A/N: I know. I know. It's been almost two years since I've updated. So here is the long, long, long, LONG, overdue chapter. I had a couple of very cathartic days of writing. I forgot how much I missed it. *Le sigh* if only I could get paid for this...Oh, well. Please enjoy.
Determination and Delusions
Ollie ignored the gigantic stack of manila folders threatening to topple over and spill out across his keyboard, he disregarded the dozens of new emails that had popped up in his inbox over the last hour and a half and he had given Travis strict instructions to hold all of his calls for the day.
She should have called already, Ollie thought as he shifted in his chair and glared at the cell phone in his hand.
Ring. He willed the smartphone. Ring dammit!
This was ridiculous.
She should have been moved back into the penthouse by now! This very minute they should have been half way through celebrating her homecoming with champagne and no clothes!
He punched the intercom button, "Travis- again!"
"Uh, Mr. Queen I just called fifteen minutes ago and it was fi-"
"Just do it!"
A few moments later the cell phones rang and with a curse Ollie pressed ignore and glared intently at the device. He heard his office door open and close, but didn't even glance up. If it wasn't Chloe, he didn't care.
"You do realize that I'm the one with the heat vision, right?" Clark said. "I mean I give you props for trying, but-"
"Why hasn't she called yet?" Ollie exclaimed slamming his fist down on his desk.
Clark took it as a rhetorical question and wisely didn't answer.
"She should have called by now!"
"I'm sorry?" Clark said, but Oliver didn't seem to be listening.
"It doesn't make any sense! My plan was fool proof!" Ollie continued and Clark frowned.
"Apparently not as fool proof as you thought if she hasn't called yet."
Ollie glowered at his friend, "Shouldn't Lois be hiding parts of your dead body in her backyard by now?"
"Let's just say it's a good thing she doesn't now about kryptonite yet," Clark sighed and sat down.
"I can't believe you scooped her."
"I didn't have a lot of options," Clark defended.
"You could have just told her-"
"Hindsight is twenty-twenty."
"Well, it could be worse," Oliver, said and Clark, said, "No it couldn't."
"Oh trust me," came the dark reply as Ollie glanced back at his cell, "it could always be worse."
"I guess I'll take your word for it," Clark placated.
"So why aren't you at The Planet begging for her forgiveness?" Oliver asked, glad for the momentary distraction of someone else's woman troubles.
"It's been a busy morning- you know rescuing pedestrians from fires and muggings and what not."
Clark glared at his friend, "fine. I thought I'd give her a little space. Don't worry I have big groveling plans for this afternoon."
"Lois is a classic avoider- so I'm just going to be unavoidable," Clark smiled, "that and I got her front row seats to the Monster Truck Rally this weekend."
Ollie shook his head. "You're right. It is a good thing she doesn't know about Kryptonite yet."
"I'll get her back," Clark said with more confidence than he felt, then mentally kicked himself. Failure was definitely not an option. "And you'll get Chloe back." He added for good measure.
"She's my wife!" Ollie pounded his fist on the desk and stood up. "There's nothing to get back. She's mine." He started pacing and Clark edged back in his seat and thought Chloe better move back in soon before Ollie had a nervous break down.
"She should be home," he raged "I mean do you know how long its been since we-"
"I don't need to know that," Clark interrupted, grimacing.
"God, I haven't gone this long since-" Ollie stopped and thought about it, "I've never gone this long!"
"Oh, so that's why you're acting-" Clark wanted to say deranged, but thought better of it, "so cranky."
"Wouldn't you be?"
Clark thought about telling him that it wasn't a matter of how long it had been, but rather the thought that it might never happen again that was driving him crazy, but didn't. Some things he and Oliver just never needed to discuss. Although it was hard not to think about it- About Lois, naked and under him again, about the soft mewing sounds she made when he kissed her neck or how hard she clung to him when he made her come.
God, he wanted her again. Clark locked his jaw, and he would have her again- always.
"Have you tried calling her?" Clark suggested, trying to drive all thoughts of missing Lois out of his brain.
"Because it's her move."
"You know nothing about marriage!" Oliver said.
"I was married," Clark defended.
