Summary: To get the goods on Mayson Drake, who is suspected of still having ties to Intergang, Clark starts dating her. One problem — he "forgot" to tell Lois.
"Mayson Drake? What about her?" Lois was having lunch with a friend, and she had just asked her about a woman she'd rather forget. Lois needed to corroborate some information, and she brought up Mayson Drake's name during their conversation. Lois's friend repeated the question.
She looked at her thoughtfully. Be careful, Lois.
"Oh, I just wondered if you knew her very well. I met her a few months ago while working on a story, but I haven't seen her around. Just wondered what she's up to these days." Lois had a very good reason for keeping her inquiries low-key, and she wasn't about to share her hunches or feelings with anyone—at least not quite yet.
Her friend, a secretary at the Courthouse, was involved with her salad, so she wasn't fully aware that Lois was in her reporter mode, asking seemingly innocuous questions.
"Well, I know one thing. She wouldn't be caught dead in a restaurant like this!"
"Oh, really? I like this place, and a lot of so-called important people in this city enjoy the atmosphere!" Lois's radar was attuned to every word and nuance in her companion's conversation. Hmmm, so Mayson wouldn't lower herself to eat at Sullivan's, one of the yuppie crowd's favorite hangouts. Very interesting.
"Yeah, considering the bunch she's traveling with these days, it's nothing less than the Metro Club for her."
"An assistant D.A.? Didn't think they made enough money to frequent the Metro Club." It grated her to think that Mayson could finagle her way into that place.
"Yep. Think she came into some money recently—some long-lost uncle or something. All you need is the bucks and a sponsor to become a member. You know how the cleaning staff talks. When you want to know anything, just ask housekeeping!" How well Lois knew. If it weren't for the cleaning staff at The Planet, Lois would have been totally out of the loop on this one. Sometimes it paid to work late. "But I guess if I were as attractive and smart as she is, I wouldn't be sitting here at Sullivan's eating salad and drinking iced tea. I'd be at the Metro Club having lobster Newburg and the best wine money could buy!" Her companion made a wry face.
"Yeah, but Sullivan's has the best Fettucini in town, and you can't get a salad like this just anywhere!" Lois's remark made her companion laugh and Lois chuckled right along with her. When Lois was in a good mood the wit seemed to roll off her tongue. "I'd better not get started with the wisecracks, or we'll never finish our lunch. I have to be back by 1:00 for a staff meeting." Her lunch partner nodded in sympathy.
"I know what you mean. I really didn't answer your question. Do I know Mayson? Yes, unfortunately I'm now working for her, or, rather for several of the assistant D.A.'s. Most of them are pretty considerate, but she's one hell of a slave driver. I've been working overtime for two weeks because of her. I think half the stuff I do is generated by Ms. Drake herself!" She had no intention of apologizing for her remark.
"Susan Riker! I've never heard you complain about your job. Is it really getting to be that bad?" Hmmm, this was getting more interesting by the minute.
"No, no. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy what I'm doing. But it bothers me to be killing myself to make her look good. And to see her with all those attractive single lawyers at her beck and call is REALLY irritating. What I wouldn't give for one or two of them to pay that much attention to ME!"
"Goodness, think we'd better hide all the menfolk." This remark sent peals of laughter rolling through the crowded restaurant. Several customers at the bar turned to look, but all they saw was two attractive young women sharing a joke. Some of them stared, but mostly their outburst was ignored. Except for one junior executive-type who showed his disgust, paid his tab and left.
"Well, this HAS been fun," said Lois. "I'm sorry we didn't do this sooner. The job's been overwhelming lately, and I haven't had time to do much of anything. I just didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about the lunch I promised."
"Well, it's much appreciated. I mean, you know this really wasn't necessary. I don't know what I said or did that made you think you owed me one. Maybe I don't want to know, and leave it at that. But I'll tell you something, since you brought up Mayson's name. I don't particularly care for her, and I don't trust her at all. Don't ask me why, it's just a feeling. Maybe it has something to do with Martin Snell's death. I'm not sure." Lois's radar kicked into high gear.
"Funny you should feel that way," she said. "I got the same bad vibes about her. Well, who knows, maybe we just don't like her kind of competition." Susan nodded in agreement. "Besides, I owed you big-time for twisting my arm to learn line-dancing. It really paid off!" Lois smiled, thinking about her trip to Smallville.
"Hey, it was nothing. Always glad to help out where guys are concerned. Oh, great, look at the time. Drake will have my head if I'm not back to finish typing that brief for her. Between you and me, Lois, no way am I going to let her know I've had lunch with you. She can be a real bitch if you cross her. Hey, thanks again. And don't forget, tonight's Celebrity Night—you're still going aren't you?" Lois smiled and nodded. She hadn't forgotten. "Oh, a word of advice: don't let Mayson anywhere near your boyfriends!" Susan made a face, then smiled, waved goodbye and was out of the restaurant and heading across the street in no time.
