By Kaethel <Kaethel@wanadoo.fr>
Submitted: March 2002
Summary: Valentine's Day had always been special for Clark, even when he'd had no one to celebrate it with. This year, he has Lois…and a few secrets to share. But will she appreciate the surprises he has planned for her?
Okay, I know that technically, it's not Valentine's Day any more, especially since it took me a few weeks (and growls from LabRat <g>) to submit this story to the archive, but I did write it on Valentine's night and posted it to the boards on the next morning, so the intent was there. <g>
This is just a little piece of late Season 2 fluff — no plot in sight, be warned ;) — but I hope you'll enjoy it. A heartfelt thank you goes out to LabRat and Wendy Richards for some extra-quick and extremely helpful beta-reading, to the FoLCs who helped me solve a candles-related problem on irc, and to the MB readers for their overwhelming comments. :) Last but not least, I'd like to thank my GE Laurie for some last minute polishing before this story was uploaded to the Archive. :)
Feedback is very welcome, as usual. :)
Clark Kent took a deep breath and unconsciously slowed his steps as he neared Carter Avenue. His mind kept returning to the state he'd left his own place in and he mentally reviewed every single detail — twice — to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything. He'd spent a long week pondering his choices, doing his best to focus on the safe elements of this special day, such as the food and the decor. The mere thought of his other decision was churning his stomach and making his head spin.
He loved Lois. He'd loved her for as long as he'd known her, and the past few weeks they'd spent together as a couple had been simply blissful. A couple. He repeated the word fondly, tasting it out loud and sighing appreciatively at its significance. He no longer had to hide his true feelings from her, steal longing glances at her when she wasn't paying attention, or daydream about holding her in his arms at any time of the day and night.
Now that she openly returned his feelings, his heart swelled with pride and love when their eyes searched out each other through the newsroom and locked, oblivious to the rest of the world. When they sat next to one another and worked on a story, he didn't hesitate to reach for her hand and entwine his fingers with hers, the gesture discreet but so intimate and meaningful.
And then there were the kisses they shared…
The first touch of her lips on his had sent electrical shocks through him, sublimating every fantasy he'd ever indulged in. For long weeks after that night, he'd avoided thinking about that kiss, flinching when it brought back the much less pleasant memory of Mayson's death. Lois had given him space at first, and he'd been grateful to her for understanding his grief, but he'd felt guilty for letting her insecurities resurface.
He'd done his best to reassure her, but his secret identity had made things complicated. Too complicated. What Lois had come to call his 'disappearing act' was definitely getting in the way of their relationship and it was time for him to call a halt to it.
He was going to tell her everything. Tonight.
He had no more excuses for avoiding the topic with her, no more reasons to hide his true self from her. If he wanted to share his soul with her, then his deepest secret had to be swept out of the way.
He couldn't help but fret over his decision, wonder if it was really the right time, if he shouldn't wait a bit more to be sure that Lois really loved him, but the honest part of him wasn't fooled: he was just procrastinating. He'd been waiting for the perfect occasion, and what better moment than a Valentine's Day dinner?
Things had been going really well lately. The city had been quiet and that had allowed Superman to take a few days off, barring his daily patrol. As a result, he hadn't had to run out on Lois and her mood had effectively brightened in response. She'd been closer to him, initiating small gestures of intimacy and spending almost every evening with him.
Tonight though, they wouldn't be going out to a restaurant, contrary to what he'd told her. He'd played with the idea of taunting her with an upcoming surprise but had realised it would have driven her crazy. In the end, she'd have managed to make him spill the truth anyway. She had too much power over him and despite his best will he knew he wouldn't have resisted her pleading eyes and investigative techniques. So as it was, she thought he was taking her to a small Italian restaurant they both loved, and his little mysteries were safe from Mad Dog Lane's redoubtable skills.
He jogged up the stairs to her apartment, needing the physical exertion to get rid of the butterflies fluttering in his stomach. When he stopped in front of her door though, he was feeling even more nervous; his heart was beating faster, and he could swear his palms would be sweating if it wasn't for his Kryptonian heritage.
