By Tracey <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Wendy <email@example.com>
Submitted: August 2002
Summary: An evening spent watching a romantic movie together causes Lois to ask Clark if he's ever wondered what if feels like to fall in love. But is she prepared to hear his answer?
Tracey: Well, it all began as a way to distract Helene [g]. I didn't want her to know about the vignette that I was writing for her birthday, so when she asked me on IRC what I was currently writing, I panicked. Off the top of my head, I quickly typed two paragraphs into the IRC window, just to throw her off. But when I told Wendy about how I'd dodged Helene (sorry, H! [g]), she asked to see what I'd written. I wasn't really planning on doing anything with it, but then Wendy completely floored me by asking if we could finish it together. Of course, one of my life goals has always been to write with Wendy [g], so I immediately agreed. This S2 vignette is the result of our collaboration. Thanks so much to Wendy for being a wonderful person to work with and for not yelling too much when I took *way* too long to write my sections!
Wendy: Well, I was in awe when I saw Tracey's opening lines — and even more so when I realised that they were written completely off the cuff! Tracey certainly knows how to write an attention-grabbing opening! So I was really delighted when she agreed to my suggestion that we could write the story together. Writing with Tracey has been a delightful experience; I've always loved her way with WAFFy scenes and humorous dialogue. Of course, our roles seemed to get mysteriously switched at some point during the writing of this vignette: somehow, it was Tracey writing the evil and angsty moments and me doing my best to bring it back to a WAFFy conclusion. <g> It's been wonderful writing with you, Tracey, and I can't wait to do it again either!
Thanks also to Helene, who beta-read this in no time at all and provided us with terrific suggestions, edits, and those always hilarious, TTT-ish comments of hers! You're the best, Helene! Thanks also to Erin Klingler, our GE, for her hard work and terrific editing skills.
All the characters in this story are the property of DC Comics and/or Warner Bros, and no copyright infringement is intended.
This one was for two great friends of ours, Sarah and Annie, on their birthdays — Happy Birthday, ladies! Hope you had a terrific one :)
The music swelled, the hero kissed his heroine, and the ending credits rolled, flashing across the screen in the darkened room. Lois Lane sighed, tears in her eyes, as she wallowed in the warm feeling of a happily-ever-after ending. There was just something so beautiful about thinking that two people could be that blissful and in love with each other, even if it was just in the movies. She loved sappy movies, but she seriously doubted whether things like that ever happened in real life. Was there even such a thing as love? And if there was, what was it like?
"Clark, do you ever wonder what it feels like to fall in love?"
Lois glanced over at her partner, who was currently sprawled on the other side of the comfortable couch. At first, she wondered if he had even heard her softly spoken question. His head was lolled back, his eyes closed and his chest rising and falling with the rhythm of his breathing.
Wondering if he was asleep, she crawled toward him, closing the short distance between their relaxed forms. She leaned over him carefully, checking for signs that she had lost him to a quiet dreamland.
Putting one hand gently on his arm to steady herself, she smiled as she studied the face of her partner. He looked so peaceful. He had surprisingly long lashes for a man, she realised as she watched them flutter against his cheeks when he stirred slightly. His lips were parted, the laugh lines and tiny wrinkles near the corners of his eyes undisturbed as he slept. The light from the TV reflected off his glasses, making tiny slices of blue flitter across his closed eyes.
"Clark?" she whispered again.
This time, though, as she said his name, two sleepy brown eyes slowly emerged from behind the glasses. "Hmm?" he murmured, his voice gravelly and just a touch groggy.
"Sorry to wake you up," she continued, her voice hushed. "But the movie's over."
"Oh," he said, but he didn't make any move to get up. "It'll rewind itself eventually," he mumbled.
She giggled slightly, watching his eyes close again. He settled back into the crook of the couch, sliding deeper against the arm and the cushion behind him. He didn't look like he was too interested in the movie or the fact that it was over.
Lois yawned suddenly, and she glanced at her watch, realising that it was pretty late. They'd both had a long day at work, so she really should get going, she mused. Instead of standing, though, she leaned back against the soft cushion, letting her eyes drift shut for just a moment. It had come to that point in the night again, and she was just trying to gather the strength to actually get up and drive home.
