By Caryn Dunsmore <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Rated PG-13 (for suggestiveness) <g>
Submitted April 2004
Summary: Lois is shocked to discover that Clark had received her answers to Lucy's survey. What will her reaction be to his responses? This is the third story in the author's "Getting To Know…" series.
Disclaimer: "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and it's characters are owned by December 3rd Productions, DC Comics & Warner Brothers Television, etc. No infringements are meant.
Author's note: Okay, if I thought I got pressure to finish the second story then I didn't know what pressure was. Man was I on the *hot* seat until I finished this one. FoLC's are insatiable I swear. <g> I actually want to thank everyone for the feedback and frankly all the pressure as well. My muse wants you all to know it worked overtime trying to get this out "quick" enough.
So without any more babbling, here is Part III of my unintended "Getting To Know" Series. :) Lois opens her email not knowing that it's in response to one of her own from Clark. As always, your comments and feedback are welcome (and that doesn't mean to demand Part IV! LOL!!)
A great big thanks to Pam for not only BR'ing this for me but for her wonderful suggestions! (I'm starting to think you get everyone to do what you want them to!! <g>)
Thanks again to Tricia for being my GE and polishing up the story.
"You have a what?!"
Jimmy Olsen paused behind Clark Kent's desk as he was passing by, intrigued by the note of shock in his friend's voice. Reporters were supposed to turn up startling information, but something in Clark's demeanor said this was different. As he caught sight of Clark's monitor, he realized it was definitely something out of the ordinary.
30. IF YOU COULD HAVE A TATTOO, WHAT AND WHERE WOULD IT BE? Already have one. Where is for him to find out. Believe me, I will let him do an in-depth search because that's what it will take to find it.
Taking a quick glance at Clark, Jimmy noticed Clark wasn't even aware of his prying eyes, so he read as much as he could see.
31. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? If someone were to have asked me that a year ago I would have said yes, but that would have been a lie. What I felt before doesn't compare to how I feel now. So yes, I am in love.
32. DESCRIBE YOUR DREAM WEDDING: Marrying Clark.
Jimmy knew he could rule out notes about a story since Clark's name was plastered on what little he could see of the document. But the closer he looked at Clark's expression of awe the more he knew it was very personal. Someone had sent CK a love letter of sorts or it was their way of saying they were interested in him. He wondered whom it was from since it seemed that every woman at the Daily Planet wanted Clark; it could be anyone.
Well, anyone but one. He looked over at his other friend, Lois Lane, and wished of all the women, she would be the one interested in his friend. He knew Clark was hopelessly in love with Lois but she couldn't get past his Smallville, Kansas roots to see the great guy CK was and not the Hack-from-Nowheresville she was adamant he was.
His thoughts were interrupted as he noticed that Lois had also looked up at Clark's outburst. He would have thought for sure she was going to rip into CK about distracting her from work but instead she simply smiled at him. He watched Clark's expression change into a crooked smile of embarrassment the moment he noticed Lois's amused one.
Suddenly Jimmy thought maybe he was wrong. Maybe, just maybe Lois was starting to see more in Clark. But understanding Lois was like understanding the meaning of life. It was impossible.
Making it back to his own desk, Jimmy suddenly remembered the reason of his musings, the message on Clark's computer. He knew he shouldn't hack into his friend's computer but hell, since he could, why not. He just wanted a name to go with the words he saw a minute ago.
He immediately set out punching commands into his computer and a minute later he was looking at Clark's computer log. He found the last document CK downloaded, which was also still being assessed. He punched in another command and within a few seconds, he was rewarded with the sender's identity.
A smile plastered across his face. Now he knew he was wrong. There was no maybe about it. It seemed Lois Lane indeed saw more in Clark Kent.
And geez, she had a tattoo. Who would have thought?
Lois Lane couldn't concentrate at all on her work and couldn't remember a time when that had ever happened. This was definitely a first for her but she didn't care. All she could think about was Clark Kent and that was fine with her.
She smiled to herself. It had only been-she looked at her watch-five hours since her revelation in the form of a questionnaire her sister had sent her. Five hours since she had come to realize her true feelings for him. And nothing else infiltrated her brain.
She could think only long enough to type a sentence of four words, which were the same four words: [I love Clark Kent.] She knew she should be worried that someone might see, but she didn't have the focus to care.
She knew her editor, Perry White was going to be upset that she hadn't finished her notes yet about the story he had sent them on earlier, but she just couldn't get herself to care about any story. All she cared about was Clark. She loved him. How could she have suppressed something so powerful?
It amazed her now that she hadn't seen it before. No, that was wrong- she had seen it but she had been determined not to let herself acknowledge or feel it. She was scared. But finally she had come to realize that the consequences of letting her fears win and never taking a chance was far worse than taking a chance and getting her heart broken.
