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  1. #61
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Chapter Twenty-One

    Lois’ head was pounding and she could feel a sharp ache in her abdomen, far worse than when she had had her appendix out at age nine. She tried to sit up, only to groan and fall back against the pillows.

    “Lois?”

    Frowning, she turned her head to look at the figure in the doorway.

    “Clark.”

    He stepped forward and sat on the bed. “The doctor says you’re going to be fine.”

    “Yeah? I feel like I went eight rounds with Mike Tyson.”

    He nodded, his big hand covering hers. Her first instinct was to pull back, but she ignored it. His hand felt warm where she felt so cold.

    “What, uh …” Her voice was husky. She cleared her throat and tried again. “What happened?”

    “Well, Superman apparently showed up right when that guy Trax was about to kill you. The police turned up not long after and shot him.”

    “Who? Superman?”

    “No. Trax. He’s dead, by the way.”

    “Oh. Good.”

    Clark ducked his head. She had the feeling he didn’t exactly agree with the way the police had handled it, but was resigned to it.

    She looked down at her hand. Clark was rubbing her skin gently with his thumb. He appeared thoughtful, as if there was something he wanted to say but was not sure about it.

    There were so many things she wanted to say to him. Confronting someone like Trax, coming so close to being killed, had made her realise that her life could be cut short in an instant. She’d wasted so much time avoiding her feelings for Clark, reasoning that a relationship between them could never work. She was too impulsive, too hot-tempered. Not to mention the fact that he was her boss. Maybe not her direct boss, but it could still create so many problems for them.

    Then there was the fact that she had a tendency to blur the lines between them. He’d had every right to get annoyed with the way she just seemed to walk all over him.

    “I bet I can guess what you’re thinking,” Clark said.

    “I bet you can’t.”

    He smiled. “You’re trying to give yourself an out. Creating all these excuses as to why it couldn’t possibly work between us.”

    “That’s not exactly what I was thinking,” she said. “Besides, what about Tess?”

    “Tess is no longer in the picture. You were seeing Jack.”

    She frowned at him. “How did you know about that?”

    “He’s practically family. By the way, Uncle Jonathan offered for you to stay with them for a while. If you wanted to.”

    “Thanks, but I don’t even know them. I mean, I had dinner with them, once, but I …” She trailed off, not really knowing what to say.

    “It’s okay. I’m not going to push you into anything you don’t want to do.” He got up and went to the window, looking out over what she assumed was the hospital grounds. He stood there for a few moments before turning back to her.

    “Lois, I don’t know what the future holds. Let’s face it, we’ve spent the last four months or so avoiding what we really feel. I only know that when I heard you’d been hurt yesterday, I couldn’t face the thought of losing you. I mean, don’t get me wrong. There are times when you drive me crazy. You’re brash, and you sometimes act without thinking, but … you accused me once of being uptight and maybe I am. Maybe I need someone like you to help me see that I don’t always have to be that way.” He sighed.

    “I know I’m not perfect.”

    She shook her head. “Maybe not, but … I … I guess even with you I had to put up all those walls because I … I got scared. The general used to tell me that he hated weakness and I always thought that if I let someone see that side of me then they would hurt me.”

    “I never would,” he said.

    “I know.” She paused, sighing. “I don’t know what this is, but I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you think there is something worth exploring, then I’d like to explore it with you.”

    He smiled and it was as if the room suddenly became brighter. Lois smiled back a little uncertainly. Clark started to approach the bed, but before he could do so, someone came into the room.

    “Well, Miss Lane, I’m Dr Hamilton.”

    She frowned at the man with olive skin and wavy dark hair. She couldn’t recall having met him the day before but then again, she didn’t remember much of what had happened after Trax had thrown her through the glass pane. She had been told she had been unconscious for a while after Superman had brought her in and the rest of that time was a blur.

    Dr Hamilton nodded at Clark. She wondered what that was about. She didn’t know much about body language but there was a sense of familiarity between them. She wanted to ask Clark about it, but didn’t get the opportunity as the doctor looked through her chart.

    “Your vitals are good,” he was saying. “I think as long as you have someone to look after you, we can release you this afternoon.”

    She bit her lip. Would Clark still want her to stay with him, even after they’d decided to explore this attraction they had? Not to mention the fact that she’d promised him she would stay put and she had broken that promise.

