By Nicole Sullivan <Shabella2@aol.com>
Submitted: November, 2004
Summary: Lois makes a birthday wish and realizes, when it comes true, that some dreams are closer to home than she realizes…
Lois Lane walked into the Daily Planet dreading the day ahead. It was her birthday. She hated her birthday. The only thing she ever looked forward to on her birthday was the possibility that the rest of the world would forget it. But that never happened. Some unspoken memo always seemed to go out to everyone she had ever met, letting them know that it was her birthday. She sighed angrily…oh, how she hated her birthday… She hated hearing people ask her what she wanted. How she just wanted to wring all their necks, screaming, "For you to just leave me alone!" But she couldn't. Most of them were just asking because they cared. She just wished that she could fall asleep and wake up the day AFTER her birthday.
Clark Kent walked off the elevator into the newsroom happily. It was Lois's birthday. Last year on her birthday, he had not yet started working at the Planet. It was once he started and he asked someone when her birthday was that he realized he'd missed it by about two weeks. This year, however, they were partners and great friends, and he was excited to be a part of this day with her.
He looked around, hoping to see her somewhere in the crowd, but all he saw were his many coworkers…
Lois took the emergency stairs up to the newsroom, instead of the elevator. She was in no rush to see people. The stairs had that hollow, quiet sound of echoing silence and the sound of her heels on the tile…
Clark had located Lois's heartbeat… she was on the stairs. When he listened, he could hear her shoes on the tile floor. He smiled, knowing she would be there soon. He wondered, though, why she was taking the stairs. Maybe some birthday tradition he wasn't aware of.
He walked over to stairway entrance into the newsroom. Finally, she walked through the door. She jumped when she saw him standing there, smiling at her.
"Clark! How did you… you know, you're like a puppy! What, did you smell me coming?"
"No… but you do smell good. What are you wearing?"
Lois smiled, although Clark had a feeling it wasn't a genuine smile. "It's called 'Irritability'. It's rare and they don't sell it everywhere." With that, she stomped off in the direction of the coffee machine.
Nope… smile not genuine.
"Here, let me," Clark said, beating her to the coffee maker and fixing her cup for her. "So… happy-"
"If the next word out of your mouth is what I think it is, then I won't talk to you for a week. And the last person I said that to was Jim in Sports."
Clark furrowed his eyebrows. "But you never talk to Jim."
"Well, Lois, you obviously don't know me very well. I was going to say Happy Friday. I say it every Friday, so why would you think this would be any diff…"
"You don't say that every Friday!"
Clark looked mockingly offended. "You don't listen to me either?"
Lois squinted her eyes at Clark. "Well Happy Friday to you, too, Clark," she said.
"On a related topic, you know what was always one of my favorite things?"
"Catching fish with you bare hands."
"Ha, no. Actually, Lois, it was having my birthday fall on a weekend. It was always great. You could go out late or if you wanted to drink, you could. You don't have to worry about going to work the next day."
Lois put her hand on her hip as Clark handed her her cup of coffee. She sipped and didn't even try to hide her surprise at how perfect it tasted. "Is this the same coffee they brew every day?"
Clark shrugged, like he wasn't sure. But in reality… he had come to work early and brewed a special Italian blend that he had gotten in Rome a few days before. He wanted to make her a great cup of coffee on this day.
They walked toward their desks, Lois enjoying her cup of coffee.
"Happy Birthday, Lois," Jane from Features said cheerfully.
"Thanks!" Lois said, with what Clark knew was fake gratitude.
Before she reached her desk she had muttered three more meaningless phrases of gratitude, each one more forced and more fake. She sat down, clearly annoyed.
"Are you one of those people that hates getting another year older?" Clark asked, sitting on the edge of her desk.
"No. Well, not yet anyway," she answered, looking up at him. He nodded, encouraging her silently to explain.
"I just hate birthdays, okay? It shouldn't come as too big of a shocker, Clark, you've seen me at Christmas. I'm just not a celebrating or a holiday kind of person."
"You celebrated Christmas perfectly fine. You looked like you were enjoying yourself."
"I guess this Christmas wasn't too bad," Lois agreed. "But that doesn't change the fact that I hate my birthday, Clark. If you're a real friend, you won't say those two dreadful words or any other words that mean the same thing."
Clark looked at her, wondering why she hated her birthday so much. But before he could ask, Perry walked over.
"Happy Birthday, Lois! So, drinks tonight at Z-Bar?" he asked.
"Sorry, Perry. Not this year," Lois said.
"She says that every year," Perry explained to Clark.
Clark laughed, but was still wondering why Lois was so against this day.
Perry walked away when someone needed his approval on a layout.
"Okay, Lois, so what gives?" Clark said when he was alone with her again. "Why do you hate your birthday?"
"I just do," Lois answered, really not wanting to get into this. The day was bad enough already. Why remind herself of why that was. She looked up at Clark, intending to tell him to just leave it alone, but when she looked up, she was met with the kindest eyes she had ever seen. He looked so sympathetic and concerned. In that moment, she felt so privileged to have his friendship. She took a deep breath.
"As a kid, it was always a letdown. We never did what I wanted to do. We did what my parents wanted to do, which was never much, let me tell you. It's like, once I turned six, the cuteness I had on my birthday was gone, and they weren't interested in making me feel so special about it anymore. They'd say 'happy birthday', but they sounded like machines. Cold and programmed. They'd ask what I wanted, while they sipped coffee and read the paper, and they'd nod and say 'okay', and I never got it, of course. I was about eight when I figured out that they weren't listening, so I started getting smart, asking for a one-way ticket to Mexico and a fake ID, among other things," Lois explained.
Clark smiled at what a cute and illuminating, bright child Lois must have been.
"And then I got to the age where they were off the hook. I think that was twelve. They no longer had to do anything but say the words. Those two words. The rest was up to me. I had friends. I had a sister close in age. If I wanted to have a fun birthday, I could surely manage that on my own. I don't know if they realized that I really only had one good friend, who, nice as she was, was so self-involved, I don't think she ever knew it was my birthday, and my sister was younger than me and hardly knew how to make my birthday happy. And again, I didn't get what I wanted, but I had already stopped wanting anything. I know birthdays aren't supposed to be about getting presents and stuff, but when you're a little kid and all the other kids are getting just that on their birthdays, well it's sort of expected. As for just being happy to have a loving family to spend the day with, that was something that never occurred to me as a child, because my family never really made the day special. I could ignore, year-round, my family's problems. But on my birthday, our problems, the lack of love being shown in our house, was magnified for me. So I'm sorry if I'm not walking through the door today with cupcakes in hand, because to me birthdays mean not getting that Holly Hobby doll, that record player, that one- of-a-kind ukulele from Hawaii, with a grass skirt to play it in because I saw Don Ho on television and was momentarily either inspired or insane, and that hug from my parents next to a home- made cake that said 'we love you, Lois, happy birthday!'," she finished, resting her chin in her hand.
Clark looked down at her, his mouth open a little in shock at what he had just heard. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"Lois, you're not a kid anymore. You're a successful, beautiful, intelligent woman, and you can have whatever you want. You deserve to have whatever you want," he said, surprised at the emotion that was seeping into his voice.
She looked at him, noticing too, and touched that he cared so much. He was such a good friend. "Thanks, Clark. But all the same, I would like to just keep birthdays and unfound dreams on the backburner for today. Perry's right, we always get drinks at Z-Bar on my birthday after work. So let's just focus on our stories and not mention this, okay? We'll toast me later," she said, sort of self-deprecatingly.
He shook his head. "Lois… what would be a dream come true for you?"
"Clark, please. I don't want anything."
"I'm gonna get you something, Lois. Best to be something you actually want."
"I don't want anything," she said, really wanting to say something that would just quiet him on the subject.
"What do you want for your birthday? I will get you anything."
"A date with Superman," Lois said, looking straight ahead wistfully. She quickly lowered her gaze, laughing at herself that she had once again voiced a wish… a DREAM in this case… on her birthday that would never come true. She then looked at Clark and squinted her eyes at him disdainfully. "Think you can swing that?"
She smiled coyly, thinking she had him there.
Clark felt his heart clench at her wish. In one moment of honesty, she had knocked down her own walls and voiced a deep wish, and it was the only thing he ever hoped she wouldn't want. He knew she wanted Superman. But he always hoped that someday she wouldn't anymore. How he wanted to spend her birthday with her as himself. But she, the most special person in his life, who he loved beyond all barriers, had told him so honestly of a dream she harbored that she believed would never come true. And she had never had a dream come true and on her birthday had never once even gotten the simplest of wishes. Well this year she would.
"Well, I guess we'll see, huh?" he said, quietly, forcing a little smile.
As Clark walked to his own desk, Lois felt a little bad. He was being the same guy he always was… a good and caring friend, with a heart of gold. Clark Kent. It wasn't his fault that she hated her birthday. She sighed. If it were any other day and she felt bad for being cruel to Clark, she would apologize. But right now, on this day, she just didn't have the energy or the heart.
It was almost noon on the dot when Lois noticed her hero, her knight in shining armor, her god in tights and a cape, fly through the open window of the Daily Planet. She was so shocked, as there didn't appear to be an emergency at work, that she almost didn't hear the gasps and sounds of awe of those around her. She was even more shocked when he went straight to her desk, never taking his eyes off of hers.
She tried to compose herself, but knew she appeared just as nervous as she was. Except for a couple times when she first met him, he never flew into the Daily Planet like that. She could not for the life of her figure out what was going on.
