Submitted: January 2006
Summary: Set in season one during the time of "Honeymoon in Metropolis," Lois Lane discovers Clark's secret by chance in an elevator. However, she decides to keep this revelation to herself, hoping that Clark will choose to trust her on his own.
All characters belong to Warner Bros., D.C. Comics, etc. No copyright infringement intended. Some dialogue borrowed from the TV show Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman. Special thanks to Labrat for beta reading, and for all the wonderful readers who gave feedback off the boards.
"Lois! Clark! In my office right now! "Perry bellowed from the door of his office.
It had been a slow news week, and everyone was keeping a low profile so as to avoid decapitation from one of Perry's frustrated growls, even his star reporters. Lois, who had been thoroughly engrossed in the important task of balancing her pencil on her chin, jumped noticeably at the sound and immediately rose to her feet. Looking around, she could see Clark was - not surprisingly - AWOL.
"Where is he?" she muttered to herself, immediately cursing whatever cheese of the month shipment he was probably engrossed in at the moment. Only somewhere like Smallville could make somebody that weird, she assured herself. Off to Perry's office she went, fists clenched and prepared to do battle.
"What is it, Chief?"
"Where is that dagblasted partner of yours? Every time I need you two lately, he is nowhere to be found."
"Don't ask me, Chief. What do I look like? His zookeeper? He's probably off to get his monthly cheese fix. You're the one who hired him! You should have known someone versed in knob tailed geckos was not going to pan out as a reliable employee!…" Lois was just about to enter full rant mode when Perry interrupted.
"Now, Lois, I've enough ire this week for all of us. I was just hopin' you two could tell me that there is somethin' you're lookin' into that maybe has the slightest POSSIBILITY of becoming a story because it's not lookin' good from where I sit. We got nothin' for tomorrow's front page besides the AKC's dog show this week being in town. Great shades of Elvis! I'll retire before a dog show makes the front page of this newspaper! This is not the Metropolis Star, for cryin' out loud! Please tell me you've got somethin'…"
"Sorry, Chief, I wish I had good news. Since the pheromone story last week, I've been high and dry. I had one lead I followed yesterday, but it didn't pan out. I was just thinking of hitting the beat just to see if I can drum up something. Honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if the criminals went on strike this week and I missed the memo. I haven't really talked to Clark this morning, so I can't speak for him. Maybe he'll grace us with his presence today and you can ask him yourself."
"All right, well you do that. Hightail it out of this office and find me a story. When Clark gets in, you send him my way. We may need to address his lack of punctuality lately…" Perry's rant was derailed as Jimmy poked his head into the office. It was at that moment that Lois saw her chance and bolted for the safety of her own desk. She could hear Jimmy and Perry's conversation as she ducked out.
"Uh, Chief, line two. It's Alice on hold. Something about your mother-in-law coming this weekend."
"Good grief, Jimmy, are you gonna start readin' my mail too? How long has she been on hold?"
"A couple minutes, Chief. Sorry, uh, I think the donuts are out and I'm going to go get some," Jimmy mumbled as he ducked out as quickly as he popped in.
Lois heard Perry mutter something about Elvis not having to work under these conditions as he picked up the phone and the door closed on his office. Yep, this was definitely not turning out to be a good week.
Clark straightened his tie as he entered the elevator of the Daily Planet. Yep, this was definitely not his week, he thought to himself. Three days this week he had been late to work due to his "super" duties - he had stopped a mugging, a rape, and handled a major pileup on the freeway, consecutively - and none of them were doing wonders for his relationship with his skittish partner. Things had been a little awkward ever since Miranda had sprayed her perfume on the newsroom the week before, and having her mad at him for not being around much this week was definitely not helping things. Lois was a live wire on a good day, but this week he had been thankful that only he had the ability to shoot fire from his eyes. Otherwise, Lois would have fried him long ago with one of her toxic stares.
And to make things even more difficult for him, it seemed his libido had no sense of proper timing as memories of Lois's dance of the seven veils would spring to mind at odd occasions, most uncomfortably when she went into full Lane rant mode. Even a few nightly laps in the Arctic Ocean weren't cooling his passions very well. A sigh escaped his lips as he exited the elevator, only to be grabbed and pulled right back in.
"Where have you been all morning? Nevermind, I don't want to know. You better thank me later. Perry's on a witch hunt, and your head is the next to roll thanks to your cheese fetish. What is it with you farmers anyway? Don't they have clocks in the Midwest that are on time? I hope you have a lead because Perry seems to think dog shows are in the Planet's future, and I don't intend to be the one writing them up. At the very least…"
Lois's voice droned on in a soothing haze to Clark's brain as visions of her kiss with Superman came unbidden to him. Abruptly, he shook himself. This was going to have to stop if he meant to live. Kryptonite had nothing on Mad Dog Lane.
"Lois, I'm sure something will pan out soon. You just have to keep your eyes open and chin up," he offered, although even he cringed inwardly as he said it.
"What's that supposed to mean? As if I don't keep my eyes open! I am the bastion of eye opening in this newsroom! Nothing escapes my attention for details, buddy. Don't lecture me on eye openingness!"
He bit his tongue before he could tell her that 'eye openingness' was not actually a word. Sometimes, he wanted to just beat his head against a wall when it came to this tiny woman. Of course, that would probably escalate things considerably when he happened to knock a hole clean through it. Nope, best to stick to tongue-biting for now.
Suddenly, silence engulfed the closet-sized space as the elevator came to a complete stop. A couple seconds passed before Lois started randomly pushing the buttons in an effort of sheer mental determination to get the elevator moving again. Nothing worked. Apparently fate had stepped in and determined that her day would only be more perfect if she spent the rest of it stuck in this elevator. With the partner she had just danced half-naked in front of last week. And had no desire to be alone with right now. Or ever, for that matter. Just as suddenly, her anger dissipated into nothingness, to be replaced by utter despair. As a minute passed in awkward silence, Lois found herself slinking down toward the floor.
Clark followed suit, finding it hard to resist the urge to pull her into a full bear hug. He settled instead for a platonic arm rub. They both stretched their legs out in front of them, comfortably surrendering to the inevitable wait.
"I'm sorry I was late again today, Lois."
"Where were you, Clark? Perry has really been on the warpath and I can't hold down the fort alone." Lois wondered silently where on earth that had come from. What was it lately about this guy that made her feel like he was as indispensable to her as the air she breathed? She hastened to reassure herself it was the lack of any good stories making her edgy, not the lack of time spent with Clark this week.
Clark's heart lurched at her question. He hated lying to her, but what could he say? The truth sure wouldn't help right now, especially since he was trapped in this small space with her. He would most assuredly die. But, lately, the lies had sounded pretty lame, even to his mind. And he knew Lois well enough to know that honesty was something she valued. He felt reasonably confident at this point that she wouldn't sell him out for a story, but the whole idea that she preferred Superman was holding him back. He still harbored the hope that one day she would prefer Clark to Superman. And then he would tell her, he promised himself. But right this moment, after the pure openness of her question, he couldn't seem to lie either.
"I can't tell you where I was, Lois. I wish you would just trust me that it was something I had to do. Maybe someday I'll be able to tell you, but I can't right now." He ducked his head and groaned, wondering if he wanted to die today. <Stupid, Kent, stupid! Since when does Lois ever let anyone have a secret she doesn't think she is entitled to know? And you can't exactly bolt out of here right now, can you?>
Lois's head perked up as something in her-reporter's instincts maybe- realized Clark was being more forthcoming than usual today. <So he IS keeping a secret from me! But what on earth could Clark POSSIBLY be hiding? His secret affinity to invest in corn futures?> But those same reporter's instincts seemed to feel something bigger than corn futures worthy of Clark Kent. Or maybe it was just that being kept on the outside of knowing anyone's secrets did not sit well with Lois Lane. And, for some reason unknown to her, a little sadness stirred within her too. That someone she trusted as much as she trusted— well, anyone— would not trust her too. So when she spoke, she was surprised to hear very little of the anger in her voice that had been there moments earlier.
"Why not, Clark? Why don't you trust me? I thought we were becoming good friends. You know my past, even about Claude. Do you think I would tell somebody?"
"No, Lois, it's not like that. Look, can we talk about this another time? I wonder what's wrong with the elevator? Is it hot in here?"
Clark shifted uncomfortably, pulling at his collar as he began to realize how cramped a space he was actually in. Beads of perspiration broke out on his forehead as Lois pinned him down with her eyes and posed questions he couldn't answer. He closed his eyes, laying his head back against the elevator wall, and swallowed the lump in his throat. Mentally he reminded himself, no head banging, no head banging.
Lois, seeing his discomfiture, immediately felt more in control of the situation. She'd interviewed enough people to know when she was close to cracking the subject. Smiling to herself, she decided maybe a less direct approach was a better tactic. <He'll never know what hit him.>
"Okay, Clark, whatever you say. I was thinking maybe we could play a game to pass the time while we wait. What'd'ya say, partner?"
Clark eyed her suspiciously. Lois never gave in that easily.
"What kind of game? I don't have any cards on me."
"Oh, that's okay. I was thinking of something we could play without cards."
"Well, I don't know, I'm brainstorming here. How about truth or dare?"
"HA! I knew it. You're just after getting me to talk!"
"Talk about what, Clark?"
"Nice try, Lois. Any other ideas?"
Lois shrugged nonchalantly, though inwardly she was scrambling to think of some way to get him to talk. <Use your sexuality, girl! Men can never think straight when you use that running down your stories! > Concurring with her inner voice, Lois smiled demurely. Soon he would be putty in her hands.
"No really, Clark. I just thought it would be fun. If you want to do something else though, I think I have a better idea." Slowly, almost catlike she stretched her arms over her head and arched her back. Clark's eyes nearly popped out of his sockets as her breasts strained the silk of her dress shirt. "My muscles are so tense right now I could really use a back rub. How about we take turns? I'll even let you go first. Come on, turn around." And she suited words to action by turning toward him and positioning herself standing on her knees, with Clark seated on the floor in front of her.