This was it. And there would be no regrets.
Lois started when she heard the knock on her front door and immediately scolded herself for being so jumpy. She'd been checking the clock every two minutes for the past half hour, impatience bubbling up in her belly as she waited for Clark to pick her up for their date.
February the fourteenth. It was February the fourteenth, and Lois Lane, who'd always loathed Valentine's Day and its commercial atmosphere, had been a mixture of eagerness and nervousness all week despite Clark's apparent obliviousness to the calendar. She'd observed him closely for days, looking for any clue that he might be planning something special, but her usually what-you-see-is-what-you-get partner had been unreadable.
Lois knew better, though. She'd seen his gaze light up when Jimmy had passed by his desk earlier today and told him about the 'hot date' he'd got himself for the evening. She'd noticed the almost imperceptible flicker of his eyes towards her even if he'd immediately tried to hide it.
Besides, the fact that he'd told her he'd made reservations at Antonio's for tonight was another major clue that he had something more than a simple date in mind. The restaurant offered a very romantic setting, a large window overlooking the river, and the secluded booths at the back of the room weren't deprived of the beautiful view.
She'd decided that after dinner she would coax him into a lazy stroll along the river. The chill of the night's air would make her shiver, but Clark would wrap his arms around her…and hold her close…and kiss her…
And she would tell him she loved him.
She'd waited long enough to admit her feelings to herself and tonight was time to share them with the man who'd come to mean so much to her over the past couple of years. No more running off from each other, no more fear of the unknown, no more skittishness. She wasn't afraid to say the three scary words, much as it surprised her. For the first time in her life, she was very sure of how she felt, and she was convinced that her love was returned.
There was no dread lurking for her in the future…only the steady love of her best friend and the passion of his devastating kisses.
She let out a shaky sigh and checked herself in the mirror one more time, straightening the straps of her black dress before walking to the door in a daze and reaching a trembling hand to undo the locks.
Finally, some clumsy fumbling later, she was standing in front of Clark and catching her breath as she took in the sight of him.
He was gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. There was no other word. She'd noticed Clark's physique before, but now there was no need to pretend she hadn't. After all, he was her official boyfriend now. But she never got tired of seeing him dressed up, the grey pants and matching jacket lightened by his white shirt and dark — and amazingly, classical — tie.
He gratified her with a dazzling smile, the kind that made her insides melt, and a husky "Hi."
One word and she had to keep a tight control on the part of her that wanted to throw herself into his arms. One word and he had her ready to follow him to the ends of the earth.
Boy…she'd got it bad.
"You look…stunning," he stammered, and Lois noticed he sounded as nervous as she was.
The realisation made her feel only slightly better, much to her disappointment. Usually it would give her control but tonight…tonight it seemed like every little ounce of willpower she'd had in the past vanished every time she rested her gaze on him.
"So do you," she blurted out, ushering him inside and accepting the single red rose he was handing to her.
It was just so Clark to think about this kind of detail…and so unlike her to feel so moved by the thought. The change in the flower's colour wasn't missed on her either; for each of their dates this week, Clark had turned up at her door with a white rose, but the crimson shade of the delicate petals confirmed to Lois that tonight was no ordinary night.
"So, what time do we need to be at Antonio's?" Her question wasn't born so much from natural curiosity as from a desperate attempt at sounding detached as she busied herself with a vase and water. She blinked back the tears prickling at her eyes, mentally chiding at her soppiness. Why was she acting like a love-struck character on one of her favourite soap operas?
"Ah…there's a slight change of plans."
The mysterious tone he'd adopted in his reply made her look up from her task and she gasped when he produced a strip of red silk from his jacket pocket. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise and she frowned warily at him, unsure how to react. Nonetheless, she remained calm and collected when he approached her carefully, circling around to stand behind her and then pulling the cloth over her eyes.
"What are you up to, Clark?" she asked nervously even as she let him tie the silken scarf around her skull.
