By ML Thompson < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: June 2007
Summary: There is only so much a girl can stand before she feels compelled to take matters into her own hands. In this story, Lois Lane decides that desperate times do indeed call for desperate measures.
This is a fanfic based on the television show, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. No copyright infringement is intended. I'm borrowing these characters for a little fun and not for any profit. For a complete disclaimer, go to: http://www.thompsonlawoffice.ca/Disclaimer.htm.
This story starts at the end of Battleground Earth with what has to be one of my favorite scenes from the series and goes its own way from there. Oh, one note. This story is something unusual for me in that it has no real A-Plot. It is total and unadulterated fluff — written for the sole purpose of causing the reader to scream, "AHHHH!" as many times as possible <g>.
My thanks, as always, to both Carol and Gerry for their help on this story. It continues to amaze me how many mistakes I make — and how many they find when beta reading my stories. I'm not sure what I'd do without either of them. One thing I do know is that the quality of my stories would decrease drastically without their help. I'd like to thank Julie G for editing this story for the archives.
"It seems like ages ago we stood at this window and said goodbye to each other," Lois said, moving to stand behind Clark. He was sitting on one of the steps of the ladder on her balcony, watching the ship from New Krypton streak across the sky on its way back home.
"That was the worst night of my life," Clark said, pulling Lois around to sit on his knee.
"Did any part of meeting up with your roots feel good? I mean did it satisfy some need, or did it disappoint you?"
"Maybe all of those." Clark sighed. "I kept waiting for some incredible feeling of connection. A feeling that I was exactly where I belonged." He hesitated slightly. "But that's only happened to me once in my life."
"The day I met you."
Lois gasped at the depth of feeling in his voice, in his eyes. "For a space man, you are the most romantic person I've ever known." Then she smiled. "Earth guys don't stand a chance against you."
Unable to resist, she drew him in for a kiss, putting all the love she felt for him into the single action. Finding words to tell him what his words meant to her would be impossible.
She watched as he pulled back slightly, reaching under the collar of his shirt and pulling out a gold chain with a simple gold band on it. She fought back tears at the sight of her wedding ring.
"I told you I'd keep it safe," he said softly.
"As safe as your love for me," Lois whispered. And he had. While winging his way towards New Krypton as Zara's husband, he'd had the perfect opportunity to cheat on her — either with Zara or with one of the many concubines that were at his beck and call. And yet he had remained faithful. If ever a man could continue to prove her assumptions about the male of the species wrong, it was Clark. She'd never believed that such a man could even exist. Fidelity to them was something reserved for the female of the species. But not Clark. He'd promised her. And although they were not even married yet, that promise came above any others. How exactly had she gotten so lucky?
He rose from the ladder, turning her so that she could sit on the rung he had vacated. She looked at him curiously when he suddenly got down on his knee in front of her, slipping the chain bearing the ring from around his neck and holding it up for her to see.
"Marry me, Lois," he said earnestly. "Let's not plan; let's not wait. Let's not let clone-makers or psycho psychiatrists or women who shrink people into little people keep us apart. Just… marry me."
She stared at him for a long second, trying to find words to answer him. There was an intensity in his eyes and an earnestness in his voice that were impossible to resist. "You know…" She hesitated for the briefest of moments. "That's precisely what I was thinking."
He smiled, rising to his feet so that he could lean in to kiss her properly. As his body settled against her, pushing her harder into the ladder, she moved her leg, nestling his body against hers.
Getting married hadn't exactly been what she had been thinking about. She'd been thinking about how much she loved him. She'd been wondering how she'd gotten so lucky. On the other hand, how many times during the past months had she wished they'd done exactly that? No planning. No waiting. Just getting married.
She deepened the kiss as her arms slipped around him and in no time at all she wasn't thinking about anything except the way the man in her arms was making her feel.
His arm slipped beneath her legs and a moment later she realized, in the back of her mind, that she was being carried to the couch. He bent to set her on the couch without breaking the kiss.
"No," Lois said, ending the kiss herself.
"No?" he asked, releasing her on the couch.
Smiling at his befuddled expression, she reached up to stroke his face. "I just meant… The bedroom."
His eyebrows rose and a blush was suddenly coloring her cheeks. She hadn't meant that quite the way it sounded. Or… maybe she had. Had she? Did she? "I just meant…" She looked down, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "It would be more comfortable to…" Her voice trailed off, not sure how to continue when she suddenly wasn't entirely sure what she meant herself.
"Lois?" he asked, sitting down next to her when she didn't continue.
"I just…" She couldn't quite meet his eyes. "I just want to make-out with you a bit and… Well, in case you haven't noticed, these couches aren't exactly comfortable."
"So…" She rose to her feet, offering him her hand as she looked at him through her eyelashes.
He rose to his feet, taking her hand and silently allowing her to lead him to the bedroom.
Lois' heart rate sped up, pumping blood through her veins at a rate that was leaving her slightly light headed. True, things had gone significantly beyond kissing leading up to their disastrous first wedding attempt. And even further on the night before Clark had left for New Krypton. Only his pleas that it felt too much like a farewell had brought them both back to reality before they'd crossed the point of no return.
Still, in spite of all that, this was the first time Lois had ever invited Clark into her bedroom. And… she still wasn't entirely sure what her intentions were in taking him there. True, it was more comfortable than the couch — which was why the majority of their make-out sessions to date had taken place on Clark's couch except, of course, the aforementioned time before he left for New Krypton. That had taken place on the floor of her living room.
No, in many ways, this was uncharted territory. But… just how uncharted did she intend for it to be?
After all, as she'd told Clark before he went to New Krypton, in her heart she was his wife — just as he had told her he was her husband. And he'd proven that by not consummating his wedding to Zara — an omission that had nearly gotten him killed. After all, the New Kryptonians had used that fact to convince the counsel that Clark and Zara were trying to scam them. But in his mind, Clark had already promised her.
So really, weren't they married in every way that counted — with the small exception of a slip of paper issued by some government bureaucracy? Okay, so maybe it wasn't a small exception. Still, it wasn't for a lack of desire or a lack of effort. So why would it matter if they… jumped the gun a little?
All this ran through Lois' mind in the short time it took to walk Clark to the doorway of her room. Without flicking on the lights, she released his hand and walked over to the bed, only turning back to see him still standing in the doorway, silently watching her. All doubts instantly vanished at the look of unadulterated love she could see on his face in the half-light of the room. Never had any man been able to make her feel so cherished.
Taking a deep breath, she reached behind her neck and pulled down the zipper on her pullover. A moment later, she slipped the sweater over her head, tossing it on a nearby chair.
"Come here," she said huskily as she sat down on the bed before scooting back across it. She still wasn't sure exactly how far she intended to go. But at this moment, she didn't care. She just wanted his arms around her, his lips finding new parts of her to explore. She wanted to assure herself that he was really there. Home. With her. That this wasn't just one more of many dreams she'd had while he'd been gone.
A slow smile lit up his face as he walked closer. Suddenly, he stopped. Slowly, button by button, he undid his black shirt, pulling it from his trousers.
She watched, transfixed by his every movement. When his shirt was undone, showing her the vast expanse of his magnificent chest, he moved closer, following her onto the bed.
Still, he didn't touch her. Instead, his hands on either side of her body, he knelt over her, just looking at her. And that look… She was amazed how he could make every nerve ending in her body tingle without as much as laying a finger on her. Lois felt her insides turn to jelly as she stared back into eyes that were radiating such love, such warmth, such a sense of belonging. Her hand seemed to have a mind of its own as it came up and slowly stroked his cheek, luxuriating in the slight stubble — so obviously male.
From his cheek, her hand proceeded lower, lightly stroking his chest, enjoying the feel of his rippling muscles under her fingertips.
"I love you, Lois Lane," he whispered.
And she knew it. Those words, words she'd heard from the mouths of so many liars, were tangible to her now. Real. Eternal. He loved her. She knew that as surely as she knew the sun would come up tomorrow.
"I love you, too," she whispered back. She saw his eyes flash as he seemed to register the corporeal nature of her love for him as well. A slow smile lit up her face. "Get over here," she whispered huskily.
His smile met hers before fading as he closed the remaining inches between them to find her mouth, a soft, tantalizing taste before he pulled back to look at her once more. Her eyes, which had drifted shut when he'd moved closer, opened again, searching his, even as a small moan of protest escaped from the back of her throat.
"I just wanted to look at you again," he said by way of explanation.
"Yeah? So do you like…" she began, halting when his facial expression suddenly changed and he got a far off look even as he tilted his head to the side, listening to something only he could hear. "Not now," she groaned, bringing his gaze, now torn and apologetic, back to hers.
"I know," she said. "It's just…"
"I know," he answered.
He nodded, taking her word for what it was — disappointment, combined with understanding. This is what it took to love Superman. She understood that. But, damn, it was inconvenient at times!
He sighed, pushing himself up off the bed. He looked at her for a moment longer, groaning as his eyes ran down her body, before spinning into the Superman suit he had been wearing earlier and disappearing in a gust of wind.
"Damn," she breathed, even as she closed her eyes and attempted to adjust to his sudden absence.
Lois pulled her robe around her as she climbed out of bed. After watching the eleven o'clock news and realizing that Superman was still tied up dealing with a fire in a chemical factory outside Philadelphia, she had decided to go to bed.
But she hadn't been able to sleep. Instead, for almost two hours, she'd lain in bed, staring at the ceiling, worrying about Clark. It was crazy, of course. He was Superman, after all. Still, after telling herself for the millionth time that she was being stupid, she finally gave in to the need to find out what was happening in Philadelphia.
She walked back to the television, flicking it on to LNN. While it played, she headed into the kitchen to get the tub of Rocky Road ice cream out of the freezer. Grabbing a spoon, she reentered the living room, curling up on the couch.
The coverage was primarily about the fire. Even with Superman's help, things were not going well. The fire had started with some sort of explosion — the reasons for that explosion were still unknown. But apparently the factory produced, among other things, napalm-b. And it was the napalm-b that was causing the majority of the problems.
Still, in spite of her worries, Superman seemed fine. They were showing pictures of him, albeit from a distance, as he flew over the fire, using nearby railcars to smother the fire with large quantities of sand. Apparently, his usual methods had been unsuccessful. As the correspondent was currently explaining, at first he'd tried blowing the fire out and then had tried water — both of which had only succeeded in spreading the fire further. The only real option left was to try to suffocate the flames by pouring large quantities of sand on top of the fire.
As she watched, the correspondent went on to explain that there had been a half dozen deaths already as well as numerous other injuries. The camera immediately flashed back to a picture of Superman carrying out a dead body, wrapped in a blanket.
Lois dropped the spoon as she leaned forward, searching the hero's face, seeing the pain no one else would likely notice — with the exception of his parents. Yet to her, as one who knew the man beneath the disguise, it was agonizingly obvious. Her heart constricted as she watched him carry the body carefully over to a gurney, laying it gently on top.
While others grieved for the man in the blanket, Lois' grieved for the man in the cape. The man believed to be invulnerable. The man who was anything but.
Before she knew what she was doing, she found herself throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and grabbing the keys to her jeep.
Lois was unable to say exactly what woke her. She simply and quite unexpectedly found herself awake, in a strange place and… She wasn't alone. Someone else, someone breathing heavily, was in the room with her. It took her a moment to put the pieces together. She was at Clark's. And the breathing man… probably Clark himself.
After sitting on the couch, waiting as the minutes turned into hours, she'd finally decided to raid Clark's dresser for an oversized sweatshirt and curl up in his bed to wait for him to arrive.
"Clark?" she asked into the darkness as her eyes began to adjust.
No one answered, although a small sound from near the window ledge directed her eyes in the appropriate direction. For a moment, she saw nothing. Until… He was sitting on the floor, back against the wall, knees pulled up to his chest.