She let out a breath slowly, waiting for the energy to stand.
Driving home was one of the worst parts about spending late nights at Clark's place. And even though she made sure that she was awake enough to drive before leaving, she was always tired. But even more than being tired, she didn't like going home to her empty apartment and climbing into a bed lined with chilly sheets. Here, where she was right now, was comfortable and warm, and she loved hearing Clark's soft breathing beside her, letting her know that he was near.
The movie did click off then, and she heard the buzz of the VCR as it began to rewind the tape.
"I guess I should get going," Lois said reluctantly.
A hand suddenly descended onto her arm. "Do you have to?" Clark asked, still sounding sleepy.
She glanced down at his large, warm hand, seized with a sudden and alarming compulsion to cover it with her own. "It's late," she pointed out.
"Tomorrow's Sunday," her partner returned. That fact, at least, was indisputable. "And we both have the day off."
"Clark, you're almost asleep," Lois reminded him, fighting against the temptation to curl up beside him and lay her head on his shoulder. It would be both comfortable and comforting, she knew from experience. Clark's broad shoulder, muscled chest and strong arms made for the perfect embrace. If she'd had to stipulate her requirements for a best friend, she couldn't have done better than describe Clark's physique and his habit of supplying hugs as often as needed.
Looking at him now, with his head lolled back against the sofa-back, his eyes closed again behind the protection of his glasses, she found herself wanting to smooth back his springy, dark hair from his forehead. She imagined his eyes opening as she touched him, a warm smile curving about his lips as his brown eyes regarded her with warmth and affection… and, yes, love.
But that was an image she kept only for her deepest fantasies. Clark was her best friend, and deeply vital to her life and well-being. In rare moments, she allowed herself to dream about what it would be like to have him as more than a friend; to be his lover, his girlfriend, perhaps even his wife. Clark would be a loyal, considerate and loving partner, she was sure — at least, to the extent that it was possible for any man to be any of those things.
The thought of taking that step, from friendship to love, with Clark was scary. And, for the most part, simply unthinkable. As it was, Clark was safe; he was reliable and offered her simple, undemanding friendship. They'd come through some tough times together, including her near- marriage to Lex Luthor, and they were closer than ever. She wasn't going to lose Clark as a friend.
As a lover, though… well, relationships didn't last. People fell out of love — or else they realised that they'd never been in love in the first place. Men — and, true, sometimes women — were unfaithful. And people got hurt.
Real life — and real relationships — were nothing like the movies.
Friendship was a lot safer…
"Yeah," Clark mumbled, interrupting her thoughts. She'd almost forgotten what they'd been talking about, but then he blinked and his eyes slowly opened. "I'm not asleep now," he argued, clearly ignoring the fact that he was still sprawled lethargically in his corner of the sofa. He hadn't taken his hand from her arm either, she noted.
"Clark, you should go to bed," Lois told him, laughing. She stretched again, glancing towards the apartment door. It wasn't a pleasant night out: the rain had started to fall again in the last few minutes and was now coming down in torrents. A sudden gust of wind howled, making her shiver in reaction.
She hadn't even realised that Clark had seen, but less than a second later his arm was around her shoulders and his hand was rubbing the top of her arm. "You cold?" Now he sounded fully alert.
"It was just the wind," she told him. "It's horrible out."
"Even more reason why you shouldn't go," he announced firmly. "Lois, you can stay here tonight. Take my bed — I'll sleep out here."
About to protest, Lois hesitated. She really didn't want to leave. Clark's apartment was always so comfortable and welcoming — the fact that her best friend was there and was hugging her gently was a major part of it. Her place, though beautifully furnished and decorated, was so… well, more like a showplace than a home. Here, she was warm, contented, relaxed and happy. The thought of walking out to her cold car, of driving back to her empty, chilly apartment, didn't appeal at all.
"If you're sure," she temporised.
