By Bhavani Rao
Summary: Well-meaning relatives try to blackmail Lois and Clark into revealing their feelings for each other.
This story was edited and reworked by me, Zoomway (the butcher), but most of the quotes and the intriguing story line are the work of my friend Bhavi.
Clark Kent had to endure an extended visit from his young cousin Candice. She of course was from the Kent side of the family, not the El side of the family. She knew his secret, and made his life miserable because of that knowledge. Not the secret that one might think, oh, she did know he was Superman, and would never jeopardize that particular bit of knowledge, but the secret she delighted in torturing Clark with, was the secret of his love for Lois Lane.
Merely listening in on Clark's private phone call provided Candice with the information she needed to throw tiny daggers into her big cousin's heart. She had seen how his demeanor changed when speaking to Lois. How he paced and tangled the phone cord as he listened to her voice. How he sighed and daydreamed after setting the phone aside.
"So, you love Lois." Clark folded his arms. "What would you know about our relationship?"
"Relationship? If that's what you've coined it…I know you love her."
Clark was becoming tired, and was beginning to feel like an overworked baby-sitter. "And what if I do?"
"I'm glad you worded it that way, Clark. If you do, you have three days to tell her."
Clark stood and glared down at Candice. Though about ten years his junior, she was rather sophisticated for her age, and as well traveled as he was. "Or?"
"I'll tell her for you."
Clark managed to laugh. "Why would she possibly believe you?"
"Because she'd confront you with what I said, and you have such a terrible time being convincing when you lie, she'll know it's the truth even if you deny it."
Clark knew she was right. He doubted Lois would buy him recanting his feelings for her twice in a life time. "Why, Candy? Why are you doing this to me?"
"Because you're my favorite cousin, Clark, and you need a push."
"If there's anyone around here who needs a push—" Clark's remarks were cut short by a knock on the door. The cab he had called to return his cousin to her hotel had arrived. "I'll come by and visit you at the Daily Planet tomorrow, Clark." She began to walk out the door and then looked over her shoulder. "Three days."
At the Daily Planet, Candice became easily bored. She had gone to the trouble of spreading a rumor that Clark had an ex-girlfriend in town, and that she was very interested in rekindling the old flame. Candy's handywork had done its damage. Lois was upset and Cat was in heaven. The two of them had to work undercover on a modeling assignment, and Lois was trying too hard to compete with Cat, and as often happened when pushed, Lois began to fracture.
"I hear Clark's ex is in town," Cat commented casually while Lois was posing for her shot. "That certainly explains why he's been so tired in the morning."
"Thank you for your commentary on Clark's bedside manner, Cat." Lois said, trying to maintain the imbecilic pose the photographer had requested. "But I could not care less what Clark does in his free time." At that moment, Lois noticed that Cat was flirting with the photographer, and Lois decided she would make a play for him as well. She found nothing attractive about him, but if she could beat Cat at her own game, perhaps she could regain some fallen pride.
Her efforts were wasted. Cat was a seasoned pro at this type of game, and Lois was a rank amateur. She only succeeded in making a fool of herself in front of the other models, and a few of the Planet staffers. She grabbed her purse and decided to head for home and the comfort of a taped soap opera. That bit of sport concluded, Candy became bored again and was about to leave and find something more distracting when she noticed Lucy Lane and Jimmy Olsen in some type of discussion. When she heard the names Lois and Clark surface repeatedly, she decided to drift into the conversation.
Jimmy shook his head. "Not that I've noticed."
"Listen, Jimmy, Lois is my sister. I should know when she's carrying a torch for someone. Shouldn't I?"
"Is that torch for my cousin Clark?"
Lucy and Jimmy turned and looked at Candice. "C.K.'s your cousin?"
"Yes, and I know he's in love with Lois Lane."
Lucy smiled, "I knew it!"
Jimmy shrugged. "Then why don't they just come out and admit it?"
"It's physics, Jimmy. Nothing happens when an immovable object is confronted by a shy force."
"Ah, no wonder I flunked."
"All I can say is that Lois is making my life miserable along with hers, and I don't know what to do about it."
Candice crooked her index finger. "I do. Interested?"
Lois opened the door to her apartment. "No, Lucy, you can't borrow any of my clothes. Goodbye."
Lucy caught the door and pushed it back open. "At least one of us had a good day. Want to share?"
"I don't have time for this, Luce."
"I just thought it might help if you let off some steam. I care about you, Lois."
Whether through fatigue or frustration, Lois unloaded her burdens on her younger sister. Lucy smiled. "So, Clark Kent is the root of your problems."
"That's not true! Clark is free to do whatever he wants!"
Hearing her sister's voice break, Lucy began to rub her shoulders. "Why don't you just admit that you love him, sis?"
