Submitted: August, 2007
Summary: Who knew that mail could be so interesting? (Set fairly early in season one.)
All characters and settings are the property of DC Comics, Warner Bros., and whoever else can legally lay claim to them. No copyright infringement is intended. This story was written purely for fun, not for profit, but the story is an original idea and belongs to me. A thank you to the writers of Lois & Clark, without them we wouldn't have this wonderful world to play in. Any scenes or dialogue from the series belong strictly to the original writers of the episodes borrowed from.
Thank you to Sue for her beta but also for challenging me to write this little bit of fun.
Clark had just finished helping out as Superman with a routine traffic accident and was about to lift off when he heard a familiar voice behind him.
"Hey, Supes! Wait!"
Clark hid a grimace as he turned in mid-air to face Murray Brown, Superman's newly appointed PR agent. "Yes, Murray, is there something I can do for you?"
"Yeah," Murray said, adjusting the loud, plaid bowtie he was wearing. "I'm sorry to keep bothering you like this, but maybe what I'm about to tell you will help with that."
"I already told you that you could handle my charity functions," Clark said, exasperated. This guy was starting to get on his nerves. But he had to admit that Murray had been very enthusiastic about helping Clark set up the 'Superman Foundation for Kids'; and Clark probably couldn't have done it without his help — not that Murray wasn't getting compensated for it. Was that what this was about? "We agreed on your contract and set everything up. What is it now?"
"Well, I don't exactly have any way to contact you when things come up," he complained.
"I told you to get in touch with Lois Lane or Clark Kent at the Daily Planet," Clark explained, trying to keep the irritation from his voice. It had been a long day. Lois had been exceptionally prickly all day and he had been glad for an excuse to get away from her. But now he just wanted to go home and put his feet up and relax.
"I know, I know. But I got to thinking about all the fans that you've got. And I figured that some of them would probably like to contact you too. In fact, I've already had several people ask me how they can get a message to you. Or if I can give it to you for them. So I set something up for you." He was grinning proudly from ear to ear and Clark suddenly felt a little ill. What had he done?
He groaned. "Do I really want to know?"
"Hey, Supes, I'm wounded," Murray protested with mock hurt in his voice. "I set you up with your own mailbox at the main post office here in Metropolis. People can send mail to Superman in care of the Metropolis post office, and the post office employees have been instructed to put it in the box that I've set up for you." He stuck his thumbs under the lapels of his tacky sports coat and puffed out his chest. "Whaddya think? All you have to do is check the box every so often. I thought it would be a great way for people to feel like they could thank you. Or just let you know how much you mean to them. And any paperwork I have for you, I can leave in the box too. Pretty smooth, huh?"
Clark gave him a small smile. Actually, it did sound like a pretty good idea. He could picture getting letters from kids, telling him how they wanted to be like Superman when they grew up. It could be a nice boost after a hard day of writing about the criminal element in Metropolis… and apprehending them… and on those days, like today, when Lois was particularly pointed with her criticisms. "Yeah, not bad, Murray. Thanks."
"Hey, that's what I'm here for, right? And hey, you may want to check it sooner than later. I set it up a few days ago; I bet you've already got some mail." Murray's cell phone began to ring and he grabbed it out of his coat pocket. He glanced at the number and then gave Clark an apologetic look. "Oh, sorry, Supes. It's Mel Gibson. I've been trying to land him for months. I really gotta take this. I'll see ya around, huh?"
"Sure." Clark grinned. Mel Gibson, huh? "Bye, Murray."
Clark couldn't stave off his curiosity about his new mailbox, and that's how he found himself walking through the front doors of the post office, his bright red cape flowing behind him as he made his way inside.
There was a line of people waiting to be served and Clark got in line behind a sweet-looking older woman. She turned around and her eyebrows shot up when she realized who was standing behind her.
"Superman?" She adjusted her glasses and squinted up at him. "Are you dropping something off?" she asked curiously.
"No, ma'am," he said, smiling back at her. "I'm picking something up."
"Oh, how nice. Well, please," she stepped aside and gestured for him to move past her. "You're in a bigger hurry than I am, I'm sure."
"Thank you, but that's really not necessary," he protested.
"Nonsense. I'll be offended if you don't let me help you. You came to my grandson's school not too long ago and spoke to his class. He was thrilled," she gushed.
"Oh, well, I'm glad he enjoyed it." He walked past her and nodded at her. "Thank you."