"Hi, Lois," he said when he was standing before her.
"Hi," she said, dazedly.
She was so confused, excited and nervous, that she didn't know where he had gotten it, but he was now holding a single pink rose out to her. Had he gotten it out of his cape, she wondered?
"Happy Birthday, Lois."
"How did you…?" she trailed off as he handed her the rose.
"If you don't have any other plans tonight, I'd like to take you out," he said, with a smile.
"If I don't… well of course I'll go out with you. I'd be honored!" she gushed.
"I'd be honored… more than honored… to spend your birthday with you, Lois," he said, thinking how true that was.
She opened her mouth, but didn't know what to say. Should she thank him? Tell him she'd go out with him any time? Play it casual? Make a plan? She just looked at him, unable to keep the smile off her face and out of her eyes. She was virtually speechless.
Clark smiled. This was the look he'd rather see on Lois's face on her birthday. He knew that for now he would just have to go on hoping for his own wish to come true. Today was Lois's day and he was thrilled to make a wish of hers come true instead.
"How about I pick you up at your apartment at seven?" he offered, when it became obvious that she was not close to forming a coherent sentence.
"Seven," she said, trying to act casual. "That sounds great."
"I have to go now," he said, hearing a call for help. "I'll see you later," he said, flying out just as quickly as he had flown in.
Lois just stared at the window amazed and unaware of the many people that were looking at her in awe.
"Chief, where's Clark?" Lois asked twenty minutes later, seeing that Clark was still nowhere to be found.
"He went out about a half hour ago to meet with someone about that story on the mayor I have him working on. And while he was out, there was a pileup on the highway that Superman went to, and he was nearby so he stopped to cover that too," Perry explained, barely looking up.
"Hm," Lois said, losing patience. She needed to talk to Clark and she needed to talk to him now.
Perry looked up. "Speaking of Superman, what was that all about before?"
"Oh, nothing, just… well, he asked me out for tonight," Lois said nonchalantly, as if that happened all the time.
"Excuse me?" Perry asked, with a knowing smile.
"He wants to take me out for my birthday," Lois explained.
"How did he know it was your birthday?" Perry asked.
"I don't know… but I have a feeling that Clark may have had something to do with it. Ugh, he thinks he is so smooth," she said, shaking her head, amusedly.
"I wouldn't hold it past him. He's a good friend of Superman's… and an even better friend of yours. I overheard the tail end of your conversation before, and well… that boy would walk on water for you, do you know that?"
Lois looked up at that, looking troubled. "Perry…"
"…Or he'd drown trying," Perry finished.
"Perry, if he calls in, tell him to meet me at that bar on 25th and Main."
Lois hurried out of her editor in chief's office, nodding at the many people that said "happy birthday" to her on her way out the door.
Clark walked into Craig's, a local bar that he and Lois sometimes grabbed a quick bite to eat at when they were in that part of town on a story. He immediately located her… looking more beautiful than ever, sitting in a booth by the window, the sun shining in, making her hair shine and her face illuminate beautifully as she read her menu.
"Hey," he said, sitting on the opposite side of the table.
She tilted her head at him and twisted her lips, as if she was thinking something accusing about him.
"What?" Clark asked innocently.
"Oh don't play innocent with me, Clark. You told Superman that I have the most pathetic birthday history and made him feel so bad that he agreed to take me out on a date tonight, didn't you?"
"I said no such thing," Clark said, honestly.
"You had nothing to do with him asking me out tonight?" Lois challenged, already knowing the answer.
"Lois… believe me, he is thrilled to take you out tonight. He knows how lucky he is to spend your birthday with you. He's the luckiest man in the world… and he knows it. He is moved beyond words that you would want to spend your birthday with him. Don't worry."
Lois was speechless. Moments ago she had felt like a pathetic charity case. Clark had the ability to make her feel so special though. All thoughts of being some Superman duty were gone from her mind. Clark was being honest… and his words touched her heart.
"Why did you do that, Clark? I wasn't serious before. Why were you so set on getting me something? Why…"
"Lois, it's your birthday. Just stop being a reporter for the day. No drilling. No digging. No QUESTIONS. Just enjoy it. Superman wants to spend tonight with you. You aren't acting very happy about that," Clark said, jokingly.
"Believe me, Clark, I'm thrilled. I just… ugh… fine, fine, no questions. Thank you, Clark," she said genuinely.
"Happy Birthday, Lois," Tara, their regular waitress, said to Lois as she brought them their usual drinks. Root beer float for Clark and lemonade for Lois.
"How did you know it was my birthday? I swear," Lois continued, not waiting for Tara's answer, "everyone knows it! Three street vendors on my way here wished me a happy birthday too."
"You're just special, I guess, Lois, and your lunch is on the house today," Tara said, winking as she walked away.
"So am I the only person not allowed to say those two words today?" Clark asked.
"You're obviously my only true friend," Lois gave back, shrugging.
"Please let me say it. You know it's killing me. You're my best friend and it's your birth…"
"You can say what you want, Clark, it's a free country. But remember. One week."
Clark sighed. Afraid she really wouldn't talk to him for a week… talk to him as Clark anyway… he opted to not say anything. Had they really had plans to go to Z-Bar later, he may have had the chance to wish her a happy birthday. But now, she was going on a date, and Clark Kent wasn't going to be there.
"So, are you excited?" he finally asked.
She smiled, knowing she had him. He was so cute, she thought. He really didn't want to risk her not speaking to him for a whole week. "Excited about what?" she asked.
"About your date tonight," he said, surprised that she seemed to not know what he was talking about.
"Oh yeah. I forgot for a second there. Oh god, now I'm nervous. Where do you think he'll want to take me? What if I wear white and spill marinara sauce on myself? Or red wine? Does he get drunk? I wouldn't want him to, of course, but will there be wine? What if I have one glass too many? Oh, god, I get giggly. I can't! What if he wants to dance? I haven't danced in so long, it's completely foreign to me! What if…"
"Lois, remember. No questions today. Just relaxing," Clark said. Lois looked at him with a look that he knew to mean 'how can you tell me to relax!?' "Lois… you'll be fine. Just be you. He loves you just as you are. He'd be crazy not to. Anyone would," Clark finished, looking at his lap, blushing. He had said more than he meant to.
"Clark…" Lois said softly, feeling suddenly guilty, but not knowing why.
But Clark shook his head, not wanting to let anything bring her day down. As it was, she'd started it from the lowest point. He wanted to build her up, and nothing more. He smiled at that thought.
"Okay, Lois, here's some advice to calm your nerves. Don't wear white, in case you do eat pasta. He doesn't get drunk. Try to just stick to one glass of wine if you don't want to get 'giggly' as you call it. Although I've seen you drink more than one glass, Lois, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. I can always see how relaxed you are. And you have a great laugh. I wouldn't tall it 'giggly'. And if you dance, you'll be perfect. It won't be foreign. And if you get really nervous, just think of something that relaxes you and makes you happy. Like Superman. The man you'll be dancing with."
Lois shook her head, smiling at her partner. He really was just the best.
"Lois, you're going to have a great birthday if it kills me."
"Well I hope it doesn't kill you… It wouldn't be that great, let me tell you, if you were dead," she said, smiling.
"Well thanks… I think," Clark said. "Don't be nervous, okay? It's just a date. And not even a blind date, but a date with a friend. A good friend. You'll be totally comfortable. You know him better than anyone."
"Clark, I know YOU better than anyone. You're a good friend, and someone who I would be totally comfortable with on a date," she said, but quickly steered herself in a new direction, seeing how awkward this conversation could become. "I know you better than anyone. Not him. Not SUPERMAN. You talk about him like he's you, Clark. If he were you, that would be great. I wouldn't worry at all. I don't worry about anything around you. But Superman… I don't know him like I know you, Clark. He's not as good a friend. He's a little bit of a mystery. It's part of what makes him so romantic. But never comfortable. You could never describe HIM that way. I'm going on a date with the most perfect man alive! Not my small town, not-in-any-way- intimidating partner! How could I just relax, Clark?"
"Well excuse me!" Clark joked.
"Oh, Clark, you know what I mean."
"The birthday special!" Tara said, walking over, placing three plates in front of Lois with all her favorite meals from there on them.
"Tara, this is too much food!" Lois protested, genuinely touched that Tara had done that.
"Hm," Clark and Tara said simultaneously, locking eyes with one another. They both knew that Lois could… and wanted to… eat all three meals. Well a good enough amount of all of them.
Lois was already digging in, not needing to be persuaded. "This is even better than usual!" Lois exclaimed happily.
Tara smiled. "Clark, yours will be out in a second."
Clark nodded, enjoying watching Lois be as comfortable as even she knew she was around him. He knew on his date with her tonight, she would most likely pick at her food, and would definitely not babble.
When his food came a minute later, he ate it, while they chatted idly about a story they were working on that hadn't quite picked up yet.
"Clark, you can't possibly think that Jenna was a straight- shooter," Lois said, pushing the dishes away from her. She was very full now.
"Lois, she seemed innocent enough. When we told her what we suspected about her brother, she cried. And she didn't look like an actress."
"Oh please, Clark! She was so the acting type! Those tears were no more real than the ones I produce when I get pulled over!"
"Clark… oh naive Clark. Face it. She knew what her brother was up to and maybe even helped him."
"I'm sorry. I disagree. She seemed to want to help us. She told us everything she could. I followed up on what she told us about his car and it all turned out to be true."
