By Laura S <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted June 2007
Summary: Malicious gossip leaves Lois angry and seething for revenge at the Daily Planet's 200th anniversary banquet. She's determined to show them that she could be just as feminine and sexy as the next girl. Her target? The unassuming Clark Kent.
This story takes place early to mid season 2, probably before TOGOM.
"But is it true about her being such a cold fish? With that stud of a partner, I can't imagine it."
Lois Lane halted from where she was about to unlock the restroom stall door. They weren't talking about her, right? They weren't. Besides, one could hardly call Clark a *stud*.
<Mmmm… I seem to remember something about the way that towel hung on those hips…>
Lois savagely ignored her sanctimonious inner voice and went to slide the lock open before the other voice made her freeze again.
"It was water cooler gossip when that French guy was here, but Ralph told me it was true too."
The other voice gave a snort of disbelief at this.
"You don't honestly expect me to believe Lois Lane slept with Ralph, do you? I wasn't born yesterday. She'd absolutely annihilate him."
The voice sounded defensive. "What's wrong with Ralph?! Besides, if she hasn't slept with Kent then it's probably that he isn't interested. Or maybe she just didn't try."
"I think every other girl in the office has tried. Or at least seriously considered trying. She doesn't know how lucky she is. And all that gorgeous partner wasted on her… The day Lois Lane does a thing requiring an ounce of femininity is the day I'll trade my byline and become Ralph's love slave."
The other girl giggled and slapped her friend on the arm. "*I* think Ralph's kind of cute, myself."
"Fine, the day Lois Lane pulls the femininity bit, *you* can become Ralph's love slave."
The two went giggling out of the restroom, leaving a stock still Lois Lane in their wake.
Lois weakly pushed the door open and stumbled out, glancing around the now empty bathroom. She gratefully leaned against the support of the sink and felt a hot tear slip down her cheek.
She wasn't… She didn't… Just because she didn't throw herself at any male in the building because he had a decent body didn't make her a … cold fish.
At that word, *Claude's* word for her, another tear slid down her cheek. She leaned her forehead against the mirror and willed herself to quit crying. It was idiotic. Besides, *she* was the one who was here with her "stud" of a partner, not those two jerks.
The thought of her partner made her feel a little better, though not much. Clark would probably turn twenty different shades of red if he had heard what the girls had been saying about him. Plus he would have found some way to make it so that everything those girls said would just melt away. Clark was just outside, in the banquet hall, so she could go find him, but she wouldn't repeat what they had said.
It was the Daily Planet's 200th anniversary party and Perry had made it very clear that the only excuses he would accept for not going were either a new sighting of the King or death. And the second one was negotiable. Lois sighed and stared at herself in the mirror. Her tears had left a track of mascara running messily down one cheek and she reached for a tissue and her makeup case. She and Clark had come together, though just as friends. He was a good friend, her best friend, and he was simply the best company she knew. Lois felt more comfortable around Clark Kent than she did with just about anyone else. There was just something so right about being with him, falling asleep curled up on his couch while he flipped from ball game to ball game, verbally sparring with him. He was one of the last good guys on earth.
And that was why her blood boiled at the thought of the other women in the office lusting after him. One didn't *lust* after Clark! He was too naive! He was a farmboy. His experience had probably been limited to the parking lot behind the Dairy Freeze. These predatory city girls would eat him alive and break his heart.
<And you just have Clark's best interests at hear. Right, Lois?>
Sending a scathing glare to her inner conscience, it shrugged its shoulder and remained. Apparently it was immune to her glowering.
Fine. So Clark Kent was kind of attractive. In a corn fed, Greek god body kind of way. As if anyone liked that sort of thing. But he wasn't that naive; she could give him that at least.
Her makeup finally reapplied, Lois looked at her reflection critically, no longer feeling completely hurt. Rather than sad she was feeling…well, pretty angry actually. She didn't even know those women and they were speaking about her. And RALPH. If Ralph had been spreading lies around the office that she had slept with him, she'd go and make it so he'd never be able to father children. And she was too feminine! Just look at her!
