By Janet Owens (aka TicAndToc) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: March, 2006
Summary: This time, the path to true love is going to run a little bit straighter for Lois and Clark. All of those pesky little obstacles just don't stand a chance.
This story is dedicated to Maria D. Ferdez., who deserves to have a story dedicated to her — with great appreciation — for all of the supportive comments she unfailingly gives to all of the authors who post their stories on the message boards.
Maria, your signature says this:
*The I don't like list*
*Excess of this character can be harmful to my health!*
This story, then, is dedicated to you.
P.S. I also took care of Cat Grant and Dan Scardino for you, as an added bonus!
Thank you for all of your kind words and support!
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me (well, I guess Delmar Ogle does, but I don't really know much about him <g>), and no copyright infringement is intended. This story was written for fun, not for profit.
Sincere thanks go to Jeanne, who edited this for me quickly and cheerfully, then had to fight her way through my email program's junkmail filter not once, but *three* times! She deserves a raise. <g>
Lex Luthor's right hand man, Nigel St. John, was in Los Angeles on business — of a nefarious nature — for the man to whom much of the criminal underworld referred as 'The Boss'.
Nigel, taking a small — and in his opinion, much deserved — break from his busy work schedule, had met a lovely young lady at the casino earlier in the evening.
Lana Lang was an aspiring actress who was working as a floorperson — supervising dealers at the gaming tables and watching for any problems — while she tried to break into acting. She had an excellent figure, long flowing blonde hair, and a slight midwestern accent. She was apparently not averse to a… short relationship, and was obviously attracted by his apparent wealth. He felt his English accent probably didn't hurt, either.
She had agreed to go out with him, at the end of her shift, for a meal — although both of them knew the date would end at Nigel's hotel.
Just as he was assisting her into the taxi, a carful of young hoods joyriding in a stolen vehicle careened into the back of the taxi, jumped the curb, bounced off the casino's wall, and veered back onto the street.
The taxi driver, still in the car, was only slightly injured, but both Nigel and Lana, standing on the sidewalk, were hit and killed instantly.
Within minutes, the scene was crawling with police and emergency vehicles, as well as the ever-present members of the media.
"The poor sap never saw it coming," commented one of the policemen at the scene a short while later. "And the young lady — such a waste. The cab driver said she was beautiful."
"Yeah, she was the face in the newest Global Tel ads, he says," his partner replied. "Don't know who the guy was, though. Probably just some tourist. Maybe her dad?"
"Good thing we caught the little punks who did it," the first policeman said. "At least they can't hurt anyone else."
Shaking their heads, they headed back to their patrol car to start filing the accident report.
Lex Luthor pushed his chair back from the table. "Another magnificent meal, Asabi," he said, as he lit a cigar and took several deep and satisfying draws on it. He leaned back and contemplated the view outside his penthouse window for a moment. He never tired of the fact that he was quite literally above everything else in Metropolis, living as he did on the top floor of Metropolis's highest building.
Finishing his wine, he rose from the table. Turning toward his desk, he stopped for a moment, a confused look appearing on his face. He turned back toward Asabi, who had moved forward to begin clearing the table, and began to speak. "Asabi -" was all he managed to say before he abruptly keeled over from a massive heart attack, knocking the chair on its side as he fell.
Asabi acted quickly, summoning emergency services and calling Mr. Luthor's personal physician.
But barely an hour later, Asabi shook his head sorrowfully as the ambulance drove away. Its sirens were off, as the paramedics had been unable to revive his boss. The body would be transported to the hospital so that the death could be officially recorded.
"Too much rich food, Mr. Luthor," Asabi murmured as he returned to the penthouse. "Combined with the cigars and the alcohol, even your daily workouts were apparently not enough to protect you from the side effects of such rich living."
He glanced around at the oppulent room. With his employer dead, certain shady things were likely to come to light. It was best if he were to pack his things, gather a few… mementoes of his time with Mr. Luthor, and return to his own country. Quickly, before Mr. Luthor's assets were frozen.
Fortunately, Mr. Luthor's wall safe contained sufficient… retirement funds to allow Asabi to live in great comfort for the rest of his life.
Lois and Clark stood waiting for the Daily Planet elevator. They were returning to the newsroom, after a lunchtime visit with Bobby Bigmouth, to finish their current investigation. Clark held two cups of gourmet coffee from the kiosk in the Daily Planet building's lobby, while Lois held a bag containing their lunch, courtesy of their favorite deli. As long as they were at the deli buying food for Bobby, Lois had suggested, they might as well pick up their own meal, too.
The elevator door opened to reveal FBI agent Dan Scardino and Planet gossip columnist Cat Grant, who'd been dating for several weeks. On the face of it, they seemed like an unlikely couple, but it had been love at first sight for both of them.
"Hey, you two," Dan greeted them, Cat's arm tucked into his. "Did you hear the latest on the Linda King trial? They just sentenced her to life in prison. The decision was announced about an hour ago."
