By Nicole Sullivan <Shabella2@aol.com>
Submitted: November 2004
Summary: Dear Diary, I think I may actually be in love with Clark, but Superman is still, well, SUPERMAN! I think before Clark and I ride off into the sunset, I will add some complications that will teach me my biggest lessons about life and love yet!
I've practically had a breakdown. I have lost my best friend, my partner and the love of my life! Only I could screw up this royally. And things were going so well, too!
I talked to Lucy yesterday, and she said I had too much going on in my head. She said what had happened— what had gone wrong— was all jumbled up, and I could no longer make sense of it and to, for goodness sakes, blow my nose, because I had been crying so much and sounded very nasal and pathetic! She said to make sense of things, I should just write them down. She gave me my Christmas present— two and a half months belated, but whatever. She gave me a diary. She said it's a journal. Leather-bound, Old-English-style, blank inside. It doesn't say "diary" on it, but it totally is a diary! All it's missing is a Hello Kitty logo and pre-written on each page inside the words "Date_____:" and "Dear Diary:". Otherwise, it's a diary! She said I would feel better writing things down, and I guess she must know best. I mean, she has it together! She still has HER best friend in her life and has a semblance of a love-life too. She must know SOMETHING that I don't.
So here goes…
It all started with a little flu bug and a television. I had spent a weekend in bed and then missed two workdays, which is a lot for me. Ask anyone who has ever met Mad Dog Lane. Wow. I haven't thought of myself that way in a long time. I haven't really BEEN Mad Dog in a long time. Not since Clark entered my life. For almost two years now, he's been my best friend and partner at work. He has calmed me down, softened me and understood me, which let me tell you, just took the edge off. Just like that. Took the edge right off. Well… took the edge off MOST of the time.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I got hit like half of Metropolis with something worse than a Prankster or a gangster or any other ridiculous Metropolis-type bully. I got hit with the flu. I hate being sick! What made it worse was the boredom. If it had been so bad that I'd been conked out for most of the weekend that would have been fine! But no! I had to have the flu that kept my fever up just enough and my body aching just enough that I was completely worthless. But awake. Just sitting in my room, awake and bored. I haven't been to a bookstore in over a year to buy a leisure book, so being sick, I re-read some of the books I owned. But that is no fun. I was too cold to sit in the living room. I had to stay in bed, but I don't have a television in there. It was more boring than anything I could ever have imagined. I was VERY angry with my body for being Vitamin-C lacking, rendering me sick and bored and bored sick!
The one upside to that whole sick-thing was that Clark visited a lot to make sure I was okay, and to keep me entertained. He knew I should stay in bed and so he would bring me magazines, crime reports and other little things to read in bed, and he kept me fed and liquidized, if that's what you would call that "lots of liquids" remedy that doctors are always prescribing. But the best part was that he would talk to me for hours. I would talk a little, but my throat hurt. So mostly, he let me relax while he softly relayed stories of growing up in Smallville and traveling the world before he settled in Metropolis. Funny… we've been friends for almost two years, yet we'd never talked a whole lot about those details of his life. It was so nice, to just relax my head back on all those comfy pillows and let his voice and his stories soothe me, when the medicine simply wasn't doing that. Nothing was. But Clark was. As always, he had the ability to break through to me in some way that all other proven methods had failed at.
Once the work-week started, it was clear I wouldn't be in until at least Wednesday. So Monday and Tuesday, he called often, knowing I was bored, and would talk to me, giving me a play-by- play of what was happening at work. His commentary about Perry and Jimmy and Ralph was hysterical and a real mood-lifter for me.
"Uh-oh, Editor-in-Chief on the warpath," Clark had said, conspiratorially to me on the phone on Tuesday, late morning, in the middle of a story about Ralph. I smiled on my end, holding the phone to my ear tightly, straining to hear. I heard Perry demand to know what Clark was doing and if it had anything to do with a story. "Uh, yeah, Chief. I'm talking to a source right now. Goes by the name of… Phlegm," he'd said, which made me laugh out loud. I could almost hear Clark smile on the other end, in response to my genuine laughter at his joke. I heard Perry mutter something about how some people can't seem to operate properly without their partners. "Well, there you have it, Lois. Perry is miserable without you here, as am I. I sincerely hope you're all better."
I promised him I was and that I would be back to work the next day. I kept that promise.
When I returned it was nice. It was like Metropolis was trying to aid me in getting completely better. There were no major stories to cover and the weather was even starting to warm up. The snow was thawing. Spring was coming. It was a welcome scene to adjust to, after being holed up in my apartment for four days, sick. For two weeks, I caught up on paperwork and wrote a few light stories.
Mostly, though, Clark and I would hang out after work, sharing more. After hearing his stories that weekend in bed, I had become even more attached to him; to learning all there was to know about him. For two years, we've shared our lives… birthdays, holidays, stories, work, interests, goals, strengths, weaknesses, histories… but in those two days when I was in bed sick, I got a look into Clark I'd never had before. I'd learned parts of his history that had never occurred to me before to ask, and I liked it. His stories about traveling were funny and inspiring, and would propel me into stories about my novel. My ideas so far. I've never told anyone about my novel. Clark knew I was writing one, on and off, as I had told him that much when we'd first met. But he didn't know what kind of characters existed in that private world I went to in my head or what kinds of adventures those characters were having. I didn't tell him everything about the story, but I gave him glimpses. Rather, I trusted him with glimpses. As he trusted me. I know you wouldn't think it would take a lot of trust for him to share with me stories about his travels. People talk about traveling all the time. I knew that he had probably shared his travels with many people in his life, but I also knew that the extra aspects he would include when talking to me were private and he was putting trust in me in sharing them. Mixed in with the facts and the funny little anecdotes, his stories conveyed a vulnerability and loneliness in him during that time. At times, a sense of running away… but he would change the subject when I would point that out. It was okay, though, because he was definitely opening up to me more than he ever had before.
As rotten as I was feeling because of the flu, that sense of togetherness I got when Clark visited and we shared ourselves for hours was the best I'd ever felt in my life. I was sure of that. So we continued on, in those weeks after, when I was 'taking it easy', as everyone suggested. For once, I was glad to take that advice; to stop looking for some grueling sleep-depriving story to work on. I was content to spend my nights sitting at a coffee shop with Clark or sitting on his couch sharing more.
And how his stories would make me laugh! Some of them were just silly! Walking to the store to get a television for my bedroom— so should I become sick and bedridden again, I could at least enjoy the news, a TV show or a VHS movie—the story he relayed to me is still clear in my head. I can still hear the animation in his voice, as he told it to me. I practically remember it verbatim. We were trudging over some dirty snow that was weeks old, dressed for late winter and early spring. A simple coat and scarf and a hat for me at his encouragement.
"So, after I'd left there, the next step seemed logical: New Foundland. It was beautiful there, let me just tell you! I would recommend for anyone to go there! It was a romantic place too. So, someday, you should go… with whomever," he had said, blushing a little. I smiled to myself. He had a complete inability to shield his feelings sometimes! He laughed a little, like he was trying to deflect his feelings and get back on track. "Anyway, my first day there was a small adventure in and of itself. I met a little girl, about ten years old, named Iris. She was alone on a city street crying. I brought her to a bench and sat down with her to ask her what was wrong. She told me she couldn't find her mother and that she had been stung by a bee."
"Rough day," I pitched in, which made him nod and smile that smile at me. But he was clearly back there, in New Foundland. As we made our way down the streets of Metropolis on that wonderfully crisp day, he told me all about his encounter with Iris. I swear that man has had more encounters with more people than probably anyone alive! And he still writes to most of them and he remembers everyone's names!
"I looked at her sting, and it did look infected. She said she was allergic and was afraid she would die."
"I have a feeling a boy scout is about to appear and save little Iris," I quipped.
Clark just looked at me with squinted eyes and a wry grin. How handsome he looked, with the chill in the air making his cheeks a little redder and his eyes a little brighter. "Ha… ha," he said to me, as he held the door to the store open for me. I just wanted a 20-inch-television. Simple task. It wouldn't take long. And Clark had agreed to accompany me.
"Okay, sorry, so what happened? Did she make it?"
"She did. I took her to the hospital, but she was scared they wouldn't treat her because she didn't have any money. I said I would cover it and she shouldn't worry. She was adamant about this whole money thing, though, so she asked the doctors how much it costs, and the next thing I know she's crying that she doesn't have sixty-seven thousand dollars, but I was going to be paying for her."
I looked at him in shock. He was a boy scout, definitely, but not a millionaire! He was more or less a penniless nomad in those years that he had been talking so much to me about lately.
"I tried to get in touch with her parents, but couldn't reach them. I had left them a message on their machine and just waited for her to get medication and whatnot. Everyone at the hospital was really nice to me while I waited."
"I'll bet," I said, imagining that the nurses most likely liked him… a lot.
"So the bill came and I went over to see what the story was. I explained to them that I had never heard of such an expensive bug bite and we should go over it. They looked at me with looks of utter disgust. All the niceness from earlier? Forgotten. I looked at the bill. Sixty-seven cents."
"Cents. I was making a big deal, talking about money and how I didn't think this was fair and it was a travesty and they gave me a bill for sixty-seven cents! Well, I paid them a dollar, let them keep the change, Iris's parents showed up, and I walked right out of there, my very-red face hiding behind a turtleneck sweater."
"So YOU started the rude American stereotype that other countries have."
We laughed, as we walked up the television aisle.
"Clark, I have to say. You've made being sick fun."
"Well. I will take that as a compliment, especially coming from you. Everyone knows how much you hate being sick. You hate missing work."
"Well, I didn't feel like I completely missed it. You kept me in the loop about everything. You called practically every twenty minutes," I said, knowing he would get embarrassed.
And he did.
"I just wanted to make sure you were okay… and you seemed pretty bored. So I wanted to update you with work-type things," he said, looking a little bit like a puppy, I have to say.
"And I appreciate that. Work-type things keep me updated and entertained. Definitely not bored. Next time I am sick, I expect this treatment… and more."
"Better keep you healthy."
I ruffled his hair when he said that. I'm not sure what came over me, that I was ruffling Clark's hair! I just had an urge to reach up and mess it all up, playfully. I MAY have noticed how soft it was and how cute he looked when I was finished, with his hair every which way. He looked like a sleepy teenager.
His method of retaliation was a simple one. He reached up and put a hand on my head, like he was going to do the same thing. But he smiled, like he thought better of it, and just messed it up a little with one movement, before putting his hand back in his pocket.
He didn't fix his hair at first, and I couldn't stop looking at him. That must be what he looks like first thing in the morning, I thought. It was incredibly attractive, and I felt myself realizing this. I generally have tried to not consider him that way, but looking at him like that, I couldn't deny that he was cute. Sexy. I was attracted. He eventually put his hand through his hair, as he often does when he is looking for something to say or has become suddenly shy. It's a cute habit, but at that moment, I wished I could have stopped him and told him to leave it. While he does look cute with his hair all proper and the one rebel curl hanging down above his right brow, I preferred this look at the moment.
