By Erin Klingler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2001
Summary: A little bit of insurance can be a good thing, but just how can a person tell if it's a good deal? In this story, Lois and Clark find out.
This story takes place very early first season, after "Strange Visitor" but before "Honeymoon in Metropolis." It's all fluff: no A-plot, villains or intense drama. Just a fun little story I got inspired to write one afternoon. I hope you like it!:)
As always, any and all feedback is welcomed, private or public.
"I swear, I'm never going out on another date as long as I live!" Lois angrily informed Clark the second he answered her impatient pounding on his apartment door. Then she pushed her way past him into his apartment without even waiting for an invitation.
"Hello to you, too," Clark answered pointedly, though inwardly he knew he wasn't as irritated by her dramatic, theatrical entrance as he made himself sound. He slowly closed the door and followed her down the steps to the living room. "Lois, do you have any idea what time it is?"
"Late. I don't know," Lois grumbled as she tore her coat off and threw it onto the closest chair where it barely clung to the armrest. Then she continued to storm her way through his apartment, heading for the kitchen. Without thinking twice, she jerked open the fridge and quickly rummaged through its contents until she found a can of soda and pulled it from the shelf.
Clark grinned. "Help yourself, Lois," he teased, watching as she popped the top and took a long drink.
He perched on the arm of the chair that was now doubling as Lois's own personal coat rack and watched her angry movements with amusement. He loved watching her tirades. She was famous for them. They scared most everyone who'd ever been unlucky enough to be around when something set her off, but Clark…well, to him, it was just part of what made her the spontaneous, fiery, determined woman that he loved. Even if she didn't know about his true feelings for her.
Just then Lois set the soda can down on the counter hard, causing some of the sugary liquid to splash out of the top and dribble across her hand. She muttered a curse word under her breath and turned to the sink to wash it off.
Clark's grin widened. She was really on a rampage tonight. He stood up and made his way across the room toward her. "I take it your date with what's-his-name didn't go so well."
"Jeff," Lois spat out, turning on the knob with an angry twist of her hand. "His name's Jeff. And if you must know, no, it *didn't* go well."
"Dare I ask what happened?"
If possible, Lois's anger seemed to escalate even further as she finished running her hand under the water and turned off the stream. She snatched a nearby dishtowel from the counter and was silent for a moment as she dried her hands with quick, vicious movements.
"Oh, let me tell you," she finally answered, sarcasm oozing with every word. "The evening started off fine. You know, dinner in a candlelit restaurant, mood music, the whole nine yards. But when dessert came, he started in on me. 'Had I ever thought of settling down, getting married, having kids?' He even went as far as to suggest that one day I should think about giving up my career as a journalist so I could stay home with the kids, since it was the man's job to provide for the family!"
Clark grimaced. This Jeff guy didn't know her very well, did he? Not that there was anything wrong with quitting one's job to stay home to raise children, but with Lois…well, he could never see her doing that. She just wasn't the domestic type. 'And how suicidal of Jeff to suggest it,' he thought with a self-satisfied smile.
He wanted to ask, but almost hated to. Finally, though, his curiosity won out. "So what did you do to him?"
The corner of Lois's mouth twitched. It was the first hint of a smile he'd seen from her since she'd arrived. Very slowly, as if savoring the words to come, she announced, "I stood up, grabbed my glass of wine, poured it over his head and then left."
Clark couldn't help it. He started to laugh. He knew he should've felt sorry for the guy, but he honestly couldn't help it. If he'd learned anything from being around Lois, it was that she didn't stand for chauvinism. Or for being told what to do, for that matter. He didn't know whether to reprimand her or to hug her.
When he was finally able to stop laughing, he wiped a tear from his cheek. "Oh, Lois, you didn't! What did he do?"
This time Lois's smile was genuine. "He turned as red as his tie and looked like he wanted to disappear off the face of the Earth."
"I don't blame him."
"Neither do I," Lois admitted, visually relaxing in Clark's friendly presence. "But I don't think I'll have to worry about him suggesting such a thing ever again."
"Or asking you out, for that matter," Clark pointed out.
"Precisely." Lois's grin broadened as she looked at Clark. But then the realization of the disastrous night seemed to take over, and her expression turned sad. She heaved a heavy sigh and pushed past him on her way to his couch, where she slumped down dejectedly and let her head fall back against the cushions as she stared up at the ceiling.
Clark cautiously traced her steps and sat down beside her. "You okay?" he asked sincerely.
"Oh, Clark," she replied with another heavy sigh. "Isn't there a single decent man in this world? Someone who's not chauvinistic, self-centered, and controlling?"
'I'm not like that!' he wanted to shout. 'We'd be perfect together if you'd just give us a chance.' But he knew he couldn't tell her that. Not yet, anyway. She wasn't ready to accept it. But still, he thought with a devious smile, it couldn't hurt to give himself a little plug.
