By IRC Round Robin
Submitted April 1999
Summary: Lois and Clark and the usual suspects help Perry and Alice celebrate their remarriage, but an unusual side effect of Lois's pregnancy threatens to reveal just how *super* a guy Clark really is. ;)
An IRC Round Robin by Mackteach <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Misha <email@example.com>; zoomway <firstname.lastname@example.org>; chrispat <email@example.com>; CrystalW <JCWimmer@aol.com>; Eraygun <Eraygun@aol.com>
Clark sat on the sofa, exhorting the home team to victory. "Geez, play some defense, willya? That point guard has the run of the whole court!"
Lois stood at the stop of the stairs and yelled down. "Clark?"
Keeping his eyes focused on the television, he yelled back. "Just a sec, honey. No! Not a stall!" He sat back dejectedly on the sofa as he watched the basketball stolen and dribbled the length of the court for a layup by the opposing team as time ran out and the game ended.
Using the remote, Clark turned off the television and headed toward the stairs. "What's up, Lois?"
"I need some help up here. Could you give me a hand?"
"Be right up."
Clark went up the stairs and headed for their bedroom. "What did you need, hon — "
At the sight that greeted him, words suddenly failed Clark. He opened and closed his mouth reflexively, swallowing the sudden lump in his throat.
Lois looked at Clark and smirked. "What's the matter, Clark? You've seen me in my underwear before."
"Um, yeah … well … just not … *those* … "
Lois looked down at herself. "What, these little things?"
Clark took a step forward. "Sweetheart, 'little' isn't the word for them."
"Oh? Then what is?"
Clark kept his gaze focused just above Lois' collarbone. Any higher, he would have fallen into her dark chocolate eyes. Any lower and he would have lost what self-control he had. Lois had always been a beautiful and sexy woman. But now, with the pregnancy, everything about her just seemed to be more … enhanced. And just as when he first met her, Clark was even more powerless against her natural charms.
Lois caught his slightly glazed-over look. "Clark?"
"What is what?"
"If 'little' isn't the right word, then what is?"
"Oh." Clark thought as he walked toward Lois. "Skimpy … sexy … enticing … arousing … completely … totally … " He stopped just in front of her.
"Yes?" Her eyes shined with excitement.
"Unnecessary," Clark managed to say before his mouth descended on hers, completely covering it, stealing her breath away.
Lois lifted her head from the pillow and sneaked a look at the clock. "I suppose it would be bad form to stay here the rest of the afternoon and evening."
Clark chuckled as he hugged her to him. "That it would. The wedding is at five, and if we're late, Perry will have our hides."
Lois smiled against Clark's chest. "Yeah. So will Alice."
She sighed and kissed his chest, lightly biting him. "Well, we already missed the limo, and it takes over half an hour to get out to the Sterns if we drive, so better get a move on, buster."
Her attention was drawn back to his face as she heard his soft chuckle.
"You keep doing things like that, honey, and there'll be one less bridal attendant."
"And one less groomsman."
"Perry would still have our hides."
"So would Alice."
Lois trailed a finger down the center of his chest, her eyebrow raised in mock consternation. "Y'know .. instead of lying there looking absolutely good enough to eat … you *could* get dressed."
Clark smiled his mega-watt smile and winked. "I'll be ready faster than you can say — "
"Don't say it."
Clark sat up and propped the pillows behind him as he watched Lois get dressed. Her movements were fluid and unconsciously sensual. He sighed as he took notice of her slightly bulging abdomen. So far, Lois' pregnancy had been fairly normal and routine. But still, Clark couldn't help but worry. After all, they were in "uncharted territories" as Dr. Klein put it. Clark just hoped that Lois and the baby would be all right.
"What is it?"
Lois' question broke into his thoughts. Quickly, he diverted the question with one of his own. "Have I ever told you that I always dreamed of seeing you in burgundy?"
As Lois pulled the dress onto her shoulders, she smiled softly. "Once or twice. But tell me what you were really thinking about just now."
Clark smiled sheepishly. She knew him too well. "Are you going to be okay today? I mean, there's going to be a lot of excitement, I'm sure."
Clark got off the bed and walked to the closet. Lois watched him move, admiring the play of his muscles as he walked. "Clark, I'm pregnant, not terminally ill. I'll be fine."
Clark went into spin-mode, quickly dressing in his charcoal gray suit.
"I know, honey, but ..
"Have I ever told you about this thing I have about charcoal suits? Clark … " She walked toward him and placed her hands on his chest. "I know this is scary and that you're worried. But, if we can't trust Dr. Klein, then who can we trust? Everything will be fine."
Clark sighed, seeing the look in Lois' eyes. "All right." His grin returned. "So tell me about you and charcoal suits."
Lois' smile widened and she reached out to adjust his tie. "Maybe later."
"Good." Clark checked his watch. "Shall we go then?"
Lois reached for the jacket that matched her burgundy dress. "Yeah. We've got a wedding to go to."
Clark grinned and scooped her into his arms. "I'm really happy for Perry and Alice. Some loves are just meant to be."
Lois smiled and looked deeply into his eyes. "Yeah. Just like ours."
"Yup." Clark walked down the stairs carrying his precious cargo.
The Stern estate was anything but. A large house just to the north of Metropolis proper, it had a beautiful view of the skyline, and an even better view of the gardens that had earned it a place in Home and Garden's 'Ten most beautiful European Gardens in the US'. The long drive up the side of the hills overlooking the city took far too long for Jonathan.
Martha sighed as they stepped out of the limo. "Oh, that was a marvelous allee. I think I'd like to paint that."
Jonathan huhhed and straightened his good suit. "I thought you had switched to sculpture."
"I did. Watercolors don't have enough punch. But if I used latex on the barn walls … " She stared back along the drive, then swept her gaze over the grey-green hedges, silvery in the sunlight, up to the large house. Glass glinted in the sun, and Martha pointed towards the back of the house. "There's the atrium — looks like they're still setting up."
