By Lee Thiher <LThiher@aol.com>
Submitted May 4, 1998
Summary: A mysterious woman is out to topple Intergang and a charity function. To take on these equally mammoth projects requires skill, smarts and a little bit of Super-help. But, it's a piece of cake if the key players are the Daily Planet's own Lane & Kent.
This story idea just came to me on day. I am a huge Teri Hatcher fan and have put some lines from her movies in this story. If you can guess which ones are from her movies and which movie they are from, then you are just as big a fan as I am. E-mail me and let me know if you can figure out which ones they are. You won't win anything except the thrill of figuring it out. Be sure to read the author's notes at the end the story. It will tell you why I did some of the things I did in this story. Good luck and enjoy.
'' Means thoughts that the people are having
'' Inside "" means a quote inside a quote
** Quote from the dream of Clark's
A very tired Clark Kent arrived at his apartment with his future wife Lois Lane. Lois was staying with Clark because the her landlord was having the entire building repainted one floor at a time and this week, it was her floor that was being done. They had arrived at Clark's apartment at 5:30 just in time to watch the North Carolina vs. Utah NCAA tournament basketball game.
"I can't believe that the Jayhawks got whacked like that by Rhode Island," Clark said
"Well, what did you expect from a bunch of farm boys?"
"Farm boys? Paul Pierce is from LA. I would not call that a farmboy."
"Alright. Besides, you live on the east coast now. You should root for those eastern teams like Duke, North Carolina, Rhode Island."
"Yeah whatever. There goes the party we were going to have in Smallville. Come sit down. The game is about ready to start."
Lois came over and sat on the couch with him. While they had been talking she had gotten them some snacks and cold drinks to enjoy during the game. She had even gotten Clark's favorite chips when she was shopping.
"Alright, Lois! You got them. You're the best!"
"Well, I try."
"And you succeed." Clark started to yawn and Lois looked at him with a look that said, 'You are not going to stay awake for this whole thing.'
"Don't worry I promise to go to sleep as soon as this game is over."
"Alright, sounds like a good plan to me."
The game was a pretty good one. North Carolina got down big early and fought to get back into the game, but in the end Utah was just too good and ending up winning 65-59. Unfortunately for Clark, he fell asleep at halftime and did not see the whole thing.
'He must have been tired. He didn't even make it to the second half before he fell asleep. He doesn't look too comfy like that. I better try to lay him down without waking him,' Lois thought.
She managed to get him down on the couch without bothering him at all. Clark had spent the previous night helping to clean up the tornadoes that had recently hit the Georgia and Tennessee areas and had gotten little sleep. It was now about 7:30 but Lois was not tired. She decided to sit at the dining table and read the new romance novel she had just bought. After about an hour of reading she looked over at Clark and noticed that he had floated a good two feet off the coach and had the biggest grin on his face that she had ever seen.
'Must be a good dream he's having. Maybe he'll tell me about it someday. Who knows? Maybe I can make it come true.'
This thought sent Lois' mind wandering to a fun place and she stayed there for a minute.
'Get your mind out of the gutter, woman. Only a few more weeks until we can do all those things.'
When she returned to reality she saw that Clark's mood had changed and that he was talking in his sleep. She could not make out what he was saying, but by his body language she could tell he was not enjoying himself anymore.
Clark's dream started off nicely. He and Lois where standing outside the restaurant they had eaten at the night they had saved the world from a nuclear disaster by the hands of Lucky Leon and Intergang which also was the night Mayson Drake was killed by the car bomb. They were standing outside talking about the events of the past couple of days. Clark asked her why she ran back in to the warehouse looking for him and she told him she could not leave him there.
*You slammed the door in my face last night.*
*That was a mistake.*
*Don't let it happen again.*
There is a short pause as they both look at each other.
*Fortunately, there are no doors here tonight*
Then Lois and Clark both lean in for a long and passionate kiss. While they are kissing, Clark hears the bomb start ticking. He turns to see where it is coming from, but instead of seeing Mayson's car he sees Lois' jeep, with Lois in it. Clark turns and runs toward the jeep and starts to scream.
*LOIS!! NO, NO DON'T.*
Before he can say anything else the Jeep blows up. After what seemed like an eternity to Clark, he reaches the Jeep and rips the door off, just he did when Mayson's car exploded, and pulls a badly injured Lois out of the car. Clark begins to sob.
Lois is not dead yet and she sees the ripped shirt that reveals the Superman outfit under Clark's clothes.
*So, that's what you've been hiding,* Lois says when she sees the Superman suit under his cloths. *I love you, Clark.* Lois says this right before she lets out here final breath and dies in Clark's arms.
Clark is overcome with grief and begins wailing.
NOOOOOOO! God, No!
Lois now sees that Clark has floated back down to the couch and is starting to thrash about. She starts to get up to go over to the couch and tries to calm him down without waking him up when she hears him scream: "NOOOOOO!" He wakes up frantically and Lois rushes over to the couch.
"Oh god, Lois. Where's Lois? I have to find Lois."
"Clark, Clark, it's okay, it's okay, I'm here, I'm here." She grabbed hold of him to prove to him that she was indeed there.
"I am just fine, you had a bad dream that's all, it was just a dream."
Once Clark finally realized this he was so relieved that he began to cry.
"Oh, thank God you're alright." They shared a comforting hug as Lois rubbed Clark's back and head trying to get him to calm down. After a few minutes hr finally calmed down.
"Clark what happened?" He told Lois everything about the dream.
"It's okay. It was just a dream I am alright and I promise not to go anywhere tonight. Just go back to sleep and don't worry about it, okay?"
Clark nodded and after a few minutes went back to sleep. About an hour later, Lois decided to go to sleep, so she went to the bedroom and got ready for bed. After she got ready for bed she went out to the living room to check on Clark. She found him in a state of relaxed sleep so, she went to bed and went to sleep. Her dreams were very pleasant ones of her and Clark on their honeymoon.
Lois awoke at 9 am to the smell of breakfast being cooked by Clark. He had made oatmeal, toast, and bacon to eat and lots of coffee for Lois to help her wake up.
"Made tons of coffee for you. I know you need that morning pick me up."
"You got that right. Wow, breakfast smells great. You made my favorite, oatmeal."
"I hope you like it. I've never used this kind before."
"I'm sure it will be, you're an excellent chef."
