By Alicia U. <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>
Submitted February 2000
Summary: Lois and Clark's basketball game together ends in disaster — or does it? A sweet, WAFFY Valentine's Day story.
Ugh, why did I agree to play basketball with him? I tried to move my ankle again. Oh God, the pain! It shot up my leg all the way up to my hip. Okay, so moving wasn't the best idea I'd ever had. Back to my original question, what in the world possessed me to ask Clark to play basketball? Could I have been jealous? No way, he can do whatever he wants to in his free time. It's not like we're married or anything. So what if he'd rather play basketball with Jimmy than do something with me? I know we've only been dating a couple of weeks, but he should spend time with me. A relationship, if he wants one, is about spending time together. Yeah, I could just see him sitting here telling me that we spend time together all day at work and that he and Jimmy only have a chance to play once a week and only when it's warm out, but I guess I feel excluded. And then whenever we end up spending time together, he has to run off, especially when things are getting intimate.
The one good thing that happened today was that I found out why he's always leaving me. Okay, maybe I should be mad about that, but right now my ankle hurts too much to even care. I'm sure that when the pain subsides I might be angry, but maybe not. I'm not in the mood to talk about that right now, my ankle hurts so badly, and my brain is on too much sensory overload to think straight. The one thing I know for sure is that I love him with all my heart, and it will take much more than that to keep us apart.
It all started this afternoon. It was unseasonably warm for February in Metropolis, so Clark and Jimmy decided to play a quick pick-up game after work. But I overheard them planning, so I kindly asked them if I could play too; okay, maybe it was more like weaseling my way in, but so what if a girl knows what a man wants and threatens to withhold it from him? That's the American way. Anyway, Clark gave in a lot more easily than I would have thought, so I went home on my lunch break to grab a pair of jogging pants, a sweatshirt, and some athletic shoes. I was surprised I still had those shoes in my closet because sports aren't my favorite thing in the world. Those shoes probably haven't moved from that spot since the day I bought them. I think the last time I played basketball was back in high school gym class. And even back then I wasn't very good. The boys used to call me "Old Granny Lois" because I guess I didn't know how to shoot or something stupid like that. Despite my dubious basketball history, I was excited that I would finally be able to see what guys do when they hang out. Well not just any guy, I wanted to see Clark when he was totally relaxed, just being "one of the guys." And if I had to play basketball to do it, well so be it. I was going to play basketball.
After work, we changed into our athletic clothes and met at the court in Centennial Park about a block away from the Planet. The first thing I saw when I got there was Clark's amazing smile. He must not have believed I would come ready to play. It must have been a shock to his system seeing me in anything that looked athletic. He and Jimmy must have doubted that I'd come, judging from the shocked look on Jimmy's face.
Clark was wearing a white tank top and a nicely form-fitting pair of black shorts, which clung to his legs very nicely. I won't even go into the other parts those shorts accentuated. I found myself staring at him, frozen in place. His muscular biceps rippled every time he moved his arms, and under his tank top I could see his well-defined pecs and his six-pack stomach. And when he walked, the muscles in his thighs rippled quite nicely under those shorts. How could I have ever thought Clark didn't have a body to die for? Oh was I wrong. I could have sworn a little ball of drool was hanging off the corner of my mouth and my tongue was hanging out of my mouth.
I must have been lost deep in my thoughts because I didn't notice Clark walking towards me until he put his hand on my shoulder.
"Lois, you came!" Clark exclaimed as he put an arm loosely around my shoulder.
I looked at him, almost not believing that the gorgeous bicep I was admiring just a moment before was now draped across my shoulders. The weird thing was that it was not warm out here yet he was wearing a tank top and shorts. Granted it was unseasonably warm for winter in Metropolis when we should have had a foot of snow on the ground, but it was still only about 55 degrees. Jimmy and I were both dressed warmly in sweats, but Clark was dressed like it was summertime, and his skin did not even feel cold. That mildly surprised me, but I quickly dismissed my thoughts when Clark led me over to the court. Jimmy was there bouncing the ball on the hard pavement and occasionally shooting lay ups.
Jimmy was obviously annoyed that I came. He obviously wasn't expecting Clark to let me come, and then he was obviously not expecting me to follow through. I know he values his male bonding time with Clark but he had to understand that Clark and I are together now and I'm going to become an important part of his life.
"Okay, Lois, you're on my team, I guess. You and me versus Jimmy, okay?" Clark winked at me as he said, "Even though I want to play you man-to-man."
I was shocked when I heard that comment. Wow, that was really lewd, and something I would never expect Clark to say in front of me. Maybe he loosened up when he was with "the boys." I laughed a little and said, "You'd better watch yourself, Kent."
