Submitted October 2, 1997
Summary: Lois withdraws into herself after being involved in a traumatic automobile accident. Her reluctance to be open with Clark puts a strain on their relationship.
Author's Note: I wrote this one night to deal with a slight case of LCWS. I hope that you enjoy reading it. It just came to me while I was driving home from a friend's house so don't expect much. *'s indicate thoughts and underlined words indicate emphasis.
Important Note: The accident scene came from a movie entitled They starring Vanessa Redgrave in case anyone was wondering. That is the only part that was adapted from a movie. The rest is all mine!
Lois turned onto the highway and headed for home. It had been a long day, yet things had gone fairly well for her. Her source for the drug network had worked out for her and she was able to phone her story in for the evening edition of the Daily Planet. Clark, her husband and partner, had been away on one of his rescues for the past hour and a half, so Lois reluctantly drove home from her source's hideout by herself.
The traffic wasn't as bad as Lois anticipated and she settled behind a fairly new Ford Taurus and set her cruise control. The night was unusually warm for February and a fairly thick fog had risen from the cooling asphalt. The weatherman had even predicted an early spring shower for the night. Lois recalled this as she began to see big, fat drops of rain fall on the windshield. Lois let out a sigh, turned on the windshield wipers and the radio, then sat back in her seat to get a little more comfortable. The radio faintly played a soft romantic song that Lois recognized as one of Rod Stewart's. She smiled at the lyrics and soon began to sing to them herself.
Have I told you lately That I love you? Have I told you there's No one else above you?
You fill my heart with gladness, Take away all my sadness. Ease my troubles, That's what you do.
Lois's thoughts immediately turned to Clark. Even though they had been through so much just to get engaged and then finally married, Lois still loved everything about Clark and the time that they had spent together. She began to think about how much she looked forward to coming home now that she had him to come home to. It had been wonderful not to have to face an empty apartment or a night alone.
Lois's thoughts began to drift further and were suddenly brought back to the present by a transfer truck honking its horn. Unknown to Lois, the driver frantically began to pump the brakes and discovered that he had none to stop his truck. He blared his horn once again to get Lois's attention. She looked up in her rearview mirror and was astonished as she saw headlights come speeding toward her jeep. Lois immediately stomped on the gas to keep from being rear-ended but then remembered the other car in front of her. She saw the headlights still coming full force behind her and laid on her horn for the other car to speed up. After flashing her lights and honking her horn for several more seconds, Lois realized she wasn't getting the driver's attention, but then she saw someone in the passenger side of the front seat turn around and look at her. Lois couldn't be sure if they knew what she was trying to tell them so she sped up a little. She could see the driver in the car motion for the person in the passenger seat to turn around and sit down. Lois slammed on her brakes and laid on her horn when the Taurus came rushing up to the nose of her jeep. She was becoming increasingly nervous because the transfer truck was coming in closer and closer. Again, she laid on her horn and sped up, trying to pass the car, but as she pulled into the other lane, she nearly hit another car head-on.
Lois quickly pulled the car back into her lane and kept it stable. The headlights of the truck were nearly on her bumper now and she was beginning to panic. Lois looked this time before pulling into the other lane and sped up. The rain was pouring by this time and Lois could hardly see where the road was headed. She almost passed the Taurus that was in front of her when she hit a puddle standing in the middle of the highway. Her car skidded to the left and began spinning out of control. Closing her eyes in a silent prayer, Lois held on as the car hit a tree and then rested at the base of a telephone pole.
Looking up and realizing that she was still in one piece, the truck caught her eye. It looked like a monster chasing the Taurus until it collided with the back bumper and sent the car flying into a telephone pole. Lois cringed as she heard the sound of breaking glass. She quickly got out of the car, grabbed her phone, and headed over to see if everyone was okay. The rain stung her face as she ran across the highway. The warm day had quickly turned cold with the rain and Lois began to shiver a little as the coldness set into her skin. She reached the car and opened the back door on the passenger side.
"Is everyone okay?" Lois asked as she looked and saw a mother, who was driving, and a little girl in the back seat.
"Yes," the woman said, shaking her head a little. "I think everyone's… " she looked to her right and saw that the passenger seat was empty. Her face turned ashen as she spoke her daughter's name. "Karen, … where's Karen?"
"I'll find her. Just stay put, okay?" Lois said as she ducked her head out of the car.
Lois ran to the front of the car and saw the hole in the windshield. Immediately she began looking around the car and at first saw nothing. Then she saw her. Karen was huddled in what appeared to be a fetal position and was softly calling for her mother. Lois ran over to her and put a hand on her back.
"Karen? Can you hear me, sweetie?" Lois asked, trying to keep her voice from cracking. Karen's eyes came up to Lois's face and stayed there. Lois looked at her and saw the confusion in her face but didn't know what to say at the moment.
"Karen, just stay here, honey. We're going to get help, okay?" Lois said, trying to be brave.