"Well, thank you. Say that to me after you eat it. Anyway did you sleep well?"
Lois smiled to herself thinking about her dreams last night.
"Yeah, I did. Your bed is really comfortable. How about you?"
"After I got back to sleep the second time I did not have any problems. I hope that I did not upset you."
"What? No, it was just a dream. Don't worry about it." Clark felt better he was worried that he had upset her the night before with the way he acted. After they finished eating breakfast they got ready for a day of just being together. On the agenda was a trip out to the Metropolis Country Club to watch the opening round of the Metropolis Open.
"So Lois, who's playing in the open this year?"
"I think Woods, Nicholson, Daly and Norman are supposed to play this year."
"Didn't Woods win it last year?"
"No, dear. He didn't even play last year. I can't remember who won. I think it was Phil Mickelson."
"Mickelson? You remember the first time you and I went to the driving range?"
"He was hitting balls right next to me. Tried to give me pointers and he told me to hit the ball and that it would not hit me back. So anyway I decided to crush one into the upper atmosphere. You should have seen the look on his face, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. I was just like 'thanks man' and he's like 'yeah sure no problem."
"Where was I while all this was going on?"
"I think you went to get more balls."
The two of them left for the open. They watched the entire first round of the open. In the lead was somebody that neither of them had ever heard of. The round ended about 5 pm so they decided to go get something to eat. While at dinner they talked about the golf tournament and other things.
"You know that's Woods is not that good. I mean I'm just a reporter and I can outdrive him," Clark said with a smile.
"Well you can hit a drive to the moon if you wanted too, but that's out of bounds."
"Ha, ha. You're almost as funny as Jim Carrey. Anyway Tiger looked good. Looks like he'll probably come back and win it. He's only one stroke behind. That guy who's in first is having the round of his life."
"I think you're right, my dear. He looks unbeatable this weekend. So what do you want to do after we get done here?"
"Maybe we can go to the video store and rent Two Days in the Valley or Heaven's Prisoners."
"What is your fascination with that Hatcher woman anyway?"
"I'm not fascinated with her I just cannot believe how much she looks like you."
"It is kind of strange isn't it? I've never even met her, but it's almost like we were twins. Anyway she is a great actor."
"Not according to John our movie critic."
"What do those movie critics know anyway?"
"Well they get paid to express their opinions. Besides you know what they say about opinions, there just like rear ends, everyone's got one. Unfortunately some people's opinions are worse than others."
Just then the waiter came with the bill and Lois and Clark paid it and headed for the video store. They found Heaven's Prisoners and went back to Clark's place to watch it. After watching the movie Clark decided that he was ready for a friendly game of poker, but Lois was not feeling very well after eating dinner and munching on snacks during the movie.
"I don't feel so great Clark. Ohh! Will you carry me to bed? I don't think I can make it?"
Clark chuckled a little.
"Sure. Come on, I'll even tuck you in."
"Thanks, Clark. I really appreciate it."
"My pleasure, Lois."
He tucked her in and kissed her goodnight. Clark headed out to the couch to get to sleep since they had to go back to work tomorrow. Clark hoped that he would not have another nightmare like he had the night before.
Lois awoke Clark at 7 am. He had a very restful night and did not have any bad dreams that he could remember. When he told Lois this, she was relieved to hear it. They decided that they would skip breakfast and just head to work. They arrived at the planet at about 7:45.
"Clark, where do these people learn how to drive?" a flustered Lois asked.
"I don't know, but I swear that one guy who rear ended that truck, if you put him in the middle of my parents field he'd hit the barn. I mean he had a half a mile to stop before he hit that truck. What was he looking at?"
"Who knows? what about that guy who made that left turn from the right lane? Has he ever heard of going straight when you miss your street and turning around?"
"Didn't look like. Geeze, some people's children!"
Jimmy interrupted their conversation and said that Perry wanted to see them about a tip he got. The two of them were ready for some big news and when they got to Perry's office, they were in for a surprise.
"So what's up chief? Got something good for Lois and I?"
"Yeah, I do. I got a tip from an impeccable source that some person who is calling themselves Joe Doe Trento has some underground casino down near Hobbs Bay. Not only that, but this Joe Doe Trento wants to go head to head with Church and Intergang."
"The person's name is Joe Doe Trento?"
"So the person wants to go one on one with Intergang, huh? So what do you want us to do?"
"Go undercover and find out what's up."
"Last time I was in an underground casino, Chief, I got a hot slug in the chest," Clark said jokingly.
The memory of this made Lois cringe a little bit. Clark noticed this and made a mental note to apologize to Lois as soon as they left Perry's office.
"Well, try to not get shot this time, Kent. Hamilton destroyed all his notes so Superman will not be able to save your butt again," said Perry in the same tone as Clark had used.
"I'll try not to, Chief."
"Oh, you guys. One more thing. The Planet is helping to sponsor a charity event and they are having an amateur talent show. Are you guys interested in doing something for the show? It's for a good cause. This year they're helping raise money for children adoption centers."
Lois and Clark both looked at each other, smiled and then at the same time said: "We'd love to, Chief!"
"Great! Do you have any idea what you might do for the show?"
They thought for a moment and then Clark's face lit up as he got an idea.
"I think we'll come up with something, Chief."
"Alright then. Get out there and get me that story, or you're both fired."
Lois and Clark took this as their cue to leave Perry's office. They went over to Clark's desk and began to plan their attack.
"Clark, I think we should…what is it?" Lois saw that Clark looked like he wanted to talk about something.
"Can we go into the conference room? I need to talk to you in private."
Lois nodded and they went into the conference room and closed the door.
"I just wanted to apologize for my joke about getting shot at that casino, I didn't think it would bother you. If I would have known I never would have said it."
"It's alright, Clark. I'm just glad Hamilton's research came in handy for something good."
"You're not mad at me?"
"No, but I have always meant to ask you what would you have done if you had it not been for the research notes?"
"To tell you the truth, I would have just had to given up my life and become Superman full time."
"That would have not been very good."
"You got that right, Lois." Clark paused for a moment. "So what about Joe Doe Trento, how do we go about infiltrating the operation?"
"You heard what Perry said. Remember the Toasters?" Clark nodded.
"That's how," Lois said.
Clark thought for a moment then said: "Does that mean that I have to grow a beard?"
"Only if you want to," Lois said with a smile.
Clark shook his head and said, "Alright let's do this."
