AN: Remember when you're falling for someone how wonderfully crazy, scary and exciting that felt? Yeah? Good. Thank you for all the reviews. As to whether I'll be introducing other super characters...I can't say at this stage.
For the first time in some years Diana felt actual butterflies in her stomach. Once again it reminded her of the first few times she faced real combat, or when she first saw a God, or when she had first seen the Patriarch's world. There was a buzz of excitement and yet deep in the pit of her stomach some wriggling strands of anxiety. As an Amazon she had learned how to deal with that and control it; and knew feeling wary was good because it gave one a healthy respect for whatever one had to confront in any challenging situation.
But this was different. This was a man, who affected her in a totally different way. This was everything she had been taught as a child to view with caution. She had grown up with stories warning her not to give over her control to any one nor lose her common sense to men and the desires they engendered because they could be unpredictable and cruel. Coming to the world had taught her valuable lessons like men being no different from women. They had enormous potential for good or bad. Being with Steve had taught her many things too. She knew that men could be honorable, generous and protective and she had even tried to sate her innate curiosity and loneliness by being with him. He had filled a void for a period of time, until he could offer no more to someone as vibrant and young as she was; someone who needed more emotionally and mentally to challenge her. With Steve Diana had maintained a certain distance from him even while being as giving and honest as she could. She had never quite let him get in too close, not even physically. She saw it as protecting him from her and maintaining her Amazonian independence and it became even more important when she learned of her father. That Zeus could make a powerful woman like her mother leave off her dignity and wisdom for what was simply fleeting pleasure was enough to make her swear to herself she'd let no man be able to take that from her.
Clark Kent was as noble and brave as any great warrior; like all her male allies on the League, but unlike them, he seemed to be able to get under her skin and sneak his way past her defenses. Be it by annoying her with his stubbornness, challenging her ideas of the world, showing her gentleness and compassion when she needed it and getting her to relax despite herself. She would never quite forget that time she needed to use the bathroom when they were chained together and how he had defused the situation so easily. It was unsettling how physically aware of him she was too. She was not in the least wary of him but what he made her feel. Steve's rejection of her when she tried to open herself to further exploration of relationships and her sexuality (in as much as she could) along with her awareness that she had been lacking in skills was still with her. It had been a deep blow to her pride. Diana had always been a near perfect daughter, ambassador-princess and warrior. It was a new experience to be an imperfect girlfriend. She did not want to repeat that mistake. Certainly not with Clark.
"It's just one day. It's not a commitment," she murmured to herself as she sat up and stared at the clock. "You're a twenty three year old woman, going on twenty four. Not a teenager."
She was up earlier than usual. Instead of rising with the dawn, she had risen at five. She normally would try to meditate for a while but found she couldn't quite focus. So she went to the sparring room and spent the next hour and a half on the punching bag, shadow dueling with double swords and working up a sweat on the very strong rowing machine and treadmill Cyborg had built for her use out of alien alloys.
She was drenched when she stopped. Sunlight was flooding the gym through the window. She picked up a towel and stared at the sky. It was going to be a beautiful day.
"Just go for it. You're never going to have a right time to date any man. Seems to me if anyone can handle the pressure it's Superman. Did you see how he handled the Security Council?" That had been William's comments when she had confessed her plans the evening before with him and Claire. Diana wanted to prepare them if they should see her with Superman on the TV and to expect an onslaught from the press.
Claire had added excitedly. "He's so yum! Enjoy it. Many women in the world would gladly swap places with you."
Diana headed up for her bedroom to shower. Yum. What a silly analogy. He was handsome and quite well built to be sure. But yum? Really. You say yum when you want to bite something and eat it.
Diana stripped and went into the shower. Half an hour later she was dressed. She had pored over what she was going to wear for several minutes. In the end she'd gotten a little irate with herself. Clothes were clothes. She was going to spend the day, so it had to be something comfortable. She'd donned skinny jeans, gold Grecian sandals and a cornflower-blue blouse. Her hair had been left down.
It was seven thirty am when she went downstairs to her study to check her correspondence and do some extra paper work while she waited for Superman to appear.
It was ten to eight, while reading a letter from a fan, when she heard a rap on the window pane. She turned and saw him hovering outside, hair wind swept and cape gently fluttering in the wind. She dropped the letter and walked over to the window and pushed the shutters open.