Jonathan grunted and waved the limo driver off. "So the limo was a little early."
"Jonathan — the limo was for Lois and Clark."
"Not my fault they weren't ready."
Martha smiled and took her husband's arm. "Now, Jonathan, I'm sure they had a reason for being late."
Jonathan chuckled and patted her hand. "I'm sure they did, Martha."
Martha shot a sly glance at her husband. "Probably the same reason we were late to the Harris wedding thirty odd years ago."
They both laughed and stepped into the house. "Let's see if we can't find Clark and offer to help."
Martha, who was straightening the arrangements in the atrium, more to have something to do than anything else, started at the sound of a door slamming. She and Jonathan, who had been quietly studying a camcorder manual, looked up as Jimmy Olsen stormed down the aisle.
Her motherly radar blipping furiously, she stood in Jimmy's path. Though Mr. Olsen was trying not to let his feelings show, he was the type of person that if his slightly well-fed, ready-to-play puppy exterior was displaced, it was all too obvious.
"Honey," Martha said, snagging the young man's sleeve. "You're so good when it comes to cameras, and Jonathan … well, is such a farmer when it comes to cameras."
Jonathan chuckled softly. "I'm afraid Martha's right about that, son. I'd sure appreciate any advice," he said, and handed the camcorder to Jimmy. He then winked at Martha.
Jimmy looked over the camera, made a few adjustments, and then held the camera in front of Jonathan.
"This should have it all ready to go, Mr. Kent. Press this to get the date setting out of the way, this is for a white fade in or out, make sure you have it on a still white object to start or it won't work, you've got one of those older ones that has a battery the size of a toaster, and oh, but you do have a good wide to narrow angle toggle right here under the — "
"Whoa, boy, whoa!"
"Too fast?" Jimmy asked.
"Too *much*," Jonathan replied. "I didn't understand half of what you were saying, and the half I did understand, well, I figured my hand would be a little too slow to do."
Jimmy shrugged. "Well, I could do the taping for you. Looks like I don't have much of a purpose at this wedding anyway."
Martha rubbed Jimmy's shoulder. "Perry's son?"
Jimmy sighed. "Yeah. I mean I know he's Perry's kid and all, and it should be him at the wedding being the best man, but I — "
"But you've *been* there for Perry more than a son."
Jimmy half-smiled. "Thanks, I was hoping *somebody* noticed."
"Son," Jonathan said, "Perry didn't make this decision easily."
Jimmy looked slightly relieved. "For real?"
"Well," Martha sighed. "We just got here a half hour ago, volunteering for help if they needed any. Jonathan got camcorder duty, but the argument was still in progress."
Jonathan put his arm around Jimmy's shoulders. "Perry wanted you to be his best man, but Alice had some good points too. You know Jerry is trying to put his life back together. He needs to feel his parents are behind him."
Jimmy sighed. "Yeah, but … "
"But nothing. Perry made the right decision. You know he didn't decide this lightly. Now what did you say about that fade thing?"
Jimmy sighed again, but took back the video camera. "See this button?… "
"Oh wow, Clark," Lois exclaimed as the jeep rounded a corner of the long drive, and the Stern mansion came into sight. "It's huge … and so elegant. Do you think it was a good idea for Uncle Mike to cater this? This is a lot different from putting on a beer bash for a retirement party at the printsetters' union."
Clark reached over and grasped her hand as he brought the car to a stop at the bottom of the imposing steps leading to the door. "He'll be fine. We both know what a great cook he is." He kissed her fingers. "If you're worried, why don't you go see if you can find him and see how he's doing while I find out where we're supposed to park."
Lois smiled gratefully and kissed him quickly. "Okay. I'll see you inside. I just hope we'll be able to find each other."
She jumped out of the car and ran up the steps. Clark watched her go, shaking his head. Would she ever learn to slow down? They weren't that late.
He watched until she reached the door and then, following the directions given by a hovering attendant, drove to the parking area. He was still a bit worried about Lois. He had brought her some German chocolate that he had picked up on his last Superman foray, and she had turned absolutely green when she opened the package. That was something he had never thought he would see. He wondered what other surprises the day had in store.
When Lois entered the house, she headed toward the back of the entrance hall to find the kitchen, but saw her uncle almost instantly.
Mike turned around quickly, nearly dropping the tray of hors d'oeuvres he was carrying, when he heard Lois call his name.
Laughing, Lois helped him steady the tray, while she hugged him with her other arm.
"I just wanted to say hello. When did you get demoted to bussing tables?" she asked him with a smile.
He returned the smile ruefully. "Since the help I hired disappeared without a word. This place is so big they're probably lost."
Lois grinned as she snatched a small niblet of food from the tray, and sighed as she sank her teeth into it. "I'd love to help," she said around the bite of food, "but I have to find out where I'm supposed to be."
Mike held the tray slightly away from her as he pointed down the hallway to the right of the entrance. "Most of the suits and gowns have been going that way," he said briefly. "If you see any of those useless kids that're supposed to be helping me, send them back to work."
Lois kissed him lightly on the cheek and grabbed another hors d'oeuvre as she headed in the direction he'd indicated.
"Eating for two," she grinned. Her uncle, wisely, didn't say a word.
She was halfway down the seemingly endless hallway when she ran into Jimmy. He assured her that she was going the right way, and apologized that he hadn't been at the door to direct her. Lois thought it was odd that Jimmy seemed so quiet and distracted on such a special day, but she didn't have time to comment on it. Following his instructions, she found the stairs to the second floor.
She went to the fourth door on the left, and knocked lightly.
Before she realized what had happened, the door opened a crack and an arm reached through and yanked her into the room before shutting the door behind her with a resounding thump.
She found herself facing the stunning bride, who was being frantically fussed over by an older woman. A single wave of hair had separated from the complex style that Alice wore, and the woman was frantically attempting to glue the patch in place with a combination of hairspray and mousse.
"I knew I shouldn't have tried a new hair style today," Alice was saying in a flustered voice, watching the inadequate results in the mirror.
