By Kathy Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: September 2002
Summary: This "Fluff Challenge" response tells the story of a certain piece of black lace and how it came to be worn by Lois on her wedding night. ;)
This idea started floating around in my head after seeing "Soul Mates" for the umpteeth time on TNT. At the beginning of the episode, our favorite couple is about to fly off to Hawaii when Lois realizes that she's forgotten one of her bags at home. As incentive to get Clark to retrieve it, she informs him that "it has that black teddy you bought for me in it". The look on Clark's face as he *immediately* zooms off to get it is priceless. <g> This is the story of that teddy. ;)
Consider yourself warned — this was written in response to the "Fluff Challenge" from last year and it definitely fits the criteria. ;)
Clark Kent mentally noted the name of each shop as he walked along the retail section of Chester Avenue. He remembered seeing the store he was searching for last month, when he and Lois had passed this way while searching for a new Mexican restaurant they'd seen advertised. But now he couldn't remember exactly where on the street it had been.
A little more than halfway up the next block, he found what he was looking for. Hesitating outside for a brief moment as he studied the display in the window, Clark read the letters stenciled in nice script on the glass, "The Bare Essentials Lingerie Shop". Taking a deep breath, he pushed open the door.
Once inside, Clark breathed a sigh of relief. The display window — as well as the upscale part of town he was in — indicated that the store's merchandise was tasteful, but somewhere in the back of his mind, he'd still been worried about what he'd find inside. He'd been in some pretty seedy places in his job as a reporter — not to mention as Superman — and he knew he wouldn't find what he was looking for in those kinds of stores.
He and Lois had been talking this week about what to pack for their honeymoon, and she had teased him about what kind of lingerie he would want to see her in on their wedding night. Not surprisingly, the conversation had quickly led to the couch, where they'd just as quickly found their mouths occupied with something more fun than talking, but before they'd said goodnight, Lois had all but dared him to buy her some lingerie for the honeymoon. Of course, it was clear that she'd expected him to be way too embarrassed to actually do it, which is exactly why he had sought out this store — not only would he get to buy her something sexy, but the look on her face when she opened the box would be priceless. Clark grinned; he wasn't the only one in their relationship who loved a challenge.
Inside on that autumn Wednesday afternoon, the store was almost empty. A petite blond woman sat behind the front counter, smiling cheerfully at him. "Hi, can I help you?"
Clark glanced around the store. "Uh … yeah … I'm looking for something for my fiancee."
The saleswoman sighed as she stood up. "That's the only problem with this job," she muttered. "All the cute guys that come in here are either taken or perverts."
Clark couldn't help but chuckle. "Then I'm glad I fall into the first category."
The woman blushed as she approached him. "Sorry, you weren't supposed to hear that. So, what exactly are you looking for?"
It was Clark's turn to blush. "I'm, uh … not exactly sure. I've never … shopped for something like this before."
She was quick to reassure him. "We get lots of men in here buying gifts; don't be embarrassed. Is this for a special occasion? A birthday or an anniversary, maybe?"
"Actually," Clark answered, the joy and pride clear in his voice, "we're getting married this weekend and I wanted to surprise her with something nice for our honeymoon."
"Congratulations," the woman exclaimed. "How about you let me give you some ideas and you can tell me if you like any of them." She led Clark through the store, pointing out items as she went. "Were you thinking about two pieces like this?" she asked, gesturing to a mannequin dressed in a skimpy bra and panty set. "Or more like a gown? We also have some wonderful teddies …"
Clark, however, was still hung up on the mannequin. "Whoa." He shook his head to clear it. He would *definitely* be bringing Lois back to this store. "Uh … I guess I was thinking of something to wear to bed."
"Well, we have a lot of options for you." She started looking through a rack of nightgowns, and selected one. "I've always thought this was very pretty for a wedding night," she offered, holding up a long, sheer white gown. "It's a classic."
Clark stared at the silky nightgown and instantly flashed to the previous February, when Lois's clone had emerged from the bathroom wearing something similar. At the time, he'd thought it was stunning, but now… Stifling a shudder, he quickly refused. "No, not that … I want something *very* different from that." He blushed a little as he realized how he must sound. "Um, I mean … it's nice and all but—"
The saleswoman held up her hand to stave off any further explanation. "But not what you wanted. No problem … we'll keep looking. What size does your girlfriend wear?"
"A six, I think."
She nodded, continuing to look through the racks. "And her bra size?"
"Uh …" Clark wondered if he looked as pole-axed as he felt until the grin on the saleswoman's face confirmed it.
"Don't worry about it," she laughed. "It's a rare man I've come across who knows his wife's bra size, and you're not even married yet. I just asked because some styles are more flattering to different shapes."
It was Clark's turn to grin. "Well, a burlap sack would look flattering on Lois."
"Darn, we're fresh out of burlap," the saleswoman teased. "But I'm sure we can find something even better." She led Clark over to another table. "Do you like teddies? We have some really nice ones … very sexy for a honeymoon." She held up a short, black, lacy garment.
Clark's eyes widened with appreciation. "Wow." As he noticed the saleswoman looking at him, though, he quickly tore his eyes away. "Sorry," he explained with a grin. "Just getting a really nice picture."
"I think we have a winner," she grinned back, noting the clear appreciation in his eyes. "It comes in other colors … blue, red—"
"Black," Clark responded quickly. "*Definitely* the black."
"Black is it then." She sorted through the lacy garments on the table and handed one to him. "Does that seem to be the right size?"
Clark couldn't help but finger the silky material as he held it up. He felt his breath pick up a notch as he pictured it on Lois. "It looks … great."
"Great!" the woman echoed. "Now how about you?"
"Yes, we've just added some men's items … we have some really nice pajamas. Would you be interested?"
Clark obediently followed her to the back of the store, where he quickly picked out a pair of black boxers and a matching button down shirt. "Very nice," he agreed.
Satisfied with his choices, Clark followed the woman back to the front of the store so she could ring up his merchandise. She placed Lois's teddy in a gift box as they waited for his credit card to process. "OK, just sign here, Mr. Kent, and you'll be all set."
After a quick comparison of the signatures, she handed him back his credit card with a smile. "Say, isn't there a reporter by the name of Clark Kent who writes for the Daily Planet?"
Clark gave a nod of acknowledgment as he picked up his bag. "That would be me."
"I don't normally remember reporters' names, but you did a series last month that I found very interesting, on small businesses being squeezed out by mass merchandisers. You write with someone else, too, right? A woman … Lane something?"
He smiled. "Lois Lane. She's my partner … and my fiancee."
"Oh … Oh! How neat. Well, congratulations again, and have a great time on your honeymoon. Maybe we'll see you back in here again."
"Thanks," Clark called brightly over his shoulder as he walked out the door. "You can count on it!"
As Clark walked down the street, he didn't see the saleswoman's grin as she followed him with her eyes. He had no idea that, at that very moment, she was trying to figure out how she'd ever be able to read one of his articles again without picturing exactly what he and his fiancee would be wearing to bed on their honeymoon.
THE END :)