Lois stomped away from the mirror and took in her little black dress. It was innocuous looking enough, but when she turned suddenly, a nearly invisible slit along the side suddenly flared and revealed a good portion of her long legs.
Clark had liked it anyway. She couldn't keep the smug smile off her face when she thought of his expression when he had first seen the slit. He had covered it up quickly, but not fast enough. She could see it. He wanted her.
He had wanted "cold fish" and "frigid" Lois Lane. In fact, she knew for a fact Clark wanted her. How many times had she caught him looking at her with that certain ember burning behind those brown eyes? And that declaration of love before she had accepted Lex Luthor's proposal?
Okay, she still wasn't sure where that one left her. After all, he had taken it back. But something about the earnest way he had looked at her when he spoke… Anyway. Clark wanted her. She was sure of it. But there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that he'd act on it. A twinge of guilt coiled in her stomach as she thought of all the times she had shot him down. So that one actually might have been her fault.
But that was about to change. No one got away with insulting her so blatantly. She was going to prove that she could make use of her feminine wiles in the best way possible. After double checking her makeup to ensure all traces of tears were gone, she squared her shoulders and headed for the door.
Clark Kent, look out.
Her partner was currently leaning back in his chair, staring at his glass of wine like it held the secret of the universe. He looked like a man completely and utterly bored out of his mind.
Mmm… but that suit did fit him pretty darn well, if she did say so herself. A fierce sense of pride stirred in her. This was her partner. Hers. Not Suzy Q's and whoever her friend was. That 6 foot man stretched out like that belonged to her.
Well, sort of.
She considered making her way over to him, but stopped instead. To go over to him would be too easy. She was setting those girls up for a show and they were going to get it. So instead of approaching her partner, she went to speak with Jimmy. He was standing about fifteen feet away from Clark, watching the dance floor dispassionately.
"Hey Jimmy," she touched his shoulder and he turned.
"Lois! You look great." Lois raised her eyebrow. "I mean really, really hot." Noticing his error immediately Jimmy hastened to cover up. "I mean you look very… um… pretty!"
Jimmy cringed, clearly expecting to be bludgeoned with the closest blunt instrument Lois could find.
Lois grinned inwardly and her voice took on a slow drawl. "Why Jimmy, that's the best compliment I've received all night. Feel like taking a whirl on the dance floor?"
Leading a stumbling Jimmy by the hand, both of them fell in step with the other couples to the fast waltz. Jimmy was a hopeless dancer, and Lois took pity on him. With a big grin she whispered something in his ear and he smiled and nodded. They stopped trying to mimic the stiff, formal dancing of the couples around them and just danced.
Lois caught Clark's eye over Jimmy's wildly bobbing head and bit her lip to keep from laughing as she saw Clark nearly doubled over. Okay, she and Jimmy did make a pretty funny couple. Especially because Jimmy wouldn't have known rhythm if it jumped right up and bit him.
She focused back on Jimmy, but kept Clark in the corner of her eye, silently observing him. Was he… yes he was! He was checking her out! Ignoring Jimmy for the time being, she waited until his leisurely stare returned to her face.
Where she was staring directly at him.
She could see him jump in surprise all the way from the dance floor and she had to turn around so he couldn't see her giggling. She could, she supposed, acknowledge that Clark wasn't as naive as she had taken to calling him, but he still retained that Smallville charm. She was pretty sure Martha would have boxed his ears if she had seen him looking at her like that.
And the thing was, a couple of months ago, *she* would have been ready to box his ears for it. Indeed, if it had been anyone but Clark giving her such a lascivious stare, she'd still be inclined to. But having Clark observe her so heatedly when he didn't think she was aware of it… well… it made her a little fluttery.
The song ended and Jimmy gave her another big smile, thanking her and bounding off. Lois rolled her eyes heavenward. That boy was like an overgrown puppy. She was now alone and her gaze connected once again with Clark's.
For a second the heat was back in his eyes; she could see it, even from across the room. But as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone, covered by a warm veil of friendliness.
