By IRC Round Robin
Submitted November 1998
Summary: "Happy Anniversary?" is a look at our favorite couple's attempts to have a romantic and *private* celebration of their wedding anniversary and the *little* things that keep getting in their way.
An IRC Round Robin by Zoomway <firstname.lastname@example.org>; AMCiotola <AMCiotola@aol.com>; Eraygun <Eraygun@aol.com>; Ckgroupie <NKWolke@t-online.de>; Misha <email@example.com>; chrispat <firstname.lastname@example.org>
9:00 a.m Thursday -
Lois straddled Clark's lap. "Three days, Clark, count 'em, tha-reeee whole days."
"Mm," Clark cooed. "Just you and me, and I have to tell you, honey," he sighed, "after working two weeks solid with no rest so we could *earn* these three days, I'll make every fantasy you have for our anniversary come true."
Lois lifted the glasses from his face. "I'm working on one right now." She laughed. "Since we had a big party last year for our first wedding anniversary—"
"And they said it wouldn't last," Clark interrupted.
Lois put her hand over his mouth. "Then we can pretty much do *anything* we want this year."
Clark kissed her palm and pulled her hand away. "Yeah, I've been telling everyone that we have no real plans for our anniversary, so that way they can plan on clearing their calendars of that day, and not worry about us having any upcoming party."
"You're sexy when you say 'calendar'," Lois said wistfully.
Clark smiled. "It has been *too* long since we've been completely alone."
"And not completely exhausted from work," she said and nuzzled his neck.
"Well," Clark said in his gravelly tone as he moved her down to the sofa. "We can work on being exhausted for a *good* reason."
"Ooh," Lois smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I dare you to wear me out."
"How about if I just 'wear' you?"
The phone rang.
Lois and Clark groaned with mutual disappointment.
"Let the answering machine get it, Clark," Lois said, grabbing his outstretched hand away from the receiver. "If it's urgent, we can call back."
"Okay," he said softly, and then began to kiss her neck as the machine asked the caller to leave a message.
"Lois, this is your mother, and though I'm sure you'd never have me speak to a machine, unlike your father, if you were *really* able to answer the phone—"
"It's urgent," they said in unison, and Lois picked up the receiver.
"Hello, Mother," Lois said breathlessly into the receiver. Clark wrapped his arms around her from behind as she reluctantly turned away from him.
"Lois, just what were you doing that it took you this long to answer the phone? Makes me think that you don't want to talk to me …"
Clark began to nibble on Lois' other ear and she began to lose total concentration on what her mother was saying. Playfully pushing Clark away, she tried once again to focus on the phone.
"I'm sorry, Mother, that's not it at all. We were, er, I was just … busy is all."
Ellen wasn't fooled for a minute. "I see. Do you think I could drag you away from Clark long enough for us to have lunch this afternoon? I called the Planet to see if you had plans already and they said you had taken the next few days off. Never thought I'd see the day when you could do that. I've never been able to get your fath —"
"I'm sorry, baby. "
"That's ok, but I'm sorry too, Clark and I —"
Lois was interrupted by the sound of the all-too-familiar swoosh and a note floated its way into her lap.
'Sorry , honey. Emergency in the Middle East. Be back as soon as I can. Love, Me.'
With a heavy sigh Lois turned back to the phone. "You know what, I think I can make it to lunch after all."
"That's great, sweetie, because I *really* need your help choosing my outfit for the dinner next Sunday. I'm going with your father and I want to just *overwhelm* him! Not that it really matters, but I would *feel* so much better …"
"Mother," Lois interrupted her, "next Sunday is a long time from now. Why don't we meet on Friday and then we'll have much more time. I must admit that today my time is a little bit …"
"Oh, I understand!" Her mother's voice was pitched a few octaves higher. "Don't think about me. I won't bother you! If you're too busy, I can ask the cleaning woman. She'll be *just* fine!!"
