Part 4 of 4

Lois went back to her apartment with an exorbitant amount of unease. Her little talk with her father, the General, did little to relieve the anxiety.

Reaching her front door, she fiddled looking for her keys, dropping them in the process.

"Here, let me get that for you." Another hand snatched it up before Lois could get her hands on it.

She looked up and sighed, her head falling backwards, staring up at the ceiling. "This can't be happening,"

"I'm sorry?" he asked, confused by her reaction. Clark didn't think he did anything wrong.

"No," she waved off. "It's nothing you did."

Clark nodded, relieved. He looked at her oddly when she held her hand out, palm facing upwards.

"What?"

Lois chuckled in amusement. "Can I have my keys back?"

"Oh," he realized, handing her the keys.

"Not to be rude, Smallville - "

"That's a first," he grinned.

She glared at him. "As I was saying… What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be back home having dinner with Chloe and your parents?"

He had already thought up a clever yet simple excuse.

"I left early."

"Why?" she bit her lip when she realized what she just asked. "Nevermind, don't answer that."

"Could you stop ignoring me for one second, I'd really like to talk"

Lois is a bit surprised at his bold request. She paused for a second before opening the door, gesturing him to come inside. He sounded pretty serious, but personal experience had her conclude early on that whatever it is, is probably not that big a deal.

"So... What's up?" she said in an attempt to be understanding.

"Nice place."

Lois rolled her eyes. That's a brilliant way of ignoring what he came here to do.

"Thanks. Cashed in my trust fund last month, turns out it was enough to buy the place."

"Really?" Clark wasn't aware of that. "I didn't know."

"Since it was only Lucy and me, my mom was a good investor. She had a lot of money saved up for us before she died. Normally, I wouldn't have been able to touch it until I was 21, but by some miracle, I convinced the general to let me have it." She knew she was babbling now, and that's usually the case when she's nervous.

He listened attentively, thrilled that she opened up more to him now than she had for the last three and a half weeks.

"I'm happy for you," he said sincerely.

"Thanks."

He finds his eyes roaming around her apartment which looked newly furnished. He caught a glance of her bedroom and held back a chuckle. It's funny how her room could look like a hurricane hit it while every other room besides it looked tidy and perfect.

"Clark."

His attention snapped to her direction. "Yes?"

"Why are you here again?"

"Oh. Right." He swallowed nervously, his heart beating fast and his stomach in knots. "I wanted to talk - about us."

"About us?" Lois wasn't quite sure if she liked the sound of that.

"Maybe I was a little forward but I don't regret kissing you," he said truthfully.

She remained silent.

"And I don't want us going back to friends, not when I feel this way. But if that's what you want, I could try."

At that moment, she felt like she got hit by a large baseball bat.

"You just contradicted yourself," she observed unintentionally.

"What?"

"You just said that you didn't want to be friends, but then you said you'd try. So which one is it; are we friends or are we not friends?"

Clark sighed. She always knew how to be stubborn. She and Jor-El will get along just fine if they ever met.

"That depends entirely on you," he answered.

She crossed her arms, sternly. "So what you're really telling me is that you don't know what you want?"

"No, that's not it," he replied, getting a little upset. "You're twisting my words - "

"I'm not twisting your words, I'm just repeating it."

"I like you, Lois!" he finally admitted. "There. Try to twist that! You can't, can you?" He moved to her sofa and plumped himself down like he's lived there all his life.

Lois opened her mouth to answer but she found herself unable to reply. She followed him and sat down on her loveseat with still a flabbergasted expression all over her face.

She couldn't think of anything to say, so she did the next best thing.

She chuckled.

Clark glared at her. "What's so funny?"

Then she broke out into a full laughter.

"What?" he asked impatiently.

"Us, that's what," she answered. "Look at us. Arguing like this. You have no idea what you're getting yourself into."

"So you've thought about it?" he asked, hopeful.

"It's crossed my mind once or twice."

"And?"

"And what?"

"How do you feel about us dating?"

"Honestly," she began. "I haven't really gotten that far."

Clark sighed. "Then start now."

"Okay, now you're being pushy."

"We haven't spoken to each other in almost a month, Lois. And frankly, I'm bummed out about that. I just want to know, is there a chance for us?"

"That's a loaded question, Clark."

He smiled when she called him by his real name. He knew when she did that, she was taking the situation seriously.

"I think the million dollar question here is, can you answer it?"

She walked towards the exit door. "I think you should go."

"I think I should," he replied angrily.

She opened it only to find another person behind it, and it was the last man she suspected.

"Dad?"

"Hey, little Lo. I brought some take out. I thought we could eat them together." The general walked inside her apartment without an invitation and spotted Clark Kent in the living room.

Clark's anger dissipated and was replaced by fear. Then he gulped. The 3-Star General simply smiled. A rare occurrence even with his daughters.

"Hey Kent. It's good to see you. Sit down and join us."

Lois was about to protests when her father sent her a very fatherly mixed with a soldiery glare. Then she gulped, walking towards Clark a little too quickly.

"Join us for dinner?" she asked, feigning annoyance.

"Do I have a choice?" he retorted.

"Ahem!" her father interrupted and they both turned simultaneously around to face him.

"Yes?" they both answered at the same time.

"I brought a movie too."

Any hope to get out of this uncomfortable situation with her father was gone.

"No doubt a military movie," she quipped.

The general nodded. "It sure is. You two might even learn something from it."

Lois and Clark turned to face one another before facing her father.

"What is it?" they say simultaneously yet once again.

The general turned away from them and smirked. "The Rules of Engagement." And he could hear the two kids sigh in frustration.

The End