By Wanda Detroit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted August 2004
Summary: Lois and Clark attend a charity ball together. Hear them each tell their side of the story first-hand. Misunderstandings abound!
The ball/gala in this fic is not to be confused with the Pilot. It takes place after, sometime in season 1. A special thanks to Stopquitdont, Julie Stars, and Terry L. who all BR'ed this piece for me. Without their help and insight, this story would never see the light of day. Feedback is welcome. Enjoy!
Where do I begin?
There was a charity ball and some of the Planet staff were invited to attend. I was considering declining, then making a solo appearance (as Superman) until Lois asked me to be her date. I couldn't believe it, really. She seemed so nervous when she asked; it was really endearing. I mean, I know she warned me about falling for her… but there's something about her. I can't help it. She's so beautiful… intelligent…witty… and those eyes—I could go on and on.
"Clark? Are you doing anything Friday night?" she'd asked. She had been practically stammering. The top button on her blouse was undone—I wonder if she'd done it on purpose? God, I was hardly able to talk. I just shook my head, no.
Her cheeks turned pink. "There's a charity gala—wanna come with me?"
Needless to say, I changed my mind about going alone.
So Perry handed me an invitation to this charity gala. Multiple Sclerosis. A worthwhile cause. I thought I was attending as a member of the press. No, Perry informs me that we're just guests. I read the card. "Lois Lane and guest."
Now where the hell was I going to find a date so last-minute?
I let a few days pass while I thought about it. Finally I realized I had better make up my mind, or send my regrets to Multiple Sclerosis.
Frankly, that was not something I wanted to do—I had an uncle with MS—that's family history. I was bound to get diagnosed if I did not attend this gala, as punishment.
I thought of inviting Lex. Decided against it. He was one of the keynote speakers. It seemed odd to invite someone who was already part of the gala. My sister suggested inviting Mitchell—the hypochondriac… No way!
At long last, I was getting desperate. I looked across the newsroom, and there was Clark. Now *there* was an idea.
"Clark?" I said, making my way over to his desk. "I was just wondering if you were busy this Friday?"
He shrugged, smugly. I could tell he was trying not to look too excited about my question.
"There's a charity ball—I'm supposed to take a guest. Wanna come?"
He readily agreed. I knew he would. He has a thing for me.
Friday night rolled around. I had rented a tuxedo. I wanted to look great for her. Lois always looks great—I've seen her in her pajamas. She even looks great in them. I thought, this could be my chance to show her I'm not the farmboy she thinks I am. I was striving to look as sophisticated as possible. Suave. GQ.
With super speed, I shined my shoes until they looked brand new. I got dressed rather quickly, and headed over to her apartment on foot to pick her up. On the way, I picked up the corsage I'd ordered at the florist's. It came out nice—it was a cluster of three white roses.
I knocked on her door, nervous for the first time. She was going to look stunning. I was suddenly aware that the last thing I had eaten was an onion bagel. I brushed my teeth twice, but man! Those things are lethal. I hoped my breath was good…
"Coming!" Lois called. She sounded harried. I heard the sounds of something dropping to the floor. Hair products. She muttered an obscenity.
A minute passed. And then she opened the door.
She wore a shimmering cranberry colored gown. It was incredible. Like it had been painted on. But it was classy and elegant. Thin straps suspended a draped neckline over some of her finer assets. The back was low—I had never seen so much of Lois at one time, and I was embarrassingly dumbfounded.
I couldn't find my voice. At last I choked out, "Lois, you look *amazing.*" Unable to stop staring, I handed her the corsage.
Clark is so damned reliable. Why can't he be late like a normal human being? It was seven P.M. on the dot, and he arrived at my door. I was still putting the finishing touches on my makeup. I rushed so I wouldn't keep him waiting.
I sprayed on some perfume, knocking over a can of mousse and hair spray with my elbow. As if things couldn't go any more wrong. I limped across the room (yes, limped, because I had on two different shoes—I was still deciding). I kicked off the black sandal and chose the less sensible stiletto instead.
I dashed to the door and opened it.
Wow. He looked great. Not just a little great. A lot. His bow tie and vest were burgundy. They practically matched my dress!
What was it Perry told me once? In an Elvis movie, you always know who's going to end up together, because they wear matching colored clothes.