Her makeshift hairdresser mumbled something that sounded like agreement, then sighed. "This is what you get for having naturally curly hair," she told Alice.
Lois stepped forward, quite experienced with dealing with that particular problem. She reached over towards Alice's bouquet which had been discarded on a table by the door, and chose a small rosebud from it.
Stepping forward, she placed her hand on Alice's arm. "I have an idea," she said in her most confident voice. Within a few moments, she had tucked the bud behind Alice's ear in a manner that held the stubborn strands in place, and blended beautifully with her dress.
With relief, Alice examined the results in the mirror. "I just want everything to be perfect," she said in a voice that was near tears.
Lois nodded, hugging her lightly. "It will be," she told the older woman firmly. "Trust me."
Alice nodded absently, patting carefully at the new hair style.
She was still facing the mirror when Lois turned back to the door. She stopped abruptly, suddenly feeling dizzy, and put out a hand to steady herself.
The woman who had yanked her into the room while working with Alice's hair had left as quickly as she had forced Lois to enter, and Martha was now coming through the same door. It took a moment for Lois to realize why Martha wore such a stunned look on her face.
Stepping forward, Martha took Lois's hand and tugged. It was then that Lois realized she had been floating inches off the floor. Glancing back at Alice, Lois was grateful to see that the incident hadn't been noticed, then she let her shocked eyes meet the similar expression worn by her mother-in-law.
"Oy," she whispered.
"What was that, Lois?" Alice asked, slightly swiveling in her chair.
"Oh, nothing … at all," Lois and Martha replied in unison, as Martha positioned herself to block Alice from turning around completely.
"You look absolutely stunning, Alice." Martha gushed, attempting to divert attention from her floating daughter-in-law.
"You think so?" Alice replied with a nervous giggle.
"Absolutely," Lois agreed, nodding vigorously. Then she gave a slight yelp as the jerking motion of her head started her floating higher.
Martha's eyes widened in panic and she gripped Lois's hand even tighter. "Lois, honey, I think we need to find Clark right now, don't you? I mean, he … ah … he asked me to come up and ah … get you … "
Lois smiled weakly. "I think that would be a wonderful idea — that is, I'll go right down."
"Oh, don't go yet … " Alice began.
Martha blanched as Lois started to drift upwards again. "But we have to go," she replied almost frantically. "The guests are beginning to arrive and I … ah, I promised Mrs. Stern I'd be the official greeter when she came back up here with you."
"Maybe Lois could still stay until either Mrs. Stern or my sister Gladys gets back. I 'm still a little nervous and I could use the company." As Alice spoke she rose from her chair and turned.
Before Alice turned completely around, Martha hustled Lois out the door, then turned back to explain. "I'm sorry, Alice. Lois isn't feeling very well … the pregnancy and all … "
Alice nodded sympathetically. "I understand. I hope she feels better before the wedding starts.
"Me too," Martha mumbled. She looked out into the hallway and saw that Lois was sitting in one of the ornate chairs that were spaced along the wall. She was gripping the arms of the chair tightly and had draped her jacket over her lap, so that if anyone passed by they wouldn't notice her floating off the chair's seat. Martha sighed in relief as she heard some voices coming the opposite direction from where Lois sat.
Turning back into the room, she informed the bride, "Alice, I believe Mrs. Stern is coming."
Alice smiled resignedly and rolled her eyes. "Probably to tell me more Scottish wedding traditions. That blood vow one just about set me off. Can you imagine, Martha? Slitting the couple's wrists and then binding them together with cloth? I'm *marrying* Perry, not becoming his blood brother!" Alice giggled nervously.
"Yes dear," Martha mumbled. "I'd better see to Lois." With that, she closed the door and hurried to Lois' side.
"Lois!" she whispered insistently. "You're floating!"
"Tell me something I don't know, Martha."
Martha placed her hand under Lois' elbow and urged her to stand. "Let's find Clark," she whispered.
Lois nodded, and arm in arm, they descended the staircase.
At the bottom, Lois sighed and placed her hand over her stomach. "Listen, kiddo, now is *not* the time to show your latent Kryptonian tendencies … Listen to me, Martha! I'm starting to sound like Ruth Friskin!"
"And how does that make you feel, Lois?"
"Oh! Dr. Friskin … er, I mean, Ruth! I didn't see you there."
Dr. Friskin smiled benignly. "I'm sure you didn't, Lois. I was *trying* to find my way to the atrium, and get a look at the magnificent house," she added with a mischievous look, "when I overheard my name. Is something wrong? Talking to your unborn child is quite natural, you understand."
Lois smiled tightly. "Nothing's wrong, Ruth. Nothing that having *Clark* here wouldn't fix." Lois' voice got louder as she emphasized Clark's name.
"And here he is," Dr. Friskin said.
Lois and Martha turned and smiled with relief as Clark, followed by Dr. Klein, appeared as if on cue.
"The doctor and I met in the parking lot," Clark explained absently, his eyes on Lois' strained expression
Dr. Friskin nodded thoughtfully, her gaze also on Lois' face. "Ah, the hormonal swing of a pregnant woman. It's a very fascinating phenomenon, and one that I've been meaning to study for quite a while … "
"But not today, pumpkin."
"Now, Bernie. Of course I wouldn't spoil the day by trying to analyze Lois. I was just making a comment."
Klein smiled at Dr. Friskin before turning his attention to Lois. "And how's the mother-to-be?" Klein noted that Clark had moved to Lois' side and was exerting some pressure on her arm. "Feeling all right?"
Lois' natural sarcasm took hold. "A little … light, Dr. Klein." She turned to Clark, staring into his concerned face. "I think I need to lie down, Clark."
Clark understood and nodded. Dropping his voice to a level that only Lois could hear, he suggested, "Maybe Dr. Klein should do a quick check."
Lois smiled in relief and responded just as quietly. "Absolutely."
She turned to Klein. "Dr. Klein? Clark and I need to talk to you … about … Superman."