"Big deal," Lois said, crossing her arms.
Clark shook his head at her. She definitely had a hard time putting trust and faith in people. Well, in most people. He knew for a fact there were a few people, him included… in both his personas… that she put all her trust and faith in. They were right now, though, on their story as they were on all their stories, at a fork in the road.
Lois shook her head at Clark, wondering how he could live in Metropolis for over a year, work as a reporter for over a year, and still find the best in everyone! Granted she'd learned that not everyone had an angle… but she also knew the valuable fact that some people did… and Clark was just far too trusting. The only times they really disagreed during stories was when it came to whether or not they thought someone was telling the truth. The disagreement split them the same way every time: with her saying the person was lying and him saying he actually trusted them. She knew that if this were anyone else, she would be annoyed that such a small thing could slow down the progress of the story; she didn't want to waste any time arguing with anyone over whether a person was telling the truth or not. Usually she just went with her gut and if she was wrong, she found out later in one way or another. But this was Clark. The quality was endearing and something she loved about him. She also secretly enjoyed arguing with him; she respected that he always stood by his opinions, but had the incredible ability to listen to her and trust her, respect her and give her opinion sometimes more consideration than his own.
She was broken out of her reveries by a song that was starting to play in the background of the bar. It was Frank Sinatra singing her favorite song by him, "The Way You Look Tonight". She had always loved that song. It was so romantic. But now, it just reminded her that tonight she had a date and would have to possibly dance.
"What's wrong?" Clark asked, noticing her sudden look of worry.
"What if he wants to dance tonight?" she said, almost sheepishly. She felt sort of silly for worrying like this. But it was a date with Superman! "Clark, I haven't danced in so long, what if I step on his boots!"
"Well, it wouldn't hurt him if that's what you-"
"Well I know that, Clark! But it's embarrassing to do that in general!"
"I've seen you dance, Lois; it's very graceful. And it's like riding a bike. Once you're out there, it'll all just come right back."
Lois looked at the small space in front of the dusty bar, where a few couples were dancing to Sinatra's ballad. "Would you…" she trailed off, feeling shy even asking Clark to do something else for her.
Clark raised his eyebrows up. She was asking HIM to dance? Clark Kent? "Yeah… sure, I'd love to," he said, recovering his initial shock. He scooted out of his seat and stood, holding his hand out to Lois.
Nervous about tonight and anxious to dance a little to get comfortable with it, she took Clark's hand and let him lead her to the dance floor. When they reached a spot, she turned to face him and went into his comfortable arms.
*"Someday, when I'm awfully low
when the world is cold
I will feel aglow
Just thinking of you…
And the way you look tonight…"*
Lois wished so badly that dancing with Superman could be like dancing with Clark. He was a good dancer for one thing. Well, he'd learned from a princess! She was sure Superman was also a good dancer. But Clark… he was fun to dance with too, because above all else they were such good friends. She didn't feel stupid or on-guard dancing with him. She proved that when she even went so far as to SQUARE dance with him! She was totally loosened up when he was around her. And they danced well together. They fit, she mused. She looked up at him, looking down at her, and smiled. He twirled her then, gently. It was spontaneous, but she went along with it, laughing, as Frank set the atmosphere around them…
*"Yes you're lovely
with your smile so long
and your cheek so soft.
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight…"*
Lois found herself getting more into the song, pulling closer to her friend and partner. She rested one arm on his shoulder and the other in his hand. He had taken off his coat and loosened his tie during the meal, so she could feel his muscles under the thin fabric of his work shirt. He looked so handsome and sweet just now, she thought, but quickly shook those thoughts out of her head, before they could even fully register.
"You know, this was always my favorite Sinatra song," Clark said, smiling, enjoying holding Lois this close, just being himself.
"Me too!" Lois said.
"I'm not surprised," Clark said, swaying pleasantly to the music. "You and I are a lot alike."
"Ha!" Lois said. "Clark, we're practically polar opposites."
"I wouldn't say polar," Clark argued.
"With each word, your tenderness grows tearing my fears apart. And that laugh wrinkles your nose. It touches my foolish heart…"
"Come on, Clark, you like small towns and telling stories by campfires, while roasting marshmallows. I like big cities and covering stories about big fires."
"We both like reporting and the Daily Planet and Metropolis," Clark countered.
"Well in that case, I have a lot in common with Jim in Sports," Lois said coyly.
"But you never talk to Jim in Sports," Clark said for the second time that day.
"Exactly," Lois said, smiling. Clark was fun to banter with. They'd enjoyed that friendly rapport since his first day on the job.
He twirled her again, laughing at how she always had to be first. The best. Always had to get the last word in.
"Lovely, never never change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it. Because I love you Just the way you look tonight."
"You're going to be just fine tonight, Lois. I promise."
Lois looked up at him. He looked so handsome. So sincere. Such a good friend… She had forgotten, again, about her date tonight. But just now, the mention of it didn't make her nervous. She believed his words. She would be just fine.
"You know, Clark, this kind of music is good for swing dancing. Have you ever tried it?"
"Uh, not really," he answered.
"I haven't either. A friend of mine once taught me a basic move though. It's kind of fun. Here, put your hands here," she said, putting his hands in front of him and taking his left one in her right one, and his right one in her left one. "Okay, now we push apart," she started, pushing him away from her, while keeping their fingers interlaced. "Then we come back in, but we put our hand over our heads, while I turn this way, and you turn that way…" she explained as they tried it. Clark broke the handhold on one of their hands, as he did it a little wrong.
"I'm a little twisted here," he said, smiling.
Lois laughed. "It's okay. Happens with all first-timers. Here, let's try again." She stood facing him, holding her hands open to him. He took them and laced his fingers with hers once again.
"Okay, I'm ready," he said.
She laughed. He looked so determined to get this right. "Well, you look ready. Okay, here we go."
They pushed apart and came back together, both turning the right way, sliding their hands across each other's shoulders, while facing opposite ways.
"Yeah! That's it," Lois encouraged.
"Now what?" Clark asked.
"Now we let go of these hands and slide these hands down our arms until they're joined at the hand again. Here, let me show you," she said, illustrating what she meant.
They laughed and played around until they were swinging like characters out of a 1920s film.
Lois hadn't laughed that much in a long time, she realized. Really, things were never as much fun when she wasn't with Clark.
As the song closed in on the ending, they stopped swing dancing and Lois lost her balance momentarily, falling into Clark's arms, pressing her hands against his chest to get it back. He placed a hand on her back to steady her and she looked up at him. Their faces were just inches apart.
"Lovely, don't you ever change keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it, Because I love you just the way you look tonight…
…Just the way you look tonight…"
Clark closed his eyes, for just a moment, imagining that the moment could just go the way he always wanted it to. Him and Lois, having fun, hanging out, and spontaneously crossing that line that divided their friendship from potential romance. He had always imagined a moment just like this, where they would throw caution to the wind, and let themselves just act how they feel. If she felt that way too, that is. When he opened his eyes, she was looking at her watch, detangling her other hand from his.
"Wow. That was a long lunch, Clark. We really should be getting back," she said casually.
She hadn't even finished that sentence when she was back at the table, picking up her pocketbook. Clark paid the bill, left the tip and followed after Lois who was already heading out the door and out of that bar.
Clark finished writing his own story and sent it to Perry. He looked over at Lois, who was busily working on something of her own as well. She had barely talked to him since they'd gotten back from lunch.
He felt like an idiot… she was obviously mad, he assumed, that he had almost taken advantage of an innocent moment. He had closed his eyes when their faces were so close… It had obviously appeared to her that he wanted to kiss her. Appeared? He did want to kiss her. He had shut his eyes for two seconds at most, where all he did was let himself hope that exactly that would happen. In his imagination he could feel the brush of her lips on his, as if she wanted that too… but when he opened his eyes, she was looking at her watch, her mind on business, and probably on what an inappropriate friend her partner was.
He looked at his watch… it was almost time to leave. The workday was over. His time with Lois as himself, on her birthday was pretty much over, and he hadn't even wished her a happy birthday.
He shook his head again. This day was not about him! It was about her. And he had a dream date to get ready to give her! Aside from that, he had a few errands to run.
Lois looked at her watch. It was almost time to leave, which meant this day was finally almost over! It also meant, she realized with a chill, that it was almost time for her date. Her dream date.
She imagined Superman, in his cape and tights, flying through her window to whisk her off for her date. Interesting, she thought: he doesn't get dressed up for a date. He looks the same all the time. She wondered if he maybe gelled his hair differently for a date. The thought of Superman gelling his hair at all made her laugh out loud.
"Telling yourself jokes again, Lois?" Jimmy said, walking over to her desk.
"Ha ha," she said back.
"So, you excited for your big date tonight?" Jimmy asked.
"Yeah. Really excited," Lois said, not quite feeling the words she was saying.
Jimmy seemed to notice too. "Funny, I thought you'd be jumping out of your skin at this point. I mean in about two hours, Superman will be picking you up. Literally."
Lois smiled. She was excited. And she was nervous. But something else was troubling her, taking over her mind just now. She couldn't figure out what that other thing was, though.
She was aware that she and Clark had shared a moment back at the bar. All throughout that dance, she couldn't stop staring into his eyes. They never looked so sincere and sweet and so beautiful to her before. And when they were just having fun, she laughed so much more than she ever laughed with anyone else. And then there was that moment…where he closed his eyes as she leaned in. They could have so easily kissed. But she pulled back, remembering that she was close to having a dream come true tonight, and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that. She knew the moment she'd shared with Clark had confused her… it still confused her… she didn't have feelings for him! He was her friend and her partner! He was a constant in her life… not someone whose place would ever be called into question. So she was confused.
