By StopQuitDont <firstname.lastname@example.org >
Submitted: November 2002
Summary: It seems like there is a bit of unfinished business between Lois and an old flame. Find out if they decide to stoke the embers of a past relationship.
This was written after I listened to a song by Alabama the other night. The song is 'Old Flame'. I thought I'd see if I could get a few juices flowing from it. Be warned: it's plain old, no action, nothing happening, FLUFF. I like listening to songs or watching commercials, then see if I can write a quick little story. This is my third attempt. Let me know what you think.
All disclaimers apply.
Tony's smile was as bright as it always was when you saw him. Tonight it also held a twinkle. Clutched tightly to his left arm was his incredibly gorgeous date. She was slender with shoulder length brunette hair. Her smile could light a room, and she carried herself with more poise than any woman he'd ever met. She was absolutely perfect to the young lawyer.
Glancing around the room, Tony was beaming with pride when he noticed several people were also very appreciative of his companion. Of course, 'she' was Lois Lane. Gawking at her earned men nothing more than a roll of her eyes. Her date reached to squeeze her hand as they made their way into the room.
Lois hated these things. This particular thing was a charity dinner for the Boys and Girls Club International. Not that it wasn't a very worthy cause, it was because the attendants were usually so stuffy they smelled. The wealthy tended to believe their money exempted them from taking part in society. However, Tony was a major supporter of the club. She had come for him.
That was a fact that hadn't eluded him either. Lois was an indomitable force, one to be reckoned with. He had met her during a murder investigation he'd done a year ago. She was tough as nails and twice as private. It had taken him six months to get a date. Another six months had finally earned him the right to be considered her official boyfriend.
They meshed well. His laid back, casual attitude tended to soften her hard-core, career woman facade. Essentially they were both thirty, driven by work, and lonely. They needed the companionship the other had to offer. There were no huge undertones of an everlasting love between them. In fact, neither had actually said they loved the other. It was just assumed that as long as they got along and enjoyed each other's company, they were okay.
"Lois, would you like a drink?"
Lois smiled up at Tony. "White wine."
"You've got it." He kissed her temple and headed for the bar.
Lois took the opportunity to say a few words to some people she hadn't seen in a very long time. She mingled with ease. In under a minute, she was sipping her drink, along with Tony, and talking to all sorts of folks.
A soft laugh stopped her raised glass at her lips. Her eyes scanned the room until she spotted the source of her search. Her glass was lowered slowly and she was speechless. His was a face she hadn't seen in person in nearly two years.
As always had been the case with the man Lois was looking at it, he seemed to sense her presence. His eyes met hers and in that moment, time stood still.
Tony was having difficulty keeping track of his conversation. He had noticed Lois' change in attitude. He followed her gaze to a man some twenty feet away. She was staring at him, and he her. Lois' big, brown eyes began to glow. He could tell this was a man that was once very important to her. Past boyfriend? Lover? Whatever he had been, it was obvious he still was. Lois' eyes were not hiding a thing. A glance at the man told him that his was just as open and naked with feelings for her.
Finally Lois turned back to him. "Tony, could we get a plate now? I'm starved."
"Sure." He took her arm and led them to the buffet. They settled on a table in the back. He was hoping to bring up her little exchange with the tall, dark stranger.
He waited until the meal was eaten. Conversation had consisted mostly of small talk about work and the club. With needing to know and not knowing why, Tony took a deep breath and spoke.
"Lois, who was the man you were looking at earlier?"
Lois glanced up at Tony, then deliberately searched the room for the mentioned person. Her eyes settled on his back because he was turned from them on the opposite side of the room. "Clark Kent."
"Kent? The international correspondent?"
Suddenly this information dawned on Tony. "He was the other half of the infamous Lane and Kent super team a couple years back?"
"What happened? Why did he break up the team? Or was it you?"
"No, it was him." Lois studied her glass before looking up at Clark again. "We started dating. Some things happened, and he felt I was better off away from him."
"Geez, what is he? A spy or something?"
Lois half-laughed at that. "Not exactly. Let's just say Clark is a complex person… emotionally. Neither of us knew how to handle our feelings very well, so we let circumstances pull us apart."
