Title: Sugar, We're Going Down
Summary: Answer to Severence's challenge - write a story to the title of your favorite song. This is hardly my favorite song - but sometimes a song just inspires you, makes something click and you feel the need to write. This one happened to me. Full lyrics at the end.
Notes: Dark, kids. Dark. Dark. Eh, with a glimmer of light.
I wrote this quickly - fumbled through it – I'm not entirely sure where it was going - just needed to get it out.
(A/N 10/15/06- made a little change for season six. Let's just imagine that Lois is staying with the Kents...because her apartment is being fumigated. Or Chloe stole it.)
Drop a heart, break a name
We're always sleeping in, and sleeping for the wrong team
She pressed her lips against his.
Her head swam as he kissed her back, fully and deeply. Her arms snaked up his shoulders and around his neck. Shivering as a soft breeze swept across them, she pulled herself closer.
Finally, her heels touched back down on the porch. "Now that's what I call a goodnight kiss," she said, playfully.
He rolled his eyes, a low laugh rumbling his chest. "You said that last night."
She shrugged. "What can I say? You're consistent."
She didn't fight the smile that came when he tucked the loose strand of hair behind her ear. It felt good to let go.
"I..." He stopped. Lois felt her stomach tighten in response. In her experience, lengthy pauses were usually followed by bad news. Accusations and good-byes. She braced herself for the worst. "I love you."
Lois laughed, relieved. "Of course you do. What's not to love?" She challenged lightly. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek and spun towards the door.
She had just barely crossed the threshold when he caught her arm. "I'm serious."
Lois blinked in surprise. "Oh." She stood in limbo, one foot with him on the porch and one braced for escape.
He smiled, weakly. "Not the reaction I was hoping for," he admitted as his grip lightened and fell.
Her gaze skittered away. "I just wasn't expecting that."
"Really? I thought my sweaty palms would've been a dead give away."
Lois eased the screen door shut and turned back to face him. She bit he bottom lip. How was she going to do this? "I like you. A lot," she began, uneasily.
"Great. So I rate up there with mocha lattes and Shelby."
She grabbed the hand that had been holding hers for months and swung it in a gesture of reassurance. "Look, we don't have to make this into a big thing. I thought we were having fun."
"Yeah," he echoed, miserably. "Fun."
Her eyes ticked nervously to the screen door. "Can we talk about this later?"
He caught the action and let a rare edge of bitterness creep into his laugh. "I'm sure he can't hear us."
He ignored her question., taking his hand back and reaching for the keys in his pocket. "I think I'm going to go."
"Okay." She nodded quickly, anxious for the conversation to finally be over. For things to revert to the comfortable status quo. "So I'll see you tomorrow then?"
"I don't think that's such a good idea."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean I don't think we should see each other anymore."
She gaped at him, incredulously. "You're breaking up with me?"
"You deserve more than the next best thing," he said. His posture straightened as he began to gain confidence in what he was saying. "And I deserve better than to be it."
"What are you talking about?"
She eyed the door, dipping her voice lower. "When did this become about Clark?"
"When hasn't it been?"
Lois couldn't help the anger that percolated up at the lightness of his tone.
"This is crazy," she said, beginning to pace in frustration. "This isn't about Clark, or me, or anyone but you. You're just mad that I didn't react how you wanted me to." She jabbed him with a fingered as she leveled the charge.
"Not mad," he correctly, quietly. "Disappointed."
Lois felt panic creeping in on all sides. He was drifting away as she futilely clutched at straws . She liked him. He made her feel beautiful and important. When she was with him she forgot about expectations and disappointments and ...
"Ollie!" she yelled, her voice fraying at the edges.
He was half way to his car when he turned around.
"I'm just not the type of girl that falls in love," she confessed through unshed tears.
He shook his head. "You know as well as I do that that's not true."
She opened her mouth to counter, but couldn't find the words.
That night everything seemed content to slip away.
Lois shuffled dejectedly through the living room, making a quick stop at the mirror to assess the damage. No wonder he had broken up with her, she looked like a walking train wreck.
She shucked off her coat and tugged off her shoes, careful not to wake up Clark in the process. But when she finally got to the kitchen, she realized it had been an unnecessary precaution.
"What are you doing up?"
Clark rose from the step. "I couldn't sleep." His drooping eyes and stifled yawn seemed to tell a different story.
"Yeah, well, it's hard to do that on the stairs. Next time try a bed."
Lois snatched some paper towels from the roll and dampened them under the faucet. She felt his gaze linger as she tended to the streaks of mascara on her cheeks. She gripped the edge of the sink and took a steadying breath.
"I guess you heard that," she said, aiming for breezy, but landing smack dab on bitter.
She laughed a hollow, fractured laugh. "You're a horrible liar, Smallville." She turned only to have him avoid her eyes, guiltily.
"I didn't mean to," he confessed.
She walked over and plopped onto the step with a huff. He settled back down beside her.
"Is there something seriously wrong with me?" she asked him, finally.
His eyebrows, despite being heavy with sleep, jumped up. "What?"
Lois scoffed. "Oh, spare me the look of surprise. I just got dumped in your front yard. The question has foundation." She pressed her fingers into her temples, and shut her eyes tightly. Maybe, if she tried hard enough, she could just will the night away.
"He would have stayed, if you had just told him what he wanted to hear."
Lois sniffled. "Maybe."
"Why didn't you?"
"I don't know,"she admitted, opening her eyes. Frustrated, she raked her hands through her hair. "Or maybe I'm just not ready to be completely honest with myself just yet."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you know how everyone around here seems to think you're so darn great at keeping secrets?" she asked. He nodded back. "Well, I'm kind of an expert at keeping myself in the dark."
Things were always easier that way. Pushed deep and out of sight. What was the saying? She thought. Ignorance is bliss? Well, her time with Oliver had been amazingly blissful.
Had been. Past tense.
"He thinks there's someone else," she confessed slowly, testing the waters.
"He's an idiot," he quickly replied, his confession nipping at the heels of hers.
Her eyes narrowed. "For thinking anyone could love me?"
He shook his head. "For ever letting you go." The warm timbre of his voice sent a shiver strait through her.
She waited for the feeling to pass. To mercifully slipstream through her hands like everything else that night.
But it wouldn't leave her.
She had just broken up with her boyfriend, but it was that reaction that caused her heart to tighten.
"I'm going to head up to bed," she forced herself to say. He murmured a goodnight and headed towards the couch.
Lois gripped a weary hand on the bannister and pulled herself to her feet. She made it a few steps up before she stopped.
"Clark?" she asked the darkness.
"Yeah?" His voice drifted out from the living room.
"Why were you really up? The truth."
Deep down she knew the answer.
"You know how you said you weren't really ready to be honest with yourself?"
She had always known the answer.
"I don't think I am either."
Now she was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.