"Course I'm sure." He smiled then, that warm, affectionate smile she loved so much. "You want to go to bed now, or talk a little more?"
"Talk? You've been snoring for the last twenty minutes!" she teased.
"I don't snore!" he objected, tugging her lightly back against his chest, his arm still resting around her shoulders. She knew that if she pulled away or resisted he'd release her instantly without taking offence. But she didn't resist, settling back comfortably against him.
"So, what were you saying earlier?" he asked after a few minutes, during which she'd felt the soft rise and fall of his chest against her back, and she'd allowed her head to nestle in the crook of his shoulder.
Lost in the comfort of his half-embrace, it took Lois a moment to realise that he'd said something, let alone that he'd asked her a question and was waiting for a response. Hmm, what had she been saying earlier? She'd been watching the end of the movie… witnessing the main characters vowing their love for each other through one of those intense, passionate kisses that only seemed to happen in the movies… ah, right.
She'd asked him about love.
She'd asked him if he'd ever wondered what it felt like to fall in love.
Lois opened her mouth to repeat her question, but quickly snapped it shut before she could say anything. Funny, it seemed to be one those of those types of questions where it felt right to ask at the time, but, subjected to a closer scrutiny the second time around, she found herself reluctant to broach the topic of love with her best friend.
"I don't even remember," she lied. "Must not have been that important, I guess." She turned to look up at him and shrugged her shoulders lightly, giving him a placating smile.
He looked back at her as if he didn't quite believe her, his gaze searching as it skimmed across her face. All traces of his earlier sleep were gone from his eyes; they were now sharp and clear and able, as they always were, to see right through her. "I don't believe you," he told her in a slightly singsong voice, reaching up and tapping his index finger against the tip of her nose. "Come on, Lois, what were you going to ask me?"
She couldn't help but giggle at his tone, and that reaction fairly gave her away. She turned her head, finding sudden interest in the remaining cushions on the other side of his couch. "Really, Clark, it was nothing. Just me and my wandering mind, creating one of those crazy late-night conversations. You know how I get when it gets late!" She grinned, knowing without even looking at him that he was grinning at her.
Right on cue, she heard him chuckle. "Hmm, I do have an vague idea."
Laughing, Lois reached over and thumped him on the shoulder. "Hey, you didn't have to agree, you know!"
Their laughter filled the room, blending together to create an infectiously happy atmosphere despite the dreadful weather outside. For once, the world took a backseat to the companionship of the reporting team, and Lois couldn't seem to wipe the silly smile from her face.
After their laughter finally died down, an amiable silence slid between them. She heard Clark sigh deeply behind her, and she wondered what he was thinking. "Clark…?" she ventured, but he only sighed again in response. "What's wrong?" she finally asked, moving away and sitting up beside him on the couch.
His eyes danced ever so slightly behind his glasses. "I'm going to have to resort to drastic measures, aren't I?"
A little confused, she took a moment to reply. "Drastic measures? Why?"
"Because obviously you think that you dodged my little question, and that I've forgotten that you were going to say something to me earlier. Well, I haven't forgotten." He grinned. "So spill it, Ms. Lane, or as I said before, I'll have to resort to drastic measures."
She fixed him with a stare. He should know by now that Lois Lane did not back down, not from anyone, and especially not from her partner. "I can handle your 'drastic measures' anytime, Mr. Kent."
"Really." His tone was sceptical.
"Yes, really." Her tone dared him to challenge her.
He took the bait. Leaning closer, he made his first attempt. "I'll make you cook a meal for me."
She almost laughed, because the idea of her cooking an entire meal for him *was* pretty amusing. "Then you'll have ice for dinner," she returned, the corners of her mouth threatening to stretch into a huge grin.
He tried again. "I'll steal your stash of Double Fudge Crunch Bars."
"You'll have to find all eight of them first," she fired back.
"I'll… I'll tell Perry to assign you a few good dog shows to cover."
"And being my partner, I hope you'll enjoy covering them, too." Lois had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud.
He threw a couch pillow at her in mock frustration. "Darn it, Ms. Lane, but you are good."
