By Raquel Guimaraes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: December 2003
Summary: Clark's young cousin Becky comes to Metropolis for the holidays, and she helps Clark and Lois share the magic of Christmas.
I want to thank my wonderful BR, Anna Botsakou, because without her I wouldn't have been able to submit this story. Thanks a lot, Anna! I also want to thank Kathy Brown because she gave me this great title. I couldn't forget to thank my GE, Kathy MacFarlane, who looked for typos that Anna and I missed.
This story is dedicated to all FoLCs out there, especially my dear friends, Anna, Katia and Tim and my wonderful boyfriend Adam ;)
DISCLAIMER: The principal characters and concepts in this story were taken from the "Lois & Clark" series and are therefore the rightful property of DC Comics, December 3 Productions and WB. The story itself is mine.
Any criticism is very welcome.
Happy Holidays, FoLCs!
It was finally Christmas time. The white snow was falling from the sky; the kids were playing and talking to Santas everywhere; stores and shops were full of people. Everyone was happy; well, almost everyone…Lois wasn't. She was walking down the street and Clark was beside her, trying to make her see what Christmas really meant.
"Lois, I can't believe you don't see what a great time of the year we are in," Clark said, a little disappointed. He really liked this special holiday. He hoped Lois could see what kind of magic Christmas was.
"Clark, look, if you like Christmas this much I feel happy for you, but don't try to make me see what you see because I'm not in the mood today," Lois complained.
"Well, Lois, I think it's sad," Clark said, feeling a little down because of Lois' behavior.
"Sad? I'll tell you what's sad. Sad is that we don't have a thing to write about. We are in the middle of the day and we are stuck in here. Perry wants an article — an award-winning article — but we have nothing and what are we doing? We are discussing what we think about Christmas. That's sad," she finished with a flaming look that could have melted the snow around her.
"Lois, I think you should just for once try not to think about work. Perry knows that this time of the year we don't have that many things going on in the city. He just wants something. We don't have to worry about it."
"Well, when you get fired, don't say I didn't warn you." Lois rolled her eyes. She really wasn't in the mood to talk about these silly things today.
"Don't change the subject. We were talking about Christmas. Can you tell me why you don't like it?" Clark insisted.
"Clark, Christmas is a commercialized thing. It's when families pretend to like each other. They buy gifts and give them to their kids, hoping to make up for their absence in their kids' lives the whole year. They buy their kids with gifts. And when Christmas is over, they just act as they acted the whole year. Everything is back to normal. They don't have to pretend anymore. It's all fake; that's why I don't like Christmas. I don't want to be part of this hypocrisy," she finished and sighed.
"You're wrong, Lois. It's magic, happy and lovely. It's when we can be with our loved ones and share our love with them. We can see the snow falling from the sky while we eat our special dinner. We can talk about everything and sing Christmas songs. It's a time for sharing and forgiveness."
"Sharing and forgiveness? It's just for one day, Clark. After Christmas everything and everyone will be back to normal. People will be fighting again or talking badly to their kids. Too much so for sharing and forgiving for the next Christmas."
"I hope you change your mind someday," Clark said, feeling a bit sad. He couldn't believe Lois was thinking that way. Christmas time was the best season for him.
"Why?" She stared at him.
"Well, I think you won't be a good mother if you behave like this on Christmas. Your kids would be very sad." Yes, they would, Clark thought.
"Clark, I won't have kids and, besides, this is my own business, it has nothing to do with you." Lois was feeling pretty uneasy now and when she felt that way she used her Mad Dog Lane style.
"Whatever you say, Lois. Whatever you say." Clark looked at the ground and sighed. He was really sorry that Lois thought that way. Well, he knew Lois was just trying to be strong and look normal, but the truth was that she didn't like Christmas because she was always alone. Her parents had divorced at Christmas time. She had told him that a while ago. Her mother's problems with alcohol; her father's absence. She had lived through hell when she was a kid and now she was trying to deny it. He sighed again.
They walked in silence towards the Planet. Lois was thinking about the things Clark had said to her. Why was he so disturbed that she didn't like Christmas? Why did he seem so sad when she said she wouldn't have kids? Well, she knew Clark had had a great childhood and he always seemed to enjoy everything. Obviously, he was trying to make her see Christmas through his eyes.
She looked at him. He was sad, she could tell just by looking at him. He had his hands in his pockets and was looking at the ground. Her heart ached. <For God's Sake, Lois! What did you do? He was just trying to make you enjoy what he enjoys. He was trying to see you happy and what did you do? You made him sad. You ruined his day.>
She looked at him again and stopped walking. "Clark, I'm sorry."
Clark stopped walking too and looked at her. "For what?"
"For everything I told you. I didn't want to let you down. I just don't feel that way about Christmas. I know you have great parents and that they were always there for you at Christmastime, but I wasn't so lucky. I always felt that Christmas was when my mom got drunk and my father wasn't home. I never felt what it really means because I never had…I never believed in it." She didn't face him because she knew her eyes were full of tears. She couldn't let Clark see how much the whole thing hurt her.
"Lois, look at me." When she didn't, Clark put his thumb on her chin and forced her to look at him. He saw her eyes; they were full of tears and she looked so vulnerable. "What's wrong?"
"I'm sorry, Clark. I didn't want to make you sad. I don't even know why you are still my friend. I'm a horrible person. I'm so sorry." This time she couldn't fight back tears and they rolled down her cheek.
"Lois, don't talk about yourself this way. You're not a horrible person. You are the greatest person that I know. You're my best friend. You're intelligent and funny, a little pig-headed sometimes but I think that's what makes you unique. I lo…like you a lot."
"Really?" She brushed her tears away.
"Really, and that's why I want you to spend Christmas with me," he said, looking into her eyes.
"No, Clark. That's sweet, but I can't." She looked away. She couldn't let his puppy dog eyes convince her to intrude on his family time.
"Why?" Clark asked a little bleakly.
"Because I don't want to go to Smallville and I don't want to intrude in your family time."
"Lois, you won't be intruding and I'm not going to Smallville. My parents are coming to Metropolis this year. So, will you spend Christmas with me and my folks?"
She thought for some time. "I don't know, Clark."
"Well, you have three days to think about it. I'm sure my parents would be glad if you came." Clark smiled at her. Maybe he could convince her after all.
"I'll think about it. I promise. Thanks, Clark." Lois smiled at him. How could Clark be so adorable? He was the sweetest guy she had ever met and she was lucky that he was her friend. Before Clark she had never had a best friend. She was feeling much better now.
"Can we go back to the Planet now? It's freezing here," Lois complained.
"Yes, we can, Lois." He smiled and put an arm around her waist to warm her. He always liked an excuse just to be near her this way. Thank God, it was freezing outside.
Clark was sitting at his desk when the telephone rang. Lois watched him while he was talking on the phone. When she saw he had finished the call, she walked up to his desk.
"What's up?" she asked him.
"It was my mom. She said she and Dad are coming to Metropolis and they are bringing my little cousin with them."
"Cousin? I didn't know you have a cousin."
"Yeah, she is actually my cousin second degree because her mom is my dad's brother's daughter. She lives in Wichita. Her name is Rebecca. It's been a long time since I last saw her. I used to play with her mother when we were young. I loved when Mom and Dad wanted to go to Wichita because I could play with her. The last time I saw her was when she gave birth to her kid. Elizabeth is a good mom."
"How old is Rebecca?"
"She is just 10 years old. I can't believe I'll see her. I still remember when I went to the hospital to visit Elizabeth. She was so happy. I remember that she joked with me about how she was the first to bring another child into our family."
"Why did she joke about that?" Lois asked him.
"Well, Elizabeth and I were very competitive and we bet about everything. One day we were thinking about our next bet and Elizabeth thought that it would be fun to bet who would be the first to have a child." He smiled.
"I think that was a good bet to lose. And besides, you are as far from having a child as I am." She slapped his arm and smiled.
"Yeah, but we were just kids, Lois. How was I to know I would lose the bet?" Clark chuckled.
Lois noticed that he was looking like a farm kid all over again and she smiled. "Clark, you always lose," she teased him.
"Well, I'm looking forward to seeing her again. And I think it was one of my mom's good ideas."
"Yeah," Lois barely whispered. Clark seemed so happy talking about his childhood. She had never had a close relationship with her family. Well, family…it was something she had never had, at least not in the way people were used to having. "Clark will be a good father."
"What did you say?" Clark asked her, surprised.
It was just when Clark spoke that she realized she had said that last thought out loud. "Oh, I was just thinking out loud. Never mind." Lois blushed.
"Okay." Clark smiled. Of course he had heard that Lois had said 'Clark will be a good father'. He was delighted that she was thinking that way about him.
Lois was walking to her desk when Clark called her. "Hey, Lois, what about you?"
"What about me?" She was still lost in her thoughts.
"Well, it would be good if you would come to my place and spend Christmas with me and my folks." Clark tried once again to talk her into spending the magical season with him.
"I'm still thinking about it, Clark," she said a little hesitantly. She wanted to accept Clark's invitation but she still didn't know if that was a good idea.
