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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    Awesome update The senior Kents were well managed and informing the general to be on his guard, smoothly accomplished as well. Great mix of info, some sleuthing, confrontation, silliness and family fun. Between Lois's desire to be 'top banana', CK's sly, subtle sense of humor, and Kally's mix of her parents' talents, lively exchanges are predictable. Can't wait for more. Soon please
    I love writing a mix of silliness and humour with drama. As for the plot afoot, it will reveal itself in the next chapter. Coming right up.

  2. #47
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    Chapter Fourteen

    “What do you know about Lex Luthor?”

    Bubsy frowned as she looked at her companion. Sam had come for their usual quiet afternoon. Instead of just coming to take his grand-daughter for the day while Lois was at college, he had taken both her and Kally out to lunch. Lois would probably say they were dating and in many ways, they were. She was comfortable with the general. Now that he’d let his guard down, so to speak, she found they had many things in common.

    She considered his question. What did she know about Lex? The man had lived in Smallville for nearly five years but he hadn’t really had a lot to do with the locals. Other than that he owned the Talon and had tried to launch a business to save the plant from closure.

    “Not much, really,” she said. “The inn occasionally does have guests who are visiting the Luthorcorp plant but the accounts always go to the Metropolis office. Why?”

    Sam was studying Kally, who was playing happily on the floor with the doll he’d bought her. His gaze shifted from his grand-daughter to her.

    “The kids think Luthor may be planning something to do with Kally.”

    She stared at him. She knew Lois had never confirmed to anyone in town, other than those who she was close with, that Clark was Kally’s father. In a lot of ways, she understood the couple’s reasons for doing so. They were both so very young and there were those in town who might not look so kindly on them for having a child out of wedlock. Considering Jonathan and Martha’s reputation as pillars of the community, she could definitely understand their reluctance.

    “Why would he do something to Kally?” she asked.

    “Clark thinks it has something to do with the election campaign. Perhaps he wants to try blackmailing Jonathan into dropping out of the senate race.”

    She nodded. That made sense. She wasn’t so ‘small-town’ that she didn’t understand people like the Luthors. They cared little about who they hurt on their way to the top.

    “Oh dear,” she said with a sigh. “What should we do?”

    “I don’t know,” he said. “Annie, I’m a military man. I’m used to fighting wars, not protecting children. The kids don’t want me going and confronting Luthor, but believe you me, I’ve had thoughts about doing it. I don’t like Luthor. I don’t like his politics. I don’t like his way of doing business. I especially don’t like him doing anything that might hurt my family. The kids might not be married yet, but …”

    She understood. Clark was like a son to him.

    Sam had confided in her a long time ago that he had initially worried about Clark. She’d assured him that Clark was a responsible young man. Sure, the kids had made a mistake but the fact that the young man had not only stepped up and taken responsibility for his daughter, but was also helping Lois raise her, spoke a lot about his character. That the couple were planning to get married once they had finished college and settled down into steady jobs, was just an added bonus.

    Since she’d known Lois, the young woman had blossomed from a scared young mother to a woman who knew where she was going and exactly how she was going to get there. She loved her daughter fiercely but at the same time, had realised that in order to give Kally a good life, she had to do something for her future. Bubsy was proud of the young woman who had become almost like a daughter to her.

    They continued to sit and chat for a while. Sam showed no concern about getting back to the base. Since it was close to winter season, Bubsy had few guests and wasn’t expecting any new ones.

    Just as she thought it was time that Lois should be getting back from school, she heard footsteps and the front door was flung open. A girl with long brown hair came in, sounding a little out of breath. She was holding onto a large envelope.

    “Dad!”

    Sam frowned. “Lucy? What are you doing here?”

    She held up the envelope. “This was in the mail. I found it when I got home from school. You said you were expecting it and that it was important.” She smiled at Bubsy. “Hi. I guess you’re Miss Harrigan. I’m Lucy.”

    Bubsy laughed. “I gathered that. Hello, Lucy. It’s nice to meet you. Goodness, did you run here? You’re out of breath.”

    Lucy chuckled. “Yeah, sorry about that. Dad’s always complaining about me running everywhere. Is Lois home yet?” she added. “Anyway, I wanted to spend some time with Kally.” She got down on her knees to give her niece a hug.

    Bubsy sent Sam an amused look. Lucy was a bundle of energy. She had clearly changed in the past few months from the girl who had turned into a troublemaker. Being home, around her family, had obviously helped.

    Sam had opened up the package and had a pleased smile on his face. He looked at her.

    “Annie, remember that little promise I made about helping you with your little problem?”

    She frowned, then remembered he’d offered to help her find out about the child she’d been forced to adopt out.

    “Yes, of course, but …”

    He handed her a document. There was a photo of a handsome young man who bore a strong resemblance to the man she had loved so many years ago.

    The young man would be about thirty-five now, she guessed. She read through the document. His name was Will and he lived in Metropolis.

    “Oh, Sam ,” she said quietly, her eyes brimming with tears. “How did you …”

    “I called in a few favours,” he told her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “A few years ago they made a law change that opened up previously closed adoption files. A friend of a friend knew this organisation that helped track down the records.”

    She examined the photograph more closely. Will did look like his father, but there were parts of him that reminded her of her father. She pressed a trembling hand to her mouth as she checked the birth date. She had never forgotten the day of his birth. Even if she had never been told what the baby was, she would always remember that day. After all, it was the day her heart had been broken. Giving up her child had been the hardest thing she had ever had to endure, worse even than the pain of childbirth.

    Will had been adopted by an older couple who had been unable to have children. The mother had passed away when Will had been in his twenties and his father had passed just recently, according to what she read.

    “Annie, if you want to contact him, you can. I’ll even take you to Metropolis.”

    She smiled at the general. “Sam, you are too good to me.”

    He returned the smile. “Annie, you have come to mean a lot to me. And to my family. I thank the Lord every day for Lois finding you when she did. I’d like to think my Ella had a hand in all that, somehow.” He paused and looked over at Lucy, who was happily playing with her niece. “I know it’s rather soon, but I care deeply for you, Annie. I wondered if you would, uh, I mean…“ He began muttering to himself. Bubsy caught the words, “easier with Ella.”

    Sam lifted his head and looked at her. “I’m not the most eloquent of men,” he said. “I’m used to commanding troops. Ella would sometimes tell me I was hopeless at romance, but … would you … would you consider, perhaps, some time in the future, being with me?”

    She gazed at him. “Sam, are you asking me to get married?”

    For a military man, he sure could blush, she thought. “Uh, yes?” He looked away for a second. “I have to admit, I prefer straight-talking but I wasn’t sure if you …”

    She stopped him, giving him a light kiss on the mouth. “Sam, I’m not some wide-eyed schoolgirl. Believe it or not, I have been ‘around the block’ a few times. I prefer directness and we’re both far too mature for beating around the bush. I care deeply for you, too, Sam Lane. And yes, I would be happy to be with you.”

    He grinned. “You remind me so much of my Ella. She liked being direct too.”

    “I will take that as a compliment.”

    “You should,” he said meaningfully.

    Lucy came over with Kally in her arms. Her eyes were twinkling and she appeared very happy.

    “You two aren’t going to start getting all mushy now, are you? I mean, I wouldn’t want to get any ideas.”

    “Lucy!” her father spluttered.

    The seventeen-year-old giggled and bounced her niece in her arms. “Look, Kally. Grandpa’s blushing!” She looked at her father. “Seriously, Dad, you’ve been talking about Miss Harrigan for months.” She shook her head at Bubsy. “Honestly, the man can face a firefight without blinking an eye, but he crumbles around strong women.”

    “That’s enough, Lucy,” Sam replied. He shot Bubsy a ‘help me’ look.

    Bubsy laughed. “Oh, Sam, don’t you know when your daughter is teasing you?” she said. She turned back to Lucy. “You will get yours, young lady. I have no doubt your father will think up some kind of revenge later.”

    Lois came in with Clark. The couple were laughing about something as they entered. Lois stopped when she saw them in the foyer.

    “What’s up?” she said.

    She listened quietly as her father told her what had happened. There was no hesitation as she came forward and wrapped her arms around Bubsy.

    “I’m so glad,” she said. “Dad’s seemed so much happier since you two became friends. Well, more than friends.”

    “Thank you,” Bubsy returned.

    Lucy decided to take Kally for a walk down to the park so the adults could talk. Clark went into the kitchen to make them all some hot cocoa and Lois followed him.

    She leaned against the cabinet, watching him as he worked. The chef was busy preparing dinner for the inn and had cautioned them not to get in her way.

    “Wow,” Lois said. “I mean, I knew he had feelings for her, but …”

    “You think it’s too fast?” Clark asked.

    “No. I mean, I don’t know.”