"How about this? It's nice and small, for that bedside table, but has a VCR and cable hook-ups. It's the cheapest one here, and not too bad-looking," he said.
"I think it's perfect. Will you help me set it up later?" I asked.
And that is how it started. That is where the television comes in. I said it all started with a little flu bug and a television… Well, this is really where it all starts. Not to quote Cher, but looking back on this whole thing, how I just wish I could turn back time!
So, okay, Lucy said organize my thoughts. So far, it makes sense.
I got a little sick.
Clark brought me food and liquids and kept me entertained.
Clark and I got even closer.
Clark and I shared stories.
I got better and we continued sharing.
I bought a television.
I asked Clark to help me set it up…
Well, it seemed normal enough. I mean, Clark is a good guy to have around. He can fix things. He knows how to do most things I ask him to do. And he takes charge. He isn't afraid of getting electrocuted or anything, like SOME guys I have known. I mean, Kyle, that guy I would sometimes go out with when I was desperate, was a complete hypochondriac! It was very annoying! And if you asked him to do something mechanical, he would start spouting out words like 'Tetanus' and 'infection' and 'electrocution', which was one of the reasons I never called him unless I was absolutely desperate! Then came Clark. I never was in need of Kyle ever again, which incidentally is another great thing about Clark. It was perfect. I was never desperate for company when we hung out. We just always hung out. Who would have thought that something as simple and routine (for us) as him setting up a television for me could lead to us making out and then the next morning… oh, no, I'm doing it again. I am getting ahead of myself. I need to go in order. Facts. See, at this point Lucy would be telling me to slow down, rewind, back up, and think. And I would still jump right ahead… I just want to plunge into the day from hell. But not yet. She got me this book so that I could organize my thoughts, and I think to do that, I should go chronologically, right?
Okay, so… Sunday evening. Six-thirty. Clark and I enter my apartment, him carrying the TV of course. He was talking about how he hasn't been there since I was sick two weeks back and it looks much fresher. The windows are open, letting the last of the day's sunlight in and there is fresh air breezing in and the scent of lemon in the air, as I had cleaned my apartment rather meticulously Saturday, since I didn't want the smell of stale sickness lingering in the apartment anymore.
"Well your apartment looks recovered. How are you feeling… really?" he asked. I know him so well. Just walking around outside before, he was constantly making sure that I was warm enough. He kept reminding me that I had just been sick, as if I didn't remember. I think the aching and the fever were not-yet- forgotten for me, as I had only lived through it and all! But he knew I was taking it easy and he would let me know that he was glad to see that. He would invite me over and we would talk after work. But part of the reason, I suspected, was because he wanted to make sure I was eating nutritious food that is conducive to a full recovery. There was homemade chicken soup every night of the week, served before my favorite dishes, which varied night-to-night. He would say (every night!!) that he was making them special for me. I remember feeling warm inside… actually WARM inside… upon hearing that! How ridiculous! But… wow, what a cook. That man can cook. And he pays attention to everything I have ever said to him, apparently. I mean, honestly, how could he remember that a year-and-a-half ago I went crazy for his shepherd's pie?
So anyway, I told him I was feeling much better, and apologized that I didn't have anything besides some frozen meals in my apartment and wouldn't be able to return the favor on the whole dinner front. Not that I could return the favor even if I had every grocery from the supermarket in my apartment. But that's beside the point. Lucy would say that I am sidetracking right now. Right. So… He called for pizza, telling me that I graduated from chicken soup… at least for the night anyway, he corrected. He said it would be okay to have pizza, though, and he called (of course) my very favorite Metropolis pizzeria.
"Do you have any tools?" he asked me a few minutes later, pulling the TV out of the box and placing it on the bed.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, pretending to be offended. I am not sure why, but one of my favorite things to do at work and not, is to pick a meaningless fight with Clark. Really I am not sure why I do this. We argue enough without me doing it on purpose, for fun. But anyway… focusing. "What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.
"It's supposed to mean 'do you have any tools?' Like a hammer, screwdriver, nails. You know… tools. A toolbox, perhaps?" he replied, getting all smart right back at me.
"You think because I'm a woman, that I wouldn't have tools in my apartment," I said, putting my hands on my hips.
He stood up and sighed. "If you prefer to look at it that way, okay." Then he thought for a second. "But if I assumed that you didn't have tools, why would I ask at all. Wouldn't I just say 'hey, Lois, you sit tight and wait for the pizza while I run to the corner store and buy a few tools.'"
He can be so exasperating when we argue. I like to be right. Okay, so I always have to be right. But the man does make good points. Must be why I pick those fights. The challenge.
"No, because you know that would make me mad. You ask to be nice," I said, pretend-pouting, a little. Wow. When I think back on this, I realize that I am bad. I think you could call that thing I do flirting. The whole picking a fight thing, I mean. I'm so bad! I really need to learn to be better. Anyway…
"Because you aren't mad now? If I know you well at all, I would know that you'd be insulted either way. So not asking if you had tools really would just save me time, like I said before. And I do know you, Lois. Which brings us back to where we started. Do you have any tools?"
"If you really know me, Clark, then you'd know the answer, now wouldn't you?"
I am so bad!
"Let me answer that question with a question. Do you know if I own any tools?" he asked, crossing his arms in front of me, as if to say 'check.'
"Well, let's see. Running on the logic we've been using, because you're a guy, you would have tools."
"Correction, Lois. That's the logic that YOU'RE running on."
I just continued, like I hadn't heard him. I could see him smirking, tilting his head. "So in asking me this, you assumed that I would think you have tools because you're a guy, which must mean that for some odd reason you don't own tools and therefore cannot actually be sexist, as I was implying you are."
"Incredible," he said, dropping his arms.
"A simple question about tools, so I can hook up your television—"
"-Do you think I need you to? That I can't hook it up on my own—"
"-and you're off and running. Full-blown babble-mode. A simple question. Incredible."
"What?" I asked again.
"You. And you're right. I am a guy that does not own any tools."
I crossed my arms. Check mate.
"Clark, you really should get a toolbox. It's good to have around in case of an emergency," I said, as I walked to a cabinet and took out my handy little toolbox.
I… am… really… SO… bad!
So ten thousand head shakes (all from him) later, the television was hooked up, set on the little table in the corner of my room in the perfect spot for when I sit on the bed. I don't have to distort my body to watch it or strain my eyes. He set it up perfectly. I almost wished I was sick so I could give the experience a test drive. Almost…
The pizza came shortly after and we sat on my couch, talking and laughing some more.
"Well, I was thinking of having this mystery take Jen, Scott, Mia, Alex and Jason to China. Originally, I liked having the story just stay in one main city and unravel there. But hearing your stories about the Orient gave me so many ideas!"
"I'm glad," he said, eating his, like, tenth slice. We ordered a LOT of pizza. How can he eat so much, I wondered, and stay SO in shape!? He has absolutely no time to go to a gym; that much I know for sure. And it doesn't appear to be genetics. Oh, god, if I die or something, I really hope Clark or his parents don't find this. They're great, really. It's not at ALL what I meant! I just meant that he looks SO good, it can't possibly be a genetic thing. Yeah…
"You never did tell me why you left China, Clark."
There it was again. I can see that look like he is sitting right here next to me while I write. But if he were sitting right here next to me, that would mean that things were okay and if things were okay, I wouldn't be writing this. Wow. It's really easy to side-track. Lucy is right, my head really is a mess. Okay, focusing.
He made that face. Distant, sad and… scared?
"Well, I just wanted to move on. See what there was to see," he said, biting into his piece to stop further discussion.
"What, did you have a tryst with some girl there who broke your heart? Or you asked her to marry you and her father said 'no' and to this day, you will always wonder…"
"No, that's not it at all. I just… I had to leave." He looked at me. He didn't seem nervous exactly. But he seemed so vulnerable. I have this feeling, when he talks about his travels, that something happened to him when he was away. I mean, something couldn't have happened to him each and every place he went, but that is how it feels. I have come up with the theory that he was running away. But he won't share on that. So I can never know what he may have been running away from. Not his family, surely, because he is so close to them! But something. It's mysterious. I always thought of Clark as an open-book until these stories. There are so many open-ended thoughts in my mind, hearing him share, seeing him open up more and more and allow himself to be that vulnerable. He's not an open-book, my partner. He is a mystery, and I have to say, it makes him just a little more attractive than I already admittedly thought him. "I promise you, someday I will tell you why," he finally said. I liked the sound of that. As attractive as mystery is, I would rather have him let me in on whatever it is that causes that look that I really hate seeing. On Clark, that is. I would rather know him completely.
"So, okay, the gang is in China," he said, doing a classic one- eighty on our conversation, a maneuver I was recognizing more quickly now. "They are unraveling a mystery to do with…"
"…a past generation. And don't forget, amidst all this is the love of Jen and Scott," I started, opening up again about my novel. I had changed the novel a thousand times during my conversations with Clark, and it was actually only getting better! It had meat now, something to bite into. Before it was so bland, I couldn't sit down and really work on it. It didn't inspire me. Now, though, I would write a few pages any chance I got. It was so easy… talking to Clark about this. At first, when the story was not as inspiring as I feel it is now, I would only share a few thoughts, because something he said made me think of my characters or something. He seemed surprised, but would always sit back and listen, probably hoping I trusted him enough to narrate the whole thing. A novel is personal. Deeply personal. Talking to him about it at all (and WILLINGLY!) was like opening my soul to him, in a way. And that is terrifying. But I can talk to him. And I like talking to him. I know… I must be nuts! Or…
Anyway, don't want to get off track!
We finished the pizza and sat back. I'd had too many slices, although not nearly as many as him.
"Well, I'm going to get going, but first, I have a surprise for you," he said, jumping up suddenly and getting something out of a plastic bag on the coffee table. I could feel something inside when he said he was going… sadness, I think. This was strange. I didn't want to become suddenly co-dependent on my partner at work! He was admittedly my best friend too, but still! I remember trying to not think about the feeling. To push it back. Maybe that is my problem. Maybe I get into messes because I block my feelings, and so they sneak up on me! I don't process them when they're originally there, so I do impetuous things later!
"Ta da!" he said, producing a video before my eyes. It was 'Weekend At Bernie's'.
"When did you get that?" I asked, not being able to stop laughing. Of all movies! He knows me so well! Only he would know that that would completely amuse me! And he knows I'd actually watch it and enjoy it, but probably not admit it.
"When you were paying for the TV, I got this as sort of an inaugural video for you and the new TV."
