By CarolM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: October 2007
Summary: Gossip can be a very dangerous thing. Especially when it gets to Lois Lane…
This was written in response to the Guess the Author challenge on the boards in Oct. 2007. I found the first two pages or so on my hard drive from about 2 years ago. MissyG encouraged me to keep going and JoJo beta'd on the fly offering invaluable suggestions! Thanks you too! And to Anna [Bananna] who got home after I'd already submitted it and so didn't beta but was more than willing to do so!
"Now listen up, folks. This year's carnival isn't going to be any ordinary carnival. It's a cartoon carnival." Perry held his hands up to stop the mumbling. "That means you have to come dressed as your favorite cartoon character. Everybody does. If you're not going to the carnival, you're going to be working. If you're not dressed as a cartoon character, you're not going to the carnival. Comprende?"
Grumbling was heard around the newsroom as he headed back into his office.
Clark made his way to Lois' desk and perched on top of it. "So, wanna be my date for the carnival?"
Lois rolled her eyes. "In your dreams, Kent. I am NOT dressing up as a cartoon character."
"Come on, Lois. It'll be fun."
She studiously ignored him.
"You could be Dora the Explorer."
"I don't speak Spanish." She glanced at him. "And how do you know Dora anyway?"
"My neighbor's little girl has explained all the finer points of Dora to me countless times." Clark grinned. "I'll even go as Diego."
"Not gonna happen, Kent." She glanced up at him only to see that far off look she knew so well. The one that said the library book was overdue.
She sighed, not even listening to whatever excuse he gave.
An hour later, she sat fuming at her desk, just waiting for her erstwhile partner to reappear. And when he did…
"CLARK JEROME KENT! Conference room — NOW!"
There was no arguing with Lois when she used that tone of voice, so Clark obediently followed her to the conference room, trying to ignore the stares coming from around the newsroom. His superhearing picked up a couple of 'I wouldn't want to be in his shoes' and 'I wonder what he did now?' and 'Lois on the warpath — watch out's coming from the cubicles.' He sighed. He wondered what it was this time.
"How could you not tell me?"
The door had barely closed behind them when she ripped into him. He opened his mouth to answer, but she kept right on going.
"I had to find out from *her*."
<Find out what? From who?>
"Her — of all people, I had to find out from the one person that I…" She let out a low growl and didn't finish the sentence.
Clark tried to say something, but before the first syllable came out, she went on.
"And something THIS big. Clark, really, you should have told me first. How come I'm the last to know everything?"
"Lo…" was all he managed this time.
"Don't you 'Lois' me, mister. You are in so much trouble I don't even know where to begin."
"Loi…" He managed to get slightly further.
"Seriously, don't start with me, Clark. I'm supposed to be your best friend and you don't even have the courtesy to tell me."
"Clark, I have no IDEA what I'm going to do with you. I'll start by not speaking to you for weeks and then you can have *Superman* get me all kinds of things from all over the world — like great Chinese, or Italian, or snow from the Andes and chocolate, of course. And then… I don't know if I can ever forgive this, Clark."
What on earth was she talking about? Clark wracked his brain, trying to think of something that he'd done or not done that would get Lois this upset. And who on earth was 'she'? Could it be that someone had told her about his big secret? No, it couldn't be that — could it?
"Well, aren't you going to say anything?"
Lois had stopped storming around the conference room and stood with her arms crossed, one foot tapping furiously on the carpet, staring at him so intently that he felt for a moment that she had heat vision issues.
"Lois, I don't know what you're talking about."
That was enough. Lois went back to storming around the room, ranting and raving about this *thing* that Clark hadn't told her about but that she, Lois, had found out from *her*, the mysterious, unidentified female in the scenario.
"Clark, I know we've only known each other for less than two years, but come on. This is HUGE. I would think that you would have told me about this sooner. I THOUGHT we were starting to get closer and you've even asked me out, but Clark, this is beyond all of that and you REALLY should have told me about this."
She stopped and turned and stared at him again. "Well, Clark, when were you planning on telling me that you were married and had a BABY?"
Clark's jaw opened and closed. Then it opened and closed again.
What on earth was Lois talking about?
His mouth opened and closed again.
She stood there and the tough bravado began to fade away. Tears began to well up in her eyes.
"Clark? Why didn't you tell me you were married and that you have a baby? I mean, I know it just happened and all, but couldn't you have had the decency to tell me beforehand? I would have been there, you know. I wouldn't have been happy about it, but I would have been there for you."