Not to mention the benefits a relationship with him presented.
Lois felt her cheeks burn slightly at the thoughts running through her mind. She looked away from the endless four-worded sentences on her monitor and over to where Clark was sitting. She watched him type at his own computer; he was probably finishing up on his part of their notes for Perry.
Just then a beep sounded on Lois's computer, announcing to its distracted owner a new e-mail message.
<Yep, he's done. That would be his copy to me.>
The beep had done its duty and grabbed Lois's attention but before she had the chance to turn to it, Clark's eyes found hers and the world fell away.
Lois's breath was knocked out of her at the intensity his gaze met hers. If she hadn't known better she would have sworn he knew what she was feeling, but she knew he didn't; she hadn't had the courage yet to tell him.
Suddenly he smiled at her with a smile she had never seen before; it was beautiful but yet vulnerable at the same time. It was daring her to look into his soul, saying things have changed. She knew it was her own feelings projecting that idea into his features. She even imagined for a moment his love for her was shining through that smile.
The beep from her computer sounded again finally grabbing her complete attention.
Clark, on the other hand, was far from being calm. He was a nervous wreck. It was as simple as that or was it more complicated than that? He didn't know anymore. All he did seem to know was that everything had changed between them and she was going to find out just how much in a matter of seconds.
If only she knew what she was in for. He was sure she thought he had been over there typing his notes for the story to Perry, but in reality he had been replying to her accidental e-mail to him. Seeing Lois's reply to that questionnaire had been the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Clark Kent had just found out that Lois Lane loved him. She loved him. That was something he couldn't get over knowing and now he was replying to her confession with one of his own. But his confession was more than his love for her; it was his entire life.
He watched her turn her attention to her computer. He knew his e-mail had just been delivered when his super-hearing kicked in and heard the beep alerting her of the incoming message.
He knew it was now. Now both of their lives had reached the point of no return. Clark closed his eyes and waited. Any second now she would be opening an e-mail that would alter everything.
Lois logged into her e-mail and immediately scanned for the new message and its originator. As she suspected, it was from Clark. Just the thought of him again sent a smile to her lips. She shook her head trying to straighten her thoughts back towards work. Maybe reading Clark's notes would help her to produce her own. She poised her mouse over it to open but suddenly paused.
"Lois!" Perry shouted upon exiting his office and walking towards the bullpen.
But it wasn't Perry that had made Lois pause. It was the subject line of Clark's e-mail that had.
To: Lois <email@example.com>
From: Clark Kent
Subject: Answers for Answers
It was specifically the words 'Answers for Answers' that gave Lois her feeling of apprehension. She wasn't sure why but it had. It wasn't exactly a title one would use if it simply contained notes regarding an impending story. Especially one from Clark; he was very organized, to the point sometimes of being anal, when it came to his notes.
"Lois!" Perry called to her again, his determined strides bringing him closer to her.
But Lois wasn't listening. She was still focused on the message in front of her. In the back of her mind, she knew this was something other than work related. She couldn't describe why she suddenly felt nervous. Thoughts ran through her mind. One in particular pushed itself to the forefront. It was the thought that Clark had gotten a copy of the completed questionnaire.
<Stop being so suspicious. He couldn't have gotten hold of it! And you think Clark obsesses.> Lois reminded herself. She had been careful to send it only to her home computer. She had been careful, hadn't she?
She knew it was impossible but still it was there, picking at the back of her mind. And it was that thought combined with the subject line that made her pause.
"Lois, where are your notes on this story?" Perry demanded, seemingly very close by. "I asked for them a half hour ago and I've already gotten Clark's…"
Lois registered enough to know that Perry was standing in front of her and that Clark had sent their editor his part of the notes. Grasping that last part, she was forced to admit the message in her possession had nothing to do with the story. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and fought for control over her rampant thoughts of dread.
"Do you want to keep this cushy job of yours?" Perry asked pointedly, apparently realizing after three attempts Lois still wasn't paying a single bit of attention to him. So he tried a different tactic. "Or does a permanent dog column seem more your style?"
When Lois re-opened her eyes, she realized then she had clicked on the message because it was open. As she stared at it, all the air in her lungs disappeared. She couldn't breathe.
1. IF YOU COULD BE ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL WHAT WOULD YOU BE? A Horse
The first line staring at her confirmed her worst nightmare. It was *the* questionnaire. The one he wasn't supposed to ever see.
"Oh my God," Lois stammered out, using whatever air she had left in her body to form the words. Panic was rising fast.
"Finally! A response from the almighty Lois Lane! Thank you for joining us today."
"Oh my God!" She repeated with a little more intensity. She was going to hyperventilate; she could feel herself going.
