By Peace (PEverett9@aol.com)
Summary: Jimmy's in love! Now if he can just stay awake long enough to propose …
Jimmy was absolutely sure that he had never been so tired in his whole life. And he had such big plans for this evening… if he wasn't careful, he'd fall asleep and blow the whole thing.
He had gotten great shots today of Superman putting out the fire in the apartment complex — he'd worked hard at being in all the right places to catch Superman bringing people out of the building. Then he'd raced back to his lab at the Planet to develop the film and get half a dozen shots selected and captioned to give to Perry to go with CK and Lois's article on the fire. This new computer photo system was great for cropping shots, not to mention speeding the whole process up – if he'd actually had to print proofsheets and prints, he would still be at the lab, squinting through a loupe, trying to see facial expressions. As it was, he had made his selections, lanned them to Perry, and still had time to run home and shower before meeting Lucy at the Kents' house for dinner.
Lucy. Just thinking about her made his toes curl deliciously. If only he weren't so tired..
He parked his motorcycle in front of the Kents' brownstone, grinning when he saw Lucy watching for him at the window. He waved to her, and she waved back, then disappeared, running around to the door to meet him.
"Hi, Jims!" She sounded a little breathless — was it just from running to the door? He liked to think that maybe who she was seeing at the door had something to do with her breathlessness. He wished he'd had time to get her flowers, but .. oh, well.
He suddenly remembered the first time she had called him Jims.
"Jims?" he had asked, a little suspiciously. He had just kissed her for the first time, and was not entirely sure what to make of her reaction.
She had blushed, dropping her eyes a bit. "Well, everybody calls you Jimmy, and I noticed you don't like 'Jimbo' that much, and I wanted a nickname for you that only I would use, and …" He stopped her babbling with a kiss, delighted that she wanted her own private nickname for him.
"Hi, yourself." He brought himself back to the present, cupping her sweet face in his hands, and kissed her. She always seemed to revel in his tenderness, except for sometimes when she delighted him with her passion, kissing him with wild abandon. Tonight he was too tired for passion or wild abandon, and felt quietly grateful that she returned his kiss lovingly but didn't fling her arms around his neck or leap into his arms.
Lucy drew him into the house. "Lois tells me you had some excitement today."
"Yeah, apartment fire. Superman—" he yawned hugely, then smiled apologetically, "sorry, Luce — Superman got everybody out, and managed to get the fire out before it totally destroyed the place, and I got it all on film!" He tried to sound enthusiastic, but the best he could managed was pleased.
Lucy ran her hand through his hair. "And now you're all worn out, aren't you? Poor baby." She wrapped her arms around him, drawing his head down onto her shoulder.
He snuggled against her with a sigh. "Be careful — I might just fall asleep standing right here!"
She laughed a little. "I have a better idea. Supper's running a little late — Clark said it's going to be another half an hour. Why don't you stretch out here on the sofa and let me rub your back? A nap will make you feel so much better…"
Jimmy raised his head and looked at her, smiling sleepily. "I love you, you know that?"
"Yeah. I love you too, Jims." She kissed him lightly, then herded him over to the couch, and he stretched out on it. Lucy looked down at him in mild exasperation. "Now how am I supposed to rub your back when you're lying on it?"
"Good point," Jimmy mumbled, turning over. /Good move, Jimmy/ he thought in disgust, /just make her think you're a total idiot — she'll really go for that — NOT!!/ He settled himself face down on the couch, leaving space for her to perch on the edge next to him as she massaged his shoulders. "Mmm, that feels good," he sighed, as Lucy dug her fingers into the tense muscles of his shoulders and neck.
Lucy let her touch lighten to a caress as she heard Jimmy's breathing slow, becoming deep and regular. She was running her hands up and down his back, feeling the sinewy muscles under the thin cotton shirt, when suddenly she heard him whisper, "Now you'll have to marry me, so you can rub my back…"
Her breath caught in her throat, and she said the first thing that came into her mind. "Be careful — I might just take you seriously!" His breathing continued deep and slow, and she was sure he was asleep, but then he mumbled, "You should."
Lucy was stunned. She eased off the sofa, and sat on the floor, looking at Jimmy's angelic face. There was no sign of mischief or teasing there — indeed, no sign that he was awake at all. She smoothed his hair back, then leaned forward and kissed his cheek. No reaction. She watched him sleep a few moments, then got up and tiptoed into the kitchen. Her sister and brother-in-law were embraced, kissing passionately. /Bunny rabbits! I swear those two are bunny rabbits!/ thought Lucy, as she turned to tiptoe back out again.