"Well, Ms Lane," he started huskily, dropping a soft kiss on the side of her neck, the sudden touch triggering a shiver up her spine. "I think this is a surprise."
"Come on, you know I hate being kept in the dark!" she whined, but she couldn't prevent her amusement from creeping into her voice. "Literally!"
She let him steer her towards the door — or at least she assumed it was the door, if her sense of orientation didn't fail her — and sighed in mock-dramatic surrender as he helped her pull on her coat and handed her her purse. He then grasped her hand and pulled her after him, and she heard him lock up behind them before he helped her to the elevator and out of the building.
Wait a minute…
A small prickle of unease tightened the muscles in her stomach. What, was he planning to take her to a restaurant like that, blindfolded and helpless? No way! Not in this lifetime! At least her street wasn't crowded and it wasn't like her neighbours knew her enough to recognise her, assuming they saw her — and she hoped they wouldn't — but a restaurant…a restaurant was just too public a place! But Clark knew better than to ridicule her anyway. Besides, she had no doubt she'd manage to coax him into telling her what he had in mind within minutes, and the blindfold would become superfluous.
The cold night air hit her when she stepped out onto the street and the draught made her shiver a little. That dress had looked like a good idea at the time, tightly hugging her chest to emphasise her curves and leaving her shoulders open to…possibilities. Clark had developed some kind of habit over the past few weeks, dropping a kiss on the side of her neck whenever its skin was exposed. She'd assumed a little encouragement on Valentine's night wouldn't hurt.
But it was just like the commercial gods to set Valentine's Day in February! Honestly, didn't they realise how much harder it was to dress up in winter? Or did they want her to catch pneumonia so that her man took care of her?
Now there was an idea…
The thought died on her when Clark's hand left hers and his arm wrapped itself around her shoulders, pulling her into a warming embrace. It was amazing how aware of her this man was, as if he was constantly tuned into her smallest needs and lived only to fulfil them.
But he released her after a moment, taking her hand in his again and urging her on.
"You know, Clark," she said after taking a few careful steps. "You could let me take off the blindfold. It'd be much easier for me to walk."
"Uh-uh. Nice try, Lois, but it won't work this time. Besides, we're here."
"We are?" Did he mean his surprise, whatever it was, was out on the street? What kind of surprise was that?
"Not exactly, but we're going to drive. You're right, walking isn't very easy when you can't see a thing."
"Clark!" she protested, frustration welling up in her when he still showed no sign of giving in.
"Come on, Lois, I already drove your Jeep and it's still in one piece. Actually, it's got better chances of staying in shape when I'm the one behind the whee — ow!"
"You earned that, Kent," she replied mock-threateningly, withdrawing her fist from his arm.
Much as it surprised her, she'd always enjoyed Clark's teasing, even before they became friends. It was never cruel and it made her feel like his equal. A few years ago, Lois would have vigorously rebelled against the idea of letting a man tease her the way Clark did, but somehow he'd managed to change her in so many ways. Her approach to life was much more optimistic and joyful since her Kansas farmboy had stepped into her existence.
So she let him help her inside the car and waited patiently (whatever Clark said — after all, she was allowed to ask a few questions along the way, if just to pass the time) until she heard him turn off the ignition.
"We're here!" he announced cheerfully.
"I figured that," she retorted. "Can I take it off now?"
"Oh come on, Clark! This is just ridiculous." It had been fun for a moment but now she was tired of the game he was playing with her, and the nervousness tying her stomach in knots was taking over her mood.
He immediately seized her hand and squeezed it. "Please."
She knew that tone of voice. It was probably accompanied by one of those trademark puppy-dog looks of his, she just knew it. She'd never been able to resist his pleading and tonight was no exception, so after an exaggerated sigh she let him guide her out of the Jeep. She focused on the sounds around her, surprised when she didn't hear the hustle-bustle that characterised the crowded streets surrounding the best restaurants in Metropolis. At least it reassured her fears of ridicule. But she didn't have time to explore the discovery further before Clark's next move took her completely by surprise.