Though his head was screaming DANGER! Clark found himself unable to refuse her request as she gently guided him with her hands to turn away from her. It was a rare opportunity that Lois would focus her attention on him like this, and he knew not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Compliantly, he allowed her to help him out of his suit coat and his arms dropped awkwardly to his sides. His mouth went dry and he felt a warmth diffuse through him, emanating from the tips of Lois's fingers at the top of his back as she went to work.
Working in slow, sensual circles over the cotton of his shirt, Lois smiled to herself as she saw Clark working his hands into fists beside the floor.
Moving her hands lower down his back, she wondered at the sharp intake of breath she heard coming from him. But as she continued to work on him, she forgot herself as she marveled at the hardness of his muscles, how perfectly they seemed to be placed on him, no spare flesh anywhere. Was it getting hot in this elevator, she wondered. Because it was fairly clear she was feeling a little lightheaded and short of breath.
And it was at that second, pressing the cotton of his shirt onto him, that her eyes noticed something. A tint of blue on a white shirt that wasn't supposed to be tinted blue. Her circling slowed as she examined it more closely. More bluish tint, and then lower, a hint of red. And from this angle, behind him, it would be really easy to imagine that was someone else's head.
Slowly, shaking as she did it, she raised one hand up to touch his hair, which caused another groan out of the blissfully ignorant offending party. As she smoothed it back gently, the pieces slammed together like a car wreck at an intersection. As Lois struggled to process the information trying to integrate itself into one picture in her brain, she did something she hadn't done ever… she fainted.
"Lois… Lois… wake up… Lois, can you hear me?" Lois opened her eyes groggily, only to find herself staring up into the face of her partner, a face encircled by a halo of light. For several seconds her brain muddled as she tried to process exactly where she was and why Clark appeared so concerned for her. As she sat up, the halo revealed itself only to be the elevator light fixture. Slowly her mind unjumbled itself as she recalled the events immediately before losing consciousness. And the next thought after that which leaped to mind was <oh my gosh, I danced nearly naked in front of superman!>
With a groan of embarrassment, Lois sank back down onto Clark's suit coat, which was currently functioning as a makeshift pillow. Lois waited with her eyes closed, praying silently that if God was listening, now would be as good a time as any to create a hole in the floor of this elevator to swallow her up. Apparently, He wasn't.
To say Clark was perplexed and a tad concerned was an understatement. At that exact second he was fine tuning his superhearing to her heart and respirations. He had already x-rayed every bone in her body and was having the debate in his head as to whether this was serious enough that he should just reveal his secret and airlift her out to a hospital via Superman Express. But as her breathing and heartbeat seemed to be functioning in normal, healthy parameters (although her heart was on the fast end of that spectrum), he had forced himself to remain calm and gone into Superman- taking- charge-in-crisis-situation mode. Though on the outside, he was still, to all appearances, plain old Clark Kent.
Lois, realizing that she was going to have to open her eyes eventually, slowly unscrewed them and rose from the coat into a sitting position, barely reclining against the elevator wall. She turned her head slowly to look at her partner's face. He smiled encouragingly back at her. She forced her mind to focus as he spoke.
"You okay, partner? You had me a little concerned. You were out cold for several minutes there."
Lois scrambled for a logical explanation. Her mind suggested the alternative of 'whoops, sorry I just passed out cold. That whole superman-is-my-partner thing just threw me a curve ball. Do you have any orange juice?', but somehow it just didn't hit her as the right answer.
"I skipped breakfast again this morning. Maybe my blood sugar dropped?…" she suggested limply. <Oh please let him buy it. I really do not want to deal with this right here, right now… I need some time to figure this out.>
Another voice in her head chimed in that no wonder he got all those Superman exclusives, which seemed to justify the waiting to deal with all of this, if only so that Clark Kent should die a slow painful death instead of a quick one. The saccharine smile on her face, however, belied nothing of the mercurial moods going on in the tornado that was Lois at that moment.
"I did notice that you ate the last of your double fudge crunch bars yesterday afternoon. So, Bernie's stand was all out this morning, huh?" he jibed teasingly, now that he was beginning to relax again. As he spoke, the elevator groaned and revived itself as, slowly, it continued its descent to the ground floor. Lois scrambled to think of a way for a quick exit as the bell chimed, announcing they had finally reached their destination.
"Clark, I was thinking… maybe we'd be more likely to stumble on a story if we split up. You know, you can check with your sources and I'll check with mine, and we'll regroup first thing tomorrow morning. How's that sound? Great. Call me on my cell if you need me."
And, faster than a speeding bullet, she was headed out of the elevator and out of the Planet, while a stunned Clark Kent tried to figure out exactly what just transpired and if he was missing something.
He called out weakly "Sure, Lois, first thing tomorrow. " But he got the impression he was addressing the potted ficus by the elevator rather than an actual person, as no one acknowledged his reply. Least of all Lois Lane, who was already hailing a cab. He smiled to himself. <And they think Superman is the one with superpowers! I can barely keep up with her!>
Of course, the last thing at that moment that Lois felt like doing was checking with sources. So instead she went home. Entering her apartment, she dropped her purse down on the table by the door, kicked off her heels, and made a beeline for the bedroom. After leaving a message with Perry's voice mail that she was not feeling well and would be taking the rest of the afternoon off, she began to undress. <Thank God he didn't answer, she thought, as dealing with anyone right now required too many neurons firing that were currently unavailable.>
Trading her work clothes for a frumpy robe, she then angled toward the kitchen where a half-gallon tub of rocky road ice cream was beckoning her. Grabbing a spoon from the drawer, she returned to the bedroom and sank down on the bed, cursing the salesman who talked her into buying the sofa that had bricks for cushions. Otherwise, she would have had a living room that was actually comfortable. As the velvety chocolate entered her mouth, she closed her eyes and finally felt her stomach start to uncoil, although the anger level within was definitely rising.
<How could I have been so galactically stupid? I mean, right under my nose the whole time. And a pair of glasses and some hair gel? Oh, come on. I bet Mr. Greenjeans thinks he is so slick…>
With that thought her anger gave way to embarrassment as scene after scene replayed in her head, her own words taunting her as she realized how horribly she had treated Clark while holding Superman up on a golden pedestal. She almost knocked her ice cream over as she sat in shock, realizing that the same guy she called a god in a cape brought her coffee every morning. And edited her copy. The guy that had saved her life on countless occasions was the same guy that took her moods in stride and even joked that 'she liked to be on top' when she had once warned him that she was the top banana.
She dug deeper into the ice cream tub searching for absolution and finding only placation. It was obvious at that moment why he hadn't told her in the first place. And she decided then and there that she was going to be the kind of friend to Clark that he would be able to trust with his secret. Some day.
For now, she decided that the best thing for her to do would be to take the weekend and clear her head. Maybe begin to see Clark as how he really was, not her ideal or the idea he presented to her. The real man. Tomorrow was Friday, and if she was lucky maybe the criminals could keep their strike going until Monday, just long enough for her to enjoy some much earned R and R at the Lexor hotel.
And then, on Monday, Clark Kent wouldn't know what hit him when the new and improved Lois Lane arrived at work.
Clark gazed longingly at his partner's desk. It seemed they had spent probably a total of ten minutes together all day long - an imperfect end to an imperfect week.
First, he had been busy with a mudslide in Argentina that morning, which had caused him to be tardy yet again for work. And when he had arrived there, Lois had already stepped out with Jimmy in tow to report on the Mayor's ribbon-cutting for the new art gallery opening, downtown. The fact that Perry had sent one of his star reporters to cover such a mundane event was proof enough of how slow a news week it was looking to be.
He sighed wistfully before he could stop himself wishing Superman's life would slow down. If only by half as much. It seemed that the afternoon had been filled with fruitless phone calls for both him and his partner.
He had also had one Superman rescue that afternoon. For a moment, he'd been completely unable to think of a good excuse to duck out of the staff meeting. He'd been on the verge of panic, when Lois had surprisingly given him an out. She had said she'd forgotten her story notes in her desk, and while he was at it he should grab her another cup of coffee too. Luckily, it had been a false alarm at the bank, so he was back in the blink of an eye, so to speak.
Now, as the workday was ending, he took a moment just to watch the woman he loved unawares. Then his curiosity peaked as he realized she was packing up to go, with a bag in tow. Obviously, she had a lead on a story and she was holding out on him again.
<When is she ever going to trust me?> he wondered with only a hint of frustration.
He knew tearing the walls down within Lois's heart had been somewhat like trying to break into a maximum security prison, sans superpowers. Slowly he sidled over, as did several other curious onlookers, among them, Perry, Cat, and Jimmy. He couldn't seem to contain his suspicions as he blurted out, "Lois, where are you going? We're partners! You can tell me if a lead panned out today, you know…"
Lois rolled her eyes, but a smile lit up her face. Obviously, she was taking Clark's insecurities in her stride today.
"For your information, I am entitled to take some time off just like everyone else in this office. I like to relax every now and then just like the rest of you."
"I know!" Jimmy chimed in. "It's the revolution in South America, isn't it?"
"No way, it's the ri-ots in Miami!" Cat interjected back at Jimmy, who seemed to think this a great money-making opportunity.
"You're on!" Cat shot back.
Lois watched in disbelief as she and Jimmy sealed the deal with some weird handshake reminiscent of something from a frat party in college. Before Lois could even reply, Perry was walking in closer to join the conversation.
"Lois, you're gonna have to clear this with the budget office…" he warned.
She stared at all of them incredulously. Surely it wasn't that apparent how shell-shocked her personal life was! Righteous indignation flared up within her.
"I 'm NOT going on a story. I DO have a personal life." They all looked stunned, as if she had just announced that men could now experience childbirth, or she was dropping her journalism career to join the circus. Come to think of it, maybe that would have shocked them less. Finally, she conceded that maybe a little more information might end this interrogation. "All right, if you must know, I have reserved a room at the Lexor hotel for a night of pure rest and relaxation."