Why would that moment affect her excitement for her date tonight?
Yet it did.
But that wasn't just it. Something besides that moment was troubling her.
She looked over at him. He was looking at his computer, but it looked like he'd already sent his story to Perry. He was kind of just staring at his computer screen, thinking. She needed to leave the Planet. Get out. Away from him. If she were home, getting ready, her excitement for her impending dream come true would return in full. She knew it.
With that in mind, she sent her story to Perry and shut down her computer.
"Here, Lois," Jimmy said, handing her a small gift. "It's not much, but I thought you'd like it."
She smiled and opened the gift. It was a walkie-talkie set.
"I got it at my favorite spy store. I know you're not a detective, but, well, you might as well be. I thought it might come in handy in your investigations."
"Jimmy, this is great! Thanks," she said genuinely, giving him a quick hug.
"Happy birthday, Lois," he said, walking away.
She looked up at Clark… she would obviously give him the other walkie-talkie. Who else would she give it to? Looking at him, she decided she wouldn't give it to him just now. Maybe when she was done with this day. Done with feeling this confusion she was all of a sudden feeling. Done with her dream date, which would obviously reaffirm her love for Superman and no other.
Diverting her eyes from Clark, she went into Perry's office and sat down. He looked at her expectantly.
"Sorry about not being able to do drinks tonight," Lois said.
"Oh, honey, it's okay. A date with Superman is a pretty good excuse. I want you to have a good birthday, okay?"
Lois nodded at him.
Perry stood up and walked around his desk, resting against it, facing her. He handed her a small gift.
Smiling, she opened it. She knew what it would be. But she feigned surprise anyway.
"Billboard 1960! Wow… what a surprise," she said, laughing.
Every year, he got her a Billboard CD, telling her that he wouldn't stop until she owned every year.
"It's tradition," he said, holding his hands up.
"It's your way of making gift shopping easy," Lois said.
"Well, like I told you, Lois, this tradition ensures that every year on your birthday we just have to be together… can't break tradition, now can we?" Perry said.
Lois smiled and hugged her editor and good friend, who was more like a father to her than anything else. More like a father to her than even her own. She loved her father, and knew that he wasn't perfect, but was part of what made her who she was and she was grateful to him for that. But Perry was soft where her father was hard. Understanding where her father lacked. He was there for her when her father wasn't, whether it was because he couldn't be, or didn't know that she needed a fatherly shoulder to lean on. Perry was always there. Every Christmas, every birthday, creating traditions… almost since that first day they met. He had just taken her in, and she was more sure than anything that he would always keep her that close.
"Thank you, Perry," Lois said, feeling near tears.
As she walked out of Perry's office, that troubling feeling she was having was doubling. It wasn't going away. She just needed to go get ready. At home. Away from the Planet. Something about being at the Planet before her date was troubling her.
As she walked back towards Clark's desk, she noticed two of her female colleagues doing what she could only describe as 'ogling' him. He was standing up, jacket off, organizing the papers on his desk into an orderly fashion. He did this every Friday. He wanted his desk to be practically immaculate so that on Monday he could start his workweek feeling refreshed rather than cluttered. Lois realized that Clark was, as always, unaware that he was being watched by those women. He never noticed when he got looks. It was part of why he was so down-to-earth, she assumed. She always knew when she was getting looks from people. She hated it. But he never noticed. He did look good, she thought, so tall and muscular and cute… wait! This was Clark! She smiled to herself, that she could even participate in the ogling of Clark Kent. She could understand why these women were doing it. He was one of the best looking guys that she knew in real- life. Or even in movies, come to think of it. But why would SHE be doing it, when she was in the middle of looking forward to a date with SUPERMAN! She walked up to him.
"Friday cleaning?" she asked.
He looked up at her, surprised she was talking to him on a non- work-related subject. "You know me," he finally said.
"That I do."
He grabbed his coat and walked with her to the elevator. "So, are you still nervous about tonight?" he asked.
"Not exactly," she answered honestly.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, I don't know," she answered, stepping into the elevator, which shut away her view of the suddenly troublesome Daily Planet newsroom for the night. "I guess it just hasn't hit me yet. That I'm going on a date with Superman, I mean. That's huge! It obviously hasn't hit me yet. I think when I'm getting ready, it'll hit me."
Clark smiled, unsure of what to say.
"So what are you plans for tonight?" she asked.
"Oh, I don't know," he said. "I think I'll relax. Maybe watch some TV."
Again, there it was. She was feeling troubled. Not even because of their 'moment'. Something else entirely was bothering her, but she couldn't place it.
"What's wrong?" Clark asked, noticing Lois, again, looked troubled.
The elevator door opened. Finally, Lois thought. "Nothing, but I have to go get ready, Clark." They walked together out of the Daily Planet building.
Clark smiled at her. Really smiled. She looked beautiful with the setting sun illuminating her features.
"Have a really good time tonight, Lois," he said.
She looked at him… studied him. He meant it. He meant every word. "Thanks, Clark," she said, feeling even worse. "I'll, uh… I'll see you later," she said, walking away to get into her car and get on with her night. The better part that still awaited her…
With curlers in her hair, Lois applied her makeup slowly and carefully, trying to sort out the confusion within her. She was getting a dream come true tonight! But she only felt troubled. This wasn't what it was supposed to be like, getting ready for a date with Superman. She was supposed to be jumping off the walls, needing to re-apply all her makeup because she'd messed up from being too excited and having a shaky hand.
But she was steady and calm… and troubled.
Clark walked around his apartment in a pair of sweatpants without a shirt on. One reason that he wished he could go on that date with Lois as himself, besides the obvious reason, was that it would be more fun. He could dress a certain way, smell a certain way, and wear his hair slightly different than usual. He could do those little things to make the night more special than their other times together; to show that THIS was a date. Not them hanging out as they did hundreds of times. But as Superman, the wardrobe was chosen for him, as was the hairstyle… and he might as well smell the same way too.
But he was bored right now. He wished he could try on different outfits and obsess the way he knew he would if HE were going on a date with Lois instead of his uniformed alter ego.
"Let's see," he said as he paced his living room. "I've already run all my errands and gotten Lois's gifts. No one needs help. Stories are pretty quiet right now. That pretty much covers it."
He threw himself down onto his couch, where he waited until about thirty seconds before seven.
Lois heard the tap and took a deep intake of breath. He was here!
She walked over to the open window, where he stood.
"Please. Come on in," she said, in a dreamlike state, stepping aside to allow him to touch ground in her apartment.
Clark tried to keep his cool, but found it very hard. She looked absolutely amazing. Her dark hair was curling just a little, looking both elegant and relaxed. She wore a deep purple, almost black, shimmery dress that was full-length and very classic. She looked like something out of an old, classic film. Not knowing what they were doing tonight, she had chosen her dress perfectly. She was dressed enough to go anywhere in the world. Any fancy place. But she wasn't overdressed, if they ended up going to a more casual-dressy place.
"Lois, you look beautiful," he said, in a deeper voice than usual. He was upset he was letting that much of his emotions show, but he simply couldn't help it. She was breathtaking. "Beautiful doesn't even seem the right word to describe you," he said, mesmerized. He knew he was staring. He quickly dropped his gaze and stared at his suddenly-interesting boots for a few moments, smiling to himself. Really, he thought, she could so easily turn him into a teenager. Even when he really was a teenager he hadn't felt this way.
Lois smiled and blushed. Superman was clearly turned on by her. It made the discomfort of her new shoes and new dress worth it. When he looked back up at her, he was blushing too.
"You look…" she started, but quickly realized that he looked the way he always looked. Exactly the same.
Clark smiled, realizing that she was probably noticing, as he did, that Superman doesn't look any more special on a special occasion than he does normally.
"…amazing, as usual," she finished, genuinely. She blushed again, embarrassed at her obvious slip regarding his appearance being the same as always.
"Thank you," he said. "Oh, before I forget," he said, walking to her front door and opening it. Lying at her door were three gifts and a card.
"What's this? You didn't have to…" Lois trailed off, looking at the gifts Superman was now carrying inside for her.
"I didn't," he said quickly. "Actually, these are from Clark. He told me he'd leave them outside your door at about seven."
"Seven? Well, that was just a couple of minutes ago. Why wouldn't he knock or come in?" she asked, confused.
"Well, I suppose he didn't want to interrupt," Clark said, quickly, recovering, as he had forgotten that she would probably want to know exactly that upon seeing the gifts.
"Interrupt?" Lois asked, growing a little upset. She never wanted Clark to ever feel like he couldn't just come over when he felt like it, knock, or just enter. He was always welcome! He was Clark! Why now… then it dawned on her. She was on a date. He wasn't welcome to just come around if he so pleased.
"Yeah," Clark said, putting the gifts and the card on her coffee table and closing her door. "He didn't have all the gifts earlier, and didn't want to interrupt us when he got them, so he asked me if I wouldn't mind checking outside the door once I got here and retrieving the gifts."
Lois walked over to the window and stared out at the people on the street below, looking for someone. Looking for Clark. Her best friend. She never considered that if either of them dated people, the other one wouldn't be welcome to come around as often as they used to. This unsettled her more than she wanted to admit. "Why did he get me gifts?" she asked quietly, still looking out the window.
Clark stood by the table, confused. "It's your birthday."