    “Well, look at it this way. Not that I’m trying to say that they’re old, but I think once you get to their age, it’s more that they don’t need the whole dating thing. Besides, they have known each other for over a year.”

    “That’s true.” She looked out into the foyer where her father was talking quietly with Bubsy. They both looked happy and she knew she couldn’t begrudge them that happiness.

    Clark turned away from the stove and wrapped his arms around her.

    “I guess when you know something’s right, you don’t want to waste any time. And they do look great together.”

    “You’re right about that,” she said, giving him a brief kiss. He tried to press for more. “Don’t go getting any ideas, Smallville. We’ve got mid-terms and we need to concentrate on studying.”

    He sighed. “So, no making out? Rats!” He turned back to finish making the cocoa.

    They rejoined the older couple. Lois watched her father and future stepmother as they sat closely together. Bubsy was practically glowing. The general would smile at her and it was as if they were both floating.

    Lois wasn’t surprised when her father announced he was taking Bubsy out for dinner at an intimate restaurant. Which left Lois in charge of the inn, making sure everyone got their meals. The general and her friend left a short time later.

    She glanced at the clock and then out the window.

    “It’s getting dark,” she said. “Lucy should have been back with Kally by now.”

    Clark frowned at her. “You want me to go look for them?”

    She was about to ask him to do just that when Lucy came in, looking stricken.

    “Luce, where’s Kally?”

    “Lo …”

    Clark peered at her. “Lucy, you’re hurt.”

    She pressed a shaking hand to her head, just above her temple. “I … There was this woman in the park. She yelled at me and tried to take Kally’s doll. Then she hit me.”

    Lucy had fallen to the ground. Dazed, she had tried to get up but by the time she managed to do so, Kally had been snatched up by the woman and a man.

    Lois knew she couldn’t be angry at her sister. Even though they’d told Lucy to be careful and not to let Kally out of her sight, she’d obviously been ambushed.

    “I’m sorry, Lo,” Lucy said, beginning to cry. “I tried …”

    “No, Luce, this isn’t your fault.” Lois looked at Clark. It was clear he was thinking the same thing she was. That someone had been watching the inn, waiting for an opportunity.

    The year before Lois had come to town, there had been a series of attempted break-ins at businesses around Smallville. The inn had been one of the ones hit and Bubsy had talked to a security consultant who had suggested she install security cameras around the property.

    She hoped the cameras had caught something. If not, maybe there was something at the park.

    “I’ll call Chloe,” Clark said.

    Lois helped her sister into the parlour and got an icepack for the bruise on her head. Lucy had been lucky. The woman had missed her temple by less than an inch.

    Clark came back in with the laptop which recorded any footage from the cameras. He had the phone to his ear at the same time.

    “Yeah, I’m just about to access it now,” he said. He paused, obviously listening to something Chloe was saying, then looked over at Lucy. “Lucy’s okay. She has a bruise but I don’t think anything’s broken.”

    Lois guessed he had just x-rayed her sister. She watched anxiously as he looked over the footage.

    It was difficult to tell if anything was off from the surveillance. Lois grew even more anxious for her daughter’s safety as it looked like the surveillance was a dead end.

    “Wait. Hold on. There was a car parked on the side of the road. We saw it when we got back but … Yeah, I can try zooming in on the licence plate.”

    Clark pressed a few keys, obviously taking instructions from Chloe, as the image on the screen zoomed in.

    “It’s not the greatest of angles,” he said. “I can make out maybe the first three numbers. Four-oh-six, maybe a K after that. Well, gee Chloe, even I can’t get a camera to do that. What kind of car is it? It’s a black Chevy. Sedan. What else do you want me to do? Try and get tyre treads? Run those up to the local CSI?”

    Lois found herself snickering a little.

    “No, we’re not going to call Mom and Dad. Or the sheriff,” he said. “If Lex is behind this … Well, see if you can find out where this doctor has his research lab. Yeah, call us back the minute you get anything.”

    He hung up and looked at them. “Chloe’s going to contact her friend at the DMV and see if they can match the plate and the car.”

    Lois understood why Clark refused to involve his parents or the local sheriff. He didn’t want to have to explain the situation.

    “I can help you go look for her,” Lucy said. “I mean, I feel responsible …”

    “No, Lucy, don’t think like that. You are not responsible.” Lois got up and beckoned for Clark to join her in the foyer. “Where would Lex take her?” she asked.

    “Level three at Luthorcorp is my guess. But he may not want to take the chance of being linked to it.” Sure, not if he planned on exploiting the situation to make himself look good in the press. “Our best bet is Dr Loman.”

    Lois sighed. They had been trying all day to get an interview with Dr Loman, but his assistant had been giving them the runaround.

    She had worried that perhaps they’d done the wrong thing by going to Lionel first. He would more than likely try to manipulate things for his own benefit. Clark had told her the former Luthorcorp CEO had had his own collection of information on the family. Clark especially. Some of it had been Clark’s fault, since he’d been on red K when he’d mouthed off to Lionel, then threatened someone while the older man had been there as a witness, so to speak, since he’d been blind at the time.

    It was an anxious wait for the phone to ring. Lois had to attend to the guests coming down for dinner and had to put on a smile. She didn’t feel like eating herself, too worried about what might be happening to her baby.

    Chloe called an hour later, but the news was not good. The car had been stolen. There was no way for them to trace the driver. She did have some other news though. Loman had another office in Granville with an attached lab.

    Clark immediately prepared to speed over there. Lois was torn between going with him and looking after the guests.

    “You go,” Lucy said. “I can look after things here.”

    “I promised Bubsy …” she began.

    Lucy shook her head. “No. You need to do this. You can’t just sit around here worrying if you can do something about it. Besides, dinner’s over and there’s not much left to do. I can handle it.”

    “All right, Luce,” she said, knowing her sister felt she needed to make up for what had happened, even though she didn’t blame the younger girl for a second. Her one major concern had been that it wouldn’t matter how careful they were. Someone as ruthless as Lex would do anything to get what he wanted.

    Clark held her tightly in his arms as he sped to the address in Granville. The street was dark. As Lois looked around, she could tell it was a fairly poor neighbourhood. She could just make out the graffiti on the walls of the surrounding buildings.

    “Look,” Clark said, pointing to a car on the side of the road. The wheels had already been stolen and the windows smashed, but it was clearly the same vehicle they’d seen in the surveillance footage.

    Lois felt a hard knot in her stomach. “I don’t like this place,” she said.

    “I know.” Clark squeezed her hand. “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen.”

    She clung tightly to him as he studied the building. It appeared to be deserted.

    “Come on,” he said in a low voice.

    She did her best to keep up his long strides as they slipped through a gap in the fence and walked around the building. She looked up and saw a camera.

    “Smallville!”

    “Sh!t!” he said. “So much for the element of surprise.”

    Sure enough, a guard came around the corner, holding a gun.

    “You two lost?” he asked gruffly.

    Clark looked as if he was about to attack the man when Lois had an idea. She shook her head at him.

    “Kind of,” she said.

    “This is private property,” the man replied.

    “Funny. I thought this was a research lab owned by Frederick Loman,” she returned.

    The man looked uncertain, then the radio on his hip squawked. He pulled it off his belt and spoke into it.

    “Yeah. Okay.” He gestured with his gun and forced them to walk with him.

    They were taken inside the building. Clark leaned toward her.

    “What are you thinking?”

    “Not sure yet,” she said. “I’m making it up as I go along.”

    “Well, could you clue me in when you do know what you’re doing?”

    They were led into a large room which was set up like the chemistry lab Lois remembered from high school. Three people were gathered around a table, their backs to the main door, while a blonde woman and a man stood looking bored on the other side.

    The woman looked up at their entry, her eyes widening. She called out a warning. Dr Loman turned. At the same time, Lois heard her daughter cry out.

    She glared at the man. He was at least ten years older than her father, with almost white hair. He reminded her a little of the inventor from the Back to the Future movies with his wild hair.

    “Dr Loman, I presume?” she said.

    He frowned. “And you are?”

    “Lois Lane. And that is my daughter you have there. So, hand her over before I call the cops and have you charged with kidnapping.”

    He began to stammer something about not knowing anything about kidnapping. Kally screamed out.

    “Mommy!”

    Clark called out. “Get away from her!” he growled, stepping toward the two remaining men at the table.

    “Daddy!”

    The two men looked uneasily from the doctor to Clark and clearly decided they better obey the very angry father. They backed away, their hands up. Clark scooped Kally up in his arms.

    The guard shouted at Clark, but Lois turned her glare on him.

    “You better not be thinking of shooting my daughter!” she growled.

    He flinched, his grip on the gun faltering. Suddenly he screamed, dropping the weapon. Lois knew what had happened. Clark had used his heat vision to heat up the metal.