Lois had seen in Perry's office that Clark had an idea for the talent show and could not stand to wait for him to tell her what it was.
"So big boy, what was that goofy smile you had when Perry asked what we were going to do for the talent show?"
Clark was not sure if Lois would like the idea that he had, but he decided he would never know for sure if he did not ask her, so he decided to give it a shot. "I thought, maybe, we could use that song we made up based on that Tom Petty song?" he asked in the tone people use when they are not sure if someone is going to like the idea, but is hoping that they will.
Lois thought for a second then said to Clark's surprise, "Yeah, it would be fun to do it on stage. I like it, Clark."
One day while sitting around Lois's apartment they were listen to the radio when Mary Jane's Last Dance came on the radio. Just for something to do they decided to chance some of the words to fit in with the way their lives had gone over the years. They had written it down, but had sung it so much that day that they eventually memorized it.
After coming to a consensus that they need to develop some kind of dance routine to go along with the song, they decided to go to the casino and get down to work. But before they could go to the casino they had to go to the story meeting that Perry usually had around 8:30 everyday.
Nothing very exciting happened during the meeting, which ended at 9:30. Now that the meeting was over Lois and Clark headed off for the casino and what they both hoped would not be too much of an adventure. Clark learned years ago that anything they did that involved a story was always an adventure and the funny thing to him was that both he and Lois kind of liked it that way. They arrived at the casino at about 10:00 and went inside to see what it looked like. As soon as they walked in two people approached them who looked like they were in charge of security. Lois stepped up to the biggest of the two when they approached.
"What do you two want?" the biggest guard grunted.
"We're looking for jobs. Go get whoever is in charge!" Lois snapped back at him. Clark just stood there and smiled. 'That's my Lois.' Clark thought.
"Wait here!" The guard growled at them as he and his companion left to find the boss. A minute later a beautiful blonde woman came over to Lois and Clark.
"So I hear you two are looking for jobs." When the women saw Lois she recognized her. "Hey I know you!" Lois and Clark thought that their cover was blown before they even got started. "You're Wanda Detroit, aren't you? I heard you singing at that dive a month ago. You were really good! If you want a singing job it's yours." Then she looked at Clark and said: "And you, you are just too fine to let get out of here. What do you do?"
"I am a bartender, ma'am."
"Well, that settles it. You're both hired. Be back here at 1, and we will show you what you need to know. I'm sorry, mister, I didn't get your name."
Clark thought for a second then came up with "I'm Paul, Paul Pierce. It's a pleasure to meet you, miss?"
"Joe Doe Trento, and the pleasure is all mine, handsome."
Lois already did not like this woman not only for the way she was looking at Clark, but for who she was. "Alright, Miss Trento, we'll be back then. Thank you for the jobs." Lois and Clark left the building to head back to the Planet. In the Jeep Lois asked Clark why he chose that name.
"I couldn't think of anything else!"
"I think someone is already on our new boss's good side," Lois said.
"Yeah, lucky me," Clark said sarcastically. "Why do all the psychopaths want to get to know me better anyway?"
"They can't help it. You're just so darn cute."
"Well, thank you Lois, you're the only one who want I to think that I am cute. This is going to make it tougher for me to look around with her watching me all the time."
"Well, look at it this way if she's paying attention to you I can sneak in to her office and see what I can find."
"Good point. Well I guess it like I said last time, sometimes you have to pass the ball to a teammate to score the winning touchdown."
"Well, if I got to pass the ball I would rather pass it to you than anyone else because I know you won't fumble." "No more football metaphors, okay?"
After they parked the Jeep in Lois' favorite space in the Planet parking garage, they went to the newsroom to tell Perry about getting jobs at the casino. Perry could not believe how easy it was for them to get hired. He grilled them about what they were going to do at the talent show, but they would not tell him. They told him it was a surprise. Perry eventually gave up trying to find out and sent them on their way. They decided to go get lunch before heading back to casino.
They finished their lunch and headed back to the casino to see what they could find out. They got there about 1 and were greeted by Trento and another woman.
"Glad you made it back safely. Wanda, you go with Rita here and I will show Paul what to do, alright?"
Lois went off to the dressing room with Rita to get ready for the show that night and Clark and Trento went over to the bar. Trento showed Clark where the ice and glasses where and told him what he needed to know like when to cut people off, the drink prices, etc. After she did that the conversation turned a little friendlier.
"So, Paul, where are you from?" Clark decided it would be easier if he just told her the truth so he would not have to remember what he said later.
"Kansas huh? Did you grow up on the farm?"
Clark nodded his head.
"Farmboy… hey, I like farmboys."
"Why Miss Trento are you trying to seduce me?"
"Maybe. If you get lucky"
"I'll get back to you on that." Just then some suspicious looking people walked in and Trento excused herself and went over to talk to them. Clark listened in on the conversation to see what he could find out.
"Is everything ready for operation E.I. (End Intergang)?"
"Yes, it is. It's a go in exactly two days from this very moment. When it's over Intergang will be no more and we will take over. No one will be the wiser."
"Good. I want that Mindy Church to pay for gassing my pops!"
Trento's father was one of the crime bosses that Church gassed when she decided to start up Intergang again the Christmas she tried to kill Clark. Trento had been planning her revenge ever since. After Trento said she wanted revenge on Church the conversation stopped and the people left. Trento got up and went to her office to work.
Meanwhile in the dressing room Rita was showing Lois her wardrobe for the evening. It was country night at the casino so Lois was to be dressed in a cowgirl outfit. Rita told Lois that she needed to wear a fake butterfly tattoo on her belly. Rita told Lois it would make her look more attractive to the audience. Lois protested but Rita was adamant and since Lois needed to stay on everyone's good side she gave in and wore the tattoo. After being briefed by Rita she went back out to the bar to see how Clark was doing. Clark went backstage to bring Lois up to speed on the conversation that Trento had with the thugs, when he got a chance. He said that Trento had gone into the office and that he would go into the office and try to get her to come out so Lois could look around. By now it was 4 pm and they were not to open until 5, so they had about an hour to see what they could find before they had to get to work. Clark went back behind the bar and sabotaged the taps so that he could tell Trento that there was a problem and she would have to come see what was wrong. His plan worked to perfection as she came out and saw that they were broken. She decided they needed to be replaced and went to get some new ones. She left the club to get them because the rest of the help would not be there for another half an hour.
