By Peace (PEverett9@aol.com)
Summary: When Lois is offered a job as a political analyst by a sexy magazine owner, Clark's jealousy gene kicks in — which annoys Lois. But making up is fun to do, and Lois has their reconciliation all mapped out.
She really didn't mean for it to happen that way. She had long since understood why Clark sometimes had to rush away — she knew when she married him that he was a package deal with Superman, with all the perks and problems the Man of Steel brought to their relationship.
But for a week now they had been trying to find some time to be alone together, and every day something had come up. Quiet evenings at home were disrupted by calls to handle breaking stories, lunch dates were abandoned as Clark responded to *another* cry for help. Today just as she was about to say, "Let's go," a familiar look of distraction crossed his face, followed immediately by a grimace of frustration. His hand brushed across her back in apology as he hurried to the stairwell.
And as the stairwell door clicked shut behind him, the elevator doors opened and a man walked in. And not just any man — the very well-known editor of a new political magazine that had been the talk of the town since its debut less than a year ago. The *drop dead gorgeous* editor of that political magazine. Since she and Clark had fallen in love, Lois had never thought of any other man as "drop dead gorgeous" — Clark had spoiled her for any other man — but *this* man… *This* man scattered her thoughts to the winds the way Superman had those first weeks.
Lois suddenly realized he was standing by her desk, and speaking to her. She desperately corralled her senses, and looked up at him with what she hoped was an intelligent, professional smile as she stood up.
"Mr. Kennedy, it's a pleasure to meet you." She shook his proffered hand, blushing a little at the frank admiration in his eyes.
"The pleasure's all mine, Ms. Lane," he smiled, threatening to scatter her wits again. "I've been following your series on the situation in the Metropolis city council, and when my lunch meeting was canceled unexpectedly, I thought I would drop by and say hello."
Lois glanced briefly at the stairwell door, then looked back at John Kennedy, Jr. "I'm flattered," she smiled. And then, in a stroke of boldness that was one part frustration and three parts pure Lois with a story dropped in her lap, she added, "Actually, my lunch date has been canceled, too — maybe we could take advantage of the fact that we're both free and have lunch together."
"Sounds like a plan to me," John grinned. "Seize the day and all that!"
As Lois picked up her purse, he slipped a hand under her elbow and guided her to the elevator. "We're on your turf here, so I'll depend on you to choose the restaurant."
As the elevator door closed, she looked back into the pit and saw envy on the faces of her colleagues. Well, it was a tough job but *some*body had to do it…
Jimmy Olsen watched Lois and John exit the newsroom; they were animatedly discussing the relative merits of Italian food over Chinese. //None of your business, Jim, just butt out.// He looked at those around him and wondered if they'd butt out, too…
It was barely 10 minutes later when Clark returned to the newsroom and faced his wife's empty chair. He hadn't really expected her to wait for him — they had no way of knowing how long he would be when he went -~>. Still, he had thought he might be able to keep their lunch date today. Problem was, they hadn't decided beforehand on where to eat — - he had planned on suggesting that little churrascaria down in Cuiaba that they had found on their last vacation in Brazil. Beef roasted over an open fire was just the taste he wanted today.
"I wonder where she decided to go," he muttered to himself. Spotting Jimmy on his way to the photolab, he hurried over. "Jimmy, did Lois say where she was planning on going to lunch — we sort of got our wires crossed on when to meet, I think…" It was not the best excuse he had ever come up with, but it was the best he could manage on the spur of the moment.
"Ah…" Jimmy looked faintly embarrassed. "Actually, she went to lunch with… uh … John-John … you know, JFK, Jr.? They were debating Chinese versus Italian on the way out." His voice trailed off apologetically.
"John Kennedy?" Clark blinked in surprise, and a flicker of something else. "Right!" he nodded quickly, covering his … jealousy? Why should he be jealous? "She's been trying to interview him since his magazine came out. Well, good — good for her!" //Grow up, Kent// he scolded himself. //She's *your* wife, but she's also a reporter — the *best* reporter in town — and this could be a great interview.// But the idea of her having lunch with the man who had recently graced the cover of People Weekly as "The Sexiest Man Alive" still bothered him, and the fact that it bothered him, bothered him. //If the tables were turned, if it were Cindy Crawford letting me interview her over lunch, Lois would be the first to tell me to go — she'd be so proud.//
Clark sighed, suddenly at loose ends. He looked back over at Jimmy, who was watching him with a look of sympathy (pity?) on his face. "You wanna go grab a sandwich?"
