By Katie Sizer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted May 2002
Summary: What happens after Lois accepts that date with Dan Scardino at the end of the episode "Target: Jimmy Olsen"?
This is a vignette based on the end of an episode, but it isn't a challenge fic, because I didn't want to give myself a time limit! So just a regular vignette. It starts at the end of Target: Jimmy Olsen — where Lois & Clark are talking about their relationship, and Clark yet again gets called away. So Lois asks Dan out on a date. It takes off from there.
Many, many thanks to Wendy for BRing this extremely quickly! And also for supplying the title! You're a star, Wendy! :) :) Thanks also to Doug for giving this a checking over too. :) And special thanks to my GE, Tricia, for being so great to work with!
"Come on," she said, smiling. "How about lunch?"
She felt so annoyed with Clark, that asking Dan out on a date seemed like the perfect way to show him how angry she was with him. He didn't see why she should stand there and wait for Clark to come back from wherever he'd taken off to, and then carry on with what she was saying. It was unfair of him to expect her to do so.
"Lunch is good, lunch is very good," Dan said, in his smug, self-satisfied way. "What've you got in mind?"
"Maybe some ice cream?"
"Ice cream sounds good! Okay! You ever tried Rocky Road?"
"Of course!" she laughed.
They walked towards the elevator, laughing and joking with each other. Lois was still extremely angry with Clark for yet again running away from her, only seconds after he'd apologised for doing that the last time. She didn't understand what his problem was. She'd never have thought him to be afraid of commitment before she started dating him. And yet, she remembered, he'd treated Mayson badly, leaving her unsure where she stood with him. And, of course, he was continually ducking out on everyone, wasn't he?
She wished she could find out what the real reason for his regular disappearing act was. Maybe it would be so much easier for them if she could. As it was, she had no idea where she stood with Clark. One minute they were getting on really well, and discussing their relationship, and then nothing. He'd tell her he was going somewhere else, leaving her in the middle of an important sentence.
She was starting to get fed up with it. Clark had been the one to ask her out. Had he lost interest in her now? Been on a date with her, and decided she was boring, and wasn't worth it? Or was he just trying to be cruel to her? She instantly dismissed that thought, and chastised herself for thinking it. Clark would never do such a thing! He was too much of a kind and gentle person to do that to anyone, least of all her.
So what was it? Why was he doing this to her? She didn't think he was trying to hurt her at all. Maybe it was just a case of bad timing? Or maybe he needed time to compose himself before a serious conversation? She thought to herself that sounded stupid, but it could be true. Before he'd left — yet again — he'd asked her to hold onto that thought. So he obviously did want to have the conversation at some point.
A voice interrupted her thoughts, and she frowned for a moment, not wanting to be disturbed. "Hmm?"
"Are we going for this ice cream or not?" the obnoxious voice asked, butting into her thoughts. "Only we've been standing in silence at the elevator doors for a while!"
"Yes." She smiled at him, only half meaning it. Maybe she'd asked Dan out a little too quickly, instead of waiting for Clark to get back from wherever he'd gone off to. It was a little unfair on him. True, he had run away from her, but he did say he'd be right back. Still, she couldn't really tell Dan now that she had changed her mind and wanted to wait for Clark. So it looked like they were going for ice cream!
"Come on then!" he said, laughing.
They walked into the first elevator carriage that came, Dan still laughing, for what reason, Lois didn't know. But it was starting to irritate her a little already. She wanted to think, and Dan was distracting her. Suddenly, she felt very sorry for Clark. A few people had seen her walk off with Dan, so he'd certainly find out where she'd gone and who with. She was sure it would devastate him. And she'd done that to him.
She knew how much he disliked Dan. When she really thought about it, she could see why. He had been unreasonably nasty to Clark, jumping in with any time he had on his own with Lois. She knew he was doing it on purpose. And she'd actually let him! She hadn't told him to leave, because she was talking to Clark. Nope, she'd begun talking to Dan instead!
The elevator stilled, and she stopped thinking about Clark, and tried to concentrate on the time she was going to spend with Dan. The date she'd been agreeable to five minutes ago. Dan smiled a stupid, goofy smile at her, and held his arm out. Reluctantly she took it, and realised instantly that it was nowhere near as good as walking arm in arm with Clark. That was close, and fun, and tender. This wasn't. She knew she was going to think about Clark all the time, and remember her date with him. She almost felt as if she was cheating on him just by being out now with Dan.
"So, where are we going, Lois?" Dan asked, once they were outside the Daily Planet building.
"How about the Fudge Castle?" she suggested. Might as well enjoy a good ice cream, even if she would be thinking about poor Clark throughout the whole date.
"Sounds good to me! Isn't this great, Lois? And I didn't even buy you any flowers! You just asked me to come on a date with you. Guess you finally realised what a schmuck Kent is!" he laughed, grinning at her.
Lois felt a wave of annoyance run through her when he insulted Clark. Clark certainly hadn't done anything to him to call him a schmuck! Much as she tried, she couldn't hold back from saying anything to him about it. "Don't say that about Clark," she snapped. "He doesn't deserve that."