Lois was tired. "Okay, I admit it. I love Clark Kent," she said, and then turned sharply. "And don't you dare tell anyone!"
Lois laughed and rubbed her eyes. "It's not like he'd believe you anyway."
Lucy began backing up toward the door. "You're right, Lois. Clark wouldn't believe me, so you have forty-eight hours to tell him yourself."
Lois managed to produce her most galled expression. "What?"
"I think Clark would only believe you loved him if he heard it coming from you."
"Then he can just hold his breath, Lucy, because I'm not telling him."
"I'm afraid you are," Lucy said, and held up a small tape recorder. "One way or another."
"You taped me!"
Lucy dashed out the door, and hit the stairs running. Lois stopped at the doorway. Though Lois had been an excellent tennis player, and a pretty fair gymnast, she was never the runner her sister was. She slammed the door, and then leaned against it. "Great! I'm being blackmailed by my own sister!"
"When did it happen, Perry?" Clark's voice was frantic.
"I'm sorry, son. I don't have any idea. Lois left Cat behind and headed out on her own."
Clark sighed out of frustration. "Why would she pull a stunt like this?"
Perry looked down at his coffee cup. "That story your cousin was spreading about you having a high old time with an old flame might have had something to do with it."
"That does it!" Clark said, and stormed out of Perry's office. He headed for the storeroom as he loosened his tie.
Candice stepped in front of him. "Twenty-four hours, Clark."
"This isn't a game, Candy! Lois is missing! The whole modeling agency is closed up like it never existed." He grabbed Candy's shoulder. "If anything has happened to Lois—" He turned away in disgust, he was wasting what little he might have left, lecturing his cousin. In a blur of speed, Clark vanished.. Candy dropped down on to a pile of empty boxes and began to cry.
Lois' wrists were beginning to throb. Hours of having them bound was taking its toll. She might have noticed had it not been for the bruised shoulder she received during a poor escape attempt. She had no idea where she was. All of the women at the modeling agency had been abducted, drugged and then placed into tiny cells at some unknown location.
She was now standing in the wings of a large stage where she had seen some of the models put on display, and herded around like stock animals. They were being sold to the top bidder. Lois was pushed out onto the stage. She no longer even had a concept of time. She was hungry, sore and a bit loopy after the drug. The bright lights pouring onto the stage hurt her eyes. She heard her physical virtues extolled in several foreign languages. After some furious bidding, the gavel sounded a final time. She had been purchased.
She was lead off stage, and placed in a small room. The ropes were removed from her wrists. She considered making another escape attempt, but a tall, long haired man stepped into the room. He was bearded, and a long scar lead from his left earlobe and disappeared under his collar. His beard, like his hair, was black, but peppered with grey, and he wore expensive sunglasses. He looked at her admiringly and spoke to another man in a language Lois did not recognize, but she did recognize his voice. He was the man who had made the winning bid.
The other man bowed and exited. Lois heard him lock the door from the outside. She looked at the man who had bought her. His arms were bare and looked powerful. She knew she probably could not take him in a physical confrontation, but she took a defensive stance anyway. "Leave me alone."
The man smiled. "You know I'd never hurt you, Lois."
"Clark?" She threw her arms around him. "Clark!"
He wrapped an arm around her, and reached into a pocket with the other and removed his regular glasses and switched them with the sunglasses as Lois buried her face in his shoulder. "Shhh," he whispered, pulling off his wig and beard. "It's all right now."
"I felt so cheap out there."
"Cheap," he smiled. "You cost me more than a year's pay."
"Sorry," she laughed, but her voice still sounded quite teary.
He guided Lois down to a small cot. "We'll be stuck in here until morning, but then we'll just more or less be allowed to walk out."
"I think I get it," Lois said, and wiped her eyes. "Some time in the morning the doors will be unlocked, and all of the slave traders will be gone."
"Yes, if I understood correctly. Then the buyers and the women they purchased will make arrangements to get back to their respective countries."
"Don't worry. When we get out, we'll make sure their plans make a drastic change."
Lois, exhausted, but pleased, rested her head against her best friend's chest. "Sounds like a plan, partner."
Clark put his arms around her and closed his eyes. He was exhausted too, but more emotionally, than physically. However his body did not seem to know the difference. "Feeling better?"
"Much better," she sighed. "I feel safe."
Clark kissed the top of her head. "Thanks."
Lois responded instantly to the small show of affection. She repositioned herself and pressed her lips against his. Clark let the feeling wash over him. He had waited so long for this, he just wanted to enjoy the complete effect. Lois suddenly pulled away. "What day is it, Clark?"
Clark looked puzzled. "Thursday…why?"
Lois smiled with satisfaction. "I can still make the deadline."
"I love you, Clark."
Clark instantly understood. "I love you too, Lois."