She let out a startled yelp when he swept her into his arms, but his delighted laugh soothed her instantly, and she found herself relaxing again, giggling with him as he started walking. Her arms almost immediately found their way around his neck and he pulled her closer, blocking the cold evening breeze and keeping her warm.
A moment later, they were climbing up a flight of stairs. At the top of them, Clark stopped, but he still didn't put her down. He also refused to give her any kind of explanation despite the menacing threats she proffered. She heard the sound of locks being opened and a welcome warmth suffused her entire body when Clark stepped inside.
He finally set her back onto her feet, but Lois's earlier agitated eagerness had entirely disappeared. She could smell delicious aromas coming from the back of the room, she could hear soft romantic music playing in the background, she could feel Clark's hands on the sides of her head as he untied the cloth keeping her blind, and her heart started beating faster in anticipation.
When the red silk was finally pulled away from her eyes, she could only let out a strangled gasp. Nothing could have prepared her for the sight that greeted her, and it was with wonderment that she surveyed Clark's apartment.
The place was lit only by candles, which had been placed in frosted glass containers of various hues and whose lambent glow was radiating around the room, giving it a cosy and intimate atmosphere. At her feet, a trail of rose petals led the way down the stairs and into the living-area, in the centre of which a table had been installed and covered with an immaculate white cloth and beautiful china.
It was simply breathtaking.
She turned towards her partner's adoring gaze and smiled at him through the tears that had gathered in her eyes. "Oh, Clark…" she whispered, her voice cracking. She was immediately pulled into his arms and she hugged him close, pressing her body against his, shivering under the caress his hands brushed up her back. "Thank you, sweetheart," she murmured shakily and dropped a tender kiss on his lips.
"I wasn't sure about the petals," he said when she released him, a thoughtful frown passing on his face as if it was his latest obsession — and knowing Clark, she wouldn't be surprised if it indeed was.
She shook her head, a chuckle on her lips. "To tell you the truth, Clark, under normal circumstances I'd think it was corny. But," she hurried on when she spotted the defeated look on his face. "Not tonight. Not from you."
"No. Because you make me feel special." A shuddery breath escaped her as she let out the last word, but there was no awkwardness lurking for her after what was, to her, almost like an outright declaration.
"You *are* special, Lois," he replied earnestly.
He drew her into another kiss, the encounter more intimate than the previous one, their lips clinging together in a sensual game of tag and pull. Her hands trailed up his chest and around his neck, pulling him closer and deepening the kiss in a desperate need to show him how much his words and actions meant to her.
But Clark broke off too quickly, ignoring her frustrated moan of disapproval as he pulled her behind him, explaining eagerly what kind of culinary delights he'd cooked for her, and Lois laughed good-heartedly, letting herself be caught in his enthusiasm.
Dinner had been wonderful. The food was divine, the vintage wine had warmed her insides, and the company…the company was the best part.
Their long-lasting friendship and the dates they'd had over the past few weeks had already shown her how much she enjoyed being around Clark, but tonight had been even more enjoyable somehow. Maybe it was the romantic ambience or the intimacy of the setting…but deep down, Lois knew that it was just her heart confirming the decision she'd made earlier that day.
Each second passing made her fall even more deeply in love with the man sitting across from her. Each second passing urged her to tell him how much he meant to her.
She mulled over the thought for a few moments, expecting her fears to resurface and almost disappointed when they didn't. Instead, a forceful certainty invaded her mind, fuelling her with a courage she didn't know she possessed.
She opened her mouth to interrupt Clark's insightful observations about their latest investigation and steer the conversation towards the topic she wanted to broach when she noticed he was looking at her with a troubled expression. Actually, it was more than just troubled. He looked almost…frightened.
"Clark?" She said his name tentatively, proddingly.
"Lois, there's…there's something I want to tell you." He got to his feet instantly and groped for her hand, pulling her towards the couch. She frowned, puzzled by his sudden change in behaviour, but followed him wordlessly. Whatever was happening inside his head, it had shattered the relaxed mood that had settled between them for the past two hours, and the nervousness that had failed her minutes earlier immediately claimed her in response to the sudden and awkward silence.
