By Erin Klingler <email@example.com>
Submitted August 2000
Summary: Whatever happened to the video that the bellboy made of Clark carrying Lois over the threshold of the Lexor hotel when they posed as newlyweds in the episode "Honeymoon in Metropolis"? This story delves into Lois' thoughts about her stay with Clark in the honeymoon suite and explains what became of the video. A Charity Fanzine story.
A Charity Fanzine story, first released summer 1999
Just a quick word of thanks: This story was from the 1999 Lois & Clark spring/summer Fanzine, and I was thrilled, honored and flattered to be asked to be a part of it. It touched me to see what FoLCs could do when they come together to help out other FoLCs. So, to Eileen Ray, Nicole Wolke, Anne Ciotola and Georgia Walden, and to everyone else who had a hand in putting together the Fanzine, THANK YOU for all the time and effort you put into such a wonderful and unforgettable project! ;)
As for the background of this story: After watching the episode "Honeymoon in Metropolis" for about the hundredth time <g>, I found myself wondering, "What ever happened to the video tape that the bellboy took of Clark carrying Lois over the threshold during their stakeout in the Lexor hotel's honeymoon suite?" So I thought I'd explore that a bit. I hope my little ramble doesn't bore you. ;)
The dialogue spoken by Lois and Clark near the end of this fanfic when they're on the phone with each other came directly from the episode, but the thoughts inserted into that dialogue were mine, as is the rest of this story. Any and all comments—good, bad or indifferent ;) —are always welcome.
Lois wandered around the luxurious honeymoon suite of the Lexor hotel, taking her time getting ready for bed. It wasn't often that she got to treat herself to such pleasures, so when the hotel had offered another night's stay to make up for the ransacking that had occurred the second night of their stakeout, she'd jumped at the chance.
But now, even though she was alone in the large and beautifully decorated room, she didn't feel like she was. It was weird. It was almost as if she could feel Clark's presence lingering there in the room with her where they'd spent the last couple of days pretending to be husband and wife.
When Perry had first told them that she and Clark would have to pass themselves off as newlyweds in order to use the Lexor hotel's honeymoon suite as base of operations for their undercover surveillance operation, Lois had been appalled. But the last few days of pretending to be Mrs. Clark Kent hadn't been as bad as she'd thought they would be. In fact, she was surprised at just how much she'd enjoyed them.
As they'd waited for their stakeout subjects to arrive in the next building, they'd had a great time playing card and board games like Gin, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit. It had been fun, even though Clark had given her a lecture on her competitiveness and "need to win all the time." Of course she'd denied that she was like that, but inside she knew he was right. And she wasn't the least bit sorry about it. After all, that was what made her a great reporter.
But the thing that had surprised her the most about their hotel stay together was discovering just how much she'd liked "living" with somebody full time. She liked having someone she knew well and felt comfortable with around all the time. Not that there weren't disadvantages. For one thing, sharing the bathroom and vanity area had been a little awkward. How was one expected to spit out a mouthful of toothpaste gracefully? That part had been a bit embarrassing, but luckily Clark hadn't seemed to notice her discomfort. Or maybe he was just too nice to say anything about it. Being familiar with his old-fashioned manners and etiquette, she suspected the latter.
The thing she'd liked best of all, though, was knowing that when she went to bed at night, there would be someone to wake up to in the morning. After years of living on her own, it had been a pleasant change.
Lois suddenly caught herself looking over at the empty bed and sighing. *Since when have I become the sighing, wallowing type?* she reprimanded herself sternly. Shaking her head, she grabbed her makeup bag and went into the suite's vanity area.
She set her makeup bag on the counter, opened it, and began to rummage through its contents in an attempt to find her bottle of facial cleanser. After several moments of finding everything *except* what she was looking for, she groaned and opened the bag even further, peering into it impatiently. Finally, in exasperation, she turned the makeup bag upside down and dumped its entire contents out onto the counter.
She watched everything tumble out of the bag, then gave it one last shake, finally causing the bottle of cleanser to come tumbling out after everything else lay scattered on the counter.
"It figures," she muttered darkly. She set the bottle next to the sink and began to gather up the tubes of eyeliner, lipstick, mascara and other miscellaneous items that littered the vanity when suddenly a gleaming object caught her eye.