This is when I started talking, without really screening my thoughts first. "Well, why don't you watch it with me. You bought it. And we haven't had a movie night in a long time-"
"Sure, that'd be great," he said, smiling.
That is when I think we both realized that we'd be watching the movie on my bed. Talk about awkward. We just kind of looked at each other. Realizing. I mean, I had just sort of invited him to view it with me. Didn't really think about the whole bed- thing. And when he accepted, I don't think he thought about it either. And so there we were…
"Unless you don't-" he started.
"Clark, it's fine!" I said, I think a little too assuredly.
"I'll make popcorn," he said, after a little bit of an awkward pause.
"Great. That's great. I'll, uh, get this started," I said, and took the movie out of his hands. I asked myself what I was doing about ten times during the short walk from my living room to my bedroom.
Okay, I KNOW Clark is different from other men. He is not the type to take advantage of a situation. I gave a perfectly innocent invitation to do something we've done hundreds of times! Watching movies, that is. The together on the bed thing-yeah, we have not done that hundreds of times. Actually, only one time comes to mind really. As I popped the tape into the VCR, the thought of that one other time flashed into my head, turning my cheeks a deep shade of crimson. Crimson-I MUST be in novel-mode, using the word 'crimson' in what is pretty much, let's just admit it already, a diary.
But, ahh, the Honeymoon Suite at the Lexor. You know, when I was engaged to Lex (one thing you WON'T see me sidetrack over or put into thoughtful detail as I prefer to NEVER think about this), I do remember wondering if, when he and I were in a honeymoon suite, I would feel, well, what I felt when I was in one with Clark. It was a mixture of passion and intrigue that played tricks on my mind and most definitely on my body, which was very disconcerting, considering I most definitely did not want to feel anything like that for CLARK. I somehow imagined that being in a honeymoon suite with Lex would only make me feel two things: fearful and dirty. I would push all imaginings out of my head basically, but that is another reason why it was inevitable that I would call that wedding off. The other being…
"Okay, buttery popcorn, a movie classic. You're right, we haven't done this in a long time," Clark had said, interrupting all my thoughts.
"Since a few weeks before I was sick."
He pulled up a chair and sat next to my bed, ever the gentleman. If anyone ever knew how to make an awkward situation more awkward but only by trying to make it better, it was Clark. Because now he was admitting that he didn't think we could just VIEW a movie together. On a bed. I mean, we're talking about sitting down, eating popcorn, watching a movie. Right?
"Clark, honestly, I don't bite."
"I know… I just figured…"
It was so cute watching him get all red and embarrassed.
"… that you might want your… space…"
"Clark, just come sit on the other side. We're both adults. Stop flattering yourself, thinking I couldn't possibly sit next to you on a bed and not keep my hands off of you."
I… am… so… bad!
"Believe me, Lois, I don't think that," he said, as he put the chair away, and took a seat on the far, far other side of the bed. It's not that big of a bed. It seems sort of small when it's just me on it. But at that moment it seemed huge! He seemed really far away.
Okay, hitting 'play'.
"Look at that picture! What clarity," I said. I really was amazed at the clarity. I felt I got my money's worth… "You know, I really think I got my money's worth." I could have just been trying to fill the silence. Who knows?
So once the movie got rolling and we got past a few awkward 'moments' of hands touching in the popcorn bowl, we loosened up. He got less… stiff… on the bed, resting his elbow down, lying a little more on his side. I relaxed too. We laughed genuinely at the funny parts and all. It really is a good movie. Well, what we saw of it anyway. No, no, not like that… okay…
Well, once we got comfortable, we also started talking again. Talking as us, Lois and Clark, best friends, as opposed to Lois and Clark visitors from the mute planet Awkward. At first we were providing humorous commentary and observations and opinions regarding the movie. Then I asked him a few more questions about traveling, which eventually inspired me to further develop and discuss my novel aloud. Soon the movie was just background noise to our fluidly moving conversation. We didn't just talk about his travels and my novel either. We were sharing more about our lives, other parts of our history.
"Lana was sweet. I knew she wasn't my soul mate or anything, I mean, we were in high school. She never understood me. Aside from my parents, not too many people have really ever understood me. So it wasn't anything I held against her. But there was no real sense of connection I got with her. It was more-"
"-Animal magnetism," I joked.
"We weren't in a zoo," he said slyly, letting me know that he knew that I was referring back to a past conversation we'd had, about Lucy, no less, earlier this year. "But yes, there was attraction. It was more than that, though. I liked her. She was a good friend. We grew up together, having a lot of fun. It was kind of a natural thing, I guess, and I hate to say this, but we weren't so close that I worried about what would happen if it didn't work out. I mean, obviously it didn't work out in the end, and we're still friends, but we don't talk all the time or anything. And that's okay with me."
"So why didn't it work out? You totally seem the high-school sweetheart type Clark. I mean, you seem the type that would have married his high school sweetheart, you know?"
"Because I'm from a small town? You know, Lois, we really have to break your small town stereotypes. I think you need to spend more time in Smallville."
"I'm good for now. Thanks. But I see you've done what you do best, avoided the question. Why didn't it work out? With you and Lana, I mean."
"We're different. She seeks attention. I seek to… blend in… as much as I can. She cares about appearance. Generally. From physical appearance to going somewhere just to make an appearance. I just want to be comfortable and go somewhere for the sole reason of wanting to be there or wanting to see whoever is there. No… societal obligations, so to say."
"Ooh, I know what you mean. It sounds like you're talking about me and Lex." I knew mentioning Lex with Clark wasn't the smartest thing to do, but he was past his anger about that whole thing. When I talk about Lex now, he just kind of listens, knowing that, if anything, maybe I just need someone to talk to about these thoughts. "He had so many functions that he had to go to, just to make an appearance. And the attire! I hated the thought, but I would look at his calendar for the upcoming year, realizing that as his wife, I'd be expected to attend those things too. I would rather go to a bar with you, Perry and Jimmy in jeans any night of the week. And he also liked attention. I don't exactly try to blend in, but I do blend in mostly. And that anonymity, that NORMALCY, makes me much happier than a spotlight ever would."
We were sitting up now, Indian-style, facing each other.
"So, you were different in some key ways. And… that's how it ended? End of story?" I asked.
"Well, no. I mean, Lana was sweet, and sort of lit up from the inside out about things that she was passionate about. I admired that a lot about her. But the things she was passionate about were things that I was not passionate about." He looked to be searching for the right words to explain this correctly to me. "We worked, basically. We could fit together. But neither of us wanted to stay with someone who we just worked well with. We wanted to light up from the inside out about each other. It never got too far or too serious. It was senior year and then it was over. Good terms, good memories."
"That's… good," I said. I can imagine Clark as being a very practical eighteen-year-old. Most other teenage boys wouldn't care about things like personality conflicts. They'd stay with a girl out of insecurity, just to have a girlfriend. Leave it to level-headed Clark to break up with a girl because they got along, but were not 'soul mates'. Most teens either thought they were soul mates because they were first loves, or they pretended and really didn't care. Clark played fair, though, and it wasn't 'fair' to stay in a relationship when your heart wasn't in it.
We both looked over at the television, as the sound of my new auto-rewind got our attention. The movie had ended apparently about ten minutes before and was now rewinding. Sleepless in Seattle, via my new cable, now played in the background.
I looked back at Clark.
"So, you don't think we're close, me and you." I stated out of the blue. Don't ask me WHY I said this. Who knows why I do anything these days where Clark is concerned? Just call it an X- File and get Mulder and Scully on the case because I really don't know!
"What are you talking about?" he asked, clearly and rightly perplexed.
"You said you dated Lana because you weren't concerned about not talking to her much if it ended. You weren't SO close that it mattered. I remember, not too long ago, you sort of asked me… well… to be that special someone in your life," I said, really coyly I might add. "I guess you didn't care about losing me, if we dated and it didn't work out."
"You really know how to put words in someone's mouth. I said no such thing! You're my best friend and you know it. I'd be…" he swallowed… "I'd be lost without you," he said, honestly and softly, not really looking at me, but at a space between me and the popcorn bowl that sat, mostly empty, between us.
"Well it's all hypothetical anyway. You didn't mean what you said in the park anyway," I said casually, shrugging. He looked up then, at those words, his eyes betraying him. But he said nothing.
"Well, Lois," he said, after a little pause, "you've drilled me like I was a source for one of your stories about my romantic history, which I TOLD you wasn't interesting at all. And I was right. Now it's time for you."
"My history? Well, while yours wasn't 'interesting' as you say, mine was one federal disaster after another. Not even worth talking about."
"Sometimes talking about things, getting them out in the open, is the best way to really get over them and move on."
He was right. I mean, I hold my experiences with Paul and Claude and even Lex inside way too much, and I have done that for much too long. Mostly I don't think about them. I'm too busy. But sometimes, when I have time, I can't help it. I still feel bad about what happened. It still affects me somehow.
After declaring (or lying) that I already was over my federal disasters and didn't need to talk about them, but would, just to be fair since Clark had shared, I started with Paul.
"Well, I mean, I told you the basics. Boy meets girl and falls for girl's best friend who stole girl's story! Wow, stealing stories is a really prevalent theme in my romantic history. I mean Linda stole a story that cost me a guy, and then Claude himself stole my story! Lex is actually the only one that had nothing to do with my stories-"
"-although he did blow up the place that you work, where you write your stories-"
I pretended I didn't hear that. "Paul was a nice guy. Blonde hair, blue eyes… from California, so he had that laid-back surfer-look going. I think I liked him because you wouldn't look at him and think he was smart, but he was. He was very smart. Perfect grade-point average, perfect body-"
"Exactly," I said. "But he couldn't see through anything. In that way, he was every bit as dense as he looked. Maybe it was all that California sun. I don't know. But Linda was so obvious. It was obvious she hadn't written that story herself! Obvious that she was the type to walk all over people, her best friend even, to get what she wanted. But she fooled him. I mean, he got his in the end, when she walked all over him to get what she wanted. But still. I guess I wouldn't call him much of an experience or even a federal disaster. That was just an experience that broke my heart because I was young and na‹ve and let myself think I was in love. I didn't know any better. I mean, now I know I just had my first strong crush on someone that didn't live inside my television or a book. It was the first person that was real, that was even a potential boyfriend. And he let himself be fooled, leaving me out in the cold."
I looked at Clark. He just nodded; taking it in, and then shook his head, like he was thinking that Paul was an idiot. I thought Paul was an idiot, although I am definitely past that now. But Clark looked like he was feeling it instead. It was touching, actually.
"And you know all about Claude. Took my pride and my story and forced me to write a few rules for myself. I don't REALLY live by those rules; I mean, I don't let them rule me, you know? I only made them out of anger, and I only told them to you because I wanted to appear smarter and tougher and more secure than I actually felt. Truth is, I learned my lesson. I don't need rules to stop myself from making that mistake twice."