While she was gone, Lois broke into her office and looked around to she what she could find. After rooting through her stuff, Lois was unable to find anything they could use as evidence. Frustrated and running out of time Lois left the office and went to get ready for the show.
At about 7 pm, Lois was standing on stage waiting behind the curtain ready to go on. She was wearing a belly shirt, jeans, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. The clothes were very tight and very revealing. Lois stood there for a couple of minutes waiting to be introduced. Rita walked out on stage and started to introduce Lois.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, Trento's is proud to present the very talented and very attractive, Wanda Detroit!"
The crowd gave Lois a nice ovation and when the curtain opened the men in the house were pleasantly surprised. When Clark saw Lois on stage he almost dropped the bottles he had in his hands. Clark started to float up off the floor. Fortunately for him he was behind the bar and everyone's attention was on Lois. After a few seconds he realized what he was doing and returned to the ground. Lois walked out on stage and took the mike and introduced her first number.
"Thank you very much. My first number will be a song called No One Needs to Know." Lois began to sing the Shania Twain song.
Am I dreamin' or stupid? I think I've been hit by Cupid But no one needs to know right now
I met a tall dark and handsome man And I've been busy makin' big plans But no one needs to know right now
I got my heart set, my feet wet And he don't even know yet But no one needs to know right now
I'll tell him someday some way somehow But I'm gonna to keep it a secret for now
I want the bells to ring, a choir to sing, The white dress, the guests, the cake, the car, the whole darn thing But no one needs to know right now
I'll tell him someday some way somehow But I'm gonna to keep it a secret for now
We'll have a little girl, a little boy A little Benji we call Leroy But no one needs to know right now
And I'm not lonely anymore at night And he don't know only only he can make it right
And I'm not lonely anymore at night And he don't know only only he can make it right
I'm not dreamin' or stupid But boy I've been hit by Cupid But no one needs to know right now No one needs to know right now…
After Lois finished that song she sang five more before calling it a night. Some other acts came up on stage through out the night to entertain the people as they gambled. When Clark could, he looked around to see who was at the casino. What he saw was more criminals were in the casino than at the Metropolis Prison. He could not believe some of the characters he saw thieves, murders, con artists, the whole spectrum. He could not see or hear anything that would help them figure out what Operation E.I. was. He just could not seem to shake the image of Lois on stage singing in that outfit. 'That will keep me up all night' he thought. Then he started to wonder if that's how other people felt when he was in the Superman suit. He pushed that thought out of his head as quickly as it came so he could get back to work. About 9 pm Lois emerged from the back and went to work serving people. She took some orders and came over to the bar to get the drinks from Clark.
"I need a couple of bourbons and a screwdriver."
"If that other gig you have doesn't work out you can become a singer, you got a tremendous voice, not to mention you look really, really, good in that outfit."
"You liked that, huh?"
Clark shook his head yes and said in his best Jim Carrey impersonation from Dumb and Dumber.
"I like it a lot!" Lois decided to have a little fun with Clark. She said in a southern accent.
"Did you like my butterfly?" Clark smiled as he remembered where he had heard that and got into character.
"I didn't notice it."
"Sure you did."
Clark gave Lois the drinks and she walked away with an exaggerated shake of the hips. After a few seconds she looked back over her shoulder and smiled at Clark, who returned the smile. After Lois turned back around Clark just shook his head as he tried to calm himself down.
'Mm-mmm! I was not really looking at your stomach, Lois. My attention was else where. Maybe they will let her keep that outfit.'
Trento coming over to the bar interrupted his thoughts; she looked like she wanted to talk to him. She asked Clark to go with her into her office, Clark said he would and followed Trento to her office. He saw Lois on his way to Trento's office and Lois looked at him as if to say, 'what does she want.' Clark's look told her he had no idea what was going on. Clark walked into the office first and Trento closed the door after them when she came in.
"From what I saw you did an excellent job behind the bar."
"Thanks, boss. I appreciate that."
"Please call me Joe."
"Okay, thanks Joe."
"So do you like it here?"
"Yeah, it good work and I have fun talking to the customers."
"That's good. Anyway, I thought Wanda sounded really good tonight."
"Yes, Wanda sure does have a good voice."
'Among other things.'
"Well I just wanted to tell you that I like the job you're doing."
"Thanks again Joe. Well, I better go or I will miss my ride. Good night boss."
"Good night Paul, you don't need to come in to work tomorrow. We won't be open. I have to catch up on things around here." Clark was tired and did not like this woman, so he was thankful for the chance to slip out. When he got to Lois's Jeep she was waiting for him.
"Why can't she just go away and leave me alone?"
"She's attracted to you. You are super-looking, ya know!" Lois said with a big smile. Clark smiled back and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek since now she was driving.
"So what do we do now, Lois? We could not find out anything at the casino. You went through her office and I x-rayed the entire place and didn't find jack. And other than that conversation before we opened, nothing else about E.I. was discussed." Clark shook his head in frustration.
"While you guys were in the office I heard that she loves to work out of her house, so we are going to have to look around there."
"How are we going to find where she lives? We don't even know who she is, we have no idea what her really name is and we only got a day and a half more to figure it out."
Lois had an idea on how to find out where Trento lived but she was sure that Clark would not like it. It wasn't that it was really dangerous, it a little dangerous but when wasn't it when it came to Lois. She knew that it would make Clark uncomfortable because he would have to do the one thing he did not want to do with Trento, spend time with her alone.
"Clark, I have an idea."
"Those four words together coming out of your mouth at the same time spells trouble" Clark said jokingly. Lois punched him softly in the arm.
"Anyway, we need to get into her house, right?"
"And we don't have the time to find out were she lives by our usual methods, and we need to get her out of the house long enough to look around." 'Well here goes nothing.' "I think you should ask her out on a date."
Clark looked at her as if she was crazy.
"No way, no, forget it. No way in… Lois, I hate that woman! I'm not going out with her!"
"We're out of time and options we need to get her out of the house long enough to find out what she's planning so you can stop it and we can bust her."
Clark reluctantly gave in. "Alright, fine I'll do it but you are going to owe me big time for this one!"
"I promise to make it worth it your while."
The next night Clark arrived at Trento's apartment at about 8pm to implement Lois' plan. Lois was in the Jeep with Clark.
"Now Clark you just keep her busy while I look around her place and see what I can find."
