By Gerry Anklewicz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: November, 2003
Summary: During a leisurely breakfast, Lois and Clark discuss an advice column and come to some interesting conclusions about raisins.
This story is part of a longer story that may never get finished*. The letter to "Dear Annie" is a real one that I found in the newspaper about a year ago. I wondered how Lois and Clark would react to reading the letter. I originally planned to write it as a separate story, but ML convinced me to put it into my ongoing and never-will-be- finished fic. I did, but then it sat for a long, long time. So, when I was I was lucky enough to have my name pulled from the hat and won the fanzine, I decided that I wanted to give something back. I reworked the concept into a short story. BTW, I know people who pull their raisins out of cinnamon buns.
I'd like to thank my valiant beta-readers ML Thompson and Jude Williams who quickly got back to me and helped me with my logic.
*I reserve the right to put parts of this story back into the larger fic that I'm writing, if I ever finish it.
Clark Kent sauntered into the lunchroom where he poured himself a cup of coffee. He was pleased that he was early enough for once to enjoy some breakfast with his colleagues. Sitting down at the table with Jimmy, he opened up the sports section of the Daily Planet's morning edition.
"Met Tigers won again last night," he said.
"Yeah, that was some game," Jimmy Olsen muttered. "Saw it on TV."
"I missed it," said Clark, "but Pete Williams does a good job describing it."
"Like all a newspaper is good for is the sports section," Lois Lane stated as she sat down in the chair next to Clark. "Here's your bear claw." She pushed the large sweet bun over to her partner. "I saved it for you."
"Thanks, I love these."
"Hey," interrupted Jimmy, "wanna see if we can outguess Dear Annie this morning? There's a good one, today."
"Shoot," said Lois as she began systematically plucking the raisins from her cinnamon bun.
"'Dear Annie,'" Jimmy read from the Lifestyle section, "'I think I experienced love at first sight. I thought my infatuation would disappear but I still feel the same after three years. I told him I loved him about a year ago, but he never responded. I think about him all the time. I have the chance to leave the country for a year. Do you think it would help to finally forget him? Cynthia.'"
"Leave the country, Cynthia," Lois said as she placed the raisins in a neat pile on a napkin beside her cup.
"Why do you say that?" Clark asked.
"She's been waiting around for three years, for god's sake. Can't she take a hint? Cynthia, get on with your life. Forget him. Go away and have the best time ever."
"If it's real, then I'm sure she feels some connection with him," Clark countered.
"Right! She needs to get this fantasy out of her head. It's his lack of response that has her hooked." Lois stared at a piece of cinnamon bun that she had broken off and pulled out the raisins that were hiding between two layers. "Cynthia knows that he isn't for her. She says it herself: it's an 'infatuation'. And anyway, there's no such thing as love at first sight."
"I believe there is."
"I'm not surprised, Clark. You're from Kansas." Lois slid the napkin filled with raisins over to Clark, whistling 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road'.
Clark began to eat the raisins. "I'll follow that road anytime, Lois, because unlike the Wizard, Dorothy is willing to take risks in order to get back to Kansas."
"Believing that love at first sight exists is taking a risk of sorts. It leaves you open to new experiences, new ways of seeing people. Maybe it leaves you vulnerable, but it also leaves room for the incredible."
"Two people can't just meet and fall in love."
"Maybe it's not love per se, because who knows what love really is. Maybe it's just a connection on a spiritual or emotional level. A gut feeling, right from the beginning, that that person, is the right one for you …the person you've always been looking for."
"Fine. I'll buy your definition for now, but Cynthia…remember Cynthia?…" Lois said snatching the newspaper from Jimmy to wave it in front of Clark, "she told this guy that she loved him. He said he wasn't interested."
"Actually, he didn't respond," said Jimmy.
"Maybe he wasn't ready to hear what she had to say."
"Come on, Clark, love is a two-way street." Lois took a bite of her cinnamon bun, chewing on it until she stopped. She discreetly placed her thumb and forefinger on her mouth and removed a raisin which she wrapped in a napkin.
"It could be that Cynthia knows things that she didn't write in the letter. Maybe the guy is the Tin Woodsman who hasn't figured out what's going on in his heart."
"You're changing the story, Clark. The Tin Woodsman wanted a heart. It was the Wizard who told him that he had a heart all the time."
"Exactly my point."
Lois stared at Clark for a moment, not too sure what his point was but ready, nonetheless, to do battle in defense of her position. "But Cynthia's guy didn't respond which means he's not interested so why is she hanging around? She must be a glutton for punishment if she doesn't take off and leave the country."