    Meanwhile, Dr Loman had tried to slip past her. Lois moved quickly, sweeping her leg to knock the man off his feet. He tried to get up again but was clearly winded.

    There was the sound of glass shattering. Lois looked around, realising Clark had grabbed a laptop and thrown it on the floor. Kally was sitting on one of the benches, safely out of the way. The couple who had taken her had clearly run for it. As had the two assistants.

    The guard stared as Clark began to tear up the place.

    “Uh, hey, mister, you don’t …”

    Lois again glared at the man. “You really don’t want to finish that,” she said. “And you don’t want to make him any madder.” He looked at her. “Leave!” she told him.

    He didn’t hesitate, turning and running out of the room. That left Dr Loman. Clark grabbed him by the collar of his lab coat. Lois heard the fabric tearing as he was hauled to his feet.

    “What did you do to her?” Clark shouted in his face.

    “Nothing! I swear to you …”

    “You’re lying!”

    “I merely ran some tests on her. Please! I wouldn’t lie about this. Think of the child. You …”

    Lois glanced at Kally. She looked frightened. She ran to her daughter and picked her up, holding her close.

    “It’s okay, baby. Daddy’s just mad because he thought the man hurt you.”

    “Please, I was only told to run some tests on her.”

    “Why?” Clark growled.

    “Because it was thought there was something extraordinary about the child.”

    “And is there?” Lois asked.

    Lex continued to stare thoughtfully at the screen. He’d been communicating online with Dr Loman when Clark and Lois had come into the room. The transmission had been abruptly cut off when the doctor had realised the parents had come for their daughter.

    It had been far too easy for them to find her. Lex shrugged. He’d hoped that Clark would have at least gone to the police. Then he could have pretended to be sympathetic with his former friend, told him he would do whatever he could to help them find their daughter. There would have been little point in Clark’s denial then.

    Clark had never been one for going to the authorities and handling his rescues himself. He should have known Kent would stay true to form.

    Well, no matter, he thought. He still had an ace up his sleeve. Imagine what the conservative population would think of a senate candidate’s only son having a child out of wedlock? Especially becoming a father at seventeen.

    He wished the rest of his scheme had been just as promising. He had been stunned when the doctor had given him the results of the tests.

    “The little girl is perfectly normal,” he’d said. Apart from a high metabolism, although even that was just the high side of normal, he’d found nothing extraordinary about Kally at all.

    So much for her having her father’s gifts, Lex thought. He knew there was something different about Clark Kent and had hoped he would have at least found some kind of proof in the little girl. He hated being wrong.

  3. #48
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    Chapter Fifteen

    Clark had just finished class when Lois ran up to him. She was breathless, as if she had run a long way. She looked upset.

    “What’s wrong?” he asked.

    “Have you seen the news today?”

    He shook his head. “No. Why?”

    She pulled him out of the way of other students leaving the lecture theatre and took a folded piece of paper out of her pocket. Clark realised it was a news article.

    KENT’S LITTLE SECRET


    An anonymous source claims Kansas senate seat candidate Jonathan Kent has been keeping a secret from voters – a grandchild.


    When a letter arrived on the desk of the Daily Planet claiming that the son of the Smallville farmer had a child out of wedlock at the age of seventeen, we were sceptical.


    However, enquiries made in Smallville, a town approximately 100 miles southwest of Metropolis, do confirm that Clark Kent has been seen with a young woman and a child who bears a remarkable resemblance to the man.


    Clark Kent is the adopted son of Jonathan and Martha Kent. He graduated from Smallville High last summer and is now studying journalism at Central Kansas A&M.


    When approached for comment, the candidate declined to answer any questions.


    His opponent, Lex Luthor, had this to say:


    “It’s none of my business, but as a voter, I would be extremely concerned. Frankly, I would be questioning the integrity of a man who chooses to hide the existence of a grandchild.


    “I know the Kents and they are good people, so I am astounded at this revelation.”


    Current polls have Mr Kent trailing behind Mr Luthor, a well-known businessman.


    Lois sighed. “Why do I get the feeling Lex was the one who sent the letter?” she said.

    Clark nodded. He wouldn’t be surprised either. Who knew what damage this could do to the campaign.

    “We better go talk to Mom and Dad,” he said.

    They had no sooner stepped out of the building when they were ambushed by someone who thrust a microphone in his face.

    “Mr Kent, care to comment on the article in the Daily Planet?”

    “No, I don’t,” he said firmly. “And who are you?” He looked the man over. He was a short, weaselly sort of man with a bald pate and what appeared to be a beer gut. He smelled of bad body odour and cigarettes.

    “Henry Cain, Metropolis Inquisitor.” He again tried to thrust a microphone in Clark’s face. “Is it true …”

    “How about you get that microphone out of our face before you end up with a fist in yours,” Lois blurted.

    Clark squeezed her hand, keeping her from attacking the reporter.

    “Mr Cain, I have nothing to say to you,” he said, trying to keep his words polite, even as he was inwardly seething at the man’s aggressiveness.

    They did their best to walk quickly away, even with the man chasing on their heels. Lois stumbled, trying to keep up with his long strides and made a small sound in protest. Clark uttered a quick apology to his girlfriend, an arm around her waist to keep her from tripping.

    He was conscious of people staring at them as they passed on the way to the parking lot. It was clear they’d read the article and knew who he was, if only by sight.

    Just as they’d made it to the truck, someone stepped out from behind another vehicle to intercept them.

    “Mr Kent, Ms Lane …”

    They whirled, staring at the man. Clark didn’t know his name but he looked a little familiar. The man was mostly bald with close-cropped blond hair on each side. He wore a three-piece suit which made Clark think he was some kind of corporate goon.

    “Mr Luthor would very much like to speak with you,” he said, speaking in what sounded to Clark like a British accent.

    “Lex?” he asked.

    “No. The other Mr Luthor.”

    “Who are you?” Lois asked.

    “Senatori. Dominic Senatori. I worked for Mr Luthor many years ago.”

    He quickly explained that Lex had fired him when he’d taken over Luthorcorp following his father’s arrest nearly two years earlier, but Lionel had hired him to assist him on a project. Clark suspected he knew what the project was, since he’d seen the paperwork on Apex Consortium, but he didn’t mention it.

    Dominic told them he’d been sent to the college campus once the story had broken. Lionel had apparently managed to get their class schedules and had made a guess on when they were likely to be returning home.

    “Why should we want to hear anything Lionel has to say?” Lois asked.

    Dominic smirked. “He figured you’d say that. His message to you is that he believes he may be able to help you to your mutual benefit.”

    Clark sighed. It was obvious that Lionel figured if he helped them, it would help him somehow wrest control of Luthorcorp back from his son. They’d already done a little research on Apex, thinking it would be important later, but hadn’t been able to pick up much. All they knew was that it was based in Asia. It looked like Lionel had approached some investors to help him take back his company.

    He took Lois gently aside. “What do you think?”

    “I don’t know, Smallville. I mean, can we really trust Lionel?”

    They’d hoped Lionel would have said something to Lex which would have made him think twice about whatever he had planned for Kally.

    When they’d gone after the doctor a week earlier, they had questioned him, trying to get him to confess to Lex hiring him. Chloe had been furious with Clark for smashing the laptop, saying it would have helped her get proof that Lex was behind it by allowing her to backtrack the feed. She’d tried hacking into Lex’s systems, but he’d clearly upgraded his online security and it was near impossible to get in.

    The doctor had backpedalled, saying he was working on a research project and the man and woman who had kidnapped Kally had claimed to be her parents, desperate to find a cure for some mystery illness. According to the story, Luthorcorp had been financing the project, but Dr Loman had been dealing with someone else in the company and hadn’t been dealing with Lex at all.

    Chloe had managed to hack into the doctor’s records and there was the paperwork to prove the doctor’s story. Obviously, someone had anticipated everything and provided the doctor’s alibi.

    She had also managed to get the security footage recorded before Clark had destroyed the surveillance cameras and had sent images of the couple who had kidnapped Kally to Maggie Sawyer at Metropolis PD. Maggie had become a good contact ever since the incident at the Windgate, although she constantly warned them about taking matters into their own hands instead of calling the cops to deal with it. She’d been concerned when they’d told her what had happened and had also scolded them for not calling her to begin with.

    So far, the couple had denied kidnapping Kally, but Lucy had positively identified the woman.

    The general had been furious when he’d found out, but not at Lucy, who had still been upset despite the quick resolution. He’d been ready to go to the Granville police station and interrogate the couple himself when he’d heard they’d been caught, but Bubsy had cautioned him to stay away.