For once, Klein received the message loud and clear. "Certainly. Why don't we see if this room is available … " He led the way to one of the many doors. Clark and Lois followed, Clark's firm arm around her shoulder keeping her feet in contact with the floor.
As the door closed, Martha sighed and turned to Dr. Friskin. "They could be a while, Ruth. Let's go join Jonathan in the atrium."
When the door clicked shut on the long hallway, Clark let go of Lois' arm. Lois began to slowly drift upwards until she was about five inches above the floor. There she floated, bobbing up and down slowly.
"Oh dear." Klein sat down in the nearest overstuffed chair.
Lois perched her hands on her hips and bobbed a few centimeters upwards. "What is happening to me?"
Klein looked her up and down and gestured weakly at the air. "Well … you're floating."
"Doctor Klein … "
Klein turned to Clark and shrugged. "I really can't tell. There are tests I can run back at the lab, of course, and I'd like to get a blood sample to compare against yours, but … " He rubbed the back of his neck. "You're the expert on flying."
Clark frowned. "Can you control it at all, honey?"
Lois threw up her hands. "I've tried! I haven't forgotten everything I learned from you!" She drifted a little higher.
"Well, you are … " Klein gestured towards the ceiling. " … flying higher the more excited you get. You could try calming down, taking a few deep breaths … "
Lois glared at them. "I can be calm."
"Honey, why don't you try those Indian relaxation techniques I showed you."
"Clark." Lois rolled her eyes. "The only reason you think those stupid techniques worked was because I fell asleep halfway through your explanation!"
Clark floated upwards and wrapped his arms around Lois. "I know, honey." He chuckled. "How about I explain the other half to you?"
Lois smiled grudgingly as they drifted floorwards. "I'm supposed to help Alice get remarried, Clark, not take a nap."
The door opened suddenly as Lois and Clark's feet hit the ground. A slightly built man in a white serving uniform peeked around the door. "Mr. Lane?"
"Um," Clark 'hummed' as he scanned with a bit of low level x-ray vision. "I know where he is," he said to the waiter. "I'll take you to him." He pointed to Lois. "Stay here. I'll be right back."
"Thanks, man," the waiter sighed. "I wish this house had a locator map."
Klein placed a hand on either side of Lois' face as Clark escorted the waiter from the room. He looked into her eyes. "From what I understand, Clark's powers manifested gradually."
Lois tried to nod. "Yes. The yellow sun … "
"Right. Triggered a sleeper gene of some type, it would appear."
"Then why am *I* being affected? Or the baby, for that matter? Neither of us have exactly been exposed to the sun … no more than usual."
"Well," Klein sighed. "At a guess, I'd say that you're actually suffering Clark's manifestations."
"Clark's?" Lois laughed. "That would mean.."
"Yes," Klein nodded. "He's telekinetically … projecting."
Lois folded her arms. "That's ridiculous. Well, okay, Clark does have a habit of floating when he's nervous, but he's never … projected that."
"He's never been an expectant father either."
"True, but — "
"Clark always tries to make you feel better, to assure you that everything is all right … basically feeling the need to always be there for you … protect you?"
Lois smiled. "Yes, that's Clark Kent, all right. I'd know that description anywhere."
Klein laughed. "Well, I think *he's* the one who has to calm down."
"You're serious? Clark is making me … float? Because *he's* nervous? Well," Lois smiled. "Let's find him and … bring him back to Earth."
Lois and Dr. Klein started down the corridor, but they hadn't gotten ten feet when Lois started to rise toward the ceiling.
"Oy! Now what's bothering Clark?"
Bernie grabbed her arm and pulled her back to the ground. "I don't know, but it must be something serious."
As they rounded the corner, Lois winced at the sound of her mother's voice.
They found Clark running his hand through his hair and sweating slightly as he listened to his mother-in-law. Dr. Klein tightened his grip on Lois's arm. Lois interrupted before Ellen could get really rolling.
"Mother!" She noticed her father trying to fade into the woodwork. "Daddy! What are you two doing here? I thought you were on safari in Africa."
Ellen sniffed. "That is just like you, Lois. I wrote you three days ago from Kenya to tell you we would be coming, but I'm sure you didn't think my note was worth reading."
Lois sighed. "Mother, it takes more than three days for a letter to get here from Kenya. Actually the wedding is for family and close friends. Since when were you and Daddy close friends of Alice and Perry?"
Ellen drew herself up to her full height. "Are you implying that we weren't invited?" She rooted around in her purse for a minute and pulled out the invitation, waving it in front of Lois' startled face. "I'll have you know, Alice and I serve on several committees together, and another thing, young lady … "
Lois gritted her teeth and looked at Clark, who shrugged helplessly. "Okay, okay. I'm sorry." She could feel her feet starting to leave the floor. Dr. Klein, would you mind keeping my parents company for a moment? We'll … Clark and I will find one of the ushers to show them where to go."
Clark looked gratefully at his wife, who was standing oddly close to Dr. Klein, her hands firmly holding his arm. As he stepped towards them, she carefully transferred her grasp to him, and they walked quickly back the way they had come.
He followed her until she stopped at the door of the small study they had used before. She looked in to ensure that it was still deserted before she pulled him in behind her and closed the door.
"Lois, I thought we were looking for an usher," he said in confusion.
"Clark, you have got to calm down," Lois said in a frustrated voice.
Looking into the nearly frantic eyes of his wife, he was more confused than before. "What are you talking about?" he asked her with frustration.
With a heavy sigh, Lois let go of her husband's arm and quickly ascended to the ceiling.
As she floated there, suspended with her back against the plaster, she told him firmly, "Clark, that Indian breathing … do it!"
"You heard me … sedate yourself."
Clark shook his head, baffled by the words of his pregnant wife. Thinking it best to humor her, he finally closed his eyes and took a few cleansing breaths.
Slowly, Lois descended to the ground, and when Clark's eyes opened she was once more facing him.
"Thanks," she said with slight sarcasm.
Shaking his head, Clark said, "I don't understand this!"