She cautiously pulled back the covers and crawled out of her warm cocoon to make her way to him.
"Clark?" she asked again, crouching down next to him. Still, he didn't respond. She ran a hand gently through his hair, causing him to look at her for the first time. She nearly gasped at the haunted look, the hopelessness she could see in his eyes.
Quickly, she sat down beside him, pulling him into her arms. He nearly collapsed against her and although there were no tears, she felt his powerful body tremble as she held him and listened while he struggled with his breathing.
A half dozen deaths, last she'd heard. Maybe more by the time he'd finished. Still, there was something else going on here, something more than just the number of people who had died. She knew he took every death personally, finding it difficult to accept that even Superman had limitations. Too often he was unable to delight in the number of people who had lived because of his intervention — focusing instead on those who hadn't. But in her gut she knew this was more than that.
Still, now was not the time to ask. That time would come soon enough. For now it was enough to hold him, to let him draw strength from her, and, if she were honest, to assure herself that he was still whole.
The passage of time held little meaning as she closed her eyes and gave him whatever strength he could find in her. Slowly, he began to calm, going still in her arms.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Her whispered words sounded inordinately loud in the silence of the darkened apartment.
He didn't respond for a long moment during which Lois fought against her natural impulse to fill the gap with words. She didn't do patient well. She'd always known that. But right now, patience was required to allow him time to find his voice.
"It wasn't the fire," Clark finally whispered. "It wasn't even the eight people who died." He hesitated, pulling in a jagged breath. "It was the chemicals."
Lois pulled back slightly, searching his eyes in hopes of understanding.
"Lois, when people die in a fire…" His voice trailed off for a moment before continuing. "Although sometimes people are actually burned, usually they succumb to smoke inhalation first. But with the chemicals… The burns. The screams. The horrible sight of people burning alive. Even with my freezing breath, I couldn't put the fires out in time. I couldn't do it and not freeze the people." He drew in another shaky breath. "I had to watch… I had to watch…" His voice broke completely. "I finally figured out that I had to suffocate the flames, but even then… If I missed as much as a spot, it would just keep burning. And those people… those people… So many horrible injuries. So many deaths."
She instantly pulled him back into her arms, rocking him slightly, making incomprehensible reassuring sounds into his ear as he began to tremble once again.
"If only I'd figured it out sooner…"
His anguished whisper felt like a knife slicing into her heart. On some basic level, she knew words of reassurance would be useless at this point. More than that, they would be trite. Still, she couldn't quite resist. "You did everything you could," she whispered into his ear more than once.
As he calmed again, she began running her hands through his hair, kissing the side of his face.
"My love," she whispered finally. "Come to bed."
He pulled back then, searching her eyes in an attempt to decipher the meaning of her words. Unlike earlier in the evening when she'd invited him to her bedroom, this time she felt no embarrassment at the words. This man, the one with whom she had already exchanged her vows, needed her tonight.
She couldn't erase his pain, but she could make him feel something besides the hopelessness radiating from him. And she knew with absolute certainty that this was what she wanted to do. She wanted to make him forget. She wanted him to find in her the strength to go on. He already owned her heart, giving him her body was simply an extension of that title.
"Shhh," she whispered, moving to her feet and holding out her hand.
He took it, rising slowly to his feet before following her to the bed. Turning towards him, she reached around him, finding the zipper on the back of his suit. Although she was not watching his face as she struggled to get the suit off his shoulders, she knew his eyes were firmly on her, watching, wondering exactly what her invitation might mean. Still, he didn't speak as she removed the cape and pealed the suit down over his torso.
"Lois," he whispered.
Her eyes finally met his. He searched them for a long moment before suddenly cupping her face with his hands and leaning in to kiss her.
She instantly felt herself melt into the kiss, her arms finding their way around his waist, running up and down his spine as the kiss continued.
"Make love to me, Clark," she whispered when the kiss broke, ensuring he would have no doubts about what her invitation to join her in bed meant.
He didn't seem surprised by the words, as if he had already realized exactly what she was proposing. Instead, he met her eyes before shaking his head.
He interrupted her by placing the fingers of one hand on her lips. "Lois, I do want to, but…"
"Clark, I realized tonight that we are married. You are my husband. A piece of paper isn't going to make our commitment any more real than it is right now. And I want… I need to do this for you."
His eyes softened. "Lois, I know what you're saying. I do. But… I want our first time to be perfect."
"It will be, Clark. Whether it's here or in Hawaii or… wherever."
"I don't care where it is. I don't. I just want… I don't want the images of those men and women…" His voice broke. Still, he cleared his throat and continued. "I don't want those images in my head when we… Not the first time."
She cocked her head to the side, studying him, before looking down and biting her lower lip. She understood what he was saying. He wanted their first time to be about them — not about him trying to forget a tragedy.
She should have known that. She just so desperately wanted to make everything all right for him, to make him whole. She loved him so desperately and it was killing her inside to see him in so much pain. So how did she help?
"But…" he continued slowly, waiting for her to meet his eyes again. "…I'd like it if you'd… stay tonight?" The last was definitely a question.
"You couldn't get rid of me if you tried," she said, realizing immediately that this was how she could help, what she could do.
His smile this time actually reached his eyes. "Then just give me a minute to… get this smell off me and then…" He didn't complete his thought.
She nodded and watched as he disappeared into the bathroom. She barely had time to get comfortably ensconced below the covers when he joined her, his hair wet, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts.
She was slightly surprised when he lay next to her, facing her, instead of pulling her into his arms. She turned onto her side, still seeing the demons that were haunting him. Leaning forward, she kissed him as his hands slipped beneath the large sweatshirt she was wearing, as if he was drawing heat from her body. She was surprised when his hands actually seemed cold. She hesitated a moment before suddenly sitting up, removing the sweatshirt and pulling him into her arms, cradling him against her breast.
She heard him give a shuttering groan as he pulled her closer.
There was nothing, or almost nothing, sexual about the experience. Even though there was practically no clothing between them, even though she could feel his hot breath against her skin, and even though it was probably the most intimate moment of her life to date — more intimate, in fact, than those few occasions where she had crossed the intimacy threshold with a man — it was not sexual. It was so much deeper than that. It was… She hesitated slightly as she tried to find the right word. 'Spiritual' was the word she finally decided on.
Not in the traditional sense, perhaps. Not in a way that a minister might describe it given that they were practically naked in bed while still unwed, but… It was spiritual, nonetheless. In fact, it was probably the most spiritual experience she'd ever had.
Pushing those thoughts aside, she ran her hands soothingly over his back as she held him against her. She was relieved when his muscles begin to relax and his breathing became more regular, deeper. Still, she didn't sleep. As she lay there, holding the love of her life in her arms, it suddenly hit her what she'd taken on by loving Clark.
He was the man holding up the Golden Gate Bridge.
And now… she was the woman holding up the man holding up the Golden Gate Bridge.
Was she really up to the task? Giving emotional support had never been her strong suit — not like Martha and Jonathan.
Clark mumbled something unintelligible as he buried himself further into her breast.
Yet he had chosen her. And she loved him. She loved him with a strength she wouldn't have believed herself capable. That love would get them through whatever the future threw at them — just as it had gotten them through the past. She tightened her arms protectively around him. Giving him of her strength and silently vowing that he would never be alone again, her mind drifted to his earnest plea earlier in the evening.
'Marry me, Lois. Let's not plan; let's not wait. Let's not let clone-makers or psycho psychiatrists or women who shrink people into little people keep us apart. Just… marry me.'
"I will, Clark," she whispered into his hair. "I swear I will." As if he'd actually, somewhere in his sleeping mind, heard her words and understood, his arms tightened fractionally around her as she, too, finally succumbed to sleep.
A ringing phone woke Lois up. Without opening her eyes, she reached across to her night stand where her phone was located, but instead of a phone… Her eyes snapped open when she felt a warm body bob beneath her hand.
She bit back a startled gasp, afraid to wake him but shocked by the sight of Clark, almost naked, floating a few inches above the bed.
Before she had a chance to digest everything, the phone ringing a second time snapped her into action. Clark didn't seem inclined to wake. Still, there was no point in tempting fate. He needed his sleep and that meant… She snatched the phone out of its cradle and whispered a hello into it.
Perry. Taking the cordless phone with her, Lois quickly climbed out of bed and headed into the living room, snatching up Clark's sweatshirt on the way.
"Yeah, it's me," she said into the phone without thinking. "Who did you expect?"
"Uhh… Well, actually… Clark."
Clark! And with the speed of light everything fell into place. She squinted at the clock, sleep still partially obscuring her vision. It was early. Plenty of time before the work day officially started. So… "Right well, you see. I'm at Clark's because…" Her mouth snapped shut. What was she supposed to say? That she was at Clark's this morning, sleep clearly evident in her voice, because she'd been comforting him as a result of a bad rescue. On the other hand, why was she even trying to explain this to Perry? Perry was her boss. He had no say over her personal life. "Clark's still sleeping, Perry," she said instead, even if she couldn't quite shake the feeling that she'd just been caught in bed with her boyfriend by her father. "Is there something I can do to help?"
Lois found herself blushing at the hesitation in Perry's voice. She had obviously caught him off guard by answering Clark's phone this early in the morning — with Clark still asleep.
"Oh, right. Well, I wanted to tell Clark that I need that story this morning about how organized crime reacted to Superman's absence."
"What…" Her voice trailed off when she remembered. That was the excuse she'd given Perry for Clark's absence when Superman had left for New Krypton. There was only one problem. There was no story because there was no research. "Uhh… when do you need it?" Lois asked.
"In time for the deadline for the afternoon addition. It will work in well with the coverage of Superman's return."
"Okay, well, I'll… I mean Clark will send it in A.S.A.P."
Lois hung up the phone before, after taking a moment to throw on Clark's sweatshirt, reaching into his end table to find Clark's personal phone book. She had some quick research to do now — or questions would be asked about Clark's absence.
She briefly considered waking Clark before deciding against the idea. He needed his sleep. She was on her own.
A noise from the bedroom caused Lois to look up from where she was bent over Clark's laptop.
"Morning," she said when she saw Clark standing there in his robe. For a moment she lamented the loss of the view she'd been privy to the previous night.
"When I woke up and didn't find you sleeping beside me, I thought last night was a dream." He raised his eyebrows. "A really, really good dream."
She smiled. "Yeah, well, I've been known to be a really, really good dream," she said saucily.
"I know," Clark said, a teasing gleam in his eyes.
She blushed. If she were honest with herself, she'd had more than her fair share of those dreams in recent months, too.
He gave her a soft smile, slowly padding across the floor. She tilted her head up and then moaned as he planted a gentle, loving kiss on her lips. "I think I could get used to that in the mornings," she said as he pulled back.
"Then I'll be sure to add it to my daily 'to do' list." He gently pulled her into his lap so that he could look over her shoulder at the screen on the laptop. "What are you working on?"
"Oh, right. Well, Perry called this morning. Oh, by the way, I'm pretty sure he has some ideas of his own about why I answered your phone this morning instead of you. I just thought you should know. I doubt he'd say anything, but…" She shrugged.
"Don't worry. I'll set him straight."
She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Don't bother," she said, ignoring the look she knew he was giving her. This was Perry, after all. Their boss. Still, when she thought about it rationally, Perry probably would have been even more surprised to learn that she and Clark weren't intimate than getting, what he would consider confirmation, that they were. "Anyway," she repeated, "when Superman left for New Krypton, I told Perry that Clark had gone to find out if organized crime was taking advantage of Superman's absence. Perry is looking for the story." She gestured to the screen. "I was just giving it a last look — making sure I captured your style."
He reached across her, quickly scanning the article.
"You didn't have to do this, Lois. Especially with my name on the byline."
