By Steve Macko (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: Clark takes care of business, starting with a certain DEA agent.
Jimmy Olsen felt a nudge.
"Watch and learn, Jimmy."
"Sure thing, Chief." Then Olsen looked at the Daily Planet's managing editor. "What am I watching for?"
They were looking out into the large newsroom from behind the glass in Perry White's office. White smiled and gestured with his chin. "Here comes Clark," he said.
Clark Kent was one of the star reporters for the Daily Planet. He was also the investigative partner of Lois Lane — who was, not one, but THE star reporter of the paper. Clark was walking from the elevator to his desk, carrying the morning edition of the Planet in his hand. Once he set eyes on Lois Lane, his face noticeably brightened.
"I've seen it before, Jimmy, my boy. And it scares me to death." White said.
"Do you see those two? Best investigative team this paper has had in fifty years," said the editor. "And they're making goo-goo eyes at each other."
"Goo-goo?" Asked Olsen, smirking at his boss.
"Whatever!" White roared. "If they get involved with each other and if it doesn't work out … there goes the team!"
Jimmy watched Clark as he approached Lois.
"Good morning, Lois!" Clark said cheerfully.
Lois Lane was busily working at her computer station. She did not acknowledge Clark because she was so absorbed in her work.
Clark set the paper down on his desk and sighed, watching her. He decided if she wasn't going to say good morning to him — he would do it for her. "Oh, good morning, Clark. How are you?" Then he replied for himself. "Oh, Just fine, Lois, thank you. Did you sleep well?" He mimicked her reply, "Yes, I did, Clark. Did you sleep well last night?"
Lois seemed to come out of her work trance. "Huh?"
Clark smiled. "Aren't we working rather hard for the very first thing in the morning?"
Twenty-year-old Jimmy Olsen looked at Perry White. "You think that they're that serious?"
"Ohh, Jimmy," White groaned. "I can see it in their eyes."
"But, sir … I think that they've only had one real date."
White turned from the glass. "Yes. But it was a GREAT date."
"Were you making fun of me?" Asked Lois with a musical tone in her voice.
Clark looked at the attractive brunette. Well … to him, she was more than attractive. She was the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. "Oh, no," he replied to her question, smiling. "I was just saying 'good morning' to you."
She looked into his eyes behind the glasses that he wore and a warm feeling came over her. "I'm sorry, Clark … good morning."
Clark tried to lean over and look at her computer screen. "What are you working on?"
She replied, "Oh, I was just going over my most recent article on Superman. I think that I need to update it. Clark, do you think that you can get me another interview with Superman? I have some more questions for him."
Clark groaned inside. "Well, I am not sure, Lois. Maybe we can discuss it over lunch today."
She smiled. "Are you asking me out to lunch?"
"Why do you always ask if I am asking you out?"
"I just want to make sure."
He smiled. "Are you always surprised when I ask you out? I thought we had that behind us. Perhaps dinner would be better?"
"I can't go out for dinner," she said. "Tonight's my karate class."
Clark walked over to his own desk. Lois got up from her chair and went over to his desk. "Clark," she asked. "Why is it that you're the only one who can contact Superman?"
He thought for a second. "Uh, I don't know … we're just friends, I guess."
"Well, how do you contact him?"
Clark was starting to worry. "Wh-what do you mean?"
"Well, do you call him on the phone? Do you have some sort of device?" She asked.
Clark started walking away from her. "Uh, Lois, why don't we discuss this over lunch?"
"Is that all you have on your mind — lunch?" She countered.
"Well, I'm not sure Superman would want me to tell you." They were beside the elevator.
"Uh," The elevator door opened. "Lois, I just remembered that I have to meet someone for a story." He walked into the elevator and pressed the button for the first floor. "I'll meet you for lunch." And the elevator door closed.
"He's always doing that," Lois said to herself. She sighed and went back to her desk.
Twenty-nine-year-old Clark Kent was the mightiest person on Earth. In his guise as Superman, he tried to right as many wrongs as he could. He saved people from catastrophes, criminals and terrorists. Besides incredible super strength that was immeasurable, he could fly, move faster than the speed of sound; he was invulnerable, and all of his senses were, in a word, super. But he had two weaknesses. The first was Kryptonite. Kryptonite are fragments of his home world of Krypton. Any prolonged contact with Kryptonite could kill him. A few criminals that knew about Kryptonite, such as Lex Luthor, had already tried to kill him with it, but had luckily failed. His second weakness was — Lois Lane. Clark smiled. He virtually had fallen in love with her as soon as he had laid eyes on her. He found her exciting, intelligent, funny and had grown to know her very well in a very short time. Even though he felt that he knew her well, she was still able to constantly challenge him. Or was it her tenacity or aggressiveness that he had grown to love? Lois was a woman who wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. He smiled. Lois had a stubborn streak in her. Just try and tell her not to try something — and you could be sure that she'd try it anyway. Clark shook his head to clear his thoughts. Lately it had seemed hard to think of anything else but — her.