Dan held his hands up. "Okay! No talking about Kent."
Lois frowned, but didn't let him see it. He obviously wasn't taking her very seriously. She ignored him and told herself the next time he said anything about Clark, she'd walk out and leave him. "Thanks," she said shortly.
"I thought you were angry at him, anyway?" he said, totally ignoring the fact that he'd told her he wasn't going to say anything more about him.
She sighed. "I was. I've been thinking, though. Clark's such a lovely, kind person. He hasn't done anything to merit being insulted, and especially not by you, Dan. If you're insulting him because you think he's upset me, then you're wrong. I was angry at him, but I've been thinking about it since then."
"Thought about it in what way?" Dan asked, not letting it rest.
"Maybe I haven't been too nice to him either." She paused, wondering whether to continue, and decided that she should. "I've been letting you interrupt our private time too much, Dan, when I should have really said that I was busy with Clark. It's not really been very fair on him."
"I see," Dan said tonelessly. "By the way, Lois, do you realise we're still outside? I'll get us a taxi."
Before Lois could make any protests, he'd already walked to the edge of the sidewalk and whistled for a taxi. She went over to it, and climbed in afterwards, hoping that he wouldn't want to stay very long. She'd realised that she wanted to go and speak to Clark and get everything sorted out. He was the person she wanted, and it baffled her why she'd ever thought Dan was a suitable partner. He was a goofy fool.
Clark ran into the Planet newsroom after returning from the rescue, desperately hoping that Lois wouldn't be too angry with him for yet again leaving her in the middle of conversation. He felt bad about just leaving her, and for a split second, had almost thought about ignoring the rescue and staying to talk to Lois. But he'd known he couldn't do that.
And now, he faced her not wanting to speak to him for a long time. She wasn't going to be very happy with him, that was for sure. Scanning the newsroom quickly, he found he couldn't see her, and he was puzzled. He'd only been ten minutes at the most. Surely she couldn't have left? It was possible that she could have gone for lunch without him, but he'd asked her to wait for him. He thought she would have.
There were many people milling about, and he decided to be sure, the best thing to do was to ask one of them if they had any idea where Lois had gone. He saw Jimmy walking across, obviously doing some research, and thought that he would probably have seen what happened to her.
"Hey, Jimmy!" he said to the young man. "Did you see where Lois went?"
"Hey, CK," Jimmy replied. He was almost reluctant to tell Clark where Lois had gone, but he had asked, so he decided that he'd better tell him. "She went to lunch with Dan, about ten minutes ago. Just after you left, actually."
Clark patted him on the shoulder and went to sit at his desk. He couldn't believe that Lois had decided to go off with Dan, especially right after he had left. She hadn't even bothered to wait for him to come back. The thought saddened him. While he knew that his running off again would have made Lois angry, he didn't think she'd run straight to Dan the minute his back was turned. He didn't think Lois was like that.
He had to admit to himself though that she had every right to go off with Dan. He hadn't been paying her very much attention recently, and couldn't blame her for wanting to be with someone who would notice she was there. If only she knew that he had a proper reason for leaving her every time! Instead of being left to draw her own conclusions.
But there was no way he could tell her. Not yet. He didn't know how she'd take it at all. True, it would explain things to her, but would probably only serve the purpose of making her angrier with him. It was probably just the best idea to try and show her some more attention, and resolve to only go to a rescue if it was serious. If it were anything that the emergency services could handle safely without anyone being injured, then he'd let them do it, and devote more time to Lois.
Maybe that was selfish, but he couldn't bear to lose Lois, and he knew that if he kept running off during major conversations, she wouldn't stand it forever. She would leave him, probably for Dan — if indeed she hadn't done that already — and break his heart. There would be no way he'd be able to stay in Metropolis and watch her have a relationship with Dan. He'd have to leave the lifestyle he'd acquired here, and that thought too broke his heart.
He could, of course, tell her his secret before it got that far. He knew she'd be angry with him, but would she really be any less angry if he just kept disappearing without explanation? Probably not. Telling her was an option, but he needed to know how she felt about him first. He needed to know that she loved him as Clark. Before he even contemplated telling her, he needed to hear her tell him — as Clark — that she loved him. Then he could finally be sure that she wanted him, and not Superman.
But what if she didn't say that? What if she ran to Dan before she told him she loved him? Would telling her be out of the window? Maybe it would lure her back. At least she would know that his disappearances weren't because he didn't want to be with her. Maybe that would be enough to stop her from seeing Dan. It was an option, anyway. First of all, he needed to find out what Lois's feelings for him — and for Dan — were.
Not feeling in the mood for any work, and seeing as it was also time he had a lunch break, he decided to just get a coffee and wait for Lois to come back from her 'date' with Dan.
Lois began to grow even more restless as she finished the ice cream Dan had bought her. She wanted to go and talk to Clark now, and make things up with him. This 'date' with Dan had been a total waste of time. Dan always had an annoying edge to him, but today, he'd been worse than ever. Just because she'd asked him on a date, he'd turned into one of the most irritating people she'd ever met.