"You're early and not using the front door?"
He smiled and held out the Cattleya orchid she had left behind on the Lincoln Memorial. "I wanted to get an early start and avoid any Paps. I'm hungry as I'm sure you are. Here, you forgot this." All of that were true but he'd been a little antsy himself since last night and had gotten up early and had done laps around the earth, and sparred with his sentinels in the Fortress to burn off some nervous energy.
She looked a little surprised as she reached out for it. "Oh. I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to just leave it like that...I...Thank you for bringing it for me."
He gestured to one of the other windows. "Over there seems a perfect spot for it."
Diana followed his direction and rested it down on the sill. She smiled at it before she turned to step out of the window and join him in the air.
They looked at each other as if conscious of taking a very significant step then Clark remembered his manners and tips from his Pa. He said admiringly, "You look really lovely. That color blue suits you."
The man had such a charming smile. It could be a devastating weapon when used that way. Diana found herself responding to it. "So do you. But you always wear that so...blue suits you too." She bit her lip as if realizing how utterly artless that sounded to her own ears.
His eyes twinkled." Thanks. Ready?"
"Yes, where are we going for breakfast?"
"Definitely not in Washington."
"No?" She looked curious as they began to ascend.
They flew alongside each other in companionable silence, occasionally commenting on things they encountered along their flight path. Both were just enjoying the beautiful morning and that feeling of having someone alongside each other who appreciated the sight. The sky was a flawless blue and the sun's rays like a lover's warm kiss on their faces. They laughed as they encountered a flock of geese who were a little annoyed at them for being in their way and who showed their displeasure by honking at them crossly.
They managed to fly out of the sight of aircraft, going at a higher altitude if need be. It was fifteen minutes later when Clark started to descend. She followed and gasped as she broke through the clouds.
She could see miles of golden wheat fields; green meadows with grazing livestock; fruit orchards; quaint farmsteads; plots of fallow land and lush woodland. Silvery streams ran into one long and lazy river that meandered though the countryside.
"Where are we?"
She wrinkled her brows. "Aren't you from...?"
"Yeah." They flew along a road and turned up into a driveway and paused before a farmhouse with a large barn, silo and windmill. A row of elms stood at the back. Parked on the side was a pickup truck.
They touched down before the house. "This is my home. I grew up here."
Diana stared at the place and the KENT letter box. "Your home."
He opened the letter box and collected what looked to be bills and newsletters. "I don't come as often as I would like. I come back really when I get vacation but I still try to visit at least once a month to keep the place clean and pay whatever bills that come."
She looked at the fields around. "You look after that too?"
"No. I lease the fields. Whatever livestock we had I had to sell. I simply don't have the time to run a farm. But I would never sell away Ma and Pa's home. They worked too hard to have this. This represents them and what most humans aspire to have. A warm home and a family. It's really nice when you have it."
She gave him a sympathetic look, seeing the brief flash of pain in his eyes as he seemed to recall childhood memories.
She sighed."It is, isn't it?"
"Sucks when you lose it," he added.
Her hand went to hold his for a brief moment and he squeezed her fingers in gratitude. Diana's compassion was something he was learning to treasure and not spurn. With a tiny nod, he said, "Let me give you the grand tour."
She followed him up the steps to the porch. He groped in a plant pot and produced a key and opened the door. They went in. He showed her the cozy sitting room off the main corridor and they walked past winding wooden stairs to go to the kitchen. The house was sparkling as if it had been cleaned and aired; there were fresh flowers in a vase on the kitchen table. She looked at the counter and saw a loaf of what looked to be freshly baked bread, a pint of milk, a bag of oranges, a carton of eggs, and a bag with a mix of vegetables.
Diana gave him an odd look. He put the letters down in a corner of the counter top and said, as he undid his cape and dropped it on the back of a chair, "I flew in early this morning and cleaned up and bought this stuff. I'm making you breakfast."
Diana blinked. "Oh. You're cooking for me? We're not going to a restaurant?"
"No. I thought perhaps you don't need the press jumping over us just yet. It'll come later when we can't avoid it but for now I'm thinking let's keep it on the low. I hope you don't mind. It'll be simple but hearty fare."
She uttered in relief, "Mind? Thank you for thinking about me. And I've tasted your cooking. I'm looking forward to it."