Perry was unmoved. "It's a prison break upstate, isn't it?" he asked warily. What was worse, Clark was even pointing at Perry and nodding. She felt a little anger resurge at the thought that the man who had lied to her repeatedly found the truth she was telling inconceivable. <Good will, peaceful thoughts, I am not gonna tear you limb from limb, Mr. Superman> seemed to be the mantra her head was chanting at the moment, even as another voice calmed her by reminding her of her vow to be a better friend from the previous night.
Tongue firmly bit between her teeth, she asked, "Do you want to see my reservation?"
Clark resounded with a "yes" and grabbed it from her hand even as she pulled it from her bag. <Flyboy, you are NOT earning any sky miles today> she chided him silently. Then, just as quickly, she thought wistfully, <Clark, when are you ever gonna trust me?>
Her face flushed as Clark inquired, "Honeymoon suite?" while he and Perry judged the authenticity of her claim.
Grabbing her reservations back, she muttered, "It was the only thing available. I just called them this morning… kind of last minute plans."
Cat couldn't contain her amusement as she remarked, "Lois Lane in the Honeymoon suite?" She and Jimmy were just rolling out the compliments today, it seemed.
Jimmy grinned. "Stranger things have happened."
Cat couldn't resist the jibe. "Name ONE."
Perry, in an effort to reassure Lois, remarked, "Now, Lois, you have to admit, the idea of you spending a night just relaxing in the honeymoon suite is a little, well, far-fetched."
"O ye of little faith, " Lois said with a flip of her head and then she was heading to the elevator, leaving the gawking crowd in her dust and with her dignity intact.
Clark, for his part, was beginning to wonder if he had been dropped into some weird alternate universe.
<First the fainting, now this? Lois relaxing? Have I missed a memo?>
Lois definitely kept him on his toes.
Later that night, Lois meandered aimlessly through the hotel suite, a bag of potato chips in tow, wearing nothing but the hotel's signature robe. This relaxing, head-clearing stunt was turning out to be harder work than it had first appeared to be. Everything in the room seemed to be built for two, from the heart-shaped, pepto bismol-colored bed to the hot tub. Lounging back, she flipped channels, only to see images of men and women in clenched positions on every channel. It was then her thoughts turned to that of her partner-turned-crime fighter. And how did she feel about that exactly? To be quite frank, she wasn't sure. Bored, she divested herself of the robe as she wandered over to the hot tub and sank into the delicious bubble bath she had poured several minutes earlier. Emptying her mind, she began to imagine herself being interviewed about the situation with Clark on the Oprah Winfrey show with women watching her in jealous adoration.
<So, Lois, may I call you Lois?>
<Sure, Oprah. That's great.>
<So, Lois, what is it like to have Superman as a work partner?>
<Well, what do you mean? Before or after I fainted in an elevator>
<Oh my, I'm sure our audience would love to hear about that, girl! What happened?>
<Well, the elevator stalled and I was giving my partner a back massage.> It was at that point Lois laughed out loud as she imagined the catcalls and whistles from the feminine crowd. <As I was saying, I was giving him a back massage when I saw it.>
<You know, THE suit> She was sure at that moment every woman in the room would be on the edge of their seat.
<And what happened next?> Oprah would ask, paying rapt attention.
<Well, that was when I fainted because I realized something…>
<And what was that?> Oprah would ask, waiting with baited breath for her answer.
<That the man I had thought was so safe to love wasn't safe at all because he was also my best friend. And that made him dangerous. And I was also relieved, because there was a legitimate reason why Clark kept ducking out on me. And I wasn't the reason. But, mostly, I knew that as terrified as I was of this man, and as angry as I was, and boy was I mad when I thought of all the senseless lying he had done to me, I knew that his friendship was the most important thing that had ever happened in my life, and from now on I would be useless without him. He had wormed his way in, and I was done for.>
<Oh girl! It can't be all that bad.>
<Well, he does have a nice six pack, doesn't he?> and then she would share a laugh with all these women, something she would never do in real life but found amusing as an idle thought, none the less.
<Oh my gosh, I am mooning over him! I have *got* to stop this or I'll never be able to face him on Monday> As Lois shook her head clear of her daydream, the phone rang. Who on earth could be calling her? Her heart flittered in hopeful anticipation <Not hopeful> she told herself.
"Yes?" she purred, even as butterflies swirled in the pit of her stomach. A very masculine voice responded on the line.
"Working hard?" Clark asked, still skeptical.
"No, Clark, I am re-laxing." Lois couldn't stop a giggle as she blew bubbles off her hands.
"How's the view?" he quizzed her.
Without a care, Lois responded, "It's wonderful, it's…" and as she turned to look out the window she saw something that gave her pause. " It's …it's…I don't believe this…" Grabbing for the binoculars she'd stowed in her bag, she struggled to see better what was going on in the adjoining building. She held back a gasp as she realized that a certain Congressman appeared to be conducting some short of shady business deal with men unknown to her. Grabbing her camera, she started to take pictures, leaving Clark dangling on the other end of the line.
"Lois, are you okay?" The sounds coming from the phone were quite puzzling, and he was beginning to wonder if a flyby the Lexor hotel was necessary, when Lois resumed, at least partially, her thoughts.
"Clark, I have to go. I have to finish relaxing." He heard a distant clatter and a muttered curse- obviously she'd dropped the phone. Then, abruptly, the dial tone, as she hung up on him.
Clark stared at his phone, trying to once again make sense out of Lois's behavior. He would have to say that she was behaving curiouser and curiouser.
And at that moment, back at the Lexor, Lois knew that the criminals' strike was over.
The rest of the weekend was a flurry of room service, chocolate espressos, and double fudge crunch bars, as Lois turned what should have been a weekend of R & R into a spy operation. Of course, she was pretty sure the crooks wouldn't show until Monday night. They had made that pretty clear from the calendar date she'd seen them circle. However, it never paid to assume too much in the case of thugs and madmen, as Lois was well versed.
By Sunday afternoon, at checkout time, Lois was as antsy as she had ever been. The scent of a big story was in the air, and Mad Dog was hot on the trail.
After arriving home, she called Jimmy, interrupting what he claimed was a "hot internet cafe date" with one of the planet interns, to put him to work developing her film from Friday night. She wanted to be armed and dangerous on Monday morning when she sprung her sting operation idea on Perry. She knew the Planet budget had been a little strapped lately, but she also knew this could be big. The Senate defense committee chairman would never sell out for anything less.
After checking email, doing some online research on the dirty congressman, cleaning her entire apartment twice, and exercising to her Tae Bo workout, she decided a little rest might be in order. Especially if she was still planning to debut the new, improved, trustworthy Lois Lane tomorrow.
Then it hit her how handy it would be to have Clark in on the sting, considering he had all those useful superpowers. <And honeymooners in the honeymoon suite? Could there be a better cover?> The trick would be creating opportunities for him to use the powers without him figuring out she knew the truth.
With more time to consider the situation, she was thankful she had kept her mouth shut for once instead of becoming Mt. St. Lois. It was kind of nice to know about him, without him knowing she knew. It made her feel powerful, in charge, so to speak. Instead of feeling rushed to have all the answers, she could take her time. And considering her past federal disasters, that was a welcome change for Lois Lane.
As her mind began to weave past memories together, melding the two men into one, she could see Clark in a whole new light. And he was looking better by the minute. She could guess that he might very well have feelings for her, and why her feelings for his alter ego would have frustrated the situation for him. And she was really concerned that telling him she knew at this point would make him think she was still just mooning over Superman. She desperately wanted him to see that her feelings -whatever he could accept of them after her atrocious behavior- were ones of genuine affection for a real person, not idol worship at the feet of a god.
Because first and foremost, she had come to realize that Superman was not a god— he was a mortal like everyone else. And that was such a relief. Because that meant she could relate. So for now, she was holding her cards and watching to see what hand would come to her in the future.
It was with a peaceful conscience that Lois's head hit the pillow Sunday night. Monday would be a new day.
It had been a long weekend for Clark Kent. After a week filled with Superman rescues, the weekend had been unusually quiet. As a rule, Clark would have welcomed the peace and solitude. But this respite only served to agitate him. Idle hands were the devil's workshop, and the little devil on his shoulder was certainly taking advantage of his free time this weekend. He knew, of course, that it would have been one huge mess if he had accepted Lois's offer of a night of lovemaking while she was drugged, but his libido refused to let up with the torment. His id was happy to make use of the free time, with visions of a naked Lois in the honeymoon suite just waiting for Superman to "drop in."
He had actually performed several more patrols of the city than usual, hoping that the criminal element would give him a brief respite from this torture.
The only half-way reprieve he experienced was on Saturday night, when he had eaten supper with his parents in Smallville. Of course, Martha noticed his irritability, but Clark's lips were sealed. There were some things even he couldn't share with his parents, and the details of that harem costume were one of them.
And on top of that was the confusion he felt, trying to understand what seemed like a shift in her behavior since the elevator stalled Thursday afternoon. Really, no one else would have noticed. But Clark had grown accustomed to all the idiosyncrasies that were Lois Lane, and something just seemed "off". He had sensed it during Friday afternoon, even though they had barely spoken. It was in the way he felt, rather than saw, her watching him. And at one opportune moment when he had flinched, expecting Lois's temper to let loose a little, it hadn't. Just nothing. And then she had given him a weak smile, like she didn't know the script to their relationship. And try as he might, he couldn't make it all add up.
So it was a tired Clark Kent who strode off the elevator and into the bullpen Monday morning. Scanning the room, his eyes fell on his partner, standing with Perry in front of a board while Jimmy hung up enlarged snapshots. His heartbeat accelerated as he drew closer in, and the soft floral notes of Lois's perfume permeated his nasal cavity. His mind clouded only momentarily as she smiled a hundred watt smile up at him, then he refocused on the pictures before them all.