"But you've shut yourself off a little… where romance is concerned, I mean… because of it… I mean, I don't want to presume, but it just seems-"
"No, Clark, you're right. I have. Claude, I fell hard for. If Paul was able to break my heart, then Claude was able to shatter it into thousands of pieces. He was worldly and unattainable, brilliant and foreign, handsome and seemingly kind, with a bright future and a good humor."
"You sound like his PR rep," Clark said, which made me laugh a little.
"Back then, I could have been his PR rep. Anyone would have truly believed, listening to me, that Claude was a god in human clothes that could do no wrong. The perfect specimen of man."
I looked at Clark. That look from before, when I was talking about Paul, was a million times more intense now. I knew he was thinking that Claude was an idiot. I won't pretend that I am telepathic or that Clark and I have some kind of mind-reading capabilities with one another. But I just knew that is what he was thinking.
"Well, he was none of those things. I mean, he was handsome and charming. That's about it. He knew how to charm and he knew how to present himself. But it wasn't real. He presented a person that wasn't who he really was. At least with Paul, what you saw was what you got. He was book-smart and handsome, but stupid all the same, which is where my broken heart came into effect. Claude, on the other hand, was smart and devious. Kind of like Lex. It's a long chain with me that I would just love to break. That's probably why I close myself off from romance, Clark, because the chain doesn't break. Why would I willingly ever get into a relationship with someone when I know what kind of men I attract?"
"What kind of men do you attract?" he asked. I thought we had just gone over this, but okay…
"Jerks, Clark. Men who don't care about ME. Men who want something from me or look right through me."
Clark looked down at that. "You know, Lois," he started, looking back up. "I'll bet somewhere there's someone that cares about YOU. More than cares about you. Can't look through you, but only at you. All the time, everywhere… he only sees YOU. And he doesn't want anything from you… just… to love you."
"Love me? Clark, I'm just looking for someone that doesn't look at me and see a story or a trophy. A nice person that cares for me romantically. Love is asking for a bit much."
"No, it's not, Lois!"
I looked at him in shock. He had spoken those words like they'd been encaged inside of him and had just broken free. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Why did he seem upset? He was now standing. Pacing, actually.
He stopped and looked at me.
"-Lois, if you wanted someone that loved you, you could have someone that loved you. You deserve love. I don't like to hear you talk about love being too much to ask for. It's not too much for anyone to ask for… especially you."
Then he continued pacing. He looked… upset still.
I am not sure what came over me. I am really not sure. I mean, we have already gone over the fact that I am so bad! That I flirt and I invite inappropriate situations upon myself, escalating with the invitation to sit together on my bed. In a nutshell, I am bad and I know this. But that doesn't explain what suddenly came over me at that moment.
I stood up.
"Have you ever lied to me, Clark?"
He stopped in his tracks and looked at me.
"You heard me," I answered to his unspoken question. "Have you ever LIED to me?" I asked assertively.
He put his head more upright and looked at the wall behind my left shoulder, like he was thinking about that. Little did he know, that hesitation, that look of being found out… I knew.
And I kissed him.
He let me attack him and (once the shock wore off) he immediately put his hands in my hair, kissing me back. We kissed for a long time, and I found myself backing up. Backing up more…
And we fell… onto the bed. Now at this point, rationale and logical thinking had flown out the window and I was being driven by my body, my heart and my soul. I only knew one thing: I wanted to kiss this man like I had never wanted to kiss anyone ever before! I wasn't thinking! We continued kissing, groaning in our throats, and I could hear him breathing my name between kisses. Kissing him felt wonderful… I felt like we should have been doing this all along! WHY? Why hadn't we been kissing like this all along? Since the moment we met… Well, I knew the answer to that. It was all because of me. Because of me and my blind and stupid… well, blindness!
"That day in front of the Planet… you lied didn't you?" I said, breathlessly, as he kissed my cheek… my ear… my throat…
"Yes," he said (after hesitating for a moment), equally breathless. Then he stopped kissing me and picked his head up to look into my eyes. "I crossed my fingers."
"You didn't have to," I said softly, which made him give a look that melted my heart. He looked so happy and relieved and unsure of himself, all at once. It was too much to take, so I lifted my head to capture his lips once more. I explored his lips with a veracity and thoroughness I had never cared to use when kissing someone ever before. I wanted to memorize that feeling-that wonderful feeling-of his lips on mine. It was a feeling of being safe and being home. A feeling of love and friendship come together. I explored his mouth, his lips, his tongue, gently… as gently and cautiously as I had explored his friendship early on. As gently as he held my friendship and my heart.
I remember that while I was kissing him I was having an internal war with myself. I was freaking out for one thing, wondering how this had happened. How did we go from talking innocently to passionately kissing? We were having a night (almost exactly) like a million other nights we had had before! (Except for the bed thing). But mostly, I was telling myself to shut up because this was the best kiss I had ever had in my life. It was completely and wholly and totally exhilarating and beautiful and exciting and natural and wonderful! And that didn't even begin to describe it! I was feeling that kiss with every nerve and bone and muscle and fiber and heart beat in my body! That kiss was taking over every sense, including logic, which was great because for the first time, I didn't want logic to ruin what felt so right to give in to. He was being completely appropriate too. He was kissing me in a way that affected me as I had never been affected before, yet he wasn't exploring my body. Too many times in the past, a guy had ruined a good moment, by moving in too fast. This was an amazing moment… better-way better-than any other I had ever experienced… and he was being a gentleman. He was being my best friend.
I am not sure how long we made out for before we fell asleep. But that is what happened. The lights went off at midnight; I had them on timers. I don't normally put them on timers, but it was a new thing I was trying out and I hadn't taken them off the timers. The television was also on a sleep mode, and shut itself off as well. We just continued kissing as the television went off and continued exploring as the lights went out.
Then we fell asleep, and I remember feeling… feeling loved. More loved than I had ever and would ever feel. I wanted to hug that feeling to me forever. So I did. I hugged Clark to me, tighter still, as my body relaxed and accepted the sleep that took it.
Writing now, reliving that night, I can't figure out how the day that followed could be the worst day of my life. I mean, that night was the best night of my whole life! I guess you could call it the calm before the storm-if you consider unrelenting passion and love to be "calm".
We have always been close, Clark and I, but in the weeks leading up to that night, we had been getting rapidly closer. I had found myself wanting to know Clark completely and wholly. I wanted to know him better than anyone else-to be there for him, as I had been given glimpses of his life lately that told me that he was alone in many ways that I wasn't aware of. That night- which happened so suddenly, yet so slowly and naturally in the progression of our special friendship-I now know with absolute certainty (in case I wasn't aware of it at the time), was the best night in my life. But the day that followed…
Cue Cher music…
Well, I woke up alone. I hadn't heard Clark leave, but he obviously did. I didn't even realize that he had spent the night, as I was still tired and groggy, until I saw that for some reason, I was not wearing pajamas, but the clothes I had worn the previous day. Then I remembered in a flash the night before. Instead of being overcome with feelings of love and happiness at the warm and fuzzy memories, I chose Lois Lane defense mechanism number one: anger and hurt, which are acted out in a manner of nonchalance. I think I repeated the words "no big deal, it was just a stupid kiss" and "I don't care" over and over as I got ready for work. I was about to make myself some breakfast when I heard the front door open. In walked a guilty-looking Clark carrying a paper bag that smelled really great.
He had brought me muffins from my favorite corner shop!
"I'm sorry I wasn't here… I woke up early and thought I'd get some muffins, but the line was really long. I thought I'd make it back as you were waking up or something," he said. He was red as a beet. I think I was too. I sure felt embarrassed anyway. My cheeks felt hot.
He set the muffins and coffee up while I talked-okay babbled-so as to make the moment a little less awkward.
"Those smell great. I love Hank's. You know, Hank's great grandmother actually started the company in the 1930s, during the Depression. Her husband's name was Hank, and his first son and his first son, and so on, right up to the Hank that's there now. Anyway, because it was the Depression, she would charge five cents for a muffin so there was obviously always a long line to get in. But the line was worth it, because those muffins really are the best. Now the place is a historical stop in Metropolis, and still serves the best muffins, although the price has increased by like 400 percent. And the only thing that's REALLY changed is the location. In the 30s it was a little stand on the corner of Main and 36th, whereas now, it's on Main Street in a building, while still CLOSE to 36th. Wow those smell great," I said again, running out of fuel.
Clark laughed lightly and smiled at me. "Well, dig in," he said. And so I did. Eating was a good distraction. Something to do so that too-idle talk wasn't too obvious. "Again. I'm really sorry that I wasn't here when-"
"Clark, it's fine. I barely noticed," I lied. He looked a little surprised at that and then embarrassed again. I wanted to say that I had noticed (in case he felt bad, I mean the man's only human!), but I was still too embarrassed to bring it up. I am not sure why I was embarrassed. I guess maybe because I HAD been pretty upset that he had left. And then seeing him, and seeing his own embarrassment made me feel relief that he hadn't been a jerk after all, but also fear and wonder at the turn of events in our relationship last night. What would I do now? He was my partner and best friend. And we were both sitting there like giddy, nervous teenagers! I mean, we were having a morning after of sorts! I couldn't just have a practical conversation with him!
Well, the muffins were good. I remember saying that out loud quite a bit. I really really thought they were good! I mean, it's my favorite muffin place, so naturally I would comment on their tastiness… a lot.
I had been wondering, in the last few weeks, as Clark and I were getting closer and closer, if Clark and I ever crossed the friendship line into romance, what it would be like. Would it be this amazing thing, because we were friends? Incredibly natural and even liberating? Or would it be strange, because we were friends (and partners)? Incredibly awkward and unfamiliar. Well last night it seemed to be the former. Today, however, the latter seemed to be unfortunately taking precedence. The last thing I ever wanted was for things with Clark to be awkward.
I noticed he was still wearing the clothes that he had on from the night before. I suggested that he go home and change for work and that we would meet there. Then came, that's right, more awkwardness. He agreed and stood up to leave and I followed him to the door, as I have done a million times before. Before he left, he turned to me and leaned in, blushing before my eyes, and kissed me on the cheek.
That simple gesture made my stomach do little handsprings that would qualify for the Olympics, I'm sure, and I smiled. He smiled back. A big smile. That kind of thousand-kilowatt smile I had seen on him many times before and always loved. Then he left.