Lois once more began to rise. "Breathe, honey."
He did so, watching her return once more to the ground.
"Dr. Klein says this is definitely emotional, but it's not my emotions. You are projecting. If you don't stay calm, I won't stay on the ground."
Clark didn't understand, but the evidence was incontrovertible. He sighed heavily, shaking his head once more, and watched his wife bob slightly in the air once more.
"This could be fun," he said with a grin.
"Don't go there," she admonished him.
It took a few more moments of practice before Clark regulated his emotions well enough to keep his wife on the floor, but he was quite experienced at maintaining a stoic exterior, so it didn't take him too long to transfer that control inwards. With his wife's altitude controlled by his calmness, he had little choice in the matter. His paternal jitters would have to wait.
When they felt they had the hang of it, they finally left the room and went in search of Alice and Perry. The ceremony was going to be late as it was, and the last thing he needed was more stress.
"Honey," Clark called out quietly.
Lois looked back, the question on her face.
"When we go back to your mother … well … be sure you're holding my hand."
Lois nodded and laughed lightly, knowing that even Superman had his limits on control.
Unfortunately Dr. Klein was not having as much success keeping Ellen calm and cool. No sooner had Lois and Clark disappeared from view than she began to fume.
"There! It's happening again! What did I tell you?" she said sharply to Sam.
Sam shrugged. "Now, Ellen, you're just imagining … "
Dr. Klein blanched a little. "Exactly what is happening, Mrs. Lane?" he asked anxiously.
"I am not imagining things. It's true! Can't you see they are trying to cut us out of their lives?!"
"Ellen — "
"First, they don't tell us about the baby, our *first* grandchild, until almost all of Metropolis knows … "Well, we were out of the country until last week, dear."
"They could have called!"
"Maybe they wanted to tell you in person," Dr. Klein offered.
Ellen rolled her eyes and seemingly ignored Dr. Klein's comment.
"And now," she continued theatrically, "they're trying to get us thrown out of this wedding! My own daughter, my own flesh and blood … "
Sam sighed, shook his head, and began to walk down the hallway away from Ellen and Klein.
"Where are you going?" Ellen demanded.
"Well, I've heard Mike is catering this shindig and I'm going to see if he needs any help in the kitchen."
Dr. Klein eyed Ellen carefully.
"Maybe I should go too," he said as he hurried down the corridor after Sam, almost crashing into Lois and Clark as he rounded the corner.
Sam eyed Lois for a second, and she and Clark paused in the hallway.
"You might not want to go back that way, princess. Your mother's in full voice today."
Lois sighed. "Thanks for the warning, Daddy."
Clark nodded his own thanks and the two doctors continued on their quest for the kitchens.
When they were alone in corridor, Lois turned to Clark. "You need to go find Perry and Jerry and Jimmy and the rest of the groomsmen. I'm going to go through the kitchen, and take the back stairs up to the second floor."
Clark nodded and dropped a quick kiss on her forehead. "All right."
"And don't even think about my mother."
Clark hugged her closely. "I'll try."
"Clark," Lois warned as she felt her feet lighten.
"I promise, honey." Clark kissed her quickly as she settled again to the ground. "I won't."
Lois kept his fingers in hers as he slowly stepped out of reach. When he turned the corner, she let her hand drop, still feeling his warmth in her palm. She smiled and turned toward the kitchen, her stomach giving a happy little rumble of agreement with her direction.
As she neared the large doors, she passed her father and Dr. Klein on their way to rejoin the other guests and laughed at their sheepish looks at being caught licking their fingers.
When she stepped into the ordered chaos of the mansion's big kitchen, however, her stomach did a very unhappy double back flip with a half-pike. Lois leaned against the doorframe as the awful scent hit her nostrils.
"Lois!" Mike Lane stepped away from the groom's cake on which he was putting the finishing touches. "You're as white as a sheet!" He turned to the side, and pulled a small dish with a fork out of nowhere. "Here, sit, have something to eat."
The gooey fudge cake and chocolate-raspberry sauce smothering it were pure, dark, edible sin. Lois' eyes started watering as her stomach decided that protest gymnastics were in order.
"I'm sorry, Uncle Mike." Lois almost sobbed as she stumbled backwards out of the kitchen.
Clark, after much scanning, discovered the down-hearted James Olsen sitting on the terrace alone. Since Keith and Jerry were with their father, and Perry seemed to need their help, Clark stepped out onto the terrace.
Clark took a deep breath and sat next to his "wallowing" friend. "Hey, Jim."
"CK," Jimmy replied without looking up.
Clark leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "About ready for the wedding, Jimmy?"
"I appreciate the small talk, CK, but it's not really helping."
Clark sighed. "Jimmy, it's a tough break about Jerry, but he *is* Perry's son."
"When he's out on bail," Jimmy mumbled.
Clark put a hand on Jimmy's back. "He's *always* Perry's son, no matter where he is, Jimmy. Just like Jack is *your* father, no matter where *he* is," Clark added softly.
"But I'm *always* there, CK, *always*!"
Clark nodded. "But see, Jimmy, you're the son Perry *chose* to love. I think after Jerry went to prison and Keith drifted away, Perry didn't want to be close to anyone, but," Clark smiled. "You got through. You're in a place no one else can touch, Jimmy."
Jimmy picked up the video camera at his feet and offered his hand to Clark. "Thanks, CK. I don't know if that's true or not, but … I feel better."
"Good," Clark smiled. "Is that my dad's new camcorder?"
"Yeah. I think he's ready to adopt me. Want a little brother?"
Jimmy and Clark laughed down the hallway, passing Mike, who had suddenly felt compelled to smell the chocolate for spoilage.
Lois staggered back to the main hall and sat down on the nearest chair, taking deep breaths. How could her favorite food turn on her like that?
Mrs. Stern turned from greeting some more arrivals and rushed over to her. "Ach, ye puir wee thing. Ye're white as a sheet. Whatever is the matter?"
Lois took another deep breath, some of her color returning. "I'll be fine, Mrs. Stern."
