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Thread: Bed of Roses

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    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Bed of Roses

    Author: phoenixnz
    Title: Bed of Roses
    Pairing: Clark/Lois (past Clana)
    Characters: Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lucy Lane, Sam Lane, Nell Potter
    Rating: PG
    Genre: Movie adaptation, Romance, H/C, Smallville AU

    Summary: One cold night Clark is walking the streets of Metropolis when he sees a woman crying through the window of her apartment.

    Notes: Another of my plot bunnies that wouldn't go away. Again, I don't know how frequently I'll be updating, but I will try to take turns with my other stories. This is very much our Smallville Clark, but with a far different life.

    Chapter One

    “I don’t suppose you have any irises? I do so love them.”

    Clark looked at his favourite customer. Lyn Kinsey was in the shop almost every other day buying flowers. He supposed the elderly widow was lonely. She had lost her husband four years ago and her children had all grown up and moved far away.

    “I’m sorry, Mrs Kinsey, I’m fresh out. I could try and get some for you tomorrow though,” he answered, leaning on the counter holding back his strength just enough so the glass wouldn’t crack.

    “Oh, you are a dear boy. It’s such a shame you’re on your own. Such a handsome boy like you I’m sure would be a good match for any girl.”

    “Thanks, Mrs Kinsey, but I’m really not looking right now.”

    “Oh goodness,” she smiled. “Of course. Pay me no mind.” She picked up her shopping bag and turned to go. “Are you sure you have no irises? I do so love them.”

    “Maybe next time,” he smiled. “Good night, Mrs Kinsey. Be careful out there. It’s a little icy on the pavement. I wouldn’t want you to fall and break an ankle.”

    Clark waited until the elderly lady had gone, then began packing things away prior to closing the shop for the night. It had been a quiet day, but it usually was in winter. Still, it was going to be Valentine’s Day soon enough and more customers would come in looking to please their spouses or girlfriends.

    He sighed. His mother had once told him that while the holiday was a special day for some, she believed that the rest of the year was equally important in a loving relationship. His father had lived up to that the entire time his parents had been married. Growing up, Clark had often seen his parents cuddling together on the couch in front of the television. His father would often come in with a single flower, or something else he had found for Martha Kent to treasure.

    Martha often said she didn’t need a holiday to offer proof that Jonathan loved her. It was there in the little things he did for her, like taking out the garbage, or rubbing her feet at the end of a long and tiring day working on the farm, even when he was exhausted himself.

    Clark sighed again as he finished closing for the night and turned the sign on the door around to ‘closed’, pulling the security grille down to protect the front of the shop. Not that thieves would be interested in stealing from a florist. Especially this time of year when business was very slow.

    Lifting his collar against the icy wind – not that he needed to, since he didn’t really feel the cold – Clark headed out through the dark evening, bowing his head against the elements as snow began to fall. As he reached the end of the street, he heard the unmistakable sounds of screeching brakes and the crash of metal colliding with metal. Glancing around him, Clark took off in the direction of the sounds.

    Seconds later, he arrived at the scene of the crash. A car had clearly skidded on ice through the intersection, crashing into the driver’s side of another car which had been waiting for the lights to change. The car had been pushed by the momentum into a lamp post and the driver was trapped. Without hesitation, Clark pushed the two cars apart, pulling the door off its hinges so the young woman was free. He glanced at her to check she was otherwise unhurt and apart from a small cut on her forehead, she appeared to be fine. Then he took off into the night.

    It had all occurred within two seconds.

    The car accident wasn’t the only incident that night and Clark was kept busy running all over the city. He finally made it back to his tiny apartment in the heart of Suicide Slums around midnight. Clark grabbed enough ingredients to make himself a sandwich and ate it watching the news on television, keeping the volume low so as not to disturb his neighbours.

    “And in our local feature tonight, we look at Metropolis’ mysterious Guardian. Just who is this guardian angel the entire city is talking about? Here’s Linda Lake with more.”


    A blonde woman appeared on the screen, holding tightly to the edges of a wool coat with one hand and a microphone in the other, looking as if she was freezing as she spoke to the camera.