Clark was very nearly drooling. He handed me a corsage. What did he think this was? The senior prom? It was really pretty, I have to admit, and a nice gesture. I felt like an idiot for neglecting to give him a boutonniere.
The gala was really nice. It was a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis. I felt bad only for a minute about not going as Superman. But I had a good feeling about being with Lois. There were some excellent keynote speakers; Dr. Klein was one of them. Lex Luthor, too, although I haven't a clue why. I think he had his own agenda.
They served a very nice meal, and Lois seemed to be extra friendly. I'm used to her sarcasm by now—she tends to like to give me a hard time about being the Planet's new kid on the block. But tonight… tonight was different.
Maybe it was the four glasses of wine she drank.
Whatever the reason, she was as nice as can be. No snide comments. I definitely think she was flirting with me. Early on, we didn't talk a whole lot, but when we were looking into each other's eyes, I could feel this incredible chemistry. I've never felt anything like it before. I'm sure she felt it, too.
I didn't feel like giving Clark a hard time. After all, it was nice of him to agree to come with me to this thing. He was really making an effort. He looked really handsome.
Maybe it was the wine talking. I had two glasses.
The room was beautiful, and they had live music. It was slow jazz—really nice. I kind of gave Clark the eye from across the table, waiting for him to ask me to dance. I was not about to make the first move—twice!
Suddenly, it was as if the table's distance between us was too great. I needed to be close to her, to hold her. I realized that all it took was a simple question, "Would you like to dance?"
Lois nodded. I'm not sure she would have accepted without the aforementioned four glasses of wine in her, but I wasn't complaining. I stood up and pulled out her chair for her. Offering her my arm, I guided her to the dance floor. Once there, I held her close, resting my hand on the small of her back, which was bare—much to my surprise, the dress was lower than I'd expected. Her skin was so soft…
We began dancing. It was so natural, and incredibly intimate. She rested her head on my shoulder and then she was singing along with the band, softly so that only I could hear.
"Any old time you want me, I am yours for the asking, darling; any old time you need me, I'll be there with love that's lasting, darling…"
I could hardly stand. Beautifully romantic lyrics sung to me by such an incredible woman. Her voice was lovely—sweet and tender. It was all I could do to keep dancing with her. We were on the same wavelength, I was sure of it! I wondered what would happen if I kissed her…
Something nearly stopped me in my tracks. Her thigh brushed against mine, and she'd craftily managed to very nearly straddle my leg, so that when we moved—
Her body against mine was too much to take! I couldn't stand it anymore, and I was going to tell her how I felt.
We were dancing, and everything was wonderful. I closed my eyes and lay my cheek on his shoulder, daydreaming. The music was beautiful. I knew the words to the song we were dancing to. It was Billie Holiday's 'Any Old Time,' one of my favorites. I couldn't stop myself from singing along.
Clark was a surprisingly good dancer. And then…
Dear God! What was *that* maneuver?!
Whatever it was, it felt good, and I wanted him to do it again. I shifted a little—shameless, I know—and gripped Clark a little closer.
Lois and I held each other close for what seemed like a long time. I collected my thoughts. Finally, I said, "Lois? There's something I've wanted to tell you… for a long time."
Her breathing was warm against my neck, and we continued to sway gently to the music. She was listening, quietly, her head still on my shoulder.
"I've had feelings for you. For as long as I can remember. Since I first met you. I know it's silly, and you warned me about getting involved… But I can't help how I feel about you."
Lois pulled back abruptly, looking as though she'd been slapped across the face. "What—? You're—! No!" she extracted herself from my arms and made a beeline for the door.
I was crushed. I just stood there, watching her leave, as helpless as a man could be.
And as I held him there, something odd struck me. Holding Clark close like this, with my eyes closed—it was very easy to imagine that I was here with Superman!
I could feel Clark's strong muscles beneath his jacket—he was built. Really built. He was also about Superman's height… he even smelled like Superman!
It couldn't be…
I looked up at him, *really looked.* I imagined him without his glasses. He was talking to me, but my mind was racing so fast I wasn't even paying attention. I tried to picture what he'd look like with his hair slicked back.
Oh. My. God.