Clark noticed Perry's increasing frustration with Lois. He was sure Perry was on the verge of making a very definitive point to her if she didn't snap out of her resolve soon, which wasn't likely. Knowing his boss didn't get to be Editor-In-Chief because he could yodel, Clark weaved his way into the conversation hoping to save Lois's butt from the dogs.
"Chief, I, um, have Lois's notes over here. I was just going over them for her, uh…because she wanted to make sure we covered different angles and not the same things."
He knew he had to do something in Lois's defense since he was sure he was the cause of her noticeable distress. He wasn't sure how far she got in his e-mail but knew she had at least opened it by her repeated statement of 'Oh my God.'
"Well, okay then. See, that's what I call initiative, boys and girls," he shouted for everyone to hear, but finished his statement for Clark, "Just send them to me as soon as you finish up here."
"No problem, Chief," Clark told him, knowing he could speed-type notes up without any trouble.
He realized though, Perry was still skeptical by the way he stared at Lois before heading back to his office. The wrath of Perry had been defused once again and the paper could go on.
Now if only he could defuse the bomb he was sure his e-mail had detonated.
Lois couldn't believe it. Had she really sent the questionnaire to Clark? Oh God, she had and he had read it. She wanted to dig a hole as deep as she could and live there for the rest of her life. She wondered briefly if she could get Superman to dig the hole for her; he could get it much deeper than a backhoe could. Maybe she could get him to place a boulder over the top of it. Yes, that would be good.
Finally tangible, intellectual thoughts infiltrated her mind. Not only had Clark read her answers, he was answering her back. He had sent her *his* answers back.
<Oh, my God, he's replying.>
Although shock and panic were still high on her list of emotions, she could now add nervousness and worry to it all. Nervousness for two reasons: the first being she had no idea how he felt about her answers, and the second being she would soon find out. She was also worried for two reasons: one, what if he didn't feel the same way and two, what if he did?
Lois was on an emotional rollercoaster ride. She didn't know what to do. She corrected that statement…yes, she did know what. It was time she pushed back her fears and forged ahead. He was aware of her feelings so it was only fair she was aware of his. She just hoped he answered the questions in the same fashion she had-ruled by passion and not in pity.
Before reading the message, Lois raised her eyes to look over at the man of her thoughts. As embarrassed as she was, she knew she should just pretend he wasn't sitting here, ten feet away from her. But she needed, her heart needed the contact of seeing him; she just hoped he wasn't looking in her direction.
The moment her eyes landed on him, Lois felt her breath leave her again. Not for the same reason it had moments earlier. Now it was the love she had for him welling up inside her. She couldn't deny it, not that she wanted to. She just hoped beyond anything else that he felt it too.
Lois forced herself back to her computer. It was now or never and never wasn't an option. The fact that this had all happened had to be some sort of a sign and she wasn't going to pass it up. Fate was knocking on her door.
As her eyes fell upon the message, she felt an overwhelming desire to take it one line at a time.
1. IF YOU COULD BE ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL WHAT WOULD YOU BE? A Horse
She left that one alone for now. She remembered her initial thoughts when he had answered that a few hours ago, leaning over her shoulder the first time he had seen the questionnaire. Little had he known then what it had entailed. She would have bet money, he'd never have expected what he had ended up with.
2. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Letting this opportunity of us becoming an 'us' slip away
He wanted to be an *us*? Did he mean that as in beyond friendship, as in more? He wanted to be with her? As his girlfriend? Did he really want it to be him and her, as in them?
The thought that Clark was feeling something between them just as she did was more than she'd ever thought would happen. Maybe he hadn't expected her answers but she had to admit she hadn't expected his either.
3. BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Being loved by Lois
Lois's heart did flip-flops inside her chest. Clark wasn't humoring her after all. He really cherished the idea of her loving him. He didn't take it lightly as she had known deep down he wouldn't. He wasn't like all other men; he was the last true Boy Scout; her Boy Scout. Why she never trusted that was beyond her. She knew she should have looked at the man he really was a long time again and not just this morning.
Her eyes glanced down to the next question and everything around her faded away as she read his answer.
4. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Not until I met Lois Lane. Actually *been* is the wrong word, I *am* in love.
And reread it over and over, again and again.
He loved her. She sat there stunned; not daring to move for fear the words might disappear if she did. Clark Kent loved her. He was in love with her. He was *still* in love with her.
Lois painfully remembered a few months back when Clark had told her that he was in love with her, but she was about to marry Lex Luthor. She had turned Clark down, telling him she didn't feel that way about him, which had been a lie. She had known it then just as much as she knew it now. It was a miracle they had survived that time of their lives; they almost hadn't.
She had always known she had feelings for Clark, even then "Lois Lane- Kent" had sounded so right in place of "Lois Lane-Luthor", a name she couldn't ever fathom. She had came so close to telling Clark but he'd stopped her and instead had told her he'd lied about his feelings in order to stop her from marrying Luthor. She wasn't sure she believed him but she wasn't strong enough to challenge him then. So Lois being Lois and being so used to getting hurt, had pushed her feelings away so that it became second nature to deny them.
