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Raincoat

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Title: Raincoat (Clois One-Shot, A Yo-yo and Peanut Butter & Jelly Sequel)

Story by: k3josai

Written by: Deliverance Territory and k3josai

Pairing: Smallville Clark and Lois (Alternate Universe)

POV: Lois Lane

Rating: T

Summary: Lois met Clark when they were ten. Fifteen years after, she saw him again, but things were not the same as before.

Disclaimer: We own nothing. The characters are owned by CW/WB/DC. Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

Poster by RPK_Jovi:

http:/ / i635. photobucket. com/albums/uu74/ k3josai/ 118km86 .jpg

Love themes:

So Many Questions by AAKSBanta - www. youtube. com/watch?v=07BKxlAdaYs

Where Only Angels Fly by k3mylois - www. youtube. com/watch?v=RJF7uBv_hz0

Authors' Notes:

k3josai– I know I'm the mastermind of this story, but what makes this writing partnership much better is the brilliant writing style of Enid. Her English writing skill and vocabulary are way better than I am. So, let's give a hand of applause to Enid – who knows we'll be having a career out of this different from balance sheets, income statements and cash flows. Hahaha! Am I daydreaming? Seriously, you're a gem DT, not only for us – the Smallville fans but most especially to your family. It's a blessing to know someone like you. ^_^ To the readers, after this we're planning another Clark and Lois story, but I'm not so sure if we'll be able to do that as soon as possible, I just hope you'll still be there if we're going to materialize the story. For now, enjoy this one….

Deliverance Territory – Hi again everyone! This is the sequel for Yo-yo and Peanut Butter & Jelly. You can still read this one alone or first, but the intention was for Raincoat to follow Yo-yo. I am so happy that despite the obstacles, hurricanes and family turmoil, we finished this story. It is so cute and a nice follow-up of the first part. To Josai: You are so special and a really great partner. I will never get tired of saying this. :) To all of you, please review and comment as much as you like. One last note, for this fic, Metropolis is located in Kansas as it is in the series Smallville. ;) Thanks for having us once again. *hugs* Enjoy!


 

Raincoat

2004– Smallville, KS

I never knew how to sew, but maybe this didn't count as sewing anyways. I used my mom's old machine, but it was useless. I even tried using hot glue, but it didn't work. What was I going to do? My hands were tired and hurt from the glue, my fingers bleed from the needles. It was a lost cause. My eyes betrayed me. They were warm and watery. I could feel something was different with me, with my way of thinking, of feeling, even with the way I talked to myself. I couldn't decide what it was. I was good at many things; hemming was not one of them neither figuring out my own feelings. I was never good at home economics anyhow.

Looking outside the window, I saw a clear sky. Darkened from the approaching night, but clear nonetheless. I sighed. Then I looked back at the piece of yellow coated nylon on my hand. I couldn't believe it was still in one piece, sort of. I must have worn it every time it rained for as long as it fitted me. I even wore it on sunny days, which gained me a couple of mocking laughs here and there, but I didn't care. It made me feel less lonely; it made me feel closer to home.

How something so insignificant could become so important in my life? I would never know, but maybe reading these words you could figure it out. A raincoat. It was old and all patched up with red and blue fabric squares, but if you asked me it looked as beautiful as the first time I saw it. I tried not to weep, but just as my stitching skills failed, it was a useless attempt. There was again that helpless feeling inside me, something was definitively different. I felt happy and sad at the same time. I felt like laughing and crying altogether. Don't read too much into it. I felt different, but clearly I was still sane.

I was never a 'cry baby' or one that liked to blubber her way out for attention. That was not me. I never let anything or anyone affect me. I was a soldier or better yet a soldier's daughter. I was supposed to be strong and distant to emotions. At least I tried to be, until the day I fell in love for the first time. It was still fresh in my mind… the scenery, the flutters, the feeling of total happiness. Yes, love could softer even the hardest heart; it could surrender even the brawnier soul.

Do you believe in love at first sight? I did. I didn't care if it was too cliché or cheesy, I totally did. It must have been his eyes, those amazingly bright blue eyes. I could still feel butterflies in my stomach thinking of those eyes. It was love all right, pure and powerful. But, was it the kind of love that last forever as it does in fairy tales? You would be the judge of that.

 

-LL-

 

1986 – Smallville, KS

First day of school. For most kids that was the most important day of the school year. Hey, for some of them the most important day of their whole lives. Old friends would chat about what they did over the summer. Newcomers would find a fresh batch of friends to share with, but not me. For me it meant another torturous day at a new school, another new school. I should have been thrilled about it, but I was not. I had been the new kid in school so many times that it had lost all possible appeal to me. I was not only the new kid at the beginning of a new school year, NO, I was the new kid in the fall, in the winter, and even in the middle of spring. I sighed again.

I walked down the school corridor looking down. I always looked down to avoid eye contact. I didn't want to make any friends. Who needed temporary friends? Not that anyone would want to be my friend anyway. I was not the pretty in pink kind of girl or the super smart kind either. I didn't like to go with the flow or catch up the latest trend. I also had the most painful and gross braces a soldier's salary could buy. That was me… 'metal head', 'spaz', 'clutz', 'doofus'… you name it. Yeah, I was living the dream. I scoffed.

As I got to the classroom door, my new classroom, I decided to go in and sit down as fast as I could attracting the minimum attention possible. Silly me, I had spent less than an hour in a new school and I already encountered a wall-like body overcrowding the door. My plan didn't change though. I engaged, unblocked and walked in towards the teacher. What did farmers give their children to eat? I only bumped him for like a second, but my shoulder hurt as if I literally clashed against a concrete hedge.

The teacher was nice enough to show me my seat. Imagine my relief when I learned the seats were assigned alphabetically. That way no one would ever wrestle me out of his or her side. That way no one would have the choice to neglect me. I marched down my assigned place and put my backpack beside my feet. To my surprise, or more accurately my demise, I glanced around the room and everybody stared at me as if I was from another planet. I guessed they didn't have many new students in Smallville Elementary School, 'small' being the key word for this town.

That was when my world changed forever. Sitting at my left side was this boy, the one I bumped all too purposely on my way to the teacher. He looked at me with the most dazzling and enchanting eyes and a smile that could make my heart melt in a second. I was petrified, deaf and mute. Clark Kent was his name. That much I could recall from his introduction, everything else just washed out. I could not speak, seriously it was impossible to move my lips. Then it hit me; I had a huge crush on him almost instantly. My first crush, how cute was that?

Just about when my uneasiness was unbearable, the teacher called me to the front of the class room. 'Not again', I thought, 'not in front of the entire class'. I knew the drill by heart, but it didn't stop my nerves from spiking through the roof. She said I was 'their new classmate' from Hawaii as if it was ever home to me. I never knew such a thing. I was born in Metropolis, but my family didn't stay long enough there to build a home. As a matter of fact, we never stood long enough anywhere to build one. My mom always said that 'home is where the heart is', but to be honest, my heart was in an everlasting limbo and so was my home.

I felt lucky enough to have a decent bed to sleep in and a warm meal on the table. All in all, I was grateful for my father and my sister. Sam Lane, my father, was a raising star officer in the ARMY and as such, he had to travel around the country to whatever secret mission he had at the moment. I couldn't complain though; he did the best he could after my mom died. As for the rest of the maternal duties, I took charge ever since. I basically raised my sister on my own and, yes, I was only ten. My sister's name was Lucy, she was just a baby when mom died and, unlike me, she could never miss her soft touch or warm smile that much. She didn't have the privilege of her gentle voice long enough. Anyways, I went from kid to mom-kid too soon, but as I said before, I couldn't complain I would have all the time in the world to live my life, right?