"Not all men are like that, Lois," he told her truthfully. "*I'm* not like that."
Surprised by his proclamation, Lois pulled her head from the couch and turned to look at him thoughtfully. She seemed to be mulling over his announcement in her mind for a long time, staring at him and studying his face and features intently.
"No, I guess you're not like that, Clark," she admitted. "You have kind of an old-fashioned charm that could actually be attractive to a girl."
"Gee, thanks, Lois," Clark responded dryly, though he was secretively thrilled at her compliment.
"No, I didn't mean that," Lois hurried to explain. "It's just…you're different from the guys I've gone out with. Maybe that's why we get along so well. You don't tell me what to do, and I let you live," she finished with a teasing grin.
"Well, you see, I learned those survival skills early," he joked back, a smile spreading across his face and brightening his features. "People always said I was a quick study. And now I can see that that was a good thing."
She started to laugh, and he joined in. A moment later, their laughter faded, and Lois let her head fall onto Clark's shoulder. In response, he slid his arm around her shoulders and fingered the silky fabric of her short-sleeved dress. Feeling totally relaxed and much happier, she closed her eyes and sighed contentedly.
"Mmmm, this is so nice," she murmured dreamily. "Why can't life always feel like this, Clark? I always feel so happy around you, so at ease. You know, now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever felt this comfortable around anybody my entire life. Why is that?"
Clark opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came out. What *could* he say? That some force in the universe was trying to tell her how much they were meant to be together, that he loved her, that their strengths and weaknesses complimented the other's so perfectly, and that she'd be crazy not to marry him and live happily ever after?
But on the other hand, hearing her say such a thing was a good sign, wasn't it? That maybe it meant she was starting to see him for more than just a partner and a friend? That maybe there was hope for them to be together someday after all?
But before he could think of how to respond to her somewhat rhetorical question, the seriousness in her expression melted into one of light-hearted casualness.
"I have an idea," she stated decisively as she pushed herself off his shoulder and sat upright, clearly about to enlighten him with her suggestion. "What do you say that we make a marriage pact?"
Clark looked confused. "A marriage pact?"
"Yeah, you know…if neither of us is married by the time we're forty, we marry each other."
Clark's jaw dropped. Did she just say what he thought she'd said? 'A marriage pact,' she'd called it. Was she serious? Finally, he was able to force his jaw shut and he cleared his throat.
"What—um, Lois, are you serious?" he stammered, not sure how to interpret this latest idea of hers. Granted, she'd come up with some doozies before, but this one hit close to his heart.
"Yes, I'm serious." Seeing that he wasn't immediately enraptured with the idea and was in need of convincing, she hurried on. "I mean, look at the facts." She started to count off each example on her fingers as she listed them. "One, we're good friends. Two, we get along surprisingly well. Three, you already know I have a violent temper and am prone to sudden outbursts and impulsive, illegal schemes, and you still like me." She grinned at him, and he couldn't help grinning back. "And four, well, you're a pretty handsome guy, and I'm an attractive woman. On paper, we're perfect for each other."
He laughed. "How can I argue with that? But you realize, Lois, that people don't usually get married because their relationship 'looks good on paper.'"
"Well, I know that," Lois quipped sarcastically. "But you have to admit, if we're forty and still single, we could do a lot worse than marrying each other."
Just as he was about to start reprimanding her about not understanding the sanctity of marriage and explain that intimate relationships were based on love and respect, not some ridiculous if-we're-desperate-enough-we'll-just-marry-each-other pact, he suddenly stopped. A moment later, a devious smile started to cross his face. Hmmm. Maybe, just maybe, he could play this conversation to his advantage.
Choosing his words carefully, he began speaking. "I have to admit, you've got a point there," he told her, playing along. "But get married? That's such a big step, Lois, even if it's twelve years down the road. And besides, how can you talk about marriage? We haven't even…"
Lois waited for him to finish, but when he didn't, she urged impatiently, "We haven't what?"
"You know…kissed…or anything."
Lois snorted. "Yes, we have! What about that time before Trask threw us out of that airplane?"
Clark rolled his eyes. "That was a sham, Lois. A ruse. It didn't mean anything. I mean there has to be a real kiss. Something not done under false pretenses. Something that means something."
Lois burst out laughing. "What are you talking about? We don't have to kiss first before making a marriage pact!"
"And how do you know?" he challenged, straightening up in his seat and looking her squarely in the eye. "Have you ever made a marriage pact before?"
"Ah-ha!" he declared triumphantly. "Then how do you know?"
Realizing he had the upper hand, she rolled her eyes indignantly and sputtered, "What's the difference? Why is it so important to you that we have to kiss first?"
