Submitted: July 2001
Summary: After a fatal mistake by Clark, Lois and Clark's relationship is thrown into jeopardy. How will their relationship ever survive?
Words in between asterisks are emphasized, and phrases in < > are thoughts.
Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen stepped off the elevator after just coming back from lunch, and into the usual bustling newsroom of The Daily Planet, Metropolis' finest newspaper. Lois was the Planet's star investigative reporter, and Jimmy was Lois Lane and Clark Kent's research assistant/rookie photographer. At 22, Jimmy was still learning, but Perry White (the Review's editor-in-chief) was very pleased with him.
At the same time they entered the room, Cat Grant, the gossip columnist, finally managed to catch up with Clark. Clark was Lois's partner, best friend, and fianc‚. He was also right behind Lois for the 'title' of star reporter.
"Clark," Cat purred into his ear. "I'm still waiting on tonight."
"Cat, leave me alone. You *know* the answer is no."
Cat decided she had waited long enough. Lois or no Lois, she wanted Clark Kent. With one swift motion, Cat had her face pressed against Clark's and was engaging herself in a passionate kiss.
Clark's eyes widened as he felt Cat's mouth against his. His first instinct was to pull away immediately, but when Cat's tongue pressed at his lips, he lost all thought whatsoever. He loved Lois, more than anything in the world, but…
Lois and Jimmy paused at the coffee machine while Lois filled up her mug. "Boy, I am beat today Jimmy," Lois complained. "Hey, do you see Clark anywhere?" Lois looked behind Jimmy, her back towards Clark and Cat.
"Uh, yeah, I think I…" Jimmy broke off as he realized exactly what Clark was doing.
"Really? Where?" Lois turned and froze. The filled coffee mug slipped from her grasp and shattered on the tile floor.
"Lois, please, don't watch this," Jimmy pleaded with his friend.
But suddenly Lois felt totally enraged.
"How could that slut even think of putting her hands on my fianc‚?" Lois screamed as she turned towards Jimmy. "Boy, she has some nerve! And in the middle of the office!" She paced angrily up and down. Then Lois stopped and stared at the couple. <Why hasn't he pulled away?> she thought.
Clark raised his head as his super-hearing picked up on Lois's ranting across the room. He started to move from Cat's grasp, but suddenly ducked his head back down and started the kiss again.
Lois quickly shut up when she saw Clark look up. She knew he had heard her, and Lois wasn't ready to confront him yet. Then Lois saw Clark initiate another kiss, and she let out a piercing scream of anguish as she sank to the floor.
It was unmistakable this time. Clark pulled away as Lois's painful shout echoed in his ears. All heads turned to him as he raced to her side, unknowing that she had seen him.
"Lois, honey, what happened?" Clark observed the broken cup as he reached his hand towards her shoulder. But Lois was too quick, and she slapped him away with such force that it caused him to withdraw from her.
Lois's face appeared, tear-stained and twisted with anger and hurt. She started to speak to Clark, a cool and eerily calm tone to her voice.
"Get out of my face Clark Kent. I don't want to speak to you now or ever. And don't even think about denying it," Lois stated when Clark opened his mouth to interrupt. "Because I know what I saw, and it was a little too obvious." With that Lois put her head back down on her knees, her shoulders shaking with sobs.
Jimmy watched Clark just stand there, dumbfounded.
"Uh, CK, perhaps you should just leave her alone."
"You're probably right Jim. God, I can't believe this is happening." Clark walked back to his desk with his shoulders slumped.
Now Jimmy didn't know what to do. He was pretty sure Lois didn't want any company at the moment, but he also thought she wasn't in the condition to be left alone.
Jimmy didn't wait long. A few minutes later Cat came sauntering up to where the broken-hearted Lois still sat.
"Well Lois, all I have to say is that I now know exactly why you are so in love with Clark," Cat stated quite smugly. And at that moment, something inside Lois snapped. All the anger she had just recently felt towards Clark moved to Cat, whom Lois could assume was *definitely* not innocent in all of this.
Lois flung herself on the unsuspecting Cat, and immediately a fight broke out between the two women. Staff members in the newsroom stopped what they were doing to watch the respected Lois Lane engaged in a fight. Lois, having the advantage of being on top, yelled at the top of her lungs.
"How could you do this to me Cat? Don't you have any heart at all? Guys practically throw themselves at you constantly, and you go after mine!" Lois continued to slap at Cat's face and pull on her hair.
"Lois! What the hell? Get off me!" Cat managed to gasp.
All at once people started to move. Jimmy shook himself of his initial shock and darted towards Lois and Cat, praying he could handle Lois. Clark snapped out of his own daze and also headed for the fight, having no intention of getting involved. And Perry White burst out of his office at the sound of the shouts.
Jimmy pulled a squirming Lois off Cat, who then quickly stood up.
"Lois, what has gotten into you?"
"Let me at her!" was the only reply.
With his arms wrapped tightly around Lois's waist, Jimmy looked at Clark, his eyes silently begging Clark to help him. Clark only looked away and shrugged, unsure of what exactly *to* do, as Perry approached.
"*What* in Sam's Hill is going on here? Lois, have you completely lost your mind?"
"No, but those two have." Lois's fiery eyes darted to Cat, and then Clark, as she relaxed slightly in Jimmy's arms.
Noticing the still confused look on Perry's face, Lois continued. "They were making out!" With that Lois again tried to lunge at Cat, catching Jimmy off guard. This time Perry reached out and blocked her.
"Now what do you mean by that, Lois?"
"I mean she kissed him and he kissed her and now I'm going to kill them both!" Lois thrashed wildly about.
