By Kermtzu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted: July 2007
Summary: All work and no play makes for grouchy reporters. Everyone can use a day off once in a while!
Words in ** denote emphasis
Just a WAFFy story about the Daily Planet staff on a day off at the carnival. I'm working on a pretty grim L&C story right now, and need to lighten my mood!
My thanks to Janet for the edits and suggestions!
"C'mon, Kent! You throw like a girl! For a farm boy, you should be able to hit the broad side of a barn!"
Clark grinned and threw the softball.
Lois hit the water in the dunk tank for the second time. Clark hooted at her to climb out; he had a third ball to throw. He hadn't planned on dunking her all three times, but her trash talk had forced the issue. Plus, Lois in a wet one-piece swimsuit was worth seeing.
Lois sloshed back into her seat, unfazed. "You need new glasses, Kent! Bet you can't hit the target, you wuss!"
Lois was grinning as she climbed back into her seat. Her hair was plastered wetly to her neck, and Clark saw for perhaps the thousandth time a new side to Lois, an adorable new look. The first time he'd seen her as she barged into his interview with Perry White, he knew she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. Each new day, that knowledge was reaffirmed, and each new look melted his heart that much more.
"You just wait, Kent! You'll be in here soon, and I'll have my revenge!" Lois exclaimed, as she flicked water out over the top of the dunk tank in Clark's general direction. Clark just laughed as he moved aside for the next contestant. He wasn't surprised that the line to dunk Lois snaked around the nearby booths and out of sight.
Clark and Jimmy bought cotton candy and watched the festivities. The annual Daily Planet Family Day was at Lakeside Carnival this year, with proceeds going to the Coates orphanage. Lois and Clark were among the many volunteers to take a chance in the dunk tank; no one yet had managed to stay dry during their entire thirty-minute shift. Jimmy had been been soaked often but didn't mind; he'd managed to work out a date afterwards with a new intern who'd sent him in twice in her three attempts. It was a glorious Saturday afternoon, perfect for an outing.
"Hey, CK, nice aim! I missed on all three tosses, and I really wanted to see Lois take a fall," Jimmy said as he gestured toward Lois, who was climbing back into the seat. "You pegged her all three times!"
Clark laughed with Jimmy as Lois splashed in yet again, seconds after having retaken her seat. "I think she fired me up with her smart comments, Jimmy. Lois can't stand not being in charge, even when hovering above a hundred gallons of water."
"It's good to have her over water, CK — usually she's hovering over the jaws of death!"
Perry, acting as combination emcee and ringmaster, finished with the last contestants and Lois exited the tank. She'd been in the tank for fifty minutes due to her popularity; with each contestant paying five dollars for three pitches, the orphanage had made several hundred dollars during her turn alone.
"Look out, CK — here she comes, and she's soaking wet!"
Clark shifted his stance, as if he were planning on running, but an exuberant Lois would have none of that. She wrapped herself around Clark, her petite form still managing to wet the majority of his clothing. Jimmy just grinned, then yelped as Lois snagged him as well. "Laugh at me, will you, Jimmy? Here, let's have a hug, little brother!"
Lois turned back to Clark, an evil gleam in her eyes. "Your turn, partner, and enjoy yourself! Perry has given me the last shot at you, and I'm buying two sets of pitches. I hope you brought your water wings, farm boy!" She toweled off and pulled a long T-shirt over her head to dry off.
Clark shook his wet hands in an exaggerated manner as he headed for the tank. He wouldn't have minded holding a wet Lois for a while longer, say the rest of the afternoon, but a new line was forming for his turn in the tank. He wondered idly why the line was composed of so many of his female co-workers.
Clark pulled off his T-shirt and shrugged off his sweats, revealing his swimsuit. Lois couldn't stifle a gasp as she saw his body clad only in a pair of black swim trunks. She liked him in black, but this was a new level of enjoyment.
She looked around guiltily to see if anyone had noticed her slip, but all she saw were widened female eyes as Clark settled himself into the seat. Five-dollar bills were waved in the air as Pete rolled up a wheelbarrow full of softballs.
Clark grinned throughout as the contestants took their turns. He took his falls quite gracefully, and was enjoying himself immensely. He'd worried that people would wonder why he kept his glasses on during his turn, but no one said a word.
Lois wasn't looking at his face. Chances were slim that any of the ladies present were.