She caught the pillow easily. "Why, thank you, Mr. Kent. I try."
He eyed her for a long moment. "So you're really not going to tell me?"
"I can't help it!" he defended himself. "You've got me curious now."
Realising that he was not going to let this go, Lois sighed. Fine, she would go ahead and tell him, and then maybe that would get him off her back. "Okay, Clark, sheesh. I'll tell you!"
"Good." He was smiling triumphantly, but Lois ignored him.
"Well, to begin with, it's kind of a personal question, and you don't have to answer it if you don't want to," she said, stalling. At his nod, she took a deep breath. "Okay, well… Clark, earlier, when I was watching the end of the movie, this question just sort of came to my mind. And I was curious, and I wanted to know, so I asked you…"
She could feel his eyes on her, watching her with interest. She simply avoided his gaze and ploughed ahead anyway. "I asked you if you had ever wondered what it felt like to fall in love."
Clark caught his breath.
It was a personal question, wasn't it? Deeply personal, in more ways than Lois could imagine. The first thing which struck him was that she was assuming that he'd never been in love — and what kind of an assumption was that? After all, he was in his late twenties, so what did she think he'd been doing with his life?
And the second thing which struck him was that he didn't need to wonder what it was like to fall in love. He *knew* what it was like to fall in love, because he'd fallen in love with the woman sitting beside him the moment he'd first set eyes on her.
So just what was he going to tell her?
"Lois…" he began, stalling just as she had a few moments earlier. Then, because he really couldn't bring himself to talk about this with her looking at him, he reached his arm out and around her shoulders again, tugging her back against him so that her head rested against his chest. She came without protest, settling herself comfortably and tugging his arm around her waist.
"Mmmm, this is nice," she murmured. Then, just to let him know that he hadn't got away with avoiding the question, she prompted him. "Clark…?"
"Yeah," he answered, his breath catching the top of her head and causing a few tendrils to flutter. He had to stifle the urge to stroke her dark hair back into place. "You were wondering if I ever wondered what it felt like to be in love."
Her hair fascinated him. Lifting his free hand then, he began to comb his fingers through the silky strands, somehow knowing that she wouldn't object. Then, finally, he made himself continue. "I guess… I used to wonder," he said softly.
"Used to?" she questioned. "Not any more?"
"Well… I don't need to wonder any more," he answered, grateful that she wasn't able to see his face. "That was before I fell in love."
She tried to twist around to look at him, but he tightened his arm around her waist. "You fell in love? When?" Then, before he could say anything, he felt her body slump back against his in what felt almost like a defeated response. "Mayson, right?"
"I'm not in love with Mayson!" he blurted out, without thinking.
"You're not?" She sounded surprised. Then, a moment later, she repeated, more slowly, "You're not." This time her tone was speculative. That set alarm bells ringing in his admittedly sluggish brain, but he hadn't a clue what to do about it. "Oh," she added thoughtfully.
Now what was going through that too-clever-for-her-own-good brain of hers? Clark wondered in trepidation. Right at this minute, he was desperately wishing that he'd left her alone and hadn't pushed to find out what she'd wanted to ask him. Geez, he'd sure had the tables turned on him there, hadn't he?
"So," she said wonderingly, "what does it feel like?"
"What does what feel like?" he replied reflexively, before realising just what she was asking him. He supposed he could describe that without getting himself into too much trouble. "Oh! Uh… well, you know all that stuff about walking on air and hearts and flowers and all the rest of it?" he began.
"Well, it's not really like that at all. Well, some of it is," he amended, smiling softly at his thoughts. As he spoke, he absently caressed her hair. "I mean, there are times when I feel like I'm walking on air — like when she smiles at me in a special way, or when I get to hug her and hold her… And I guess the first time I saw her it did feel like I'd been punched in the gut, just bowled over… so that bit's like the romance novels, I suppose."
Lois was slow to respond this time. Then she asked, in a small voice, "And the other times?"
"Other times…" he repeated, trying to remember what it was he was saying, and what it was he was trying to *avoid* saying, which wasn't easy when he was tired, and he was holding Lois in his arms, and he was desperately trying to avoid letting her find out that he was in love with *her*.