    “Don’t worry. She’ll be staying with me.”

    “I don’t want to put you to any trouble,” she said.

    He shook his head. “It’s no trouble. Mom would insist on it anyway.”

    It was still a couple of hours before she was released into Clark’s care. She was grateful for the support as he led her into the apartment.

    “Why don’t you rest on the couch for a bit?” he suggested. “If you’re hungry I can make you something to eat.”

    She shook her head. “I’m not hungry. I could go for a coffee, though. The stuff they give you in the hospital is terrible.”

    He smiled. “Well, I don’t think one coffee would hurt.”

    He left the room, but came back in a minute or so later, the phone in his hand.

    “Mom’s on the phone for you.”

    She frowned, but guessed he’d told his mother what had happened. She took the phone, wincing a little as she reached up. She’d cracked a couple of ribs in her fall.

    “Lois?”

    “Yes, it’s me,” she said.

    “How are you, sweetie?”

    “I’m okay. I’ll heal, I guess.”

    “Is my son taking good care of you?” Lois heard a slight edge to the woman’s voice, as if she was upset with Clark.

    “Yes, he is,” she said. “Did he do something?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, just now you sounded a little … are you mad at him?”

    “Oh no, it’s just been a little stressful around here. Chloe went into labour after she heard you’d been hurt. She and Oliver are still at the hospital.”

    “Oh. Clark didn’t tell me that.”

    “He probably didn’t want to worry you. Don’t fret. Everything’s fine. She hasn’t had the baby yet, but that’s to be expected. Goodness knows, I was in labour with Oliver for almost two days!”

    “Wow! That’s a long time,” Lois commented. She looked up as Clark came back in with her coffee. She smiled up at him and mouthed a thank you.

    “Isn’t it, though? He was a big baby too. Nine pounds! But you don’t want to hear about that. I just wanted to call and check up on you. We were so worried when we heard about that horrible man. I’m so glad you’re safe.” She paused. “I should let you get some rest, sweetheart. I doubt you got much sleep in the hospital.”

    For some inexplicable reason, Lois felt like she wanted to cry. Hearing the concern in the older woman’s voice made her miss her mother, even though it had been twenty years since Ella Lane had died. She bit her lip, trying not to choke on the tears.

    “Okay. Do you need to talk to Clark again?”

    “No, darling. It’s all right. I’m sure I’ll be calling again in a few hours when the baby is finally here. You just get some rest now.”

    Clark appeared to notice her getting emotional as he sat down beside her. She was glad she was able to keep the tears back waited until Moira had hung. She cried, barely aware of him putting his arms around her. It was a long time before she felt able to get things under control again.

    “I’m sorry,” she said with a sigh. “I don’t normally …”

    “No one will blame you for getting emotional,” he said gently. “After everything that’s happened, I’d be worried if you didn’t.”

    “This is going to sound stupid, but … talking to your mom, it almost felt like my mom was here. You know?”

    “That’s not stupid,” he told her, handing her a Kleenex so she could wipe her eyes. “I know when I’m feeling down or unwell, I wish my mom was right here.”

    “I can’t imagine you really needing your mom. I mean, you seem so … um, together,” she said. She frowned. “That didn’t come out right.”

    “I know what you meant. Believe me, I had my moments when I was growing up. Losing my dad and Ollie disappearing … that was a bad time in my life.”

    “Chloe told me a little bit. What happened?”

    He shrugged. “I got into some trouble at school, started acting out. Mom didn’t know what to do so she asked Uncle Jonathan to help. He got me straightened out.”

    “It must have been hard, going through all that.”

    She had the feeling it wasn’t the only thing Clark had gone through, but decided not to question him further.

    She decided to go up to the bedroom to rest for a while. When she came back downstairs, Clark was talking to Detective Jones. The dark-skinned man smiled at her.

    “How are you feeling?” he asked.

    “Okay,” she replied. “Recovering.”

    “Good. I was just telling Clark about the investigation into what happened with Trax.”

    “What did happen?” she asked. “I’m still a little fuzzy on the details.”

    “Well, it seems Trax was part of a study at LexCorp in behavioural modification. However, we think he only volunteered to join the study so he could get early release from his prison sentence.”

    She nodded. “Yeah. It figures.”

    “I’m sorry to tell you that the owner of the bar was killed.”