Lois settled back into her chair, savoring the few moments she had left before returning to the office. Hmmm, I wonder what it is that makes guys turn to mush, but makes women see red when they're around Mayson Drake, she mused. When she first met Mayson at the Police Station, after the fire at her uncle's restaurant, the men in the room couldn't take their eyes off of her. Mayson deliberately ignored Lois while she spoke with her uncle and Clark about the incident. What made matters worse, Mayson came onto Clark in a way that thoroughly embarrassed her. But one thing did intrigue Lois about Mayson, and that was her obvious dislike of Superman. Lois had not been able to find out what it was that caused Mayson to speak so ill of him. Even though they wound up working together for several days in order to bring the investigation to a close, she was unable to come up with an answer. Mayson was as secretive as she was willing to share her files. Lois knew something wasn't quite right. She made the mistake of sharing her concerns with her partner. Lois thought Clark was smart enough to see through her, and provide some insight, but he, too, seemed to fall under Mayson's spell. No amount of arguing could convince him that Mayson had ulterior motives. Hummph! And he said I was blind! Oh, Clark eventually apologized for not believing Lois, but at the charity ball Mayson cut in on them while dancing, and Lois had to turn him over to the enemy. She stared out a window next to the table, nursing her drink. Memories came flooding back.
Funny Lois should think about that evening as often as she did. She had been in a great mood that night. She'd never had so much fun with Clark before. At least not until Mayson arrived. She convinced herself that because Mayson had come alone, and that she kept cutting in on different people, she was desperate for attention and companionship.
What threatened to ruin her evening was Mayson cutting in on her while dancing with Clark. Clark had given Lois an ambiguous look when Mayson interrupted their fun, but Lois couldn't tell if he was pleading with her not to go, or if it was one of those looks that asked with resignation, "do you mind?" In any event, Lois couldn't very well refuse to share her partner. Emily Post (not to mention her great aunt Edna) would have turned over in her grave! What kept Lois from standing in the middle of the dance floor, looking like a fool, and feeling like an idiot, was Perry, who appeared out of nowhere like a fairy godfather. He rescued her in the nick of time. He wanted to see for himself if his favorite reporter was really okay with Clark dancing with that knock-out blond, or if she was just putting on a show. Lois sounded pretty confident, and didn't seem to be too concerned. But with Mayson dancing just a little too close to Clark, Perry felt Lois's uneasiness.
Unpredictable, fun-loving Perry. Just when you thought it was safe to dance with him, he pulls a Valentino! Lois smiled to herself, remembering. A sudden dip by Perry in Clark's direction exposed all her charms to her unsuspecting friend. See what YOU'RE missing, bucko! she had thought. What Lois didn't see was Clark's reaction. He blushed when he realized he had been staring at her. Perry saw, and had grinned back at Clark. All Lois remembered of that moment was if it hadn't been for Perry surreptitiously making his way back across the dance floor to Clark and Mayson, and expertly cutting in on them, she never would have regained her partner. Clark had appeared grateful, and was very sweet to her the rest of the evening, but Lois couldn't help noticing that every once in awhile he'd glance over at Mayson with an enigmatic look on his face.
In any event, she refused to let the incident ruin her night. At least Clark had taken her, not Mayson, home. He escorted her to her apartment, unlocked the door, and even checked to make sure she didn't have any uninvited guests. He is a dear, she thought, and maybe a little overprotective, but that's okay, at least I feel safe. Clark had lingered a few minutes, regretfully begging off a night cap since his parents were coming in the morning and said he had to meet their train at a very early hour. She had forgotten all about their visit and was visibly disappointed, but she understood. After thanking her for a great evening, and kissing her on the cheek, he left.
Daydreaming, Lois had twirled about on her living room floor. She remembered thinking, I could use some music. I don't want this evening to end. She had searched through some cassette tapes her mother had given her, and found one that brought back sweet memories; of one of those rare occasions when she had danced with her father. Perfect! Lois popped the tape into her cassette deck and waited for the music to begin. Soon the strains of "Fly Me to the Moon" filled the apartment. That music is just too romantic, she thought. She had sighed, and turning around she had been startled to see Superman at her window. Oh, my, I couldn't ask for a more perfect ending to this evening, she had thought. They spoke for a moment (she couldn't even remember exactly what had brought him there so late at night, though she vaguely remembered him saying something about her uncle), but she hadn't questioned her good fortune, and as he turned to leave she had stopped him. She wasn't about to waste that music on the landlord. Asking him if he would like to dance both surprised and delighted Superman. He agreed, and took her in his arms. When Lois told him that she didn't know he could dance, his reply had taken her by surprise.
"This isn't dancing, Lois," he had said.
"No, this is."
Before she could ask what he meant, they had floated above the floor. How could this be? How is it possible that I'm not falling? Such questions remained unasked. All she had wanted to do was make time stand still and dance with him forever. He had even closed the window to the room, something he'd never done before. It was his favorite song, he had told her. I'll never forget that, she thought. She laughed and teased about not having to worry about bumping into furniture. He returned her teasing, and in a totally unexpected move, dipped her backwards gently but deeply, in a manner so suggestive her heart nearly stopped from the excitement. He held her so close, she could feel his warm breath on her shoulder. She had gripped his hand and arm tightly to steady herself, and as she gazed into his eyes, she saw a look of desire that threatened to weaken her completely. A sudden wave of heat had filled her body. She felt so unnerved she nearly lost her balance. He grasped her in his powerful arms, and slowly descended to the floor.
"That was wonderful," she whispered.
"We…have to do this again sometime," he whispered back. "But I have other commitments, and I can't stay any longer. I wish…" He had looked so disappointed she felt nothing but compassion.