She had presented to him, yet another question that he found hard to answer. And he hated to lie to her. Just how did Clark Kent contact Superman? It wasn't a strange question. And if Clark and Lois were supposed to be each other's best friend, how could he not answer? Such a dilemma. She was constantly offering new ones to him. He sighed. He loved that about her also.
Lois Lane, at 31 years-old, had rapidly become the star reporter for the Metropolis Daily Planet. In less than ten years out of journalism school, she had fought her way to top of the Metropolis news media world. She did it by plainly outworking her co-workers and competitors. But lately, she had noticed, that there was one person who seemed to be able to keep up with her — Clark. Lately, she had also noticed something else about Clark. She was becoming increasingly attracted to him. Everyday the feeling seemed to be getting stronger. These feelings were something that she was very unaccustomed to having.
She did have similar feelings for Superman. But she hardly ever got to see the Man Of Steel alone anymore. He used to sometimes stop by her apartment, but those fleeting visits had suddenly stopped. She didn't know why. Her mind turned back to Clark again. She pictured his face in her mind. He was always there for her, she knew. He watched over and protected her. And he wasn't invulnerable. Two men, so much the same. But both so different. She sighed.
To Lois, Clark was kind and gentle and smart and sort of goofy. She smiled to herself. Yes, he was goofy, in a cute way. One of his most endearing qualities, to her, was that he was so shy. She sometimes would catch him stealing glimpses of her, especially when he was sitting at his desk. When she caught him, he'd quickly look away. He was — nice. That was the best word she could think of to describe him. He was always such a gentleman. She sighed again. When she had seen him the few times with his shirt off, he was really — major cute.
She thought back to the one real date that they had recently had. "God, it was great," she said to herself. She had known for a long time that Clark was VERY interested in her. But having feelings for someone like Clark and even progressing into a real relationship with someone like Clark, could interfere with her work. Work? She thought. Has it been so long that I forgot that I could have feelings for someone like Clark? No, how could she? She had never previously known anyone like Clark. "Damn," she said to herself. Lately it had seemed hard to think of anything else but — him.
"What are you going to order?"
"I don't know, Lois, what are you ordering? Clark replied.
Lois set her menu down on the table. She looked at Clark. "You're not planning on rushing out somewhere are you?"
Clark smiled. "No, I don't think so. Why?"
She exhaled a long breath. "It just seems lately that whenever we sit down to talk … you have to rush off somewhere."
The thought struck Clark. She was right. Lately, he did rush off whenever she tried to talk to him. "I'm sorry, Lois. You're right, I know it seems that I do that a lot, it's just been, uh, crazy lately. I apologize."
She smiled at him. That was just like him, she thought. He even admitted when he was wrong. A gentleman as always. "Good. Now that we've got that out of the way," She leaned closer to him. She used her best journalistic approach, "Now, tell me," she lowered her voice in a conspiratorial tone, "how do you contact … " She lifted her brown eyes and looked around to make sure that no one was listening to the two of them, " … Superman?"
Clark inhaled the scent of her perfume. Having super senses had it's benefits, he thought. He smiled at her, looked around the restaurant as she had, and said in a low voice, "I can't tell you."
"What?!" Lois squealed in a somewhat loud voice. She blushed and looked around the room to see if anyone was looking at her. Lois composed herself. "Clark," she said pleadingly. "Why can't you tell me?" Lois was genuinely hurt. After all of what she and Clark had gone through and she knew that he obviously had feelings for her, she really thought that Clark would share something, like this, with her.
Clark looked at her and knew that she was hurt. Lois picked up her purse and started to rise out of her chair. Clark grabbed her hand. "Lois, wait!" He said. She stared daggers at him. He said, "I meant that I can't tell you here. It's a big secret and this is not the proper place."
The anger in Lois settled a bit. "Perhaps we can talk about this later tonight?" he asked.
"Tonight's my karate class," she reminded him.
"Well, you're not going to be there all night. Maybe I can go with you and afterwards we can talk about this. Someplace more … private? Who knows? Maybe I can pick up a few pointers to better protect myself or something."
She smiled. "Are you asking me out?"