Tony eased around toward her a bit. "I'm sorry I asked. It's just… well, you two seem to be saying an awful lot back there. It spooked me."
Lois smiled sadly at Tony. "That was a long time ago. Clark left me. My love for him went with him." She touched his cheek and stood up. "I have to use the little girl's room, then I would like to dance."
"Okay." Tony recognized her retreat as just that. Whenever Lois couldn't deal with an emotion or feeling, she tended to bolt. This effectively kept her closed off from everyone she came in contact with.
She may have said it ended when he left, but the memories still upset her. She still carried an old flame for Clark; no tears could drown those and no make-up could disguise them. That old flame might not be stronger, but it certainly had been burning longer than any spark Tony could possibly hope to start in Lois' eyes.
He pushed up from his seat, determined to meet this 'man' who could move Lois Lane like he'd never seen before. Luckily he knew one of the men Clark was speaking with.
"Jarod, how are you?"
"Tony, good to see you." While that man answered, another left. After shaking Tony's hand, Jarod turned to Clark. "Tony, I want you to meet Clark Kent. He single-handedly started a club in the heart of Kenya. Clark, this Tony Garret, Metropolis' answer to the crime in the city. He's a lawyer." The man was summoned from another group. "Excuse me."
Clark extended his hand. "Nice to meet you, Tony. I've heard you make this fundraiser possible every year."
The first grip said a lot about a man. This one screamed strength, confidence, and control. "Yes. The club is my pet. I spend a lot of my free time with the kids."
"That's great." Clark had retrieved his hand and thrust both in his pockets. "I'm hoping to calm my schedule a bit. That's why I came tonight. I think I've been working for a year straight."
"I have to say though, your coverage of Superman's works is really making an impact."
"Thank you. I can only dream to make a difference the way he has."
"Oh, I think that goes without saying."
Both men turned to stare at the woman who'd just spoken. Clark's heart skipped a beat as he stood face to face with Lois. She was still incredible. Time had stood still in regards to her. His feelings were just as strong today as they had been then. His lips spread into a smile, earning him one in return.
"How are you, Lois?"
"Good. And you?"
"Okay." Without conscious thought, his hand came up to her touch her arm. "You look fantastic."
"Thank you. You haven't changed much either."
"Maybe not outside." His smile faded as he said that. The meaning was clearly obvious, even to Tony. Clark glanced his way, removed his hand from Lois' arm, and smiled again. "So, how long have you been with Tony? I hear he's a great guy himself."
Lois glanced at the man to her left. "He is. We've known each other a little over a year."
"Has she filled you with Chinese take-out yet?"
Tony laughed then as he remembered their earliest acquaintance. "She did at first, but now she cooks most of the time."
Clark's brows shot up in surprise. "Lois, when did you decide this?"
"Oh please. It's not that big of a deal."
"Lois, you barely knew how to boil water."
"Watch it, Kent. I have been known to kill people for saying less."
"I know. You forget I've been a victim. Seriously, what gives with the cooking?"
Lois' smile faded and she bore her gaze into Clark's. "It started out as therapy. Then it turned into a lot more. The lady I asked to teach me is now my best friend. Maybe you know her. Martha. Martha Kent." Suddenly the room was way too small, she turned and purposely stepped across the room and out the balcony doors.
Clark managed to regain his composure enough to look up at Tony. "I'm really sorry. I had no idea I would upset her by being here. I should leave. Please forgive me if this causes any problems. I just want Lois to be happy." He turned to walk away.
"Clark? Wait." Tony waited until the man was facing him again. "I don't know what happened between you two, but it's obvious it's not finished. If you truly want her to be happy, then you need to either finish it or start it again. Whatever 'this' is, it's so deep inside her that you are the only one that can help. I know the kind of woman Lois could be. It kills me to see her be less. Now I know why." Tony walked a few feet toward the balcony before stopping to speak again. "Give me a few minutes to tell her that I need to leave."