But now things were different. They were different. They had a second chance at this and she'd be damned if she was going to let that slip away this time. She loved him. He loved her. It was true; in all her wildest dreams she never thought it would be true.
Suddenly Lois had a thought. What if this was all a dream? If it was, she knew immediately that she'd never want to wake up. She wasn't really dreaming all of this, was she? She reached down with her left hand and pinched her right arm.
Nope, definitely not a dream. She smiled at the whole of it. Not only was he interested in being her boyfriend, he was in love with her. Knowing all that didn't scare her, but instead it thrilled her to the very core.
<Oh God, Clark. I love you too!> she wanted to shout.
Lois noticed then that he had only picked certain questions to answer and she was down to the final one.
5. FULL NAME: Clark Jerome Kent, also known as, Kal-El
If she knew Clark was only going to answer five questions, she wished he had answered a different one; she already knew his name was Clark Jerome Kent. That was no big secret by any means. In fact, she had known Jerome was his middle name since the day Clark had been hired at the Planet; she had snuck in Perry's office and accidentally came across his resume-okay, so she'd taken it out of the locked filing cabinet. Something about him had always made her need to know more.
As she kept repeating Clark's name in her head, she imagined herself yelling it during a lover's argument or whispering it in his ear in ecstasy. Lois blushed. Okay, so maybe it wasn't a bad question to answer with the way her thoughts were going, but still she wished he would have answered what he thought of when he woke up this morning. She secretively smiled hoping that he had thought about her.
But before her thoughts could run off any further, her eyes landed on the four words succeeding 'Clark Jerome Kent'. She had seen the words before; no, she had written the words before during an interview with Superman.
'Kal-El' was Superman's birth name. But why was Clark using Superman's AKA?
Then a hundred images came flooding through her mind, as subtle as a ton of bricks falling on top of her. She knew why.
All the stupid excuses, all the disappearing acts, never seeing Clark and Superman together, Clark never being around in dangerous situations but Superman always there in time, the strong resemblance and her feelings for both men; it all made sense. Clark Kent was Superman. Her partner and best friend was also the same superhero that saved lives. Clark, the man she loved, was Superman.
"Oh God," Lois stammered out loud, "You're-"
Clark had just finished sending Perry Lois's part of the notes when he heard her respond with yet another 'Oh my God'. This time, however, it was her added word of 'You're-' that he knew what her distress was about.
He had been watching her for some time now, actually since his e-mail had been delivered fifteen minutes ago. He was sure by her facial expressions during that time that her initial shock of knowing he saw her original e-mail had worn off and the realization that he was in love with her sunk in. But now as he watched anger cross her beautiful features he knew her world was turning inside out.
But for him it meant no more secrets between them. He just hoped she'd give him the chance to explain everything.
Lois was angry and hurt. But dammit she still loved him. Her first instinct was to explode, drag Clark into the conference room and demand he explain why he'd been lying to her for a year. However, something in her told her to do the unexpected.
Before she set herself into action, she saved Clark's e-mail, encrypted it and sent it to her home computer. Then closing her eyes, she took a deep breath and pushed her chair back. As she slowly stood to her feet, Lois finally re-opened her eyes only to have them land on Clark. Suddenly she felt she didn't know the man before her anymore; but yet at the same time she did. She was just having difficulties meshing Clark and Superman into one person.
Methodically her feet moved forward until she was only a few feet away from him. She watched him look up and lock onto her gaze. She could see the mixture of emotions in his eyes that she was sure was reflected in her own. She loved him so much but she was also so hurt that he hadn't trusted her enough to tell her the truth long before now. But they had wasted too much time and she didn't want to do that anymore.
They both started at the same time, revealing a shy, scared smile from Lois and a hopeful expression from Clark.
"You first-" they both began again, a nervous laugh hanging between them.
"Fine." Lois took charge and forged ahead. "Clark, we need to talk. I mean really, really talk. No more questionnaires and no more e- mails. You and I have a lot of things to say to each other and I have a lot of questions I need you to answer."
"I know. But Lois, are you sure you're up to-"
"Don't you mean, am I too upset to talk about," Lois made what would soon become an all to familiar flying gesture between them symbolizing their shared secret of Superman, "about you know, who?"
"Well I'm not really sure how I feel yet. I'm mad. No I'm angry, but more than that I'm hurt."
"I know, Clark. But not here," her eyes pleading with him to understand they needed to do this somewhere where she knew she could break down and let him help her find their way to each other, "okay?"
"Okay. Do you want to come over for dinner? We could talk then," he looked more nervous than Lois had ever seen him.
