By Susan Young (email@example.com)
Submitted September 2005
Summary: When Clark offers Lois a terrible excuse during a romantic meal, she vows to find out his secret on her own.
I have lost all sense of continuity over the years, so forgive me for placing scenes and quotes where they fit for my story. Copyrights belong to their respective owners. Don't bother suing me for borrowing your creation — I'm a teacher, so you know I don't have any money.
Thanks to everyone who provided me with positive feedback on the message boards. I appreciate your encouraging words. Thanks to CCAiken for editing this story for the archive. A special thank you goes out to Gerry Anklewicz who reached out to me as a first- time author and beta-read my work.
I dedicate this story to every fanfic writer who has gone before me. For years, I have happily devoured your work. Please keep writing so that I don't have to write my own — this was hard work!
Lois Lane was angry.
You know that feeling you get as you walk past a co-worker that you don't like, and each of you nod your heads, then continue on your way without a word exchanged? Lois was past that.
That feeling where you want to take off from work and head to the gym for an hour to burn off your frustration? Well, no one except those actresses in the fitness center commercials really feels like that, but still, Lois was past that.
You know how Shakespeare wrote that revenge is a dish best served cold? Lois had passed that hours ago.
Forty days and nights of pouring rain? Yes, that was closer. Anger of biblical proportions.
Her emotions had broken through her like a tidal wave, a mere ripple in the ocean last night that was threatening the city this morning. Like the others before it, Lois' date with Clark had been perfect. They had talked their way through pasta in the dim corner of a little Italian restaurant as she melted in his chocolate brown eyes. The atmosphere had been right, the partner had been right, and for the first time in so long, her heart had felt right. Sure, it hadn't been straining to burst from her chest the way it had when she first laid eyes on Superman, but she realized that had been a stupid schoolgirl fantasy. What her heart felt now was so much more. It was a steady glow, warm and content, as if she had been in love with Clark all her life.
'Yes,' she admitted to herself, 'I love Clark Kent.'
She didn't know when it had happened, and she couldn't tell herself why it had. She had resisted his charms for so long. In fact, she had resisted admitting he had charms long before she had resisted the charms themselves. But over time, Clark had taken his place by her side as her partner, best friend, and, perhaps, something more.
'Well, not now,' her anger swelled within her. She could not understand how her heart continued to love him, how her body continued to ache for him, how her emotions longed to be soothed by him because her mind was playing like a record continuously skipping over the same track. Again, her thoughts came back to last night's date. The sensation of Clark's left hand caressing hers on the table as his right skillfully brought the most delicious chocolate gelato to her lips. Her contented sigh leaving her breathless as her eyelids closed, basking in the perfection. The look of terror on Clark's face when she opened them again. And the words that plunged into her like a knife.
"Lois, I'm so sorry. I hate to leave you like this. But I have to go, ummm, pick up my Cheese of the Month shipment."
Hot tears threatened at the memory of those same tears spilling down her face last night. He hadn't seen them; he had run out of the room far too quickly, pulling on his tie as if he needed air.
'If he feels as breathless as I do when we're together, why does he run away?' Lois passed on that thought, preferring to offer him fury, her long-time defense mechanism friend. He had done this to her before. Video tape returns, library books due, overlooked dentist appointments — the excuses lined up like the end credits of a film, speeding past the screen while being ignored by the departing moviegoers.
Come to think of it, Clark had been doing this for their entire relationship. Lois let her mind take the lead again, and listened as it reviewed the hundreds of times that Clark had offered her a lame excuse, a quick goodbye, a sudden disappearance. But by far, this was the cheesiest excuse yet, pun intended.
Why hadn't she questioned those excuses in the past? Why had she barely given his absences a passing thought? 'Why haven't I cared before?' Lois thought, as the answer came far too quickly for her peace of mind. 'Because I wasn't this deeply in love with him before.' Stabbed in the back with the knife of love. Wasn't Cupid supposed to carry an arrow?