Lois immediately dialed 911 and reported the accident. After she got off the phone, she ran to her jeep and got a rain slicker that she put in her car just in case it rained. After she got back from her car, Lois laid her jacket over Karen and then put the slicker over her to keep her warm. The ambulance seemed to be taking forever and Lois was becoming increasingly worried about Karen's condition. She took Karen's hand in hers and held it as the rain beat down on them. Her emotions began to get the better of her, and Lois began to feel close to tears but still didn't cry for the sake of the little girl. She knew that she couldn't let on to the fear that she felt for this child and her family.
Finally, the ambulance arrived. They loaded Karen up into the ambulance along with her mother and sister and took them all to the hospital. The police then helped Lois in the car and followed the ambulance to the hospital.
*This drive is taking forever,* Lois thought as her suppressed tears began to come during the ride to the hospital.
The cop handed her a handkerchief.
"Thank you," she said through the handkerchief. "I'm so sorry. I'm normally not this emotional. It's just that little girl … Will she be okay?"
"I can't say ma'am. I'm not an EMT, but you did all you could and that's to be commended. Not many people could have survived the pressure that you were under," the cop said reassuringly.
Lois smiled slightly and nodded. She took a deep sigh, laid her head back against the head rest, and closed her eyes. Without realizing her exhaustion, Lois fell asleep. They reached the hospital a while later and the cop woke Lois up with a slight shake of the arm. She opened her eyes and looked around.
"We're here," the cop said. "Are you up for a little questioning?"
Lois nodded and they both got out of the car and headed inside.
The cop led Lois through a line of offices and stopped at one at the end of the hall. She looked inside and saw a woman sitting at the desk. The cop walked inside as Lois peered in from the hall.
"Hey, Steve. Whatcha got for me?"
"I need you to keep an eye on this young lady here for me until I get back. I don't want her to leave this room until I can get a statement from her, okay?"
Steve grabbed Lois's arm and led her inside the tiny office. Lois sat down in a chair and tried to make herself comfortable. She looked around the office and saw all kinds of bulletins for missing children, wanted criminals, and even missing pets. Marge looked at Lois questioningly and then went back to some paperwork she had been doing before.
"Why does he want me to stay in this room?" Lois asked.
"What?" Marge said, looking up from her work. "Oh. He wants to get your story of what happened during the accident and then get the other people's stories who were involved and compare them. It's safer that way."
"So … in other words, he doesn't want me talking to the other woman because we might find out that the exact same thing happened to us?" Lois said sarcastically.
"No, missy," Marge said with a stern voice, "he wants to get each side and compare the two so he can see what fits together and what seems faulty. It's just routine procedure."
"Can I call my husband?" Lois said, suddenly feeling a strong urge for him to be there with her.
"Sure, but make it quick, and use this phone," Marge said as she pushed the phone on her desk toward Lois.
Lois picked up the receiver and quickly dialed her home phone number. The phone rang and rang and finally the answering machine picked up. Lois waited for the announcement to play through and left her message to Clark.
"Clark, it's me. I'm just calling from Metropolis General, and when you get in I really need you to come down here. It's very, very important."
Lois replaced the phone on its cradle and sat back in frustration. Her previous tears threatened to come back, and she quickly closed her eyes to keep them from spilling down her cheeks. She placed a hand on her forehead for support and leaned up against the arm rest. After sitting there for what felt like hours, Steve finally came back.
"Sorry it took so long. Well, are you ready?" said Steve as he sat down in a chair next to Lois.
Lois just nodded.
"Okay then. Tell me what happened."
Lois took a deep breath and looked at the floor, then at Steve.
"Well, I had just gotten through talking to a source of mine for a story I was working on. I had just left his house and was headed home."
"I pulled out of his driveway and onto the highway behind a Ford Taurus. I was driving along, minding my own business and listening to the radio when all of a sudden I heard a loud horn. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a huge transfer truck coming at me. I didn't know what else to do except speed up," Lois said, shrugging her shoulders.
"I knew that if I didn't, I would get rammed from behind." Lois paused for a moment and took a breath.
"Anyway, I sped up and then realized that the Taurus was still in front of me so I quickly slowed down. I blared my horn and flashed my lights at her to try and tell her to speed up, but it didn't work. So, next, I just sped up to try to tell her that she needed to go faster, but that didn't work either. I saw the truck getting closer to my car, and I decided that I'd better pass the Taurus or I'd be crushed," Lois stated, her voice a little shaky.
"I pulled into the other lane and began to pass her except that I didn't look first and had to pull back into my lane to keep from hitting another car head-on. I looked again and saw the lane was clear and pulled out to pass her. I had almost gotten past her when I hit a puddle and skidded to the left. I started spinning out of control and hit a tree, then a telephone pole." Lois's voice became caught in her throat and she took a minute to compose herself.
"I looked up in time to see the truck hit her back bumper and push her into a telephone pole," she finished with a tear in her eye. "Is that what she said happened?"
"Pretty much," Steve said with a nod. "Her story of course didn't have so much of the detail of the truck trying to ram you. I don't think she figured that out until you had passed her and she became the target."