"Oh, sorry, CK, I've got to get these pictures finished — I got something to eat while I work."
"Oh, okay…" Clark considered a moment. "Well, I guess I'll go over to Schlotzsky's and get something… If Perry comes looking for me, tell him I'll be right back."
"Sure thing, CK."
Two hours later, Lois and John strolled into the newsroom, heads close together, laughing. Clark looked up as they made their way over to his desk.
Lois put her hand lightly on the editor's arm. "John, I'd like you to meet my husband, Clark."
John immediately held out his hand. "Mr. Kent, it's a pleasure to meet you — I've been enjoying your series on the homeless shelters scandal — fascinating work you've done there."
//Yeah, I bet..// "Thank you, Mr. Kennedy."
John turned back to Lois. "I've got to get back to work — no rest for the wicked, you know! — but I hope you'll consider my proposal." He hesitated charmingly, then added softly, "I enjoyed our talk over lunch."
"Me too," Lois smiled. She had never been one to be overly impressed with celebrities, but //I just had lunch with John F. Kennedy, Jr. — and *he* enjoyed it!!!// Her breathing increased slightly as he squeezed her hand, then turned and left.
She sat down at her desk, and after a moment of staring into space, began going over her notes for her next article. Suddenly she realized Clark was still standing beside her. She looked up at him, unsure what to make of the expression on his face. "What's up?"
He chewed on his lower lip a moment, trying to stem his unreasoning annoyance, then suddenly shook his head. "Nothing." He turned toward his desk, then turned back. "I can't believe you went to lunch with him!"
Lois frowned. "Clark, it was no big deal. His meeting got canceled and he stopped by-"
"Yeah, but you and *I* were supposed to go to lunch!" he protested.
"Well, you weren't here, were you?" she snapped.
"Great — I have to take care of business," he hissed, the habit of covering his other job too strong to be forgotten even in a moment of anger, "and you go to lunch with the next man that walks in the door?"
"He wasn't— Well, actually he was.. but that's not the point."
"Isn't it?" He didn't care who heard him now. "Did you wait even five minutes-"
"Hey! hey, hey, now." Perry came up and shushed them. "I don't know what the problem is, but this is not the time or the place for a marital spat!" He seemed about to say something more, his face softening sympathetically, but then he just said, "You both have stories to work on — I suggest you get to them."
The couple glanced around the newsroom, suddenly aware that they were the center of attention. Clark moved quickly back to his desk.
Perry raised his voice. "Ok, folks, show's over, let's get back to work."
Clark flushed crimson at Perry's choice of words, but knew it was deserved. He tried to catch Lois' eye to mouth an apology, but she didn't look up.
They were on their way home that evening before they had a chance to continue their conversation, and an afternoon of hard work had calmed both their tempers.
"So what was this proposal *Mr. Kennedy* wants you to consider?" Clark asked, making an effort to make civil conversation. He saw Lois suddenly look very hesitant, clutching the steering wheel just a tad harder than she needed to.
"He wants me to come work with him on the magazine."
Clark stared over at her. After a moment, he looked away, gazing blindly out the window. "I see." And John Kennedy still expected her to consider it, which meant she hadn't told him-
"I told him no." Lois knew where Clark's thoughts were heading, and she was no longer angry enough with him to let him suffer.
Clark's head whipped around, a mixture of relief and confusion written across his face. "But he said-"
"Mr. Kennedy is not accustomed to having people tell him no," Lois admitted wryly. "He kept insisting that I think about it, reconsider, 'you don't have to decide today', that he would keep the offer open. I finally got tired of telling him there was nothing to reconsider, and so I ignored it when he said it that last time. I'm sorry — it didn't occur to me that you would take it wrong. But you-" she poked a finger in his shoulder, "should have known better!"