She made her way over to him, smiling confidently at a few people who acknowledged her. After a little covert spying, Lois had narrowed down her suspects regarding who was talking about her to four different women. There were the two women from features who she didn't know gossiping in one corner and two from op-ed standing next to the wall near the rest room.
She turned her gaze back to him.
"Hi, Lois, where have you been?"
"Around." Lois sidled up a little closer to him and slid her hand up his jacket. Clark tensed, obviously surprised and she grinned inwardly. "You have a spot…" her fingers continued their languid trail across his chest and finally to his shoulder. "Here." She casually flicked at the invisible speck and stepped away. She hadn't realized how close she had actually gotten until the sensation of his slightly uneven breathing on her neck disappeared. It was nice to know she had an effect on him. She appraised him slightly. Okay, enough of that. Time to embarrass the heck out of him.
She hadn't set out with the intent deliberation of taking out her frustration and desire for revenge on Clark. He had rather been a mere instrument in a bigger plan, she mused, but there was something about the way he had stared at her on the dance floor. The way that suggested that her Farmboy might not be quite as innocent as he appeared.
The thought was dangerous, but enticing, and despite the warning signs tumbling slightly around in her mind, she threw caution to the wind.
"So you were looking a little hot earlier," she said innocently.
Clark nearly choked on his sip of wine. "Excuse me?"
"Warm. It's warm in here. I said you looked hot."
"Oh. Yes. Warm. I suppose it is. I mean I was. I mean yes, I probably was," Clark stumbled over his words, still slightly perturbed by Lois' odd behavior.
"And while I was dancing… I caught you looking at me."
At this, Clark did blush a few different shades. "I… No. No, I wasn't." He thought about this and then switched tactics. "I was just watching Jimmy dance. He's pretty funny." He gave her an easy grin, as if to shake her off the trail. <Good attempt, Kent. You're not in the clear yet.>
"Oh, so you had that look in your eyes because of *Jimmy*?"
Clark's grin faded. "W-what look?"
"That… slow appraisal thing you did," Lois paused for emphasis. "You looked…very…enthralled. That was Jimmy you were admiring?"
"Lois! No! I wasn't…I would never… Jimmy?!"
Her unflappable partner was flustered to the extreme. Oh, Clark. It wasn't like her to be so blatant. Or outrageous. Half of her wondered when exactly this charade brought her any sort of vindication. She had to admit, so far, to a casual observer, she had just made Clark Kent turn several shades of maroon. That was hardly anything to indicate that she was a sexual dynamo. But yet, she couldn't remember having more fun in a long time. There was something safe about teasing Clark, and she could let loose with him far more easily than with anyone else.
"I'm just kidding, Clark," Lois had decided to take pity on him. "Anyway, want to show Jimmy how it's done?" She extended her hand and he took it in an instant, giving her one of those mega watt Kent grins.
"Sure. I was getting pretty bored just sitting there anyway."
<Oh Clark. In a few minutes, bored won't even be in your vocabulary.>
They had danced together countless times, as it was an activity they both enjoyed. After the first couple of times, Lois had finally grudgingly admitted that Clark wasn't a total waste of space on the dance floor and the compliment had been acknowledged with a wide smile. Now, they joined the masses on the dance floor.
Dancing with Jimmy was a fun diversion meant to make her laugh. Dancing with Clark was something else entirely.
Clark rested his hand gently on her hip and took her hand, just like he always did. He kept their bodies a respectful distance away, just like he always did. Lois allowed this for a minute and they swayed to the music, talking softly.
Finally Lois had decided to implement her plan. Taking a step forward, she tightened her grip on his shoulder to prevent him from moving backwards. They continued dancing, though now they were pressed tightly against each other.
Clark didn't miss a beat, but Lois noticed that he was a little flushed.
"Something wrong, Clark?" She asked sweetly, trailing her hand from his shoulder to the nape of his neck.
Stroking the feather light hair, she leaned closer and removed her hand from his. After he gave her a questioning glance, Lois merely ignored it and slipped both arms around his neck. He tightened his grip on her waist in response, and Lois found that their easy conversation died as they both became cognizant of exactly how close they were. Lois closed her eyes and let out a shaky breath, her lips barely brushing his shoulder as she turned to rest her head.