Clark urged her to sit on the sofa but even after she complied, he didn't join her, standing in front of her instead, without letting go of her hand. She felt him fidget with her fingers, brushing quick caresses across her palm, and her stomach tied in tighter knots as a dozen dreadful possibilities poured through her mind.
He'd said there was something he wanted to tell her…and this something was obviously a great deal if she went by the tension filtering through to her from his attitude. The first choice that occurred to her was that he might have the same intention as she did, but she dismissed it almost instantly. Why would Clark be nervous of telling her he loved her? She'd known it for a while and it wasn't as if it would be such a surprise!
On the other hand, the one time when he'd confessed his feelings to her, she'd turned him down, and the months that had followed were among the darkest moments of her life. Maybe he was afraid she'd react in the same way she had the previous year, telling him she didn't return the strong feelings he had for her?
No. After all, they were a couple now, and she was spending Valentine's Day with him, had let him treat her to dinner in an environment that left very little to the imagination when it came to the truth of his feelings for her. Surely he couldn't be scared to tell her he loved her after this kind of date?
The other, much more dreadful possibility was that he was going to finish with her. She almost screamed at the thought, and her eyes quickly darted to his face in a frantic search for clues of an upcoming disaster. But if anything, the gaze resting on her reflected only love and hope. The sincerity shining in his brown depths hadn't changed. Besides, she reasoned more calmly, the lengths he'd gone to to prepare their evening together made it unlikely that he had a break-up in mind. You didn't have a candlelit dinner with your future ex-girlfriend…right?
So…what was he doing here, standing in front of her, refusing to sit next to her and still holding her han -
He couldn't…no, he *couldn't*!
/Why couldn't he, Lois?/
Because…*because*! He couldn't possibly be thinking about proposing to her! Not now! Not when everything was going so well!
/He loves you. And you love him, don't you?/
Well, precisely! Clark certainly knew better than ruin everything with an anticipated proposal. It was *way* too soon for them to think about marriage. It would be completely crazy, completely *insane* even! No, it was simply stupid, and Clark wasn't an idiot. Besides, if he was going to propose he would already be kneeling at her feet. He was too much of a traditionalist not to give in to such a ritual. A nervous chuckle escaped her as the scene played out in front of her eyes, but she tried to control the laughter bubbling up in her when Clark looked down at her with a confused expression.
"Oh…nothing." Her giggle stopped short and she looked down at their joined hands, squeezing his in reassurance and encouragement.
But Clark wasn't the kind to let it rest. "No, Lois, what is it?" he demanded inquisitively, worry tainting his voice.
"God, Clark…I just need to know," she replied, doing her best to keep the smile plastered on her face and not show him how much the prospect scared her. "You're not going to propose, are you?"
He looked completely taken aback, a reaction that immediately triggered a wave of relief in her, and he laughed a bit uncomfortably in response. "No, Lois. Not yet anyway."
He'd said 'not yet'.
Which meant he didn't exclude the possibility.
"Unless…you want me to?"
"No!" Lois nearly cried the word, realising too late that her upfront reaction had probably hurt Clark. "I mean…Clark, it doesn't mean I'm averse to marriage…marriage with you." She swallowed, shaking the fear out of her voice. "But it would be too soon for us. We're dating, and I'm feeling good with you. *We* are feeling good together. And I want to know more about you, and…and I want you to keep courting me," she added coyly, her last admission thankfully loosening the heavy atmosphere around them.Clark shook his head, an amused smile playing about his lips. "Anything you want, Ms Lane," he answered huskily, bending down to take her mouth in a sweet kiss. "But since you want to know me better…"
"Wasn't I just doing that?" she retorted with a disapproving frown when he pulled away and resumed his standing position in front of her.
"There'll be time for this kind of activity later — that is, if you still want to," he finished in a much more sombre tone.
"You're scaring me."
