By Saskia <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: March 2004
Summary: Lois dreams about the perfect date with Clark when something unexpected happens.
This story is dedicated to Jose for his birthday. Hope you had a great one!
I have to thank a few people here. First of all, Kaethel, thank you so much for all your help with my silly questions about France! I hope I'll be able to say more than 'je ne parle pas Francais' some day again. I also have to say a *huge* thank you to Shelley and Cristina for BRing. Your help has been very useful, even on the short notice! And also a huge thank you to my GE, Tricia, for editing this for the archive.
Warning: This doesn't have a typical ending, but I wouldn't want to call it a WHAM. Just be prepared for the sudden change, and remember it's Jose's birthday story.
Disclaimer: I still don't own the characters of Lois and Clark, so this hasn't been written for profit. It's just a piece of fun.
For the millionth time, Lois checked her appearance in the mirror. She was wearing an elegant black dress with a low neckline and small spaghetti straps. It accented her figure in all the right places. Her hair was nicely framed around here face and her makeup was in place.
She looked good. Then why was she so nervous?
A date. That was why. A date with Clark. Her first date with Clark, even.
He had asked her out a couple of days earlier. After nearly two years of working together, they were both finally ready to admit their true feelings for each other. It had taken her a year, a near-wedding, several almost-death experiences and a lot of suffering to make her see she was falling in love with Clark. The other year was spent fighting that feeling, ignoring it in vain and having some bad experiences with expressing her feelings. Above all was the fear of rejection. He had expressed his love for her once, only to take it back shortly after that. And he was giving a lot of mixed signals. One moment they were pretty intimate and talking about their feelings, the next, he made up some stupid excuse to run away from her.
Hopefully, they were past that stage now. He had asked *her* out and she had only been too eager to accept. She was in love and there was no denying it any longer.
She checked the clock, only a few more minutes left before he'd be here. Nervousness overtook her again; was her hair all right; had she chosen the right dress; had she brushed her teeth?
She forced herself away from the mirror. If she kept stalling and brooding, she wouldn't be able to open the door soon and let Clark in. It was just a date! A date she was really looking forward to!
To calm down a bit, she walked to the kitchen and grabbed a glass from the cupboard. Carefully, she filled it with water from the tap. She took a few sips and slowly let the water slide down her throat. Taking in a few deep breaths too, she felt herself becoming more relaxed.
A sudden knock on the door startled her and she nearly spilled the water on her dress. Putting the glass down on the sink, she hurried to let Clark in. No need to let him wait.
When the door swung open, the view in front of her knocked the breath out of her.
He looked so handsome and gorgeous in his dark gray suit with a nice colorful tie! My, how ever could she have denied her feelings for this man?
"Come in, Clark," she just managed to get the words out of her mouth.
He flashed that amazing smile at her. "Thanks."
She closed the door behind them and when she turned around, she couldn't see Clark. He held an enormous bouquet of red roses in front of him. A blush crept on her cheeks as the meaning of the flowers hit her.
"Wow, Clark. They are beautiful. Thank you!" She accepted the flowers with a kiss on his cheek. "I'll go put them in some water."
"You're welcome, Lois. I saw them on my way here and I just couldn't resist buying them. They seemed perfect for you."
She turned even redder and quickly made her way to the kitchen. Rummaging through the cupboards, she found a pitcher, filled it with water, put the roses in it and left it on the sink. In the mean time, she had regained her composure by taking a few deep breaths.
It was Clark, her possible would-be boyfriend. There was no need to get embarrassed over some flowers he gave her, she told herself sternly.
When she walked back in the living room, Clark stood in front of her window. He was still the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. He turned around, looking at her from head to toe with a glisten in his eyes.
"Lois, you look absolutely amazing," he whispered.
The blush was back immediately and she focused on the ground before her feet. "Thank you."
He must have noticed her embarrassment, for he went to a different topic. "Are you ready to go?"
"Let me grab my purse."
"Clark, you still haven't told me where we're going," Lois stated. They were in a cab, headed down to Fourth Ave. Clark had slipped the driver a note with the address, but he kept on refusing to tell her where they were going to spend the evening. She'd been driving him crazy all week with her questions. She just couldn't stand surprises.
"You'll see it when we get there. I promise you'll love it."
"Cla-ark!" Maybe a bit of begging would help.
He shook his head while pulling her closer to him. "Don't go spoiling the fun now, Lois. You'll see it very soon."
