By Michele Savage (Bizarra@aol.com)
Summary: Lori Lemaris, an old flame from Clark's past — who he thought had died — turns up in Metropolis.
This story is set in the L&C continuity…but the character of Lori Lemaris is from the comics. Yes she did date Clark in college. I'm just tweaking continuity a little here…not much though..:-)
BTW…I think I'm psychic…(Even if I can't spell it..) A week after I wrote the first draft of this story I got my new Previews which is what I order my comics out of…In December, in the comics, Lori Lemaris will be back for what looks like just a two issue run…I can't wait as she is one of my favorite characters…Those of you who know me well, should not be surprised by this..:-)
As always … send comments…;-)
The name has changed, but the writer is still the same! ;-)
Lois and Clark were walking down the street in mid afternoon on the way back to the Daily Planet after lunch. Clark's arm was around Lois' waist and they were talking about the story they were currently working on.
A new marine park was being built on Hobbs Harbor and there were several people protesting. Signs were all over town proclaiming that Ocean World was inhumane. They had just walked past a sign that had a caricature of a whale in a pool two sizes too small. Lois rolled her eyes as she pointed it out.
"That's ridiculous, Clark! I mean if they are going to protest a park like that they should protest zoos. Talk about inhumane! Have you been to the Metrozoo lately? Those poor lions have…" Lois' babbling dwindled as she realized Clark was no longer listening to her.
He was listening to something else. A heartbeat. One that was very familiar to him; one that he thought had been silenced forever. Clark looked around for the owner of the heart, not really letting himself believe what he was hearing.
Then he saw her…
He turned to Lois realizing he'd forgotten she was there.
"I'm sorry, Lois. Could you go on back to the Planet without me?"
"Clark, you don't have to make excuses anymore." She told him, putting a hand on his arm.
Clark caressed her cheek and kissed her warmly. "This isn't about Superman. It's just … I see someone I went to college with. Could you tell Perry I'll be in later?"
"Is everything OK? You seem, I don't know, distracted." Lois asked, concern in her eyes.
"It's fine, It's just someone I haven't seen in a long time." He assured her, at least he hoped he had.
"Sure, okay. I'll see you later."
As she turned to go, Clark grabbed her arm, stopping her. "Lois," she looked up at him as he spoke, "I love you."
"I love you too, Clark." Lois responded, confusion evident in her voice. "I'll, uh … see you later." Patting his arm, she turned and started walking toward the Planet building.
Clark watched her walk away for a short time, then turned back to where he'd just seen a ghost from his past. She still sat, in her wheelchair, behind the line of protesters, listening to one of them speak.
He stood for a moment, looking at her. He hadn't seen her in nearly seven years. She was as beautiful now as she was then. Her delicate features were facing the speaker and her long brown hair was swaying gently in the afternoon breeze.
Suddenly sensing she was being watched, she turned. Seeing Clark, she frowned and started to leave.
Needing to talk to her Clark ran across the street after her. "Wait!"
Lori Lemaris watched her former lover run after her. Seeing him again after all those years brought the old feelings back to the surface. She had known he was in Metropolis, but had foolishly hoped she wouldn't see him. Knowing he could easily catch up with her, Lori gave up trying to get away.
"Lori!" He knelt to her level and swept her into his arms, careful not to dislodge the blanket she had draped over her lap.
"You're alive! But … how?" I was told you'd died."
Lori hugged Clark back, fighting tears as the anguish of her decision renewed itself. Pushing the emotions away, She sat back, dislodging his embrace.
"I think it's better if you keep thinking I'm dead and forget you saw me today." She wheeled backwards and around him.
He stood, his own hurt suddenly fresh. "Lori …"
"Please, Clark! For both of us, just forget you saw me. I'll leave tonight. We're going nowhere with this protest anyway." She rolled away from him as she talked.
Clark ran in front of her, effectively cutting off her exit. "Things change. We're both older. I just want to talk."
She bowed her head, took a deep breath and answered quietly, "Alright."
"Not here. Can we meet later for dinner?"
How 'bout Hobbs Pier. There is a good restaurant near the end." Clark suggested.
She nodded her head in approval.
"I'll pick you up around six?"
Lori smiled at this comment. "You have a -car-?" She asked teasingly.
