's. But, for now, sit back and relax to the smooth sounds of Sting's 'When We Dance.'"
Clark gazed at Lois. "And do you want to dance with him? Does he hold you like this?" Without thinking, Clark gently pulled Lois into his embrace. They began to sway to the music as it filtered into the room. "How does he make you feel when you're in his arms?"
*If he loved you
Like I love you
I would walk away in shame
I'd move town
I'd change my name*
*When he watches you
When he comes to buy your soul
On your hand are golden rings
Like he owns a bird that sings*
*When we dance
Angels will run and hide their wings …*
Lois took her hands off Clark's shoulders and gingerly wrapped them around his neck. Their bodies slowly began to meld together as he gently stroked her silky hair. A sense of urgency filled the room once again. But this time, the urgency was fueled by an underlying passion.
*Still in love with you …
I'll go find a place to live Give you all I've got to give
When we dance Angels will run and hide their wings
I will love you more than life If you'd only be my wife*
Lois gently laid her head on Clark's chest. She could feel all of the warmth he had to offer her.
Clark felt his heart beating faster than he thought was possible. Was this their way of saying goodbye?
After she was married, everything would change. Things between them had already started falling apart.
*If I could break down these walls
And shout my name from Heaven's gate …*
For the past year, the Kansas farmboy and local super hero had done his best to break down Lois' self-imposed blockades. He managed to gain her trust, her friendship, but not her love. Clark's heart sank as the words of the song rang all too true.
*He won't care for you this way
He'll mistreat you if you stay …*
Lois tensed in Clark's arms as she listened to the stanza. Could it be true? Would Lex hurt her … intentionally? She tried half-heartedly to convince herself that it was just a song.
*Come and live with me
We'll have children of our own
I would love you more than life
If you'd go and be my wife*
Lois lifted her head and looked at Clark. She saw him looking down at her with such passion that it scared her. She had seen that look before. One of love, friendship, desire … But where? Certainly not from Lex. Superman? Maybe …
Clark saw the questioning look in Lois' deep brown eyes. He gently placed his hand on her cheek. She wasn't even startled by his small gesture. Lois took her hand from around his neck and placed it on top of his. The intensity of the moment overwhelmed them both.
Clark pulled her closer. He hesitantly leaned over and hovered above her lips, as if asking her permission. Lois felt his warm breath mingle with her own as she closed the distance between them.
The kiss was tentative at first. As if they were saying farewell. Yet within moments, the kiss bore a sensation neither one was truly prepared for. He hungrily nibbled at her lips awaiting an invitation to continue his exploration of her mouth. Lois could feel her heart beating faster and faster, unable to contain her desire for … her desire for … Clark.
She let him have entrance into her mouth, as their tongues began a slow tango. Clark took his hand from her cheek and placed it on the small of her back as the music faded into the background.
All that they could hear was the beating of their two hearts and the soft moans of pleasure that escaped from their lips. The warmth of …
"Hey, all of you out there in radioland, have I got a deal for you. Just come on down to Larry's Autorama for the best deals on cars and … "
The moment was shattered. Their lips slowly pulled apart.
Lois backed out of his embrace and sat down on the couch. Clark stood where he was, watching the emotions that played out on her face.
As she sat down, Lois grabbed a nearby pillow and placed it her lap. Then the tears began to fall.
"Lois, please don't cry."
"Clark, I'm engaged to be married, and I was just in a liplock with someone who isn't my fiance."
Clark made his way to the couch, but was well aware that Lois was silently asking for physical distance. He just wanted to be there for her. He'd do anything for her.
"Lois … "
"No, Clark. That's not fair to either one of us. I've just been so sad lately, so confused … "
"Lois, please let me … "
Undaunted by Clark's attempt to cut in, Lois Lane steamed ahead. "I came over hoping that we might clear some things up. I never intended on … "
"Me neither, but, Lois, I can't help it. I lo … "
"Please, Clark. Don't say it again. I don't think I can hear that right now. I have to go."
"Don't go. I don't want you leaving like this."
"I have to."
And in a split second she was gone. Clark decided to let her go. She was going to have to figure this out all by herself.
Clark awoke early the next morning to prepare for the arrival of Perry White. The former Editor-in-Chief was returning to his old stomping ground in order to help Clark find a truant Jimmy Olsen.
Clark was very concerned about Jimmy, but all that he could think about were the events that had taken place the night before.
Even though Lois had left abruptly, Clark couldn't help but wonder if progress had been made during their "discussion." If only he could prove that Lex was indeed 'a thief, a gangster, a psychopath, a murderer … ' Maybe Lois would realize what a mistake it would be to marry Luthor. And maybe, just maybe, she might be able to see Clark for who he really was.
His thoughts were interrupted by someone rapping on his front door, as the Chief enthusiastically entered his home.
Before they were even able to stow Mr. White's luggage, Jimmy, the former gopher and amateur photographer, walked through Clark's entryway with a recently "liberated" Jack following close behind. The gang greeted each other with open arms.