"Can I see them, now? I want to see if Karen's okay."
"Sure. I'll take you over there now. I think her mom could use a little company," Steve said as he got out of his seat.
Lois stood up and headed out the door toward the waiting room.
Sheila sat in the waiting room with her daughter Katelyn, waiting for news on Karen's condition. Steve and Lois approached them, and Lois sat down in a chair by Sheila.
"How is she?" asked Lois, worried.
"They haven't come out yet. I don't … I don't know what's going on," Sheila said, her voice getting teary.
"I'm sure everything will be fine," Lois said with encouragement.
She put a hand on the other woman's shoulder. Sheila turned and looked at Lois as if she had just seen her for the first time.
"You know, I don't even know your name," Sheila said with a chuckle.
"Oh! My name is Lois Lane."
"THE Lois Lane?" asked Sheila, questioningly. "Well, it's nice to finally meet the woman behind all of those great articles."
"Thank you. And your name is?"
"Sheila Thackerson and this is my daughter Katelyn."
"Well, it's nice to finally be introduced to you and your daughter," said Lois as she looked down at Katelyn's sleeping form. "I'm just sorry we had to meet under these conditions."
"That makes two of us. I just hope … I hope that everything … " Sheila cut off and began to cry.
Lois instinctively reached up and hugged the other woman as she cried against her shoulder. A few minutes later, Sheila pulled back.
"I'm sorry. I just can't believe this happened. I mean, Karen was any normal 8 year old girl and now I don't even know what's going to happen to her. It just took a second to totally turn our lives around," Sheila said sadly.
Lois nodded sympathetically.
"I know exactly what you mean. I've had it happen a few times myself."
"I just … don't know what to do," Sheila said through a deep breath.
Lois opened her mouth to say something and noticed Clark coming through the doors. She jumped up and ran to him.
"Clark! Oh, thank God you're here!" she exclaimed.
Clark gladly embraced his wife and held her tightly. He kissed her temple and then rested his head on her shoulder.
"Are you okay?" he asked a few minutes later when he had pulled away from her.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she said.
"What happened? Was anyone hurt?" Clark asked anxiously.
"Come over here and we'll tell you what happened," said Lois.
Clark quickly followed Lois and sat down in a chair next to her. Sheila and Lois quickly filled him in on the accident and what had happened afterwards. Clark just shook his head.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there, Lois."
Lois put a hand on his shoulder.
"Clark, honey, you couldn't have known what was going to happen."
"Well, I always seem to be off somewhere when something happens to you. I just wish I could have been there tonight."
"Honey, there was nothing that you could have done other than what had already been done by the cops and the paramedics. You can't be everywhere all the time," Lois said.
Clark smiled a half smile and stroked her cheek with his thumb. At that moment, the doctor came out to the waiting room and called Sheila over to talk to her. Lois sat watching closely as Sheila stood up and crossed the room to the doctor. He talked quietly, but Lois could see the impact his words were having on the other woman. Suddenly, Sheila clapped her hand to her mouth as big tears filled her eyes. The doctor grabbed her arm to steady her as he continued to talk, but Sheila could only shake her head in disbelief. The doctor then escorted her over to the seat by Lois and sat her down. Lois put her hand on Sheila's shoulder to comfort her as she sobbed into her hands. The words were whispered so softly at first that Lois couldn't hear them. But as she spoke them again, Sheila's voice grew louder.
"She's gone," Sheila simply said.
Clark spun into the suit and picked Lois up to fly them home. It had been several hours since Lois and he had heard the news of Karen's death, and she was taking it harder than Clark expected. They flew home in almost complete silence, each not knowing what to say to the other. Clark landed on the balcony and put Lois down on the ground. She immediately turned to him and hugged him. Glad that he still could hold her, Clark pulled her to him and whispered soothing words in her ear. A little while later, she pulled back from him and headed inside to their bedroom. Clark quickly followed her and changed from his suit to his pajamas in a single spin when he reached the bedroom. He noticed her sitting on the edge of the bed and walked over to sit next to her. He put his arm around her and pulled her to him. It was at this moment that Lois burst into tears. Clark, not expecting this severe of a reaction from her, quickly pulled her into his lap and held her as she cried. After a few minutes, she looked up at him.
"I really wish you had been there tonight. I could have handled all of this so much better. I just felt so … helpless. With you there, I would have at least had the strength not to cry," Lois said tearfully.
Clark just looked at her and brushed the tears away with the back of his fingers.
"Lois, you are anything but helpless. Believe me when I tell you this. I know it had to be horrifying to see and be involved in what happened tonight," Clark said looking lovingly at her, "and, yes, I am very sorry that I wasn't there to prevent the accident from occurring and to comfort you when it did happen, but you said yourself that I cannot be everywhere I'm needed all of the time."
"I'm sorry Clark. When you repeat my words back to me, it makes it sound like I'm blaming you for the accident even occurring. That's not what I meant by it. I just meant that I need you, and I wanted you there with me. I'm beginning to realize how much I need you and want you to be a part of everything in my life, even the bad."