Okay, actually, NOW cue the Cher music, because if I could turn back time… well I guess if I could do that, I'd change a lot of things, starting with the fact that I am so stubborn and even though I am aware that I do this, I just cannot seem to not jump into something without checking the water level first! So I would go back in time and change myself so that I never did that to begin with, thus creating a habit, thus continuing NOW to do it. It's just, I have done it so many times, yet still cannot seem to… Oh, sidetracking. Okay…
Well, I guess it started with my drive to work. Normal. Sort of. Well, normal until I got to my destination: The Daily Planet. It was the walk that did me in… Of course a repairman would almost crush me by not just hanging onto that billboard like he's supposed to! This city is really dangerous, even when you remove the criminal element. The criminally stupid are just as much of a danger factor. I mean this billboard thing? It's happened before, when Superman first came to town. Of course, as the account went, he saved a little girl, not me. Well, in this case, he swooped in and caught the billboard a nanosecond before it (and I) was splattered on the cement. He placed it against the side of the building and carried me away-not that I knew it; I think I was just staring stupidly at nothing at the moment, laughing, because when you are almost crushed by a billboard, that is what you do; you laugh. In my defense, I was in shock, I guess, and he knew that. When I finally stopped staring at nothing, I looked at him. We were flying and he was looking at me… strangely. I could hear him asking me something, if I was okay, I think. I nodded. He breathed what I can only call a sigh of relief. It was strange. I mean, here was Superman, and he was looking at me… I venture to say…like I was precious and he almost lost me. Well anyway, when he gathered himself again, we landed, near the Planet.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked again.
"Yeah. I'm fine. So a billboard almost crushed me. Worse things have happened. To me, I mean," I said, nervously, because that look he was giving me before was still sort of there.
He looked down and took a deep breath. When he looked back up at me, he looked so… tortured. At least that's how I took his look. "I wasn't even supposed to be there. I wouldn't have been there. I just…" he stopped and shook his head, sort of sadly. "Be careful, Lois. Metropolis wouldn't be the same without you. Nothing would," he said, quietly.
As if my life wasn't complicated enough these days, now I was getting cryptic messages from Superman. I see that now, of course. At the time, having just had my life flash before my eyes and all, I was confused. And the look he was giving me… it almost seemed like he loved me. I know, crazy right? Well, actually not that crazy. And here is where yours truly gets criminally stupid:
I gathered my wits as best I could, considering the strange, out of the blue, near-death experience I'd just had. At the moment, all I was aware of was that I had almost died and Superman, the man I'd dreamt about for two years was looking at me like he'd FINALLY realized that he loved me. I sort of remembered (or flashed back to) Clark… the night before… me waking up alone…
"Superman, things are changing in my life right now," I said nervously.
He looked like he wanted to smile, at that thought, of things changing in my life. "I see," he said, as if encouraging me to go on.
"Yes, and before they… change… more… I just wanted to make sure that you… well, that you…" I was beating around the bush… I decided to cut to the chase. "Superman, is there any chance that you would want me as more than a… friend… or…well it's just… I'm…" but I trailed off because his look changed. Dropped, really.
I could be wrong… but he looked hurt. Deeply hurt. He looked like a million things were going on in his head, but he quickly shook it, as if shaking the thoughts away and looked at me. He smiled at me, although it did not seem completely genuine. He then said the words that I had been dreaming of hearing him say for forever and a day… "Lois, I would love to be more than friends with you."
Somehow, hearing them in the dreams was a lot better.
He said he had to go and flew away quickly. I looked up at him. There, that moment, right there. I was realizing that I had just jumped in without checking the water level.
And I was definitely in over my head…
Did I ever enter the Daily Planet a new woman! I was so confused! On top of still trying to make sense of the last two days, my life had nearly ended. Now I know that happens to me a lot… but this was different. I could see that thing falling and I was trapped there, under it, an unmoving, scared stiff target. It was a pretty helpless feeling and well, it scared me. I was unaware of everything after that, so my thought-screening process really wasn't working too well. If it was, it would have shut me up before I ever asked Superman to basically be my boyfriend or else I would find someone else. Wow! If I were even close to being in my right mind, I would have remembered last night in full, how great it felt, and said nothing to Superman, because I had truly put him behind me. But no. Like I said… thinking… yeah, it just wasn't happening. Talking before thinking, now THAT was happening! I just wanted to see Clark. I couldn't get him out of my head, once it cleared. I also decided that next time I saw Superman I would have to say that I was sorry, but I was confused. I had momentarily forgotten that I had something better waiting for me.
I spotted "something better" and noticed that he was typing something on his computer. I grabbed a coffee and made a beeline for his desk.
"Hey," he said, not looking up. He looked… I don't know. Angry. Or possibly (and worse)… indifferent.
Now I started panicking… what was going on? I decided to try to tread familiar territory.
"So… that story on the Congressman-"
"Actually, I'm just writing that one now. Perry was right; we don't need to be working on all those small stories together. I told him I agreed and he divided them up. Here you go," he said, handing me a list of the stories that were now mine. That whole time he talked, he stared at his computer. He didn't look up at me once. No eye contact. Nothing…
I walked to my desk and sat down, confused. I got to work right away. I worked without looking up until about noon. There were so many things floating around in my head that I had only written about a paragraph on ONE of the stories that were mine. I kept thinking about Clark… remembering how wonderful and simply romantic the night before was. It had just seemed to natural, so simple when it happened. But this day completely started wrong for me. And I couldn't get that whole thing with Superman out of my head either. His moods seemed very erratic, and then out of the blue, he DID want to be with me… as more than a friend? Clark wasn't even looking at me at all, and I was hungry. On the whole, I'd been better. The afternoon conference was about to start. I got in there after Clark and noticed he sat somewhere else… he sat between two other people, on the opposite end of the table from where we normally sit. Ahh… ignoring and avoiding, moves made popular by second graders all around the world. I sat down, two empty chairs beside me and looked at him until I realized that no matter how long I looked, he was not about to look back.
I listened half-heartedly to Perry hand out assignments and complain about how slow the news was. I scribbled on my notepad. I was mortified to see that I had regressed back to sixth grade at one point. Without thinking about it, I had drawn a heart with mine and Clark's names in it. I immediately scribbled over it before anyone else could see it. Then the conference was over. I noticed Clark slowly putting his things together as everyone else piled out. Clark didn't seem to notice, but it was just me and him in there. I decided it was now or never. I just had to know what was going on with him.
I shut the door to the conference room and turned to face him. The shutting of the door caused him to look up. When he saw that I shut him in there with me, he looked upset… well, with himself, actually.
"Spill it, Clark. What's going on?"
"Nothing, Lois. Look, I have a lot to do today."
He just wanted to write me out of his life? Just like that? After last night, especially? It didn't make sense, so of course, I felt hurt. I could feel tears prickling at the corners of my eyes. I didn't want to cry. How could he be like this? It made me angry!
"I wouldn't have expected this from you, Clark."
Clark looked up at me. His eyes locked with mine and I saw… resentment? He looked like he was challenging me to continue. And so I did…
"I knew I should have learned my lesson. I have tried to close myself off, Clark, but YOU… you broke through! You had power over me and I never wanted you to! And you knew you did! You knew what you were doing! Were you listening to the stories about Paul and Claude and Lex, taking notes? Learning from them? How to be just LIKE them?"
His mouth fell open in shock. There was no mistaking that look. Pure, unadulterated SHOCK! And then came the storm:
"Just like them?" he said, through a raspy, emotional voice that sounded near-tears itself, like mine. Then came his anger. "Lois, I would have given you my love for LIFE! I would give my life for you! And deep down, you know that! You know I am in love with you! You know I would do ANYTHING for you! And for what? To be your back-up plan, should a better option fall through? To be your settlement? Lois, I NEVER asked for much. As it was, you fell for two men, one of whom was a ruthless criminal, before you even CONSIDERED me that way! But I understood why you would want them over me. I understood. I sucked it up and tucked away my love and my hopes; I LIED to you so I could be there for you. The way I thought you wanted, as a friend. Just a friend. I had been trampled on by you, and I put that aside to be something I knew you needed: a friend! And then when I finally put myself out there again, for you, you finish the job. Lois, when I thought you couldn't possibly hurt me any more, and those wounds had finally closed… well, you've never ceased to amaze me, so I should have seen it coming. Listen, I'm just going to put my feelings away… for good this time… so that we can have what we both want… for YOU to be happy. No one ever cared before about what would make me happy, why should that change now? At least you can be happy, Lois. You can have Superman. He's what you want, what you've always wanted. And he wants you back. So there you go…"
"I know. I know all about your proposition today-"
"No, Lois!" He cut me off, yelling. He was yelling. I had never seen Clark lose control of anything before, especially his temper. Thank god the walls were sound proof, or we would have had an audience. He was really yelling. I could see, clearer than ever, the hurt in his eyes. I could see WHY he was breaking like this. "Last night was the LAST straw! It was special to me-"
"Me too, Clark, I-"
"Stop it! … Stop it! I can't stand your pity and I really can't stand your GAMES! You KNOW I've been in love with you since I met you and you make me fall even more when you make me think that we could have something more, but before you let it get too far you check with your number one! I would NEVER do that to you! I would NEVER hurt you in that way! If I thought you were in love with me, Lois, but I loved someone else, I wouldn't string you along and make you think… make you think… I wouldn't do that to you because you are my best friend! I am obviously less than nothing to you! My feelings don't matter. Just yours. Well, Lois, I have been thinking about you and your feelings for too long now. I am done! We are NOT partners! And you've practically screamed to me that we're not friends either. But if it makes you feel better to say that I am treating you horribly and walking away from you like THEY did, then fine! Say that. I am THROUGH!"
I just stood there in shock. If I were wearing boots, I'd have been shaking in them. I had never seen him that way. Never. He was gone. No longer in the conference room. I was alone… I looked down at my notepad on the table, with our names inside a heart that was scribbled out. I only had one coherent thought… "What have I done?"
Writing this now, I am crying just remembering that conversation. He looked so pained. I had never seen him unveil his feelings like that. Not just his words, but his eyes. He has always hidden something in his eyes. Behind his glasses and in their depths there are truths that he conceals. I don't ever get the opportunity to really read him through his eyes. But… oooh, I have chills. His eyes. In those moments, in THAT conversation, they concealed nothing. They have haunted me in the week since it happened. I remember the completely drained and anguished look in them. It was awful. And the things he said! I've never seen Clark be so painfully honest about how he feels… how he's always felt apparently. He has hidden so much from me. And he's hidden it FOR me. He didn't let me in on it, because he was trying to forget and to move on… for my sake. And for his own. But mostly for mine. It was true. So many things I've done have been based on my feelings… I have never taken his into consideration enough… I mean, when he told me he loved me in the park, a year ago, I said I didn't feel the same way and asked to then see Superman. I let him down gently, of course, but all the same-asking to see someone else? It was beyond cruel! He looked out for my feelings and I looked out for my feelings… but who was ever looking out for Clark's feelings? In the weeks that we got closer, before the kiss and the following day from hell, I had seen more of his life. I realized he was lonely and misunderstood for reasons I was not (and am still not) aware of. He was running away for years… He even admitted that, saying he promised to some day tell me why. He sure wouldn't now. He would just be even more alone than he was. My new dream (replacing that Superman fantasy) to know Clark better than anyone else, would never be realized. I had ruined it. He opened himself up to me and I screwed it up! His eyes said it all… I had ruined him. And it was true; he never would have (under any circumstances) done that to me. Whether what I said to Superman was a mistake or not, I had said it. That alone was wrong. So wrong! After that night! The promise of love and happiness, of sharing and finally belonging and being home… it was there! We had it! I had it and FINALLY he had it too! Until I took it away.