Clark remained quiet as the man disappeared through the balcony doors. He could see why Lois had chosen the lawyer to spend time with. He was obviously a good person, and he seemed to have Lois' best interests at heart. He would talk to Lois because he, more than anyone, knew they had a lot of unresolved issues. He owed her that much.
She turned to Tony, wiping the tears from her face. "I'm so sorry…"
"No." He took both her hands in his. "Lois, I introduced myself to Clark. I had to see for myself what was so great about him. I may not know all, but I do know he's a special person. I'm not blind either. I see how you still feel toward him."
"I told you we were over."
"In your mind, but not in your heart. Lois, you don't turn those kinds of feelings off. Yeah, I have feelings for you. I care about you and I guess I do love you. But Clark, he absolutely exudes your very essence… and you his." He kissed her hands, then smiled at her. "If it is over, then I hope we can still make that ski trip at the lodge. And if it is what I feel it to be, then I want you and Clark to grow up." Tony leaned forward and kissed her lips tenderly. Without a word, he was gone.
Lois stared out at the night sky, wondering just how things had changed so quickly. She was the self-portrait
of the ultimate federal disaster. She died inside when Clark left her. How could she possibly still feel anything for him now?
Clark eased to lean over the balcony edge beside Lois. "I know you will never understand why I felt I had to do the things I've done. I'm not sure I ever will myself. My life is filled with so many responsibilities. These I take seriously. When I saw the people I love most in this world in danger because of me, I freaked. 'Distance', I said. 'That's what they need.' I never stopped to consider that something I had done would result in a negative outcome.
"All my life I wanted nothing more than to have a job I loved, friends, a family. I wanted a life. Then when I got one, I had no idea what to do with it. I ruined it because I didn't know how to live. I existed as just this freak from a dead planet." Clark lowered his gaze to his hands. "I find myself wishing they'd just let me die with them."
Lois' face was beginning to feel the wet tears that were stinging her cheeks. She never knew Clark held so much inside himself. She figured it almost inevitable because no one else on earth knew the things he faced.
"Clark, you shouldn't say that. You've helped so many people."
"That's just it, Lois. The people I should have helped most, I failed them. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't even help myself. Hell, I never tried."
Lois stood by his side in silence for a long moment. She turned to him, his whole posture as defeated as she'd ever seen it. A gentle hand reached out to his shoulder. "Maybe those people who claimed to love you as much in return, weren't very good at actually doing it."
Clark looked at her. "Knowing I hurt you the way I did, will haunt me until the day I die."
Lois saw all the years of hurt and longing in the brown eyes before her. She saw and felt things she hadn't before. When Clark was here with her, she had never taken the time to really get to know him. She didn't know the things he felt or those that drove him to do the many things he did. A couple years ago, she was a self-absorbed, critical person; only interested in how things affected 'her'. Although she was in love with Clark, she'd never taken the time to be 'in love' with him. Knowing him as her best friend and partner had been one thing, knowing him intimately was another. She had never done that.
She cupped his large cheek and smiled slightly. "Would you like to go for some coffee?"
Clark's hand covered hers on his face. "Yes, I would."
Lois smiled a little brighter and took one of Clark's hands. As they walked out, Clark commented, "My mom never told me that you and she were friends." Lois' laughter coursed through his soul, bringing a healing he thought he'd never have.
Tony Garret prided himself on the things his mother had taught him growing up. She'd said if you love someone you'd do anything for them. He had told Lois on that balcony that night that he was probably in love with her. He knew now he was; had been; may always be. The sacrifice he'd made for her that night would never be a regret to him.
Lois was happy now. Her by-line graced the pages of the Daily Planet, right along with her former partner. Tony had been right when he read Lois' eyes that night. That old flame was burning there. It had burned longer than any spark he could have put in those same beautiful pools. He was also right when he told himself that he may become a memory before too long.
Despite the fact that he was looking at the engagement photograph of the woman he loved with the man 'she' loved, Tony could never regret a thing. Clark Kent was the one for Lois Lane. Any fool could see that in her eyes. His time with her was a treasured gift. His friendship with her and her fianc‚e was a precious commodity. Strange how things weaved themselves in the web called life.