Lois cast her eyes heavenwards. "Please, Mother," she tried to calm Ellen down. "I just meant that today is not the best time …"
But it was too late. Ellen was already miffed and so lunch wasn't going to happen today. Nevertheless, when Lois hung up the phone, a satisfied smile threatened to twitch her lips.
Usually she liked to have her husband around as often as he could find time for it, but today she wasn't completely sad that Superman was keeping him busy. She had plans. Big plans.
Last year's anniversary party had been really nice and their friends had given them a great time, but Lois had secretly been a little disappointed. She would have preferred celebrating their first anniversary in private, alone with her husband.
Of course the celebrating *after* the official party had been … well spectacular, but she was determined that this year it would be just her and Clark, the whole day.
Clark made his way to the Middle East in record time. To his great relief the problem turned out to be not as bad as expected and he was able to bring everything under control pretty fast. It took him only a few hours and he was back on his way to Metropolis.
He didn't choose the direct way home, though. He had plans. Big plans.
He had been a little bit disappointed that last year they hadn't been able to celebrate their anniversary in private. Just him and Lois …
Okay, there had been a little private party afterwards and that one had been … spectacular. But this year would be very different.
He'd originally thought of whisking Lois off to a deserted island in the South Pacific for the celebration, and while that was still an option, if Lois wanted it, he personally felt a celebration right there in their own home would be much more fun and romantic.
So Clark decided to do a little shopping for the celebration as he made his way back to Metropolis, stopping in Italy for some pasta, France for some wine, and of course, Switzerland for chocolate.
Perfect, he thought. This is going to be just perfect.
"Perfect, Jonathan. It'll be great if you and Martha can get that flight out here tomorrow. It will be just perfect," Perry said as he leaned back in his chair and placed his feet up on the desk.
"You're sure …?" Jonathan replied hesitantly.
"Positive. I know the kids will want to see you two."
"But are you sure Lois and Clark want to have a party?" Martha interjected.
"Why, of course they do! And last year's was such a blast we're planning something even more spectacular now. You've just got to be here. No doubt about it."
"You've just got to be here, Lucy! Perry's putting together this major event for CK and Lois."
"I don't know if I can … I just started this new job and …"
"Hey, you missed out last year, don't do it again." Jimmy twirled his pen between his fingers. "Just take a late flight and call in sick on Friday."
"All right. Just one thing."
"Name it." Jimmy triumphantly checked off another name on his list.
"Could you pick me up at the airport? I'd rather not ask Mom for a ride."
Lois suppressed another sigh as she tightened her death grip on the passenger's side door handle. Ellen careened the car around a corner of the parking garage, and Lois glanced back to see if they'd put another set of skid marks in the concrete.
The black mini-van was still waiting patiently for the Subaru to get her act together and back out of her parking spot, just like the first time they'd passed them.
"I don't know why we can't find a space!" Ellen huffed out. "How many levels does this parking garage have, anyway?"
"Six." Lois kept her eyes open with effort, wincing as they narrowly missed hitting a support pillar for the third time.
"Aren't we almost at the top? This is section E, isn't it?"
"What do you mean, Mom? This is 2-E."
"Two? As in level two? Not as in level E?"
"Great! Just great! Now they're making parking garages with fake ramps!"
"I try and take my beloved daughter out to lunch, just to get her advice, and this is what I get! Parking garages that don't go up!"
Lois bit her tongue as they passed the up ramp. They hadn't even reached the restaurant and lunch already seemed interminable.
Ellen finally stomped the brake. Lois strained against the shoulder harness.
"Mother, you can't park here! We're in the middle of the—"
Ellen unfastened her safety belt and exited the car. Lois shook her head and followed.
"Ladies!" a man in a white jumpsuit shouted. "You can't park there."
Ellen smoothed back her hair and handed him the keys. "Then you park it. Maybe you can find the phantom ramps that go somewhere."
"I'm not a valet," he said flatly.
"Obviously not," Lois huffed. "You're the guy that runs the merry-go-round and watches people stuck in your twilight zone parking garage!"