"It's your story, Clark," she said dismissively. "Besides, I forgot all about it with everything else that happened afterwards. So I sort of scrambled to put it together this morning." She rose to her feet, heading in the direction of the bathroom. She stopped at the door, turning back towards him. "So I hardly want Perry blaming me if it's no good." She gave him a playful wink before, with a provocative wiggle of her hips, stepping inside and closing the door.
The article was good. She knew it was good. It amazed her how it had all come together with just a few phone calls. Of course, those calls had been to all the right people. Sources — the life blood of journalism.
"Besides," she continued through the door, knowing Clark could hear her, "it sort of defeats the purpose of covering for your absence if my name is on the by-line."
"So organized crime wasn't organized enough to take advantage of Superman's absence?" Clark called from the other room.
"That's about the size of it," Lois responded. "Guess they never heard the saying 'you snooze, you lose.'"
Laughter followed her comment. "Still," Clark said after a moment, "Superman should probably be extra visible the next few nights — just to make sure."
Lois silently cursed. That was exactly what they didn't need. Still… "Probably," she responded before stepping into the shower.
Lois looked up from her computer, staring blankly at Clark's empty desk. The past few days had been some of the most frustrating of Lois' life. The news stories from fallout over the brief stay of the New Kryptonians on Earth were so numerous that Perry had them all running. In fact, he'd even broken up his number one reporting team to chase down all the stories.
Every politician was standing up, giving his or her opinion about the invasion. And each and every one had to be covered for the paper. On top of that, there was Lois' inside story on the fight itself. She'd even come up with some pretty decent Superman quotes. All of which were authentic, given that they were based on things Clark had actually said to her. Which was good, considering how little she'd actually seen Clark.
Then there was the military angle. Interviewing generals who had to justify the military's activities in Smallville. And interviewing other generals who wanted to give their opinions about what Earth could do to ensure they would not be as helpless in the future.
There was also the court marshal of General Cash. As was to be expected, Cash was claiming he had the full backing of the Pentagon for his use of kryptonite gas on Nor — in spite of its danger to Superman. Clark had been spending most of his time on this angle. But so far, there was no concrete evidence of Pentagon involvement. On the other hand, Clark couldn't see how Cash could have got access to the kryptonite on his own.
In the evenings, Superman had been patrolling the skies. It had quickly become obvious that there were more reasons for doing this than just sending a warning to organized crime. Superman needed some brownie points. Even though he had been the one to do battle with Nor, there was a new wariness around him. As a result, he'd been spending all his free time, traveling to every corner of the globe, reassuring people that he was not a threat. Even a glowing article by Lois about how he had risked his own life for the people of Earth had not completely erased the damage done by the New Kryptonians.
As a result, there hadn't been a single chance during the past few days for them to say much more than good morning to each other. Certainly nothing that would allow her to fulfill her promise to Clark to marry him as soon as possible.
But that was what made this such a Catch-22 situation. If they had been married, at least she could be there when he crawled into bed at night and when he woke up in the morning. After the night they had spent together, and in spite of the circumstances on that occasion, she wanted more than anything to be allowed to fall asleep with him every night. But she knew Clark. Until they were married… No, she didn't for more than a moment consider asking him if she could move in. Clark would undoubtedly want them to be married before taking that particular step.
She gave her head a shake, trying to get her mind back to the problem at hand. Time with Clark — or the lack thereof. During the last few nights when he'd been out doing his good will thing, she'd been working on an idea.
She glanced up at the clock. It was almost time to leave for the weekend. Now, all she needed was for Clark to get back. Then… they deserved little time for themselves, a little time to relax and unwind. Time to reconnect after his trip to New Krypton. And that was exactly what she was determined to give him. Desperate times did call for desperate measures, after all. All the experts said it.
She rose to her feet and made her way over to Clark's desk. After scribbling on a post-it note, she quickly affixed it to the middle of his computer monitor before picking up her jacket and purse and heading for the elevators.
This had been a dumb idea. The takeout food she'd ordered was getting cold on the counter. The candles she'd set up were still unlit. The sexy new dress she'd bought had a slit that was too high for relaxing comfortably on the soft surface of Clark's couch. And she was alone, nursing the first and only glass of wine she'd poured for herself while waiting for Clark to arrive.
She didn't even know if he'd received her message. Still, she'd simply invaded his home with the idea of a romantic dinner for two — a dinner where she intended to have a serious talk with him about his previous request.
But for all she knew, Superman was trying to score brownie points by playing charity golf in New Zealand. She set the glass of wine on the coffee table, leaned back into the soft cushions of the couch and sighed. Score one for Lois Lane's dumb ideas.
She was just about to rise to her feet, deciding that she might warm up some of the take-out cuisine she'd ordered from a quaint little place near the Planet and have a bite to eat by herself before heading home. She'd leave a message for Clark. Maybe they'd be able to get together later — if he got home in time.
Suddenly, her plans were altered when a gust of wind coming from the direction of Clark's bedroom caused her head to swivel towards the doorway.
A smile found its way onto her face when he was suddenly standing there, looking all sexy in his Superman suit. Every muscle, line and curve of his hard body was outlined to perfection. She quickly swallowed the drool that was beginning to accumulate at the corners of her mouth. 'You've got it bad, Lane,' she said silently to herself, quickly pushing those thoughts aside before they could completely distract her.
"Hi," she said instead, rising to her feet.
"Hi," he responded. "I just got your note. Sorry I couldn't…" His voice trailed off as his eyes lingered on her sexy attire before noting the table with the candles and flowers. "I'm sorry about this."
"No. No. It's fine. Really. It was no big deal."
When he said her name like that, she knew he was seeing past the casual air she'd been trying to exude. "Okay, so maybe I'm a little disappointed." She let out a breath, releasing the tension in her shoulders. "It's just… Clark, we've had almost no time together since you got back from New Krypton." She walked closer, running her hands over his chest, appreciating the feel of the muscles she'd been admiring earlier.
His hands came up to cover hers, tilting his head in a way that always made him look a little like a cute puppy — especially if one were to take into account the lock of hair that had dropped onto his forehead with the action. "So… if it's not too late, what do you say I heat up that take out?"
She smiled. "You think it's salvageable?"
"If it isn't, I promise to take you anywhere in the world for supper. But personally, the idea of a nice quiet evening alone with you has definite appeal."
He pulled her into his arms to give her a slow, tender kiss. She reveled in the kiss, luxuriating in the sweet taste of him until he gently pulled back.
"Mmm," she purred. "So… I guess that means you think we can find some way to… entertain ourselves?" she asked, wiggling her eyebrows at him.
He stepped back without completely releasing her, running his eyes down her body with enough heat to set a fire burning in her belly. "Well, I have to admit a number of possibilities immediately 'spring' to mind. In fact, I'm having a 'hard' time not thinking of ideas."
She laughed, feeling much more light-hearted at his subtle, or perhaps not so subtle, teasing.
"Just give me a minute to change into something… a little more appropriate," Clark continued. "After all, you look…" Clark pulled in a breath through his teeth. "…breathtaking. I want to at least try to hold up my end."
"Well, then… How about putting on that outfit you were wearing when I spent the night. I have to admit, I liked that one." She laughed again when he blushed. Would he always be like this? She certainly hoped so. There was just something so adorable about the fact that he could sound so world-wise one minute and seem so innocent the next. She ran her hands seductively down his chest. "How is it, Clark Kent, that you've managed to remain so innocent all these years?"
He smiled. "Something tells me I'm not going to remain 'innocent' much longer."
"Whatever could you mean, Mr. Kent?" she asked, giving her best guileless expression.
He laughed. "Well, Ms. Lane, put some food in me and you'll see a whole new side to me."
"Ooo… promises. Promises." With those words, she turned him back towards his room. As he started to head away, she gave his spandex covered backside a swat. "Is this the side you're talking about? Because I think I'd like to see that side," she asked, laughing at the startled look he gave her in response.
"Lo-is," he hissed in warning, automatically folding his arms across his chest — the typical Superman pose.
Lois had to admit, she loved teasing him while he was in the suit. "What's wrong, Superman?"
"That's right. Superman!" he said in his best Superman voice, even though Lois couldn't miss the twinkle in his eyes.
"Got to show more respect, huh? Too dignified to have people touching your tushie?"
Superman laughed. "Well, you know what they say…" In a move that the human eye couldn't follow, he dashed over behind Lois, giving her butt a swat before again appearing in front of her. "…turn about is fair play."
"Well, Superman, you'd better go change… 'Cause you do that again, we just may end up skipping dinner and I'm starving."
The flash of heat that appeared in Superman's eyes told her he was seriously considering convincing her to skip dinner all together. But she had things she wanted to talk to him about tonight and then if things went as planned… No! Best not to think about that right now. Without another word, she quickly turned and, without waiting for him to go and change, headed towards the kitchen.
"Eek!" she screeched when she suddenly found herself in Superman's arms and in the instant before his lips descended on hers. Passion, deep and real. His lips probing hers. His hands running down her back and over the spot that had received his swat earlier and then…
…he was gone. She took an extra moment, needing to steady herself before making the remainder of the trip to the kitchen on somewhat wobbly legs.
"Wow," she breathed as she stood in the entranceway to the kitchen, trying to remember what she was supposed to be doing.
It took Clark all of three minutes to appear again the kitchen. One minute, Lois had heard the shower running and the next he was back in the kitchen dressed in the same charcoal suit he'd worn on their first date. In spite of the speed with which it had been accomplished, he'd even taken the time to shower and shave. And… Damn! He looked good. As good as he had on their first date. Better even. Because this time, he wasn't wearing his glasses. Clark's clothes and hair and Superman's face. The true Clark.
She slowed pouring the wine into the glasses just taking a moment to appreciate the view — and to consider how desperately she wanted to ravish him right where he stood. Forget dinner. Forget the wine. Forget… She jumped when she realized she really had forgotten the wine, because it was now pouring over her fingers.
"Do I meet with your approval?" he asked with a quirk of the lips as she rushed to get a cloth to wipe up the spilled wine. He moved more quickly, getting the cloth and cleaning up the wine before she even made it as far as the sink
"You'll do," she said. The casualness of the words was undercut by the slightly breathless way they came out. She licked her hand, cleaning up the wine that still lingered there.
He grinned, taking her hand and allowing himself a taste as well before using the cloth to remove the remainder of the wine. "So… what can I do?"
"Mmm…" She moaned. "Just keep doing that. Or… no, wait! I need you to heat up the food. I dished some out on the plates but I need you to give them a little… zzts… you know, with your heat vision thing-a-ma-do-hickey."
Clark laughed as he made his way over to the plates. "You have such a unique way of referring to my powers," he said, even as he did as instructed, using his heat vision to reheat the food until steam was rising from it.
"Don't want you to get a big head. You know, after all, just because you can hold up the Golden Gate Bridge, I don't want you thinking you're better than us," Lois teased.
Clark laughed, carrying the food over to the table. "Careful, it's hot," he said as he set the plates down. "And it smells great," he added as he pulled out her chair for her.
"Well, you know me. I'm great at take out."
"You're great at a lot of other things, too," he said, planting a kiss on her cheek as she settled into her chair.
She tilted her head back, looking up at him and batting her eyelashes. "So what else am I good at, Mr. Kent?"
He didn't answer with words. Instead, after letting out a small groan, he leaned over, planting a kiss on her lips.
A sudden knocking on the door startled both of them.
"What the…?" Lois began.
"Oh, no," Clark groaned.
"What? Who is it?" Lois demanded in hushed tones.
"Yeah. He's got great timing as usual." Clark started towards the door.
Lois was out of her chair and standing in front of him almost immediately. "No, Clark. Let's not answer." Lois' voice was barely more than an urgent whisper.
"What?" Clark asked as if he'd never in his life even contemplated something as unneighborly as pretending not to be home. In fact, he looked as if she was suggesting he rob a bank or commit a murder.
"Please, Clark. I mean, what if he came over because there's some hot tip that we have to follow up on immediately? This is our night. This is the first evening we've had to ourselves since you got back from New Krypton. I don't want to answer the door."
