Title: Constitution (1 of 6)
Author: Nadia Mack
Disclaimer: I Own Nothing
Summary: Though this is technically a sequel to Displacement, it can work as a standalone piece and reading the previous story isn't required. This piece does explain the timeline between where it was last left off.
Act 1 of 6
Lois arrived home after a particularly grueling day. She was a barista by morning, student by night, and the girlfriend in between. For the most part, she was all for multi-tasking but she's completely beat. Right now, a good warm bubble bath is what she needs to soothe her soul.
She unlocked the door and opened it only to be surprised by what lay all over her apartment.
They were everywhere.
Lilies to be exact.
It reminded her of Loudon Terrace, a beautiful garden in Birmingham Botanical in England. She always made a point to visit the place whenever she visited the country.
She opened her cell and dialed Arthur's number, wanting to thank him. One vase full of white lilies had a card sticking out. She unfolded it and read the familiar cursive handwriting as her cell began dialing the numbers.
I hope you like them. Always,
I hope you like them.
Her mouth gaped open; ten times more surprised than she was when she first entered her apartment. A.C. suddenly answered.
"I'm sorry, A.C. I'm gonna have to call you back."
Then she hung up. She fell on the couch and as short as it was, she reread the card. Why on earth would Clark… and then she remembered. A few weeks ago, he and her boyfriend switched bodies due to another one of those freak lightning strikes that seem to inhabit the small town.
For about a day, she shared affection to Arthur, who was really Clark in Arthur's body unknowingly. After what happened, they've talked about it as honestly as they could, and the weeks preceding the events put their friendship in relative silence.
She had thought that he just was staying away from her.
Now she knew he really wasn't.
"Okay, Lois." Chloe walked into her apartment in a rush. She had just got in after a speedy three and a half hour drive from Metropolis. "Kahn's been making me work overtime and it's absolutely – why is you're apartment littered with lilies?" She asked, suddenly noticing the state of her place.
"I was hoping I could ask you"
Chloe opened her mouth only to close it. He really went through with it.
"Did you know about this?" asked Lois, sternly.
Chloe half-heartedly shrugged. "Maybe"
"And you saw fit not to tell me?"
"He promised me not to say anything"
"Lois, what was I suppose to do? He's my best friend." She paused, uncertain whether she should say anything further. "He really likes you, you know"
Lois ignored her with a resounding, "Ughhhh…" She moved to her couch and plopped down, burying her face in the corner of the armrest. "Why is this happening?" she mumbled.
Chloe sympathized greatly. She looked around the apartment filled with lilies. Clark sure wasn't kidding around when he said a week ago that he was going to pursue Lois.
One Week Ago…
"Whoa. Clark. Slow down"
Clark stopped super speeding right in front of her, the gush of wind that trailed behind him always tossing her aside.
"Sorry," he apologized sheepishly, holding brochures of different gardens all over the country in his hands.
"Don't you think you're over doing it?"
"Chloe, Lois won't see me as anything more than just a friend if I just hand her a dozen red roses. I want to show that – that I think of her as more than that"
"I'm sure she would if you'd just tell her"
"I did, remember!" He sighed. "She's with Arthur. I at least want to show her that she means a lot to me, even if it is just as friends"
"She's not going to buy that. How much of these are you going to give her anyway?"
He grinned, silently.
Chloe smiled, shaking her head. What has Lois done to him?
"You really like her, don't you?"
This time, his grin turned into a big smile.
"Yes. I really do"
And though she wanted her best friend to be happy, he deserved complete honesty, even if it wasn't the good kind.
"I'm going to tell you right now, Clark. Lois is a tough catch. She always has been." Clark takes a seat, paying close attention as she continued. "She's not superficial or anything, but she does date a certain kind of guy – man –whatever you like to call it"
Clark's stomach grows more nervous.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, it's sort of half and half. She's dated great guys, and she's date the wrong ones. But Lois, and she's so going to kill me if she ever finds out I told you – "
"I won't tell anyone, scout's honor." He raised his right hand patriotically.
She breathed. "She likes a guy who's confident. She absolutely hates people who whine." Clark's face falls. "But she respects a guy who can sit down and listen and even go as far as help her out even when she's never asked for it." Hope shown in his eyes.
"I can be that," he said confidently, starting with the first.
Chloe sends him a serious look. "Not to be the bearer of bad news, Clark, but you do complain a lot"
"No I don't"
Chloe nodded. "Yes. You do"
"I've had a complicated life," he explained weakly. Upon saying this, he realized, "Okay, maybe I do complain a little." He sank back down on his seat looking defeated.