He pulled out tomatoes, avocado, ham, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions and said, "I make quite good omelets and pancakes." He went to the cupboard to pull out some ground coffee and the coffee machine. "But first thing." He looked at her with a smile. "Want to help me make coffee?"
She smiled a little impishly. "So you remember I can handle coffee?"
"I do remember very well," he returned wryly.
As Clark swiftly mixed the pancake batter and got his pan out, Diana put the coffee to brew. She asked, "Can I help with the omelet?"
"Do you know how to make an omelet?"
She made a face. "No. But I can cut up the ingredients. My blade skills are second to none, you know."
He chuckled and pointed her to the knife rack, cutting board and which vegetables he needed cutting and how to cut them.
She crinkled her nose. "You know I don't know why everyone seems to think I'm helpless in the kitchen. I'm not a dolt. Steve wouldn't even let me try to cook a meal. I can follow instructions."
"You didn't need Steve to allow you though. My Pa often said you want to learn, you'll learn. But I'm guessing when one has Embassy chefs and goes to fancy dinners and dine at fine restaurants, there isn't such an urgency."
Diana's hands paused. She detected a trace of his old cynicism. She began, "You think I'm spoiled, don't you?"
"Well, I'm not," she retorted.
"So you keep telling me. I do see you have very good knife skills." He dropped some batter in the pan and took up a spatula.
"Clark, I can take care of myself, no matter what you might think of me."
He replied lightly, "I know you can, Diana. I know you can hunt and fish and forage...for yourself. I know you wouldn't starve if let loose alone in the world. But have you ever thought that learning to cook isn't always for one's self? It's a skill for friends, family...community? My mother taught me all that I know and I pick up stuff here and there. She believed everyone should be self sufficient and able to cook a meal for someone else. One day maybe even for one's kids. Yeah, she had traditional dreams for me even though she knew there was little chance of me ever achieving all of them. I'm just glad I can do this for you." He dropped a fluffy pancake on a plate.
Diana colored. "I never really had to do it for anyone else."
"I know that. It's up to you though if you think it's worth learning to do." He dropped the other bit of batter and said no more. He knew better than to drag the topic. But he also knew she'd take away what she wanted from it.
She watched him make another pancake and drop it on top of the other. She put down her knife. "Can I try?"
Clark smiled at her and beckoned her over. "Sure."
He gave her batter and instructions on how much to pour. Then handed over the spatula. Under his direction her first one was not bad. It got a little burnt but she managed to get it to cook and puff up.
By the time she was on her fourth attempt, she was doing them competently.
She beamed. "See, not so hard is it?" he said, looking over her shoulder. She expertly poured the last of the batter with a proud air.
"No." She looked back at him as he stood behind her. " Easy."
"Perfect." His voice was caressing, and tickled the curling tendrils at her left ear making her suddenly wonder if he was talking about her pancakes. Diana grew conscious of his closeness and his scent. Her eyes fell to his neck, strong chiseled jaw and then his shapely mouth that was instructing her.
"What?" She could see he was saying something to her.
"It's burning, Diana."
"Oh. Oh!" She swiftly picked it up and swore in Greek.
Clark grinned a little. "It's okay. You did really well. Time for me to do the omelet. I want to do some fresh orange juice for us as well."
"I can help with that! I can squeeze these bad boys like one would limes," she said picking up an orange and smelling it.
Clark raised a brow at her. "Bad boys?"
"Hal uses that term all the time," she said a little sheepishly. "I guess I should stay away from using slang and quotes. I make a mess of them."
Clark chuckled. "Please don't. You misuse of the English language is way too adorable. It doesn't top the, if wishes were whores instead of horses though."
"I'm sure if wishes were whores Hal would own a stable," she retorted dryly and Clark laughed out loud. It was such a rich, infectious laugh she giggled too.
Two years ago she'd be a bit offended by this kind of banter. As a princess and warrior from another culture she tended to be a little pragmatic and serious but since being with the League and her allies and around Clark she was realizing that humor had so many layers to it and being silly and laughing and being laughed at was part of it too. It made life that much brighter.
Ten minutes later they were both sitting down and enjoying their breakfast. They swapped stories about their childhood. It was enjoyable to discover they both shared some similar stories growing up. With their developing strength and abilities, there had been many a mishap and both had gotten into a fair bit of mischief. They both discovered that Martha and Hippolyta were no nonsense but loving mothers who had longed for children for years before they had them. She enviously listened to him talk about Jonathan Kent and his birth parents.