"Okay, we still have time," he said, a little disappointed that she hadn't accepted.
"Can I go back to my desk now? We have a lot of work to do, Kent." Lois was smiling. She liked teasing him by calling him Kent. She used to call him Kent when he first came to the Daily Planet because it was a way to distance herself from him, but now she did it just to tease him. Lois knew it had been a long time since she had thought about Clark that way. She couldn't think about him that way. He was her best friend now.
"Okay, Miss Lane."
They both laughed and went back to work.
Clark was at his apartment, thinking about this Christmas. It would be good to have Lois there. She was still thinking but he could see she wanted to come. After everything she had told him yesterday, he was feeling a little sad and he wanted to show her what Christmas really meant. It would be great to spend this special night with his parents, Lois and his little cousin. It would be like a glimpse of the future. Well, except that Lois wasn't his wife and Rebecca wasn't their child, but it would be good to look to the future.
Someone knocked at the door before he could daydream more. He x- rayed the door and saw his parents and a little girl behind it.
"Hi, guys!" he said while he helped his parents with their baggage.
"Hi, son!" Jonathan and Martha said.
"Why didn't you call me from the airport? I could have brought you here."
"We wanted to surprise you," Martha said.
Clark finished putting their things inside his apartment and looked at the little blonde girl. She was a little embarrassed and quiet. "So you must be Rebecca."
"Yeah. Nice to meet you, cousin Clark. Your parents told me a lot about you." She smiled shyly.
"Nice to meet you too, Rebecca." Clark smiled and bent down to kiss his cousin.
"Call me Becky. That's what my friends call me," the little girl said timidly.
"Okay, Becky." Clark smiled.
"Son, Becky is on vacation and her mother would have come to Metropolis with her, but it seems someone on her husband's side of the family is sick and she didn't want to disappoint Becky. I said I was coming to Metropolis and I would be glad to bring her with me. This little girl wanted to meet you because she wants to be a reporter. She's a big fan of yours. Right, Becky?" Martha said.
"Right." Becky smiled this time with a very happy face.
"Oh, then I'm happy you're here," Clark said. He wasn't used to seeing kids wanting to be reporters, especially newspaper reporters. Kids at Becky's age rarely, if ever, read newspapers; they preferred the TV instead, where they could see someone's face and not just read their words. He was happy that his cousin was a fan of his, though.
"Tell Becky what you do every day at the Planet. She wants to know what it's like to work as a reporter for a big newspaper," Martha said.
"First of all I want to thank you for liking my job, Becky. Do you know I used to play with your mom when we were kids?" Clark asked Becky.
"Yeah. Mom's always told me about the things you both did in the past. She said you were around my age when you played together."
"Right. When we grew up I saw her marrying your father and then giving birth to you. The last time I saw you was when you were still a baby. It was when I went to visit your mom at the hospital. You're a big girl now. I can't believe that little baby became such a beautiful and nice girl."
"She's a lot like Elizabeth," Martha said.
"Cousin, tell me about your job." Becky was thrilled. She couldn't believe her cousin had such an exciting job.
"Well, my job is investigating people, writing articles and catching the bad guys. It's pretty exciting." Clark smiled and winked at Martha.
"Oh, it's like a detective," Becky commented.
"Yeah. It's good to do the right thing and help build a better world. Everyone can do his or her part. I'm just doing what I feel is right."
"I want to be a reporter too. Your job is a lot like Superman's."
"Yeah," Clark said, blushing. "And it's good to write, too. We can help people realize that the world can be a better place if we believe in it. People who read our articles can see we are doing our part in it. We are trying to make a difference. That's what reporters do."
"Fight for truth and justice?" Becky asked, smiling.
"Right. It's not just Superman. Everyone should fight for what's right. We don't need to have super powers to do that and whatever we can do is enough." Clark remembered Lois' speech when she had said that Superman couldn't be everywhere but that whatever he could do was enough. Well, he thought that Lois' words could serve to everyone. If every person in this world could do just a tiny thing to change the bad things that happened, then the world would be a better place to live.
"Do you know Superman?" the little girl asked him suddenly.
"Of course. He's my friend." Clark looked at Martha and Jonathan and smiled.
"I wish I could meet him," Becky said a little sadly. She didn't really think she could ever meet Superman but, well, it was Christmastime and, maybe, she could have her little dream come true.
"Well, Metropolis is Superman's home. You may see him eventually." Clark winked at Jonathan and Martha.
Martha looked at her watch and said, "Clark, I think it's late and Becky should be sleeping right now."
"Oh yeah. Mom, Dad, you can sleep in my bedroom. I'll set up a mattress to sleep on and Becky can sleep on the couch."
"Oh, cousin Clark, I don't want to sleep. There are a lot of things I want to know."
"Tomorrow, Becky. It's late now. I promise I'll take you with me to the Planet tomorrow. You can ask my partner some questions if you want to."
"Of course I want to. Thanks, cousin." Becky hugged Clark. She was so excited about going to the Daily Planet.
"You're welcome. Now you have to brush your teeth and go to bed, okay?" Clark said as if he was used to taking care of kids.
"Okay. Where's the bathroom?" she asked.
"It's over there." Clark pointed to his bedroom. "It's on the left."
Becky ran to the bathroom.
"You have such a way with kids, Clark. You'll be a good father someday. I'm proud of you," Martha said, smiling.
"I learned from the best parents in the world." Clark hugged Martha and Jonathan. "Oh, and did you know Lois thinks I'll be a good father too?" He smiled shyly.
"Really, son?" Martha asked him.
"Yeah, but she thought she hadn't said it out loud. Of course I heard it. But when I asked her what she had said, Lois just said 'Never mind'. I felt pretty happy with what she thinks, Mom."
"Maybe you'll have a surprise this Christmas." Martha looked away to wink at Jonathan.
"Maybe, but she is still thinking about whether she is going to spend Christmas with us, though," Clark said a little sadly.
"Well, I'm sure she will accept our offer, Clark. It's just that Lois has all those feelings about Christmas. She has to think about them first."
"Yeah, you're right."
"Well, we have to go to sleep. We had a long flight. Goodnight, son," Jonathan said.
"Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, Dad." Clark hugged both his parents.
"Goodnight, Clark," Martha said.
Clark helped Becky to sleep and he slept too, eventually.
Clark entered the Planet building, followed by a little girl. He had promised he would take Becky to the newsroom. She was all excited. She couldn't believe that she was visiting the most famous newspaper in the world and that her cousin had a job there.
Lois looked at Clark and the little girl while they were walking down the ramp. She noticed how happy Clark was today.
"Good morning!" Clark said to Lois.
"Good morning, Clark! So, who is this little girl?" Lois asked curiously.
"Oh, this is Becky, my little cousin. The one my mom brought to Metropolis. I told you yesterday."
"Oh yeah, I remember. She is beautiful," Lois commented.
"Yeah. She came to Metropolis because she wanted to meet me and…"
"I want to be a reporter too," the little girl interrupted.
"Oh, really?" Lois asked her.
"Yeah. You must be Lois Lane, right?" Becky said, so sure of herself and of what she was saying that she didn't seem to be just 10 years old.
"Yes. How did you know?" Lois asked her, surprised.
"I read the newspaper. You and Clark have written some great articles."
"Oh, thanks." Lois was amazed that a little girl had read her articles. She thought they were too adult for a kid to read them but, well, she probably had been that way too when she was little. She remembered when she used to think adults were like dinosaurs because they were all grown up but their brains weren't as developed as hers. Lois smiled. Of course she was wrong but, still, there are some adults who were like dinosaurs anyway. She could name a few.
"Can I ask you something?" Becky said, drifting Lois away from her thoughts.
"Yeah," Lois answered.
"Are you two together? I mean, as a couple?" Becky was blushing now.
Lois looked at Clark. He was as red as Becky and she probably thought she was red too. "Oh, no. We are just friends. We are best friends."
"Really, cousin Clark?" She looked a little sad. Ever since she had started reading their articles and when her mom talked about Clark she thought Lois was his girlfriend. She didn't know if it was her fairy tale taste but she thought it would be great if her favorite reporters were together. She still blushed for thinking that, though.
"Yeah." Clark sounded a little disappointed even though that wasn't his intention.
"Oh, it's a shame because you two would be a cute couple." She tried to help.
Clark looked at Lois and tried to change the subject a bit. "Lois, Becky will be in Metropolis for a couple of days. She'll be spending Christmas with my parents and me. Oh, speaking of Christmas, did you think about my offer?"
"Clark, I don't know. You will have too many people at your place. I don't want to bother you." She really had been thinking about giving him a positive answer, but knowing that his family would be there and even his cousin she didn't want to feel as if she was intruding.
"Please, Miss Lane. I would like to spend Christmas with both of you. It would be my gift," Becky said with pleading eyes.
"Call me Lois. I will think about it, I promise you," Lois smiled. She didn't like kids that much, especially because she had had enough of them when she raised Lucy while her mom was too busy getting drunk and her father was having his affairs, but she was starting to like Becky. She didn't know if perhaps it was because Becky was from Clark's family and had the same country background, but she liked that little girl.