She gave up; he really was incorrigible sometimes. Instead, she nestled herself against him, merely enjoying his presence and nearness.
Some ten minutes later, the cab stopped in front of what looked like an expensive restaurant. Clark stepped out on his side, quickly walked around and opened the door on her side. She accepted his outstretched hand and carefully got out the car. While adjusting her dress and purse, she took a closer look at the restaurant.
The door was made of massive wood and on the right and left of it there were a few high, but small windows, all made from stained glass — the kind you often saw in churches and old buildings across Europe. Above the door hung a sign with the name of the restaurant: L'Absinthe. She wondered what it meant. It sounded very French, so it must be a French restaurant. She hadn't heard of this place before, but the French cuisine had some really good things to offer. She couldn't wait to try it out.
"Wow, Clark. This looks impressive. Is it French?"
"Yeah. I thought you might like their food. And the place is new, so I thought we could give it a try."
"Does L'Absinthe mean something, Clark? I'm assuming you'll know with all your travels."
"It's a herb, originally from Europe, also called wormwood. They used to make a liqueur from it which looks very green, tastes like bitter anise and licorice. As a liqueur it has a high alcohol content. It's prohibited in many countries because of its toxicity."
"How do you know all that stuff? It seems like quite useless knowledge to me."
He just shrugged in response.
"So do they have this stuff here?"
"Oh no! It's quite illegal here," he hastened to assure her. "They used it as a name since the herb has quite a reputation in France."
"Oh." It was all she managed to say.
"What do you say about going in now? It isn't the warmest out here."
She looked up at him and smiled while nodding her response. He linked his arm through hers and led her to the entry. A nice warmth came over them when they stepped inside, making Lois feel right at home. She could hear the soft chatter coming from inside, indicating it must be busy on this Thursday evening. A soft light reached her eyes, and from where she stood, she could see a lot of candles burning. The sense of romance overwhelmed her. Clark must have felt it too, for he put his arm around her back. She snuggled a bit closer to him. They waited at the end of the hallway for a waiter to help them to their table.
Lois took the moment to look around. In the square room were about twenty round tables made of dark oak. Most of them were occupied by other couples. In the middle of the room was a wooden dance floor, with a stage on the left. She hoped a band would come later; she felt like dancing with Clark. It was the perfect opportunity. Behind the dance floor was a bar where many bottles of white and red wine were displayed. To the right of the bar was a secluded spot, perfect for some privacy. The table there was still empty. She hoped Clark had made reservations for them there. It would ensure some undisturbed conversations for them. The entire room was lit by about hundred candles, making sure it all looked very romantic. The corners of Lois's lips turned up; Clark really knew how to spoil her, especially on a first date. She inhaled the fragrances; it smelled good, she was getting hungry now.
"Monsieur Kent?" The voice of a waiter brought her back to the present.
Clark nodded his head in response, pulling her a bit closer again.
"Par ici, s'il vous plait."
He brought them to that table at the other end of the restaurant. Clark really could be so predictable sometimes. Not that she minded, it made him so much more… *more*.
The waiter disappeared again, to quickly return with a single red rose and a tiny silver vase. Placed in the center of the table, it looked beautiful in the candlelight. The waiter pushed up their chairs and they sat down. They were seated next to each other, close enough to be able to snuggle and kiss, at one half of their round table.
"Desirez-vous un aperitif?"
"Oui," Clark replied, and he ordered something she didn't understand in French.
The waiter nodded and walked to the next table.
"What did you just tell him?"
"Oh, I just ordered us something to drink." He tried to sound as nonchalant as possible, like he just handed her a cup of coffee in the busy morning newsroom.
"So what did you order?" She wasn't fond of surprises and he knew it! First the restaurant — not that she complained about it, it looked perfect — and now the wine. What more did he have in store for her tonight?
"You'll see. It'll be here soon enough," he replied with that twinkle in his eye she'd seen many times before. He really wasn't going to tell her!
"Just go with me here, Lois. You'll like it."
She decided to drop the subject; their drinks would arrive soon and he'd tell her then, she hoped. Instead, she reached for Clark's hand which lay on the table. She gave it a gentle squeeze and smiled reassuringly at him. He gave her one of his mega-watt smiles in return. That open face, so soft, so admiring, so sweet, so… Clark. She just couldn't help but love him.