The man, wisely, decided to move the mini-van from the center lane rather than be caught between the Lois and Ellen Lane.
The mother and daughter tag team nodded to each other and took the garage elevator to La Grande Biftek.
Ellen opened her purse, removed a compact, and checked her makeup. "This place sounded so elegant … well, in they yellow pages anyway. I think you'll be a bit underdressed for it, Lois."
"Thanks, Mother. I just looked in my wardrobe and carefully picked this 'sore thumb' ensemble." The elevator doors opened; Lois raised her eyebrows. "You're right, I am underdressed. I forgot my lariat and branding iron."
"Oh my God," Ellen said and put a hand to her chest. "They're wearing cowboy hats."
"You noticed that too, did you?" Lois said, and tried not to laugh.
A woman in matching red hat and boots, wearing a lovely fringed blouse accented with sequined 'slug trails', greeted them. "Corral for two?"
"Yup," Lois nodded. "Just a couple of hungry heifers."
The waitress laughed. "That is so cute, honey! Ya'll follow me, and I'll get a couple of menus."
Lois glanced at her mother. Ellen had her head lowered, and held her purse to the side of her head. "If anyone sees me here," she muttered. "Just throw me out the window."
"Mother, it's kind of cute here. Lighten up."
Ellen quickly squirmed into a booth seat. "What has happened to you, Lois? You were never this good-natured," she sighed.
"I know, Mother. Where did you go wrong?"
"I'm serious, sweetie. You've changed."
"For the better, I hope."
Ellen sighed. "To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure."
"Now just hear me out. I went through a similar change when I was first married to your father."
"And your point is?"
"My point is that when things went sour between us, the fact that I had lost my edge made it even harder on me. And on you and Lucy," Ellen added in a low voice. "I just don't want that happening to you should things with you and Clark …"
"Mother, that's not going to happen," Lois interrupted.
"That's what everyone says, but —"
"But nothing. It's not. End of discussion."
"Besides, what makes you think I've lost my edge! Loving Clark, marrying him, didn't make me soft. It's made me stronger."
"Okay, I —"
"I can't believe my own mother would think such a thing!"
"Think what? That I don't know my own daughter any more? That she's changed so much that I can hardly tell what she's thinking or what she wants?" Ellen pushed aside her water glass, and brushed at the trail of water droplets on the polished wooden table. "I used to know you, Lois." She sighed. "You were so much like me. And now …"
Lois pursed her lips together. "Now?" she prompted as the silence lengthened.
"Now …" Ellen looked up at her. "Now you're happy."
Lois cursed the Lane luck that drew the sequined servitor to their table like a heifer to the feeding trough. She continued to hover for the rest of the painfully silent meal.
Clark landed softly inside the townhouse. He placed the chocolate and wine in the refrigerator and spun himself into something more comfortable. A quick survey revealed that Lois was gone and so he reasoned she'd taken her mother up on the lunch offer. He sighed and switched on the TV. It was even too early for the playoff game.
He glanced at his watch. It was nearly two-thirty. "That must be some lunch," Clark smiled. "Or lecture." He stopped on a channel where a man was pulling a train engine with his teeth. "Maybe he could stand in for Superman this weekend."
The phone rang and Clark drifted over and picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"Could you come down to Precinct 41 right away?"
"Honey," he groaned. "I thought we weren't doing any work this weekend."
"If you don't come down here and bail me out, we're not doing *anything* this weekend!"
In a blur of motion, Clark shut off the TV, changed, and flew to the precinct. He was Clark Kent again as he walked through the doors.
"Sergeant, my wife—"
The officer behind the desk held up a hand as he finished scribbling something down on a report. "Okay, buddy," he finally said, looking up. Clark noticed the sergeant had a black eye and scratches on his face.
"I'm here about my wife, Lois Lane."
The sergeant pointed to his eye. "*This* Lois Lane?"
Clark shook his head and sighed. "Probably."
The sergeant then pointed to his scratched cheek. "Your mother-in-law?"
"Ricky!" the sergeant shouted.