"It's all right. We will do this again. Thank you for making this one of the most wonderful evenings I have ever had. I'll never forget it."
Taking her hand, he kissed her fingertips. His burning lips sent a wave of emotion through her body. Caressing her cheek so lightly she hardly felt it, he said his good byes and left as suddenly as he had appeared. This must have been a dream, she thought. It happened so quickly I can't believe he was here. She wanted to cry. Thwarted twice in one evening. She didn't think she could stand it. After what seemed like an eternity, she prepared for bed. She had just settled in when the phone rang. It was Clark. His timing is incredible, she thought, but I'm glad he called.
"Hi, Lois…I just wanted to call and tell you again what a wonderful evening I had with you." His voice was rather husky, but she couldn't tell if it was because of the lateness of the hour, or if it was something else.
"Oh, Clark, I should be the one doing the thanking. I haven't had such a good time in ages." Her voice was sincere, but how much of it was because of Superman's visit, she couldn't say. "Please, tell your parents I said hello when you see them.'
"Sure. You know, since tomorrow's Saturday would you like to have lunch with us? And, if you're interested, we're also going to the museum to see that new exhibit of post-modern art…my mom insisted—she's into the modern stuff again, and she's driving my poor dad crazy over it."
Lois giggled thinking about Clark's parents. They are cute, she thought. Clark is so lucky to have them—his dad so quiet most of the time, his mom full of spitfire. "Why, sure, Clark. That sounds like fun, and who knows, maybe there will be something interesting at the museum to write about."
Clark shook his head. That Lois, always trying to find a story in everything. But all he said to her was, "Great! We'll be over to pick you up at 11:00. How's that sound?"
Lois very sweetly agreed, said her goodbyes, hung up the phone and snuggled in for a much-needed night's rest.
Lois sighed, and sipped on her drink. When she daydreamed it was always about that special night.
A beep from her pager rudely brought Lois back to the present. Oh, God, she thought looking at her watch. I'm late. Now I'm in for it. She ran to the nearest pay phone in the restaurant, dialed the office, and held her breath until she realized Clark was on the other line.
"Lois, where the heck are you? You know we all have to be at this meeting today. I've been making excuses, but you'd better get back here right away."
"Is there some problem? I've been trying to get some information for one of our stories."
"No, but Perry wants to discuss what's going on in the D.A.'s office and he expects all of us to be there. How soon can you get here?"
"Ummmm…I'm only a few minutes away. I ducked into Sullivan's when the pager beeped. I'll be right there!" Lois hung up the phone, breathed a sigh of relief, grabbed her briefcase, paid her bill, and left a tip in record time.
Five minutes later she was at her desk. She could see Perry in the conference room pacing, answering questions, and waving his arms. Oh, boy, she thought. This must really be a good one. Opening the door and sliding into the room as inconspicuously as possible, she sat down just in time to hear Perry rant and rave about the lack of cooperation they were getting from the D.A.'s office about Martin Snell's death.
"Well, kids, it looks like we're stuck between a rock and a hard place. They aren't giving' us what we want, and they aren't letting the media inside for interviews. It doesn't make sense. And I WANT to know why!"
"Chief, who's behind all this? Who's telling us we can't talk to their people?" Lois's dander was up. I wonder if Mayson Drake has something to do with it, she thought. "Even when they had big-time problems with the overcrowded jail conditions, we were still able to get the story out to the public. I don't get it." Lois voiced what the others were thinking. She noticed Clark acting very uncharacteristically subdued.
"Well, Lois, we're not too sure. If they're conducting an investigation, but they don't have any real evidence to prosecute anyone, then I can see why they wouldn't want anything leaked prematurely to the press. But I don't think that's the case. My sources tell me that something's going on, and it smacks of a cover-up. It's been impossible getting any details. For now I want all of you to go back to whatever stories you're working on. But if you hear anything, and I mean ANYTHING, about the D.A.'s office, I want to know about it. We can't dismiss any bit of gossip, or off-the-wall comment you overhear. Lois…Clark…stick around for a minute will you? Okay…class dismissed!" The chatter was loud as the staff reporters left the conference room.
Lois was edgy. Wonder what he's found out that he doesn't want to share with the rest of the staff. She glanced over at Clark. He was leaning against a window with his arms crossed. He had an apprehensive look on his face.
"Okay. I wanted to save this bit of information for you two, but only because you might be able to make some sense out of this whole mess."
Lois was all ears. Clark gave Perry his undivided attention, but he acted as if he didn't want to look Lois in the eye.
"Here it is. My source at the Courthouse thinks there's a leak in the D.A.'s office." Lois smirked at this revelation. Yeah, and I'll bet I know who it is, too, she almost shouted to the four walls. "Only problem is it can't be proven. We think the Intergang connection still exists and that someone is informing them of every move the D.A.'s office is making in their crackdown on street crime in Metropolis. Several lawyers who have ties to city government used to work for Bill Church. One of the names dropped by my source was Mayson Drake. It's a matter of public record that she worked for him. We know she left Church over five years ago, and her first job after leaving his employ was with Martin Snell's office." That information was old news, but for some reason an alarm went off in Lois's head. She thought Mayson's going along with her plan to trick Snell into exposing some dirty cops in order to force Snell's hand into getting Baby Rage to trial was too pat. And she always felt Snell's untimely death was just too coincidental considering everything that had happened. Would she love to prove they had been set up!
