By Sheryl Olson
Summary: A first date — and Lois did the asking!
Well, here's my "first date" story. It's pure fluff, but I had a lot of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy it!
Lois sat at her desk at the Daily Planet, nervously chewing the end of her pencil. She looked over at Clark, who appeared to be completely engrossed in writing up a story. How am I ever going to get up the courage to ask him? she asked herself. C'mon, girl, what's the worst that could happen? the optimist in her asked, but the pessimist was already ready with her answer—he could say no.
Well, then at least I would know for sure how he felt about me, and anything would be better than not knowing, she finally decided.
Even though Lois Lane considered herself a modern and self-assured woman, she actually had little practice with these things. Truthfully, the situation had rarely come up before. Usually, when she was attracted to a man, it was mutual, and the man did the asking. But this time was different. When Clark had first asked her out on a date, she was not terribly interested. It wasn't that she hadn't found him attractive; she had, but he was her partner at work, and she'd been burned before by a man she worked with. She had not been interested in mixing her personal life and her professional life ever again. But now, things were different. She knew Clark, liked him, and trusted him. Lois felt as if she were ready to take their relationship beyond professional partnership and friendship.
She wasn't sure how or when she decided she was ready to take their relationship another step. It didn't happen overnight, but many things had happened recently to make her start thinking differently about Clark. There was that Mayson Drake incident that made Lois realize she could lose Clark to another woman. Then there were those gangsters, who almost took Clark away from her permanently. Then, she and Clark had shared a wonderful Christmas Eve together. That was when she seriously started thinking about dating him. Oh, Lois still had unresolved feelings about Superman; maybe she always would. But Superman himself had helped her to see how much Clark meant to her, so she had decided that the best thing to do was concentrate on her relationship with Clark. He was more real and more available, physically and emotionally, than Superman. A romantic relationship with Superman seemed to be just wishful thinking. Clark, on the other hand—well, she'd hoped that Clark would ask her out after their wonderful Christmas Eve, but when no invitation seemed forthcoming, she decided she would have to take matters into her own hands.
Having made her decision, Lois stood up and strode purposefully over to Clark Kent's desk. She stood there, waiting to be noticed by him. After a few moments of waiting that seemed like an eternity, Clark looked up at her.
"Uh, hi, Lois. Something I can do for you?" he said, distractedly, quickly looking back down at his computer.
Lois cleared her throat. "Uh, can I talk to you for a second?" she asked, then hurriedly added, "I can come back if you're busy," and started walking backwards toward her desk.
"No, no, come on, sit down. You have my full attention," Clark said, pushing away his keyboard to prove it.
"Well, I—" Lois started, then, realizing her voice seemed an octave too high, cleared her throat. "Well, I was wondering…well, if you're not busy this weekend…if you are, you know, it's no big deal, but…"
"Yes?" prompted Clark.
"Do you want to come over for dinner?" Lois finished in a rush of words.
"Sure, that would be nice. We could order some take-out, watch some movies…"
"No, I'm going to cook for you! I mean, I think I'm really getting the hang of this cooking thing, after that Christmas dinner I cooked, and I'd like to try out some new recipes."
"Okay, great. How about Saturday night?"
Lois relaxed and smiled. "That would be great. See you about 8 o'clock, okay?"
Mmmm…that wasn't so bad, she thought. Now I just have to figure out what to cook. I need something really special…I have an idea!
Soon after Clark left on one of his mysterious errands, Lois walked over to the Daily Planet's food editor's desk.
"Marie? Do you have a minute?" Lois asked.
"Sure, Lois, what can I do for you?"
"Well, I need some help. I'm giving a dinner party this weekend, and I was wondering if you know of some good recipes I could try."
Marie looked flabbergasted. "You mean, you are actually _cooking_?! I'd thought I'd seen everything, but…"
"What do you mean? I've cooked before, plenty of times," Lois lied.
Marie wasn't fooled. "Yeah, sure." Marie looked at Lois' pleading face. "Okay, okay, I can see how much this means to you." Lois smiled. "You know, cooking really isn't that hard. You just need a good recipe. Stop by my place tonight and you can pick out something from my collection."
Lois arrived at Marie's house after work and immediately marveled at the selection of magazines and cookbooks from which she could choose.
"Now, Lois," Marie said before Lois could say anything, "I think you should stick to some of the simpler recipes in these books. You don't want to overwhelm yourself."
"Marie, you said it's just as easy as following a recipe. How hard can it be?"
"Yes, you do follow a recipe, but if you don't know what you're doing, you can end up with a real mess."
"Okay. How about this one?" Lois picked up _The Best of Gourmet_.