Lois shifted on her uncomfortable couch, gingerly balanced on the edge of love and hate. The wellspring of anger that had accompanied her since her march home last night dared to run dry, and she desperately wanted to cling to it, fearing it was all she had left. Without it, she imagined that she'd break down, wailing to her absent partner as Scarlett did to Rhett, "What shall I do?" And suddenly, an epiphany gripped her as her Clark- voiced conscience screamed.
"You're an investigative reporter, Lois. Investigate!"
When had she become a doormat? How long had she been this blind, lovesick, pathetic female willing to swallow her boyfriend's lies? How cliché was that? When had she stopped using her brain? Where had Mad Dog Lane gone? Wow, how long had it been since she had heard anyone call her that?
Lois could swear she heard howling in the distance as the tears stopped threatening, the anger subsided, and determination coursed through her veins. She would no longer accept his lies. She would no longer wait for him to explain. She would find out Clark Kent's secret for herself.
'Of course,' an evil grin made its way across her face, 'it would only be fair for me to warn him first.'
Clark smelled the rank contents of the box outside his front door before he opened it. The cardboard package had no postage; he guessed that the boy scurrying down the street must have dropped it off. Apprehension began to build, and Clark read the neatly typed return label: "Cheese of the Month Club." His thumb ran down the seam of tape, and Clark unfolded the flaps to reveal what his nose already knew was contained inside — a pound of Camembert. But the note attached, meticulously printed in handwriting that was all too familiar, ratcheted up his apprehension to outright fear.
Clark Kent was in big trouble.
As he stepped down from his front door, tossing the hunk of smelly cheese into the nearest trashcan, Clark smoothed his fingers over Lois' note. He had no doubt that the delivery came from her, and the reference to his horrible excuse during their date tore at his heart. 'Why did HE have to get in the way again?'
Lois had looked gorgeous, wearing a little black dress that hung just low enough to be tantalizing, yet high enough to be dignified. He guessed that she had spent time preparing for their date, investing extra time on her hair and makeup to create a look that was different from what he was used to at the Planet. In his mind, though, she needn't have bothered; she was beautiful even when she was covered head to toe in mud!
It had taken them so long to get to this point in their relationship. Clark hated dwelling on mistakes they had made in the past that kept them apart, but despaired at the thought of a future without her. He was willing to journey with her slowly, savoring the moments they shared together, building a foundation for…
'Don't say it. Don't jinx it.'
In his heart, Clark had no doubt that he wanted Lois in his life forever. But his head knew that any talk of marriage would have her running the other way. He needed Lois to overcome her emotional baggage, and he would do everything in his power to help her. Unfortunately, freezing breath was fairly useless in this situation. As was super strength. As was super speed. As was x-ray vision. As was the ability to fly. His mouth cocked slightly to form a thin laugh. Superman possessed no power that would help Clark secure Lois' love.
In fact, as the Camembert attested to, Superman was quite detrimental to Clark's relationship with Lois.
At least he felt cautiously optimistic that he was no longer competing with himself for Lois' affection. Since they had begun dating, Clark had run into Lois on a few occasions while in the suit. And though unable to contain her radiant smile, her eyes no longer held the adoring look that had characterized her earlier encounters with his alter ego. While clearly friendly, Lois stuck to the reporting at hand rather than seeking any opportunity to engage him on a personal level. For the past few weeks, Lois seemed to be reserving those capturing looks and quiet conversations for him. The real him.
'That's not fair,' a stern conscience chided him. 'He's real too, whether you want to believe that or not.'
Clark knew his inner voice was speaking the truth. At the beginning, he had convinced himself that Superman was a cardboard cut-out, that he existed only to defeat "the bad guys" and "save the day", but now he was starting to have difficulties tearing the super man from the regular one. It was Clark who had heard the crying children and panicked mothers screaming through his enhanced hearing during last night's apartment fire. There was no way that he could have ignored their desperation, even though he could see the pain burning in his partner's eyes as he started to lift away from the dinner table. He hadn't needed to see the tears that slid down her face as he departed — he had felt them like a driving thunderstorm pelting his soul. Even so, Clark could not regret the choice he had made. Really, there was no choice; the lives of seventeen children were at stake.
