By MrsMosley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2007
Summary: Lois has a conversation with a new friend.
Many thanks to my good friend Caroline K. for beta reading this.
I sat on the floor of the dark hallway listening to the ticking of the old grandfather clock that we had brought from Smallville. Breathing deeply, I willed myself not to jump up and pace away the two minutes I had left to wait.
The townhouse was quiet. Downstairs I would have heard the noise of the fridge, the swishing of the fans, and the faint sounds of cars and people on Hyperion Avenue, but up here all I could hear was my own breathing and the tick, tick, tick of that old clock.
Clark was away on a rescue. I thought of waiting to do this until he was home, but I couldn't stand it. I had come in the front door in a rush and dropped all my bags but one in a heap on the floor, not caring that my laptop had hit the ground with a hard thunk. I didn't even take the time to turn on the lights before running up the stairs.
Ten minutes later, here I was, jumpy as a cat, sitting on the floor in my hallway as if I didn't have a house full of chairs.
My watch beeped. It was time, but I wasn't ready to face this. On the other hand, not knowing was driving me nuts.
I stood and walked to the bathroom, squinting at the light spilling out the door. I reached for the plastic stick on the windowsill and closed my eyes. Breathe, Lois. Breathe. I opened them again and forced myself to look.
Two pink lines.
The floor rose up to meet me as my knees ever-so-gradually began to give way. I dropped the stick and sat quickly, arranging my legs in a diamond shape, the soles of my feet pressed together. I bent over and placed my forehead on my ankles. What was it I had reminded myself a minute ago? Breathe!
Pregnant. I was pregnant. I was pregnant!
Should I laugh or cry? For several moments I did a combination of both, and when that had passed, I found myself stretched out on the floor with my flushed cheek against the cool blue tile. I rolled to my back and placed my hand flat on my belly.
"Hi, baby." The words were loud in the stillness of the small room. I paused, as if expecting a reply. None came, so I continued. "I'm your mother."
Mama. Lois Lane. Mom. I shuddered at how strange the words sounded.
"Your daddy is going to be so happy to learn about you," I continued. Father, Papa, Clark, Dad. Nothing strange about those words. I realized then that I wasn't actually sure where Clark was, but I wasn't in the mood to go check LNN. He'd be back eventually. In the meantime, Junior and I could get acquainted. Lay down some ground rules.
This was going to require chocolate.
I made my way to the stairs. At the top, I reached for the light switch but stopped just before turning it on. I liked the dark silence. It allowed me to believe for a while that there was no one else in the world.
I negotiated the steps very carefully, already thinking that if I fell, I could hurt more than just myself. I reached the bottom and felt my way around the desk, through the doors to the dining room, past the table and chairs, and into the kitchen. It wasn't the first time I had done that route in the dark. Sometimes chocolate called to me at odd hours.
We sat at the kitchen table in the dark, my new friend and I, eating chocolate ice cream.
"Now you listen here, there had better not be too much of this morning sickness stuff, you understand me? And no weird cravings," I said, looking down at my stomach, "like for pickles and chop suey and pistachio ice cream all in one bowl. And I plan on working right up until the day you show your face, so you'd better cooperate, you hear me?"
I glanced up at the clock on the microwave. It wasn't very late, although it felt like hours since I had left the Planet. Should I call someone? My mother? I shook my head. No, definitely not. Martha? Yes, I could call Martha. She would be so happy. But then Clark would be disappointed that he hadn't gotten to tell her. And Clark should know he was going to be a father before anyone else did.
"You'll like your dad, baby. He is simply the kindest man on earth, with the biggest heart. You'll love him."
I could already see Clark with this baby his arms. He was going to be so happy.
"As for me, well… I don't know how good I'm going to be at mothering. I didn't exactly learn from the best. I don't have much patience, and I'm a workaholic. Although, come to think of it, your dad isn't so great in that category, either."
I placed the spoon on the table and looked down at my waist. Enough moonlight streamed through the window for me to see my body, if only fuzzily. I laid my hands on my belly again, my thumbs and index fingers unconsciously forming the shape of a heart around my bellybutton. I snorted softly when I saw it. Here I was, doing cutesy mother-to-be stuff already.
"But even if I'm not the best mother, baby, I can promise you that you will grow up loved. Your father will love you. Your grandparents will love you. Your aunt Lucy and your uncles Perry and Jimmy will love you." I paused, and then whispered, "And I already love you."
I sat there for a minute thinking about this. It was true; I already loved this tiny little being, whose existence I hadn't even been aware of an hour ago. I couldn't help laughing a little. So much for Mad Dog Lane. But the first person who gave me a maternity outfit with fuzzy bunnies on it was dead.
"You may be able to fly one day, you know," I told him — her? — in a matter-of-fact tone, as if this ability came standard for all children. Presenting the 1998 model SuperBaby! Complete with flying, X-ray vision, and freezing breath! "I admit I'm going to be jealous. Although if I had to choose a superpower, it would be invisibility, and your dad doesn't have that. Just think of all the stories we could get if he did."
I put an extra large spoonful of ice cream in my mouth and instantly regretted it as the back of my throat got that awful cold burning that nothing could solve but a few minutes time. Nonetheless, I put my hand to my neck and breathed hard and deep, hoping it would pass soon.
"Invulnerability, that's another gift you're probably going to have," I said as soon as I could speak. "It will take a lot more than cold ice cream to hurt you. And that's good, because if anyone finds out you're Superman's kid…"
I stopped speaking as that thought settled in. In one horrible instant, I understood why Clark was constantly worried about me, because, all at once, I felt the same way about my child. If anyone let the secret slip, he would be a bigger target than the Lindbergh baby. In fact, Clark and I were still known to be Superman's friends, and that alone could put him at risk.
But, really, this wasn't news. We had known this from the day we started discussing children. The only new thing was my precious understanding of how you could fear for those you love. How did Clark stand it, worrying about me and Martha and Jonathan?
"But don't you worry." I was speaking to myself as much as the baby now. "Clark — your daddy — will *never* let anything happen to you."
I was so sleepy. Where had that come from? I wanted to wait up for Clark, but fatigue was falling over me like a warm blanket. I stood and put the bowl and spoon in the sink and made my way back up the stairs. I changed, savoring the feel of the cool silk of my nightgown sliding over my shoulders. Soon enough I wouldn't be able to wear it. Did they make silk maternity nightgowns?
I climbed into our bed, struggling to keep my eyes open long enough to straighten out the bedclothes. What a lovely, comfy bed, so nice…
I wasn't sure if it was minutes or hours later that I rolled over and bumped into Clark. I surfaced from a dream that was instantly forgotten and listened to his soft breathing. He was home safe. I snuggled into the warmth of his body, sleep already returning to me. I always slept so much better and more deeply when he was here. I didn't like going to bed without him. In the morning I would fill him in on my evening. What had I done tonight?
Two pink lines.
With that thought I gasped and was fully awake. I sat bolt upright and looked over at him, still asleep. He must've had a hard rescue; usually he woke up as soon as I did. Should I wake him?
I whispered, "What do you think, baby, are you ready to meet your daddy?" After a moment, I smiled and reached for my husband, to say the words that would change his life.