Over pizza, Jack revealed that a couple of brothers, Pete and John Black, had been assigned to Juvenile Hall. During an assigned work break, they had bragged to some of their cohorts about planting evidence in some guy's crib. The duo claimed that they were the ones responsible for the Daily Planet's demise. The brothers had received their instructions and a large cash payment from someone they called "The Boss."
Evidence? While at this point, merely hearsay … it was still a place to start.
Perry assigned himself the task of digging into the Planet's finances and insurance policies. He couldn't fathom the idea that the paper had been in trouble. It had been too powerful for too long. It had a reputation for honest journalism and gave its readers more exclusives than its competition. Perry also intended on spearheading a campaign to find someone to invest both his or her time and money into the resurrection of the Daily Planet.
Clark planned to find all that he could about the infamous figurehead known as "The Boss".
Jack and Jimmy were to uncover all they could about the Black brothers and the former Daily Planet Board of Directors.
The four had a lot of work ahead of them, so they split up to investigate.
During the next few days, Perry, Jimmy, Clark and Jack had uncovered plenty. Via a conference call, they each relayed their findings.
"The Black brothers would do just about anything for money, including framing someone. I think they'll talk … if they're properly motivated," Jimmy explained.
"Yeah … Well, I found out that the Planet Board of Directors had originally objected to the sale of the paper to Luthor. But, all of the sudden … they had a change of heart. Apparently, each Board member was paid a "large cash inducement" and voted unanimously to sell the Planet. They were also driving brand new Ferraris … " Jack proclaimed with a smirk.
Perry chimed in "I checked into the Planet's insurance policies. There was more than enough money to rebuild the paper. Luthor obviously had no intention of rebuilding."
"The Boss." The evidence on him or her was merely circumstantial. Just about every criminal element paid protection money to a shady character known as "The Boss." Most didn't even know who he or she was and those who might were too afraid to tell.
Even if the road to "The Boss" didn't lead to Luthor, he was still a prime candidate for insurance fraud. But, would it be enough to bring him down.
As the days dragged on, Clark began to feel less and less confidant about his "discussion" with Lois. He hadn't heard from her since "that" night.
'Maybe it doesn't even matter what we find. Maybe Luthor is what she wants.'
Clark dejectedly sat on his couch, alone for the first time in days. Sure, he enjoyed having the guys stay with him. But, it had given him little time to think about what had happened between him and Lois. He would give anything to talk to her again.
"Mr. Kent, I presume."
"Yes, who's this?"
"My name is Mrs. Cox. I am an assistant to Lex Luthor." Without skipping a beat, she continued, "Let me get straight to the point. I was wondering if you could pass a message along to your friend Superman."
"I guess … what's the message?"
"Mr. Luthor would like to talk with him in regards to Ms. Lane."
"Lois … what's wrong?"
"Just please give him the message. Thank you and goodbye."
Clark was dumbfounded. His first thoughts were slightly morbid, but he quickly squashed the panic that he felt inside.
'Why would Luthor do anything to harm her … right now? They're getting married tomorrow. No, he probably just wants to taunt me. After all, he is the one who's marrying Lois. I'm sure he'd love nothing more than to harass me about that.'
In a spilt second, he wrote the guys a note saying that he would be back later, spun into the Suit, and was off in a flash to meet with Luthor.
Superman arrived at Lex's high-rise within minutes of Mrs. Cox's phone call. He was led to the billionaire's wine cellar and cautiously made his way down the basement's winding staircase. Lex was sipping wine, as a devilish grin passed over his lips.
"Come in … Come in … Come in! Don't be shy. You know they say civilization was invented so that men could cooperate in the making of wine."
"What do you want, Luthor?"
"A favor? From me? You must be joking."
"No … But wait. Hear me out. Lois Lane, my fiancee, should be deliriously happy about the prospect of our forth-coming wedding, but unfortunately, she's not. She misses her friends at the Daily Planet, particularly Clark Kent."
'She does miss me,' Clark thought to himself. "So?"
"So … well, you and Clark are friends. He was able to bring you here … " Lex allowed his statement to trail off as if he was asking a question.
"I'm not following you, Luthor."
Lex couldn't believe that the local superhero was dimmer than he had originally thought. "I would like you to use your influence to convince Clark to attend our wedding. Of course, you're invited too."
Superman couldn't get over the arrogance displayed by the man who stood before him. "Huh? … You live in a fantasy world Luthor. Neither Clark nor I will ever do anything to support your marriage to Lois."
"I see … well then I have no further use for you."
Lex proceeded to express more wine from the barrel. All of the sudden, Clark found himself standing in the middle of a jail cell.
"Bars won't hold … me … Luthor."
Clark suddenly felt an aching twinge throughout his body. Every muscle tensed. He found himself in a somewhat familiar fog. Only one thing could cause so much pain … Kryptonite. He lifted his head and looked towards Luthor. The jail cell now glowed bright green.