"Lois, we just have two days," Clark reminded her.
"I know, I know. Don't worry, I'll let you know soon."
Clark rolled his eyes.
"Clark! What about your parents? Why didn't you bring them here? I miss them," Lois said suddenly.
"My parents have gone shopping. You will see them later. I brought Becky here because she has a lot of questions about our job."
"Well, you will need some help with Becky here so I guess I could help you."
"Help me? Lois, you…" Clark looked at Becky and whispered into Lois' ear. "…don't like kids. Remember what happened the last time you were around them?"
"Oh, Clark, that was some time ago and, besides, I was dealing with a smart kid then. I practically raised Lucy. I know better than you how to take care of a child. And do you want me to spend Christmas with you or not?"
"Yeah, I want. But what does it have to do with my offer?" he asked, looking a little lost.
"Nothing. I was just kidding. Let me help you." She smiled at him.
"Okay, then. I hope you know what you are doing." Clark rolled his eyes. He was praying that Becky would be back to him without any accident…accident to her or to Lois.
"I know," she said stubbornly.
Lois turned to Becky who was talking to Jimmy. "Hey, Becky, do you want to meet our Editor? You could ask him some questions."
"Oh, I would love to," the little girl replied.
Clark looked at Lois while she was taking Becky to Perry's office. He was amazed to see how Lois was acting around his cousin. He had never thought Lois would be the kind of woman who liked kids or would be comfortable around them. Clark started to wonder what it would be like if Becky were his and Lois' child. It would be amazing to spend some time with Lois and the kid during this holiday. It would be as if they were really a family. <Get a grip, Kent! Lois isn't romantically attracted to you. She's just your partner and friend…nothing more. Besides, she made it clear yesterday that she doesn't think she will have kids.> Clark sighed.
Some minutes later, Lois walked back to her desk.
"Hey, Lois. Where is Becky?" Clark asked her.
"Oh, I left her with Perry. I think she has a lot of questions to ask him and he is interested in telling her some of his Elvis stories," Lois rolled her eyes.
"And you're not in the mood to listen to Perry and his Elvis stories, right?" Clark tried to guess why Lois had left his cousin alone with Perry.
They both laughed out loud.
Lois and Clark took the rest of the day off. They wanted to buy gifts and Lois promised she would help Clark with his Christmas tree. She had agreed to spend Christmas with him and his family. She wanted to make him happy, after all.
While she was trying to choose a perfect gift to give to Clark, she thought about everything she had told him yesterday. She really believed that Christmas was a commercialized thing. She didn't know when she had stopped believing in the magic that Clark still believed in. When had she stopped believing in Santa? She couldn't remember. The memories she had about the holiday weren't good. Clark had told her that it was magic. It was a time for sharing and forgiveness.
She couldn't understand that. How could she forgive her parents for turning her childhood into a nightmare? Because it was Christmas? Because it was a time for sharing and forgiveness? You could forgive little things but not big things and what her parents had done to her…it was a big thing. Well, maybe she was trying to hate Christmas because it brought back sad memories…memories of a time when her mother got drunk and her father wasn't around; when she went to her bedroom and cried until she fell asleep because her parents were fighting; when she started believing that Santa didn't exist because he never brought her what she asked him. Maybe it was time to change everything; it was time to put all that behind her and have an excellent Christmas with Clark.
Thinking about Clark, what did he really mean to her? He was her partner and best friend, but was that all? After her almost marriage to Lex, she believed she had feelings for him. What kind of feelings? She wasn't sure. Well, it didn't matter after all because it was obvious that Clark didn't feel the same thing, or did he? She could remember some times when Clark seemed to feel something for her, something beyond friendship. When she had been afraid because of the Prankster and she had spent the night at Clark's apartment, he had protected her like he always did, but something about his answer "Lois, I won't let that happen" when she had said she didn't want to die…something about the way he had looked at her when he had said that made her think that maybe there was more to Clark than she thought. What about the time when he stayed with her when Sebastian Finn had almost killed her? He had hugged her on the kitchen floor and had let the killer escape. Well, maybe she was wrong and Clark did feel something for her.
<Maybe he loves you> a little voice came from inside. <But what should I do? I don't even know if I love him> she thought. <Well, try to remember the times you felt something for him…something stronger than friendship> the voice completed.
Lois knew a couple of such times. First was when Clark had quit his job during the heat wave. He had said goodbye to her at the Planet. He had kissed her on the lips and she had really felt something. She remembered how devastated she had felt at that time. The other time she had felt even more devastated had been when Clark had died — or at least she had thought he had died. Lois could remember when he was shot at that gambling club. He had protected her again and he was shot because of that. She could see herself crying and screaming his name while the gangsters took him away from her. Lois had thought about how her life would be without him. She had thought she wouldn't have a life anymore. She would be a lonely soul. Clark was the sun that brought light for her life and without him she had nothing. Yeah, those times she had really felt that Clark was more than a friend to her — but was it love? She still didn't have the answer.
But why was she thinking this way? Maybe it was because of Christmas or because of Becky. That little girl had her thinking. She remembered Becky saying they would be a cute couple. Maybe that was it…she was thinking about her relationship with Clark because of Becky; because of what Becky had told them. Well, she would do nothing to jeopardize their relationship, at least until she was sure about their feelings for each other.
While Lois was trying to pick a gift for Clark, he and Becky were trying to choose something for Lois.
"How about a necklace, cousin?" Becky asked.
"I don't know, Becky. It has to be special," Clark said. It was the first time Lois would spend Christmas with him and his family. He wanted to give her the perfect Christmas and so he should find the perfect gift too.
"Clark, you love her, don't you?" Becky had guessed that Clark felt something for Lois because of the way he had answered her question earlier about whether he and Lois were a couple or not.
"Oh, well, she is my friend, Becky. Of course I love her." He tried to hide his emotions, but he wasn't that good with excuses or lies and even a 10-year-old girl could notice that.
"No, I mean as a girlfriend." She tried to persuade him to confirm her suspicions.
"It doesn't matter, Becky. She doesn't love me that way." Clark finally gave up trying to hide the fact that he loved Lois more than as a friend. He just hoped Becky wouldn't say something to Lois, especially now that she had agreed to come to his house for Christmas.
"I think you may be wrong," Becky said after some time.
"Why? Do you know something? Did she tell you something?" Clark remembered that Becky had spent some time alone with Lois. Was it possible that Lois had said something to Becky? It was unlike Lois to do something like that but, well, Lois used to change a lot and come up with something new every day.
"No, and she doesn't need to tell me anyway. Anybody with half a brain can see that. You two love each other but neither of you want to be the first to say it," Becky pointed out.
Clark smiled and sighed. "I'm not sure, Becky. Let's focus on Lois' gift, okay?"
"Your wish is my command, Sir," Becky said with a big grin on her face and Clark laughed.
Clark and Becky came back to Clark's apartment. Martha and Jonathan were there too but Clark noticed that something was wrong.
"Becky, why won't you go with Jonathan and help him wrap the gifts," Martha suggested.
"Okay." Becky went to Clark's bedroom with Jonathan.
"What's happening, Mom?" Clark asked her, worried.
"Well, Elizabeth called us. She said Becky's uncle died. She and her husband were taking care of him at the hospital; that was why they couldn't come to Metropolis."
"That's horrible, Mom. What will we tell Becky? She's just a kid." Clark was pretty worried about Becky's reaction.
"I told her mother that it would be better for Becky if she stayed here. A funeral isn't the place for little children. She agreed," Martha explained.
"Yeah, you did right." Clark gave his mom a sad smile.
"But, Clark, your father and I can't stay here. Elizabeth and Mike need our help. That was why she called us. You need to stay here and take care of Becky for us, okay?"
"No, Clark. Listen to me. You're doing a great job with your cousin. You can take care of her and, besides, Lois could help you."
"Yeah, I know, but it's Christmas time. We've never stayed away from each other during the holidays, even when I was on the other side of the world." Clark was feeling sad that his parents couldn't stay for Christmas.
"I know, honey, but it's a family thing. You know we have to help," Martha pointed out.
"Do you want to go…" He whispered "…Superman Express?"
"No, Clark, we'll take a plane. You have Becky to take care of."
"But it would be just 15 minutes or something to go to Wichita."
"No, Clark, you need to stay here and, besides, how would I explain that we arrived there so quickly?"
"Okay." Clark was sad. He hated the idea of spending Christmas on his own. Of course he would have Becky and, most of all, Lois, but his parents were important to him.
"Oh, honey, don't be so sad. This is an opportunity to spend some time alone with Lois." She winked.
"Yeah, but I wish you and Dad could be here too." Clark was looking like a little kid now. It was hard for him to imagine Christmas without his parents around.
"We'll be here by New Year's Eve and we'll call you." Martha tried to comfort him.
"Okay, but who will talk to Becky?" He was still worried about the little girl. How could a kid like her understand what had happened to her uncle?
"That's okay, Clark. Your father is taking care of that."
Jonathan and Becky entered the living room. The little girl seemed sad but she wasn't crying.