She looked down at her empty plate. "I didn't have many male influences growing up...unless one counted the male Gods or Chiron, the centaur. Your adopted father sounds a great man as does your biological one. You were gifted with the truth early and even then your real father loved you and wanted the best for you. He and your birth mother sacrificed their lives for you. I didn't even know I had such a thing as a father."
His hand reached out to cover hers. "She did it to protect you."
"I know that is what she says. I know he isn't worth worrying over either. He just left her. No doubt for some new skirt while his own wife pined away."
"I'm sure Zeus can't be all bad, even though I'm not excusing his philandering. You yourself said no one is."
"What did I know, Clark? Sometimes bad is bad. Morgan Edge and Lex Luthor for starters.
"As good is good. Don't let the evil we fought discolor your optimism."
"I always prided myself on my instincts. I'm a warrior. I rely on it. If I can't trust my own instincts, how can I trust not to make the same mistakes?"
"You can trust the League. You can trust me. As for mistakes...if your intentions are good, you'll win in the end. Trust in your intentions."
"I use to think that. Life is so complicated at times and you make it sound so simple."
"It is simple. Like this place that reminds me why I try to not give into despair. Like Smallville."
She said wistfully, "It's a beautiful place, Clark. I see why you are tethered to it. It feels as peaceful as my Themyscira."
He smiled. "You haven't even seen half of it. Want to go for a walk?"
She looked at the messed up plates and pans. He waved at it as he picked up his cape. "It'll keep. Come on. Let me show you where I used to play."
He gave her a tour of the barn and what used to be Martha Kent's rose and vegetable garden. The gardens were only wild flowers and compact dirt now. The barn still held tools and bits of old farm equipment and there was a loft with a day bed and book shelves filled with many books from Clark's school days.
"I use to come and do my thinking and reading here," he said as they hovered to glance around. She saw something scratched into the wooden board over the bed head.
Clark and Lana
"Lana." Diana turned to him. "You had a young romance, it seems."
"My first crush, love and girlfriend. She and I had some great times here. I had my first kiss here too while we were watching a meteor shower."
"Where is she now?"
"Living in Paris. Married to a lawyer."
"It's okay. We made our peace with it ages ago. I was happy for her and even went to her wedding. She named her first born after me too."
The fact he was telling her this freely suggested to her he was indeed at peace with it. Much like how she felt about her and Steve. Sad but no regrets. But she wasn't ready to talk to Clark about everything yet that went down between her and the Colonel.
They floated back down to the ground and he said, "Let's go check out the fields."
He showed her the old windmill and silo and then the paddocks that use to hold the animals. They stepped into the wheat fields. The breeze rippled the tops like golden waves.
Diana ran her fingers along the wheat heads. It brought back memories of Themyscira: her sisters harvesting the crop while her eight year-old self darted in and out the stalks and played hide and seek with her minder. She looked up as a flock of birds flew overhead and she felt a wave of homesickness.
"Diana? Are you alright?" A gentle hand touched her shoulder as if he was aware of the shift in her emotions.
She blinked and tried to smile. "Yes, I'm just moved by the peacefulness of this place. I don't understand why you'd leave it for that noisy city."
"The same reason you left your paradise to come to our imperfect world." He took her hand. "Come on."
"Where are we going now?" she asked as they lifted off the ground..
"Where Pa and I use to fish."
They flew towards the river and spent the next hour sitting on the banks, chatting about his years in Metropolis University, his fiancée, Sally and his first year as a reporter. Diana told him about the tournament and how she had earned the battle armor.
It was eleven am when Clark looked at the sky and announced, "I need to go into town to do a couple of things."
They went back to the house. Clark picked up the letters from the kitchen counter and explained to her. "I try to pay the bills in person and check out a few people whenever I come back. It's something that keeps me connected to this place and its people. It won't take long at all. I'll be back in half an hour tops."
Diana looked at him in bemusement. "You're going like that?"
He looked at his armor. "No. I have clothes here. Excuse me a bit. You can sit and watch TV if you like. We can then do whatever you want for the rest of the day. If you want to go for lunch anywhere in the world, we can do that."