    “TJ?” she said, getting upset all over again. Her friend had been murdered because of her. Trax must have really studied her.

    The detective nodded. “I’m sorry. He was a friend of yours?”

    “I’d known him for years. He was a friend of a friend.”

    Clark’s housekeeper appeared from the hallway. Clark left the room with her. Lois continued talking to the detective, who related what had happened after Trax had nearly killed her.

    Clark returned looking a little perturbed. Lois was surprised to see Lex Luthor following him in.

    “Mr Luthor came to see you,” he said.

    “Lois, I heard about what happened. I wanted to give you my deepest apologies. I know nothing I can say can make up for what Mr Trax did to you. I also wanted to give you my assurances that I am launching a full investigation into how he escaped from the facility.”

    She nodded. “Thank you.”

    He stepped forward, a smile of beneficence on his face, as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth.

    “If there is anything I can do,” he said.

    “I’ll be okay. Clark’s taking good care of me.”

    Lex turned and smiled at Clark. “He’s good at that,” he said. “Even in his first day at Excelsior he was always taking care of others.”

    Lois hated the man’s tone. It sounded like he was making an effort not to be condescending but it still came off that way.

    “I’ll be holding a press conference in the morning. I assume it is a long shot, but if you have a way to get in touch with Superman, I would very much appreciate his presence.”

    Again she had that feeling Lex was speaking the words he thought they wanted to hear but his tone implied something else.

    “Why would Clark know how to get in touch with Superman?” she asked. “Usually he just shows up when he’s needed.”

    “Yet isn’t it strange how the Daily Planet seems to manage to get exclusive interviews with him?” the bald man replied coolly. He nodded his head at her. “I’ll let you get some rest, Lois. Clark.”

    “I’ll see you out, sir,” Mrs Adams told him.

    Lois stared at Clark as Lex left the room, followed by the housekeeper.

    “What was that all about?” she asked.

    “I’ve no idea,” Clark returned.

  2. #62
    Forum Whiz TheCloisLover's Avatar
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    As great as usual, looking forward to read more! Loved that they’re on their way to love

  3. #63
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCloisLover View Post
    As great as usual, looking forward to read more! Loved that they’re on their way to love
    Thank you. There will still be a few bumps in the road, but they'll sort themselves out.

  4. #64
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    a/n: Sorry for the delay in posting. My mum is in hospital and it's quite serious so I have been spending a lot of my time there.

    Chapter Twenty-Two

    Against Clark’s objections, Lois decided to attend the press conference at LexCorp. He had asked his friend Dinah Lance, also known as Black Canary, to go to Lois’ apartment and see what could be salvaged out of her belongings. Dinah had reported that Trax had done a real number on the apartment. He’d completely trashed everything, setting fire to her clothes and bedding and spraying obscenities in black paint on the walls. She would never get her deposit back from the landlord.

    Fortunately his assistant had anticipated that it would be a few days, if at all, before Lois could go home and had bought a few extra items. It was only jeans and blouses, but at least she would be comfortable, he thought.

    Since he didn’t technically have to be at the press conference, as himself, he decided to take the chance and trust Luthor wouldn’t have requested for him to be there as his alter ego without good reason.

    As he headed downstairs to check on something with Perry, he overheard one of the younger reporters talking with an intern in the break room.

    “I heard Lois was staying with the boss himself. I always wondered about their ‘special relationship’. You know, sometimes I think he just lets her …”

    “Lets her what?” he asked.

    The brown-haired first-year reporter stared at him, wide-eyed.

    “Uh …”

    “Go on, Mr Hage. Please do tell me more about what you think is going on between myself and Miss Lane.”

    “Uh …”

    “Uh isn’t good enough,” he snapped. “First of all, in case you were not aware, Lois was almost killed two days ago. She is staying at my apartment because her apartment is currently unliveable. As for her relationship with me, that is really none of your business, now is it? And for the record, I do not appreciate you spreading such rumours. I would tread very carefully, Mr Hage, or the only thing you will be writing is your resume. Is that clear?”

    Jeff turned red with embarrassment. “Yes sir,” he said quietly.

    Clark turned to leave, startled to find Lois right behind him.

    “Can we talk?” she asked quietly.

    “I thought you would be at the press conference by now,” he said.

    “It’s just across the road and it doesn’t start for a half hour. I just … couldn’t help overhearing.”