The liar! The no-good, dirty liar! Who did he think he was, anyway?
He was still carrying on a one-sided conversation with me, but I cut him off. "What—? You're—! No!" I said, pulling myself out of his grasp.
I headed for the door. He knew better than to follow me.
Shortly after Lois left, I left too. I couldn't stand to be there alone. She made a scene. She could have been more discreet. I mean, these were my feelings she was stomping all over! Who did she think she was, anyhow?
I was hurt beyond belief.
If she wasn't interested, the least she could have done was to politely explain, "Sorry, Clark, I think of you only as a friend."
I walked home feeling hollow inside. How could I have so grossly misunderstood her? I was so sure she was interested. I thought I knew her better than anyone. That's probably still true. But she's just so mysterious, so elusive. She's built this wall around her emotions, and she doesn't even let her best friend in.
What kind of a life is that?
A lonely one.
It's her loss. That's what I told myself, to make myself feel better.
It didn't work.
I drove home, shaking. I was lucky I made it home in one piece, because my mind was certainly not on the road. All I could think about was the secret I'd discovered.
Clark Kent is Superman! Has been, all along!
How stupid I was to be fooled for so long! I pride myself on being observant. It's embarrassing, really.
Why hadn't he told me? Doesn't he trust me? I'm his best friend. I'm trustworthy. (Usually.)
He probably found it amusing, playing me for a fool all along. Sitting there—as Clark—listening to me exult Superman like he was some kind of golden god. Oh, he must have *loved* that.
I was furious by the time I arrived at my apartment.
When I got home, I spun out of my tuxedo and into my Suit to patrol the city. I was lost in thought about what had happened with Lois.
Maybe I should have told her I was Superman. She wouldn't have reacted the same way. She has this thing for Superman. Well, more than just a thing. A full-blown, schoolgirl crush. Everybody knows about it.
If she knew I was Superman, she would never have turned me down.
What is it about 'Clark Kent' that's so unappealing to her? I like to think I'm a nice guy. I just wish she could see it.
The more I thought about it, though, the less angry I got. I took a hot shower. I tried to relax, watched some TV. But all I could think about was my 'discovery.'
I thought about how I'd reacted. Then I was disappointed in myself.
For God sake, I'd just found out that Clark Kent was Superman, and all I could say was, "What—you're—no?" That was lame, and I would have to confront him about it. After all, he didn't know I'd figured it out.
I'd have to let him know.
When my patrol was over, I flew back to my apartment. As I always do, I landed on my fire escape and came in through the window.
There she was, sitting on my couch with this smug look on her face!
Way to rub salt in a wound, Lois Lane!
I blanched. I was wearing the suit—! Oh, God—!
"Hi, Clark," she said, coolly.
"You knew…" I stammered. I felt like an idiot. Standing there in the suit, I felt vulnerable, exposed. Like I was standing there in my underwear or something. I tried to turn the tables on her. "Wait—how did you get in here…?" I asked, in as accusatory a tone as I could muster.
"You forget, Clark, that I know how to pick locks."
It was odd having her call me 'Clark' when I was in the suit. "Mind if I change…?" She shrugged and I spun into my regular clothes. I could see her pretending not to be impressed.
So I broke into Clark's apartment. I wasn't planning on it, but when I knocked on the door and he didn't answer, I figured I'd just have to wait for him to come back.
I sat there on his couch until he showed up.
What an entrance. I couldn't have planned it any better.
He came in through his window, wearing his Superman suit! Ha! Gotcha!
I sat there, trying not to look surprised at all. I said, "Hi, Clark." I really pronounced 'Clark.' Rubbed it in. He didn't know what to say—he was dumbfounded. I stayed calm as he did this quick-change spinning thing back into his regular clothes. He sat next to me on the couch.
"How did you find out…?" he managed to choke out.
"Your clever little disguise doesn't fool me. I've suspected for quite some time," I said, bending the truth just a little. "Tonight I was certain because, well, I've been close to Superman before, but never so close to Clark."
Clark heaved a sigh. "Is that why you… rejected me today? When I told you I had feelings for you…?"
Now wait a minute, *that* was coming out of left field! I rejected him? He told me he has feelings for me? When did that happen?
It all made sense. She was mad I'd lied to her. No wonder she rejected me. At last, I asked her.