Jimmy grinned, "Well, Lois, CK's not that good. I always kick his butt, so he probably needs your help."
I knew Jimmy was teasing, but I was surprised that Clark wouldn't defend himself to Jimmy in front of his girlfriend.
Instead, Clark merely nodded, "I know, I'm pretty bad. But together we're going to win." He grinned widely at me. "Because now I have my secret weapon."
Please, what did he think I was, some kind of athlete? Jimmy gently lobbed me the ball and said, "Here, Lois, take a shot from anywhere. Let me see what I'm up against."
I barely caught the ball even though it was thrown very softly, and I shot. Both Clark and Jimmy looked at me like I was psycho when I pushed the ball with two hands and shot from my chest. The ball landed a few feet in front of the hoop and Jimmy tried to hide his laugh. Clark redeemed himself for his earlier comment, though, when he grabbed my hand and said, "Thank God she's on my team, Jim. You're in trouble now!"
We started playing, and Clark was very generous when we played. He passed to me often even though I missed it half the time, and even when I caught it, Jimmy stole it as soon as I tried to dribble. Clark was a good player, although not as good as Jimmy was. Jimmy was beating us 10-2 when it happened. Clark had just passed me the ball when Jimmy came up to defend me. I tried to make a move on him, why I will never know. I tried to dribble across my body, but when I tried to run after it, my foot got caught on Jimmy's and my ankle turned in a very weird position. I fell to the ground and screamed. Instantly, Clark was at my side yelling for Jimmy to get some ice. That's when I found out what Clark had been hiding from me.
Clark must have been worried about me and forgotten himself because he pulled his glasses down his nose and looked at my ankle. Even through my pain-induced haze I wondered what he was doing looking at my ankle. It wasn't as if he could see anything but skin. Boy was I wrong.
I looked up into his face. His eyes were clouded with worry and his mouth was almost twisted with sympathy. But the thing that alerted me the most was that he had his glasses down at the bridge of his nose. I had never seen his eyes without his glasses before, and for some reason he looked so different without them, almost like someone else. I couldn't place who that someone else was until Clark muttered, "Not broken, thank God."
What? How could he have known that it wasn't broken just by looking at it? It wasn't like he could x-ray it with his eyes. Boy was I wrong! It hit me then. Why was he able to wear a tank top and shorts in the cold and his skin still be warm? Why does he always have to leave me whenever we are having a meaningful discussion and always seems so sorry and gives such lame excuses? How could he look at my ankle and say it's not broken? Who does he look like without his glasses?
It hit me then. It made so much sense. I guess it took a brain clouded with pain to realize that Clark Kent, the mild-mannered reporter I had, I admit it, fallen in love with, was also Superman, the other man I still had some feelings for. This was not the time to confront him about it, though, because Jimmy was running back towards us.
Clark helped me sit up and he removed my shoe and sock. Even his gentle motions around my foot made pain shoot throughout my body. It felt like long needles were poking every organ in my body. Each time I grimaced, Clark seemed to hurt even more than I did. It was so sweet that he felt so badly about this, but it wasn't his fault. It was my choice to come here and try to play with the guys, and if I hadn't made that stupid move none of this would have happened.
"Clark, it's not your fault," I pleaded. "You're making me feel worse when you blame yourself."
Jimmy handed Clark the ice and he used my sock to tie it to my ankle. The ice was cold, but at least it numbed the pain for now.
"CK, shouldn't we take her to the hospital to get it x-rayed?" Jimmy wondered. He was obviously blaming himself too. After all it was his foot that made me trip.
"Maybe we should, Jimmy. I don't think it's broken, but we can never be too careful."
"I'm so sorry, Lois. I didn't mean to trip you," Jimmy said with a pleading look in his eyes begging me to forgive him.
I sighed; I didn't need this pity party. What I needed were some painkillers and a nice soft bed.
"It's not your fault Jimmy. Don't worry about it any more. Let's just get this ankle x-rayed and get it over with." I humored them, not wanting to let my new found knowledge slip.
Clark nodded, "Yeah, Jimmy why don't you just go home. I can drive Lois over to the hospital for the x-rays."
"Okay, CK, just let me help you get her to the car. It's a pretty long walk back to the parking garage."
I jumped in here. "It's okay, Jimmy. I found a meter on the street. See, I'm parked right up there. I think I can hobble up there if you guys just help me up." I secretly hoped Clark would scoop me into his arms and carry me up to my car.
He did just what I was hoping when he said, "No, Lois, I don't want you to put any more weight on that ankle. I'll carry you to the car. You're not heavy."
