One Life to Choose

By Limebug06@aol.com

Rated: PG

Submitted: July 2002

Summary: After Lois's reported death, Clark decides to start a new relationship. Are Lois and Clark destined to be together?

Note: ** means Clark's memories

***

The sun sat high in the afternoon sky above the Daily Planet building. People bustled to and fro on the streets below. Inside the building, however, everything stopped. Perry White gazed at the looks of astonishment and grief on the faces of the people in the bullpen. For Lois Lane, one of the most respected people in the newsroom was dead. A mangled body had been found in the bay, and was just identified as Lois. She had already been missing for three weeks.

"I'm shutting the place down everyone. Go home." Perry could barely get the sentence out.

Gasping, Jimmy Olsen stared at the forlorn eyes of his editor. Never before had Perry shut down the Planet! Never! He followed Perry into his office and shut the door.

"I'm so sorry chief. I know what this has done to you. What it has done to all of us." Jimmy laid a sympathetic hand on the chief's shoulder.

"I know Jim. First Clark resigns, now Lois is gone. This paper will never be the same anymore." He stared silently out the window.

"We have to let CK know chief."

"No one knows where he is."

"But if we call his parents…"

"Good idea. Go call them."

"Me?"

"Yes you."

Jimmy knew better than to argue any further. He walked over and sat down at Lois's old desk, quickly dialing the Kent's number in Smallville.

"Hello!"

"Mrs. Kent? This is Jimmy Olsen from the Daily Planet."

"Why hello Jimmy. Clark has told me so much about you. What can I do for you?"

"Unfortunately Mrs. Kent, I have some bad news."

"What's wrong?"

"Well, a dead body has been found in the bay, and it was identified as Lois."

"Oh my. Hold on, let me put Clark on the phone."

A few seconds later Jimmy heard a very familiar voice, "Jimmy?"

"Hi Clark. How's it going?" Jimmy's voice was less than enthusiastic.

"It's been better. What's this about Lois?"

"She's been missing for a while, and they just found her body in the bay. She's dead."

"Are they sure it's her?" Clark was in shock.

"Yeah, all of her stuff is still here, except for some money from the bank, but that doesn't prove much. It looks like a basic kidnapping and murder."

"All right. Give me a few hours Jim. I'll meet you and Perry at the Planet." With that Clark hung up the phone and dashed upstairs, tears already spilling down his cheeks.

***

Clark stared one more time at the memorial stone placed in Lois's honor. The stone had been erected since Lois's body was beyond burial. Lois had cared deeply for her grandmother so the stone was placed beside her grandmother's grave.

"Come on son, she's gone now." Perry came up behind him and put an arm around his shoulder.

"I know Perry. But it's so hard to let her go. I loved her."

"I know you did Clark. But you're going to need to move on eventually, and the sooner the better. You can't live your life in the past."

Clark thought about this as he and Perry walked slowly to the car. Finally he said, "You're right Perry, I can't. From now on I'm going to forget about Lois and focus on the future."

"Now I don't want you to totally forget about her son," Perry told him as he unlocked the car door. "She would've wanted her memory to live strong, and that's what it's going to do. All I was saying was for you to make sure you still lived your life."

Nodding, Clark looked out at the city he had come to think of as home. But it wouldn't be home anymore. Not with Lois gone. Even when he had left it all four months earlier, it was still home, because she was still there. Now Clark didn't know where home was. But he wasn't just going to sit around. He would find a new home, a new love, and a new life.

***

A Few Years Later

***

Landing softly in the sand, Clark announced, "Here we are." He placed his passenger down. "This was a great idea sweetie. I love Nassau."

"Me too," Clark's new wife Chloe replied, kissing his neck. "And since we've both already seen it, we can spend most of our time indoors." She wiggled her eyebrows mischievously at him, in a gesture so familiar to Clark.

"I guess we should check into the hotel then, huh?" Clark said in the same tone of voice. Hand in hand they sauntered up the beach towards the hotel, one occasionally tickling the other.