    Clark considered their options. They couldn’t really trust Lionel, and they were sure he was hoping to use the situation in a scheme of his own. Dominic had pretty much confirmed that, he thought. At least, this time, he was sure Lionel wasn’t doing it to hurt them, but to get back at Lex. After all, this was the man who had allegedly poisoned his own son, drugged him to make him look psychotic, and ordered electroshock treatment to hide his own guilt over his parents’ murders.

    “I think we should at least hear him out,” he said.

    Lois nodded. “All right, Smallville, but only because I trust you.”

    They turned back to Dominic.

    “Where?” Clark asked.

    The other man took a phone out of his pocket and made a call. Clark listened in on the call and heard Lionel’s voice on the other end. The elder Luthor told his assistant to tell them he would meet them on the highway near the turn-off to the former site of the abandoned office park construction. Clark knew he meant the location near the caves. He’d told Lois about the office park and how its construction had caused the caves to be re-discovered.

    Clark nodded when Dominic relayed the information. “All right.”

    A short time later, he turned off down the dirt road, driving toward the caves. Lois fidgeted anxiously in the seat beside him.

    “It’ll be okay, Lo,” he said.

    She chewed on her lower lip. “I don’t know, Smallville.”

    “The thing you always have to remember about Lionel is that you just have to figure out what kind of game he’s playing and find a way to work around it. Remember what I told you about the time we swapped bodies?”

    It had been such a strange couple of days. Lionel had managed to get hold of the Crystal of Water. It had called to Clark, who had immediately sped to the Kansas State Penitentiary, where Lionel had been sent following his conviction. He’d thought the older man was about to attack Lex and he’d pushed his friend out of the way, only for the weirdest sensation to hit him. He had slowly come to the realisation that he was in Lionel’s body, and Lionel was in his.

    Chloe had told him later that he had been acting totally out of character. Almost scary. Of course, she hadn’t known about his abilities at the time and hadn’t figured out what was really wrong. It was only after he’d told her everything that his behaviour had made sense.

    While in Clark’s body, Lionel had done everything he could to ensure it stayed that way. He’d been planning on trying to get money he’d thought he’d managed to squirrel away and just disappear.

    Luckily, Clark had figured out a way to get himself back into his own body, even as weak as the older man had been. He’d had liver disease and would likely die within weeks.

    He still didn’t know how it had happened, but the transference had somehow managed to cure Lionel’s liver. He’d talked to Jor-El about it but even his birth father hadn’t been able to come up with a logical explanation.

    “Yeah, you’re right,” Lois replied as he brought the truck to a stop. There was a car parked a few feet away. “Okay, let’s go,” she said, getting out of the truck.

    He followed her over to the car. The driver’s door opened and Lionel got out.

    “Thank you for coming,” he said. “I hope you didn’t …”

    Clark shook his head. “I’m not playing that game, Lionel. What do you want?”

    “To help you.”

    “Is this one of those ‘scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of deals?” Lois asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

    “I will admit there are some mutual advantages to this, yes,” Lionel replied. “I cannot help you change the minds of the conservative few, but I have some papers here which I believe you will find useful.”

    Clark took the papers. They were mostly spreadsheets.

    “Lex’s balance sheet?” he said.

    “Lex has spent an inordinate amount of money and had to liquidate a few assets to fund his campaign. To his detriment. I know your farm’s finances are stretched to the limit already.”

    “Are you offering a loan?”

    The man scoffed. “Your father, stubborn man that he is, would not take it. As you are no doubt aware, I am very fond of your mother.”

    Clark chose not to take the bait, remaining silent.

    “I am sure I could have talked your mother into borrowing the funds necessary. However, no amount of money could reverse the potential damage an article such as the one in the Daily Planet this morning. I admit I find myself rather perplexed that the Planet would even run such trash only suited to the Inquisitor.”

    Clark snorted to himself. It was no wonder Lex talked like a dictionary when Lionel talked the way he did. Knowing the background he came from, it was rather pretentious to talk like someone with a prestigious degree when he had neither the education, nor the breeding to do so.

    “Get to the point, Lionel.”

    “I can provide the evidence you need to prove Lex was behind your daughter’s abduction.”

    “And what do you want from us?” Lois asked.

    “Nothing, Ms Lane. I assure you.”

    She looked confused. “If you don’t want anything from us, why are you choosing to help us?”

    Clark didn’t give him a chance to answer. “Because with Lex out of the way, he can take over Luthorcorp again. Even if Lex got off, he’ll practically bankrupt Luthorcorp just to reverse any bad PR trying to win his campaign.”

    “Making the company vulnerable. You’re very astute, Mr Kent.”

    “Why should we trust you?” he asked.

    Lionel regarded him mildly. “I’m not asking for your trust, Mr Kent. Just your word that you will not interfere.” He scratched at his beard. “You seem to have a bad habit of nosing in my son’s schemes.”

    “I still don’t get why you want to do this,” Lois said.

    Clark thought about it for a second. “He’s trying to teach Lex a lesson,” he said. “Just another game of one-upmanship between you two,” he added, glaring at the man.

    “Do we have a deal?” Lionel asked coolly without responding to Clark’s taunt.

    “We need to think about it,” he told the older man.

    “Don’t think too long, Mr Kent. My offer is finite. You have twenty-four hours.” He turned to get back in the car, then opened the window to speak to them once more. “You can keep the papers. Let’s just call that a good faith gesture.”

    Lois snorted as the man drove away. “’Good faith gesture’? Who is he trying to kid?”

    “I know,” Clark said. “Let’s get back to the farm. We need to talk this over with Mom and Dad.”

    ***

    “Wait a minute. You’re actually considering this so-called deal?” Jonathan asked, looking more than concerned. Lois couldn’t help but agree with her future father-in-law.

    It was typical of Lionel to dangle such a carrot. Clark had told her of the deal his parents had done with the man when they’d adopted him and how he’d basically blackmailed Jonathan into convincing the Ross brothers to sell their factory.

    She hadn’t been thrilled at the idea of doing a deal with the devil, but Lex was just as bad, if not worse than his father. At least, or as Clark had explained it to her, they knew the kind of games Lionel played and could anticipate his moves. She wasn’t so sure.

    “I don’t see that we have any other choice,” Clark said.

    “I have to agree,” Martha said quietly. “I mean, we have to look at this from a voters’ standpoint. There are probably more conservatives out there than liberals and they aren’t going to look favourably on Clark and Lois having a child out of wedlock.”

    She glanced at Kally, who was playing happily on the floor of the living room, oblivious to the rest of the family’s worries.

    “Even if he did have the evidence, how is that going to change the vote?” Lois asked.

    “It will cast doubt on Lex’s credibility if he’s charged with kidnapping,” Clark told her.

    It still didn’t reassure her. Lex was just the type of snake who would try to wriggle his way out of such a charge.

    “We can’t afford to hire someone to put a positive spin on things,” Lois told them. “As Lionel rightly pointed out, the budget is stretched enough as it is.”

    “I wouldn’t worry about that,” Chloe said behind them. They turned to see she had come in, with the general following close behind.

    Clark had called and told Chloe what had happened with Lionel. She had more reason than most not to trust the man, since he’d tried to kill her to stop her testifying against him.

    “I figured you’d be having a strategy meeting,” she said.

    “I take it you have some ideas,” Martha said.

    “Well, maybe not me, but Uncle Sam, definitely,” Chloe replied, looking at her uncle.

    “Dad?”

    “I don’t know how much help it’ll be, but I put in a call to someone I’ve been dealing with at Queen Industries. The army had a contract with the company a couple of years ago.” He added that one of the employees was related to someone he had served with when they’d been fighting in the Gulf. The man had come close to being killed and the general had saved his life.

    Clark shook his head.

    “Even if someone from Queen Industries could help, how is this going to prove Lex is behind the kidnapping?”

    “If you hadn’t destroyed the laptop, we might have had that proof,” Chloe returned snarkily.

    “Can you blame him?” Lois said, defending her boyfriend. “He was angry. We both were.”

    “Yeah, well unfortunately, Maggie’s forensics specialist couldn’t recover the hard drive either.”

    “What about the couple who did it? I mean, Lex had to have paid them to do it. Couldn’t we look into their financial records?” Clark asked.

    Chloe sighed. “Unfortunately, this isn’t CSI. It’s not that easy.” That didn’t mean she couldn’t try though, Lois thought, telling her cousin so.

    “I’m afraid we couldn’t exactly bully them into telling the truth,” Lois’ father responded. “Much as I would love to get my hands on them.”

    Martha shook her head, a grin playing on her lips. “Let’s not resort to violence, Sam.”

    “I have two options,” the general offered. “I can talk to one of the reporters on the army rag. See if they can help write a press release that puts a positive spin on things.”

    Clark frowned. “Why don’t we write it?”