My mom, Ella Lane, was the most beautiful and special person in the whole world for me. It was too bad she didn't have the chance to teach me how to be a girl. I was a girl, yes, but I meant in the typical sense of the word. I would have loved to go shopping for dresses and bows with her, not that I liked them that much, but I just wanted to be with her. I always preferred to wear comfy clothes. They were so much practical when you had such a hurried life as mine. Between doing my homework, cooking dinner –which was not so much more than instant macaroni-and-cheese or boxed mashed potatoes– bathing my sister and putting her to sleep, I barely had time to do anything else. I sighed again, mostly because I missed mom. I didn't want to be ungrateful, but I missed her so much that it hurt just thinking about it.

Smallville Elementary School was not so different from my previous school -or the school before that, or the one before that. It had the classic groupings, the popular kids, the dorky nerds and the others that, just like me, faded into the background. But not him, he was unique and exceptional on his own. He was iridescent. And to think I got all of this from one look? It was completely crazy, I knew that, but then again didn't I tell you I had the biggest crush on him? He was perfect.

Although I spent most of the day alone, I took every opportunity to look or even glance at him. I was very careful though, I didn't want him thinking I was a freak, but every now and then I daydreamed so far away I would lose track of time. Whenever he caught me staring at him, I just switched and looked elsewhere. I secretly hoped he didn't notice my flushing cheeks. I just knew that I had to look at him, memorize him completely before I got transferred to another school. I adjusted my cap, inhaled deeply and rode my bicycle back 'home'.

On my way to the house, the one the government so diligently offered my father, I thought about the day's trail of events. For the first time, I didn't think it was the worst day of my life. There were no major insults or embarrassments. I did fall flat on my face during gym class, but thankfully no one laughed at me. The teacher made sure of that. For the first time, I looked forward to go to school the following day. I had to look into those eyes again. Who knew, maybe he would be my first kiss. As I prepared dinner, I smiled. It had been such a long time since I smiled like that. I covered it before my sister or my father noticed it, but still I went to bed thinking that maybe I had found my special place in the world.

 

-LL-

 

Second day of school came and, before my father had to call me twice, not that he had to do it very often, I was up and preparing breakfast, a nice bowl of Cheerios. I was excited. I would sit beside him again. I would be able to glance into his baby blues and spy that beautiful smile of his. Although I was not shy in nature, the hardships of life had made me so, mostly because of my shorts stays on any given place at any given time. It was way better not to say goodbye so many times. I learned that lesson the hard way. During the first grades I would make lots of friends only to break their hearts by leaving them behind, not to mention tearing my own heart in the process. Losing a friend for a kid in elementary school was almost as painful as rolling over the pavement after falling from your bike… and man, that hurt a lot!

I spent most of the day concentrating on my subjects controlling myself from looking too often at him. Clark Kent, that name was engraved in my mind. By the last subject, art class, I had been so focused on my own work that I almost completely got over the tingling on my stomach. That and the fact that every time I looked at him, he was looking at her. There she was all beautiful and perfect, Lana Lang. I guessed they had known each other for a long time… the way they glanced at each other, their smiles and the occasional flirty giggle on her part. Ugh! I couldn't take it anymore so I moved to the back seat, way, way back. Thank God it was vacant because that way I could actually do my assignment without any more delays or distractions.

Artistic skills didn't run strong in our family, so it was a good idea after all to work alone on this one. I drew a plane, yes, an airplane. Most girls would go for butterflies or flowers and most of the kids for portraits of their families, yet that didn't interest me. I always had the weirdest attraction to flying, not the way I usually did with dad and Lucy, but to soar through the air and dance between the clouds. It was just another crazy fixation of mine. Anyways once I was done, I walked in between school desks with the sole intention of showing my somewhat passable creation to the teacher, but I got sidetracked.

As I directed my look to his desk, I gazed into his drawing. It was the most amazing landscape I had ever seen. The trees were so high they roughly touched the clouds; the clouds were so flawlessly outlined they seemed real. I almost felt like I was flying in the sky along with the beautiful colored birds. Then back to reality, I lost my balance and bumped him again. I felt so embarrassed my face was beet red, but I instead of stopping I charged forward to the teacher's desk. What a mess I had made! I didn't stop because I wasn't sorry, I was, I truly was, but of course I had ruined his precious drawing. How clumsy was I? I couldn't speak to him; I couldn't even look at him at the moment. Thankfully, he didn't say anything either or I would have died of humiliation.

The teacher graded my paper, but to be honest I didn't care anymore about my stupid plane sketch. All I could think about was him and how I, in less than two days, went from awkward one to awkward ten. It must have been record time for me. I peeked at him and there he was all flustered on his desk -and mad at me without a doubt. I returned to my chair, or better yet my newly acquired back chair, and remained quiet until the bell rang. I regretted so much not wearing my cap that morning, that way I could have easily cover my face from the shame I felt. Although my snow hat did not do a particularly good job on that end, my mother made it for me so, at the very least, I felt less lonely for the rest of the day.

 

-LL-

 

It was a horrible day and it was only Wednesday. Now that was more like I expected my stay in Smallville would be. I sat quietly on the back chair again. I didn't have the heart or the face to confront him after our little encounter the day before. Although I was not sure it counted as an 'encounter' per se. I said nothing and did nothing; I was a real pro at that. But what made this day so awful, it rained. It was not a simple shower, no, it poured down as if the world was ending. I hated rain. I never thought it would rain so hard in Smallville and I checked the weather channel every day. 'This day couldn't possibly get any worse', I thought, but then it did.

I was sent to the principal's office. Before you judge me, I didn't do anything to deserve that; it was kind of a courtesy call. 'A courtesy call', what a joke! My teacher, the principal, and even the school counselor crowded the small office. They highlighted what a smart girl I was, how brave I had been and how my future would be full of great achievements. How in the world did they know all that about me? They had known me for what? Three days? They urged me to be good and to stay clear of the bad crowds. Then I understood what was happening. We were going to move again. I was pretty sure my dad's commanding officer had delineated a new mission for him and, for sure, it was not in Smallville or anywhere near it. Again I knew the drill by heart, a simple nod and a timid smile, which always pacified the grownups hearts. How much time did I have left in Smallville? They never told me and I wasn't about to ask.

When I opened the door and stepped out the corridor, the rain had only intensified. It was literally raining cats and dogs. I ran towards the farthest bathroom in school, the one nobody visited because it smelled really bad. It did smell and bad was an understatement, but I didn't care. I just wanted to be alone and cry my soul out. I hated rain so, so much. Rain was always indicative of bad news for me. The day mom passed away, that dreadful day when she left us for good, I looked outside the hospital window and it was raining… almost as hard as it did that day in Smallville… almost. On that day, my mother asked me to take good care of my sister and my father. She knew I was strong enough for it, even if I was only a child. She counted on me and, up until today, I never felt like quitting my promise. Now I just wanted to run away as fast and far as I could.

As soon as the bell rang, I washed my face with cold water and looked at the image in the mirror. I was not a quitter; I would never forgive myself if I ever quit. Maybe the next place wouldn't be that bad. Maybe my dad would be sent to another sunny island. So I grabbed my backpack, cleared my head and engaged in one of the most tedious tasks ever: unfolding my old and worn out raincoat. After battling with the thing for like the longest five minutes of my life, I threw it on the garbage can and decided to confront the rain, unprotected. After all, I would not be in Smallville for much longer. I sighed; it was a bad, really bad day for me because the more I thought about leaving, the more my heart ached. The same thing always happened, the pain before leaving, but nothing like that, never so strong. Even if I had already messed up half of my classes and tumbled my way down the hall a dozen times, I still felt that Smallville was special. It was special because of him; sure, only I didn't know why or how much until it happened.