"Other times," he said reflectively, "there are moments when it almost feels like the depths of despair… times when I think I've lost her to someone else, or that I'm just wasting my time waiting and hoping that she'll love me back. Times when I watch her smiling and laughing with someone else, and wish that she was doing that with me. And once, when I watched her go off with another man, almost become his wife —"
Clark stopped himself abruptly, shocked, realising what he'd revealed. All she had to do was connect the dots, see the parallels, and she'd know that he was talking about her. And then… well, then he could kiss goodbye to even being with her like this again.
<Stupid, Clark, stupid!> he cursed himself.
"Oh, Clark, I had no idea!" Lois exclaimed, sounding warmly sympathetic. Oh no… that was the last thing he wanted from her. Pity friendship, telling him that she was so very sorry, but she really didn't feel the same way about him…
"I had no idea you'd been going through that! What kind of friend am I, that you didn't feel you could tell me about it? That I didn't *notice* you were hurting?" She twisted in his arms, this time not allowing him to stop her, and she gazed up at him from bright, shimmering eyes, eyes that seemed to be on the verge of tears. "Who is it, Clark? Is she… is she anyone I know?"
'Is she… is she anyone I know?'
It was the single most difficult question that she'd ever asked in her entire life. A part of her didn't want to know. She didn't want to give this mysterious woman a name, didn't want to give her a face. It was bad enough to know that she existed, but to know exactly who she was… that would be even worse.
But another part of her — the curious Metropolitan reporter part of her — would not let it go until she found out. What did this woman look like? Was she pretty? Did she know all of the little things about Clark that only Lois herself thought she knew, like the way he took his coffee in the morning? Did this woman know how hard Clark had obviously fallen for her? Maybe it was morbid curiosity, but Lois had to know about the woman who had stolen Clark's heart.
"Actually," Clark began, his tone cautious, "this woman? She's my best frien—"
The words were sailing out of her mouth before she could stop them. She'd thought she'd wanted to know, but as soon as Clark had started to speak, she'd begun to crumble inside. She hadn't even heard anything past his first word. The thought that another woman had found a more important place in Clark's life than even she herself held… well, truth be told, it *hurt* her. It hurt more than she'd thought it would.
It hurt her more than it should, she realised.
The sound of Clark's voice made her focus once again on what was happening. Clark was looking at her, a mixture of confusion and disappointment on his face. Lois frowned slightly. Disappointment? Was he disappointed that she'd stopped him from talking about this woman?
He probably was. He'd probably wanted to talk to her about his relationship with this woman for a long time, and he was excited that she'd finally asked. It was a wonder that he'd been able to keep all this inside for so long. Actually, it was a wonder that he still wanted to hang out with her after the horrible friend she'd been over the last few months, she thought miserably. She'd apparently been too wrapped up in her own life to notice that he'd been hurting.
"Lois?" came a small voice. "Why don't you want me to finish my sentence?"
Her head snapped back up until their eyes met again. But she was confused; he was looking almost sad, his eyes almost pained. Finish his sentence? She thought back. What had he been saying — or been about to say — before she'd frozen up and begged him not to speak? She couldn't remember; she'd been so preoccupied with her own thoughts…
Then she heard him sigh softly, and this time, when his voice came, it sounded defeated. "It's okay, Lois. Really. It was a stupid thing for me to say, and I know now was definitely not the time for me to admit it —"
It was her turn to look confused. He'd admitted something to her? When? And more importantly, what? "Admit what?" she asked him.
"Admit… you know, that it was you that I was talking about."
His words travelled to her ears as if moving through Jell- O. She heard them, but it was as if the words had suddenly lost their meaning. He'd been talking about *her*? All those things he'd said had been about her? When he'd talked about being completely bowled over the first time he'd met this woman… when he'd said that thing about feeling like he was walking on air whenever she smiled at him or when he got the chance to hold her… that had all been about *her*.