"It's true chief." Clark's normally stable voice was now quiet and shaky. Perry stared wide-eyed at Clark. He couldn't believe what the young man had just said. He knew Clark had been in love with Lois since the moment that he had seen her. <What is going on?>
"All right, Clark go into my office, Cat go home. Lois, you come with me." No one moved. "Now!"
Cat and Clark immediately moved in their separate directions. Lois shakily got up from the floor, where she had collapsed in exhaustion. Perry moved forward and took hold of her arm.
"Come on, in here." Perry led the still sobbing Lois into the conference room. He paused at the door and turned to face the silent newsroom. "I suggest you all get back to work before you're FIRED!" With that, the newsroom started bustling again.
"So what you're trying to tell me is that you saw Clark kiss Cat?" It was ten minutes later, and Perry still wasn't sure he knew exactly what had happened. It was hard to understand Lois, who was still crying uncontrollably.
"My God Perry, how many times must I repeat this?" Lois jumped angrily from her chair, and Perry stood up with her.
"Now just calm down Lois, I'm only trying to help."
"No one can help me Perry," Lois replied quietly and coolly. "Unless they have a cure for a broken heart." She looked up at him. "Do you mind if I take a few days off? Clear my head?"
"Of course, take as much time as you need."
"Thanks Perry." Lois tried to smile at him, but failed. She slowly lifted her left hand and sadly gazed at it. Perry watched in amazement as Lois removed her diamond engagement ring. "Take this Perry," she said as she handed it to him. "And take care of it. I can't bring myself to give it to Clark. I don't want to admit that it's over yet."
"It'll be put in a safe place Lois, I promise. Now why don't you go on home, while I speak to Clark?"
Lois nodded, and with as much poise as she could muster, walked out of the room.
Perry gazed at the ring, and shook his head in disbelief. <How could this be happening to those two?>
The door clicked behind him as Perry entered his office. Clark sat slouched in a chair, staring off into space. He didn't even acknowledge Perry's entrance.
"You want to explain all of this Clark?" Perry sat down at his desk and looked at the sullen young man. Clark looked back at him.
"Look, Perry, I don't want to be rude, but I really don't think this is any of your business. It's between Lois and I." Clark looked away, slightly annoyed.
"Maybe you're right son, but Lois is. She has been like a daughter to me ever since she began interning here. And I can't stand to see her as hurt as she is."
"Don't you think I know that Perry?" Clark stood up and began pacing. "And it's even worse knowing that I'm the one that hurt her. You know how much I love her Perry. I know you both want an explanation for what I did, but I don't have one. Something went through me, and I… I couldn't stop it." He sighed and sat down. "And now I've lost the only woman I've ever really loved." Clark's face disappeared into the palms of his hands.
"I know Clark. I'm so sorry this happened to you guys. I must admit, I always thought you'd be together forever."
"So did I." Clark rose to his feet. "If you don't mind Perry, I think I'm going to take the rest of the day off. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Of course Clark, go ahead. But first, I think I should give you something." Perry held out Lois's engagement ring. "She gave me this. Thought giving it to you would mean it's actually over, and she didn't want to admit that. I promised her I would keep it safe, but I think you would do that better than me."
"Thanks Perry. And I will. But if you want, let her know she can always get it back."
"Will do, son, will do."
With that, Clark just turned and walked out of the office.
Lois flipped off the TV as she got up from the couch. She had just finished watching The Princess Bride, and now bent to scoop up all the used tissues that surrounded her. The movie never usually made her sad, but tonight was different. The Princess Bride was Clark's favorite movie.
<Why did I watch that?> Lois thought to herself as she headed towards the kitchen to rinse out her ice cream bowl. She had known it would only make her feel worse, yet for some reason it had just seemed appropriate. She sighed.
She could tell it would be impossible to get to sleep, so Lois sat down at her desk and started sifting through the files for her latest story. Five minutes later she threw them down in disgust. <This is driving me nuts!>
At that moment the phone began to ring. Lois hesitated a moment, but quickly decided Clark wouldn't have the nerve to call her. She picked up the receiver.
Clark Kent let out another loud sigh as he continued to pace up and down his living room- two feet off the ground. His fight with Lois had him horribly depressed, and Clark was disgusted with himself for what had caused the fight.
As Clark descended back down to the floor, he knew he couldn't wait any longer. Although feeling it was a lost cause, he picked up his phone and dialed Lois's number. After two rings, she answered.
"Hello?" Lois's voice floated through the receiver.
"Lois, it's me."
Frozen, Lois stared at the phone. <Is this man crazy?> "What do you possibly think gives you the right to call me after all this?"
"Lois, please, just give me the chance to explain." Clark's voice got that pleading tone to it, a tone he rarely had to use.
Lois was outraged. "What kind of explanation could you possibly give me? 'I'm sorry but my mouth slipped', or 'I had to find the rest of my cheese-of- the-month club shipment down there!' Is that a good one for you, Clarkie?" Her last sentence left her mouth with a dry tone to it.
"No, Lois you don't understand!"
"Oh don't I? I'm through with you. Good-bye!" Lois slammed the phone down and collapsed onto the sofa.
Clark stared at the phone in disbelief. He groaned as he put the phone back in the cradle. <Now what am I going to do?> Suddenly an idea struck him. He picked up the phone again and dialed another all too familiar number.
Three rings later, a breathless voice answered. "Hello?"
"Hi mom. Did I catch you at bad time?"
"Clark! Of course not, what's up?" Martha Kent asked her son.
Without hesitation, Clark began to tell his mom everything that had happened. He paused when he came to the part when he first pulled away from Cat.
"Then what happened Clark?" Martha asked, somewhat anxiously.