Mrs. Stern patted her on the back. "I'm sure you will, hen. These spells shouldna' last much longer."
Lois looked up, startled, but Mrs. Stern had hurried away to greet another guest.
A familiar voice then claimed Lois' attention as her sister Lucy suddenly appeared around Mr. Stern's bulk.
Lois jumped up and rushed over to her sister. "Lucy! I'm so glad you're here." She hugged her sister and whispered in her ear, "Mother and Daddy arrived just a few minutes ago." Lucy looked horrified.
Suddenly another thought struck Lois. "*Why* are you here?"
Lucy looked a little embarrassed. "Jerry asked me."
Lois rolled her eyes. "I might have known. Well, Jerry's busy helping Perry get ready for the wedding. You can go find Mother and Daddy. I need to locate the rest of the wedding party."
Lucy sighed sulkily, but turned to do as her sister asked.
Lois closed her eyes. She sat down the instant her sister was out of sight. The room felt as though it wanted to spin a bit clockwise, and then change in favor of the opposite direction. After a bit, the sickening sensation passed. It was one of those days that looked good on paper, but when the blueprints were left behind, there wasn't much salvageable about the clashing events. She sighed. It was just a wedding, for crying out loud. Get a grip, she scolded herself.
"Lois?" Klein asked, his voice suddenly gone timid after tangling with Ellen Lane.
Lois opened her eyes. "You can come in, Doctor. My mother has no doubt moved her broom to some other part of the castle."
Klein dabbed at his perspiring forehead. "Thank goodness. I mean I'm sure your mother is a lovely woman when she's not so.. stressed."
"Not really," Lois said casually. "But I've been thinking and all I want to know is how in the world Clark is making me float. It just *can't* be possible."
Klein seated himself opposite Lois and looked at her thoughtfully. "Well, you and Clark both did tell me that Clark has some telepathic ability — "
"Yes," Lois shrugged. "But not telekenetic."
"It wouldn't necessarily have to be telekenesis, Lois. You told me that Clark often floats when worried or.. well..if he's.."
"Yes," Klein said, relieved Lois had finished his sentence. "That being the case," he continued, "he's projecting his stressful or .. amorous feelings telepathically to you, and his aura is the conduit."
"But how is that possible? He's not even *touching* me."
"When Clark is weightless, he makes any object he touches, likewise weightless. It's not a matter of strength."
Lois rose to her feet. "I *know* that, Dr. Klein. But Clark isn't even floating, he's just making *me* float."
"Exactly," Klein smiled. "Since it's all being projected telepathically, he doesn't have to touch you."
"But that means — "
"I know," Klein nodded. "If Clark isn't careful of his thoughts, he could have you floating at very inopportune moments."
Lois brushed back her hair. "Like there's an *opportune* moment?"
"Just stay calm," Klein soothed. "I'll find your husband and make certain he doesn't think about floating or … the other thing."
"Thanks," Lois said flatly.
"Oh," Klein added. "You should sit down. You look like death warmed over."
Lois folded her arms. "It's my new makeup. 'Holocaust' from Revlon," she sniped.
"Ah." Klein nodded. "Good name," he said, and vanished.
Lois began to reseat herself when the double doors at the end of the hallway burst open as if from well-placed dynamite.
"Because you cheated, you Dixie-cup-wearing son of a — "
"Hold it!" Perry shouted to the two rumpled older men who were verbally jousting as they entered. "I sunk your lousy battleship fair and square, dog face!"
Jerry, and a younger man who Lois assumed was Perry's other son Keith, were trying their best to keep the two older men and their father from killing each other. Lois smiled. She recognized Sailin' Whalin. The other must be Stormin' Norman Haberstettzer, and he was right. Whalin was a lousy Battleship player.
Lois walked up to Whalin and offered her hand. "Nice to see you again, Admiral Whalin."
Whalin took her hand and literally dragged her to Norman. "Ha, try and beat this one at Battleship! She's probably a killer at Stratego, too!"
"That suits me just fine!" Norman thundered. "I never leave home without Stratego."
"And Risk!" Whalin added.
"Good lord," Perry moaned. "You're here for a wedding, not a war!"
Whalin folded his arms. "You never met my first and third wives, Perry. Whoever said 'war is hell' never was married."
Whalin doubled over suddenly, courtesy of Norman's elbow. "He's not marrying *any* of your wives, Whalin! Perry's got more taste than that." His declaration was punctuated with a snort.
Whalin grew red in the face, but couldn't think of any way to refute that without insulting Alice, thus endangering his life. He turned to Lois with a bow and mumbled some courtesy before slinking off down the corridor.
Jerry tugged on Perry's arm. "C'mon, Dad, we gotta get going."
"Yeah, Mom'll kill you if you're late to this ceremony, too."
"Now hold on there, Keith," Perry blustered. "I may have dropped the ring behind the car seat, but your mother was the one who kept the guests listening to organ music for forty-five minutes."
Keith chuckled. "Tell me you didn't appreciate the autographed album for a wedding present."
Perry's smile warmed. "I'd have waited a lot longer than that for her, with or without Elvis' signature."
Keith turned him around and pushed him down the corridor. "Get. I want to make sure neither of you are late for this one."
Jerry pulled a small box from his pocket. "Yeah, no good excuses for you this time."
Keith offered his arm to Lois as Perry and Jerry retreated. "Shall we find Mom and get this show on the road?"
Lois smiled as she took his arm. "You didn't make it to last night's rehearsal dinner so I guess I should formally introduce myself. I'm — "
"Lois Lane," Keith interrupted flashing a broad grin that made him look like a younger Perry. "I know all about you."
Lois smirked. "Oh, really?"
Keith nodded. "Yep. You've been one of the main topics of conversation in my family ever since you joined the Planet."
Lois's smile wavered a little. "I was? What exactly did you talk about?" she asked a little nervously.
