Dating By Deception

By BanAnna <>

Rated: PG

Submitted: July 2005

Summary: Lois and Clark get a little romantic help from a very unexpected person.

This fic was written in the fall of 2003, but I didn't get around to Submitting it to the archive until summer of 2005. It's set after Fly Hard and was for my wonderful twin, Jana, on her birthday. :)

A big thanks to my awesome BRs, Annie, Saskia, and Shelley, without whom I wouldn't even know what day it was. ;) And another big thanks to Julie for being a *great* GE! :)) The characters in this story are not mine. They belong to DC Comics, Warner Brothers, December 3rd Productions, and probably some other very rich people. I'm borrowing some of their ideas and adding a few of my own to have some fun.


Jack watched them bicker from over the top of the comic book he was reading. He was editing her spelling mistakes, while she was trying to keep him focused on the subject of how to go about investigating their story her way. It seemed that she had already made up her mind and wasn't giving his idea the time of day. Those two had so much sexual chemistry that even a 16-year-old kid from the wrong side of town could see it.

Jack let out a little laugh as he went back to his comic book, but his mind didn't stay there for long. Absentmindedly flipping the pages, his thoughts couldn't help but drift back to the argument going on across the room. He obviously had it bad for her, and didn't know how to admit it. She obviously found him attractive, but stubbornly refused to admit it.

It was frustrating for someone to watch them interact day after day and never get together, and Jack was sick of the frustration. These two needed to just get over themselves and go out on a date. And if they weren't smart enough to figure that out, then he was just going to have to give them a little push. Or a big one, as the case may be.

Slowly, a plan started to formulate in Jack's devious, puberty driven mind. They'd never know what hit them.


"Hey, Clark, you busy tonight?" Jack asked as he passed by Clark's desk on his way to deliver some inter-office mail. He had a pretty good idea of how to go about putting his plan into place, but he was going to need a little help from Lois and Clark. They just didn't know it yet.

Clark looked up from his computer and thought for a second. "I don't think so. What have you got in mind?"

"Wanna catch a movie?"

"Sure. I think there's a new sci-fi movie playing downtown."

"Great, I'll meet you there at seven." Jack smiled. Clark was going to make this easier than he'd thought. Lois, however, would probably be a different story.


As Lois rounded the corner and headed toward the theater, she couldn't shake the feeling that she'd somehow been tricked into coming. Jack had insisted that she needed to be there for a story, but he'd been vague about the details. Every time she brought it up, he just skirted around the issue and told her to trust him. It was all very suspicious, but if it was going to get her a scoop, she was willing to feel a little foolish. Not that she wanted anyone else to know that.

Lois checked her watch. Jack had told her not to go inside until five after seven, and she was a little early. She paced back and forth in front of the kiosk as the minutes ticked by. What sort of big news story would break at a movie theater, anyway? It was probably one of Jack's little friends with a press-stopping story about lunch money theft or something. Why on earth did she let him talk her into this?

Feeling a tap on her shoulder, Lois whipped around. "Well, it's about time. Now what exac… oh, it's you." Expecting to see a kid about Jack's age, she was surprised to find Clark standing in front of her. "What are you doing here?"

"I was about to ask you the same thing."

"I'm here on a story tip from Jack. You?"

"I'm…" Clark stopped. Jack sent her here? Clark started to wonder why Jack hadn't said anything to him until it dawned on him.

Jack was setting them up.

Clark pondered the absurdity of that thought. Jack thought he could just put the two of them in the same place at the same time, and… and what? What did he think they were going to do? Kiss? Profess their undying love for each other?

Clark knew Jack was naive, but this was over the top.

Besides, Clark didn't need any help from a kid. He knew he was in love with Lois. Absolutely, without a doubt, head over heels in love.

But things were more complicated than that. *He* was more complicated than that. And he knew that Lois didn't return his feelings. She'd proven more than once that she wasn't in love with him. She was in love with Superman. She was in love with a figment of his imagination. And nothing Jack said or did could change that.

Of course, Lois didn't need to know that. She didn't need to know that she was being pushed in a certain direction, and if Jack wanted to try, Clark wasn't about to stand in the way.

His mouth still open from his mid-sentence stop, Clark closed it, took a breath, and opened it again. "I'm just catching a movie. By myself… Unless you wanted to sit together."

"Well, sure, Clark, but Jack said that I shouldn't go inside until…" Lois checked her watch for the hundredth time. "Now, actually."