When they entered the hotel lobby, the pair couldn't help but notice that it was empty, except for a few employees. The woman at the desk looked up at the new couple approaching, flinched and then put on a huge (obviously fake) smile.

"Welcome to Nassau! May I take your name please?"

Clark stiffened and stared at the pretty woman, whom he guessed to be about his age. She had dark blonde hair that hung in a loose braid almost to her hips. And behind a pair of wire-framed glasses was a pair of gorgeous green eyes. But Clark suddenly had a weird sense of dj… vu that he couldn't place.

After unsuccessfully getting Clark's attention, Chloe spoke to the woman herself.

"We have reservations under Clark Kent. The honeymoon suite."

"Ah yes. Congratulations you two." The woman tapped a few things into the computer then rose. "One moment," she said before walking away.

In the meantime, Clark's head was spinning. He knew Chloe was talking to him, but he couldn't listen. There was just something so familiar about that receptionist, yet he couldn't figure out why. Soon she returned, key in hand.

"Here you are, Mr. and Mrs. Kent. Room 404. If you need anything at all, just call down and ask for Wanda."

Chloe couldn't help but think it strange that although Wanda seemed to be addressing them both, she looked only at Chloe.

Chloe nodded good-bye and steered her husband towards the elevators, wanting to get him quickly away from the woman he seemed so smitten by. She chatted about nonsense as they walked, but Clark couldn't have told her a word she'd said.

He knew that name. As odd as it was, he knew the name. Without warning he turned back. "Excuse me, but what is your last name?"

Wanda smiled sweetly; almost too sweetly. "Detroit, sir."

Clark nodded and turned back; not acknowledging the strange look Chloe gave him. Inside his head, his brain raced, repeating the name over and over, trying to remember where he had heard it. Just as Chloe pushed the 'Up' button on the elevator, Clark remembered. But it wasn't a real person he was remembering. It was a fictional one. Wanda Detroit, nightclub singer and main character in Lois Lane's novel.

Now some would say the name was purely coincidental. But the familiarity of the woman was not. She was no other than Lois herself.

Placing a hand on Chloe's arm, Clark stopped her journey into the elevator. "Honey," he said. "I just remembered that I forgot, um, protection. They probably have some in the shop over there. I'll meet you in the room, okay?"

Chloe sighed slightly, all too familiar with Clark's "excuses", though she knew this time he was telling the truth. "Okay Hun. Hurry back." The doors closed.

Clark turned, but instead of going into the shop, he sat down on the couch, facing Wanda. All he could do was stare at her, the warm memories he had kept locked so tightly away, now flowing freely through his mind.

**Clark looked up at the woman who had burst in so suddenly during his interview. Without thinking twice, he knew he would fall in love with her. The warmth in her eyes, even as she argued, was so rare. He knew she was special, and he knew they would be very close.**

Smiling fondly at remembering the day they first met, his thoughts drifted to another not so fond memory, and his smile dropped.

**Lois looked up at him, the tears brimming in her eyes matching the ones in his own.

"I don't want you to leave Clark," she said. "It'll do no good for either of us."

Clark could only shake his head and smile sadly. "Good-bye Lois. I love you," he murmured, slowly drifting out the window.**

"Mr. Kent? Are you all right?" Wanda smiled the same sickly sweet smile.

"Umm, yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Thank you." Rising to his feet, Clark started walking away. But he soon stopped. He couldn't leave. Not after he had discovered that she wasn't dead. He couldn't leave her. But he didn't quite know what to say either. So he decided on the blunt truth.

"Did you think you could really hide forever?" Clark used the same wry grin he had always reserved for when he teased Lois.

"Excuse me?" Wanda seemed genuinely confused, but that didn't faze Clark.

"What are you talking about Mr. Kent?" A flicker of worry passed through her pale green eyes.

"I'm talking about who you really are, Lois Katherine Lane."