A surprised Cat Grant sauntered up as well, asking, "Hey, isn't that…"
Lois answered before Cat could even finish, "Congressman Ian Harrington."
Clark, as he studied the pictures, recalled the one pertinent fact that rose to the top of his brain. "Chairman of the House Defense Committee, right?"
Cat licked her lips. "And the most notoriously sexy man in Washington."
Lois rolled her eyes. "Unsubstantiated rumors."
Cat wasn't put off. "Mmmm…the best kind."
Perry scrutinized the photos, zeroing in on the two men with Harrington. "But who are these two jokers?"
Jimmy piped up, "We don't know. But I'm running our Identafile program to see if we can find a match."
Lois said, "We do know those offices are leased to a company called 'Apocalypse Consulting.' Chief, I was thinking…"
Perry read her mind, it seemed. "Let me take a wild guess: you want the Daily Planet to put you up in the honeymoon suite until we figure out exactly what is going on in Apocalypse Consulting."
Lois smiled a victorious smile. "Thanks, Chief."
"Now hold on just a cotton-pickin' minute. We're talkin' a major surveillance operation here."
"Perry, it doesn't get more major than this!" Lois protested. "A Washington VIP selling highly classified information!"
Perry seemed to consider. "Maybe I should contact my source, THE source, just to make sure there's somethin' to this before we get in too deep."
Jimmy stared in awe. "You don't mean…"
Perry cut him off. "Don't even say that name out loud!"
Lois and Clark shared a look. Then they looked back at Perry who seemed to have made a decision.
"All right, you two have got three nights."
Lois blanched only momentarily, before adding, "I suppose having Clark along will be okay. Besides, what better cover than honeymooners in the honeymoon suite, right, Chief?"
Clark, Jimmy, and Cat stared dumbstruck, as if Lois had grown two heads.
Perry seemed momentarily stunned as well, as he had been prepared for Lois to protest, not jump on board so quickly. Warily, he added, "Lois, I'm glad you've thought this through. You know no hotel's gonna sit still while we use them as a base for spy operations. It's a good way to keep a low profile."
Lois nodded abstractly. "Besides, there's no way I could keep round the clock surveillance all by myself. Clark, are you in?"
Clark still stood speechless, before he realized Lois was looking for a response. All he could manage was to nod his assent.
Cat's eyes narrowed jealously. Then she sashayed off.
Perry smiled approvingly, "Well, you two, skedaddle. You've got packing to do. And I have a newspaper to run. Jimmy, follow me. I have some errands for you." And with that, he was headed to his office. Jimmy followed closely behind.
Clark was still trying to figure out exactly what he had missed when Lois lightly touched his arm. "I hope you're okay with this. I really need you in on this, partner."
Clark smiled, and then to lighten the mood he added, "Just don't try anything funny."
They both shared a laugh as they turned to their separate desks. He wasn't sure exactly what was causing the change in Lois Lane, but he had to say he liked it.
"Hoist her up, big fella! Smile! Come on, she can't be that heavy." The bellboy grinned at both Lois and Clark as he filmed their "first moments of wedded bliss" for posterity. Lois ground her teeth into a pasted-on smile as Clark pretended to struggle <It had to be pretending. Good Lord, I am not that heavy!> to carry his "blushing bride" over the threshold into the honeymoon suite. From the minute they had entered the hotel, it had been one newlywed joke after another. And the bellboy was unaware his life was dangling over the precipice of Lois Lane's sanity. There was only so much a woman could take.
"How 'bout a kiss for the camera, you two?" The bellboy seemed to be taking his filmmaking debut a little too seriously for Lois's taste. She could almost imagine he was a cockroach she could squash with the toe of her pearly white high heels. Ah! Now that thought put a genuine smile on her face.
As she turned her face toward Clark, however, all thoughts of the bellboy disappeared as he placed her feet gently on the ground, and she found herself enveloped in his strong arms. Her heart beat a staccato rhythm, as their eyes met and her mouth went dry.
"How bout it, partner?" Clark asked her so softly she knew he meant it for only her ears.
Always careful to respect her boundaries, she knew he was just playing the part of a blissful newlywed. He smiled at her with all the radiance of a beaming sun, and she could see he was searching her face for permission of some sort. For a second, his eyes focused in on hers as they came to some sort of agreement. Then, his face drew closer and closer until she could feel his breath grazing her lips. A wonderful aroma of mint toothpaste and Clark's cologne filled her senses, and she closed her eyes involuntarily.
<He's going to kiss me!> was her last coherent thought as he bent down and touched his lips to hers. Gentle and tentative, it wasn't a kiss of longtime lovers, but of two friends sealing their commitment to one another. Still, it was the most beautiful kiss she had ever experienced, because even though a ruse, it was the first time she had ever kissed Clark knowing him as he really was. His lips seemed to linger, before Lois lunged slightly forward and pulled him back to her again. Of its own volition, her tongue darted in his mouth, urgent in her need for him. He groaned as his lips came down wholeheartedly, fully engaged in this show for the bellboy, who was beginning to get a little uncomfortable by this public display.
Anxiously, the bellboy spoke up. "Uh…I'm going to shut off the camera now. That was great. I'll go get your things." The breeze he created as he slipped past them pulled Lois from the cloudy haze within her brain, as, gently, their lips parted. Clark stepped back, touching his hand to his lips in an awkward gesture. An uncomfortable silence settled over them like a thick blanket, as Lois searched for something to say. She smiled shyly at Clark, reminding herself to play it cool.
"May I kiss the bride?" As if on cue, Jimmy stepped into the room, beaming from ear to ear.
Lois rolled her eyes at the inane joke, happy for the diversion. "The next person who cracks a newlywed joke gets fitted for a body cast."
The obnoxious bellboy stepped back through, quite pleased with himself. Addressing Lois, he said, "Hanging garments are in the closet, toiletries are in the bathroom, the rest of your clothes are in the drawers to the left."
Lois was livid. "You unpacked my things?!"
The bellboy just smiled. "This is a full service hotel, madam." And then he did something Lois found unbelievable. He held out his hand for a tip.
Thankfully, for the bellboy that is, Clark came to his rescue by handing him some money and gently escorting him to the door. Lois turned back to Jimmy. "What are you doing here? We're supposed to be undercover."
With a smile he answered, "Surveillance equipment." Laying the bag down beside the red plush sofa, he gave a nod to Clark before turning and heading back out the way he had come.
Finally beginning to relax, Lois situated herself on the sofa. Clark grinned at her as he walked back from the door to sit in the chair beside the sofa. She eased out of her high heels, stretched her arms, and said, "Well, Clark, how 'bout room service?"
Several hours had passed, during which Lois and Clark had changed out of their work clothes and in to more comfortable attire. Lois had put on a purple baggy shirt and sleep shorts, while Clark was wearing a muscle tee and sweatpants. The remains of room service— a pasta dinner and some sort of death-by-chocolate cake Lois couldn't resist ordering— were cast aside by the door. Now they both sat on the couch as Lois examined the surveillance equipment while Clark shuffled a deck of cards.
Clark casually glanced at his partner out of the corner of his eye. His head was still spinning from that kiss earlier. <It was just a ruse. Lois was just playing a part.> He had chided himself for wanting to think any more than that. Still, it was a nice kiss. When it came to undercover work, he figured Lois Lane to be a darn fine actress.
And try as he might to convince himself it was a meaningless moment, he still couldn't seem to stamp out the urge to go and do aerial cartwheels in the sky. <Focus, Kent. You've made so much progress with Lois lately. The last thing you need to do is get too close and scare the daylights out of her. Just let her take the lead.>
Searching for some mundane statement to break the ice once more, he asked "Want to play cards? How about Old Maid?" He smiled at her as he waggled his eyebrows for comic effect.
"Clark, we're here to work, not play."
"What if no one shows?"
"Then the honeymoon's over. Don't worry, they'll show. They made it real clear when they circled this date on their calendar." Lois fiddled with the directional control of the microphone, listening with morbid curiosity to a fight going on in a nearby room.
Clark nodded his disapproval before he reached over and turned the mike back down. Fielding her irritated glance at his interference, he said, frustrated, "People are entitled to their private thoughts and lives, Lois. Who are we to judge?"
Lois contemplated his statement thoughtfully before speaking. Then she studied him intensely as she spoke. "You're right, Clark. There are some things that are too personal for public consumption. I guess I just hate being on the outside of any secret. Don't you?"
Clark sat stunned. <How was it possible to be this awestruck by one person in only two or three days?> he wondered. Somehow, Lois had turned his comments against her current behavior around until it felt like she was indicting him for his behavior. <But she doesn't know that.> How did Lois know how to up the stakes like that?
He answered back, weighing each word slowly and carefully. "I guess that all depends."
Lois fired back instantly, "Depends on what? I mean, at least from the perspective of being a journalist, it seems like you would hate being on the outside of knowing something just for the sake of knowing it. I mean, there is so much freedom in knowing, isn't there?"
"Not always. Sometimes with knowledge comes responsibility, Lois. Sometimes when we know things, there is accountability. And what we know might change our perspective about what we thought we knew before. Theoretically speaking, of course."
"Okay, fine, but you're telling me if I had a really big secret, as my partner you wouldn't want me to tell you?"
"I might not, if it was something that could ruin our friendship. Everyone has secrets, Lois. Some are just bigger than others." <And mine just happens to be the King Kong of them all. Oh Lois, if only you knew> This had to be the weirdest conversation he'd had with Lois to date, bar none. Well, maybe not, if you considered that he talked to her all the time, only she had no clue due to glasses, tights, and hair gel.
Lois's anger seemed to subside a little. She seemed to plead with him as she spoke. "Oh, Clark, you can be such a lunkhead sometimes. What kind of friendship would we have if we can't really trust each other with the important stuff? I'm not saying sharing personal things is easy. I mean, look at me. I kind of pride myself on keeping most people at arms' length. But when it comes to us, Clark, you're my best friend. And I know I'm high maintenance sometimes, but the fact of the matter is, I trust you."