"My point exactly." Oliver replied. "You were married, as in past tense." He sighed "The ball is in her court now." The truth was he'd punched her number into his cell more than once today. But he'd stopped himself from calling. He wanted his present to do all the talking. He wanted her to know that he was still that guy that won her that stupid giraffe and flew her to Monte Carlo. He was still the man she fell in love with.
It was just-
"You should call her," Clark interrupted his thoughts.
Oliver growled, "This is stupid! She's my wife!"
"You said that already."
"She wants me to miss budgeting meetings and take her on top of my desk!"
"And that's a bad thing?" Clark wondered, and then couldn't keep the image of bending Lois over her desk out of his head.
"I'll just wait," Ollie said, sounding suddenly distant. "Sooner or later she'll come to her senses."
Before you lose yours? Clark thought biting his tongue. He had absolutely no right to criticize Oliver. It wasn't like he was doing much better. He was in love with a woman he might never see naked again. Never hold or kiss or touch- but even worse than that- he might never get to laugh with her again. They might never have cheesy classic movie marathons or stay up until three o'clock in the morning talking about everything and nothing- he was not going to let that happen.
"Go over there and kidnap your wife," Clark blurted out suddenly, "to hell with waiting!"
Oliver sighed. "I don't know. Chloe's not really into the whole caveman thing."
"She's you're wife," Clark said simply rising out of his chair. "If you want her. Go get her." He walked out of Oliver's office with every intention of practicing what he preached.
Phil parked his rental car on the opposite end of the street and walked as nonchalantly as possible to Lois's- soon to be their- house. He wanted to take measurements for the new addition they'd be adding just as soon as he got settled. He could hardly wait to tell Lois all of his plans; she'd be so grateful, he just knew it.
He entered in through the basement again as quietly as possible, but that damn dog started barking as he climbed the stairs. Shelby growled and snapped at his ankles until Phil picked up the bottle of window cleaner on the island in the kitchen and sprayed him in the eyes, laughing when the stupid mutt yelped and dove under a chair. Then he took the tape measure from his pocket and began measuring the dining room and the family room. Writing down the dimensions in the small notebook that usually held sports stats and quotes for his articles.
When he was done with the first story he started on the second. His heart pounded as he climbed the staircase, realizing that this was the first time he'd been upstairs. He remembered watching Lois lean out of her window and for some reason the thought caused the blood to surge through his veins and he started taking the stairs two at a time. When he reached the top he immediately knew which room was hers.
He stopped at the threshold of her doorway and just took it all in. It was so Lois- so familiar that it almost took his breath away. In that moment he took possession of the room, it was no longer just hers- it was his too- it was theirs. And that thought alone was enough to sustain him for the next couple of days. Until everything could be sorted out and Lois talked to him and too him back.
He stepped into the room smiling. She'd left her clothes strewn all over the floor and the drawers to her dresser and nightstand were crooked and half open, shiny fabrics hanging haphazardly over the edges. It was just like before. His eyes slid to the bed- unmade as usual. But Phil's grin faded when he realized that he still had their bed at his apartment. This bed was new. It wasn't theirs. He hated it. It was too big and the color was all wrong. Red. Which was not Lois at all and he decided that he'd bring over the bed from their old apartment and that would leave more space for their other furniture that he still had, too. Relief washed over him- it would be just like before.
He took a few more steps into the room and almost tripped over Lois's bunny slippers- the fuzzy pink ones that were so old there were holes in the bottom, but she still wore them even after he bought her new white slippers for Christmas last year. The bunnies tumbled over each other, Lois had probably kicked them off on the way to the bathroom like she used to at the apartment. His heart felt heavy and slow in his chest suddenly and pushed away the gnawing feeling in his chest. There was no reason to feel achy, he told himself. She'd be so glad when she heard his plan- when they fixed things. It would all work out.
He walked slowly the bed, unable to stop himself from grimacing at the harsh color. But he let his hand slide over the material anyway, frowning. She should be sleeping on something white or pink. Something soft and warm not shiny and cool like the silk covering the mattress now. He'd bring their old sheets with him too. She'd like that.
He continued to let his hand glide to where the bottom sheet curved and dipped outlining where Lois's body had been. He took a deep breath and gingerly rolled onto the bed carefully sliding his body next the imprint of hers and inhaled deeply. The spicy scent of her shampoo still clung to her pillow and he hadn't realized how much he'd missed that smell until it disappeared from their old sheets.