Lois turned around and faced him and smiled. "I know that. But he already got me a gift. He didn't even need to. His friendship is the best gift and all I want from him." She paused before continuing. "And he really is the best friend," she said, wistfully, thinking about what a good friend Clark really was. Just today alone, he was the most selfless, caring and generous friend she'd ever had, and he would probably always be that way.
Clark smiled. He felt a little guilty listening to her talk about him, not knowing she was talking to him about himself. But mostly he felt warm inside, listening to her talk so fondly about him.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Superman. I'm going on and on about Clark on my date with YOU."
"It's okay. Lois, I'm not sure what impression I've given you, but you are free to talk about anything under the sun with me. Anything over the sun too," he added, which made her laugh a little. "Just talk. Don't guard what you say. I prefer to just hear what's on your mind. And if Clark's on your mind, well, that makes me very happy."
Lois looked up at him, confused. "Oh," she said, smiling to herself. "Well, he's your friend too. That makes sense."
"Yeah," he said, smiling. "Anyway, why don't you open these, and then we'll get going."
"Get going where?" Lois asked, playfully, knowing he would probably want to surprise her.
"Ah ah," he said, knowing her game. "It's a surprise."
Lois smiled and sat down on her couch. She opened the card first. It was a black and white photograph of a little black- haired girl, who really did look like a younger version of her, blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. She opened the card, which had no pre-written message. She immediately recognized her partner's handwriting.
'Happy Birthday, Lois. Ha! You didn't say anything about writing it! So you have to talk to me!'
Lois laughed out loud at that. She read on.
'Here's to lost dreams and wishes being found and coming true for the woman who deserves it the most.
Lois placed the card down, trying to fight off the urge to cry she suddenly had, and busied herself opening one of the gifts. When she saw what it was, she gasped slightly. It was a 1972 Holly Hobby doll. Exactly the kind she had wanted as a young girl.
Her mouth agape and tears in her eyes, she looked at the other two gifts, sitting on her table. She picked one up and starting opening it, on a mission, knowing, deep down, what would be inside.
"Oh, Clark," she whispered, her voice quivering, once her other gifts were displayed before her.
She looked at an antique record player. Almost exactly the kind she had wanted all those years ago. It was beautiful. There was a wrapped record below it. In the box next to that, a ukulele sat atop a green grass skirt, and both definitely looked authentically Hawaiian. She unwrapped the record, after picking it up from underneath the record player, and was not surprised to find Don Ho's Greatest Hits. She smiled sadly, a tear escaping her eye.
"Lois, are you okay?" Clark asked, after a few moments. She hadn't talked, except to say 'Oh, Clark,' and he couldn't tell how she felt about his gifts. She was crying, and he couldn't tell if they were happy or sad tears. Was she happy because he remembered her story so well and got her those gifts she had been denied as a child? Or was she sad because they reminded her of something painful? The gifts very well could remind her about the problems in her family life growing up, and how awful she felt each and every birthday. How could he be so insensitive, he wondered.
"I'm fine," she said, looking up. "I just need to fix my makeup. And then we should go," she said, talking as she walked into her bathroom.
Once she was locked away in there, Clark sighed. He hadn't meant to hurt her. He just wanted her to know that from this birthday on, she would always have whatever she wanted.
Because he loved her…
"Pull yourself together, Lois," Lois thought to herself, staring at her reflection. "Stop thinking about Clark. You're on a date with Superman, dammit! Clark is not here! He's your best friend and the best man you've ever known. Nothing more. Never less. He's just the man who…
The man who…"
Lois's eyes opened wide, staring at her reflection. She couldn't even THINK that! No!
She ran out of the bathroom, having not even really fixed her makeup.
"Let's go," she said.
Clark smiled, still set on giving her the perfect date, especially now that he'd messed up so royally.
He walked over to her and scooped her up slowly and carefully, as she was more dressed up now than he was accustomed to and he didn't want to wrinkle her dress or anything. The scoop was also more romantic than usual. She seemed to notice and looked into his eyes like she was melting inside.
Not breaking her gaze, he flew out the window, holding her close, gently blew the window shut and took off into the night.
"Oh, Superman!" Lois exclaimed as they got closer to their dream date. It really looked like a dream. "This is amazing," she said, so moved she almost couldn't find her voice. "You did this for me?"
"Yes, Lois. I wanted tonight to be perfect," he said, placing her down carefully.
She looked around… they stood on a beautiful, deserted island, adorned with torches and a candlelight dinner for two, which was set up immaculately. The nicest restaurant in the world couldn't have looked more romantic. "Wow," she breathed.
Clark smiled, thinking he may have redeemed the evening after the present fiasco, after all. "This is really okay for you? You wouldn't rather go somewhere else?" he asked.
"Why would I want to go somewhere else?" she asked.
"Lois, you look absolutely amazing. It would be understandable if you wanted to go to a real restaurant, so more people than just me could see you," he explained.
"Superman, I'm dressed up for you. I don't need anyone else to see me," she said.
"Oh," he said, blushing. He realized, the more the night went on, that he was most likely jeopardizing his chance of her ever falling out of love with Superman by encouraging her with this date. But at this moment, he really didn't care. Making her happy was all that mattered to him.
"Well," he said, recovering, "I hope you're hungry. I have chosen a European theme for dinner tonight… food from Paris, Rome, Vienna and Madrid… whatever you like, it's probably here," he said, smiling.
She looked at the many boxes of food that were sitting a little ways away from the table.
"I got them from the nicest restaurants there," he explained.
"I believe you," she said, smiling. She couldn't believe he had gone through all this trouble for her. It was so sweet and romantic. Definitely a dream come true. She started walking toward the table, but found it difficult with the sand.
Clark reached out and took one of her arms. "Here," he said, scooping her up, bringing her right to the table. He pulled a seat out for her and she sat down. He brought the food and rested it on a small buffet table near their table, and gave Lois her plate. She immediately started putting some food on her plate.
"So, how did you find this island?" she asked, once she had a good variety of food on her plate.
Clark went behind the small buffet table and pulled a little boom box out from behind it. He put it on the table and turned it on to a romantic music station he had selected earlier that day. The pretty song played quietly in the background for them.
"I've been coming here for years, actually. I discovered it years ago, and always assumed that it would eventually be discovered and inhabited, but it hasn't. I think it's one of the most beautiful islands I've seen, though," he said, looking around at the beautiful location of their date. Ever since he'd met Lois Lane, he had dreamed of being able to take her there on a beautiful moonlit night, having a dinner for two by candlelight.
"It really is," she agreed, eating a little of her food. "Where are we, exactly?"
"We're not in America or South America… we're not too far from either though. But we're sort of on our own over here. Not part of any part of the world, really," he explained.
"Is that why you like it here?" she asked.
"Yes," he admitted. She never ceased to amaze him. She obviously understood him more than he gave her credit for. He did love this deserted island because it reflected him, in many ways. Part of the world, but alone in many senses. Deserted.
She ate her food slowly and politely. She was so hungry, she knew if she weren't on a date with Superman she would probably be eating with her hands. But she reminded herself that she WAS on a date with Superman, and should probably eat like a lady.
"So," she said, looking up again. "How is the world going to get by without you tonight? Do you just shut off that superhearing of yours when you go out on dates?"
He laughed. "I don't go on dates, Lois. You probably figured that, though," he said, to which she smiled knowingly. "If I heard a call for help, I would have to go and help. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't."
"Oh, of course!" she said effusively.
"But from the beginning of this day, the world has seemed to be pretty much at peace. Maybe it's the magic of your birthday," he said, winking at her, which made her smile. "Of course, out here, I can't hear calls at all."
"You can't?" she asked, surprised by that. "I mean, of course you can't. You can't hear worldwide!" she said, saying 'duh' to herself. After all, she thought, he wasn't omnipotent. There WERE limits to his abilities. She knew that. "So, if something were happening in Metropolis right now, you wouldn't know it?" she asked, already knowing the answer.
"Correct," he said. "But I think Metropolis can get on without me for a night. I wouldn't worry."
Lois smiled, but couldn't ignore a small knot that was forming in her stomach. Almost as soon as she realized that Superman wouldn't be able to hear a call for help in Metropolis, or anywhere else for that matter, she imagined Clark in some dangerous situation, with his friend not there to get him out of it, because he was on a date with her. She couldn't help it, but in her mind, she could see Clark walking to his apartment… he walked everywhere, after all… and being mugged or something by people… maybe people with weapons…
"Lois, are you all right?"
Superman's voice broke into her reveries. She snapped herself back to reality. She was on a date with Superman on what looked like an enchanted island! Clark was probably home watching television. And neither she nor Superman could just put their lives on hold for the benefit of everyone else. "I'm fine. Sorry. I was just lost in thought."
Not too long ago, she had told Clark the honest fact that Superman couldn't be everywhere at once. That whatever he could do was enough. Even back then, she fantasized about a moment like this, where the world took the backstage and she had him all to herself, on a dream date. Now she had that moment, and the fact she had logically stated was eluding her. She wanted him out protecting Metropolis and her loved ones there. She knew that if something happened to them… and Clark most specifically… because of her dream coming true, she wouldn't be able to forgive herself. She knew she was being unreasonable, though, and tried to shut her inner voice up. Dating Superman was sure to be different; she just had to get used to it.
"Does it bother you? The world getting by without me for the night?" he asked.
"It doesn't. I just would feel really guilty if something happened and you couldn't help because of me," Lois admitted.