"That's the tabloid reporter who shot and killed that assistant district attorney, Mayson Drake, right?" Cat asked. "After being indicted on that illegal investment scheme. Nice job on that whole story, by the way," she added sincerely. Love had mellowed Cat's sharp tongue considerably.
"Yes, and thanks," Lois replied as Clark nodded in agreement. "We heard about it on the way over here just now. Remember we met Mayson when we were working on that drug running story, Clark?" she added.
"Yes. It was just after that when she was killed," Clark said. "What is that, Cat?" he asked, nodding his head at the strangely-shaped silver object she held cradled in her free arm.
"It's a sculpture by Delmar Ogle," Cat replied with obvious pride, holding the thing up. It looked like a soda can had been wrapped around a metal rod before the whole thing was partly melted and twisted into a vague spiral. "Dan got it for me," she continued. "It's so much more permanent than flowers. And both of us are big fans of his work."
"It's… certainly unique," Clark said, not sure if 'recyclable' was an acceptable adjective to describe the thing. Lois, he noted, was wisely holding her tongue.
"Well, see you later this afternoon," Cat said, smiling lovingly at Dan as she tugged him toward the lobby doors.
"Who's Delmar Ogle?" Lois whispered to Clark as Dan and Cat moved away.
Clark shrugged. "I have no idea," he said.
"If that's a typical example of his work, I'll never know anything more about him than I do now," Lois said, slanting a grin at Clark as the elevator doors closed. "I prefer flowers, myself," she continued, her grin turning into a chuckle as Clark laughed.
"Did I ever tell you, Clark?" she asked, sobering. "I finally remembered that Linda King was in my class at Met. U. I knew she looked vaguely familiar. We never knew each other — we just had some of the same classes. Even then, she was kinda… sleazy, as I recall. She dated this guy I sorta had a mild crush on. Nothing ever came of that, thank goodness — he never knew I was alive. He ended up being arrested for drug possession during our senior year, and I think he's still doing time."
"Wow," Clark said, as they exited the elevator into the newsroom. "I'm glad he wasn't some boy-next-door kind of guy that swept you off your feet, stole your heart, and married you. Then where would I be?"
"Nope, he wasn't worth a second glance," Lois said cheerfully. She tugged on his tie, reaching up to kiss him as he bent to her. "Now, you… There's *nobody* else like you, Clark. I had an excellent time last night," she continued quietly with a smile. "I'm glad you asked me out."
"*I'm* glad you said yes," Clark told her softly. He brushed a second kiss gently over her lips. "I was so nervous…"
"I know," Lois assured him. "It was pretty obvious. You took forever to confess your big secret… You were so cute," she teased him. "So afraid I'd get mad at you. But —"
"But you'd already figured it out after Miranda and her pheromone spray," Clark finished for her. "And you were just waiting for me to admit that I *was* attracted to you."
"Yup," Lois agreed, laughing up at him. "I was right all along. You *were* attracted to me — and I'm glad." She tugged him toward their desks. "Let's finish this up, partner," she continued briskly, sitting down at her desk. "Bobby Bigmouth sure came through this time — we'll need to stand him to a whole week's worth of meals for this one."
"Yeah, we really got lucky," Clark agreed. "Between your… discrete snooping, shall we say?" he asked with a smile. "…while appearing to be dating Lex Luthor, and Bobby's information — we've finally got enough solid facts to expose his criminal activities. You know, this could be Kerth material," he mused. "Maybe even Pulitzer material."
"Clark! Look at that!" Lois exclaimed suddenly. She pointed at the muted TV monitors, one of which was tuned to LNN. Two anchors were talking and gesturing soundlessly, while the scrolling headline bar across the bottom of the screen announced, 'Billionaire philanthropist Lex Luthor has died from a massive heart attack. Story at 11.'
Lois and Clark looked at each other. Somehow, the idea that Lex Luthor might succumb to something so… mundane had never occurred to them.
"Clark," Lois began, "do you realize the scoop our story just turned into? It was already pretty big, considering how well he hid any indication of criminal activity, but now we've got the absolute exclusive on the man's true character. And you know what?" she added. "I guess I won't have to dump him after all. Actually," she mused, "I was kind of looking forward to that part of the dating charade."
Clark laughed. "I'm just glad you're not hanging around him anymore, Lois," he said, sitting down at his own desk. "And that he's in a place where not even a great lawyer can help him. Let's finish up here and notify Perry. He'll want this for the morning edition, I'm sure."
"And then we can get going," Lois agreed, beginning to enter the story into her computer. "It's *my* turn to ask *you* out. Where would you like to go?"
"Anywhere you are," Clark told her, which earned him a dazzling smile.
"See?" Lois rejoined. "That's exactly how I feel! This is turning out to be a very good year."
He shouldn't be happy about someone's death, Clark mused as he turned to his own work. But his arch enemy was gone, his best friend, Lois, knew his secret, and now they were dating.
It was, indeed, turning into a *very* good year.