"Well then, shall we?" Clark asked with a smile.

Lois sighed, slightly annoyed at this whole wild goose chase. "I suppose so."

Clark stepped up to the ticket window. "Two, please."

"Clark, you don't have to do that." Lois said, matter-of-factly. "I'm perfectly capable of paying for myself."

"I know." Clark shrugged and smiled. "I just thought it would be nice."

"Oh." Lois stopped. What was she supposed to say to that? Clark was always a little too nice for his own good, but this was a little over the top. Something in his eyes told her that was up to something. What was this story, anyway? And why was Clark really here? Did he know something she didn't? Lois didn't like the uneasy feeling she got with that thought.

Lois shook her head abruptly, tossing the thought from her head. This was Clark! He was a simpleton from Farmtown who didn't have a devious bone in his body. Getting a grip on her suspicious nature, Lois smiled at her partner. "Thanks, Clark. That's nice of you."

He smiled back, and a little voice in her head insisted that something was up. She pushed it out of her consciousness and followed him in through the front doors.

Despite the fact that it was Friday night, the multiplex was largely empty, and Lois and Clark strolled through the deserted lobby toward their screen entrance. As they passed by the concession stand, Clark had a thought.



Clark gestured toward the counter. "Would you like some popcorn?"

"Oh, sure. Thanks, Clark." Now he was buying her popcorn? They were here on a story for heaven's sakes! Weren't they? Yes. Yes, they were. Or, at least she was. Clark didn't seem to be too concerned with that fact.

"Uh, Clark? Shouldn't we be investigating? There's a story here somewhere."

Clark was confused for a moment. What story was she… oh, yeah. She still thought she was here on some convoluted story that Jack made up. He smiled to himself. It wasn't often that he was one step ahead of The Great Lois Lane.

"You know, Lois, I think if we just sit down and watch the movie, the story will come to us." He smiled while she frowned, and then he turned to purchase a large popcorn and two sodas: Coke for him, cream soda for her. The pleasantly surprised look on her face at his remembering her favorite soda was not lost on him.

Clark led the way through the double doors, into the dark theater, and down the aisle to find a pair of seats. The previews were already underway, so Clark arranged the popcorn between them, smiled at Lois, and sat back to enjoy the movie.

It occurred to Clark that he'd never been to a movie with Lois before. They'd become friends during the past year that they'd worked together, but for some reason they'd never been to a movie together.

Clark's palms began to get clammy, and he felt his heart beating just a tiny bit faster. Nerves? Now? There was nothing to get nervous about. It was just Lois. They were partners. Best friends, even. He wiped his hands on his jeans and took a few deep breaths to slow his pulse. He was just fine.

He was kidding himself. He was a wreck. Even with all of his strength and speed, he was powerless to control his reaction to sitting this close to her. He could feel the heat from her body, hear her breathing, smell her sweet perfume. He wanted to reach out and take her hand. He wanted to hold her small, delicate one in his strong, sturdy one, and he wanted to lace his fingers through hers until neither of them could tell whose fingers were whose.

But he couldn't. She didn't feel the same way about him. They were purely platonic friends, and they always would be. No matter how many clever little schemes Jack put them through.

Clark resigned himself to this thought pattern, and just as the opening credits began to roll, he reached into the bucket to find a few kernels of popcorn.

He froze.

His hand had hit the rough, buttery popcorn, but it had also hit something else. Something soft and smooth. Something small and delicate. Something that also froze at the contact with his skin. Looking down into the popcorn, his suspicions were confirmed. His hand was brushed up against hers.

Not knowing what else to do, he pulled his hand up and out of the bucket. His palms were sweaty, his heart was beating a mile a minute, and his thoughts were racing even faster.

Had she reached for the popcorn at the same time on purpose, or was it just a coincidence? Did she think that he had done it on purpose? Had she even noticed that they had touched? Did she care? What should he do next? Should he go in for the popcorn again? Or wait a while? Or just leave it entirely alone for the rest of the night?

Clark forced himself to take a deep breath — a super-deep breath — to calm down, and he began to reason with himself. First of all, she didn't know what Jack had done — neither did he, exactly, for that matter. Second, she wasn't getting nervous and panicky over a little touch, so why should he? After all, they'd touched hundreds of times before. They'd even *kissed* a couple of times!

But somehow, sitting in a dark movie theater was forcing him to think of things a little differently. He wished that she was thinking of things a little differently too.