    “Is he man or myth? Who is the man they call Metropolis’ Guardian and why does he hide in the shadows? Tonight we have heard of at least a dozen incidents in which this ‘Guardian’ has come to the rescue. But no one seems to know who he is. In fact, no one has ever seen his face. He seems to arrive quickly and is gone in seconds.”


    Clark’s phone rang and he picked it up before he could get any complaints from the next apartment.

    “Clark, what are you doing?”

    “What do you mean, what am I doing, Chloe?”

    “You know, Lana ...”

    “Yes, I know,” he interrupted. “She always said if they found out what I was they would put me in a lab and dissect me. I know that, Chloe.”

    “Well, shouldn’t you be ...”

    “Lana’s not here, Chloe. Look, I appreciate the concern, but I need to do something.”

    “What happened was not your fault, Clark. You have to believe that.”

    “You don’t know that. I could have ...”

    “Could have what? Clark, there was nothing you could have done to save them. Trust me on this. Going out there and trying to save the rest of the world isn’t going to change what happened either.”

    “And I can’t just sit around and do nothing, Chloe. I hear them. Calling out for someone to help them.”

    “Okay,” she answered softly. “Just ... promise me you’ll be careful, okay? I mean it, Clarkbar. I love you and I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

    “I promise,” he told his best friend.

    He cleaned up quickly and went to bed, falling asleep quickly. The dream started as it always did. Lana had been getting ready to go out, taking their baby daughter with her.

    “Lana,” he began.

    “Not now, Clark. I’m going to be late.”

    “But we need to talk about this.”

    “Clark, there’s nothing to talk about. I told you I don’t like the idea of you going out and using your powers. You know what will happen.”

    “I know. They’ll put me in a lab and experiment on me,” he replied, repeating the phrase he’d heard so many times.

    Lana canted her head, her brown-eyed gaze searching. She laid a soft hand on his cheek and smiled sadly.

    “Honey, I know this is hard, but you have to let it go. For me. For Laura.”

    Clark nodded, looking down at his baby daughter. The seven-month-old had eyes just like her mother’s, but the rest of her was all him. Black hair that tended toward unruly, long limbs and a dimpled smile.

    She held out her chubby arms and Clark lifted her, breathing in her baby scent as he hugged her.

    “We have to go,” Lana said softly. “I love you.”

    “I love you,” he told her.

    “I’ll see you tonight.”

    He watched as Lana took the baby, carrying her out to the car, then turned back into the house with a sigh, shrugging his shoulders. They had a small organic vegetable crop and he needed to make sure the crops were protected from the frost. Winter had come early this year and the last thing they needed was to lose it all to frostbite.

    He’d been working in the garden for an hour when his hearing picked up the sound of a car coming up the lane. He paused and looked up, shielding his eyes from the bright sunlight, frowning as he realised the car belonged to Sheriff Adams.

    Clark put down his tools and walked over to the yard where the sheriff was waiting. He could see her grim expression.

    “Mr Kent,” she said.

    “Sheriff?”

    She seemed to be steeling herself for something and Clark looked at her.

    “I hate this,” she whispered. Clark managed to catch it with his super-hearing, an ability that had developed a couple of years earlier. She looked up at him.

    “Mr Kent, I don’t like bringing bad news, but ...”

    “What is it?” he said, his heart pounding.

    “There was an accident. A truck ... on the highway ... skidded on some black ice. I’m so sorry. Your wife and daughter ... they’re gone, son.”

    Clark fell to his knees, his mouth open in a silent scream. Then he woke up.

    He sat up suddenly in his bed, his hands shaking as he combed his fingers through his hair. He looked over to the nightstand. The LED on the clock told him it was 2.25 am. He’d barely been asleep an hour.

    Clark rolled over, balling up his pillow and laying his head back down to try to get back to sleep. Falling asleep was never the problem. Staying asleep, however ...

    He once again began to dream, this time instead of the sheriff coming to visit, his super-hearing picked up the sound of the crash from roughly forty miles away. Dropping his tools, Clark ran. As he sped toward the scene, everything he passed moved slowly, as if he was observing a movie where the frames were running at one per second instead of twenty-four, or whatever it was. Even the exhaust from cars he passed on the highway seemed to be almost frozen, as if it had been hit by the cold air and instantly turned to ice.