It was seven in the evening at the martial arts fitness center that Lois Lane attended. In the large room that had a padded floor, Lois, Clark and about a dozen other students were ready to start a lesson. It was highly irregular for Clark, since he was a beginner with a white belt, to attend the same class with someone like Lois, who had a green belt. But Lois had used her charm to ask the instructor to allow Clark to observe the class. As she told the instructor, "To show my boyfriend what I can do." Was that what Clark was? She asked herself, "My boyfriend?"
The karate instructor did not readily agree, but Lois, as usual, won out.
Lois and Clark faced each other. Both of them wore white gi's, except that Lois had a green belt around her waist. She looked at Clark's chest. The gi was quite open, allowing her to see his chest. She virtually melted, but disciplined herself to concentrate on the task at hand. They were about to practice a maneuver that was more judo than karate.
Lois stared into Clark's eyes.
He smiled at her. "What?" he asked.
He smiled again. "What about them?"
"You have to take them off."
He was incredulous. "Why?"
She looked at him like he was silly. "So I don't hurt you."
Clark smiled broadly. "Oh, Lois, I don't think that you can hurt meeee!" Clark went flying backwards, over Lois, landing onto his back.
Clark almost burst out laughing. Lois had grabbed him by the lapels, dropped down on her rear, with her foot in his stomach, and flipped him over her, onto his back.
Clark feigned surprise and astonishment. Being the superb actor that he was, he added a, "Ooooof!" upon his landing.
Lois rushed to his side. "Clark! Are you alright?!"
Clark played it to the hilt. He acted dazed. "Uh, I … I … think so."
About an hour and a half later, Lois and Clark were walking to the door of Lois' condominium. Lois had her arm looped through his and they walked slowly to the door. Lois noticed that it felt very comfortable to be with him. He made her feel safe to be with him. As she pulled out her keys to open her door, she said, "Now, we can have our little talk."
Just at that moment Clark's super-hearing picked up, "Officer needs assistance!" He heard gunfire. Clark felt very anxious. A police officer was in dire need of help and Superman could be there in an instant.
He looked at Lois. "Uh … uh … I'll be right back, Lois. I promise."
He was walking quickly backwards away from her.
Lois was flabbergasted. "But, Clark?!"
"I'm … I'm sorry." And he rushed off.
"Clark?!!" She felt like she was going to cry. What was wrong? Was it her? Did she do something? She asked herself, "Why does he always rush away from me like that?"
The next morning Clark was walking toward the entrance of the Daily Planet. His keen eyesight caught a glimpse of DEA agent Dan Scardino walking up the street from the opposite direction. A sudden gust of wind caught Scardino and started to propel him back down the street away from the Daily Planet Building. Scardino was almost certain that he could smell the odor of coffee in the wind that dragged him down the street.
In the Daily Planet's newsroom, Clark was trying, desperately, to explain to Lois what had happened the night before. Well, not exactly what had happened, but a good cover story that he had thought of overnight. Lois totally ignored him. She walked from one place to another in the large room, never looking at him or acknowledging his presence. Clark was immune to temperature extremes. Hot or cold could not harm or bother him. But, right now, to him, the temperature in the newsroom felt like a frigid cold winter in the middle of Alaska.
Perry White took in the whole scene between his two star reporters from behind the glass in his office. "Great shades of Elvis!" He exclaimed. "I knew this was gonna happen!"
"What, Chief?!" Jimmy Olsen inquired, looking up from some photographs that the editor and he were looking over a few moments before.
"Look at those two!" White said.
Jimmy watched Clark following Lois. He seemed to be pleading with her to listen to him. Jimmy chuckled. "C.K. must've really done something pretty bad to get that kind of treatment from her."
White roared. "It's not funny! The team, Jimmy! Think of the team!"
White went to door of his office and shouted. "Clark! Come in here, son."
Clark looked up at his boss and then looked at Lois, trying to decide what to do. He knew that he was getting nowhere with Lois so he walked to Perry White's office.
As Clark walked away from Lois, she watched him with a smug look of satisfaction on her face.
"Yes, Chief?" Clark asked.
White tried to remain calm. "Son, I know that Lois and yourself are interested in each other."
Clark opened his mouth to say something but White cut him off. "No, no, it's written all over your faces. Personally, son, it's fine with me. But if you two are gonna be smitten with each other, I'd like to see 'Love Me Tender.' But right now, son, she's treatin' you like a 'Hound Dog.' "
"Well, Chief … "
Perry held up his hand. "I don't want to hear it, Clark. It's none of my business what happened between the two of you. But ya gotta fix it."