Clark had saved the day, and Superman had ruined the night. 'Lois would have told you to go, if you had told her your true destination.' That was the worst part of all, wasn't it? Clark knew that Lois would have admired Superman for helping the people of Metropolis once again. He could imagine her throwing her graceful arms around his neck, rejoicing in his successful rescues and comforting him for any painful losses. But instead of sharing that important facet of his life with her, he had let the most stupid sentence he had ever heard slip from his lips. Time with Lois was less important than a shipment of cheese? A black hole opened in Clark's heart, pulling every beam of happiness into its event horizon. Lois would never forgive him. She shouldn't forgive him. 'But she might forgive HIM.' Was there hope?
Clark became aware of his surroundings, seeing that he had moved to his couch while clutching Lois' meticulously handwritten warning. His eyes rested on his favorite photo of them, sharing a night together at the Kerth award ceremony. Lois was clearly angry now, as she had every right to be. A small part of his mind wanted to analyze the clues she had left him, to decipher her next course of action, but the rest of his mind was focused on the couple in the photograph, and how he could hold on to the possibility of future moments like that. He let the two words that had been rattling in his skull for weeks start marching loudly to the forefront. They danced between his ears, jumped up and down for attention, pleaded to be heard. 'Tell her!' 'Tell her!' 'Tell her!'
He waited for the inevitable fear to drown out the words, stuffing them into the recesses of his mind where they usually lived. Clark sat up straighter. Where was the fear? Since childhood he had relied on that emotion to keep his mouth sealed tightly, and yet right now, it was nowhere to be found. Dare he test the words out loud?
"Lois, I am Superman."
Clark looked up at the ceiling, half expecting his world to crumble down on him. He looked towards the window, waiting for a howling wind to rush through him. He glanced at the door, prepared for masked doctors wielding sharp silver knives to haul him away to a dissection table.
"Lois, I am Superman," he said a little louder this time. And still, nothing. No, wait, that was wrong. There was something, Clark perceived. He stood up, ripped off his glasses, and clutched the picture in front of his naked face. "Lois," he nearly shouted, "I am Superman!" This time, he could clearly feel that previously undefined "something." It was peace, security, trust, happiness, a sense of rightness. It was truth.
'I'll tell her the truth,' Clark now smiled. He knew it wouldn't be easy; her hurt and anger would take time to overcome. But he could no longer wait to reveal his secret to her. Clark loved Lois, and he knew that she felt something for him. To continue hurting her with outrageous lies was morally reprehensible. And by tearing down this barrier between them, Clark mustered the courage to move their relationship closer to each other.
But Lois wasn't privy to Clark's thoughts yet…
Lois heard the ding of the elevator that signaled Clark's Monday morning arrival and steeled herself to action. 'Cheese of the Month Club,' she remembered, letting Clark's excuse fuel her anger. She forcefully crushed the part of her that wanted to understand, forgive, press her body into his arms.
"Lois, we have to talk." He had made his way to her in record time. No trip to the coffee machine first? No uncomfortable shuffling of papers on his desk? 'It's almost as if I'm important enough to be at the top of his To-Do list,' Lois thought caustically. He wasn't getting off that easily. She pretended not to hear him.
Clark tried again, "Please, Lois," as he invaded her personal space, reaching an arm around the back of her chair and leaning in.