"What you've missed reading between the lines, Lois, is that Cynthia has been in love with this guy for three years. There must be something that tells her that she is on the right track."
"Probably little things that indicate that this guy really cares about her."
"Jimmy, give me back the newspaper. I want to see those lines that Clark is reading between."
She pulled the paper away from Jimmy and glared at the copy. Then dramatically, she drew the paper up to her nose staring at the newsprint, and then she turned the paper over to look at it from the back.
"Sorry, Clark, I don't seem to see the lines that you're talking about."
"If it's true love," said Clark studying the remains of his bear claw carefully, "Cynthia will never forget him, so she may as well stick around, let him know, gently, how she feels and be patient. He'll come around when he sees what is staring him in the face."
"Wow Clark! You're such a romantic," said Jimmy.
"More like someone who lives in the Emerald City," Lois said.
"No. Lois, I wouldn't live in a city filled with green stones."
Lois went over to the coffee machine and brought the carafe over to the table, offering to pour fresh coffee for Clark and Jimmy.
"No thanks, Lois, I'd love to stay and see who wins this argument, but that's the Chief calling me."
Lois took a carton of cream out of the fridge and poured some into Clark's mug. As she poured some low-fat milk into her own, she pushed two packages of sugar over to Clark.
"I'm surprised that you've survived in Metropolis this long, Clark," Lois said.
"Why are you surprised?" He took a sip of his coffee. "Mmmm, perfect, thanks."
"Because you really are a romantic, and according to all the advice columnists that I've ever read, if the guy says he isn't interested and they've been together for three years, then she needs to get on with her life by getting a life. She can only be hurt if she waits and nothing happens."
"But maybe there are signs that tell her a different story."
"You're reading between the lines again."
"Or hoping," he muttered.
"Tell me why she's sticking around, Clark."
"Because there's a connection that she doesn't understand, but she knows it's there. Because when they see each other…there are little things that he says and does that tell her that he does care, that she's important to him."
"Like…" He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, Lois, I'm getting this from between the lines. How does the Tin Woodsman know that he even needs a heart? Because he reacts to what he sees around him with a heart…"
"I'm missing the logic here, Clark. Why does the Tin Woodsman think he needs a heart if he already reacts with a heart? If he can react with it, he must already have one, so he doesn't need one."
"That's the beauty of the story. He cares about Dorothy and the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, and he helps them whenever he can, but he thinks he'd be a much better Tin Woodsman if he only had a heart. He's looking for the tangible heart not realizing that a heart is impalpable."
"And you are making this analogy because…?"
"Because, like the Tin Woodsman, Cynthia's guy does things that show that he cares for her and Cynthia sees that."
"I'm still not sure what you're getting at."
"It's like…like sharing raisins. Why do you share your raisins with me?"
"Because I don't like raisins and you do."
"Why not share them with Jimmy or Perry?"
"I don't know whether either of them likes raisins."
"But you know that I like raisins." He glared at her, willing her to make the leap.
"So? Clark, this is getting ridiculous. I'm not sure what you're trying to get at here. All I know is that Cynthia is letting herself in for some major heartache if she doesn't use this opportunity to leave the country."
"And I believe that she will be making the biggest mistake of her life. Think about it, Lois." Clark shifted his attention from the empty napkin to his partner. He stood up. "Gotta get to work," he said as he winked at her and made his way out of the lunchroom.
Lois, who wasn't ready to acknowledge his gaze, swept up the crumbs from her cinnamon bun. Why was Clark so contentious about this stupid letter? It was obvious that Cynthia was making a mistake mooning over a man who wasn't responding to her. Every advice columnist would tell her to get on with her life.
She watched Clark as he headed toward his desk. Midway, he paused, tilted his head to one side, and headed toward the elevator.
"Now where's he going?" she mumbled to herself. Clark really needed to organize his time better, she thought, and he needed to get his head out of Oz and back to Kansas. She giggled. Wrong analogy. The fact that he was from Kansas was part of the problem. He needed to get back to Metropolis where he belonged. But what if Clark decided to go back to Kansas because…no, he wouldn't do that. He finds Metropolis too exciting. Could he be happy in Kansas once he'd experienced Metropolis?
And he wasn't like Cynthia because he wasn't mooning over some woman…He didn't have to. Mayson was there, ready any time he asked. But he never asked. "Instead he hangs around me," she whispered. She couldn't help smiling at the thought. He liked being with her…and she had to admit, she liked spending her time with him. There was this connection. Right from the beginning, there was a connection even though she had told him not to fall for her. Nevertheless, he had fallen for her. He even confessed it a few months ago when he had told her that he loved her.
