By Wendy Richards <email@example.com>
Submitted: June 2004
Summary: Lois writes a painful letter to Clark. Story 1 in the Yesterday Series.
Author's note: Many thanks to Kaethel for beta-reading. For anyone who has read this before, this is a little different from the version posted on the boards — thanks to RL for pointing out an error. All rights in the characters belong to DC Comics and Warner Bros; no infringement is intended by their use in this work of fiction.
Only yesterday, you were here. You sat beside me. You brought me coffee. You made me go to lunch with you because, you said, if I didn't then I wouldn't eat at all.
How well you kno— knew me.
Only yesterday, we were in search of the gangsters together. Working together as a team, as always. You and me. The hottest team in town, as the marketing department's posters insist. Lane and Kent, chasing after a scoop. And this was a big one, wasn't it? Resurrected 1920s gangsters… it was like something out of a weird Hollywood movie.
Except that in Hollywood movies the good guys aren't usually the ones who get killed.
Only yesterday, I could still see you. I could still touch you. Only yesterday, we stood so close to each other that I could have reached out and put my hand in yours.
But I didn't. I never did.
I've always been an idiot where you're concerned, Clark. I'm finally seeing that — but far too late.
I've been running away from you for as long as I've known you. And right now I just don't know what I was running away from. Except that I was running from the best thing that ever happened to me.
You. You were the best thing ever to come into my life. And now you're gone; left my life as suddenly as you entered it. And yet much more painfully.
So much more painfully.
I can still see it, you know. The moment when Clyde Barrow fired and I knew that you were going to be hurt. Or worse.
I can see it all. It replays inside my head like a video on endless loop. Dillinger ogling me, making his interest clear. You stepping in front of me to protect me, as you always do. Did.
You always protected me, Clark. Who's going to do it now that you're gone?
And then Barrow. Appearing out of nowhere. Pulling a gun. Me warning you. Trying to pull you to one side. You staggering, falling, clasping your chest, your expression startled… and then you fall to the ground.
I see you lying on the floor. Your glasses are askew and your face… I can see it contorted with pain. Did it hurt, Clark? When the bullet hit you? Did it hurt? Did you feel it slamming into you? How horrible was it? Did you know anything at all?
I hope it was painless. Please, please let it have been painless…
I can't bear the thought that you might have been hurt. That you were conscious of the pain, conscious that you were dying.
They dragged you out then, Clark. I hope you didn't know that. They dragged you out of the den, and the police haven't found your body yet. Superman's looking too — at least, I hope he is. I tried to get a message to him, but I haven't seen him since you were… killed. I don't know if he got my message. When I tried to contact him, I suddenly remembered how I'd always done it before. You. You always contacted him for me. I never knew how you did it. You never told me.
Not that that matters now. There's so much we never told each other, isn't there, Clark?
And that, I guess, is why I'm writing this letter to you now. Even though it's too late. Even though it will always be too late — nothing's going to bring you back now. I know that. I'm trying to resign myself to it. But it isn't easy. I keep remembering things…
I keep thinking that only yesterday I still had you.
How could I have been so careless? How could I have taken you so much for granted?
I thought we had so much time, Clark. I guess I was behaving as if we were immortal. Which is crazy, when you think about it — Superman has to save my life on a weekly basis, and you've done it yourself lots of times. Yet I still acted as if I had all the time in the world to spend with you. All the time in the world to tell you…
To tell you something I should have told you long ago. Something I've known for longer than I admitted to myself.
The only thing I never told you that really matters.
I love you, Clark.
There. I've said it. At last.
I had so many reasons not to say it. Or at least I thought I did. I didn't love you, I protested… even when I knew it wasn't true. I loved someone else, I thought — and yet that was never anything more than a chimera. He was right: I didn't know him. I still don't know him. I love him still, but he's not real, not like you are — were. And then, even when I admitted to myself that I loved you, I still didn't say it.
I was so jealous of Mayson, Clark! I wanted to scratch her eyes out. She had you and I didn't. You always seemed so happy to be with her. When she cut in on my dance with you, I was furious — but you didn't seem to mind. And then when I came to your apartment and saw you kissing her… I knew I'd lost then, Clark. That you were hers. Not mine. And I… I was devastated. Not that I ever let you know that, of course — but then, that's just the way I am, Clark.
I would never have told you how much it hurt me. Perry knew. But nothing would drag it out of him.
But you'd seemed to gravitate to me too over the same time. The last few months, we've been so close. We went to the Kerths together — before you met Mayson, but still. We laughed and joked and teased each other just as normal. And not just at work. Only three days ago, I was at your place for the evening. Our usual: pizza, a couple of beers, a video — an action flick, which I always pretended was for you, but really it was because I like them too — and it was so… nice.
Special. Just the two of us. Cocooned in our own private world. We knew each other so well, Clark. You knew exactly when I wanted to switch from beer to coffee. I knew exactly when you were going to offer me the last slice of pizza. And you knew when I was in danger of falling asleep in front of the TV, and you put your arm around me so that I had your shoulder to lean on. So that I wouldn't get a crick in my neck from being uncomfortable.
You know… *knew*… me so well.
And I knew you. Well, mostly. I think there was always a part of you that I didn't know. The look in your eyes sometimes, a look I could never interpret. Well, different looks. Some telling me that you wanted to escape, run as far away as you could get… but others telling me that you wanted to get closer. Mixed signals, Clark? Or were you afraid that I'd push you away? Again?
You never did try to step beyond the boundaries of our comfortable friendship, did you?
I know why you didn't. I freeze men out. I know I do it. I did it to you right from the moment we met, and I kept on doing it until the moment you died. I froze you out when you showed me that you found me attractive. I froze you out when you asked me out to dinner. And I definitely froze you out, though I tried to be nice about it, when you told me you loved me.
Why would you lay your feelings on the line yet again? For someone who made it clear that she didn't want you? Even if she was lying, to herself as well as to you.
And yet I love you, Clark. I just wish I'd had the courage to say it to your face while you were alive, instead of in this letter to you that you'll never read, because you're dead.
I keep thinking… only yesterday. Only yesterday you were right here beside me. I could see you. I could hear your voice, that beautiful, beloved voice, as you teased me, brainstormed with me, planned with me, chided me, argued with me, talked to me… listened to me.
And now it's today, and you're not here any more. You'll never be here again.
And I am… lost.
Who would ever have believed that Lois Lane could be bereft without a partner? And yet I am. But then, you were so much more than a partner. You were my best friend. My pillar. My stability. You kept me grounded — and kept me sane.
You were the man I loved. You were… oh, Clark, I think you were my soulmate.
And you're gone.
And I never… oh god, I never told you…
When they find your body, Clark, and Jonathan and Martha arrange your funeral, I'm going to ask them if I can put this letter inside your coffin. Since I can't ever give it to you myself, it's the next-best thing. That way I'll know you have it, even if you'll never read it.
I love you, Clark. I will always love you.
And I wish it were yesterday once more.
Wendy Richards 2004 firstname.lastname@example.org