"Oh, did you want me now?" The sarcasm radiated from her; she toppled her chair in a rush to stand. "Because I certainly got the message loud and clear Saturday night that you didn't want me anywhere near you." The L of her first name started to form on his tongue, though her tirade proceeded into full rant before the word was uttered. "Anyway, I need to meet a source now. No, wait, I mean I have to avoid a ten cent fine at the library before I get my teeth cleaned by my dentist who works just past the video store that I have to return my late copy of 'Santa Clause and the Martian Invaders' to. And after that…"
"Please let me explain…"
"No! I don't want your explanations. I don't want your excuses. And I certainly don't want your pathetic lies!" She saw the guilt cross his face and pressed her advantage. "You are a horrible liar! Do you think I'm so stupid that I'd believe you desperately needed cheese after sharing a romantic meal with me?"
"You're not stupid, Lois; you're the most brilliant woman I've ever known." Clark started to reach for her as Lois stepped back.
"Don't you dare try and score points with me."
"I swear, I'm not playing games." Glancing around the newsroom, Clark caught on to the attention their escalating argument was attracting. "Please let me talk to you in private. I need to tell you something important. I'm begging you to let me fix this."
"This? This what? Will you be fixing 'this…'" Lois inserted the air quotes. "…with more of your lies?"
"I will never lie to you again, I promise, just please hear me out. I just need to talk to you alone." The desperate tone in his voice and the sorrow evident on his face began to weaken her resolve, and her foot involuntarily stepped towards the conference room as her eyes took in the interest of their colleagues. 'Gossip mongers,' she silently seethed. Taking charge of the situation, lifting her head and straightening her spine, Lois turned dramatically on her heel and marched to the conference room. She threw open the door and gestured as Vanna White would, offering the room's seclusion as if it were a prize.
Clark treasured that prize, allowing himself a moment to believe that he could make things right between the two of them. 'Lois, I am Superman,' he repeated to himself. No panic, no fear, only peace and truth. He had no illusions that Lois would squeal in delight and jump into his arms upon his revelation; the next few minutes ('Who am I kidding? More like the next few months!') would be painfully difficult, but he was confident that his decision was the right one. If she could accept his deception, then one day she might accept his love.
But in an instant, Clark's hope crumbled. His super hearing had kicked in.
"Don't you dare!"
Lois recognized the look on Clark's face. Her eyes narrowed in anger as his widened in panic. He was going to do it again! The emotional wall that had been sliding to the floor in light of Clark's desperation now exploded to the ceiling. And it was topped with jagged pikes. And an electrified barbed wire fence.
"Lois… no… not now," spilled from his lips as Clark's eyes darted between the firestorm in front of him and the direction of the derailed passenger train behind him. What could he do? 'I can't tell her like this,' his soul cried. He faced her fully, grasping her arms and focusing all his attention on her. "Lois, I would give anything to tell you what I need to say. Please don't hate me. But I have to go, now."
"Get your hands off me! You don't have the right to touch me. But at least spare me the lie this time."
"I told you I won't lie to you anymore, but I can't tell you where I'm going. Can't you see that?"
"That's right, you won't lie to me anymore. Because I will never listen to another word you try to say to me." She tossed her arms sideways to break Clark's hold on her. "If you walk out that door right now, I will never forgive you."
"If you only knew." Clark's head hung low, leaving contact with Lois' eyes as his thoughts turned inward. He was going to lose her before she was even really his. They could never be together with his secret keeping them apart. He started to turn from her, sensing little alternative. He knew what it felt like to leave her, afraid that it would be for the last time; he had done it before when Superman had been blamed for causing a sweltering Metropolis heat wave. At least then he had given her a proper goodbye. Clark waited, sensing a slim chance. Could a goodbye now be the beginning of a future hello?
Suddenly, his heart took over and his body reacted.
Clark pivoted, thread his fingers through her hair, and pulled Lois into a passionate kiss. His lips devoured hers and joy flooded through him as her arms pulled around his waist and she returned his attentions. He tasted her tongue as time stopped and the world around him disappeared. He shivered as a breathy moan pierced his eardrums. They parted by a fraction of space, each visibly drawing in air. "I love you, Lois Lane."