    “Because we’re too close to it,” Lois told him. The last thing they needed to be accused of was bias.

    As the general talked to the older couple in the kitchen, Chloe pulled them aside.

    “If Lionel does have evidence, I mean, shouldn’t we try to get hold of it anyway?”

    “What would you suggest, Chlo? Break into his files?”

    “Well, why not? I mean, at the very least, it would give you guys some leverage over him.”

    Clark sighed. “I did read those papers in his briefcase, but there wasn’t really enough to give us any details about how he’s working with the Consortium.”

    Chloe nodded. “I’ve been doing a little digging myself on Apex Consortium and you’re right. They’re a group of companies out of Asia. Hong Kong, to be exact. Rumour has it, though, is that their operation isn’t exactly legal. If they were to help Lionel take control back, it’ll be less about altruism and more about wanting to launder illegal drug money here in the States.”

    “That’s why Lionel asked us not to interfere,” Lois said. If they did try to prevent any of Lionel’s schemes, the drug cartels would come after them. They also wouldn’t look favourably on the man for any failures on his part.

    “Chances are, Lex already knows about the coup attempt,” Clark said. “He’s not stupid.”

    “That’s what worries me,” Chloe said. “I mean, he should have anticipated you’d trace Kally’s kidnappers to him. I would think he would have covered his tracks more carefully.”

    Clark shook his head. “Lex has never thought rationally when it comes to me and my secret. I mean, let’s face it. That’s the whole reason he had Dr Loman test her in the first place.”

    “Yes, but the good doctor backtracked,” Lois reminded him.

    “Because he knew we couldn’t prove he had anything to do with it,” Clark returned.

    “Look, even if we could prove Lex had everything to do with what happened, it’s not going to help your dad get elected,” Chloe said.

    “No, but it’ll damage Lex’s credibility with the voters. I mean, think about it. Who would you rather vote for? Someone who schemes and plots and basically manipulates things to ensure he gets what he wants, or someone who stands up for his family, even if said family makes a mistake.” Clark looked at Lois. “Not that I think Kally is a mistake,” he assured her.

    She shook her head. “No. I know what you meant. That’s what I think we need to remind people. That it was just a mistake, that thousands of people our age make. At least we’re doing the right thing by raising her and being a good example to her.”

    “That’s exactly what I think will win them over,” her father replied, coming over to join them. “And you both have my full support.”

    Jonathan and Martha entered the room as well.

    “What do you want to do?” Jonathan asked. “We all know what happens when you do a deal with someone like Lionel Luthor, but …”

    Clark looked thoughtful. “Let’s wait until the deadline to make a firm decision. If we don’t have anything by then, we’ll agree to the deal but keep trying to dig up dirt on Lionel so we at least have some leverage against him.”

    Lois took some time to read through the balance sheet Lionel had given them. What he’d said about Lex over-reaching was the truth. He was going all-out in the campaign and the company’s finances had taken a serious hit, which made Luthorcorp extremely vulnerable.

    She had no idea how that was supposed to help Jonathan win the campaign, or how to get the money they needed to counter Lex’s own bombardment through the media.

    At dinner, Jonathan discussed selling the back forty acres to one of the neighbouring farmers. If they were lucky, they could get just under a hundred grand for it.

    “Is that going to be enough?” Clark asked.

    “I’ve had a look at the numbers and done some projections,” Martha replied. “It should be enough.”

    “I wish I could help financially,” Lois’ dad told them.

    “You’re already doing more than enough, Sam,” Jonathan said kindly.

    Lois squeezed her father’s arm. “He’s right, Daddy.”

    As much as she wanted to stay with her boyfriend that night, so they could continue strategizing, given the way his parents had reacted after he’d spent the night, she didn’t want to rock the boat. She didn’t blame them for being worried.

    Clark picked her up the next morning and drove her to the base. The general was in his office, along with a man a few years older than them. He smiled at them.

    “Hi,” he said, holding out a hand. Lois shook it. “Steve Lombard.”

    “Hey Steve,” Clark said, shaking his hand. “Are you going to help us?”

    “I can sure try. The general here speaks very highly of you and your parents.” He took out a small notebook and wrote something. “So, that article. Why don’t we start with you and Lois? How did you two meet?”

    Lois looked at Clark and nodded. They’d discussed it and made the mutual decision to be as honest as possible. Clark slowly explained how he’d been having some problems at home, careful to emphasise that none of it had been his parents’ fault.

    They moved on to the subject of Kally and how Lois had ended up in Smallville. She noticed her father looked grieved when she related the fight and why she had run away.

    Eventually the subject got around to the article.

    “So, the story implied you chose to hide the fact that you fathered a child,” he asked Clark. “Is that true?”

    “No, it’s not. Maybe I made the decision not to tell people in Smallville, but the most important people in my life know the truth. As far as we’re concerned, those are the only people who matter. Besides, as soon as Kally could talk, she’s called me ‘Daddy’. What people take from that is something we can’t control.”

    “Besides, it’s not really any of their business,” Lois said quietly.

    “Frankly, we preferred not to be judged for our youth. Yes, we made a mistake, but Kally is not the mistake.”

    Lois smiled and caught Clark’s hand. “No. She’s a gift.”

  4. #49
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    Woohoo! Another update🎉
    Still loving this fic!
    This story had some new twists that really grab you. All the usual suspects are present and doing their jobs but it's got a different feel. I really love the clarification made by Clark, and Lois redefined, with their last two statements. The Lombard interview was powerful and moving without seeming to be a bid for sympathy or defensive. Awesome.
    At the risk of sounding greedy and repetitive, more please😊

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    Woohoo! Another update
    Still loving this fic!
    This story had some new twists that really grab you. All the usual suspects are present and doing their jobs but it's got a different feel. I really love the clarification made by Clark, and Lois redefined, with their last two statements. The Lombard interview was powerful and moving without seeming to be a bid for sympathy or defensive. Awesome.
    At the risk of sounding greedy and repetitive, more please
    I do love including the twists as well as giving it a different feel to how it played out originally. In this case, I'm trying to address what would be an issue in what Jonathan is trying to achieve.

    Now for something a bit different. The next chapter is short but for a good reason. You'll understand why, I think.

  6. #51
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    Chapter Sixteen

    THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT KENT’S LITTLEST CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER

    Special Correspondent
    Steve Lombard
    December 19, 2005
    Metropolis, KS

    When you first meet Clark Kent, you would think he is a quiet, unassuming young man, but you would be wrong.

    The son of Kansas senate candidate Jonathan Kent, the 18-year-old and his partner, Lois Lane, 19, have spoken out about criticism aimed at his father.

    A recent column suggested Mr Kent was deliberately hiding the existence of his grandchild, Kally, due to the age of her parents.

    That couldn’t be further from the truth, Clark says.

    “The most important people in my life know the truth,” he adds.

    To be fair, the young couple admit that they did make a mistake but do not regret having their daughter.

    The couple met in Metropolis two and a half years ago. Lane, the daughter of army General Sam Lane, admits she was not the perfect child and had left the base where she had been living against her father’s orders.

    An argument with her father, following her daughter’s birth, prompted Lois to leave home with her child.

    She came to Smallville where she had family, secured a job and met Clark again. Lois then completed studies for her high school diploma. She credits Clark with providing the support she needed to not only achieve that diploma, but also in reconciling with her father.

    Clark adds that while it was a shock learning he was a father at only 17-years-old, he was determined to do the right thing by his daughter.

    It’s clear by the way this couple talk about Kally, that she is much adored and they are united in their decision to raise her together.

    “We know some people might look unfavourably on us because of our youth,” Clark says. “But you shouldn’t punish my dad because we made a mistake. Or for the decisions we made about our daughter.”

    “It’s not like we’ve kept things from people on purpose,” Lois adds. “What we choose to tell people is our business and no one else’s.”

    The couple, who are both students at Kansas A&M, plan to marry in a few years, once they have graduated college.

    Jonathan and his wife Martha admit they were less than impressed when they learned about their grand-daughter, but are proud of their son for stepping up and taking responsibility.

    “I’m sure every parent would feel the same,” Mr Kent says. “You raise your children and hope that they never get themselves into trouble, but sometimes there is just nothing you can do but accept that these things happen. You can choose to continue to be angry, or you can choose to stand by your child’s decision. We chose to stand by our son, and Lois, who has become a welcome part of our family.”

    Mr Kent chose to run for Kansas state senate when his longtime friend, Jack Jennings, chose to step down following revelations that Senator Jennings was embroiled in a scandal involving adultery and the murder of a young stripper.

    The 45-year-old farmer is running against businessman and Luthorcorp CEO Lex Luthor. Mr Luthor took over the company seat when his father, Lionel was tried for murder. While he was convicted, that conviction was overturned due to a technicality.