Clark's anger flared up as he said, "Oh yeah? Well then, why don't you trust me about Luthor?"
Lois fumbled for a moment. "Because…well, I don't know why I haven't trusted you about Luthor before. I guess because every time his name comes up, you act like some overgrown jealous baboon! It's hard to take those kind of comments really seriously."
Pausing to regain control of her own slowly rising temper, she continued, "Is there more to it than that, Clark? I'm listening now. So if there's more to it than that, I'd like to know. But don't you dare treat me like a child!"
He paused, trying to calm his own emotions. "Lois, I don't have any proof to give you. But this has nothing-well, very little— to do with jealousy. You just have to take my word that the guy is bad news. And if you can't trust me on that, why would you think that me-I mean, you— telling me a big secret of yours would do wonders for our relationship?" <Score one for Kent.> His emotions might have got the better of him, but she deserved that and more. Love or no love, Clark Kent was no one's fool, he thought.
Silence loomed for several seconds before Lois spoke. Her countenance seemed to change from anger to deep sadness in a matter of moments. She said, "I guess you're right. So if you say he's bad, I trust you. You know, I'm supposed to be this great investigative reporter. And yet I seem to have a knack for total blindness when it comes to the men in my life. No one ever seems to turn out to be what they present themselves to be. And I am always the last one to know." All the wind knocked out of her sails, Lois sank back into the couch.
Clark's heart softened. "Lois, you are the best investigative reporter I know. I think, when it comes to people close to us, maybe everyone is a little blind. You have to take people you care about at face value. Otherwise, you're not trusting them enough to have that relationship."
"I suppose. Still, it'd be nice to think some of the people you care about would care enough back to be honest with you when they had the chance, so you wouldn't have to see through them to know them." Lois turned her gaze to him in earnest, and he began to wonder if Lois knew more than she was letting on. <You're just being paranoid, Kent!>
He measured his words carefully, knowing someday they could very well come back to haunt him. He looked at her hopefully. "Maybe sometimes people don't tell all their secrets because they need you to see through them to know them. Maybe they need to know you see them and not their secret."
Somehow, Lois's hand had found its way on top of his own. "And maybe, Clark, sometimes the ones we care about need to hear us say those secrets. Maybe they need to know that they've earned that trust. That there really are no more walls there between them." She looked at him in a peculiar way, one he had never seen before.
Clark tried to read her face, searching for a deeper meaning there. But he really couldn't be sure. He was strongly tempted to bare his soul to her that instant. But his insecurities held him back. If he was reading her wrongly, it could be the most devastating thing he had ever done in their relationship. And she was the most important thing in the world to him. He just didn't feel brave enough yet. He felt shame wash over him as he thought, <Clark Kent, you may think you're no one's fool. But you are definitely Lois Lane's coward.> He sighed.
"Maybe when they're big secrets, the people who care about us most have the most to lose by sharing them. And maybe they even want to. It's just a matter of wanting the perfect time to do it."
Lois smiled. "Clark, I don't know if there is ever a perfect time. I think sometimes you just have to take a chance." She stopped, and when he didn't speak she rose from the couch and started toward the bedroom. "In any case, I'm going to bed. You've got first shift. Wake me when our friends across the way show up."
Clark was caught off guard by her abrupt change in topic. Then he grinned. "Hold on a minute. Aren't you forgetting something?"
"It's our first night alone together."
Lois replied impatiently, "So?"
"So…we flip for the bed?"
"How about…I get the bed, I lend you a pillow?"
"How about we alternate nights?"
"How 'bout we don't?"
Clark looked smug. "Well, it's a really big bed. How about we share?"
Self assured in his question, Clark's mouth dropped open at Lois's response.
"All right, Clark. I trust you to be a gentleman. We'll share." Her grin dared him to back off. He should have known a game of chicken with Lois never went in anyone's favor.
Clark swallowed the lump in his throat. What could he do? He'd look silly if he backed off now, but what kind of sick torture would it be to lie in bed with Lois in the honeymoon suite? His libido attempted to remind him of those fantasies he had indulged in only this weekend, but he quickly squashed it back down. Nope, not going there. Not with Lois standing less than six feet away, staring at him and grinning. Nope, he'd endure the torture before his male pride would take a beating. And a gentleman he would be.
He had to focus to get his voice back on an even pitch when he spoke. <Come on, Kent. It's not like you're a fifteen-year-old out behind the Dairy Freeze with your best girl. This is your partner. *Work* partner.> "Great. I'll, um, set the mike up in the bedroom where I can hear it. Then we'll, um, I'll be along in a minute."
"Fine. I'll take first dibs in the bathroom." And with that she turned and walked away.
<What have you done? Idiot, Kent! What kind of idiot are you?> As succinctly as possible, he set up the surveillance equipment. He and Lois took turns getting ready for bed, with Lois leaving on the clothes she was wearing and Clark exchanging his sweat pants for a pair of athletic shorts.
Before he walked out of the bathroom, he steeled himself. <We are just friends. We are just friends.> he chastised himself vigorously as he walked out to meet his doom.
Lois settled down underneath the cool satin sheets, waiting for Clark to join her from the bathroom. Her stomach was a ball of nervous, joyful <not joyful> anticipation. With only one of the two bedside lamps illuminating the room, she contemplated the shadows on the ceiling, wondering how she had gotten herself into this situation.
<How does it usually happen, Lois? Maybe it's because of that annoying habit you have of diving in without CHECKING THE WATER LEVEL FIRST!!!> There was clearly a breakdown in communication going on within her psyche, as one part of her ran toward Clark with open arms yelling 'Come to Mama!', while the other part attempted to drag that woman back, begging for some sort of mercy.
Then again, what was the big deal of sleeping in the same bed <and a bed the size of a small Hawaiian island, at that> with her best friend?
<You're telling me, if you had thought Superman would have been sharing a bed with you a week ago, that it would have been no big deal?>
Well, okay, so that would explain some of the flip-flops her stomach was doing. But now was different. Because Superman was Clark. And Clark should be no big deal, ergo Superman should be no big deal. Lois fumbled with that logic in her head for the space of a minute, like an elementary school kid worrying a loose tooth.
She felt fairly certain from her earlier conversation with Clark that she had been on target about Clark's reasons for thus far keeping this secret to himself. And the last thing she needed to be doing was swooning at his feet just as she had Superman's. At least, that would be how it would appear to him. <But it's not! That is just so not fair of him! What did he expect me to do, when he came in all heroic and saving the day all the time? And then telling me I was the 'first reporter he had ever…' what was that line he used…oh yeah…'been interviewed by'.>
She tried to cling with a vengeance to that last angry thought, but the rage she had initially experienced last Thursday just seemed to slip further and further away from her. Try as she might, she couldn't seem to stay as mad as she'd like to. All the joy from the last twenty-four hours just kept mucking it up for her. Resigning herself to her blatant happiness, she focused as best she could on thoughts of the annoying bellboy, hoping to by some degree take the smile on her face down a few notches.
As the door to the bathroom creaked open, Lois stared over at her partner. Well, ogled might be a better description of it. He had changed into a pair of red cotton athletic shorts, and he was still wearing a royal blue muscle tee. <Is he trying to send me signals subliminally or something?> she considered, as her mind fought to stay within the boundaries of courteous admiration of all his…physical attributes. He's just so…so…<Delicious!> The word popped unbidden out of her subconscious.
Clark seemed to be oblivious to all of this, as he looked for all the world like a lamb headed to the slaughterhouse. Lois stifled a giggle, her own awkwardness abating as her confidence soared. Nope, she would never moon over Superman the same way again. She might still be a little starry-eyed from time to time. But the next time she saw him in that costume, she was pretty sure this is what would spring to mind. She couldn't help but sympathize with him, but only a very little bit. <And he says I am competitive! Ha! If he weren't just as bad as I was, he wouldn't be in this predicament!>
Clark trudged over to the far side of the bed, where he had positioned the surveillance equipment against the wall. He lifted his head only momentarily to Lois to give her a limp smile. Then he sank down onto his side of the mattress and switched off the light. Taking off his glasses in the dark and placing them on the nightstand, he reclined back fully onto the bed at last.
"Good night, Lois." She could barely make out the movement of the silhouette of his face as he turned over on his side to face her. His outline twitched into what she believed to be a grin.
Lois reflected her own smile back to him in the dark. "Good night, Clark." The weight of her eyelids seemed to draw them shut, and Lois fell asleep.
As soon as he had lain down and faced Lois in the bed, all the initial fears welling up inside him had been replaced by boundless joy. He knew Lois well enough to know that this level of trust for Lois was a big deal, and he was determined to prove himself worthy of that blessing.
His heart swelled as he stared at her in the dark, free as he never was at work to just admire her openly. His eyes trailed down from the top of her silky brown hair, down to the graceful curve of her neck and shoulders, to the shape of the curves hidden beneath the satin sheets. He longed with all his heart for the day when it wouldn't be just a scoop that would allow him the luxury of sleeping beside Lois Lane, but perhaps the joy of calling her his wife.
His own breathing began to slow and relax, as his own body's rhythm fell into some sort of tranquil harmony with Lois's. He could tell she had already fallen asleep. He reclined fully on his back, arms behind his head, and closed his eyes. For at least thirty minutes all was peaceful and right with the world.
Until Lois rolled over.
And it was then that his heart became a trip-hammer in his chest, as Lois mumbled incoherently and snuggled into him. Panic overtook him, as he realized his body was reacting naturally to all those curves pressed into his side. He stifled a groan as Lois pressed her body more deeply against him and wound her thigh around his upper leg. Her breath was soft and moist on his chest, and her hand was smoothing the muscles of his stomach. It was the most exquisite torture he had ever known.
His conscience, however, screamed that this was a recipe for disaster. If Lois were to wake up, right now, he would be so dead. If for no other reason than embarrassment, when she realized the effect she was having on his body. He looked down at her but could only see the top of her head.