She gasped, startled by the intensity in his voice. Her brain refused to work; she remained frozen, staring at his lips, heartbeat pounding furiously against her chest.
He eased back, and his hands slipped from the back of her head, passing lightly down an ear, over her cheeks, and down to her neck. "I will meet you tonight at your apartment and tell you everything. I love you so much."
Then he ran towards the stairs.
Stunned, Lois remained still as she watched him leave. She expected her anger to return, her inner voice to throw verbal daggers towards his receding form. But all she could perceive inside were the words "I love him" echoing through her hollow core. Then the fog lifted, and Mad Dog entered the newsroom. Her plan kicked in. 'I will find out your secret myself.'
Lois ran towards the stairs.
Lois threw open the staircase door and screamed.
A heel having caught on the threshold, Lois tripped towards the banister, catching herself before she fell to the floor. In disgust, she grasped the shoes off her feet and flung them down the stairwell, hoping to hit her unseen partner in the back of his head. "How dare you leave me!" her swelling voice echoed off the spiraling concrete. 'How dare you kiss me like that!' her inner voice joined in.
Undaunted in her quest, Lois dashed back to her desk to slip on a pair of socks and sneakers. 'How did I expect to chase him in heels anyway?' she chastised herself. 'I can still catch him!' Mad Dog rallied in the back of her mind.
"Lois, where's that partner of yours?" Perry called.
She scoffed. "Milking a cow? Churning butter? Who knows what farm boys do when they're supposed to be working?"
Perry White shot his star reporter an exasperated look. "The news waits for no man. A train jumped the tracks; looks like a lot of people may be injured. Get me the story before people decide they can get the news by watching TV." His head nodded at the LNN coverage.
"I'm on it, Chief." Lois grabbed her purse and set aside her personal agenda for the moment. Nothing was more important than a front-page byline.
"Thank Krypton for Superman."
Lois focused her journalistic talents on crafting the story of the carnage before her as she observed the superhero ripping steel apart, removing injured passengers to waiting ambulances, and eliminating the hazard posed by gallons of spilled gasoline. Without him, there was no question that the death toll would have been in the hundreds; as it was, the loss of life evident in the black bags lining the tracks was tragic. She saw pain in his eyes as he flew past the dead during his efforts to save the seriously injured, though she had no doubt that others would be oblivious to Superman's feelings. She knew him too well. Well enough, anyway. 'Does anyone really know him?'
Clark did. Lois' mouth turned into a hard line at the thought of her runaway partner. 'They must be good friends,' she thought, 'assuming Superman has any friends.' It occurred to her that she had never really taken the time to think deeply about Superman's life. Sure, the Daily Planet had their fair share of scoops about his heroism, but could those bursts of criminal activity and natural disasters really amount to twenty-four hours each day? Did he constantly fly around the world like a satellite, waiting for the next opportunity to help people? No, surely not. He'd have to eat, or sleep, or go to the bathroom, wouldn't he? 'Hmmm, the suit must come off for that, at least.' Lois laughed at the mental image of Superman in a port-o-potty, tights around his ankles, flipping through a magazine.
The situation appeared under control, and as she shook herself back to reality, she saw that even Superman was no longer in sight. 'Perry will kill me for not getting a quote.' She maneuvered her way into the staging area to get an interview with an officer instead.
Until her jaw dropped and her blood boiled.
Clark Kent was taking notes.
"You left me to steal my story!" The volume of her voice caused several people to turn her way, but she was focused on one man only. He whipped around, and a shade of color drained from his face.
"No, Lois, this isn't…"
"This isn't the blatant betrayal it appears to be?" Lois was furious. Clark was the outward target of that anger, but she also focused that anger inward, hating her heart for the emotional turmoil that he was causing. If she didn't love him so much, she could never hate him as much as she felt she did now.
"This isn't my story. I was just in the neighborhood." That sounded lame even to Clark's ears. "Take my notes, please. They're yours."
