Author Notes: I've been writing this story on and off since Infamous aired. Finally, I had the time (and will) to finish it. It's basically Lois remembering the time she spent in Star City while waiting for Clark on the coffee shop at the end of the episode. I know sometimes overdo details, but hey, I like you to see the story as close to as I imagine it when writing. My inspiration came from the song What About Now (Daughtry). Originally, it was going to be all angst, but ultimately it has an interesting twist. Don't forget to review.
Spoilers: Heavy on Bride and Infamous, other than that, it's just light references.
Disclaimer: I don't own Smallville (Really!). The only thing I own is my brain and its mushy ideas. ;-)
-----------------------Time does not change us. It just unfolds us. (Max Frisch)-----------------------
Lois walked hurriedly down the fogged street. It was still wet from the heavy rain that poured during the day. She was already running late. Late? We didn't settle a time. Her mind tricked her as she entered into the nearby coffee shop… looking around… expecting to see his face. God, girl! He didn't even say he was coming. She approached the counter and cleared her throat. "A non-fat latte, with an extra shot of expresso, please." She requested softly to the friendly dark-haired girl at the register.
She sat at a table on the exterior of the small shop. It was cold outside, but she wouldn't want to miss him, if he finally appears. She looked around hopefully, entangling her fingers together, while she waited for the waitress to bring her beverage. Will he come? It was very, very cold. Her breathing created a cloud every time she exhaled, every time she sighed. Patience was not one of Lois Lane's virtues. What if it is a "complicated conversation" after all? What if he never shows up? She felt like shadows were overcoming her heart, as in premonition to the night's outcome.
She could just invite him straight out, but maybe he would feel obligated. No, if he wants to talk, he will meet me, otherwise "I get it". Would she? The first step was made, kind of, and she risked it, so now the choice was his to make. She shook her head as memories rushed into her mind. What did you do to me, Smallville? Vivid moments of the past months working with him, side by side with Clark, flooded her head. Bothe great adventures and touching moments, all with one constant: him. But, also memories of her recent heartache had made their way into her mind. This heartache was self-inflicted from Lois' eyes. She thought this was her punishment for opening her heart once again, for opening her soul to him, against her own rules. A heart wide open was a heart waiting to be crushed. Memories and pain were all that was left of that night, of that dance, of that almost kiss… Maybe this wasn't such a good idea in the end.
Those past few weeks in Star City had giving her more than enough time to think things over, to think her feelings over, her soreness. Perishing on Jimmy's bedside was a downside, yes, but her been "alone" was a marginal benefit at the moment. That was what she needed to be distant, or so she thought. Not all alone, just as far from him as I can. She could barely sleep one whole night and even when she did sleep for a few hours, or for a few minutes at the hostpital, it was like been awake in a dream, or most likely a nightmare. She wanted to forget everything that happened (or didn't happen) between Clark and her, she wanted to forget her cousin Chloe was missing and probably hurt, she wanted to forget how that horrible monster harmed everyone in its way, but overall she wanted to forget one tiny detail of that night: Lana's return. How could I forget?
She remembered how Jimmy's room felt shallow, impersonal. Nothing about that place was appealing. All she felt was the urge to runaway, but in doing so, she took refuge on that same thing she wanted to run away from in the first place: him… the thought of him in fact. For the first time in months, in years, she was able to put down her guards and unlock feelings she wasn't sure she had to begin with. This is different; Clark is different, in a good way. She felt secured when he was around, yet she didn't want to admit it, not even to herself. Her rules about love were not to be broken, not to be bent, at least not visibly. One thing was certain: her heart was no longer hers, but his. Is that even possible? The last man on the face of the Earth, the one person she could not imagine: the dorky farm boy now had her, the harsh army brat, head over heels. And staying in that cold room, for so many days did nothing, but to remind her that particular matter. Good one, Lois!
Then, she heard his voice. Not that she would answer his call… just a voice mail: "Lois, we hope you are doing fine. How is Jimmy doing? We're still looking for Chloe, but our hopes are up." We? Our hopes? That meant that he was not alone in his search, not alone at this difficult moment. Any other time, she would leave everything behind and launch a frantic search for Chloe, not this time. She was hurt, and she knew Jimmy was too, physically anyways. Jimmy was alone, ignorant of the world around him, his wife vanished without a trace. A good deed and a perfect excuse not to be near Clark, she thought. But it seemed that the more distance she put between them, the more he curled his way into her thoughts. She almost wished to be the one who disappeared... Not this time.