"I'm sorry. It's just…what I'm going to tell you, it's something I've been keeping from everyone all my life, a big secret that only my parents know, and —-"
"Spill it, Clark!" She hated seeing him beat around the bush and torture himself with fear. Moreover, she hated waiting.
He let out a shaky breath, and Lois braced herself for the worst. Whatever it was, that big secret of his wasn't something he thought she'd like, and she preferred not to let her imagination run wild with more interpretations of his fearful air.
"Lois," he started, his words betraying the trembling of his voice. "I love you. I love your strength, I love your stubbornness, I love your determination to fight for what you believe in. I need you in my life, Lois. I realised a long time ago that I couldn't live without you, and I know for sure that my feelings for you will never change. I've loved you for such a long time and I never stopped hoping that someday, I might be able to share everything with you."
Lois's free hand flew to her face and covered her mouth to hide a gasp of surprise, and Clark stopped the flood of words that threatened to overwhelm them both if he kept talking. He'd intended to start his confession with his feelings for her but had somehow got carried away and shared the depths of his soul with her, mindless of the consequences.
Fear gripped at him as he remembered her horror-stricken reaction when she'd thought he was about to propose. If she didn't feel ready to marry him, wouldn't she be scared by the extent of his feelings for her?
The suspicious brightness in her eyes as she stared at him in stunned silence broke his heart, and he opened his mouth to apologise, but before the first word was out of his mouth, Lois was flinging herself into his arms, pulling him close and hugging him tighter than she'd ever had.
Her lips closed over his earlobe and trailed a series of feather-like kisses along his jaw line before blindly reaching for his mouth. She shifted, rising onto her knees to draw level with him, and she kissed him deeply, with more passion than she'd ever let him feel.
"And I love you," she whispered against his lips when she pulled away. "I've been in love you for a long time, too. Even if it took me longer than you to admit it to myself."
He leaned his forehead against hers, savouring every second of a moment he'd waited for two long years. Hearing her say she loved him was like a dream come true. The thrill of her confession rippled through him, her words echoing in his mind over and over, giving him strength for what was to come.
"I don't suppose this was your big secret, was it?" Lois whispered, breaking the moment and failing to hide the concern in her eyes.
His hand came up to her face, tenderly cupping her cheek as he shook his head regretfully. "No. But remember I love you. Remember I never meant to hurt you, that the reasons I had for keeping that from you for so long might not be the most convincing in the world, but they seemed right at the time."
"Get on with it," he completed for her. "Yeah. I know." He straightened, gazing down at her face and memorising the love radiating from her expression, fearful that it was the last time she'd let him into her soul. Then he closed his eyes and blurted out the truth. "Lois, I'm Superman."
He was…he was…Superman?
He was *Superman*?!
The revelation spun in crazy circles around Lois's head, calling up old memories of the Man of Steel and reconciling them with those of her partner, triggering dozens of contradictory emotions in her heart. Anger, deceit, hurt, remorse…and…and love.
No, she wouldn't let herself be blinded by love. Not again. Never again. Clark — *Superman* didn't deserve it, not when he'd lied to her for two years, not when he'd let her fawn over one part of him and dismiss the oth -
The fury rising in her gut shattered at once as she was hit with the reminiscence of the attitude she'd adopted around him in the first year of their partnership, and guilt steamrollered her anger into silence.
She'd behaved so callously with Clark, treating him like a rookie who didn't know his way around the journalism business, whereas she had gone all goo-goo eyed over Superman, throwing herself at him and…and even claiming she'd love him just the same if he was an ordinary man!
Shocked dismay coursed through her, crushing all of her previous intentions to give Clark a serious piece of her mind — and probably throw him out the window while she was at it, she admitted grudgingly, purposely ignoring the fact — a mere detail! — that he could fly. She'd been awful to him that night before her engagement, scorching into a wound that she'd opened herself by turning him down as Clark.
But it didn't explain why he hadn't told her later, she retorted to herself frantically!
It did, came the instant, accusatory reply. He'd been in love with her for as long as he'd known her, and as she'd told him only minutes earlier, it had taken her much longer to admit to herself that her feelings for him ran deeper than the safe friendship she'd thought she revelled in. Meanwhile, she'd been lusting after Superman and giving him mixed signals.