"Well, actually, Dad did all the talking. We just listened. It seemed like every week there was some new exploit… "
Lois blushed a little. "I'm sorry … "
"There's nothing to be sorry about. You have no idea how much you helped me."
"I don't quite understand. How did I help?"
"You know Dad. He's got printer's ink in his blood and he always wanted one of us to follow in his footsteps at the Planet. It was a major disappointment to him when neither Jerry nor I had a interest in journalism. But when you joined the Planet, it was like he had found someone who finally shared his passion, his love, for it."
"And that took the heat off you, so to speak," Lois offered.
"Exactly. Suddenly it didn't matter that I majored in quantum physics and couldn't write a headline if my life depended on it," he continued, giving her another big smile. "I owe you big time."
Fifteen minutes later, the bride and bridesmaids were all gathered outside the double doors leading into the atrium. Alice hugged everyone and took a deep breath. This was it, finally. The doors opened and the strains of 'Love Me Tender' were heard.
Lois took a deep breath too, hoping that something wouldn't upset Clark and set her floating down the aisle. She had had one slight scare as Clark escorted her mother to her seat, but luckily she had been able to keep her feet on the ground.
She started down the aisle, looking for Clark among the groomsmen lined up beside Perry. Her eyes found him at once, and she gasped at the look of love on his face. It was the very same look he had had at their wedding. She had to look down at her feet to make sure she wasn't floating from sheer happiness. How had she been so lucky to win the love of the best man on or off Earth? She gave him a brilliant smile as she took her place.
The other bridesmaids took their places, and the organ broke into the traditional wedding march. Everyone's eyes turned to Alice as she made her way down the aisle to join Perry in front of the minister. By this time the guests had had time to get used to the sequins and sideburns.
The wedding proceeded smoothly, Jerry only dropping the ring once, and everyone teared up at the strains of 'The Hawaiian Wedding Song.'
The minister finished with a flourish. "And in the name of the Church of Blue Suede Deliverance, I now pronounce you husband and wife!"
Everyone applauded as the bride and groom kissed, covering the wheezing of the bagpipes warming up.
Ellen jumped as the piper burst into 'Mari's Wedding.' "What the heck is that???" she whispered to Lucy, who had been unlucky enough to be seated by her.
Lucy wiped away a tear as the happy couple passed by. "Oh, Mother! Who cares? That was the most romantic wedding I've ever seen."
Ellen sniffed. "I'll just ask Lois then. She knows how to speak to her mother."
Lois and Clark walked hand-in-hand into the large ballroom where the other guests had gathered for the reception. Alice and Perry were off changing into their traveling togs, and a 'lounge lizard' nameless band started to play pop tunes with all the enthusiasm of an elevator speaker system. Stormin' Norman and Sailin' Whalin sat at a far table using condiment bottles for their faux regiments and submarines.
Lois nudged Clark and pointed to his father. Jonathan was drifting down the buffet table with a platter. Martha was behind him quietly removing any and all duplicate items, or those that would fall under the "high cholesterol" banner.
Clark crooked his arm lovingly around Lois's neck and kissed her temple gently. "How about we get my parents off to the side?"
"A little chat?"
"Yeah," he whispered. "They might have an idea about this new … situation."
"You want to talk to them alone?" Lois asked, and ran her hand down Clark's lapel.
"No way," he laughed. "I get tongue-tied, remember?"
"So, I stand there and hold cue cards?" Clark laughed and tugged her towards the table. "You just might have to."
"Mom," Clark said as he reached the table. "You missed two cookies, and one deviled egg."
Jonathan raised his eyebrows and looked at his plate. "Martha!"
Martha frowned. "You're not too big to spank, Clark Kent." Lois started to agree with her mother-in-law, but thought better of the comment.
Clark grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, Mom." He took a deep breath. "But I would like to talk to you and Dad about .. well.. this whole becoming a father thing … I … well.."
Lois placed a calming hand on her husband's chest. "He's having an anxiety attack."
Jonathan chuckled. "That's understandable, son. I don't think any couple is ever completely ready to be parents."
Martha sneaked another cookie off Jonathan's plate. "It was pretty much on-the-job training for us, honey."
"I know, Mom, but I'm having an unusual.. manifestation of my anxiety."
"Manifestation?" Jonathan asked, while Martha shared a knowing look with Lois.
"Well.. yeah. If I obsess on the idea — "
"And he *always* obsesses," Lois interrupted.
"It seems I project that obsession on Lois and it turns to stress, and when it turns to stress — "
Martha put a hand to her cheek. "Oh, honey, so that's what was causing it. That could be dangerous."
Lois nodded. "Tell me about it."
"Well, son," Jonathan shrugged. "If the anxiety is over Lois' pregnancy or fear of becoming a father, I think when you start to feel more at ease with that — "
"The stress will go away," Martha said, finishing the thought.
Clark shook his head. "That's great, Dad, but I don't know how to *not* obsess on Lois' pregnancy. I love her in a way that … well.. connects me to her always."
"Which is usually great," Lois said softly. "But right now, he's connected to me telepathically. Dr. Klein says that when Clark is feeling stressed or aroused — "
"Lois — "
"Clark, your parents know we arouse each other."
Clark blushed fiercely. "I guess they do now."
"Honey," Martha laughed. "Lois wouldn't be pregnant if she bored you."
Jonathan started choking on a deviled egg. "Lord," he coughed. "The birds and the bees used to be so cut and dried."
"Does Dr. Klein have any suggestions for reducing stress, or at least for keeping you from affecting Lois?" Martha asked.
Clark quickly scanned the ballroom. "Well, he's standing on the balcony." He shrugged. "Maybe we should ask him."
"Good idea, son," Jonathan nodded with relief. "If Lois were going to foal or have a calf, I'd feel qualified to help … but floating … "
"The groundbreaking Kents," Lois sighed. "Come on," she said, and tugged Clark toward the balcony.
Klein looked up as they stepped out into the cool air. "I'm glad it's you two," he said, as he picked at the contents of his plate. "I've almost been expecting that neighbor woman from 'Bewitched' to see you floating and start screaming 'Abner! Abner!'"