Clark smiled. "Lois, I asked you out tonight. I wanted to take you out tonight. I chose this place so we could leave the world behind and really celebrate your birthday. If it's okay with you, I want you to know that it's really okay with me too. I am putting my faith in the world. It's not a bad place," he said, joking.
She smiled. "Well… I suppose it's okay with me too."
Clark smiled. "Good."
They continued eating and chatting idly about her work and friends and his recent rescues. Off the record, she reminded him.
They finished their meals and Lois felt definitely more at ease. That troubled feeling from earlier in the day was still there, but it was pushed out of the forefront of her mind for awhile anyway. She could actually ignore it and enjoy her time on this dream date.
"Oh, wow," Lois said, tuning in to the song playing on the radio at the moment. It was "Fly Me to the Moon", by Frank Sinatra. "This is the second Sinatra song I've heard today."
Clark smiled. "Yeah? Well this one's great."
Lois smiled, surprised that Superman, savior of the world, was in-tune with pop culture and music. "You like Sinatra?"
"Sure. Who doesn't like old Blue Eyes?" Clark answered back, knowing what Lois was thinking.
"Agreed. Well, this is definitely a good song, but not my favorite," she said.
"Would you like to dance?" he asked. He knew how nervous she was about dancing, but felt that he should ask, so her worries hadn't all been for naught.
She nodded, dreamily, as he led her to a spot on the sand, to dance. When she had trouble dancing because of her shoes in the sand, he levitated them both above the sand a couple of feet.
Fly me to the moon And let me play among the stars Let me see what spring is like On Jupiter and Mars In other words hold my hand In other words baby kiss me
Looking out over his shoulder as they danced, they looked like they were part of the stars… like they weren't so far away. And the moon. It was fitting and incredibly romantic, given the song especially, she thought. But she was still nervous, dancing with him on this night. It was a date!
She remembered, then, what Clark had said earlier.
"…and if you dance, you'll be perfect. It won't be foreign. And if you get really nervous, just think of something that relaxes you and makes you happy."
Lois shut her eyes, letting Clark's words fill her. She moved in Superman's arms and relaxed because suddenly… she was dancing with Clark. He was holding her in those comfortable arms. She remembered how he twirled her and they laughed. She opened her eyes and looked at Superman, suddenly not feeling even the slightest bit nervous.
*Fill my heart with song
And let me sing forevermore
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words please be true
In other words I love you…*
"You know, I'm not surprised you like Sinatra. You did sing a Sinatra tune at the Metro Club last year." Clark said, remembering that memory vividly. He had been minding his own business, trying to pass as a sailor-turned-bartender, when the sweetest voice he had ever heard caused him to look at the dance floor. She was looking more beautiful than ever, except maybe for tonight, her hair gently curled, her makeup soft and hushed as she sang the song in the sexiest, most sultry, dulcet tones. The song was "I've Got a Crush On You", and he felt as if she were singing to him, Clark Kent. Except that she most definitely did NOT have a crush on him, and didn't seem to be getting one any time soon, even now.
"How did you know about that?" Lois asked, her cheeks burning. How embarrassing! That SUPERMAN would know that she had posed as a bar lounge singer for a story. On the one hand it did show her commitment to her job and profession. But on the other! She was practically prostituting herself for a headline! Well, she knew that wasn't true. Singing that song, she was most definitely not prostituting herself. She was dressed in an extremely decent dress, that covered her appropriately, even if it DID show a little more skin than she usually did. The chicken suit was far worse. But knowing Superman knew about that song, she felt exposed in a way, like she'd been doing the song naked!
"Uh, Clark told me," he recovered. He needed to get a grip… tonight, with her beauty and her scent, and this date on this island, he was losing all control. And a slip-up could definitely ruin her perfect day. He only wanted that, too… to make it absolutely perfect.
Clark… Lois thought. At the mention of his name, she remembered dancing with him earlier today. They had swing danced! It was so fun. Whether they were swing, square, ballroom or slow dancing, they were comfortable. More importantly, she was comfortable. He was fun and companionable… trustworthy and sincere… He was her best friend. Just today alone, he had given her the most beautiful gifts she had ever received for any occasion. He had made her dreams and wishes, both as a child and as an adult, come true. Selflessly. He didn't get anything out of it. He didn't get to spend her birthday with her, celebrate another year of life, even when he had been the most important thing in the previous year that made it so fun, so worth living all the more. He didn't get to get her a cake or have a drink with her. He didn't even get to say happy birthday to her. Suddenly, her heart wrenched, as she thought of her best friend, alone at home tonight. She knew that he had hoped to spend the evening with her. He wanted to make sure she had a perfect birthday, and she had told him that a perfect birthday would be an evening that didn't include him, and he had given her that anyway… He did everything she asked, and just sat at home now, probably hoping she was having fun…
*Fill my heart with song
And let me sing forevermore
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words please be true
In other words I love… you.*
Clark floated them back down to the sand, staring intently at Lois. He could tell she was somewhere else. He wasn't sure what was wrong, but he vowed to make it right.
"So Lois, do you have anything in particular you'd like to do?" he asked.
"Well usually at this point, I am arriving at Z-Bar to meet Perry, Jimmy, Cat and whoever else is interested, for birthday drinks. We do that every year. It's tradition…" she trailed off. Tradition. Perry, Jimmy… she had TRADITIONS with them. In ways that she suffered as a child for lack of family support, family love… sometimes even just family… they gave her that in spades as an adult. They were her family. Jimmy was like the silly little brother that could never get her a gift she'd wanted or asked for, but always a gift straight from the heart. A gift that showed he was thinking of her. Perry had always given her gifts that meant about five different things and were part of some tradition, like going to Z-Bar on her birthday. That had started because he knew of her opinion about the silly, over-the- top then-new club that had opened downtown and wanted to show her its potential color and flavor. She had had such a fun time with her extended family on that birthday, about four years ago, that it had become tradition. Until now.
Clark had entered her life this year by storm. She had worked hard to not let that farmboy into her heart, to not care about him as more than a colleague. But his ways had shattered that wall and she embraced him in her life. In the family she had created for herself in Metropolis, the most important person in that had become Clark, who had been there the least amount of time. He was just incredibly special to her, and she knew he always would be. And he had never spent a birthday with her. This would have been the first.
She finally understood the troubling feeling inside from the day… She was getting this dream come true, and in doing it, she was leaving behind her family and the people she loved. She wasn't taking them out of her life or anything, but she was celebrating a day that should be spent with family and loved ones with none of the people that truly embodied that in her life. Perry and Jimmy were probably still at work, since the plans they had had fallen through. And Clark was just… alone. Okay, but alone.
She felt like bursting into tears and looked up at Superman's concerned face. He was staring down at her, looking torn, himself. She suddenly felt awful. Here he was, giving up his night for her, trying to create a magical evening that she would always remember for her birthday. She understood that he was taking a chance in taking her out on a date. She had long ago figured out why he always kept her at arms-length… he was trying to protect her. Not get too close. Not let his enemies see that he cared about anyone. But he gave that up tonight in many ways and she was spending most of the night, thinking about Clark and her other friends and not being completely happy. No one had made her feel guilty either. She was doing this to herself! She just needed to shake herself out of it, get over it and enjoy her night!
"Are you all right, Lois?" Clark asked, growing more concerned. She had been smiling one second, dancing with him, although even then she seemed distant, like she was somewhere else. And then the next second, she looked positively tortured.
"I'm so sorry, Superman. I should be thrilled to pieces tonight, but I'm doing mental gymnastics with myself instead. It's nothing to do with you. This…" she started, gesturing to the beautiful ambience and the island itself, "is perfect. It's beyond perfect and I love it. I just need to get a grip," she said truthfully, more to herself than to him.
You and me both, Clark thought. As the night wore on, she seemed to look even more beautiful. Perhaps, he mused, because her eyes were telling stories more and more as the night went on. She would get a look of happiness and love and that look would soon mix with a little sadness, like she was remembering something or thinking about someone or something that meant a great deal to her. It made her look all the more vulnerable, which, mixed in with her sexiness, was becoming unbearable. He found himself wanting to make all her problems go away even more than he ever had before. He wanted to hold her and tell her and show her that she was loved beyond all barriers and that he would love her until the end of time. Only incessant reminders of the consequences of doing anything of the sort were allowing him to not give into that urge.
"Don't be sorry, Lois," he said, his voice deeper than usual. Really, get a grip man! He told himself. "Just let me know what you want to do and we'll do it."
"Let's dance again," Lois said, as a beautiful instrumental song started playing on the radio.
Clark smiled. "As you wish," he joked, and lifted them back into the air.
Lois had always dreamed of this… dancing suspended in the beautiful night sky, supported by Superman's capable arms. Safe…
As she leaned into him, she closed her eyes, resting her head on his strong chest. Right on the 'S'. This couldn't be happening, she thought with a small smile. It was happening… all that dreaming for so long, and here she was. She felt the happiest and safest, she realized, in that moment, than she ever had before, which made her smile.
Her eyes opened, as she realized that she actually felt the happiest and safest with her partner. With Clark. With her best friend. But how could that be? She wondered. Surely she felt safer with Superman. He was SUPERMAN!
But no, it wasn't true. She was safe from the dangers of the world when she was near Superman. He could fly her out of the way of a falling boulder or catch her before she fell all the way to the ground from a building or a plane. He was safe in that way.