"Alright, Lois. Just be careful."
"I will. Give me a minute to hide then go to the door." Clark nodded to Lois and she kissed him goodbye. Lois went and hid in the bushes. Clark waited until she was out of sight, then went to the door. Trento was ready to go when he got there, so they got into Lois' Jeep and left.
After they left, Lois went to the front door and tried to pick the lock. She worked at it for a minute until she finally got the door to open. Once she got inside, she turned on some lights to see what she was doing because she had forgotten to bring a flashlight. She wandered around the house looking for any evidence she could find. She went into the den and found a filing cabinet. Lois opened the cabinet and found a folder called E.I., but before she could pull it out and read it she felt something strike the back of her head before she fell to the floor unconscious.
Clark and Trento went to a new restaurant that had just opened in town. When they walk in the restaurant they were seated right away. Trento talked Clark's ear off about her life up to this point. Clark acted like he as interested, but all he could think about was Lois and he hoped she would find what they needed to stop Trento. Clark nodded and said yeah or really where appropriate. After about five minutes the waiter came and took their order. Trento continued to tell Clark her life stories and Clark did his best to act interested. About fifteen minutes later the waiter returned with their food. They just started to eat when Trento's beeper went off.
"Oh no, 911. I am sorry Paul, but I need to get out of here."
Clark perked up at this. 'Finally this date from hell can end.'
"Oh, really? That's too bad. Well we better get you home." Clark and Trento got up form the table and Clark left some money on the table to cover the dinner and tip. They got into Lois' Jeep and Clark drove Trento back to her house.
"Sorry about this, but it's a family problem. I had a great time, though."
"It's alright. Don't worry about it. I hope everything is alright."
"Thank you, we'll do this again soon, I promise." With that Trento got out and Clark left to go meet Lois at the place she said she'd be at. When Clark got there Lois was no were to be found. 'This is not good.' Clark changed into the suit and went looking for her.
Lois awoke in some kind of underground fortress. It took a minute for her head to stop throbbing long enough for her to be able to see straight. Once she was able to focus she saw that she was tied up and Trento was standing over her.
"Well, well Miss Detroit. Or should I say Lois Lane."
"You better just let me go before Superman shows up."
"Well that would be just fine with me see I have a little surprise for your boyfriend, Miss Lane. I bet you 're wondering how I knew who you really were. I'm the source of your boss's and I knew he would send you to investigate me. Which was also fine with me, because you are a big part of my plan to get rid of Superman. You see Lane, you are the bait to lure Superman here to my little death trap."
"You can't kill Superman with anything from this earth."
"You are right, Lois. Nothing from earth will do it, but how about from his homeland." Trento pulled out a big chunk of Kryptonite.
When Lois saw this she said, "Superman will not come unless I call him and I'm not going to, so now what?"
"I figured you would say that so I decided you might need a little motivation. Look at the TV screens above you." Trento picked up the remote control and turned on the TVs. "As you can see one is the Daily Planet building, one is your apartment building and the other is your partner's building, Paul Pierce a.k.a. Clark Kent. At each of these buildings is a large amount of TNT placed near the foundations. And unless you scream for help when I tell you to, and not before or after, they will all go boom when I press this button. If you think I am bluffing, just try me and you will see."
Lois thought that this woman was nuts enough to do this so she decided to try to convince her that this would not work. "If I do or don't your going to push that button anyway because this is operation E.I., isn't it?"
"How did you know about that? Well it doesn't matter because soon you and Superman will be dead and I will have my revenge on Mindy Church for gassing my dad last Christmas like some sick dog. See the trail of evidence will lead straight to her door and with her in jail and Superman dead I can take over. Does the thought of me taking over make you feel nauseous? Don't worry you won't be around to see it."
"Why do you want Superman dead? He didn't kill your parents!"
"Because he was too busy being all mushy with you to save my dad, and if he lives no business like mine can thrive now can it?"
Lois tried another approach. "Clark is out looking for me right now so why don't you just give it up and turn yourself in."
"Shut up, you stupid fish hack. If I were you I'd reconsider my position and do what I say or else live the rest of your brief life with the deaths of hundreds of people on your conscious. You have one minute to decide the rest of your life."
Lois started to panic when Trento put a gun inside Lois' mouth and cocked it. She started to go over her options in her head when all of a sudden Clark came busting through the roof.
"Alright, Trento, give it up! It's over!"
"It is? Well, in that case, and since I am going to jail, I will just have to give you your Christmas present early. Merry Christmas Superman!" She pulled out the Kryptonite and Clark fell to the floor in tremendous pain. Trento set the Kryptonite down next to where Clark fell to the floor. The pain did not last long for Clark, as one of Trento's goons hit him over the head with a billy club. In his weakened condition Clark was knocked out cold. He was bleeding from the blow and Lois screamed in horror.
"Don't worry Lois if it makes you feel any better I will take good care of that partner of yours. I was going to kill him, but he is just too darn cute to kill, so I think I will just make him my boyfriend instead."
"He'll never be your boyfriend, he's in love with me."
"You could have a great looking man like Clark Kent, but instead you choose this, this alien. Well if it makes you feel better, I will console him after your death." Trento started for the door; when she got there she said, "Have a nice death."
Trento pushed a button next to the door and punched in a code on the panel. The door closed and locked trapping Lois and Clark inside. As Lois and Trento were talking Lois had managed to get herself untied. She went over to where the Kryptonite was and tossed it to the other side of the room. Lois started to shake Clark trying to wake him up. After about thirty seconds Clark started to come to.
"Clark, wake up! We have to get out of here."
She helped him to his feet, but with the Kryptonite in the room he was very dizzy. Lois went over to the panel next to the door and tried to get it to open. She punched in several combinations very fast, but had no luck. She tried yet another code with no luck opening the door. She stopped punching in combinations when one of the TV monitors came on. On the monitor was a recording of Trento with a message for Lois.
"Well, Lois was it as fun for you as it was for me? Don't answer that, rhetorical question. Thanks for stopping by. Oh and one more thing… time's up!"
The TV screen went blank and Lois started to see her life flash before her eyes. The next thing she expected to feel was the heat from the explosion, but instead she felt grass underneath her and something heavy on top of her. This confused her because she had not felt heat but what had felt like wind. What she had not realized right away was when Trento said "time's up", Clark had whisked her out of the room through the hole he had made when he came in and had set them down in the grass outside. Clark was on top of her to keep any debris from hitting her. After Clark got up off of her she realized what had happened.