    SENATE CANDIDATE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGED KIDNAP

    Daily Planet staff reporter
    December 26, 2005
    Metropolis, KS

    Metropolis Police confirmed today that candidate for Kansas state senate Lex Luthor has been questioned in regard to an incident involving the grandchild of his opponent Jonathan Kent.

    Documents obtained from undisclosed sources say a couple was arrested earlier this month and charged with kidnapping the toddler.

    It is believed the toddler had been with her aunt in a park near Smallville Inn when she was abducted. The parents, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, tracked the location of their daughter and were able to retrieve her without further incident.

    Police lieutenant Maggie Sawyer told this reporter that the alleged kidnappers were identified by the toddler’s aunt and were arrested, thanks to the quick actions of Kent and Lane, both journalism students at Kansas A&M.

    “While we certainly do not condone them taking matters into their own hands, I am thankful for the quick resolution in this case,” Lieutenant Sawyer said.

    Attorney for Mr Luthor, David Rygalski, told reporters that one of the alleged kidnappers claimed they were paid by someone purportedly working for Luthorcorp to take the child to a research facility owned by famed paediatric researcher Dr Frederick Loman.

    “Mr Luthor denies any involvement in this incident. Luthorcorp has been funding Dr Loman’s research into children’s disorders, but that is the extent of the relationship. He wishes it to be known that he is appalled at this incident and continues to hold Clark and his family in high regard.”

    Recent polls in the race for the senate seat show Mr Kent’s popularity is climbing, although he is still trailing behind Mr Luthor.

    KENT’S HEARTLAND SPEECH WINS OVER THE CROWD

    Tim Brennan
    Daily Planet Political correspondent
    January 13, 2006
    Metropolis, KS

    ‘Putting the heart back into the heartland’ might have earned a standing ovation from the crowd at Jonathan Kent’s campaign rally, but it was the appearance of his grand-daughter that proved the biggest draw of the night.

    There were laughs aplenty as little Kally Lane-Kent showed her support for ‘Grandpa’ by toddling onto the stage and waving to the crowd. At which point Mr Kent scooped her up.

    The audience laughed with delight as the proud grandfather proceeded to have a conversation with the toddler.

    “Who’s going to win?” he was heard to ask.

    “Grampa!”

    It was a family affair as Mr Kent’s wife, Martha, son Clark, Lois Lane and her family were also present to support the candidate.

    Despite a bumpy start to his campaign, Mr Kent’s honest and forthright approach, as well as his clear commitment to his family, has won over voters and it appears he may be in the lead as they head to the polls in 13 days’ time.

    The rally was only slightly marred by reports of gunshots which sent the crowd running for cover.

    A woman was taken into custody by police shortly after the rally, charged with murder. It is believed the woman was the leader of a Central Kansas A&M group supporting Mr Kent’s opponent Lex Luthor.

    Mr Luthor’s own campaign has taken some serious hits amid rumours of financial mismanagement.

    Last month, police confirmed Mr Luthor was also the subject of an investigation into the alleged kidnapping of Kally Lane-Kent.

    KENT WINS BY A LANDSLIDE

    Tim Brennan
    Daily Planet Political Correspondent
    January 27, 2006
    Metropolis, KS

    It was the race that captured, if not the nation, certainly the mid-west. Two opponents who could not have been more disparate. The billionaire and the farmer. The young CEO versus the father and grandfather.

    Jonathan Kent’s family have owned land in the town of Smallville for generations. He is a pillar of his community. A good man with a big heart who believed that people like him were the backbone of his community.

    Lex Luthor, on the other hand, was brought up the son of a rich man in the city of Metropolis. Raised among his peers, the epitome of the trust fund kids, his teenaged years plagued by rebellion, he may have sought to wipe the slate clean in Smallville when he moved there in 2001.

    One can only speculate and the point is rather moot, as they say.

    The twist in this story is that Clark Kent and Lex Luthor built up what it seems is a very unlikely friendship.

    When asked for details on this friendship, locals are curiously tight-lipped. However, research uncovers that Clark saved Lex Luthor’s life when the latter’s car went off a bridge.

    The Luthors have not been a popular addition to the population of Smallville. In 1989, Lionel Luthor purchased a creamed-corn factory and gutted it to turn it into a fertiliser plant. Luthorcorp was then just an agricultural company but has since diversified.

    The Luthorcorp plant has been the subject of several investigations by the EPA for alleged violations – none of which could be proven.

    Two years ago, Lionel Luthor was under investigation by the FBI for various criminal activities and was subsequently convicted. Following his incarceration, his son took over the position.

    Lex Luthor is considered highly ambitious and is known to admire historical figures such as Alexander the Great. Given such aspirations, it is little wonder he chose to enter into politics at the age of 25.

    However, that youth and inexperience may have just been what the doctor didn’t order.

    When his campaign began, Jonathan Kent was considered the underdog. A man with little political experience, and the least likely to fit the image of a senator.

    Yet perhaps that is exactly what the voters were looking for. Someone who understood his constituents in ways that a young man born into wealth and privilege could never possibly achieve.

    Whatever the reason, it remains to be seen whether the newly-elected Senator Jonathan Kent will live up to his early promise.


    a/n: I did do something similar in another story but I liked the idea of following events by way of a news article. Some questions will be answered in a following chapter.

  7. #52
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    Maybe its short, but in no way is it lacking. Since variety is said to be the spice of life, I'm thinking it works elsewhere, if my opinion were asked. The articles were a fun way to cover ground and give information without a lot of he-said-she-said. However the convo between Kally and her Grandpa was gold of the political campaign and heart melting type. After all of that, I hope its safe to consider Jonathan safe from an early, unexpected demise. I really like fics that have him stick around, especially when there are early grandbabies 😊
    Thanks for another awesome, unexpectedly quick update. Long or short, they are always happily read and leave me waiting for the next.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sykobee View Post
    Maybe its short, but in no way is it lacking. Since variety is said to be the spice of life, I'm thinking it works elsewhere, if my opinion were asked. The articles were a fun way to cover ground and give information without a lot of he-said-she-said. However the convo between Kally and her Grandpa was gold of the political campaign and heart melting type. After all of that, I hope its safe to consider Jonathan safe from an early, unexpected demise. I really like fics that have him stick around, especially when there are early grandbabies 
    Thanks for another awesome, unexpectedly quick update. Long or short, they are always happily read and leave me waiting for the next.
    Jonathan will be sticking around. I'm glad you liked my slightly different approach. It was a good way of giving detail of events without re-hashing episodes, which I didn't want to do, yet also add a couple of twists here and there.
    New chapter comin' right up.

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    Chapter Seventeen

    “Chloe!”

    Lois waved at her cousin as the blonde came through the door of the Talon. Chloe waved back and came over to the table.

    “Hi,” she greeted with a grin. “Clark not with you?”

    “He sent me a text saying he’s running late but he’ll be here.”

    It had been a whirlwind couple of weeks. After Jonathan had won the senate seat he and Martha had been back and forth to Topeka meeting with the Governor and learning everything he needed to know about his new job.

    Clark was also kept busy managing the farm. They’d had to hire a couple of farmhands just to cover all the jobs Jonathan did, so that Clark could keep up with the work both on the farm and at school. He’d been delayed at school as the Gazette had wanted to talk to him about his father’s new role.

    Chloe held out her arms for Kally and the toddler sat on her lap eager for cuddles.

    “Hi, sweet girl,” she said. She looked at Lois. “I guess it’s been really busy for you guys.”

    “Clark, mostly,” Lois said. “But we knew that would happen once his dad took the seat.”

    She was still amazed at how everything had come together. Just before Christmas, Maggie Sawyer had informed them that one of the kidnappers had confessed everything, even telling police that they had been paid by someone in Luthorcorp.

    No one knew what had happened to change the woman’s mind. All they knew was that she had been released on bail and had gone to the precinct a few days later to confess everything.

    Clark and Lois had turned down Lionel’s ‘deal’, in the end deciding that it wasn’t worth the price of whatever he would no doubt demand in return. Proof had also arrived on Maggie Sawyer’s desk in the form of a thumb drive containing records of financial transactions between the woman’s account and an account in Luthorcorp.

    It hadn’t been enough to prove that Lex had been behind the scheme, and Dr Loman had continued to stick with the story he’d concocted, but it had been enough to get the police to question Lex.

    What had been even better was that Jonathan’s campaign had received an endorsement, thanks to Lois’ father’s contact in Queen Industries. The surprise was that the endorsement had come from the CEO himself, Oliver Queen. While he lived in another state, he’d maintained that he had business interests in Kansas so was entitled to make the endorsement.

    Chloe took Kally with her to the counter to order herself a coffee. By the time she returned, Clark had come in. Kally immediately abandoned Chloe for her dad, whom she hadn’t seen for a couple of days.