"Oh … I think they will. I live in a fantasy world. Perhaps. But, my fantasy is about to come true."
Luthor left his captive to die a most horrible death.
The next morning Lois awoke to a bright, sunny day. But inside, she felt as if a dark cloud hung directly over her.
For days, all Lois could think about was the "kiss." Even now, she could still feel the intense passion that had overwhelmed both of them. She could still see the look of love shining in his almond shaped eyes. She could almost hear him speaking as she lay in her bed.
'Do you love him? I mean really love him. Do you want to share your highs and lows with him? Do you want to make love to him? Is he the last person you want to talk to before you go to sleep at night? And, do you want him to be the first person you see when you wake up in the morning?'
She couldn't get over how his words had affected her. He knew her so well, but …
Lois turned her head slightly and stared at the phone. Willing Clark to call her.
She cautiously reached for the phone. You would have thought it was going to bite her. Lois picked it up and listened for the dial tone.
'Well … it's definitely working.'
The phone was placed back into its cradle. She wanted, so desperately, for Clark to help answer those questions.
Unfortunately, a nagging little voice, deep down inside of her, kept reminding Lois that Clark played a huge part in her bewilderment.
Lois, once again, reached for the phone. This time … she actually managed to dial Clark's phone number. The phone rang several times and Lois found herself talking to …
Clark's answering machine.
"Hey … Clark. It's me. I just wanted to call and say that I … that I … um … I'm going to miss not seeing you at my wedding. I care for you so much. I just … I just … Well, um, I better go. Take care. Okay?"
Lois hung up the phone and began to cry. It didn't matter how she felt. It was too late. She had already accepted Lex's proposal. She would have to find a way to make it work.
'Clark was probably at home. He just didn't want to talk to me.'
She slowly got out of the bed and made her way towards the bathroom. It was time to get ready for her wedding.
Clark continued to lie on the floor of the jail cell. He could feel himself getting weaker and weaker. The intense pain coursed throughout his body.
But all his thoughts were focused on his love, Lois, and her impending marriage to Luthor.
He had to find a way out.
"Please, don't marry him Lois. Please … ," he screamed just before his body spasmed once again.
A man stood at the top of the stairs and smiled in the direction of the Kryptonite holding tank. Slowly, Luthor made his way down into the wine cellar. All of his dreams were coming true on the very same day. In a short while, he would be married to one of the most tenacious and beautiful women in the world … Ms. Lois Lane. On top of this momentous occasion, he had the great pleasure of being able to kill his archenemy … Superman.
"What a spectacular day! And how are we feeling today."
Superman raised his head slightly and saw Luthor opening the cell door.
"Oh … still feeling a little green around the gills, are we? I, on the other hand, am feeling wonderful! 'She's beautiful, therefore, to be wooed. She is woman. Therefore, to be won.' That's Henry V." Luthor hovered over Superman like a vulture waiting for its "dinner" to die.
Lex couldn't let this "Superman" perish without taunting him first. 'After all, the torture makes the killing part so much more enjoyable,' Luthor reminded himself.
"Oh, I know it must be tough? Lying there, seeing me all decked out like this? On my way to marry Lois Lane while you lay there helplessly and suffer."
Luthor pranced around the cage. All of the sudden he broke out into song. "And tonight. 'Tonight, tonight, won't be just any night … '" Lex suddenly stopped singing and stared off into the distance … as if he were deep in thought.
"I love Lois. I do. I really do. But, she's just a little too independent. Don't you think? Well … I'll take care of that."
"Clark Kent knows where I am!"
"Well … yes. I'll have to kill him too. But, that reminds me."
Luthor held up two cummerbunds. "The red or white? The red for passion or the white for purity. Well, I agree. Definitely the red … " The menacing billionaire took the white cummerbund and wrapped it around Superman's neck … cutting off the flow of oxygen and pinning his head to the cold, concrete floor.
"Luthor … " was all that Superman could say before he reluctantly choked for another breath of air.
Lex bent down and whispered into his ear, "Oh … how strange. How strange to hear you say my name and know that it may be for the last time."
He quickly stood back up and indulged in one more reflective moment.
"Am I making a mistake? Will the pain of losing the challenge that you represent be worse than the pain of constantly losing to you? Nah … " And with that, Lex closed the cell door and locked it. He dangled the keys before the super hero's eyes and placed them on a nearby barrel.
'So close … yet, so far away,' Clark thought to himself.
"I'll be back when it's over. Then, you and I can have a nice heart to heart. Have a nice death! Tonight, tonight … " Luthor bounded up the stairwell to greet his guests before the ceremony commenced.
And then there was silence. All Clark could hear was his labored breathing, and all he could think about was "his" Lois.
Lois stood in front of the full-length mirror. She saw herself in a beautiful wedding gown, but all she could concentrate on was the frown that had become a permanent fixture on her face.
Her lips began to quiver, and slowly, the tears began to fall.
"What's happening to me? This should be the happiest day of my life."