"Well, I started to back away, but Cat had her leg wrapped around mine." Clark blushed. <Why am I telling her this? Oh, right, for Lois.> "I couldn't move my foot, and I stumbled backwards. In order not to fall back, I leaned forward. Unfortunately, Cat had not backed away, so I tripped again, this time landing myself right on her, as she wrapped her arms around me again. Two seconds later, Lois screamed, and I practically threw Cat down in order to get to her. Once there, I knew Lois had seen me. And from Lois's point of view, it would have looked like I kissed Cat again on purpose." Clark shuddered at the memory of it all.
"Now, Clark, you aren't blaming this all on Cat, right?"
"Of course not mom, because it isn't all her fault. Sure she *did* kiss me first, but I didn't stop it. I know I'm as much to blame as she is."
"That's my superhero, always relying on his morals," Martha teased. Then he quickly grew serious. Clark, I know you needed someone to talk to, but deep down I get the feeling you have another reason for calling."
Clark smiled. "You know me too well mom."
"Well, you are my son. So what is it?"
"I want you to call Lois."
"What? Honey, I'm pretty sure Lois isn't going to want to talk to me either." Martha was somewhat surprised at what Clark wanted her to do, though she had half expected it.
"Sure she will mom, you're like a second mother to her. And with Ellen away, Lois needs one to talk to."
"I agree, but I don't think the mother of the guy who hurt her is the one she needs."
"Mom, Lois has never thought of you just as 'my mother'. She'll talk to you, I know she will. Just try, please?" Clark started to plead again.
"Clark Jerome Kent, don't take that pathetic tone with me. Fine, I will call her, but only once. If she doesn't want to talk to me, I'm not going to bug her."
"That's fine. Thank you so much mom."
"You're welcome sweetheart. Now hang up so I can call her. She'll still be up, right?"
"Yeah, she will. Bye mom."
"Bye Clark." Martha hung up the phone, hesitated, than dialed Lois's number.
Lois Lane stared at the ringing phone, shocked. Angrily, Lois picked up the receiver and began to talk harshly into it.
"Clark Kent, don't you know how to-" Lois broke off as a voice other than Clark's broke through.
"Lois? Is that you?"
"Martha?" Lois's face flushed bright red. "I'm sorry, I thought you were that good for nothing-" Lois stopped. "Oh wait. You probably don't know-"
"I know what happened Lois," Martha interrupted.
"Of course you do, why wouldn't you? Clark tells you everything. After all, *you* knew he was Superman and in love with me way before I ever did."
"Now Lois, just relax, okay?" Martha heard Lois take a deep breath. "Good girl."
"Clark told you to call me, didn't he?"
"Yes, but I also think you need someone to talk to. I know your own mother is away right now."
"I wouldn't talk to her even if she was here." Lois sighed. "The only advice she'd give me would be to forget about him and move on. But I need to *talk*."
"I totally understand Lois," Martha said. "But even though Clark told me to, I call with a very unbiased opinion. I won't tell you to forgive Clark just because he's my son."
"That's nice to know Martha, but I don't know where to begin."
"Start at the beginning, and tell me your side of the story, and what you thought and felt. Perhaps I can clear up any confusion based on what Clark has told me."
So Lois did. She spilled out her heart and told Martha everything, right up to Clark's last phone call.
When she was finished, Martha explained to her about how Clark actually tripped into Cat.
"He didn't mean to kiss her again," Martha told her.
"Martha how do you know he wasn't lying to save face around you? He's lied to me before."
"Yes, but those were fibs Lois, excuses. Besides, Clark is my son, and he has never lied to me before. He knows what would happen if he did and got caught. Just because he's a grown-up doesn't mean I won't punish him," Martha teased. "I believe him, and I think you should too."
Lois sighed. "I guess."
"Look, honey, Clark could explain this a lot better than me. Why don't you call him?"
"Aww, Martha, do I have to?"
"No, but I do think you should talk things out, understand each other. It would really help you Lois."
Lois thought about it for a moment. "I will call him Martha. But you should know I have no intention of ever forgiving him."
"Fair enough Lois."
"Good-bye Martha. Thank you so much. Oh, and tell Jonathan I said hello."
"Will do. Bye Lois."
Lois hung up the phone and sat back. With a loud groan, she picked it back up and grudgingly dialed Clark's phone number.
Clark lifted his head and looked at the phone. <If this isn't Lois, some innocent person is going to be sorry.>
"We need to talk. Come over now." Click.
He looked at the phone in his hand. <Well she sure has a lot to say> he thought. Changing into the suit, Clark sped off out the window.
Lois had left her window unlocked, so Clark just stepped inside and spun back into Clark clothes. This was something he had to do, not Superman. He looked around. Lois was nowhere to be seen.
"Lois?" he called out.
"Hold your horses," came the sharp reply. A moment later Lois emerged dressed in a pair of flannel pajamas. Clark stood nervously by the window.
"You're brave standing by the window like that, assuming I'm not gonna try and push you out of it," Lois stated matter-of-factly. Maybe a little too matter-of- factly.
Clark chuckled uneasily and moved further into the room, unsure of what Lois had up her sleeve.
Lois continued talking. "I'm gonna say it right off the bat Clark. I'm not gonna apologize, I'm not gonna forgive. I don't think I have a reason to. The reason I did call you here is because I believe we should at least hear each other out." Clark smiled. "Though I doubt it will do any good." His smile dropped. "Well, I'm all ears, Clark."
"All right, Lois, you have to believe me when I say I never meant to hurt you. Yes, I know that's a classic line," <Duh> Lois thought, "but it's still true. I love you more than the world itself. You know that. Please, what happened with Cat was all a mistake. Lois, do you believe Cat came onto me first?" A second later Lois nodded. "Look, I know the main thing you want from me is an explanation as to why I didn't pull away, but like I told Perry, I don't have one. I'm a man, just like you're a woman." Lois smiled at the memory of the same line being passed between her and Superman, just more than a year before. "I know that excuse isn't good enough, but it's all I've got." Clark took a deep breath. "Okay, your turn."