    “If you think I was being too harsh with him …”

    “It’s not that. I … it’s about yesterday. I guess this really isn’t the right time or place for this.”

    “I’ll be free in about an hour, I guess. How about I order in lunch?”

    She nodded. “Yeah, that sounds … okay. See you later?”

    He watched her go before continuing to Perry’s office. The editor smiled at his entry.

    “Hey, kid. Lois was just in here.”

    “I figured,” he said quietly, sitting down on the leather chair.

    “Everything okay?”

    “I’m not sure. After the last couple of days, I …”

    “Yeah, I know. It could have been a lot worse. We could have been going to Lois’ funeral.”

    He didn’t really need the reminder and gave the editor a sour look. The older man shrugged and smiled.

    “Just thought you needed a bit of perspective. So how are the new parents doing?”

    His brother had called an hour after Lex had left saying Chloe had had the baby. The proud father was just about crowing from the rooftops. They still hadn’t decided on a name but Oliver thought there was plenty of time for that.

    “Doing well, by all accounts. Mom told me this morning that Chloe should be released from the hospital tomorrow. They just wanted to make sure she was okay with the feeding and everything else.”

    “How about you, kid? You doing okay?”

    “How do you really want me to answer that?”

    Perry snickered. “Hate to say it, Clark, but the answer’s written all over your face. You can try to hide it all you like, but this thing scared you more than you want to admit.”

    “You’re right.”

    “I’ve seen the way you two look at each other. Look, don’t get me wrong. I think you and Lois would be great together, but are you sure you wanna go down this road? You know how complicated it could get.”

    “Perry, right now, I’m not sure of anything except how I feel about her. Almost losing her made me realise that I’ve been avoiding these feelings for so long if I don’t do something about it, I could lose her for good.”

    He couldn’t explain it, even to himself. There was something about Lois that made him feel … well, maybe normal wasn’t quite the word he was looking for, he thought, but it was close.

    All his life, he’d felt that he didn’t really fit in. Despite having a big brother, despite having loving parents. They’d all tried their best but they really couldn’t possibly understand what it was like to be him. To be … different. They’d all had to deal with his abilities. When he was younger, it seemed like every time his body changed, a new ability would crop up. It had been hard enough for him to deal with.

    There had been times when he’d looked at his brother wondering if Oliver ever thought of him as a freak.

    Yet, inexplicably, the moment he’d met Lois Lane, he was able to forget all of that. She’d annoyed him, sure, but at the same time, she had treated him like everyone else. That was what had attracted him the most.

    He left Perry’s office and prepared to go to the press conference. It wasn’t the ordeal he had expected it to be. Lex appeared almost friendly, thanking Superman for his quick action. Clark was cynical enough to believe that the bald billionaire was doing it for the positive PR, but he was sure there was some other reason. He’d heard rumours the man was trying for political office again. He already had a failed bid for state senate.

    He returned to his office shortly before Lois was due to arrive. Amanda had already ordered lunch for them and left for her own break.

    Lois entered and hovered in the doorway, looking a little uncertain.

    “You can come in. I promise I won’t bite.”

    Her smile was more of a grimace. “Sorry. Last time I was here, you yelled at me.”

    “I know. I’m sorry.” He gestured toward the sandwiches on the desk. “I hope you’re hungry.”

    “Um, not really.” She stepped forward. “I guess I could eat a little.”

    “You need to keep your strength up,” he said gently.

    “I know.” She took a quarter of one sandwich and went to the window, picking at the bread as she looked out over the street. “I heard what Jeff said. About us.”

    “Don’t worry about him,” he replied.

    He watched her for a few moments. She was so quiet, almost uncertain. It was so uncharacteristic of her that he had no idea what to do. He was used to bickering with her.

    “Clark, what do you want from us?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I mean, where do you see this going?”

    “Don’t you think it’s a little early to be even thinking about that?” he pointed out. “We haven’t even gone out on a date.”

    “Actually, we have, or did you forget the night at the Ace of Clubs.”

    “That wasn’t really a date,” he said. “Are you worried about what might happen?”

    She shrugged. “Sort of. I mean, you’d barely started to go out with Tess and the gossip rags had you practically engaged. Are you … I mean, you did say Tess wasn’t an issue anymore.”

    “She called it quits, but if she hadn’t, I would have. Maybe not quite as soon as that.”