"Would you like another, Lois?" he asked her, in his smarmy manner.
"No… Actually, I think I'd better be heading back to work now," she told him politely.
"To get back to Kent, you mean?" he asked accusingly.
"Yes," she told him, seeing no need to lie. "I think I agreed to go out with you too quickly, Dan. I want to get things sorted out with Clark. I hope you understand. It's just that we'd never be right together, anyway. It wouldn't work!"
He looked very taken aback, and the smug smile soon dropped off his face.
"That's fine, Lois. I just hope you'll both be very happy together," he said huffily, and gave her a painted-on smile. He got up and walked out of the door, not even bothering to wait for her.
After he'd left, Lois couldn't help but chuckle to herself about his face. She'd basically told him she'd chosen Clark over him. It'd been a picture. But, thinking seriously, she decided she had better go back to Clark and talk to him before he gave up on her.
Fifteen minutes later, Lois rushed up to the newsroom, and looked around for Clark. She saw him sitting at his desk, his head down into his coffee. He looked so alone and forlorn, she just wanted to hug him and make him smile. Slowly, tentatively, she walked over to him and pulled up a chair. At first neither of them said anything, and both wondered who was going to be the first to speak.
In the end, Clark spoke up. "Hey, Lois," he said quietly.
"Clark… I'm sorry, about not waiting for you to get back. I was just angry with you for interrupting me again!" she said, placing her hand gently on his arm.
"Can we go into the conference room, Lois? I think we need to talk about this where there aren't so many people listening in!" he said, deliberately raising his voice at the end of his sentence.
"Okay," she said softly, and got up to walk over to the conference room.
Clark made sure that the doors were shut carefully, and went to join Lois at the table. "Lois… when I got back and Jimmy told me you'd gone to lunch with Dan, I was hurt." At her pained expression, he continued, "But I understand why. You had every right to be angry with me, Lois. After all, I did run off in the middle of when you were trying to tell me something that was on your mind, and is obviously important to you — to both of us."
"So why do you keep doing it, Clark?" she asked.
"I… I can't tell you, Lois. But please trust me, there is a reason for all my disappearing acts. It's not because I don't care, Lois. I care very much about us. It breaks my heart that you might choose Dan over me because of this," he said, his voice quietening at the end.
"Clark, if we're going to have a relationship, then you're going to have to tell me everything about yourself! No excuses, Clark. If you really do have a reason for why you keep hurting me like this, then I think you need to tell me."
"Lois, I promise you that you'll know some day soon. I'll tell you soon, Lois," he told her, taking her hand in his, and hoping she wouldn't snatch it back.
She didn't, but sighed, and looked down at it. "I can see that I'm not going to get it out of you today, Clark," she said, with a humourless laugh. "So I guess arguing and pestering you isn't going to do me any good! You know, I should stop dating you for this, Clark."
At his horrified look, she continued. "But I'm not. I don't want to lose you, Clark! All I thought about when I was with Dan was you. I told him that I don't want him. I came back to be with you!" She smiled.
He smiled back too, first warily and letting it widen. "Thank you, Lois! I thought that was it. I thought you didn't want me anymore. I was so sure you were going to tell me you were seeing Dan instead, and I was old news."
She squeezed his hand tighter. "No, Clark. Going out for lunch with Dan was a huge mistake. You've seen it all along, and for some reason, I've only just realised how annoying he is!" she grinned.
Clark grinned back at her. "I'm glad to hear that Lois. And I'm glad to hear that you still want to be with me!"
"Of course I do, Clark! I lov…" She trailed off, realising what she had been able to say.
"You… you love me, Lois?" he asked, hardly daring to believe she was about to say that.
She didn't say anything at first, but then she felt his hand squeeze hers, and suddenly couldn't remember why she'd trailed off. It had been obvious for quite a while that he felt the same. "Yes, Clark. I love you," she said, a smile taking over her face.
It was matched with an equally great one from him. "I love you too, Lois. But I suspect you've known that for a long time. I've loved you since the first time I laid eyes on you, Lois. I knew you were the one for me."
"I'm just sorry I didn't know the first time I saw you. Maybe if I'd given you more of a chance… but that's in the past now. We need to start planning some more dates!" She grinned.
"We do." He grinned back. "But first, there's something else we need to do."
"What?" Lois asked.
"This…" he replied, and pressed his lips against hers. She gave a squeal of surprise, before parting her lips and responding to his movements against them. She moved her hands to grip the back of his head, and pull his face in even closer to hers, and continued to let their lips melt together in a never-ending kiss.
It didn't matter that people from the newsroom had gathered around the conference room windows to watch them; the moment was only about the two of them. Finally, they parted their lips away from each other's, gasping for air.
"I think I'm ready to tell you my secret now, Lois," Clark said quietly, almost a whisper. "Let's go back to my apartment so we can talk properly."
Saying nothing, Lois stood up, and taking Clark's hand, they walked out of the conference room together, to the cheers of several Planet workers.