She didn't talk about it much, but Clark meant a lot to her. And even when she hardly ever touched the subject, its thoughts were in her mind, in her heart, all the time. There was a connection between them, she couldn't understand, neither could he. Dismissing it was only part of the plan, the plan to set aside any hint of deeper, stronger feelings. They were friends and she didn't want to ruin that amazing friendship. This was important to her. No matter how much he annoyed her sometimes, or most of it, Clark was always a good friend.And she was his too, a friend, that is. Their banters deserved a high place in the Guinness records. Throughout the years, bickering and teasing were their ways to solve terrible mysteries, ways to chase unbelievable stories, ways to discover true feelings, their own. They were so much more than friends, but she refused, for the longest time, to think on him that way and apparently, so did he.
He called again, and again she didn't answer… another voice mail: "Lois, we found Chloe. She's all right and on her way to Star City. How are you holding up?" He sounded comforted, but worried at the same time, as if things weren't completely right. Calling him back, to ask him what was wrong, was out of the question. A huge relieve sheltered her body hearing her cousin was okay, but that "we" fraction of the message wounded her heart in many ways.
"Excuse ma'am, your coffee." A young lady, the waitress, said noting that her costumer was lost in her thoughts. When Lois returned her attention, she put the cup on the table. "Thank you." Lois responded and took a sip of her drink. This is good. The steam of the coffee damped her lips. Its warmth cuddled her throat and parted the dry cold from it. She didn't know how much time had pass since she got there, and that uncertainty was innerving her. She did another round of looks, but nothing, or worse yet: no one. The misted streets reflected the moonlight in cracked patterns. A few people dared to walk by, but not him. She grabbed the cup with both hands, seeking the heat her heart was missing so terribly now, just like before she was alone. This must be it, maybe he won't come. Despite of her reason wanting to leave, she stayed, once more obeying her heart. Just a little longer.
She relived those moments in her mind, as if she was inside that hospital again. The cold weather that surrounded her didn't help the matter. When her cousin arrived to Star City, Lois was nothing but truly content. Chloe's embrace was the first good thing she felt, for days, a grasp of ease and warmth at that bitter place. "Lois, how is he?" She asked, obviously referring to her injured husband. "Jimmy is stable, but still in a coma. I'm so sorry, cuz." Lois replied softly with tears of joy and sadness in her eyes… joy to the longed family reunion, sadness to the unknown future awaiting. They hugged again. Though she was undoubtedly happy to see her cousin alive and well, her being sought another comfort… Clark's. One that was not near, as she wanted, opposed to what she really needed.
The shattered look on Chloe's eyes at the sight of her husband wrecked her heart even more. That definitively was not the way the newlyweds wanted to start their new life together. Tears ran down her cheeks, and the only thing she could do was stare at that dreary scene. "Lois, you should go a get some sleep. Ollie said you have the keys to his apartment. You look like you really need to rest." Chloe said wiping away his tears, still sobbing a little. The fatigue of the past days was downing on Lois' shoulders. "Chlo, I don't mind staying here and making you company, you know." She supplied honestly, but Chloe insisted and she finally agreed. Lois didn't wanted to be by herself, not anymore, not with the mountains of questions she wanted to ask Chloe. She might want to have some privacy after everything that had happened. "See you tomorrow, Chlo." At Jimmy's room the nurses and doctors visited so often she didn't feel completely alone, but there she was on the path of being entirely alone with her thoughts.
Oliver's apartment, a penthouse actually, was less homely than she had expected. It was modernly decorated, a bit cold for Lois' taste, or rather needs at the time. She was really tired, but didn't want to close her eyes, fearing the nightmares of that awful night may appear again. The oversized silk covered bed was inviting, and she was very tired indeed, physically as well as mentally. She lied and almost immediately fell asleep, still in her clothes, without even taken away her shoes. She didn't dream at all, her brain was too drained, her heart too wounded. She just slept. For the next few days (weeks?) she did so whenever Chloe came to visit her husband. It helped her to avoid dealing with her feelings, to rest her weakened self, a self she didn't recognized anymore. What had happened to me? It was like something was off, something was missing, but she didn't have the strength (or will) to search for it. That, until she heard the news: Lana left again.