'It', the event that changed the worst day ever into the best day of my whole life, the day I fell in love for the first time. I walked slowly down the hallway taking the blowing rain into my face. Maybe that way the tears would go away or, at least, no one would notice them. Then I saw him at the end of the path. It was like a revelation. His friends ran away as soon as they saw me, but he didn't. He waited for me. That alone flamed the almost extinguished hope within my heart. Smallville could still be that special place after all. I closed my eyes tightly trying to dismiss the last of my tears and, as usual, I almost lost balance. Thankfully, I didn't fell, but I felt dizzy and unsettled, maybe because I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. My books were all wet and so were my clothes, but I didn't care. All I wanted was to keep on foot until I reached him.

I walked behind him until I stood by his side and, though I couldn't explain it exactly, I felt sort of like warmth irradiating from him. Well, of course he wore the appropriate attire for the weather unlike me, rubber boots and a matching raincoat. Yet it was something more, as if the heat came not from his clothes but from his body itself. Yeah, I was probably delirious. Then again, maybe I was not. I tried to say 'Hi', but my mouth wouldn't move... again. Heck, I even tried to look at him, but I kept staring at the floor as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. I was hopeless.

Apparently, he wasn't mad anymore about his drawing or the staring; at least I wished he wasn't. Then the moment of truth, he spoke to me. He asked about my bike actually. My bike! I squinted and searched for the pesky old thing. Darn it! Because it was raining so hard since sunrise, my father had dropped me at school in the morning. I knew for sure he wouldn't remember to pick me up; it was not a routine task for him and, of course, he would have many more important things to do at the fort. I didn't mind walking home though, but the rain, oh the stupid rain! I panicked and though I wanted to act casually about it I just couldn't. What the hell was wrong with me?

Then the most amazing turn of events unfolded. He took off his raincoat, that beautiful yellow raincoat I mentioned before, and placed it over my shoulders. He warned me about the downsides of walking under the rain without one, but I couldn't care less about the rain at that moment. The fabric of the coat was warm and it smelled just like him, like fresh apples and ground cinnamon. I bet his mom did the best homemade apple pie in the whole world. Can you tell I was hungry? And though my shirt was wet and dripping, I immediately felt better. The coldness of the rain didn't bother me anymore. I felt like I belonged, I felt safe and protected under his raincoat. In a way, it seemed like he was hugging me, embracing me in an endless gentle cuddle.

I put up some courage and finally looked at him. He turned his face and looked back at me with those eyes, those amazing and captivating blue eyes. The world stopped around me. My heart stopped beating. For the first time, he saw into my eyes and I felt that he could see into my own heart. I felt vulnerable and exposed but instead of feeling weak I felt stronger than ever before. Have you ever dreamed about running on the street wearing nothing but your underwear or even worse naked? That was kind of how I felt under his stare. Only it was not a nightmare; it was the most wonderful dream I had ever had, the most wonderful sensation of all. And to top it off, it wasn't a dream, it was real!

His attention shifted momentarily, his dad came to pick him up and reality knocked me down harshly. I had to get to the house on foot and under the rain. I kept staring at him, though he didn't notice. He seemed so happy to see his father that I didn't dare to interrupt. I turned around and ran, partly as I had planned before, as fast as I could, but not away from everything… into a new and exciting state of mind. I was in love. I was in love with him, Clark Kent… the boy with the prettiest, brightest blue eyes and the shiniest, softest dark hair… the boy who was kind enough to lend me his raincoat even at the expense of getting wet himself… the boy who had just seen throughout my very soul. I had fallen in love. The rain didn't matter any longer, the wind and the cold were there, yes, but I was not upset. I was happily floating in a parallel reality, where I was happy and loved.

I got home and cooked dinner for my sister and my father as I usually did, but I was not hungry only happy. Nothing could ruin the smile on my face, the twinkle in my eye -or so I thought. I heard my father enter the house with a serious face. Not even that concerned me until he sat on the table. "Girls," he said calmly. "We are moving out to Metropolis on Saturday." And just like that he continued eating as if he just talked about the weather or the local news. 'Saturday!, I thought. That was only three days away, but I was determined to maintain my good mood. "Metropolis is not that far, daddy", I replied still hopeful. "Do you think we can still visit Smallville every once in a while?" He looked at me, swallowed the food in his mouth and shook his head. "We are only stopping for a day or two there and then we are flying to Washington State."

What? My word crumbled down. Suddenly the smile on my face disappeared and a deep frown replaced it. My eyes became red again; I was on the edge, upset, frustrated… all at once. I headed to my room without saying another word and cried harder than I ever did before. My sister knocked on the door a few minutes after, but I didn't answer. Just like during the morning at school, I wanted to be left alone. It was Wednesday! Wednesday for goodness sake! This perfect moment in time, the beginning of the rest of my life would only last until Saturday? Why would we be flying to the other corner of the country? How could fate be so unfair? Why bringing him to my world for only a taste?

Then, I remembered the rain, the bad news, my broken heart. I stared at the raincoat perfectly folded on the curve of my bed. I had every intention of returning it to its owner the next day, but now I wasn't so sure. Maybe I could keep it, right? Maybe I could hold on to it as a keepsake of my first love. Immediately, I conceived a plan. I needed to talk to him, ask him if I could keep it and give him something in return for the cherished raincoat. That was it. I knew what I had to do, what I had to say. I went to bed, hugging the raincoat near my heart and, although I barely slept, I didn't feel tired or sad anymore. Maybe he would remember me with his heart, the way I would surely remember him forever.

 

-LL-

 

Thursday was a better day already. There was no sign of rain. The streets were almost all dried up and I rode my bicycle thinking on my flawless plan. I spent all morning practicing my speech in my mind. I couldn't remember what Social Studies was all about, but I knew my plan. That was enough. I bit my nails to the point of hurting my finger tops, I was so nervous. Although I had to be honest, especially with myself, I was still kind of depressed because I was leaving in two days. Two days! I needed to put my strategy into action and quickly!

I tried to find the perfect moment to speak to Clark, but somehow it never happened. It was a lot harder than I thought. The teacher paired me with Sean Michaels for the morning activities and I couldn't even see Clark through the swarming room. We were supposed to prepare our science project for the school fair in the winter. What a waste of time! 'I won't not be anywhere near Kansas when that time comes' I sighed, but attempted to give Sean all of my attention on the matter. Soon he would have to find a new partner and I felt sorry for him. When we finally got free of the dull assignment, I followed Clark to the library. His friends joked around him and teased him about something, but I wasn't close enough to hear about what.

Finally, I found an opening. After leaving his books in his locker, he walked across the yard and ditched his friends. He sat on a bench all alone, far away from his friends, and far enough from Lana for me to make my move. As I approached him, I contemplated his face. He seemed worried and anxious. Every now and then he would glance at Lana and smile timidly. Why that bothered me so much? I knew the reason perfectly. I was jealous of her, of how she looked and how he looked at her. I could only wish that after our conversation, he would look at me the same way. How mistaken was I?