A young officer, holding an ice pack on his knee stepped out. "Yes, sir?"
"Release the hellcats."
The young man paled. "Darryl is a lot bigger than I am, Sarge, and I have a date—"
"I don't care *who* releases them as long as I never have to see them again!"
"Yes, sir!" Ricky said, and vanished.
"Sergeant," Clark said, lowering his glasses slightly as he watched the young officer cautiously approach the 'cage'. "What exactly happened? How did my wife and mother-in-law end up in jail?"
"Sorry, Mac, I'll let your missus fill you in on that one," the sergeant replied. "All I can say is you're the bravest man I know to have married into that family."
"Thanks for the invitation, Jimmy."
"No problem, Dr. Klein. It wouldn't be a party if you weren't there."
Jimmy hung up the phone and checked another name off his list. "You know, Chief, I'm glad we decided to have the party here at the Planet. I didn't think Lois would ever forgive us for surprising them at their place on Clark's birthday last year."
He blushed as he remembered the sight that had greeted them when the lights had gone on. He was still amazed at how fast CK had managed to do up the buttons on Lois' blouse. For a moment there, he had wondered, but nah … "Okay, everything is set, but how we are going to get them here?"
"Don't you worry about that. I'll get them here." Perry grinned wickedly.
Clark rubbed his forehead as he pulled away from the curb after he and Lois had driven Ellen home. He had never suffered from headaches until Ellen entered his life.
Lois glanced at him sympathetically and reached over to rub his knee. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I don't know why Mother and I end up in jail so often, but this time it wasn't our fault."
Clark sighed. He'd been doing that a lot today. "You always say that."
Lois moved her hand a little higher. "Come on, honey. You must admit it was funny."
Clark glanced over at Lois and started to smile. "Yeah. I guess it was, but I don't think that sergeant would agree with you."
Lois grinned back at him and began to chuckle. "You should have seen his face when Mother …
7:00 p.m Thursday —
She was still 'explaining' as they entered the town house. "The sergeant led with his left." Lois shrugged. "Made him a sucker for a jab."
Clark wrapped his arms around his wife. "Okay, Rocky, I've got wine and chocolate in the fridge, the bed is turned down—"
"Who needs a bed?"
"I'm starting to get the feeling I should have flown us to a deserted island," Clark said, ducking down so he could drape Lois over his shoulders.
"Do you realize how many deserted islands we've discovered, Clark?"
"Hm," he pondered as he continued up the stairs. "I just remember how we christen them."
"True," she smiled, and ran her hand down the front of his shirt. "I like being carried this way better when you're Superman."
Clark stopped walking. "Why? Some kind of fantasy going there?" A wicked smile curled his lips.
"No, but from this angle … nice topographical view."
He laughed. "Sort of a relief map?"
"Oh, Clark," she giggled. "It's not just a relief, it's a … shrine to masculine symmetry."
"Okay," he said, and set her on the floor. "Let me make it count." He ripped his shirt open.
"Yes!" Lois whistled as Clark stood there so … so Superman-ish.
He smiled down at her, and thought that there was some sort of other-worldly turn-on at moments like this. He began to duck his head again, but the phone rang. Clark crumpled all the way to the floor and stayed there in a heap.
"Honey, tell me why I shouldn't grab that thing and throw it into space. Tell me quick, or it's the very next thing Superman is gonna do."
Lois patted his head. "There, there, Superman. You've ruined our budget this month on alarm clocks alone. We'll let the answering machine get it this time … honest," she said, and then snaked herself back around his shoulders.
Clark rose slowly … majestically … frustratedly into a standing position.
Lois rubbed her hand on the S shield. "Ooh, now you're talking."
Clark laughed, feeling his enthusiasm returning. A distant cry caught his blushing ear.
"Just hold that thought," Clark said as he moved away from Lois and spun completely into costume. "I'll be right back." With that he kissed her quickly and flew out the window,
Lois sighed. "I've heard that before." She walked out of the bedroom and back downstairs. "I wonder what's on HBO tonight?"