She quickly grabbed a tissue and blotted her cheeks. She tried to take some deep, cleansing breaths. But nothing seemed to help.
"Ten minutes, Mrs. Luthor," a voice from the hallway alerted Lois to the impending nuptials.
The gravity of the situation at hand hit her like a ton of bricks.
"Mrs. Lex Luthor," she called out the name that would soon be a part of her identity. Somehow, it didn't sound quite right.
"Lois Luthor-Lane," she grimaced at every oral suggestion.
"Lois Lane … Kent," her heart leapt into her throat. That name combination just seemed … to work.
"Lois Lane," the tears began to fall once again. "Oh Mom, what am I gonna do?"
Ellen Lane stepped into the full-length mirror's reflection and gently placed her arm around her eldest daughter. "Honey, if you're not sure … "
"No … It's too late."
"No, it's not. You do what your heart tells you to do."
The women stared at each other's reflection as the time to wed drew near.
Clark lay in his guilded cage still dressed as his alter ego. He eyed the keys that Lex had carelessly placed on top of the barrel.
They were so close. He willed himself to sit up slightly. Superman took Lex's discarded white cummerbund from around his neck and threw the fashion accessory in the direction of the lone wine vat.
To his dismay, Clark could hear strains of music as it filtered its way down into the dismal cellar. The Wedding March.
He had to get out and stop the wedding. 'She can't go through with this … she can't … ' he thought as beads of sweat broke out on his face.
Lois Lane stood behind the huge, wooden doors. They slowly opened in front of her. She witnessed an expectant crowd of on-lookers as she made her way into the room.
The Wedding March played as she traveled down the beautifully decorated aisle.
Suddenly, one by one, images of Clark Kent clouded her mind. His first day at the Planet … how she reacted towards him after being sprayed with the pheromone compound … when he resigned from the Planet during the Winter of '93 heat wave … the tenderness of his goodbye kiss …
Clark's kisses. Even now they totally overwhelmed her.
She suddenly shook herself from her reveries. Lois looked up and saw Lex Luthor smiling at her as she lethargically approached. His smile didn't have any effect on her. It never had.
Superman repeatedly tried to utilize his super breath in order to recover the jail cell keys. The music was starting to deafen him, and his urgency to escape hit a fever pitch.
"Please, Lois, I love you. Please don't leave me … I … can't 'not' have you in my life." Clark's words died on his lips as he made one final attempt to retrieve the keys to his freedom … his future.
"Dearly Beloved. We are gathered here today to join this man and woman in holy matrimony," the ArchBishop proclaimed.
'Holy matrimony,' Lois' subconscious cried out. 'You can't do this … you don't love him … you are totally in love with someone else. Oh, Clark!'
The ArchBishop made the final plea for those who might oppose to this union. Lois wanted to speak, but was still too wrapped up in her subconscious' plea to stop the wedding.
Perry, Jack, Jimmy and members of the Metropolis Police Department pulled up in front of Lex Towers. They had evidence. Enough evidence to put Luthor away for several lifetimes.
Arson, fraud, perjury, theft, murder … this was just a short list of charges against the world's third richest man. For the MPD, this arrest would be unprecedented. No single man or organization had ever gotten away with so much criminal activity. This would definitely be a feather in the city's cap.
Perry was elated that his former employees were able to bring down a criminal mastermind. However, his thoughts were with Lois.
The Chief made his way up the front steps and turned to see everyone else lagging behind.
"What the Sam Hill is taking you so long? We've got a wedding to stop. Get a move on!" And with that final statement, Perry entered Luthor's high-rise.
"And do you Lois take this man to be your wedded husband from this day forward, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish from this day forward till death do you part?"
"I … I … I can't."
"Lois … "
"Perry … "
"Stop the wedding. You can't marry this man!"
"What … is there an echo in here? I just said that."
Lex found himself in a dubious situation … a situation in which he had very little control. "What's the meaning of this?"
Detective Henderson made his way through the crowd accompanied by gun yielding party crashers … or more precisely, members of the Metropolis Police Department. "This is a warrant for your arrest for arson and other crimes too numerous to mention."
Lois glanced over at Luthor and saw his features take on a haunted look. A look of pure evil. A look that he had been successful in hiding … until now.
Lex uncharacteristically began showing a total lack of self-control. He mouthed off idle threats as Henderson approached with the handcuffs.
Luthor turned to Lois and kissed her hand. He expressed his regrets at the untimely interruption and then suddenly lunged himself at the police officers. Lex narrowly escaped the wedding hall.
Superman tried one last time to latch onto the keys with Lex's cummerbund. The tip of the garment wrapped itself around the key ring due to some reserved super breath. Clark was able to gently tug the precariously wrapped item towards the jail cell.
He picked up the keys and slowly got off the floor. His weak body continued to spasm.
As he unlocked the cell door, Clark heard the door at the top of the stairs, being unlocked.
He exited the cage and found he was too tired to get away and too weak to defend himself. He judiciously hid behind the wine barrels hoping that the intruder would not find him.