Lois, for her part, was slowly gaining consciousness. She was having the most wonderful dream about her and Clark making love in the honeymoon suite at the Lexor. It all seemed so real. She could almost hear his heart racing as he kissed her and their bodies moved together. As her respiratory rate increased, so did her awareness of her surroundings. Her hand stilled as she realized the chest underneath her was very real.
Then her eyes shot wide open as she became aware of the reaction Clark was having from her ministrations. She smiled a very wicked grin, as she heard Clark quietly reciting the Declaration of Independence. <This torture thing was kind of fun!>
"Ohh, Clark?" She spoke in a gravelly, sex-kitten voice.
Clark's voice was at least an octave higher than normal, "Yes, Lois?"
"Are you okay? You kind of woke me up with all that talking. What were you saying?" She stifled yet another giggle.
"The Declaration of Independence."
"And why would you find that interesting at this time of night?"
His breathing accelerated. "Couldn't sleep, you know."
"Is there something you'd like to tell me, Clark? Because it feels like more than the Declaration of Independence is keeping you up, tonight." Lois went for her best defensive voice, waiting for his response.
"Uhh, Lo-is… " His voice hitched as she moved her leg just so. "What I'm trying to say is…I can explain…" Lois listened with glee as his heartbeat accelerated beneath her, and sweat broke out on his forehead.
Lois pulled her head off his chest to look him in the eyes, idly noting he still had no glasses on. Clark seemed unaware of what could have been a grave error on his part.
She pierced him with an unflinching gaze. "Don't you dare!"
Clark's heart sank like the Titanic. He'd blown it. All that fate had required of him was that he lie there and do nothing! And still, he'd failed. Lois had trusted him to be a gentleman, and he had let her down. And with that failure went all his hopes of ever being loved by Lois Lane. Because Lois could never forgive something like this! It was just too big a mistake. <Idiot!> He would be lucky at this point if their friendship was even salvageable.
He was so busy berating himself for his foolish behavior that he almost didn't notice Lois was drawing closer. His eyes locked with hers as he tried to understand the electricity that was still tangible between them.
Then she was kissing him.
His mind struggled only briefly to process the relief washing over him before being overtaken by all the wonderful sensations going on all over his body. He groaned into Lois's mouth, as the kiss deepened. <Thinking was, every once in a while, highly over-rated.>
His arms reached around and embraced her as he hugged her even more tightly against him. A dam within him broke, as weeks of pent-up sexual frustration poured out of him. He kissed her like a man in the desert would drink a cup of cold water-over and over, his lips came down on her, savoring the taste of her skin, straining to be closer as he rolled them over, arranging himself on top of her.
His hands moved of their own volition as he caressed first her arms and then her stomach. He would begin to resurface to collect his thoughts, only to drown again in the pleasure that was Lois, as she would swirl her tongue a certain way or nip at an available earlobe. Kiss after kiss it continued, each one more intense and deeper than the last.
Finally, he dragged his lips away from hers momentarily, stopping to breathe. Lois was winded, and he fought for the control over his body, which was screaming for him to finish what she started.
Pressing his forehead against hers, he rallied all his control as he stopped the movement of his body against her. He was almost afraid to break the mood. But his mind couldn't get a handle on what had just transpired. "I don't suppose you could explain that to me."
Lois closed her eyes, and looked as though she were trying to catch her breath. In a very small voice, she suggested, "I would if I knew. Maybe, we just admitted we might be a little more than friends?"
Clark's breath hitched again. He had always known Lois had all these defenses around her heart, and yet here she was, in this moment, being the one to actually come out and say the scary words. His heart almost burst inside his chest, he was so happy. Reality hit him pretty quickly though, as he realized he was starting to levitate them off the bed. Hastily, he grounded them once more. Fortunately, Lois hadn't seemed to notice.
"I think that might be it," he responded, still trying to slow his breathing. All control vanished again, as Lois moved beneath him, and he dipped his head down to reclaim her kiss-swollen lips.
The angelic Clark in his head began shouting <Danger! She doesn't know your little secret!> before what looked like a little Clark devil in speedos promptly tackled the guy and began dragging him off to shove him into some remote, heavily guarded closet in his mind.
Her fingers raked the skin on his back, and he groaned again as his hands moved farther up her chest. <This really needs to stop now, but God help me, I'm not the man to stop it!>
"Lo-iss." He whispered her name as the kissing continued between them, "as." Each word was punctuated by kisses. "as…much…fun…as…I…think…this is,…I think…"
She attempted to finish his thoughts, as their bodies continued to press against one another. "we might be…rushing…things…a little?" She couldn't help smiling as she raked her teeth along his bottom lip. Lois was moved by his sensitivity, but more moved by what he was doing with his hands at the moment.
<NOOOOOO!> His mind screamed, as the sounds of people entering the offices in the next building filled his ears, even while the sensations Lois was creating flooded his tactile senses. Stilling himself over her, he conceded that it was a good thing as he could most assuredly regret a split second decision over something he wanted to be right for both of them.
Reaching for something flippant to cut through the atmosphere so heady with desire, he smiled at her as he asked, "How about a date next weekend?"
It was obvious Clark was trying to ease the tension between them, the sense that something was about to happen, could still happen that would irrevocably change things between them. In her rational mind, she knew he was right. Going too fast, too soon was not the way she really wanted to start this relationship. Especially when, she reminded herself a little guiltily, he wasn't aware of all the reasons why her interest in him had changed. Looking into his eyes as she calmed her own raging lust, she knew he meant every word.
Lois smiled. "I could probably fit that into my date book, assuming we have the bad guys behind bars before then. You think we can manage it?"
Clark laughed. "Yeah, assuming you're not hanging over a vat of oil or being held hostage."
Lois playfully swatted his arm, unintentionally moving her body again beneath him. As she noticed again the intensifying passion reflecting off of Clark in waves, she swallowed the lump in her throat. She knew, with the turn of a dime, they could easily be past the point of no return within seconds. And with that realization, she knew she was having the same feelings. Reaching up to touch the lock of hair falling over his forehead, she moved her hand gently over his cheek and lips before gracefully tugging him down for one last whisper of a kiss.
At that moment, the surveillance equipment came to life as voices came over the mike.
Stopping himself again, his eyes closed and he steadied himself. Thankful, only partially, for the rescue from his ferocious libido, he smiled down at her once more. "It sounds like our friends are back."
Kissing her very briefly, he steeled himself and sat up in the bed. Grabbing his glasses, he turned on the light. Back in reporter mode, he added, "you might want to grab the binoculars."
Lois shook her mind of its hazy thoughts, then rose as they both went toward the windows to listen and watch. She pointed to the audio dial and said, "Turn that up."
Lois and Clark listened attentively while a thug who apparently went by the name of Roarke outlined a plan for skewing the results of some sort of tests, and Harrington mentioned initiating some sort of revote. All of it sounded very ominous and foreboding.
When the meeting between the crooks was over, Lois spoke first. "Clark, what would you say if I said that I don't have a clue what they're talking about, but that I think it may be even bigger than I originally thought?"
Clark nodded. "I'd say, I think you're right."
After spying on Harrington and Roarke for an hour or more, Lois and Clark had returned to the bed, where they had both slept very soundly the rest of the night, with Lois cuddled on Clark's chest.
While initially there had been some kissing interspersed with sighs and groans, they had both been content to keep things less aggressive than their initial encounter. After cooling her hormones while they watched the bad guys, Lois had been able to see the wisdom in taking things more slowly.
Clark, whose libido was still somewhat in overdrive, <well, being in the same room with Lois Lane could do that to a guy>, did at least have the return of his higher-order brain functions. So he was able to stymie his desires somewhat by reminding himself that Lois was worth waiting for the right moment. And this did not feel like it, even though parts of his anatomy were trying to convince him otherwise.
And so it was, with refreshed bodies and spirits, that they awoke on Tuesday. Lois was the first to come out of her slumber. She had to slap her hand to her mouth when she did, as she realized when she opened her eyes that Clark was floating in his sleep! Once again, she wondered how many other less obvious signs she had received, that she had written off in the past. But as she was still waiting for Clark to reveal his secret, she closed her eyes, and groaned loudly, hoping to wake him enough to bring him back to earth, so to speak.
It took several moments of this dramatic performance before she could sense Clark waking up and desisting with the floating. When she was reasonably certain he had righted himself, she opened her eyes again and returned his smiling gaze. His eyes twinkled at her in such a way that she began to wonder if there was something wrong.
"What is it?" she asked, reaching up to touch her disheveled locks.
"Nothing, " he stated simply, but the grin just got bigger.
"What?" She probed her teeth, wondering if she had missed some broccoli from the pasta dinner the night before.
"Nothing. Well, it's just that you look…well…amazing first thing in the morning."
Lois ducked her face demurely. "Thanks. So do you. First thing in the morning, I mean."
An electricity passed between them as their eyes locked. After the span of a few moments, Clark spoke. "As much as I'm enjoying just lying here staring at you, we should probably order room service, eat, and get ready for work."
He made no effort to follow through with this plan, however, as he leaned forward and kissed her yet again, dragging his teeth on her bottom lip. The exchange lasted a minute or so, before Lois had to stop and catch her breath.
She closed her eyes in contentment, and purred, "You're pretty good at that."
"You're not half bad either."
They enjoyed another moment of solitude before Lois gave in to the inevitable. "All right, I'm getting up now." She sat up in the bed and swung her legs over to the edge, before looking back at Clark. "And you are getting us room service." She winked before grabbing her things and heading for the bathroom.
Clark threw a pillow at her gently, hitting her butt on the way out the door. He yelled, "Why is it that you're always giving the orders, and I'm always the one who's supposed to carry them out?"
She didn't even blink. "Like I've said before, Clark, I like to be on top. " And with a laugh, she ducked into the bathroom, just missing the second pillow missile aimed toward her.
<Women! Earth women!> Clark thought, before rising to carry out orders.