Her mouth dropped open, a quick gasp escaping her lips. Shocked, she could only stare at him. "You mean… I was… you were talking about me?" she stuttered, her voice shaky. "Oh my gosh."
He looked surprised at her reaction. "Well, yeah, Lois… I said the woman was my best friend, and there's only one woman in this world who carries that title. You know that, so I assumed you'd figured out who I was talking about."
"I… uh… I…" Lois floundered, lost for words at Clark's confession, which was still sinking in. He was in love with *her*?
"Oh, god, I knew this was a mistake," Clark muttered. "Look, forget I said anything. I didn't say anything, okay?"
Clark… loved… her. He thought *she* was special — that she had bowled him over the very first time he'd seen her! He'd been devastated when she'd almost married Lex Luthor… well, she knew that, but she'd thought it had been a passing phase with him, especially as he'd told her later that he hadn't been in love with her after all.
Clark loved her.
Oh, god, Clark loved *her*!
And as his last words to her finally sank in to her astounded brain, she realised that he was looking at her, hurt in his very crestfallen gaze. And it dawned on her that her failure to respond had left him thinking that she was horrified at his confession.
Well, actually, she had no idea how she felt about it, but 'horrified' seemed pretty far from an accurate description of her feelings. Shocked, yeah; stunned, in fact. And… very, very touched.
More than that, she found that she was experiencing a sensation which was completely new to her: the feeling of being desired, not for her body or for any influence which she could bring to bear, but for *herself*. Lois Lane, warts and all, was loved by someone. And not just anyone: Clark Kent, who was quite simply the nicest, kindest, and most decent man she'd ever met in her life. He was almost too good to be true in some respects, but he did have a few flaws that brought him down to the level of mortal — lunkhead mortal, in fact, on occasion.
But she didn't have time now to work out how she felt about his declaration! He was beginning to pull away from her, withdrawing to the other side of the couch, and she knew that, in her confusion and astonishment, she'd kept him in suspense too long.
"Clark!" she exclaimed, reaching for him, tugging him back to her, already missing his strong warmth behind her, now seeing it as a tangible reminder of his feelings for her.
"What?" he muttered. "Look, Lois, can we just change the subject? I'm feeling kinda embarrassed now…"
"But I don't want to change the subject," she said softly, sliding an arm around him so that he couldn't pull away from her again. Regret in her voice for the pain she'd caused him, she continued, "Clark, I was just so stunned that I didn't know what to say… but I… I think I…"
"You think you what?" he pressed after a few moments as she trailed off uncertainly. She really wasn't sure what to say; the knowledge that Clark loved her made her feel warmed inside, as if cocooned in a protective embrace of love. It was so different from her reaction in Centennial Park a few months earlier when he'd told her he loved her before. Then she'd stupidly rejected him; now she was far more conscious of how fortunate she was to have Clark in her life. The intervention of Mayson Drake had a lot to do with that, she suspected, realising that she'd been more worried than she'd even admitted to herself that she might lose Clark to that irritating, pushy Assistant DA.
Did she love him back? Well, what did being in love feel like? Clark had said that, for him, it was the feeling that he was walking on air when he was around her; the sensation of having been punched in the gut when he'd met her first. That when he held her he felt wonderful — and when she'd rejected him, he'd felt as if he was in the depths of despair.
Did she feel that way about him? Actually, she realised, dismayed, some of that described precisely how she felt around Superman. But she'd decided recently that any romantic thoughts of Superman were not only a waste of time, but foolish in the extreme. Much as he obviously liked her, he didn't and wouldn't see her as a romantic partner. And anyway, she'd come to the conclusion that being his girlfriend wouldn't necessarily be as great as she might have imagined: what was she expected to do while he was off saving the world? And if they couldn't even go out on a date because of the attention that they would draw, what kind of life would they have?
But Clark… She'd realised recently, thanks to the very annoying Mayson Drake, that Clark was indispensable as far as she was concerned. She needed him in her life. He was quite simply essential to her well-being. Surely that was love?