Clark made her feel safe in what she realized was a more important way. He made her feel safe to open up to him and let him see her. The real her. The person that no one really saw. But he did. And she didn't mind. She let him see the Lois Lane that would devour chocolate and donuts, and complain about slow news days and crooked politicians, and glow over some breakthrough that would lead her to another award-winning story. She felt safe enough with him to confide in him, almost immediately, her deepest secrets and hopes and dreams. She could trust him. She knew he would not judge her, either. To let someone see that person inside, all their faults and quirks and little habits and weaknesses and strengths and promise was near impossible for most people. Lois knew that. It was especially hard for her. She only really felt safe with Clark in that way. And it was way scarier, she realized, to open up like that to someone, than to be in the kind of danger that Superman got her out of. That was scary, but it passed by and she was okay. Scary for a moment, fine the next. Safe with Superman. Letting Clark in was a constant, ongoing process that she never tired from that was always scary yet safe. It took guts for her to let it happen.
The feeling of safeness with Superman and with Clark could be divided by one real factor: unintentional and intentional danger.
With Superman, she was in unintentional danger. She didn't have time to process it was happening, usually, before it was over. She also didn't go into the situation assuming she was putting herself in danger. She sometimes had an inkling, but she was most definitely not putting herself in danger, on the line, on purpose.
With Clark, she knew the danger she was putting herself in by opening up to him. She could be hurt more, because of it. She intentionally did it though. And it wasn't even something she had to talk herself into. It was scary at times, but mostly, it was easy. Because he was so safe. He made her feel safe and sacred. And that safe feeling enfolded her in warmth.
Feeling safe with Superman went hand in hand with feeling relieved and realizing that life is short.
Feeling safe with Clark went hand in hand with what made her happy in life… he was such an essential part to her happiness.
Superman was a dream…
A dream come true…
As the song came close to an ending, Clark couldn't bear it anymore. He wanted to kiss her. This was a date and he knew how she felt about Superman. He didn't want to take advantage, but wouldn't a kiss do what he had wanted to do tonight? Make Lois's night perfect? She had been resting her head on his chest for the entire song, seemingly content, as her heartbeat and even breathing would suggest. Slowly, with one finger, he lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. She looked up at him and seemed to search deep into his eyes for something. He couldn't help but think that she looked like she was weighing something in her mind… or trying to convince herself of something. But then, she smiled at him, like she had come to a conclusion. Seeing that as approval, he lowered his head slowly, his lips seeking a goal: hers.
Lois inhaled slowly, bracing herself for this kiss. Wow, was this ever better than any date with Superman that she could ever have imagined. She needed to stop being crazy in her head so she could enjoy it. She parted her lips a little, welcoming him to kiss her.
Clark, get out of my head, she thought, annoyed now.
Superman's face was getting closer…
She hadn't let Clark spend her birthday with her. She hadn't let him say happy birthday even.
She hadn't let him kiss her earlier.
She knew he wanted to… that he'd always wanted to. Which made his act today even more selfless.
Touchdown… Superman's lip's brushed hers gently, kissing her lightly.
She pulled back, suddenly, and lowered her gaze. "Ugh!" she said, annoyed at herself! Completely and utterly annoyed at herself.
"Oh, god, Lois, I'm sorry… I shouldn't have…" Clark started, his lips still tingling from that too-brief whisper of a kiss.
"No, no, it's not you! And I am going to hate myself later! And Clark too!" she babbled, angrily.
"Clark?" he said. His stomach muscles clenched at the mention of his name. She had stopped a kiss with him because of… him? Dare he hope that was the case…
"Yes, I am really going to hate that man, later! Oh, Superman, this is perfect… but… can we talk? Down there?" she asked, referring to the ground three feet below them.
At her request, he lowered them back to the sand.
"Talk to me, Lois. Whatever it is, it's okay. This day is about you being happy. Tell me what would make you happy," he said gently, still holding onto her.
"Being with them," she said so quietly, he barely heard her. "They're like my family, you know," she said, looking up at him, letting him see a tear escape her eye. "Perry, Jimmy… Clark. You know, Clark has never spent a birthday with me. I think he wanted to. I think he was excited," she admitted, smiling a little. "But he put his feelings aside to ensure I had a happy birthday. And Perry, you know he's like a father to me. Sort of. And we have all these traditions. It's so nice. And I just… Every year, I complain that I hate going to that stupid bar, but this year, I got to have a dream come true, and all I can think is that I want to be at that stupid bar… with all of them. They're my family and I want to share this with them. Oh, god, I sound completely awful don't I? You put everything on hold for me tonight and did all this. What you must think."
"Lois, look at me," Clark said. When she looked up at him, he continued. "I think that's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard," he said truthfully. "This was fun… but you're not really here, are you?"
Lois shook her head, still not being able to get out of her mind where she wanted to be right now. Who she wanted to be with. Another tear escaped her eye and she looked Superman in the eye.
"Then let's go," he said, scooping her into his arms and starting in the direction of Metropolis.
"I'm going to hate myself for this in the morning," Lois said, jokingly, once they were on their way.
"I sincerely hope not," Clark said. He wasn't sure what was going on in Lois's head or heart just now… but he hoped all the same…
"Are you sure?" Lois asked, as Clark set her down in her living room. He could tell already that she seemed happier as this "dream come true" closed in on being over.
"Positive," Clark said. "You change for the bar, and I will get the message to everyone to meet you in a half hour there."
"Superman, really… I would love it if you came too," she said.
"I have things to do around here. Besides, I had you all to myself for far too long." He walked over to her and cupped her cheek with his hand. "I had a wonderful time, Lois. I'm glad you wanted to spend your birthday with me. It meant a lot."
She smiled and blushed. "I couldn't have been a worse date if I tried."
"You were perfect. For me, THAT… was perfect," he promised.
"Thank you for everything, Superman," she said, looking deeply into his eyes.
Clark smiled and leaned down to kiss Lois's cheek. When he pulled back, she smiled at him. "Goodnight, Lois. Happy Birthday," he said, before flying out the window.
Lois used to hope, when Superman would kiss her cheek, that he would turn at the last second and capture her lips instead. For once, Lois realized, as Superman got closer, she was hoping he would kiss her cheek.
Upon hearing that sonic boom in the cool night air, she realized that it really had been a perfect date. And it would only get better…
Lois walked into Z-Bar, noticing the familiar faces of the staff immediately. The place played the most interesting, exotic music, and was covered with colors and prints that otherwise completely contrasted each other, but in this place, set a fun, silly, yet sophisticated ambience. It was dim, but she immediately found Perry and Jimmy. She walked over to them, smiling.
"Okay, Lois, what's going on?" Perry demanded. At her lack of response and furrowed brow, he continued. "You had a date with the most sought-after bachelor in the world, maybe even the galaxy, we don't know, and you ditched to come to a bar you claim to hate to be with us. While we ARE fun people, it doesn't quite hold up, if you know what I mean."
"I didn't ditch, Perry. We had our date. It was wonderful. A dream, really," she said, smiling as she remembered how beautiful that island looked. "But… you guys are my family, and I decided I wanted to continue our tradition and celebrate with you. I never realized how much I really loved this place until tonight," she admitted, looking around.
"Wow. How much champagne did Superman give you?" Jimmy asked.
"Oh stop, I never claimed to hate the place that much," she insisted. She looked around. "So, is… um…"
"He'll be here," Perry said. "He just had to run an errand."
Lois nodded, and realized that she had butterflies in her stomach. She didn't know why. What was WRONG with her, she wondered. She was SUPPOSED to feel this way before Superman showed up for their date. Not now that that was over and she was waiting for Clark to come to the bar.
But that was the case. She had not experienced butterflies while waiting for Superman to arrive; she was experiencing them now, waiting for Clark.
"I heard it was the birthday of somebody special," a familiar voice said from behind her.
Lois turned around and saw Clark standing there casually, his hands in his pockets, smiling. He was a sight for sore eyes, and after the emotionally draining night she had had, it was more welcoming than ever to see him. He looked wonderful, too. He was wearing nice jeans and a black button down, open at the collar. It was a different look than she had ever seen on him. It was nice…
"Clark Kent," she said assertively. "You call yourself my partner and my best friend, yet there are only, let's see," she teased, looking at her watch, "two hours and ten minutes left to my birthday and you have not even wished me a happy birthday yet. Did you forget?"
Clark's mouth dropped… just a little…
She was like a different woman, for one thing, than the woman he had been with earlier. She seemed so happy and so relaxed! She was in nice jeans, what looked like the same cute, stylish boots she always wore out, and a flattering top. Her hair and makeup were still done the same, and he couldn't help but wonder if it all looked better with that gorgeous gown or with these comfortable, less revealing clothes. He knew one thing, for sure. She was beautiful. She could wear a robe and fluffy slippers out and she would turn heads. He was sure of that.
He laughed a little.
"I haven't forgotten. I was just afraid that for a week-"
"Do you really think that I would go a week without talking to you for THAT? You would have to do something MAJOR, Clark, for me to ever not talk to YOU," Lois said, smiling.
Clark blushed. "But Jim in Sports…"
"How often did I even talk to him to start with?" Lois asked. Everyone knew she hated Jim in Sports. She didn't need a reason not to talk to him. She just didn't.
Clark smiled at her and pulled a rose out from behind him, out of his back pocket. "Happy Birthday, Lois," he said.
Lois took the rose in a daze… She looked up at him. "Clark, it's my birthday, not Christmas. You have gotten me too many things tonight."
"You don't like it?" he asked.
