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  1. #1
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    A Different Corner

    Author: phoenixnz
    Title: A Different Corner
    Fandom: Smallville
    Rating: PG
    Pairing: Clark/Lois
    Genre: TV adaptation (very loose), romance, AU

    Summary: Clark is a rich widower with three children. Lois needs a job.

    a/n: Oh god, shoot me now. I can't believe I'm posting yet another story. *sigh*. This is very loosely based on a nineties tv show. Only the premise is duplicated. The title is based on the lyric of a song by George Michael. I'll post the lyric below.

    Chapter One

    “Lois?”

    “Right here,” she called.

    The blond head appeared in the doorway.

    “I can’t find my cufflinks,” Oliver complained.

    “Where did you last see them?” she asked.

    “No idea. I thought that’s what I had you for,” he added, wrapping his arms around her.

    Lois snorted. “You mean, so I can pick up after you, do your laundry …”

    The blond billionaire chuckled.

    “You know what I love about you, Lois? You always have a snappy comeback.”

    “If you love me so much, then …”

    He sighed heavily. “Lois!”

    “What? I never even said the word. C’mon Oliver, we’ve been living together for how long?”

    “You can’t rush these things,” he protested, then gave her a quick kiss. “I’ve gotta go. I’ll be late for the party.”

    “Why am I not invited again?” she asked.

    “Hmm, because you insulted old Carson and blabbed Felicity Holman’s secrets to the world.”

    “Well, I didn’t know her husband taking her to the cleaners was a big secret,” she said in protest. “I would have thought, you know, that she would have liked the support. Women’s solidarity, that sort of thing.”

    “Tell that to Fliss,” he said. “On second thought, let’s not and say we did.” He glanced at his Rolex. “Gotta go. Don’t wait up.”

    Lois sighed as he practically ran out the door. It was always the same with him lately. If he wasn’t rushing out to society dinners or charity functions, he was working late. Sometimes she wondered if he was just going out of his way to avoid her.

    With Oliver gone, the house felt empty, so Lois decided it was the perfect time to call her cousin to see if she wanted to go out.

    “Hey, Chloe.”

    “Hey. What’s up?”

    “Nothing. Oliver’s out for some party.”

    Her cousin’s reply was all-knowing.

    “Ahh, and you weren’t invited.”

    “No. What are you up to?”

    “Well, let me consult my calendar. Nothing, nothing and nothing.”

    “Wanna go out? Grab a bite, maybe a movie?”

    “Sure. Wanna meet at Deano’s?”

    “Ugh, no. How about we go to the Ace of Clubs?”

    “Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you there in about, what, an hour?”

    Lois hung up the phone and went to the bedroom to change into something fit for the Ace of Clubs. As she did so, she noticed Oliver’s phone still on the nightstand next to his side of the bed. She turned away to put on some earrings when the phone buzzed, alerting to a text message.

    Wondering who would be texting her boyfriend when he was supposed to be going to a party, she glanced at the message.

    You’re late. I’m waiting for you, lover.


    The sender had a picture attached. It was like watching a car wreck. She wanted to look away but couldn’t help herself. She opened the attachment to find an image of a redhead. Naked.

    Oliver was having an affair!

    “Oliver’s having an affair,” she said as she dumped her bag on the table Chloe had managed to get.

    Her blonde cousin stared at her.

    “What?”

    “He left his phone. This woman sent him a text, telling him she was waiting for him.”

    “Well, she could be an associate,” Chloe said reasonably.

    “Do you call your associates ‘lover’? Or send them a naked picture of yourself?

    Chloe bit her lip. “Yeah, that sounds pretty damning. What are you going to do?”

    “I dunno. Confront him, I guess.” She sighed. “The thing is, I always knew there was a reason he didn’t want to get married. I mean, I always gave him the benefit of the doubt and maybe I shouldn’t have because … am I such a horrible person?”

    “No, Lois. Ollie’s just … Ollie’s the one at fault here.”

    Lois sighed. She’d met Oliver Queen when she’d been working as a coffee jockey, having been kicked out of Metropolis University for underage drinking. He had first offered her a job at Queen Industries and they hadn’t begun dating until six months later. She had moved in a year later.

    That had been eight and a half years ago. Whenever she’d brought up the subject of marriage, Oliver had always found ways to avoid it.

    She knew she could be difficult to live with sometimes, but did that justify cheating?

    “No, Lois, it doesn’t. No matter what, you just don’t cheat on someone you love.”

    Chloe was right. Oliver was the one at fault here, yet she was the one who felt like her whole world was falling apart.

    Chloe ordered some drinks and set one down in front of her.

    “Drink up,” she said. “Let’s get drunk and forget about men.”

    Chloe had got married at twenty-two to a guy she had met when she was fifteen. Jimmy had been cute and sweet, but Lois had always wondered what her cousin saw in him. Clearly she had seen enough to want to marry the guy, but in the end, they just didn’t seem to have enough in common. They’d divorced three years later and Chloe hadn’t met anyone else she wanted to settle down with.

    By the end of the night, Lois was drunk enough that the pain of Oliver’s betrayal had begun to recede somewhat, but she was still angry. Chloe dropped her home where Oliver was already waiting for her.

    “Where the hell have you been?” he asked.

    It was so typical, she thought. It wouldn’t be too hard to guess that he had realised she had seen the text and had been caught out, so he immediately went on the offensive.

    “You don’t own me, Oliver, so I can do what I want and go where I want and you can’t stop me.”

    She stumbled, slurring her words a little.

    “You’re drunk.”

    “And you’re a lying, cheating bastard.”

    “What are you talking about?” he said, trying to look confused.