And hadn't she been thinking about just that earlier? Fantasising about what it would be like to be more than a friend to him? But that was all it had been — a fantasy; the real thing was… scary. And his declaration had left her full of confusion as well as a deep yearning — for what, she wasn't sure. Friendship was safer, sure; but in telling her that he was in love with her, Clark had taken them both over the line between friendship and… something more. There was no retreat to that safe, comfortable world any more — was there?
And she did love him, didn't she? If that conviction that her life wouldn't be worth living without him in it was real… then wasn't that love?
Impulse took over; perhaps this would answer her doubts and questions. "I think…" she continued hesitantly. "I think I want you to kiss me."
There was a shocked pause when everything — even the gusts of wind outside — came to a screeching halt. Finally, a squeaky voice resembling Clark's filled the silence. "I'm sorry, you want me to *what*?"
Well, obviously he hadn't been expecting her to say that, but hey, she hadn't totally expected it herself. The words had just seemed to… come out, and she hadn't been able to stop them. The look on Clark's face was priceless, though; his mouth was open slightly and his eyes were wide, looking at her as if she had suddenly asked him to fly into outer space and return with a piece of the moon.
"I said," she repeated, deliberately slowing her voice, "I want you to kiss me." Lois said the words with a confidence that she didn't particularly have — in reality, she was shaking inside. She dropped her eyes now, though, unable to look him in the face any longer. He wasn't making any move toward her, nor was he saying anything else.
Lois swallowed hard as the silence stretched on. Oh god, how had she ended up here, on Clark's couch, asking him to kiss her? She'd come over here this evening to grab some takeout and watch a movie with him! When had it become this? She wanted to bury her head in her hands and run far, far away from this situation… far away from the man who sat beside her, the man who thrilled her and terrified her simultaneously.
"Lois, you can't be serious," Clark finally managed to say. He was still looking as if someone had just struck him over the head with some large object, and so she teasingly reached over, tucking her index finger beneath his chin and closing his gaping mouth.
She tried to smile at him, to ease the tense situation, but even the muscles in her lips seemed to have been rendered motionless by the weight of the significance of the situation. What was happening between them now was rapidly changing their relationship forever. She bit at her bottom lip, unsure of how to explain to him that she knew what it was she was asking of him.
"I'm serious," she said simply, dropping her hand. And she meant it. She may have said the words on impulse, but there had been an underlying truth in them. She was almost sure that what she felt for Clark was more than good friendship, but a kiss would prove it. She took a deep breath. "Kiss me, Clark."
The tone in her voice left no room for hesitation, and Clark didn't. He leaned forward, his head tilted slightly, his face nearing hers. Lois caught her breath as the realisation of what was about to happen sank in. There was no turning back now, she knew.
But instead of that awful feeling of regret that she had expected, all that filled her now was a sense of breathless anticipation. Her eyes fluttered shut, closing of their own accord as her heart pounded in her chest. She felt him nuzzle her nose gently with the tip of his, and she smiled at the intimate, comfortable feeling it created between them. He was treating her as if he'd kissed her countless times before… how did he know that she loved the sense of closeness he'd created before the actual kiss itself?
Lois wanted to tell him, but before she had the chance, his lips finally touched her own.
She shivered as the first warm caress of their joined mouths swam through her, creating the most incredible wave of sensation that she'd ever experienced. Relying completely on the impulse that had brought her here, she moved with him, fluidly, rhythmically, perfectly.
It lasted only a brief moment, however, and all too soon, she was feeling him pull away, releasing her. Her eyes still closed, she protested, calling his name softly. She could feel him only inches away, as if waiting for her to decide what should happen next. "Clark," she said again, opening her eyes. This time she reached up, clasping both hands to the sides of his face, and tugged him down toward her.
He must have understood what it was that she wanted because a quick, eager smile flashed across his face. "Again?" he asked, and the part of her brain that was still functioning rationally noted that he sounded winded as well.
"Yes," she mumbled, and melded their mouths once more.
This time was less hesitant, hungrier than the previous kiss. Lois gave herself up to the feelings that coursed through her, knowing now that she could finally put a name to those feelings.