Their little interplay was suddenly interrupted by the waiter. He set two glasses of white wine on their table, along with a cooled bottle of water and two extra glasses. The menus were handed out and he addressed Clark again.
Lois let the conversation go by her. It was too fast for her to follow. The lessons she had years ago hadn't left much of an impression on her. She could manage some small talk, if spoken slowly, but this was simply too much for her.
The man left them again, and Clark turned to her.
"He told me some things he recommended and it all sounds good. Do you want to go over the menu?"
"No, surprise me Clark. I trust your choice." Her quick reply surprised her, but she knew she meant it. So far, his choices in food had been nothing but good. That Chinese he'd brought on their first investigation was still very clear in her memory.
"Thanks. Is there anything in particular you want?"
"No, just place the order, Clark. You have more experience with the food. You also know what I like. So go ahead. Surprise me."
"Okay. I know something you'll like." With that, he winked at the servant.
"Puis-je prendre votre commande?"
Clark ordered something that sounded like 'pave de boeuf au poivre.' In fluent French again. How did he do that? It wasn't like he spoke French regularly.
"Puis-je me permettre de vous recommender un Chateau margaux 1989?"
So more wine. Clark discussed a bit and they seemed to go for the waiter's suggestion. Not a bad choice. Now if the guy could only leave them alone again, she wanted some privacy for her and Clark. They could talk, and cuddle and just enjoy their first date.
"Desirez-vous commander un dessert?"
Would he go already? Luckily, Clark gave a short answer and the man finally disappeared again. Eager to get to know Clark better, she voiced her earlier question out loud.
"Where did you learn to speak French so well, Clark?"
"I first learned it at high school. All of my friends took the French course, so I just followed. I learned the basics real fast and could manage quite well after two years. When I traveled around the world, I've been in some French- speaking countries. I've also spent some time in Paris. So I picked it up really easy and I'm not one to forget it in hurry again."
"Amazing. So how many other languages do you speak?"
"Let me see… there are a few I speak fluently, like French, Spanish and Chinese. Most of the other languages I can manage to get by in. So I can order food in any language you want."
"Mmm. Next time we'll go to the Italian, then."
"Next time, Lois?"
"Of course, you silly. I'm having a good time, you seem to be having a good time. I'd like to have more times like this. I like it, I just haven't done this enough in my life."
She carefully lifted her glass to her lips and took a sip. "Hm, champagne!"
Clark beamed, obviously pleased she liked his choice. "And not just any kind of champagne, it's a Dom Perignon."
"My, you really know how to spoil me," she said. She tried to keep her voice even, but she couldn't help but giggle a bit.
"Nothing but the best for you, Lois." With that, he took a sip, too.
When he put his glass down again, he grabbed her hand and they moved a little closer.
"What has your life been like then?" Clark murmured, returning to their conversation.
They both told the other about their lives, sharing stories and giving each other insights into their lives. Lois felt totally comfortable with it. She felt like she'd known Clark all her life, except that he had missed some important turnings. She enjoyed his stories as well. His life sounded so normal with parents like Martha and Jonathan. She had often wished her parents could be like that too. But maybe she'd never met Clark then. And she sure didn't want to miss him ever again. She simply cared too much.
They talked the time away. At some point, their dinner and wine had been served. Even then their conversation didn't stall. They had so much in common and there was still so much to discover about each other. Like what books they loved. What music they listened to. Or where they'd like to go on holidays. It was just the perfect date so far.
Suddenly, the bit of meat she had in her mouth tasted very hot and she started coughing. Quickly swallowing it, she gulped some water down her throat.
"Lois, are you okay?" Clark asked concerned.
"Yeah. They must have put some peppers in here by accident. That was hot and spicy," she managed to say between a few more gulps.
"Maybe I should have warned you…" Clark looked guilty.
"Warned me for what, Clark?"
"I ordered pave de boeuf au poivre."
"Yeah, I understood that. An excellent choice."
"Thanks, but it means there's a pepper sauce…"
"Pepper sau…" She trailed off, the realization hitting her. "So the pepper was supposed to be there."
He just nodded his head, he looked a bit scared.
"It's okay, Clark, you couldn't know I just swallowed a bit too much of it. I'm okay now. The water really helped. And really, it wasn't that bad. It just surprised me."
"Are you sure?" He still looked pretty worried.
"Positive. Don't worry, Clark, I've tasted spicier things."
"Next you're gonna tell me it was in something you cooked," he teased.