    “Oh, don’t give me that innocent look, Oliver. I saw the text. How long have you been cheating on me, huh?”

    “Lois, you’re drunk and you’re not making any sense.”

    She shoved him away as he reached out to grab her.

    “F*ck off, Oliver. I’m not kidding!”

    She pushed past him and went to grab her suitcase out of the closet.

    “Where are you going?”

    “I’m leaving,” she said.

    He laughed. “Leaving? Lois, you wouldn’t last five minutes out there.”

    She resented the implication that she couldn’t cope on her own. She was a general’s daughter after all.

    She grabbed some of her clothes and threw them into a suitcase, ignoring Oliver as he tried to stop her.

    “Look, let’s talk about this.”

    “There’s nothing to talk about!” she snapped. “You cheated on me. I’m not gonna ask how long because I know I won’t like the answer. You’re despicable, Oliver Queen, and I hate you.”

    The suitcase was full and she had to sit on it to make it close properly. Oliver made no move to help her or stop her, which showed just how much he didn’t care about her. Lois struggled with the case, feeling very lightheaded from the alcohol she’d imbibed, and dragged it to the door of their … no, his apartment now.

    “Lois, you’re being ridiculous.”

    She turned and glared at him before opening the door.

    “I’ll send for the rest of my stuff later,” she told him.

    Catching a cab at three in the morning, especially when it was freezing cold, wasn’t a pleasant prospect, but there was no way she was going to go back in and face that slimy, smarmy son of a b*tch. She upended the suitcase and sat on it while she waited for the cab to arrive, trying not to cry. He’s not worth it, she told herself.

    By the time the taxi got there, she was freezing, despite the alcohol. Lois dumped her bag in the trunk and got in, giving him the address of her cousin’s apartment.

    Chloe didn’t seem surprised to see her.

    “Come on,” she said. “I don’t have another bed but the couch is comfortable enough.”

    Lois spent the next two days on her cousin’s couch, feeling miserable. Chloe comforted her as best she could, but it didn’t change the fact that she felt like she’d wasted nearly ten years of her life on a no-good cheater.

    The final straw came when her boss fired her for calling in sick. She had a feeling he knew what had happened between her and Oliver and since she was no longer the CEO’s significant other, it gave him free rein to treat her however he liked.

    “They can’t do that,” Chloe said, outraged. “You should sue. Especially Oliver.”

    “With what, Chloe. I can’t afford to take it to court.”

    She had some savings, but most of her funds were tied up with Oliver’s and he was being difficult, trying to make out that he was the wronged party. Fortunately he had been smart enough to keep their private life out of the media. Not that had stopped someone from LNN trying to get an interview with her. At least the newspaper and the small television network owned by Kent Consolidated had been decent enough to leave her alone.

    After a week of moping, Lois decided enough was enough and she began walking the streets looking for work. She applied at a couple of coffee shops, but while the managers took her application, she guessed from their expressions that they weren’t going to bother looking at it.

    After a month, she began to wonder if Oliver had had her blacklisted from practically every company in town as none of her applications resulted in a callback. Her savings were dwindling down to nothing. She was still sleeping on Chloe’s couch, but eventually she would have to move on.

    Chloe came in late one night. She’d been late every night as the company she worked for was in the process of restructuring. Chloe had been hired on as an I.T. and communications specialist and had slowly risen in the ranks to department manager.

    “Still nothing?” she said.

    Lois sighed and shook her head.

    “No.” She looked at her cousin pleadingly. “Can’t you get me a job at …”

    “Sweetie, I’ve tried, but with all the restructuring going on, everyone is lucky to be keeping the job they’ve got. They’re not looking to hire anyone new.”

    “So now what do I do?” she wailed.

    ***

    “Perry, I know it’s tough right now, but with LNN breathing down our necks …”

    Clark rubbed the back of his neck as he leaned back in his chair.

    “Well, it’s hard to compete with a television network that provides up to the minute news,” the editor-in-chief said reasonably. “If we had more reporters out on the streets … I mean, we’re practically running with a skeleton staff as it is.”

    The problem was, there just wasn’t the circulation to justify spending more money. Kent Consolidated’s media division was just barely in the top five of the market share.

    “I’m aware of that and you know I would if I could, but we have to draw the line somewhere.”

    There was a loud squeal coming from the vicinity of the living room, along with bangs and crashes. Clark sighed.

    “Hang on, Perry.”

    He pressed hold on his phone and strode angrily to the door, flinging it open. Long strides took him to the living room within seconds where he was greeted by utter chaos. Three children, all of varying heights, were either bouncing balls or wrestling with each other. Clark winced as a glass table was bumped by the two wrestlers and the antique vase which had been a wedding present from his wife’s aunt fell off and smashed.

    “Miss Sims!” he yelled.

    A petite woman aged about forty-five ran from the direction of the library and skidded to a halt, staring wide-eyed at him. The three children all stopped what they were doing and looked up at him in varying degrees of alarm.

    “I am trying to work here!” he bellowed. “Take the children back upstairs and remind them why we do not wrestle in the living room! And clean this mess up!”

    The littlest of the group suddenly burst into tears. Clark ignored her sobs and turned on his heel, going back into his office and slamming the door. He sat down again and took the phone off hold.

    “Sorry, Perry,” he said. “My kids are out of control.”

    The older man tried to sound sympathetic, but he had no kids of his own and had been pretty much married to his work.

    “Sounds like you have your hands full.”

    “You have no idea.” He sighed. “Look, let me crunch the numbers again and we’ll meet next week and talk about it.”

    As he hung up, there was a tentative knock on the door. Miss Sims came in looking as if she expected her head to be cut off.