Diana walked towards the living room while he went up the steps.
She stood before the entertainment center but did not turn on the TV. She stared at the many pictures on the shelves and wall of the Kent family. It was clear the older couple adored their son and vice versa. They looked happy in all the snap shots. There were pictures of the town too. Smallville seemed a charming place. She suddenly nodded with determination and walked towards the staircase. She wanted to see it.
"Clark?" she called.
"Can I come up?"
Diana floated up the steps and headed towards his voice. It was down the end of the corridor. He was in what was his bedroom and the door was ajar. She could see him standing facing a chest of drawers. He was in blue jeans, sneakers, and was pulling out a white v necked t-shirt.
She pushed the door wider, her fingers resting on the knob. "Clark...I want to...Oh."
Her date was topless. She had not seen him like this since the time he was injured in the fight with Lobo and she'd forgotten he was quite a sight. His wide shoulders, bulging biceps, powerful chest and washboard stomach were magnificent. He could rival any marble statue depicting Gods and Heroes in the halls, arenas and libraries of Themyscria. But it was the spattering of dark hair on his chest and the light trail from his navel into his jeans that made her feel the heat in her neck and face. It made him more real than any cold, perfect statue.
Yum. Claire's words echoed in her head.
Clark had turned to face her, shaking the t-shirt out. "Yeah?"
Diana's hand clutched the knob so hard it broke. "I want to come...Oh Gods, sorry..." She looked at the knob in her hand in some dismay.
He titled his head at her in curiosity. "You want to come...? Oh never mind that. It happens. I can't tell you how many times I break door knobs and latches and crack windows. It's easily replaceable."
She put the knob down guiltily on a side table. She cleared her throat and said casually,"I want to come with you to the town."
He pulled the t-shirt on and went to the closet to take down a red checked shirt. He threw it on and left it open over the t-shirt. "Why? I won't be long."
"I would like to see it."
Clark went to a box on a shelf in the closet and Diana saw several pairs of black framed glasses. She watched him muss his hair, drag it over his eyes and don the frames. "I'm afraid it won't be wise, Diana. I'm going as Clark."
He then picked up a wallet and checked his cash and personal cards.
She stared at his reflection in the mirror with a frown. "How do you even get away with that? It's baffling. I can't imagine how glasses can transform you. Even I didn't see it but now that I know you...it feels so obvious."
"It's simple. No one expects Superman to have a day job and pay bills. When they see me as him, they see me from afar and in armor and a cape. It's quite a dressed up look. My armor is regal. Clark is very casual and even a little nerdy at times. He is one of many guys out there. You know you can go to the subway and ride it for hours and never see everyone in the same carriage with you? People tend to lock themselves off at times and they mind their own business. People will always look at Kal-El. He's dressed to stand out. Clark is ordinary. He tries to just blend in. I also have some minor adjustments in my voice and posture."
"Why can't I do that?"
"What? Wear glasses like me and dress down?"
"Yes. I can do that." She stalked in like a woman on a mission, peered into the box with the frames, picked one up and put it on.
They both glanced at the mirror. Clark laughed. It was absurdly too large for her smaller oval face.
She laughed wryly too. He reached out and took it off her face. "You're meant to not stand out. You look like Wonder Woman trying on oversized glasses. Diana, you really think glasses would hide your loveliness?"
She said with a slightly mollified sigh, "You're easy on the eyes as Zee would say so why can you do it? Gods, for once how nice it would be to just walk down a street and not have anyone gape at me or take pictures or make up lies."
He gave her a thoughtful look. Her longing tone made him consider her appearance with an appraising sweep of his eyes up and down her form. "You need a pair that would fit you for starters if you are to even try. Hold on."
He vanished for a few seconds and returned armed with a glasses case and small circular fabric box. He rested them down on the end of the bed and opened the glasses case. Out came a smaller more feminine pair.
"It's was Ma's."
Diana uttered, "Oh. Clark, I didn't mean for you to take this out for me! I know this would be like a keepsake..."
"No. It's okay. It's been sitting there for years. Better it's used by someone than be an artifact in this lone house." He pressed out the lens and tossed them aside and then took up one of his spare ones. He used his heat vision to cut precise sized lens for it. "My lenses are made up of Kryptonian crystals. It's why my eyes look so different." He skillfully slotted them in and sealed them.