Clark moved in front of her and took her hands in his own. "Lois, I swear to you, I have no idea what you're talking about."
Lois removed her hands from his. "Don't do that, Clark. I know. I saw Lana."
Clark was puzzled. "What does Lana have to do with this?"
"She told me what happened."
"Well, please, fill me in because I have no idea."
"The Corn Festival?"
Clark shook his head.
"Sleeping with Lana?"
"What?!?!" Clark's jaw almost hit the floor. "Lois, I have *never* slept with Lana. Ever."
Lois rolled her eyes. "Sure, Clark. I know you two were a thing in high school. It's only natural that you'd have 'bonus night', but that you'd marry her without telling me…" She swiped at her eyes. "That hurts, Clark."
He took her shoulders in his hands and turned her to face him. "Lois, I swear to you, I never slept with Lana. Ever."
"Sure, Clark." She wrenched herself away from him. "A great looking guy like you — even in high school, you were pretty cute — I'm sure you've been beating them off with a stick since Jr. High."
"Lois, I dated Lana. I took Rachel to the prom. But I never slept with either of them. And as for…" He made air quotes with his fingers. "…beating them off with a stick, well, I've had a few girlfriends here and there, but no, not really. I've never wanted to date just for the sake of dating or sleep with someone just to put a notch on my cummerbund."
"Right. I'm sure I could count the women you've been with on one hand, couldn't I?"
Clark sighed. This certainly wasn't how he wanted to have this particular conversation with her.
Not that he'd actually ever planned it, but this certainly wasn't what he would have planned.
"Lois, you wouldn't need any hands," he told her softly.
She'd started pacing, but that stopped her in her tracks. "What?"
"Lois, I've never actually…" He made a face. "…you know with anyone."
"You? With the body of a Greek god, have never…" Her mouth opened wide, unable to believe what she'd just said.
Clark looked oddly at her. "No, Lois. I've never… I've had chances… I mean, I could have if I wanted to. Lana wanted to, in high school, but we never did."
"Why not?" A thought occurred to her and she gasped. "You're not… You can't be…" She couldn't bring herself to say it. "You don't like…" She took a deep breath. "You like girls, don't you, Clark?"
"WHAT?" Clark couldn't believe what she'd just insinuated. "Lois, I like girls. I've just never… I wanted it to be something special. With the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. Not that I think it has to be our wedding night or anything, but it's not something to take lightly. That's not how I was raised. And…" How did he explain that being an alien had something to do with it? "…there's other reasons too."
"No, seriously." Maybe it was time to tell her. "Lois, there's another, really big reason why I've never… you know."
"Well, what is it and why is Lana insisting that you're the father of her baby?"
"What? Lana's pregnant?"
"Duh. Do you not remember how this conversation started?"
"What exactly did she tell you, Lois?"
"That you two had… you know, in the hayloft at your parent's house at the Corn Festival last fall. She's six months pregnant, Clark. The timing fits."
Clark thought. "It does fit, but it's not true. But what about the 'wife' part?"
"She said that she went to your apartment last night and you offered to marry her — to take care of her and the baby — and that you got married first thing this morning when the court house opened."
"Lois, I haven't seen Lana since the Festival."
"So why would she tell me those things?"
Clark sighed. "I just don't know, Lois. Probably because she's hoping that's exactly what will happen. And two years ago — or even one — she might have been right, but not anymore."
"Why is that, Clark?"
He shrugged. "Because I'm already in love with someone else and that wouldn't be fair to any of us."
Lois eyed him carefully. "Who are you in love with?" She pointed a finger at him. "And if you say Mayson Drake, so help me God, I'll vomit right here."
Clark chuckled. "I don't know why you don't like Mayson, Lois. She's a very nice person."
Lois glared at him and mumbled, "For a lawyer."
"Lois." Clark's voice had a warning to it.
"Sorry." She sounded anything but apologetic.
"It's not Mayson, though."
"Then who is…" Lois words were cut short by the press of Clark's lips against her own. She wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer, deepening what had to be the best kiss of her life.
What seemed like an eternity later, she sunk against him, her head on his shoulder, his arms holding her up.
"Wow, Kent. For a guy who's never…" She paused for effect. "… you sure do kiss well."
Clark pulled her closer. "It takes two."