"You don't want to follow up on some hot tip?" Clark asked incredulously.
"No, I don't want to know if there is some hot tip — because then I know I won't be able to resist following up on it," she clarified. "Right now. There's no tip. There's nothing to follow up on. So… don't open the door."
Clark glanced past Lois to the door, obviously debating. The fight between good-manners and Lois' plea obviously warring inside him. After a moment, he groaned.
"What?" Lois demanded.
"I don't think we have a choice. He's retrieving my key from under my flowerpot."
"Clark, how many times have I told you… No, wait!" she exclaimed, still using that same stage whisper. "Get us out of here."
"What?" He turned back towards her.
"Just… Now, Clark. Just… Let's go. If we aren't here, he'll leave and we can still…" Her voice trailed off when Clark became a blur. A moment later, the candles she'd lit had been extinguished. The soft background music was turned off. The food was still sitting on the table, but she was in his arms and then… they were standing on the roof of his apartment building.
It took her a moment to adjust to the change in her environment. When she realized that Clark was staring at the roof, she looked down as well.
"What's going on in there?" she demanded, still whispering.
"He's… coming in," Clark replied obediently. "He's calling my name, looking around. I suppose he's confused as to why the lights are on."
"Why didn't you turn them off?"
"He'd see that from outside."
"Now he's closing the door behind him, walking further into the apartment."
Lois smiled. Clark had learned well since she'd discovered that he was Superman. Since she couldn't see, he knew she would want a full running commentary.
"Oh, no," Clark groaned.
"He's discovered our dinner. He seems confused as to why it's still hot."
"He couldn't know that we're avoiding him."
"I don't think…"
"What?" she demanded when he fell silent.
"He's mumbling something about… 'They probably got a call and had to go out.'"
"Now what's he doing?"
"He just made a comment about there being no point in letting our supper go to waste."
"Nooo," Lois groaned, leaning her head against Clark's shoulder.
"I'm afraid so. He's sitting down at the table right now, flicking on the television and picking up a fork." He turned to Lois. "Sorry, I should have thought to put our dinner in the fridge or something before bringing you up here. I could have always reheated it again."
Lois sighed. "It's not your fault, Clark. It wasn't as if he gave us a lot of time." She sighed again.
"Hey," he said, a deliberately light tone in his voice, "we're still together." He pulled her into his arms. "And you're all dressed up. And we can go anywhere in the world. So… How about it? Where do you want to go?"
She stared at him for a long silent moment before responding. "Las Vegas."
His eyebrows rose.
"We need a little fun, Clark," she said playfully. "And what better place to have a little fun than Las Vegas."
He smiled. "Fine." He picked her up in his arms. "Next stop: Sin City."
She giggled as he took to the sky.
Lois was in awe as she flew in Clark's arms, high enough not to be noticed in the moonless night sky, looking at all the multicolored lights of The Strip. She'd been here once, years ago, for a convention. But never had she seen the city like this. It was… impressive, even to the city girl.
"So… what first?" Clark asked as he landed them in a dark alley. "Do you want to go for a nice supper? There are some great restaurants here. Romantic. Or would you rather go gambling? Or maybe we could go danc…"
She turned, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him into a long, sultry kiss. "That first," she said when she released him, finally stepping out of the circle of his embrace.
"Wait a minute," he said, pulling her back into his arms. "That second, too." And with that, he returned his mouth to hers, probing the sensitive places, slowly, sensually until the only thing holding her up were his arms around her.
"Wow," she breathed when this kiss finally ended. She looked up into his unfocused eyes, almost falling into them until she realized exactly where her train of thought was leading her. And she most definitely had other plans for him before then. "Whoa," she breathed, finally stepping back. "So… Let's go to one of the casinos. We can get something to eat there to tide us over and then… time for us to have some fun. Relax. Get into the right frame of mind for… Well.." She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Why not just skip to 'well'?" he asked.
She avoided his arms when he reached for her this time. Instead, she grabbed one of his hands, linking her fingers through his to lead him out of the alley and to… who knew where. Somewhere fun. Still, she couldn't resist a final, parting comment. "Later," she whispered. His answering groan of approval made her smile.
"Everyone down on the floor!" shouted a man with a gun as he, together with his buddies, stormed into the room. Everyone instantly obeyed. The shots that had been fired moments before had convinced everyone that these men were serious.
From her position on the ground, Lois groaned. This was definitely not what she'd had in mind when she'd dragged Clark to a casino to have some fun. She felt like hitting her head against the floor in frustration.
Why them? Why always them?
And it had been going so well, too. They had grabbed a couple of quick sandwiches before hitting the casino. Clark had been laughing and teasing her and quite thoroughly relaxed and she… well, she'd just won a whole pile of nickels. And now… this had to happen. "Typical night in the life of Lois and Clark," she muttered under her breath.
She heard a small snort come from Clark's position on the floor next to her and realized he'd heard her. She glanced over at him. He was levitating only millimeters off the floor — a fact that she never would have known if she hadn't had her cheek pressed against the floor — and was trying to silently back away. Obviously, he was trying to get out of there so that he could come back as Superman.
"You!" one of the hooded men yelled causing Clark to freeze and sink back onto the floor. "Where do you think you're going?" he demanded of Clark.
"I…" Clark began.
The hooded man grabbed Lois. "Move another inch and your girlfriend gets it." The man dragged Lois to her feet, placing the barrel of his gun hard against the side of her head.
She rolled her eyes and had to fight the urge to groan. Typical. Predictable even. Couldn't these guys come up with something new… something original?
"Look, I'm not going to try anything," Clark said and Lois could hear the fear lurking beneath the calm words. "Just let her go."
The man ignored him, backing away, dragging her with him, all the time keeping his eyes fixed firmly on Clark.
She could see the frustration and fear in Clark's eyes. He was trapped. Even if he was prepared to reveal his secret to the world, which she had no doubt he would do to save her life, by the time he could move, she would be dead.
She glanced around at where other hooded men were collecting jewelry from the other patrons, trying to come up with a plan. What they needed was a diversion. Something that would make her captor take his eyes off Clark long enough for him to make a move.
A look at Clark told her he was reading her mind. She knew because at the moment he looked horrified. He gave his head an almost imperceptible shake.
She broke eye contact, ignoring the silent warning, before, in her highest pitch voice, she began to shriek at the top of her lungs. "Don't kill me! Please don't kill me! I'll do anything you want! Just please don't kill me!" She forced herself to go limp in her captor's arms, making him hold her up. "Here! Here!" She began struggling to get her engagement ring off. "Take this! Just please don't kill me! You can have it all! Please, just don't hurt me! I don't wanna die! Don't kill me! Please don't kill me!"
It worked. She knew her captor must have taken his eyes off Clark to deal with the hysterical woman in his arms because out of the corner of her eye she could tell that Clark was no longer lying on the floor.
"Take my engagement ring! It's okay! You can have it! Just don't hurt me, mister! Please don't hurt me!" She was proud when she was even able to drum up some tears to go with her hysterical ranting. "I won't tell anyone! I swear! It's all yours! Please, just take it and let me go!"
"Shut up! Just shut up, woman!"
"I'll shut up! I swear! I'll do anything you want! Just please don't kill me!"
All attention was now directed at her.
"Get control of that woman!" one of the other robbers yelled at her captor.
"I'm trying," her captor shot back. "Shut up, woman!"
And then all mayhem seemed to break loose. A wind of almost tornado proportions shot through the room, and Lois felt herself being pushed away from her captor. She fell to her hands and knees on the floor as a shot rang out. And then… silence.
A small smile quirked at the corner of Lois' mouth when she saw Superman standing in the middle of the room, the men in hoods all tied up around him.
"Is everyone all right?" Superman asked his stunned audience.
"Not your fault!" Lois exclaimed, staring the manager of the casino straight in the eye. "How could it not be your fault! Men with guns got in here. If it hadn't been for Superman, we could all have been killed!"
"Lane! And it's Ms!"
"Ms. Lane," the manager said, emphasizing the 'Ms.' "I promise you, we have the best security in the city. Even if Superman hadn't shown up, no one would have gotten hurt. I assure you."
"And how can you assure me of that!" Lois said. "The only way you can assure me that no one would have gotten hurt is if you have some inside information. But then, I don't know why I didn't see it before. This has 'inside job' written all over it!"
"Lo-is," she heard Clark's gentle voice in her ear. Obviously, he'd finally finished up his Superman obligations and had come up behind her at some point while she'd been giving the manager a tongue-lashing.
"Ms. Lane," the manager said, his voice changing from soothing to irritated in an instant. "If you're going to throw around accusations, you'd better have something to back them up. I think it's time you left. There are plenty of other casinos that would probably be very glad to take your money, but you're no longer welcome here."
The manager gestured to someone over Lois' shoulder, but Lois' attention was still focused on the man in front of her.
"I'm a reporter for the Daily Planet and if you think I can't get the evidence to prove your involvement, you're sadly… Hey, what are you doing?" she asked when a security guard grabbed her arm and began pulling her away. She felt Clark remove the security guard's hand from her arm, but instead of letting her go, replaced it with his own as he allowed security to 'escort' both of them, rather forcefully, from the casino. "Hey, what about my nickels?" Lois exclaimed as they were forced through the doors. "I won a bunch of nickels. You can't make me leave without my nickels!"
The door shut behind her and Clark on her final words, leaving the two of them standing in the street outside the casino.
"That man knows something, Clark," Lois said, spinning from where her eyes were focused on the door to look at her partner. "I can feel it. He's hiding… What?" she asked when she realized that he was trying not to laugh.
"What?" she demanded again.
But instead of answering her, he suddenly broke out into laughter.
"Hey, it's not funny," she objected. But even as she spoke, she couldn't keep the smile off her face. "That man is…" She giggled. "That man is…" She tried again before following Clark's example and bursting into laughter. The whole thing had just been so… Lois and Clark. It was their night off and they had, of course, had to step into the one casino in Las Vegas that was being robbed. And then… being thrown out of the casino… Her laughter increased. She doubted some things would ever change.
"Oh, Lois," Clark said, pulling her into his arms as his laughter calmed somewhat, "I love you."
"Well, that's good, farmboy, 'cause you're kinda stuck with me."
When the laughter finally died, Clark pulled back to look at her. "So… where to now? Did you want to find another casino? Or maybe you want to investigate the casino robbery? Or we could go and get a nice supper? I mean, the sandwiches were okay, but…"
"I've got a better idea."
She shrugged. "Let's just go for a walk. You know, look at the lights, appreciate the scenery."
He looked at her for a moment, as if he knew she had something up her sleeve, and she tried to look as innocent as possible in return. Damn. How did he do that? How did he, at times, seem to see right through her?
Still, after a moment, he responded in the affirmative to her suggestion, and they headed, arm and arm down the brightly lit street.
"Where exactly are we going, Lois?" Clark asked after a time.
"Why would you think we're going anywhere in particular?" Lois asked, even as she stopped Clark in the middle of the street and looked around in confusion. "What street is that?"
Clark used his enhanced vision to tell her the name of the street.
"Perfect!" Lois exclaimed, before moderating her exclamation of delight. "I mean, why don't we head that way?"
Clark smiled. What exactly was Lois up to? Oh, he knew she was up to something. That part was so obvious that she might as well be wearing a sign. Still, when she grabbed his hand and began pulling him towards the street she'd been so excited to hear the name of a moment ago, he didn't object.
When they turned the corner onto the street, she pulled him to a stop, again looking around until she seemed to find what she was looking for. He glanced in the appropriate direction. A small log building was nestled in amongst some luscious trees. A series of soft lights lit the path leading from the street into the building.