The shiny circular object seemed so out of place to her that she didn't even recognize it for what it was at first. But at a second glance, she realized that it was the wedding band she'd been wearing for the past couple of days to complete her and Clark's newlywed charade.
Slowly, almost tenderly, Lois picked up the thin gold band and held it in front of her, turning it ever so slightly so she could watch it glimmer and gleam as the bright vanity lights reflected off its smooth surface.
She remembered just a few mornings ago when she and Clark had reported in to Perry for some last minute instructions before heading over to the Lexor hotel. Perry had pulled from his suit pocket the two rings that he had borrowed from a friend who owned a jewelry store. There was nothing particularly special or flashy about the matching bands. In fact, she was willing to bet they weren't even 14 karat. Why else would he loan them to Perry so readily?
Clark had taken his ring from Perry and slipped it on as if it were no big deal. And the logical side of Lois' brain told her that it *wasn't* a big deal; it was all just a charade, a ruse, so that their cover as a honeymooning couple would be believable.
So when Lois took hers, she made sure to roll her eyes dramatically, outwardly protesting the fact that she was being forced to play along with the deception. But inwardly she was excited at the prospect of wearing a ring that would, if only for a few days, signify her "oneness" with Clark. To tell the world that she was his bride.
Those two words touched Lois in a way she'd never thought possible. For so many years, she'd convinced herself that she would never be any man's bride. And by her choice. But ever since she'd met Clark…well, now she wasn't so sure that's what she wanted.
She remembered stepping into the Planet's elevator and punching the down button, still trying to keep up her 'I'm not happy about this whole situation' attitude. As she let her arm fall back to her side, the shiny band slid loosely down her finger, brushing up against her knuckle.
Lois quickly closed her fist to make sure the ring didn't slide completely off her hand. Her fingers had always been very thin and delicate, making it difficult to find rings that fit well. So she wasn't surprised that Perry's guess at her ring size had been wrong.
Keeping her left hand at her side, she unclenched her fist slightly, inconspicuously tracing the edge of the band with her thumb, pushing it back up into its proper position only to let it fall back down against her knuckle. It felt strange to be wearing a ring on her left hand. Strange, but good.
When the elevator doors opened, she walked with Clark through the lobby and outside to where their cab was waiting at the curb. As the cab pulled away from the Daily Planet building and headed in the direction of the hotel, Lois situated her leather attaché on her lap and rested her hands on top of it in order to keep it from sliding around during the ride. Again, the gleam of the ring caught her eye.
Glancing down at it, she couldn't help wishing that this whole thing wasn't just a charade, that it was real; that something as fairy tale as marrying the man of her dreams and being whisked away to a honeymoon retreat was possible.
*Not that Clark is the man of my dreams,* she thought, the corners of her mouth curving up slightly. *He has his faults, like…* She thought hard for several moments, searching her memory for something she *didn't* like about Clark. But after some intense deliberation, she realized there wasn't a single thing about Clark that she didn't like.
Sure, he was a bit straight-laced and naive, but that was part of what made him so attractive. And who wouldn't notice his rugged good looks and exquisite physique? They were a definite bonus, she thought with a smile. But overall, the things that made him the most attractive to her were his inner strengths. He was kind, gentle, and most of all, patient. When she was in a bad mood or started throwing one of her famous tantrums, he didn't withdraw. He just let her rant and rave as he patiently rode it out. And no matter how angry she got, he never seemed intimidated by her, as most of the Planet staff was. It was a well-known fact that when Lois Lane got in one of her moods, everybody had better get out of her way or risk losing some bodily appendage. But nobody seemed to have warned Clark about that. He just stood by, waiting patiently for the tantrum to pass, and occasionally even arguing back, proving that he wasn't the least bit intimidated by her antics.
Not many men stuck around to get to know her for more than she let show on the surface, but Clark didn't seem the least bit anxious to go anywhere. It gave her a sense of security and a feeling of belonging that she'd never known before. It hadn't taken her long to realize that Clark was really something special. The thought made her sigh happily.