    “Mr Kent, I’m so sorry, sir. Eric asked me to help him with something and I thought the children were in the nursery.”

    “That’s no excuse,” he told her. “You’re the nanny, Miss Sims. Your job is to keep the children under control, not let them run amok in my house. I’m beginning to wonder if you’re at all competent. This is not the first time this has happened.”

    The woman pursed her lips, looking as if she resented the rebuke. Clark didn’t want to be harsh, but the reason he’d hired a nanny in the first place was so he could work in peace.

    “You can’t watch kids twenty-four hours a day. Especially not your kids.”

    “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

    “Ever think they might be out of control because you let them get away with murder? These children run amok because you let them! If you ask me, what the boy needs is a good hard kick in the pants, and Rebecca …”

    “Are you seriously telling me how to raise my children?” he growled.

    “Well, someone has to.”

    “Miss Sims …”

    “Don’t even,” she began. “I quit!”

    With that she walked out, brushing rudely past a redhead, who arched a finely sculpted eyebrow at him.

    “You were a little harsh with her, don’t you think?”

    “What do you want, Tess?”

    “Did you forget we had that dinner tonight?”

    “What dinner?”

    “The one the mayor is hosting. Lex is going to be there.”

    Clark glowered at her. He’d gone to a lot of effort to persuade Tess she would be better off working for Kent Consolidated rather than Luthorcorp and she knew very well he hated these dinners where he was forced to put on a monkey suit and behave civilly to her half-brother.

    “Don’t even try it, Kent,” she warned. “The pout never works with me.” She stood with her hands on her hips, glowering fiercely at him. “You’re going.”

    “Remind me again why I made you my business partner?” he asked.

    “Oh you love me,” she replied with a grin. She turned to go out again. “Eight thirty. I’ll have the limo pick you up out front. And don’t go trying to get out of it by saying you suddenly had an errand to run for your cousin’s niece’s best friend or something,” she added, waggling her finger at him. “I’m on to you.”

    Clark had hoped for at least five minutes of peace once she was gone, but it wasn’t to be as Eric came in, smirking.

    “What’d you do to Sims?” he asked.

    “Insulted her, let my kids get away with murder, pick one.”

    “Yeah, I heard. Probably the whole street heard.”

    “Did you want something?” Clark said, glaring at the man who was supposed to be his butler-slash-housekeeper.

    Clark had known Eric since freshman year at high school. Even though hiis parents had made a fortune by consolidating with other local farmers to take over the creamed corn plant and turn it into a thriving business, they’d wanted their son to have a solid grounding and had sent him to Smallville High School.

    Eric Summers’ father had taught geology. The man might have been a good teacher, but he was a lousy father and Clark had done his best to protect Eric from the man. One stormy afternoon, while they’d been sent out on a field trip, Eric had been struck by lightning. Clark’s powers had somehow been transferred to Eric.

    At first, Eric had relished the newfound strength and speed, until he nearly killed Clark, who had been trying to stop him from making a big mistake. His friend had figured out how the transfer had occurred and had begged Clark to help him, terrified that he might get out of control.

    Since then, Eric had been one of only two people in Smallville, with the exception of his parents, who knew that Clark had come down in the meteor shower. When Clark had moved to the townhouse in Metropolis so he could oversee the company’s expansion into media networks, Eric had signed on to work for him.

    “You know, you were kind of a douche,” Eric said. “Sims is packing as we speak and the children are cowering in the nursery. You kind of scared Gracie.”

    Clark sighed. “Yeah, you better send out an ad for a nanny.” He rubbed his temples and shook his head, then frowned at his friend. “Did you just call me a douche?”

    Eric shrugged. “Just calling it like I see it. You didn’t have to yell at them.”

    “They broke the vase,” Clark told him.

    “You hated that vase. Nell always did have terrible taste. Mind you, I think part of it was down to the fact that she was jealous of your parents.”

    “Okay, fine. I hated the vase. It still doesn’t excuse the children.”

    “Yeah, well, I’ve got my own opinion on that, but you’ve done it your way since Lana died.”

    Clark glanced at the photo on the corner of his desk. It was a candid shot of Lana the day they’d brought Gracie home. Lana had died six months after Gracie was born from a previously undetected heart condition which had only come to light when she had nearly died in the delivery room.

    “Fine,” he sighed. “I’ll go and apologise to them.”

    He went upstairs to the nursery. The twins, Rebecca and Bradley, were sprawled in chairs. Bradley was playing a handheld game and Rebecca was reading something on her kindle reader. Grace was building something with lego bricks in the corner. He could see his youngest daughter had been crying.

    Clark stood in the doorway, watching his children for a moment. The twins both had dark hair and green eyes. They were fraternal twins but they looked very much alike. Lana had always said they looked like him. She had chosen the names. Bradley was named after an actor she had pretended to have a crush on and Rebecca had been named after a character in a novel she had read as a child.

    Grace was like a mini-Lana. She had been born on a Tuesday. Lana claimed that was as good a reason as any to name their youngest child after the rhyme.

    Bradley looked up, hurriedly putting his game down. He had a guilty look on his face.

    “Uh, Dad.”

    “Daddy,” Rebecca began. “We weren’t making too much noise, honest. We were just …”

    Clark raised his hand. The twins looked nervous.

    “I owe you kids an apology,” he said. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you, or the nanny, and I’m very sorry.”

    Grace got up from her little corner and tugged on his pants. Clark leaned down and picked her up so she could wrap her little arms around his neck and bury her face in his shoulder.

    “Are you going to ask Miss Sims back?” Rebecca asked.

    “No, Eric is going to advertise for a new nanny.”

