By Carol M <email@example.com>
Submitted: August 2001
Summary: Lois's father has been hard on her again, and it's up to Clark to console his pregnant, emotional wife.
Sadly, this story is quasi-auto-biographical. It really happened to me while pregnant only the conversation in question took place on my couch and my husband came home from mini-golf with my sister and not flying through the window from a rescue (*sigh* wouldn't that be nice though?).
Also, departing somewhat from canon — in this world, Lois is much more like the rest of us and not like Teri and incredibly thin. Instead, Lois has put on some weight since high school and looks more "normal".
The characters aren't mine. If they were, I might not have the issues I do (like Lois does in this story), but hey, I had a little fun anyway.
Lois was curled up on the couch in the townhouse, tears running down her face. Clark flew in the room after his latest rescue and saw her there. This was nothing new. She was over seven months pregnant, after all, and tears had been common throughout her pregnancy. Something told him this was more than just a sad movie, running out of ice cream, or some other mundane thing that normally wouldn't bother her but with hormones was monumental.
He spun into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and sat next to her, drawing her into his arms and letting her cry for a few minutes before inquiring as to the problem.
Lois sniffled and sat up just a little bit. "It's nothing, really."
Clark rolled his eyes. "Right, Lois. Please, tell me what it is. Was it your dinner with your dad?"
Lois nodded and tried to hold back the tears that threatened again. Finally, she stood — something that was getting more difficult by the day — and started pacing around the room. "You know I love my dad, right?"
"Right." Clark didn't sound too sure of himself. Lois had had a difficult relationship with her dad for most of her life, but things had gotten considerably better over the last couple of years.
"Well, we were talking during dinner and I made the comment that I didn't know being an incubator could be so exhausting. I mean, I'm not running down leads anymore — and haven't been since I found out I was pregnant — so even though I try to work out or walk several times a week, I don't do as much as I used to, right?"
"Right." Clark wasn't sure where this was going, but he was pretty sure he wasn't going to like whatever Sam had said in response.
"I mean, I know I've put on some weight in the last few years, but I'm not fat. I wasn't before I got pregnant, anyway. I know that I'm not, just not super thin like I was in high school or like all the superstars have to be these days."
Clark sighed. This was a conversation they had had more times than he could count. Lois *had* put on some weight since they had met six years earlier, but no matter what size she was he would always think that she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and he told her so. "You're beautiful."
"*YOU* think so anyway, but you're biased."
"So is your father."
Clark sighed again. "What did he say?"
Lois struggled against the tears that were threatening again. "Well, he made the comment that I was fairly heavy to start with and that just carrying the extra weight was bound to make me more tired, without even being pregnant."
It was all Clark could do to not fly off and find Sam Lane and pound some sense into his head. He couldn't believe that he would say that to Lois. Okay, so she had gained weight, and while everything he said was true, it wasn't something Lois needed to hear from her father or didn't already know herself. She had tried to lose the excess weight before, but like most American women she had a hard time with it. She had enough issues with self-esteem and acceptance by her father that his saying those things was sure to tear her to the core, pregnant or not.
Lois took a deep breath and tried to keep her composure. "I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I held myself together and finished dinner, came home and cried then."
Clark moved to her side and pulled her into his arms. "Oh, honey. You are *not* fat; you never were."
"I have *never* been good enough for him," she mumbled into her husband's chest. "Ever. If I made the honor role, why didn't I get straight A's? If I made an A on a test, what could I have done to get an A+? Why didn't I apply myself more? I could have done it, but I just didn't try hard enough or something. If I won a Kerth, why wasn't it a Pulitzer? And on and on, my whole life. And while he was here this weekend… There's not enough water pressure in the bathroom. The chain for the attic fan hangs down too far and he hits his head on it when he leaves the guestroom. The icemaker needs a filter on it. The lawn needs mowing — no matter that it rained all day Thursday and Friday before he got here, and I babysat a three year old so he wouldn't have to be at his grandpa's funeral. And of course we didn't have the right kind of jelly and there wasn't a Baskin Robbins close enough and out of the box from the grocery store just isn't the same. Nothing is ever good enough for him." She gave herself over to her tears once more.
Clark held her close and seethed. Sam couldn't see it, he knew that, but Lois craved his approval and she rarely got it. He had seen it for himself, and he had vowed that if he ever caught himself saying some things like Sam had said to Lois to one of his daughters, if he ever had any, he would hurl himself into the sun for being so insensitive. He knew there was nothing he could say to Lois right now that would help her feel better about herself. Eventually, she would stop crying, pull herself together, square her shoulders and try to get on with her life. All he could do was be there for her, let her cry and support her in everything she did.
He wanted to go talk to Sam but knew Lois wouldn't let him. She never wanted her father to see her weaknesses. Her father and his approval, or lack thereof, were probably her biggest one, so talking to him was out. He hated it, but there was nothing he could do, at least now. He was just thankful that Sam didn't live in Metropolis anymore and Lois only saw him once or twice a year. He was also thankful that Sam didn't make comments like this every time he saw his daughter, but only once every couple of years. If he made the comments every time, Clark knew he would have said something long ago.
Lois pulled back from Clark, wiped her eyes and straightened herself up. "I'm okay, really."
"Are you sure?" Clark didn't believe her.
"Really. Now tell me about the rescue. How was it?"
Clark sighed. She really wasn't okay but wouldn't talk about it anymore. Not now, at least. He had learned the hard way that there was little he could do at this point except watch to make sure that she was okay and be there for her whenever she needed him. Feeling there was nothing more he could do for her at the moment, he began to tell her about the fire.