In the conference room of the Daily Planet, later that morning, Lois, Clark, Jimmy, and Cat all sat around trying to make sense of what they knew so far.
Lois focused intently as she spoke, considering the information they had. "Who's Roarke? What system are they talking about? And what test?"
Clark mentioned, "Don't forget the vote." He contemplated a moment more. "We should probably get our hands on every available record of every vote taken by Harrington's committee for the past…"
Jimmy was on top of things today. "Six months? Already on it."
Cat spoke next. "Gotta be something big. Congressmen don't sell out for less than big."
Jimmy added, " I ran Roarke's name and picture through every database the Planet has access to … the man's a ghost. And as for Apocalypse Consulting, there are no bank accounts or transactions that I can trace. All we know is they moved into that office five months ago, signed a five year lease, and paid it off in advance."
Cat was impressed. "Wow, business must be pretty good."
Lois was just more confused. "But what business?" At that moment, Perry entered the conference room, dropping a picture of Roarke onto the table.
"Thaddeus Roarke. International arms dealer, electronic weapons system analyst, entrepreneur, and general bad boy. Last known base of operations: Beirut."
All of the faces in the conference room looked at Perry in awe. Jimmy ventured, "But how…"
"Sources, boys and girls, sources. The life blood of journalism."
Cat turned the photo over. "People magazine?" She coughed, concealing her amusement. Perry grabbed the photo away, growling under his breath.
Clark tried to fit it all together in his head. "An arms dealer bribing the chairman of the Senate defense committee? Makes sense."
Perry considered the situation. "Now, folks, we need to think about this. A scoop's a scoop, but if this is a matter of national security, we may have to call in the Federales."
Lois couldn't mask her disappointment. "Now?"
"No, not yet. Right now we have more questions than answers. So I want some theories."
Jimmy piped up, "Okay. The Defense Department is about to test some new weapons system, and Roarke wants to know about it…"
Clark followed the progression of the thought. "…so, he bribes Harrington to slip him the information…"
Lois spoke. "But we also know Harrington is afraid of Roarke."
Clark offered, "Or maybe he's afraid of what Roarke will do with the information."
After a moment of thoughtful contemplation, Perry went into command mode. "All right, boys and girls, here is what needs to happen next. Cat, I want you to find Harrington and stick to him like glue. Jimmy, next time Roarke shows, I want to know about it." Cat and Jimmy nodded in agreement while Perry added, "Lois and Clark, you two need any help?"
Lois spoke first. "I'm coping, Chief."
Of course, no one noticed Lois's foot under the table playfully rubbing Clark's shin and edging higher.
Clark narrowed his eyes at her playfully. He smiled as he corrected her. "*We're* coping, Chief."
Perry watched them, searching for clues to any hidden messages between them. Attempting to send his own message, he fixed them with a steely gaze. "Fine, You've got two more days. Make the most of them."
The rest of the morning passed quickly, as Lois and Clark busied themselves with a little more research on the ever-elusive Apocalypse Consulting Firm, as well as returning a few phone calls from their early exit the previous day. Lois eventually phoned Lex, hoping he would have some information on any weapons systems being tested. She had hoped his interest in her would make him more open to sharing any information, since it was well known that LuthorCorp had a longstanding relationship doing research for the U.S. Military. He did allude to a Project Shockwave that was currently in the mix, but hated to shed more light on the subject due to its top-secret nature. Lois, because of her uncertainty of Luthor's involvement in the matter, refused to share any of her information, despite Lex's attempts to pry it from her gently. Within minutes, he had turned the conversation back to asking Lois to the opera.
Clark sat at his desk, brilliantly typing random letters on his computer screen over and over, attempting to ignore the conversation going on between Lois and Lex. His teeth ground together as he heard Lex's seductive tone as he offered Lois the "pleasure of his company" that weekend at the Metropolis Opera House. He knew that at this point, he and Lois had certainly not sworn their undying love to each other. But she had said the night before that she trusted him about Lex, and so his stomach coiled into a ball as he waited for Lois's response to this tantalizing offer. Trying to school the frown off of his face, he risked a brief glance in Lois's direction. She was smiling at him, cradling the phone between her head and shoulders while writing something on the notepad on her desk.
"You're very kind, Lex, but I'm seeing someone else."
Clark let out a breath he hadn't even realized he was holding, as his heart did a back handspring. Continuing to watch Clark's reactions, she added, "But if you have any information you can share about this Project Shockwave you're working on, please call me. Oh, I have to go. Jimmy needs to talk with me. Bye, Lex." She hung up the phone, her smile widening. Clark marveled at how deftly she had just dodged Lex's questions.
Knowing they would be leaving soon for lunch and to return to the Lexor, Clark began shutting down his computer. He had been on cloud nine, ten, and eleven, all morning as the realization of Lois's shift in behavior toward him had become evident. Of course, now as he sat in his chair, one thought began to work its way to the forefront. <What about Superman? And why is Lois suddenly interested in you instead of the Superhero?> It was funny, really, that the exact thing he had wanted for so long should suddenly make him so paranoid.
But Lois had changed so much in the span of five days, at least in respect to her treatment of him, that it was hard not to be a little flummoxed. His mind revisited memories from the elevator last Thursday and their conversation about trust the night before, and a tiny little suspicion began to nag at him. <What if she knows?>
<Don't you want her to know? I mean, I hope you're telling her before you resume any activities like last night's. You wouldn't want to build a relationship on a lie.>
<Of course I want her to know, but I want to know that she cares about me and not some flashy outfit! And if she doesn't know and I drop this on her, she might never speak to me again. And definitely no more kisses. But if she knew already, that could explain why she's changed. She might just think she's getting Superman.> Bile rose in his throat, as he contemplated this. He wanted with all his heart to believe that Lois had finally seen him for the man he was, not some cardboard cutout, to be able to dismiss this idea as ludicrous insanity. But he couldn't quite do it. There just seemed to be too many question marks, too many coincidences.
At the same time, he couldn't be sure that she knew either. It seemed very unnatural that, if Lois knew, she hadn't taken him off to her lair for decapitation and torture, in short order. <But she helped you make a quick exit, Friday, from the office meeting!>
<What about this morning, as you left the hotel? That fire a block away, and you both heard the sounds. Then she remembers she wanted to run home first because she forgot to pack some toiletries, and suggested taking different cabs? That is a pretty feeble line, even for some of your excuses. Still coincidence? Or maybe she learned from the best, er , worst?>
Puzzling this out was getting Clark nowhere. The only thing that seemed settled in his mind was that this afternoon, in the hotel, he and Lois were going to have to talk. He couldn't pretend that things were great in this new relationship when he felt more sure by the minute that all of this might be based merely on Lois's appreciation for his alter ego. And if she didn't know, she really deserved to before things went any farther. If he could muster up the courage to tell her.
"Ready, partner?" Lois startled him out of his reverie, touching his arm gently. She appeared concerned, once more studying him. Clark squirmed beneath her gaze, feeling for all the world like that dissected frog his father had continually warned him ominously about. All the butterflies he had felt that morning were replaced with worry and despair.
Schooling his features with a smile that didn't quite reach his somber eyes, he rose from his seat and grabbed his coat. "Let's go."
Lois seemed unsure for a moment before linking her arm in his. Arm in arm, they walked to the elevator. After exiting the Planet, they hailed a cab. All the way, Clark felt certain that one way or another the joy he had just experienced the night before would soon be over.
Several hours had passed, and the discussion Clark had so thoughtfully decided to begin had yet to come to pass. Conversation over their room-service lunch had been stilted and awkward at best, as Clark was keeping himself clumsily out of reach of Lois's grasp. When she sat down on the sofa and patted beside her, he had swallowed the lump in his throat and sat down as far away from her as the couch would allow. He seemed to jump every time her arm would touch him, mostly out of fear that things would get out of hand again, in which case chickening out of the conversation would be the least of his worries.
Lois just kept narrowing her eyes at him inquisitively, like she was seeing him for the first time. Trying to figure out what he was thinking, that had to be it. <I 'm so glad Lois isn't telepathic!> While his awkwardness was clearly evident, still, the thought that Lois could listen to the arguments going on within his head would have been icing on the cake.
"Okay, farmboy, spill it. You've been moping around all afternoon like your dad sold your prize cow at auction."
Clark rolled his eyes. "Lo-is, we never raised cows. Kansas is known for corn, not cows."
It was Lois's turn to look heavenward. "Beside the point. You avoided my question. What's wrong? You jump every time I lay a finger on you, and you've hardly said a word since Lex called…Oh, great. Is this about Lex? Because I told you I trusted you about him and I told him I was seeing someone else…but surely you heard that…" the last part was muttered under her breath.
Clark raised an eyebrow. "And how exactly would I have heard that? I was sitting at my desk, and the newsroom was pretty loud today."
Lois met his gaze head-on. "I don't know, Clark. You tell me. How *would* you have heard me talking to Lex on the phone?"
"What am I supposed to say to that? It sounds to me like you already know the answer to that one, which would sure explain a heck of a lot of things, wouldn't it?" Clark clenched his fists beside him. Anger he was initially unaware of seemed to be pouring out of him like venom. He closed his eyes, reigning in his temper. This conversation was most assuredly not going how he had planned for it to go.
Lois's face flushed. "What the hell is that supposed to mean? I've been treating you as wonderfully as Lois Lane has *ever* treated anyone, and this is your response to that? Excuse me, Clark Kent, I didn't know you *liked* being treated like a hack from Nowheresville. Good grief, what is your problem today?"
Lois stopped momentarily, took a deep cleansing breath, and continued. "Okay. Maybe I can see that you would have reason to be a little paranoid about my change in behavior lately. I mean, last week I was still chasing after Superman, while casually dating Lex, and never even giving you a backward glance. And maybe I became privy to some information that I didn't have less than a week ago." He watched as she carefully enunciated the last sentence, seemingly eager to lace within that sentence a deeper meaning.