Lois grabbed his tuxedo jacket. "Don't crack up on us now, Dr. Klein!"
Klein shrugged. "I'm not cracking up, Lois, but I have to admit I didn't think of that crazy woman until I met your mother."
Clark tried not to laugh, but couldn't help himself. There *was* some resemblance between Lois' mother and Gladys Kravitz.
"Dr. Klein," Clark finally managed to say. "All we'd like to know is if there's a way to control this floating problem? Stop my … stress … and obsessing."
"I've been thinking about that, Clark," Klein said, and set his plate on the ledge of balcony. "I think stress can be controlled in this case by simply letting it happen … though not in anyone else's view of course."
Clark sighed. "I'm not sure I know what you mean."
"I think he means I should float," Lois offered.
"Something like that, Lois," Klein said, "but do so on purpose. That is, Clark, hold Lois, and float with her."
"But — "
"Maybe we can dance," Lois said, and stepped into Clark's arms.
"Ah," Clark smiled. "This isn't dancing."
Klein picked up his plate. "It's not?"
"No," Lois said as she and Clark drifted upward. "This is."
Klein smiled and leaned against the railing as the couple floated and spun above him, the stars as their backdrop. Even the horrible band couldn't ruin the moment. It was perfect, or would have been, had Ellen not suddenly stepped onto the balcony.
"Abner!" Klein shouted, and then dropped his plate over the ledge.
Ellen shot a sharp glance at him, and Klein winced, even though his gaze remained on the pile of deviled eggs and cheesepuffs in the dirt below.
"Oh," she said in a flat, unenthused voice. "I thought my daughter was out here." She sighed dramatically and spun on her heel.
Klein watched her cut a swath through the ballroom. Apparently someone had managed to warn the guests, because even the fortunates who had yet to make an acquaintance with 'Dragon Lady' Lane ducked out of her way. The dance floor cleared a straight path to an exit.
Clark and Lois drifted back down into view. Lois' head was buried in Clark's shoulder and she was shaking violently. Klein watched worriedly as Clark set her on her feet, only to see her bob up a few inches into the air again.
Lois took a deep breath and looked up at Clark with a smile on her face. "I'm okay, Clark." She glanced at Klein. "Did you have to yell 'Abner?'" She asked with a chuckle.
Klein shrugged helplessly. "I couldn't think of anything else fast enough. It worked, didn't it?"
Clark grinned. "It did, thank you."
Lois settled to the ground as applause broke out in the ballroom. Perry and Alice made their entrance. The three stepped back into the room just as Alice brandished her bouquet over her head.
As the single women at the reception crowded around Alice, Clark spied Jimmy glumly sitting alone at a table in the back of the room.
"I wonder what's the matter now?" he mumbled.
"Why don't you go see?" Lois said as she smiled and reached up to brush an errant lock of hair off of his forehead.
"I'll be fine. Dr. Klein is right here, and besides, this will give you something else to obssess about besides me."
Clark started across to the table, but before he could reach it, Jerry appeared next to Jimmy. Wary of the situation, Clark kicked in his superhearing.
"Mind if I join you?"
"It's a free country."
As Jerry sat down, two beers were instantly deposited on the table. Reaching into his pocket, Jerry suddenly noticed the tough looking young man dressed in a waiter's uniform who was looming over them.
"Guido?" he asked hesitantly as he handed the man a tip.
Putting up his hand to refuse the money, the hefty waiter nodded and smiled. "It's on me. I told ya I'd buy ya a drink the next time I saw ya." He turned and headed back to the bar.
"Buddy of yours?" Jimmy asked.
"Well, more like a neighbor … " Jerry began.
Jimmy snorted. "He must have had the adjoining cell when you were both *guests* of the state."
Jerry shrugged. "Something like that. You don't like me very much, do you?"
"Why should I?"
"I didn't think the fact I did time would — "
"The fact you were in jail has nothing to do with what I think about you. The way you treated you father does."
"The way I treated Dad?"
"Yeah, you hurt him … betrayed his trust."
Jerry sighed and took a long drink from his glass of beer. "I know that, and I did it more than once. A day doesn't go by when I don't think about how I hurt both him and Mom, but I'm trying to put it behind me now. I want a clean slate with them and part of that includes getting over my sibling rivalry with you."
Jerry sighed again. "Yeah. You've been there for my dad all along. I was more interested in chasing a buck. It wasn't until I saw what a great relationship you two had that I realized what I was missing. I could have had that too if I had given him a chance."
Jimmy stared at Jerry. "You mean this isn't all his fault? He thinks it is, you know?"
"Really? I always thought it was my fault. He did try, even when I got into trouble, but I wouldn't listen. I thought I knew it all. This time I'm serious. I'm gonna try to make it up to him, and if that includes having an extra brother, that's okay by me."
Jimmy grinned. "Hey! I wouldn't mind having a brother."
Clark turned his attention back to Lois and grinned. "Well, I don't think we have to worry about that sibling rivalry any more."
Lois smiled back, but stiffened as she saw Lucy approach Jerry and Jimmy. "Oh, God. My mother is going to go ballistic."
Clark wrapped his arms around Lois, pulling her close. "Let her. Lucy is a grown woman, and besides, I think Jerry has really seen the light this time. Lucy could do a lot worse."
Lois snuggled into Clark's warmth. "If you say so," she murmured dreamily. "Do you think we could go now? I think I need some float therapy."
"Hmm, float therapy," Clark growled next to her ear. "I can feel myself floating already."
"Is that the arousal floating or the anxiety floating?" Lois teased.
Clark thought a moment. "I guess I'm anxious if I don't get you home soon, everyone here will know you're arousing me."
"Ooh," Lois giggled. "You sweet talker. Float us home."
"Then we can talk about ships and shoes and … " she glanced up at the decorated vault above them, " … and ceiling wax and cabbages and — "
Clark laughed. "That's 's-e-a-ling wax', honey."
"Not the kind I have in mind!"