"Lucy, don't go," said Clark, "we'll behave." He seemed to be grinning a little more than usual just now, but then Lucy thought /he's been grinning for a year now, ever since the wedding — I've never seen anyone so ridiculously happy — well, after all they've been though they deserve it. I just hope Jims and I can be that happy someday./ She blushed at the thought.
Lois, ever observant, looked at her sister closely. "Ok, Luce, what's up?"
"What do you mean?" Lucy got a glass out of the cabinet and poured herself some juice, more to cover her embarrassment than out of thirst.
"You look like a cat that's just seen a really prize canary, and is just waiting to pounce."
"Who me? Pounce?" Lucy's voice dripped innocence.
"Spit it out, Sis!"
Lucy grinned, no longer able to contain herself. "Oh, it's nothing much — Jimmy just proposed to me in his sleep."
"'Scuse me?" Lois angled her head in disbelief, as Clark went over and stuck his head out the kitchen door to peek at the slumbering figure on the couch.
Clark shook with silent laughter. He knew Jimmy had been working up to this evening for the last couple of weeks. /Poor kid/ Clark thought, /he's gonna be so embarrassed to know he spoiled his own surprise./
Meanwhile, Lois and Lucy were conferring over exactly what Jimmy had said, what he meant, and how it should be handled. Finally, Clark came over and whispered, "If you two don't keep it down, you're going to wake him up. Lucy, give him a chance to do his thing, OK? You didn't hear anything — he didn't say anything."
Lois looked at her husband in surprise. "You knew?"
Clark held his finger to his lips. "Not a word," he insisted. "Let's get supper on the table."
Lucy looked at Lois, and shrugged. "OK," she agreed. "Big brother has spoken. Let's get supper on the table."
Clark tousled Lucy's hair affectionately. Getting a little sister was one of the unexpected perks of having married Lois. Lucy had moved back to Metropolis to be near Lois while he had been gone, and the two had formed a bond that they had never managed as children. When he and Lois married, he found that Lucy had already taken him into her heart as the big brother she had never had, looking to him for advice with flattering regularity.
The three of them worked together efficiently to get supper ready — Lucy had eaten with them often enough that she had learned to fit into the meal preparation process. Recently, Jimmy had been joining them frequently, and always pitched in, but four people in the kitchen made things a bit crowded, so he usually helped best by staying out of the way. Now, as Clark finally pulled the roast out of the oven, he nodded to Lucy.
"Time to wake up Sleeping Beauty," he grinned. "But remember — not a word!"
Lucy laughed, rolling her eyes. She went to the living room, biting her lip a little as she approached the couch. She had fantasized about kissing him awake — now she was going to get to actually do it. He had rolled over on his back again, and she could see his eyes darting back and forth under his eyelids as he dreamed. /This should heat up his dreams!/ she thought a little wickedly. She knelt by the couch and kissed his mouth. "Time to wake up, Jims," she whispered.
The smell of roast beef and potatoes, combined with the feel of soft lips moving against his, brought Jimmy out of his dream. He sighed, reluctant to let go of the dream where Lucy had been kissing him so sweetly, then moaned, much less reluctant when he realized it wasn't a dream. He wrapped his arms around her, trying to pull her down against him, but after a brief cuddle, she pulled away.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," she insisted, laughing.
"I'm awake," Jimmy assured her. He sat up and rubbed his face. "Oh, man, that helped. Thanks, sweets." He leaned over and kissed Lucy again quickly before standing up to lead her into the dining area.
Chatter over the dinner table was light and cheerful — these four had been good friends long enough to be very comfortable with each other, and Clark was making an extra effort to keep things light. Once supper was finished, they cleared the table quickly and got out the Scrabble board, proceeding to spend the rest of the evening arguing amiably over such deep topics as whether trekker and interrobang were really words.
It was pure torture for Jimmy and Lucy — the anticipation of the question that was going to come up later that evening was driving them both nuts. Finally Clark took pity on them, and faked a big yawn. "Well, guys, it's been real, but I'm beat. What say we call it a night, huh?" He was not surprised with Jimmy immediately agreed with him, and offered to take Lucy home.
For his part, Jimmy was a little surprised at how quickly Lucy grabbed her purse and was ready to go. She usually dawdled, chatting "just a minute more" with Lois, before he finally dragged her away. Tonight, she was virtually dragging him.