Lois snatched the notebook out of his hands and shook it at Clark. Her breathing harsh, she waited for her words to assault him, but couldn't seem to make them leave her tongue. "Go away," was all she could seethe.
To his credit, he started to retreat. But he had to add, "I will tell you everything tonight."
"I will!" Quieter the second time, "I will be there tonight, and I will tell you everything." With that, Clark backed away from their onlookers, then made his way through the crowd and around the corner of the closest building.
'Go away? All I've ever really wanted was for him to stay.' Her decision was made in an instant. She would make him talk to her now. Lois dashed after Clark and turned the corner as well.
In time to see a swirl of clothing and Superman rocketing into the sky.
The sun refused to melt the ice that had frozen Lois to her spot.
Clark? Superman? No.
'If you had no powers, if you were just an ordinary man leading an ordinary life, I'd love you just the same.'
A car horn blasted, and Lois blinked. She looked down at the street beneath her, then squinted at the car a few feet away from her. The horn blasted again. Recognition dawned, and Lois moved onto the sidewalk. Her eyes turned back to where her vision had clearly committed treason. She mentally pressed the rewind button on her memory, then let the tape roll forward. No? Rewind, play. Rewind, play. "Am I insane?" she posed the question out loud, waiting for the non-existent witnesses to answer, "No."
'Clark Kent does not belong to the Cheese of the Month Club.'
Her apartment was quiet.
Lois sat on the end of her bed, unsure of how she had gotten home. She couldn't remember if she had called in the train wreck story; a bigger story had presented itself to her. Not that she'd ever publish it, of course. That thought turned her stomach — she would never betray them that way. 'Not THEM,' she amended, 'HIM.'
Falling backwards, Lois half-hoped that dreams would overtake her and she would wake up from this nightmare. But instead of staring at the ceiling, she looked through it, an image of the radiant sky shining down on her dark world. Superman flew through the vision, inhabiting his rightful place in the air. But there was no cape, no spandex, no hero. Just Clark, wearing jeans and a black t- shirt, glasses hiding his eyes and wind blowing through his hair.
'I am galactically stupid.' Lois cringed as a flood of memories ripped through her, merging Superman and Clark Kent into one person. Horrible excuses matched up with heroic acts, disappearances matched up with appearances. Clark's uncanny ability to secure Superman exclusives was no longer a matter of incredible luck. 'That rat!'
She checked her emotions, sure that anger would be coursing through her veins. But there was nothing. She was empty, spent, drained.
"Maybe it's post-traumatic stress," she sarcastically ventured.
A knock at the door jolted Lois from the bed. Of course he was here. He said he would be. He never failed to meet her when he set a date. Time. Appointment. 'Not date,' she emphasized to herself. She just couldn't count on him to stick around for long. Lois had vowed to find the reason why he always left, and within a day she had done so. Why hadn't she ever followed him before? That was too easy. Better to torture herself with crazy ideas about gay lovers, a wife and kids, criminal activities, multitudes of unfaithful actions.
Again, less tentatively this time, the knock rapped. "Lois, please, talk to me." That's what he was here for, she remembered, he was going to tell her everything.
Everything. Lois left her bedroom and gaped at the door, her jaw dropping. Not everything. One thing. There was only one thing he could say to her. The truth.
Her right hand made its way through a series of locks and the door swung open, seemingly of its own volition. Her body tuned in to his presence, refusing to obey her desperate desire to remain calm. A tingling sensation shimmied its way through her, one she recognized from the beginning of last Saturday's date. 'Why does he have to be so damn sexy?'
Clark was sexy. Superman was sexy. The two joined together were explosive. She pulled on a thread in her memory — Clark was the "before" and Superman was the "way after." But that was a long time ago, before Clark had penetrated her defenses and took possession of her heart. 'He must know that by now.' In a flash, as Clark shifted unsteadily from one foot to the other, Lois understood. Clark didn't know that.
She had been hiding the truth, too.