    As he made it to the scene, he saw his wife in the front seat of the car. Her face was covered in blood, the entire driver’s side of the car stoved in as if it had been hit by a battering ram, which probably wasn’t too far from the truth. The truck which had hit it side-on had bounced off, the driver throwing up on the side of the road. Lana was dead, her body broken. As Clark pulled the door off, he sank to his knees, screaming. The baby had been crushed in her car seat. She’d been too young to have developed invulnerability yet.

    When Clark woke again, he got up, knowing there was no way he would ever get back to sleep again after the dream. He was just too shaken.

    As he went to the kitchen to make himself a hot coffee, he glanced at the picture on the sideboard. It had been one taken of Lana and the baby when Laura had been just three weeks old. Lana had insisted on naming her after her mother and Clark hadn’t had the heart to suggest something else, even though the last thing he’d wanted was yet another reminder of the devastation he’d caused when he’d fallen to Earth.

    It hadn’t happened exactly like the dream. Lana and the baby had still been killed instantly in the crash, but it hadn’t been winter. It had been the height of summer. They’d been fighting over his abilities and Lana hadn’t been going into town. She had been leaving him. Maybe not for good, she’d told him, but just for a while. She needed her space.

    The truck driver had been drunk and should never have been behind the wheel. When Clark had learned that the man had already had several DUIs he was furious. It was not the first time the man had driven drunk but it was the first time he had killed someone.

    He spent the rest of the night staring out into the darkness, waiting for the sun to come up.

    Nell was already in the shop when he arrived at eight, half an hour before they opened. She smiled at him, handing him a take-out cup of steaming hot chocolate. Her smile quickly turned into a frown.

    “You didn’t sleep again, did you?” she asked. “Are you having those dreams again?”

    He sighed and nodded.

    “Sweetie, you need to sleep.”

    “Every time I close my eyes I keep thinking about what I could have done differently.”

    Nell hugged him. “Oh honey, I know, but Lana wouldn’t want you to live like this. Why don’t you take some time off, maybe go down to the house in Smallville.”

    “No,” he said, shaking his head. “Too many memories.”

    “Sweetie, it’s been three years. You have to let it go.”

    “I can’t, Nell. It’s my fault they’re dead. Just like ... just like Mom and Dad.”

    “Now, you listen to me, Clark Kent,” Nell said fiercely. “You were ten years old when your parents died. What happened to them was an accident. An accident! Not even you, with all your abilities, could change what happened. Baby, you can’t see into the future, and you can’t change the past, no matter how much you want to.”

    Clark sat in the back office, sipping his hot chocolate while he checked over the paperwork, preparing for his work day. Nell worked in front, sweeping the floor and making sure everything was in its place. She finished just in time for their first customer.

    It was quiet for sales. There were still two weeks to go to Valentines Day and Nell predicted they would have a boom in sales for the two days prior to the holiday and sales would drop off once again until late Spring.

    Clark signed for a delivery and noted Mrs Kinsey’s promised irises were among the other blooms. As he began to arrange them, he heard the old lady’s voice and went out to greet her.

    “Hello, Mrs Kinsey. Look what I have for you.”

    The elderly lady’s face lit up in a brilliant smile.

    “Oh, you are a dear, sweet boy.”

    Nell laughed. “Clark’s hardly a boy,” she chuckled, smiling fondly at him.

    “Oh, but to me, he is a boy,” Mrs Kinsey replied. “You remind me so much of my dear departed Arthur. He was such a gentleman. Do you know, he brought me irises the first time he came by the house asking my father for permission to court me. Oh, he was so handsome, my Arthur.”

    “You must miss him,” Clark said as he wrapped up the flowers.

    “I do,” she smiled, her eyes reflecting her sadness. “He was my dearest friend, and my husband. Are you married, Clark?”

    The old lady seemed to have a touch of dementia, since she already knew that Clark was alone. Clark felt a twinge of sympathy for the older woman.