Try as she might to stay cool and collected, this blatant admission of her true identity from the man she loved was too much for her. Tears spilled down her cheeks, and she sunk into the chair. "Oh Clark," she sobbed.

Within seconds Clark pulled Lois to her feet, holding her close in his arms. "What's going on Lois? Why all this?"

"You weren't supposed to find me!" she shrieked, pushing violently on his chest and backing away. Sudden anger now replaced the tears she had only moments earlier.

"Too late, I did."

Knowing tears were going to get her nowhere, Lois made her face go blank. She replied coolly. "It doesn't matter now Clark. Now if you'll excuse me…" She started to turn.

"No!" Clark abruptly stopped her, now angry himself. "You will explain this to me. Do you know what I put myself through after finding out you were dead? I loved you, damn it! Why the hell would you do something like this?"

"Maybe because you left me and broke my heart? Did you think of that possibility before barging into my life?" Her eyes flashed angrily. "Well, I'm sorry Lois. I'll have to remember to check my psychic ability." Clark's voice dripped with sarcasm.

"Stop calling me that! I worked hard to forget Lois Lane."

"That's another thing. Wanda Detroit? A little obvious, don't you think?"

**"It's about a nightclub singer, named Wanda Detroit." Lois took a sip of soda.

Clark grinned. "Sounds interesting."**

"Just leave me alone Clark. Don't you have a wife waiting for you upstairs?"

Clark's mouth dropped open and his eyes grew wide. "Oh, shoot!"

Out of the corner of her eye, Lois saw Chloe exit the elevator. As Chloe drew closer, an evil idea flashed through Lois Lane's mind. Without warning, Lois put on an angry face and slapped Clark across the face.

"How dare you Mr. Kent!"

Confusion and bewilderment crossed Clark's eyes. He started to speak, but a new voice interrupted him.

"Clark, what's going on?"

Clark whirled around and came face to face with Chloe.

"Oh Mrs. Kent," Lois gushed. "I'm so sorry, so embarrassed. I never thought, I, I never meant…"

"Ms. Detroit, please." Chloe stepped forward to place a hand on Lois's shoulder, but Lois pulled away in mock shame.

"I am so sorry Mrs. Kent. I never meant for anything to happen, really. I just saw him sitting here looking so depressed. I came over to see what was wrong. He looked so sad. But then, then, he, he," Lois's babble began to break up into sobs. "He started coming on to me. He wouldn't let me go, his hands were everywhere, and he kept saying all this…horrible stuff to me. It was so weird. And then he kissed me!" Lois finished this all in one breath.

"That's bull!" shrieked Clark, who jumped up from the couch he had been sitting on. "Lois, come on, why are you doing this?"

"And that's another thing. My name is Wanda. Wanda!" Lois finished with a flourish and a sob.

Chloe stepped back and shook her head to clear it. "Okay, I think both of you are full of bull. There's obviously something going on between you two that I don't know about. I think you knew each other before. So why don't you just tell me the truth?"

"I have work to do."

"Oh please Lois, you're in this as much as I am."

"Okay, stop. We'll start there. Lois, as in Lois Lane? Are you Lois Lane?" Both parties nodded solemnly.

"Okay." Chloe turned to face Lois. "Lois, maybe you'd like to explain to us why everyone thinks you're dead?" Her tone was maybe a little too patronizing.

"Actually, that's okay. I'm good. But thank you," Lois said. Chloe continued to smile.

"Clark, would you please tell your wife to stop smiling like that? She looks like a clown."

Clark burst out laughing at that remark, and Chloe dropped her smile like it was a bomb. Within seconds her sweet face had transformed into one of rage and jealousy.

Her eyes flashed as she looked the two of them over.

"Well, now I know all the stories about Mad Dog Lane are true. And just what the hell do you think you're laughing at Clark?"

Unfortunately for him, Clark could not get himself under control after Lois's last comment. Chloe was definitely not happy about this.