By this time, the woman had made such a fuss over him that everyone had begun to turn around in line to see what was going on. Now everyone was stepping back graciously and offering to let him go ahead of them. People were asking to shake his hand or 'Oooh, would you please sign my…' Several things were offered — everything from a boy's cast on his arm, to a woman's expensive Gucci purse, to… Clark did his best not to blush when a young teenage girl pulled down the neck of her t-shirt and asked him to sign her chest.
"Superman," a postal employee behind the counter called out.
Clark glanced up at the attractive middle-aged woman who had called his name and thanked her silently. "Yes?"
"If you'll please come to the counter, I'll get your mail for you and have you on your way." She tucked a long strand of blonde hair behind her ear and bent over to retrieve something behind the counter.
Superman nodded politely to everyone, excusing himself, and made his way up to the counter. "Thank you," he murmured.
"Sure. But I wouldn't mind an autograph for my nephew in thanks," she said, slipping him a piece of paper discreetly. "You give me that, and I'll make sure I get you in and out of here real quick any time I'm working."
Clark glanced down at the paper and realized it was a picture of a young boy, most likely her nephew. He quickly signed the back of the picture and handed it to her.
"Thanks." She disappeared for a couple of minutes and Clark could feel people staring at him. A couple of postal employees had come out to instruct people to stand back behind the line and were keeping the peace, but Clark would be glad to get out of there.
Soon the woman came back carrying a small box that contained a handful of letters. "Here you go, Superman. I'm sure when word gets around that you'll have a lot more than this. I'll look forward to seeing you again."
Clark thanked her and left the post office, taking to the sky just as soon as his feet hit the pavement outside the front doors.
'Dear Mr. Superman,
My names Henry James. I'm 12. I think your so cool. I use to hate it when my dad watched the news but now I watch too just so maybe I can see if you did somethin super that day. I think my little sister Susie's gotta crush on you. I caught her kissin my Superman action figure. Gross! Anyway just wanted to tell you your my hero and I think your great. I think it'd be awesome to get to meet you. Maybe my sister will hafta be rescued sometime. I'm kidding!
Clark was on his third letter and he thought his jaw was going to start hurting if he didn't stop smiling. One had been from an elderly woman who wanted to thank him for making the city a safer place. And the other letter had been from someone he had actually rescued a few weeks back.
He reached into the box and pulled out the next envelope. When he opened it to pull out the letter, a small object wrapped in tissue paper fell out. He picked it up from the floor and set it on the table before unfolding the letter.
'To my Super Hunk'
Super Hunk? Clark chuckled out loud and continued reading.
'I bet life as a super hero can get kind of lonely. I'd be real happy to do anything I could to cheer you up, and I do mean anything. You can call me Candy… or whatever you want, if you'll just call me.'
She had written a number down and pressed a pair of red lip prints to the paper. Then below that she had written:
'P.S. — I have red boots too.'
Wow. Clark sat there for a second, dumbfounded. Then he looked over at the tissue-wrapped item that had fallen out. He unwrapped it carefully and then promptly dropped it on the floor, recoiling from it as if it might bite him when he realized it was a picture of the woman in a red cowboy hat and red high-heeled boots… and nothing else.
He bent over and retrieved the picture, staring at it one last time before flipping it over and stuffing it into the envelope it had come from. Was it hot in here? He picked up another envelope from the box and fanned himself with it a few times.
Something smelled really good. Clark fanned the envelope in front of his nose and realized it was the piece of mail. It smelled like perfume.
Oh, no. Some woman had sprayed the letter with her perfume.
But the smell was intoxicating. In fact, it smelled really familiar. He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths of it. It surprised him a little bit when a liquid pool of heat flared inside him.
He knew this smell.
Clark opened his eyes and glanced down at the handwriting on the outside of the envelope. No… no it couldn't be, could it? There was no return address to tell him, so he opened the envelope and pulled out the letter.
As he carefully unfolded it, confirmation of his answer stared him in the face.
It was from Lois.
He was almost afraid to read it — like he felt guilty about reading her private thoughts to Superman. He shook his head and snorted — but he *was* Superman!
I'm not even sure how to start this letter. I've started it and then ripped it up and thrown it away more times than I'll admit to you. Every time I see you it seems like we're always in the middle of some crisis and I don't have time to talk to you or have a real conversation with you. And half the time when I am around you I can't work up the nerve to say much past 'hello', anyway, or maybe 'thanks for saving me'.
Since I am a writer for one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, I thought perhaps I could better express myself on paper. Or at least you'd think so. I'm not sure I'm doing too well so far. This letter may end up in the trash with the rest.