"Lois, I think that one's a little over your head…"
"But look!" she said flipping through pages of Roast Duck Bourguignonne, Cider-Braised Pork Loin, Rack of Lamb Persille, and the like.
"Lois, maybe you should just have this catered."
"No. I want to cook."
"I've heard around the newsroom that you and cooking just don't seem to mix. Some people are just not cut out to cook. There's nothing wrong with that."
"Well, I want to change that. At least for this weekend."
"This must be some special guy."
Lois looked at Marie, dumbfounded. "How did you know it's for a 'special guy'?"
"It's so obvious. If you were just having a dinner party, you'd have it catered. But you want to impress someone. Who else but a man? Anyone I know?" she said conspiratorially.
Lois felt her face begin to flush and prayed Marie didn't notice. "No, no one you know."
"Here, let me help you pick something out. There must be something in this book…" Marie took the book from Lois and began turning pages.
In the end, Lois and Marie decided on Red Snapper with Artichoke Lemon Sauce, Steamed Red Potatoes with Dill Butter, and Buttered Green Beans. They had to avoid picking recipes with unusual ingredients or those that needed special equipment.
Lois took the cookbook home with her, after getting assurances from Marie that she would be available Saturday should Lois need to ask her questions while cooking her meal. After arriving home, she realized that she should make sure that she had something really special to wear on Saturday. Pretty soon everything that was in her closet was strewn about her bedroom, mostly on the floor, and Lois was completely frustrated.
Lois sighed dejectedly. "What am I going to do?" she wailed to the room.
The next day, Lois took an early lunch to try and find the perfect dress. Eight specialty dress shops and 2 and 1/2 hours later, she had it.
On Friday night, Lois went grocery shopping, an experience she was still not comfortable with. It only took her two hours and trips to two different grocery stores to finally find what she needed.
Saturday morning, bright and early, Lois started cooking. She wanted to have plenty of time to get everything just right. Several phone calls to Marie ensued. How does one mince something, exactly? How do you get an egg _yolk_? What does puree mean? There were several emergency trips to the convenience store down the street, as well as a trip to a kitchen supply store when she discovered she didn't have a steamer for the potatoes. Finally, everything was ready, and she even had time to get dressed before Clark's arrival.
Clark showed up at Lois' apartment at the appointed time with a bottle of wine he'd just picked up at the liquor store. He felt awkward going over empty-handed to someone's house to eat, so he decided that a good wine would really go well with Lois' meal. That way, if the meal were truly awful, he could at least enjoy some good wine.
As Lois opened the door, Clark's eyes opened wide. She was wearing an incredibly low-cut, skin-tight black dress. Clark's eyes followed one of the straps of her dress from her shoulder down to her plunging neckline.
"Wow," he finally managed to utter, then, realizing he was staring, looked back up into Lois' smiling face.
Lois looked down at her dress. "You like this old thing? I found it in the back of my closet."
"You look great!"
"Come in, dinner's almost ready. Oh, you brought wine? That'll go great with the snapper I cooked."
"Give me your coat. Have a seat; I'll get the hors d'oeuvres."
Clark watched appreciatively as Lois sauntered into the kitchen. He wondered if all this effort on Lois' part was for him. He quickly glanced at the set dining room table and saw two places set close together, at one end of the table. Candles were burning in the center of the table, and the whole apartment was dimly lit. Classical music was softly playing. Lois invited me on a date! he thought excitedly. Suddenly he felt very nervous. A date?! His palms started to sweat and he wiped his hands on his trousers. That this would be more than just two friends sharing an evening hadn't occurred to him.
"Here we are…" Lois returned with a plate of delicious-looking stuffed mushroom caps.
Cautiously, Clark tried one. "Mmmm, these are good!"
"Well, you don't have to sound so surprised!"
"I'm sorry. It's just you don't exactly have a lot of experience cooking, and usually—"
"Keep going, Kent, you're digging your own grave," Lois said, but she was smiling.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a moment before Clark said, "Well, should we break open the wine?"
"Oh, yes! I'll get the corkscrew." Lois ran to the kitchen.
Lois quickly returned with a corkscrew and two glasses. Clark expertly opened the wine and poured them each a glass. They each took a glass and looked into each other's eyes for a moment. Lois smiled and raised her glass.
"To new beginnings," she said.
Clark smiled back. "To new beginnings," he echoed and their glasses clinked.
"Mmm, this is wonderful, Clark!" Lois exclaimed after a sip.
"Thanks." As he sipped at his wine, he couldn't take his eyes off Lois. She was always beautiful, but in the subdued lighting of the room, she was absolutely breathtaking. Clark stared at her face for a moment; her translucent skin was just barely flushed, as if she were slightly overheated. Clark's eyes wandered to the curve of her neck and imagined how it would feel to kiss her there, the soft spot right behind her delicate earlobe. He imagined kissing her neck, her throat, her chin, and her soft, sweet, warm lips—
"Earth to Clark!" Lois' voice interrupted his fantasy.