More than forty five minutes had passed, but it felt like she has been waiting a lifetime. And she has, indeed. Not for him to meet her at the café, but for him to take her heart, her whole heart. She tapped her fingers faster on the table, not aware of the edginess in her act. This time she did not glance around, she feared for her vulnerability to return, too late. Lois felt as if someone was watching her, staring at her actually, but when she look, nobody was there. Oh my! Am I losing my mind? Her heart beat faster, but she was oblivious to the cause. Clark watched her from across the street, hiding behind the shadows. She looked at her cell phone for the first time, trying to distract her mind and to confirm how much time she had spent on that place… waiting. Not daring yet to look around again, she drank again from her coffee now a bit chilly… as she was feeling this night by herself. Only her thoughts kept her company.
When Jimmy was awake and his vitals were finally normalizing, she was more than happy to tell Chloe. That same week, she was informed her cousin-in-law was flying to Metropolis soon, in just a couple of days. Lois felt unsure about the journey back, something that made her very uncomfortable. Chloe was suspiciously vague spreading the details concerning Clark, Lana or even her rescue… but she was determined to find out at least one thing for sure: what that moment at the wedding meant to Clark, if anything. Is better to have this issue out and closed, than torturing me on the inside. Does this make any sense at all?
Last time she heard Clark's voice, he sounded sincerely concern: "Lois I am really worried about you. Please call me back. There is something important I need to tell you." Those words were a piercing spear to her heart but also a ray of hope. I need? Something important? She felt that hope in her heart once again. This is not good. On the worst case scenario, she could not risk being hurt over the phone. I will not call him, not now, I'll wait. Hope meant to be hidden behind walls, walls of sarcasm, walls of indifference, until it was safe to come out. Not over the phone Lois, just hold on, one more day.
As soon as Lois saw him at the airport, her heart skipped inside her chest. He looked so him: typical blue shirt, red jacket and washout jeans. But he looked so handsome, so sober, so much man than when she left. Could it be? "Hi Lois." Clark greeted with a smile that could light the whole airport at once. Ugh that smile, definitively not good. She knew what she needed to do, but it will be more difficult than she originally thought. "Hey Smallville, care to help me with these?" Before he could approach enough to give her so much as a hug, she practically shoved her suitcases to his chest. Not bad, so far.
The way back to the Daily Planet was silent, too silent. Lois only took tiny glances to Clark from the corner of her eye, avoiding any further contact with him. He seems glad, hmm, a little nervous. She thought surprised, but confused. What is he thinking? Clark wondered why she was so quiet, so silent. He had missed her in so many ways, her talking being one. Sure such quality appeared to drive him crazy, from time to time, but it was part of him, in a special way he expected it. He figured after what happened at the wedding she would ask hundreds (scratch that, thousands) of questions or at least make some dismissive comment on the matter, but nothing. Maybe she is over all of that. He concluded; it was better not to dive alone in the shark infested waters of love (as she once referred). Denial is good, in a way. Could she feel that way about me? He sighed, internally anyways, not daring to look on the gorgeous woman sat beside him.
The two souls went unspoken to their destination. The rain poured hard, almost leaving the two alone in the near world. Two hearts that pertain together were apart, but so close. Could he feel same way? Who am I kidding, Lane. When they arrived to the Daily Planet, and there was enough space between them she blurted how she felt about the general events on the wedding and opened the invitation to the coffee. The decision is his to make.
Sipping on the last of her coffee, she noticed the shop was about to close. Lois seemed lost, still looking around, still hoping he would make it. The chirping sound of her cell phone startled her, a text message. With hesitation she opened it and narrowed her eyes at its screen, at its content. From Clark: Sorry swamped with work can't make it. Her world of thoughts just crumbled down. At this time, she expected anything but this. She sighed. Welcome back to reality, Lois, where you are just a basement reporter and he is, well, somebody else's farm boy. It was time to put on the heavy armor, again. She typed back, fighting the tears that began to pry from her hazel eyes. It's on. From Lois: Chasing a lead, couldn't make it anyway. No matter how much he meant for her, there was no way he could leave her hanging on, one more time. And with that, she placed a couple of dollars on the table and left the shop as quickly as she entered a while ago, more than hour and a half ago.