"Let me just tell you Clark Kent that your little honesty and pathetic tricks are not going to win you any Brownie points here." Clark looked sheepish. "Clark, I am a little hurt, but that isn't why I'm so mad. Yes, you cheated on me, but *that* isn't why I'm so mad. Do you know why I'm so mad Clark?" He shook his head. "Because I'm humiliated, Clark. Everyone knows what happened, and almost every in that newsroom saw you making out with her! I am Lois Lane, a well-respected reporter in that place. What do you think my reputation is gonna be like now that everyone knows my fianc‚ cheated on me?" Lois choked back a sob and turned away. "Do you realize what a fool I must seem like? Do you even remember what happened with Claude?" Clark grimaced, remembering the pain that was obvious on Lois's face when she had told him the story. "I swore to myself that I would never get involved with anyone that I worked with again. Remember my three rules? But I did anyway, and now everyone is laughing at me for being so damn stupid. So basically Clark, you and your raging male hormones have just cost me my job."
Worry flickered across Clark's face. "What are you saying Lois?"
"I'm saying that I quit Clark. There's no way I can show my face at the Planet again. Say good-bye to Jimmy for me, will ya?"
Clark stared at Lois, doubtful. "You're bluffing," he said. "There's no way you would quit your job over something stupid like this. You didn't leave after the Claude fiasco." He folded his arms across his chest matter-of-factly.
Lois snorted at him. "Oh yeah? When was the last time you heard Lois Lane bluff?" Clark watched in horror as Lois strode over to her phone and picked it up. He was rooted to his spot, unable to stop her.
"Hello, Perry?" Lois glanced at Clark smugly. "I have something I need to tell you. I'm really sorry about the short notice, but I've decided to resign from my position at the Daily Planet, effective immediately. Yes, I know you can't Perry. I really think it's necessary. Yes, he does. No, but… Well, thank you. No, I don't think I should. Just send Jimmy over with my stuff. I know, I'll miss you too. Good, I'm glad. At least try Perry. No, but I'll try to stay in touch. Same here Perry, same here. Love you too. Good-bye." Lois slowly hung up the phone, turning to face Clark as she did so. "I hope you're happy," she stated quietly, sinking down onto the couch.
"You know perfectly well I'm not." Clark walked over and sat on the edge of the coffee table, opposite Lois. "Come on Lois. Was quitting really necessary? We can work this out. You know I love you." He reached out to hold her hand. "Please, reconsider."
Lois was silent for a moment, pondering. "Clark, I can't. It's too late. It'll look even worse if I just come waltzing in with you like nothing ever happened. Not to mention Cat will still be there."
"Is that what this is all about Lois? How it looks?" Lois stiffened.
"Who cares? People will get over it. What matters in how we feel, how *you* feel. Lois, if you want to be with me, then forget about everyone else."
"But that's the problem Clark. No, this isn't about my reputation. To put it blunt, I was totally disgusted and turned off at the sight of you kissing Cat. I never thought you could make me feel like that. I love you too Clark, but I don't want to be with you anymore."
And all of a sudden, Clark Kent began to cry. He didn't know exactly why, maybe after those last words the realization that he had actually lost the only woman he could ever love finally sank in. But whatever it was, the strongest man on earth was now sitting there, tears streaming down his face. Lois stared at him, her mouth half-open. She had never seen Clark cry like this before, and knowing she caused it made it even worse. Tears began to form in her eyes also, and she wiped them away with the heels of her hands.
"Sheesh Clark, please don't cry. I am really sorry about all this. I don't want to hurt you." Lois placed a hand on his shoulder, and she felt him tense up at her touch.
Clark pulled away from Lois and stood up. He looked down at her and said, "Saying good-bye to you is going to be the hardest thing I'll ever have to do. Especially since I know I brought it all on myself."
Lois rose also and looked Clark straight in the eye. "I'm not going to lie to you Clark. This is the hardest thing I'll ever have to do also. I do still love you, and probably always will. And maybe we were meant to be together, and breaking up is not the best thing for us. But right now, I feel like it is the best thing for me." Lois took a deep breath. "Good-bye Clark."
Stepping closer to her, Clark boldly leaned down and kissed Lois right on the lips. He pulled away and looked deep into her eyes. "Good-bye Lois." He turned and walked out the door, shutting it behind him. The bang of the door closing seemed to echo through his mind as he dejectedly walked down the hall, and away from Lois Lane, for the last time.
5 YEARS LATER
Strolling down the ramp in the Daily Planet's newsroom, Lois Lane smiled brightly at people she passed. Five years ago she would have glared at most of them, but now she never felt so alive and happy. Lois had spent the last five years feeling free, loosening up. Five years ago she would have been wearing a business suit; now she had on a red halter and denim shorts, her long brown hair pulled into a high ponytail. Lois still looked as young and fresh as she did five years ago.
She had flounced halfway across the room when a familiar voice called out her name, questioningly. "Lois?"
Lois whipped around. "Jimmy!" She rushed towards him, now a lot more mature looking, and wrapped her arms around him. "How have you been?"
"Good, Lois, good. I'm now a junior investigative reporter. I work with CK sometimes."
Lois flinched, but Jimmy didn't notice. "That's awesome Jimmy! Congratulations!"
Jimmy beamed. "Thanks!"
"Say, is Perry in his office?"
"He should be. He'll be thrilled to see you."
"I hope so." Lois shrugged. "See you around!" With that she bounced off towards Perry's office.
Lois knocked on the door. A few seconds later, Perry's booming voice floated through the door. "Come in!"