I sat beside him and grabbed my lunch bag. Without thinking it twice, I grabbed one of the Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches I had made in the morning and handed it to him. I was not a great cook, my poor sister and father could testify about that, but mom had taught me how to make those a long time ago. They were my favorite food when I was little, okay, they were still my favorites. When I was about to start my perfectly prepared dialogue, I spotted a smirk on his face. That was the end of me. Once again, I couldn't construct a single coherent sentence. My speech was gone… seriously, my mind went blank.

We just sat there, side by side, like the old people do. And although I wondered why he didn't eat his sandwich right away, I still had knot on my throat. Maybe he was shy. I had seen him with his friends, girls and boys, but he was not the popular kind of guy, neither the dorky nerd kind. He was just him, Clark Kent. I glanced at him again and guessed that maybe he was not hungry, but he was quieter than earlier. It was like he was thinking about something important, like he wanted to say something, but couldn't.

Then I noticed that his smirk turned into nervous smile. Was he embarrassed because of me? I looked from corner to corner of the playground, looking for what had made him change his expression, and saw Lana staring back at him with a teasing smile. What was I thinking? That he would suddenly talk to me like I was an old friend, especially when I hadn't even said a word to him since the day we met. I stood up and silently ran away from him… again. I was getting good at it, why stop now?

As I ran across the yard, I heard the kids laughing hysterically at me and Clark's friends joking and teasing him louder and louder. I even heard the 'KISSING' song directed to Clark and me. What have I done? I had dragged him into my world, a world of endless mockery, a world where others only saw what they wanted and made fun out of it.

I cried again and it was not even raining. Maybe it was time to get a grip. It was time to be brave and finally talk to him. The damage was already done, right? Besides tomorrow would be Friday, the last day he would see me, the last time I would have a chance to apologize. For the time being, he could make it up to his friends and even to his precious Lana. I was about to be gone for good, out of his life, out of Smallville.

 

-LL-

 

I woke up with that nasty feeling on the pit of my stomach. Was I nervous? Was I sad? Was I both? I couldn't decide. All I knew was it was Friday! The last day I would see him again. So I got dressed, brushed my teeth and stepped into the kitchen. Plan B was already in motion.

"Clark" I called his name. He turned and looked at me, but then his smile faded. He frowned and turned his back on me again. Maybe he didn't recognize my voice. Then it hit me. Oh My God! I had never said a single word to the guy. Not in four, almost five days so I chased after him. Maybe we could communicate better on shorter distance.

He walked faster and so did I. I deduced it was in response to the previous day's embarrassment. So I moved forward, but instead of stopping he continued. It was first day of school all over again. What happened to the guy that waited for me? The one who gave me his raincoat and smiled? Boys were so bipolar.

Finally, he halted briefly and addressed me. To be honest, I would have preferred for him to continue running away. Why? Because his words were not even a bit reassuring for me… or my plan… 'What do you want?' he asked, rather insensitively I might add, although I couldn't blame him fully. I even justified his reaction with my lack of social skills. After a few days of foul ups and misses, what else was I expecting? Besides, I was determined to accomplish my goal.

All of the sudden we stopped completely; we stood in front of each other, face to face. He asked me to stop following him because his friends would only tease him about it. I knew it! Poor guy! On the other hand, I had been mocked my entire life and it hadn't kill me, right? But I also knew it was not a pleasant feeling. His friends wouldn't do such a thing to him if I wasn't their classmate. I wanted to reassure Clark that he didn't have to worry about those teases, because this would be the last time he would see me, but I opted not to say anything. It didn't matter to him anyways. Besides I didn't think I could actually say good bye to his face.

What really affected me about his words was the part about the sandwich. I could still hear what he had said to me, "And if you are to give me another sandwich, don't bother, PB and J is not my favorite." Those words kind of tore my young heart apart. So I stared down for a moment, blink back the tears that were about to fall and continue with my plan. I thought that maybe he wanted to be my friend and nothing more. The sandwich didn't mean anything special to him. Maybe he just didn't like PB and Js or maybe I prepared it all wrong. I should have gone with Plan B on the first try.

Well, the point to face the reality of the situation had come. I spoke, I finally spoke to him. I told him those words that were not easy to say, I apologized. "I'm sorry if you're friends are making fun of you because of me." Then I almost lost the willing to continue. It was so hard to say goodbye and I had avoided it for so long I doubted my ability actually say it. I grabbed my yo-yo, the one I had inside my pocket, the one mom gave me during her last stay at the hospital, and gave it to him. Fearing he would reject it, I didn't offer it; I just placed it inside the palm of his hand. "I- I just wanted to give you this." I said not giving him the choice to spoil my plan.

At the spur of the moment and without thinking it twice I tiptoed and planted a chaste kiss on Clark's lips. It was brief but it opened thousands of emotions inside my youthful heart. This was not part of the original plan, it just happened. He was surprised as well and I could tell on that very moment that neither he nor I would ever forget that moment. A least on my part, it would be forever carved in my mind and heart. Why? Simple, because it was my first kiss… and just like that, I was gone, before he could even say a word, before he could even see what I just handed over, before he could react to such an impulsive action.

Yo-yo. It was my favorite toy. Heck, it was my favorite thing in the whole universe. I used to play with it endless hours after mom died. In a way, you could say it was a balm for my broken heart. I stopped running and looked around. Why was I in the middle of the cornfield? I shrugged and continued my journey to the house feeling kind of distressing and deserted. I didn't hurry anymore. I didn't want to repeat the same scene I had seen for many years: a house full of boxes, my clothes inside the suitcases. We were moving, all right. It was plain and simple, like a slap in the face. Maybe leaving that part of my heart in Smallville would mean something to someone, to him. I went to my room without eating again and holding the raincoat near my chest like the night before.

My first kiss. Oh boy, was it everything I dreamed of? Maybe not, but it was enough to make an already unforgettable stay in Smallville even more treasured. I went to bed that night thinking about that kiss, thinking about him. I surely would never forget him and I wished that he would never forget me either. I knew I was too young to be thinking of happily ever after… but I didn't care. It was my moment and I seized it. Someone said to me once that to never regret things you have to forget, but there was no way on heaven or earth that I could regret or forget him, my first love, my first kiss, my happily ever after. It was just like a dream and didn't want to wake up… ever… but life had another plan for me, for him, for both of us.

 

-LL-

 

Monday. I was the new kid in school again. And to top it off, I encountered a whole new set of problems. We were going to stay in Washington for quite a while. That was new to me. It was easy to mess up when you didn't have to stay and clean it. It was painless to stay away from emotions when stays were only temporary, but all that was about to change. I was going to be the new kid in school for the last time of my life. Why didn't they make that decision back in Kansas? I thought my life would be over before it even started.

Washington wasn't so bad though, it was very pretty actually. The only downside was that it rained almost every day, being the Evergreen State and all. Thinking about it, that was not such a bad thing after all. I got to wear his raincoat a lot. And I got to smell the fresh scent of Smallville every time I did. Those were the best days, the days I felt him near.

But I missed him; I missed his eyes, his voice and his smile. I felt sorry for his friends and even for Lana. I wondered if they would ever see how special he was. If they would ever love him like I did. But mostly, I regretted not spending more time with him. Sure we sat side by side a few times and even crossed a look or two, but we never really talked. We never really got to know each other well. But if I might let you in a little secret, it never stopped me from thinking I knew him completely. I just wished I had had the guts to tell him so.

Since we used to move a lot, I tended to keep my belongings in boxes, my clothes in bags. Closets were out of limits for me, until now. Finally, I would be able to hang my shirts and jeans. I didn't mind ironing, but I was never as good at it as mom was. At last, I could stop pretending I had a home to go back to after school. We could be a normal family again, but normal was a completely relative term, wasn't it?

