By Evil Tank Wilson <email@example.com>
Submitted: January 2005
Summary: Timing is everything they say, and it certainly twists fate for Lois Lane in this vignette.
"Hey, Chief, you wanted me?"
Jenny Olsen's bright red hair blazed like a setting sun, framing the face as she poked her head into the office. The young daughter of Jimmy and Lucy Olsen loved her job as the administrative assistant to the Editor and Chief of the world's finest cyber news source, The Daily Planet. She thought her boss was the best.
"Yeah, I did." Lois Lane handed her freckled-faced assistant a front page mock-up and a printout covered with red pencil marks. "Tell the guys that this front page is ready to upload." Lois paused to shake her head. "And give this back to Ralph. Tell him I said to try again."
"Sure." The young woman turned to go, then stopped and looked over her shoulder at her legendary boss. "I know it's none of my business, but how is it that Ralph stays employed here?"
Lois allowed herself a small, sardonic grin. "His mother is on the board."
Jenny grinned back. "It figures… oh, and I'm really looking forward to the party tonight."
"It's not a party!" Lois shook her head, then cocked an eyebrow at her enthusiastic young niece. "Don't you have some work to do?"
Still grinning, Jenny ducked out the door, intent on carrying out her assigned tasks.
Lois sighed as she stared at the pile of work on her desk that mocked how much she thought she had done already today. She wandered over to the big window at the back of her office and gazed out at the skyline of Metropolis. She had really grown to hate birthdays, especially since she had passed the big five 0 a couple of years ago. Tonight should be pleasant enough. Just a family dinner party; her and the kids, Jimmy, Lucy, and Jenny, and afterwards the obligatory presents. The reminders that it *was* another birthday, and that she *was* getting older.
Anyone meeting Lois Lane for the first time would easily mistake her for a woman at least ten years her junior. She was still an extremely good looking woman, even if there were a few more 'laugh lines' around her eyes and mouth. Her short dark hair could showcase a few steel gray strands in the proper light, but her figure was as trim and athletic as it always had been. She could still wear outfits from thirty years ago, but god forbid that she ever would.
She turned back to her desk and her eyes happened to fall on a picture that held a prominent place on the corner of the desk. She knew it really wasn't the age thing of an extra birthday that got her down. It was the marking of another year without *him*. She missed her husband dearly, and never more so than when she was reminded by her birthdays of the passage of another year without him. Tomorrow it would be six long years since she lost him. She knew when she married him that he was in a dangerous line of work, that she could lose him at any time. She should be thankful for the eighteen wonderful years they had had together, and the three great kids he gave her. Still, it was hard, particularly not ever knowing what actually happened.
He'd gone to San Francisco for a convention, it was supposed to be just a couple of days, then he'd be back home. But the 'big one' struck while he was there. It was the worst earthquake in the history of not only the city, but of California. The damage and loss of life had been horrific. Then had come the aftermath, the fires, the looting, the dealing with the tremendous chaos. Of course, being who he was, he had to help in anyway he could. He never came home.
Lois had gotten a dozen different stories from a dozen different sources but none had been able to tell her what had actually happened. For a while she held out hope that he would somehow 'magically' reappear, but in time she realized that it was a fool's dream. For her own sanity, as well as for the sake of her children, Lois Lane went on with her life.
Lois' maudlin musings were interrupted by the sudden appearance of a striking young woman entering her office. The tall young lady bore an uncanny resemblance to Lois of about thirty years ago. She rushed over to greet the older woman with a big hug.
"Hi, Mom, happy birthday." She released Lois and stepped back. "I just wanted to stop by to let you know that I made it in okay from school." She grinned. "I haven't even been over to the house yet."
Lois smiled warmly at her oldest. "Laurie, it's good to see you. I know Lacy and Billy have been looking forward to seeing you again also."
Laurie shook her head at her mother. "Come on, Mom, it's not like I've been gone for years. It's only been a few months since I was home last."
Lois gave her daughter's hand a squeeze. "Try six months."
Laurie grinned and shrugged. "Whatever… anyway, I can't stay, I've got to get home to unpack. Then I have to go out a shop for a present for you before tonight's party."
"It's not a… oh never mind. I'm just glad you're home. I'll see you later. I should be home by six."
"Make it five," Laurie said over her shoulder as she headed for the door. "I figure if you try for five, you might make it home by seven."
Lois couldn't help the smile that tugged at her lips as she shook her head, watching her daughter exit the office. Lois turned to the picture on the desk. "She turned out pretty good — they all did. You'd have been proud."
Suddenly Jenny stuck her head in the office doorway again. "Your two o'clock appointment is here."
"My what?" Lois was momentarily confused.
"You know, your interview with that guy for a possible job." Jenny glanced back over her shoulder at someone outside the office, then back to Lois. "He's really cute too," she giggled.
Crap! Lois thought, she'd forgotten all about the interview. Her old journalism professor had recommended this young man to her. Apparently Prof. Tollar thought the guy had promise so she agreed, as a favor to him, to talk with this young man. She didn't have any openings at the moment, but she could spare a few minutes to talk to him.
Rolling her eyes at her assistant's behavior Lois indicated that she should show the young man in. Lois was momentarily stunned when the shy-appearing young man entered. He was gorgeous! He pushed his glasses back up his nose and reached out his hand.
"Hello, I'm Clark Kent."
(So, did anybody guess which regular L&C character was Lois' long time husband?)