Shaking that wishful thinking out of his mind, he looked down at the popcorn bucket before reaching in for a handful.


She'd felt it. It was a strange sort of tingle that ran from her fingers, up her arm, and into the very depth of her body.

It was a pleasant tingle, but one she'd never felt before. It gave her a warm feeling and forced her to smile. Her muscles tensed up, and her whole body froze in place. She didn't know what to do or say. All she knew was that when she looked down at the popcorn bucket, she saw her hand next to his and she had an inexplicable urge to stretch out her fingers and lace them through his.

Why was she feeling this way? She'd touched him hundreds — thousands — of times before. Why should this time be any different? Was she different? Was he? Certainly not. They were the same two people they'd always been: Lane and Kent, the Greatest Reporting Team in the World. But if it wasn't them, then what was so special about this night, this touch? Was it the theater? The movie? The evening? The timing?

She didn't know. All she knew was that somehow, some way, this touch was different. She'd felt something special when his hand had grazed hers. She didn't know what it was, but she knew that she wanted to feel it again.

The only question left was… did he feel it too?

She didn't know the answer to that either.


The credits rolled, and the movie patrons filed out of the theater. Lois and Clark looked at each other and smiled nervously through the awkward silence.

"Well, I guess we'd better go." Clark motioned toward the door, not knowing what else to say or do.

"Yeah, I guess we'd better," Lois answered softly, a distant trace of that tingle still left inside of her.

He stood up, and she followed his lead, both of them too lost in their own contemplation to think of anything to say to the other person.

The silence became more obvious, however, as they exited the warmth of the theater and exchanged it for the cold, wet pavement of the Metropolis streets.

Lois broke it first. "Did you want a ride home? I know you don't live far, but…"

Somehow it didn't seem right. He just couldn't bring himself to ride in a car with her. Not when he was feeling so drawn to her. Not when his thoughts had been more than platonic for most of the evening. Not when he knew she didn't return his feelings. Tonight, it was just too much to take. "No, thanks, that's okay," he answered. "You're right, it's not far and I, uh…" He tried desperately to think of an excuse. "I could use the exercise."

She couldn't help but feel a little disappointed. "Well, okay then. I'll see you Monday."

"Goodnight, Lois."

"Goodnight, Clark."

He turned and walked away slowly in one direction, and she did the same in the other.

After a few steps, he turned to watch her. He could almost smell the sweetness of her hair as it swayed in the breeze, and his heart sank as he resigned himself to never being able to feel its softness under his fingers.

He loved her.

He loved her more than he'd loved anyone or anything before in his lifetime. And although he wanted to be with her, he knew he had to let her go. In his own mind, in his own thoughts, he had to release the possibility of their future together.

To keep pining away as he was, was just too painful.

He turned back around, and kept walking away from the theater, away from Lois, and away from thoughts of a life with her.


She took a few steps in the direction of her car as she reflected on the events of the night.

What had happened? What were these thoughts running through her head? Why was she suddenly having these feelings? Why was she picturing herself curled up, content in Clark's arms? Why was she wishing that he had taken her hand when it had brushed his? Why was she so confused?

There were so many questions, and so few answers. All she knew for sure was how she felt, and that she'd never felt this way before. It was new and different and terribly exciting.

But it was also terribly scary. Clark was her best friend. Was there any hope of them ever being anything more than that? She didn't know, but she sure wanted to find out.

Lois turned to watch Clark walk the last few steps around the corner and then disappear from her sight. The lack of answers was slightly unsettling, but short of running after him and making a complete fool out of herself, there was nothing she could do about it at the moment. She would just have to settle for anticipating the unknown.

Speaking of the unknown, hadn't she been after a story? What story?! There was no story!

Lois seethed silently as she reached her Jeep. Jack was going to pay for this.


Jack watched as the two of them took second glances back at each other as they walked away. They'd gone in together, they'd come out together, and they didn't look upset by the fact that he hadn't been there to meet them.

He didn't know what had gone on inside the theater, or what exactly was going through their heads, but if everything kept going according to his plan, Lois and Clark would be lovebirds faster than he could shoplift a Twix bar.


Sandra loved Antonio, but she didn't know it. The amnesia caused her to believe that she was actually her twin sister, Darlene, and that she was in love with her therapist. Antonio had tried everything to convince Sandra otherwise, but there was no hope. Darlene was the only one who could truly convince her, but the same tragic accident that had taken Sandra's memory, had taken Darlene's life.

