By Rhen Brink (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Clark plans the perfect date to make things up to Lois. But the best laid plans of men and Supermen often go asunder.
Clark sat at his desk covertly watching Lois. That was one of his favorite things to do. She was always so engrossed in her work that she never seemed to notice. Almost unbidden, her words returned to haunt him. "I need to know if I'm yesterday's news. You know … stale — old. I mean, it's been a week since our first date and our first kiss …" Then Clark felt a surge of anger when he thought about that guy, Scardino, showing up and them never getting to finish that conversation.
Mayson's murderer had been caught and her death avenged. The time had come to make things right again. He knew exactly what he wanted to say to Lois and how he wanted to say it. Clark ran the whole conversation through in his mind for the hundredth time. "No more stalling!" He admonished himself. The time was now — no backing out. Clark stood up. He was about to take the single most precious thing he had, his friendship with Lois, and jeopardize it by trying to go that next step. He felt like he was walking a tightrope as he made his way slowly toward Lois's desk. And, ordinarily, that wouldn't have been so scary for someone with the ability to fly, but this time, he couldn't rely on his super abilities — he had to do this like a man, a normal, everyday man. When he reached her desk, he steeled himself and began, "Lois, I want you to go out with me again … on a date… like real people … on a real date …" Clark stammered. This wasn't working — "My God!" He thought, "Did my voice just crack?" He felt an odd sensation — his face was burning. He heard rushing in his ears … this was so important to him and he was messing it up!
Lois looked up at him and shrugged, "Okay …"
Did she just say yes? He wasn't sure.
Lois paused for a moment and then continued, "When do you want to pick me up? Or, do you just want to meet somewhere?" She sounded a little unsure but he was pleasantly surprised to hear her heart start beating just a little faster …
He had heard that! She said yes!! But Clark had never thought beyond this point — he had never allowed himself to believe that it would be this easy. "Umm … tomorrow's Saturday. What about dinner and a show? I'll come by for you at 7." And with that said, he put his hands in his pockets and spun on his heels, neatly knocking a pile of research books off the edge of her desk. He awkwardly scooped them up and dropped them where they were before and backed away, nearly flattening Jimmy who happened to be walking by reading a copy of "The Whisper", Metropolis's sleaziest tabloid.
Lois smiled. She couldn't believe how endearing his little performance was to her. Clark was always so quietly understated and here he was acting like a school boy, maybe there was still some hope for the two of them.
Clark left the Daily Planet almost floating. He hardly noticed the little man in a trench coat and fedora hat who came up to him until the stranger said in a hushed voice, "Hey Buddy! I got two tickets for Metropolis Madness at the Royale for tomorrow — third row, center. You interested?" What luck! Those tickets were for the hottest show in the city! There was a six month waiting list just to make it onto the real waiting list!
Clark quickly handed the man the one hundred and fifty dollars that he had asked for. It was kind of expensive but Clark felt it was well worth it. He wanted so badly to impress Lois without having to don his blue tights. He had to show her how important she was to him!
When Clark reached home, he made himself comfortable, took a deep breath and called directory assistance for the number for Che' Gordon's — the newest, hottest eatery in all of Metropolis. Hoping against hope, he dialed the number and told the maitre d', Henri, that he wanted a table for two for tomorrow night at 7:30.
The maitre d' replied, "Monsieur, you must have been born under the lucky star! I have just this very minute been given a cancellation for that time tomorrow night and now it is all for you!"
Clark snuggled into his bed that night with a huge self-satisfied grin on his face. Everything was going to be perfect. He had pulled it off with hardly any effort at all. And he wanted to make it up to her for treating her so badly in the past week and a half.
The next morning, Clark got up early and thoroughly cleaned his apartment, just in case. He showered, shaved, got dressed and headed out the door — he bought himself a new tie, stopped at the market and got some specialty coffee — and then he ran by the florist's and ordered a dozen ruby red long stemmed roses to be delivered to Lois late that afternoon.
He went home and spent an hour or two pacing to relieve some nervous tension. It didn't work, so he put on his tights, cape and boots and went out patrolling, ignoring the urge to drop in on Lois, knowing he would see her soon enough.
Back home, he took another shower and shaved one more time. He was psyched! Everything was falling into place so neatly. It was almost too easy! He smiled to himself. He got dressed and headed out the door.
He was half way to Lois's apartment when he realized he had forgotten the tickets back at his place. He flew back to get them — but he was still 5 minutes late. Lois was ready and waiting for him.
She was beautiful in burgundy! Just the sight of her took his breath away. Clark realized that he was staring and, in embarrassment, he looked around for the roses but they were nowhere in sight. He didn't want to ask about them because he didn't want to look like a fool. He'd call the florist tomorrow.