"Uh, yes, Chief."
"Sorry to do this to you, son, since I know you've been seeing Mayson."
Lois was stunned. Mm…Mm…Mayson…he's seeing Mayson? After all that had happened…she couldn't believe it…she just couldn't believe it. Lois didn't know if she felt anger or sadness, but she knew a tear was starting to form in the corner of her eye. That was the last thing she wanted. Don't let him see you. Just keep remembering he's just another guy who's letting his hormones get in the way of his gray matter. Now stop it, get a grip on yourself!
Lois steeled herself, folded her arms across her chest, and said in her calmest, iciest tone of voice: "Why Mr. Kent, you've been holding out on me. You've been trying to get the inside scoop all along!" Clark visibly winced, looked at Perry with pleading eyes, but gave up when Perry gave him one of those fatherly "you're on your own this time, son" looks. Clark knew exactly what Lois meant, and he had no idea how he was going to get out of this one.
"Well, Perry, do you need me for anything else? If not, I was in the middle of getting some material for an article, and I'd like to get back to what I was doing." Lois gave Perry one of her no-nonsense I'm-extremely-busy working-on-a-potential-award-winning-article looks.
"No, Lois, go on. I'll page you if anything comes up."
Lois turned to make a fast exit. There was no way she could confront Clark with the bomb Perry had just dropped. Not now. She was too angry and hurt.
"Lois, wait up, I need to talk to you." Clark sounded agitated.
"Hey, Lois. Phone call! Some hysterical female is demanding to talk to you!" Jimmy was holding up the receiver on her phone and signaling with his free hand.
"Be right there!" She wondered who in the world had the nerve to be calling her at this very moment, just when she needed to drown her sorrows at the nearest Fudge Castle. She grabbed the phone from Jimmy, and before she could say, "Lois Lane, can I help you?" a familiar voice interrupted her.
"Lois…this is Susan." Deep sobs accompanied her friend's attempt to talk.
"Susan, for heaven's sake, what's the matter?" Lois momentarily forgot her own problems, and concentrated on her friend's.
"I…I…(sniffle)…got…fired…" Susan started crying again.
"What? You've got to be kidding! Look, you've got to calm down. Can you meet me some place? Well…how about the museum? You know, on the second floor, in the modern art gallery?" Lois shot Clark a dirty look. "Good. I'll be there in about fifteen minutes."
"Lois, can I go with you? I need to talk to you." Clark looked particularly pathetic.
"No!" She almost shouted at him. "Look this is not a good time. I've got a friend with a problem, and I have to find out what happened. Maybe later."
Lois was on her way in a matter of minutes. She hailed a cab and arrived at the museum before the appointed time. She made her way through the great gallery of classical statuary, through the Hall of Man, and past the gem and mineral display (one of her favorites). She found the escalator leading to the new annex which housed most of the museum's artwork, and discovered Susan sitting alone and forlorn under one of Monet's water lily paintings. Any other time she would have stopped to admire the work, but something told her she'd forget all about the beauty surrounding her once she heard Susan's story.
Lois's friend looked like her world had come to an end. She had been crying, and tissues were spilling from her purse.
"My goodness, Susan. Let's get out of here. Good thing I didn't come in the rear entrance, I might have missed you!"
"Thanks, Lois. I'm sorry, I really didn't know who to call…and I just had to talk to someone." She started sniffling again.
"Look, let's go down to the cafeteria, I can't imagine there's too many people there at this time of the day." Lois picked up Susan's jacket.
"Okay, that sounds good. I don't think I can face anybody right now, anyway." They took an elevator to the lower level of the building, and quickly found the cafeteria.
"Just coffee, thanks," Susan replied to Lois's offer of something to eat or drink.
After taking a few minutes to settle into a quiet corner table, Lois made a quick survey of the room. Good. No one here that she recognized. Susan noticed her glancing around the cafeteria, and echoed her observation.
"I'm glad there's no one here I know. They'd all be asking embarrassing questions." Lois knew it was going to take a little prodding to get her to open up.
"Susan, what can I do to help?"
She bit her lip. "Well, you already know I was fired. But considering what we talked about at lunch, I figured I'd better tell you what happened. And, you'd better be on your guard."
Lois was all ears. Maybe there was a story in this after all. "Okay, go ahead, tell me what's going on."
Susan took a deep breath. "First, I want you to know that I think somebody had it in for me, but I don't understand why. Lois, have I ever said anything to you that would make it look like I was leaking information to the press?" Her question was so unexpected, Lois nearly dropped her coffee cup. She quickly reassured her friend that her integrity was never in question.
"Thanks, I really needed to hear that. This is so hard. Um…wait…" She looked like she was on the verge of tears again, but thought better of it. "Well, when I got back from lunch, Mayson was waiting at my desk. She had the nastiest look I have ever seen. As soon as she saw me she launched into such a tirade I thought I would die. I mean, several of the clerks and assistant D.A.'s who were hanging around disappeared so fast you would have thought the building was on fire. I couldn't understand it. She stood there accusing me of being a snitch! She ranted on and on about how I was making her look bad and passing confidential information on to you of all people! Lois, I don't know what she was talking about. I told her as much.