Suddenly she remembered that she wasn't alone in the cab. She glanced up quickly to see if Clark had noticed her. Her eyes met his, and the questioning look she saw on his face told her that he *had* heard. But he had obviously misinterpreted her sigh as 'how did I get myself into this mess' because he gave her a sympathetic smile, telling her without words that he would make the whole thing as easy on her as possible.
And she'd known he would. There was no doubt that Clark would be on his best behavior, because his sense of morals and values were well above the standards of any guy she'd ever met. She knew he was one she could trust, and that was a very good feeling. She very rarely had such a safe and secure feeling with anyone, much less a guy.
Lois heard a thump and was quickly brought back to the present. Looking down, she saw that her bottle of facial cream had rolled off the counter and fallen to the floor at her feet. Stooping over to pick up the bottle, she shook her head. *Why am I even thinking about all this?* she asked herself. *Clark Kent is my partner. Just like I told him I wanted things to be from the very beginning.*
But as she stood up and set the cleanser on the vanity, she was no longer sure that that's the way she wanted things to be.
She studied the band for another moment, then slipped it tentatively onto the fourth finger of her left hand and held her hand up in front of her, studying how the ring looked on her long, slender fingers.
A sigh escaped her lips. She'd never told anybody, and probably never would, but she was a hopeless romantic. She was a sucker for a good romance novel or movie, the kind where the girl gets swept off her feet by her modern-day equivalent of a knight in shining armor. If only she could find *her* knight in shining armor.
*Maybe you already have,* a little voice somewhere deep inside of her suggested. Lois shook her head, dismissing the idea. She couldn't deny that she'd recently begun to wonder if maybe there was more to their relationship than just friendship.
For the last couple of days, she'd made sure to keep up the 'Mad-Dog Lane' persona that she was so well known for. After all, she didn't want Clark to see how she was beginning to feel about him. Did feel about him. Might feel about him. Lois sighed. How could she be at all sure about what she was feeling about Clark when her feelings were so new?
She finished up in the bathroom and went back out into the bedroom to get dressed for bed. Getting her pajamas out of her overnight bag, she slipped out of her bathrobe and pulled her comfortable old flannel pajamas on. As she did, a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.
She couldn't believe that she'd been daring enough to go without pajamas that first night when she and Clark had been staying in the suite. It sounded more like something Cat would do to attract a man, not 'Mad-Dog Lane.' She normally didn't sleep in the nude when she was at home. But whether it was the possibility of indulging herself with the luxurious silk bed sheets adorning the suite's king-sized bed or the fact that Clark was sleeping in the next room and wanted to indulge herself in a bit of fantasizing…she wasn't sure. But for that first night with Clark, for whatever the reason, she had taken off her T-shirt and cotton boxers and let them fall to the floor before climbing into the bed.
She hadn't stopped to think about what might happen if Clark had had to come in to wake her in the middle of the night if their stakeout subjects returned, though.
And how Clark would act when he realized she was sleeping in the nude.
So when Clark *had* come in to wake her, she could only imagine his reaction to seeing her T-shirt and shorts lying on the floor in a crumpled heap. She could picture him swallowing the lump in his throat, and, with more braveness than he felt, reaching out to touch her bare shoulder.
What she *did* remember, though, was being woken from a deep sleep by someone shaking her gently and calling her name. "Lois…"
She had woken with a start, surprised to see Clark's face hovering over hers, and her mind reeling with questions. Where was she? And what was Clark doing there? Then Clark's words, "They're back," had brought everything back to her in a rush.
The Lexor hotel. The stakeout.
Clark, seeing that she understood, had made a quick exit out of the room. Lois remembered glancing down at her scantily covered form and realizing in embarrassment that she was naked. If Clark hadn't realized that fact from the sight of her bare shoulders, she was sure he'd have known it from the pile of clothes lying on the floor.
As soon as the bedroom door had been safely shut, she'd thrown back the covers and climbed out of bed. With a rush of relief, she'd thought, *Boy, am I glad that I didn't toss and turn in my sleep! I could've been lying here in all my glory!*
Thinking back on that night, Lois now felt herself blushing again as she finished getting ready for bed. She still couldn't believe she had pulled such a brash stunt. But that wasn't the only thing that stood out in her mind about their stay together. *The* highlight of their stay—well, for her, anyway—had happened the day after the sleeping-in-the-nude incident.