Clark Kent, his name still rang in my mind and in my heart, but I couldn't do much about us. First, I never got around figuring out his feelings for me and second, even if he did love me as much as I did, more than a thousand miles separated us. It was not like I had superpowers or anything. Back to reality, saying goodbye to him was the hardest thing I had ever done, but probably the best thing that happened. Not because I didn't want to see him, I did, but because of the reactions this situation woke up in me. I was not going to take anything for granted anymore; I would say what I feel and do what I believe from now on.

It was another rainy day in Washington. I used to hate rain, but not anymore. Although it still reminded me of the bad stuff, it also brought to mind the best moments of my life in Smallville and even with my mom… the moments when I felt alive, the moments when I had to stand up and fight. And for all of that I had to thank one person, Clark Kent and, of course, his raincoat. Have you noticed that when you love someone, you say their name in a different way? Like it's safe inside your mouth? Yeah, I was still hopeless.

 

-LL-

 

By the end of the school year, I concentrated my attention only on what happened day by day. As long as I didn't worry about the uncertain future ahead of me or the mistakes I had made in the past, everything would be all right. It didn't really fix anything either, but at least I got to adjust and have a somewhat normal stay at school. I had some setbacks though, especially when it was sunny outside. I wore his raincoat some of those days and pretended that it was raining as hard as the day he gave it to me. Yeah, it was my coping mechanism and not so great when you were trying to fit in.

I was sure that, one way or another, I would grow up and define myself with those around me -my dad and my sister-and with the new changes in my life -a new home and a new school-but I would never forget my short days in Smallville. It was only a week, only a week in time, but the memory would last forever. Besides I would always have his raincoat, my raincoat now, to remind me of my first love and the lingering tingling on my lips to remind me of my first kiss.

I ran outside every morning never bothering about my aching muscles. My father was teaching me how to be strong and a bit of self-defense. I knew it was for my own good, but I was kind of tired of seeking my father's approval on everything. Plus, I once heard him say that if I was a boy, I could have followed his footsteps andbe a brave soldier not someone who didn't even know how to protect herself.

The General always said that I shouldn't shed my tears, that I shouldn't let my emotions pour out because I was a soldier. How could that be? I didn't undergo a formal training; I only followed my father's strict instructions. I wasn't a soldier; I was just Lois Lane – a general's daughter who happened to lose her loving mother when she was seven. What more did my father want from me? I would never know and he would never be satisfied by that.

When my Mom passed away, I lost both of my parents. The General prioritized the 'safety' of our country over his two poor kids, although he sort of taught us how to live on our own. At a very young age, Lucy and I became orphans. I had to grow up faster than I should have for my little sister. I missed the days of dolls, brick games, gameboys and didn't have the chance to hang around with kids of my same age. What a life, huh?

Stepping out on the downpours, I managed to escape of my own ghosts. Maybe the rain became my only best friend since I lost my Mom; since I was separated from the ones I loved the most. Under the pouring rain, I could let my tears fall; if people saw me they wouldn't know those were tears for sure. Just like that day in Smallville, the warm liquid falling from my eyes would easily blend with the cold rain - that way I could be myself and let me feel that somehow I was part of the human race.

 

-LL-

 

 

2000, Gotham City

I couldn't believe how fast time had passed. My sister was sent to boarding school a few years back. I guessed without me around to help, my dad had no other choice. That and, of course, Lucy had become a little hard to handle. She was all the things I was not when I was a kid, an outspoken rebel and almost a minor delinquent. I hoped I had nothing to do with that because, even when I was not a perfect role model, I cared about her with all my strength. I got to admit that living with my father was not easy. He wouldn't let you be anything but what he wanted you to be. I knew it was hard, but at least I turned out okay. I barely saw him anymore, mostly because of his work… and mine.

After high school, I got into Metropolis University. I just wanted to be back in Kansas again. I took part in a few unimportant flings with some of the guys, but never set my heart for anything less than my first love. And if you knew boys as well as I did, that said a lot about my college years' love life. I didn't graduate from MetU though. I found experience to be a better teacher than books or professors. Besides, I only wanted the excuse of 'going to college' to distance myself from the now Five-Star General, Sam Lane. Not the best behavior, I knew that, but at least it worked. However, as the years went by I learned to overcome my fears, to seize the moment and to give up hopeless dreams. That's how I got a great job, my own apartment and even a new boyfriend.

My job became my life. I was a successful journalist, a reporter for the Gotham Gazette. I started small, at the basement, but I worked fiercely and exploited the talent I had put on hold for so long. I was persistent and incisive, hence how far I got in such a short time. I guessed that, at least in part, journalism came to fill a void in my life. The zeal I felt chasing a lead, the excitement of uncovering the truth and the added bonus of sticking my nose into other people's business were just the icing on the cake. Besides, I lived in Gotham City, the grittiest city on the country. It was dark and sinister, with rampant crime rates and corruption. What was not to love for a reporter on the making? I had plenty of stories to pursuit, plenty of truth to uncover. I was like a kid on Christmas Day, thought it was more like in the movie 'The Nightmare before Christmas'.

In a word Gotham was the total opposite of Metropolis, although they did have something in common: hope. Didn't every city have that? Didn't we all have it? That was yet to be seen. Ultimately, hope was a very relative term to me and to the world. As a journalist, I had dealt with some of the most disgusting situations, but also with the most hopeful ones. That was when the 'relativeness' of hope appeared. Even a city full of greed and hate, rotten to the core, had the epitome of hope. I was lucky enough to encounter such personification, 'Batman: The Dark Knight', as I so cleverly worded the title of my most famous article yet at the Gazette.

I didn't have to pursue him for long. Delinquency was so widespread on the streets, that he always found my way first. It was a win-win situation. I got material for my articles and he got the spotlight. However, he didn't seem too excited about that last part. We barely even spoke a word for the time being. He was as dark as the city itself, but still he had a noble goal. I felt him distant, like he was in pain, like he was seeking some sort of revenge. Anyway, that was what my reporter's instincts told me. Like I said, journalism became the most important thing in my life. It had to be that way. It was the only way I could forget about his raincoat and what it meant to me. It was the only way I could forget about our first kiss, about him, the only way until one night.

One particularly rainy afternoon, I was on assignment covering a press conference at Wayne Enterprises, the most powerful corporation in all of Gotham City. I didn't like press conferences. They were boring and mostly scripted to praise the sponsors, but I had a hidden agenda in it. Wasn't that obvious? The company was run by the wealthiest man in Gotham and probably in the whole country, Bruce Wayne. He had spent millions, if not billions of dollars in new technology that I didn't quite peg as they described. That was me, the intrepid reporter on a mission. However, my night was not as successful as I would have imagined, at least not on the investigative end. We didn't get to ask more than one question per media and the access was securely restricted around the building so I couldn't sneak in. Anyway, when we got dismissed, I headed for the main entrance and there was the rain, another downpour. I waited patiently on the curb hoping it would lessen, but I ran out of luck. It only rained harder by the second.

Out of the blue, I saw a manly figure approaching. My heart nearly stopped. Was I imagining things? Was really Clark before my eyes? I felt dizzy once again, weak in the knees. After all those years, he still had that effect on me. Suddenly, I felt a strong hand holding my elbow and forearm. "Careful there, Miss Lane" he said and I couldn't reply. I could have sworn it was him, but it wasn't. It wasn't Clark Kent, my first and only love, it was Bruce Wayne, Gotham's favorite billionaire. He helped me recover my balance and flashed me a big smile. I kept staring at him like an idiot for about another minute, until he broke the silence.