Five minutes passed with the two silent women watching, in amusement and rage, Clark's hysterical fit. He was lying back on the couch laughing, with tears running down his cheeks.

Finally he managed to stop and sit up straight. Solemnly he looked at Chloe. "Honey, please, I'm sorry. I wasn't laughing at you, honest. It's just, this whole situation is really bizarre."

"Well," Chloe replied calmly. "I can make it less bizarre. I'm leaving!"

Chloe turned back to the elevators and promptly tripped over her own feet. This quickly set Lois off into hysterics, and seeing Lois laugh made Clark laugh too. Chloe was forced to ruffle up the rest of her dignity in order to be able to get into the elevator.

Moments later Lois was able to calm herself down. "Oh Clark," she said between gasps. "I'm so sorry about all this."

"Nah, don't be Lois. It isn't your fault."

"I know, but still." Lois took a deep breath and faced him. "You just got married, and I've caused a fight between you and your wife."

Clark smiled. "The only thing I care about is having you back in my life. I still love you Lois."

"Don't Clark. Not now. You finally moved on. You married Chloe for a reason. Don't throw it away Clark. You love her, I know you do."

"Who knows what I feel." Clark tried to blow her off, but passion filled his eyes as he gazed at Lois.

"Stop it. I know that look and I don't appreciate it. You're married Clark."

With that Lois rose and headed back to the desk. A few moments later the elevator doors parted and Chloe emerged, suitcase in hand. She stalked right up to Clark.

"Clark, I want you to take me home. Now."

"Wait, Chloe, we need to talk first." Clark sat them both down on the sofa. Lois got interested and came out from behind the desk.

"Chloe, I know we haven't known each other for that long, but I felt a connection to you. I still do. That's why I agreed to marry you so quickly. Because I knew we could make it last. And just because Lois Lane entered my life briefly, doesn't mean I want to throw all that away. I love you Chloe. I always will. And I want to make this work." By the time he finished, two people were in tears. Chloe and Lois.

Lois just stared at Clark. She was amazed at what he really did feel for Chloe, so much more than what she thought. Lois knew she still loved him too, and that part of her wished Chloe would slap him and say good-bye. But Chloe did no such thing.

"My god Clark. What did I do to get so lucky? I don't deserve you."

Chloe stopped to take Clark's hand and stare into his eyes. Clark stared back, but blinked suddenly. There was something about her eyes, something familiar, but not. His mind began to go off again.

**"This is my sister Lucy, Clark." Lois motioned to the younger brunette, who shook Clark's hand.

The three talked for some time and Clark was amazed at how similar the two sisters were. Even in appearance. Short brown hair, bright brown eyes… **

Clark looked at Chloe with new recognition. "Holy crap!" he exclaimed, jumping up from his seat. He looked to Lois then back again. "Lucy?" he hissed.

Chloe bit her lip and stared at him blankly. Lois on the other hand, burst out laughing once again. She, of course, had known all along.

"Clark, I'm sorry." Lucy stood up. "Please let me explain."

But Clark was too busy looking between the two sisters, trying to straighten out his thoughts. "I…I don't understand. Why would you do this to me Lucy?"

"Because when we met again I really liked you, and you didn't seem to know who I was. I figured you wouldn't want to know, what with losing Lois, and me being so close to her."

"But you still should have told him Luce." Lois glanced sympathetically to Clark, who looked like he was going to go crazy at any moment. "Clark, are you okay?"

His only response was a slow nod, but then he shook his head, and then he said, "You know, I'm not really sure."

"Clark, I'm sorry," Lucy said again.

He nodded at her, but remained silent. After a few seconds he spoke again. "I have to go. I can't be here anymore, please." Clark looked pleadingly at the women, almost pathetically.

"So go Clark, we're not stopping you."

WHOOSH! Before either could say another word, Clark was gone.

Lucy raised her eyebrows. "I'll never get used to that."