"Lois, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think so, what about you?"
"I'm a little woozy but I'll be alright in a little while. I am pretty sure that stuff blew up in the explosion, but I am not going anywhere near that place just in case."
Lois nodded her head in agreement.
"I don't think I can fly right now so we better go find a pay phone and call…" Clark spotted something in a near by van. "There she is over there!" Clark forgot about being woozy and ran over to the van Trento was in at super speed and ripped the door open. Clark was now operating on the adrenaline gained from rage.
"Looking for me? I believe your time is up." Clark grabbed some rope he found in the van and tied everyone up. He took the remote out of Trento's hand and crushed it. "You won't be killing anyone today, Trento. You'll have a lot of time in jail to practice those bad actor impersonations of yours."
Just then Lois and the cops arrived, arrested Trento and the rest in the van. They thanked Superman for his help. Before Trento was put into the police car Clark walked over to her and said. "Was it as fun for you as it was for us? Don't ever let me see you on the outside ever again!" Superman grabbed her head like the police do and pushed her into the car. After the car pulled away, the adrenaline that had keep Clark going was now used up and he collapsed to the ground. Lois ran over to see if he was all right.
"Superman! Are you alright?"
"Yes, Lois, I'm fine. My legs just gave out. I need to go lie down for awhile though."
"Yeah, that's a good idea. I'll take you to Clark's place."
Lois told the police about the bombs that Trento had showed her and they sent the bomb squad to each place to check them out. The bomb squad disarmed each bomb without incident and Lois and Clark were allowed to return to Clark's place after they finished giving their statements to the police.
He and Lois had gone to sleep soon after they got home as both of them had had long days. Perry gave them the day off from work, so they did not have to get up too early. It had taken some convincing on Lois' part but she talked Clark into sleeping in the bedroom with her.
"It's not like we will be awake long enough to be tempted to do anything anyway, Clark," Lois said
"Good point. My head feels like I just caught a pass over the middle in a football game and got blindsided."
Lois got ready for bed first as Clark called his parents to let them know that everything was all right. He did not know what they had heard on the news and he wanted them to know that everything was okay. After he got done talking to them he got ready for bed and saw that Lois was already asleep. He crawled in carefully as not to disturb Lois. After Clark got situated in bed Lois unconsciously rolled over and snuggled up next him. This surprised Clark as he thought he had been careful not to wake her. As he listened to her heart rate he realized that she was in fact asleep. Clark thought that he could learn to like the feel of Lois against him.
Clark woke up the next morning feeling like his old self again. His head wound was completely healed and he no longer had a headache. He realized that Lois was not in bed next to him when he woke up. He checked the entire apartment but did not find her. He saw a piece of paper on the refrigerator addressed to him the note said:
Clark, Had a great idea for your costume for the show tonight and did not want to disturb you. Thanks for everything, left at 9:30, be back soon Love Lois.
Clark looked at the clock and it said 10 am so he went and got ready for what he hoped would not be a very strenuous day. By the time he had showered, eaten, and got dressed, Lois was back from her trip.
"Morning, beautiful. What did you get for me to wear tonight?"
"This." Lois pulled the ugliest looking suit that he had ever seen from the garment bag that she was caring. Clark cringed visibly when he saw it.
"What in the world that is horrific looking thing?! You want me to wear THAT, I thought you loved me, woman!"
"I do love you, silly. But I got to thinking you about the part in the song where you say you're not going to put the suit on again. I think to try to keep people from trying to figure out what you mean, and trying to figure out other things, we should change it to this suit instead of the suit."
"Good idea. No point in taking the chance. I love it when you get ideas!"
"You do, huh? Well how about this one?" Lois leaned in and gave him a long passionate kiss.
After they broke it and caught their respective breaths, Clark said, "Wow! Do me a favor, huh? Try to get that idea more often."
"I'll see what I can do. Now we need to get that story ready for the afternoon edition or Perry will fire us, and since you only have a tuna sandwich, some vegetables and OJ here let's go to my place. They are done painting and it doesn't smell like paint anymore I'm sure."
"Hey! I meet the minimum daily requirement."
"Honey, I'm your minimum daily requirement." They kissed again and then headed off for Lois' apartment. They spent the day writing up their story, watching TV, and getting ready for the event later that night. During the day Clark looked at the calendar and realized that Valentine's day was the next day. 'I forgot that was tomorrow' he thought. 'Good thing I already got her present. I just need to go pick it up sometime before tomorrow night.'
It was almost as if she could read his mind because no sooner had he thought of it did she feel the need to ask him about it. "So any big plans for Valentine's Day?"
"Well, if the Planet is planning a party, they did not tell me about, guess they figured we would want to be alone."
Lois said in her best German accent, "Ja, they were right."
"I figured you would, anyway. If nothing is going on at work I thought we could go to this new restaurant I know about and I promise to leave my extra set of cloths at home. And before you ask, I have your present all picked out and no I am not going to tell you what it is and am not going to give you any hints so don't even worry about it." Lois played this game with him before Valentine's Day last year and got nothing from him, so she decided to drop it.
Lois and Clark arrived at the Metropolis Convention Center at five minutes to seven and were escorted to the Daily Planet table that was right in front. They were told that they would be going last and that they were schedule to go on at nine o'clock. They were also told that they should be back stage at 8:30. There were lots of celebrities of stage, screen, and sports in attendance. This did not bother Clark, since he was Superman; he was used to doing things in front of big crowds. Lois was a little nervous, but she was so determined to be the best act at the show that she quickly lost her butterflies and became focused on checking the competition. Some of the celebrities that they had seen earlier outside where performing first and the talent show were going to be the last thing on the schedule for the evening.
Lois and Clark sat and watched all the acts until 8:30 when they headed backstage. Everyone at the table wished them good luck. The acts were from media outlets in town, newspapers, radio, TV etc. Clark changed into the suit that Lois had rented for him to wear and they waited for the other acts to get done. One local DJ decided that he was going to do a comedy routine, while a TV anchor did a tap dance routine. An editor from the National Inquisitor actually hypnotized someone from the audience and made the person do things like bark like a dog, and actually convinced them that they were driving a race car 200 mph on a race track. In reality this person was running around in a circle on the stage. After the editor was done it was Lois and Clark's turn.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, for the final act of the talent show tonight, I'd like to introduce what many call the hottest news team in town. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Lois Lane and Clark Kent."