    “Good, ‘cause we didn’t like her.”

    “What was wrong with Miss Sims?” Clark asked his son.

    “Well, she was kinda weird, and she smelled funny. She’s not pretty either.”

    Clark frowned at the twins. They were only nine years old. What did they know about nannies?

    “She never wanted to play games with us and she never took us anywhere,” Rebecca told him. “You know, like to the park and stuff. Fresh air is very important for growing children, Daddy.”

    He suppressed a snort of laughter. Sometimes his kids sounded like they were nine going on thirty.

    “So, we decided to make a list of what we want in a nanny,” Bradley said. “One, she has to take us on outings, like to the zoo, or shopping.” He crinkled his nose. “That was Rebecca, not me,” he added.

    “Of course,” he said, nodding solemnly.

    “Two, she has to be pretty. Like Mommy was pretty.”

    Clark hadn’t really noticed whether Miss Sims had been pretty or not. She tended to be invisible when the children were behaving. Not that that had been a frequent occurrence.

    “What else?” he asked.

    “She has to be smart, so she can understand the big words when she reads to Gracie.”

    Clark nodded again. “All right. Anything else?”

    “Um, no, but if we think of something we’ll tell you.”

    Clark bit back his laughter, thinking he was negotiating a business deal, not employing a nanny.

    Eric had clearly been listening at the door when he finally left the nursery.

    “Don’t you know you never hear anything good from eavesdropping?”

    “Yeah, you should know,” Eric said, flicking his ears. Clark snorted, then sighed as he glanced at his watch.

    “I have to get ready for this dinner tonight. Make sure the children are in bed by eight. And make sure Grace eats something. I don’t care if you have to feed her Cheetos.”

    Unlike his oldest two, Grace was a fussy eater and often refused to eat dinner with the rest of the family. His mother had assured him it was just a phase that all three year olds went through, yet he couldn’t remember Lana having the same problem. Then again, he’d been hardly ever home and he’d missed a lot of mealtimes.


    a/n2: So here's the lyric:

    Turn a different corner and we never would have met

    NB: I know Clark seems a little OOC but this is a Clark who has grown up rich so he's kind of arrogant and has been raising the children on his own for three years, so he's not handling it all that well. This Clark never met Lois and never hung out with Chloe.

  2. #2
    Board Master TeamClois's Avatar
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    Well, I'm intrigued. And yessss...you have a lot of stories on your plate, but you'll hear no complaints from me. All I'll say is, I cannot wait for Clark to see his new nanny! I hope it's love at first sight because after what Ollie did, I want Lois to feel wanted and special.

    Update soon.

  3. #3
    Posting Pro BigRed67's Avatar
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    Ooooh Leanne another one? Well that just makes me jump for joy!!!!! And if we shot you what would we read? Now I'm hanging for Lois to get the job. Lois as a nanny who'd a thunk?? She's not gonna have an annoying voice is she?

  4. #4
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeamClois View Post
    Well, I'm intrigued. And yessss...you have a lot of stories on your plate, but you'll hear no complaints from me. All I'll say is, I cannot wait for Clark to see his new nanny! I hope it's love at first sight because after what Ollie did, I want Lois to feel wanted and special.

    Update soon.
    Ollie will certainly have a lot to answer for. I don't know about love at first sight, but it's certainly attraction at first sight.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRed67 View Post
    Ooooh Leanne another one? Well that just makes me jump for joy!!!!! And if we shot you what would we read? Now I'm hanging for Lois to get the job. Lois as a nanny who'd a thunk?? She's not gonna have an annoying voice is she?
    The job is pretty much a done deal. I thought Lois as a nanny would be a nice change, and no, no annoying voice.
    I'm glad you don't want to shoot me. A certain person thinks I need a new hobby though, haha.

  5. #5
    Banned - Plagiarism
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    Thank you for killing Lana. Any story that starts out that way has me sold. You can post as many stories as you want with her dead.

  6. #6
    Avi by Liesl clarkfan325's Avatar
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    Great start to the story; I'm looking forward to more.

  7. #7
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tua33915 View Post
    Thank you for killing Lana. Any story that starts out that way has me sold. You can post as many stories as you want with her dead.
    Well, she could have been Lois' foil as well, being the C.C. of this fic. And Alicia could have been the dead mother.

    IMHO that would have worked as well.

    Not that I'm complaining!

  8. #8
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tua33915 View Post
    Thank you for killing Lana. Any story that starts out that way has me sold. You can post as many stories as you want with her dead.
    Well, somebody had to be the dead mother

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkfan325 View Post
    Great start to the story; I'm looking forward to more.
    Thank you

    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Doena View Post
    Well, she could have been Lois' foil as well, being the C.C. of this fic. And Alicia could have been the dead mother.

    IMHO that would have worked as well.

    Not that I'm complaining!
    I honestly did have thoughts of doing it that way but I figured Tess would be better as the business partner. Plus it's a good set-up for tension with Lex.

  9. #9
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixnz View Post
    I honestly did have thoughts of doing it that way but I figured Tess would be better as the business partner. Plus it's a good set-up for tension with Lex.
    But methinks that Tess is not the redhead from the nude pics, or is she?

  10. #10
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Doena View Post
    But methinks that Tess is not the redhead from the nude pics, or is she?
    All I will say is that her and Oliver have a history.

  11. #11
    Posting Pro Eleidich's Avatar
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    I am in, sounds good.

  12. #12
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eleidich View Post
    I am in, sounds good.
    Thank you.

    Here's the next chapter:

    a/n: Oliver does not come off smelling of roses in this chapter. Mind you, Clark doesn't at times either. Just saying ...