Lois flung open the door and bounced inside. "Hey chief! What's up?" she asked casually.
Perry looked up from his desk and smiled brightly. "Lois? Is that you?" "Of course it's me Perry. How are you doing?" Lois plopped into a chair and pushed her sunglasses on top of her head.
"I'm fine, thanks, but what have you been doing with yourself? Are you working at a newspaper?"
"Oh no Perry." Lois shook her head lightly, so her glasses wouldn't fall off. "I've been doing some free-lance writing, but I mainly work at a club outside of Metropolis as a dancer."
Perry's mouth dropped open. <Is this still the same Lois Lane I know?> Obviously not. "I don't believe it Lois. Why a dancer?"
Lois got up and started walking around the office. "*Because* Perry! I love doing it. I feel so free!" Lois turned about and gestured wildly with her arms. "Besides, the pay is awesome, and I need it now more than ever."
"Why is that? What's different now?" Perry sat back in his desk chair.
"Look Perry, please don't tell anyone this, not yet anyway. You see, when I left here, I was pregnant."
"Yeah, that's right. Ironic thing was, I was planning on telling Clark the night I called things off. It's such a shame, she's a beautiful little girl."
Perry nodded. "I'm sure she is. Wow, I can't believe you've been a single mom this whole time."
At that moment Perry's office door swung open and in walked Clark Kent, who looked like he hadn't changed at all.
"I got that interview Perry, but I don't think the guy was very helpful." Clark shifted his position slightly, and found that he was now staring at a smiling Lois Lane. "Lois?"
"Hey Clark!" Lois rushed forward and flung her arms around his neck. Not entirely thinking, Clark picked her up and spun her around. Lois squealed in delight.
"Wow! It's so good to see you again!" Clark put her down. "Where have you been working? I haven't seen your writing around."
Lois tossed her head. "That's because I've been doing some free-lance stuff for a few magazines. But my full-time job is at a little club on the outskirts of Metropolis."
Clark couldn't believe his ears. "As a waitress?"
"Dancer," Lois corrected.
He almost choked. "You, a dancer? You mean like."
"No, not stripping," Lois interrupted defensively. "Dancing. There's a whole group of us, and we perform different routines."
"Yeah, wearing what?" Clark asked.
Lois looked away and crossed her arms haughtily. "None of your business," she proclaimed.
Clark snorted and looked at Perry, who only shrugged. Meanwhile Lois, who had been off twirling around the room again, suddenly stopped and screamed in pain, clutching her chest as she sank to her knees. Two heads turned to her at once.
"Lois, darling, what's wrong?" Perry got up and crouched down next to her, a hand on her shoulder.
"I don't know," she gasped. "I… I think I'm having a heart attack."
"Are you sure?"
"No I'm not sure! How the hell am I supposed to know what's wrong? It hurts!" Lois leaned back in Perry's arms.
Clark, finally able to comprehend what was really going on, spoke up.
"We should probably get her to the hospital Perry."
Perry nodded. "Lois, do you think you're able to walk?"
"No, Perry, it hurts too much." She clutched at her heart and doubled over in pain.
Groaning, Perry straightened up. "Now what?" He shrugged and looked helplessly at Clark. Clark strode towards Lois.
"Lois? Is it all right if I carry you?"
She nodded, unable to speak, on the verge of passing out in pain. Positioning his arms under her knees and shoulders, Clark lifted her easily off the floor. Lois wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged herself to his chest. Clark hurried out of the office, with Perry on his heels.
Halfway across the newsroom, Jimmy ran up to them. "Hey CK, what's going on?" He looked at the crumpled Lois questioningly.
"She's having a heart attack Jim," Clark answered as they continued to rush across the room. "I have to take her to the hospital, which means you'll have to meet Bobby Bigmouth by yourself. Think you can handle it?" Clark pushed the button on the elevator.
"Sure thing. I'll keep in touch with you!" Jimmy jogged back to his desk to get his stuff. Clark and Perry entered the elevator, Clark still carrying Lois. By the time they got downstairs, Clark was really beginning to wish he could just fly Lois, but Perry still didn't know about him. <Maybe it's about time I tell him> he thought, as they sped off towards Metropolis General.
Lois opened her eyes and looked around. Her surroundings were extremely unfamiliar, and Lois began to get frightened, knowing her reputation for being kidnapped. But the more she looked, she realized she was lying in a hospital room, hooked up to all these machines.
She turned her head in the direction of the voice, off to her left. Lois found herself staring into the eyes of Clark Kent, who was smiling warmly at her.
"Clark?" Lois looked at him in disbelief.
Clark leaned forward and took the hand of the woman he once loved. <And still love> he thought. Lois had passed out from the pain right after they had gotten her to the hospital, and Clark had spent the last six hours waiting for Lois to wake up. The doctors had gotten her stabilized, and although it hurt like hell, her heart attack had been pretty minor, brought on primarily by stress. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
"A little drowsy, but the pain is gone. A little weak also, I guess."
Clark nodded. "The doctor said you would be. They'll at least keep you here overnight, so you can regain your strength and relax a bit. He said your heart attack was caused by stress, but I wasn't sure what could have been so stressful to you."
Then, as an answer to his question, 5 year-old Lara Lane burst into the room, racing towards Lois. "Mom!" she cried as she flung her little arms around Lois's neck, wrapping her in a hug. "Grandma said you were sick. Are you feeling better now?"
Clark's mouth dropped open when the young girl ran in, calling for her mom. His mind instantly tried to think of all possible explanations (adoption, for instance), but his thoughts just kept coming back to one possibility.
Meanwhile, Lois had placed Lara on her lap and was listening to her daughter explain what she did that day with Lois's mother. As he continued to ponder, Clark overheard one particular statement.