"So, Becky, how are you?" Clark looked concerned.
"I'm fine, cousin Clark. I know uncle John was very sick and that was why my parents didn't come to Metropolis. I'm sad but I know he is in a better place right now. He was suffering a lot and maybe it's better this way. I'm worried about my dad, but I'm sure Mom is taking care of him."
"And Jonathan and I are going to Wichita. We'll help them. You can stay here with Clark and have a happy Christmas," Martha said.
"Yeah, I'll take care of you and Lois will be here too," Clark said, smiling.
"Thanks. I'm feeling better now." Becky smiled timidly.
"Well, Clark, I'll go pack our things. We have three hours left," Martha commented.
"Okay, Mom," Clark said.
Clark called Lois and told her everything about that had happened and he explained that he had to take care of Becky while his parents were going to Wichita. He didn't know if they would come back to Metropolis because his mother wanted to help Elizabeth and her husband. Maybe they would come back after Christmas.
Clark and Lois decided to go to buy a Christmas tree with Becky to help her forget about the problems her parents were going through, but before that Lois would come to Clark's apartment to say goodbye to Jonathan and Martha.
Later that day, after saying goodbye to Martha and Jonathan, Lois, Clark and Becky went to the mall.
When they arrived Becky was happy that she could see Lois and Clark doing such a "couple" thing. She prayed that everything would be okay with them.
"Lois, Becky, how about that one?" Clark pointed to a huge and beautiful tree.
"Oh, it's beautiful, Clark, but you want to know something?" Lois asked him.
"Of course," Clark answered.
"I always have trouble deciding. See, I like the big, pretty ones but I feel so sorry for the little scrawny ones. I remember when I was twelve…my folks had just split up and didn't bother to get a tree. So I broke open my piggy bank, went out and bought the ugliest, loneliest-looking little tree I could find. And I said to myself, 'If I can make this tree beautiful, then I can have a great Christmas…even if it's by myself.' So I put it in my room and decorated it with ribbons and popcorn and tin foil. And…all the needles fell off, it turned black and my mom threw it out.
"That's a sad story, Lois, but you're a grown woman now and you can have a big and beautiful tree," Clark smiled at her. He couldn't imagine how hard his life would be if he hadn't had such great parents while growing up.
"Yeah, I think you're right." Lois smiled back at him. Clark was such a kid during Christmas time but she had found out that she liked that and she liked the way he was letting her have some of the magic he saw in it.
"Then you can choose whatever you want. Becky, do you want to help Lois find the biggest tree?" Clark asked Becky.
"Of course." Becky smiled. She was happy even though she wouldn't see her parents. She was going to spend some wonderful time with Lois and Clark and she knew that she loved them very much. Becky took Lois' hand and ran to see the trees.
"Take it easy, Becky. I'm not 10 years old anymore," Lois said, laughing.
Clark watched Lois and Becky running to the trees and sighed. It was as if they were Becky's parents…as if they were a real family taking the time to choose their Christmas tree. Well, he knew it was just a fantasy. Lois was his friend and Becky was his cousin. But if someone could see them now they could think they were a family, Clark thought. He watched Lois. She was so happy, as if she wasn't the same person who had said those horrible things about Christmas the day before. Lois was really happy and comfortable with that child. Maybe she could rethink having children…but even if she reconsidered it, it wouldn't change a thing because he wouldn't be the father, or would he? <That's crazy, Clark! Stop thinking this way> the voice inside his head said.
"Clark, come see the tree we chose," Lois yelled.
"I'm coming." Clark ran towards Lois and Becky.
"So, what do you think?" Lois asked him.
Clark looked at the big tree and smiled. "I think it's the most beautiful tree I've seen in my whole life."
Lois blushed and said, "It was Becky's idea. I was thinking about that little one over there." Lois pointed to a small and ugly tree. "I know you said that I'm an adult now and I should have a big and beautiful tree, but I still feel sorry for the little ones."
"Well, Lois, if it makes you happy I think we should buy that one too. I think you're right, we shouldn't leave that little tree alone at Christmastime."
"Really?" Lois asked him. She was happy that Clark understood her so well. Probably she would never find someone as wonderful as him.
"Yep. I'm sure it has great potential." He smiled at her, that wonderful and bright smile that always made her a little weak inside. <What is it about Clark Kent and his smile that always makes me feel like this?>
"Thanks, Clark." On impulse, Lois kissed his cheek.
"You're welcome." Clark was blushing a lot. He knew that Lois wasn't the kind of person who was comfortable showing her feelings. She always hid her emotions — but something was changing. He looked at her and saw something different in her eyes. She was staring at him the same way she stared at Superman. Was she flirting with him? No, probably it was just wishful thinking.
"Well, I think we should hurry because it's starting to snow and Becky may get a cold," Lois said, trying to end the silence that had settled between them. What was she thinking? She was flirting with him. Why was she flirting with him anyway? <Get a grip, Lois, or you will make a fool of yourself.>
"I think you're right," Clark said a few moments later. He was fighting his own feelings. Maybe Becky was right and Lois liked him as much as he liked her, but neither one wanted to be the first to say it out loud. Well, he couldn't risk their friendship…not yet.
"Hey, you! Can you stop all this and buy the trees? I'm looking forward to seeing what they will look like when we decorate them." Becky interrupted them.
"Of course, little one," Clark said. He noted that Becky looked a lot like Lois.
Lois just laughed at them.
Clark, Lois and Becky went to Clark's apartment, carrying both trees.
"We can put the big one here." Becky pointed to a spot near the couch.
"Yep. That's a great place, Becky," Clark said.
"Clark, where are the ornaments?" Lois asked him.
"They are above my closet inside a big box."
"I'll get them," Lois said and went to Clark's bedroom.
Clark was so distracted that he didn't hear Lois.
"Cousin Clark, I think you should help Lois find the ornaments." Becky smiled and winked at him.
"Oh, yeah. Thanks, Becky," Clark said. He didn't know why his cousin was winking at him or smiling like that. He then followed Lois into his bedroom. She was climbing on a little stool that was near Clark's bathroom.
"Let me help you, Lois," Clark said. He knew the box was too heavy for Lois.
Lois was so distracted that she didn't hear Clark coming and fell off the stool.
Clark came to rescue her and she fell into his arms.
"Oh, thanks, Clark. I didn't hear you coming," Lois said, still a little shocked. Before Clark had come in, she had been thinking about him. She had entered his bedroom thinking about things she shouldn't be thinking of. Why was she thinking about Clark that way? Why was she daydreaming about him? It was just that stupid time of the year and Clark's gentleness with her was affecting her more than ever. No wonder when he had come in she fell off the stool. She had been too busy thinking about him to notice his arrival.
"Are you all right?" Clark was concerned. He noticed that Lois still appeared to be shocked because she didn't say much and she was just staring at him.
"I think I hit my foot on the stool when I fell but I'm fine," she said quickly.
"Let me see." Clark put her on his bed and took her foot in his hand.
"I'm fine, Clark. It's okay, you don't need to do that. I'm…Oh, Clark, that's wonderful." Lois was in a sitting position on Clark's bed while Clark knelt on the floor, massaging her foot.
"Are you feeling better?" Clark was still concerned about her.
"Oh, much, much better." Lois couldn't hide her delight from Clark. "You're very good."
"Thanks." Clark was glad he could be so near Lois this way, but he was embarrassed because of where his thoughts were leading him. Lois wasn't helping him either. She was moaning softly.
"Oh, Clark, that's so good," she said and closed her eyes. Why was she feeling warm inside? Clark's touch was having an effect on her but she didn't dare analyze it, not yet. She would think about that later…no! She wouldn't think about that, she decided.
He couldn't help looking at her beautiful legs and…Clark suddenly remembered they weren't alone at his apartment. Becky was in the living room. He stopped what he was doing and said, "If you're better, I think we should look for the ornaments or Becky will get impatient."
"Oh, yeah. You're right." Lois came back from her daydream and sounded a little disappointed. Why on Earth was she disappointed? She should be glad he had stopped. She had liked that way too much for her own good.
Clark stood up and went to take the box. He noticed that Lois had seemed disappointed when he had stopped what he was doing. Maybe she was thinking the same way he was thinking while he was massaging her foot. Well, he was pretty sure she was enjoying it.
Lois remained on the bed for a little while. <Oh my god, what just happened here?> She looked at Clark. <He is so handsome and sweet. I can't stop thinking about him. What he did here just now…WOW. I've never felt as special as I felt while he was massaging my foot. Please, Lois, stop it now!> Lois was fighting an internal battle.
It was obvious that Lois and Clark were trying to forget what they both felt for each other and they both knew what had just happened.
While Lois and Clark were in the bedroom, Becky was looking at the trees. She was happy she would spend Christmas with Clark. She wished Martha and Jonathan could come back, but she knew they were helping her parents with the funeral. She would miss her uncle but she knew he had been sick and suffering…maybe he could rest in peace now. She knew Martha had encouraged her mother to let her spend Christmas with her cousin. Becky knew a funeral wasn't the best place for a child; she didn't want to go anyway. Thank God she could stay here.