    Chapter Two

    Lois sighed as she unlocked the door and pushed it open. It had been another hard day of walking the streets selling eco-cleaning products door-to-door and she was exhausted. She had made two sales today out of about a hundred doors she’d knocked on. Some of them didn’t answer while others rudely slammed the door in her face before she could even get a word out.

    Chloe was sitting on the couch, sipping a glass of wine, looking a little uncomfortable. Lois saw the reason for it immediately.

    “Oliver,” she said.

    “Lois, look, I …” He ran a hand through his hair, mussing it.

    At thirty-six he was still gorgeous with blond hair cut in a short, spiky style.

    “If you’ve come here to apologise, you can save your breath,” she said.

    “Apologise? You’re the one who owes me an apology!”

    “What?” She stared at him incredulously. “You cheat on me and I’m the one who should be apologising to you? I don’t think so.”

    “Well, you know, if you hadn’t been so damned cold half the time, I … Look, I didn’t come here to fight. I came for the necklace.”

    “What necklace?” she asked.

    “The gold one, with the diamond pendant.”

    “You mean this one?” she asked, lifting up the chain from her neck with her thumb. “That was supposed to be a gift.”

    “Yeah, well I want it back.”

    “You already took what was left of my dignity, not to mention half my life savings, and now you want this? I suppose you want every other gift you gave me?”

    “I … can we not do this?”

    “If you’re going to demand gifts back, then I want everything I ever gave you. Like that sweater you’re wearing.”

    He looked down at the sweater. It was a green v-neck which she’d bought him for his birthday the year before.

    “This? This is my favourite sweater.”

    “Well this is my favourite necklace.”

    Chloe stood up.

    “Uh, before this escalates, I think I should step in. Oliver, I think you’re being a little selfish.”

    “I’m being selfish, when she …”

    “Let’s face it. You got caught with your pants down, figuratively speaking, and now you’re trying to save face by making Lois look like the bad guy. Now I’ve been looking up some things on the net and correct me if I’m wrong, but there is such a thing as community property. You guys were living together for what, eight, nine years?”

    “So?”

    “So, by law, unless you had Lois sign some kind of agreement, under community property laws, half of everything you acquired during your relationship is hers.”

    Lois looked smugly at Oliver. He just smirked back.

    “You’re forgetting something, Chloe. Lois and I were never married, not even in a common law sense. I never even proposed.”

    “Yeah, and we know why that is, you jerk!” Lois said. “I’m prepared to accept that I lose most of what I put in to our relationship, but don’t you dare come back and demand something you gave me as a gift.”

    “Well, that’s open to interpretation,” he said.

    “I think you’ve said enough, Oliver and unless you want me to go to the likes of the Inquisitor and start spilling all your secrets, you’ll leave.”

    “You know something, Chloe, it’s no wonder your husband divorced you. You’re nothing but a shrew. As for you, Lane, I’m glad I never proposed because no one wants to live with someone who has no ambition.”

    Lois glared at him, stretching to her full height as she spat in his face.

    “Are you calling me a loser, Queen?”

    “Just calling it like I see it.”

    “Get out, Oliver,” Chloe growled.

    The blond left without looking back. Lois looked at her cousin.

    “You know, you can seriously be scary when you want to be.”

    “Good. What an as*hole,” she said. “I’m glad you left him.”

    As much as Lois wanted to agree with her cousin, she had to wonder if perhaps Oliver was right. She’d been kicked out of Met U and hadn’t found anything that ignited her passion. She had hated her job at Queen Industries. She hated what she was doing now, but at least she could say she was gainfully employed. She’d seen far too many people out on the streets still looking for work.

    After a night tossing and turning on Chloe’s couch, Lois got up the next morning realising one thing. She had to get a better job and a place of her own. She loved her cousin, but sleeping on the lumpy couch wasn’t helping.

    Determined to at least make a sale, she set out, catching the subway to the classier side of town. She figured that even though the people who lived in these townhouses were rich, they had to at least need cleaning products.

    Most of the houses had high gates which required a combination to get in but a few of them still seemed a little more welcoming. She walked up the path of one three-storeyed house and rang the bell.

    A man who bore a striking resemblance to Chloe’s ex-husband answered the door.

    “Are you here about the job?” he enquired almost haughtily.

    “Job? No, I … I’m selling cleaning products. They’re eco-friendly and completely biodegradable.”

    “Oh, I see. Well, you’d best come in. The master is rather busy at the moment, but I suppose I can spare a few minutes.”

    Well, don’t bust your boiler or anything, Lois thought, keeping a friendly smile on her face. She followed the man into the house and started to follow him through into what she assumed was the kitchen when she heard a young girl yelling.

    “I don’t care. I hate you!”

    A girl aged about nine slammed a door closed as she ran in, skidding to a halt when she saw Lois. The girl was very pretty with long, dark wavy hair and intense green eyes. The man beside Lois sighed.

    “God, they’re at it again. The sooner he hires someone, the better.” He looked at the girl. “What’s the matter Rebecca?”

    “Daddy won’t let me have a sleep over at Maddie’s house on Friday night.”

    “You know that’s when your grandparents get back from their cruise,” the man said.

    Lois could see Rebecca staring at her, biting her lip.

    “You know, I used to tell my father I hated him all the time too. You know what he used to make me do?”

    “What?”

    “He’d tell me to drop and give him twenty.”

    “Twenty what?” the girl asked.

    “You know. Push-ups. My dad’s a general.”

    “General?” Rebecca said.

    “Yeah, a general pain in my a … butt,” she replied. The nine-year-old giggled.