    “No, ma’am," he explained patiently. "My wife died three years ago.”

    “She was my niece, Lana,” Nell interjected softly. “I adopted her when her parents were killed and took Clark in when he was ten. They were high school sweethearts.”

    “Forgive me for being a nosy old woman but how did ...”

    “It was a car crash,” Clark answered, his voice barely above a whisper. Still, the old lady heard him as she nodded sympathetically.

    “Never give up, my dear. Your Lana would not want you to be alone. No one should be alone.”

    “That’s what I keep telling him,” Nell smiled.

    “You have a kind heart and a gentle soul,” Mrs Kinsey told him. “One day, you’ll see. You will meet the young lady who will be like my Arthur was for me.”

    Clark watched her leave with a smile.

    “She’s right, you know,” Nell said quietly. “No one should be alone.”

    “You are,” he pointed out.

    Nell had dated his adoptive father in high school and had admitted she was more than a little put-out when he’d fallen for Martha Clark. She continued to think of Martha as an interloper because Clark’s mother had been from Metropolis. She wasn’t from Smallville and a small-town such as the one Clark had grown up in tended to look after its own. Still, once she had adopted Lana, Nell had become completely focused on raising her sister’s child after Laura and Louis Lang had been killed in the meteor shower in ’89.

    Living so close to the Kent Farm meant that Lana and Clark played together as children, although Clark’s parents had been a little wary, especially since Clark was so much stronger than other children. Yet, he had seemed to have an innate sense of his own ability and realised very early on how fragile human children were, and had always been careful.

    Nell had immediately offered to take Clark in after the accident which had killed his parents. He had a grandfather who lived in Metropolis, but the old man, who hadn’t known Clark existed, hadn’t wanted to take in a ten year old boy. Clark’s grandmother had died five years earlier and the old man had retired from his law practice. Nell eventually told him that William Clark hadn’t been happy when his daughter had married a small-town farmer, thinking Jonathan had been beneath her.

    Of course, there might have been another reason why the man didn’t want Clark. When they’d been going over the farm, preparing it for sale, Clark had found his spaceship in the storm cellar. There had been a package which his parents had left, along with their wills, in a safety deposit box at the bank telling Clark the whole story of how they had found him in the cornfield the day of the meteor shower.

    Having an alien for a grandson was probably just too much for the old man to take.

    Clark supposed he was fairly lucky as kids went. He could have been placed in the foster system, bounced around from foster home to foster home. At least with Nell he could stay in Smallville.

    That changed four years later when a deadly tornado struck the town. Nell met an insurance adjustor named Dean and decided to move to Metropolis with him when he asked her to marry him. Lana and Clark reluctantly left Smallville behind and moved to Dean’s house in the suburbs.

    Nell and Dean divorced about a year after Clark and Lana married and moved back to Smallville to take over Nell’s old house, which she had never sold. Meanwhile, Lana’s aunt used the proceeds of the sale of the old movie theatre to invest in a small florist shop in central Metropolis. It didn’t make a lot of money but it was enough for them both to live comfortably. Lana had worked part-time until she’d had baby Laura and when she’d died, Clark had once again moved to the city to help Nell run the shop.

    “Sweetie, please don’t use me as an excuse not to live your life.”

    “I am living,” he told her. “I’m helping you.”

    “But you’re not helping yourself,” she chided gently. “Clark, this isn’t living. This is just ... existing.”

    “You don’t need me?” he asked, feeling a little hurt.

    “Sweetie, I will always need you, but this isn’t who you are. You should be doing something with your abilities. I know you’re the one they’re calling the Guardian.”

    “How do you ...”

    “I may be old, Clark, but I’m not blind.”

    “You’re not old,” he said in protest.

    She snickered. “Tell that to the teenagers in my building,” she said wryly. “Anyway, don’t change the subject. Clark, you want to help people, but you can’t do that if you’re just sitting in a florist shop wasting your life away.”

    “But Lana ...”

    “Clark, I loved Lana dearly but she was wrong, about a lot of things. She thought you would be happy living with her in Smallville with your white picket fence and your little patch of Earth. You were meant for more than that. Your parents knew that and deep down I think you know it too.”