Lois giggled. "You would look pretty silly practicing on your hand or something."
"So, what about Lana, Clark?"
"What about her?"
"She's telling people you got her pregnant and married her."
Clark sighed. He was going to have to deal with this and sooner rather than later was probably the best plan.
But not before he kissed Lois again.
Lois sat at her desk, staring at the computer screen. She was supposed to be finishing the story on… something she couldn't remember. Her mind kept drifting back to the conference room and she didn't care that the whole bullpen had seen.
"I thought I told you to keep your hands off my husband," a voice behind her seethed.
Lois turned, startled, then burst out laughing.
"Oh, stuff a sock in it, Lana. I'm sorry for whatever's happened to make you so bitter or whatever and that made you lie about what happened, but Clark told me the truth."
Lana raised an eyebrow. "He did? He told you all about what happened in Smallville?"
"Yes, and it took precisely two seconds to tell me that nothing did happen. Not at the Corn Festival, not even in high school."
Lana looked crestfallen. "He told you that?" she whispered.
"Lana, I'm sorry, really I am, but Clark's taken."
"I'd like to hear that from him please."
"Well, he's not actually here right now. He's, ah, with a source." If they were going to do this… whatever it was… he was going to have to tell her why he disappeared all the time. She stood and pulled Lana into the conference room, trying not to think about the last time she'd been there. "Lana, I don't know who is the father of your baby, but it's not Clark and he's not going to marry you."
Lana sank down into one of the chairs. "I knew he wouldn't. I kept hoping he would because I still love him — in so many ways, I still love him, but…" She shook her head. "I know he's moved on. I don't want the father to know anything about this. It's a long story, but he's a felon and I don't want him anywhere near me and the baby."
Lois raised an eyebrow. "A felon?"
Lana nodded. "He wasn't then and I didn't know about his record or the warrant for him in Virginia, but I saw him on America's Most Wanted about 2 weeks after the Corn Festival and turned him in. The trial starts next week. Conviction is all but certain. He'll spend the rest of his life in prison."
"Then there's really nothing to worry about."
Lana nodded slowly. "I hope not." She stood to leave. "And Lois, I'm sorry."
"It's okay." Lois leaned against the table and watched Lana walk out of the newsroom, her thoughts turning, unbidden, to the idea of having Clark's child.
She shook her head vehemently. Where on earth had that come from?
She was startled when the door opened.
"Lois, did I just see Lana leave?" At her nod, Clark breathed a sigh of relief. He knew how taxing Lana could be — but he also knew Lois could hold her own.
Clark had listened to Lois tell him about her meeting with Lana and was grateful he hadn't had to deal with his ex-girlfriend. He quickly typed up the Superman story and started to shut off his computer when his email pinged at him. He opened it, read it, and grinned at the mumbling he heard from his partner's desk across the bullpen. He stood and strode towards her.
"Lois, did you get the same email I did?" Clark swung a chair around and straddled it.
"You mean the one where Perry said his top two reporters have to go or else?"
"That's the one."
"Clark, I am not dressing up as a cartoon character."
He looked her up and down and grinned a slow, lazy grin, amazed at the difference a few hours and a couple of kisses could make. "Lois, I think you'd make a great Jessica Rabbit."
"Not a chance, farmboy. But I think you'd make a great Elmer Fudd."
"Fine, not Jessica Rabbit." He thought for a moment. "How about Punky Brewster?"
She shook her head.
"Care-a-lot Bear is a boy."
Clark cringed. The bear was pink for crying out loud. "Petunia Pig?"
She thwapped him with her newspaper.
"I got it. How about Lola Rabbit?"
"You mean Lola Bunny?"
"Sure." Clark shrugged. Wasn't that what he'd said?
"Only if you go as Bugs."
"You'll seriously go as a rabbit?" Clark raised an eyebrow at her.
"She's smart. She's spunky. She can take on Bugs, that's for sure."
"Wanna bet?" Clark grinned at her.
"Bet what?" Lois had an evil grin. "If I go as Lola, you have to go as Bugs or…"
"Or what?" Clark asked warily, wondering what he'd just gotten himself into.
"You have to do a karoke rendition of 'I Believe I Can Fly' from Space Jam." She giggled. "Complete with cape."
"Uh huh. Superman keeps his extra suits at your house — borrow a cape."
"Uh, Lois, I think there's something else we need to talk about first…"