"Here, try them on."
She slipped it on and then turned to face the mirror.
"Well, not bad at all," commented Clark.
The glasses had changed her eye shape and color and they looked simply different. He gestured to her luxurious locks. "Your hair needs to be done another way. I brought some of Ma's old clips and hair pins in this box. Maybe you need to pull it back."
Diana nodded in agreement. "I can do that."
Five minutes later Diana had dragged her hair back in a low, tight bun. She consulted the mirror. "Oh. What do you think?"
Clark stared at her over her shoulder. She was still quite pretty by everyday standards but her jaw dropping startling beauty was tempered now. "You do look different."
She peered at herself. "It's these lenses, isn't it?"
"Yeah, to some extent they create a mild illusion effect."
She smiled up at him. "Well, then, I can join you on your errands."
Clark smiled back. "Okay, let's go."
"How are we getting there?" she wondered as they went downstairs. Clark picked up the bills and a pair of keys hanging on a hook in the corridor.
"Pa's pick-up truck."
The drive to town took longer than expected. The pick-up broke down once and they were forced to push it to the side of the road and Clark had to tinker with it. Diana watched him with his head under the hood as he explained that it broke down regularly. Even when his Pa was alive.
"I don't understand why we didn't fly to the town if this machine is so temperamental."
He said, "We have to keep up appearances, Diana. I know it's a pain but if the truck breaks down, Clark has to fix it like any ordinary man would. Pass me that spanner, please."
Five minutes later a car pulled up. A man in his sixties called, "Kent! You back, son? Heh, that old thing still giving you trouble? I told you sell it to Dave. He'll scrap it for parts and you could buy something else."
Clark peered around the raised hood. "Mr Hubbard! Hey! Yeah, she's playing up but you know there is no point me buying another truck to sit around when I live in Metropolis. I'm nearly done anyway. It's just the fuel filter again. "
"You need help?"
"No. I'm accustomed to it doing this and having to replace it. It's always this or the alternator. I keep spare parts in the truck."
"Well good. I wouldn't want you to be having that pretty lady with you standing in the heat for hours. Miss?"
Diana hesitated a moment and then said, "Er, Prince. Diana Prince."
" Ah, pretty name. Nice to see Clark with some company." The older man doffed his cap at her. "Name's Ben Hubbard."
Ben Hubbard was an old friend of the late Kents. He knew Clark since he could walk. He chatted for a few minutes with her then asked, "When are you leaving, son?"
"I'm flying out later this afternoon, sir."
"Okay. In and out like a bullet, eh. I'm off to the feed depot. You take care, Clark. Bye Miss Diana."
Diana waved as he left. "What a nice gentleman."
Clark mused casually, "Prince, huh?"
She shrugged. "I couldn't very well say Princess..."
Clark grinned and added, "Anyway that's why we need to act like civilians. People will see us along the way and it just adds to keeping my super identity covered."
He slammed down the hood. "There. Let's go."
They arrived in town ten minutes later and of course the word had already spread he was in town. And that he had a pretty, young lady with him. Diana accompanied him to the bank and post office and she dreaded there would be gawking. But the Smallville folk were very friendly and welcoming, even if a little frank. They viewed Clark as a favorite son done well for him self and many of them were pleased to see he was not alone.
The post office cashier said blithely, "It's about time you got sweet on someone after Lana. You two planning to get hitched?"
"Er, no. We're, er, taking our time." Clark glanced over his shoulder to see Diana sitting on a chair looking a little bemused because the cashier was speaking quite loudly and other people in the post office were checking her out.
"Don't take too long now. Time waits for no man. Your parents would be so proud of you. Shame they're not here to see how well you've done. My Brady said to me you're big on the internet. That true?"
She stamped his bills and said, "I don't use computers that much apart from this one here. Everyone has to keep up with the times, the manager said. There, now, don't let anyone take her from you. She's quite pretty. You take care now, Clark."
The curious but well wishing stares and queries continued when they decided to go to the local diner, MARY'S, for lunch.
The owners were a middle aged couple who were quite happy to see Clark Kent as well as long time customers who hailed him out.
They were shown to a booth and given menus to order. Diana looked around as people went back to their business after the initial excitement of seeing Clark had subsided. No one was paying them any mind now.
"Hmm?" He was scanning the lunch specials.
