Author's note: This fic is set post-Echo, which I absolutely loved, and is a bit more lighthearted than my other fics. I got the idea and the title from the final scene where Clark apologises to Lois (and grovels a bit too). In case anybody is confused, the changing room mentioned is more along the lines of a single small room with a door that is situated between rails of clothes.
This story is for Jade and Olivia - both of you have been going through a tough time lately, so I hope this makes you smile.
For the life of him, Clark couldn't accurately describe how he was feeling at 12.39pm that Wednesday afternoon. Annoyed, curious, amused, anxious, uncertain, annoyed….
The reason for his emotional turmoil was that Lois had taken eighteen pairs of jeans with her into the changing room.
Eighteen pairs of jeans.
And they only had an hour for lunch.
Clark had been shopping with Lois before. He knew what happened when Lois went shopping.
The Lois Lane guide to buying clothes
Drag Clark into a ladies clothes shop and embarrass him by stopping at the lingerie section first. Tease Clark relentlessly about said lingerie. Go on hunt for specific item of clothing. Realise desired item is in four different colours and six different sizes. Bring one of each colour to the changing room. Yell through the door at Clark for a different size. Berate Clark for bringing the wrong colour. Emerge from changing room and ask Clark's opinion. Ignore Clark's opinion. Use camera phone to take photos of each item and compare them. Annoy Clark to the point of being strangled by trying the item on again. Tap foot and frown at Clark's arm for seven minutes trying to decide whether or not to buy the item. Remain indecisive. Notice different item at the other end of the shop and swoop on it at a speed previously known only to Kryptonians. Destroy all of Clark's remaining patience by discovering new item comes in seven different colours. Repeat process.
And she called him picky because he wore the same tie two days in a row?
This time was much, much, worse because Lois was trying on jeans. Lois was very particular about her jeans.
Clark looked at his watch. 12.43pm. Yup, he was gonna have to be the one to explain to their editor why they were late and why the article Clark was supposed to have finished by lunchtime was nowhere near finished. He was never getting promoted.
He glanced at the door of the changing room. Lois had probably discounted at least three pairs of jeans by now on the grounds that they were the wrong shape/size/colour/didn't match her boots. It was remarkably quiet – no yells at him to go find a different size. Maybe he should use his x-ray vision to check that she was alright.
On second thoughts, checking would turn into ogling which would turn into setting the shop on fire. He'd already zoned out once today thinking about Lois and thongs. Was she wearing one-
Clark halted that train of thought before it went any further. What would his mother say?
Not that Clark Kent had any intention of letting his mother know that he was becoming the most perverted Kryptonian to have ever walked the earth.
He sighed. It had all started out so well. At 12.25pm, just like she always did, Lois asked him what they were doing for lunch as she was rummaging round her messy desk for the notes she was always losing. Clark didn't answer her right away for three reasons – 1. He was choosing his words carefully. 2. If she asked him again she would look up at him, and he really wanted her to look at him. And 3. She'd caught him in the middle of musing on how lovely her hair looked in the sunlight. Five seconds later, Lois looked up and said "Clark. Lunch" in a tone of voice that indicated she thought he wasn't hanging on her every word. Little did she know.
Leaning forward slightly for emphasis, Clark poured every last drop of quiet sincerity into the words "I want to buy you a new pair of jeans".
And was he rewarded? Was he heck. The sparkle in her eyes and the beaming smile that stretched across her face made his stomach do back-flips and his heart race. Note to Clark: offer to buy Lois jeans more often.
He looked at his watch again. 12.47pm. At this rate they weren't going to get any lunch, and shopping with Lois always made him hungry. He walked over to the door of the changing room. Using his normal hearing, he could hear Lois moving around. Maybe he could use his super-hearing to hear what she was really doing – cursing under her breath or muttering about the size of the jeans or pulling the fabric up her le-
He knocked on the door and called out "Lois?" "You can't come in, Smallville, I'm not decent" she called back. "I wasn't coming in, I ju- Lois" he warned. She giggled, and the sound made Clark's stomach flutter. How did she do that? "I thought I could go get some lunch for us while you're in there?" He waited. And waited. Lois's muffled reply came back, "Good thinking, Batman". Clark rolled his eyes and asked "What do you want?" Me. You want me. Pick me! he thought. He was pathetic. Like she could hear what he was thinking. Lois cursed and he was tempted to ask if she was alright, but the insult he would get back wasn't worth it. Plus, his stomach was rumbling. "Lois?" "Ummm…surprise me Smallville". He chuckled and walked out of the shop and round the corner, towards Lois's favourite deli.