After walking for a couple of minutes, below the gloomy moonlight trail, she arrived to her apartment. Hoping up the stairs, Lois opened her purse and took out a set of keys, a big set of keys. Great, note to self: put labels so I can actually find the front door key before been attacked. The battle with keys was almost over when she felt a chill down her spine, a smack to her heart… Clark's voice. "Lois?" He simply said, and she froze in place, not wanting to face that complicated conversation after all. "Well," she started, still facing the door, her back to his face, "weren't you working late tonight?" He did not answer. After a long pause, filled only with frustration and confusion sighs, she put a hand on the door knob and placed the keys back in the purse.
Clark put his hand on her shoulder; she felt the urge to face him, to kiss him, but resisted it. Gently turning her body to his, he spoke again. "Lois, I'm sorry I left you waiting at the café." Her heart nearly stopped. How does he know that I was there? "Look, like I told you, I didn't make it either." She said calmly. Then she tried to turn again, but he held her, both hands this time, down her arms. "I saw you waiting, I was there too… waiting" What? Waiting? She looked puzzled at his beautiful green eyes, swamped with the dark blue of the night. "And why the hell you didn't show up?" She was clearly angry now, but a tangle of hurt and hope accompanied her voice too. The heart-crushing moment was expected to begin anytime now.
"I… really, I don't know." Clark let go her arms and stepped back a few steps. This could be different, this may be different. He thought while he got a hold of enough boldness to continue his explanation. "I arrived and you were already there. I was only a few steps away, but then I thought of all the crazy things that had happened recently…" He sighed. "…the wedding, the monster, Chloe and Jimmy, Lana… you, I really missed you."
She didn't ask one question from the billion that were latent in her mind. What was that monster? How did you find Chloe? Are you and Lana back together? Why did Lana leave again? Did you miss me, really? Instead, she focused on the seriousness of his words. "You said that like something had change. Smallville, you and I are still the same. We are friends, aren't we?" She asked, slipped actually, fearing his response could break her heart even more. Me and my big mouth.
"I guess we are Lois… but these past months… it's like something more… and then Lana came and with you gone… what I am trying to say is…" He tried to make a rational sentence, but he couldn't. Lois didn't know his secret (not this time around) but still he desired to talk to her, to let her know how special she was to him, and why. She was so much more than a friend, to him she was home.
If it was possible for a person to feel completely wounded, baffled, hopeful, and happy at the same time that was exactly how Lois felt. "What are you trying to say, Clark?" She was anxious, even knowing that it was a two sided coin thrown in the air. Maybe today will be different, this one moment in time.
"Look Lois, I'm not even sure… and I don't want that. I don't want you to be some confusion point (or person) in my life." He stared on her eyes, trying to read Lois' reaction, which was not an easy task to do. "I definitely don't want that either, what are you suggesting?" She asked sincerely. All fortresses were down, no way back on this one.
Clark closed the distance between them with a hug. A warm embrace wanted and needed from both of them. Lois sunk her face in his wide chest, wrapping her hands around his waist. She felt secure again, no matter what he said now, THIS was worth it. Clark wrapped his arms around her back and buried his face in her hair. It smelled like fruits and cinnamon, he missed her so much, but still was afraid to admit it openly. "Can we figure this out together?" He said softly. An extensive pause followed. Shyly, he grabbed her arms again and gently put some space between them, looking into her eyes again.
Lois didn't answer. She just enclosed her hands around his neck and kissed him, ever so softly, it felt like heaven. He responded the same way, kindly uniting their bodies. It was a simple, yet delicious moment, both searched from the bottom of their hearts. "I guess we could." She whispered on his lips. "But, next time you keep me waiting… I won't be so heartwarming." He couldn't help but to chuckle. There was no one like Lois Lane. "I'll make sure you don't, Lois. So where is that lead you were chasing, huh?" Lois rolled her eyes and sighed at his annoying comment. "Smallville, just be quiet and kiss me." And so he did.
They kissed again, down the moonlight and over the misty streets, a kiss that belonged in a crystal box for the world to envy. Maybe it is love, maybe it just needs to be uncovered. Not right now, but in time these two hearts will realize how perfect they are for each other. They are ready to start their journey, their destiny, no more waiting.