    “Yeah, well that’s my dad too. He never lets me do anything.” She pouted and looked like she wanted to stamp her foot.

    “Well, I don’t know your dad, but if it were me, I’d want to spend as much time with my grandparents as possible. See, mine died not long after I was born and I didn’t really get to know them. You know, your grandparents are the ones who want to spoil you and give you presents. You’re pretty lucky. I mean, you get plenty of chances to have sleepovers with your friend, but grandparents, they’re not gonna be around forever.”

    “I guess you’ve got a point,” Rebecca said.

    She turned and looked at the man standing in the doorway. Lois stared, taken aback. She hadn’t realised the man had come in and had been watching them.

    “Go on up to your room, Rebecca,” the man, clearly her father, said. “We’ll talk about this later.”

    “Yes Daddy.”

    Lois continued to stare at the man. He was gorgeous! Wavy black hair, intense green eyes behind horn-rimmed spectacles and so tall she had to crane her neck to look up at him.

    “That, uh, was very well done, Miss …?

    “Lane. Um, Lois Lane.”

    “Are you here about the nanny position?” he asked.

    Lois hefted the case in her hand, biting her lip. She was going to tell him she wasn’t, but something changed her mind.

    “Uh yes?”

    She glanced at the man still standing beside her, who hadn’t said a word through the entire exchange with the little girl.

    “Well, let’s see your resumé,” the father said.

    “Uh, actually …” Damn it! “Actually I didn’t know anything about the job. I’m just here selling eco-friendly cleaning products.”

    “I see. Well, come into my office. Eric, why don’t you make yourself useful and make some coffee. Do you drink coffee, Miss Lane?”

    “Yes, yes I do. Thank you.”

    She gave Eric her case and followed the father through the living room and out along a short hallway to a room which was clearly an office. The man told her to sit down.

    “Uh … why exactly …”

    “Miss Lane, do you know who I am?” he practically barked.

    “Um, no?”

    “Clark Kent.”

    She gaped at him. “Really? You’re … wow! Your photograph so doesn’t do you justice. I mean, I saw this article on you in GQ a couple of months ago and … oh god, I’m making a total idiot of myself.”

    She felt herself blushing hotly as Clark smiled at her in amusement. She remembered reading he was a widower with three kids, but he didn’t look old enough to have kids, even though she had heard he was about her age.

    Eric knocked on the door, carrying a tray. On it was a coffee set in what appeared to be sterling silver, with delicate bone china cups and saucers. He poured the coffee from the pot.

    “Cream, Miss Lane?”

    “Um, yes please. One sugar?”

    “Of course.”

    She took the coffee and sipped from the cup, hoping it would give her time to calm her nerves. Here she was sitting in the office of one of the most eligible men in the city.

    Eric looked at his boss as Clark took his coffee and shot Eric a look in reply. Lois had no idea what the unspoken communication between the two men meant and she doubted she’d find out.

    “I seem to recall you were dating Oliver Queen,” he said, “although I have no recollection of us ever meeting.”

    “You know Oliver?” she asked.

    “We’re acquaintances,” he said almost dismissively. “You couldn’t exactly call us the best of friends. I thought I read in the Inquisitor you two had broken up. Acrimoniously, was the term I heard bandied about.

    “You could say that,” she said. “I caught him cheating on me.”

    “Fool!” Clark scoffed. “What idiot would let such a beautiful woman slip through his fingers?”

    “Mr Kent?” she asked nervously. He waved his hand and shook his head.

    “Never mind. The reason I asked you in here was that I was rather impressed by the way you spoke to Rebecca. My daughter’s only nine, but at that age, children have a way of seeing right through you. I’ve never seen anyone speak to her with such candour. You didn’t talk down to her either.”

    What did that have to do with anything, Lois thought. Clearly the girl needed a firm hand, especially if she was fighting with her father all the time, as Eric had implied.

    “I have been interviewing nannies for the past week, but none of them have quite impressed me as you have today, Miss Lane.”

    “Are you … offering me a job?” she asked.

    “That depends.” He took a slip of paper out of his desk drawer. “My children have given me a list of criteria which they expect in a nanny.” Lois realised the paper had a list on it and tried to read it upside down. Clark put it away before she could do so. “You seem to meet at least some of their requirements.”

    She hadn’t even done anything, except talk to the girl as if she understood her.

    “Tell me, Miss Lane, have you had any experience with children?”

    “Other than I was a child,” she said with a grin. Clark inhaled sharply, his expression showing he didn’t appreciate the joke. “Uh, I guess,” she continued.

    “Frankly, Miss Lane, my children are out of control and they need a firm hand. I’m afraid I have neither the time nor the energy to deal with their nonsense. That’s why I employ nannies.”

    Lois bit back an angry retort. What the children clearly needed was the knowledge that their father loved them and put them first, above all else.

    “So, since all the applicants I’ve seen this week have failed to meet my requirements, I’m prepared to offer you the position. On a trial basis. One month. The position is live-in and if you take the job I expect you to start immediately. Will that be a problem?”

    “Um, no.”

    She would have to quit the sales job, but since that was also on a trial basis, she didn’t see a problem with that.

    “Salary is two thousand a month, plus room and board. I don’t expect you to wear a uniform.” He took a card from the box on his desk and handed it to her. “I’ll expect your call tonight.”

    Lois frowned as she took the card, feeling as if she’d been summarily dismissed. The way Clark sat back pretty much confirmed that.

    ***

    Clark had given up trying to work after Rebecca had stormed out of his office and gone out in search of coffee. He had paused when he heard the wistfulness in the woman’s voice when she talked to Rebecca about her grandparents.