"I just don't get it. There must have been someone at the restaurant today who was spying for her. I mean, why else would she accuse me of something so ridiculous. But I didn't recognize anybody, did you?. Was I set up? Why does she hate me that much? I haven't done anything to her." Susan buried her face in her hands, amid another flood of tears.
Lois was positively dumbfounded. It didn't make sense. Heck, newspaper reporters have been cozying up to employees at courthouses and police stations, and city halls for eons. How else do you sniff out the big stories? If anyone else but Mayson had made these accusations and had gotten Susan fired, she might have considered the possibility that Susan had unknowingly committed some breach of confidentiality. But she knew that wasn't the case. Besides she hadn't seen Susan in weeks. Lois had this gut feeling that something personal was going on here, but couldn't quite put her finger on it. Jealousy, maybe? But Lois couldn't figure out what someone like Mayson could possibly be jealous about.
"Susan, dry your eyes. You can't afford to be out of a job, and if that's all the consideration you're going to get at the D.A.'s office then they don't deserve you!" Lois sounded a lot more confident than she felt. "Look, let's go back to my office and we'll talk to Perry." Susan nodded in agreement.
Back at The Planet, Lois and Perry, in a closed door session, argued for the better part of an hour. By the time it was over, Lois exited the room with a triumphant smile on her face.
"Lois, what happened? What did he way?" Susan was full of questions.
"Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. First, the good news: there's a clerical opening in legal if you want it. The bad news is, it pays less than what you were making, but you can start Monday! Well, what do you say?"
Susan was so shocked by the turn of events, she started crying again. But this time they were tears of joy. She hugged Lois, thanking her over and over again.
"Look, let me take you home. You've had quite a day! Besides there's a few more things we need to discuss." Lois glanced over at Clark, who had been taking in everything with amazement.
As they left, Jimmy muttered, " She's incredible, you know that? I've never seen anybody manipulate Perry like she does." Clark could only nod in agreement. He was still stinging over their earlier confrontation. He needed to talk to his boss in the worst way.
Clark made his way to Perry's office. This wasn't going to be easy. Things weren't quite working out the way he planned, and now Lois was really angry with him. Not good.
"Perry, can I see you?" Clark looked rather uncomfortable; actually he looked pretty darn pathetic.
"Sure, son. Come on in. Have a seat." Clark settled into the overstuffed plaid chair that faced Perry's desk. If one could measure unhappiness on the Richter scale, Clark looked like he'd been rocked with a "7".
"Okay, Clark. Out with it." Perry figured what was coming, so he steeled himself for the barrage. But Clark surprised him. A look of utter resignation was on his face.
"Perry, I was going to have it out with you about telling Lois about Mayson. But the more I thought about it, I realized I brought this whole mess on myself by not telling Lois right from the start what was going on. You were right, I should have filled her in on what I was doing."
It was difficult for Perry not to smile an "I told you so," but he thought better of it. Why, I guess he's going to have to learn the hard way. Especially about THIS woman. You can't cross Lois and expect not to pay the price. Be truthful and treat her right, and she'll do anything in the world for you. He wanted to say as much to Clark, but he figured if Clark really cared, he'd have to deal with her face to face. Besides, Lois already knew about Mayson. It slipped out during their head to head confrontation this afternoon. Perry didn't want to see Clark ruin his relationship with Lois, he liked both these kids too much. Lois was angry at first, and she as much told Perry she was going to make Clark pay for not trusting her. Especially since it had to do with Mayson Drake.
"Well, son what made you change your mind?" This should be interesting, Perry thought.
"I guess when Lois told her friend she had a job with The Planet, and seemed genuinely concerned for her welfare. That really surprised me." Indeed this was so out of character for Lois. Or at least it seemed that way to Clark.
"Clark, that's not the first time she's done that for somebody. Son, when she sees another woman who's been stabbed in the back, professionally or personally, she takes it to heart. Especially when it's someone who's helped her out. You know, when Lois gets fired up over something like that, and she works her magic wheedling favors out of management, it's usually for somebody who really needs it. Most people don't know that. And it's too bad. Lois isn't this self-centered, egotistical reporter a lot of people make her out to be. And that poor kid who lost her job, out of some misguided belief by Mayson Drake that she was leaking confidential information to the Planet…well, until Lois told me what happened, I figured the rumors we were hearing about the investigation into Snell's death, were just that—rumors. But the fact that Drake seems to be so paranoid, and she had to go and fire a poor secretary, well, that sure is going to make people wonder." Perry waited for all of this to sink in.
Clark didn't say a word. He sat there and thought about what Perry had said. "You know Chief, this hasn't been my month." Perry chuckled.
"Come on Clark, it hasn't been all that bad. Look, give Lois time to get home, and go see her, boy. And DON'T leave until you get her to understand WHY you did what you did."
"Thanks, Chief. I will."
"Oh, Clark…one more thing."
"Son, you've got to learn to trust her."
Clark's expression told Perry everything he needed to know. Yep, that young man knows he really blew this one. Sure hope he's learned his lesson. Clark left Perry's office resolved to set things right. Perry watched him leave. Poor kid, he doesn't know what he's in for. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned—especially when that woman was Lois Lane!
"Come on Lois, answer the door." Clark knew she was there, he could hear her pacing. He leaned against her door, with his thumb on the doorbell. The door opened a crack. Before Lois had a chance to slam the door in his face, Clark placed his hand against it, and kept it open.