She and Clark had been busy setting up the surveillance equipment and talking, when suddenly, out of the blue, Clark had pushed her down on the bed and thrown himself on top of her, kissing her passionately.
As soon as his lips had touched hers, an unforgettable, fiery sensation burned through her, numbing her mind and body to anything else around her except him. She had only been aware of the way his lips felt on hers, and the weight of his body pressing on hers, pinning her to the bed. It was a safe and secure feeling like nothing she'd ever felt before. She'd felt warm and protected in those few moments, and she'd never wanted it to end.
Suddenly the sound of the hotel suite's door opening had aroused her from her dreamlike state, and in a haze, she'd heard the voice of the flustered maid, who'd apologized hastily for interrupting and then retreated from their room. As soon as Lois had heard the door shut, Clark sat up, breaking off their kiss. Lois had barely managed to suppress the moan of disappointment that was building in her throat. But then she'd noticed that Clark was staring into her eyes, searching them intently for some clue as to how she was feeling, and what she might do after having been thrown down on the bed so unexpectedly.
In an attempt to cover up the flood of emotions raging through her, and to recover her 'Lois Lane doesn't need anybody' demeanor, she'd pushed herself up to a sitting position next to Clark and grumbled, "Doesn't anybody knock around here?"
As they got off the bed, Lois had had to give her emotions a stern talking to before getting back to work. She did her best to act as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, and she doubted that Clark suspected how his kiss had affected her. But inwardly, she'd been a jumbled mess. She'd found herself wishing that their kiss hadn't ended so abruptly, that she'd been able to throw herself back into his arms and finish the kiss that had started out as a ruse, but had ended up as so much more.
To her, anyway.
Thinking back on that kiss, Lois groaned in frustration and flopped backward onto the bed. Clark probably hadn't even thought of the kiss as anything more than it was: just a convenient tactic to maintain their cover. Or did he?
In order to sort out her jumbled emotions, she thought back to the other times they'd kissed. The first time had been when they'd been kidnapped by Trask and his men and were about to be pushed out of the airplane in an attempt to lure Superman to their rescue. Lois had asked for one last request: to kiss Clark good-bye.
True, Lois had originally planned it as a way to get close enough to Clark to tell him to take out the guy on the left. But that didn't mean she hadn't planned on enjoying it for the brief time it lasted. Looking back, she could see that even then their relationship had been progressing as they'd continued to build on their already solid friendship through the mutual trust and respect they were gaining for each other.
But even then, there had been the hint of something more.
The other time they'd kissed was when Superman's powers were thought to be causing the heat wave in Metropolis. Clark had showed up at the Planet to tell Lois he was quitting his job to go to work for the Smallville Post. Before leaving, he had taken her face in his hand and given her a tender and bittersweet kiss goodbye.
That kiss had been great, too, but Lois hadn't been able to enjoy it when she knew it meant that Clark was leaving and that she'd probably never see him again. She could remember how devastated she'd been at the thought of losing her partner and friend.
That's when she'd really started to realize that there was something more to their relationship than just friendship. He'd always seemed to like her, or at least those were the signals she'd picked up. But she hadn't been absolutely sure. And there was no way on Earth that she was about to run out and declare her feelings for him if she didn't know how he was feeling. What if he didn't feel the same way? That kind of honesty on her part could very well ruin all they had—their friendship, their partnership…their chemistry.
No, she didn't want to do that. Having what they had now was better than telling him how she felt and scaring him off, and then having nothing at all.
Even if she *did* want more.
With a deep, confused sigh, she stood up from the bed and walked over to the television cabinet. Then she picked up the video tape sitting on the shelf next to the TV and eased it into the VCR.
Returning to the bed, she crawled under the covers, settled back against the propped up pillows and hit the play button on the remote control. A smile crept across her face as she watched the scene play out in front of her.
Clark was carrying her over the threshold of the honeymoon suite, doing his best not to drop her unceremoniously on her backside as she struggled in his arms. He was smiling broadly at the bellboy who was videotaping the "memorable" event, but she looked as if she was ready to kill the poor guy. Then she saw herself being set down by Clark and then running viciously toward the unsuspecting bellboy, threatening to rip the video camera right out of his hands.