"Lois, I will be every part of your life, and you will be every part of mine until … well, forever. There's no doubt about that. I love you more than anything, and I would never let any part of our lives not be lived by both of us together," Clark said as he picked up Lois's hand, "and I know that together," he entwined his hand in hers, "we can overcome anything."
Raising her hand to his lips, he kissed it and placed it on the bed next to them. Lois smiled faintly and looked into his eyes. She still didn't know what she had done to deserve such a loving, kind man for a husband.
"I love you so much," Lois said while she looked at him.
He smiled at her and hugged her tightly.
"I love you, too, Lois."
She sighed, slowly climbed out of his lap, and crossed the room to retrieve her nightgown from the drawer she kept it in. Feeling extremely exhausted from the night's events, Lois quickly changed and crawled into bed. Clark pulled her to him and held her while she slept. He became her source of comfort and strength throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning when she finally fell out of a fitful sleep and into one without dreams.
The next few weeks were pretty uneventful. Lois was still depressed about the accident but seemed to be taking it better everyday. Clark was always patient and supportive and was willing to talk to her about the things on her mind. But lately, Lois seemed to be clamming up on him and he didn't really understand why.
Back when they had first met, Lois had a hard time opening up to him and admitting certain feelings. He had seen this diminish with time and the growth of their relationship. However, lately, Lois seemed to be regressing back to that state and seemed unwilling to share any fears that she might have. Clark became increasingly concerned when she began to dive nose first into every story that came along. When he did try to talk to her about it, she just brushed it off like she didn't know what he was talking about. Even though he knew Lois was a very strong and capable person, it still worried him. He had never seen her so upset over someone else's loss. Of course Lois had heart, but she never got emotionally involved in something such as this. He knew that she had practically seen Karen die in front of her, but he expected her to accept it with a little more ease. It had been difficult enough for Clark to even accept that she had been in yet another accident without him there to protect her, let alone deal with Lois's emotional state because of the accident.
*What am I thinking? I know that I would go through hell and back for Lois. We have been through so much already. Why can't I just accept the facts and be there to support her? I know that she has been through a lot with the accident and seeing about Karen and her family. It has been very draining on Lois and all I can do now is sit here and think like this?*
Clark sat back in his chair and looked at Lois across the room from him. She looked deep in thought while she sat there typing away at her computer. That was something else Clark thought was unusual about Lois's behavior. She seemed to be getting into the stories, yet, when she was working on them alone, like she was now, she always seemed distant and preoccupied. Clark slowly got up from his chair and headed over to Lois's desk. He stopped in front of it and just looked at her working diligently. Apparently lost in thought, Lois didn't see Clark standing there and continued typing her article. He cleared his throat and she looked up, startled.
"Hi," Clark said.
"Oh, … hi. Did you need something?" Lois asked.
"Uh, … no. I just came over to see what you were doing. Obviously it had to be something pretty interesting because you didn't even hear me come up to your desk," Clark said.
"Oh, … yeah. Well, it's not that interesting. It's just this article I was working on for that bank robbery on Monday. I …"
"Lois," Clark began cautiously, "is…I'm worried about … how you've been lately."
Lois looked up and smiled. "I'm fine, Clark. Honest."
"Well, I just… " Clark began again, choosing his words carefully, "I wanted to make sure that … you're okay with everything … that happened … uh…"
"Clark, I am fine. If you want me to say it again, I will," Lois said as she stood up and brought her face up to his. "I am fine."
"Okay," Clark said as he turned around and walked back to his desk.
*Maybe I am overreacting about this. I just hate to see Lois in distress and her not tell me about it. I just wish she knew that I only want to help her.*
Later that day, Lois and Clark left the Planet and headed back home. He flagged down a taxi to take them home. The ride was quiet, yet there was a lot of tension in the air. Clark knew that Lois was hiding something, but he couldn't figure out what it was. He had tried to ask her nicely about what had been bothering her, but had gotten nowhere with her. They stopped in front of their townhouse, and Clark paid the driver as Lois headed inside. He soon caught up with her as she unlocked the door. They shed their coats and Clark strode towards the kitchen to prepare dinner.
Clark was surprised that even preparing one of Lois's favorite dinners didn't bring her out of her state. She sat quietly throughout the meal without uttering two words. He found this strange but didn't want to have the same conversation as the one at the Planet. Leaving her alone with her thoughts, he cleared the table when they were both finished eating. Before he was even done washing the dishes, Lois had gone upstairs to take a hot bath. He soon joined her in the bedroom as he got ready for bed. Noticing Lois had already gotten under the covers, he hurried to get into bed. Clark slowly crawled between the sheets, turned out the light, and kissed Lois goodnight. He sighed as he settled down and then fell into a deep sleep.