Clark smiled back, glad her humor hadn't changed. "-No-, but I do have -other- modes of transportation."
"I remember." She said, leaning forward and taking his hand. "I've seen a lot about you in the news. You're making quite … another name for yourself. I'm proud of you, Clark. You are doing a wonderful thing." She squeezed his hand and let it drop.
"I do it because I can. Because …"
"You can't stand watching bad things happen to good people. That's how I feel about those animals." Lori motioned to the billboard advertising Ocean World.
"You always did have a soft spot for marine animals."
Lori leaned toward Clark whispering in a mockingly conspiratorial voice, "That's because I -am- one."
Clark looked at her his face registering sarcastic shock, "No! Next you're gonna tell me you used to date a guy that could fly."
Lori laughed at this comment, and playfully smacked him on the arm.
"Hah!" Clark grinned widely, "Made you laugh."
"Yeah … you did. You always could." Lori said, suddenly serious.
"Whoa, look at the time! I better get to work or my editor will have my head on a platter." Clark looked at his watch, realizing he'd better get back.
"Go on. I'll meet you at the restaurant." At his look, she added, "I promise, I'll be there. Six sharp."
"OK, I'll see you then." Clark took her hand, squeezing lightly. "It's good to see you again."
Clark sat at his desk typing his lead for the article. He was trying to concentrate on what he was doing, but it wasn't working. He looked at Lois, who was leaning back in her chair, legs propped on her desk. She was holding a phone and obviously on hold. He smiled and shook his head.
While watching his fiancee try to balance a pencil between her nose and upper lip, he thought of Lori and how different yet alike they were. Lois would go after a story with a vengeance. Lori would free an entire marine park full of fish and dolphins. Lois was a warm caring woman. Lori was a warm caring … mermaid.
Clark rubbed his eyes and thought, not for the first time that afternoon, that life can sure throw curve balls.
After holding for fifteen minutes Lois gave in and hung up the phone. She looked at Clark and noticed he seemed a tad distracted. Walking to his desk, she sat on the corner. "Penny for your thoughts."
"What? Oh, I'm not finished yet with this lead. Give me a few…"
"Take all the time you need, but that's not why I came over here." Lois walked around his back, and rubbed his shoulders. "Geez, Clark, relax. Your muscles are all in knots back here."
"Lois … can we go into the conference room? I want to talk to you about someone." Clark said, hesitation in his voice.
"Sure." She followed him into the room and shut the door behind her. "Is this about the woman I saw you with this afternoon?"
Clark smiled, "I thought you left a little easily."
She shrugged, "This is me."
Clark pulled a chair out from under the table and motioned for Lois to sit. He sat in another chair, pulled out to face her.
"The woman was someone I … cared about long ago. I met her when I went to UMet." Clark held Lois' hands as he talked. "She's the only -other- woman I've ever really loved." Clark laughed softly, and stood up. "You think -I- kept a secret from you." He walked to the window and looked out.
"She knew, knows, about me. I didn't keep my, uh, abilities too under wraps. I mean, those closest to me knew." Clark turned to face Lois who was listening intently.
Lois sat quietly, realizing that he needed to talk about this. She knew instinctively that she was the first person he'd ever told this. Lois refocussed her attention to Clark as he continued talking.
"She was always in a wheelchair. I thought she was paralyzed. At least that's what she told me."
Clark walked back to the chair and sat again. He leaned up, elbows on his legs; his hands under his chin. "One night, she told me she was transferring to another school. Afraid of losing her … I proposed impulsively." Clark fiddled with his hands, feeling awkward discussing this with Lois.
"She … she told me she couldn't marry me. That 'our love could never be'. Then she removed the blanket she always had wrapped around her legs. Instead of legs, she had a tail … a fish …like tail. She was a mermaid."
Lois's brows knit in confusion, "A mermaid? But I thought .
"They do exist. Near Atlantis. At least, that's where Lori is from. I don't know much about her family …"
Lois nodded 'okay' and signaled for him to finish what he was saying.
"She disappeared that night. A few days later, I got word from a friend of ours that a woman fitting her description was killed by a fisherman off the pacific coast."
Clark stood again, walking to the window. "I thought she was dead. Until I saw her in town."
Lois walked up behind Clark and put her arms around him. "Are you okay?"