He crinkled his eyebrows when, without further hesitation, she led him across the street to the entrance of the path. He could hear her pulse quicken. Whatever she had in mind had to do with this building. Still, he didn't try to solve the puzzle. Lois would tell him in her own good time and he had to admit, he was enjoying this mystery. For suddenly he knew that the decision to come to Las Vegas hadn't been an impulse decision at all. They were here for a reason, but… what was that reason? And what had Lois so nervous?
"Lois?" he asked again as they neared the front door, pulling her to a halt when he got his first good look at the sign out front. "Four Pines' Chapel?" he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders. "Imagine that? A chapel in Las Vegas? Who'd have thought it? Can you believe the name? There are a lot more than four pines here. It should be called Pine Grove Chapel. Or maybe Pine Forest Chapel — although that might be overdoing it a bit. After all, you can't exactly call this a forest either. It's more like a 'grove.' Yep, definitely a grove."
He smiled. Nervous babble. So typically Lois. He couldn't even begin to say how much he had missed her when he'd been with the New Kryptonians. Still, it didn't answer the question of why she was nervous, or why she had brought them here.
"Lois?" he asked again.
She stumbled a bit, as if not entirely sure what to do or say now. It took her a moment to finally meet his eyes. "Did you mean it?"
"Mean what?" he asked, completely lost now.
"Let's not plan; let's not wait; just marry me?"
He looked at her in shock for a moment, before glancing again at the sign announcing exactly where there were. A wedding chapel in Las Vegas. Suddenly, things began to make sense. A smile made its way across his face. "When you're eloping, isn't it customary to at least tell the groom?" he asked with a laugh.
Her laugh matched his — if not slightly more nervous. "Well, I didn't want anything to jinx it. And you did say you didn't want to plan… So… will you?"
"Will I?" he asked, wanting to be certain he understood.
"Marry me. Now. Tonight."
"There's nothing I want more, but, Lois, are you sure? Our families? Our friends?"
"Clark, I want to be your wife. I don't want to wait."
He searched her eyes, looking there for the reassurance he needed. He wanted to marry her. Oh, god, how he wanted to marry her. But if they did this, would she come to regret it? Maybe not tomorrow or the next day. But ten years down the road.
"Oh, god, you don't want to get married," Lois suddenly said. "When you said not to plan, you meant that you wanted a small wedding, not some quick ceremony in a city as tacky as Las Vegas. I did it again, didn't I. This was a stupid idea. But you know me. I just had to jump right into the deep end without checking the water level."
Huh? Keeping up with Lois at warp speed was always difficult. But while still trying to weigh all the pros and cons of her proposal, he wasn't exactly sure what she was going on about. Or… at least he wasn't until he saw her chin tremble and realized she was on the verge of tears.
"Of course, you'd want Martha and Jonathan here. I mean you have sane parents. Why wouldn't you want them to see you get married?" she continued. "It was a stupid idea, anyway. I mean, I planned to discuss it with you over dinner. And then Jimmy showed up. And I thought maybe we should just relax a little bit first, sort of ease into the idea, and then those robbers showed up. And then I thought I might jinx it if I told you. That maybe if we just sort of ended up here, you'd…"
Her words were cut off by Clark's lips on hers.
For a brief moment, he felt her tense and knew that she was still telling herself all the reasons this was a dumb idea. Just bring him to a chapel and expect him to get married. It was so… Lois.
And then he felt her relax, and after another moment, respond. Her arms slipped around his neck as the kiss deepened. Her body was soft and responsive against his, bringing his own body instantly to life. He heard a soft mew come from the back of her throat as his hands slid down her back, pulling her even closer, loving the feel of her curves pressed so intimately against him. When he finally pulled back, she looked somewhat dazed, as if she didn't remember where she was — much less what she'd been ranting about moments before.
"Yes," Clark said softly
"Yes?" she asked in return, her eyes registering confusion.
"Let's get married. Tonight. Now," Clark said. "No more waiting. No more planning. Just, marry me, Lois."
She stared at him in disbelief for a moment before throwing herself into his arms. "Yes," she said, echoing his words. Then, just as suddenly, she pulled back, as if having second thoughts. "But… our friends. Our family…"
"They'll understand. You know they will. Lois, let's get married. Let's not wait for clone makers or New Kryptonians or amnesia or… I don't know… let's not wait for the Wedding Destroyer to break out of the asylum and stop us from getting married."
Lois eyebrows crinkled together. "What made you think of her?"
He shrugged. "The point is… I want to marry you. So… how about it?" He dropped to a knee in front of her. "Will you marry me?"
She stared at him for a split second before her eyes again welled up with tears. But unlike the last time, these were happy tears. "Yes, Clark. Oh yes," she said before throwing herself into his arms so that they could find each other's lips once more.
Pleasantly plump Elsa Grouse had plans for the rest of the evening. Her husband had promised her a home cooked meal. And never during their thirty-four years of marriage had his cooking disappointed her. And then, a quiet evening at home, just the two of them. How long had it been since they'd done that? Oh, yes. She certainly had plans for the rest of the evening.
She was cleaning up the front reception area, piling up magazines and putting everything in order when the door to the chapel opened and a good-looking couple walked in, hand in hand.
"Can I help you?" Elsa asked.
"We want to get married," the man said, beaming proudly at the woman by his side.
Elsa's heart practically melted when he turned towards her and she caught the tail end of the look he'd been giving the woman.
"Did you have a reservation?" she asked, moving back over to the counter to flip through the appointment book. She thought they had finished for the evening.
"Did you make a reservation, honey?" the man asked.
"No. Your website didn't say we had to have a reservation."
"Well, you don't. But it's always a good idea to make one. After all, there might be a conflict."
"Is anyone else here?" the man asked.
"Great!" the woman exclaimed, looking relieved.
"But… well, we're closed."
"What do you mean, you're closed?" the woman demanded. "The hours on your website said you were open until midnight."
"We didn't have anyone booked for this evening, so the minister went home," Elsa explained. "If you'd called ahead…"
"Why would someone call ahead to elope?" the woman demanded. "Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? How can you even call it eloping if you have to call ahead and book…"
Elsa saw the man squeeze the woman's hand, bringing what had threatened to be a flood of words to a sudden halt. The woman turned towards the man and from her position, Elsa could see tears beginning to welling up in her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Clark. I really thought… You know. That this was it. That it was finally going to happen. That I was finally going to be your wife."
"Hey, Lois…" Clark said softly, bring a hand up to her cheek, using the pad of his thumb to gently wipe away the first tear to escape her eyes. "…it's okay. We'll find someone else who will marry us. This is Las Vegas, after all."
"But this place was so… picturesque. I thought it would be perfect."
"It will be perfect, Lois — just as long as I'm marrying you. Besides think how much Perry will love our wedding pictures if we get married by an Elvis impersonator."
The woman gave a watery laugh, obviously trying to grasp onto the man's optimism. But it was quite obvious to Elsa that the woman's heart was breaking — almost as if she couldn't help but believe that this was their last chance to get married. That for some reason if they couldn't get married now, it was never going to happen.
Not that Elsa believed that for a moment. After all, the love between the two young people in the chapel's reception area was almost tangible. Still, getting married tonight, and here, was obviously very important to them.
"Listen," Elsa said before she could stop herself, "Reverend Grouse is my husband. And, really, we only live a block away." She picked up the phone. "I'm sure he'd love to come back and perform your wedding."
The smile the man gave her in return made her very happily married heart skip more than a couple beats. Was it any wonder the woman wanted so desperately to get married?
"Hello, Alfred," she said when the phone was answered. She only hoped that whatever artistic creation he'd come up with for their supper would keep.
"I thought we decided not to take any walk-ins tonight," Alfred whispered as his wife helped him into his ministerial robes. "This night was supposed to be for us."
Unlike his rotund wife, Alfred was tall and gangly. The robes hung loosely on his body. Still, the formal attire gave him a stately, if somewhat frail, appearance.
"Oh, hush up now, Alfred," Elsa said. "I couldn't help it. They remind me of us."
Alfred peaked into the main chapel, looking at the handsome couple for a moment before looking back at his wife. "They remind you of us?" he asked incredulously.
She gave her husband a swat before straightening the lines on his robe. "I just meant in how in love they are. Don't you remember how anxious we were to get married?"
"No. It was too long ago, woman," Alfred teased.
This resulted in another swat from his wife. "Just listen," his wife said, gesturing towards the other couple.
"You know, I'm beginning to think this might actually happen," Clark said, reaching over to tuck a stray strand of hair behind Lois' ear.
"Don't say that, Clark!" Lois exclaimed. "You'll jinx it."
"Lois, you're not superstitious."
"I am about this." She stepped up closer to him, straightening his tie. "It feels like forever since I asked you to marry me," she said. "I'm beginning to think the universe is never going to give us a break. What's taking them so long anyway?" she asked, glancing around the chapel. "Maybe you should go check on them. Make sure they haven't been kidnapped or had a heart attack or were abducted by aliens or held hostage by…"
Her words were again cut off by Clark's kiss. When he finally pulled away, she stared up at him. "What was I saying again?"
"You were practicing how to say, 'I do,'" he informed her.
"See?" Elsa said. "She's as convinced it's not going to happen as I was. And he's as calm as you were. It drove me nuts."
"I wasn't calm," Alfred objected. "The only thing keeping me together was the knowledge that if I fell apart, we'd both be basket cases — and you were doing a fine enough job for both of us. But you're right. They do sound just like we did."
"See. That's why I knew you'd want to help." She put the finishing touches on her husband, ensuring that his hair was straight before leading him into the chapel where the nervous young couple was waiting for them.
"So… ready to get this show on the road?" Elsa asked.
Lois and Clark both jumped, as if so caught up in their own conversation that neither had heard her and Alfred enter.
"Uhh… yeah," Clark said, giving his soon-to-be wife's hand a squeeze, as if silently telling her that she had nothing to worry about.
"He could still have a heart attack," Lois whispered back.
Elsa, who had great hearing, managed to pick up on the whispered words and had to bite back a smile. She'd tell Alfred later and they'd have a good laugh over it. "Okay, then. Let's get started. We have two versions. A long version and a short version."
"The short version," Lois responded instantly. Then she blushed, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "I just think…" She glanced at Clark. "…we shouldn't tempt fate by making it long. You know… just in case something comes up."
Lois gave Clark a meaningful look, one that Elsa didn't understand. Still, it seemed the man did because he responded.
"Nothing is going to tear me away from here tonight," the man seemed to promise, as if he was in the habit of having to run off at the most inconvenient times.
"Still, we probably shouldn't take any chances," Lois said, turning back to Elsa. "We'll take the short version. Oh, and you take pictures, right? Your website said you take pictures."
"Of course," Elsa responded. "What would a wedding be without pictures?"
Elsa was still shaking her head when she and Alfred entered their house some time later. That had been the most unusual wedding she'd been to in a long time. Part way through the ceremony, the man had begun shifting uneasily from foot to foot. The woman had given him a look that clearly said, 'Please, not now.'
Of course, Elsa hadn't understood what was going on until, just before they could exchange their vows, the woman had suddenly interrupted to ask if the man needed to take a trip to the bathroom. The man had instantly taken her up on her offer, rushing out of the room at a speed that would have rivaled Superman. Then she and Alfred had sat with the woman, awkwardly looking at each other for almost fifteen minutes as they waited for him to return.
At one point, Elsa had asked if Alfred should go to see if the man was all right. But his bride-to-be, provided he ever returned, had vetoed that idea, saying that she was sure he was fine.
Poor, poor man. He looked so strong and healthy. But there was obviously something terribly wrong with him. Maybe that was why they had been so anxious to get married. Maybe he didn't have much time left. So sad. So, so very sad.
Still, he had returned and, after a quick apology for keeping them waiting, the wedding ceremony had continued — after one final comment by the woman that she'd appreciate if Alfred got to the point. He had instantly complied, hoping to complete the ceremony before the man's bladder could fail him again.