His concerned voice called her back to her surroundings, and she opened her eyes warily, resisting the pull of the loving look resting on her. Now wasn't the time to be fooled by his gentleness or by the warmth spreading through her hand via the physical contact she hadn't dared break — and she *refused* to try and comprehend what pushed her to hold onto his fingers like a lifeline.
"I guess I don't need to ask why you kept it from me for so long," she murmured, more to herself than to him.
"I wish I'd found a way to tell you sooner. I was scared, Lois."
"Not that you'd be mad at me, because I knew you'd be and it was my fault, but…that I'd…that I'd hurt you." The pain on his face was visible as he uttered the words, and Lois felt once again the pull of the dangerous emotions tugging her towards forgiveness.
It was hard to stay angry with him when she wanted so badly to believe him, when she couldn't forget her love for him, the feelings that she knew weren't just a trick of her heart. It was hard not to trust him despite the lies and deceit.
"Oh, Lois…" he continued, shaking his head sadly and squeezing her hand, apparently as unwilling to let go of the physical contact as she was. "I've never loved anyone as much as I love you. I never thought about sharing my secret before I met you but right from the moment I saw you I knew you'd be the one whom I would tell. I knew that someday I would share everything with you," he repeated his earlier wistful confession, his voice breaking with fear.
Fear of losing her, she knew.
Fear of seeing her shut him off her life and send him back to the solitude he'd probably lived in all along, if she went by the frantic undercurrent in his entire attitude, not only before he'd spilled the beans but even more so now that the truth was out.
And she didn't want to let him go. It had taken enough time to come to her senses for her to waste more days or weeks brooding at him for hiding a secret from her that sounded more like a burden to him than anything else.
She knew she would have a lot of questions for him, not so much about Superman himself but about the confusing feelings he seemed to have towards his other identity, but tonight it wasn't her priority. Tonight she was determined to spend a romantic evening with the man she loved, and she would stick to her plan.
"And I love you," she responded softly, brushing the back of her fingers across his cheek.
"So you're not mad?" His eyes lit up with a hope that exuded a smile from her.
"I didn't say that. But there will be time later for me to yell at you and demand explanations. And don't think you'll get away with it!" she added, her scowl threatening.
He raised his hands up in surrender. "I'll answer every single question, Lois. No more secrets."
"Ever," he agreed, then lowered himself to the couch to sit next to her and pull her into the circle of his arms. His embrace was tentative at first, but when she didn't offer any resistance, he hugged her tighter, sighing in relief when she laid her head on his chest and relaxed against him. "I'm just amazed you're not shooing me out right now."
"Don't think I wasn't tempted," she muttered against his chest.
He chuckled at her mock-threatening tone, the tension he hadn't been able to suppress all evening leaving his muscles at last. "What kept you from doing it?"
"Your place. Couldn't kick you out. Would've had to storm out and slam the door for good measure. Glass door. Messy," she mumbled drowsily.
"How on earth can you pretend to reason so practically when you're angry?"
She sat up straight, raising an eyebrow at him as if he'd asked one of the stupidest question she'd ever been given to hear. "Practice, of course!"
"Practice," he repeated with a slight shake of his head. "I see there's still a lot I need to know about you, Ms Lane."
"And me," she replied in earnest. Her serious expression faltered in favour of a wicked grin, one that spoke of a Lois Lane kind of determination. One that spoke of imminent danger to Clark. "Speaking of which, how about that side of you I wanted to get to know better before you had to break the mood with that big secret of yours?"
"Which side of me?" he asked warily, unsure where this was going and whether to find a cautious way out.
Without any further warning, she brushed her lips against his, smiling against his mouth when he automatically responded to her caress. "This…side," she stated the obvious between kisses.
"Oh! It will take *thorough* exploration," he emphasised.
She locked her arms around his neck and raised her face towards his again, in invitation. "We have all night."
"And so much more than that…"
February 14th, 2002