"So. Where are we going? I hope I didn't over dress." Lois said smiling.
Clark beamed back, "Tonight is a surprise! Just relax and enjoy the evening and allow me to be your guide."
Clark put his hand on the small of her back and ushered her out the door. She smelled so wonderful. It was her good perfume. He recognized it from their first date. The thought pleased him and he smiled even wider to himself. This was going to be an evening to remember!
They had trouble finding a cab but Che' Gordon's was only a 10 minute drive away so they made it by 7:40. As they exited the cab, Lois noticed the restaurant and was duly impressed. She had never been to this one but she had been to the original one on the other side of the city with her father many years ago for a special occasion and she remembered even then it was very expensive!
"We have reservations for two — Kent." Clark told the man who greeted them at the door.
The maitre d' checked his book and smiled and said, "I am so sorry. I show no such name in my book. You will excuse me?" He brushed past them and helped an elderly woman and her escort in through the door.
Clark waited for the man to return before he said, "Could you check your book again? Yesterday, when I called, Henri said that there was an opening …"
The little man smiled as if the sun had just come out from behind a cloud. "Ah! Henri! But monsieur, Henri does not work at this location. He is at the other Che' Gordon's! And I am afraid that if you had reservations for 7:30 — by now, they are gone but let me telephone him there and see. " He started to move toward the phone.
Clark was desperate, if they didn't eat soon, they'd miss the beginning of the play. He wished he could scoop Lois into his arms and fly her across town but he wasn't ready to let that happen yet. He turned to Lois and said, "We've got tickets to a play — curtain time is 9:00. It's nearly 8 now. What do you want to do?"
Lois frowned in thought for a moment and said hesitantly, "We could grab a cab and get something near the theater. There's bound to be something."
Clark didn't want to let this unfortunate turn of events spoil his evening with Lois. He took her arm and they silently turned and left the restaurant.
After many unsuccessful attempts to hail a cab, they decided it would be faster to walk. The night air was warm and the walk was fun. Lois didn't tease him all that much about the mix up. She was being a good sport and he appreciated that about her more than he could say. The play would make it all up to her, he felt sure of that.
On their way, they passed a small convenience store and they ducked inside and got a couple of bags of chips and a grape soda to split. Walking, talking and not paying attention to what he was doing, Clark exerted too much pressure on the twist off cap and the bottle disintegrated in his hands. Grape fluid soaked the front of his shirt and his jacket. The only thing that he could be thankful for was, the color of Lois's dress made the spray hardly noticeable on her.
Lois grabbed his hand, thinking that he must have at least severed several fingers. When she saw that there was no damage, she said, "Clark! You were really lucky! You're not even bleeding! It must have been a defective bottle!"
Clark wiped his hands against his already soiled jacket and smiled sheepishly. He took his handkerchief out and made one or two unsuccessful swipes at her dress before giving up and handing it to her. The thought uppermost in his mind was — the theater will make up for all of this!
They arrived in plenty of time to see the show. Clark was relieved that at least this was going right and proceeded to hand the tickets to the usher. The young man studied Clark's shirt and jacket and then he turned his attention to the tickets in his hand. "Excuse me, Sir. These tickets aren't for tonight's performance. Please step out of line." He dismissed them as he leaned to one side to take the tickets being offered by the couple behind them.
"What?" Clark exclaimed as he scanned the tickets. Then he realized that the day was right but the month was off by one. Clark looked up at Lois and smiled apologetically. "Lois? Do you feel like coming back here with me next month?"
Lois grabbed the tickets and said, "Let me see those!" as she studied them intently. She finally sighed and asked, "So, Clark, do you have any more surprises for me tonight?"
Clark shook his head and then said sadly, "I'm sorry Lois," but, in an instant, he rallied. "I know! Why don't we go for a walk. We're so near the park and I know a deli on the way. We can have them put together a picnic dinner." He took her hand in his. "The moon will be out soon and we can eat and talk — it'll be great! You'll see! It's too nice of an evening to be indoors anyway." He started to pull her gently in the direction of the deli.
She too, was hesitant to just call it a night and he certainly was delightful as he tried to save their evening out together. "Well, I am still hungry." She said as she gave in and he easily led her down the street.
Minutes later, they were strolling through the park, looking for an ideal place to sit. They stopped by a little lagoon. Clark took off his purple stained jacket and spread it out for Lois to sit on. She began to unpack the sandwiches and open the little containers that held assorted salads.