"You're right," Clark chuckled, relieved. "And you said no; that's the main thing."
"Well, it was silly of him to ask — I'm an investigative reporter, not a political analyst."
Clark leaned over and nuzzled her ear. "You could be anything you wanted."
Lois suddenly got very still. "Do you think I should have taken the offer?"
Clark paused in the act of kissing the side of her neck, not daring to breathe as he considered what to say. He finally asked carefully, "Do you *want* to accept his offer?" He raised his head, looking at her profile.
She stared at the road, not meeting his gaze. "It's tempting. It would be something new and different, a chance to expand my horizons…"
"Wait a minute… a minute ago you were saying it was silly of him to ask, and now you're saying you're tempted to accept. Did I miss something here?" The idea of Lois leaving the Daily Planet was almost inconceivable. Would she also have to leave Metropolis? The magazine was based in Washington, D.C. Clark wanted to be supportive of his wife's career choices, but this threatened to turn his world upside down.
"I just said it was tempting, not that I was going to give into the temptation — and weren't you the one just saying I could 'be anything I wanted'?" Lois snapped. When Clark didn't respond, she finally said, "Look, let's just drop it, ok?"
Clark sat back in his seat, baffled. He had thought they were making up, but it appeared the situation was not as resolved as he'd thought. They drove the rest of the way home in silence, made small talk over dinner, lounged in front of the TV watching sitcoms that neither was particularly interested in.
When Clark slipped into bed that night, Lois lay with her back to him. She turned her head briefly to kiss him goodnight, but then lay still, allowing him to hold her, not shrugging him away, not turning in his arms for anything more. The job offer had caught her off guard, but Clark's reaction to it left her baffled — was he jealous? Of the job offer? Of John Kennedy? Could he be so unsure of her that — she started to turn over and ask him, but his measured breathing told her he was already asleep.
His eyes wide open, Clark stared at the back of his wife's head, listened to her heartbeat and breathing as they slowed and she slept, and he wondered how to make things right.
The next morning over breakfast, she suddenly said, "We've got to talk."
Clark looked over at her, and nodded. "Yeah."
"The Daily Planet is… my home, I guess. I can't imagine wanting to work anywhere else. And as flattering as John Kennedy's offer is, I have no intention of accepting it. I like my job, and I like working with you." She met his gaze firmly, warmed by the relief she saw in his eyes.
"Now about me having lunch with him—"
Clark interrupted her. "I'm the one who's got to apologize on that one," he said, his mouth twisting wryly. "I really was looking forward to going to lunch with you, and when I found out you'd gone with someone else, I got mad — all out of proportion to the situation." He hesitated a moment before continuing, "And knowing that you were with the man for whom the phrase 'drop dead gorgeous' was coined-" He crooked his fingers in the air to put quotes around the phrase.
Lois moved quickly around the table, wrapping her arms around Clark's neck. "Was it? I thought it was coined for you."
"For me?" He was immensely pleased, struggling to keep a smug grin off his face — and she knew it.
"Of course, silly. You're the only drop dead gorgeous man I know." She stroked his cheek, smiling as he blushed, staring deep into his eyes.
"Forgive me for not trusting you?"
She brushed a stray lock of hair out of his eyes before whispering, "Yeah…"
He drew her down onto his lap and kissed her. She responded for a moment, then pulled away reluctantly. "As much as I'd like to continue that, I've got a meeting with Perry at nine, and I've got to go over my notes before I talk to him."
Clark sighed. "Yeah, I've got to get busy, too. Much as I'd like to just stay here…"
"Tonight…" Lois grinned.
"I'll hold you to that," Clark grinned back.
Late that afternoon, Lois came over to Clark's desk, leaning over his shoulder to drop a scrap of paper on his desk. "I've got to run some errands — would you mind picking up my dry-cleaning for me on your way home?"
"Sure, no problem." He reached up to kiss her lightly, and was pleasantly surprised when she drew him up further for a better kiss. Then she released him, leaving him slightly breathless, and used her thumb to clean a trace of lipstick off his mouth.
"Don't forget, now," she whispered, tapping the dry- cleaning receipt.