"We went roller-skating in the park and I raced a really big dog, and I won! I was going super fast!" Lara wriggled around in delight.
Lois smiled at Lara, but her eyes shifted nervously to Clark, who was sitting there, eyes wide open. He looked at her, and they exchanged a silent thought.
Lara, who had suddenly realized her mom was no longer paying attention to *her*, glared at the tall man she did not recognize. "Mom, who's that?" Lara crossed her arms and continued to stare.
Having no clue how to tell her 5 year-old that this man was the father she had never met, Lois decided to just wing it and hope for the best.
"Well, Lara, do you remember that long talk we had about your father a while ago?"
Lara nodded vigorously. "Yep. You said that my dad loved me but couldn't take care of me right now."
Clark winced, and Lois nodded at her daughter. "Yes, that's right. Well sweetie, this man here is your father. His name is Clark Kent."
Staring at Clark wide-eyed, Lara exclaimed, "No way!"
Lois giggled. She gazed at Clark and said "Clark, I want you to meet your daughter, Lara Lane."
Clark grinned and cocked an eyebrow at Lois. She glared back at him, knowing *exactly* what he was thinking. "Yes, *Lane*," she said, tossing her head.
He chuckled and threw up his hands in mock surrender. Clark then extended his hand towards Lara. "It's a pleasure to meet you, my darling," he stated exaggeratedly.
Still gawking at him, Lara meekly shook his hand. "You're Superman," she breathed.
At that moment the door to Lois's hospital room flung open, and Cat Grant strutted in. All heads turned toward her, and Lois's mouth fell open. <What in the world is she doing here?> But Lois became utterly astonished as Cat flounced over to Clark and planted a kiss on his lips. "*Here* you are Clarkie," she purred.
Lara shrieked as she watched this strange woman act so friendly toward her own father, whom she had just met. She jumped down from her mom's lap and flew out of the room.
Clark looked down, guilty. Lois stared at Cat with so much hate in her eyes sparks practically flew from them. Cat, totally oblivious, perched herself on Clark's lap, her arms around his neck. Her head turned to Lois as she ran one hand through her hair. Lois caught a glimpse of gold on Cat's hand, and now it was Lois's turn to stare at Clark wide-eyed.
"So Lois, who's the munchkin?" Cat jerked her head in the direction of the door.
Lois's eyes clouded over at the thought of Cat even coming as close as talking about her precious daughter. Clark's face also became grim, and he stood up abruptly, letting Cat tumble to the ground. Cat looked at him with a pitiful look, and Lois actually covered her mouth to stifle laughter.
Clark looked down at his wife. "Cat, that 'munchkin', as you call her, is my daughter. *Our* daughter," he added, gesturing towards the still giggling Lois.
Cat's mouth dropped open and she scrambled to her feet. She looked Clark straight in the eye and opened her mouth to speak, but Clark silenced her. "Cat, go home," he said sternly.
She pouted and looked at him through her lashes. Clark turned his face away and ignored her. Taking the hint, Cat kissed him on the cheek and stalked out of the room, passing Perry and Lara on their way in.
Perry nodded a good-bye to Cat as she left, grimacing at the scene. If Lara's reaction to Cat had been that bad, he could only imagine what Lois's was like.
Lara scurried over to Lois's bed and hugged her mom. She then proceeded to glare at Clark, arms crossed defiantly across her chest.
"Don't look at him like that Lara," Lois scolded, for although she had been surprised and a little hurt that Clark had actually married Cat after all that had happened, Lois wasn't mad at him. She had no right to be. They had officially broken up; he was free to do as he pleased. But unfortunately Lara, being only five, didn't understand what was going on at all.
Lara dropped her gaze from Clark at her mother's instruction. Feeling incredibly uneasy, Clark sat back down in the chair and stared at his lap. He didn't want to say or do the wrong thing; that would just make matters even more complicated.
"Lois, how are you doing?" For the first time since she had been admitted, Perry got a chance to speak with Lois. When Lois assured him she was fine, Perry continued. "I called your mother, and she dropped Lara off. She wanted to stay, but had to get to work. I'm sure she'll be by later."
"Thanks Perry. I appreciate it."
"No problem. Listen, I think I'm going to head home now. Do you want me to take Lara?"
Lois looked at her daughter, and Lara shook her head firmly. "No, I guess she's gonna to stay. I'll have Clark take her home later."
Perry glanced at Clark, and he nodded. "All right then, I'll see you later."
Everyone said good-bye to him as he left the room.
Clark then tried to smile at Lara, but she turned away from him. Noticing this, Lois said, "Can you excuse us Clark? I need to have a talk with Lara."
"Sure thing." Clark stood up and started for the door. "I think I'll go see if I can find some coffee." Lois nodded, and the door closed behind him. Scooping Lara onto her lap, Lois began to talk.
Clark Kent collapsed on his couch. He had just finished putting Lara to bed, and after what had seemed like fifty million questions, she had finally fallen asleep. Now he could think.
After he had returned to Lois's room, Lara was eager and ready to go home. Lois had had a long talk with Lara, and she had finally managed to persuade her that Clark was a decent guy. By the time he came back, Lara was excited about getting to know her dad.
When they had finished eating dinner, Clark and Lara had gone for a walk in the park. A lot of questions had been asked, and new things discovered. Yes, father and daughter had bonded.
Sighing, Clark ran his hands through his hair and leaned forward. He was especially glad Cat wasn't home, and he didn't expect her back. Truth is, Clark really didn't want to deal with her.
Thinking back, Clark wondered why he had agreed to marry Cat to begin with. It had all happened so fast. Clark had still been getting over Lois when Cat had "proposed", and Clark had said yes, for what reason, he hadn't known even then, and still didn't know now. Maybe he just hadn't wanted to be alone anymore. Whatever it was, he had done it, and for the past two years had regretted it.