Clark half-sat, half-laid down a few feet from her. "You see, Lois, this wasn't such a bad idea after all." He looked over at her as she sat silently contemplating the branches of a nearby tree.
She turned her gaze to look at him and said quietly, "I was just thinking about the last time we were here. You thought I was going to marry Lex and you …" She looked down and began to study her hands, "you said you had … feelings for me and I, well, I said I couldn't return them. But then, I found out later that you were only trying to save me from making a huge mistake." She looked up at him expectantly. Clark shook his head once and said with feeling, "Lois, I lied. I meant every word I said here in the park." And that's when the first rain drop splattered on his forehead. The sky exploded with light as the first lightning bolt found a home.
Lois's eyes widened. "What?" she shouted in time with the thunder.
Clark stood up slowly, the water running rivulets down his forehead, down his neck. He was waiting for the force of her anger to equal the storm that suddenly raged around them. She said nothing, sitting there staring at him through the rain. He held out his hand and helped Lois stand as well. He stooped and picked up his stained, soiled and rapidly becoming drenched jacket and gallantly draped it over Lois's shoulders. "You probably want to go home right now …" he said as loud as he could to be heard over the thunder.
Lois moved closer to him and put her head on his chest and began to laugh. He put his arms around her almost protectively. She attempted to look up through the raindrops to see his face and there she saw what she was hoping for as his lips slowly curled into a timid smile. This grew till it was replaced by his warm, good-natured smirk. He lowered his head and kissed her briefly but sweetly. Then she placed her forehead on his cheek and said between the booms of thunder, "What I want right now is to go somewhere warm and get into some dry clothes, order an extra large pizza and sit cuddled up on a couch and talk. I have a feeling we both have so much we need to say to each other."
Clark hugged her close to his chest. He wanted to lift off with her in his arms once again and take her somewhere safe and warm but he realized that he had put her through enough already this evening. They picked up the now soggy food and containers and tossed them in a trash can and walked to the street, his arm around her shoulder, her arm around his waist.
Then a miracle occurred! Clark got the first cab that he attempted to flag down.
When they arrived at Clark's apartment, he was the first to notice the funny shaped box leaning up against his door. It was from the florist. Being nervous, he must have given them his address by mistake.
He looked at Lois and laughed, "See? This was all an elaborate plan to get you here," and handed her the box.
He opened the door as she answered, "The storm was very impressive. How'd you work that?" Lois put the box down on the coffee table and said, "Do you have anything I can change into? I'm freezing!"
Clark rummaged around in a drawer in his bedroom area and came back with an old, huge, softly worn sweatshirt with a matching pair of tie top sweat pants and a pair of thick white cotton socks. Lois took the proffered pile and headed to the bathroom, calling over her shoulder, "While I dry up, you call for the pizza, okay? I'm starving, too!"
Lois was pulling the sweatshirt over her head when she stopped without thinking and imagined Clark wearing the clothing that she was putting on. A delightful little shiver ran through her and she smiled. When she finally had the shirt on, she hugged herself feeling warm, safe and comfortable.
Clark was waiting for her on the couch. He had the same sort of attire on and he called to her, "The pizza's ordered. It'll be here in a half an hour and there's a Clint Eastwood movie on tonight, 'The Unforgiven'. Come on … you'll miss the beginning!"
Lois opened the florist's box and read the card that had been placed inside. It said, "Here's to what I hope will be many more memorable evenings together. Clark." She smiled and mumbled, "Let's hope they won't all be this kind of memorable." She crossed to the couch and snuggled up next to Clark and sighed a contented sigh. She loved being here with him like this. She took the remote from his hand and clicked the set off. "Nice try, Kent. We're going to talk." She hugged her legs.
He gave her his full attention and said, "Okay. Where should we start?"
Lois thought for a moment and began, "Did you ever wonder what happened at my wedding? You know, the minute before the cavalry barged in to rescue me, I had already stopped the wedding. I couldn't marry Lex. Not when I was beginning to see that I had lied, too, and not just to you, but to me as well."
Clark heard the words but was afraid to understand them. If what she was saying were true, he had caused them both so much pain and uncertainty when they could have been together all this time. "Lois, I was afraid I'd lose you." He said in a whisper.
She saw the torment in his eyes and knew that the time for talking was done for now. "But I'm still here …" She answered softly.
Clark looked deeply into her eyes as he moved closer to her. "Yes, you are! And considering how long it took us to get here- I'd say it's a small miracle!"
She tried to answer but she found the idea of talking wasn't quite as much fun as what Clark had proceeded to do. She let out a small sigh and answered his kiss with one of her own. And, being partners, they traded them on and on, sharing equally.
(but not really)