He closed his eyes for a moment and fantasized about how wonderful it would be once he could submerse himself in her scent again- not just her shampoo, her warmth and her laughter. His fist tightened around the covers where she'd been and he wished she were there with him now. He wanted her back so much- not that she was gone- he told himself. No she wasn't gone, they were just going through a phase. Just a readjustment period, that was all. It was no big deal. Really.
He stayed there awhile imagining how great life would be soon. How they would lie quietly together and he would hold her again and stroke her hair. And how good it would feel to have her next to him, wrapped in his arms, beneath him- he thought about having her again and his brain dulled and his breathing grew heavier. He'd take her back right here, in this room, probably in this bed- even though he hated it. But when he got Lois back he knew he wouldn't be able to wait until their old furniture was moved in- he wanted her as soon as possible. He wanted her with him so much- he squeezed his eyes shut and gripped the sheets harder until his mind went black and he couldn't think of anything at all.
Slowly, Phil opened his eyes and calmed his heart rate. When he had his breathing back under control he reluctantly sat up. Not wanting to leave their room without taking her with him. So he leaned over and took the pillowcase off her pillow and held up to his face to breath her in before replacing it with an identical one from the linen closet in her bathroom. Then he folded the old one and put it in the breast pocket of his jacket and went back to The Planet.
Lois was alone in the copy room cursing whatever hair-brained intern decided that the top shelf of the storage unit was a good place to keep the extra office supplies. If she broke, sprained, or twisted another part of her body for some lousy staples, someone's head was going to roll. This is all his fault She thought, fuming then chastised herself for thinking about Clark for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. Was she still angry? Hell yes. But her resolve was already beginning to splinter and the day wasn't even half over.
Hadn't he promised her he'd be kissing the ground she walked on and falling over himself to make her forgive him? But alas, that big dumb alien was nowhere to be found and Lois- in spite of herself- was disappointed. Just a little bit. It wasn't like groveling would have made a difference- maybe. The brunette bit her lip and tried to focus on not falling, instead of Clark, as she reached for the box of staples again. God, she missed him. She didn't want to miss him- but she did. It was almost embarrassing how often she caught herself wanting to text him or in the middle of dialing his number. Even though her bruised pride was a constant reminder her of how much he screwed up- other deliciously bruised parts of her anatomy reminded her of just how good he scr-
"Here let me get that."
Lois was pulled out of her thoughts by a familiar voice she heard the door to the copy room click shut as a broad chest brushed against her back. Just for a moment Lois's heart clutched as Phil reached up behind her and grabbed the box of staples.
"Someone should put a bell around your neck," Lois muttered, mentally chiding herself for being startled. It was just Phil. She waited for him to step back so she could turn around and kick him again. But he didn't.
"I just want to talk," and despite their close proximity Lois spun to face him and crossed her arms over her chest.
"I thought I made it pretty clear that I don't want to talk- ever."
"You were just mad about the house- the other house," he smiled and Lois thought about how much she hated that smile and how much she really wanted to kick him again.
"Look, I can't talk. I'm late," Lois, replied, she tried to maneuver past him, but he blocked her way. "You're in my way."
"I can't be in you're way," Phil said, still wearing that dumb smile. "We belong together, you're way is my way."
"Phil Move," Lois tried to stay calm, but he was so big and so close and she realized he was leaning in forcing her back against the shelves, imprisoning her in the copy room.
"Look, Phil you've got to get it through your head that we're over. Done. Finished. There is no more us. There was never really was- it was a mistake. There was never really a connection, you know?"
Phil was a rational guy. In fact he was the most rational guy Lois knew. He'd see that she was right. They didn't belong together. She wasn't good for him and he sure as hell had never been good for her. But the look in his eyes sent an eerie chill clear through to her bones. It was like he hadn't heard a word she'd said. Like he'd ignored her completely and replaced her words with his own twisted version.
"Of course we connected," he replied, "we're getting married, just as soon as-"
"No, Phil. We are not getting married." She leaned against her crutches dizzy with anger.