She knew he was waiting for her answer. She thought about what he had just suggested. Was it wise to be at either of their apartments? She guessed with the subjects of their impending discussion, they needed to talk somewhere where they could be alone and comfortable with each other and Clark's apartment was such a place.
"Okay." Lois reluctantly turned, but was glad she did as her voice cracked. "I want you to know this isn't going to be easy."
"I know. Lois, I swear I'll answer anything you want to know. I'll help you through this as much as you'll let me."
A single tear fell down Lois's cheek as she heard the sincerity in Clark's words. She knew he was just as scared as she was and that thought soothed her a little. She had to get out of here to think; she had to get out of here before she crumbled completely.
Lois grabbed her jacket and purse then paused to gather strength she wasn't sure she possessed. She turned to Clark once again.
"Clark, I really want this to work, whatever *this* is."
She heard his reply of "So do I Lois, so do I. More than anything," as she hurried up the ramp, blinded by tears, to the elevator.
Clark watched Lois until the elevator doors closed, shutting her off from his view. He had promised himself a long time ago he would never make her cry. He raked a hand through his hair. It was going to be a long night. But he would do whatever it took to make everything right. Because deep in his soul he knew that *they* were right.
Looking at his watch he noticed he had just enough time to do some shopping for dinner and some very needed flying. He stood up, loosening his tie as he made his way up the stairs to the roof of the Planet. With a heavy sigh, he spun into his alter ego and cause of Lois's tears. No, he knew that wasn't exactly right. It wasn't Superman it was the lack of truth on his part.
Taking off into the sky, Clark hoped and prayed that the Gods would smile upon them tonight.
It had only been a half hour since Lois had left Clark sitting at his desk. She had started off with no destination at all, knowing only she needed to walk. She needed to think.
In that time, her memories of Clark and Superman had merged enough for her to accept the dual identity. She couldn't stop wondering how she never saw it. Some investigative reporter she was. What did she expect though? It had taken her a year to realize how special Clark really was. She'd have to sharpen up on her skills before she missed anything else.
Lois smiled for the first time since her deep musings began. She loved him. There was no doubt in that. And she realized it didn't matter that he was also Superman. She loved him. *All* of him.
Lois's last thoughts reverberated in her mind.
She loved him and that was enough. The rest they could work through *together*.
As she wiped at the remnants of her tears, she looked around at her surroundings. She was standing outside Clark's apartment. Unbeknownst to her, her heart had directed her feet to him.
She took a deep breath and headed for his building. After several determined steps she found herself looking at his door. She raised her hand to knock, faltering for a moment. Finally meeting her resolve, she took their future into her hands and knocked.
Now if only the rest of the evening would go that easily.
Clark exited the market after gathering groceries for the most important dinner he was ever going to cook. For the past hour, he had been flying around the world hoping it would help him think. He knew his part of *tonight* was going to be the key of what happened between Lois and him.
During his flights, he had only stopped twice, both for a 'Help Superman' call. He had also done his nightly patrol early so he could focus everything on Lois and nothing on the world.
Now he was making his way to his apartment to make everything just perfect. He decided to forego Superman and walk home as Clark. It would just make it easier if he was Clark for the rest of the night.
God, when did he start talking about himself in the third person? The day he became Superman. He'd be the first to tell anyone that he had an identity crisis, especially when it came to Lois.
How did everything seem to get so complicated? When he fell in love with Lois Lane. And she fell in love with Superman. Which he knew he contributed to by visiting her so often as Superman. It wasn't all her fault for not knowing, he had led her to believe that he was two different people.
Maybe he should have just told her his secret when they had become friends and seen what would have happened. But he knew his own ego of wanting her to love him for him and not because of Superman had kept him from doing that.
Would she understand that?
He shook his head clearing the clutter in his mind. After a few minutes he arrived at his apartment. Taking out his keys, he slowly opened his door. As he started to descend the four steps leading into his living room, Clark caught sight of a shadow out of the corner of his eye. He lowered his glasses preparing to use his x-ray vision to identify what the shadow was, but before he had the chance, it revealed itself.
Clark had stopped dead in his tracks as Lois stood before him, his Superman cape wrapped around her.
No, this was not starting out to be a good night after all.
Lois watched Clark's reaction to her unexpected appearance. She knew he'd be bewildered and a little shocked to find her waiting for him in his own home. But when she had made that vital decision to charge forward and found he wasn't home, she decided to use the key Clark didn't know she had and let herself in.
She had done a lot more thinking while pacing around his apartment waiting for him. She went through the last year in detail, made herself see things through his perspective and found she didn't like what she concluded with, especially about herself.
Now that she knew Clark was Superman, her reaction to his first declaration of love was unforgivable. That wasn't exactly a true statement. It shouldn't matter that she just now found out. Her behavior was unforgivable. Plain and simple.