Unfortunately, the faint cry for help turned out to be the first in a series of mishaps and natural disasters that night. Floods in California, mudslides in Peru, and a dozen other disasters kept Clark busy until almost dawn.
He found Lois curled up on the couch.
Clark sighed. "Some anniversary celebration this is," he mumbled as he picked Lois up and began to carry her upstairs.
8:00 a.m. Friday —
"Only two more days …" Lois sighed into her coffee as she rubbed the side of her neck.
"What was that, honey?" Clark appeared at the door of the kitchen and spun out of the suit and into jeans and a tee shirt.
"Oh, just wishing it were Tuesday again and we had our three days gloriously alone together still ahead of us …"
"Mm-hmm," Clark agreed, and started walking his fingers up and down the tensed muscles of her neck and back.
"Oh …" Lois wanted to melt into a puddle as the crick in her neck faded and was replaced with the soothing warmth of Clark's caress. "So where were you this morning?"
"The usual. A trucker lost his temper and tried to take a load of jet fuel across three lanes and the median." Clark's hands slowed. "Superman gave me a brief interview."
The phone rang and Lois tensed even more despite Clark's soothing touch. The answering machine went into its spiel and then Jimmy's apologetic voice spoke. "Sorry to call you in, guys, but it's an emergency. The Chief wants you."
Clark's hands stopped moving altogether.
"Oh …" Lois dropped her head to the rim of her coffee mug. "Please let it not be the City Council. Please let it not be the …"
"I need you kids to cover the City Council meetings today and tomorrow." Perry held up a hand to forestall any comment. "I know. I'm sorry to call ya'll in to cover this."
"You're not the only one who's sorry," Lois glared at Perry. "Exactly what kind of family emergency did Jurgens have?"
Perry hesitated. "Ah … his mother had surgery."
"I thought his mother died last year," Clark said thoughtfully, and Lois muttered, "I'm surprised he has a mother."
Clark suppressed a grin. "Honey, you know Perry wouldn't do this unless it was some kind of emergency. Right, Chief?"
Perry nodded. "Exactly, son. These sessions are the most important Council meetings of the year, and with Johnson sick and Jurgens called out of town because of a family emergency, I had no choice but to grab you two. I can have someone there next week for the wrap-ups. I'll do my best to make it up to you later."
As soon as the two were headed toward the elevator, Perry called Jimmy into his office. "How are the plans coming?"
"I've talked to everyone on the list. Everyone except for a girl called Lana Lang is coming."
In the elevator, Perry saw Clark's head come up and he met his eyes briefly before the doors slid closed. "Good. Now, Clark's parents are flying in tonight, and I need you to pick them up at the airport. Alice has offered to put them up."
"I'm picking up Lois' sister tomorrow morning. Is there anyone else?"
"No, Jimmy. I think that's it. It's all coming together nicely."
As the doors slid shut, Clark's head came up with a snap. Lois sighed. "What is it this time? Middle East? Earthquake in China?"
"No …" Clark turned his attention to a much more interesting sight beside him. "It's probably nothing. Besides, I'd much rather spend the day with you than off flying around."
"Even in a stuffy Council meeting?"
"Well," Clark's voice dropped to a murmur. "I'd much rather have you all alone, but I suppose we can work in a Council meeting fantasy somewhere."
Lois melted against Clark lazily. "Remember our first day back after our honeymoon?"
Clark tried not to grin. "You grabbed that red button just in time, honey."
"Yeah, I didn't want to have to carry my jacket out of the elevator .. if you know what I mean."
Lois laughed and grabbed his tie. "Want a repeat?"
"No, ma'am!" Clark said, and stepped backward. "We miss that meeting," he said, and lowered his voice, "even for a great cause, and Perry will kill us."
Lois shrugged as the doors opened onto the lobby. "Come on, I've never taken you to the spit ball seats in the Council chamber."