Clark turned in her embrace, kissing her. "I love you, Lois."
"I love you, too, Clark."
"I'm going to meet her for dinner tonight after work. I just need to talk to her."
"I understand." Lois said, calmly.
"You do?" Clark asked, surprised.
"This is important to you. And I trust you implicitly. Go on, have dinner with her. Maybe you'll find the answers you need."
Clark kissed Lois again, "Thank you."
"For understanding, for being you."
Dinner passed uneventfully. Lori and Clark reminisced about school and what they had done after graduation. They laughed, remembering good times they had shared. The check came and Clark paid it, leaving the waitress a generous tip.
They both were slow to leave, knowing the coming talk would be painful. They went outside and Clark pointed out a secluded spot at the end of the pier.
"Let's walk over there and we can talk." Clark walked behind her, grabbing the handles of Lori's wheelchair and rolled her toward the abandoned park bench. Impulsively he pulled the chair onto it's back wheels making a "vroom" sound. Lori let out a surprised yelp, but laughed, grateful for the humor.
"Clark Kent, put me down." Lori yelled in mock anger between laughter.
He did. The front wheels hit the pavement with a jaw rattling thud. "Your wish is my command, madam."
"Thank you." Lori deadpanned.
They reached the park bench and Clark sat. Lori watched the water ebbing and flowing with a calming "whoosh".
Lori looked at Clark who had asked the question quietly. "Boy, you just …" Clark looked at her and the pain in his eyes told Lori now was not the time to joke. "Why? Well … in all honesty … it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"You could find no other way of saying 'No Clark, I can't marry you, I'm a mermaid' than just disappearing?" Clark asked, his hurt and anger suddenly fresh."
Lori looked at him silently, finding no way to answer his question.
"My god, Lori, I told you about me."
"Oh, so this is 'I told you my secret, now you tell me yours'? That's a little childish."
Clark stood abruptly, running his hand through his black hair.
Lori took a deep breath, fiddled with her hands and continued quietly. "Clark think about it. Neither -one- of us is human. Our differences were just, too much."
Clark turned almost glaring at her.
"I was afraid to tell you. I didn't know what you would think. Your … Kryptonian heritage isn't visually obvious. Mine," she said, lifting her lap blanket, "is written all over my legs, or my lack of them."
Clark sat back down, facing her. "We could have worked something out."
"Clark, what kind of relationship could we have had? I loved you. I wanted to show you. God," Lori threw her head back, not fighting the tears, "I wanted to make love to you." Lori looked at Clark, brushing her hand across his cheek. "But I couldn't. We couldn't."
Clark took her hand and held it to his mouth, his own tears beginning to start. "Why did you lead me to believe you were dead?"
"I didn't want you to look for me. I knew with your damn powers, you would have easily found me. I didn't want to be found."
She opened her hand against his mouth, shushing him. Leaning closer to him, she said quietly, "I love … loved you so much. I had to let you go. We would have been miserable. This was the only way I knew at the time. Thinking back, I -should- have done it differently. But it's done. We have to go on. You -have- gone on.
Clark looked her in the eyes, knowing she was right. He thought of Lois, and how much he loved her.
"You looked good together. Happy."
Clark looked at her confused.
"I saw you walking with her this afternoon. She was going on about something. I couldn't hear her, but her arms were waving a mile a minute." Lori smiled as Clark did.
"Yeah, that's Lois Lane. She's my partner at work."
"And also your partner in life?"
Clark nodded as he remembered the night Lois finally accepted his proposal.
"She's the person you were sent to this planet for, Clark. Not me. I was just part of your growing experiences. Just as you were a part of mine."
"I was lost for a while without you." Clark said quietly.
Clark leaned into her suddenly and captured her lips in a passionate kiss. She kissed him back, knowing he was letting her go, finally.
Lori broke off the kiss and leaned against his forehead. "Go to her. Love her. And always be happy." She rolled her chair to the edge of the pier. "Goodbye, Clark." She dove into the water, leaving Clark alone in the night with an empty wheelchair.
"Goodbye, Lori." Clark whispered across the water.
He stood, watching the water for a time. Then rising quickly into the sky, he dove upward into the inky blackness. Then suddenly he angled into an earthward dive, heading for home. And Lois.