It has been a week… and I can't get him out of my head! I can't get out of my head his smile and the times we shared, growing closer. Me going on and on about my novel (which I haven't touched this week), or him going on about his travels at my urging. I just see images of him sitting next to my bed, while I was sick, talking so soothingly about the world and making me laugh with his storytelling abilities. Getting better. Goofing around any chance we got in those weeks that I was getting better. That night… it always ends, the images in my head, I mean, with us kissing and exploring one another in that new way. So gently yet so passionately. It was supposed to be the beginning! But little did we know when we were kissing that it was closing in on the end. I just can't get him out of my head…
I haven't seen him since that explosion in the conference room. When I left the conference room he was not anywhere in sight. The newsroom was functioning as if the world had not just ended. As if MY world had not just ended. But it did. When Clark didn't show up for the rest of the day, I asked Perry where he had gone. He said he took his piled up vacation days from since he started and decided he needed a vacation. Could be as short as two weeks or as long as three. Perry said with news being so slow, it didn't really matter. He said he was surprised I didn't know Clark was taking a vacation. Being his partner and best friend and all. I said I had forgotten and went home for the night. When I went by Clark's place, he was already gone. Didn't waste any time. I had no chance to talk to him. To apologize. To say how special the night before was to me too. To say that his kisses were STILL taking over my senses and I needed him… wanted HIM. No one else. To tell him that there was never anyone else for me but him, but that I had been scared senseless… and one of those senses was my sight. I was scared into blindness. And I especially didn't realize how that blindness was hurting him. Until now. Now that it was too late. After I had knocked on his door for ten minutes, I sat on his front steps and cried… a lot.
I haven't seen Superman this week either. He has been helping out, of course, and saving people, but not really sticking around to give statements or anything. He's, I've noticed, been helping out quite a lot in other countries. He still spends most of his time hanging around the skies of Metropolis, but he is definitely spending noticeably more time elsewhere. Maybe he knows that when he touches ground, I have words for him. If ever anyone should be afraid of a showdown with Lois Lane, it would be Superman right now. Because I have things to say to him. Starting with: how could you!? Anyone who knows Clark knows about his feelings for me. I denied it for a long time, but I knew too. Clark is right: it's obvious. And Superman is supposed to be his very good friend. How could he go and tell Clark that I said what I said? Granted I shouldn't have said it and actually wouldn't have if circumstances had been different and the wheels in my head weren't spinning SO fast. But how could ANYONE hurt him, purposely, in that way? I keep imagining it. Superman seeing Clark and saying, "hey, I just saw Lois and I think we're going to give it a go. Start a relationship. She asked me if I would be interested. She wanted to know before things in her life change too much." Okay, he may have not said it just like that. But anything even CLOSE is heartbreaking. I can just imagine the look on Clark's face. He must have felt his heart stop and his blood run cold. Walking to the Planet with all the hope in the world and then entering it a heartbroken, desolate shadow of that hopeful man.
Perry asks me into his office at least once a day to ask if things are okay with me. He can tell I am not myself. It's obvious, I guess. The sleepless, tired look and the puffy eyes probably give it away. He knows it has to do with Clark, but I don't really share. I can't. Perry loves Clark. Everyone does. I love him. Knowing I hurt him so much would just upset him. Sure, Perry loves me too, but he would be angry, I know, that I hurt such a wonderful man for something so superficial as getting my chance with a hero that I barely know. I really don't know Superman. I don't want to. I don't need to. That way that I know I want to get to know Clark-completely and wholly-I don't want to know Superman. He's Metropolis's hero and my friend. That is enough. It's always been enough, but I was too in awe and romantic at first to know that. I know Clark so well and he knows me even better than I know myself. But there are things I don't know about Clark that I really would love to. I want to spend my life learning about him. Knowing him. I used to think he was just an ordinary man. No super powers. No money (well not an impressive amount anyway). But he is actually more impressive and super than anyone I have ever met. He doesn't need money or superpowers to be the most amazing person I have ever had the privilege of knowing. I am not a superficial person, but I am impressed, I guess. I was impressed with Lex, by his glamorous lifestyle. I was blown away by Superman. I was just comfortable with Clark. I just never realized that that comfort was like a safety blanket for me. Until it was taken away, I didn't realize how warm it really kept me. I need him. I want him. All my love and attraction is for him. Just him. The man who is through with me… not that I can blame him. I made him think he was my last possible choice and a last resort. I made him think he had nothing special to offer me. I got his hopes up over and over again, just to shatter them worse each time. You know, it's strange falling in love with your best friend. You don't realize it's happening, because you love that person anyway. They know you better than anyone and you trust them more than anyone. You can deny the attraction and even the real feelings in your heart and soul. And then… you can't. But because you did for so long you end up hurting that person- the most important person to you-more than you ever could have dreamed. The people before him were part of that denial. I didn't know it and he most certainly did not know it. He even said he understood why I wanted them and not him. That breaks my heart. He thinks that he isn't SO remarkable and special and doesn't have much to offer, so it would make sense that I would look for love everywhere else. But the thing is… he offered me something no one else ever has or could offer me: genuine love and friendship. True and beautiful and pure. And I want it back. Call me selfish. But I want it back.
I have tried calling Smallville. He isn't there. His parents said they were not aware he took a vacation, but he hasn't checked in with them in awhile either. They said if I talked to him to tell him to call them. They tried to ask if anything was wrong, but I couldn't tell them. I couldn't tell them how I had completely broken the heart of their son. They obviously just want for him to be happy; they know how special and sweet he is. They would hate me if they knew how I had hurt him so. So I didn't tell them.
Perry said he wasn't sure where Clark was taking his vacation. But the fact that I didn't know crystallized his suspicion that something had gone horribly wrong between us.
Now it's the weekend. It's been a week since I've seen him. Since all this happened. I can't stop crying. Lucy came over yesterday when she felt something was wrong, and I broke down to her, and apparently did not make any sense, which is why early today she stopped by with my new gift. This. This diary. Where I get to re-live the most horrible day of my life.
So there you have it; you're up to date. That is why my life is just so awful right now and I am on the verge of a breakdown. Oh god, what if he doesn't come back for two more weeks!? I don't think I'll make it. I need to see him. I don't know where he went! And he hasn't talked to his parents, which is strange. He is obviously off somewhere dealing with his completely shattered feelings alone somewhere. Always alone. I was supposed to be there for him from now on! A week and a day ago I realized I wanted to be. Forever. We could be there for each other… two people alone in the world who no longer needed to be.
I made such a mess! I can't even clean it up. I haven't seen either Clark OR Superman so that I could even begin to fix what happened. I need a plan. I can't contact Clark, obviously, but I could contact Superman. Make things right on that end and hope that he either knows where Clark went or can help me find him. He WOULD be the best person.
Okay, I am going to bed now. Yes, yes, THE bed. Stop thinking about it! Oh, that's me. I'm thinking about it. Me. Him. The bed…
It just seems so silly to write 'Dear Journal'… Oh, god, I am taking this way too seriously! So, Clark has not been back to work this week either. His parents have called me at work, saying they have talked to him only briefly, but are wondering if he is okay. I have just been honest and told them that I really don't know. I told them that if they talk to him again to tell him to just come back and he WILL be okay. I would make sure of it. But basically, he's still away. Still running. Still hiding. Still alone… like me.
Lucy was right about one thing: it did clear my mind to write. To just get it out there on paper, organized (well, mostly organized) so that I can sit back and look at it from outside the situation. I don't know why I didn't write immediately, I mean I do it for a living and for fun… I should have assumed it would be a therapeutic thing for me to do as well. Re-reading what I wrote, I realized that I remembered more than I thought I did. It had been all chaos in my mind, but when I organized my thoughts on paper, I could actually recall entire conversations because I was back there! I was back in those moments again. It was great in that way; in that one way… because I felt like I had my friend back. Had Clark back.
But he is not here.
Work is just not the same without him. I never realized how much better he really made my days. Just talking about stories with him or passing the slow times talking about life or joking around with each other-it made work more fun. I have always wanted to be a reporter, so even before he came, I enjoyed it. The chase, the adrenaline rush, the awards, the praise, the respect, the hard work and digging. I always loved it. Now, though, without him here, I am having trouble enjoying or loving anything. Work is WORK. Getting through the day is work. I just sit there spinning pennies, looking at Clark's desk with a completely pathetic look on my face. It is closing in on two weeks since I have seen him. My heart actually feels heavy, missing him. I have never missed anyone in my life this much.
It would be a thousand times more bearable if he hadn't gone away the way he did. Broken-hearted and in such clear pain. I have been waking up in the middle of the night because of the look in his eyes. They really haunt me. I cannot believe I could have caused so much pain to the person that I love more than anything in the world. But I did. And the greatest punishment is that: those eyes. Those eyes that almost two weeks ago stared into mine with love and passion and friendship and too quickly after looked into mine with an anguished expression of hurt and betrayal. When I think about that day, I feel physically sick… I can actually feel my heart breaking all over again. For him. All for him. And, okay, for me too. Because this stinks! Because of a mixture of bad timing, me being slow and blind and confused, two hearts are broken! And all they need to be better they can't have because one of the people is gone!
Out of habit I call his apartment still. I know he is not there. I know he's gone away to who knows where. He is probably running around the world again, like he did back then, in his stories. Lonely and vulnerable. Running away. Only this time I know what it is he is running from… me. I always get that feeling in my stomach. Anticipation. While the phone rings, I hope naively that he'll answer. But he doesn't. For two weeks almost, the only answer I get is from an answering machine. It's the only way I can hear that voice again. That voice I miss so much. It is so happy and cheerful… happy to live in Metropolis, happy to work at the Daily Planet, happy to be alive. Happy to be partners and friends with Lois Lane. The voice of a Clark Kent that really no longer exists.
Well, as soon as he shows his face again, that man will exist again!
Earlier today, Thursday, Perry broke me. He got it out of me. Under the carefully orchestrated pretense of needing to discuss a late-breaking Kerth-caliber story with me, he got me into his office, shut the door and closed the blinds…
"Okay, Perry, I get it. This is really big. What do we have? Crooked politician? Kidnapping? Intergang back to their old tricks?"