"Can I come in?" Clark's pulse quickened at the sight of Lois in her doorway. A pounding in his temples brought on by the secret he had to share joined the usual thumping in his chest that always chased him while in her vicinity. He couldn't read her expression, but was encouraged by the fact that she hadn't slammed the door in his face.
Her silence unbroken, Lois stepped back from the entry, motioning with her hand towards the couch. 'If I tell her the truth, then maybe I can just hover over that thing instead of actually sitting on it,' Clark joked to himself, then chastised himself for assuming he'd be able to stay. A quick glance provided no reassurance; Lois was pensive.
"I'm trying to find a way to start this," Clark breathed deeply as Lois finally looked into his eyes, as if she had come to a conclusion to her thoughts. He tried again, "I'll just start by saying…"
"No," Lois interjected. "I'll start." With the intensity of a tornado sweeping objects into its swirling winds, she wrapped herself around her partner and claimed him as her own. Passion let loose: her lips devoured his, her fingers clawed at his back, her torso pressed into his. Hesitant surprise was quickly traded for fervent affirmation as Clark willed the knowledge of his love to be transmitted without words.
Lois leaned back and caught her breath as her hands brushed over his skin. Observing their clasped hands, she bared her soul. "It has taken me a long time to get to this place in my life. The abandonment I've felt from every man in my past caused me to become jaded to the possibilities between us. You fell for me, farmboy, despite my very explicit warning. And even though it took me forever to admit it to myself, I fell for you too." She raised her eyes and locked them with his. "Your lies are hurting us. I will not let you continue to do that. I love you enough to listen to the truth."
She had gambled, laid her heart before him. Lois loved Clark, and discovering his secret had forced her to reveal her own. She needed him to know that she fell in love with the partner who stood by her side, matched her step for step, equaled her in every way. She didn't want a god in a cape; she wanted a partner and best friend.
Clark didn't waste words. She had given him the gift of love, and he would give her the gift of truth. "Lois, I'm Superman." A smile appeared on her beautiful face, and she initiated a subtle, sweet kiss.
"Thank you." A soft laugh bubbled from her, and then she turned and whispered in his ear. "I love you anyway."
Lois Lane was not angry.
You know that feeling you get when you first lay eyes on a gorgeous member of the opposite sex who seems to be looking at you in the same way? Lois was past that.
That feeling you get after you've been on a few fabulous dates that, maybe, this one might be the one? Lois was past that.
That feeling of hot infinity that explodes as two souls merge into one? Well, Lois was still desperately waiting to feel that.
To love, honor, and cherish, in sickness and in health, 'til death do you part? Yes, that was more like it. Love of matrimonial proportions.
Her emotions wrapped warmth around her, a cozy blanket in front of a crackling fireplace. In the months since Clark had shared his other identity and Lois had put voice to her love for him, their relationship had blossomed like a garden in spring, revealing a harmony of senses. She no longer questioned his need to leave in the middle of a romantic meal, and he never lied to her about his true destination. In fact, she had become an excellent liar herself, able to quickly put together better cover stories than Clark's feeble fibs. She hoped that if their secret were ever revealed, their friends would be able to understand and forgive their deception. For the first time in her life, Lois' heart felt right, nestled deep within her and securely cradled by the arms of a life-long love.
"Yes," she freely admitted to anyone who would listen, "I love Clark Kent."
She couldn't remember a time when she didn't embrace his charms, and couldn't imagine life without Clark by her side as her partner, best friend, and now, definitely, something more.
'Of course,' an evil grin made its way across her face, 'it would only be fair for me to warn him first.'
Clark didn't x-ray the contents of the box outside his front door before he opened it. The cardboard package had no postage; he knew exactly whom it had come from when Clark read the neatly typed return label: "Cheese of the Month Club." His thumb ran down the seam of tape, and Clark unfolded the flaps and smiled at the velvet box contained inside. But the note attached, meticulously printed in handwriting that was blissfully familiar, ratcheted up his delight to outright joy.