Perry asked the person doing the introductions to say that part and when they walked out on stage everyone sitting at the Planet tables started to do the Arsenio Hall chant. Lois and Clark got a kick out of this.
"Thank you for that unusual welcome. Ladies and gentlemen, Clark and I would like to do a little song for you tonight that we call Lois Lane's Last Dance. It's a parody of the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song called Mary Jane's Last Dance. We hope you enjoy it."
They had worked out a routine where each one would sing a certain line form the song. Lois went to her position on stage next to Clark and waited for the instrumental part to begin. After a minute it started and they were now ready to begin their song.
Clark: She grew up in a New Troy town
Clark: Had a good lookin Mom
Lois: A dad, who never was around
Clark: But she grew up tall and she grew up right with them New Troy boys on them New Troy nights
Clark: She moved out of the house, at the age of eighteen, see blew the boys away, was more than they'd seen. I was introduced and we both started groovin, she said: Lois: I thank you Kent, but I gotta keep movin… on… keep movin on
Clark: Last Dance with Lois Lane, one more time to kill the pain. I hear trouble creepin in and I'm not puttin' this suit on again.
Clark: I don't know, but I've been told, you never slow down
Lois: You never grow old Clark: I'm tired of screwin up, tired of running out, tired of myself, tired of this town
Lois: Oh my, my, oh heck yes
Clark: Honey put on that black dress
Lois: Buy me a drink
Clark: Sing me a song
Clark: Take me as I come cause I can't stay long
Clark: Last Dance with Lois Lane, one more time to kill the pain. I hear trouble creepin' in and I'm not puttin' this suit on again.
(Longer Instrumental part)
Clark: There's criminals now, at Madison Square
Lois: Superman's standing in his, underwear
Lois: Lookin down from above the moon, nightfall will be comin' soon
Lois: Oh my, my, oh heck yes
Clark: You gotta put on that black dress
Lois: It was too cold to cry when I woke up alone, I hit the alarm and walked to the road.
Clark: Last Dance with Lois Lane, one more time to kill the pain. I hear trouble creepin' in and I'm not puttin' this suit on again.
(Longest Instrumental part, then song ends)
Lois and Clark got a standing ovation for their performance on stage. They bowed to the crowd and thanked them for the generous ovation before heading backstage again.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Lois Lane and Clark Kent!" After the speaker said this, he had to wait for the crowd to settle down before continuing. "Thank you for coming to our benefit tonight and for your generous contributions, we will hope to see you again next year, thank you again and good night."
Backstage, Lois and Clark were getting congratulations from everyone, the other acts in the talent show, celebrities, everyone and anyone who ran into them. Eventually they worked their way through the crowd to Perry and Jimmy.
"You guys did a hell of a job with that song of your. Nice going!"
"Thanks, chief. Lois and I appreciate it."
"Yeah, you guys were incredible. I want a copy of the lyrics to that song. Nice suit by the way, CK."
"Thanks, Jimmy!" Clark said sarcastically. "It was Lois' idea. I'm going to return that hideous thing first thing tomorrow, so I don't ever have to look at after that ever again."
"It was not that bad Clark!"
"Yes, it was, Lois. Yes, it was."
Both Jimmy and Perry looked at each other and said in unison: "It was Lois." Everyone started laughing when they said this.
"Well, I'm feeling pretty tired. I'm ready to go home. How about you, Clark?" Lois asked.
"Yeah, me too. Goodnight, Perry, Jimmy."
They all exchanged pleasantries and Lois and Clark got into Lois' Jeep and headed for Clark's. Once they got to Clark's, they sat in the Jeep and talked about the week they had, and what was up for the next day. Clark told Lois that he had to take a personal day to take care of some Superman business with his agent, Murray Brown.
"Need to make sure that he is getting all the endorsement money to the charities. I have to meet someone at his office, some insurance agent. Can you believe I have to meet with an insurance agent to update my policy."
"Yeah. After that whack tried to sue me, remember?"
"After that Murray was approached by Lloyd's of London and we made a deal with them that if I pay them $15,000 a year and let them use my name, they will pay off any law suits that I might lose, the lawyer's fees and so forth. I figured it was better to pay them $15,000 a year than have to take millions of dollars from people that need it. I have to go in and talk to them."
"You know, it's a sad world when you have to have insurance against morons who sue you."
"That's for sure. Is it alright if I come by at 7 tomorrow and then go to dinner?"
"Yeah. Sounds good to me. Goodnight, I love you."
"Love you, too. Goodnight, sleep well." Clark got out of the car and Lois went home and they both went to sleep.
Clark arrived at Lois' apartment at precisely 7 pm. He had an interesting day, interesting in a good way. Clark decided to tell Lois about it over dinner. He knocked on her door and waited for her to answer. He was really excited about tonight. Lois' present was ready when he had arrived to pick it up. He was really thought it was perfect for her and he hoped that she would like it. About 30 seconds after he knocked, Lois opened the door. When Clark saw her she was not quite completely clothed. Clark lost all conscious thought as he stared at her for a second.
"Lois… we were a supposed to…go…go…out tonight, weren't we?"
Clark was suddenly feeling very warm with Lois standing in front of him like this. Lois was slightly embarrassed for having answered the door like that. 'What if one of neighbors had been in the hall?!' She was also excited by the reaction she was getting from Clark and the knowledge that she made him feel like this. She felt the same way when he was in shorts and a shirt. 'If you react like this with me in this outfit what will you do on our honeymoon?' Suddenly Lois remembered that he had asked her a question.
"We are. I just got home a few minutes ago and am running late, just make yourself conformable and I be out in a jiffy."
About fifteen minutes later, Lois emerged from the bedroom in an incredibly beautiful red dress that she wore very well.
"Wow! You look really good in red. I mean really good."
"You like it? I know you like burgundy, but I figured what the heck!"
Clark nodded his head vigorously. 'I love it when you get ideas.' "Well we better get going. The limo is waiting outside." Clark had decided to surprise Lois by renting a limo.
"You rented a limo?"
"Yeah, I figured you would want to go to dinner in style. Shall we?" Clark offered Lois his arm and she took it.
"We shall," she said as they walked to the door and left.