Her face softened. "Your friendship with Lois has always been… different."
Clark's head pops up. "Are you okay that I like her like that?" he asked in earnest.
"I don't know what you mean"
"I know that I can get lost in the things that happen in my life, but I don't want you to think that I've forgotten that you're her cousin. That you're family. If this is weird for you, or it's something you're not ready to see, just tell me, and I'll stop"
"You'd sacrifice your happiness to ensure mine?"
He nodded without question. "I like her. A lot. What I'm feeling could just be a crush that could fade away, but our friendship, I've had it for a long time. I don't ever want to lose it"
Chloe wanted to cry. She grabbed the brochures out of his hand. "Where do we start?" she asked, sifting through them.
Clark smiled in understanding. "Well, there's this really good garden in the U.K…"
A Week Later, Present Day…
"Lois, are you okay?" Chloe asked, concerned. She has been quiet for a full ten minutes now; it was begging to crack her nerves. "Do you want me to get you something to drink?"
"Vodka would be nice"
Chloe stood up. "Okay." And then she stopped. Did she just asked for alcohol? She turned back. "Do you want something else?"
Lois sighed. "An easy life on the rocks?"
"What am I gonna do?"
"You've got two gorgeous and heroic men in your life fighting for your affections… at least, Clark is, but come on, Lois. What girl wouldn't want to be in your position?"
"Clark can't help how he feels"
"But Lana – "
"Old news, and you know that."
"But he never liked me before"
"That's because he was too hung up on Lana to notice anyone"
"He married Alicia," Lois said blankly.
"He was under the influence"
"Alcohol or drugs?"
"That's besides the point." She stopped and sighed. "What exactly did you and Clark do when this all happened that made him see you differently? You've barely given me any inside scoop on the matter"
"Look, I thought he was Arthur. How was I suppose to know that they switched bodies"
"So basically, you treated him like he was your boyfriend"
"He is my boyfriend. Or at least, he looked like him. Why am I defending myself? I really thought he was Arthur. It's not like I had a body switch detector between the my door," she quipped.
"You fight so much with each other that neither of you ever gave the thought of a romantic relationship ever happening, well now all that's changed. Clark sees you differently now"
"And that helps my situation, how exactly?"
"You're going to have to deal with it head on"
"That doesn't sound very fun"
Chloe smiled brightly. "You're gonna be fine"
Lois didn't like what was happening one bit. "Sure it is"
Arthur came inside her apartment, masking his face with indifference, or at least, he hoped it was indifference. There was something he needed to say, and he needed to do it quick. He didn't want either of them to get hurt. Most of all, he didn't want to hurt her.
"You're breaking up with me?" Lois took a moment to process his words.
"Believe me, I don't want to," he admits.
"So why?" her voice was soft, and eerily calm, but not angry or spiteful.
"Because you're not in it anymore," he answered softly. "I'm with you but I'm not. You're always somewhere else; I see it every time I look at you. I know when I'm fighting a losing battle"
Then her walls rise up a hundred feet high. "Which suddenly seems awfully convenient"
"I know you like me, but you know you don't love me"
Her eyes opened wide. "Love?"
"See, even the very word of it freaks you out"
"Okay, I'm confused. Are we talking about love or are we talking about me always being somewhere else, as you so eloquently pointed out?"
"I don't believe this." Her voice was still low but still very shocked.
"I've never lied to you. What we had going was fun, and it meant a lot to me. You showed me what love could be like. But what we have, it's just a reflection of what we really want"
"Don't tell me what I want, A.C."
"I'm not, but I do know your life wasn't meant to be lived with me"
She was floored. "What the hell? Where is this sudden bout of foresight coming from? I'm beginning to think that the good old fashioned 'it's not you it's me' lends a lot more credibility"
He smiled, and despite the situation, so did she.
Lois succumbed to the truth. "We really weren't meant to be anything more than what we are, huh?"
He took her hand one last time. "It was fun while it lasted though, right?" She nodded, agreeably.
"One of the best times of my life," she admitted wholeheartedly.
He breathed in deeply, getting up to leave. When he reached her door, he turned. "I'm going to envy the man that wins your heart," he said in a heartfelt tone before leaving.
She chuckled at the notion before watching him leave. Down the steps and across the Talon floor. And finally, out the door. She walked back inside her apartment, closing the door thoughtfully.
"Somehow, I don't think I'm worth that much"
Outside, Arthur sensed her thoughts.
"You're worth more"
To be continued…