Chapter 38

The engagement party went off without a hitch; the flowers were beautiful, the food plentiful, the waiters and servers professional and friendly, the music lovely. Clark couldn't stop smiling. Watching Lois as she talked with friends on the other side of the marquee, he determined it was time to enjoy a dance with his fiancé and sweeping her into his arms carried her off to the dance floor.

"You look beautiful Lo."

"Thanks, you already told me that, but a woman can never hear it enough." She laughed lightly.

Keeping her locked in his arms they swayed to the music, while he steered them smoothly to the flap and outside. Bending down he kissed her softly, running his hands up and down her back before lifting them to frame her face as the kiss intensified. Lifting his head his eyes opened and locked onto hers. "I love you baby."

"I love you." She replied softly running her hand through his hair and tugging his mouth back to hers.

When they returned back inside Lois looked flushed and happy, Clark satisfied and proud, neither missing the knowing looks in people's faces.

"Mind if I steal your fiancé for a dance Clark?" Oliver stepped forward and smiled.

"Sure Ollie." Clark reluctantly handed her over and smiled at the two of them. He didn't feel a speck of jealousy, they all knew how Oliver felt but they also knew that he respected their love and Clark couldn't be happier knowing that he had such wonderful friends.

OoO

"You look beautiful Lois." Oliver said gallantly.

"Why thank you, kind sir." Lois simpered in reply, causing them both to break out in big grins.

"When Clark told me what happened and asked for the JLA's help I was shocked as hell, I'm glad that you're back, he would have been lost without you, y'know." Oliver confided.

"I'd be the same without him." She returned quietly.

"I know." He nodded in reply. "Lois, you know how I feel and I'm not going to embarrass either of us by declaring anything, but I want to thank you. You've never made me feel uncomfortable by referring to my feelings, nor have you tried to avoid me and I appreciate it." He said sincerely.

"I'd never do that Ollie, as far as I'm concerned it's flattering as hell to have such a wonderful man as you care about me like you do." She smiled softly. "But you're not meant to be alone Ollie, not a man like you, you're an amazing person with a lot of love to give. One day you'll meet someone and realise that you haven't even scratched the surface of love yet." She replied sincerely.

"Can I get that in writing?" He asked with a slight smile.

"Baby, I guarantee it." She smiled back big and wide, he smiled in return and they both laughed while he twirled her around the dance floor.

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"Clark." Upon hearing his name he turned and saw Lana.

"Hi Lana, are you enjoying yourself?" He smilingly asked.

"Yes, it's a beautiful engagement party." She said softly, at his nod she grasped his hand in hers. "Would you like to dance?"

"Sure, Lois is dancing with her Ollie, so it makes sense that I dance with you at the same time, kind of like we've all come full circle, huh?" He said with a quirk of his lips.

They moved onto the dance floor, feeling Clark's arms around her Lana closed her eyes and willed the tears away. She'd have him back soon, but for now had to be content just to be held in his arms. "Remember this?" She looked up and smiled.

"What?" Clark asked cocking his head in confusion.

"This song, it was the one that was playing when we danced at the prom." She reminded him.

"Oh, sorry Lana, I forgot?" He shrugged apologetically.

"That's ok, it's just funny that the last time we danced to this, things were so different." She said quietly.

"Yeah that was a long time ago, hell it feels like another lifetime now." He laughed in reply.

"True, who knew then that you'd end up with Lois?"

"Well I never did, but that's the great thing about life, all the different twists and turns it can take." He said looking over and smiling at Lois and Oliver laughing together.

"Yeah" Sensing that she'd lost his attention, her eyes followed his and found him watching Lois and her heart clenched in her breast.

The rest of the dance passed silently until it was over and he thanked her before walking away to once again be with Lois.

Moving through the guests, Lois and Clark enjoyed conversation and dancing with friends and relatives, the party was informal so people felt free to move from table to table talking with each other, everyone enjoying themselves in the joyous atmosphere. Swept onto the dance floor by her dad, Lois looked over and saw Martha leading Clark onto the floor and smiled at her father.

"You look beautiful Lo, he's a good man and I'm happy that my little girl has found someone who loves her as she deserves to be loved." Her dad said quietly.

"Thanks daddy, who knew that I'd end up with Clark?" Lois laughed.

"Well I didn't but those are the best relationships, the ones that aren't built on dreams but reality; your mom and I were like that." Her father confided and enjoyed the look of curiosity on his daughters face.

"Really?"

"Mmm hmm, we couldn't stand each other when we met, then I fell in love with her and allowed her to catch me, enjoying every moment of her chase." He grinned and nodded in confirmation, when Lois' brow flew up.

