By Zoomway (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: It was an easy mistake. Lois told Clark to copy the file NOVELL off her computer, and he grabbed NOVEL. Now that he has Lois' fabled romance novel on his screen, can he resist the temptation to read it?
Lois quickly scooped objects into her purse and grabbed up her note pad and tape recorder. "I'll probably be back in a couple of hours."
"Please be careful."
"Clark," Lois sighed, "It's a women's prison. It's not like I'll be facing a lot of pent up testosterone."
Clark smiled. "I don't know, Lois. Have you seen some of those inmates?"
Lois laughed, despite not really wanting to. "I'll avoid the bearded ladies." She placed a hand on his chest. "Meanwhile, you get busy on the NoVell takeover bid. You can use my file. It has all my notes."
Lois patted his chest. "Thanks," she said, and dashed to the elevator.
Clark sighed, and walked over to Lois' computer. He found the file, and then copied it onto a disk and took it back to his desk. He wasn't sure why he didn't just work at Lois' computer, but he and Lois both had very distinct ways of doing things, so it was easier to give in to habit than to get grilled later for 'tampering' with some setting or other. He inserted the disk, and absently thought about how Lois' touch always lingered. This angered him sometimes. Why couldn't he just relegate Lois to friendship, and get on with his life? Mayson Drake was certainly interested, and she made it plain enough that she didn't just want friendship.
So why was it so hard to let go? "Am I a masochist?" he wondered. Was it the fact that Lois was the first woman who ever overwhelmed him, and that no woman since meeting her had quite the same impact? What did it really matter that Mayson didn't turn him to Jello inside every time he caught a glimpse of her? What did it really matter that a mere touch from Lois Lane lingered, but even a kiss from Mayson Drake did not? Clark shook his head. He would never get his work done pondering the unfathomable. The file opened, and NOVEL appeared on his screen. The word 'untitled' in parenthesis beneath it. "Oops," Clark grimaced. He had left off the additional L in NoVell, and had inadvertently tapped into Lois' fabled, and perpetually unfinished, romance novel. Though he knew he should just remove the disk, and go retrieve the proper file, he decided to read...for a while. He felt the need for a diversion, rather than a project requiring concentration. He began to read, and before long, he was having trouble not laughing aloud. "Oh, Lois," he whispered. "Don't quit your day job."
"Randolf!" Jessica trembled. "You cannot be alone with me here in my boudoir! Get back to the stable!"
"But my heart needs a stable too, Jessica," the burly hired man intoned. Jessica's eyes flew to the sinewy muscles of his arms. The light striking the grimy perspiration made them glisten like freshly baked crullers.
That was it. Clark laughed so loud that several staff members glanced in his direction. "Sorry," he shrugged, and cleared his throat. He could not completely wipe the grin from his face. The image of poor Jessica's flying eyes being stuck to the glazed donut arms of Randolf, the hired man was more than Clark could take. He cleared his throat again and continued reading. He had almost reached the cliched bodice ripping scene when the novel abruptly stopped. He scrolled down a bit further, and found the title VISITOR.
It did not take much reading for Clark to realize who the 'visitor' was.
Luisa clung tightly to the visitor's neck. She was like a child in his arms. And like a child, the visitor had reinstated her belief in magic and wonder. These elements, during her young life had been slowly chipped away, but the visitor brought them back. He made up for a lot of things. He made up for a father who had wanted a son. He made up for men who had been disloyal. He even made up for her boss partnering her with a rookie from Tanktown, Kansas.
The newsroom glanced at the angry Mr. Kent, but Clark did not notice them this time. He continued to read. The story was actually a mirror to just about all the events Lois and Superman had experienced together. Though in Lois' story, she and Superman had started to kiss each other hello and good-bye, and the good-bye kisses had begun to linger.
"This isn't dancing," the visitor smiled.
The visitor shook his head. "This is," he said, and the two of them levitated off the floor.
Clark blushed, recalling this incident. For some reason he had wanted to please Lois as Superman that night. Was it because she had graciously stepped aside for Mayson at the dance earlier that evening? Was it that Mayson disliked Superman so much that having someone adore Superman as much as Lois did, felt reassuring? Or was it just that even dancing a bit more intimately with Mayson than he had danced with Lois, seemed less fulfilling? Clark sighed, he still did not have an answer to that one. He continued reading. At least her prose skills had improved over her previous effort.
As the music neared the end, the visitor dipped her deeply, and while having her in this position, began to kiss her neck.
"Oh, brother," Clark whispered. "That definitely didn't happen!" As the scene became more erotic, and the prose more purple, Clark shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Oh, come on, Lois," he sighed. "I don't think I'd be able to breath, much less levitate if we did that!" Just as Clark was about to shut the story down, finding himself jealous and envious of his fictional counterpart, the story shifted.
"What's wrong, Luisa? Why did you stop me?"
"I...I'm sorry. I just feel confused?"
"Confused?" The visitor asked, and slowly descended, holding Luisa close to his body. "Are you confused by my feelings for you?"
"No," she said, breaking from his arms, and walking to the sofa. "I'm confused by 'my' feelings." She sat down. "I've been thinking a lot about Mark lately."
Clark straightened in his chair. "Mark! That's me," he whispered, and began to read with renewed interest. Clark kept reading, not noticing how time was slipping away until Perry appeared at his desk talking about work, deadlines, the usual. Clark reluctantly pulled away from the fantasy. He hadn't even noticed that Lois had returned from her interview. He watched her fix a cup of coffee, and then nodded with conviction. He left his chair, and approached her. He'd never felt so nervous or determined in his life.
Jimmy strolled through the newsroom shutting off monitors and computers as instructed. He looked at Lois' screen. It still displayed the story of Lex Luthor's rebirth and capture. He wondered how hard it must have been for Lois to write the story. She had almost married Lex less than a year ago, but something changed her mind, though to his knowledge she had never told anyone what that 'something' was. He shut down her machine, and moved to Clark's desk. He bumped the mouse making the screen saver vanish. Jimmy looked at the last line of some story:
Luisa put her arms around the neck of her handsome date and looked deeply into his eyes. "Mark, what are you waiting for?"