"Huh?" he said, startled.
"What were you just thinking about?"
"Um…hockey," saying the first thing that came into his head. "Yeah, I was wondering if the hockey strike would be over soon."
Lois eyed him curiously. "I'm trying to decide if I should be insulted or not…You've always been a little touched if you ask me, but it's part of your charm, I guess." She smiled. God, I love her smile, Clark thought happily. "As I was saying," Lois continued, "how are your parents?"
"Oh, I talked to them last night. The farm's keeping them busy, as always. This winter's supposed to be even worse than last year."
"I envy you so much. You have a family that you're close to. I hardly talk to mine at all. You're so lucky—having people like Martha and Jonathan to confide in."
"It's true—Mom and Dad are like parents, best friends, and therapists all rolled into one. Especially Mom, since she's been taking those adult education courses. But what about your sister—don't you talk to her?"
"Occasionally, but she's so busy with school and work, she just doesn't have time to hear all my troubles. And she has so many of her own."
Clark looked into her eyes. If I'm not careful, I could lose myself in those deep, dark pools, he thought to himself. "You know, I'm always here for you. If you ever need someone to listen…"
Thanks, Clark, Lois thought, but you _are_ the problem right now. Or, at least, half of the problem. She smiled warmly at him and said, "I know…I know."
So there they were, staring into each other's eyes in a dimly lit room, romantic music playing, the wine going a little to their heads, perhaps. The only thing either of them wanted to do that instant was to touch, to kiss. They moved closer, heads tilting, eyes closing, and—
A loud buzzer went off. Lois jumped up, exclaiming, "Oh, dinner's ready! Sit down at the table; I'll be right back."
Clark sat down at the table, curious as to what Lois had made. Within minutes, Lois had brought out red snapper with some kind of sauce, red potatoes, and green beans.
"Mmm…everything looks delicious, Lois," Clark said. "You shouldn't have gone to all this trouble…" he said unconvincingly.
"Go ahead, dig in." Lois sat down.
Clark took a bite of the fish. "Lois, this is really good!"
"Thanks. It was nothing, really."
Lois was frankly too nervous to eat much of her food. She wanted everything to be perfect for this night. She didn't want to end up with something caught between her teeth or end up spilling something all over her dress. So she picked at her food politely while she watched Clark inhale his. Where does he put all that? she thought, admiring his lean body.
Halfway through dinner, Clark suddenly looked up with a alarmed look on his face. "Lois, do you smell something burning?"
"Omigod, the rolls!" Lois was in the kitchen in an instant, with Clark close behind. Lois grabbed some pot holders, but before she could get to the oven, Clark already had it open and was pulling out a baking sheet with what looked like smoldering pieces of charcoal on it. Smoke quickly filled the room as Clark dumped the sheet into the sink and turned on the water.
"Ow, didn't that hurt?" Lois asked Clark.
"You pulled that thing out with your bare hands!"
"Oh, yeah! A little. Here, I'll run them under cold water. They'll be fine."
"Are you sure? Let me see." Lois grabbed his hands, turned them over and looked at his palms. They looked fine, not even red. Boy his hands were soft! "Well, they look okay."
Clark noticed that Lois didn't seem to be in a hurry to let go of his hands.
"I'm sorry about the rolls," she said glumly. "I wanted everything to be perfect tonight."
"Lois, believe me, the dinner is wonderful even without the rolls. You did a great job."
Clark was bending his head down to kiss her when the high-pitched beep of the smoke alarm interrupted.
"Oh, I hate that thing!" Lois said as she grabbed a stool and dragged it under the offending alarm. Within seconds she had it open and the battery disconnected.
"You look like an expert at dismantling smoke alarms. Get a lot of practice?" Clark teased.
"Ha. Ha. Ha," Lois answered. "Come on. Let's finish dinner before it gets cold."
Once they were again seated at the table, Clark noticed that the food on Lois' plate looked virtually untouched.
"Lois, aren't you hungry?" Clark asked.
"No, not really."
"Are you feeling okay?" Clark asked, his concern showing clearly on his face.
He's always looking out for me, Lois thought. That's one thing I love, um, _like_ about him.
"No, I'm fine, really. I've just been snacking all day," she lied. She wasn't about to admit to the butterflies in her stomach.
Soon they were done eating and Lois started clearing the table.
"Here, let me help you clean up," Clark offered, but Lois just shook her head.
"No, no…I'll clean up later."
"Lois, please let me help you. I mean, you've done so much already."