Lois sniffed and wiped the tears from her puffy, red eyes. The Ivory Tower could get to her every time.

A knock at the door pulled her back to reality. Lois stopped the tape, grabbed a tissue, and ran to the door. A man in a brown uniform was standing there with a long, silver box with a bright red bow.

"Sign here, please," the man asked, handing her his clipboard.

Lois signed, handed back the clipboard, took the box from him with a confused but curious look on her face, and shut the door as the man walked off down the hallway.

She set the box down on the coffee table, wondering what it was and who it could be from. There were no markings on the outside of the box, and Lois hadn't thought to ask the deliverer about it until just now.

Without another thought, curiosity got the best of her. She pulled on the bow, letting it fall to the table, and then lifted the top off the box.

The sweet smell of a dozen red roses wafted out of the box, putting a smile on Lois' face, and she picked up the card that was tucked between the stems. She didn't recognize the handwriting, as the florist must have written it, but the name at the bottom was unmistakable.

*Dear Lois,

I had a really nice time last night, and I was hoping that we could do it again. I'd be honored if you would let me take you out to dinner. I'll come by your apartment at seven o'clock tomorrow evening. If you aren't there or you don't answer the door, I'll understand, no hard feelings. I'll always and forever be

Your best friend, Clark*

She read the note four more times before the full weight of its message sank in. The word 'date' wasn't written, but that was sure what it sounded like to her. He wanted to take her out to dinner… he was picking her up… if she said no he'd understand… yep, it sounded like a pretty classic definition of a date to her.

A date? She'd been on dates before, but never with someone she knew so well. The fact that she and Clark were already so close made her a bit nervous. He knew so much about her, including her many faults. If she accepted, all bets were off. There would be no pretending to be something that she wasn't; he would see right through any of the facades that she'd used with men in the past.

If she accepted? What was she thinking? After last night, there was no way she was going to turn him down. She'd felt something new last night. Something that she'd never felt with anyone ever before. She had to explore it. Not accepting, never knowing, would be something she'd regret for the rest of her life. She *had* to accept the date with Clark.

A date with Clark!

Her heart took over for her head and created a fluttering of excited butterflies in her stomach. Everything she'd been feeling last night was coming back to her in a flood of emotion — the giddiness, the nervousness, the anticipation, the longing.

Lois checked the clock; it was 3:06. Time couldn't move fast enough.


Zach Pickett dashed down field, cutting left and right between blue and white jerseys. When he reached the open field beyond the defensive lineup, he looked back over his shoulder and caught sight of the pigskin flying toward him through the cold November air. He opened his arms to receive the pass, hugged the ball to his chest, and turned to sprint toward the goal line. 15 yards… ten… five… touchdown!

"Yes!" Clark shouted, pumping his fist into the air and dropping his bag of chips to the floor. The Midwest University Cornhuskers were now beating the Metropolis University Bears 27-10 with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter. Life was good.

Life was also very confusing. He'd spent last night's flight home contemplating that evening's events and wondering if it had been a mistake not to make a move, not to hold her hand, not to tell her how he felt. Sure, she didn't feel the same way about him as he did about her, but would she feel differently if she knew how he felt?

He didn't know, but the bottom line was that he was too afraid to find out. Her friendship meant a lot to him, and at this point he wasn't willing to risk losing that friendship unless he knew that she felt the same way.

In the middle of his thought process, his super-hearing kicked in and he realized that someone was climbing the steps outside his apartment. Sure enough, a few seconds later there was a knock on his door and as he walked up the stairs to open it, the person on the other side was walking down the stairs away from it.

When he reached the front door, he pulled it open and nearly kicked the brown package that had been leaned up against it. With a furrowed brow, he leaned over, picked it up, and walked back into his apartment, closing the door behind him.

It was a plain brown box with a Metropolis postmark, but no return address. The curiosity was too much for him and he x-rayed the box before he could open it.

Inside was a box of chocolates.

Who would send him a box of chocolates? Why would someone send him a box of chocolates?

Clark tore the paper off the box at super-speed and realized that there was an envelope taped to the top of the candy box with his name written in simple script on the outside. He removed the note from inside and began to read.

