By Lote <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: April 2002
Summary: Clark's away on business, and he and Lois have a "virtual" conversation.
Author's note: Parts of this were inspired by AIM chats with a friend.
Lois wasn't aware of her hands reaching the laptop and booting it up even as she groped around for the light. Her sleepy mind was trying hard to wake up at around 3 a.m. Especially since she just went to bed about 2 hours ago after wrapping up one of the most intense investigations she had known since she and Clark had been married. Thinking about her husband, Lois wondered whether he'd be online at this time. She blinked sleepily at the screen as the Windows logo came up and booting was finally complete.
Yawning, she clicked on the AIM icon and signed on. She was disappointed when his buddy wasn't flashing, indicating that he wasn't online. Her still groggy brain tried to make the time conversion between Metropolis, New Troy, and Paris, France, where he was currently attending a conference. Clark had been unwilling to go since their investigation was coming along quite nicely, but Lois and Perry persuaded him to change his mind. After all, the investigation was at a stage where the police were handling most of the case and basically very little risk was involved.
Lois yawned again, and decided she had better make herself some coffee while she waited for her husband to log on. She had missed him for the past few days. Talking on the phone or online wasn't the same as being able to physically touch each other, or look into the other's eyes to gauge their reactions. Still, communicating online was a novel way of staying in touch. When she got back to the desk, the dialogue box was open and there was a message:
FARMBOY: Hi honey. What're you doing up this late at night?
Lois grinned as she slipped into the chair and sipped her coffee. She quickly typed and clicked on 'send.'
METGIRL: Would you believe that my hands have a mind of their own?
The answer came immediately.
FARMBOY: LOL. Honey, what does that say about your dependency on the computer?
Lois pouted even though Clark couldn't see her.
METGIRL: Well, Farmboy, *you* were the one who got me hooked, remember. *You* suggested we chat on AIM for the period of time you're away.
FARMBOY: All right, I plead guilty on all charges, Your Honor. <G> But really, Lois. What are you doing up this late at night?
METGIRL: I couldn't really sleep without you around. <sg> And besides I'm still running a little on adrenalin, I think. We've just wrapped up the case, and the story's hitting the front page tomorrow.
FARMBOY: Great! :)
Lois grinned. Clark didn't expect it, of course, but she had put his name in the byline. After all, they were partners and he did do some of the legwork for the investigation. As she sipped her rapidly cooling coffee, she wished he was back home. He'd have warmed it up again for her in no time. Still, they had a bet to see if he could resist using his powers for the duration of his trip. Lois smiled ruefully at her impetuous bet as she recalled that last night before he left.
She had just finished packing his suitcase, feeling rather like a proper wife. Of course, it wouldn't have taken as long if Clark were to pack it himself, but they both enjoyed the normality that went with her packing for him. She had glanced his way as he paced, grousing about having to travel on a plane. She didn't know what imp made her do it, but she challenged him to not use his powers except in an emergency while he was in Paris. Clark's pride had been pricked enough when she subtly suggested that he could never give up using his special powers, that he almost agreed to the bet. Of course, what clinched the deal had been the prize; the winner would have the loser at his/her beck and call for a whole weekend.
Lois grinned. Either way, both of them would benefit from the bet. She refocused on the computer screen once more and typed.
METGIRL: So, what are you doing over there right now? My mind is incapable of converting the time.
FARMBOY: Well, at the moment I'm having my breakfast; an American breakfast for once.
Lois couldn't believe what she saw on screen; she had never known her husband to ever turn down French food.
METGIRL: You've only been there 3 days. Don't tell me you got bored of the French cuisine so soon. <g>
FARMBOY: Sigh! No, but there's this annoying French reporter who's been bragging about France so much that I'm…Sorry, honey. I shouldn't bother you with this at this hour. <sg> I'll give you time to wake up properly before I really start complaining. <eg>
METGIRL: I'm awake. Coffee is a miracle cure for sleepiness, y'know. <g>
FARMBOY: What am I going to do with you? :)
METGIRL: I know what you can do, farmboy. <eg>
FARMBOY: Oh no. I'm not going to go there. Honey, I happen to be in a crowded room.