"I won't forget," he protested, wondering what she was up to. He knew that glint in her eye too well to ignore it.
As soon as he could, he finished up his work and headed out. The address on the dry-cleaning receipt was close by, and as he walked down the sidewalk, he felt more cheerful than he had in over a week.
At the dry-cleaners, he presented the receipt, and stared in shock as they handed him a hanger with the tiniest black teddy he had ever seen on it. "Uh- Ar- uh.. hmm… Are you sure this is right?" he stammered. He was quite sure he had never seen this particular garment before — he would definitely remember it!
The young woman behind the counter grinned at him. "Oh, yeah, it's the right one. You *are* Mr. Kent, aren't you?" He nodded. "There's a note attached…" She pointed out the folded square of burgundy paper with his name printed in silver ink on the outside that was pinned to the lace.
Would you stop by Dean's Wine Cellar
and get us some wine?
Clark stared down at the hanger. "Any chance you could wrap this in something… opaque?"
The young woman chuckled. "Sure." She draped a gray plastic sheath over the hanger and teddy, and handed it back to him. "You have a good evening, Mr. Kent," she said, her grin getting even wider.
"Oh, I think I'm going to have a very good evening!" he answered, and headed out the door, whistling.
At Dean's, the owner himself greeted Clark. "Mrs. Kent asked me to steer you to the red wines," he announced. Clark chose one he knew Lois liked. When he pulled out his wallet, the man held up a hand to stop him. "It has been taken care of," he assured Clark. "And now I am to give you this." He presented another note, this one decorated to look like a strip of film, with gold lettering.
"Thank you," said Clark, taking the note. He scanned it quickly, then put it in his pocket with the first note, took the bottle of wine and headed for his next destination, thinking about what he had read.
Are you in the mood for a movie this evening?
There's a Blockbuster just down the street.
At Blockbuster, he looked for "The Princess Bride", but the store's only copy was checked out. Then he noticed that Tom Hanks' new movie, "That Thing You Do", had just come out on video, and he got a copy of that. At the register, when he presented his card, the cashier said, "Oh! Mrs. Kent said to ask you to bring home this one as well." When she handed him a copy of "The Princess Bride", a huge grin spread across his face. He started to pay for the two movies, but she waved him off. "It's covered — don't worry about it! Enjoy!"
At his request, she put the two tapes in a plastic bag large enough to hold the wine as well, and handed him another note. This time the note resembled a large scoop of vanilla ice cream, with brown ink like chocolate syrup scrawled across the top to ask:
Ice cream, my love? There's a Fudge Castle over
on 6th Street.
//Lois must have monopolized the art department all afternoon making these// Clark thought as he headed over to 6th Street.
At the Fudge Castle, the cashier (a rather surly teenager) made no effort to steer him to anything in particular, which he supposed meant Lois trusted him to get her something chocolate. He grinned at the thought, then dithered several minutes before finally selecting three tubs. Once again, the cashier refused his money, and handed him a note, a red heart surrounded by roses.
"Thank you," Clark smiled, trying to brighten the young man's day a little. The cashier just grunted and went back to reading his comic book. Feeling slightly deflated, Clark waited till he got outside before opening the tightly sealed note. Inside was a Polaroid of Lois in the teddy, obviously taken at the Victoria's Secret store. His knees almost buckled at the sight.
Sweetheart, why aren't you home yet? The ice
cream is melting! I love you.
Clark roared with laughter, earning curious looks from the passersby. He considered ducking into an alley to change clothes and fly home, which he assumed was what Lois had in mind, but then he noticed the store right across the street from the Fudge Castle, and, looking again at the card in his hand, realized that Lois was not above subtle hints, along with her more specific requests.
Five minutes later, having added a bouquet of sweetheart roses to the many things he had to carry, he did duck into the alley, and sped out of it toward home in a blur of red and blue.
As he slipped through the open window at the back of the apartment, he could hear music playing and smell the savory scent of pot roast and potatoes. He had learned with Lois to eat more slowly, to savor his food instead of inhaling it, and years of world travel had broadened his appetite for exotic cuisine, but at heart he was still a farm boy — a meat and potatoes man. And to her delight, Lois had discovered that pot roast and potatoes was one thing that she couldn't ruin and actually enjoyed making.