"Damn you, Clark Kent. Leave me alone! I am in NO mood to talk to you right now." There was anger, and real pain in her voice. Clark felt miserable, but he had to make her understand. Especially now.
"Lois, I'm not leaving until you hear me out. I mean it!" He sounded more confident than he felt. The door slowly opened. Lois turned her back on him, and walked toward the kitchen. She picked up a coffee cup and returned to the living room where she sat on the love seat. She propped her legs up on the couch so he wouldn't have any opportunity to sit down. Clark resigned himself to standing in front of her.
"Look, Clark. Say what you have to say and make it fast. I have plans this evening."
He didn't know where to begin. Maybe the beginning would be the best place to start. She'd find out anyway. And he certainly didn't want her finding out from the worst possible source, Mayson herself.
"Lois, you have to understand, I didn't want to hurt you, and I certainly didn't want to lose your trust. This whole thing has gotten out of hand. Perry tried to get me to tell you everything right from the start, but I wouldn't listen. I knew how you felt about Mayson, and I knew how you'd react."
He obviously wasn't doing well. Lois's face was flushed with anger. He held up his hand before she could say anything. "Look, before you jump to any more conclusions, this investigation came about because I had to get to the bottom of the Drake-Church connection. If it weren't for your suspicions during Baby Rage's hearing, I wouldn't have gotten involved in this. And when Martin Snell wound up dead, well, that just about convinced me your hunch was right."
She couldn't stand it any longer. "Then WHY are you dating Mayson, and how long has this been going on?" she blurted out. "Do you mean to tell me you couldn't have done your story without getting chummy with her? By the way, PARTNER, thanks for letting me play the fool." Lois had had enough. She got up from the couch as if she intended for him to leave.
He moved too quickly for her. He grabbed her shoulders and forced her to look him in the eye. "Lois, listen to me. I know you're angry, and I don't know how I'll ever make it up to you, but you have to understand. I didn't have a choice. I knew you'd never be able to get close enough to Mayson to find out the connection between her and Bill Church. Perry knew there was a major story in this, and he felt you couldn't be objective on this one. He didn't want you to accidentally blow my cover, but he also didn't want me to lie to you, either."
She felt as if he had slapped her face. "What? Me, not objective? And why would I blow your cover? That's ludicrous. But you really haven't explained anything. And you keep sidestepping the real issue here. Are you dating Mayson Drake?"
"If I say "no," you won't believe me, and if I say "yes," no matter what the explanation is, I can't win. Okay, I have been seeing Mayson, but nothing, I'm telling you, nothing has happened between us. I couldn't do that to you. I've gone to lunch with her a few times at the Metropolis Club, and to a party thrown by Church. That's where I found out everything I needed to know about her connection to him. That's it. I think I've got enough evidence to back up your suspicions, and to force an investigation." He couldn't tell anyone that his special powers also helped.
"Did you kiss her?"
"What? What does that have to do with anything?"
"I said, did you kiss her?" Lois had that icy look in her eyes again.
He had dreaded this moment. "Yes, and I truly am sorry. It was unavoidable."
"Oh, sure, just like the first time when she went to your apartment for that deposition."
"Wha…you saw that? Well, for the record, she kissed me. It wasn't my idea."
Lois shrugged her shoulders so that Clark had to let go. She backed away from him. "Clark, I think you'd better leave."
"Lois, I don't want to see you like this. I know you're not happy, but I don't want you to hate me." He made a move toward her. Lois stepped backwards, and started to fall, tripping over a shoe she had earlier kicked off in anger.
"Unnhh…" As she tumbled to the floor, Clark moved quickly to break her fall. They wound up landing in a heap. He started to laugh, he couldn't help it. Like Laurel and Hardy…that was the first thing that came to mind as he helped her to her feet.
"Hey, are you okay? I don't think we could have planned that if we'd have tried!" Lois looked a little dazed, then she got angry. Really angry.
"How dare you? Acting like this is all a joke!" Before she could say another word, Clark took her in his arms, and kissed her. And he kissed her again. And he kept kissing her until he felt her heart pounding, her skin turning warm to the touch, and her whole body weak from the realization that this man, this man she was so angry with, had awakened something deep within her soul. And she became angry with herself for enjoying his kisses. And angry because she had been wrong, so incredibly wrong about him. The pent up passion she had kept buried for so long threatened to overwhelm her.
Holding her tight, he had to tell her one more thing, and he knew she wasn't going to like it. "Lois, there's something I have to do tonight. Don't say a word, you have to listen to me." He felt her suddenly stiffen. "Tonight's the night I, uh, confront, Mayson about Church. If there were any other way, I wouldn't be caught dead with her. But I don't have a choice. I'll be in a public place and there will be witnesses. I want you to know that, so you won't get the wrong idea." He looked into her eyes. He still saw anger, but he also saw something else. Revenge? Uh, oh.
She bit her lip. I'll get you Clark Kent if it's the last thing I do, she thought to herself. You think you can treat your partner this way. I'll show you. Someday, somewhere, when you least expect it—POW!
"Lois, listen to me. Do you understand what I have to do? Tomorrow we have a lot to talk about. About me, and you…and us." This startled her.
"Us? What do you mean, us?" The fire was returning to her eyes.