Jimmy's eyebrows nearly jumped to the top of his forehead. "Are you sure about that, CK? Sometimes you have trouble carrying your own briefcase."
I laughed at that, now knowing that Clark could probably pick up the entire Earth if he so desired. Now it was actually kind of funny thinking back to all of the things he pretended he couldn't do. Even his lack of basketball skill was all a ruse to prevent people from catching on to his secret. No one would guess that Clark the weakling was really Superman the Man of Steel.
"It's okay, Jimmy. She's not heavy. Could you just grab the ball?"
Clark scooped me into his arms effortlessly. It was a wonderful feeling being wrapped up in his strong arms, although it would have been so much better had my ankle not been sending shooting pains up my leg. Still, this position just felt so warm, so natural. How had I ever thought any differently? How had I almost let this wonderful man slip through my fingers?
He leaned down to give me a soft, sweet kiss on the cheek and he whispered, "It's okay, Lois."
I buried my head into his strong chest wondering if the pain would ever go away. Granted it felt so good being held in his strong arms, cuddled securely against his chiseled chest, but I wasn't enjoying the feel of his body's close proximity as much as I would have otherwise.
Soon we reached my car and I handed him my keys. It didn't take Clark long to get me settled in the back seat with my ankle slightly elevated on his gym bag. I laid silently on the back seat realizing that under any other circumstances, his careful ministrations would have probably annoyed me to no end. I don't like being treated like a china doll, but today my ankle hurt so badly, I needed him to take care of me.
Before Clark started the car he turned around to check on me again. "Lois, are you okay back there? How are you doing?"
How was I doing? Was I okay? My ankle only felt like six long needles were sticking in it, but sure, I was fine. I gritted my teeth when I realized that he was just feeling bad for me. He was Superman and had probably never felt a kind of pain like this.
I forced a smile on my face to reassure him when I said, "Sure, Clark, I'm doing as well as can be expected."
Clark reached his hand back towards me and I grabbed it. He squeezed my hand to reassure me, and I gave his larger hand a quick kiss. It was so sweet of him to worry about me even though he knew it wasn't broken. But it was swelling up now and turning an interesting shade of greenish purple. Now it almost looked like I had a grapefruit stuck under my skin, and it kept swelling more by the minute.
The whole time we were at the hospital, Clark never left my side. He was so sweet while we waited what seemed like forever to get an x-ray. And they call it Fast Track. At least Clark kept my mood light by telling stupid jokes and reassuring me that I would be all right. I had already known for some time that Clark was the man I loved, although I had not admitted it to myself until recently, but today he proved that he was the one without a doubt. Even the fact that he was Superman and that he had kept the secret from me for nearly a year and a half seemed so insignificant now.
Clark and I spent nearly two hours at the hospital, only to find out, as Clark had suspected before, that I hadn't broken any bones. I did, however have a nasty sprain. The doctor said that some sprains take even longer to heal than most breaks, but what does he know? A little sprained ankle isn't going to keep Lois Lane down for long!
Before I left, they gave me a pair of crutches that I was supposed to use for a week and an air cast thing that I was supposed to wear until the swelling subsided, and they told me to ice it for twenty minute intervals for the next two days. They also told me to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist to make sure I didn't do more damage to the ankle than a sprain. To make matters worse, they told me to take it easy for the next few days. I wasn't supposed to go to work at all. What did they expect me to do, sit around and look pretty? I can't remember the last time I'd called in sick to work, and it had to happen now right in the middle of the school board corruption story. If only Clark hadn't been right there listening to the doctor's orders, I might have been able to get away with coming in to work tomorrow.
After they discharged me, Clark helped me hobble back to my car on my unsteady crutches. It was slow going, but I knew I had to get used to walking on my own with these ungodly things. I couldn't have Clark carrying me around forever, as much as I may have wanted him to.
When we got to my apartment, Clark saw me in and helped me to the couch. I collapsed on the soft cushions, thankful to finally be off my feet. Clark rushed into the bedroom and collected a couple of pillows for me to elevate my ankle on. He brought me a bag of ice as well as a blanket so I wouldn't get too cold. The ice was so cold, and I started shivering. I asked Clark to sit on the sofa with me, to warm me up because the blanket wasn't doing much to keep me warm. He had changed back into his work clothes while I was getting x-rayed, probably because he wanted the hospital employees and me to think he was getting cold, like a normal human would in that tank top and those shorts.