Lois and Clark entered the room and Becky smiled. They were carrying a big box.
"Now we can decorate the trees," Lois said to Becky.
It was late when everything was ready. The little tree was as beautiful as the big one and Lois was very happy. Becky and Clark were smiling too.
"Well, I think I should go home now. It's late and we still have to work tomorrow, Clark."
"Really? Do you really have to go, Lois?" Becky asked her.
"Yes, Becky. I really have to go. It was nice to do all these things with you and Clark, but it's time to go." Lois was disappointed that the evening had come to an end. She had enjoyed the time she had spent helping Becky and Clark decorate the trees.
"Oh, I wish you could stay a little more, Lois," Clark said.
"Me too." Lois didn't want to go but she couldn't stay. She still had to work in the morning and buy something to wear on Christmas Eve.
"Bye, Lois," Becky said.
"Bye, Becky," Lois said back and kissed the little girl's cheek.
Clark walked Lois to the door. "I had a great time today, Lois."
"Me too. Thanks for everything. I don't know why you even bother to be nice to me after everything I said yesterday. I still feel bad about that. You're very sweet." She gave him a sad smile. She was still feeling badly about those horrible things she had said, especially after spending such a great day with him.
"Lois, you didn't do anything wrong. You don't need to feel badly about that. I understand you. Look, if I had unhappy Christmas memories I would probably think that way about this time of the year, too. It's not your fault. I'm sure you've changed your mind…or maybe you are starting to change your mind. I'll give you the Christmas you deserve to have. Now, you should smile because I don't like to see you sad, okay?"
"Okay. Thanks again, Clark." She gave him a happy smile now.
"You don't need to thank me. I'm the one who should be thanking you because of everything you did today and because you agreed to spend Christmas with me. I'm happy." Clark noticed that he had just said some pretty nice things to Lois. He didn't know if Lois would notice that he had really meant everything he'd said or if she would be able to read between the lines, but he decided that he wouldn't hide anything from her anymore.
"I'm very happy too." Lois looked into his eyes, his deep brown eyes. She felt they were leaning forward, toward each other. She didn't know if it was her imagination that Clark's eyes were so intense and she felt that she was being pulled towards them. They stared at each other for a long time. The electricity crackled in the air. They both had a light in their eyes. Lois was aware of the chemistry but she was afraid…very afraid. "Bye," she said in a hurry.
"Bye," Clark replied and watched her almost running away from him. He could feel she was afraid…afraid of something…afraid of the things they both were feeling. Maybe it was time to do something. It would be a long night and a long day tomorrow, but he had felt the electricity and he was pretty sure Lois had felt it too. This Christmas was going to be the day when their relationship was going to change forever.
Lois lay in bed, thinking about what had happened that day. Everything had been magic and sweet. Clark had the reason for that. After everything she had done and said about Christmas to him, he had remained at her side. He hadn't laughed when she'd told him about the little tree she'd bought when she was twelve. Actually, he'd encouraged her to pick not just the big tree that Becky wanted but the little one she'd been feeling sorry for. When she had fallen off the stool, he had been fast enough to pick her up in his arms and he had been concerned about her when she had said she had hit her foot when she fell. He had even massaged her foot. She had felt his strong but gentle hands on her foot. It was so amazing. She had seen him gaze at her legs. Lois had felt a little embarrassed but what she had felt for Clark was more than embarrassment. Clark's reaction to what he had been doing for her had been amazing, too. She could see he was blushing and nervous, but she hadn't wanted to make him stop. It had been very frustrating when he had stopped. She had known it was because of Becky. What would have happened if they had been alone? She knew…but she didn't want to think about it. It was way too scary.
Eventually Lois fell asleep.
Clark had gotten Becky settled and he was now lying on his couch. He was thinking about Lois. Every little detail about what had happened that day came back to his mind: the magic that had surrounded them when they were talking about Lois' little tree; her kiss on his cheek; the way they had felt while he was massaging her foot when she had fallen off the stool; Lois' disappointed look when he had stopped. He would give anything to just do it again and much, much more. If Becky hadn't been there, he could have continued and God knows what would have happened. Clark knew Lois very well and he knew she was enjoying everything he did. He had loved it when she had helped Becky to decorate the trees. Or, how about the way they had looked at each other when she had been leaving his apartment? Another great moment. He had almost kissed her, but she had run away before he could do it. Clark knew she was scared. Love was scary and friendship was easy, but he wanted much more than friendship for her; and he would move land and sea to make her see that they belonged together. She was just scared, but he knew that she felt something for him, something beyond friendship. He could read it in her eyes, and he had read that today.
Clark grinned and fell asleep.
Finally it was Christmas Eve. Clark was looking forward to tonight. Lois was coming at 8:00pm and she would help him with the supper. He had said she didn't need to help because he knew Lois wasn't that experienced with cooking. She had replied she could make the stuffing to put into their turkey. Clark was hoping he wouldn't have to worry about that. Well, at least he could keep an eye on her.
Going to the newsroom today wasn't something he had to do. Perry had let him take the day off because of Becky, but Clark wanted to see Lois. He knew they wouldn't have too many important things to do. They just had to write an article about the new phenomenal toy. It was one of the reasons he let Becky come with him. He couldn't let her stay alone at his apartment and today would be a slow news day.
Becky was delighted to be there again. She knew she had to behave herself because that place was very important to her. One day she would be as good as Lois and Clark.
Lois was walking down the ramp when she saw Clark and Becky. Her heart started beating quickly. What was happening? She didn't know. Why was she feeling all these things just by looking at him? Lois had known him for almost two years now and she had never felt like this before. This was new and she was a little afraid. Maybe it was because she would be spending Christmas with him. <It's not just that and you know it. These last couple of days have been amazing. It's been magic…incredible…and you know it.>
Lois couldn't stop her thoughts. She had the strangest sensation; it was as if someone was trying to match them up this Christmas. Lois wondered if she was feeling this way because of Becky. Since that little girl had arrived in Metropolis, things had started to change between her and Clark. She couldn't help thinking that Becky was the reason why everything was changing inside her; the way she and Clark had taken care of that little girl these last days. <Don't be ridiculous, Lois. There's no such thing as a Christmas matchmaker — and, even if there was, it wouldn't be a ten-year-old girl.> It had to be Christmas itself that was changing her feelings.
Clark watched Lois heading to her desk. She was obviously thinking about something. Clark couldn't stop thinking about how beautiful Lois was today. She had that glow in her eyes. Was she thinking about Superman again? Or could she be thinking about him, Clark. He knew that her beautiful eyes just shone like that because of Superman but maybe she had been feeling the chemistry between them these days…and had forgotten about Superman. <It's just wishful thinking, Kent, and you know it.>
"Morning, Lois," Clark said when she passed his way.
"Morning, Clark. What are you doing here? Both of you." She looked at Clark and Becky.
"Well, we didn't want to be home alone. She asked me to bring her here again and, well, I think I could help you with your story too." As soon as his words rushed out of his mouth, he knew it was a lame excuse.
"Oh, yeah. Good," Lois said. She knew deep inside that he was giving her a lame excuse, but she didn't care about that. She was happy that Clark was there, even if his presence after everything that had happened yesterday made her a little uncomfortable. She knew she couldn't avoid Clark and, actually, she didn't want to try. When she had been going to the Planet that morning she had been a little sad that she wouldn't see Clark until that evening, so she was pleasantly surprised when she arrived at the Planet and he was there with Becky.
To Clark's surprise, she seemed very happy that he was there and apparently Lois didn't worry about his feeble excuse, so he smiled at her.
Later that day, Clark and Lois went to the supermarket together so they could buy everything for the supper they were going to make that night. Becky decided to stay at Clark's apartment because she was tired. The little girl had spent the day at the Planet and she had lots of fun there, but at the same time that made her feel tired.
Becky was alone and so she picked up the phone and called someone. "Hello," she said. "Who is it?" the other person on the line asked.
"It's me…you know," the little girl said.
"Oh, right. How is everything there?"
"I think everything is going okay. I'm doing everything you asked me to do," Becky said, smiling.
"Are you alone?" the voice asked her.
"Yeah, I am alone now."
"Good. Okay, listen to me. Tonight is the night. Don't do anything wrong."
"You don't have to tell me that, I know." She smiled. "Well, I have to go now. I just called to say everything is going as you planned."
"Okay, that's good. See you later."
"Bye and Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas to you too."
Becky hung up the phone and decided to watch TV while she waited for Lois and Clark to come back.
"Lois, let me choose what turkey to buy. You don't understand these things," Clark said to Lois for the thousandth time.
"Clark, I just want the big one."
"Lois, the size doesn't matter. Bigger isn't always better, you know."
Lois looked at him, trying not to laugh. "Are you sure we're discussing turkey here?" She couldn't help teasing him.
Clark, realizing the meaning behind Lois' words, blushed. "Lo-is."
Lois laughed out loud. "Sorry, I couldn't help it and, besides, you look so cute when you get all embarrassed."
"Oh, really?" He grinned.