Smiling, Lois wrapped her arm around the younger woman's shoulder. "Come on sis. I think we have a lot of catching up to do."

Clark sat on the balcony of his apartment in LA, staring up at the dark starry sky. Soft tears continued to cascade down his cheeks. His mind wandered over all the events swimming around in his head. Clark couldn't understand how his life had gotten so messed up so quickly. It felt like it was only yesterday when he met Lois Lane for the first time, and now he had no idea what to believe anymore. His relationship with Chloe, er… Lucy, had been the best thing that had happened to him in a long time. But now he didn't know what was true.

The next morning a soft knock on the apartment door disturbed Clark's thoughtful breakfast. He got up and opened it to see Lucy standing there. He didn't exactly want to talk at the moment, but she looked determined, so he gestured for her to come in.

"How are you doing Clark?" Lucy laid some papers down on the coffee table and sat in a chair across from it. Clark stood nervously behind the couch.

"I'm surprised you got back so soon."

"We caught a quick flight."

"We?"

"Lois and I."

"She's back then?"

"For the time being." Lucy looked at him, but he avoided eye contact. She reached for the papers. "Listen Clark, I took the liberty of going down to the courthouse earlier and filing for an annulment. They apparently approve my case, because all that's needed is your signature."

Clark looked somewhat alarmed. "Why would you do that?"

"I figured it's what you wanted."

"But I love you."

"You love Lois."

"How would you know?"

"By the way you acted last night."

"You don't know what you're talking about Lucy."

"Oh don't I?" Lucy got up and stood in front of him. "Clark, I believe you two were meant to be together. When I married you, I believed I was doing you a favor. I figured I was close enough to Lois to satisfy you. But now that she's here, you deserve to be with her, the real thing."

"Well how does she feel about this?"

"She loves you Clark."

Clark's eyes wandered around the apartment and he fidgeted nervously. His head ached and he could barely make sense of any of his thoughts. There was one thought however that was clear as a bell, and that was the one thought he did not want to think.

"I still love Lois."

Lucy smiled and took his hands. "I know you do." She reached over without a word and handed him the papers.

He silently took them, grabbed a pen, and scrawled his name in the desired places.

"I'm so sorry Lucy."

"Don't be," she said putting the papers in her purse. "I understand. But I am going to miss you."

"I'll miss you too."

Lucy reached up and kissed him lightly on the lips. "See you around Clark." He watched as she shut the door behind her. He was astounded at everything that was going on. There were only two people who could possibly understand- Mom and Dad.

Without one more thought, Clark was off to Smallville.

"So are you going to take Lois back son?" Martha Kent looked at Clark quizzically as she cleared the dishes away from their breakfast.

Clark had arrived at the Kent farm just as his parents were sitting down to eat. With barely a hello, Clark too sat down and proceeded to tell them the whole sordid tale.

The Kents were pretty much astonished at all the weird coincidences, but now obviously wondered what their son was going to do.

"I don't know Mom!" Clark threw up his hands in disgust and sat back. "That's why I'm here. So you can tell me what I should do."

"Son, you know we can't do that. You have to decide for yourself whether having Lois back in your life is worth it or not."

"Can't you just tell me this once Dad?"

"You father's right Clark. Only you can decide."

Sighing, Clark got to his feet. "I hate it when you guys are right."

Martha smiled knowingly and said, "We know dear."

"Then I guess I should be heading back. I don't know when Lois will decide to leave again." He kissed both his parents. "Bye, thank you." With a WHOOSH! He took off.

"Anytime son!" Jonathan called after him.

Lois Lane, still a blonde, sauntered into the Starbucks coffeehouse where Clark had asked her to meet him. She had to admit she was more than a little nervous. Lucy had told her what had happened that morning in Clark's apartment, and while things were over between Lucy and him, neither woman knew what Clark wanted to do about his relationship with Lois. She wasn't even totally sure what she wanted to do. Looking around, Lois noticed Clark was a little late. She sat down at a corner table and watched the door.