Clark looked at the managing editor. "How, Chief? She won't even talk to me."
"Flowers!" White said.
"Not just any flowers, son. Roses. Red roses."
"But I don't know if Lois likes roses."
"Great shades of Elvis!" White roared in frustration. "Look at her, Clark." White felt like he was talking to a future son-in-law.
Clark turned and looked at her. Lois was at her desk working on the computer. She was wearing that blue suit that he enjoyed seeing her in.
"I've seen very few woman with as much class as Lois," the editor continued. "Clark, women, like that, love roses. Wake up, son!"
Back in the newsroom, Lois felt a presence looking over her. She looked up expecting to see an apologetic Clark, but instead she saw — "Agent Scardino?" She said in an embarrassed tone.
"Please … " He said. " … call me Daniel"
And back in Perry's office. White glimpsed at Scardino with Lois. "Now look!" He said to Clark. "Look, son, you've got competition. You gotta fix this, fast."
Personally Clark was getting sick of Scardino's attention to Lois. He left Perry's office and walked toward Lois' desk. He didn't look at Lois but instead, caught Scardino's attention. "Can I talk to you for a moment?" Clark asked the DEA agent.
Scardino smiled. "Sure, Clark!"
The two men walked a distance away from Lois, more toward the rear of the newsroom. Clark asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Just talking to Lois." Scardino smirked.
"Oh, come on, Clark. Isn't it obvious?"
"Did Lois tell you about us?"
Scardino smirked again. "Are the two of you engaged or something?"
"Well, no." Clark admitted.
Scardino smiled, seemingly knowingly. "Well then … " He held out his hand to shake hands with Clark. " … may the best man win."
Clark took his hand and slowly sqeeeeeezed. Scardino's mouth dropped open.
Clark asked him. "You work for the DEA, is that correct?"
Scardino could only shake his head up and down with his mouth open.
Clark released the grip on his hand and grabbed the agent by the shoulder and spun him around toward the elevator. Clark gripped Scardino's shoulder. To the DEA agent, his shoulder felt like it was in a vise.
Clark said, "Good! I want you to think … Florida." Clark smiled at him. He continued, "Lots of drugs in Florida. Girls. There's lots of girls in Florida. Girls in bikinis. Doesn't that sound real good right about now, Scardino?"
Scardino could only shake his head up and down.
Clark pressed the button for the elevator.
"Scardino, do you remember what Jimmy Olsen did to you a while ago?"
Scardino rubbed his forehead. "Boy, do I."
Clark smiled. "Well, I'm a lot bigger than Jimmy."
The elevator door opened. Clark escorted Scardino to the inside of the car. His last word to Scardino was, "Florida." And the elevator door closed.
Clark felt a wave of relief come over him. He snickered to himself. "I'd make a pretty good travel agent." He walked over to Lois' desk.
She looked up at him, bewildered. "What happened to Agent Scardino?"
Clark smiled at her. "He suddenly remembered that he had to take a trip."
It had been a slow news day, so Lois left the office early. Clark had been looking at her with puppy-dog eyes all day and it was starting to get on her nerves. She was beginning to find that it was difficult, for her, to stay angry at Clark for any length of time. No matter what … he was the best friend that she ever had. He always stuck with her through thick and thin. Clark never even laughed at some of her crazy ideas. At worst. whenever he thought that one of her ideas was a little off-the-wall, he would get this funny tone in his voice. "He still doesn't think I notice that," she said to herself.
She thought to herself, "Why am I always thinking about him now?"
There was a knock at her condominium door. She opened the door. "Yes?" She asked the man holding a long box.
"Lois Lane?" He asked.
"These are for you," he said, handing the box to her. "Sign here, please."
Lois signed and closed the door. She carried the box to her dining table and opened it. The package contained a dozen beautiful red roses. She opened the envelope that held a small card. She read the card to herself.
The card said: "I can only hope that my partner and best friend can find it in her heart to forgive me." The card was signed, "Clark," Lois said in a whisper.
Her insides felt like that they had turned into mush. But she was also thrilled. Rarely, and she couldn't remember the last time, someone had sent roses, like these, to her.
There was another knock on her door. She opened the door and found — "Clark," She said.
"Lois, I … "
Lois wrapped her arms around his neck. "Oh, Clark!"
Clark was quite taken back. "Perry was right," he thought to himself.
"Clark, they're beautiful!" She exclaimed.
He wanted to say, "Not as beautiful as you." But he kept silent. He looked at her and saw how thrilled she was to see him. It finally seemed to dawn upon him. Every time that he looked at Lois — she took his breath away. He decided that now was the time. He couldn't hide his feelings inside anymore. "Lois, I just wanted to explain a couple of things."