Lex frantically made his way into the cellar, yielding an axe.
"Sorry, Superman. No time to chat. I'll just take my pound of flesh and be on my way … "
Lex found himself talking to an empty cage. His eyes widened and he began screaming at the top of his lungs. The "Boss" quickly fled the premises.
Clark huddled in the corner and managed a sigh of relief.
Perry, Jimmy and Jack escorted a very confused Lois Lane out the front doors of Luthor's high-rise. All she could do was cry.
"I've always been such a good judge of character."
"Don't blame yourself, Lois. He fooled all of us."
"Not me," Jimmy and Jack chimed together.
Lois turned around to find her partner standing in close proximity. Their eyes met and they ran towards each other. Each clinging onto each other as if they'd never let go.
Members of the MPD had surrounded Luthor Towers. One officer could be heard barking on a loud speaker warning Lex to surrender.
"Look … he's gonna jump!"
Lois and Clark's embrace abruptly ended yet they continued to cling to one another.
They simultaneously looked up to find Lex Luthor teetering on his penthouse balcony ledge.
They watched with bated breath as he jumped off the ledge and plummeted towards the concrete.
Clark tried to levitate, but nothing happened. He had no powers and watched as Luthor fell to his death.
The crowd that had gathered gasped as Luthor hit the concrete. Lois buried her head into Clark's chest and began to cry.
The last few weeks had taken an emotional toll on Lois. She just needed to be with Clark.
Clark looked down at the woman that he held. She needed him. He looked up at Perry; "I'm going to take her home."
"Okay, son. You two try to get some rest. I know that the last several weeks have been pretty taxing on both of you."
Clark watched a worried expression come over Perry's face.
"Thanks, Chief. For everything."
Over the next several weeks, Clark and Lois hardly left each other's side. They talked and laughed. The conversations were kept light. No one mentioned the events that had led to Luthor's demise.
The wounds were still too fresh, but the healing process had begun. They would heal together.
Lois was thinking about how her relationship with Clark had changed. They seemed to be closer than they had ever been. Yet Clark seemed more reserved, more tentative as if he was now the one with self-imposed borders. Sometimes she would glance in his direction, and he almost looked sad … as if he had lost the love of his life.
She stopped daydreaming long enough to look at the clock.
"Oh my … Clark's gonna be here any minute." Lois applied lipstick and blotted her lips with a Kleenex. A slow smile spread across her face. She had been smiling a lot lately.
She scampered across the room to put on her shoes. Perry had asked both of them to meet with him in front of what was left of the Daily Planet building.
The former employees of the newspaper stood under what was left of the Daily Planet globe.
"I wish that they would just go ahead and tear this place down," Jimmy said as they made their way towards the boarded up entrance.
"Yep. Too many memories. But, you know, kid … there is a lesson to be learned here," Perry White droned on.
"Why am I not surprised?" Jack smiled.
"We should appreciate what we've got, when we've got it."
Lois looked over towards Clark. She had never appreciated her partner for the man he was, but that was about to change.
Perry continued on, "But what I just hate is that Luthor got his way on this one thing. I wish that I'd been able to find someone to rebuild the Planet."
"You have." Perry turned around to find Franklin Stern, a local entrepreneur, standing in front of a covered object. "I've changed my mind. And besides, one more nail in Luthor's coffin is fine by me."
Stern signaled to his men, and they pulled the tarp down to reveal a new Daily Planet globe.
"Perry, I would like to talk to you about some of my plans. I want to take the Daily Planet into the next millennium."
A jubilant Perry sauntered over to Stern as he described his plans regarding expansion and modernization.
Clark looked at the globe, but redirected his attention towards Lois. "I've never seen anything more beautiful in my entire life."
Lois turned around to find Clark looking at her. "You never gave up … on the Planet … on your friends … on me."
"I couldn't. You just named probably everything in this world that's precious to me."
"I don't think that I have ever … or will ever meet anyone quite like you."
"Clark, let me go first. There's something I want to tell you."
"No, not this time. Lois, I'm so sorry about a lot of things. I wanted to bring Luthor down, but I never wanted to hurt you. I shouldn't have said anything about the way I felt toward you. It put you at an incredibly awkward position … "
"No, Clark, I lo … "
"The truth of the matter is that it wasn't true. I'm not in love with you."
"Lois, I would have said anything to stop you from marrying Luthor."
"Oh … Oh … Well, if that's how you feel."
"I want the same thing you want … friends … partners … forever."
"What did you want to say, Lois."
"Oh, nothing … what you said … something like that."
Their gazes locked as their individual hearts began to break. Suddenly, Clark snapped his head up as his super hearing kicked in. Someone was in trouble.
"Lois … I've got to … I've got something I need to do. I've gotta go."
Clark took off across the street making his way towards the alleyway. Lois spun on her heels and watched as Clark ran across the street.
"Clark, don't go. That's not what I wanted to say. I love you." Lois whispered under her breath.