"Because I'm not going to do something as important as entering into a marriage pact with someone I might be marrying in twelve years if we haven't even kissed, or know whether or not we're going to be sexually compatible."
"*Sexually compatible!*" Lois yelled, jumping to her feet. "For crying out loud, Clark, we don't need to find out if we're sexually compatible for a marriage that may or may not take place in twelve years!"
Clark almost laughed at her indignant outburst, but he bit his tongue to stop himself. Standing up next to her, he forged on. "Lois, I'm just saying, if we're going to commit to potentially being married in twelve years, we should know if we're sexually compatible. Do you know how many relationships—not to mention marriages!—fail because the couple isn't sexually compatible? When I get married, it's going to be forever. My parents' marriage is forever. They're still very much in love after all these years, and that's the way I want *my* marriage to be. So I'm just saying, I think it's important—"
"Okay, Clark, okay!" Lois cut him off impatiently, waving her hand at him in an effort to silence him. "Fine, you win! Just stop babbling already. I mean, geez, you're worse than I am."
She paused to take a couple of deep breaths. "So…" she began, eyeing him warily. "How exactly do you propose we find out if we're—" She tried to say the words again, but suddenly the air around her was heavy, her breathing felt shallow and shaky, and her hands felt clammy. She decided to just skip over the words completely, and continued on without saying it at all since it seemed to be having a strange effect on her.
"Are we supposed to—" She stopped again, making a feeble gesture at the bedroom behind her.
Clark noticed that her face had paled, and she looked more nervous than he'd ever seen her before. He started to chuckle. "No, Lois, of course not," he told her, putting her mind at ease. "Though the terror in your eyes at the idea of sleeping with me is certainly a huge boost for my ego."
Lois's eyes widened, and she hurried to smooth over her reaction, stumbling over her words along the way. "Oh, Clark, I didn't mean that! I just meant that I hadn't thought about…doing…that…with you. I didn't mean to imply that you wouldn't be good…maybe even great…in bed…" Her face flushed bright with color at her own words as she saw the rather amused look on Clark's face, and she quickly stopped before she could embarrass herself even further.
"Oh, never mind!" she spat out, flustered and irritated at her own reaction to the thought of intimacy with her partner and friend. She hurried on, eager to change the subject. "Well, if you want to kiss first before making the marriage pact to determine if we'd be 'sexually compatible,'" she rolled her eyes at the words, "then fine. Let's get it over with."
He looked at her standing there, with her hands on her hips and an indignant look on her face, and he started to laugh. "Oh, that's enthusiastic, Lois."
"Well, what did you expect me to do, fall into your arms like some heroine from some disgusting romance novel?"
"No, but the kiss has to be a real test, not some quick peck and a 'there-we-did-it' declaration," Clark told her. "How would we even know what a real kiss would be like if we don't honestly put some effort into it?"
Lois softened, but didn't let her cool, indifferent composure down completely. "Fine," she agreed, letting her hands fall off her hips and hang lightly at her side. "So…do we just…"
Lois flinched. "Yeah."
"Well, I guess so," Clark responded, suddenly overcome by a case of nerves. 'Great. Now she's got *me* going,' he grumbled to himself.
They stood there staring at each other awkwardly for several moments until Clark couldn't stand it any longer. "Umm, maybe we should—" He made a nervous gesture toward her side, as if he was about to slip his arm around her, but then stopped.
Lois noticed his reach, and awkwardly took a step closer to him. "Yeah, I guess we should be a little…closer…" Making a point not to look him in the eye, and wondering why she suddenly felt so uncomfortable with her partner and friend, she lifted her hand and placed it tentatively on his chest, jerked it back, then anxiously placed it back down again.
Clark's heart nearly leapt out of his chest at her touch as it sent a shower of fiery sparks shooting through him, but he steeled himself and tried to force the rapid beating of his heart to slow. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
'Come on, Clark, calm down. This was your idea. Just kiss her, for cryin' out loud. Stop standing there looking like some ten-year-old boy ready to kiss a girl for his very first time. You're an adult. You're allowed to do this.'
Listening to the voice, he lifted his arm from his side a second time and tentatively slid it around her waist. He took a half step closer to her until they were only a breath apart, and he wondered if she could hear his heart thudding furiously in his chest. He nervously slid his other arm around her waist, pressing his palms into the small of her back. Suddenly, he realized she was shaking. Or maybe he was. It was hard to tell at this distance. All he knew was that this gorgeous, vivacious, spirited woman had such a devastating effect on him, and as he looked down at her, he was suddenly overcome by the beautiful sensation of her in his arms. It was all he could do not to declare his undying love and devotion to her right then and there.