"I didn't say that," Lois smiled. "Thank you, Clark. Next year, we're making guidelines for gift-buying, okay?"
"You can most certainly try. I'd be interested to see the guidelines next year. There was only one this year and you eventually caved," he joked.
"But that guideline I never really meant. I can't go a week without talking to you. We're partners! Perry would tell me to get a life and get over it and we'd be back to normal, talking about ideas for stories and life as we know it," she said, shrugging.
"Ah," Clark said, smiling.
"Lois, your table is ready for you," a waitress said.
"Thanks, Dana," Lois said, smiling.
Clark waved to Jimmy and Perry-who had walked to another side of the bar to get a drink and most likely to give them privacy- indicating their table was ready.
After they all situated themselves in the booth, Dana studied them. "There's a new one here this year," she said, motioning toward Clark.
"This is Clark. He'll be here every year," Lois said.
Clark smiled. He liked the sound of that.
"Okay, you two, we gotta get going," Perry said, after they'd sat for an hour and a half, talking, eating, laughing.
"Thanks for coming out tonight, Perry," Lois said, hugging him.
"Darlin', I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he said. He meant that, she knew.
"Happy Birthday, Lois," Jimmy said, hugging her.
"Thanks Jimmy," she said.
They said goodbye and Lois looked across the table at Clark. The bill had been paid and they were just sitting there now.
"I still can't believe they ran out of cake," Clark said, smiling, but genuinely upset by this. He had hoped her whole 'family' could sing "Happy Birthday" to her over a lit cake. They sang anyway, putting a candle in a scoop of ice cream. "I mean, they know it's your birthday."
"Clark, it's quite all right. I had a perfect night."
"I'm glad to hear that," he said.
Lois smiled at Clark. It was perfect, really, because of him. From beginning to end, he played a role in why the night was so wonderful. Lois suddenly tuned into a song starting on the radio.
"Again?" they both said at the same time.
It was Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight".
"Well, Clark, we've heard this song today now, together, twice. We even danced to it once. I guess it's our song now."
Clark blinked a few times, and then tried to recover the look of shock on his face. "Our song?" he eventually managed.
"Yeah," she said, smiling. Had she always ignored how cute he looked when he was surprised or embarrassed, she wondered. It was absolutely adorable! She found herself really wanting to hug him just now.
They sat comfortably, listening to their song, smiling at each other.
*"Someday, when I'm awfully low
when the world is cold
I will feel aglow
Just thinking of you…
And the way you look tonight…"*
Lois rested her head back against the chair. She was so comfortable. Her feet had ached earlier in the evening from her formal shoes. While the look on Superman's face was worth that pain, she enjoyed this more… sitting with Clark-who always seemed to look at her like she was priceless and beautiful- feeling so comfortable in her regular clothes, not trying to impress him. Safe. She was safe with him. Safe to be the most comfortable and real version of herself that existed. Not the carbon copy that was dressed to the nines.
*"Yes you're lovely
with your smile so long
and your cheek so soft.
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight…"*
"I really think I have a lot of promise with that whole swing dancing thing," Clark said softly, also leaning back in his chair.
"Mm," Lois moaned. She felt so full from the meal and so content. Relaxed. She smiled. Her lips and her eyes. "Clark, you were more twisted than a pretzel. If I were you, I'd practice… a lot," she finished, giggling.
Clark tilted his head and shook it at her.
*"With each word, your tenderness grows
tearing my fears apart.
And that laugh wrinkles your nose.
It touches my foolish heart…"*
"I live right around the corner," Clark said.
"I know where you live, Clark," Lois said back, matter-of-factly.
"No, I'm just… I have something for you," he said.
"Clark! No. Guidelines, remember?" Lois said, now leaning forward again.
"Ah ah, you said the guidelines are for next year. Besides, this isn't a present."
"Then what is it?" Lois asked, challengingly.
"You'll have to come and find out. That is, if you want to. I could just walk you home instead if-"
"Well now you've got me intrigued, Clark," Lois said, standing up.
Clark stood up as well and was surprised to notice Lois slip her arm through his as she led him out the door.
*"Lovely, don't you ever change
keep that breathless charm.
Won't you please arrange it,
Because I love you just the way you look tonight…
Just the way you look tonight…"*
Lois placed the rose Clark had gotten her on his coffee table and sat on his couch, as he had asked her to do. She could hear him rustling around behind her somewhere. She looked around his apartment, which was almost as familiar to her as her own. Some weeks she spent more time at his place than at her own. It was welcoming. It was another home to her. Maybe more of a home than her own. It certainly felt warmer. Home held feelings of love and family, and after today especially, she knew that Clark was those things to her.
"Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday," Clark said. "Now that I know I can say it, I can't seem to stop," Clark joked.
Lois looked up as he stood before her and noticed a cake in his hands. "Clark, I can't eat another thing! Where did you get that?"
"Uh, when Superman called before saying you wanted to meet up, I ran over to the store and… well," he said, letting the obvious go unsaid.
"Bought a cake and a rose," Lois said, standing up.
"And don't worry, if you're really full, you only have to have one bite. For good luck," he explained.
He placed the cake down on the coffee table and lit the candle on top. He ran and dimmed the lights in the living room and then lit another candle that lay atop the coffee table for a little extra light.
"Now you just have to make a wish," he said quietly.
"I already made a wish today."
"But you made that one out loud. Birthday cake wishes are made to yourself. If you tell me, then it can't come true," he said.
"Only a farmboy from Kansas would know the rulebook behind birthday wishes," Lois said.
Clark just smiled at her. She looked even more beautiful, unbelievably enough, in the candlelight.
Lois closed her eyes and let a wish come to her just naturally.
Clark watched Lois, with her eyes shut peacefully. Suddenly her eyes opened wide, like she was in shock. He looked at her, concerned, but then she smiled and blew out the candle. The other candle and a very dim lamp were now all the light they had.
"No, leave it," Lois said, as Clark moved to turn the other lights back on. "It's relaxing like this."
Clark gave her a fork, so she could have her one lucky bite from her cake.
"Chocolate. You know me so well," Lois said, putting the fork down. "I have eaten more today than any other day of my life, I think! I mean there was the bar today where Tara brought out three platters for me! Superman brought me an array of food from all over Europe on that island tonight! And then the restaurant, the birthday ice cream and now this."
"So you'll sleep well tonight," Clark said, smiling.
"You're amazing, Clark," Lois said, very quietly.
"Why did you do it?" she asked.
"All of it."
Clark hesitated. He didn't know how to answer her. He knew he did it all because he loved her. But could he tell her that? Her night was finally going great! Scaring her, causing her to flee his home was not how he wanted to end the night. "I just… I…"
"You know, tonight with Superman was so wonderful. Do you know why?"
Clark shook his head.
"I discovered something. Something I never knew before."
"What would that be?" Clark asked, his heart racing.
"The difference between you and Superman."
Clark's face dropped. He felt like his heart stopped. She couldn't mean… "What… um.. what…"
"…what is the difference between you and Superman. I know. Odd question. I mean, aside from the obvious. He's Superman. He saves the world. You're Clark Kent. You put up with me. I'm not sure which one involves more courage. But that's not the point. Clark, I went on a date with Superman tonight! That was a dream come true! HE… was a dream come true. And all I could think about was you. Do you know why? Of course you don't know why, you weren't in my head. Well here's the thing. Superman is a dream come true."
"I caught that part," Clark teased.
"You, Clark… you're the man who makes my dreams come true."
Clark took a deep, shuddering breath and looked at her closely. He felt happy and scared and confused and a million other things, all at once. He dared to hope her babbling was leading to the conclusion he always wished for.
"You would move heaven and earth to make me happy, even if you thought my happiness didn't involve you," Lois said, tears in her eyes. "And that, it seems, would make you happy."
Clark nodded, barely.
"Well, Clark. Something you should know is that my happiness always… ALWAYS… involves you. I only realized this tonight when I wasn't with you."
Lois was now standing before him. "I realized tonight that dreams are nice, and dreams that come true are even nicer. But I actually prefer to be in my comfortable reality… with you."
Lois stood on her toes and put her arms around Clark's neck, slowly. "Thank you for being you, Clark. For being so good to me. I…" she trailed off, shaking her head, looking for the right words. "You will never know how much it means to me."
"I think I have an idea," Clark said softly.
Slowly, they moved their heads until their lips touched. At first the kiss was a quiet, gentle affirmation that they felt the same thing for each other. Pure, true, selfless love. After moments of beautiful grace, the kiss deepened into something more passionate, more exploratory.
Lois knew, the moment their lips touched, that she had been waiting her whole life for this kiss. Until today, she had thought this kiss was something she wanted with someone else. Some dream. But she learned that she didn't want some grandeur dream anymore. She wanted her best friend, who she had slowly, without even really knowing it, fallen in love with. Now she knew the kiss she'd been waiting for had been with him. All her kisses would be with him, if she had anything to do with it.
Clark felt the kiss in every nerve ending in his body, in his bones, in his muscles and in his heart. He had been close to her lips twice today, but not really touched them. He'd been so close he could feel them, tingling his lips. But right now… he could taste her and smell her and feel her. She was everywhere and she was beautiful. He cupped her face gently, and then slowly moved his hands around her waist.
Lois pulled back, just for a moment, from what she now knew was the most perfect kiss she had ever experienced and looked into Clark's loving eyes. "You know," she said. "I'm really starting to love my birthday."
Clark smiled and captured her lips once again. In that one magic evening, both of their wishes had come true.