A/N: This is an idea I originally had for a while as a one-shot on k-site, but got such a wonderful response that I decided to continue it. It ended up becoming twenty chapters plus an epilogue. I hope you enjoy it.
Right in front of you, right in front of me, we were looking for it somehow, somewhere we couldn't see, but the love was always there, surrounding us everywhere, I had to fall to finally see…
Daily Planet – Afternoon
Clark is at his desk working on a story that's due by the end of the day. For what seems like the 100th time, he glances over at Lois's empty desk and wonders when she'll be coming back from Star City. He stops typing and leans back in his chair; lost in thought.
Why do I keep thinking about Lois? Am I having feelings for her that have gone beyond friendship? He sighs, then pulls out his wallet and takes out a picture and stares at it. Why did you have to come back now – just when I was finally starting to figure out what I wanted?
Frowning, he tosses the picture onto the desk. I need some fresh air, getting up from his chair. He starts walking towards the elevator when the doors open and Lana steps out. "Lana," a little surprised at seeing her. "What are you doing here?" he asks.
She looks at him curiously. "We're supposed to have lunch?"
He stares back at her. "Oh yeah, I guess I forgot."
"Are you okay Clark? Is there something wrong?
He hesitates for a moment. "No. Nothing's wrong."
"Are you sure? Because you seem a little distracted at the moment."
"I'm fine – okay?" a little snippy. "Let's go for that lunch, okay?" pressing the button for the elevator. When the doors open, Lana steps in first – then Clark. Just as the doors are about to close, Clark hears a familiar voice.
"Hold the doors Smallville."
He turns around and is startled to see Lois running towards him. She just barely makes it in before the doors close. "Lois," he says; staring at her as she presses the button for the first floor. "When did you get back? Wasn't I supposed to pick you up when you were ready to come home?"
"It was a last minute decision, Smallville," trying not to look at him. For a moment she doesn't notice Lana in there with them until she hears her clearing her throat.
She looks over and finally notices her. "Oh," a little taken aback by her presence. "You're still here. I thought you would have left after the wedding."
"I decided to stay a while longer," she says pointy; taking Clarks hand in hers.
Clark looks down in surprise, then does something that Lana doesn't expect – he pulls his hand away and puts both his hands in his pockets.
Lois is surprised too. "Trouble in paradise?" she quips; the slightest hint of a smile on her face.
Lana frowns at Lois's remark. But before she could respond, there's a sudden grinding noise coming from the elevator shaft. Then the elevator completely comes to a complete halt.
"What the…?" Clark and Lois both say at the same time. He walks over to the control panel and tries pressing the 'open' button. But the doors remain closed. Then he picks up the emergency receiver.
"Hello?" speaking into the headset. "This is Clark Kent. There are three of us stuck in the elevator between the fifth and sixth floors." He listens for a moment. "That long huh?" listening again. "We're okay for now. Alright. Bye." He hangs it up and turns to look at both Lana and Lois. "Apparently there's been problems with the elevator all day. They have no idea how long it will take to fix it. They figure a couple hours."
"Well that's just great," Lois says sarcastically; throwing her purse on the floor. "Stuck in here with…" But she doesn't get to finish what she started to say because Clark interrupts her.
"Stuck here with…who Lois?" staring straight at her.
"Never mind Smallville. It was nothing," turning away from him and crossing her arms across her chest.
"I'm curious to know who exactly you were talking about, Lois," Lana speaking up.
"I told you – never mind," Lois says.
"No. You told Clark never mind. You didn't tell me," Lana retorts.
"I wouldn't push it if I were you, Lana," Lois says pointy.
Lana's eyes narrow at that comment; then walking over to Lois until she's only a couple feet in front of her. "Why don't you just come out and say it? You know you want to?" glaring at her.
Lois puts her hands on her hips and stares right back at her.
"Alright – that's enough!" Clark interjects. "We're gonna be stuck here for at least a couple hours. Can we at least be civil to each other?"
Lois looks over at Clark. "I know I can," glancing over at Lana.
"What about you, Lana?" Clark asks her.
"I can be civil too."
"Alright then." They all stop talking for a while. Clark unbuttons his jacket and takes it off; also loosening his tie. He sits down on the floor and leans his head back against the wall.
Lois decides to sit down as well; taking off her jacket too. "It's warm in here – isn't it"; dabbing her forehead with a tissue.
"Well since everybody's sitting down, I might as well too," Lana says; making herself comfortable on the floor as well.