"Is that why you rejected me? Because I'm Superman? Because I lied?"
She had this puzzled look on her face. "Wait. Who said I rejected you?"
"The way you ran out on me like that…" I explained.
She rolled her eyes. "Clark. I had just figured it out for sure. You felt like Superman. You even smelled like Superman…"
I cringed. "*Smelled* like Superman?!" I hoped to God it was a good smell…
She swatted my arm. "I left prematurely. And abruptly. I don't consider that 'rejecting' you."
It hurt that she refused to admit she'd rejected me. She blatantly had! "Lois. It was rejection. I was confessing my feelings for you, and you went running for the door."
Now, Lois has always been a good actress, but the shock on her face was genuine.
"You were… what?" I managed.
Clark looked uncomfortable. "I was trying to tell you that I… have feelings for you. Strong feelings. More than friendship." He looked embarrassed and stared down at his hands.
So *that's* what he was saying when I was blatantly tuning him out.
I'm a louse.
"Oh, Clark," I said. I patted his hand. Oh, Clark. What a lame thing to say. To be honest, I had no idea what to say. He looked so hurt. I felt terrible. I figured honesty would be better than any excuse I could come up with. "I wasn't listening," I admitted.
"I didn't hear what you were saying to me. I was too busy figuring out that you were Superman."
He looked up at me, shocked.
"Are you *kidding* me here?" I asked, stunned.
She shook her head, no. "There was music, I was distracted, I had two glasses of wine in me, and I was busy figuring out you were Superman. That's a lot to be doing at once. You wanted me to be listening, too?"
"*Four* glasses of wine," I corrected.
She shook her head. "No. Two."
I shrugged, surrendering. It was four. Really.
She smiled shyly. "Care to repeat what you said, when I was so rudely ignoring you?"
He explained that he was confessing his feelings to me. And I hadn't been listening.
Well, I had been busy. Under the influence of two glasses of wine—but Clark will tell you otherwise. But I was in complete control. I was dancing, listening to music, and figuring out Clark was Superman. That's pretty complex. It involves both the right and left sides of the brain. Fortunately for me, I am excellent at multitasking.
Of course something had to fall by the wayside. That something was listening to Clark's confessing his feelings for me. And that was the biggest mistake of them all—it was by far the most important thing that was happening at the time. Even figuring out he was Superman could have waited until he'd at least told me his feelings.
I smiled encouragingly. "Tell me again what was said when I wasn't listening…"
I took a deep breath. She wanted to hear it. She didn't seem mad anymore.
"Lois, I… don't know how to say this. I just said it when we were dancing, because everything felt so right… I've admired you for so long now. Ever since we met. I think you're beautiful and intelligent and funny. You warned me about falling for you. I fought it for a long time. But I can't help it—I've got feelings for you. And it's more than just being your best friend. It's… well, I love you."
I spat it out at last. Those three little words that I'd been thinking for so long. I had tried not to, in fear of scaring her away.
If I thought I was vulnerable and exposed before, it was nothing compared with how I felt then.
He told me, poured his heart out right then and there. I'm not going to repeat it all here—it's personal, and it's between Clark and me.
But he used the word 'love.'
"Oh, Clark," I said. There I go again with the Oh, Clark! I almost returned his sentiment. But I couldn't let him off the hook so easily.
"You know, you lied to me," I said sternly. "That was pretty rotten of you."
"Lois, I wanted to tell you—of all people. I've just had this fear that if you knew, something might happen to you—you might become a bull's eye for danger."
"Clark," I reminded him, "I'm *already* a bull's eye for danger."
Clark shrugged. "You have a point there. Also," he continued, looking bashful, "I've always hoped you'd develop feelings for me—Clark—not Superman." He stared down at his hands again.
I was crushed. Didn't he know? How could he not have…? I guess I'm pretty good at hiding my emotions and all…
I took a deep breath and did what I consider to this day to be the scariest thing I've ever done. And don't you forget, I've been pushed out of a plane, held hostage, and locked inside a giant safe, to name a few…
"Clark, you don't have to worry about that." I turned to him, raised his chin up with my fingertips, and kissed him.
Well, after all was said and done, she returned my sentiments.
The rest is, as they say, history.