She watched as Clark quickly grabbed her in a makeshift bear hug, restraining her from strangling the bellboy. She blushed as she remembered how great it felt to have those arms wrapped securely around her, and was relieved to see that her rush of emotions at his simple action wasn't visible on the tape.
But she didn't need the tape to tell her how she was feeling. She could still remember, even more vividly as she watched their actions play out on the TV screen in front of her. She heard Clark's words, "She's just a little shy," by way of an explanation to the surprised—and even a bit frightened—bellboy.
The tape ended a few seconds later, and Lois pressed the stop button on the remote. The news came on, but Lois wasn't interested. She suddenly needed to hear Clark's voice.
Reaching for the phone on the nightstand beside her, she dialed the number she knew by heart. Clark picked up on the first ring, and her stomach did a series of flips when she heard his deep voice.
"You'll never guess where I am," she answered right away, knowing he would recognize her voice. "Our former love nest."
"The honeymoon suite?" Clark laughed, sounding happy that she'd called. "How?"
Lois laughed, too, and explained, "Just the management's way of apologizing for any inconvenience suffered during our stay."
"I was the one who never got to use the bedroom!" Clark hurriedly reminded her, pretending to be indignant.
"Well, this'll give you something to look forward to," she consoled him, the smile on her face reaching her voice. Suddenly she realized how bad that sounded. She hadn't meant for it to sound like he should be looking forward to being there with *her* someday! Trying to cover her faux pas, she quickly did some verbal backpedaling. "When you find the right woman, of course," she stammered.
"Of course," Clark said, agreeing quickly to show he understood what she'd said in the first place.
There was a brief pause that seemed to restore the comfortable mood of their conversation. Lois breathed a sigh of relief and went on. "It's so relaxing here. I've got the drapes closed."
Clark laughed, understanding the meaning behind her words. There would be no spying on others for her tonight. "Well, this is all very fascinating, Lois, but I am beat," he told her. "I think I'll turn in."
"Me, too." She paused. Then, without knowing what she was doing, she forged ahead. "Clark?"
That seemed to get Clark's full and complete attention. "What? Was there something else?" he asked, sounding confused, and maybe a bit hopeful.
Lois' heart raced, knowing that this was the absolutely perfect opportunity to talk to him about how she was feeling. But then she did something she hadn't done in over a decade. She chickened out.
"No, nothing," she said, letting out the breath she hadn't known she was holding. "Just…well, goodnight Clark." She waited for a moment, expecting to hear him say goodnight. But when he didn't say anything, she was surprised. "Goodnight Clark," she repeated.
Clark's soft, gentle laugh came through the phone. "Goodnight, Lois."
Lois smiled to herself as she replaced the phone in its cradle on the nightstand next to her. Then she turned off the reading lamp, pulled the covers up to her neck and settled back into the pillows with a contented sigh. Clark was simply amazing.
As she lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling and waiting for sleep to come, she replayed their phone conversation in her mind.
*What exactly *had* I been about to tell him?* she asked herself uncertainly. She'd never been a spontaneous person where sharing her feelings was concerned, and it wasn't like she'd thought beforehand about telling him how she felt about him. And as of a few minutes ago, she thought she had decided *against* telling him!
But the fact remained that it seemed that some part of her, even if it was somewhere deep within her subconscious, *wanted* him to know how she was feeling about him. But there was still the problem of her not knowing exactly how she *did* feel about him. How could she possibly tell him how she felt when she didn't even know for herself?
Lois rolled over onto her side so she could reach the remote control lying on the nightstand. Then, aiming it at the console, she turned the TV back on, pushed the rewind button, then hit 'play.'
She watched the short tape again wistfully, finding herself smiling back at Clark's grinning face. Lois watched again as she lunged at the bellboy, threatening to rip the camera out of his hands. Then Clark's voice rang out from the TV's speakers, his words suddenly holding a whole new meaning for her. "She's just a little shy…"
Lois sat up in bed. That was it! Clark, unknowingly, was right. She *was* shy. Not about everything, but most importantly about letting people know how she felt about them. Especially Clark.
