Chapter 6

She thought she was ready, but the flutter of her heart and the knot in her stomach told her otherwise.

"Get a hold of yourself, Lane." She scolded herself as she turned the car off and stared at the bright farmhouse in front of her.

The memories she had practiced forgetting during the past two weeks rushed back like water off a broken dam, threatening to drown her. She took a deep breath and forced every scene she could back where it belonged, under lock and key.

One refused to go away and it gnawed at her newly reinforced defenses.

"No, no." She used all of her inner strength to clear her mind of that pesky scene that played over and over whenever something reminded her of him. She had to get it under control, or turn the car back on and leave. Her hand hovered around the keys in the ignition for a second before she steeled herself and took the keys off. It was now or never, she would have a lifetime to forget, right now she needed to erase the paper trail that bound them. She reached for the white envelope next to her and opened the door.

Lois straightened herself and walked purposefully towards the front door.

She knew he wouldn't be there and was immensely grateful for having her car radio turned on during the ride back home. The news of a three alarm fire in Metrolopolis was just what she had needed to know; one u-turn and she went straight for the farm instead. Her instinct had been right, if just seeing his house drained her, she didn't want to find out what seeing him would do to her.

The spare key was where it always had been and she let herself in. She went straight for the kitchen and put the envelope on the counter. She stared at its blank face and thought it could be confused with trash so she started her search for a pen. Once she had a pen in her hand she wrote his name in a dark and heavy print. She stared at his name in her handwriting and felt herself grow angry.

Her lip curled up in a bitter smile, anger she knew how to deal with.

Clark was tired but happy. The fire had produced no casualties, and thanks to him, the damage had been a lot less than expected. He headed for Smallville, there were chores he needed to take care of and a dog to feed.

He heard her before he saw her. Her calm, strong, heartbeat, went straight to his own heart, altering its rhythm. He slowed down once he reached the driveway, unsure of her disposition and determined to proceed slowly.

Clark didn't bother calming the erratic beating of his heart, he had every reason to be nervous and there was no point in trying to control it. She was walking towards her car, her eyes fixed on the keys in her hands.

Shelby ran out of the barn and ran straight towards her, tail wagging enthusiastically.

"Hey, you!" she said as she knelt down to pet the golden retriever. "How are you doing?" She sighed heavily and was about to say something when the dog barked and took off. She looked up to see what had distracted Shelby and her smile waned when she saw him walking down the driveway.

He patted Shelby's head and kept walking. He steeled himself at her possible reaction but didn't slow down.

He stopped a couple feet from her, not knowing if he should speak first or not. Silence enveloped them for a couple of seconds before Lois started to fidget.

Shelby whined and pawed Clark's leg.

"He's hungry." he stated, not moving an inch.

"So feed him." She stared down at her keys again and began to walk towards her car.

He sped to block her way to the now offending vehicle.

"He can wait."

If he surprised her, she hid it well. Her face was stoic as she turned and stared straight into his eyes.

"Well, I can't. I need to look for Oliver, it's not like him to blow our birthday beer pong tradition." She lifted her eyebrow and motioned with her head for him to move. She raised both when he didn't budge.

"We need to talk, Lois. You came all this way for something." He found himself pleading with his eyes.

"Yeah, and I've already dropped off the annulment papers, so off I go." She looked down at her hands when he didn't stop looking at her. "Seriously, Clark, there's nothing to talk about, we got drunk and said 'I do' in front of a Mexican Elvis. Just sign the paper and it will be like nothing had happened, okay?" She crossed her arms in an impatient gesture.

He shook his head, she was just going to plain out deny everything that had happened between them? He scoffed before he could stop himself and almost flinched when she pursed her lips in indignation, but his pride was too hurt.

"You weren't drunk, and what I was high on doesn't make me do things I don't want to do. I understand you're hurt, but I can explain if you let me and we can figure this out, together. Lois, please." He took two steps and closed the distance between them. "Let's just, talk."

She clenched her jaw and for a second he could see something flash across her eyes that gave him hope, but just for a second, because it was gone in a flash, making him wonder if he had seen it all.

"Fine, but right now I can't. Do you have any idea where I can find Oliver?"

He couldn't believe what he was hearing, but her eyes were cool and the planes of her face were almost relaxed. It took all his strength to reign in his emotions; he remembered what his mother had told him and to his own surprise his whole body calmed down and he found himself smiling at her.

"No, but I'll help you look." He walked around the car and let himself into the passenger seat. His smile only got wider when he caught a glimpse of her face, she was visibly thrown off.

"Fine," She said as she started the car. "Just no country stations, okay?"

She hadn't kicked him out of the car, so that had to be a good sign.