When Clark avowed his love for her that day in the park, her reaction was one of dismissal. She refused to believe that her, Lois Lane, could ever have feelings for a hack from Nowheresville when she could have Superman. Only to turn around and tell Clark as Superman that she'd love him even if he were an ordinary man without powers. Hence, the most unforgivable part.
How could she have said that?
She couldn't deny she treated him so differently in his two separate personas. But she also knew rightfully she wasn't the only one at fault for that. Clark had made her think he was two different people and had done a damn good job.
But she knew that wasn't the point. The point was she had been selfish and completely vain, and hadn't known what she had right in front of her. Actually she had known but hadn't the courage to confront it. She almost did but that was before Clark had retracted his declaration. So denial became a wonderful thing. It was safer that way.
But that was until today. Now everything was upside down from what it was yesterday. Or maybe for the first time in her life it was all right side up. She loved him. He loved her. God, she was lucky he still loved her.
She was still a little hurt; egos had a way of holding on to things like that, but nothing was going to make her turn her back on love. She knew why he kept his secret from her and could understand it. She had known for the last half hour that *they* could get through this together. She just needed to let him know that.
That last thought brought Lois back to the present. She realized her eyes were still locked on Clark's and neither of them had moved an inch since he walked through the door. She knew he was probably trying to contemplate her appearance in his cape more than anything.
It hadn't been until discovering the secret compartment, by accident of course, had the decision to wrap his Superman cape around herself come into play. She wanted to make a point, wanted to let him know that she was hurt for his deception, and Clark's expression proved he had received the message. But it was also more than that-she also wanted him to know she accepted him…all of him.
This time she was going to speak first and there wasn't a thing he could do about it.
Clark stood there looking at Lois. At first he was bewildered when he saw her in his apartment, but after realizing she was wearing his cape, the emotion went out the window to be replaced with something he wasn't sure how to describe.
He was still staring into her eyes and could see the hurt he inflicted on her by his deception. He could also see the residual anger but the small smile playing at her lips caught him off guard. He was sure the smile had something to do with his cape wrapped around her and was sure it symbolized more than he was aware of.
He knew he was in trouble, just how much he wasn't sure of. But he was sure he was about to find out.
For the life of him, he still couldn't bring himself to break eye contact with her; he was sure she would disappear or his life would end if he did, which in his opinion were the same thing.
He watched her move to his left, as if telling him, he had her permission to continue into his own apartment; that it was as safe as it was going to be. He took the invitation skeptically, making his way through his living room to the kitchen to set down the groceries he still had in his arms. When had he lost total control here? And they hadn't even said a word to each other.
That was about to change. The silence was unnerving him. He had to know where they stood. He had to know if she still loved him. He knew that was selfish considering he didn't deserve her love for his deception. He supposed, more than anything, he just needed to know if he had destroyed that love and if he had, could it be repaired?
Clark hadn't realized his back was to Lois until he felt a pair of small gentle hands run up the expanse of his back to his shoulders, stopping and to his surprise, staying there. His body immediately relaxed to her touch. He could hear her heartbeat start to accelerate but that wasn't the only sound he heard. That of a small sob caught his attention. She was crying and he knew it was because of him.
What had he done to her?
He slowly turned to face her, bracing himself for an out lash he was sure he would be receiving. But what happened next was beyond anything he ever imagined, let alone any reaction he ever expected from her.
Their eyes had finally broken contact, a loss Lois felt profoundly. She actually had a strong hold on her resolve, which surprised her. She had thought for sure the fears would have taken a hold of her the moment he walked into the door, but they hadn't.
Her intentions were to let him stew for a few minutes but the diminishing look on his face, as he passed her to retreat into the kitchen, seized her heart. She was sure he probably thought everything they had just discovered about each other and themselves was over before it ever began.
Which was the furthest thing she wanted; she knew she needed to tell him that before he began to apologize and take back *this* declaration. She wouldn't let him do that, not when they had so much between them. Sure, they had a lot to talk about, to talk through before her hurt completely disappeared and her trust in him was restored. But those were things they could work out.
She followed him into the kitchen and watched him lean against the counter, his back to her. Suddenly she had this incredible urge to touch him, and reasoned to herself it was out of fear he'd withdraw from her, but more than wondered if it wasn't out of her own desire to just touch him.
Giving into her urge for whatever reason, she watched her hands snake up his remarkably muscled back up to his strong broad shoulders. Touching him was burning her fingertips as sensations she never experienced before filtered through her. She felt him relax and it was then she knew she had the control she needed.
Doing what she hoped he would, Clark turned to face her. At that moment, nothing felt more natural or right than to kiss him and that was exactly what she did.