Well, she refused to be shy any longer. There was no way she could just let her feelings for Clark remain hidden indefinitely. She had to give him some sort of clue or indication of her deepening feelings for him.
And suddenly she knew exactly what to do.
With a renewed sense of determination, she turned on the light, threw back the covers, and jumped out of bed. It was perfect! Why hadn't she thought of it before? She hurried over to the TV and ejected the tape from the VCR, then dropped the cassette into her overnight bag so she wouldn't forget it. The first thing she'd do tomorrow morning when she got back to her apartment would be to make a copy of the tape and gift-wrap it for Clark. And of course she'd have to come up with the perfect note to go along with it.
*But that shouldn't be too difficult,* she thought with a smile. *After all, I *am* a writer.*
Before she could change her mind, she hurried to the desk in the front room of the suite and grabbed a sheet of hotel stationary and a pen from the top drawer.
Several crumpled and discarded sheets of stationary later, she sat back in the desk chair and reread her final version. *Perfect,* she thought, smiling happily. Even though it was only one line, the wording was exactly what she wanted. It was light, yet not too casual, and suggested that their time together at the Lexor had meant enough to her to go to the trouble she'd gone to.
Satisfied, she folded the note into one of the matching hotel envelopes and tucked it into her bag alongside the video tape. Now she'd just have to wait until Monday.
The Daily Planet newsroom was bustling on Monday morning when Clark Kent walked down the long ramp to the newsroom floor, whistling cheerfully. Unlike most of his Daily Planet colleagues, he found that he actually liked mornings. It seemed anything was possible in the morning, when you had the entire day ahead of you, to do with and make of it what you pleased. But this morning, everything looked and even felt brighter than usual, he had no problem figuring out why.
He always looked forward to seeing her in the mornings, but this morning he could hardly wait. The days they had spent together in the Lexor hotel's honeymoon suite on stakeout may have started out as "strictly business," as Lois had put it, but to him, it seemed they'd turned into so much more. Finally, *finally!* it seemed as if all his painstaking efforts to get into Lois' head—and hopefully even into her heart—might be starting to pay off.
Now if only he could look into her eyes this morning to see if he was right.
He looked around for Lois, but his heart sank when he didn't see her at her desk or in its vicinity. He'd almost reached his own desk when suddenly somebody stepped directly into his path, nearly colliding with him. Immediately he found himself enveloped in a cloud of expensive perfume.
"Good morning, Clark," Cat drawled, sidling up to him seductively. "How was your… 'honeymoon'?"
Clark barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes. His colleague's flirting was definitely getting old. "It was fine, Cat," he told her, keeping his voice flat and emotionless. "Lois and I got the story we set out to get, didn't we?" He stepped around her and started to continue on to his desk, but Cat grabbed his tie, ensuring his attention again.
"If it had been you and me on the story, we would have *been* the story," Cat told him with a seductive smile before winking pointedly and then sauntering away, her hips swaying with each step.
Clark laughed softly and shook his head. *You have to give her some credit,* he thought, *she certainly has the act down pat.*
Now that he was free from her clutches, he continued on to his desk where he pulled out his chair and sat down with a sigh. How could anyone possibly expect him to work when his mind was so occupied with thoughts of Lois?
After a moment, he shook himself out of his love-sick state and gave himself a mental talking to. *You're not getting paid to sit around daydreaming,* he scolded himself. *This isn't junior high. You have important work to do.*
Forcing himself to reach forward to turn his monitor on, a package on the corner of his desk suddenly caught his eye. It wasn't very big, but it was wrapped neatly in a sheet of plain, pastel blue tissue paper and was tied off with a white satin ribbon.
Curious, he leaned forward and picked it up. Taped to it was a legal sized, cream-colored envelope. He was surprised to see the familiar words "Lexor Hotel" in the upper left-hand corner.
His interest piqued, he pulled the envelope off the package and briefly studied the handwriting on the outside. His heart leaped. It was Lois' writing!
With fumbling fingers, he opened the sealed flap of the envelope and pulled out the folded sheet of stationary. When he opened the paper, the words leapt up at him:
"Thought you might like a souvenir of our "honeymoon" together. —Lois"
Now even more curious, he opened the package and was surprised to see a video tape with only the words "Lexor Honeymoon" printed on the label in Lois' printing.