Two hours later…
Nobody's said much of anything for the last hour. Lois can't stand it anymore. "Will somebody please say something? Anything?"
"Alright – I'll say something," Lana speaking up. "Clark?"
He looks over at her. "What?"
"Do you have feelings for Lois?"
He stares stupidly at her; in complete and total shock. "What makes you think I have feelings for Lois?" he says in a somewhat shaky voice.
"What makes you think that, Lana?" Lois says out of curiosity, but secretly hoping that it's true.
Lana ignores Lois's remark and stares back at Clark. "You haven't answered my question, Clark. Do you have feelings for Lois?"
Clark doesn't know what to say. He looks at Lana, then at Lois. Then he takes a big gulp and says, "Maybe," continuing to gaze at Lois – who's staring back at him wide-eyed.
"Well…" standing up and looking down at the two of them. "I guess that's my answer; turning away from them. Both Clark and Lois stand up; still looking at each other. Lana turns around again and sees that they're still staring at each other. "Clark?" Lana finally says.
"I think it's time you decided once and for all who it is you really want. I'm tired of this roller-coaster relationship. We really need to settle this."
He stops looking at Lois and stares back at Lana. "Are you giving me an ultimatum?" He asks her; an edge to his voice.
"You give me no choice Clark."
He looks incredulously at her. "You're a fine one to talk Lana."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're the one who left me with nothing but a 'Dear Clark' DVD. You didn't have the decency to tell me in person. And it's not the first time you've done it either."
She's shocked that Clark was speaking to her that way. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Oh you know damn well what I'm talking about. Or have you forgotten about Whitney?"
When she doesn't respond right away, he continues on. "Of course you 'forgot' about him. Isn't he the first guy you broke up with via video?"
"Well how else was I supposed to break up with him, Clark? He was overseas. I couldn't exactly go talk to him in person now could I?"
"That may be true, but you had no excuse when it came to us. I was right here and you still blew me off with a lousy DVD. I deserved an hell of a lot better than that, Lana," starting to get a little angry. "But I shouldn't be surprised. It's always been what Lana wants. What Lana needs. You've never really considered my feelings at all."
"That's not true, Clark," attempting to defend herself.
"Wow! Is that the best defense you have? Because I have to say, it stinks."
Now Lana's glaring at him. "What about all the things you've kept from me all these years? Why didn't you ever share them with me? Trust me?"
"Maybe it's because I could never really trust you, Lana. There was always something holding me back. I could never explain it. But now, looking at you and seeing you as you really are, I finally realized that it's never going to work between us. I'm tired of trying. Love shouldn't be this hard."
"So what are you really saying, Clark? Are you saying you don't want me anymore? That you want Lois?"
"I don't want Lois," he says to Lana. "I need Lois," turning to Lois and taking her hand in his. "I need you, Lois," he says again. "I need you more than I ever realized. I missed you when you were away. You've seen me at my best –and my worst – and yet you're still here. You make me laugh. You keep me on my toes. How could I not need you?"
She bites her lip to keep her eyes from tearing up. "You really mean that – don't you?"
He pulls her closer to him. "I mean every word," letting go of her hand to gently caress her cheek.
Just at that moment, the elevator doors open. Lana picks up her purse and starts to exit the elevator, then turns around to look at Clark and Lois – who are still gazing at each other. "Good bye Clark."
"Yeah, yeah, good bye Lana," not even bothering to turn his head. Then he says to Lois, "I think it's time we took care of some unfinished business."
She looks at him; a puzzled expression on her face. "What unfinished business?"
"This," pulling her tightly to him and lowering his lips onto hers. Her lips partly open to allow his tongue to enter her mouth. Her arms come around him as the kiss continues to deepen; their tongues gently caressing each other's mouths.
"Umm," they both moan at the same time. They finally break the kiss and stare into each other's eyes again.
"So…what do we do now?" she asks him.
"We should go someplace private and talk. We should also do some more kissing. Because frankly, I think we're both overdue for some good old-fashioned romance – don't you think?" winking at her and giving her an impish grin.
She blushes when he says that. "I absolutely agree. When?"
He ponders her question for a moment. "How about right after work?"
"I'd like that," touching his cheek with her finger.
"Okay," he says; pressing the button for the doors to open. But just as they open, Lois presses the 'close' button. He looks at her curiously.
"I can't wait until then to kiss you," teasing him with her eyes. He smiles at her as the doors close again…
To Be Continued...