Clark felt something hit him during the night and sat straight up in bed. He looked to his left and saw Lois thrashing around in the bed. She had tossed all of the covers off of her and was flailing her arms and legs. Clark grabbed her arms to still her movements and spoke her name to bring her out of her nightmare. Lois opened her eyes and looked at him.
"Lois … " he said, as he brushed the hair off her sweaty brow, "are you all right?"
Lois caught her breath.
"Yes. I'm fine."
She pushed his hands away from her face and turned over to go back to sleep.
"No you're not," Clark stated firmly.
Lois didn't turn over.
"I'm very worried about you. Why won't you talk to me?" Clark put a hand on her shoulder.
"Because there's nothing to say."
"I think there's plenty to say, Lois, and I'm willing to listen if you'll just give me the chance."
Lois sighed. "Goodnight, Clark."
"Lois … "
Clark knew he was treading on dangerous ground, but he hated not being able to help her when she was like this.
"Clark, I'm fine. Just go to sleep, okay?"
"No. It's not okay, Lois. You're not okay, and if you think you are, then you're just kidding yourself," Clark said.
With that, Lois sat straight up and looked him dead in the eye.
"Who are you to decide if I'm okay or if I'm not okay?"
"Lois, … I know something's wrong. Just tell me and we'll work it out together."
"I don't need your help, Clark, because there is nothing to help me with," Lois said, practically shouting. "Fine. All I'm saying is that when you're ready to talk then I'll be here ready to listen." Clark turned over and bundled up in the covers. Lois, all of a sudden, got up and headed out the door.
"Where are you going?" Clark asked.
"Downstairs. I think the couch would be a little more inviting right now," Lois said, angrily.
"Lois … "
Clark tried to apologize but it was too late. He knew that he had done the wrong thing by trying to force her to fess up to what had been bothering her, but it hurt him so much to see her in this state. He had only wanted her to be able to confide in him about what had been bothering her, but now he had even blown that chance. All he could do was wait until she decided to come to him with what was bothering her.
The next few days passed with a slowness that Clark had never known. Lois wouldn't talk to him at home and only talked to him in a professional sense at work. It was driving him crazy, but he didn't know what to do about it except to let her cool off. He had never seen Lois hold a grudge against him this long and he became even more worried since her nightmares continued on a nightly basis. He knew she was terribly afraid of something, but he didn't know what. And he didn't know how to help her if she was unwilling to share her feelings with him. Clark sat back in his chair at his desk and studied Lois from a distance.
"You're not gonna get much work done by staring at your wife, Kent," Perry said.
Clark looked up at him and then back at his desk.
"Is something wrong between you two?"
Clark paused for a minute and decided to tell Perry what was wrong.
"Well, … ever since Lois was involved in the accident a few weeks ago, she's been diving into every story that's come along. I mean, I know that's really not that unusual, but she's ignoring my attempts to try to get her to talk about the accident. And worst of all, she's been having bad nightmares. It's really frustrating because she won't tell me what's wrong. I keep trying to be there for her and she refuses to let me do anything."
"Well, Son, you know Lois and when she's good and ready, she'll tell you what's on her mind. She's been on her own most of her life, and she's used to having to depend only on herself when times get tough. Hell, it took her two years just to be able to tell me … "
Lois walked over about that time.
"Clark, I need the list of suspects that we have on that smuggling story."
Clark looked up at her and smiled softly as he handed her the list. She quickly turned on her heel and walked back to her desk.
"Wow. What did you say to her?"
"Nothing, Chief. I just tried to get her to talk to me and she kinda got angry with me when I did."
"Well, a lot angry. She won't talk to me at all at home. At least she talks to me here, even if it is in a professional sense."
"Well, I have two words for you: Good luck."
"Thanks, Chief. I have a feeling I'm going to need it."
Perry turned from Clark's desk and headed back to his office. He really did feel sorry for Clark because he knew how Lois could be when she was angry. He also knew how Clark could be when he was worried about Lois. Perry sighed and just hoped that Clark's patience would hold out over her grudge.
Lois woke with a start in the middle of the night. She had that awful dream again. She looked to her right and saw that Clark was sleeping soundly. Apparently her sudden jarring didn't wake him. She was silently thankful for the moment because she didn't want him to accuse her of hiding her feelings again, but then she began to feel very scared and lonely.
Lois had always had a difficult time dealing with her emotions, but it had gotten easier since she and Clark had gotten closer. Since the accident though, she had pulled back from telling Clark what she was fearing. It was hard enough to admit fear to herself, let alone Clark. He was the perfect husband, always patient and kind, but she just wanted to be able to deal with this on her own. She supposed that she felt this way because she wanted to maintain her independence and the feeling of being in control. That had always been important to her and she felt that if she could deal with this, like everything else in the past, then that meant she was a strong person.
*I will deal with this! I don't need to bother Clark. It would only worry him further.*
With that, she tried to go back to sleep, but without much success. She tossed and turned for more than an hour and finally sat up, frustrated. She looked down at Clark's sleeping form and suddenly began to cry. Lois buried her face in her knees and sobbed. Suddenly, she felt Clark's strong arms come around her shoulders in a warm embrace. She gladly entered his arms and stayed there while she cried. He stroked her hair and listened as she apologized through her tears.