In the back of her mind she dimly recalled there being some purpose for dancing so close, but for the life of her she couldn't remember what it was. Smelling her partner's neck was taking about 96 percent of her conscious thought. He wasn't wearing any sharp and cloying cologne. Instead, she merely inhaled the scent of freshly laundered shirt and the faint tang of plain soap. Her heart began beating a rapid tattoo in her chest. She felt rather than heard Clark exhale an unsteady breath beside her.
When the song finally finished, neither one of them moved. Finally, Lois took a step backward, running her hands across his arms until they separated. He smiled at her, an unashamed, full grin nearly splitting his face.
How was she supposed to resist that smile? How annoying that her partner was blessed with such a happy grin… That was obviously the entire crux of the matter. She was certain that it was just that smile that caused the little flutter in her stomach and pounding in her heart. It was just her reaction to an attractive man.
When her gaze moved past Clark's beam, it locked onto the twin glares of the women lounging near the restroom. Okay, she had her culprits. Now what to do… she wasn't sure dancing close was going to cut it. Clark was saying something to her, but she only tuned into the last part.
Nodding vaguely her assent, Clark hurried off to get her something and she watched him go with a little smile on her face. Nobody could have known it but Lois, but dancing that closely to her had made him a little flustered.
Probably explained his quick exit.
The happy grin just couldn't slide off her face.
When he returned a few minutes later with a glass of water for her, she took it gratefully. Over the rim of the glass, Lois secretly observed her partner. He was sipping from his own glass, still looking slightly flushed. A sudden wave of tenderness struck her as he ran a hand distractedly through his hair. She probably shouldn't have blatantly turned so much while they had been walking to the dance floor. His eyes had been riveted to that slit in her dress, and then she had practically eaten him when they were dancing.
With a pang she realized that she hadn't been pretending. Dancing that close to him had been wonderful. And the fact that she knew he must have been confused but was too polite…or shy…to ask, merely endeared him further to her.
But as her gaze caught the stares of the two women again, competition blazed through her once more. She grabbed his tie and pulled him down toward her. She hated this nagging sense of doubt, the unbidden snatches of their conversation she'd suddenly remembered at the most inopportune times. Like now. She was determined to exorcise those demons.
"Clark, remember when we were on that stakeout in the Honeymooners suite?" She said softly, well aware that she was being observed.
Blinking slightly, Clark nodded his head in a yes. Lois kept her hand gripped on his tie and pulled him closer. "Well, you're going to have to trust me, Farmboy. Let's give them something to talk about."
With that, she pulled his head down to hers and kissed him. His lips were slack for a moment, as he stood in shock, but soon enough his libido caught up with him. He responded enthusiastically, the crowds around them fading in light of the rather spectacular nature of the kiss.
When they pulled away to the catcalls and cheers of the Daily Planet staff, Lois and Clark ducked their heads in embarrassment and pleasure.
"I…You—" Clark tried to speak coherently, but he found this more difficult than he remembered. That kiss had fogged his mind up pretty effectively.
"You. Car. Now." Lois grabbed his hand and fairly pulled him toward the exit. As they passed the women, however, Lois turned to Clark and asked him to wait. He nodded mutely, still a little hazy from their kiss.
Spotting Ralph, Lois took his arm and led him toward the two girls. She glanced back at Clark to see him giving her a bewildered stare. She cut off Ralph's exclamations with a deadly glare and then shoved him in front of the taller girl whose voice she recognized as the one betting against her feminine wiles.
"Here you are. I believe there was something regarding a love slave?"
Ralph perked up at this, but the girls ignored him. The expressions on their faces spoke volumes as it was.
"Now, you two have fun… My date… well…" she shrugged her shoulders as if long suffering. "He just can't seem to keep his hands off me."
Giving them a cutesy wave and a piranha smile, Lois turned on her heel and quickly returned to Clark's side.
Lois cut him off. "Don't ask. I'll explain later. Just move it, Kent."
Finally out of the stuffy banquet hall, Lois and Clark both breathed respective sighs of relief to be out in the cool night air.