Lois fidgeted as the contestants threw their pitches, laughing as Clark hit the water, and sighing when they missed. Clark acted like a little kid, screwing up his face in mock fright, wiggling his eyebrows at contestants and entertaining the crowd with a new exclamation each time he took a fall. Lois was enjoying the whole process, but when would it be her turn? Surely he'd been in there for half an hour already!
She looked at her watch (fortunately, a waterproof one) and found that it had been forty-five minutes. He'd be a prune if he stayed in much longer! Besides, she was itching for some payback. He'd dunked her *three* times!
After an hour of Clark's performance and pratfalls, Perry stopped selling tickets and gestured to Lois for her turn. She skipped up to the throw line. Getting into the spirit of the afternoon's outing, she put on a surprisingly good imitation of a baseball pitcher, with a scratch, mock tobacco spitting and nods or head shakes at signals from an imaginary catcher.
Clark had been waiting impatiently himself for this portion of his turn in the tank. Lois was the most focused and determined person he'd ever known, and her cutthroat antics at competition were legendary. Time for some trash talk of his own.
"Lois, is your throwing as chumpy as your ability to stay dry? I'm thinking about coming out now — there's no danger I'll be hitting the water!"
Lois narrowed her eyes and threw a perfect pitch toward the target.
Clark had been ready, and floated upward slightly as the ball sped toward the bullseye. The release of his weight from the seat shifted the location of the target just before the ball arrived, and it missed by a clean inch. Cheating was something Clark normally detested, especially if his abilities were involved, but this was different. This was Lois in rare form, and he'd be able to enjoy weeks' worth of teasing from this!
Lois was stunned. She'd been practicing pitching for weeks for just this event, and had honed her already considerable talent. How could she have missed? She took an extra breath and threw her second ball.
Clark still hadn't been dunked. Lois was incredulous, Clark was splitting a seam, and the Planet staffers were holding in guffaws; no one wanted to attract a patented Lois Lane glare.
"Pete, did you give me some doctored softballs?"
Pete grinned as he held out his hands. "Nope, Lois. Same ones everyone else has used!"
"Well, I think these are defective. Take this one back, and give me a new one," Lois pouted.
Clark couldn't resist. This was too much fun. "Whatsamatta, Lois? How about a side bet on your last pitch — I stay dry, and the next byline is 'Kent and Lane'?"
"In your dreams, Kent! You are going down, buster!"
Clark threw up his hands in fright. "I'm in trouble now, huh? Hey, Perry! Get ready to switch the order of names tomorrow at the Planet, okay?"
Perry wagged his finger at Clark. "Son, did you hit hornet nests with a baseball bat when you were a kid?"
Lois smirked at Clark. "Thanks, Perry. Watch my partner take a drink!" With that, she lightly tossed the softball back to Pete, who caught it in surprise as she ran toward the dunk tank. With a squeal of delight, she jumped up and slapped the target, plunging Clark into a well-deserved bath.
Clark jumped up from the water and quickly scrambled out of the tank. Lois laughed and ran as the Planet staff cheered, but Clark quickly caught up to her and swung her up into his arms. "Gotcha, Lois!"
Lois put on a little girl voice. "Clark, you're not going to dump me in that cold, cold water, are you?"
With all sincerity, Clark responded, "Of course not, Lois — I'm going to dump you off the pier!" With that, he strode through the carnival toward the dock. Lois wiggled and squiggled (without much real effort) as the Planet staffers followed in an impromptu parade; all gave a raucous hurrah as Clark threw Lois out into the water, followed by jumping in himself in a spectacular cannonball.
Lois and Clark held hands as they wandered through the attractions at the carnival. Neither could say who had initiated it, nor did either care. It was right, it was natural and as normal as breathing. Clark tried and failed to win a stuffed little sister bear for Clarkie, Lois' bear from the Smallville Corn Festival. Lois managed to win a fishbowl containing a goldfish at the ring toss, then had to find a place to keep it until they could head back to her apartment and add the fish to her aquarium.
They laughed at and with each other and their friends and co-workers throughout the afternoon, with soda, roasted peanuts, corndogs and cotton candy snacks. Clark tapped the tip of Lois' nose with his cotton candy, leaving a sticky tuft, then daringly wet his finger and wiped off the speck of sweetness to his mouth.
Lois, tellingly, gave no protest.
She did frown slightly though, when across the fairground she saw Jimmy paying a happy Eduardo a large sum of money. The two were surrounded by the entire Planet staff, and Jimmy was holding a small day planner. Pointing excitedly at a page, Jimmy exclaimed, "Okay, we've got hand holding! The kiss is next, *now taking bets*!"