As if sensing his gaze, she suddenly raised her eyes to his, and he was surprised by the myriad of emotions he saw playing there: nervousness, anxiety, bashfulness, and yes, even a little eager anticipation. He paused. Did he really see that last one there, or was he just imagining it? He studied her eyes intently, and she finally held steady beneath his intense gaze. His pulse started to race. Yes, it was definitely there. She was actually as excited as he was at the prospect of their first real kiss.
Giving in to the intense desire to kiss her, to show her rather than tell her how he felt about her, he slowly lowered his head to hers, closed his eyes in anticipation, and touched his lips lightly to hers.
Suddenly the world around him seemed to disappear as they became one in the moment, and all that mattered to him was the feel of the woman in his arms, suddenly yielding, open, and most surprisingly, responsive. When the initial shock of what was happening wore off, Clark found her kiss heady, inviting, intoxicating. It was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before, and he knew in that instant, it wasn't enough. He wanted more.
Tightening his arms around her, he pulled her even closer and let his instincts take over. Softening his lips against hers, he let them play over hers, nibbling, tasting, caressing. He couldn't get enough of the feel of her lips on his, gentle, supple and firm. As their kiss deepened, he heard her quick intake of breath, as if she was surprised by the intensity of the moment. He half expected her to pull away from him, but she surprised him by letting her body melt against him, yielding to his every touch. She moaned into his mouth, and his heart rate quickly doubled. Spurred on by her little sounds of pleasure, his tongue found its way between her parted lips and began to explore the tiny crevices of her mouth, before finally entwining his tongue with her own.
When they finally pulled apart, Clark tried to figure out who had broken the kiss first, but through his heady daze, he was at a loss to remember. He gazed down lovingly into the brown eyes staring back into his, and was surprised to see that they were just as clouded by passion as his own. In that instant, he could see that their kiss had meant as much to her as it had to him. He took in her flushed cheeks and kiss-reddened lips, and he knew he would move heaven and earth to be with this woman who had captured his heart for the rest of eternity.
All too soon, Lois broke the moment by stepping back, and in a flash, the open, yielding, accepting look in Lois's eyes was replaced by a shroud of emotions, none of which had been there moments before. The old Lois was back, and she was struggling for composure.
"Well," she breathed, reaching down to smooth her rumpled dress and making a point of avoiding eye contact at all cost. "That was enlightening." She concentrated on her dress and pushed her hair back into place. When she finally regained her composure, she looked up into Clark's eyes. "So what's the verdict? Can we make that little marriage pact or what?"
Clark couldn't find his voice for several seconds, then finally cleared his throat in an attempt to bring it back. "Um, yeah—" he stammered, trying to regain his own composure. "I think we can make the deal. You've convinced me." He flashed her a grin, trying to sound more casual than he felt after the earth-shattering moment he'd just experienced.
Lois smiled in response, then forced a confidence she clearly didn't feel. Reaching out, she gave his chest a quick pat. "Don't look so stunned, farmboy," she purred, though it came out sounding entirely too nervous to achieve the desired effect. "I can tell the girls in Kansas must not kiss quite like that."
Clark grinned. What could he say? He certainly wasn't about to deny it.
"Well, I guess I should be going," Lois said with false casualness. Then, without a backward glance, she abruptly turned and started up the stairs to the front door, but then quickly stopped. "Oh, my coat," she mumbled, turning quickly to survey the room distractedly, looking for the article of clothing. When she spotted it, she hurried over to it, gave it a quick yank, which nearly sent the chair over backwards. She reached out a hand to steady the chair, then turned back to the stairs and caught the toe of her shoe on the top step.
Clark was beside her in an instant, reaching for her elbow to prevent her from falling and steadying her as she regained her balance. As soon as she was steady on her feet, she hastily pulled her arm out of his hand and murmured an embarrassed 'goodnight' before opening the door and quickly closing it behind her.
Clark laughed softly as he watched her leave. 'So much for her trying to play down the moment,' he thought. With a smile, he watched through the glass on the door as she hurried down the steps, climbed into her Jeep and sped away. Seeing that she was on her way home safely, Clark flicked the lock on his door, turned around and leaned heavily against it.
He closed his eyes, mentally replaying every second of their kiss and savoring the moment. It was definitely a kiss he wouldn't soon forget. Apparently, neither would Lois.
Clark opened his eyes and shook his head. Twelve years. Not that something drastic couldn't happen between them that could move things along between now and then. Stranger things had happened. But if not…
His mind again flashed back to the wonderful kiss he'd just shared with the woman of his dreams, the woman he loved more than life itself, the woman he'd just kissed with such intensity that he'd been surprised he'd even been able to keep his feet on the ground.
He sighed deeply and pushed off from the door, heading for the bathroom. He needed a cold shower. If anything, it was going to be a very loooong twelve years.