The cool October breeze ruffled Jimmy's hair as he stood on the tarmac of the airstrip watching the turbo "puddle jumper" land. He smiled and waved at the Kents as they disembarked. Jonathan, despite the weather, was perspiring.
"Not feeling well, Mr. Kent?"
"Well, son," Jonathan said shakily. "I don't mind full-sized planes, but those little ones—"
"Yeah, me too," Jimmy sympathized and grabbed their bags. "Though they have a kind of cool takeoff, like when you beat the green light on Super Mario Kart."
"Uh huh," Jonathan nodded.
Martha hurried up towards the two men with their carry-on luggage.
"Hey, Mrs. Kent, you seem to do better flying than your husband," Jimmy joked.
"Well, dear," Martha sighed. "I think I'm the only one in the family who loves flying. Clark just can't stand to be cooped up in a plane."
"Like father, like son," Jonathan said, and shared a private smile with Martha.
"So," Clark whispered. "This is the 'spit ball' section?"
"Sure," Lois smiled and leaned forward on the mahogany rail. "See how far away we are? It's a great place to say rude things out loud and not be heard."
Clark leaned back and folded his arms. "Kind of give the Council the Mystery Science Theater treatment?"
Lois laughed. "Exactly."
"I'll tell you a little secret, honey," Clark said softly. "I knew you came up here when we used to be assigned these dull Council meetings."
Lois turned her head back to face him. "Oh? Why didn't you come up?"
"The view of you up here leaning on the rail—"
"It was real spectacular."
Lois raised one eyebrow and gave Clark a playful pat on the chest. "You've been giving me the once over for that long?" she said with a wry smile "I thought you were a *very patient* man."
"Honey, I was *patient*, not *dead*.
Lois giggled, and grabbed Clark's tie, using it to pull his face closer to hers. "Well, Mr. Kent, after we finish here, maybe you can show me just how *alive* you really are," she whispered.
"Sounds good to me."
"I can't believe this session is still droning on." Lois said with disgust. "It's been four hours! They haven't even taken a coffee break. We've got to get out of here!"
"Uh, honey …"
"You've got that look again." Lois' tone was flat.
Clark merely nodded and shrugged helplessly.
"Fine. I'll meet you back at the Planet after this is all over." Lois settled back into her chair and fished around in her purse for her recorder as the window above the balcony opened briefly. Maybe she could catch up on her rest now. She was hoping she wouldn't be sleeping later.
Lois paused in her typing to glare at the clock in the corner of her screen. It had no right to read 11:53 p.m. No right at all.
Just like those convenience store robbers had no right to hold her up when all she wanted was a Double Fudge Crunch Bar to last her through the last hour of the Council session. Or like MetPD had no right to arrest her for aggravated assault on said convenience store robbers when she managed to place them under citizen's arrest.
She was already on a first name basis with half the hookers in Metropolis, thanks to the cell she was beginning to think of as her home away from home.
Sources, Lois, sources, a tired corner of her brain reminded her.
A second corner of her brain reminded her that it was Jimmy who'd bailed her out today, instead of Clark, and she might consider starting to worry about his whereabouts as soon as she finished the write-up on the robbery and the Council meeting.
The first corner of her brain dismissed that thought. Invulnerability and a firm tendency towards boy-scoutishness were handy traits to have when alleviating any worry about her husband.
Lois finished the write-ups with a last tired flourish of the mouse and leaned back in her chair. She arched her back to ease the strain she'd gotten when she'd tossed the one robber into the chip display, and found herself looking into the most welcoming pair of brown eyes.
Clark dropped a quick kiss on her forehead, and then knelt by her side. "Hey there, beautiful."
"Where have you been?"
"Nairobi, Kenya, Egypt, you name it." Clark sighed heavily. "I just want to go home now."
Lois smiled tiredly. "I wanted to go home hours ago." Especially when she had the chance to stare at a lovely red and black garter belt strung across the cell bars. "But I'll let you make it up to me by taking me home the fast way."
"Scoop and swoop?"
"The only way to fly …"
Lois snuggled into Clark's arms and was asleep before they cleared the newsroom windows.