Clark walked slowly down the sidewalk towards Starbucks. He had no motivation to get there quickly. He still couldn't find the right words to say to her. He had called her because he knew they had needed to talk. Entering the shop, he immediately recognized the new Lois sitting in the corner.

"Would you like some coffee?"

"Yes, please." Lois watched Clark pay for the coffee through her green eyes and glasses that she still wore. He fixed the coffee and headed back to the table.

"Here you go." Clark handed her the cup and sat in a chair across from her. She took a sip.

"You remembered," she said smiling.

"Among other things," Clark replied, taking a sip of his own. Lois nodded, if not somewhat sadly, and stared down at the table. She silently wished he would talk first.

Clark took a deep breath.

"Okay Lois, I guess you're expecting me to go first, and I suppose I should. But the truth is, I don't know what to say anymore than you do. I'm sure Lucy told you about what happened between her and I." She nodded. "Look, I know I still love you Lois. But I'm not entirely sure what I want to do about it. You did hurt me Lois. Leaving me and making me believe you were dead hurt me."

"First of all Clark, you left me first. You had your reasons. But I had my reasons for leaving too. And I think it's kind of presumptuous of you to assume you have all the say in this."

Clark sighed. "I guess you're right Lois. So tell me then, how do you feel?"

"I love you Clark. Plain and simple. I can easily forgive you for leaving; it was a long time ago. Now that you're back, I want to be with you. Forever."

The expression on Lois's face when she talked almost made Clark cry. The more he sat and listened, the more he knew he was going to have to do something she wouldn't like. "Look Lois, I do know that I love you. More than I ever thought possible. However, I've been through a lot with you, especially lately. And I'm just not ready to get serious with you again. You may have forgiven me, but it's not so easy for me to forgive you."

"I don't get it Clark. What exactly are you saying?"

"I'm saying I don't want to get back together with you. Not at this moment." Lois's mouth almost dropped open. When she had come here she had never thought Clark was actually going to reject her! She stared into Clark's eyes. He knew she was hurt and his eyes showed it. It was pathetic.

Finally standing, Lois said, "Fine Clark. I understand." She swiftly headed towards the door. But Clark managed to stop her just before she ran off.

"You don't understand Lois. I just meant I don't want anything too serious too soon. But I still want you in my life, because I love you. Come on, don't leave!" He ran after her as she started to retreat, but she stopped abruptly and whirled around to face him.

"Clark stop pitying me."

"I'm not pitying you. Please Lois, let's just talk about this some more and then we can…"

"No Clark," Lois interrupted. "Like I said before, we each left for a reason. If we truly should have been together, we would've stayed together. But I have a life now in Nassau and I want to go back to it. I really wish you and Lucy hadn't taken such quick action, because I know you two love each other. Now, good-bye Clark." She reached up and slowly kissed him on the cheek, reveling in the way he felt beneath her.

At last she turned, bustling off down the crowded sidewalk. Clark stayed still on his spot, floored by the recent feeling of her, and watched her until she was enveloped by the crowd and out of sight. But even after she was gone he stood on that sidewalk, just staring off to where she once was, a sad mixture of confusion and grief so apparent on his face. His shoulders were slumped, his hands in his pockets. To anyone watching he would appear to be a man who had just lost a great deal. And indeed he had. For in just one short day Clark Kent had lost two women who had meant the world to him twice over. He began to feel small bits of his life raining down around him. That's when he knew the obvious.

Clark Kent was simply gone. After so many years of trying to keep him normal, in just one short day he managed to disappear, only the dead soul of Clark Kent still slightly lingered. For there was only one life ahead of him now, one life that still held purpose: Superman's.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Author's note: I know I ended this with a ' To Be Continued'. Just to let any fans of the story know, or anyone who is interested in finding out what happens, I will be writing a sequel, hopefully within six months. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it! Feedback is welcomed!