    “Daddy!”

    Chloe pouted. “Well, I feel special,” she said, handing over the toddler.

    Clark grinned. “What can I say? She likes me better,” he added with a cheeky grin.

    “You’ll get yours, Kent.”

    Lois laughed at her cousin’s pretence at jealousy. Chloe adored Kally but knew the toddler was the apple of her father’s eye.

    After the article had come out, there had been a little negative feedback, mostly from older people who considered themselves the authority on morality and family values, but the united front from both Clark’s parents and Bubsy and Lois’ father had made it clear where they stood on the issue. As far as Lois was concerned, it was no one’s business but their own.

    “So, how is it being the son of a senator?” Chloe asked.

    Clark shrugged. “Other than working twice as hard on the farm, it’s pretty much normal.”

    “Did you hear Steve Lombard has been offered a job at the Daily Planet?” Chloe continued. “Guess they liked his article.”

    “He did a good job,” Lois told her cousin. “At least we got to air our side of things.”

    The door to the coffee shop opened and Lex strode in. The man had been understandably cool toward them since losing the election.

    The day before Christmas, they’d heard that Lex had been shot in Granville. His wallet and a watch had been stolen, so police had called it a mugging. One of the bullets had come very close to his spinal cord and he could have ended up in a wheelchair. The surgery performed had been very risky, but Lionel had apparently insisted. Chloe had commented that the elder Luthor would never have tolerated a son who was weak.

    Given what Clark knew about Lex’s childhood, with his asthma and the cold way his father had treated him, Lois wasn’t surprised at the man’s attitude.

    Lex went up to the counter, clearly ordering something. He turned to look at them as he waited for his coffee. Lois turned back to her cousin, focusing her attention on the conversation.

    “Clark. Lois.”

    Clark looked up. “Oh, hey, Lex. How’s it going?”

    The bald man shrugged. “It’s going. Look, uh, tell your father … congratulations. I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier.”

    Lois bit back a snort of disgust. She knew from someone who worked at the Luthor mansion that Lex had got himself so drunk the night of the election that he’d had to be carried to bed.

    “I’ll tell him,” Clark returned.

    If their friendship hadn’t been rocky before, the election result was the final nail in the coffin. There was no way Lex and Clark could just brush it off and continue being friends after what had happened. Lois was sure Lex was secretly furious with them, and felt it was somehow their doing that he’d been investigated by the police over his involvement in the kidnapping. Which had then meant that the voters had begun to doubt his ability to serve them honestly. It was the old ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ idea.

    Kally let out a loud burp, then giggled. Lex looked disgusted.

    “Good to see you’re teaching your kid some manners,” he scoffed.

    “She’s not even two, Lex,” Clark told him.

    Lois secretly thought her daughter was showing her dislike for the bald man. She was clinging to her father and making faces at Lex. Chloe tried to look scandalised but Lois could see her cousin’s mouth twitching.

    Lex turned and walked out without saying goodbye. Chloe snorted.

    “It’s true then. Kids can sense evil.”

    Lois chuckled and reached over to tickle her daughter. “Good job, sweetie.”

    “Don’t encourage her,” Clark admonished.

    “You have to admit that was pretty funny though,” Chloe told him.

    Clark snickered. “Yeah, you’re right. That was pretty funny.”

    “So, what did you find out?” Lois asked.

    Chloe had offered to look further into Dr Loman and try to prove that Lex had been behind the testing on Kally.

    “Not much, to be honest. I tried tracking down one of the people you described, but I didn’t have much to go on. I mean, we can assume they’ve worked for Dr Loman for years, but it’s not going to help.”

    “What about the woman who took Kally?”

    Chloe shook her head at Clark’s query. “Unfortunately, once she’d confessed all to the police, she lawyered up and refuses to speak to anyone. My guess is, she’s scared. Of what, I don’t know.”

    “I wonder who got her to confess?” Lois mused.

    “I don’t know, but I really want to find out,” Chloe replied. “Um, so anyway, I heard Oliver Queen’s going to be at the party on Saturday.”

    Clark sighed. Lois knew he really didn’t want to go to the party. Most of the who’s who of Metropolis society would be there. Including Lex. His parents had told him he had to go as there would be some interest in them.

    She was keen to meet Oliver Queen, as most of the communication with the Star City billionaire had been via email or phone, and only through Jonathan or his press secretary. Chloe had done her best to investigate the man’s background while they’d been considering the man’s offer. Of course, her father had told her the company was above board, but he’d never actually met the man either.

    Robert and Moira Queen had been on a business trip to South Korea in 1989 when the plane had gone down in the Pacific. Their bodies had never been recovered and no one knew what had really happened on the plane. The federal agencies had done an investigation but without the ‘black box’ they’d had to conclude that there had been an accident. They’d waited the requisite seven years and declared the couple dead.

    Oliver had been raised by a nanny, inheriting his parents’ estate at sixteen. Chloe had found out he’d gone to Excelsior Preparatory Academy, the same private school Lex had attended, but hadn’t been able to get into the man’s records.

    Then, when he was eighteen, Oliver had left Star City on his family’s yacht, only to disappear. When he returned three years later, all he told reporters was that he’d been marooned on an island for those years. After five months of recovery from illnesses he’d contracted, he took his father’s seat as CEO of Queen Industries.

    There had been a few articles in society columns in the Star City newspapers, where Oliver was depicted as something of a playboy, but there was never anything mentioned about a serious relationship.

    Lois had to admit the man was very good-looking, from what she’d seen in photographs. Clark, of course, was immediately jealous when he’d seen the way she’d gazed at those photos and she’d teased him endlessly. He knew she only had eyes for him, but it didn’t stop her from looking.

    The evening of the party, Lois’ father was babysitting with Bubsy. The couple had decided to spend a quiet night at the inn watching their favourite old movies. The general and his now-fiancee were taking advantage of the fact there were only one guest at the inn for the weekend.

    Lois had gone shopping with Chloe to find herself the perfect dress to wear. Knowing Clark was picking her up at six-thirty that evening, she made sure to time things so she would be ready.

    She showered and wrapped a towelling robe around her as she began to put on her make-up. Clark was the type of guy who preferred a natural look but since tonight was going to be an important night for her future parents-in-law, Lois decided she had to look extra good.

    She finished putting on her make-up in record time and changed into the dress. It was full-length silk in a dark cream with a halter neck. The bodice was decorated with small crystal beads, the line just enough to give a peek of cleavage. The dress had cost her nearly a month’s wages, but it was worth it, she thought, if it got Clark’s temperature rising.

    She sat in front of the mirror again, playing with her hair, wondering if she should put it up or leave it down. Putting it in a French knot would be nice, she thought, as it would emphasise her long neck, but leaving it down would feel more comfortable. She settled for something in-between, leaving half of it down while the other half was in a loose knot at the back of her head. Finally, she dabbed on some light perfume Clark had got her for her birthday.

    She glanced at her phone, noting it was six-twenty-five. Just in time, she thought.

    She left her room and went into the inn. Kally was sitting on her grandfather’s lap while Bubsy could be heard in the dining room.

    “Wow, Mommy, pretty!”

    Lois smiled at her daughter. Her father gazed at her.

    “You look beautiful, sweetheart. Are you nervous about tonight?”

    “No. I don’t know. I just hope I don’t say the wrong thing and make it look bad for Jonathan. You know I tend to shoot my mouth off, sometimes.”

    “Well, don’t worry too much about that, sweetheart. You speak your mind and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

    “Sam’s right, honey,” Bubsy said, coming back in. She put a tray down on the table in front of the general. “And you do look lovely,” she added, gazing at her.

    The front door opened and Clark came in, wearing a suit and tie. Lois grinned at him.

    “Well, Smallville, don’t you clean up nice.”

    He just stood in the doorway, staring at her, his mouth partially open. Lois began to feel a little uncomfortable, but couldn’t help the quip she uttered next.

    “Stunned is a good look for you, Smallville!” He made a face at her before he replied.

    “You look … amazing!” he said.

    She did a brief curtsey. “Thank you, kind sir.”

    “What time are you planning on bringing her home?” Bubsy asked.

    Lois chuckled. “You two aren’t even married yet and you’re acting like my mom. I love it.”

    Her future stepmother looked a little uncertain. “I meant …”

    “I know what you meant,” Lois told her kindly, going over to give her a kiss on the cheek.

    Her father looked at Bubsy. “She’s just teasing, honey,” he said.

    The older woman blushed. “I suppose I’m going to have to get used to that,” she said. The general smiled at her before looking at Clark.

    “But you better make sure she’s home at a decent time, young man.”