"Clark, I'm so sorry. I know… "
"Shhhh. It's okay."
She pulled away to look at him.
"No, I … I want to tell you why I've been acting this way. Just be patient with me. This could take a while. Not because it's a long story, but just because I'm not used to bearing my soul at the drop of a hat. I know since we've been married I have opened up a lot more, but I just can't seem to face something that I am afraid of. Do you know what I mean? I mean life itself is very scary, but I can always seem to handle the big stuff. It's just always these little details that always get me … "
"Uh, … you're babbling."
"Oh. I'm sorry, sweetheart," Lois said. "Anyway, as I was saying before, when I saw the accident the other week I was … really taken back by what happened. I have never witnessed an accident like that right before my eyes. It was horrifying. I was amazed that I wasn't hurt at all in the wreck. I guess fate was on my side that night," Lois said, "but it wasn't on Karen's," she barely whispered.
"I remember now seeing Karen before the accident happened. Sheila told me later on that night that Karen had … " Lois began to get teary, " … taken her seat belt off to see what I was honking my horn about. Right before the accident, Clark, I saw her look back at me like she was trying to find out what I was trying to signal them about. Then I saw Sheila, who was driving, tell her to turn around and sit down. She did turn around, but … she didn't put her seat belt back on. I guess Sheila didn't notice because of all the commotion I was causing, but I finally passed her and hit that puddle. That's when things really went downhill. When my car had finally stopped, I looked up in time to see them get hit from behind and pushed into a telephone pole," Lois said as tears streamed down her face.
Clark just nodded.
"Clark, don't you see what happened?"
"What are you talking about, Lois? The truck hit them and they hit the telephone pole. You told me that the night it happened."
Lois shook her head.
"No. I mean the fact that if I hadn't done what I did then Karen would still be alive tonight. If I hadn't honked my horn and flashed my lights then she would be fine. I don't know why I just didn't pass them and move on. I just wish there was something that I could do to … " Lois's voice caught in her throat and she began to sob uncontrollably.
Clark held her while she cried.
"Lois, honey, that's not what happened. I mean it is, but you're not responsible for Karen's death. You were just trying to warn them about the truck. Honey, you had no idea what was going to happen."
Lois was silent except for her tears, and Clark felt that there was no way that he could tell her that Karen's death was not her fault. He could see her point of view, but he also knew that Lois would never take a life intentionally. As these thoughts went through Clark's mind, he rocked Lois back and forth in hopes to stop her tears. Several minutes later, her sobs had quieted to an occasional sniffle. Lois sat up, took a deep, shuttering breath, and looked at Clark. His heart ached to see her like this. Reaching a hand up, Clark stroked her cheek and smiled softly at her. She just looked at him with pain-filled eyes and leaned into his touch. Lois slowly closed her eyes and felt a few more tears escape down her cheeks.
"I love you, Clark," Lois said, her eyes still closed.
Clark smiled at his wife.
"I love you, too, Lois, more than you know."
With that she opened her eyes and climbed into his lap. He held her there for a long time and was astonished when he looked down and saw that she had finally fallen asleep. Clark slowly floated to her side of the bed and laid her down. With Lois asleep, Clark felt better. He had seen how much this wreck had bothered her and now he at least knew the reason why she had taken it so hard. Drained himself, Clark floated to his side of the bed and fell asleep instantly.
The next morning, Lois woke up to the smell of breakfast. She quickly got up and went to the kitchen to see what Clark had fixed for them to eat. Lois bounced down the stairs feeling better than she had felt in weeks. She took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen. Clark was behind the stove making his mother's famous blueberry pancakes and whistling the theme song to Gilligan's Island. He saw her and the refreshed look on her face and instantly felt a weight lift from his shoulders. He had been so worried after last night's outburst.
They ate breakfast together and talked about the stories that they had worked on over the past few weeks. Lois seemed to be getting back to her old self. Clark still thought better than to ask her to talk about the accident again. Last night had been a nightmare enough for both of them. He knew that now that she had talked to him, she would work through the problem with more ease. One of the things he found most amazing about Lois was that she always tried to work things out by herself when she knew that with him, things could almost always be worked out faster and easier. He guessed she didn't always confide in him because she had been so independent for most of her life, but he felt like that was all about to change.
Clark got up from the table and took their dishes to the sink. He looked back at Lois who had stopped talking for a while. She had that far away look in her eyes once again, and Clark felt that feeling of dread return to his gut.
*Maybe everything hasn't been resolved yet,* Clark thought grimly.
He sighed and walked over to his wife.
"Earth to Lois. Come in Lois."
She shook her head and looked up at him.
"I'm sorry, Clark. I just can't seem to keep my mind on one subject today."
"Or off one subject," Clark mumbled under his breath.