Outside, Jimmy took Lucy's hand, drawing it up into the crook of his arm, and steered her away from his bike. "Let's walk a bit, shall we?"
"Sure." They wandered down the street in companionable silence, till they reached the playground at the corner. Lucy was getting more and more curious. She was sure this was all building up to a proposal, but was he going to propose to her on a playground? Well, why not, especially considering the lack of rose gardens in the neighborhood.
He wandered with her over to the swingset, selecting two that were side-by-side and about the same height. He settled her into one swing, holding it steady for her as she sat, then plunked himself down on the other one, facing the opposite direction. Again, they swung slowly back and forth in silence, but this time Lucy found the quiet less companionable. In fact she was beginning to get downright tense with all the waiting. Finally she stopped her swing, pushing back a bit so she could look at Jimmy.
"What's on your mind, Jims?" she asked. He looked at her, chewing on his lower lip. After a moment, she prompted him a little further. "You look like you want to say something…?"
He sighed. "Yeah, just having a hard time getting started."
Dragging her feet along the ground, Lucy swung gently toward him. "Maybe this will help." She leaned over and kissed him. "I love you, Jims."
He dropped his gaze a second, then looked back up at her smiling. "I love you too, Luce." He sat a little straighter in the swing. "And yeah, that did help." He swallowed, took a deep breath and plunged ahead. "We've known each other for a good while now."
"Mmhmm." Lucy started to say more, then remembered Clark's advice /let him do his thing/ and limited herself to smiling encouragingly.
Jimmy slipped out of the swing, dropping to one knee in front of her. "Gotta do this right," she heard him mumble. She felt her eyes filling with tears, and blinked hard. He took her hands in his, running his thumbs gently back and forth over hers, then looked her squarely in the eye.
"Lucy Lane, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
There it was: the question she had been waiting for all evening — all her life it felt like. She'd known it was coming, and still it took her breath away. "Oh, Jims," she murmured. Then she took a deep breath of her own, and matched the formality of his words.
"James Olsen, I would be proud to be your wife."
The breath Jimmy hadn't realized he was holding burst out of him in a laugh of pure joy. "For real?!?" he gasped, belying the formality he had managed a moment before.
"For real!" Lucy laughed back at him, and suddenly she was in his arms, sitting in the dirt of the playground, and he was kissing her like his life depended on it. *********************
The next few weeks passed in a blur of activity. Jimmy and Lucy had decided they didn't want a long engagement. "Just look at everything that happened to Clark and Lois!" Still, Ellen Lane insisted on giving her younger daughter a beautiful wedding, "as nice as Lois's was.. should have been.. oh, you know what I mean!" And Lucy had to admit that a fancy wedding with all the trimmings appealed to her.
When the wedding day finally arrived, and Jimmy stood at the altar, with Clark as his best man standing beside him, he felt a moment of panic. /What am I getting into here?!?/ He watched Lucy's best friend march solemnly in to light the candles ("lighting our way to happiness" Lucy had called it), then Lois, the matron of honor, came down the aisle, and he heard Clark's breath quicken a bit beside him. He glanced over at his friend, and suddenly knew it was going to be all right — if he and Lucy were even half as happy together as Clark and Lois, it was going to be a great life. Then his little cousin came in her pink ruffled dress, scattering rose petals down the aisle with careful concentration. When she reached the front, she looked up at him and grinned engagingly.
"Hiya, Jimmy," she whispered loudly.
"Hiya, Katy," he whispered back.
As the music changed to The Wedding March, Katy pointed vigorously toward the door. "Look who's coming!!"
Jimmy winked at her, and then faced the door. His grin faded into a look of awe.
Clark nudged him unobtrusively. "Breathe, Jimmy," he instructed.
"Uh-huh…" was all Jimmy could manage, but he did start breathing again. Clark glanced over at Lois, and shared a smile with her before turning back to watch Lucy enter.
Jimmy thought he had never seen anyone more beautiful in his life. He knew she had spent a long time picking out the perfect dress — he also knew that he would probably have to look at the pictures of it later to have any idea what it looked like. For now all he could see was her beautiful face, eyes that spoke to him of trust and love, lips that he never tired of kissing.
As they neared the altar, Lucy stopped and took leave of her father, reaching up to kiss him tenderly on the cheek. Jimmy could see his own father grinning at him from the front row — he was glad that both he and Lucy had made peace with their fathers in recent years. It was good to have them there. And then Lucy was walking toward him, reaching out to take his arm, turning with him to face the preacher.