Now Lois Lane had walked back into his life, the woman whom he knew was his soulmate. What was worse, she had a child. *His* child. Clark still couldn't get over the shock of finding out he had had a daughter this whole time; that Lois had been raising her all alone. Unfortunately, Lara only made Clark want to be with Lois more. But he *couldn't* be with her, because he was married, and to someone he had never loved, someone he didn't want to love.
Reclining himself down onto the couch, Clark decided it was time. True, he had no clue how Lois felt, but that didn't matter in his decision. It was time to end things with Cat. Clark knew Cat wouldn't be happy about it, but he also knew it wasn't right to pretend anymore, which was what he had been doing.
Fortunately separating from Cat would be easier than separating from Lois, for he had never told Cat his secret. That's right, Clark still hadn't told his wife that he was Superman.
But Clark didn't care about his pathetic relationship with Cat right now. All he cared about was that he loved Lois and wanted her back in his life.
<But what should I do now?> Should he tell Lois how he felt, or wait for her to make the first move?
Clark wasn't sure, but he *was* sure about one thing: one way or another, Lois would be back in his life.
Lois nestled her head against her pillow and closed her eyes, trying to rid all thoughts of Clark from her head. It wouldn't work though, and she knew it. Ever since he had left the hospital with Lara, Lois hadn't been able to get her mind off him.
Of course, her mother visiting hadn't been any help, what with Ellen's bombardment of questions and comments being fired at her. Lois hadn't been able to take it anymore, and she feigned tiredness to get her mother to leave.
So here she was now, desperately trying to rid her mind of the one nagging thought she knew was true: she was still in love with Clark Kent.
Turning to her side, Lois thought about all the memories she had shared with Clark, minus her most recent one. She had began (for the first time) to wonder whether she *should* have given Clark another chance. Lois wanted the three of them to be a family, a family who was always there for each other.
Then again, there was one thing stopping that from happening, and her name was Cat Grant. Lois still couldn't believe Clark had married her, but she was sure he had his reasons. Lois only hoped Clark wasn't really in love with Cat.
Flipping over to her other side, Lois began to think about what her life would have been like if *she* had been the one to marry Clark, instead of Cat. She couldn't help but think that she would have been so much happier. Lois also thought Clark would have been happier too. Cat wasn't right for him; it was so obvious. Lois only wished Clark knew that too. <But maybe he does.>
Groaning loudly, Lois started to get really frustrated. She just didn't know what to do. Of course, if Clark wasn't married things would be a lot easier. She wouldn't have felt like it was wrong to tell him how she feels.
It didn't matter though, because Clark *was* married, and Lois knew she couldn't try and persuade Clark either way. It was totally his decision. But she still wasn't sure what to do.
Lois was sure about one thing though: one way or another, Clark would be back in her life.
"Hey Clark!" Lois waved to him as the nurse wheeled her into the hospital lobby. Clark and Lara had just arrived to take Lois home.
"Hey Lois." Clark stepped forward and supported her as Lois raised herself from the wheelchair. Lara wrapped her arms around Lois's legs and hugged her.
"Easy Lara," Lois said as she scooped her daughter into her arms.
After signing all the appropriate forms, Lois was allowed to leave. The three of them drove home in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.
Lois unlocked the door to the apartment she had rented only a week earlier, when she had decided to move herself and Lara back to Metropolis. Once inside, Clark placed the now-napping Lara on her bed, and shut the door to her bedroom.
Sitting on the couch next to each other, Clark and Lois turned to each other and said at the same time, "We need to talk."
1 YEAR LATER
The wedding march filled the chapel as all the guests rose from their seats to catch a glimpse of Lois Lane as she began to walk down the aisle.
It had been a long eighteen months for Lois and Clark. After they'd both admitted their true feelings for each other the day Lois got out of the hospital, things finally began to happen.
Clark was finally honest (well, as honest as he could be) with Cat, and told her he wanted to end the marriage. As suspected, Cat was not too happy, but seeing Clark was not backing down, reluctantly agreed. They started finalizing their divorce within a few days.
After very little persuasion with Perry, Lois got her old job back at the Daily Planet. Lois hadn't forgotten a thing, and within a few short weeks the team of Lane and Kent were sweeping the nation once again.
All through this Lois and Clark worked at getting their relationship back to how it used to be. Cat had left town, which eliminated any awkward moments between them. They continued to live separately, but Clark saw Lara (who by this time had started kindergarten) everyday, and they grew really close, all things considering. Once Lois and Clark were married, Clark would be given full custody of Lara, with Lois.
Now, a year and a half later, they were taking that last step.
Lois continued walking down the aisle, holding onto Perry's arm. Since Lois's father had passed away a few years earlier, she had asked Perry White to do the honor of giving her away. Lois caught Clark's eye and smiled at him.
A minute later Clark and Lois were standing in the front of the church, side by side, listening to the reverend talk.
"And now ladies and gentlemen, Lois and Clark have prepared their own vows for each other, vows that were written long ago, and never said. They will recite these vows now."
As they turned toward each other, Clark took Lois's hands in his. "Lois, I have loved you from the moment I saw you. I love your humor, your passion, and the way you just dive right in, even when you shouldn't. Because you refuse to just watch the world. You demand that it be a better place, and, because of you, it is. And today I want to give you as much of the world as I can. And so, I give you my heart, my soul, and our future."
"Clark, you are my best friend. Until I met you, I never had a best friend. And falling in love with you has been so easy, I don't know why I fought it so long. You have such gentle grace and such quiet strength. But mostly, such incredible kindness. I've never known anyone with as pure a heart. And so, today, I give you my love, my honor, and our life… together."