On the bench in Centennial Park, he had confessed how he felt about her, and she was so caught up by Lex's proposal and her feelings for Superman, that she didn't allow herself to see Clark for who he really was. A man in love with her. Then, he had quietly stepped back and withdrawn his confession not knowing that she had stopped her wedding to Lex because she knew that she was in love with Clark Kent. And so she allowed them to fall back into their routine of being friends, best friends.
He still loved her.
He had always loved her.
He was supporting Cynthia because like her, he was mooning over someone whom he thought wasn't returning his feelings. He believed that there was still hope for them to have a relationship. And if she didn't do something soon, he might decide to leave. She had just told Cynthia to get on with her life. If Clark was making the connection between Cynthia and himself, then he might think that she was telling him to move on.
But she didn't want him to move on. She noticed a few raisins that had fallen onto the floor.
If she were the cinnamon bun and Clark the raisins, then he had really gotten between her layers. Rather than appreciating the way the two flavours and textures blended, she kept trying to separate them. But somehow, the raisins kept popping up.
"Okay, Lois, now you're really going around the bend." She giggled, hoping that no one heard her. She grabbed her purse and headed for the bakery across the street from the Daily Planet.
Landing on the roof of the Daily Planet, Clark spun into his suit and tie. He glanced at his watch, wondering what excuse he would use for being out of the office for an hour and a half. Well, at least, he had another good Superman story. He wondered if, for the upteemth time, Lois would give him grief for just disappearing for no apparent reason. He never worried about Perry might say as much as he cared about what Lois thought.
Clark should take Lois's advice to Cynthia. He needed to get his fantasy relationship with her out of his head. It wasn't that Lois hadn't responded to his confession of love, she had told him directly that although she cared for him, she didn't love him romantically. Isn't that what all the advice columnists would tell him. 'She let you know what she wanted.' But Clark also recognized those little things Lois did that told him loudly and clearly how much she cared. The same intuition that alerted him any time she was in danger screamed that Lois loved him. She just refused to admit it to herself.
Well, that's why he had considered dating Mayson, wasn't it? She was interested in him romantically, but he wasn't interested in her that way. He enjoyed going out with Mayson and talking to her, but if he never kissed her beyond a friendly peck on the cheek, it wouldn't matter. He couldn't say the same thing about Lois. She consumed his thoughts and made his teen-age fantasies wither in comparison.
Maybe he should follow Cynthia and travel for a year, but that wasn't the answer either. Metropolis was his home, and he really didn't want to leave it or Lois.
When Clark exited the elevator, he scanned the bullpen for Lois. She wasn't in the newsroom. Well, at least, he could get his story written before she began interrogating him about his absence.
He didn't remember leaving a copy of the Lifestyle section on his desk before he left, but there it was, open at Cynthia's letter. He glanced at the answer: "Read the signs, Cynthia. He's showing you that he's not interested. The job out of the country looks mighty good. Take it and get on with your life."
Lois was right, again. In frustration, Clark crumpled the newspaper. Underneath, he found a cinnamon bun and a letter. He picked a couple of raisins out of the bun and chewed on them as he read the letter.
I think I've experience real love for the first time. After knowing him for a year and a half, I realize that I have very strong feelings for him. I know he has feelings for me because he told me a few months ago, but I told him I didn't feel the same way about him.
I know this is real because I've been infatuated with someone, but that disappeared and became friendship.
Now, I think about my guy all the time. He's a very important part of my life. He is my heart. He is the raisins in my cinnamon bun. I don't want to pull them out anymore because they are so essential and without them, the cinnamon bun isn't complete. What should I do?
Signed, If I only had a heart
Clark couldn't stop smiling as he read the letter. He looked around the newsroom and noticed Lois coming toward him. She was watching him expectantly.
Clark picked up the cinnamon bun and took a bite. When Lois approached his desk, her smile matching his own, he offered her a bite of the cinnamon bun. She took it and nibbled. Her mouth rested for a moment when she bit down on a raisin. She raised her fingers to her mouth, but stopped midway, choosing, instead, to continue eating.
Clark smiled as he read between the lines. "Would you like to go to a movie, tonight?" he asked.
"Are you asking me out on a date?"
"Yes. A date."
"There's an interactive version of The Wizard of Oz playing at the 99 Cent Roxy."
"I'll pick you up at seven."
"I'll be ready. Umm… Clark, there's just one thing."
"What's that, Lois?"
"Does this mean I have to start eating my cinnamon buns with the raisins in them? Cause to tell you the truth, I really don't like raisins."
THE END :)