    Opening the door quietly, he watched in amusement as his daughter seemed to be taking in every word. The woman certainly didn’t seem to talk to Rebecca like a child. It had been a failing of his, according to his mother. She often told him that he shouldn’t talk down to the children and treat them as if they understood.

    The visitor certainly was beautiful, he thought. Long chestnut hair and hazel eyes. She couldn’t be more different from Lana if she tried. Where Lana had had olive skin, this woman had fair skin. Where Lana was petite, the other woman was taller and not as fine-boned.

    Rebecca had turned to acknowledge him and the woman seemed startled and more than a little disconcerted to see him watching.

    Hiring her for the nanny position had been a purely impulsive decision, not to mention a selfish one. He had meetings at the Daily Planet and at all the networks owned by the communications division and he couldn’t ask Eric to look after the children. Daycare was just not an option.

    As Eric returned to escort Miss Lane out of his office, they exchanged another look. His friend rolled his eyes as he glanced at the woman but turned to show her out. He was back in five minutes.

    “Go ahead. Say whatever it is you were going to say,” Clark told him.

    “I hope you’re thinking with your right brain. I mean, I hope you know what you’re doing.”

    “Yes, Eric, I can think with my right brain. Yes, she’s an attractive woman, but no, I was not thinking that at all.”

    His friend snorted.

    “Sure you weren’t.”

    “I don’t have time for it,” Clark told him.

    “Hello, hello,” a voice sang out. Tess came through into the office. “What are you two discussing?”

    “The new nanny,” Eric said.

    “Oh?” Tess looked at Clark curiously. “You found one? Who is she?”

    “Lois Lane.”

    Tess frowned. “Oliver’s ex? Why would you … From what I hear, he thinks the girl has no class.”

    Considering his business partner had been adopted when she was five by a couple who had done nothing but abuse her and had no class themselves, that was a little like the pot calling the kettle black. She hadn’t learned she was Lex’s sister until years later, after she had practically re-invented herself. Class didn’t necessarily have to be something you were born into. Sometimes even those who considered themselves upper crust had even less class than someone born into poverty. It was all in the way they comported themselves.

    “Why would you even consider her?” Tess was saying.

    “I think she’ll be good for the children and it’s on a trial basis,” Clark said sharply, shooting his friend a look. Eric shrugged.

    “And does she meet your requirements?”

    “She meets the children’s.”

    Tess frowned. “Why on Earth are you even bothering to listen to the children? They don’t make the decisions in this house.”

    “They’re the ones who’ll be spending time with her,” Clark told her firmly. “End of discussion. Sit down, Tess. We have a lot to do. We need to go over the new contracts for the cable network.”

    Despite being busy with work, Clark found his mind occasionally wandering to Lois Lane. It was funny that he hadn’t met her before, although he and Oliver had worked closely together through the League and occasionally did business together. He hadn’t lied when he said they weren’t exactly the best of friends.

    The few times he’d seen Oliver at social events, the other man had been dateless and flirting up a storm. Lex had even queried Lois’ absence. When Oliver had replied, Clark had been given the impression that the blond billionaire didn’t think much of his girlfriend’s social skills. Clark had heard she had once embarrassed Oliver by asking awkward questions of another acquaintance of theirs.

    Apart from the little joke she had made which had fallen rather flat, Clark hadn’t seen anything to concern him. Lois hadn’t spoken much although she’d given him the impression that she was at first a little intimidated by him, but he’d seen a flash of something akin to anger in her eyes when he’d been talking about the children.

    He was sure once she got over the way he’d basically browbeaten her into the job, she would be just what the children needed. Maybe what you need as well, an inner voice told him. Lana had been a loving wife but there were times when Clark had wished she would stand up to him. He had loved his wife, he supposed, but she often acted like she was there just to please him.

    He sat down to dinner that night with the children hoping they would accept the new situation. The older ones were off school for summer vacation and Gracie usually went to daycare.

    “Children, I have an announcement,” he said. “I have employed a new nanny.”

    Bradley rolled his eyes and sighed.

    “We don’t want a new nanny, Dad,” he said. “Unless … is she, you know, like what we asked for.”

    “She meets most of your requirements, I believe.” He glanced at his youngest, who was pushing her food around her plate, handling her spoon awkwardly. “Gracie, sweetheart, don’t play with your food.”

    She continued pushing it away. Clark sighed. She would probably eat cereal all day long if she could. She barely spoke in his presence although he had heard her talking to her siblings well enough.

    “Is she the lady I met today?” Rebecca said. “She’s pretty!”

    “Yes, that’s her.”

    “She was nice, and she’s funny. I liked her.”

    Well, that was a good start at least, he thought. Of course, she hadn’t actually accepted the job but he hoped she would take it. Anything had to be better than door-to-door sales.

    The children seemed to be happy enough with his choice. He was sure Bradley would adjust. He was at that difficult age where boys didn’t want to be seen as momma’s boys. He remembered feeling the same at that age. Yet Bradley was very much like his mother in temperament. Eager to please and trying to be the peacemaker, whereas Rebecca was more like him. Stubborn.

    Grace seemed to be a mixture of both, although at three she was yet to grow out of the stage where she threw tantrums every so often. Thank goodness she hadn’t shown any sign of any of his abilities as yet. His mother had told him that at that age he’d almost wrecked the house in a full-on tantrum.

    “Gracie, don’t you like your dinner?” Clark asked, biting back a sharp retort. His mother had also advised him not to push his youngest child if she didn’t want to eat her dinner.