In spite of their obvious trials, never had Elsa seen two people any more in love. For whatever time they had left, she wished them every happiness.
So sad. So very, very sad.
Still, when they had begun reciting their vows, choosing to say what was in their hearts, the entire world had faded for a moment and it was as if they were the only people in it. She doubted she would ever forget their words or the slight sheen of tears in their eyes or the trembles in their voices.
"Lois, I have loved you from the moment I saw you. I love your humor, your passion. The way you dive right in… even when you shouldn't. Because you refuse to just watch the world. You demand that it be a better place, and because of you, it is. And today, I want to give you as much of the world as I can. So I give you my heart, my soul… and our future."
Elsa had pulled out a hanky at this point, dabbing at the tears that were gathering in her eyes.
"Clark, you're my best friend," the woman began. "Until I met you, I never had a best friend. And falling in love with you was so easy. I don't know why I fought it for so long. Because you have such gentle grace, such quiet strength, but mostly, such incredible kindness. I've never known anyone with as pure a heart. So today, I give you my love, my honor… and our life together."
Elsa had to fight back the sob that rose in her throat at this point, stifling her sniffles into her trusty hanky. And then when her husband had told them that they were married and had instructed Clark to kiss his bride…
Never had she seen a more tender kiss. The man's hand had come up to the woman's face as her arms had slipped around his neck. Then they'd both moved in. Even Elsa's heart had been beating fast when their lips finally met. She'd almost felt like a voyeur, watching the melding together of two souls. She'd been unable to prevent the small sigh that had escaped her own lips.
She was certain that her and Alfred's smiles had been as big as the bride and groom's when they'd finally broken the kiss.
Still, in spite of the tears, she'd managed to get some beautiful pictures of the newlyweds — pictures which she was sure they would love for whatever time they had left together.
Sad. So, so sad.
"We did it! I can't believe we actually did it!" Lois exclaimed, as they stood outside the Four Pines' Chapel, her body safely encircled by her husband's arms.
She threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly, feeling the rough laughter in his chest vibrating against hers. Then, just as suddenly, she pulled back. "I mean… we really did it, right? This isn't just some weird cloned, delusional dream type trick that someone is playing on us? I mean, I wouldn't put it past us to think that we're married when we actually aren't. That nice couple could be agents of Satan himself, made corporeal with the sole intention of making us believed that we are…"
Clark's lips on hers cut her off.
"Mmm…" she moaned when he finally broke contact. "What was I saying again?"
Clark smiled. "You were saying how much you liked being my wife."
"Oh, yeah. I remember now," Lois said, pulling him back in for one more, nice and slow, drug-inducing kiss.
"So… did you have any plans about what happens now?"
Lois' eyebrows shot up.
"I meant… where we're going to stay?"
"Oh! No. I didn't even think of that. I just wanted to get married. I'm sorry. I should have planned better."
"That's okay, Lois. I think you did just fine. Hey, you got us married, didn't you? Least I can do is to help with the honeymoon arrangements. So… what do you think? Your place? My place? Some fancy hotel room? There are a lot of nice places here. And for our wedding night… I'd certainly be willing to spend extravagant amounts of money."
"Well, since I know how much you make…"
"How do you know how much I make?"
"You snooped," Clark said in mock indignation.
"You bet your sweet tushie, I did," she responded without remorse. "I was curious. So I snooped. That reminds me. You should talk to Perry about a raise. I'd say you're overdue. Anyway, as I was saying… So even if you can't afford it, I can." She giggled when he rolled his eyes. "And I like the snazzy hotel idea."
"What about The Flamingo?"
"Bugsy Segal's old hotel?"
"Well, we are in Vegas. Besides, with your x-ray vision and Bugsy's legendary paranoia, we might even find some secret passages to explore."
"Lois, I don't know about you, but I'm not planning to look for secret passages tonight. Or at least… not ones Bugsy Segal would have ever explored."
She threw her head back and laughed in delight. "So, Mr. Kent, just what secret passages were you planning to explore?"
She squealed when, instead of answering her, he swept her up in his arms. "Help! Superman!" she yelped, flailing her arms and legs. "I'm being kidnapped by this handsome stranger who has nefarious intentions towards me."
"Nefarious intentions, huh?" Clark shot back in his darkest voice. "Just wait 'til you see exactly how nefarious my intentions… ooof."
The final breath came when Clark was suddenly tackled from behind, sending both of them to the grass. He managed to slow their descent enough in the final second to keep Lois from being hurt.
"Hey!" Lois yelled at the man who had attacked Clark. "What do you think…"
"Don't worry, Miss," the man said, struggling to get a grip on Clark's hands. "My friend is calling the police right now."
"Calling the…" Lois glanced towards the street where there was indeed a man on a cell phone. But what… Suddenly, what was happening sank in. From the lack of struggle Clark was putting up in return, she figured he had worked it out, too. "No, you don't understand," she said. "I'm not being attacked. Tell your friend not to call…" Her voice trailed off when she realized that the man was already talking to someone. "…the police," she finally finished in complete despair, flopping back on the ground in frustration.
"No, officer. Really. He wasn't attacking me," Lois said for what felt like the millionth time to the millionth person.
"That's not what these gentlemen say," the officer said, pointing towards the men who had 'rescued' her. "They say they heard you yelling for help."
"I was, but… He's my husband."
"So your husband was attacking you?"
"No." Lois growled in frustration. "I'm Lois Lane. He's…" She pointed towards where Clark was standing, cuffed, outside a police cruiser. "…Clark Kent."
"Then he's not your husband?"
"No. I mean yes, he is my husband."
"But you don't have the same last names."
"I'm keeping my name, but… Well, that's not really relevant here. Even if I were taking his name, we just got married tonight. Here." She stalked over to Clark, pulling open his jacket. Reaching into the inner pocket, she pulled out their marriage certificate, handing it and her press pass to the officer. "So you see… He's my husband."
"So you were yelling for help because your husband was attacking…"
"No! Well, yes. Look, Clark and I were joking around. These men just misunderstood."
"You were joking about being attacked?" the officer asked, looking at her like a disapproving father.
"We were a little giddy from just getting married," Clark said, finally getting into the conversation. "We're sorry, officer. It won't happen again."
"Really, it won't," Lois added. "We've just been trying to get married for so long that now that we finally have… We just got a little bit carried away. Come on, officer. This is our wedding night. You must remember how it felt when you got married?"
"Hmph," the officer responded without as much as cracking a smile. Turning away from them, he examined the documents Lois had handed to him.
"Not a romantic," Lois mumbled under her breath, ignoring the warning look Clark sent her in return.
The officer turned, studying the photo ID Lois had given him, comparing it to her face, before turning his attention to the ID they had taken from Clark, doing the same thing. Finally, he looked at the marriage certificate, comparing signatures. Lois felt like climbing out of her skin when he finally walked back over to them.
"So I take it you don't want to press charges?" the officer asked Lois.
"No. No, I don't want to press charges," Lois said in exasperation.
"Because we can take you to a shelter for abused women if you don't have anywhere to stay."
"I'm not an abused women. Clark would never abuse me. And I don't want to press charges. So… can we just forget this ever happened?"
The officer looked between Lois and Clark, sizing up both of them for one of the longest minutes in Lois' life. Finally, the officer pulled his keys out of his pocket before walking over to Clark and undoing the handcuffs.
Lois let out a breath of relief.
"I trust nothing like this will ever happen again," the officer said, addressing both of them.
"Never, officer," Clark responded.
"Okay, well… Regardless of what you might think…" He looked directly at Lois. "…I am a romantic. So…" He handed them their documents, jerking his head to the side to indicate that they should get going. "…just find a hotel room, will you? If I see you again tonight, I'll find something to charge you with."
Lois and Clark didn't wait around to see if he was serious. They headed down the street, slipping into the nearest dark alley.
A moment later, a couple of chipmunks began noisily complaining about inconsiderate tourists as they worked to gather up their collection of nuts from where the wind had blown them.
"What do you mean you don't have any rooms available?" Lois demanded, glaring at the man behind the counter of The Marriot. She and Clark had spent the last forty-five minutes flying from hotel to hotel, looking for one single solitary room. Of course, there had also been one quick trip to Metropolis as well — for both Lois and Clark to pack a bag for their stay. But… stay where? "You've got to have at least five hundred rooms here."
"Four hundred and sixty-two," the clerk corrected.
"And you don't have a single room available?" Clark asked, his hand tracing light circles on Lois' back trying to keep her calm. "It's our honeymoon."
"Well you should have called ahead then," the man said.
"Doesn't anyone understand the concept of eloping?" Lois griped to no one in particular.
"Why don't you try the Four Seasons?" the man suggested.
"We already have," Lois said dejectedly. "And the Flamingo. And the Holiday Inn. And the Hilton. And the Bellagio. And the Renaissance. And the…"
"Can you tell us why we're having such a problem getting a room?" Clark asked. "Is it always this difficult getting a hotel room in Las Vegas?"
"Of course not!" the clerk responded, looking at Clark as if he was a total idiot, all the while maintaining his infuriatingly friendly smile. It made Lois want to rip his face off. "We've never seen this number of conventions before."
"They probably heard we were getting married," Lois grumbled.
Clark directed her away from the counter. "You know," he said softly when they were out of earshot of the clerk. "We could always just go home. It's not the hotel room I care about anyway."
She looked up into his concerned eyes. He obviously wanted tonight to be perfect for her. And… it was. Just looking into the eyes of the man before her, knowing that he was finally her husband, made it perfect. She was just about to agree when a heavy-set man came up beside them and his voice interrupted them.
"I overheard you were looking for a hotel room. I have a place called The Honeymoon Inn just on the outskirts of the city. We still have rooms available."
"Is it connected to the Marriot?" Lois asked, glancing between the man and Clark.
The man laughed. "No. I was just meeting a business colleague here for dinner. But I'm heading back there right now. I could give you a ride. By the way, my name is Stewart Brandon."
Lois looked at Clark who was looking back at her, his eyebrows raised in question. Lois thought for a moment. It probably wasn't as luxurious as the Marriot. But the man was dressed in an expensive suit, so the place was probably nice. She gave a slight nod of the head.
"You're on, Mr. Brandon," Clark said with a smile. "And thank you."
"Stewart, please. My car is just out this way." He gestured towards the entrance.
For a moment, Lois and Clark hesitated. After all, they could get there a lot quicker if they just flew. Still, how would they explain to this stranger how they had arrived ahead of him? After a moment, and just by sharing a couple of looks to convey their thoughts to each other, they followed Stewart out to his car. After all, it was called The Honeymoon Inn.
Lois could hear Clark impatiently tapping his fingers on the handrest of the passenger door as they left The Strip and headed out into the desert. She wondered if he was even aware that he was doing it. Still, she understood his frustration. It wasn't even as if they could indulge in a little bit of necking during the ride. They couldn't even hold hands, for crying out loud. No. Instead, she was stuck in the back seat while he rode up front with Stanley.
"Just a little bit longer, Clark," she whispered under her breath. "And then I plan to tear every strip of clothing off your body and have my way with you."
Clark's fingers stopped tapping and he shot her a heated glance over the seat. The look itself was enough to raise her own body temperature to somewhere near the boiling point.
She quickly glanced at the back of Stanley's head, grateful that he didn't seem to have heard her. Still, she wondered what he'd think if he knew that she was currently fantasizing about pulling her husband over the seat and ravaging him right there in the car, with Stanley continuing to drive.
No. Probably not a good idea. Still, once they got to their room, there would be no more delays. She was putting her foot down. Even Superman deserved a night off! Not to mention his new bride!
Lights coming from up ahead and a flashing sign announcing that they were approaching The Honeymoon Inn caused Lois to lean forward in her seat hoping to get her first look at the place.