The moment their lips met, the world faded away and all the distance between them suddenly disappeared. She felt Clark hesitate only to respond a half second later to her kiss. It started out innocent and sweet but as their kiss continued, it became more and more passionate. The intensity alone brought thoughts of heaven into Lois's mind. Their mouths melded together as two pieces of a puzzle fitted together.
Lois, somewhere along the line, realized her hand was still on Clark's shoulder. Raising her other hand, she wrapped it around his neck, pushing herself closer to him and causing the cape that was still around her to fall to the floor. She was immediately rewarded with his hands as they wrapped around her waist, pulling her even closer to him.
She felt his tongue brush against her lips and immediately opened her mouth bidding him entrance. She had never experienced a kiss even remotely like she was experiencing right at this very moment. She knew she had never felt anything so perfect in her life.
As much as she wanted the kiss to continue, she needed to breathe and they needed to talk. Resigning herself to their immediate fate, Lois slowly ended the kiss. She didn't pull out of his embrace however. She was looking into his amazing brown eyes, which happened to be looking into hers, and felt herself shyly smile.
With his arms still around her, Lois knew she was receiving the courage and strength she needed to continue with her plan.
"Clark?" She asked timidly, not sure suddenly of her next words.
Lois swore he sounded even more nervous than he did earlier in the day. She almost giggled suddenly knowing why. Something she never knew just made itself known to her. She had power over him. And she *liked* it.
"I love you," she watched him closely, "I didn't want you to know that because of an e-mail. And since you know that I do, I wanted to say it. I wanted to make it real."
His facial expression of wonderment was enchanting and she wished she could have caught it on video. But his look quickly changed to what she was sure was disbelief. The last thing she wanted was for him to think this was some sort of sick joke.
She needed to lay it all on the line.
"I love you, Clark."
And she needed to tell him she accepted him.
"*All* of you."
And it was time to talk.
"But Clark, I won't lie to you. I was hurt, very hurt and angry. I couldn't believe that you had lied to me for a year." She watched him open his mouth to speak but she brought her hand down, pressing a finger to his lips, "No, please let me finish. I let you go first the last time and I don't much like how that went."
She watched him try to place her comment. God, how they had lost a lot of time due to their damned self-preservation on both of their parts.
"Anyway, after I left this afternoon, I walked around and did nothing but think. I needed to know why you wouldn't tell me, especially something so big that affected both of us. Granted, you didn't know I was even remotely interested in you until today, let alone that I was in love with you. So I really didn't have any reason to be mad to begin with, but that didn't stop the feelings flying within me. In my mind, all I could think was that you should have told me because friends tell each other everything. But the more I thought about it, I started to see why you didn't."
Lois let her hand drift over his cheek, caressing it, almost as if she was memorizing the very feel of his skin. She took a deep breath and continued.
"I knew part of it was to protect me. If people realized I knew your true identity, they'd try to use me to get to you. They already know how friendly Superman-I mean you-and I are, as it is. So of course, they'd try to come after me. Why wouldn't they? If you haven't noticed, danger seems to migrate to me. What am I saying? Of course you've noticed." Knowing she was getting off track, Lois stopped, took a breath and refocused.
"But seeing the other side of the coin was when I finally realized *why* you didn't tell me until now. And it's something I'm quite ashamed of." Her voice cracked and tears threatened to fall as she admitted her biggest downfall besides not telling him sooner how she really felt. "I mean, why would you tell someone that you were Superman when she was completely oblivious to the ordinary man beneath the suit?"
She felt his arms tighten around her waist as to give her strength, which she was very grateful for.
"Clark, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you, not like that. Never like that. I was so scared of what I had been feeling for you, even then, but I wouldn't let myself admit to it. I couldn't because with you I had everything to lose and I could get hurt. With Superman it was just the opposite; I had no real stock with him. He was simply a fantasy. But with you, you were everything to me, and I could lose that. I wasn't strong enough."
Lois felt the hot tears escape and roll down her face.
"I know…" but Clark was cut off once more.
"You didn't tell me because you wanted me to love you as you and not as Superman. With that realization, my anger dissolved; I was disgusted with my behavior." She backed out of his embrace, broke eye contact and let her arms fall down to her sides. Those actions punctuated her words and with a very small voice, she finished with a last sentence, "And I don't understand how you can love me after all that."
"Oh, Lois. No. Don't think that." He took the minimal step required to get her back into his grasp. Once there he tipped her chin up so their eyes locked anew, brushing a new tear from her cheek, "I love you…"
"It's true. I love you, Lois. Nothing can or will ever change that." She stared at him unbelieving, but couldn't doubt the love shining in his eyes as he continued. "I've loved you since the day we first met in Perry's office. I never stopped. I lied to you the day outside the Planet…"
"When you told me that you didn't really have those feelings for me and only said that so I wouldn't marry Lex."