<She knows.> The thought flitted to the surface of his consciousness, unwelcome, a cold and hard truth to bear. His heart raced, as despair washed over him. He had waited so long for Lois to confess that she had feelings for him, only to find out her confession was still never meant for him, but for the guy in tights.
<I hate Superman.>
The thought tormented him, as he realized the creation of his own design had robbed him of the one thing in the world he most desired: the love of Lois Lane. Before he could consider the end of his universe further, he realized Lois was talking again. He focused his attention back upon her, as she pierced him with a gaze of …sympathy? <Oh Lord, please don't let it be sympathy. I feel like such an idiot to think she could care about me. But I have my pride. I don't want her feeling sorry for me AFTER she rejects me.>
"Oh, Clark, you have really confused me, you know that? I mean, I haven't said anything because I wanted you to tell me yourself. I wanted to know that you trusted me enough to do it. I realize my behavior toward you in the past has been deplorable, but I'm not taking all the blame in this. You're the one who allowed me to think reality was one way when it was really another. You big lunkheaded goof! How was I supposed to act? I mean, Superman and Lex were both safe for me to care about. I knew Superman was out of my league, so to speak, and I never really felt anything for Lex. He just kept me in awe with all the attention he paid me. It feels good to be wanted like that, you know? But you, Clark, I could never afford to notice you because you were dangerous."
Clark found himself drawn in, even though he didn't want to be. Feigning indifference, he asked, "How was I ever dangerous to you, Lois?"
"Because you mattered to me, Clark, like the other two didn't. You're my best friend. If I took a chance on you and it didn't work out, I'd be devastated! So if you want to pretend that last night didn't happen…" Lois closed her eyes and collected her breath. "I'll do it. I'd rather have your friendship, than lose you all together. I understand. And I promise your secret is safe with me. I'll go to my grave before I'll ever tell another human being."
Silence loomed between them, as Lois's words sank in. He could read the guilt in her eyes, the same guilt he had seen in his own reflection, so many times after he had lied to her yet again. All the lies and deception between them was such a great chasm, forever seeming to keep them apart. And always, before, there was never a bridge to cross that infinite gap. Until this moment. Yes, they had both been idiots. But her countenance, as well as her words at that moment, spoke to him in volumes. And her willingness to sacrifice their chance at love for his friendship overwhelmed him more than swooning at his feet ever could. He knew at that moment who she really cared about. And it wasn't Superman or Lex Luthor.
It was Clark Kent.
All the sadness and despair ebbed away from him like the tide returning to the ocean. His shoulders relaxed and a grin replaced the nervous tic of his jaw. Slowly, he reached toward her with his hand, cupping her face to look at him once more. The pad of his thumb moved slowly over her cheek, drying the salty tear that had been trailing a path downward.
"Lois, I am so sorry. How could you ever think that I would want to pretend last night didn't happen? It was the most beautiful night of my life. I just couldn't stand to think that you weren't offering your love to me, but to someone who doesn't really exist. I think I've had as much trouble sorting it all out as you have. And I realized a few moments ago what an idiot I've been today. If you're still willing to take a chance on this lunkhead, he's all yours." Clark studied her, waiting for some sign of what would come next.
Lois smiled once more. "Well, lunkhead, if we're playing by my rules, then I have to ask you what secret you're talking about."
Clark's grin widened in amusement. "What do you mean, Lois? You just said my secret would go to your grave. Why ask if you already know?" Sometimes Lois was such an enigma, but he certainly liked the adventure of trying to figure her out.
Lois edged closer, her breath fanning out over his lips, sending his nerve endings into a frenzy of activity. "I told you before. That, sometimes, people we care about need to hear us say those scary words. They need to know that we trust them. So I am letting you know, that I don't know, unless you want me to know." Clark closed his eyes blissfully, as his lips touched gently to Lois's. The kiss lasted mere moments, as Clark tried to focus and remember the conversation at hand. Ahh, yes…
"I've got something I need to tell you."
"Yeah? What would that be?" Lois had moved closer, and her arms were encircling his neck. She traced little lazy circles on his back and then nuzzled his neck where she began kissing once more. Clark kissed the top of her head, his own arms encircling her in a bear hug as he drew her body closer to his own on the couch, as he reclined backward. Coaxing him on, she whispered almost reverently, "Tell me, Clark."
His heart raced. Even though he knew she knew, still it seemed so hard to say those three words that would end the deception between them and bring them to the next phase of their relationship. For his entire life, the importance of keeping his secret had been ingrained in him. So, still, it was no small trifle as he spoke the words, barely above a whisper. "Lois, I'm Superman."
Lois stilled her hands and met his gaze once more. "See, was that so bad?" She rearranged herself on top of him on the couch, straddling his lap. Clark's breath hitched again, as she grinned at him impishly.
"You are a wicked woman, Lois Lane. I thought we agreed last night it was too fast, too soon. And here you are, torturing me and always expecting me to be so honorable." He held his hands up in mock protest before carefully placing them around her waist, and drawing her close to kiss her reverently once more.
"What's being honorable got to do with it? Although, I'd say I'm honoring you pretty well, wouldn't you?" Clark's heart went into his throat as Lois tugged at the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head, revealing the broad expanse of naked flesh beneath. Smiling in admiration, she smoothed her delicate fingers across his pectoral muscles. He let out a sigh of ecstasy as she bent down to kiss the side of his neck.
Struggling to think clearly, Clark closed his eyes. "Lois, you know I want this, but there's maybe something else I should mention first."
Lois was undeterred. Continuing a trail of kisses down the side of his neck, she didn't even pause as she asked, "And what would that be?"
"Well, Lo-isss…you know that whole intimacy threshold?"
"What are you talking about?"
"The one I think we may be about to cross?"
"Oh, that one. What about it?"
Clark groaned as Lois kissed halfway down his stomach before turning and retracing her original path upward. His hands, of their own volition, found themselves beneath her shirt, heading northward. Using willpower he never knew he had to still his movements, he continued. "Well, I've kind of never crossed it."
Lois stilled her movements, and met his gaze. "I'm not sure I understand, Clark."
Clark swallowed the lump in his throat. Then he looked down at the floor. <This is just a little embarrassing.>
"The intimacy threshold. I've stared at it, looked longingly over at it, but I've never crossed it." <Please don't ask me to spell this one out, Lois!>
"Oh my…you mean, you're a …a VIRGIN?" Lois stared dumbstruck as Clark fidgeted slightly beneath her. All he could manage was a nod in response, as agreeing out loud would only amplify his discomfiture.
Clark hastened to explain himself. "It's not that I haven't had offers. It's just…well, in my situation, I couldn't really afford to get that close to someone before. And I also wanted to know that when I did, it was with the person I was meant to be with. I wanted it to mean something."
Lois was awestruck. "How do you do it?"
Befuddled, Clark finally chanced gazing into Lois face. "Do what?"
"Open your mouth, and say those things. Clark, you are the sweetest, most adorable guy on the planet. And I must be the luckiest woman on earth."
"I think that you have that all backwards." Clark's face lilted upward in a cheeky grin as he drew her closer in once more. "I am the lucky one."
Lois's eyes danced in merriment. "Not yet, but you're about to be, if you play your cards right." Standing up, Lois divested herself of her t-shirt, revealing a lacy, black demi-bra underneath. Dropping her shirt to the floor, she reached for his hands, pulling him up to stand beside her.
Clark stood mesmerized. The little angel Clark and the devil Clark were for once in agreement, as they danced around in circles in his head.
Shaking himself clear of that errant thought, he pulled her toward him and enveloped her within his arms. His first kiss was gentle and worshipful, as he tasted her and inhaled her scent of lavender and rosewater. Tentative, his tongue sought entrance at her lips, and was received with ferocity.
As the kisses increased in intensity, Clark fought to keep some control of himself, wanting to savor this moment. Lois, however, was a woman on a mission. Clark groaned into her mouth, as she began exploring the lower half of his body. Clark wasn't sure how, but they found their way to the bedroom, and out of their clothes, sprawled out on the king-size bed. His last coherent thoughts were that every inch of Lois Lane was as beautiful as he'd always known she would be.
Some time later, a very sated Lois and Clark lay snuggled in the satin sheets together. Lois felt cocooned within Clark's arms, as their fingers intertwined. Lois didn't know it was possible to be this happy.
Smiling, she said, "Wow."
Clark laughed mischievously. "Wow. Yep, that about covers it."
Lois turned to look at Clark's face. She watched as he quirked his head to the side, in what she now recognized must mean he was hearing or seeing something from far away. Those superpowers might come in handy yet. <In more ways than one in an investigation.> The mile high club suddenly took on a whole new meaning for Lois, as she chuckled to herself. Refocusing her attention, she asked, "What is it?"
"Next door. Roarke and Harrington are back."
"I really don't want to move right now. Just tell me what they're saying."
Lois listened with interest, as Clark repeated verbatim the conversation going on in the adjacent building.
When they lowered the lead-lined curtain to show the video, Lois suggested Clark speed into his costume and do a fly-by to see if he could get a view from above the building of what was going on in that room. Thanks to Lois's quick thinking, Clark listened and watched while they detailed what Project Shockwave was, and how Roarke was going to sabotage it, producing a giant tsunami which would level Metropolis. Watching them leave, he returned to the Lexor and Lois, who had in the meantime made herself comfortable in the large, heart-shaped tub for two.
Spinning out of his superman uniform, he sank into the bubbles beside her. After he had shared with her what he had seen from spying on Roarke and Harrington, they decided they would sneak into the office later that night and get the evidence they needed. A little more parrying back and forth, and it was decided they would print the story as soon as Superman stopped the tsunami from hitting the coast by tunneling underneath it.
Lois pulled Clark closer toward her in the water. He sat in front of her as she soaped his back and arms. "Well, now that we've pretty much scooped yet another banner headline, what do you want to do next?"
Lois perched her chin on his shoulder and waited for his reply.
Clark closed his own eyes, as he reclined back in a state of bliss. "I have a few ideas."