    Another customer came into the shop and Nell went to help them. Clark watched her for a moment, then returned to the back office to see to the books. He’d always been good at maths and Nell had been more than happy for him to take over the book-keeping.

    They closed the shop an hour later and went their separate ways. Nell didn’t mention their earlier talk and Clark didn’t broach the subject.

    Not willing to go home just yet, Clark decided to walk around the city for a while. The streets were quiet. It had snowed again earlier and it seemed no one wanted to brave the cold, so he had no rescues to attend to.

    As he passed by a tall brownstone, he glanced up at a brightly lit window. A woman was standing at the window with a cordless phone in her hand. Her expression suggested the conversation was not a happy one.

    The woman was beautiful with long, wavy hair the colour of almost a chocolate brown and clear, unblemished skin. She appeared to be taller than Lana, who had been medium height, although it was difficult to judge given the distance.

    He knew he shouldn’t eavesdrop, but there was just something about the woman’s face that made him tune in his super-hearing.

    “Luce, I know you want to come, but you have a baby to take care of. There isn’t much you can do. There’s nothing anyone can do.” She listened for a few moments. “I don’t know. They won’t tell me much. You know what the military brass is like.”

    She talked for a few more minutes, then hung up. As Clark watched, she put the phone down, then covered her face with her hands and started to cry.

  2. #2
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Has Hammond of Texas Sam Lane fallen in battle?

  3. #3
    Posting Pro Eleidich's Avatar
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    interesting story, wonder how Clark will meet Lois . pls update soon

  4. #4
    Avi by Liesl clarkfan325's Avatar
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    Great start to the story.

  5. #5
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Doena View Post
    Has Hammond of Texas Sam Lane fallen in battle?
    What has happened will be revealed soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleidich View Post
    interesting story, wonder how Clark will meet Lois . pls update soon
    Oh, I'm sure the meeting will be interesting. I forgot to say in my note that this story idea was prompted quite some time ago by lovinredkclark. I just never got around to it until now.
    Quote Originally Posted by clarkfan325 View Post
    Great start to the story.
    Thank you.

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    Forum Regular asa_made's Avatar
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    Don't take too much time to update please..

  7. #7
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asa_made View Post
    Don't take too much time to update please..
    I'll try not to. I still have several others that I need to update as well.

  8. #8
    Board Master TeamClois's Avatar
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    Ahh...two NEW Clois fics! You're awesome, Leanne. Clark's life is definitely a far cry from the one we're familiar with, but now that he's spotted Lois in the window, I'm hoping that life will start looking up for the both of them.

    Update soon!

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    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamClois View Post
    Ahh...two NEW Clois fics! You're awesome, Leanne. Clark's life is definitely a far cry from the one we're familiar with, but now that he's spotted Lois in the window, I'm hoping that life will start looking up for the both of them.

    Update soon!
    You never know what will happen

    Update is next.

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    Chapter Two

    Lois Lane threw her briefcase onto her desk with a heavy sigh. It had been another sleepless night, phoning all the contacts on her Rolodex just trying to find someone who could give her information that wasn’t classified.

    She sat down, her head in her hands, trying not to fall apart. It had been two weeks since her father had gone M.I.A while inspecting the troops in Afghanistan and no one would tell her a damn thing. Why her father had felt the need to go into a warzone in the first place was beyond her.

    A gentle tapping on the top of her desk had her looking up.

    “You look like crap, Lane,” Perry said.

    “I was up all night trying to find someone who could tell me what the hell’s going on over there.”

    Her editor-in-chief was sympathetic, but there was little even he could do.

    “Why don’t you take a couple of days off?” he asked kindly.

    “I can’t, Perry. You know I can’t. I have that story on Intergang I’m still chasing.”

    “You’re no good to us like this.”

    “I need to keep busy,” she told him. Otherwise, she would go crazy, she thought. Working helped keep her mind off the thought that her father might be lying somewhere in the desert, injured, unable to get help.

    Okay, quit it, Lane, she mentally berated herself. She had been imagining the worst for close on two weeks, ever since the general’s aide-de-camp had called and told her he was missing.