"Not that I didn't enjoy the show," Clark said softly, raising a hand to caress her cheek. "But please tell me what that was all about."
Now that they were alone, and without the protection of the crowds, Lois suddenly felt shy. She turned away slightly, but he caught her shoulder and gently twisted her to face him.
"What is it, Lois?" He said softly. "What's got you so upset? I know you. That person in there… well, she was crazy and wonderful, and don't get me wrong, I thought she was pretty spectacular, but she wasn't *you*."
Clark's words sent her feelings and emotions tumbling. The biting remarks from earlier were back in full force, resounding painfully in her mind. Clark was right. She had acted childishly and foolishly. To kiss him like that was so… staged. And then that innuendo about Clark to those two women. She didn't even know them for heavens sake. Why couldn't she have kept her mouth shut?
She knew the answer before she even finished the question. Because she was Lois Lane and she never let things go. And those women had struck a chord deep within her. They had inadvertently touched on all the fears and insecurities Claude had implanted, all those years ago. Why hadn't they healed yet? She sniffled and was gently roused from her internal musings by Clark's soft murmur of her name.
"Lois, please tell me what happened," Clark was nearly pleading now, alarmed at the rapid turn of emotion he could see flitting across her face.
Letting out a sob that had been building all night, Lois threw her arms around him in the quiet parking lot and buried her head in his shoulder. There, in that safe refuge, she grounded out most the story into the lapels of Clark's jacket. Parts of it were unintelligible, but Clark was able to understand the gist of what had happened.
It merely made him hug her tighter to his chest, wishing that he would have been able to somehow protect her from the unnecessary insults. He rested his chin gently atop her soft hair and resisted the urge to plant a tiny kiss there. Malicious gossip like that made his blood boil and for it to be directed at Lois marched him precariously close to the edge of his temper.
"Lois Lane," he breathed softly into her ear. He was going out on a limb here, possibly risking everything he had worked so hard to build. It was dangerous, but yet, how could he not? The timing had never seemed more right to him. "I think you're beautiful."
Lois snorted slightly into his jacket and his lips curved into a smile as he gently kissed the tender spot below her ear and continued in a sweet whisper. "I think you're passionate. I think my day isn't complete until I come to work and see you. I think your spirit and drive is incredible."
Lois pulled her tear stained face away from his jacket and her watery gaze met his equally intense, unwavering one.
"Lois," He ran a hand through her hair. "Lois, I think I love you."
Lois stared at him, not quite believing. "How could you? I'm… difficult."
"Beguiling," he countered.
"Intense," she concluded, continuing to berate herself.
"Lois." The gentle force of his words stopped her. "This isn't how I imagined doing this. I'm not even sure you're ready to hear it. But I had to let you know. When we kiss… how can you believe them?"
"Oh, Clark," she murmured softly. Teary eyed again, Lois let her head fall onto his chest with a dull thud. They stayed there for a moment, letting the cool breeze temper their rampant emotions. Finally Clark shifted slightly and Lois pulled back. He looked slightly uncomfortable.
"Lois… how… I know this whole thing was rather unorthodox, but could you please…" he was suddenly short of breath. "Please let me know how you feel about me."
Clark's words hung in the air as their gazes locked.
Overcome with a sudden fierce emotion, Lois threw her arms back around him. "Not just yet, Clark… I can't… We can't lose this, don't you see that? We could lose everything."
Clark tightened his grip on her waist and closed his eyes in a mix of disappointment and understanding. Then, in a whisper so soft she barely heard it, he breathed in her ear.
"Just you wait, Lois. I think you'll find that I am a very patient man."
He released their lovers hug and kissed her forehead.
"Now, we're getting out of this place. The appetizers they call dinner in there couldn't satisfy a tick. Pizza or Chinese and my place or yours?"
With that, he looped a friendly arm around her shoulder and gently guided her toward the exit, his heart still exposed and vulnerable in his chest, their friendship rocked but steady.
Fade back into season 2 continuity.
I just want to thank Kate, who helped me immensely with the ending. She told me, in no uncertain terms, what to do as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. :) So, thanks.