Clark floated silently into the bedroom and set what he'd gathered in his afternoon "treasure hunt" on the bed before spinning out of the suit and into a black turtle neck, black jeans and a dark gray blazer. It was almost a 60's look, and yet Lois had assured him that he had a air of casual elegance in it, and he knew from the way her heartrate increased that she liked seeing him in black as much as he liked seeing her in burgundy.
Once dressed, he took the plastic cover off the teddy and hung it on the closet door, pausing for a moment to run his hand along the lace. He could hardly wait to see Lois in it, standing in front of him, not just posing blushingly for a saleswoman's camera. Then he checked the ice cream to see if it needed refreezing (it didn't), gathered it up with the roses, wine and videos, and went to find his wife.
She stood with her back to the door, lighting tall white tapers on the dining table, and he stood a moment in the doorway, enjoying the movement of her burgundy silk dress (his Christmas present to her from a year ago) as she made her way around the table. Then she looked up and saw him.
"I wondered when you were going to come out," she smiled. "You've been home almost three minutes!" She strolled toward him, puckering her lips to blow out the long match in her hand, her eyes never leaving his. "What took you so long?" she teased.
"Mmm… had to have another look at your… dry cleaning." He leaned down to kiss her lips. "Make sure I got the right one…" he kissed her again, "check it for rips…"
She wrapped her arms around his neck. "Shut up and kiss me some more," she demanded.
Clark promptly dipped his mouth to hers, feeling her lips part against his. He felt her tongue sweep across his lips, then sweep a second time, more insistently, when he didn't give her immediate access. Finally she pulled back to glare at him in mock annoyance.
"You're rushing things," he retorted, brushing his lips lightly across hers again. He held up the flowers. "These are for you."
"Oh, thank you!" She looked up and saw the laughter in his eyes. "What?"
"You and your 'subtle hints.'"
"Subtle like a freight train, huh?" she chuckled ruefully.
He laughed with her, then said, "Well, I'm glad you 'reminded' me — that teddy sort of made me forget my own name for a minute there…" He started to kiss her again, then suddenly remembered the ice cream still in his hand. "Oops, better get this in the freezer!"
"What kind did you get?" She tried to peek in the bag, but he held it away from her.
"Vanilla," he assured her. She stared at him, disbelieving. "Well, I went by the 'subtle hint' on the card—" he supersped to bedroom to retrieve it, and returned holding it up for her to see. "Vanilla ice cream. You do have chocolate sauce for us to write with, don't you?"
He held up the tub of ice cream. "See? French Vanilla, as requested."
"Of course, I also got Rocky Road and Double Dutch Chocolate Cheesecake, but we can put those away for another time since .. what .. you .. wanted—" By now, she had rushed over and was tickling him, and his words were interrupted by puffs of laughter, until she finally cut off the words and the laughter with her kiss.
Breathless, he pulled away from her again, backed up into the kitchen, avoiding her hands, running into the refrigerator, not daring to turn his back on her, and put the ice cream in the freezer. "Slow down," he insisted.
"If I slow down, you'll hear something and have to go be Superman—" Lois started to protest.
"I always come back."
"Yes, you always come back," she ran her hands up his chest under his blazer, "and Jimmy comes over, or Perry calls…" Her voice trailed off a little dejectedly as he cuddled her close. "What I wouldn't give for an evening with no interruptions."
Clark rocked her slowly in his arms. A light started to twinkle in his eyes. "I wonder… if I still have…"
"What?" Lois pulled back a bit to look up at him. Clark's eyes darted around, unseeing, as if he were instead searching for something in his mind. Suddenly he turned her loose and began rummaging through the books and papers on the shelf above his desk.
"Come on… where did I put it?"
"Clark? Where did you put what?" The grin on his face kept her from being concerned, but she was getting seriously curious by now.
"Aha!" Triumphantly he held up a strip of plastic covered paper.
