There was something about sleeping in Clark's bed that made Lois feel as if she was truly home. It was an unsettling feeling at best – waking up in a strange place and feeling like she never ever wanted to leave. His sheets were even plaid and flannel though she did not complain about this for the ground outside was frozen and still pristine with fresh snow. It was early yet if Clark had not already done his chores. The morning was gray and though Lois did not want to rise, she did. She stepped straight into Clark's sheep fur lined slippers and pushed open his door.
At home, she would have encountered rippling curtains from the heat coming out of slotted vents at strategic points in every room but times were always hard at the Kent farm and so the house was still and cold. She walked to the stairs intent on peering down at Clark asleep on the sofa but he'd already folded up the blankets so she went downstairs to make coffee and wait for the rest of the house – her new family – to wake. It was nearly six now, the clock proclaimed. There was no television in the Kent home and only one old radio perched on the kitchen window seal. She turned it on low and it was on an oldies station. Unchained Melody was on and it was one she knew the words to. When Clark came in, stamping ice and mud off his boots, she wanted to ask him to dance with her there, in nothing but one of his flannel shirts and his slippers – to dance and imagine that this was their life, this house, this farm, and they were the Kents early on a Wednesday morning. God speed your love to me.
What a silly dream. He looked at her; rolled his eyes at her habit of usurping his clothing. She was all at once self-conscious, wrapping her arms around herself, trying to hide one naked leg behind the other. She reached over and snapped the radio off. The silence was fierce.
"You can have the shower first, if you'd like." Lois says; an olive branch. Clark nods and moves past her up the stairs. She inhales deeply the scent that lingers behind. The bed was already beginning to lose his smell and she was more disappointed by this than she ought to be.
She would meet Chloe later and mention nothing about this. She would go even so far as to lie about wanting to leave Smallville, applying to the State schools, applying out of state, begging her father to go pull strings at Met U. Chloe hid her jealousy of Lois's situation poorly. How Chloe longed for Clark and here he just fell right into Lois's lap. So to speak. Chloe was having her own existential crisis these days – always talking about destiny. It was like her cousin was burdened with something, something that kept her up at night. Still, the word destiny rang loud in Lois's ears. She hadn't thought much about her own. Did she even have one? Would she marry someone in this godforsaken town and live as a farm wench? Did Clark play some minor role?
That night, chopping potatoes in the kitchen with Mrs. Kent, the knife slipped and sliced open the pad of her left hand pointer finger. She yelped, more out of surprise than pain. She hadn't even realized Clark was nearby but he was instantly there, holding her hand and pressing a wad of paper towel against the wound.
"Are you okay?" he asked, looking intently.
"Of course," she said, "Yes." He smiled, let go, stepped back, made way for his mother who wrapped a Band-Aid around the finger – snugly but not tight enough to turn the finger tip blue.
"I can finish up in here," Mrs. Kent said, "Why don't you two go for a walk before the snow starts again." It was a mother's suggestion, something to get the children out of the kitchen. Clark nodded, ever obedient. He put on his coat and she wrapped her scarf around her neck. The day old snow crunched beneath their feet as they walked toward the field, past the barn. Clark liked to look up at the stars.
"Do you ever think about destiny?" she hears herself ask.
"All the time," he answers promptly, as if he'd been thinking about just that. "Everyday," This doesn't surprise her though she feels as though it should.
"I don't know what I'm doing with my life," she says, honestly.
"You don't have to," he assures her. Her hair is being blown about by the wind picking up. She benignly brushes it away. "Lois, I…"
"I'm cold," she cuts him off, "Let's go back." He opens his mouth, thinks again, closes it, and nods. Inside is warm, there is a fire in the fire place and she stands in front of it, desolate. She wonders what he would have said; she wonders why she couldn't bring herself to hear it.
Lana is so beautiful that Lois is surprised more people aren't in love with her. She gets coffee at the Talon usually twice a day. Lana no longer works there but does live upstairs and so she can usually be found there with her exotic eyes and dangling earrings and tiny, tight body. Lois watches her slyly. She likes Lana, how could she not? The girl is sweet and just wants more for her self. Who doesn't want that? Still, she can sense the hurt between Lana and Clark and she feels a little protective of the boy – the man. When Chloe was supposedly dead, there was something tying Lois and Clark together but now she is just a stranger sleeping in his bed, a stranger standing between him and his one true love.
When Lois gets back to the farm, she notices Mrs. Kent has changed the sheets on Clark's bed. The flannel is gone and now they are beige with blue snowflakes. She sits on the foot of the bed to unlace her boots and shed her outermost layer. She pulls out the hair elastic and brushes out her sandy blonde hair. It is longer than it has ever been, now, and she considers cutting it into a more adult, professional style.
Clark knocked, came in.
"I just need to grab…" he says, pointing to his closet. She nods, feeling vulnerable, open to interpretation. He lets himself look at her and she feels as if he is looking through her, looking inside of her, watching what makes her tick. He busies himself in the closet until she speaks.
"Sometimes," she says, "I dream that I'm under water and you don't come. I wake up gasping." He pauses, a sweater in his hand. She looks away first.
"I'll always save you," he promises, "No matter what," This makes her feel better – from him this is a promise of time, of longevity between the two of them.
"Thanks, Smallville," But the nickname is an ode, not an insult.
Lois can make herself feel at home just about anywhere. It is a skill most army brats have and so moving in with the Kents was not hard. Still, this is the first time she dreads leaving. Chloe watches Clark and Clark watches Lana but no one has an eye on Lois and she knows this feeling of belonging, this taste of destiny, cannot last forever. But that's okay. Lois Lane can take care of herself and she knows that even though Clark promised he'd always be there, she doesn't really need him to save her.