Lois laughed as she imagined the panicked look her husband must be sporting. She hadn't intended it that way, of course. She was actually thinking along the lines of him shopping for some Belgium chocolate for her.
METGIRL: LOL! Clark, get your mind out of the gutter. Hmm…I wonder whether the conference is altering your brain chemistry? <eg> I can see it now… "Conference alters reporter's brain chemistry." What a headline!
FARMBOY: Lois, brain chemistry… headline… did you say that on purpose? <groan>
Lois spurted out laughing.
METGIRL: Sorry, my brain is still functioning at half capacity.
FARMBOY: Lois, I'm wondering if I made the right decision to come here.
METGIRL: Why? <curious look>
FARMBOY: Well, it seems that my absence has made you churn out bad jokes. <eg>
METGIRL: Ooooo, you! If only you were here…
FARMBOY: Yeah, sweetheart, if only. Tell me again, why I let you and Perry convince me to go to this conference?
METGIRL: It didn't take you long to be convinced. <sticking tongue out>
FARMBOY: Childish! <Haughty look>
METGIRL: Am not!
FARMBOY: Are too!
METGIRL: AM NOT! <pouty look>
FARMBOY: Ok, let's stop. <g> We're being silly.
METGIRL: What's wrong with being silly?
FARMBOY: Well, when people start giving you these weird looks because you're laughing at the screen of your computer, something is definitely wrong.
Lois chuckled as she tried to picture Clark sitting down at his breakfast table in a cybercafe and laughing while people stare at him. Poor Clark. She thought of the earlier thread of conversation where he was complaining about the French reporter. Obviously, he was rather bothered by it.
METGIRL: So are you going to tell me about the French reporter?
FARMBOY: Do I have to?
METGIRL: You might as well get it off your chest.
FARMBOY: His name is Claude Something or other. He keeps on bragging about the French way of doing things and putting down the rest of us, especially the American press. I can't stand the guy. I wonder if he's the same person who stole your story. <frown>
METGIRL: Whether he is or not, just ignore him, Clark. Such people are best avoided, if possible.
FARMBOY: I know. <sigh> I'm trying. There are other French reporters who are very nice and they try to avoid him too. Seems that he's not very popular with his own people too. <eg> OK, that's mean. <sg>
METGIRL: Feel better now?
FARMBOY: Yep. Talking to you always makes it better. <g>
Lois smiled at the sweet words.
METGIRL: Good, coz it's the same here. Hurry home, sweetheart.
FARMBOY: 2 more days. Can't wait. I'll take you flying when I get back. We'll see the sunset over the West Coast, I promise.
Lois sighed. She couldn't wait for that to happen.
METGIRL: Can't wait either. Good morn, sweet prince. <g>
FARMBOY: Goodnight, angel. Sweet dreams.
She thought that was the end of the conversation and killed the dialogue box only to have it popped up again.
FARMBOY: Don't think that the trip will let you off from our bet! <eg> I'm looking forward to having a slave for this coming weekend. <EG>
Lois's jaw dropped before she started laughing.
METGIRL: There's still two more days, farmboy. You never know what will happen between now and then. Like they say, 'Don't count your chicks before they hatch. <eg>
FARMBOY: Ha Ha. I know I'll win, so prepare yourself. <eg>
METGIRL: We'll see. ;) Night sweetheart.
FARMBOY: Night, angel.
She waited till the screen showed that he had logged off before shutting down the computer. She didn't care about the bet; even if she lost, she'd have a fun time. It was a win-win situation.
'Hmm…two more days,' she thought. Two more days before she'd be in his embrace once more, snug as they watched the setting of the sun. They'd come a long way, Clark and her. From mere partners, to friends, before becoming husband and wife. She smiled, thinking of the past and more than that, the future. The setting sun symbolized just that; the old day making way for the new. With a lighter heart, she went back to bed.