"Just think about what I've said. Please. As much as I don't want to, I have to leave. Promise me you'll trust me with what I have to do tonight. Okay?" His eyes pleaded with her.
She nodded, giving her consent. He kissed her one more time, on her forehead, releasing her slowly, in case she changed her mind. He made his way to her door, looking back at the very last second. He moved with unusual speed to open the door and make his exit before the offending shoe hit the door. He stood out in the hall for a moment, breathed a sigh of relief, and left the building. Lois stood inside, staring at the door, muttering to herself about men.
The phone rang. Lois's "hello" was greeted by, "Hey, aren't you ready yet, we have some celebrating tonight, remember?" It was Susan. Lois glanced at the kitchen clock. "Oh, hell is it that late already?" She was still extremely irritated with Clark.
"Is something wrong? Aren't you going to be able to go? A hint of disappointment was making it's way into her friend's voice.
"No, no, I'm just running late!"
"That's okay, I'll pick you up. How does that sound?" For once Lois was relieved she didn't have to drive while being so wound up. Plus it would give her the extra time she needed to get ready. So she agreed, and they chatted a few minutes more about their attire for the evening.
Celebrity night at Sullivan's! She usually looked forward to this annual event. It was one of those evenings where Metropolis's young professionals let down their hair. Lois had to laugh. Pretty bad when you need a special night just to cut loose. But it was always fun. A group of young lawyers had their own comedy troupe; a couple of interns were magicians; there were at least three or four impersonators; several young people she knew sang; and there were a couple of jazz groups. Anyway, it made for an entertaining evening. The best part was that the cover charge was donated to one of the local charities. It made the silliness all worth while.
A knock at the door startled Lois. "Who's there?"
"It's me, Lois. Are you ready?" Susan was a bit early.
"Hold on…come on in, I'm just about finished." Lois answered the door while struggling with her shoes.
Susan let out a low whistle. "Wow, when the guys get a load of you, they'll forget all about Mayson Drake!"
Lois rolled her eyes, but she appreciated the compliment. Her black sleeveless, backless, floor-length dress showed off her figure to perfection. Her ankle-strap shoes made her seem taller, and the ensemble made her feel just a little sexier. Her hair was piled on top of her head with soft tendrils brushing her neck and cheeks. She grabbed her jacket, a beaded number that complemented her outfit. After a final look in the mirror, they headed out the door.
When they arrived, Sullivan's was crowded. "I hope Perry remembered to save us places at his table," Lois remarked.
"I hope I get to see Jimmy," Susan said, searching the main dining room, which had been converted into a combination dinner theatre/dance floor. "Oh, there he is, Lois, and there's Mr. White, too. See, over there, near the dance floor? Lois seemed a bit relieved that Clark was nowhere in sight. She figured if he was with Mayson, this would be the LAST place they'd be. Lois tried to put it out of her mind, but all she could envision was Clark and Mayson dancing cheek to cheek at the Metro Club.
"Well, ladies, don't you look great tonight! I'm glad you could join us, Susan." Susan blushed, and said her thanks. Jimmy straightened his tie, and smiling, invited her to sit beside him.
"Watch out, Susan, he bites!" Lois teased as Jimmy blushed.
"Alice will be here shortly, but in the meantime, can I get you youngsters something to drink?"
"Perry, I think I'll join you. Let's give Susan and Jimmy a chance to get acquainted." She winked at Perry as they headed toward the bar. She needed to move around. If she sat still she'd get too antsy.
"Ginger ale for me, Pete. Thanks." Lois wanted to be alert this evening.
"What, no wine for you tonight?" Perry enjoyed teasing Lois.
"Maybe later, thanks, but I think I'll take it easy for a while." Perry gave the bartender their orders, and asked to have the drinks sent to their table. He excused himself when he noticed his wife waving from their table. Lois had settled down at the end of the bar, near the section of the dance floor reserved for the deejay and the instrumental groups. Why am I so nervous, she thought. I've done this before. Besides, there isn't anyone here that should make ME feel uptight!
Before she could make up her mind whether or not to return to her table, it was too late. The entertainment was ready to begin. First up was the comedy troupe, "The Third Degree." The group had everyone laughing till they cried with their stinging political satire. From the mayor on down, everyone suffered at their expense. Next was a jazz quartet, whose music helped calm Lois down considerably.
While she sat listening to the music, Lois failed to notice two late-comers. Clark and Mayson Drake had entered during the jazz group's set. It looked as if they had been arguing. They had to wait at the bar until the act was over.
As soon as the quartet finished their last piece, the pianist spoke into the microphone. "We have a real treat for you tonight ladies and gentlemen. Sharing the spotlight with the band, is the chanteuse of the East Side, the lady who wowed them in her college production of "Funny Girl," The Planet's answer to Madonna: Ms. Lois Lane!"
Amid a raucous round of applause Lois shed her jacket, and slowly moved to the microphone, playing the crowd for all it was worth. She nodded to the pianist, and the jazzy pop tune began.
You are far,
When I could have been your star,
You listened to people,
Who scared you to death, and from my heart,
Strange that you were strong enough
To even make a start,
But you'll never find
Peace of mind,
Till you listen to your heart, Lois closed her eyes, concentrating on the song, feeling the music surround her and the words taking over. She never saw Perry make his way to Clark and Mayson. They were still at the far end of the bar. And Mayson was extremely agitated.