"Nothing, honey. I just want you to know that if you have anymore problems with … you know what, that I am here to listen, okay? You don't have to deal with this alone. I'll help you."
Lois smiled and put her hand on Clark's.
"Clark, I'm … "
"I know. You're fine."
She smiled and nodded at him. He really seemed to understand her or at least predict some of her behavior. No one else had ever been able to do that and it made Lois feel better. Lois got up from the table and headed for their bedroom to get ready for work.
"Where are you going?" asked Clark.
Lois stopped in front of the kitchen doors and turned to look at Clark.
"To get ready for work, Clark."
"Well, I called Perry and he gave both of us the day off. He said that we've both been working hard and needed some time off."
"Clark, there is nothing to be worried about. I told you that I'm fine. Now quit being closed minded about this and just accept it."
Clark stood there looking at his wife. He knew that she wasn't fine and the only thing she had accomplished was telling him what was bothering her. He couldn't just sit back and watch her put herself through agony. It tore him up too much. To Clark's astonishment, he felt like crying himself. Maybe that would tell her how much she was hurting him by not sharing her problems with him. He just shook his head and walked past her into the den.
"What? No more lecture?" As soon as Lois said these words, she regretted it.
Clark spun around.
"You know what Lois?" Clark said, almost shouting. "You say that you're fine and I believe you, but let me tell you something. I am not fine, and do you know why? Because my wife, my significant other, will not talk to me about what is on her mind when I know that it's tearing her up inside," he said as tears welled up in his eyes. He took a breath.
"Lois, I saw you last night and you were a mess. I have never been that scared for you in my life. I just want you to talk to me and tell me what's wrong so that maybe I can help you get through this. Don't you understand that by not telling me what's wrong that you're tearing me up in the process?" he said as he stared at her.
She seemed too shocked to respond, so he continued, his voice softer. "When you don't tell me, I feel nothing but helplessness. I can't do anything to help you unless you tell me; and I want to help you through anything that happens, but that means that you have to trust me and let me in," Clark said as he wiped his eyes with a swipe of his fingers and sat down on the couch with a flop.
Lois still didn't know what to say. She now knew that in trying to protect him from her fears, she had only hurt him more. Hanging her head, she started up the stairs toward their bedroom. Clark sat there and waited until he heard the bedroom door close. He knew what he had said had shocked and even hurt her, but he had to tell her what her silence was doing to him. He couldn't just sit back and watch her do that to herself. If she wasn't willing to do something about it, then Clark was going to try his hardest to get her to face the problem. Clark took a deep breath and suddenly felt very tired. He looked at the stairs and wondered what Lois was doing. Propping his head in his hand, he soon fell asleep.
Several hours later, Clark woke up. He looked around the house but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. He wondered if Lois was still in the bedroom or if she had left the house to think things over. Clark slowly climbed the stairs and headed to their bedroom. He opened the door to find her sound asleep on the bed. She looked like an angel laying there sleeping peacefully. Clark walked over to the bed and pushed a strand of hair out of her face. She didn't even stir which indicated to Clark that she was indeed over tired and needed the day off. Softly, rain began to beat against the window. Clark turned around and noticed the gray, overcast sky.
*Now that's appropriate,* Clark thought to himself.
He turned back to Lois and gave her a small kiss on the cheek before leaving the bedroom. He went downstairs and sat in front of the computer for a while, looking for information on the suspects for the smuggling story that he and Lois were working on.
Lois, still sleeping, realized that she was in her nightmare once again. She saw the Taurus in front of her and Karen looking back at her to find out what Lois was signaling about. This time though, Lois wasn't signaling about the truck, she was signaling about Karen and what she knew was going to happen to her. Lois decided that flashing her lights and honking her horn wasn't going to work so she began to pass the other car. She almost got up to the driver's window when she hit a puddle in the middle of the road. She skidded and began spinning out of control once again.
After hitting the tree and then stopping at the base of the telephone pole, Lois looked up and saw the truck hit the back of the Taurus. It skidded forward and hit a telephone pole nose first. Lois scrambled out of the jeep and ran over. She felt like she was moving in slow motion. After finally reaching the Taurus, she opened the back door.
"Is everyone okay?" asked Lois.
"Yes. I think everyone's … " the woman began saying, but Lois knew what was coming.
The woman looked to her right and saw the empty passenger seat.
"Karen, … where's Karen?"
"Don't worry I'll find her. Just stay put, okay?" Lois said as she closed the back door and ran looking for Karen.
She looked and saw the big hole in the windshield and knew what had happened. Running with all her might to the spot where she knew Karen's body would lay, Lois found that she wasn't there. Frantically, Lois began looking for Karen, but couldn't find her anywhere. She ran past the spot where Karen should have been and into a large field. Soon, Lois wasn't looking for Karen, but trying to run as far away as she could. She could feel the tears streaming down her face as she began running harder and harder. If she could just run far enough, she would be okay. She had to get away from this. It was just too much to bear.