Throughout the ceremony, Jimmy and Lucy exchanged sidelong glances. Her hand rested lightly in the crook of his arm, and he reached up periodically to caress it with his other hand. When the time came for the vows, he spoke the traditional words with quiet confidence.
"I, James, take thee, Lucille, to be my lawful wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and cherish till death us do part."
Lucy blinked away happy tears as she heard him say the words that made him her husband, and hoped she could sound as good when her turn came.
"I, Lucille, take thee, Jims— James!, to be my lawful wedded husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and cherish till death us do part."
Oh, well, she had gotten it mostly right — and he didn't seem to mind that she had bobbled his name. In fact, his smile had actually managed to be more tender at that moment. /How did I get so lucky?/
And then the ceremony was over — the rings were on their hands and he was kissing her, and everyone was applauding, and the recessional was playing for them to leave the chapel.
Of course after they left the chapel they went around to a side entrance and back in again for pictures. This was the part that made Lucy want to throw her hands in the air and scream. Yes, she wanted pictures, but did they really need eleventy million of them? Her feet were tired, she wanted to sit, she wanted something to drink. She and Lois had planned a little surprise for the reception, and she was itching to get to that.
Finally the pictures in the chapel were done. The receiving line in the reception hall was done. There were more pictures cutting the cake, her dancing with her husband (!), with her father, with Clark, with Jimmy's dad.
And then it was time. She caught Lois' eye and nodded, then made her way over to the band. The pianist was expecting her and had the music ready.
She picked up the microphone a little nervously. The guests suddenly realized that something unexpected was happening, and quickly shushed each other. Jimmy wandered over to stand next to Clark and Lois, wondering what was going on.
Lucy cleared her throat. "My sister—" the microphone squealed loudly, and then quieted as someone adjusted the volume. She glanced over at the pianist, and held up the microphone. "Does it bite, too?" she asked. The round of laughter she got soothed her nerves, and she continued more confidently with what she wanted to say. "My sister is the singer in the family, but she convinced me that if ever there was a time for a girl to sing, it's on her wedding day. So here goes." She nodded to the pianist, who played the introduction with a gentle touch.
Children, It was more fun to be children, We just took life as it happened Run through the days, Don't look behind..
Lucy looked over at Jimmy. He was staring at her in amazement.
Over Wink of an eye, and it's over What a surprise to discover We were people ourselves! What kind of people did we want to be? No answer ever came to me..
As she had practiced, she scanned the room in an apparent panic, seeming to searching for Lois, and then finding her.
I didn't sleep at all last night! Sis, I've come to you like yesterday — About today — Sis, I'm afraid!!
The quiver in her voice was not entirely contrived. Lois held up the microphone she had gotten earlier, and walked towards Lucy as she sang.
Hon, come and sit by side Listen to me, words come so hard.. But what my heart says I will give you.
Because you are in love Your eyes begin to open As if you had awoken from a sleep
Because you are in love You use imagination, And lose your concentration, When someone drops his name! You're back in his arms as always Your daydreams work out that way It's all just a trick your mind plays! The more love grows The more it stays the same..
At first Lucy had been watching Lois as she sang, but then her attention wandered over to where Jimmy stood — she had planned to look at him at this point, but she hadn't planned to almost lose her place in the song! Lois waved her hand in front of her sister's apparently mesmerized face, drawing another laugh from the crowd, as they alternated lines of the song, and then sang the rest of it together.
Same little girl who's frightened But I love him so Same little girl who's sure That she loves him so! Sees with a woman's vision Knows what a woman knows
Because we are in love We reach for our tomorrows And know we won't be lonely In laughter and in sorrows! Where love abides, there is the place We'll keep our home forever You and I, because we are in love
The sisters turned and gestured for their husbands to join them onstage, singing the final chorus to them, instead of to each other.
We know we won't be lonely, In laughter and in sorrows! Where love abides, there is the place We'll keep our home forever
"You and I," Lois sang to Clark.
"You and I," Lucy echoed to Jimmy.
Because we are in love!
fade to white…
Note: "Because We Are In Love (The Wedding Song)" Music by Richard Carpenter, Lyrics by John Bettis, copyright 1981 Alamo Music Corp./Sweet Harmony Music, Inc./Hammer & Nails Music. Recorded by The Carpenters on the album Made In America (1981)