Lois and Clark arrived at the restaurant at 7:45 and were seated soon after. The restaurant had just opened a couple of weeks earlier and was very elegant. After they were seated, the waiter gave them menus and left. Lois and Clark thought about and talked about what they were going to eat for a few minutes before deciding on what to have. When the waiter returned he took there orders and then left. Lois and Clark started to talk about their respective days. Lois was curious how it went with Murray, but Clark went first.
"So Lois, how has your Valentine's Day been so far?"
"So far, so good. The Planet did not have a party, which was good, otherwise I would have not been able to do this with you tonight. I finished the stories I had been working on, and even talked to Lucy."
"How's she doing?"
"She's doing good she says hi by the way."
"Tell her hi back for me next time you talk to her."
"I will. So how did it go with Brown today?"
"It went pretty well. The insurance guy showed up. He wanted me to take a physical, I was like, 'Come on, I'm Superman what are you going to find in a physical anyway?' He was like, 'good point', so we just went over the new policy. I signed it and then he left. That was not even the most interesting part of the whole meeting with Murray."
"It wasn't? What happened?"
"It seems that I…er… Superman, got five offers from Major League Baseball teams to come play for them."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah, I could not believe it either. One team offered to pay me the league minimum and donate FIFTEEN million dollars to the charity of my choice."
"Wow, Clark, that's amazing! What did you say?"
"I politely turned them down. I don't want to play pro baseball. I mean I like baseball and all that, but being away from you on the road, not being able to see you, work with you, I couldn't do that. It would be too easy I could just dominate the game. That wouldn't be any fun, it would be boring. Not as exciting as life is with you." Clark said this last part with a smile on his face. The smile warmed Lois to the core of her being. The two of them just sat there and looked deep into each other's eyes. Their food arrived, interrupting the moment that they were sharing. During dinner they talked about everything and nothing. Lois had been wondering how Clark had gotten them out of the underground place in time before it blew up and she decided to ask him.
"How did you get us out there before the place blew up? I mean one minute you can barely stand and the next you're on top of me outside in the grass."
"I don't know. I was just trying to stay upright, because I was very weak and groggy, then she said 'time's up', and something just snapped in my brain and I just did it. I can't really explain it. Then when I saw her in the van I was just using the anger I felt toward her to keep me going. Then when I calmed down that's when I fell down."
They talked about other things after that while they finished their dinner and had desert. They finished eating and decided to just ride around town in the limo for awhile.
They got back to Lois' at about 10:00. Lois invited him up for a nightcap and to get her Valentine's Day present from him. She was dying to see what it was since he had given her no clue as to what it could be.
"So did you get me a Valentine's Day present or was that it?" Lois said as she closed the door to her apartment.
"Well, dinner and the limo were part of it, but that was not all I got for you. You've been dying to know what I got you for the last couple of weeks haven't you?"
"What, me?! How could you even think such a thing?" Lois said with an innocent look on her face.
"Oh no, not you, never. Nice try!"
"Okay, I have been, so sue me!"
"How about I just give you your present instead?" Clark reached into his jacket and pulled it out.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Lois. I hope you like it." Lois tore the wrapping paper off the box and then opened the box. Inside she saw the most beautiful necklace she had ever seen. She did not recognize what kind of metal it was made out of because the metal was kind of reddish gold. Lois started to cry when she pulled the necklace out of the box. "Clark! It gorgeous, where did you find it? I have never seen anything like it. Did you find it in Europe or something?"
"Well, not exactly Europe. M-m-more like Mars."
"Yeah. Well, see, a few years before I moved to Metropolis I was really interested in the other planets of our solar system, especially Mars. So I decided to go explore it for myself. I went out and bought an air tank, because I can only hold my breath for twenty minutes and I wanted to spend a lot of time there, and I went all over the place. I wish I could take you there, Lois. There are so many beautiful and awesome places there. Anyway, So one day I was curious if Mars had a magma core like Earth did, so I was tunneling my way down to the core when I saw this metal. It has all the properties of gold but it has that reddish tint to it. I don't know why, it just does. I didn't take any with me then, I mean what was I going to do with a metal from Mars on Earth."
"I had forgotten about it being there for a long time. Then about a month ago I started thinking about what I wanted to get you for your Valentine's Day. I wanted to get you something unique, something no one else in the world had. I wanted to get you some kind of jewelry that no one had but everything I saw in stores was not unique enough. Then I remembered the gold like metal I had found on Mars and decided it would be perfect. Then I went and found someone to make the necklace. He just finished it yesterday, and thank God he got it done. Happy Valentine's Day, Lois."
This stunned Lois she had not expected this and was amazed at how yet again he surprised her.
"Thank you, Clark. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I love it and I love you."
"I love you, too. I'm just glad you like it."
"This is the most special gift that anyone has ever given me on Valentine's Day. It's right up there with the engagement ring you gave me. Will you put it on me?"
"Yeah, sure. I had the guy melt a little bit of earth gold around the neck so hopefully it will not irritate your skin. I didn't want to take the chance." Clark put the necklace around her neck and it fit perfectly. "How does it feel?"
"It feels perfect. No irritation at all. Thank you." Lois gave Clark a tender kiss to show him how much she loved him and the necklace. Clark went from her lips to her neck and kissed all the way around where the necklace was. After he finished he told her with a smile on his face. "Just checking to see if it fits." Clark checked his watched and realized it was 11. "Well, I better go before I try to talk you into forgetting our agreement about waiting until we get married."
"Yeah, that's a good idea because right now it would not take much convincing. Goodnight, Clark. Thank you for making this the best of my entire life."
"You're welcome, Lois. I'll see you in the morning at work. I love you."
"Love you ,too, Clark."
Clark walked out the door and went home to get some sleep and get ready for the next day.
Author's notes: The reason I choice the name Joe Doe Trento was because when I was a little kid I new a kid named Joe. We called him Joe Doe Trento because his last named started with Trento and Doe rhymed with Joe and Trento. A fish hack is slang for a bad newspaper report. Bad newspapers are called fish wraps, and someone who is bad at something is called a hack, thus fish hack. The song Lois Lane's Last Dance came to me when I was listening to Tom Petty one day during a L&C commercial break and it just came to me. As for the Mars metal, I do not know if they found any kind of metals, precious or otherwise, but I figured, what the heck, it's fiction right? Did you figure out which line came from which movies? Let me know.