*Dear Clark,

I had a really nice time last night, and I was hoping that we could do it again. If you would like to go out to dinner, come by my apartment at seven o'clock tomorrow evening. If you don't come for whatever reason, I'll understand, no hard feelings. I'll always and forever be

Your best friend, Lois*

The shock was so overwhelming that Clark couldn't think to do anything but laugh. His laughter turned into a cough as he came to the realization that he really was standing in his living room with a box of chocolates and a note from Lois asking him to go out to dinner on a Saturday night.

He read the note several more times, and then pinched himself, just to make sure, but no matter what he did, the reality never changed. He didn't wake up because this wasn't a dream. This was actually happening to him.

Clark looked at the clock. 3:48pm. He had just over three hours to get ready. He zipped into his bedroom and began to spin in and out of several suit and tie combinations, determined to find the perfect one.

The Midwest/Metropolis game was long forgotten.


The shapes were mesmerizing. Squares, lines, L's, and Z's shifted and rotated on the screen, manipulating themselves into a solid, seamless puzzle of black and white blocks.

Tetris was doing its best to keep Jack's mind occupied, but it couldn't help but wander off, thinking about its latest clever trick. The roses had cost him almost a full two weeks' salary, but it would be worth it if they fell for the cheesy notes he'd included.

If they fell for it? No, *when* they fell for it.

He had no doubt that it would work. Deep down, Lois and Clark both had a thing for each other, but she was too stubborn and he was too shy. This little push was just the thing they needed. They'd thank him for it later.

He maneuvered a line of blocks into place, pumping up his score and advancing him to the next level.


Clark cleared his throat, took a deep breath, raised his fist, and rapped on the door of apartment 105 three times. He could digest TNT, but knocking on Lois' door was creating butterflies in his stomach; he forced himself to ignore them.

The door opened in a bit of a flurry, and there was Lois flashing him that big, beautiful smile of hers. "You came."

"Of course I did, Lois."

"Oh, it's not that I thought you wouldn't, it's just that I couldn't really believe — I mean, I thought it might be too good to — I mean, I thought that you might — well, anyway, you're here, I'm here, that's all that matters. Should we get going?"

"I'm ready whenever you are," he answered, smiling at this typical display of Lois-babble that often came when she was nervous.

Was she nervous? Was she as nervous about this date as he was? Was it possible that she wanted things to work out just as badly has he did? Was she worried about what would happen to their friendship too?

He hoped so. He hoped that the butterflies were mutual. He hoped that she realized what he had known since the day he met her: they were meant for each other.


The music was romantic, the lighting was dim, and the food was delicious. So far it was a perfect date with a perfect man, and Lois didn't ever want it to end. He was everything she wanted in a man and she couldn't believe that she hadn't seen it sooner. She felt perfectly comfortable around him. He listened to her intently as well as easily made her laugh.

What was more amazing, however, was how he challenged her. He didn't take her pig-headed stubbornness, but he didn't fault her for it either. He let her know what he thought about things, without any judgment or redress. He made her want to be the best person possible, and she wanted to help him do the same.

"Shall we order dessert?" he asked, interrupting her thoughts.

She laughed. "Well, you know me and chocolate."

That big, beautiful smile burst onto his face, and she couldn't help but blush at the sight of it. She tried to hide her face as he ordered from the waiter, but she was sure he had seen. As a matter of fact, now that she thought of it, he looked like he might be blushing just a little bit too.

Could it be that he was just as smitten with her as she was with him? She knew she had felt something unexpected at the movie theater last night, but… was he as surprised about it as she was? He was the one who had asked her out, after all. Maybe he'd felt this way longer than just since last night. Was it possible that she — Lois Lane, prize-winning investigative reporter — had missed the clues?

But it didn't matter now. No matter how long either of them had felt this way, the important thing was that they both felt it, right here, right now. She was lucky that things had turned out this way. She didn't think she ever would have admitted her attraction to him had he not asked her out.

She smiled at him through the comfortable silence. "Clark, I just want you to know that I'm really glad that you asked me out tonight."


Clark furrowed his brow and wasn't sure what to say. "I — you — what do you mean, I asked you out?"

"What do you mean what do I mean? I got your note. With the roses."

"My note? I didn't send you any note or roses. *You* sent *me* a note with a box of chocolates."

"Chocolate?! Clark, do you honestly think that an entire box of chocolate would get out of my sight unscathed?"

Clark laughed. "I guess not. So you didn't send them?"

"No. And you didn't send the roses?"