    “Yes sir,” Clark said, picking Kally up in his arms. “You be good for your grandparents,” he told her. “Goodnight sweetheart.”

    “G’night Daddy.”

    The function was being held at the Grand Hotel in Metropolis. Clark’s parents had been picked up by a limousine so their car was free for Clark to drive to the city. He’d thought it would look better than pulling up in the farm truck.

    Lois fiddled with the radio, wanting to break the silence between them. She could tell her boyfriend was feeling a little nervous.

    She found a station that played the kind of music she liked to listen to. On one of their dates, she had dragged Clark to a karaoke bar and requested Whitesnake songs every chance she got. Clark had told her he was no fan of the band, but he would listen to it because she loved it.

    The group had been her mother’s favourite. One of her earliest memories was of dancing in the living room of the house they’d been living in at the time. Since they had always lived in whatever base housing they’d been assigned, they had never really felt like home, but her mother had somehow managed to make it special for her and Lucy.

    Her mother had put on the music and held her hands while they’d twirled around and around until they’d fallen to the floor, giggling.

    She’d woken up late one night and gone downstairs to hear music softly playing. Her parents had their arms around each other and they were swaying gently. For the young Lois, it was almost magical. She could still recall the sad smile on her mother’s face as they danced. Looking back, she realised it was resignation. Her father had been gone the next day on a mission and wouldn’t return for two weeks. Ella had tried to carry on as normal but Lois knew she always feared there would be a day when her husband would never come back.

    At least that was something Lois knew she didn’t have to worry about with Clark so much. One day, of course, he would have to take on the mantle of the superhero, and she would have to share him with the world, but at least there was less of a chance that he could get hurt.

    The station began playing a song she liked and she sang along softly.

    “Don’t do that,” Clark said.

    She stopped. “What? Don’t sing?” She frowned.

    “No. Don’t sing so softly. I love your voice. I know when you’re singing, you’re happy.”

    Lois would never have considered herself a ‘sappy’ kind of girl, but she always got a warm feeling inside when he said something that told her just how much he knew her. Music had helped her get through her mother’s death and the lonely years since then. She’d never been able to join a choir at school but had still found a way to sing.

    She shifted closer to him and he squeezed her hand.

    “I am happy,” she said.

    Who would have thought it nearly three years ago, she mused silently. That she would find the love of her life in Metropolis? Or that somehow they could both heal years of hurt. She had had no doubt at the time that Clark had been in pain. Maybe the incident that had driven him to run away had only been recent, now that she knew everything about him, she knew it had only been the last in a series of painful events that had led to it.

    She drifted, thinking of everything that had happened since that meeting. Who knew, she thought, that one little mistake could lead her back to him?

    Clark pulled up in front of the valet parking at the hotel and showed his ticket to the teenager who had obviously been employed for the evening. The young woman was dressed smartly in black pants, crisp white shirt and a red vest.

    They got out of the car and walked together into the hotel, holding hands. A sign at the bottom of a grand staircase told them to head upstairs to the ballroom. The Grand had been built in the mid-nineteenth century and a placard proclaimed it to be the first hotel in the then-fledgling city. Lois marvelled at the grand columns. While there had been various disasters since the hotel’s construction, each rebuild had incorporated as much of the old architecture as possible.

    They were greeted at the door to the ballroom by a man in a tuxedo suit.

    “Your invitation, sir?” the man asked.

    Clark handed over the card. “Clark Kent. This is my partner, Lois Lane.”

    “Yes, sir. Welcome. The senator and your mother have already arrived.”

    “Thank you,” Clark said politely as the doorman stood aside to let them enter.

    Lois was overwhelmed by the crowd of people in the ballroom. She didn’t know how many people had been invited to the event, but it looked like at least a hundred, she thought.

    “Lex and Lionel are here,” Clark murmured, nodding his head in the direction of the far corner. Lois followed his gaze and saw Lex’s bald head. Lionel stood beside him, pretending to idly chat to a dark-haired man only slightly shorter than him. The elder Luthor was good at hiding his emotions but his mask slipped when he thought he wasn’t being watched.

    Someone bumped into Lois from behind and she turned.

    “Excuse me,” the man said.

    She studied him, her eyes widening as she realised the towheaded man was none other than Oliver Queen. She quickly nudged Clark, who was still trying to find his parents.

    “Mr Queen,” she said.

    The other man looked at her, obviously a little nonplussed.

    “I’m sorry. You are?”

    “Lois Lane.”

    He smiled broadly. “Oh, of course. I’ve been wanting to meet you and your partner.” He turned to Clark, who had turned to face him. “You must be Clark,” he added, holding out a hand to shake her boyfriend’s hand.

    “Yes sir,” Clark said politely.

    “Oliver, please,” the blond returned. “Your father’s told me so much about you I feel like I know you already.”

    The man’s demeanour was warm and friendly. It was the complete opposite of the first time she had met Lex Luthor. Despite their connection, and the fact that they were two of the richest men in the country, Oliver appeared modest where his former schoolmate was arrogant.

    Yet despite the friendliness, Lois remained wary. She couldn’t help but feel that the man was sizing Clark up somehow.

    Oliver helped himself to a glass of champagne from the tray of a passing waiter. He looked at them as the man paused.

    “Oh, right. You’re too young to drink. Wouldn’t want to break the law, now would we? Especially not in front of the press.”

    Lois frowned, following the man’s brown-eyed gaze to an older man who had clearly been watching them. He had sandy-coloured hair which was thinning on top.

    Oliver asked the waiter to bring them glasses of orange juice while the other man approached them. Lois noticed he was holding a glass of orange juice.

    “Clark Kent,” the man said.

    Clark appeared almost startled. “Mr White?”

    The man grinned. “Yes sir,” he said. “Glad to see you remembered me. This must be your partner, Lois.” He bowed slightly. “Miss Lane.”

    She frowned. She had heard of the name Perry White. Chloe had talked about him, saying he was a veteran reporter. Some years ago, he had practically dropped out of sight.

    “You two know each other?” she asked.

    “It’s a long story,” Clark said. “I ran into Mr White when he was working for a show called … X-Styles, wasn’t it?”

    “Like X-Files?” Lois asked, having seen the sci-fi drama.

    “No, not quite,” the older man said. “X-Styles investigated strange phenomena. I’d heard a few things about Smallville and was in town to investigate when Clark almost literally ran into me.” He made a face. “Of course, I was a different man back then.” He lifted his glass. “As you can see, I’m off the sauce. Have been since the day I almost got us both killed out at Saunder’s Gorge.”

    “You are going to have to tell me that story, Smallville,” Lois murmured. Her boyfriend nodded.

    They were briefly distracted when a waiter returned with glasses of orange juice for them. Oliver had already disappeared into the crowd.

    “So, Mr White, what brings you here?” Clark asked.

    “I’m covering this shindig for the Daily Planet. Congrats, by the way. It’s good to see somebody winning against the Luthors.” He scowled, looking over in the direction of Lionel and Lex.

    “Now you really have to fill me in,” Lois told Clark.

    “There isn’t much to tell,” Perry said. “Lionel tried to railroad my career when he found out I had enough dirt on him to write an expose. He almost succeeded too.”

    Lois heard Jonathan’s deep voice as he laughed at something and figured the couple were close by. She listened as Clark chatted with Mr White, telling him about his college studies. Perry was clearly impressed.

    “Well, there you are,” Jonathan said. “Lois, you look beautiful,” he added as he bent to kiss her cheek.

    “Thank you, Senator,” she said with a grin. She looked at Martha, who was wearing a dress in dark gold with a matching jacket. “Martha, you look amazing!”

    “So do you, sweetheart.” She looked at Perry. “My goodness. Perry White! I’m surprised to see you here.”

    “Well, Mrs Kent, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do the gruntwork yourself. Congratulations, Senator.”

    “Mr White,” Jonathan said, holding out his hand for the reporter to shake. “I see you’re working for the Daily Planet now.”

    “I wouldn’t have had that without your son. Meeting him all those years ago turned out to be quite the wake-up call.”

    Now Lois’ curiosity was even more piqued.

  10. #55
    Forum Regular
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    I just catch up all this fiction! I love it! Update please!

  11. #56
    aka EB phoenixnz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whynot1993 View Post
    I just catch up all this fiction! I love it! Update please!
    Thank you, hon. I'm glad to see you're still enjoying my stories.

    A new chapter awaits in the adult forum. It's more of a tame-R toward the end, but still a little more than PG I think. Chapter Eighteen

  12. #57
    Forum Regular Sykobee's Avatar
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    Another update! Yippee Skippy yay-yay! I'm heading over to the grown-up side for elevated PG-13? and that's cool. Honestly, you could say the next chapter was rated F for frogs and I'd still be jazzed for this story. So thanks in advance, see ya in the other side.

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