    She had racked her brains trying to think of anything but the worst case scenario. She had called everyone she could think of, asking them if there were any reports of any insurgents in the area, but none of them could come up with the goods.

    The sound of a deep voice had her looking up and she tried to put on a brave face.

    “Mr Luthor,” she said, for the benefit of the other reporters outside her office.

    Lex Luthor smiled at her, then reached out, taking her arm.

    “I’ve been speaking with Perry,” he said. “If I may have a few moments of your time.”

    “Of course,” she said.

    She accompanied the bald billionaire out and down to the street. He started to lead her to a black limousine.

    “Lex, I have a lot of work to do,” she began in protest.

    “Lois, you’re exhausted,” he admonished her gently.

    She shook her head. “I’m fine.”

    “At least let me buy you a cup of coffee,” he said, indicating a coffee shop a short distance away. Lois sighed, but went with him.

    “Is there no news?” he asked solicitously as they sat down in the coffee shop.

    “No,” she sighed. “I’ve tried everyone I can think of but the brass won’t budge.”

    “I can give Congressman Leonard a call. He has some pull with the military.”

    “Thank you, Lex, but I doubt even Congressman Leonard can get it out of them.”

    “I would still like to offer my assistance.”

    “And I appreciate it, but I don’t know how much good it will do.”

    Lois had met the young billionaire through her cousin, Chloe, who had known the man in Smallville. While they hadn’t been close friends or anything, Lex had taken a peculiar interest in Chloe’s stories on people who she claimed were infected by meteors which had hit the town more than twenty years ago.

    Lois had found the man to be charming, although part of her wondered if it was just an act. She had learned through several sources that Luthorcorp was involved in some kind of experimental project involving the green meteor rock, but she was yet to find proof. She often wondered if Lex was only allowing the relationship to continue to keep her from investigating him, but it only made her more determined.

    Chloe had often suggested that Lex was one of the many who had been changed by the meteors, since he had been exposed at the time of the meteor shower. He’d once claimed that his so-called mutation had helped him when he had almost drowned after running his car off Loeb Bridge. A truck driver had pulled him out of the water, performing CPR.

    “Lois, don’t worry. I can contact a dozen people who will work day and night to determine what has happened to your father.”

    “I can’t ask you to do that, Lex,” she said. “I could never pay you back.”

    “It’s not about the money, Lois. I thought we were friends.”

    “We are,” she said, “but I still can’t ask.”

    “You’re not asking, I’m offering.”

    She knew what he was doing. There was no denying that he was attracted to her, but she felt nothing for him. She’d tried. God knew, she’d tried, but no man had ever stirred her emotions.

    Lex left soon after, promising to call her as soon as he had something to report, while Lois went back to her office. She stopped in the doorway, staring at the beautiful bouquet of yellow tulips. She glanced around, wondering who could have given her the flowers. It was not an elaborate bouquet, so it couldn’t have been Lex. She wasn’t even sure tulips were in bloom around Metropolis.

    Still, someone had sent them.

    She picked up the bouquet, sniffing the delicate fragrance. A card fell out of the gold paper used to wrap the bouquet and she picked it up.

    There was no signature. All it said was: From A Friend.

    It was a mystery, and one she was determined to solve.

    Lois left her office and grabbed Jeff, the intern.

    “Jeff, did you see who left the flowers?”

    He looked almost terrified as he stared at her.

    “Flowers, what flowers?”

    Well, that answered that, she thought. She grabbed another reporter, asking them the same thing. No one in the office seemed to know.

    Lois spent half the afternoon trying to find out who the ‘friend’ was but the more people she asked, the more annoyed they seemed to be. Perry finally came down to her office.

    “Lane, what in the name of ...”

    She looked up at her boss. “Perry, someone sent me flowers and I have no idea who.”

    “And this is worth creating a ruckus in the entire office? Have you ever thought of actually asking the florist?” he said, handing her the card.

    Lois stared at him, then down at the card, almost smacking herself in the head. Of course, she thought. She was an idiot!