"Just Listen." He went on, "It's OK, I've decided you should keep the house. We can make it work," he said it like he'd made some big concession- some great sacrifice for Lois's happiness. She opened her mouth to tell him to get the hell out of her way before he lost a valuable limb, but to her ever-growing horror he didn't give her the chance. He went on to tell her how they would build onto the house. Where they'd put doors and windows, where the kids would sleep.
Lois was paralyzed with shock. How in the Hell did he know the layout of her house so well? She was almost positive he couldn't have gathered that much information by just looking in the front door. Maybe he got the blue prints from online. Yes. Lois thought that had to be it, because if it wasn't- for the first time true fear gripped her and the realization that she was trapped in the copy room with her very big, very delusional ex-boyfriend, hit her like a fist in the gut. The air was starting to feel thinner, Phil wasn't violent, she knew that, but he was definitely disconnected with reality. She had to get out, fast. She put more weight against the shelves, leaning off of her bad leg if she could just get in one good punch-
"Lois? Are you in there?"
Phil was halfway through explaining what color he was going to stain their new backyard deck, when Jimmy's voice sounded from the other end of the door.
"Yes!" The reporter exclaimed with relief and lunged towards freedom, but Phil caught her around the waist and hauled her against his chest.
"Go away! We're talking!" Phil answered and Lois squirmed.
"Mr. Connor?" Jimmy questioned, then tried the doorknob, "It's locked. Lois is everything all right?"
"Olsen!" Lois elbowed her ex in the stomach, but he just held on tighter. Dammit!
"We're talking, Olsen. She'll be out later. Get lost."
Lois struggled against Phil's iron grip while the big stupid lug tried to quiet her with what he considered soothing words about their future life together and she wished her hands were free so she could bludgeon his face with the nearest blunt object.
"Lois? Should I get someone?"
"Let me go!" Lois heaved, finally able to dig the stiletto heel of her good foot into Phil's big toe and he released her with a shriek, just as jimmy barged through the door.
"Uh," the photographer looked at Phil, bent over holding onto his foot and Lois who was gimping towards him as fast as her good leg could carry her.
"Are you OK?" Jimmy asked and Lois just grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the room. "Let's go."
"That was weird" Jimmy said, when Lois plopped into his chair in the bullpen.
"Very," she agreed.
"You should tell Perry."
Lois scoffed, "There's no need to bother Perry, besides Phil is harmless- just a little delusional that's all."
"He trapped you in the copy room, Lois. You should at least get a restraining order or something."
"Nonsense," Lois waved off Jimmy's concern. ""I can take care of myself, Olsen. You saw him in there. Phil is just having a hard time facing reality. It's no big deal." She didn't have time to worry about Phil. He was a big boy. He'd get it through his head sooner or later that they were done. Right now she had bigger things to concentrate on- like getting her career back on track.
"Maybe you should at least tell Clark-"
"Lois he's your knew partner and the only guy at The Planet who could probably kick Phil's ass-"
"I think I did a pretty good job of that myself," Lois cut him off. "No more talk about Phil or Clark."
"Don't push me Jimmy I was just held against my will in a closet. I'm not having a great day."
"Right," Jimmy gulped.
"Now tell me you got something good to cheer me up," Lois said. She'd asked Jimmy to tail Mr. Reynolds to see where this so-called Pillar of the Community spent his time outside of the office.
The rookie photographers smiled, "Oh, yeah. You are going to love this."
"I better," Lois warned. She wasn't kidding about having a lousy day- hell she was having a lousy week!
Jimmy quickly pulled up the pictures on his desktop. Lois furrowed her eyebrows. "Is that the mayor?"
"Mr. Nefarious himself," Jimmy answered.
Lois grabbed the mouse and began clicking through the images trying in vain to squash the bubble of excitement in the pit of her stomach. This could be it- this could really be it! She'd been trying to pin something concrete on the Mayor for years. Money Laundering, human trafficking, and of course the man had more women on the side than a harem, the list of criminal activities went on and on.
But the Mayor was just as clever as he was corrupt. And Lois had never been able to directly tie him to anything. The man was more slippery than motor oil. Perhaps, the reporter thought, Archie was her ticket to a much bigger fish. And this time she wasn't letting that creep slip through her fingers. She smiled up at Jimmy. "You know. I may not be having such a bad day after all."