A cacophony of cheers and groans erupted among the group, divided by the make up of their teams and their opinions of each of the scoring players.
"Not fair!" Lois' voice rang out, accompanied by its own set of groans.
"Chief! Ralph ran before Eduardo even [i]touched[/i] the ball!"
"Yeah. That's called stealing a base, Lane."
"Shut up, Ralph!"
"Honey," Clark placed a hand on her elbow and kept his voice low. "I think you might be overreacting just a bit, don't you?"
She turned murderous eyes on her husband and he shrank back, automatically removing his hands from her and throwing them up in a helpless gesture. "You're not honestly trying to defend [i]Ralph[/i] to me, are you?"
Clark shook his head and put his hands up in surrender before scurrying back to his position on third base at the Daily Planet annual baseball game. "Nope. No I'm not."
Lois harrumphed and crossed her arms. "That's what I thought," she mumbled under her breath, knowing only he could hear her. "Defend Ralph and you won't be stealing any bases from me any time soon, Flyboy."
Clark felt his eyes widen in shock as he turned back to face her, fear clearly written on his expression. Surely she was...
Lois merely arched an eyebrow at him, and he swallowed hard. Message received. Clark returned his focus strictly to the game.
"Haha! In your face, Ralph!" Lois gloated, rubbing in her victory.
"Whatever, Lane. You're still down by three runs."
"That's about to change real quick, buddy. We're gonna wipe the floor with your a-"
"Kent! Get ahold of your woman!"
[i]Oh, no. [/i]
Clark blanched. Ralph did not just say that, did he? One look at Lois' face told him that he wasn't just imagining things, and that if Ralph didn't move within the next few seconds, he would be missing his head or other vital appendages. Clark swooped in to save the day- just in time, it seems, as Lois lunged for her coworker the very moment Clark wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her back. She kicked and screamed at him to let her go, saying that nobody could talk to her like that.
"Yeah, go on!" Ralph goaded as Clark practically dragged Lois off to their team's bullpen. Clark stopped a moment to turn back around and level the man with a steely glare. Ralph promptly shut up and went back to his place on the field.
"Wouldn't hurt to use a little heat vision on him," he heard Lois mumble under her breath. He turned back to face his wife with wide eyes. She shrugged at him. "What? You [i]know[/i] that man's my longest running worst enemy! Everyone else is usually either dead, imprisoned or too new to beat Ralph on the list."
Clark tried to keep his laughter inside but a small chuckle came forth. "Seriously? Your worst enemy?"
"Think about it- Luthor, Intergang, Kyle Griffin, my parents- well, they were on the list for a while, but I suppose they've kind of faded off it recently..."
Clark simply shook his head with a smile and sighed as he took his place beside her on the bench. One thing was for certain- Lois was lucky he came into her life when he did. Otherwise, Clark was sure that she would currently be serving out a prison sentence for the murder charge they'd level against her when Ralph's body was discovered. The thought brought a bigger smile to his face. Knowing Lois though, she'd probably make a clean getaway, with zero suspicion.
He turned his attention back to the game.
More groans and cheers. Clark groaned, but tried to keep himself in check. It was all right, he told himself. He was fine. He could survive without hitting the ball. He'd never hit the ball before at these company games. Heck, most games he missed out on, thanks to Superman. The only problem was that now he was married to Lois Lane. And he couldn't just have her show up minus her newlywed husband without drawing suspicion.
He just couldn't let his coworkers get to him.
"Geez, Kent. It's like you've never seen a baseball! You wanna get near it this time?"
Clark scowled darkly at the chuckles that came after Eduardo's comment.
"Don't you listen to them, honey! You can do it!"
Lois' reassurances helped him a bit, and Clark raised his bat up to his shoulder once again. Right. There had to be a way he could still hit the ball...
The ball whizzed past him again, and Clark swung too early on purpose, just missing his target. More groans.
"Come on, CK. Ninth inning, bases loaded, we're just one good hit away from winning the game- no pressure or anything."
"Hey guys!" Ralph shouted to his fellow outfielders. "Easy out! Move up."
"Come on, babe! Hit it out of the park!"
It all seemed to happen so fast. The swirling voices, cheering and booing simultaneously. The constant movement. Everyone's eyes on him. The ball flying towards his face, watching its progression slowly through the air...
Then came the crack noise of his bat striking something.
And then the little white baseball went flying through the air.
And it kept flying.
Clark gulped when he realized what he had just done. He turned his eyes downward, back toward the faces of his friends and colleagues, praying that they didn't notice.
One look at their faces told him that they did.
Clark's heart hammered in his ears. Jaws were dropped. Eyes were wide. And they all knew that baseball wasn't ever coming back.
Lois was scowling deeply at him, and he heard her mutter his name darkly under her breath. He tried shooting her an apologetic smile, despite the panic he was currently feeling.
When the silence became unbearable, Clark finally broke the ice. "So, uh... does that mean we win?"
The look on his wife's face was priceless. Clark knew one thing for sure: he wouldn't be reaching first base, let alone any others, anytime in the forseeable future.