Suddenly, Lois tripped in a hole and came tumbling to the ground. It seemed to take forever to finally feel the solid earth beneath her. When she did feel it, she looked up and saw the angry clouds that beat the cold rain down on her now exhausted body. She was just so, so tired.
*I'll be … okay if I can just … just lay here a while.* Lois closed her eyes and then felt a small hand on her shoulder.
She opened her eyes and looked to where the hand was coming from. To her surprise, it was Karen's hand that rested on her shoulder. Lois sat up and looked at the young girl in astonishment.
"I thought … I …"
"Lois … "
"How do you know who I am?"
"That doesn't matter. What does matter is the grief that you're going through for me. It isn't necessary. I can't blame you for what happened to me. You were just trying to warn me and my family."
"But you died … " Lois began, the tears taking over, "and it was because of me. Don't you see? If I hadn't flashed my lights and honked my horn at your mother, then you'd still be alive today. I can't help but feel responsible for what happened to you, Karen. I am so very sorry," Lois said as she cried.
"No. Lois, you didn't do anything wrong. If you hadn't tried to warn my mother about the truck then we all could have died. It's okay," Karen said as she kneeled in front of Lois and put her hands on her shoulders.
Lois looked up at the little girl. She looked so different from the night that Lois had seen her in the crash. She was … beautiful. Lois just stared at her small, round face and smiled. She could sense the love and forgiveness that Karen was giving her and scooped the child up in a warm embrace. Karen hugged her back with equal force as Lois let the last of her tears slide down her cheeks. Lois never wanted to let go of her. She felt such tremendous relief and joy because this child had forgiven her for something she had felt terrible guilt over.
For the first time in weeks, Lois felt her strength returning. She closed her eyes and reveled in the embrace she shared with the little girl. A few seconds later, Lois was shocked to find her arms empty. She looked up and saw Karen running across the field, dancing and skipping. Lois just smiled and clapped her hands to her mouth.
"Thank you, … thank you," she said softly.
Slowly, Lois opened her eyes. She had been crying in her sleep but not from grief. She had cried tears of joy in knowing that Karen didn't blame her for her death. In some special way, Lois felt a bond with the little girl she had tried to help on that rainy night in February.
Looking at the clock, Lois realized it was mid-afternoon and quickly got up out of bed. She slowly walked down the stairs and saw Clark at his computer. He caught a glimpse of something moving and looked up to find her walking over to him. Seeing her tear stained face, he thought that maybe she was having another guilt trip over Karen's death, but he noticed something in her face that hadn't been there for weeks; hope, relief, and even a little happiness.
"What've you been doing?" Clark asked, his voice a hoarse whisper.
Lois took a deep breath.
"Well, I've mostly slept."
She paused for a minute.
"I had the dream again."
Clark looked at her, concerned.
"No, Clark, it's okay. It … It was different this time."
"Well, the dream began as it normally did except when I went to find Karen's body, it wasn't there. I looked all over, but I couldn't find her anywhere, so I just ran. I ran into a large field that was in front of me until I just couldn't run anymore. I tripped in a hole and lay on the ground, too exhausted to move. Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned over and saw Karen standing behind me. I got up and we talked. I mean… we had a conversation." Lois said this last sentence with a chuckle.
"Really?" Clark said, cocking an eyebrow.
"Yeah, but she told me that she didn't blame me for anything. She said that she knew I was trying to warn them and not to blame myself for what happened. But then I looked at her, I mean, really looked at her, and what I saw amazed me. She looked … beautiful. I couldn't get over it, so I just stared at her for what felt like an eternity. In that instant, though, I felt like she was forgiving me and helping me deal with the guilt I felt. It was like she wanted me to feel that it was all okay. So I hugged her. And then … she was gone. I looked up and saw her running and skipping across the field. It was so strange, but … it was wonderful," Lois finished with a soft sigh.
Clark smiled at his wife.
"I'm really glad this worked out between you and Karen."
"I really should have been more patient with you, Lois. I just worry about you sometimes, and I want you to realize that you can always come to me with any problem that you have, no matter what."
"I think I know that now," Lois stated.
Lois moved over to Clark and sat in his lap.
"I love you, Mr. Kent," she said, as she embraced him in a tight hug.
"And I love you, Mrs. Kent," he said, returning her embrace with as much enthusiasm.
Clark pulled away and brought her chin up. They locked together in a long, passionate kiss and held each other for a long time. When the kiss finally broke, Clark looked down at his wife and smiled at her. Lois got out of his lap and walked over to the stairs.
"Where are you going?" Clark inquired.
"I thought I'd go back to the bedroom."
"Are you still tired?"
Lois looked at him thoughtfully.
"No, but I thought that maybe we could work on that forgiveness thing. Maybe you could teach me a few lessons."
Clark quickly got up and met his wife at the stairs.
"I'd be happy to," he said with a smile.
With that, they were up the stairs in a flash. Throughout the night, sounds of pleasure and laughter came from the bedroom as Lois and Clark explored the regions of forgiveness and love together.
*Hope you enjoyed this little story of mine!