Confused, he studied the tape for a long moment. *A video tape?* he asked himself silently. *What's this all about?* Standing up, he went into the empty conference room and inserted the tape into the VCR. Seconds later, he realized what the tape was and a broad, happy smile lit up his face.
As he continued to watch their moment in time captured on video, his thoughts began to race wildly. Lois had never been the type of person to go out of her way to do something nice for somebody. *Not that she isn't a nice person,* he made sure to clarify to himself, *but the whole 'giving a gift for no apparent reason' thing doesn't exactly fit in with her persona.*
So now, the more he thought about it, the more he *really* started to think about it. There had to be some other point, some hidden message behind her gesture. Surely this wasn't just a simple case of a friend giving another friend a video tape to watch. It had obviously meant enough to her to go to all the trouble of wrapping the tape and including a note.
*If Lois went to all this trouble, could that mean that I was right? That she might finally be starting to feel the same way I feel about her?* Just the idea itself was enough to fill him with such joy and hope that it was all he could do to keep his feet on the ground and not take off soaring into the sky right then and there.
As the tape neared the end, Clark looked down at the note still clutched tightly in his hand and he reread the words, a warm glow spreading through him as he began to understand the meaning behind them.
Suddenly he knew he didn't have to look into Lois' eyes to see how she was feeling about him. Her simple, yet profound gesture told him everything he wanted to know.
A sudden knock on the door made him jump guiltily, and he turned to see Jimmy grinning at him from the doorway. "Sorry, CK. I didn't mean to startle you," he said, coming into the room. He glanced at the TV screen. "What are you watching?"
Clark snapped to attention. "Oh…it's just, umm…it's nothing, Jimmy," he lied, quickly reaching up to stop the tape and ejecting it from the VCR. "Did you need something?"
Jimmy looked at Clark strangely, but didn't say anything. "Yeah, Perry wants you to go downtown to cover that bank robbery on Jefferson and forty-ninth. I'm supposed to tell Lois, too, but I can't find her."
"That's okay, Jimmy, I'll cover it," Clark said, quickly heading out of the conference room. He got halfway to his desk before something occurred to him. "Oh, Jimmy! When Lois gets in, would you tell her that I need to talk to her?"
Jimmy nodded. "You got it, CK."
Clark smiled his thanks, then reached his desk in three big strides. Trying to decide what to do with the video tape, he finally decided that his best bet would be to stash it in the top drawer of his desk until he could bring it home. He definitely didn't want anyone to find it and mistake it for something business related, then have the whole newsroom gossiping about Lois' thoughtful—yet private—gesture.
For the next hour, Clark interviewed the detectives and witnesses at the scene of the bank robbery as Perry had asked. But as hard as Clark tried, he found himself unable to do more than go through the motions. His thoughts just kept returning to the video tape lying in his desk's top drawer.
Finally, unable to spend one more ounce of his energy at the robbery scene (and knowing that he had all the notes and interviews Perry would want anyway), he decided to head back to the Planet.
*Maybe Lois is there now, and we can…* Suddenly he stopped. His thoughts had raised an interesting question. How *should* he proceed? He was sure that he understood the message Lois was sending him by giving him the note and video tape. But what if he was wrong? What if he was reading more into this than there was?
*You can't be,* a little voice inside of him insisted. *You've gone through everything, and there's only one thing it *can* mean. Besides, there's only one way to find out.*
Knowing the little voice was right, he hailed a cab and climbed in. Halfway to the Planet, however, he heard a cry for help. With a sigh and a groan, he had the cabby let him out and hurried into a dark, deserted alley to spin into the suit. *This won't take long,* he told himself, *just one quick Superhero job and you'll be heading back to the Planet to see Lois.*
But much to his disappointment, he spent the rest of the afternoon working as Superman, answering one cry after another for help. When he finally *did* make it back to the newsroom, it was nearly five o'clock.
As he hurried out of the elevator, he breathlessly scanned the newsroom for Lois. He checked out the usual places first: her desk, the coffee machine, even Perry's office. But she wasn't there.