"Here," he started, "have my umbrella. It's better than waiting for the rain to stop."

"Thank you, Mister Wayne." I said, but he interrupted almost immediately.

"Bruce." He stated simply still holding out the umbrella for me to grab.

"Thanks, Bruce." I replied timidly. What the hell was it with me and the rain? There he was, all handsome and a total gentleman, covering me up with his umbrella. And there I was, once again, tongue-tied and out of breath.

 

-LL-

 

Surprisingly, we kept seeing each other for quite a while. We started dating and the relationship grew serious very quickly. I had never been in a serious relationship before, but somehow it didn't felt as I imagined it would be. Bruce was a great man, very attentive and a tad mysterious too. I thought that was his best quality. There was something about him, a side of him, I was pretty sure he kept well-guarded. But in the end, I didn't care. I was happy or as happy as I could be given the situation. All I knew was that he made me feel free in a way I wasn't able to be before, I even became a little bit outspoken like my sister. Maybe that was a dormant family trait.

Believe it or not, I couldn't get Clark out of my head and I was afraid that Bruce could notice it. I loved him, I loved them both. It was kind of hard to explain, but I loved each one in very different ways. Bruce used to comfort me with the most romantic phrases and when I missed Smallville so much that it showed he would just let me rant endlessly. One time, he held me tight and said: "I love you. That is all I know. But all I know, too, is that I am writing into space." I didn't fully understand the meaning of his words until later. I only hoped it was not too late.

I was happy, like I said before, but something was still missing in my life, something I couldn't figure out on my own. I decided to go back to Kansas, more specifically to Metropolis. Since I was a child I knew Kansas held a special spot in my heart, so what better place to start looking for answers. Besides, that decision was not sudden or unplanned. I was determined to continue my relationship with Bruce, as long as he let me be as independent as I needed to be. We really trusted each other. And my editor on Gotham Gazette, Mr. Perry White, was moving his expertise to the Daily Planet, so I seized the opportunity and transferred my journalism skills back to the city that brought me into this world.

 

-LL-

 

2001, Metropolis

Ah, Metropolis, The City of Tomorrow, now this was a city that had it all. I finally felt like I belonged and to make things even greater I had the fabulous timing to get there just in time. In time for what you might wonder. In time to cover the most amazing trails of event ever recorded in this country's history. I was the 'lucky reporter', as my boss so graciously said, to report about the new hero in town.

Now this was more what heroic-hopeful circumstances should look like. The scenery was much more optimistic than let's say Gotham's? Don't get me wrong, Metropolis was no picnic either. Crime rates spiked through the roof and people lost their faith in the justice system on a daily basis. But then there was him, the hero, the beacon of hope giving people back their lives. I sounded kind of like a groupie, didn't I? It was hard not to feel that way. He was everywhere and so was I chasing after him. I guessed that every city had the hero it needed, right? To each their own, as the old saying sated, although it was an arguable statement.

There was something about him that was appealing, apart from his handsome features and majestic uniform. Uniform, not costume, he had said, 'Clowns wear costumes. It is a uniform'. And how correct was he? He was a hero all right and my heart longed for him, inexplicably but totally pleasing. Was I near to lose my mind again? Probably, but after all it was only a job, so I wrote about it, about him… Metropolis' Newest Hero: The Man in the Red Cape.

I wanted to find a more suitable name for him, and I was determined to, but why? It couldn't be only because I wanted him to rise over Metropolis the way Batman did over Gotham, no, it was so much more. If I dare to say, given the fact I had been saved by both 'heroes', that even when their intentions of saving their cities compared, their ways to accomplish it were totally opposites. I figured it responded to the same logic of Metropolis and Gotham being counterparts. They were both powerful and promising, but they had secrets hurting their foundations. And I, the fearless reporter, would like nothing but to get to the bottom of both. Once I got an exclusive interview with him, I would certainly give him a new name, one that matched better with his powerful and noble cause, I would call him Superman.

After almost a year of courageous reporting, I had made my name known in Metropolis, the same way I did in Gotham. I was finally doing something that I loved and being approved for it, at least by the readers and my boss. I never heard a word of discouragement from him and it felt odd. I was so used to disappoint everyone around me that it seemed like a parallel reality. I wondered what my father or my sister would say about my career, but honestly nothing could stop me now. About Bruce, well, as agreed we continued our sort of long distance relationship. I guessed it was not so long distance when you own helicopters, private planes and the fastest cars around.

 

-LL-

 

The strangest thing happened to me when I least expected it. Let's just say that two very important events in my life occurred on the same night. It was the Gala Premier of Bruce's newest contribution to society. I attended not as a reporter for the Daily Planet, but as his date, as his girlfriend. There were reporters and photographers from all kinds of media and from all over the country. Wayne was a name to be covered, wasn't it? And I was part of his life now; part of a life I would never imagined I would have.

I prepared myself to be polite and poised in front of the press, just as Bruce and Alfred had told me. They were my only family at the moment and I was glad about it. I had even almost forgotten about my Smallville nostalgia, not because I didn't miss the place or the memories tied to it, but because I decided to move on with my life and make something useful out of it. After all, first kisses and true loves where things to be left in the past, weren't they?

We walked down the stairs on the glamorous red carpet. Bruce held my hand and I felt secured, at least for a moment. Then I saw him. Was it really him? I tried to act nonchalantly, but it was him, Clark Kent. Even behind those thick glasses, his eyes sparkled like they did back in elementary school. He was a grown man, gorgeous and tall. He wore a black tuxedo, a white shirt and a tie and he had a press pass on his jacket. Was he a reporter too? Was that ironic or what? I switched my attention to my partner and smiled, but honestly all I wanted to do was run to him, to Clark, and kiss him senselessly just like I did when we were kids.

I discarded the thought almost immediately. What was I thinking? I was Bruce's girlfriend and Clark was, well as part of my past as my dreams. I drank from the glass of champagne on my hand and focused on my mission for the night. Nonetheless, I took glances at him every now and then only to find him staring at me as if he wanted to come my way. No! It was crazy, he was there as a reporter to cover the latest event. He was not there to see me, was he? Then all of the sudden, Bruce looked at me; stared at me actually with the widest smile I had ever seen, took a small velvety box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. I had to remind myself to breathe, because I knew exactly what would come next, the proposal.

It was only natural for him to ask and for me to say yes. We were seeing each other for such a long time and, regardless our lack of serious intimacy, we were a couple in all other sense of the word. I was ashamed to say that I hesitated a bit. Any other night, at any other moment I wouldn't have, but I was there and Clark was there too. Thankfully he didn't see Bruce proposing but he did hear the announcement of our engagement. If I wouldn't know any better I would say I spotted a hint of pain in his eyes, those beautiful blue eyes. I sighed. Everybody cheered and greeted us, but I felt surprisingly lost and confused.

All I could think was Clark. I didn't expect to see him… HIM of all people… The only person I had been waiting to see for what felt like a million years stood only a few feet away from me. Though he didn't look the same for obvious reasons, it also felt so different… We were both adults – all grown-up and, in a way, strangers to each other. Despite the odds of the situation and, more specifically, my engagement to Bruce, all people around us clapped and rejoiced except for him.