Lois and Clark stood just inside the door to their room at The Honeymoon Inn staring in horror at the sight before them. If there was a tackier place in all of Las Vegas, Lois couldn't imagine what it would have looked like.
Crushed red velvet covered every available inch of the wall. The floor bore a very well worn red shag carpet. Red lights instead of plain ones seemed affixed to every light socket. Lois wondered if the choice of colored lights was meant to cover up the rips and stains on the carpet, the furniture and the walls.
And even all of that could have been forgiven if not for the heart shaped bed that was the focal point of the room. Her eyes slowly spiraled upwards to the ceiling and she nearly groaned when she noticed that the entire ceiling appeared to be covered with mirrors.
"What?" Clark asked with a horrified whisper as his eyes followed the direction hers had taken.
Lois suspected that either Clark was thoroughly ashen or he was seriously blushing as he stared at the ceiling, but it was hard to tell which with the red lights reflecting off his face.
"Clark?" she asked, hearing the small note of desperation in her voice.
"We can go somewhere else," Clark responded immediately. "Hawaii. Niagara Falls. Anywhere."
"I don't want to look for another hotel room," Lois said, turning towards him. "For all we know, the entire world has decided to go on vacation and I don't want a repeat of the last hour. Let's just go home."
Clark smiled in relief. "Your place or mine?" he asked, picking her up in his arms before grabbing their modest luggage and disappearing in a gust of wind before she even answered.
"Why aren't we just landing on the balcony of your apartment?" Lois asked when Clark landed them in an alley next to his place and spun back into his suit.
"Because there's something very important we have to do when we get to the front door," Clark responded, taking her hand and leading her towards the building.
She smiled before a new thought suddenly struck her. She pulled Clark to a stop. "Check inside," she said a little desperately.
"What?" Clark asked, looking at her curiously.
She pretended to pull down an imaginary pair of glasses. "Check inside. Is anyone there?"
He turned back to his apartment, doing as requested. "All clear," he responded. "Jimmy must have left. In fact, he left a note on the fridge saying that he was just stopping by to see if I wanted a game of one on one. Oh, and he thanked me for supper. Apparently, it was delicious."
"You?" Lois asked, even as breathed a sigh of relief at the news that Jimmy was gone. "I was the one who got supper." Even as she spoke, she grabbed his hand again and practically dragged him towards his apartment.
"I just want to get inside before someone sees us," she explained.
He suddenly understood. Given their luck this evening, maybe she even had a point. He picked up his pace and only a moment later, they finally arrived at his door.
Digging into his pocket, Clark pulled out his keys and opened the door before sweeping her up into his arms.
"Oh wait," she said, causing him to stop. From her position in his arms, gestured for him to squat down so that she could retrieve his key from beneath the flowerpot. "Just in case," she said to his smile.
"Good thinking," he responded before turning to carry her over the threshold. "I doubt I'd be too thrilled if Jimmy decided to walk in on us tonight. And I'd hate to see what you'd do to the kid."
Her giggle was lost in his mouth as he moved in to kiss her. Giving a small moan, she reached behind him to slam the door shut.
Still in Clark's arms, Lois wrapped her arms around his neck as his lips left hers and began exploring her ear, slowly tracing his tongue around the shell before briefly darting inside. She heard the key she'd been holding fall to the floor, but she didn't care.
A quivering moan escaped her lips even as her entire body trembled in his arms. She tangled her hands in his hair, pulling his mouth back to hers. Starting slowly, she began nibbling on his lips. He followed her lead as they gently nipped at each other's lips. The light teasing only lasted a moment before neither could stand it any more, their kisses grew more frantic, longer, more passionate. Her hands tangled in Clark's hair as she struggled to get closer, needing to feel him pressed against her, always going deeper.
It wasn't until she felt herself being lowered onto the floor just inside the door that Lois realized that Clark's legs had given out beneath him. Still, neither seemed able to break the kiss. Lois felt Clark's hand sliding up the outside of her leg until it disappeared under her skirt.
It briefly occurred to Lois that the bed was only feet away, but that thought quickly vanished at the continued and increasingly intimate movements of his hand.
Some loud knocking followed a woman's voice coming from just outside Clark's door.
"Mr. Kent," the woman yelled again when they didn't answer. "I saw you come in just a minute ago and I really need to talk to you."
The activities of Clark's hands ceased, even as they both stilled.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr. Kent. But it really is important."
Lois groaned, finally breaking contact with his mouth. She felt Clark lean forward, touching his forehead to hers. "I'm sorry, Lois," he whispered. "But that's Mrs. Danielle. She's not going to go away until I talk to her."
Lois closed her eyes, flopping her hands over her head, releasing Clark so that he could rise. When she opened her eyes, she instantly knew that Clark was as frustrated as she was. He actually seemed to be having difficulties standing up straight. She fought back a chuckle.
"I'll be right there," Lois called, scrambling to her feet and shooing Clark from the room. He picked up on her hint immediately, giving her a look of gratitude before taking advantage of the much-needed escape.
Lois watched until she was sure Clark was gone before straightening her skirt and hair and, after realizing she didn't have time to do anything about her make-up, answering the door.
"Can I help you?" Lois asked. The woman on the other side appeared to be in her early nineties. "I'm Lois Lane."
"Fine," Mrs. Danielle said, looking around Lois. "Where's Mr. Kent?"
"Clark's in the bathroom. I'm sure he'll be right out."
"Oh, good," Mrs. Danielle said.
Lois hesitated. She knew the polite thing to do would be to invite Mrs. Danielle in. On the other hand, it put Mrs. Danielle further away from the door after what Lois hoped would be a very quick visit. Mrs. Danielle, however, didn't seem to have the same problem. She pushed past Lois on her way into the apartment.
"Why don't you come in?" Lois said belatedly as Mrs. Danielle headed down the steps.
"Oh, I gotta rest these tired bones," Mrs. Danielle said, removing her sweater and plopping herself down on the couch.
Lois let out a breath and closed the door before heading into the living room herself. She was relieved when Clark appeared again. She let her eyes run down his body, noticing that he seemed much more in control. Where exactly had he gone? A quick trip to the Arctic Ocean probably. She wished she could have done the same. It was taking every ounce of self-control she possessed not to attack him right there and to hell with Mrs. Danielle — or what she might think of the floor show.
"What can I do for you, Mrs. Danielle?" Clark asked, heading into the living room.
"Oh there you are, Mr. Kent," Mrs. Danielle said, struggling to rise off the couch.
Clark instantly stepped forward, helping her to her feet.
"I don't know why you insist on these soft sofas. They're very bad for the back."
"Tick, tock. Tick, tock," Lois said under her breath.
The look Clark sent her way told her that he was thinking the same thing. Still, he continued to deal with Mrs. Danielle as if he had all the time in the world.
"So what can I do for you?" Clark asked again when he had Mrs. Danielle safely on her feet.
"We're having a tenants' meeting tonight," Mrs. Danielle said. "Mr. Bode is at it again."
"What did he do?"
"He didn't fix Mrs. Stephenson's water for a whole week! Imagine being without water for a whole week? I don't know what's becoming of this world. In my day, people took pride in their job. Anyway, that's why we need you there. You always have such a nice way with words." She patted Clark's cheek.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Danielle. But I can't tonight."
Mrs. Danielle shot Lois a look that clearly said it was all Lois' fault. Or… it was almost as if she didn't approve of Lois even being there at all. It wasn't exactly personal. It was more as if Mrs. Danielle didn't think that any nice young woman should be alone in a man's apartment — especially after dark.
"I don't believe you've met Lois," Clark said, walking over and taking Lois' hand.
The look of disapproval Mrs. Danielle gave their entwined hands confirmed Lois' previous impressions. She seemed quite disturbed at this public display of affection — as if such things should be reserved for behind closed doors. Although, since she didn't seem to approve of Lois being in Clark's apartment in the first place, it was hard to see how they could hold hands behind closed doors either.
Lois wondered what Mrs. Danielle would think if she knew that sometimes she and Clark had even been known to engage in heated kisses in the middle of the newsroom. The very sight would probably cause Mrs. Danielle to swoon. The image had Lois fighting back a laugh.
"We just got married today," Clark continued, breaking into Lois' humorous thoughts.
Mrs. Danielle's eyes instantly snapped up to take in the young couple with an entirely different look on her face. "Oh, and here I am interrupting," she said as she gathered up her sweater and headed towards the door. Her expression told Lois that Mrs. Danielle felt that she had seriously misinterpreted the situation and was now feeling bad for misjudging Lois. "It's your wedding night and you've had to entertain some demanding old lady," Mrs. Danielle said, obviously reproving herself.
"It's okay, Mrs. Danielle," Lois said, suddenly feeling bad for the woman. "There was no way you could know."
Mrs. Danielle stopped, looking Lois fully in the face before seeming to make a decision — as if she had suddenly been struck with a way to make up for her appalling behavior. She took Lois' arm and pulled her away from Clark, lowering her voice as she spoke to the younger woman.
"It will be all right, dear," she said earnestly to Lois. "You've got a fine young man there. Just trust him. You might even find that you enjoy it after a time."
Lois practically gagged as she had to choke back the unexpected laughter. She wasn't helped at all when she heard Clark, who had obviously overheard Mrs. Danielle's comment, turn a laugh into a cough.
"Thank you, Mrs. Danielle," she said, trying her best to sound appreciative even as tears from her repressed laughter began to cloud her vision. "I'll keep that in mind."
Mrs. Danielle patted her arm, giving her an understanding look, and headed up the steps. "And we understand that you can't be there tonight, Mr. Kent," she said as she stepped out of the apartment. She glanced at Lois one final time, obviously misinterpreting the tears in Lois' eyes, before looking back at Clark. "Be patient with her, Mr. Kent," she said before closing the door.
Both Lois and Clark burst into laughter as soon as Mrs. Danielle's silhouette disappeared from outside the door.
"What do you think our dear Mrs. Danielle would say if she knew you were the one with the experience?" Clark asked, pulling Lois to him.
"I think she'd want me to be patient with you," Lois responded, running her hands up his chest and onto his shoulders. "And I'd tell her…" She leaned in, giving him a kiss. "…I don't do patient."
Clark laughed as he pulled Lois fully into his arms, causing his breath to vibrate against the skin of her neck. She moaned. He pulled back slightly, looking into her eyes.
"Hello, wife," he said softly.
"No!" Clark exclaimed to the ceiling.
"Just ignore it," Lois said, moving in to nuzzle his neck.
"The answering machine will click on in a minute…"
"…and if we hear a message that we have to respond to…"
"Clark, what makes you think my place will be any better?"
"We tried that. We need a place with no phones or neighbors, where no one will think to find us."
Clark suddenly got a distant look on his face, a look Lois knew all too well.
Lois sighed. "Go," she said wearily even as she began to move towards the phone. "Hello?" she asked into it as she heard a swirl of wind behind her and knew that Elvis had, once again, left the building.
Idiot! Lois slammed down the phone in frustration. Implying that she preferred ignorance over knowledge just because she didn't want a subscription to the Metropolis Star! Idiot! As if she was going to get knowledge out of that rag! Please! If she needed something to line the bottom of a bird cage, she'd have ordered a subscription immediately.
And then he'd had the nerve to tell her that it was, at least, better than the Daily Planet! Yeah, right! If one had a brain the size of a pea! No words bigger than two syllables. Of course, considering the collective IQ of the Star's employees, including, of course, the idiot who had spoken to her, that really wasn't any wonder!
She glanced at her watch. Fifteen minutes! He'd taken fifteen minutes of her precious time!
She glanced around. Although… She sighed. Given the way this night was going, she might have a lot more than fifteen minutes to kill. She collapsed back into the cushions on the couch.
She'd been naive to think that if only they managed to get married the universe would leave them alone for at least one night.