Clark, always eager to please, immediately helped me sit up slightly and positioned himself under me, cradling my upper body in his arms. We sat that way without speaking for such a long time. I'm not exactly sure how long it was in reality, but, to the two of us, it seemed like forever. He gently ran his hand up and down my arm, stopping at my hand to run little circles around my palm. I closed my eyes and nearly fell asleep in the warm comfort of his embrace. Neither of us wanted to be anywhere else right now.
Finally I spoke. "Clark, tomorrow's Valentines' Day. Everything I planned is going to be ruined because I can't walk. It was going to be so perfect. We were going to have a romantic dinner at La Tratoria, and then I was going to invite you back here. Then I was going to tell you exactly how I feel about you."
Clark hid an amused expression as he said, "Exactly how you feel about me? How do you feel about me? Lois, don't worry about it. My perfect Valentines Day is one that I spend with you."
How did I feel about him? Wasn't it painfully obvious? In this close contact, couldn't he see just how my body was responding to him, just as I could feel his body's responses to my soft touch?
"Oh, Clark, I've been wanting to tell you this for so long, but it's just never been the right time." Clark wiped away a tear that had fallen down my cheek, and our eyes met. Then and there I wondered again why I had fought these feelings for so long. I loved Clark Kent. That felt so good to finally admit. I loved him with all my heart, my soul, and every muscle in my body. "I love you, Clark Kent. I think I've loved you for some time now, but I was trying to fight it so hard."
Clark visibly gulped, his eyes betraying his every emotion. He'd obviously been waiting to hear these words for some time now, possibly even since the day he met me.
Clark bent down silently and captured my lips with his own. Our kiss started out slowly, each of us exploring the other's lips, then it became much more passionate. I felt a bolt of electricity between us as soon as our lips met. When I parted my lips, his tongue slipped into my mouth and we explored each other's mouths for a long time. Clark kisses so well, I can't believe I hadn't taken advantage of this talent before. Now that all of our inhibitions were gone, I turned to lie on my stomach on top of him. His hands had somehow found their way under my shirt, and I shook when I felt his hands against my bare skin. I untucked his shirt and began to unbutton it. As suddenly as we started, Clark stopped me while I tried to undo the first button. Oops, I had forgotten, Clark didn't know I knew about Superman yet. He was probably worried that I would find the Superman suit under his shirt.
I finally had to get this out into the open. I covered his hand with my other hand and declared, "Clark, don't worry. I know."
Clark backed away from me, eyes filled with fear. "You know? Know what?"
I sighed. I guess if I was in his position I might feel the same way. I had to let him know that he had nothing to worry about. I wasn't going to tell anyone about him, and I had loved him before I knew and I still love him now that I know.
I reached up and pulled off his glasses, still amazed at how different he looked without them, and I unbuttoned a few of his shirt buttons. "I know you're Superman, Clark."
"Lois, I'm so sorry. I was planning to tell you tomorrow…"
I cut him off, not wanting to hear how he was going to explain himself. It didn't matter now. I even understood some of the reasons he probably hadn't told me about himself. "Clark, it's okay. I'm not mad."
Clark's eyebrows shot up. "You're not mad? I thought I was talking to Lois Lane here."
I sighed again; sometimes my reputation is not the best when it comes to dealing with interpersonal relationships. It was probably right of Clark to think I would be angry with him for not sharing his secret sooner. "Clark, I'm not mad. I realize you have your reasons for not telling me. In fact, some of the ones I've come up with make good sense. I mean, if I knew, I'd automatically become a target, someone else to use to get to Superman. And before you got to know me, I was just another reporter who would stop at nothing to get the Superman story. It makes perfect sense." Why was I being so logical? I'm never this understanding, especially to Clark. It had to be a combination of the pain medicine and love that clouded my other reasoning skills.
Clark shook his head violently, "Lois, you were never just another reporter. I always knew you were the woman for me. I've loved you since the moment I set eyes on you, and I knew you'd be the one I'd tell about myself. I'm just sorry you had to figure it out on your own."
I interrupted him with another kiss. Nothing that happened in the past mattered to me now. All I wanted at this moment was to feel his lips against mine and his strong arms around me.
For the rest of the night, Clark helped me forget about the pain in my ankle. We alternated between talking about Clark's childhood and how he came to be Superman and kissing. Every time our lips touched, I literally heard fireworks in the background, and I knew this was where I needed to be for the rest of my life.
Much later, Clark had to leave because there was a four alarm blaze downtown that needed his help. At least this time he didn't have to make some sort of lame excuse. Before he left, we shared another soul-baring kiss, and he promised to be back to check on me tomorrow, Valentine's Day. As he flew out my window, I whispered, "I love you, my love, my Valentine."