Lois snatched it out of Clark's hand and read *Honolulu Hilton Honeymoon Suite — Do Not Disturb!* Her jaw dropped as she laughed in delight and amazement. "You kept this? What else did you keep from our honeymoon?"
"Just that." He grinned as he took it from her and hung it on the outside doorknob. "I figured it would come in handy sometime." He made his way around the apartment, turning off the ringers on all the phones, and checking to make sure the answering machine was on, but with the sound turned off. "Where's your beeper?" he asked, digging out his own. He shut them both off and set them by the phone in the living room.
"Now if we could just figure out how to turn off Superman, too…" she smiled up at him, and sighed. "Well, two out of three ain't bad."
"I won't go unless it's something major," he promised.
"You'll go if you're needed." She reached up and stroked his cheek.
He leaned into her caress. "Aren't I needed here?"
"Dance with me." He drew her into his arms, moving easily to the music on the stereo. They had taken a class together when investigating a story on a dance studio, and enjoyed dancing with each other in a variety of dance styles — occasionally even trying the tango. But tonight the music was slow and romantic, and they waltzed in uncomplicated steps, cheek-to-cheek, talking quietly about the day, the week, the job offer, clearing away all the clutter and debris of their lives, until they fell silent, holding each other close and swaying to the music.
And then Lois' stomach growled.
"Boy, talk about a mood-breaker!" she giggled.
"Human bodies make the strangest noises, have you noticed?" commented Clark, as he led her to the dining table.
"Oh, thanks, just because *you* don't have to eat…" she poked him in the stomach playfully, but suddenly he wasn't listening to her anymore. He tilted his head up, listening. "What is it?"
"The police will get it — that's what we pay taxes for. And Superman is taking the night off — I already told you that," he insisted, kissing her lightly.
He lowered his glasses and used his heat vision to quickly reheat the food. He held her chair for her, then sat to her right at the small square table. The conversation turned to movies as they ate — they discussed what they'd seen and what they wanted to see, Lois approved of his choice for that evening, and Clark thanked her for reserving "The Princess Bride" for him.
"You know, it never ceases to amaze me that that's your favorite movie," Lois teased.
"It's got the best line in the world in it," he insisted.
"Which? 'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die'?" asked Lois, in a creditable imitation of a Spanish accent.
Clark shook his head, raising her hand to his lips. "'This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?'"
"Aww…" But even under her teasing, Lois was warmed by the look in his eyes, and he knew it.
He drew her to her feet. "Are you ready for ice cream and the movie?"
She tilted her face up for him to kiss. "Mmm… yeah…" she sighed contentedly.
"Which kind do you want?"
"Vanilla, of course."
He stared at her a moment, and then they chorused, "NOT!!" He pushed her gently toward the living room. "Go start 'That ThingYou Do,' I'll get the ice cream and beat you to the couch."
"Yeah, yeah," she grumbled under her breath. "Just because you can fly…"
"I heard that."
Lois giggled, a sound that always made Clark's heart turn flip-flops. He fumbled in the drawer for spoons, and just barely made it to the couch ahead of her, pulling open the tub and offering her the first bite of Double Dutch Chocolate Cheesecake. Throughout the movie, which they had seen twice in the movie theatre, they fed each other ice cream, danced to the music, and kissed whenever the characters did or should have, agreeing that it wasn't nearly often enough. In between dance numbers, they snuggled on the couch.
At the end of the movie, as the characters melted into each other's arms, Clark drew Lois closer into his, finally deepening his kisses from teasing to passionate. As the end title music faded, Clark's hand found the remote and turned the TV off, leaving the room silent except for Lois' soft sighs as he nuzzled her ear.
Pulling her more securely onto his lap, he floated them across the room to the bedroom. "One uninterrupted evening, as promised."
Fade to black
Every now and then When the world steps in Stealing all our time away It soon takes so much We forget to touch That's when I know it's time for me to say:
Take my hand, let's walk through those doors And be free from the world once more In my arms, we can hide today And love the world away.
Once again we'll be Where our hearts are free And the time is ours to share Love will always stay Just a touch away Come with me — all the magic's waiting there!
Take my hand, let's walk through those door And be free from the world once more In my arms, we can hide today And love the world away.