She watched Clark suddenly stop. His back stiffened as he slowly turned back around. Their gazes locked, once again, as he made his way back over to a very stunned Lois Lane.
"What did you say?"
"Huh … how could you have possibly heard … "
"Please, Lois … what did you say?"
Overcome with shyness and scared to death to reveal what she had just admitted, Lois cast her eyes down towards the concrete.
"Lois … "
"Oh, Clark … I can't."
"Lois … please talk to me. Trust me."
"Clark, I … I … I love you. I don't want … "
Clark shut his eyes. His heart leapt with joy, but the cries for help were deafening. He had to get out of there.
Placing his hand on Lois' cheek, Clark leaned over and kissed her. The kiss was passionate but, unfortunately, short-lived.
"Lois, please believe me when I say I love you too. You have no idea how much … I've got so much to tell you … but I've got to go … "
"I have to … I wish I didn't, but it's a matter of life and death."
For the first time in his life, Clark Kent considered, for a brief moment in time, not to answer an urgent cry for help. Yet, in the end, he knew that she would understand. 'Oh the road to understanding … now that will be a bumpy one,' Clark thought to himself.
"Hey, kids. Guess what?" Perry bellowed as he approached the preoccupied couple. "Stern has plans to get the Planet up-and-running by the end of the month. Great shades of Elvis, we'll be back in business." Perry's enthusiasm seeming very much out of place.
"That's great, Chief. Listen, I have really got to go! Lois, I'll talk to you later?" Clark searched her eyes but only found confusion. "I'll come by later. Okay?"
Clark spun on his heels and ran toward the alleyway allowing his super hearing to focus in on where the cries for help were originating.
Meanwhile, Perry chattered incessantly about Franklin Stern and his grand plans for the Daily Planet. Lois understood that he was directing his chatter in her direction, but she was unable to respond to his spirited commentary. Her brain was processing information faster than she would have thought possible.
Her eyes darted after Clark and watched as he entered the abandoned alley. Then, without warning, she heard a sonic boom.
'Only a low flying jet and a local superhero could achieve such velocity. And, there certainly aren't any airstrips located in downtown Metropolis. Clark heard my whispered confession from across the street. His reason for leaving abruptly meant the difference between life and death.' The puzzle pieces of Clark Kent's life fell right into place. 'Clark Kent is Superman. Superman is Clark Kent.'
"Oh my … how could he … why would he … I can't believe he would do this to me … to us … "
Lois' mumbled rage caught Perry off-guard as he focused in on her flushed face. "Lois, honey … are you all right?"
"Huh? … "
"Are you all right?"
"Yea … I'll be fine. Once I get my hands around his grubby little neck … "
Perry tried to suppress a grin. Somebody was in serious trouble. 'When Lois Lane gets a bee in her bonnet … watch out. Poor sap won't even know what hit him.'
"Uh, Lois … is it anybody I know?" Perry was riding a hunch. A hunch that said that the 'sap' in question was probably a good friend of his and the other half of the Planet's most heralded investigative reporting team. 'Poor boy.'
"Not for long!" Lois looked up to find a smile on her mentor's face. She understood that he was only trying to help, but she didn't think he knew any stories involving Elvis and men from outer space. "Listen, Perry, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I've got to get out of here."
"Lois, wait … "
Lois trotted off in the direction of her Jeep, half-heartedly turning around to give Perry the 'old brush off.' "I'll call you next week, and you can tell me all about Mr. Stern's plans. Okay?" Without waiting for a response, she turned the corner and headed for the metered parking area.
Lois stalked around her apartment like a caged animal. She was mad at him, mad at herself, and mad at the entire situation at hand.
"How could I have been so stupid? A pair of glasses. What a dope."
For a better part of the afternoon, Lois had been chastising herself, as well as the man in Spandex. She had been unable to concentrate on anything else.
Her attention had been diverted briefly by an encyclopedia salesman. After an uninterrupted tirade from Lois, the salesman decided that he would no longer try to solicit his products to the inhabitants of this apartment building, more precisely the inhabitant of this particular apartment.
"Clark is Superman. Clark is Superman. I can't believe … "
"Can't believe what?"
Hovering outside of Lois' living room window was the before mentioned superhero.
"Oh Clark … so nice of you to drop by."
Clark cringed as he heard the vehemence in her voice. He was unsure if he should ask to come in or fly off and set-up camp in Australia? Africa? The Antarctic?
"Can I come in?"
"Oh … like I could stop you. You're faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a loco …
"Lois, please. I know you're upset. Can't we just talk about this?"
"Whatever … do what you want." Lois turned around and headed for the couch. More precisely, headed for the back of her couch. She had to put some distance between herself and the man who was cautiously entering her humble abode.
Superman was unsure of where to start, but he knew that Lois would probably feel more comfortable talking to Clark. He spun quickly, changing into the suit and tie that he had been wearing before. Lois slowly turned around to find herself face to face with Clark Kent.