"It is big, Lois. Colossal."
"Well?" I said, losing patience. I was anxious to have a distraction and a Kerth-caliber story seemed a good candidate.
"You see, I have these two reporters. My two best reporters, as a matter of fact."
"And one day, one of them comes in here and calmly suggests that their stories be divided up. And that same person comes in my office later that day, looking broken, and says he is taking his vacation days and going away for a while. The other reporter looks like her puppy died and won't talk to anyone."
"So you've noticed the strange behavior in Derek and Mary too?" I asked. They are the new Gossip team.
"Lois, honey, I have bit my tongue, minded my own business. I can't anymore. What happened?"
I rested my head against the back of the chair and let the tears just come. "I screwed up. I screwed up so badly. I broke his heart, Perry. I broke his heart, and now, because of that, mine's broken too…"
Perry's like a father to me. He understands me so much. I knew if I ever confided in him about this, I would just break down and REALLY cry. I purposely didn't tell him for that reason. I didn't want to cry if I could avoid it. But I just started crying… REALLY crying, right there, telling him.
I told him everything… about how much closer we had gotten and then about how we'd kissed and I barely got through telling him about the awful day that followed. About the near-death experience that clouded my eyes and judgment and the misunderstanding that ensued, sending Clark running for the hills to lick his wounds.
"I want him back, Perry. I can't do this without him."
"This. Life. I can't do it. I never realized how important he was to me-to my well-being, to my happiness, to my LIFE-until he left. Now… nothing is the same. Nothing is good anymore. I'm just a big, bumbling, blubbering, crying mess…" I trailed off, as tears rolled down my cheeks, and my voice couldn't support me anymore. I was crying too much.
"So this is what it's like. I've always wondered," Perry said, wistfully.
"What?" I asked, trying to control my sobs.
"Lois Lane. In love. I knew when it happened it would be big. Big like Titanic. Big like a natural disaster. And as much as I could foresee this, I still didn't see it coming. Lois Lane in love. It's amazing. It's great."
"I'm glad you think the puddle on the floor that IS my tears is great."
"No, but I saw you fall left and right for men that you were not in love with, honey. That Claude from France… now there was a character. You thought you were in love. The fact that someone like him even had the POWER to break your heart was a mystery to me. You could do so much better. Of course you didn't know that. And then Lex. And even Superman… great guy, I mean he's a hero. I have the utmost respect for him; you know that. But for you, Lois? I was, like I was with Claude and Lex, waiting for you to realize he wasn't IT. I sat here and watched, waiting. Waiting for you to realize that the man worshipping you from afar, yet right under your nose, was the man who had the most power over your heart. The man that you loved."
"Some good it's done. Perry, I realized it too late and now he's gone. He'll probably come back from his vacation with another woman on his arm, completely over me."
"Lois, I've been around a lot longer than you. I know these things. If he wanted to get over you with every fiber of his being, he couldn't. And you and I both know that he is not the type to bring another person into his mess. To involve their feelings carelessly. He'll never get over you, Lois. He's running from you right now, but I'd stake my reputation on the fact that he hasn't been able to escape you for one second that he's been gone. Your face is probably everywhere he looks…"
When Perry said that, I remembered what Clark had said about somewhere there being someone that didn't look through me but could see me, everywhere. He was talking about himself, seeing me everywhere.
"I'm like a curse to him."
"Perry! You're supposed to say I'm wrong and that is not true," I told him.
"Lois, you know as well as I do that curses can often be blessings too. Curses can also become blessings, by letting the truth about them be known. You've got to tell him. If he spends his life alone, just loving you, then yes, you are like a curse to him. But by telling him that you love him back… well, I think you see what I mean."
"I know. You know, he's become a curse to me too! I mean, I can't eat, I can't sleep… he haunts me, night and day. His eyes, his voice… my memories and senses are taken over every second of every day by… by HIM. So this isn't just me now! He's torturing me just as much as I have tortured him! Almost as much anyway."
"The difference is, you know you're haunting him. You know you're torturing him. You know you're like a curse to him. Does he have any clue… any clue at all… that you can't get HIM out of your mind? That you are head over heels in love with HIM and he's ruining you by being away?"
I shook my head. "But I can't tell him, Perry. I have no idea where he is."
"You're Mad Dog Lane. It's the woman he fell in love with. Mad Dog Lane still lives inside the happier, more laid back Lois Lane. Now don't get me wrong, I love this softer, in-love side of you… but the defeatist attitude? Mad Dog… and Lois too… would never come up to a solid wall and let it stand in her way."
When I saw Superman two weeks ago fly away, and I knew in that moment that I was in over my head, I knew at THIS moment, in Perry's office, that there was nothing I couldn't handle.
You see; I am Lois Lane. I have overcome federal disasters, natural disasters, evil fianc‚es, explosions, being nearly drowned, shot at, dropped from buildings and a million other horrifying scenarios. There is no way I am going to let a little love-albeit it's that one-of-a-kind, hopeless, desperate, true and passionate love that can make you crazy-hold ME down!
I know what I want. I just have to, in true Lois Lane fashion, go get it! Lucy is coming over here. I told her I needed her help coming up with a plan and then even more help executing it. She was more than happy to assist and is on her way. I am calling this Operation: Number Nine… you know, like Love Potion, Number Nine? Well, I feel like I am under a love spell these days, so it only seemed fitting.
Oh, she's here! I will write more later…
Wish me luck.
Tomorrow is Monday, which would be the start of the third week without him. If this plan today doesn't work, I do not know what I am going to do! But Lucy and I have it all worked out. It's pretty elaborate and even potentially dangerous (for me). That's fine. If anyone can handle that, it's me.
This weekend has otherwise been a complete bore. I am consumed by this whole mess. I can't even enjoy two seconds of peace and time away from work and annoying colleagues. The only thing that matters these days-okay, the only thing that has EVER mattered, even if I didn't know it-is one colleague… who is so much more than just that. So much more than a partner. So much more than a friend. And I am talking romantically and non-romantically.
Yes, I obviously love Clark… romantically. Completely. With every ounce of ME. I love him so much and know that we are meant to be together. If we don't get that chance, I don't know what I will do. I don't know how Clark handled it, when I turned him down a year ago. He is stronger than me, that's for sure. I mean, he knew instantly he loved me. And he pushed it aside. And then he told me. And then I let him down. And then he pushed it aside again. I only just really realized how much I love him, want him and need him and I am going stir crazy not having him! Not telling him this!
But what I mean saying he is more than a friend and partner non- romantically is that he has always been more special than that. Since the beginning, Clark has had a special place in my heart. His relentless optimism used to be something I jokingly rolled my eyes at, but I always loved it. I didn't want for him to become jaded, as I was. As I am, still, in many ways. As much as I always made fun of him for being a farmboy, it was something I had always found adorable about him. Something I respected and admired. He has trust in the world and faith in the people that live in it. He wants to believe that people are good and honest, so he assumes they are and approaches the world with that vibe and air coming from him. How many times when my scare tactics didn't get answers out of sources did his good humor and friendliness crack them instead? I perceived that exact vibe from him immediately, which led me to trust him so completely; in a way I had never trusted anyone. I never COULD explain how someone could become a best friend so soon after being a complete stranger. Because that is what happened. One second he was a stranger. The next: my best friend. There really wasn't a transition. He just… was. He was so special. I always knew that. I had so many people in my life that I had known far longer than him that I didn't trust with things about myself that I trusted him with instantly.
He's inspired the best of me. Without him here, I am a shell of Lois Lane. The heart and soul are gone and uninspired. The sparkle in the eyes, the fire in the heart… he took it with him. Wherever he went. If I had only sooner learned that Clark Kent, and Clark Kent alone, was responsible for that sparkle and that fire, I would not have had to lose it… and him… at all. But he left. Over two weeks ago. And I am a carbon copy of myself… a much less happy and alive version of myself.
I want him back with an ache so huge and strong that I can't even just move on with my life… go on… until I make that happen. And I WILL make it happen!
Ooh, the phone!
… That was Lucy. We are all set.
Operation: Number Nine has commenced!
Well, I still haven't seen Clark. But Superman. I saw Superman! Did I see Superman! And I think he is going to help me now. I can't be positive, but I could have sworn that he seemed… happy.
"Just promise me you'll never do something like that again, Lois. There are better ways to get my attention," he said, looking as nervous as he looked that day… well you know, THAT day.
"Really, like what?" I asked, smartly.
"You could yell for me without actually being in danger."
"I tried that a few times in the last couple weeks, and even when I could see you overhead, you would just zoom off faster. Gosh, Superman, you make a terrible boyfriend, since I recall the last words you said to me were that we'd be more than friends."
"I know… I'm sorry. I've needed to think about things, Lois. It's not easy for me to… to date."
"I know. But I don't care. Superman, if you could have just touched ground one time I would have told you to forget it. I didn't mean what I'd said," I said.
"Superman, I said I wanted to know if you wanted to be more than friends with me for a few reasons. But none of them are based on my real feelings and I don't want to have you as anything other than a good friend. That's what you need to know is real. That is true."
"What were the reasons?" he asked, looking dazed and confused, to say the least.
"Well, for one, you were looking at me like I was special to you. I mean, I know I am your friend. But you were looking at me, after that billboard almost killed me, like you… like you loved me. At least that is how it looked to me. And because of the whole billboard almost killing me thing, my sense of logic and reality was gone. I was confused. I am so used to wanting you, romantically. It's a habit. A bad habit. I am so used to looking for some sign from you that you want it too. I saw it that day, and went into automatic pilot. I kind of blocked out something really important, in that moment. I sort of forgot for a second-and this is where the nightmare of my life begins-that I know that I am not in love with you and that I actually never was, because I have always been in love with someone else. I just never knew it."
To say he looked shocked would be an understatement. The man was flabbergasted! Well, why not? I mean, Superman's biggest groupie who the world knew had a crush on him was turning HIM down for an ordinary man! When he stopped looking all shocked, he smiled a little. Or he seemed to be smiling a little anyway…
"Can I ask who-"
I cut him off. "Uh uh, no way. Not yet anyway. HE doesn't even know. I can't tell YOU. I have a little favor to ask of you, though. Superman, Clark's been on vacation for over two weeks now! Going into a third week tomorrow! His parents don't know where he is. Perry doesn't know… I don't know. He hasn't called or checked in once. I'm worried and I miss him. Superman, he is my best friend and… and, I just need you to find him and bring him back to me. Please. Do you have any idea-"
He cut me off this time. "Yes, Lois. I can, uh… I can find him. Bring him back."
"Thank you so much!" I said, smiling ear-to-ear. He smiled back, genuinely. My, he really seemed happy… almost hopeful-looking.