"It works!" She gave a little giggle. "Not one person recognized me!"
He glanced up with a smile. "Yes, and kudos to you for pulling it off so well. I think you might be on to something here."
She titled her head at him. "You think I can use this ID as you use Clark?"
"I'm not sure. I am Clark because I was raised as him. I have a birth paper, social security number, passport, high school diploma, my journalism degree...Diana Prince is something you just made up."
"Well, you made up Superman to do what you do. It doesn't mean it isn't truly part of who you are. You are Superman and Clark Kent."
"True. You have a life as Princess Diana but you could technically get some sort of ID set up for you to use it as an incognito. I'm sure Bruce and Vic can help you there."
She rested her chin on her hand. "If I wanted to continue seeing Clark I would need to be Diana Prince."
He moved the glasses down his nose and peered over the top of the frames with that twinkle in his eyes. "So, you're telling me you want to continue seeing Clark?"
She smiled coyly, "I said if... The day isn't over yet."
"True. Well, I guess if you had to date Clark, you'd have to meet my friends and co-workers so maybe we could talk to Batman and Cyborg. You'd have to work out a bit of details though. Like what you do...where you'll live...background and family history and so forth."
She stated, "I'll discuss it with them. It's really wonderful to just be with you like a normal person. I haven't had that in years."
"So Superman and Wonder Woman won't date?"
"You never know. Maybe they might show up somewhere together. Just to confuse people and throw them off the scent of Mr. Kent and Miss Prince."
"You know, I kind of like the way you're thinking."
"So...enough shop-talk. Ready to order?"
Diana ordered the Fried Filet of Flounder Sandwich with fries on the side and Clark had the Pepper Steak With Rice and Beans. They were checked on by Mary to see if the food was to their liking.
Diana nodded. "It's delicious. Thank you."
Clark said, "As always, Mary, outstanding."
Mary beamed. "Glad to see you haven't let the city take the farmer's boy love of good home cooking away."
"Never. I dream of your food everyday. Especially your beef ribs."
She joked, "If you could fly like that Superman you could come for it everyday."
"Are you having dessert? I have apple pie and for you, it'll be on the house."
"How can I refuse?"
She looked at Diana. "Miss, will you have some too?"
Diana was quite full. "I'll be happy with a coffee."
She nodded and cleared their empty dishes. A hot coffee with cream and sugar appeared with a slab of apple pie and ice cream.
Diana sipped her beverage with a sigh while Clark dug in with relish.
"You have a real hearty appetite, Clark," she observed.
"I usually can eat for two or four but not as much as Barry. And this pie...it's great."
She looked at it. It did look lovely. Cinnamon, apple and vanilla were quite a delicious combination of smells. "Is it?"
"Yeah, want to taste?"
"I don't know if..."
He lifted a spoon to her lips. "Taste."
Slowly Diana took the offered bite and her eyes lit up. "That's divine."
He looked at the way she licked the ice cream off her lips and had to wonder how long before he impulsively kissed that delectable mouth. So many times he'd wanted to just lean in and sample her full bottom lip throughout the day. But he had made up his mind already not to make the first move. He wanted to see what she would do.
"No. That was enough. So, after lunch what is the plan?"
"Well, anything you want to do."
"Can we just go flying?"
"I...it doesn't matter to me. Just let's take off and go in any direction and see where we land."
"As Clark Kent and Diana Prince?"
It was three pm when Clark Kent and Diana Prince strolled along a beautiful beach on an island in the Caribbean.
They had taken care not to be seen when they landed quietly at the end of the beach and then slowly made their way up the shoreline, shoes in hand, looking like any young tourist couple exploring their surroundings.
They stopped to talk to local fishermen and even helped them pull in their nets. Clark took twenty minutes to play a game of football with some young boys on the sand while Diana held his shirt and chatted with a pleasant vendor who offered them both free coconuts after the game.
It was nearing six when they both found a low lying log under some palms on the beach and sat down.
Diana looked at the waves pounding the shore and closed her eyes to breathe in the crisp, salty air. The tide was coming in and the Atlantic sea breezes were blowing loose strands from her bun.
"It reminds me of home."
"Will you ever go back home, Diana?"
Her face fell. "I don't know if it's wise."
"How long will you punish your mother for just acting like a human?"
She stared at him startled that he'd say that to her. "I'm not punishing her!"