Okay, to the point. I'm writing this because I wanted to thank you for saving my life… more than once. It doesn't seem like enough just to say thank you. I wish there was something I could do for you to better express my gratitude, not just for saving my life but for everything you do. I know I'm just one woman in a city full of people, but I'd like to think we share something special. You told me once that I didn't need to bid for your attention—that I would always be special to you. I hope that's true.
Anyway, thank you. And if you ever need anything, someone just to talk to or share a cup of coffee with — I don't even know if you like coffee — please know that you can call on me… anytime.
P.S. — I think this is the one that might make it in the mail.'
Clark couldn't quit smiling and he re-read the letter again. If only Lois knew that she really was there for him every day. He drew strength from her without her even knowing it.
Suddenly Clark couldn't wait to see her the next morning and share a cup of coffee with her. In fact, why wait? Why not see her right now? Clark started to spin out of his boxer shorts and t-shirt and into his 'suit', but then he hesitated. He could go over to her apartment as Superman, hover outside her window until she saw him and let him in. He could bathe in the adoration that she would heap upon her hero, bask in her sweet bashfulness. But that wasn't really what he wanted.
Oh, he enjoyed her adulation of Superman, but that wasn't really what rejuvenated him and helped him to keep going. What he really loved was spending time with her as Clark — the times she would let her guard down, engage him in some playful banter, or just let him see her softer side.
But there was no way she'd feel comfortable with Clark dropping by her apartment just to shoot the breeze with her. And somehow he doubted she would be willing to come over to his apartment. Maybe she would some day, but not yet.
Clark was at a loss. All he knew was that he wanted to see her, tonight. He didn't want to wait until tomorrow. He picked up her letter again and something she had written towards the end caught his attention.
'I don't even know if you like coffee…'
Clark smiled and spun into his suit. Maybe it was time for him to show her that Superman was more than just a superhero whom she idolized. He started to set her letter back down and then stopped. A mischievous smile spread across his face and he tucked the letter away inside his suit and headed for his balcony.
He had been so ready to escape from Lois earlier, and now he didn't want to spend one more minute away from her. It was amazing how one little piece of mail could change your attitude.
Lois walked though her front door and threw her purse on the floor, not caring that it fell over on its side and dumped a few of its contents on the floor.
What a day. Could it possibly get any worse?
She noticed the little red blinking light on her answering machine that told her that she had a message. Probably Lucy again. Lucy had called her earlier that day, right when she was the busiest of course, and cried on Lois's shoulder about her latest boy troubles.
You would think, at twenty-two years old, that Lucy would be a little more mature, that she would make better decisions when it came to men. Lois had stood by for years, helplessly watching Lucy date one loser after another.
And then, if that hadn't made her day horrible enough, Clark had decided he was going to be in a bad mood today. No matter what they talked about, he seemed to provoke her. It was like he was spoiling for a fight.
Or maybe, in retrospect, it had just been her. After getting off the phone with Lucy, she had been in a pretty bad mood.
And there was Clark.
Chipper old Clark. Did he really have to be in such a good mood all the time?
Oh god. It was her, wasn't it? She had been irritated and she had taken it out on Clark. It didn't matter what he had done or what he had said; it had annoyed her. And she had made sure that he knew it had annoyed her.
Lois let out a sigh as she walked over to her fish tank and spilled a few flakes of food into the water. "Be glad you guys can't talk. People are either saying something stupid to you, or you're saying something stupid yourself." She bent down and took a closer look at the yellow Tang that had swum closer to the glass. "Yeah, you know what I mean, don't you? I'm always saying something stupid to you, aren't I?"
Just then, a light tapping caught her attention. It sounded like it was coming from her window. She turned around and gasped softly when she realized that Superman was hovering just outside.
She ran over to the window and opened it for him, watching in stunned disbelief as he floated inside and landed on her floor. He was holding a drink carrier with what appeared to be two cups of coffee in it.
Her eyes widened and she felt a little dizzy as she recalled the letter she had written to him a few days ago. Oh my god. Had he read it?
"Um, Superman. It's so, uh, good to see you," she stammered. "Is that coffee?"
"Yes, Lois, it is," he said, flashing her a smile. "Is this a bad time? You said I could call on you anytime and we could share a cup of coffee." He held one of the cups out to her.
"Um, yeah… I mean, no, it's not a bad time. Do you like coffee?" she jabbered, accepting the cup.
He grinned and nodded. "Yes, I do."
Wow. Who knew? Superman liked coffee. What else did he like? She realized that she knew very little about the 'Man of Steel' — what he liked or disliked, what food he ate, what kind of music he listened to. Well, maybe this was her chance to find out.
It was amazing how one little piece of mail could change your day.