2:00 p.m. Saturday —
Lois and Clark made a rather mechanical walk up the steps to the Council meeting. One more day of this, and they'd be ready for the rubber pencil squad.
"Clark!" Lois shouted.
"Honey," Clark winced. "I'm right here."
"Look, the meeting has been postponed for an *hour*"
A smile spread across Clark's lips. "Well, I'm not one for quickies, but—"
Lois elbowed him playfully and tugged him around the corner of the building.
She ripped open his shirt. "Do the spin thing, and take us home."
Clark laughed and spun, but was standing there only in his briefs. "Sorry," he blushed. "I'm getting ahead of myself here." He spun again, and as Superman, rushed them home.
Lois was still laughing as they landed in the living room. "I liked the 'brief' spin, Clark. You'd be the one going to jail this time."
Clark swayed her in his arms. "You'd be worth it," he said softly and kissed her. The kiss deepened, and they both sighed for air after a moment.
"You whoosh upstairs and turn down the bed, I'll get the wine."
Clark gave her another quick, but deep kiss, and 'whooshed' up the stairs. He happily began turning down the covers. His head snapped up. His expression darkened. "That's *it*!" he growled. He was back in the suit in an instant, and out the window.
The door to Casey's Pub splintered from its hinges as if propelled by nitro. Superman, angrily brushing splinters from his costume, stormed into the bar. "Now what?!
Several men, cowering in the corner, pointed to a huge man swinging an autographed baseball bat he had purloined from a display case. "Come and get me, Superman!"
Clark would normally just disarm the man, but today he had expended his last good nerve, and there was nothing left to spare for the hapless idiot in the bar. At super speed he grabbed the bat and tossed it to the floor.
"Listen, pal," he said, tapping the drunken man in the chest, causing the man to sail backward six feet, stopped only by the pool rack. "Every *idiot* who owns a car is behind the wheel today. Every joker with a grudge is phoning in bomb threats, and every *jerk*," he said, and lifted the man from the floor, "who's had too much to drink and just can't stop, is stepping on my free time."
The man swallowed, but had no place to go. He reached behind him and grabbed a pool cue, and broke it over Superman's head.
"Oh," one man sitting in the corner groaned. "That was smart."
Another man sitting with him nodded. "Probably the kind of guy that would wear a porkchop to a pit bull fight."
There was a blur of activity, and when it was over, the drunken troublemaker was sitting on the pool table with the ball rack on his head like a crown, and the 8-ball in his mouth. A cocktail napkin gave instructions for the police.
Lois brought the wine and glasses into the bedroom. "Well," she smiled. "You look lazy leaving me to do all this heavy carrying."
Clark, his arms behind his head, just smiled. "I suddenly had a barmaid fantasy."
"Mm," Lois purred as she neared the bed. "Maybe I can find that old Metro Club cocktail waitress outfit."
Clark took a glass from her. "That was the first time I noticed what long, beautiful legs you have."
Lois happily hiked up her skirt as she poured the wine.
Clark touched her ankle, and then ran his hand slowly up her calf, and then her thigh. "I love how your body temperature starts to increase the higher up I move my hand."
Lois braced herself a moment on the night table. "Clark," she said breathlessly. "A corpse's temperature would rise with that hand motion."
Just then the doorbell rang and Lois moved so quickly, the wine bottle headed for the floor. Clark saved it.
Lois took a deep breath. "If I scream, do you think whoever it is will go away?" Clark focused his vision downstairs. "Not likely," he said, his tone flat. "It's your sister."
"Of course!" Lois blurted and headed for the bedroom door. "Why not? If Daddy comes by while we're in the shower, I'll have the whole set!"
Lois stood at the foot of the stairs, trying to compose herself. She failed and continued on to the door. She flung it open. "What!?"
Lucy smiled sweetly. "Gee, Sis, I'm glad to see you too."
Clark came trotting down the stairs, adjusting his tie. "Lucy, what a pleas … what a surprise."