"Don't get all proud now, Kent," she said. She was enjoying everything so much. She was glad that Clark had let her help him with the shopping thing, even if she really didn't understand much about food. Lois smiled. Well, she could order good takeout, if that counted.
Clark laughed. He was having a good time. Lois had been acting so different these last couple of days. She didn't seem so skeptical about Christmas anymore and it seemed that she was having a good time, too. Well, he would do anything he could to make her smile like she was smiling now. Lois was very beautiful, especially when she smiled like that. She looked like a little girl, all excited about Christmas.
"Earth to Clark," Lois said.
"Oh, sorry, I just got distracted." He smiled shyly at her.
"You seem to get distracted a lot lately," she teased. In fact, they both had seemed to get a little distracted these last days.
"Okay, we'll get this one." He picked up a turkey and put in the shopping cart before Lois could object to his choice.
"What else do we need?" Lois didn't have a clue about what to buy next.
"Well, we have pretty much everything. I just need to buy the wine. I don't think I have the one you like, so I need to buy it."
"Oh, Clark, you don't have to do that," Lois said.
"Lois, you're my special guest tonight, so everything has to be perfect."
Lois reached out for Clark's hand. "Thank you, Clark."
"Oh, no reason to thank me." He smiled.
"No, I mean…thank you for everything you've been doing for me. I guess I don't deserve all that after everything I have said and done to you, not just that day when I told you all those bad things about Christmas but all the times I have been rude to you."
"Lois, you don't have to do that, you know that. I already told you that I understand why you told me all those things and, besides, you aren't rude all the time. I guess you haven't been rude for months now." He squeezed her hand to reassure her.
"Yeah, I guess not, but that doesn't change what I did in the past." Lois looked at the ground. She was remembering everything she did to Clark in the first months of their partnership and she was feeling ashamed.
"Lois, what's wrong? I mean, we have been friends for almost two years now and you have been amazing. We're best friends now. Why are you remembering things that happened ages ago? I mean, even then I didn't think you were rude…" She looked at him. "…Okay, maybe you were a little rude but you didn't know me. Why bring everything up again?"
Lois didn't know what to say. She didn't know why she had brought these things up. She was just feeling something that she wasn't used to feeling for Clark. She felt like crying. "I guess it's just this silly thing about Christmas." She smiled sadly at him.
"Lois, you're not alone and you're not a kid anymore. I'll give you the best Christmas of your life if you'll let me." He squeezed Lois' hand again.
"Why, Clark? Why do you care about me? I mean, after everything I did, why do you still care?" She couldn't hide her emotions; her eyes were full of tears and it was a struggle to not let them fall down in front of Clark.
Clark looked deeply into Lois' eyes. "Lois, I care for you because I…"
"Hey, you two," Perry suddenly interrupted them. "I didn't know you were shopping too. Did you leave everything for the last minute like me?"
Lois and Clark looked at each other and then at Perry. When they noticed they were still holding hands, they broke apart. Clark was the first to speak. "I guess we left the food for the last minute." He smiled at Perry.
Lois was feeling very embarrassed because Perry was looking at them as if he had just seen Pricilla and Elvis together. "How are you and Alice, Perry? Will your sons spend Christmas with you?" Lois finally asked.
"Well, Lois, Alice and I will have a lonely Christmas this year. It's snowing a lot and our sons couldn't come to Metropolis," Perry said and Lois noticed his sad voice.
"I'm sorry, Perry," Lois said. She didn't know what more she could say.
"Well, you two could spend Christmas with us. We have a lot of food," Clark said.
"Oh, no, Clark, Alice and I have plans for tonight even if we won't be with the kids." Perry winked. "I rented a little red Santa suit."
Clark blushed when he realized what Perry meant and Lois started laughing when she noticed Clark's blush. "I'm sorry, Clark, but you look funny when you're blushing," she said.
"Oh, well, I better go and leave you two alone. Merry Christmas, kids," Perry said and hugged them.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Perry," Lois and Clark said.
When Perry disappeared around a corner of the supermarket, Clark looked at Lois who was still laughing. "Lois, that wasn't funny," he said.
"Oh, Clark, you should see your face." Lois smiled at him.
"I'm glad you're having so much fun, Lois," he teased. He loved the way he and Lois could tease and have fun with each other. In spite of the embarrassment he'd felt at Perry's statement, that was a good thing because it had made Lois laugh and he loved when she laughed like that. He was happy that she wasn't almost crying, as she had been earlier. She was trying to hide it, but he knew Lois way too well to not see through her. At first Clark had wanted to kill Perry for interrupting them when he had something important he was going to tell Lois. Why were they always interrupted? It was actually unusual that the intruder hadn't been Jimmy that time.
Lois looked at him and smiled. She knew that Clark had been going to tell her something when Perry had interrupted them. She felt a little disappointed that they had been interrupted but she smiled when she thought once again about how Clark had looked so cute and had acted like a little boy who had just caught his parents making out when Perry talked about his and Alice's plans.
They stood in silence for some minutes until Clark started speaking again. "Well, I guess we still need to buy the wine after all." He smiled.
"Yeah, I think so and then I think we should go because Becky must be feeling lonely at your apartment," Lois said. She was feeling kind of sad that they had left the little girl alone even though she had been the one who had wanted to stay there. At first Lois had wanted to stay with her, but then Becky had insisted that she should go and help Clark. Lois smiled when she remembered what Becky had said, <He isn't Superman you know. So you have to go and help him carry the groceries.> Lois looked at Clark. Well, maybe he wasn't Superman, but he was a strong guy. She remembered when she had caught Clark wearing just a towel and she really knew how well defined he was.
"Yeah, you're right," Clark said. He was touched by the fact that Lois was worried about Becky.
Some time later Lois and Clark arrived back at Clark's apartment. Lois helped Clark pick up the bags from her car and they entered the building.
"Becky, we're home," Clark said. He noticed that his apartment was dark; just the tiny lights coming from the Christmas tree were illuminating the place.
"Hey, it took you a long time!" Becky said from her spot on the couch. "I didn't know what to do anymore to keep myself busy so I got dressed up, turned off the lights and just started looking at the trees. I almost fell asleep, you know."
Lois and Clark laughed. "Sorry, Becky, but you don't know what the supermarkets are like at this time of the year," Lois said. "But you look lovely in this pink dress," she added.
"Thanks, Lois." Becky blushed.
"Well, ladies, I'm going to the kitchen to prepare our supper. You two find something to do." Clark headed for the kitchen area.
"Hey, I want to help too!" Lois protested.
"Lois, you don't know how to cook," Clark pointed out. He didn't want to spend Christmas in the bathroom.
"I told you that I know how to make the stuffing. Why, Kent? Don't you believe me?" Lois crossed her arms above her chest, staring at him challengingly.
Clark looked at her. She was so cute when she got mad. He liked that challenging look. "Okay, Lois, I give up. You can make the stuffing, but I'll make the rest."
"Fine!" she said.
Becky started laughing.
"What's so funny?" Lois asked Becky.
"You two. You're acting like kids. It is so funny to see old people acting like kids." The little girl kept laughing.
"Old people? I'm not old!" Lois complained.
Clark started laughing too. "Lois, you are really acting like a kid."
"Oh, yeah?" She looked at him provokingly. "You both will pay then." Lois started chasing Clark and Becky. They ran the opposite way.
"Becky, we're two against one. We should do something," Clark said.
At that point they were all laughing. Clark and Becky cornered Lois against the archway that led to Clark's bedroom and started tickling Lois.
"That's not fair!" Lois said between giggles.
They kept tickling her until she managed to run away from them. She ran behind the couch and they ran towards her. At one point Lois and Clark ran onto each other and fell on the couch, Clark on top of Lois. They were laughing but, as soon as they realized what position they were in, they got serious and just stared into each other's eyes. Something passed between them at that moment; they didn't know what it was but something that made an electrical power run in, out and between them. They slowly leaned toward each other as if some kind of magnet was attracting one to the other. They kept staring into each other's eyes. Lois' heart began beating faster and she could see the magic and…something else in Clark's eyes. Clark held his breath and…
"Hey, I want to play too!" Becky yelled. She was just a child and she didn't realize what she had done.
Lois and Clark were drawn away from the spell they were in. Clark slowly stood up. Lois was still lying on the couch, feeling butterflies in her stomach. She didn't know what would have happened if Becky hadn't interrupted them. Well, she knew what would have happened but she was too scared to think about that now.
"I'm sorry, Lois," Clark said. "Did I…did I hurt you?" He sounded still affected by what had happened…or almost happened.
Lois stood up. "No, you didn't." She gave him a shy smile.
He smiled back. "Well…so I think we should start cooking because it will be midnight in a few hours and we haven't prepared anything yet."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Lois agreed and, turning towards Becky, she said "And you, young lady, will look for something else to do while Clark and I are taking care of the supper."
"Yeah, what else?" She chuckled and went to sit on the couch.
A few hours, and some burning stuffing later, Lois and Clark finished the supper.
"Lois, I'm so glad you knew how to make the stuffing," Clark teased.
"Yeah, what would you do without me?" Lois teased back.