"But, how did you … " Lois' anger subsiding a bit in awe of what she had seen, or rather hadn't seen.
"It's a spin move I've perfected in order to save time when changing into the Suit. I can show you sometime if you'd like?" Clark stuffed one hand into his pocket and ran the other hand through his hair. He looked exactly like a whipped puppy dog.
She shrugged her shoulders and got back to the matter at hand. Lois Lane was not going to let him off the hook that easily. "So … "
"So … " Clark took a deep breath and wanted to get the proverbial ball rolling, but he had no idea where to begin.
"So … let me get a few things straight. Did you or did you not tell me you loved me not two minutes after telling me that you didn't love me?" Without waiting for a response, Lois began firing off more questions. "You're Superman, right? You're from another planet? Anything else I should know about? Because you know now would probably be a good time to tell me." Crossed arms and indignant, Lois was going to be a force to be reckoned with.
If it hadn't been such a soul-wrenching situation, Clark would have been grateful for her tirade. She was definitely getting her spunk back. Lois had lost so much during her engagement to Luthor. Her confidence had been severely shaken. Now, it seemed as if her confidence was shaken, once again, but this time she was able to handle or at least mask the insecurities that plagued her. Clark had to set the record straight. Their friendship and any future relationship depended on the outcome of this day's events.
"Lois, why don't we sit down," Clark said as he motioned in the direction of the couch.
Lois waited until Clark sat down and purposely put as much distance as she could between them by sitting at the opposite end of the sofa.
Moments passed by as Clark mentally prepared himself for what surely lay ahead. "Well, let's start with the Superman issue. How did you figure it out?"
Lois looked at Clark as if he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. "Oh I don't know … could it have been the fact that you heard me whisper something from across the street? Or was it because you suddenly had to leave in the middle of our intimate conversation? How you're always leaving abruptly with an urgent facial expression plastered on your face."
Lois took a deep breath to calm her nerves, but to no avail. She was mad, and she wanted him to feel her wrath. "Could it have been the sonic boom I heard after you left?" She closed the distance between them, briefly, as she gingerly removed the glasses from his face and placed them on the coffee table. "Or could it have been a pair of glasses? You take your pick."
Clark was shell-shocked. Not so much by her revelation, but by the detailed account of her findings. He knew how intuitive "Mad Dog" Lane's investigative skills were when it came to catching the bad guys. Unfortunately, he was the one on the hot seat during this interrogation.
"I had hoped to be the one to tell you about my extracurricular activities, but you've seemed to have single handedly figured them out already." Clark looked up at Lois and her expression softened for a millisecond. Maybe there was hope for them yet.
Lois' expression hardened almost immediately, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I've wanted to tell you, but it's not as easy as it sounds."
"I'll bet … "
Clark glared at Lois. "Now hold on! When we first met you treated me like horse droppings and idolized a guy who wore tights. You hardly gave me the time of day. It was easy not to tell you the truth. But lately, as we've gotten closer, I've wanted to tell you everything. But you were marrying Luthor. I couldn't have you know "that" about me."
Slightly deflated, Lois stared off into the distance. "I didn't know he was evil, Clark."
"I know you didn't, but I couldn't let you know the truth. If, God forbid, Lex had found out about my dual identity, and then realized that you knew about it … I can't even imagine what he would have done to you." Clark slowly inched his way across the couch to close the distance between them.
It was now or never. "I want you to know everything. You know that … don't you?"
"I guess so. I've just got a lot to think about." She finally found enough courage to look into her partner's eyes. "I suppose we've both made a lot of mistakes. I guess the first thing I want to ask you is … "
" … Why you lied about loving me?"
For a moment, Clark was astonished by her question. It wasn't about Superman at all. It was about Clark. "Well … I just didn't … I mean, I didn't want … " He couldn't believe how tongued-tied he had become. "I just didn't want our friendship to end."
"I just didn't want you to feel awkward around me. That's all."
"Oh … "
"I guess I was a little hurt, too. You had already turned me down, and then proclaimed to Superman that you would love him even if he was an ordinary man."
"Oh Clark … "
"No Lois … please don't say anything. I seem to be on a roll here." A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he continued on, "I knew if I couldn't have you as a lover, I had to keep you as a friend. You don't know how much I care about you. I couldn't "not" have you in my life."
For the first time, Lois sat in stunned silence, her anger slowly dissipating. He was laying it all on the line. She was going to have to do the same.
"Oh Clark … I was going to do the same thing."
Lois put her hands in her lap and gently rubbed her hands together. Somehow this managed to calm her nerves … a little. "During my engagement to Lex, I found my thoughts returning to you. I was so confused. I was betrothed to one man, and having fantasies about another. And the closer the wedding got … well the more unsure I got. I was slowly losing my best friend and it was killing me. Yet I had promised myself to someone else."
"Oh … well I'm glad Perry got there in time to stop the wedding."
"He didn't stop the wedding, Clark. I did."