She rolled her eyes at him. "Very funny, Clark."
They finished the last bit of their dinner in silence. Lois noticed only now that a band had entered the stage. Some people had started to dance to the little upbeat songs. The atmosphere in the restaurant was very relaxed and Lois was glad Clark had taken her there.
Not for the first time this evening, she noticed how much she was enjoying this perfect date. Clark was the perfect gentleman and she loved his presence, their banter and his humor. Now if only they would…
She put down her silverware, having had enough of the excellent food. Shyly, she looked at him from under her eyelashes, waiting for what was to come next. He looked directly at her, a small smile back on his face. He, too, must be thinking of something to say or do that wouldn't destroy their newfound romantic situation.
Suddenly, the band started to play a very romantic song. Lois recognized it as a song from Romeo and Juliet, only this must be the French version, and softly swayed a bit on her chair. Clark took it as a hint as he stood up and walked around the table to approach her from the other side.
"Would you like to dance?"
She smiled and nodded her head in approval. He reached for her hands and gently but swiftly pulled her to her feet.
As they danced the song away, they moved closer and closer. Lois rested her head on his right shoulder while her arms hung loosely around his neck. He held her close by having his arms around her and slowly but oh so sensually stroking her back.
The song ended, but the magic that pulled them together wasn't about to leave yet. She looked up to his face and saw the same passion that must be written all over her face as well.
One of his hands reached for the side of her face and he lowered his head to hers. "Do you mind if I kiss you?"
"Just shut up and go with your gut feeling."
He needed no further invitation and not even a second later, she felt his lips on her. He tasted wonderful. She slipped her arms closer around his neck to feel more of him while standing on tiptoes. His hand found its way to her hair and she sighed against his mouth. His lips parted and his tongue traced her lips. He really made her feel wonderful and she wanted more. She opened her lips and allowed him to explore her mouth while she did the same for him.
After what seemed like hours, she broke off the contact, breathing heavily but never loosing eye contact.
His eyes were clouded with passion for her. She truly loved him. All of him. Especially if he made her feel so special and more than wonderful like this.
"Care to repeat that?" Lois asked with a dreamy look on her face.
"We do have an audience now."
"Yeah, so?" she whispered.
She pulled him down to her again and kissed him with all the love she had inside of her, trying to show him how she felt. He responded immediately and she melted against him.
All of a sudden, the cloud cleared and she realized what she was doing. She hurried away from him and let out a loud instinctive scream.
With a bolt, Lois sat upright in bed. The palms of her hands were covered with sweat and her hair stuck in filthy strands against her head. She'd had yet *another* nightmare; the same that had haunted her ever since her marriage. She hated it. She was happy now! Why did it still have to bother her so much?
Movements beside her indicated her husband was awake too. Had she screamed again?
An arm came around her shoulders and pulled her to his chest. "Sssh, honey, it's all right."
His comforting voice brought her over the edge and tears rolled down her cheeks. "No, it's not okay." She managed to say between a few sobs.
His other arm came around her too and he gently rocked her back and forth. When she calmed down again, he asked, "Was it the same nightmare as usual?"
She just nodded, unable to speak with the lump in her throat.
"So you were with him again?"
Another nod confirmed his suspicion.
"Can you tell me what you did with him this time?"
Lois turned her head to look at his face. He was still so concerned for her, even after a year. The nightmares couldn't change his feelings for her. She swallowed, trying to form words.
"He came… and I…" Her voice sounded very shrill, so she cleared her throat before continuing. "He came to my apartment, all dressed up. And I was wearing that old black dress with the low neckline." A late sob interfered with her monologue. She hated being this emotional over just a nightmare about *him*. "Then we went out. I was having a good time, until we were dancing and he *kissed* me! That's when I woke up."
"Still the same as ever."
"Right, but why do I still dream about him? He's dead and I never even liked him that much. Sure, he was okay to work with, but that's where it ended."
"I don't know, sweetheart. Maybe you should go see someone about it now."
"No!" She was not going to see some sort of shrink. Lois Lane could deal with her own problems, even if these were harder to tackle than others.
"Fine, we'll discuss this in the morning. Right now, I want to go back to a peaceful sleep." He just didn't know when to stop pushing her sometimes.
They both lay down again and Lois snuggled in his arms, hoping that would keep her safe from Clark.
"Goodnight, Jose," she replied, before dozing off again.