"Well, I'm just glad that I bought a lot of ingredients because you burnt a lot of them." Clark rolled his eyes.
"Hey, it was just twice and it was your fault because you kept distracting me." Well, truth be told, what had distracted her were her thoughts about all the times she and Clark had kissed each other and how she wanted to do that again. But this time a real kiss — not one to fool a maid or fool an army guy like Trask. She felt her cheeks burning and she knew she was blushing. <Get a grip, Lois!>
"Oh, yeah? And how was I distracting you?" he asked her. He had noticed that Lois was distracted while she was making the stuffing and he was wondering if it had to do with what had happened earlier.
"Never mind," she said, not daring to look at him.
"Lo-is," he said.
"Oh, it was nothing. It was just that you were talking a lot and I hate it because when I'm doing something that needs concentration, I just want silence. That's why I burnt the stuffing twice." She spoke fast…that famous Lane babble mode.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know," he apologized. He wasn't sure if that was the truth, because he didn't remember talking that much. In fact, he was pretty sure that he had been pretty quiet. He had been too busy thinking about Lois and what a great time they had had these past few days. Lois hadn't been quite herself lately and he didn't know if that was good or bad. He had noticed she had been quiet at times and that on a few occasions, like at the supermarket, she had been a little emotional. Lois showed him her emotional side sometimes but she had been doing that a lot lately. He wondered if she was acting that way because of Christmas. Well, she had thanked him for wanting her to spend the holiday with him, so maybe she was just glad.
"Oh, Clark, did I sound that bad? Sorry, that wasn't what I meant. I was just distracted, that's all. I'm sorry." She looked at him. "I didn't want to hurt you with what I said."
Clark smiled. "Hey, that's okay. Let's just arrange everything on the table. Becky must be starving and sleepy too. It's past her bedtime."
"Well, it's Christmas. Kids can stay awake." She was glad he had changed the subject. "But you're right, she must be sleepy."
They picked up all the food they had made and started arranging the table. After finishing that, Lois said, "Clark, I have to take off these clothes and put on the dress I bought for tonight. And I think I could use a shower too, if you don't mind."
"No, I don't mind. But hey, did you buy a dress just because you would spend Christmas here?" Clark was feeling butterflies in his stomach. Lois had bought a new dress because of him. Oh, okay, not because of him but because it was Christmas but…still, she didn't have to do that.
"Well, I was shopping and I thought that I should pick up something new because, well…you know, it's Christmas. For example, I don't think you will wear what you're wearing now."
"Yeah, I think you're right. Besides, we just cooked. We can't have food smell on us." He smiled.
"Right, so I'm going first, okay?" she asked him.
"Okay, no problem."
He watched her pick up a little bag she had brought with her when they had arrived at his apartment earlier and disappear through the archway that led to his bedroom.
He stayed in the kitchen, making sure everything was all right, and waited for Lois to come back so he could go and take a shower and change, too.
Some time later, Lois came back and entered the kitchen where Clark was waiting. Clark just stared at her. She was wearing a low-cut black evening dress and her hair was curly. <How did she do that?> "You're very beautiful," he finally said. She was indeed very beautiful. Clark's heart was beating fast. All he wanted to do was kiss her there and then. She was just gorgeous. He loved when she wore black. He smiled. Yeah, he loved black.
"Thanks." She blushed. She was feeling all warm inside because of the way Clark was looking at her. The butterflies in her stomach were making her shiver and she was actually feeling a little dizzy. She didn't know how Clark could make her feel this way. He was her partner and best friend, of course, but why was she feeling like this? He melted her just by staring at her the way he was staring now. "I guess it's your turn." She finally found her voice.
"Uh?" Clark seemed in the clouds.
"Your turn. Won't you take a shower and change clothes?" She looked at him. <Wow, I didn't know I had this effect on him! Okay, okay, I knew I had some effect on him, but it seems he isn't hiding it anymore.> She chuckled.
"Oh, right…sorry." He looked at her one last time and headed towards his bedroom.
It didn't take long for Clark to come back and this time it was Lois who was staring at him. He was wearing black pants that fit him very well and a black shirt. <Wow, he looks great in black,> Lois thought.
"So?" he asked her. He noticed she was staring at him. Her mouth was slightly open.
"You're…very handsome, Clark," she finally said.
"Thanks." He smiled.
They stared at each other for some time before Lois spoke again. "Clark, I need to get Becky. I don't know if you noticed, but she is sleeping on the couch," Lois said, going into the living room.
Clark joined her. "Do you want me to wake her up?"
"No, I'll do it." Lois kneeled on the floor beside the couch. "Sweetie, wake up. Dinner is ready and it's already past midnight," she said while caressing Becky's hair gently.
"Oh…I'm sleepy," she said and closed her eyes again.
"Oh, come on. There's chocolate for dessert." Lois knew that if she was a child and there was chocolate for dessert she would forget she was sleepy.
"Really? Chocolate?" Becky sat up.
"Yeah, a big chocolate cake with chocolate frosting." Lois smiled; she was eager for that dessert too.
Becky ran towards the table.
Lois looked at Clark and smiled.
"Wow, I'm impressed!" Clark said.
"Well, it always works for me. Give me chocolate for dessert and I'll do everything you want." She winked at Clark.
"Really?" He grinned.
"Oh, I'm not talking about that." She slapped his arm playfully.
"Ouch!" he said.
"Yeah, that's for you to remember not to tease me, farmboy." She smiled. She loved playing with Clark. It felt really good.
"Okay, okay," he said. "I won't tease you anymore. Scout's honor," he said, crossing his fingers.
"Okay, now let's eat something because I'm starving," Lois said and went to the kitchen. Clark followed her.
Becky was looking at them. "Hey, I thought you'd never come. I want turkey!!! I'm starving," she said.
"Yeah, we are all starving, Clark." Lois turned to him.
"Okay, let's eat," he said.
"Oh, before that, Merry Christmas!" Becky exclaimed and hugged Clark.
"Merry Christmas, Becky," Clark said and kissed his cousin's cheek.
Lois walked towards Becky. "Merry Christmas," she said.
"Oh, Lois, thanks. You two are already giving me a Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to you too," Becky said and hugged Lois.
When Lois went to say a merry Christmas to Clark, he went towards her and said, "I want to save that for later."
"Later?" Lois stared at him, surprised.
He blushed. "Yeah, just trust me."
Lois just nodded. She didn't know why Clark wanted to wait to say Merry Christmas, but she was going to wait and find out. She had never been a patient person, so she didn't know why she now wanted to wait to see what Clark had meant by 'later'. If this had been a while ago, she would have demanded to know what he had meant by that, but today some kind of spell was making her want to wait. But because of that she was feeling butterflies in her stomach again.
During dinner, Lois and Clark kept looking at each other. Sometimes when Lois noticed that he looked at her when she was looking at him she just turned her head, or sometimes when she felt courageous enough, she just smiled at him. Clark seemed to do the same thing. Sometimes both of them looked at each other at the same time and that made them feel a little uncomfortable, but a little warm inside too.
Lois was still thinking about what he had said a few minutes ago and she was wondering when he was going to tell her why he wanted to wait. It was already Christmas, after all, and he still hadn't said anything. Well, she had resolved to wait and she would wait. In the meantime, she would just enjoy all the talk and dinner.
Becky made them talk a lot about the Planet and their work and told them how excited she was about spending this time with them. She also told them she was just a little disappointed that she hadn't seen Superman. Clark said he could arrange that in the morning. That would be one of his Christmas gifts for her.
Clark noticed that Lois was enjoying everything so much. He enjoyed seeing how adorable she was these days and especially now. The way she was treating his little cousin was amazing too. She seemed thrilled with the girl. She didn't look like the same Lois Lane who had told him a couple of days ago that she wouldn't have kids. He thought that Becky was a little like Lois and so maybe Lois liked her because of that.
"Clark, I can't eat anymore," Lois said. "I think I ate too much and I'm going to have to lose some of this at the gym next month." She smiled at him.
"You don't need a gym, Lois. You're wonderful." He smiled back. Something in her eyes thrilled him. Lois was always beautiful — but this night she was different. She had that girlish way that he had seen only once, a few months ago when she was in Smallville with him. The black dress she wore made her even more beautiful than she already was. The low-cut V showed some cleavage and Clark had to exert considerable will power not to stare.
"Thanks, Clark, but I think it's you that doesn't need a gym, even though you eat like an eight-year- old. One day you'll have to tell me your secret." She laughed. Once again the picture of him wearing just his towel came back to her mind. How many times would she remember that?
"Well, maybe if you prove yourself worthy I'll tell you my secret someday," he teased her back. Yeah, he was sure he would tell her his big secret someday and he was sure she wouldn't like to hear it.
"Oh, really? I can't wait to be worthy then." She rolled her eyes to tease him. Clark just laughed. He knew she was worth it already; he was just waiting to see when Lois would realize that and when she would think of him that way.
"I'm done too," Becky said and with a yawn she added, "and I'm sleepy."
"Okay, okay, so I think it's time to clean up everything," Clark said.
"I'll help you, Clark," Lois said.