The sunshine warmed Clark's face as he stepped outside. The city was so alive, a constant hum of life and movement and activity. It was a lot like Lois, now he thought about it. He listened intently for any police sirens or reports over the radio, in case his help was needed. There was nothing – maybe the city was giving him a little bit of karma and allowing him time to appreciate the finer points of Lois Lane. He could live with that.
Megan waved at him from behind the counter as he walked into the deli. Clark smiled back – she knew him and Lois pretty well, seeing as they were in here all the time. As he stood in line, he wondered what Lois would like for lunch. Well, she'd had a big breakfast (thanks to yours truly) and it had been a relatively slow morning at the Planet, plus she'd eaten a doughnut with her coffee, so she might not want much to eat. On the other hand, she was trying on jeans, so she was probably hungry by now. It was a sunny day, so she wouldn't want a heavy lunch, but they were going to the police station later, so she would need something filling. Hmmm.
By the time he got the counter, Clark still hadn't decided. Certain personality traits belonging to Lois were rubbing off on him, apparently. Megan grinned at him. "Hey Clark, Lois send you in for lunch again?" He smiled. "She's trying on jeans and I thought I would get us both something to eat. Could be a while." Megan nodded in understanding. Clark had once stood here and listened to a conversation between Lois and Megan on the importance of a good pair of jeans.
It went on for twenty five minutes.
He glanced at the food on offer and made a decision. "I'll have a sesame seed bagel with salad covered in Thousand Island dressing, chicken and a little bit of cheese. And can I have mayo on the bagel instead of butter… and can you make sure the tomatoes are sliced real thin? And not too much cheese, but make sure it's around the chicken and not near the dressing. And no red lettuce in the salad." Megan blinked as he reeled his request off. To her credit, she wrote it all down without a word of complaint. "And for you?" she asked, as though dreading the answer. Clark considered that for a minute. He was in the mood for a burrito. He could run to Mexico for a couple and be back before Megan had finished making Lois's bagel. "I'll be alright, thanks" he told her. She breathed a sigh of relief and got to work.
It wasn't until Clark was almost at the jeans shop, bag of burritos in one hand and Lois's testament to modern art that was her enormous bagel in the other, that he realised he hadn't got Lois any coffee. She would kill him if there was no coffee. He changed direction and headed for the coffee stand just down the street. It was a work day, so she would probably want it black with no sugar. There was a line at the coffee stand. Clark looked at his watch again. 12.58pm. Hopefully Lois had tried on at least half of the jeans she considered as acceptable options.
He got to the front of the line and noticed a plate of baked goods. What would Lois like? She'd had a doughnut today already so she wouldn't want another one. Yesterday she told him she had gone off apple turnovers, due to eating three in one morning, so that was out. All that was left was a triple chocolate muffin. Lois liked those, as he recalled. If she didn't want to eat it after lunch, she could always have it for her post-lunch, pre-dinner, after coffee, snack break. On the other hand, if she was still hungry and decided to eat it now, he would have to get her something else for 3pm. What was in that box of goodies circulating the basement this morning? Oh, bear claws. He would keep one of those for her when they got back, just in case.
A cleared throat got his attention. The vendor was giving him a funny look, and Clark realised he'd been staring at the muffin for the best part of five minutes. "You on a diet or something?" Clark shook his head. "No, I just couldn't decide what to get." The man raised an eyebrow.
Clark felt like an idiot. Who spent five minutes deciding whether or not to get to buy a muffin?
The man who would be on the receiving end of Lois Lane's smile when presenting said muffin to her, that's who.
By the time Clark finally reached the jeans shop, his stomach was protesting loudly. He tapped on the changing room door and called out "Lois, I'm back". He heard her say, slightly breathlessly, "'k Smallville, I'll be five…eight…TEN minutes". He chuckled again. Lois's estimates were always optimistic at best. He sat down on the bench facing the changing room and munched happily on his burritos as other customers milled around the shop. Every now and then he would listen intently for sirens or cries for help. The city was quiet today.
His burritos finished, Clark had nothing left to do except wait on Lois. It was 1.13pm but his worries about getting back to the Planet on time had disappeared. He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, and literally twiddled his thumbs as he traced the pattern on the floor in front of him. Eventually the door of the changing room opened and Lois stepped out. He was about to tease her that it actually took her twelve minutes when the words died in his throat.