Did I really see something deflating in his eyes through those thick glasses? Was there a change of facial expression from excitement to disappointment as the emcee announced my engagement to Bruce Wayne? Why did that bother me so much? I sighed. I might consider him a complete stranger, but I saw something so familiar, so appealing, from the way he stood to the way he looked at me. My eyes kept on following Clark until he turned his back on me and, to my surprise he did it with drooped shoulders. Silently, my heart ached for him, for me, for the thought of us.

Bruce immediately noticed my discomfort, my distraction. "Lois," he said and then he glanced at Clark. "Even when you are in front of him, he can't have you. I am here for you and always will be." I sighed inwardly trying to ignore the hurt inside my heart. First, I was a strong woman; I was successful reporter; I was engaged to the most wonderful man in the world, but I missed him. I needed Clark Kent in my life and seeing him tonight put a dangerous dent in my already puzzled heart. That was the truth plain and simple, painful and disappointing. Second, I could never fully understand the hidden meaning in Bruce's words or better yet I did not get it at the moment. We hugged and I assured him that I was fine, but I knew Bruce all to well to know he didn't buy it. At least, he didn't say anything more on the matter. I felt relief, but also greatly blameworthy.

As the night went by, I struggled to disappear from his sight or better yet to make him disappear from mine. The hours seemed endless. Where was a fire alarm when you needed one? I was just being coward, I knew that, but I couldn't resist to look into his bright eyes or to stare at his dazzling smile. I couldn't do that to Bruce, to myself. Then finally the gala ended and I decided to go back to Gotham for the night. Given the circumstances, would you have done any different? I just got engaged. It was the right thing to do.

 

-LL-

 

"Goodnight Ms. Lane."

"Alfred, it's Lois." He looked at me with a shy smile on his lips. The old man was the most trusted of Bruce's employees. No, erase that, he was like a family to him because he was the one who stood by his side when his parents died. Sure the estate paid for his services, but he took his job very seriously and, in a way, very emotionally. Bruce's parents were murdered while he was only a kid. I related to his pain, loosing his parent at such young age, it was simply awful. Up until this day Alfred had been Bruce's right hand and logically a good friend of mine as well.

"Master Bruce wants to apologize for not bringing you home tonight. He had to deal with an emergency at Wayne Industries."

I nodded quietly. Emergency calls had become a part of our relationship, but I didn't complain. Bruce was the president of Wayne Enterprises – the company he inherited from his parents. He was already Bruce Wayne when I met him. Who was I to change that? "Don't worry Alfred I understand." I really didn't, not fully anyways, but then again, I didn't complain.

"Goodnight Miss Lane." He fidgeted a bit. "I mean Lois and I think congratulations are in order."

I chuckled. He was always such a gentleman. "Goodnight Alfred and thank you."

The night was uncommonly dark and that was a lot to say in Gotham. I waited until the limousine disappeared from sight before I entered my apartment. Initially it was not my apartment per se. I rented it when I started working at Gotham Gazette. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Bruce had bought it for me. He offered me to move with him at his mansion, but I refused gently.

"Bruce you don't need to buy this apartment for me, I already have one in Metropolis." I had said, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. On that he was so much like me.

"Hush... Lois this is the one thing I can give you, a place where you can stay while you are here in Gotham City..." I remembered his smirk clearly. 'What a smart ass', I thought first, but to be honest it had to be that way. "…Especially since you don't want to stay with me at the mansion…" It was true. He couldn't do anything else about it; I had made that very clear so I cut him some slack.

Then the unmistakable feeling of guilt crept within my skin again. I loved Bruce, but I couldn't grant him that one particular request: intimacy. I sensed that something held me back to do so and he did too, but he never asked more into it. I did the only thing I could do at the moment, I hugged him and whispered a sincere 'thank you' which he accepted by embracing me back.

How could I tell Bruce that it wasn't an 'it', but a 'who'? And that particular someone, just decided to come back into my life after fifteen years… It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair for Bruce or for me. It wasn't even fair for Clark. After all, it was not like I asked why he was on that party anyway, right?

I opened my eyes swiftly. I was surprised that I had already fallen asleep after just a few minutes. I could have sworn that someone touched my face when my eyes were still close. My subconscious acknowledged a sudden gust of wind which also made the curtains sway a little. I stood up quickly and looked outside my balcony. I rested on the veranda, but no one was there. What was I thinking? Was I losing my mind again? I wouldn't take it anymore so I decided to get back and prepared myself to get a nice and peaceful night of sleep for tomorrow would be another day to live fruitfully.

 

-LL-

 

Monday wasn't my favorite day of the week, but this one was awful already and it was only 9:15 AM. My alarm didn't go off; I spilled coffee all over my suit; the source of my latest story didn't show and I was late for work. I despised Mondays. Maybe it was my own fault, maybe I liked living upside down, and maybe I just needed a change of scenery.

Ever heard the saying be careful for what you wish? Oh yes, I just had my wish granted. Across the room, what am I saying? Across my desk was him. It was Clark Kent again. I wondered if he was still single. What was I saying? It took all of my will to keep my act together and remember that I was an engaged woman. But he looked so handsome, no, 'Back off, Lane' I thought and then formulated a new plan. I took a deep breath and resolved to be a stranger, not rude or edgy, simply an outsider to his world. It was the best I could do, besides it could be all a big coincidence, right?

I observed for him for weeks before I spoke to him. I laughed at the thought. I felt back in Smallville again. However this time I had a solid reason not to talk to him. To be honest, the reason behind the 'reason' was all too obvious to me. The engagement was the evident motive to the world, but for me the cause was tangled in my heart. If I were to approach him I would need an excuse, something work related. Who was I to just walk by and ask how his life was going. Even more, I still didn't trust myself around him.

Clark appeared so different to me at that moment. He wore those weird glasses, the ones I told you before, with the thick black frame. It almost seemed like he joined the nerd herd or something. It was funny, most people would evolve out of their naive geekiness, but he was doing it backwards. All of the sudden, that unique and confident kid I met back in school was smeared into a mild-mannered and unnoticed man. Don't get me wrong, I still thought he was special. I had always had a thing for nerds with glasses. What had happened during all those years?

One day I got the chance to talk to him, a double purposed chance to be precise. I would be able to address him without seeming desperate and also I would test my strength against my supposedly buried youthful feelings. There were those butterflies again and I was still around the corner of his desk. Hopeless was too short of a term for me at the moment. I cleared my throat and lifted my forehead.

"Kent?" I called his attention. 'Good girl, Lane' I thought. Referring to him on last name basis was a great choice; it would give me enough time to calm down before actually speaking to him. He kept quiet. Okay, it was weirder than usual. Was he daydreaming? Why hadn't he answered me? Then my standard Lane spark got out of my mouth. "Earth to Clark!"

Finally he noticed me. He seemed stunned, nervous even. Could that be? I shook the thought out of my head and asked him to check my article. Let's make something clear first, no one and I mean NO ONE was allowed to even glance at my articles except for my editor, Perry White. That was a well-known fact around the Daily Planet's halls. So, I only asked him to revise my spelling which was not so great sometimes, another very well known fact on the bullpen.

My head was almost spinning. I blame it to that Smallville scent… the apples… the cinnamon… It was driving me crazy, I was about to… I gasped, saved by the bell I guessed. Bruce called me on my phone. The magic was cut short, but it was better that way. Who knew what I would have done?

"Hello, Bruce" I answered and excused myself from Clark's presence. Clark presence, I needed to get away and quickly. I tried to pay attention to Bruce's words but it was all a haze… something about a meeting and late night at work. I felt guilty for not listening attentively but I knew for sure it was just another of his apologies for not making it to dinner. It was okay, I had gotten used to it. Besides, I had a new found admiration for being alone.