    A cold southeasterly was blowing as she left the office just after six and made her way to the florist, looking at the card to make sure she had the right address. It just said Potter’s Florist. She snorted, thinking with that name the owner might have come up with something a little more imaginative.

    The bell above the door announced her arrival as she stepped inside. The shop was open until eight, but it looked empty. A middle-aged brunette stood at the counter, sorting through some flowers. She was conservatively dressed, wrapped up warmly against the cold, although the shop wasn’t that cold.

    “Can I help you?” she asked.

    “Um, someone sent me flowers but I don’t know who they were. I wondered if you could tell me.”

    “Of course. I have a ledger I keep all my deliveries in. May I have your name?”

    “It’s Lois. Lois Lane. I work at the Daily Planet.”

    The woman frowned. “Well, I don’t recall any deliveries to the Daily Planet today, but I’ll look it up.”

    She opened a large volume on the side of the counter, rifling through the pages. She turned back to her, frowning.

    “I don’t see any delivery on my books for a Lois Lane or the Daily Planet,” she said. “Are you sure they were for you?”

    Lois handed her the card. It had been addressed to her so there was definitely no mistake.

    “Well, it is a mystery,” the woman said.

    “I just don’t understand who would send me flowers anonymously. Maybe, uh, maybe the owner ...”

    “I’m the owner dear,” she said.

    “Well, maybe one of your employees ...”

    “I only have one employee, and I doubt he would know. I’m very sorry. What kind of arrangement was it?”

    “Tulips. Yellow ones.”

    The woman’s face took on a strange look. Lois wondered if she did know who the gift had come from after all.

    “Well, tulips are an uncomplicated flower. I do remember that arrangement,” she said finally, “but it was paid for in cash. We do have blank cards; perhaps they wrote it themselves.”

    Lois sighed. The woman was clearly trying to be helpful but it wasn’t telling her what she needed to know.

    “You don’t remember the buyer?”

    “All I can tell you is it was a young man. He wanted to drop them off personally.”

    Lois frowned. Surely security would have stopped him. Ever since Lex had taken over as publisher, security had been beefed up so no one could get in without a visitor’s pass at least.

    “I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help to you,” the woman said.

    “I’m sorry too,” Lois said softly.

    “If you don’t mind my saying, you don’t look well. Are you all right?”

    “I’m fine. I’m just ... it’s just ... well, I’ve been having a bit of a rough time lately and when I got to my office and saw the flowers, it was just ... I mean, it had me wondering who would just give me flowers like that. See, there’s this man I’ve sort of been seeing. I mean, it’s not really like that. We’re friends, I guess, even though he’s sort of my boss, and I know he wants more, but ... I just knew he wouldn’t give me yellow tulips. He’s more of a roses kind of guy.”

    “Perhaps the young man knew you were having a rough time,” the shop owner said.

    “That’s just it. I don’t have that many male friends. Actually, I don’t have that many friends, period. I mean, my cousin Chloe, she’s like my best friend and she’s pretty much the only person I really talk to. Maybe if you gave me a description ...”

    “I’m sorry. I really would love to help but perhaps the man who did this wanted to keep his identity a secret for a reason.”

    “But why would someone do that?” Lois argued. “I mean, buy flowers for a complete stranger?”

    “It has been known to happen.”

    The cynic in her thought that was just asking for trouble. No one did anything for free these days. She should know, since she spent her time at work covering the aftermath of such incidents. Either the man was a hospital case or he was a stalker. That had to be it, she told herself.

    The bell rang and a man came in. Lois turned to glance at him and did a double take. He was tall and broad-shouldered with what seemed to be a very impressive chest. He had clearly been out in the snow as his dark, wavy hair was covered in flakes. She studied his handsome face, slightly hidden by the heavy black frames of the spectacles he wore.

    “Nell, I’ve finished with the deliveries ...”

    He stopped mid-sentence, staring back at her, his expression very much resembling a deer caught in the headlights look. Lois was suddenly filled with a sense of certainty that this man not only knew about the flowers, but was very likely the one who had sent them.

    “Clark,” Nell said. “This is Lois Lane. From the Daily Planet. Miss Lane, this is my foster son, Clark. He works with me.”