"I always thought you and mom met and fell in love straight away."

"Nope, she thought I was a stubborn army hardass; I thought she was a way too soft liberal, we argued from the moment we met; didn't stop me from chasing away any men interested in her though." He laughed quietly. "That just annoyed her no end, she told me to stop scaring men off and when I did, she told me off for not poking my nose in." He snorted and shook his head. "Of course when I realised I loved her, I decided to play hard to get, which in turn got your mothers dander up and she decided to come after me with both guns blazing."

Lois smiled enjoying the recounting, urging her dad to go on, seeing the keen look in his daughters eyes he continued. "I continued to play hard to get, your mother was determined to get me and we finally had a blazing row where I told her that she was going to marry me, I wasn't interested in a 'relationship', I wanted everything. She yelled back that I was damn well going to marry her or there'd be hell to pay." He gave a shout of laughter. "Then we looked at each other, realised just what we'd said and began to laugh, we were engaged that night."

Lois smiled through tears. "You have a lot of your mother in you Lo, but you also have a lot of me." He said softly wiping her cheek with his thumb.

"I think that makes me lucky." She nodded, laying her head on her father's shoulder. "I love you daddy."

"I love you too Lo, I know I didn't do very well by you and Lucy, I'm sorry honey. When you're mom died, a part of me died with her and I was scared, I was so scared I was going to lose you and Lucy too." He said quietly. "I should have done better by both of you; if your mom had been alive she would have kicked my ass."

Lois lifted her head, her eyes full of understanding. "You did what you knew how to do daddy, you brought us up in the army way and hey at least I can say that I knew how to protect myself if I ever needed to, not many other girls of 10 could say the same."

"I'm proud of you Lo, I'm proud of both my girls." Her dad said kissing her on the forehead.

"I'm proud of you too, I always have been." She replied sincerely kissing him on the cheek.

The rest of the dance passed quietly.

OoO

"Are you ok mom?" Clark asked steering his mom around the dance floor.

"I'm fine honey, I was just thinking about your father, he would have been so proud of you and tickled that you and Lois were engaged." Martha replied wiping her thumb across her eye.

"I know, even when I didn't like Lois, you and dad were crazy about her." He smiled in remembrance.

"We really were and couldn't understand why you didn't like her." Martha laughed quietly "But I think I now know why."

Clark cocked his head and lifted his brows in curiosity.

"I think deep down you knew that Lois was the one for you, but you wanted Lana so you put up roadblocks in your mind, determined not to like Lois." She said with a knowing smile.

"I think you're right and Lois' reasons for not liking me." He asked smiling.

"That's easy sweetie, you were a pain." She promptly replied laughing quietly.

"Thanks mom, you know you weren't this frank when I was a teenager, I remember you being a lot more understanding." Clark chided with a smile.

"I'm teasing honey, I think her reasons were the same as yours, she knew that you were the one for her, but it wasn't what she wanted so she was fighting against it."

He nodded and smiled. "I love you mom, I've had a lot of lucky days in my life, but the two that stand out as the most significant are the day that you and dad found me, and the day Lois said that she loved me."

"You were ours from the moment we saw you Clark, and don't you think it's also significant that just as your dad and I found you in a cornfield, that Lois found you in one too."

"Yeah I do, I've thought about that, and I think just as Jor-El sent me to be with you and dad, he sent me back just in time for Lois to find me; he knew that I'd need all of you."

"I think he knew we all needed each other." Martha corrected, "The two of you need each other, your dad and I needed both of you and you needed all of us in return."

He nodded in agreement, and looking over his head watched as his fiancé danced with her dad.

"You're right mom, we all needed each other." He amended quietly.

OoO

The party finally wound down at midnight, the last of the guests had left, the only ones left behind were a few members of the JLA, Lana and those of the household.

Everyone sat around the kitchen table, perched on chairs, stools or just propped up the wall, drinking coffee or hot chocolate.

"Martha you throw one hell of a party." Bruce said lifting his cup in a toast and when everyone concurred and lifted their glasses in praise of her, Martha flushed in pleasure.

"Oh stop, I didn't actually do that much." She said waving her arm.

"Yes you did mom, you and Chloe cooked up one hell of a storm, Lana too, it was a beautiful party, the best one I've ever been too." Clark said staunchly, grinning at the good natured ribbing of his friends.

"The best one huh, now I wonder why that is? AC, Bart, you know why Clark thinks it's the best one he's been too?" Oliver asked drolly.

As everyone laughed and teased him, Clark buried his face in Lois' hair shaking with silent laughter.