"You did? But, I thought Perry and Inspector Henderson … "
Lois finally allowed herself a small smile. "Oh, they crashed the wedding alright. But I had just told Lex that I couldn't marry him."
The name, Lex Luthor, still managed to send a chill through Clark. And for a guy who didn't worry about temperature changes or getting sick, this was an especially significant phenomenon. "Why? I mean I'm glad that you did … I just … "
Wondering whether or not she was willing to share all her secrets, Lois Lane did something she rarely did … bared her soul to another. "Because of you."
"Me? But you said that you didn't … "
"I know what I said." Lois glared in Clark's direction. "Are you going to hold that against me for the rest of my life?"
Bemused by Lois' comment and satisfied with the thought of spending the rest of his life teasing her … loving her … caring for her …
"No, Lois. I won't kid you about this for the rest of your life. Twenty … thirty years tops."
"Hmph … As I was saying … " Lois continued on in a slightly exasperated tone, " … I was walking down the aisle and all I could do was think about you. Our first story together … how I reacted to Miranda's formula … the time I thought you were leaving Metropolis for good … our goodbye kiss." Lois Lane found herself blushing at that final thought. "I was going to marry Lex because I thought it was too late to back out, but I was not going to let our friendship end. I couldn't let it end. It was … is the most important thing in the world to me. I planned on hounding you until you agreed to be my friend again. I couldn't "not" have you in my life either."
Clark reached down and gently picked up her hand. "I don't want to be your friend anymore, Lois." Looking up into her brown eyes, he saw only confusion. "What I meant to say is … I don't seem to be very good at this, do I?"
"What did you mean, Clark?"
Her uncharacteristically soft speaking tone gave him enough courage to continue, "I want more."
Another set of "three little words" that made Lois' stomach do a flip. "Oh … " was all she could manage.
"Lois, I have always wanted more, but I thought that we had plenty of time for our friendship to cultivate into a relationship. But when you agreed to marry Luthor … Well, I was slowly losing you to another man. I had waited too long to cultivate anything. I knew I had to tell you how I felt whether it was the right time or not. I had to try."
Lois felt her eyes began to tear, "Clark, I am so sorry that I turned you down initially, and then made a fool of myself over Superman. I was so flustered. I've cared for you for so long … I just didn't realize how much … up until now that is … " she said as a lone tear ran down her cheek.
Clark couldn't stand it any longer. He closed the distance between them and gently wiped the tear from her moist cheek. "Please don't cry. Look on the bright side. At least we were both able to figure out everything … just in time." Clark began to grin, "Of course, the last month has been terribly painful, full of self-doubt and confusion, but I figure that we can only go uphill from here."
Lois began to chuckle and the tears vanished, "Given how well my past relationships have gone … Yeah, I'd have to say things will only improve."
"Relationship … is that what we have?"
"Well, yes … I mean I thought … "
Clark saw a flash of insecurity pass over her delicate features. "Lois, honey, don't. I just wasn't sure if you were ready for a relationship right now. I'm just glad that I no longer have to pretend that I'm not head-over-heels in love with you. Take as much time as you need. I'll wait for you." And, he would wait.
Lois suddenly stood up, placing her hands on her hips, "So, do you want to be my boyfriend … or not?" Her stone-cold features impetuously broke out into a full-blown smile.
Clark grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her down to sit on his lap. He was so happy that he began to laugh out loud. "I would love to be your boyfriend. So does this mean we're going steady?"
"Oh you!" Lois said as she playfully slapped at his chest.
"Lois," Clark began in a quieter tone, "You have made me the happiest man on Earth. I love you so much."
Their gazes locked as they slowly leaned closer together. Clark reached up to place a hand on her cheek and slowly closed the gap between them as he put his lips on hers. The kiss was all it should be … full of passion and tenderness … a kiss that one lover gives to another.
After several moments, they broke apart gasping for air. Lois looked into his rich brown eyes and saw her future. "I love you too, Clark Kent."
"What about Superman?"
"What about him … I mean … what about you. I hate talking about you in the third person."
"Mom does too. I even get a little confused sometimes … and he's me!" Clark began to run his fingers through Lois' silky brown hair, "What I meant was … is it okay that I am Superman too?"
"Oh that! Well … it certainly will take some time to get used to the whole idea. For a year now, I've thought of you as two different people. There is so much that I don't know. But, I think it's something I can probably get used to." Lois lowered her eyes for a moment, "Besides … I think it's kinda sexy."
"Really?" In his attempt to lower his pulse rate, Clark began to rattle off his life history. "Well … I was born on another planet. But you already know that much … "
Lois quickly interrupted, "Clark … don't get me wrong. I want to hear all about your alter ego, but I'm more interested in the mild mannered reporter right now."
"Yes, really. I'll 'interview' Superman later." All she could do was giggle. "I have much more important things on my mind right now."
Clark's smile slowly disappeared when he saw the passionate look that his partner was giving him. "Who's Superman?"
"That's a good boy. Now come to Momma."
And he did.
The interview eventually took place … but that's a whole other story.