    “Oh.”

    “Lois, what is really the problem here?”

    “I don’t know,” she said with a heavy sigh. “I mean, I get that your life is … complicated. You can’t go out to a restaurant without being chased by a Paparazzi. I know that’s the price you pay for being … who you are. I just …. I kept thinking about it last night. Wondering if that was something I was prepared to deal with. I mean, last time, I was kind of taken by surprise when the Inquisitor published that story.”

    Clark frowned, trying to figure out where she was going with this.

    “Is this your way of saying you changed your mind?” he asked, feeling more than a little disappointed.

    She turned and looked at him, putting the sandwich down on the plate. She hadn’t eaten a thing.

    “I don’t know. I’m just … really confused.”

    “Well, maybe this will help unconfuse you,” he said.

    He wrapped his arms around her and pressed his lips to hers in a gentle, undemanding kiss. For a moment she didn’t respond, then one arm slid around his waist, her hand on his back, while the other found its way to behind his head. Her mouth opened under his, letting him in as she began to kiss him back with fervour.

    “Then what happened?”

    Chloe gazed at her brother-in-law. She was tired and sore from the birth, but as much as she wanted to focus on letting her body heal, it looked like Clark needed some reassurance.

    He sighed. “Well, then she stared at me and practically ran out the door.”

    “Uh, yeah, Lois has always had what I like to call a tightly-wound bolt reflex. It’s not you, trust me on that.”

    “So why did she?” Clark was holding a teddy bear he’d bought for the baby. He’d flown to Star City as soon as work ended for the day. From what Chloe could ascertain, he hadn’t seen Lois or heard whether she’d gone back to his apartment after he’d kissed her.

    “I think it has something to do with all those walls she puts up,” she told him. “That’s about as much insight as I can give you. The rest, well you’ll just have to ask her.”

    Oliver entered the room, holding a bundle wrapped in a blue blanket.

    “Look who wants to meet his Uncle Clark,” he crooned.

    Chloe grinned at her husband. Oliver had sworn he was not going to do the ‘baby talk’ but the moment his son had been born he just hadn’t been able to stop himself.

    Clark took the bundle and dutifully admired his nephew.

    “So, you guys decided what to name him yet?”

    “We’re still debating between Jonas and something else,” Chloe said, glancing at her husband. Oliver shrugged.

    “We were sort of leaning toward Conner,” he said.

    Clark nodded, smiling for the first time since he’d appeared.

    “Conner,” he said. “I like it.”

    “His middle name could be Robert, after your dad.”

    Oliver grinned. “Yeah, I think Dad would have loved that.”

    “I think it’s perfect,” Moira said, coming into the room. She approached Clark to look down at her grandson. Clark handed him over without protest. “What do you think, sweetheart?” she crooned.

    The baby cooed softly as if he agreed with his grandmother. She rocked him gently, gazing at him adoringly.

    Chloe watched her mother-in-law for a moment before turning back to Clark.

    “So what are you going to do?”

    “I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, yesterday, she said she wanted to explore whatever it is we’re feeling but now …”

    “You have to give her a chance to sort out her feelings,” Chloe advised. “The last few days have been pretty overwhelming for her.”

    “I suppose hearing Jeff saying something stupid didn’t help,” he said with a sigh. Chloe frowned at him and asked for details. When he told her, she felt like kicking Jeff’s ass. She didn’t know him that well, since he’d joined the Planet long after she’d left for Star City, but she’d heard Lois talking about him enough to know he was an idiot.

    “Chloe’s right, Clark,” his brother told him. “You just need to give her a little time.”

    Clark still didn’t look that happy but nodded resignedly. He left shortly after, having done his duty in admiring his nephew.

    Chloe nursed her son before handing him over to Oliver. She looked at her husband. “I could call her.”

    “And say what, exactly? That she’s an idiot for walking out on him?”

    She chewed on her lower lip, watching as he walked up and down, gently rocking their tiny son.

    “I guess you’re right.”

    “I’m always right,” he returned with a grin.

    “You wish.”

    “I did tell you this might blow up in our faces. I said it months ago.”

    “Oh ye of little faith,” she replied. “She’ll come around. You’ll see.”

  5. #65
    New In Town Sykobee's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your mother. Sending best wishes and warm thoughts for good health, recovery and strength 💌

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