"No, you don't have to, Clark, really," she said touching his arm.
He was overcome by the look in her eyes. He had never seen it before. She was looking longingly at him.
"No, really … I must," he said to her.
Lois thought to herself, I better get him now before he rushes off somewhere again. "Okay, you want to sit down?" She asked. Lois took the box of roses and placed them on the couch and sat down at her dining table. Clark followed suit.
Even though he was a professional writer, he found it very difficult to find the words that he wanted to say to her. "I .."
She was looking at him.
"I'm sorry about last night," he started off.
"Oh, Clark, that's alright," she assured him. In the back of her mind, she was saying just to opposite to herself.
"No, it's not alright, Lois. I know that you probably don't understand why I … rush off, as you say."
"No, I guess I don't, Clark. It really is hard to understand. Is it me? Is it something that I do that makes you want to run off?"
Clark was shocked. "You??!! You think that it was something that you did?"
"Clark, I can't think of any other answer."
Clark paused for a moment. He was very surprised that she thought such a thing. He really felt sorry for her and felt angry at himself, at the same time.
"Lois … I'm terribly sorry. No, God, no, it's not you … " He reached to touch her hand. " … It's me!"
Clark's mind was racing. He tried to think of the best way to proceed. "Before I explain," he started off, "I think that it would be best to tell you how I feel … about you."
"Okay," she said almost in a whisper.
Clark looked at her face. It looked like she was more worried than anything else. He took a deep breath. "I … " He almost choked up. "I … I'm not sure how to say this … "
"Just go ahead and say it, Clark."
"Lois, you're my best friend. I don't want to do or say anything to jeopardize that. Right now, you're the most important thing in my life. I don't want to lose that."
She interrupted him. "Don't worry, Clark," she said soothingly. "Nothing you say will jeopardize that, I promise."
He took another deep breath. "You're the most incredible woman that I've ever met. And believe it or not … ever since the day that I first laid eyes on you, I've known that … "
Lois' eyes were real wide. "Yes?" She asked.
" … I love you." he finished.
Lois' heart skipped a couple of beats.
There! He finally said it, he thought to himself. Now how would she react?
For once, Lois was at a loss for words. She knew, deep down, that he was going to say that but she still felt surprised. Tears began to form in her eyes. She stood up from her chair and faced him, looking into his eyes, behind the glasses that he wore. Clark stood up also. She said while opening her arms, "Oh, Clark."
They hugged each other and finally kissed.
"Clark … " she told him. "I love you, too."
They kissed again and Lois felt her head spin. She asked herself, "God, where did he learn to kiss like that?" A twang of jealousy almost came to her. "Who taught him to kiss like that?"
Lois didn't know it but all of her surprises were not over. She said to him, "I still don't understand something. You just told me that you love me but if you love me … why are you constantly rushing off like last night?"
Clark thought to himself that this was going to be harder to say than he originally thought. "It has nothing to do with you," he told her.
"Then what?," she asked.
"I, uh, what I mean is … "
"When I do that I'm usually going to help someone."
She was confused. "Help someone? What do you mean?"
This was going to be harder than he REALLY thought. "I mean, you know, someone is in trouble … I, uh, go help them."
"Clark, you're a reporter … not Superman," she said.
He took off his glasses. She looked at him. She blinked. She looked at him again, this time harder. Then it finally dawned over Lois Lane. She clasped her hand to her mouth. "Oh, my God!!!" She screamed. "Clark Kent!!!!! How could you do this to me??!! You??!! All this time??!! Clark?!!"
Clark was shaken. He had no idea how she would take his revealing his secret identity to her.
"No!" She said, trying to deny the truth. "It can't be true. You couldn't possibly fool me for this long." She shook her head. "No way."
He smiled and walked behind her. He gently grasped both of her elbows and Lois felt Clark and herself floating several inches off the floor. They started gliding in the air around the room and then he set her back down on her feet.
"Oh, my God!"
"Lois, will you please stop saying that."
Her head was spinning. She was speechless.
"I'm sorry that you had to find out this way," he said.
She looked at him. Finally she felt herself calm down. No wonder she had similar feelings for both Clark and Superman — they were one and the same. She walked a few steps toward him and looked up into his eyes. "Do you remember one of the first things that I ever told you when we first met?"
Clark shook his head, not sure of what she meant.
Lois Lane wrapped her arms around Clark Kent's neck. "I told you … don't fall for me, farmboy." And she kissed him harder than ever before.