"I know I should have phoned," she said, feigning a politeness that was rare in Lane women. "But I just got into town, I have a big interview, and —"
Lois followed behind Lucy, opening and closing her hand, mocking her sister's chattering. "I wish you'd gone to see mother instead … uh … that is, she sees me too much … er … more often."
Clark faked a smile. "Lois and I have a Council meeting we have to cover in about —" he hiked up his sleeve, " —half an hour."
"Great," Lois sighed. "At this rate it'll be a *super* quickie."
Clark's eyebrows nearly crawled into his hairline. "Yes," he laughed. "It's amazing we get to eat at all anymore."
The phone rang. Lois and Clark, their bodies frozen, looked over at the infernal machine with just their eyes. "Lois! Clark!" Perry's mechanical voice called. "Get your fannies back to the Planet on the double!"
Lois forgot for a moment exactly which one of them had the heat vision, and attempted to make the answering machine explode in a shower of sparks and light. It simply sat there, however, happily rewinding the message tape with a cheerfully sadistic hum.
"What?" Lois rounded on her sister and decided that Killing Glare Mark III was only for inanimate objects, and managed to tune down her version of super-vision to Killing Glare Mark I.
"If you're going to the Planet, can I have a ride?"
"Fine, sure, whatever." Lois grabbed her keys and stormed out the door.
The trio drove in a silence that rivaled the South Pole for frigidity.
Lucy wondered if the elevator doubled as a refrigerator when Lois was really mad. As they approached the newsroom floor, she cleared her throat. Letting Mad Dog Lane loose on people who only wished her happiness was not a good idea.
Lois turned. "What?"
Lois stood there for a moment, trying to hang onto her bad mood. Clark's soft "Thank you, Lucy" melted the ice she was trying to force into her spine.
"Thanks, Luce." She smiled apologetically. "It's been a lousy week, I'm …"
"SURPRISE!!!" The elevator doors slid open on the shouted chorus from the newsroom, followed by a hail of 'Happy Anniversary' and 'Congratulations' and more scattered 'Surprise's.
Lucy watched her sister and brother-in-law disappear into the crowd of friends, co-workers and well-wishers. She'd almost gotten an apology out of Lois. Maybe this marriage thing wasn't so bad after all.
10:00 p.m. Saturday -
Lois and Clark, arms wrapped around each other, climbed the steps to the townhouse slowly. They stopped at the top and faced each other, their bodies close, mouths only millimeters apart.
"You know what the best part of leaving our anniversary party at the Planet is?" Clark asked with a grin. Lois didn't bother to answer, being busy nibbling on his neck while he retrieved the door key from his pocket. "Being absolutely sure that everyone who might possibly interrupt us is right this minute happily scarfing down champagne punch and lobster puffs on the other side of town."
Lois reluctantly moved away and leaned against the door as he inserted the key into the lock. She pulled Clark back to her the moment the door was opened, backing into the foyer blindly, and he followed, hands already sliding her jacket from her shoulders, fingers busy at the buttons of her blouse.
Lois's voice was a bit breathless, but she managed to speak despite her reaction to what he was doing. "Clark, do you think we're ever going to have an anniversary that's normal?" She shrugged and her blouse fell to the floor. Clark's jacket and tie joined it. She started on the buttons of his shirt. "I mean, one where we have a nice dinner alone and make love in our own bed and you don't have to go to Timbuktu and nobody gets arrested or …" Her words trailed off as she was distracted by the feel of Clark's bare skin under her hands.
His soft laughter was almost as potent as the excitement of his body now pressed to hers. "Lois." He stilled and, pulling away just a bit, brought her hands to his lips, dropping a kiss into each palm. "Lois," he repeated her name, and that was a caress, too. "No matter what happens, normal or not, any day that ends with our coming home together is a special day. It's all I've ever wanted, and for me, it's enough."
Lois' eyes were bright with love as she lifted her mouth to his, her answer a joyous murmur almost lost in his kiss. "Oh, yes, it's enough."