You can never change the way they feel,
Better let them do just what they will,
For they will,
If you let them
Steal your heart from you,
Will always make a lover feel a fool,
But you knew I loved you,
We could have shown them all,
We should have seen love through,
Fooled me with the tears in your eyes,
Covered me with kisses and lies,
But please don't take my heart…
"Clark, Mayson, didn't think you were going to make it." Perry stationed himself between Mayson and the door.
"Chief, I wouldn't have missed this for the world. I only wished I had known Lois was going to be part of the show." His voice trailed off as he stared at Lois, hearing the emotion in her voice, watching the audience, captivated by her performance.
"Look, Clark, you said we weren't going to stay, we have reservations at the Metro Club." Mayson looked up at Clark, who seemed to be a million miles away.
You are far,
I'm never gonna be your star,
I'll pick up the pieces
And mend my heart,
Maybe I'll be strong enough,
I don't know where to start,
But I'll never find
Peace of mind,
While I listen to my heart…
"Shhh, I want to hear Lois." Clark put a finger to his lips. Mayson looked stunned.
"How dare you tell me to shut up!" Her voice was getting louder. What the hell was going on?
"Mayson, I'd pipe down if I were you. I'd like to hear Ms. Lane sing, too." Perry slipped his hand over her arm, holding her back. Clark had taken a step closer to Lois. She was already into the final verse when she opened her eyes, and found herself staring right at Clark. Without skipping a beat, and finding some inner strength, she poured every ounce of her soul into her song…
But remember this,
Every other kiss,
That you ever give,
Long as we both live,
When you need the hand of another woman,
One you really can surrender with,
I will wait for you,
Like I always do,
There's something there,
That can't compare with any other, Clark stared at her with an intensity that both thrilled and scared her. As Lois slowly closed her eyes and started the final refrain, she thought she saw Mayson being held back by Perry, and…Inspector Henderson?
You are far,
When I could have been your star,
You listened to people,
Who scared you to death, and from my heart,
Strange that I was wrong enough,
To think you'd love me too, Opening her eyes again, her lashes wet with tears, her voice husky, she sang
I guess you were kissing a fool,
You must have been kissing a fool. She hardly remembered where she was. The sudden applause, the whistling and cheers startled her. Regaining her composure, she bowed deeply to the audience, motioned to the pianist and the rest of group to take a bow. The pianist walked over to her, took her hand and kissed her cheek, whispering, "If I didn't think you were in love with your partner, I'd make a play for you myself." He winked at her, and applauded her performance. Lois blushed. Oh, my God. Is that what they think? But she managed to keep her composure, and smiling, she made her way back to the bar to gather up her jacket, shaking hands, and accepting compliments. Clark had pushed through the crowd and met her half way.
"Lois, I don't know what to say. You are amazing!" He looked so proud of her. She really didn't know what to think. But before she could say a word, a disturbance at the end of the bar caught her attention. "Excuse me, Lois, something I have to deal with first."
What in the world…Lois slowly walked toward Perry and Inspector Henderson, and…Mayson? What was going on? She caught the end of the conversation: "We've got enough to put you away for oh, 5 to 10 years Ms. Drake, so I'd cooperate if I were you." If looks could kill, Lois would have been, well, it wasn't a pleasant thought.
"Clark, please, tell them they're wrong," Mayson's voice and her eyes pleaded with him. Clark shook his head. He didn't have to say a word. No, not this time, Mayson. You can't fool me again.
Mayson caught the full meaning of his look. "I'll get you, Kent, if it's the last thing I do." Her voice was bitter.
"Inspector, I hope you record that as a personal threat to my employee," Perry noted. Henderson nodded, and grinned at Clark.
"Yep, my pleasure!" As Mayson was led from the restaurant by Inspector Henderson, Lois, suddenly weak from a lack of food and this unexpected turn of events, barely managed to grab the edge of the bar to keep from falling. Clark put his arm around Lois to steady her.
"Lois, are you all right." Clark's voice was all concern and, well maybe just a little scared that she would pass out.
"I, uh, I'm okay. Just felt a little light-headed. I just realized I haven't had much of anything to eat all day, and I'm starved. And, I guess just a little shocked by everything that's happened." She smiled. Perry thought, what a trooper! I think these two will do okay.
"Uh, pardon me, kids, but Alice is beckoning, and I've got to get back to the table. I'm sure Jimmy and Susan can entertain themselves, so why don't you two find a quiet corner, have some dinner, and take it easy for the rest of the evening." He waved his hands like some Sicilian godfather, and the two of them were whisked away to a small table in a dark corner of the bar.
Lois was a little embarrassed, but her hunger got the best of her. "Fettucini Alfredo, Joe, please?" She said to the waiter. It was one of her favorites, and Sullivan's prepared it just the way she liked. Clark looked at her and shook his head.
"What? What's the matter with Fettucini? I said I was starved!" Lois gave him one of her cute, humor me, looks.
"Lois, I didn't say a word. Like I said before, you amaze me, you simply amaze me." He took her hand, said to Joe, "I'll have the same," and slowly brought her fingertips to his lips. The warmth of his breath on her hand, and the heat of his kiss, startled her. He held tightly and leaned across the table kissing her fully on the mouth, but not before saying, "For once, Lois, don't say anything. Just enjoy tonight. Tomorrow we'll talk."