"Okay." Lois smiled to herself. He is just _so_ sweet!
Soon the dishes were done (thanks to a little super-speed washing when Lois wasn't looking) and they were walking back to the living room.
"So, do you want dessert now, or later?" Lois asked.
"Let's wait a while. What did you make, anyway?"
"It's a surprise."
"Hmm…let's see…could it have anything to do with chocolate?"
Lois shrugged her shoulders and smiled. "Maybe."
Clark nodded his head towards the stereo. "Sounds like we need some more music," he said, walking towards the stereo. "Ah, here we go," he said, pulling out a CD from her small collection.
Within moments, the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack started playing.
"Care to dance?" Clark asked.
Lois smiled. "I'd love to."
Clark held her close while they swayed to "As Time Goes By". He absolutely loved dancing with Lois; he loved feeling her in his arms.
And Lois loved being in his strong embrace.
"So did you like this movie?" Clark asked, nodding towards the CD player.
"Well, it was okay. A little mushy for my tastes. And I just didn't understand Meg Ryan's character. She had this perfectly nice guy as a fiance—sure he had a few faults, who doesn't—but he was a guy she was in sync with and who she had a lot in common with and she meant the world to him, and what does she do? Falls for some guy she doesn't even know anything about. And why? Just because she wants a little romance, a little excitement, a little mystery. I just couldn't relate to her character at all."
Clark didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Geez, Lois, you really _are_ blind, he thought, but "Uh-huh" was all he could trust himself to say.
They continued to dance, quietly. Several times Clark found himself getting lost in the moment. He would be thinking about how well their bodies moved together, how nice Lois smelled, how soft her skin was, and before he knew it, he would just about be ready to start floating before he caught himself.
Clark slowly dipped Lois. When they came up, Lois stopped dancing and pressed the length of her body into Clark's. Their eyes locked; their breathing quickened. No buzzers went off, no carolers appeared, and no alarms (internal or external) sounded. Their lips were drawn together as if they had wills of their own. Their kisses were shy at first, but they became bolder with each passing moment. Clark could hear Lois' heart beat faster, or was that his own? He pulled her even closer—he didn't want the moment to end.
Lois was the one to break away first, gasping for air. Clark had forgotten about breathing—since he could hold his breath for twenty minutes.
"Wow," a smiling Lois finally managed to say in between breaths.
"Wow, yourself." Clark smiled back.
"Um, how about dessert?" Lois ran to the kitchen before Clark could answer and soon returned with two plates. "Here it is! Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Torte!" she said triumphantly.
"Chocolate! I knew it!" Clark was still completely exhilarated by their kiss.
"Here you go. I have vanilla ice cream to go on top, if you want."
"No, this is fine." Clark took a bite of the rich cake. "Mmmm…Lois, you've outdone yourself!"
"Well, chocolate _is_ my specialty."
"Hey, look, I'm only halfway done, and you're finished!" Clark exclaimed.
"Well, my piece was smaller than yours," Lois tried to explain, though they both knew she was fibbing. Unlike dinner, Lois hadn't had any trouble eating the dessert. Chocolate just had that way of tasting good no matter what.
Clark gave her a "Yeah, right!" look.
"Are you ready for another piece?" Lois said anxiously. She was ready for hers.
"Yes, please," Clark said, but Lois was already in the kitchen with their plates.
"Here we are." Lois took the time to savor every bite of her dessert this time. Chocolate sure did seem to have a calming effect on her nerves. She was beginning to feel so relaxed, in fact, that she was beginning to feel rather sleepy. Well, it _had_ been an extremely busy day, and it was almost midnight. She stifled a yawn.
Clark noticed her fatigue and, knowing how quickly she could fall asleep, decided to ask her for another date before he lost his chance. "Lois, there's an exhibition of paintings by women artists that just opened at the Metropolis Museum of Art. Would you like to go tomorrow?"
Lois smiled. "Yes, Clark, that would be nice."
"Okay, I'll pick you up about one," he said, while Lois stifled another yawn. Clark looked at his watch. "Well, I should be going…" although I would dearly _love_ to stay, he thought.
"So soon?" Lois asked, half-heartedly. Boy, she _was_ tired.
"Yes, but I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Yes, one o'clock. I'll be ready." They walked over to the front door, where Clark retrieved his coat.
"Lois, I had a wonderful time tonight," Clark said, looking into Lois' eyes.
"So did I," Lois said, returning the look.
They kissed again. And though the kiss marked the end of the evening, it held the promise of so much more to come.
"Good night, Lois," Clark said as he opened the door.
"Good night, Clark." Lois gently shut the door.
On either side of the closed door, Lois and Clark both smiled.