After another 30 minutes of talking, Martha finally declared herself ready for sleep. "Well it's getting late, so I'm going to bed." She yawned, bussing Clark and Lois on the cheeks.

"Hang on mom before you go." Racing upstairs Clark duly returned with two envelopes, which he passed to Chloe and Martha. "We wanted to thank you both for everything you did, not only for the party, but for this past week."

"Honey you didn't have to give me anything, I'm your mom." Martha protested and Chloe nodding in agreement. "I'm your best friend."

"We know, but the two of you did the majority of the work for this party and it would never have been the success it was without either of you. But I also wanted to thank you for helping Clark this week." Lois said getting up and hugging both women, switching with Clark when he joined in.

"Lana we got you something too." Clark said handing a third envelope to her.

"Thank you but I agree with Chloe and Martha, you really didn't have to." She protested.

"We wanted to." He replied with a smile grasping her hand and squeezing gently.

"Well c'mon ladies, what'd you get?" Bart asked his voice breaking up the sentimental moment making everyone laugh.

Upon opening their envelopes, Chloe and Martha found they had both received vouchers to a full day's treatment at the beauty salon; they could have anything done and before leaving were to be given a gift basket full of beauty products.

Both women smiled looking forward to the visit. "Martha we'll go together, we'll fix up a time and date, what'd you say?" At Martha's eager smile, Chloe nodded satisfied.

"Don't forget me Chloe, I'm going too." Lois put forward, determined not to be left out.

"You bet, the three of us can go and be spoiled all day." Chloe replied, avidly looking forward to the visit.

"Yep and then we'll go back to our apartment and either order dinner or Clark can cook." Lois nodded, hooking her arm around his waist.

"Lana what did you get dear?" Martha asked curiously.

Opening her envelope she found a gift voucher to Bloomingdales "Thank you, I love this store."

"We know." Clark laughed and Lois nodded and smiled.

"Well everyone, now I am going to bed, goodnight." Kissing her son and Lois again Martha retreated upstairs.

It wasn't long before everyone else left leaving only Chloe, Clark, Lois and Lana.

"I'm off to bed too, thanks again Chlo and you too Lana, I really appreciate all your help." Lois said rubbing her hand over the back of Clark's neck and shoulder before going upstairs.

The three stayed talking for a further 20 minutes until they were all yawning.

"I'd better be heading off too, see you guys tomorrow ok." Lana said quietly standing up and making her way to the door.

Chloe yawned. "Goodnight, see you tomorrow." She waved just before Lana walked out closing the door behind her.

"I'm off too, goodnight Chlo."

"Night Clark."

OoO

Clark quickly showered, brushed his teeth and walked into the bedroom to find Lois wrapped in her robe and pulling aside the covers of the bed preparatory to climbing in.

"Damn you've taken your shoes off." He said in disappointment.

"You'll have to catch me next time I'm wearing them." She replied, lightly laughing at his pout.

"I will." He promised. "Are you really sleepy Lo?"

"Yes, so don't get any ideas."

"Damn." He said again, helping her to remove her robe and hugging her from behind, swept aside her hair and kissed the back of her neck "Are you sure you're tired?" He murmured sweeping his hands up and down her torso.

"I'm sure, so how about we get in bed and go to sleep." She returned dryly.

Feeling tired himself; he threw off his robe and climbed into bed. "I love you baby."

"You'd better, I don't get engaged to just anyone y'know."

"You're never going to be engaged to anyone but me." He affirmed kissing the side of her mouth, then spooned around her, his hand softly rubbing over her tummy.

"Clark." Lois said drowsily, running her fingers over his arm.

"Hmm."

"I love you."

"You'd better." He repeated smiling into her hair and cuddling her tighter.

OoO

Lana lay in bed wearing Clark's shirt the tears streaming down her face. She hadn't found anything, nothing that could help her, nothing that could change anything and until she did, he was lost to her for good.

If the timing was right she'd do a love spell on him, but to do one now, so soon after the last incident would make everyone suspicious. The hurt she felt at knowing he believed he didn't love her but another was excruciating.

She would get him back, she'd never give up, but for now she had to be content with dreams. Rolling over she hugged a pillow to her chest pretending it was Clark, and fell asleep to memories of how he'd felt against her only a few nights previous.

The End…..for now

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Authors Note: Don't go away thinking that Lana got away clean with everything, she won a minor battle but she didn't win the war. No one knows that she's responsible for everything that's happened but neither did she get Clark. So don't think of her as winner, so much as a less than gracious loser. After all, she's not giving up in her quest to get Clark back in her clutches.

I hope you liked the ending, that wasn't quite an ending but you know what I mean. Please let me know if you're interested in reading the next story in this series.

Linda