What was that all about? Oh, well. Clark was ready for another go on the WhirlaWorld ride, and so was she. Was it her fault that the spinning sent her so close to her partner?
Each whirl spun the world into a crazy splash of color, and she slid over to her partner due to inertia. She saw Martha Kent whisper into her husband's ear as she spun by. Jonathan was beaming, from the quick glimpse Lois caught as their car whipped by. Lois wasn't certain how she did it, but she tried and managed to snuggle even closer to Clark. It was great that his parents were there for the gathering. Another quick spin gave her a look at Martha resting her head on her husband's sturdy frame. The two of them were just smiling and watching their son. Lois felt a part of this family, just as she was a member of the Planet's family.
Lois had to hold Clark steady after the ride — he claimed his equilibrium was off, so she managed somehow to hold him still, certain that he'd go spinning off otherwise. There would be no other reason to hold him so closely, right?
Jimmy ran by with at least a dozen water balloons, ducking just a tad too slowly as one clobbered him and burst on his back. Lucy Lane and Angela followed him, launching others and missing, but almost hitting Alice White.
"Hey, hey! Watch it, you kids!" growled Perry.
"Oh, loosen up, Perry," laughed Alice, as she pulled out a water balloon seemingly from nowhere and tossed it in a graceful arc at Clark, who had his back turned.
Lois watched it rise, and closed her eyes. Here it came!
So much for being dry! Clark looked back in surprise, and nodded knowingly as an innocent-looking Alice pointed to Jimmy, Angela and Lucy, who were still lobbing water missiles.
"Lois, I think those three have just declared war! Let's grab some ammo from Diane at her booth and load up on balloons!" Dragging Lois to the booth, Clark was ready to go. There was no one in the world he'd rather have at his side in a water balloon fight than his spitfire partner.
As evening came on, still holding hands, Lois and Clark walked by the men's room, where Ralph's mother was waiting outside for Ralph to finish. Apparently, he'd had one too many corndogs and turns on the WhirlaWorld. Knowing Ralph, Lois figured he'd ask for a refund on his food 'rental'. Applegate ran by, chasing and being chased by his seven children. Who would think it, wondered Lois. The guy was more meek and mild-mannered than Clark, for goodness' sake!
Her goldfish sloshed in its bowl as the happy but weary couple said their goodbyes to co-workers and their families. Katherine from accounting had made it late to the event, despite her twins being due in two months. She absolutely glowed, but her husband looked ready to melt. Katherine was one of Lois' favorites in accounting; she'd found a mistake in an expense voucher in Lois' favor, and Lois had used the unexpected cash to stock up on Double Fudge Crunch Bars. She'd had to shove at the lower drawer of her desk to fit it back inside.
Lois waved good night to Perry and Alice as they left with Jack's brother Denny. Jack had volunteered to stay back at the Planet during the day. The young man was turning into a valuable asset to the Planet, much to Lois' surprise. Clark's belief in everyone's inherent goodness had really paid off with Jack.
On the walk to the parking lot, Lois rolled her eyes as she saw Cat, who was flirting with a carnival ride operator. Hadn't the woman had enough rides for the day?
The drive back to Lois' apartment in the Jeep was passed with pleasant laughter and recollections of the day. It was over much too soon for either Clark or Lois. The goldfish put into its new home (Clark claimed it was a girl, although how he knew that, Lois was uncertain), the two partners prepared to say goodnight.
"I had a great time today, Lois. It's nice to spend some time with our co-workers without Perry constantly barking orders to break things up."
Lois smiled. Oh, that smile. "Me too, Clark. I hate to see the day end," she replied softly.
"Who says things have to end? We can go out again, Lois."
"What, for lunch Monday? We do that every day."
Clark looked down shyly. "Not for lunch, Lois, and not with the staff. You. Me. On a date."
Lois let out a little squeak.
"I'd like to spend some time together, just us, if that's good with you?"
Another squeak. "Good? It would be fantastic! It would be great! It would be wonderful! … Um… yeah, that sounds, you know, okay. I don't think I have anything going on…"
Clark smiled. She was frazzled. Lois didn't frazzle easily. "When would you like to go, Lois?"
"Oh, I don't think I have *anything* going on at *any* time that's more important than us going out, Clark. How about tomorrow night?"
"Tomorrow night it is, Lois. I'll be here at 7:00."
They hugged goodnight and Lois entered her apartment. A heartfelt "Yes!" came from two locations — one behind Lois' door, and another 50,000 feet in the air. Tomorrow couldn't arrive soon enough for either.