*It figures,* he thought darkly. *Of all the nights for Lois to decide to go home on time, she had to pick this one.*
With a heavy, discouraged sigh, he started down the ramp. But then suddenly he saw her, and his heart started to race. She was approaching her desk from the far corner of the room with a cup of coffee in one hand and a handful of papers in the other.
At almost the same exact moment, she looked up and their eyes met. Obviously flustered at seeing him, she forgot to watch where she was going and collided with Jimmy, who was hurrying to Perry's office with some prints. She ended up losing her grip on her papers and, in an attempt to keep from dropping them, sloshed her coffee all over her shoes.
Clark cringed. Lois was *not* going to be happy. But the temper tantrum and yelling that he fully expected to burst forth from his partner never came. He watched as she bent over to help Jimmy pick up his print sheets and then even apologized to him. When she gathered her own notes and stood up, Clark noticed—in a state of shock—that Lois was actually blushing.
*Who are you and what have you done with my partner?* he wanted to run up to her and ask. When he finally reached her, she was at her desk mopping at her damp feet with a handful of napkins.
"Feeling a little soggy?" Clark couldn't help asking.
Lois blushed again and shrugged. "I'll dry." Then, without looking up, she asked, "Where've you been?"
"Covering the bank robbery downtown, then running a ton of errands. You?"
"Oh, I've been catching up on paperwork this afternoon. Nothing really exciting."
Clark could tell she was dying to know if he'd gotten the tape. He smiled. No one could ever say Lois couldn't be patient when she wanted to be. Finally he decided to let her off the hook.
"Thanks for the video tape," he told her sincerely, yet trying to keep his voice nonchalant in case he'd misinterpreted her gesture after all. This was definitely something he had to feel out. He forged on. "I forgot all about it when we checked out. It'll be fun to have."
Lois looked up at him quickly, her eyes intent. *Is he being serious?* she asked herself silently. He certainly sounded like he was. But the big question she wanted an answer to was, had he gotten the message behind the gift?
It was quiet between them for what seemed like an eternity. At last Clark spoke. "Hey, umm, Lois…I was wondering," he stammered, actually sounding nervous. "Would you, uh…like to go out to dinner tonight?"
Lois stared at him. She couldn't believe it! He was asking her out! Whether he had gotten the message from her gesture, or for absolutely any other reason at all, she didn't care. They were going out together! And who knew where that would lead?
"Yes, I'd like that," she answered finally, giving Clark a shy smile. "Actually, I'm starving. How about we call it a day and just go now?"
Clark's smile nearly split his face. "Great! Let me just get my stuff and then we can go." When Lois nodded, he turned and hurried over to his desk, looking down at the floor to make sure he wasn't floating two feet off the ground. He certainly felt like he was.
He gathered a few notes from his desk, then opened his top desk drawer and took out the video tape and envelope. Smiling, he put everything into his attaché and turned off his monitor. Then he walked back over to Lois and smiled. "Ready?"
"Yeah, I'm ready." She had barely grabbed her coat from the back of her chair when Clark suddenly appeared behind her, holding it for her so she could slip into it more easily. She smiled her thanks at him over her shoulder as they walked to the elevator.
When the elevator arrived, they were the only two to step in. Clark pushed the button and soon they were heading down. Lois glanced up at Clark as he stood beside her and caught him studying her intently. She was surprised by the look she saw in his deep brown eyes before he quickly recovered and looked away.
But what she'd been able to see before he disguised his look told her everything she needed to know, everything she had hoped to see. It was a look of hope, of joy, of feelings returned, and of the possibility of so much more. She knew in that instant that she had done the right thing.
The elevator doors opened and they stepped out into the lobby. Their arms brushed as Lois walked through the door that Clark held open for her, and Lois felt a surge of electricity rush through her.
She didn't know how their night would turn out. She hoped it would be wonderful, and that there would be many more memorable times spent together. But she also knew that nothing was for certain. Things could still go wrong, as things often did. But she felt comfortable with the knowledge that she had done the right thing, and that she had taken the right step in what she believed was the right direction.
So now she knew she was just going to have to sit back and wait to see how things would turn out. But she also knew that would be the most exciting part of all.