And that was when she realised that what she was feeling for Clark now had always been there between them. It hadn't existed only in her deepest fantasies, but in real, everyday life — while they'd sat talking for hours, while they'd watched countless movies together, while they'd laughed and discovered the most odd things about each other… it had been there the entire time. She had just never been able to bring herself to admit it before now.
She needed to tell him. "Clark," she said, breaking the contact between their lips — only to fall forward almost immediately, unable to help herself. <If only he weren't so darn good at this> she thought dreamily, inwardly sighing. But she really did want to tell him this… it was really important…
"Clark," she repeated, and then again, more firmly this time. "Clark."
"Hmm?" His mouth had moved across the line of her jaw and was now busy investigating her earlobe.
Difficult as it was, she finally managed to pull herself away, breathing quickly. "I just wanted to tell you… I just needed to say…"
"Yes?" he prompted when she trailed off.
She locked his eyes with hers, forging an unbreakable line of unspoken communication. The time had come to tell him, and even though she knew her feelings were real, her voice still shook slightly as she spoke. "I love you, too, Clark."
"I love you too, Clark."
Stunned, delighted, amazed, completely astounded, Clark could only stare at Lois. Even the wonder of the kisses they'd just shared paled into insignificance against her confession, and he felt his heart leap in pure joy.
"You do?" he asked her, almost disbelieving, wanting to pinch himself in case he was really dreaming.
Lois nodded, but she avoided his gaze, and he noticed that she was fumbling awkwardly with her hands. "What is it?" he asked, concerned, afraid now that she didn't mean it after all.
"I…" She looked up and met his gaze, and her eyes were troubled. "I do love you, Clark. But… I can't help being scared."
"Scared of what?" He reached for her hands, gripping them tightly; he longed to hold her close to him again, but that could wait until he found out what this was all about. Lois was scared? Not of him, surely? Although, he reminded himself, he *thought* she didn't know who he was. But what if she did? What if it was the thought of getting romantically — and intimately — involved with Superman which was frightening her?
"I… guess you know that my previous relationships have been pretty much disasters," she began hesitantly. "I'm… just scared that you and I will end up the same way, and then I'd lose the best friend I ever had."
Clark mentally reviewed what he knew of Lois's romantic past. There was Lex Luthor, of course, and the less Clark allowed himself to think of *him* the better. And there was that French journalist, Claude; and, Clark remembered, the college boyfriend she'd lost to Linda King. He couldn't think of a single relationship in Lois's past that he was aware of which could be described as *not* a disaster.
"Lois, don't think of it that way," he said softly. "You're not losing a friend. And we could be gaining so much more. We love each other. Think of what we could have — how happy we could be together."
"Yeah, but if it doesn't work out…" she said hesitantly.
"Then we'll still be friends. I promise, you will *never* lose me as a friend," Clark swore, his voice intense.
"You swear?" she asked, in a small voice.
"Cross my heart," he said softly, drawing her closer to him. He tipped up her chin and claimed her lips once more in a sweet, persuasive kiss.
Just like the first time, the instant his lips touched hers he felt swept away on a wave of emotion; passion danced in his heart, and love flowed all around them. He wanted to kiss her all night, caressing her soft curves with his hands, moulding her body gently against his, feeling her silky hair brush against his face and chest. Lois kissed him back with intensity at least equal to his own, her hands sliding up his arms and onto his shoulders, one moving up to caress his face.
Breathless, she broke the kiss. "Clark…"
He smiled at her, knowing that his eyes told her even more strongly than words of his feelings for her. "Lois…?"
"I love you, Clark."
"I love you too."
"And you'll always be my friend?"
He lifted her hand, bringing her knuckles to his lips, and brushed a kiss over them. "I promise."
She sighed softly, settling herself into his arms again, resting her head against his shoulder. "Clark?"
"Mmmm?" Engaged in nuzzling her ear, Clark was only giving her half an ear.
"I know now."
"You know what?"
She lifted her head, her smile bright and her eyes glazed with happy tears as she looked at him. "What it feels like to fall in love."
(c) 2002 Tracey <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Wendy Richards <email@example.com>