    “Hello,” she said cautiously.

    “Um, hi,” he said, blushing furiously.

    There was utter silence in the shop as they stared at each other. Lois gathered her wits about her and looked at the older woman, who was smiling broadly. It was hard to tell whether the look on her face meant she knew exactly what Clark had done but Lois was fairly sure the woman knew at least the partial truth.

    “I should go,” she said. “I’m sorry to have taken up so much of your time.”

    “Nonsense,” Nell replied. “You’re welcome to visit any time, Miss Lane.”

    Again, Clark seemed to blush as he looked at her. Lois went to move past him to get to the door. The shop was fairly small and he took up a lot of room.

    “Uh, ‘bye Clark,” she said.

    “’Bye, Miss Lane,” he answered.

    She returned to the office but only long enough to pick up the bouquet of flowers and head home. She took a frozen dinner of macaroni and cheese out and put it in the microwave to heat up, opening up her laptop.

    “Tulips,” she said aloud, checking the search engine.

    Nell had said they were an uncomplicated flower. According to one site, a yellow tulip was meant to convey cheerful thoughts and sunshine. Lois frowned as she read. It seemed to her that Clark had wanted to cheer her up, but how had he known she was sad?

    The microwave beeped and she took out the meal, grimacing at the gluggy mess. She grabbed a fork and picked at it, then decided to toss the lot in the trash. Sighing, she picked up her coat from the chair where she’d draped it earlier and grabbed her keys. It looked like she’d be eating takeout again tonight, she thought.

    Lois was a hopeless cook. She supposed it stemmed from the years of living on army bases with her father. Her mother had been diagnosed with cancer when Lois was six and had died about two months after the diagnosis. Her father, ever the soldier, had done his best to cope with both his daughters but the then Colonel Sam Lane had spent far too much time on the field in battle to learn anything about the domestic side which Ella had been responsible for. What he knew about cooking and housework could be written on the head of a pin. Lois, and her sister Lucy, had been stuck with the food from the Mess.

    She walked along the sidewalk, careful to avoid the slippery ice. A truck had been through earlier to lay down salt after the new snowfall but there were still parts of the sidewalk the salt hadn’t been scattered. Just as she passed an alleyway to cross over to the Chinese restaurant where she normally bought dinner, she felt a hand on her arm.

    What happened next was almost a blur. She felt herself pushed out into the street, throwing up her arm to defend herself even as she saw the headlights coming toward her. No sooner had she done so then she was on her feet again and a man was laying on the ground beside her, appearing to be stunned.

    She started to bend down to check on the man and he disappeared before her eyes. Startled, she looked around for the man but didn’t see him. She frowned. How could a man be there one second and gone the next? Especially if he was unconscious.

    She shook her head, deciding it wasn’t worth worrying about, then started to walk across the street. She noticed a dark shape lying on the road and bent over for a closer look, alarmed to discover it was a gun.

    Lois took her phone out of her bag and dialled a number.

    “Perry? Lane. I think I was just saved from a mugging by Metropolis’ very own Guardian.”

  11. #11
    Board Master TeamClois's Avatar
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    Very nice, Leanne. Clark sending Lois tulips was a very sweet gesture and the way they met was...just perfect! Also, with Clark saving the day as Metropolis' Guardian has me excited for them to cross paths again.

  12. #12
    Avi by Liesl clarkfan325's Avatar
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    Great chapter.

  13. #13
    New In Town
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    oh great chapter. please updated soon

  14. #14
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamClois View Post
    Very nice, Leanne. Clark sending Lois tulips was a very sweet gesture and the way they met was...just perfect! Also, with Clark saving the day as Metropolis' Guardian has me excited for them to cross paths again.
    Yep, I thought the meeting in the shop would be the right way to do it. They will definitely cross paths again as Lois begins to investigate.

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkfan325 View Post
    Great chapter.
    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by vrolok View Post
    oh great chapter. please updated soon
    I will, as soon as I've managed to update some others

  15. #15
    Posting Pro Eleidich's Avatar
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    what a sweet guy this Clark!

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