I realize that in our two-week relationship, we have only had a verbal agreement of sorts that we were going to be more than friends at all, I have not wanted to be in it for even a second and we have not seen each other once, but he could have at least tried to HIDE his joy… or relief? that it was over. I mean, I am human! I do have feelings!! Okay, who am I kidding; I could care less if he flew to Jupiter to celebrate that what we really NEVER had is officially over… I am just too excited at the possibility that he could find Clark and I could finally, FINALLY, have him back! If… well, if he'll take me back.
So he flew off to find him, I guess, and I went home to write, since I have chaos, yet again, in my head, and need to make sense out of it. Although this is the good kind of chaos…
I am too excited to go to sleep. Too excited to write even! I am just going to go for a walk.
Please, let this work…
My life is PERFECT! I am knocking on wood as we speak because I don't want anything to ruin this!
He's back. Superman found him and then he found me. I was in Centennial Park when he found me. Well, okay, here goes:
I was just walking, feeling all happy that things finally seemed possible again and there at least seemed to be hope, but miserable at the same time, because it was closing in on the end of Sunday, and that meant that tomorrow would start my third week not having seen Clark. It had started to drizzle. I knew I shouldn't stay out very long, but I wanted to go to the park.
I walked toward the fountain and looked around. I spotted the bench where so long ago Clark had confessed to me that he loved me all along, from the moment he met me. Looking at that bench, I felt a nostalgic sadness, remembering the look in his eyes when I turned him down. It wasn't that he looked defeated that saddened me so much. I just remember; he didn't look surprised. He looked like he knew he'd been taking a chance and wasn't completely surprised by the outcome. From the very beginning, he always thought me out of his league-too good for him. Nothing could be further from the truth; but back then, neither of us knew that. We were both assuming I should be with someone of special prestige or with special powers. Well now I knew, the most special person of all was right there all along. Under my nose, by my side. It's true what they say: you never know what you've got until it's gone. I mean, long before Clark went on his "vacation", I realized he was more special to me than I had ever given him credit for. But since he's been gone, I realized just HOW special. I realized things in my heart that had always before stayed safely hidden and concealed… even from me. With him gone, though, I've been forced to see those things, to cast them in light and not shadow and examine them. I saw that I loved him and have loved him all along. I saw that he is as much a part of me as my actual, beating heart. I saw that no one has ever, could ever or will ever affect me and be as much a part of ME as him. Why I wasted so much time looking everywhere else is beyond me!
I realized that in my wandering thoughts I had actually wandered- more like gravitated-toward that bench. I turned to head back toward the fountain, but what I saw nearly caused my heart to stop-or to leap into my throat anyway. Clark… he was there, sitting at the fountain. I hadn't heard him arrive or sit down or anything. I'd been too far gone in my thoughts. I had so many things to tell him! But I couldn't think of one thing! I just walked closer and closer to him, to the fountain, each step bring a new tear down my cheek. I was crying! I was shaking! Well, it WAS raining, so shivering wasn't totally shocking. He must have noticed (the shaking or the crying or both!), because he stood up and hugged me when I got closer, and rubbed his arms up and down my arms. It was… to be totally honest… electrifying, feeling him just then.
"Shh, it's okay," he said. I couldn't believe how I felt just hearing his voice again! It sounded so beautiful… and sexy! I was breathing hard with relief and pure excitement. He was here and he was talking to me! And barely two words out of his mouth, and (now I can't be sure) I think I was actually turned on! I can't believe how easy it is to think of Clark that way now. Thinking about him in romantic context just seems natural. I am not sure why I blocked the tendency so much before! But standing there, he had said two words and I was ready to attack him… to kiss him all over. His voice was so sexy and with the drizzle… Okay, sorry… sidetracking.
"You're back!" I cried into his shoulder. He put one hand on the back of my head while the other continued to try to warm me or comfort me or whatever it was it was doing. Rubbing, I guess.
"Yeah," he said, softly.
I looked up at him. He looked so different than I remembered him last. He no longer looked like he was being stabbed through the heart, for one thing. He looked like my best friend… my strong, handsome, caring and selfless best friend. He was hugging me because I was crying, putting his feelings on hold for me… to be there for me. Did he learn nothing from his little outburst those weeks ago? Well, I would remind him. I opened my mouth, but he beat me to it!
"Lois, I'm sorry."
"Yes. I'm sorry."
"Clark… how can you be sorry? I need to apologize to you a million times over and you're apologizing to me instead?"
He laughed a little. "I'm sorry."
"Again, you're apologizing?"
He looked at the fountain and then down at me, with resolve. "Lois, I said my piece a couple of weeks ago and then… I ran! I bolted. I left you without a second to say anything. After everything we've been through, I owe you more than that."
"You owe me nothing. Clark, you were right that day. I, you… WE… take too much time to listen to MY feelings. That day you were heard. It was heart-wrenching to listen, but you needed to be heard. I am just so sorry it took me so long to listen. To really listen. And I'll never be able to tell you how sorry I am that I've caused you so much pain."
"It's not your fault I'm in love with you. It just… is. My love for you just is, Lois. There's nothing you can do about it."
"You still… love me?" I asked, tears coming into my eyes again.
"I'll always love you. And at times, it makes me crazy. Usually I can handle you not loving me back. But after that night, after that KISS-"
"No, Clark, I know."
"But I shouldn't have run away. I have run away from things my whole life, Lois! But not you. Never you. When I first met you, I TOLD myself to run far away, sure. I knew I was in trouble. But I couldn't. I could never run from you, Lois. I only ever just got closer. Until that day. But I owed you a chance to explain to me, Lois. To tell me… whatever you had to tell me. I have to remember that you may not feel the way I feel and be your best friend all the same. I wasn't a very good friend that day."
"No, you were a human. And one that was hurting. One who'd been trampled on by yours truly too many times to mention and was done. Clark, I'm surprised you never said all that long before."
"What good would it have done?" he said, quietly, as more of a statement than a question, and more to himself than to me.
"I might have come to my senses earlier, for one thing, and you could have saved us both a lot of craziness and heartache."
He looked up at me, a look of daring and hope in his eyes. But he said nothing. Like the night we kissed when I accused him of lying that day in the park, his eyes betrayed him, but he did not speak. He didn't dare to. So I did:
"Clark, a really special night, a couple of weeks ago, you said to me that love is not too much for anyone to ask for… especially me."
"Do you believe that it's too much for you to ask for?" I asked.
I stared into his eyes, in time to see a look of shock flicker across his expression. Had he never put himself first, ever? Did no one ever tell him the things he was always reassuring me about? Staring into his eyes for longer, I was greeted with that same amount of truth that I had seen that day in the conference room. Only there was no anger this time. Just… a little sadness. "I guess. I mean, well… I guess some people are meant to always be alone. I think I may be one of those people."
I touched his cheek as a tear slipped down my cheek. "Oh, Clark," I said quietly. "You've got everything so backwards. First of all, you deserve love more than anyone I know! And secondly… it's not ME that's out of YOUR league. You, Clark… you're out of mine. I'd be so lucky…"
But I knew what he was going to say so I shut him up…
…with a kiss!
I cannot even DESCRIBE how good it felt to kiss him again!… But I will try! I had stood up on my toes to capture his lips by surprise. To say he looked surprised would definitely be accurate, so goal: accomplished. But the second my lips touched his, I felt fireworks-my body was on fire and I had little butterflies fluttering all around in my stomach! I was aware of the wind blowing my hair a little as he wrapped me tighter, kissing me back with as much resignation as me. It was the most intense, exhilarating feeling of my life! Even (unbelievably so) better than the last time we'd kissed. This kiss was more desperate and passionate… I had thought I lost him and now he was back, so I was kissing him without reservation… fully and fervently. He needed to know without doubt or hesitation that I wanted HIM… that I was only seeing HIM, no matter where I looked, no matter where he was. He needed to know that I loved him and would not be blind anymore. He needed to know that I had come to my senses and that I had realized what my heart was ALWAYS trying to tell me! He needed to know. And that was the best way I could think of to tell him.
When we broke apart, the look on his face was priceless. He looked shocked and elated, but almost blank, at the same time.
"Clark, I don't want riches, jewels and yachts, or superpowers or to be flown all over the world via a private jet or a godly pair of arms. I just want… you."
"Gee, thanks," he joked.
"You know what I mean. I must be galactically stupid to not have figured out long ago that all I ever needed to be truly happy was right beside me, quietly waiting and hoping. Secretly loving."
"Do you mean that?" he asked, although he seemed to already know that I did mean it.
"I've never meant anything so strongly until this moment, Clark. I love you. I have always loved you. I do not want anything as long as I live except to know that I have not ruined my chance with you and that you will let me prove to you that I mean this… forever."
"I think that could be arranged," he said, before bending down to kiss me again.
After we enjoyed kissing each other for a few moments more, we started walking, in the direction of my apartment.
"I heard through the grapevine that you put YOURSELF in danger today. As if you don't wind up in dangerous situations accidentally enough as it is," he started.
"Oh boy; I had a feeling Superman might tell you that. Well it wasn't THAT bad."
"You went to Suicide Slum, Lois. Suicide Slum! It's called that because to enter that place on purpose is suicidal! You had Lucy put on all black, including a mask, and had her start to mug you!… And really kick you and stuff to make it seem real."
"But we practiced! I knew her moves, so it's not like it hurt!"
"Ah, and did you both practice what to do if some REAL mugger came along and started attacking both of you?"
"Well, no, that was not in our plan. But Superman came seconds later and because of our plan, a real mugger in now in jail."
He just shook his head. "Promise me, Lois…"
"I promise, I won't do anything like that ever again. It's just… Superman wasn't listening to me! I needed him so I could get you back! It just got a little out of hand." I noticed his look. He was looking at me expectantly. "But that is no excuse. I really do promise. If YOU promise never to just run away from me without two words or a note or anything! I had no idea where you were and I was going CRAZY."
"Okay. Fair enough. I promise."
He stopped walking and looked at me.
"Lois, I love you more than life itself. That's why I don't want you in danger. Ever. Definitely not if you can help it."
"I love you too," I said. I kissed him sweetly and quickly, smiling giddily when I pulled away.
After that he walked me home, and instructed me what to do so as to not catch a cold, seeing as how I had been sick some weeks ago and was out just now in a long-sleeved shirt in the cold and drizzle. But I hadn't felt cold… at least not while he was with me! So I hadn't really noticed. But I did promise that I would take a hot bubble bath and drink some chamomile tea. He said he'd be around later to catch up with me.
I'm just happy he'll be around at all! I want nothing more than to spend the evening cozied up on the couch, kissing and watching a movie, talking. Maybe that is what we'll do later.
Unlike last time we were together in my apartment, this night WILL be the beginning for us! And also unlike last time, tomorrow will wonderful too.
And the day after that…
And the day after that…
And… well, you get it.