Clark's eyes took in the pointy toes of her boots and the fabric of the jeans that went up and up and up and up her legs. Had they always been that long? The jeans widened at her hips and then stopped. The jeans hung low. A tiny sliver of her stomach was visible between the jeans and her shirt. His eyes travelled upwards and he tried really hard not to pause for a split second as his gaze travelled past her breasts, but he didn't quite manage it. Eventually he reached her face. Lois's eyes were slightly cloudy and her cheeks were flushed. He was officially having trouble thinking straight. Or diagonally. Or vertically. Or at all. Silence stretched between them. The flush in Lois's cheeks was spreading to her throat, and it was doing funny things to his insides. Clark nearly whined when she bit her lip.
"What do you think?" she asked, sounding like she'd forced the words out.
What did he think? He was giving the city of Metropolis a big fat karma for allowing him time to see this, that's what he was thinking. Clark cleared his throat and realised his mouth had gone dry. He swallowed. "I think they're….fine, Lois." He hadn't meant to lower his voice like that, it just came out that way. "Are you going to get them?" She nodded. After ten more eternal seconds of hovering there, she disappeared back into the changing room.
Clark unclenched his fists and shook his head to try and clear it of the image of Lois in those jeans. He stood up and took a deep breath as she re-emerged from the changing room in record time. Holding out his hand for the jeans he said quietly "I got you lunch, I hope you like it". She handed him the jeans and nodded at him. "Thanks, Smallville." Her eyes were searching his face, uncertain about something. Clark tilted his head and looked at her, frowning slightly. "What's wrong, Lois?" She looked down and started digging in her purse. "It's just…I know you said you wanted to get me a new pair of jeans and I told you you better but I didn't mean you had to take me out today and get a pair because I'm perfectly capable of getting so-" His hand closed over her wrist, halting her progress and her ramble. Lois looked up at him, eyes wide, and Clark thought he would be quite happy to spend all day looking into her eyes. His hand felt like it had been zapped by electricity.
There was three inches at most between their noses and it would be the easiest thing in the world to close that great distance and press his lips to hers, Clark realised. Lois must've had the same thought because her eyes dropped to his lips. All of a sudden, he felt warm. Really warm. How ironic would it be if he had to help put out a fire that he started? Clark let go of her wrist and stepped back slightly, his eyes dropping to her lips for a second or two. "Lois, I'll get them. I'll be right back." With a serious amount of effort, he turned his back to her and walked to the checkout. Having now remembered how to breathe, Clark handed the jeans over to the girl at the checkout, who smiled at him and said "Your girlfriend must be pretty special". Clark turned slightly to see Lois licking her finger – she must've dipped it into the dressing on the bagel. He looked back at the girl now handing him a bag and said with the utmost sincerity, "You have no idea." Nobody really did know how special Lois was. He knew he was planning on finding out, even if it took him a lifetime.
Having paid for the jeans, Clark made his way back to Lois who was standing at the front door, watching the street. She liked to people watch. Sometimes they had lunch outside so they could sit in comfortable silence and absorb the vitality of Metropolis. She glanced at him and walked out the door, Clark following her and wondering what he could say to break the slightly awkward silence. Sorry I didn't mean to check you out? No, that didn't sound right. Hey Lois, do you know what time it is? You have your own watch, Clark. Great article on that warehouse explosion? You told her that twice already.
It was at that moment, as Clark was fumbling for words, that he noticed something right in his line of sight. In Lois's haste to get out of the jeans that were in the bag he was currently holding, she hadn't quite dressed herself. The waist band of her pants was a little lower than it should've been, and Clark caught a glimpse of her underwear.
She was wearing a thong.
His dance of victory was interrupted when Lois whipped round to face him. "Smallville!" Crap. Had she caught him? Did she have eyes in the back of her head? She was holding out the two bags containing her lunch and muffin, and her coffee, to him. Automatically he took everything from her and watched as she pulled her phone out of her purse. Oh. It was ringing.
So she hadn't caught him.
Lois set off towards the Planet, arguing into her phone. It was Randall, their editor, demanding to know where they were. If Clark was not mistaken, she was defending him to Randall on the grounds that she needed lunch and some air and dragged Clark out with her. He would have to thank her for that. And keep two bear claws for her. And get her at least another cup of coffee.
What Lois failed to realise was, in her current animated state, she was walking right in front of Clark with her underwear still showing. He nearly whooped for joy when she reached a hand behind her to rub her back for a minute or two, which pulled her shirt up slightly to reveal some skin. And he got the whole view unobstructed… the whole way to the Planet.
He was going to hell over a new pair of jeans for Lois, he just knew it.
Sometimes, Clark really, really, loved his life.