Clark thought she sounded a little disappointed. "No, but I kinda wish I had." He felt his face getting hot, and he watched as she smiled shyly and looked down at the table. This was another side of Lois that he'd never seen before. She was coy and vulnerable, and he thought she was absolutely adorable.

But if she didn't send the note and chocolates, then who did? And who sent her the roses?

It was probably someone from the Planet. Not many people outside of work knew them both well enough to know where they live. In fact, not many people knew that where they'd been the night before… only one person that Clark could think of.


Clark laughed.

"What?" Lois asked.

"Only one person knew where we were and what we were doing last night."

Clark watched as the realization washed over Lois' face.

"Why that lying, manipulative, little —"

"Aww, come on, Lois. He got us here, didn't he? And I'm glad he did." Clark reached out and took her hand from across the table. "I've wanted to ask you out for a long time."

"You have?"

"Yeah, I have. And I don't think I would have had the courage to do it any time soon. Not without Jack's help, anyway."

"Why?" she asked with a glimmer in her eye. "Don't they have dating in Nowheresville?"


"I had a really nice time tonight," she said softly.

Clark brought his free hand up to her face and stroked her cheekbone with his thumb. "Me too."

What a difference a weekend could make. Lois felt like she was a completely different person than she had been before the movie the night before. Her life had changed so dramatically in such a short span of time. She was now thinking of something else, someone else, other than herself and her career. Her skin tingled and her heart beat just a little bit faster at his every touch.

She was in love.

And here she was, the last place anyone — including herself — would have expected her to be. She was standing in front of her apartment door with the man of her dreams, holding his hand and looking up into his deep brown eyes.

He began to lower his face toward hers. Lois' knees were weak with anticipation.

Their lips finally met. The kiss was soft and sweet at first, their mouths still unsure of the other's feelings. Soon, however, the tentativeness melted away and Lois felt Clark's strong fingers weave themselves through her hair.

She teased his lips with her tongue, and they parted, his tongue sliding past her lips as a small groan escaped from her throat. His taste and smell permeated her body and his arms were warm around her, making her feel safe and loved.

It ended slowly, neither of them wanting to let go of the other.

Clark spoke in a husky voice. "I guess I should go."

"I guess you should," Lois said with reluctance. She opened the door, but still hadn't let go of his hand.

Clark gave her a small kiss on the forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow at work."

With that, she resigned herself to going inside and closing the door. It would be a long night, waiting to see him again.


Jack stepped off the elevator and took a deep breath. The Daily Planet had a distinct smell of paper and ink and coffee. He never had been one to stay in one place for very long, but he had to admit that he'd kind of gotten used to things around here.

He strolled down the ramp and casually walked by Lois, whose attention was absorbed in something on her computer. "Have a good weekend, Lois?"

She looked up at him, and her expression changed when she realized who the speaker was. Jack was instantly sure that he was about to witness the infamous Mad Dog Lane.

"A good weekend, you ask? You could say that. It certainly wasn't what I expected, but it ended quite nicely, thank you."

Her words were sweet, but fake. "Well," he began cautiously. "I'm glad you had a nice time."

"Oh, I did." Lois turned back to her computer and Jack started to walk away until her next words stopped him in his tracks.

"By the way, thanks for the roses."

Busted. "How did you know?"

Lois raised an eyebrow at him. "Please. I know guys who know guys. How'd you get the money for that anyway? I know how much you make here, you know."

"Hey," he said with a knowing smile. "I know guys who know guys too." With that, he turned and walked away, leaving Lois shaking her head.

"That was pretty sneaky."

Jack glanced around, looking for the speaker, and found Clark sitting at his desk.

"What was sneaky? I don't have any idea what you're talking about," Jack said innocently.

"You know, Jack, I think you've actually got a sensitive side."

"Yeah, well, don't spread that around. I've got a reputation to uphold."

"Hey kid!" Perry bellowed from his office. "Get in here."

Jack looked at Clark. "Duty calls."


Clark watched Jack walk away and then turned his attention to Lois. She caught his eye and walked over to his desk.

"What's that about?" Clark asked, gesturing toward Perry's office.

"Oh, I'm sure it's nothing… of course it could have something to do with the fact that I told Perry that Jack doesn't like Elvis. He'll probably just make him listen to a few Elvis songs. Or maybe all of them. In chronological order."

Clark smiled at her and she smiled back. She was relentless, that was for sure. But he loved her. And now he knew that she loved him back. And that was enough for him. For now.