"Oh no, I think you could help get Becky to bed. She is really tired. Can you do that for me, Lois?"
"Oh, sure," she said. Standing up and walking towards Becky, she picked up the little girl. "Come here, I'll put you to bed."
Lois helped Becky put her pajamas on and then go to bed. Lois would sleep in Clark's bed with Becky so she put the sleepy girl in the left side of the bed.
"Have sweet dreams, little one," Lois said and kissed Becky's forehead. She didn't know why she was feeling so attached to the girl. Maybe it was because she was Clark's cousin. She didn't know the reason but certainly she was feeling something she had never thought she would feel…she was feeling like a mom.
When Lois had almost left the room, Becky said, "Lois?"
Lois turned around and sat on the bed. "Yes?"
"He loves you," Becky said.
"What?" Lois stared at the little girl. She didn't know what Becky was talking about.
"My cousin…Clark loves you," she said in a sleepy voice.
Lois didn't know what to do or say.
"He loves you," the little girl repeated before falling asleep.
Lois just sat there for some time. What did Becky mean? Of course Lois knew Clark loved her, but she knew it was just like a sister. Well, actually, if she could remember properly she was the one who had implied their relationship was that of a brother and sister. Clark had never said that. In fact, he had told her once he loved her. It was when she had almost married Lex but, she remembered, he said that only to stop her from marrying someone he knew to be a dangerous person. He had said that day in front of the Planet that he wanted the same thing she wanted for them: to be friends forever. Was it still true? Did he really want just friendship? She had been feeling differently ever since Clark had asked her to spend Christmas with him. The past days had been magic, just like Clark had said Christmas should be. What would happen now? What did that little girl know that she didn't?
Lois suddenly remembered that Clark had said something about later, and she decided that she had already been there too long and it was time to go back to the living room. Deciding she needed to know what Clark had meant by 'later', Lois opened the door and walked towards the living room.
Clark had watched Lois picking up Becky and walking towards his bedroom. He still couldn't stop thinking about what he had been picturing ever since he had first seen Becky and Lois together…he was still imagining they were a family. The thought warmed his heart even though he knew it wasn't real.
He was glad, though, that Lois was being so gentle to a child. He remembered how sad he had felt when she had told him she didn't want kids. Actually, no one really believed that Lois would ever be a mom or that she could take care of a child, but Clark was seeing a different side of her now. Well, maybe it was because it was Christmas and even an Ice Queen like Lois couldn't be mean at that time of the year. No, Clark knew he wasn't being fair to Lois. She wasn't an Ice Queen and she never could be mean to a child; even though she had said all those horrible things about Christmas, he knew she was just as much of a sentimental softie as he was about the holiday. He knew she had had an awful childhood and it was because of that that she didn't like the season they were in. Could he have changed that now? He could see Lois was different…but did that mean that she was changing her mind about everything? Well, he was going to find out that night. He smiled when he thought about what he had in mind. Becky was already in bed, so when Lois came back from his bedroom it would be the time for her to have a really special Christmas. In the meantime, he would just wait and finish his chores and then he would go to the living room and prepare Lois' surprise. He just hoped it would take some time for Lois to come back.
When Lois stepped into the living room she noticed the place was dark, illuminated solely by the little lights on the Christmas tree. It was so beautiful. A Christmas song played softly in the background and she saw Clark sitting on the couch, looking at the little Christmas tree she had bought.
"Sorry, but Becky wanted to talk before going to bed and even though she was sleepy, you know how kids are," Lois said and just stood there, looking at Clark.
"It's okay. Lois, come here. I want to show you something." He stood up and reached for her hand.
Lois smiled at him and held his hand. He walked her to the couch and then sat beside her. Lois just stared at him. She was feeling a little nervous because this was their first opportunity to be alone.
Clark smiled at her and picked up something from under the tree. "I want to give you your Christmas gift now."
"Oh, Clark, you didn't have to. Besides, shouldn't we wait for morning to unwrap the gifts?" She was as curious as a little girl to know what Clark had picked out for her, but she didn't want him to notice that.
"Can you wait?" he teased her.
"Well…" Lois hesitated.
"I'm kidding. This is for you; I hope you'll like it. There's also something Becky bought for you but she'll give you that in the morning." Clark handed her a little box wrapped in red paper and ribbon.
Lois picked up the box and smiled at him. She started to unwrap her gift. When she finished unwrapping it, she noticed it was a jewelry box. She opened the box and saw a beautiful heart-shaped necklace. "Clark, it's beautiful." She looked into his eyes. They were shining and she could see there was something more.
"Merry Christmas." He smiled. "And Lois, you can open the heart. It's a locket." He was a little nervous to see her reaction.
Lois opened the locket and saw a picture of the two of them together taken during the Kerth Awards ceremony. There was something engraved on the locket: 'I love you with all my heart'. She didn't know what to say. She shyly smiled at Clark but she was too emotional and she couldn't hide the tears that were in her eyes. So they fell down her cheek.
Clark reached out and brushed her tears away. "Merry Christmas, Lois."
Lois caressed the hand that was touching her cheek and, looking into Clark's eyes, said, "You've given me the most amazing Christmas of my life and I'll never be able to thank you enough. You are giving me the most beautiful gift in the world, and I'm not talking about the necklace. I'm talking about your heart and your love. If there's something I can do to make your Christmas as special as the one you are giving me right now, just tell me…because I would do anything for you."
"You are already giving me the most special Christmas of my life, Lois, simply because you're here with me." He held her other hand and squeezed it gently.
"Oh, Clark." How big a fool was she? She had been fooling herself for so long. She loved Clark and she could see his love for her was just as strong as her love for him. The way he was touching her now, the gift, the look in his eyes, everything that he had done ever since she had met him…all was because of love. Clark loved her and with that realization she knew she wasn't scared, as she should be; she felt warm inside and safe, safe in a way she hadn't known she could feel. Clark would never hurt her or betray her trust. Clark was there for her all those times when she felt alone and he would be there for her forever if she would let him.
She looked at him. She knew he was waiting for something, waiting to see if she loved him; not like a brother as she had fooled not just him but herself, too, that day that the Nightfall Asteroid would have hit the Earth. He was waiting for her. Instead of talking, she leaned forward and pressed her lips to his. She felt sparks running through her just like when they had been on the couch earlier that day, but this time it was even more powerful.
Clark couldn't believe Lois was kissing him. He had dreamed about this ever since he had met her when she had stormed into Perry's office during his interview. He had kissed Lois a couple of times, but nothing had prepared him for this kiss…the kiss they were sharing now. Her hands had gone to his head and they were pulling him against her. Her lips were hungrily devouring him and he could smell her perfume and feel her heart beating fast and matching his. Somehow Lois ended up on his lap and after some amazing kisses they came up for air. Looking into his eyes, Lois said, "Merry Christmas, Clark." She smiled at him.
"Wow, that was a great gift, Lois," he teased her.
"Well, you can have your real gift now, but I somehow doubt you'll like it as much as you liked that one, so if you're a good boy, there's more where that came from." She winked at him.
They smiled at each other. Clark touched his forehead to Lois'. "I love you, Lois."
She gave him a quick peck on the lips. "I love you too, Clark."
They held each other tightly, as if they were trying to tell each other that it wasn't a dream. Lois knew that she would always be safe in Clark's arms and that she would never regret saying 'I love you' to him. Clark knew that his heart was already part of hers and that he would spend the rest of his life with Lois and show her every day how much he loved her.
"Hmmm, you know, I have to thank Becky in the morning," Lois said, breaking the silence.
"Why?" Clark asked her.
"Never mind." She reached for him and kissed him and the rest of the world was forgotten.
Becky watched the couple kissing on the couch and smiled. She had succeeded. She walked towards Clark's nightstand to pick up the phone, dialed a number and waited until the other person answered the phone.
"Hello. It's me," Becky said.
"Oh, Becky! How is everything there?"
"They are together. I did it!" Becky tried to hide her enthusiasm.
"Really?" the person asked her.
"Yeah. They are kissing on the couch." The little girl blushed and smiled.
"Yeah, I knew they needed a little angel to help them. I've been thinking about them for a long time and I didn't know what to do until I thought maybe a child could help them get together. Clark has always liked children and at this time of the year everyone likes spending time with kids, even when they're not their own. And even though Lois looks like a hard person she has a soft heart, maybe even softer than Clark's. Thanks, Becky, you've made your cousin a very happy man."
"I couldn't have done it without you. I liked playing the matchmaker, especially in this case. I've been a fan of Lois and Clark for a long time now."
"Well, Merry Christmas, Becky."
"Merry Christmas!" Becky said. "Oh, when are you and Uncle Jonathan coming back to Metropolis?" she asked.
Martha smiled. "We'll be there in the afternoon."
"Great. Bye, Aunt Martha."
After hanging up the phone Becky went back to bed. She knew she had done something amazing that day and she was proud of herself. While she drifted off to sleep, Lois and Clark kept having the best Christmas ever because Clark had the love of his life in his arms and Lois found again not only the magic of Christmas but a love that she had thought she would never have.