But then the universe hadn't even seen fit to leave them alone during their wedding ceremony. Who knew what that nice couple had thought when Clark had left to attend to a call of nature in the middle of the ceremony? Still, in spite of his promise to her before the ceremony started, when she'd seen him shifting from foot to foot, knowing that he was being torn apart by his need to stay, to fulfill his promise to her, and his need to go help out at whatever emergency had captured his attention, she'd known that there was only one thing to do — to give him the excuse he needed to leave.
But he'd come back. That was one thing about Clark. He always came back.
That didn't necessarily mean it was always easy to let him go. Nor was it any easier for him to go. She knew that. Maybe that was why she instinctively knew that she had to be strong for both of them. Letting him go to be who he was — all of who he was.
Still… just one night. One night that could be all theirs.
"Is that too much to ask?" she asked the universe, only to glare in frustration at the ceiling when the universe refused to answer.
It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair. It was his wedding night and what was he doing? Since he'd darted out on Lois to save a child who had crawled onto the ledge outside her apartment only to have the bricks crumble beneath her, he'd been responding to call after call for Superman.
It happened that way sometimes. Still, this was his wedding night. As he swooped down to help emergency services clean up a spill from an overturned oil tanker on the highway, he suddenly stopped in mid-air.
No! No, this was one 'emergency' he was not going to respond to. There was no danger of imminent death. Maybe Superman could do this quicker than emergency services, but things were different now. He had a family. And Superman needed that family and all the love and support that came with it as much as any man did — maybe even more so. His thoughts flashed back to Lois holding him through the night when a rescue hadn't gone the way he wanted it to.
The world might need Superman, but Superman needed Lois Lane.
He knew Lois would never prevent him from being Superman. Her interruption of their wedding ceremony earlier had certainly proven that. Still, no marriage tended to itself. He knew from his parents that a good marriage took work, patience and a lot of tender, loving care.
Lois had raised these concerns shortly after he'd first asked her to marry him. He'd claimed that the world could take care of itself on occasion. She hadn't believed him. Okay, so maybe that wasn't the best example since their attempt to take some time just for them had almost got them both killed by Spencer Spencer.
But things were different now. He had a wife. And she, more than anything else, had to be his priority. Oh, he still had no problems helping out when he could even if there was no danger of impending death. But these types of things were why the city had emergency services. And Superman had other priorities tonight. In fact, maybe it was time for him to take a serious look at his priorities. So… how did he balance his new responsibilities as a husband with being Superman?
A slow smile made its way across his face as an idea suddenly came to him. Spencer Spencer. Why hadn't he thought of it before? Changing directions, he headed at full speed to the Daily Planet. There were a few things he needed to tend to before he could return to Lois. But then… His smile widened.
"Oh. Hi, Martha," Lois said, not quite able to prevent the disappointment she felt from coming through in her voice.
"I'm sorry. Is this a bad time?" Martha asked. Unlike Mrs. Danielle, Martha sounded almost hopeful.
Lois smiled. "No, unfortunately. I was just hoping it was Clark."
"Is something wrong?"
"No. No. I mean, not really. He's just out doing his Superman thing."
"And…?" Martha asked, obviously sensing something more behind the other woman's words.
"And…" Lois said hesitantly. This was really something she and Clark should be doing together — telling people. But she wanted so badly to tell someone. And besides, Lois justified to herself, Clark had told Mrs. Danielle. "…well, Clark and I sort of eloped tonight."
Lois quickly moved the phone away from her ear at the squeal of delight Martha gave in response.
"Oh, honey. That's great! Jonathan!"
"You're not disappointed?"
"We can always have a reception for you later. But with everything that has conspired to keep the two of you from getting married, I was beginning to doubt it would ever happen. Jonathan!"
Lois smiled. "That's how I felt, too. So I talked Clark into taking me to Las Vegas, only telling him when we arrived at the chapel what I wanted to do."
Martha laughed before yelling for her husband again.
"What is it?"
Jonathan's voice came on another line.
"Lois is on the line. Lois and Clark got married tonight," Martha said excitedly.
"Well, congratulations. It's about time you made an honest man out of him," Jonathan said with a chuckle, causing Lois' smile to widen.
"That's what I thought," Lois said.
"So where's that son of mine?" Jonathan asked. "I want to congratulate him, too."
"He's out being Superman," Martha said.
"On his wedding night?" Jonathan responded. "You should put your foot down, Lois."
Lois suddenly felt a lot better. "I can't prevent him from being who he is, Jonathan. I just hope who he is doesn't keep him out all night."
Lois spun around to see Clark standing in the entranceway to the bedroom, still wearing the Superman suit.
"He realized when he was out tonight that it's time for him to set some priorities," Clark continued.
Lois laughed at Martha's response. She had obviously overheard Clark's comment.
"Your parents," Lois whispered, handing the phone to Clark.
Clark raised the phone to his ear before speaking. "Sorry, Mom and Dad, but Lois and I have plans for the evening. We'll talk to you later."
With that he hung up the phone on his parents' laughter and swept his bride up in his arms before grabbing their luggage.
"Where are we going?" Lois asked on a moan when Clark flew them out of the apartment while nuzzling at her neck.
"You'll see," Clark said before disappearing from Metropolis in a gust of wind.
"Where are we?" Lois whispered. She wasn't entirely sure why she was whispering, but for some reason it seemed appropriate.
"Our island," Clark said, setting Lois down on the sand and spinning back into Clark.
"We have an island?" Lois asked, squinting in the darkness. She knew they were somewhere south. The warmth of the air around her told her that. The sounds of the waves lapping on the beach confirmed that they were on an island. And she knew they were in the same hemisphere due to the fact that it was still dark. But where exactly were they?
"We're in the Caribbean," Clark explained. "I found this little island quite some time ago. It's very picturesque."
"So you bought it?"
"Sorry, Lois. I can't actually afford an island, but then you should know. You know how much money I make. But, hey, since you make so much more than I do, maybe you could buy it."
"Uhhh…" Lois said knowingly as she fiddled with his tie. "The truth finally comes out. You married me for my money."
"You got me there. I married you for your money. Well… and you've got a really great body." He wiggled his eyebrows at her while illustrating the point by running his hands down her sides.
Lois giggled. "So what do you mean… our island?" she asked, forgetting about their silly conversation to get them back on track.
"Well, the thought didn't actually occur to me until tonight," he said, pulling her into his arms. "But… I did some research. This island doesn't show up on any map I've ever seen. And it's outside any country's national waters."
"So… it's our own private refuge."
Clark nodded. "For when we just need to get away." He leaned in, lightly touching his lips to her forehead. "There are no telephones." He leaned closer, running the tip of his tongue down her neck. She moaned. "No doors for insistent neighbors or well-meaning friends to knock on." He moved his head to the other side of hers, planting a series of light kiss on this side of her neck. He could feel her tremble in his arms. "And best of all, Superman can't hear another living soul." He moved in then for a full kiss.
"Mmm," Lois moaned into his mouth before breaking the kiss, even as her hands continued to wind their way through his hair. "That sounds great, Clark. Really. And I suspect that we'll make great use of it, but on our wedding night… I was kinda thinking 'big bed' rather than 'tent.'"
Clark smiled. "I thought you might say that so… Stay here."
Lois watched in fascination as Clark disappeared into the darkness. When he didn't return immediately, she bent down, removing her shoes, surprised to find that the sand was still warm. The shoes were quickly followed by the removal of her pantyhose. A moment later, she was burying her toes in the soft sand, enjoying the feel of it as it flowed around her feet.
"Do you remember Spencer Spencer?"
Lois heard Clark's voice coming from the darkness. "This isn't his island, is it?" Lois asked in horror.
"No," Clark asked. "But for some reason, I thought of him tonight and that's what caused me to remember this place."
"Mmm," Lois said, still enjoying the way the very finely ground sand, sun warmed, tickled her feet. She finally looked up in surprise when lights began to flick on, one by one. Small torches had been set up around the beach area.
And then, she followed with her eyes as the light from the torches revealed a path. Instinctively, she headed in that direction.
"Now, keep in mind," Clark's voice said from the darkness, "that this isn't finished. I didn't have much time."
With that warning, he lit the remaining lanterns, revealing a small structure, much like a square gazebo, complete with roof. On one side was a wall made entirely of logs with the exception of a stone fireplace built into the center. On the remaining three sides were wooden railings. Mosquito netting had been draped decorously over the exposed sides.
She pushed the netting aside and stepped inside, a smile lighting up her face. A large bed was set up, complete with overstuffed pillows and red satin sheets. There was also a table and chairs and a large spread of food. Meats. Breads. Cheeses. The widest selection of fresh fruits Lois thought she had ever seen. And a collection of various types of chocolate that had Lois' mouth watering. There was even an open bottle of wine breathing in a quickly melting bucket of ice. But still…
"Bathroom facilities?" Lois asked.
"Uhh… I figured that might be a deal breaker. Yes, I built a bathroom. And a shower. For the time being, I'll have to heat the water using my heat vision, but yes, you can have a hot shower. And…" He led her over to the side of the structure, pointing to another trail that led off into the darkness. "…about a hundred feet that way there is a natural hot spring."
"Our own private paradise," Lois whispered.
"It's not finished yet, but this was the best I could do in the limited time I had."
"It's wonderful, Clark," Lois said, surveying the accommodations. "As long as… You're sure there's no one around," she added, running a hand down his chest to play with the button on his trousers.
"How did you do all this?"
"Well…" He shrugged. "I guess I was motivated."
"And you're sure that the world will be okay without Superman?"
"The world will get along just fine. The next two weeks is about you and me." He leaned in to kiss her again.
"But…" Lois said, moving out of the way of his kiss. "…what about work?"
"Oh, right. I stopped by the Daily Planet and told Perry that we needed two weeks for our honeymoon."
"Mmm… you thought of everything," Lois said, pulling him in closer. "Now…" She nipped at his adam's apple. "…let me see if I can make you forget everything."
Clark laughed. "I have no doubt that you can," he said before meeting her lips even as his hands began to move over the silky material of her dress. This time he showed no restraint, left no area unexplored as his hands roamed over her body.
Lois Lane had had all sorts of images of what her wedding night would be like. A leisurely bath, followed by primping and dressing until such time as she was ready to make her grand entrance in a sexy nighty. But as they stood in the center of their isolated paradise, Clark's mouth on hers, Clark's arms around her, all those ideas suddenly vanished — the same way the idea of white doves being released at her wedding had vanished when Clark had made his plea less than a week before.
None of that mattered to her any longer.
All that mattered was that she was with Clark.
As his kisses and touches shot sparks of liquid fire into her belly, her hands came between them, fumbling with the buttons on his shirt until she had it open.
Suddenly, Clark stepped back.
"Just let me…" He spun, ridding himself of the Superman suit, his shirt hanging open, his tie having mysteriously vanished.
Lois smiled. "Good move, farmboy," she said, stepping closer so that she could run her hands slowly up his chest. Finding inspiration in the soft growl that rumbled in the back of his throat, she stepped closer, supplementing the movements of her hands with her lips.
"Lois," Clark groaned. Moving suddenly, he picked her up in his arms, laying her gently on the bed as his lips again found hers.
And this time, nothing stopped them as they took the final step towards becoming husband and wife. The desperate times were over.
ALTERNATE ENDING (In case you want to insert this story directly into the series in the place of 'Swear to God, This Time We're Not Kidding'):
"Lois," Clark groaned. Moving suddenly, he picked her up in his arms, laying her gently on the bed as his lips again found hers.
The unexpected sound of a man clearing his throat caused them to jump apart.
"Oh, hello," said a man wearing old-fashioned clothing and a bowler hat. "I hope I wasn't interrupting anything. Well, more to the point, I hope I was."
Lois and Clark looked at each other in confusion before Lois suddenly recognized their uninvited guest. "H.G.Wells," she groaned into the pillow.
TO BE CONTINUED in 'Soul Mates' (Season Four, Episode Four of the Series) <g>.