"Then punishing yourself, maybe?" It was close to the mark. "Diana, look at how unfair the public can be at times with you and Steve but you in your heart know that the truth is, sometimes relationships get messed up even with the best of intentions. We can't choose who we love and sometimes as you say love isn't enough. I think your mother is guilty of no more, no less than you."
That was true. People had called her all sorts of names and pinned the blame on her. It hurt that people would judge her that way but seems she had done that to her own mother.
She whispered, "I wish I could take back some of the harsh things I said."
"You can, you know."
She clasped her hands in her lap. "You don't understand the gravity of it, Clark or how spiteful some Gods are. What Hera would do if she found out... I'd prefer they be safe more than anything else and they can be that without me there."
"Okay, I get that but sometimes we need to take a risk. I did it today with you…something if you told me a year ago I would do…I would never believe it…but here I am and I'm glad I did it."
Diana's expression softened. She admitted, "I never expected this day would turn out as wonderful as it has, Clark. Thank you."
"The pleasure's all mine. So...?"
"We've had our one date. Can I ask if we're getting a second?"
There was no need to hesitate. She wanted a second.
Diana and Clark landed on the roof top of the Embassy around seven pm.
They both looked crumpled, wind swept and yet quite buoyant.
"Well, it's been quite a day," he said.
She nodded. "It has."
"So, you'll call me or will I call you?"
She said, "Well, it depends on the League roster and my itinerary. I am, unfortunately, booked up for the next two nights. I have a charity function and Monitor Duty. But after that...maybe... we can do something?"
"That sounds good."
"Would you like something to eat or drink before you go? I can get Chef to make you something."
"That's kind of you but I'll grab something light on the way. I have to do some patrolling anyway. Well, then...I should go. I had a great time."
"As did I."
He bent quickly and gently kissed her cheek. "Bye, Diana." He turned to go when he heard a confused voice, "That's it?"
Clark turned back. "What?"
"You're leaving like that?"
He said drolly, "Well, I usually say goodbye and fly upwards. It often works. What? Did I do something wrong?"
Diana repaired hastily, "No...no. I just thought...It's okay. Goodnight."
He reached out and turned her to face him. "No, tell me."
She bit her lower lip. "It's nothing."
"Nothing. Hmm. I know from being with Lana and Sally sometimes when a woman says nothing in that tone…she really means it's something. I am super but I can't read minds, Diana."
Diana frowned. Clark knew how to bait her. She sniffed. "Fine. I just wondered you didn't try to...kiss me."
Clark's eyes lit up and his lips twitched. "You want a kiss?"
She rolled her eyes. Oh, he didn't have to look so smug about it. "I don't want a kiss...I just thought at the end of a successful date...people you know, kiss..."
"Well, that is true to some extent for some people but you did not seem keen on my last kiss, "he replied.
"That's because you did it to throw me off."
"No. I needed you to focus on the question at hand. You were rambling."
"I was not rambling. I was considering the situation."
"Yeah, well, you were complicating the situation by over thinking it. A simple yes or no is all one needs. And from an Amazon I never expected quibbling. I expected you to pick up the glove when I threw it."
"I don't quibble and I did pick up the glove. I...mmffpphh…"
Once again he kissed her flush on her pouting mouth.
Diana gasped when their lips parted, "You're doing it again!"
"It's becoming a bad habit, I know," he agreed softly, his lips inches above hers. "But you do make it tough for a guy to think straight. I've been dying to kiss you all day. I just didn't know if it was too soon or not. I didn't want to annoy you again but…mmffppphh..."
Diana responded by giving him a taste of his own medicine. But it was a kiss given freely and with hope and honesty behind it. He was careful not to push for more than she was ready to give as their lips slowly tasted and tested each other. His hands held her gently by her upper arms as her palms laid against his chest. It was heady and sweet but still slightly restrained. The summits of passion were just above them both. Not yet to be scaled. But tantalizingly there. A promise of things to come that made both excited and even a little anxious.
"Now who's rambling, Mr Kent?" she whispered, when they pulled back slightly.
He murmured, "I think you win this round, Princess."
Diana giggled. It was a delicious sound. She reached up and touched his cheek. "Good night."
He watched her disappear via the roof top door and then shot up into the air like a rocket.
He let out a loud whoop as he soared through the night sky.