    Tonight Eric had served up roast chicken with steamed vegetables and mashed potato with gravy. The older children seemed to enjoy it, but Grace had left most of it on her plate. Eric had tried everything from chicken nuggets to fish sticks but still the little girl wouldn’t eat. It might be just a phase, but he was growing ever more impatient with her. He hated to see food wasted, a leftover from the days on the farm before his parents had become rich.

    “Grace, if you’re not going to eat your dinner then you can go to bed without any supper. I’m not going to have you sit there and let it go to waste.”

    She looked at him, her brown eyes wide with what he thought might be fear. He didn’t think his daughter was afraid of him, since she came to him for cuddles, but he supposed at times he could be a little too abrupt with her.

    “Gracie, you need to eat your dinner,” Rebecca told her sister calmly.

    Gracie shook her head and dropped her spoon on the plate with a clatter, getting up from her chair and running out of the room. Eric came in from the kitchen and looked at the plate, sighing and shaking his head.

    “She’ll eat it or she goes hungry,” Clark said firmly.

    “Maybe if you didn’t yell at her all the time she might eat,” Rebecca told him with a fierce glare in his direction.

    “If she’d do as she was told I wouldn’t have to yell, would I?” he shot back.

    “You’re mean and I hate you!” his eldest daughter growled.

    “That’s enough backtalk from you, young lady! Go to your room!”

    Rebecca glared at him mutinously before dropping her cutlery on her own plate, which was, thankfully, empty, and rose from the table, walking away with her head held high. Bradley joined her in seeming solidarity. The siblings tended to fight a lot except when one was being punished by their father and the other would join them.

    Clark sighed. Every time, he thought. It didn’t matter what he did, he just couldn’t seem to get it right. He was glad his parents were due back at the end of the week because he needed some parental advice.

    Eric was still shaking his head.

    “What?”

    “I swear if you weren’t invulnerable I’d smack you upside the head.”

    “Careful, Eric. I’m still your boss.”

    “Your point being?”

    “I could fire you.”

    “You wish!” Eric looked at him thoughtfully. “You know what the definition of insanity is?”

    “Yes, but I’m sure you’ll keep reminding me.”

    “It’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result.”

    “What does that have to do with my kids?”

    “You keep yelling at them and expecting them to do as they’re told but you just keep going around in circles. You know, sooner or later, they’re going to resent you and what are you going to do then? Keep them locked up?”

    “At least Lana could control them.”

    “Well, Lana’s gone and you need to accept that fact, or you’re going to drive yourself nuts.”

    “Whatever! I need to go get ready for patrol.”

    He went up to his room to change into his uniform. The blue suit fit snugly. According to his mother, it was supposed to cut down wind resistance. The design was modelled after the suits worn by soldiers on Krypton.

    Just as he had finished changing, Eric knocked on the door and handed him the cordless phone.

    “Miss Lane,” he said.

    Clark nodded his thanks and held the phone to his ear.

    “Miss Lane?”

    “I just called to say yes. When do you want me to start?”

    “Tomorrow is soon enough. Do you need help with your things?”

    “My cousin’s helping me. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

    “Good.”

    Patrol was uneventful. Of course there were the usual muggings and burglary attempts, but the city was reasonably quiet and he got home at a decent hour. He checked in on the children before going to bed. Rebecca was lying on her stomach, the covers half off the bed. He straightened them and made sure she was warm.

    Bradley was lying on his back with one leg over the side, his head off the pillow. Clark lifted the boy gently and covered him up. His son rolled over onto his side, sighing in his sleep.

    They were so vulnerable like this, Clark thought.

    He checked in on Grace, who was sleeping peacefully, her thumb in her mouth. She looked so much like her mother that he found himself missing Lana.

    Their marriage hadn’t been all that happy, not that he would ever tell the children that. He and Lana had been fighting a lot when she was pregnant with Grace and there had been times when he’d wanted to request a separation. Of course, then they’d discovered the heart condition and he knew he couldn’t do that to her.

    Early the next morning he was awoken by his phone ringing.

    “Clark Kent.”

    “Sweetheart!”

    “Hi Mom.”

    “Honey, we’re just on our way to the airport but I thought I’d just check in. We’ll be home early tomorrow. How are the children?”

    “Misbehaving, as usual. Rebecca hates me. Gracie won’t eat.”

    “Oh sweetheart, she doesn’t hate you. And I’m sure Gracie’s just going through a phase.”

    “Yeah, Mom, you’ve told me that before. I hired a new nanny.”

    “Well, I hope the children get along better with her than Miss Sims.”

    “Me too,” he said.

    He heard the voice of the driver telling them they were at the airport. It would be a fourteen hour flight from Sydney to L.A. and another three hours once they got through security and waited for their next flight before they arrived home. Not counting any delays and wait times.

    “Okay honey. We have to go now. Love you.”

    “Love you too, Mom. We’ll see you tomorrow for dinner.”

  13. #13
    Banned - Plagiarism
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    Leanne, I'm of a suspicious mind. Are we sure the redheaded whore isn't Tess? Her reaction to Clark hiring Lois makes me curiouser and curiouser. Unless she's just a b!tch. Which is entirely possible. Things that make you go hmmm.

  14. #14
    Posting Pro BigRed67's Avatar
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    Oh and the fun is about to begin! By the way I like the inclusion of Eric too, it's nice to see a different character incorporated into a story and he doesn't take any crap from Clark. Yep Oliver is a certified A** not doubt about it, but that's all good! And Lois' reaction to seeing Clark for the first time, classic! I'm rubbing my hands together in anticipation of what will happen next!

  15. #15
    Battle Troll DJ Doena's Avatar
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    A man who bore a striking resemblance to Chloe’s ex-husband answered the door.
    Love the Ashmore nudge here!

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