"I sorta hoped that was the case. But still…"
"Lois, I can't say that I wasn't hurt when you turned me down for Superman, because I was. I was angry too. I knew it didn't make sense since I'm both of them…I mean me. See, I can't even keep it straight. How could I have expected you to? And I didn't make the whole thing easy for you. I made you, along with the world, believe I was two different people. You're right though, I wanted you to love me as Clark not Superman. It wasn't fair to you and even more to ask for."
"Oh God, Clark. No, it's not. You have every right to want someone to love you for you. And I do, it just took me longer than it should have to let myself see it."
"And I should have told you about Superman sooner."
"Maybe." She watched him smile at that, making her melt even more. Her next question was rhetorical but needed to be voiced, "We really messed up along the way, haven't we?"
She felt both his hands on her shoulders only to slide down and rest on her forearms. He was rubbing his thumbs in circles, making her skin tingle all over. God, how she loved being touched by him. She looked into his deep chocolate brown eyes and smiled so brightly it could have blocked out the sun.
"I love you, Clark. So much it hurts."
"And I love you, Lois. More every second."
"I'm so glad I listened to Lucy and filled out that questionnaire." She giggled at what a simple e-mail, or actually two e-mails, could do in a day's time.
"So am I." Clark looked at her and once more she felt her heart fill up so full that she thought it would burst. He let go of her arms and wrapped his own around her waist, pulling her closer yet. She then watched him lean down slightly so his lips were mere centimeters from hers, eyes twinkling, "You know you're just the perfect height."
Lois looked at him strangely. What in the world was he talking about?
"To capture my lips in a kiss." He grinned at her.
She burst out laughing as she recognized her own words from the questionnaire. But her laughter soon quieted as Clark's lips lightly touched her own.
"We still have a lot to talk about, you know." She was trying to act nonchalant about the impending kiss, which was backfiring as her voice took on a higher octave with her next words, "I'm not letting you off the hook yet, farmboy."
"I hope you never do." His husky voice caught Lois off guard, "I'll answer every one of the questions I know you have. Later."
"Much later." She agreed quickly and all thoughts of talking were whisked away as their caressing of lips turned into a full fledge, soul-uniting kiss.
The questionnaire and the botched attempt of Lois's e-mailing skills would forever live in their memory.
Perry walked out of his office, determined to talk to Lois before the day was over. He was going to light into her for a few minutes but then loosen up to find out what had been bothering her earlier. He knew something was up; he could smell it in the air.
Once he made it to Lois's desk, he knew immediately she was gone. Her computer was turned off and her coffee cup was upside down in her plant. Well, it could wait until tomorrow. He had to admit to a little worry about her, though.
With a new idea for gaining some information, he walked over to Clark's desk. He thought he was in luck when he saw his computer on, but there was no Clark. He looked around, spotting Jimmy.
"What's up Chief?" Jimmy answered, suddenly standing opposite Perry.
"Have you seen Kent lately?"
"Not for about an hour. CK took off pretty quickly after Lois left."
"In the King's name, does anyone work here anymore?" Perry threw up his hands up, slightly grazing Clark's mouse causing the screensaver to stop functioning and bringing all active programs into view on Clark's monitor.
What Perry was faced with was something he had suspected but was never concrete about until now.
Subject: Answers for Answers
1. IF YOU COULD BE ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL WHAT WOULD YOU BE? A Horse
2. WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Letting this opportunity of us becoming an 'us' slip away
3. BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD: Being loved by Lois
4. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE? Not until I met Lois Lane. Actually *been* is the wrong word, I *am* in love.
5. FULL NAME: Clark Jerome Kent, also known as, Kal-El
Lois's earlier attitude or lack there of, completely made sense. It seemed maybe those two had a few things to work out. And maybe he'd just let this one ride on by.
With quick fingers, Perry exited all programs and shut down Clark's computer. That boy needed to be careful with things like that. Never know who may just be lurking around computer screens these days. Jimmy, for one such person, could have done what he had and gossip city would have been erected.
He noticed the young man still standing across from him and motioned for him to follow.
"Jimmy, why don't you and I call it a night?"
"Really Chief? Awesome!" Jimmy started walking away but stopped and turned back to Perry, "Hey Chief, if I knew something that…well, I don't think I was supposed to know but had accidentally found out…"
"You just keep it to yourself." Perry finished his sentence, but was quickly trying to defuse the situation before Jimmy shouted out that Clark was Superman.
"But Perry, it's sorta funny."
"Jimmy!" He warned him.
"Geez, is Lois's tattoo that confidential?" Jimmy shrugged his shoulder, slightly deflated.
Perry let a huge sigh of relief escape. Good thing it wasn't what he thought Jimmy's *discovery* was. Jimmy's last statement resounded in his mind.
Lois had a tattoo? For Elvis's sake, what else was he going to find out tonight?
(Or is it?)