As each one spoke, they placed a gold wedding band on the other's finger. When Lois finished, the reverend smiled at them and proclaimed, "By the power vested in me by the state of New Troy, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
The whole church applauded as Clark wrapped his arms around Lois's waist and kissed her. It was at this moment that everyone knew this marriage would last "until death do us part".
The last notes of "Fly Me to the Moon" died away as Lois and Clark stepped out of each other's arms. They had just completed their first dance as a married couple, and Lois's eyes shone with tears as she let Clark lead her back to their seats. Both noticed the smiles and tears of their family and friends as they walked by.
The reception continued. Everyone danced, drank, ate, and had a joyous time. After dinner, though, it was time for the best man to give his toast. Jimmy rose from his chair and grinned at the crowd.
"As I'm sure all of you know, I have known Lois and Clark for about eight years now. And let me tell you, I have not seen two more perfect people for each other. When Clark started his job at the Planet, it was obvious that it was only a matter of time." Clark and Lois held hands and smiled up at Jimmy. "I knew some day they would finally take that last step, and now here we are eight years later." Jimmy raised his glass a little higher. "So I wish my two closest friends a lifetime full of happiness and love. To Clark and Lois Kent!" The guests applauded and Lois and Clark rose so they could each give Jimmy a hug.
After that, things slowly began to wind down. The bride and groom did the traditional cutting of the wedding cake, and the pieces were wrapped up for the guests to take home.
Twenty minutes later Lois and Clark had just finished seeing off the last guests. The only people remaining were Clark, Lois, Martha, Jonathan, Ellen, Perry, Jimmy, and Lara.
Lois collapsed in Clark's arms and took a deep breath. She looked at everyone and said, "This has been the most spectacular day of my life." Lois looked up at her husband. "If you had told me six years ago we would end up getting married after all, I would've thought you were crazy. But I wouldn't change this for the world." Clark bent his head down and kissed his wife, but they were interrupted as a door slammed in the front of the building. They all glanced in that direction and gasped as Cat Grant herself burst into the room.
"Oh, thank goodness you're still here, I thought I had missed you." Cat leaned over to catch her breath before saying anymore, and Lois took that opportunity to jump in.
"Cat, what right do you have to be here? I thought we got rid of you a year ago!" Lara flinched at her mom's harsh tone from behind her grandmother's legs, where she had hidden herself the moment Cat had rushed in.
Cat straightened up and looked Lois right in the eye. "You did Lois, trust me. But I wanted to congratulate you and Clark. No two people deserve each other more." She noticed the quizzical look in Clark's eye as he came to stand protectively behind Lois. "Look, I've done a lot of thinking this past year; trying to come in touch with my inner self. I've realized what I did six years ago was horribly wrong, and asking Clark to marry me was probably worse. I don't want to hurt you anymore Lois, and I needed to tell both of you I'm sorry."
Clark's face relaxed as Cat apologized. Lois however, couldn't be won over so easily. She still continued to glare at Cat, until Clark nudged her in the ribs; then her face softened.
"Cat, thank you. We *both* accept your apology, right Lois?"
Lois forced a smile and nodded at Cat. "Right."
Cat was totally oblivious to Lois's fake agreement. "Oh, I'm so glad," she exclaimed, clapping her hands together. "Well, I'll be going now." She hugged and kissed both Clark *and* Lois on the cheek, then scurried towards the door. "Bye-bye," she called.
Martha, Jonathan, and Ellen all looked at each other, slightly confused. Perry and Jimmy looked at each other, surprised. Lois and Clark looked at each other, knowingly.
"Well everybody, think we should call it a night? After all, these two need to leave in the morning." Ellen put her arms around her daughter and son-in-law and smiled at them.
"Yeah, you've got a point Ellen." Martha placed Lara on the floor, and she ran to her grandfather, who she would be staying with while her parents were on their honeymoon. "Lois, honey, can I talk to you in the other room, just for a moment?"
Lois looked at Clark questioningly, and he just shrugged at her. "Sure Martha, of course." She and Martha walked side by side into the next room, where they sat down on the little sofa. Martha turned to Lois.
"Lois, I just wanted to tell you how happy I am that you and Clark are finally together. I can still remember that late-night conversation we had before you left Metropolis." Lois grinned and nodded. "Now, I know I've said this a million times, but I'm thrilled that you've become the daughter I've always wanted. To tell you the truth, I was never too fond of Cat."
"Me neither." The two women giggled, and then Lois grew serious and looked at her new mother-in-law. "Thank you Martha. You know, sometimes I feel closer with you than my own mother."
Martha grinned warmly at her. "I think I better get you back to Clark before he comes looking for you."
Laughing, they stood up and linked arms. Then they started back to the rest of the group.
The door to Clark's apartment flew open and Clark stepped inside, holding Lois in his arms. Both their eyes were shining brightly; they couldn't have been happier.
Setting Lois down on the couch, Clark looked at her as he sat down next to her, his eyes full of passion. Lois's expression matched.
Tucking her legs under her, Lois sat up and snuggled against Clark's chest. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and pressed his face into her hair.
Both of them were lost in the memories of the past, like the day when they first met, when Lois had burst in on Clark's first interview with Perry. Or when Perry officially made them partners, and even Lois had been slightly happy, because she had felt some strange pull between them, even if she wouldn't admit it to herself. There were plenty of wonderful friendship moments between them, where one would run to the other seeking comfort, and it would be given. There were also plenty of relationship moments, where pretty much the same thing would happen, only it would be more intimate. But neither of them could forget the day when Clark proposed for the first time, in the rain, and at the same moment Lois figured out he was Superman, or the time more recently when they had seen each other after five years in Perry's office.
That night the newlywed couple made up for all their lost time. This was definitely a love that was meant to be.