I went back to my apartment and forgot all about the article I had given Clark to revise, well almost forgotten. I knew he would ask me about it next time we saw each other so it would be a good follow up trial. After a long and warm shower, I combed my damp hair and stared out the window. I didn't know why, but I sensed someone watched over me every night, not in a creepy way though. I felt safe. The same thing happened every night since that time in Gotham, but in Metropolis it didn't happen only at night.

Day after day, I would act all so efficiently at work. Thankfully, there were enough news to busy the hours or otherwise I would have gone mad. Despite the tingling and knotting feeling on my stomach, I learned to keep my distance. We were coworkers and even partners along the way, but never more than that. I made sure of it protecting myself with the highest and thickest wall I could build… my respect for Bruce helped me to do so. I would never do anything to hurt him; he had been a great comfort for me since the beginning. Why would I want to ruin that? But the doubt was still in my mind. I just couldn't decide what I wanted.

There was yet another variable to my already complicated heart-feelings labyrinth. Yes, there was a third one that caught my attention. Remember the Man in the Red Cape? The one and only Metropolis' hero, Superman. I knew he cared about me; at least enough to save me several times form my usual tie-ups. The way he held me, it felt incredible. But honestly, there was something more about him, something I couldn't understand. It was like I was pulled to him… Fascinated by his qualities, just like the rest of the world, but also enthralled by the deepness of his soul.

I was either seriously screwed up or simply living in a fictional life. I loved Clark Kent, he was my first love and my first kiss, my perfect dream. Then, I loved Bruce who was my console and my friend, my comfort zone. And there was this other man, Superman, he was strong and made me feel secured and free, my ultimate hero. You got it right, I was in serous trouble.

Night after night, I dwelt on the memory of my mom… What would I give to have her by my side? I missed her, like I always did. But lately it was harder on me… What would I give to have her advice? I would call my sister, but as always, she would be partying or simply wouldn't answer my call. Dad was another story. I couldn't just call and ask him about the matters of the heart. He would probably not answer the call anyways.

Also, I settled my heart in Smallville… the raincoat. I still had it and it still reminded me of those wonderful days… the rain… the yo-yo… the kiss. I would go to sleep with a smile on my face, but with a thorn in my heart. I was almost ashamed to admit that Clark occupied most of my dreams and sometimes they turned into endless adventures along with my hero. I even dreamed once or twice that they were the same person. What a silly idea, right? But then I had Bruce and that was real, he was real, not a mere dream or a memory. He would find his place beside me, touching me softly, without pressure, waiting for those thoughts and senseless ideas to end.

 

-LL-

 

I was overwhelmed to say the least. Wedding preparations were more obvious as the months gone by and, although Bruce took care of most of them, it was simply unavoidable. The comments of my co-workers, the greetings cards, the silence from Clark on the matter. I sighed. I thought that from all of it, what counted the most for me was his silence. Since we started working together I perceived it, our silence, as something that connected us. You know, like those couples that had been married like forever… there was something about that silence that made me feel at peace, that made me feel a little bit of hope... but not today. Today it was different; it was almost unraveling and discouraging.

For goodness' sake! I was Lois Lane, star reporter, winner of many awards for my excellent work and Bruce Wayne's bride-to-be. What the hell was wrong with me? Nothing, nothing was wrong with me, but at the same time everything was. I took a sip of my coffee and continued with the task at hand; after all, my article was due in a couple of hours. Another day passed and I did the same. I was so glad it worked. My decision to focus on my daily labor always worked like a charm every time, just like it did after mom died, just like it did after we left Smallville. I made up my mind and disregard the gossiping world around me. I succumbed to be alone, but above it all, lonely.

It was all good though, as I said before, I had gotten a new appreciation to be alone. But then I looked at him, at Clark, and I craved something more. Just the thought of him warmed my heart in a way no one else did, not even Bruce… I was all good… yes, but he had to ruin it all, literally. My perfect plan was once again spoiled by his perfect blue eyes, by his perfect smile. Ugh! Adding insult to injury I slipped his nickname.

"Lois," He had said and I had been so engrossed in my work. Then I shifted my attention from my desktop computer to Clark.

"Yes, Smallville?" I replied. I hadn't called him that in a while. At first, I teased around the bullpen with it, just as an innocent joke to point where he came from, but lately it felt intimate and special. Needles to say, I cut the name calling, especially since I was trying to distance my feelings from him, but today I went back to it. And the worse thing was it felt so good, so natural and so personal. 'Me and my big mouth!'

I remembered every detail about Smallville, just like I never forgot any detail from his face, his eyes, his smell… I even joked about him and Lana once or twice calling her Wanda instead. It was so silly, how could I ever forget about her, about him, about my stay in Smallville? But he was only a friend – somehow on my terms; that was it, we were only friends. I couldn't afford to feel like that anymore. We were not ten anymore, we were not in school and I was about to get married.

He interrupted my train of thoughts. "I want to give something to you." He handed me a small box and waited beside my desk. Was he getting pale? I focused my attention to the package; I opened and couldn't believe what I was seeing. Thank goodness he spoke first, because I was about to pass out. He asked me if I remembered the little thing so carefully wrapped inside the box… my yo-yo. How could I ever forget? I almost wept.

"You gave me that yo-yo before you and your family moved to Washington." He finished and I swore the oxygen on the Planet had vanished. I couldn't breathe… I couldn't think… Had he kept my yo-yo the same way I had kept his raincoat? Did our first kiss mean the same thing for him as it did for me?

I was almost tempted to ask him about the kiss at first, but then I figured I would be better if I didn't bring it up. What good could it do? None. I wrapped my heart again in memories about the yo-yo, my mom, the rain, his raincoat… "I do" I said softly and then realization came to mind. It did mean something special to him. "I- I'm surprised that you still have this."

Just when I was about to take a mouthful of air, just when I finally reminded myself to breathe, he apologized for what he had said to me that day. Did I spot a hint of guilt in his eyes? Did he really want to see me again to say all this? "I didn't mean them." He finally said and I literally died and went back to life. I needed a way out of this one without making a big mess of myself, of my life… and his… and Bruce's…

I punched him on the arm, looked at him in the eye and, though all I wanted to do was kiss him, I only smiled. I had to bit my lips to control myself, I wasn't that woman, I wasn't unfaithful and Bruce trusted me… I trusted him too… Then the words just flew out of my mouth. "That was in the past Clark, forget about it." I smiled again, this time for real, because I had accepted his apology, because it meant so much to me, but also because my heart was a little bit broken. "We were just kids." And to be honest, we were just that… just kids… just strangers as we are today.

Holding back my tears, mostly because I felt torn and infatuated, because my heart ached for the men I loved, I smiled again. Apparently he was not finish with his 'I am sorry' speech, so I let him talk. What more could I do? I thought for sure he would tell me he wanted to make amends for what happened and I would have been happy about it, but that was not the case. After he opened his mouth the bomb exploded!

"Lois, there is something else… I need to be honest with you too."

I was really nervous with the serious way our conversation was turning. I tried to smile in order to conceal the edgy feeling smacking my body at the moment. "Okay, let's hear it then." I finally said and then all hell broke loose. I should have kept my mouth shut. I should have never allowed him to continue… although it put things in perspective for me.

"I wanted to say that… That I have feelings for you… I care for you… more than just a friend." Clark finally said.

Did my ears deceive me? Was I dreaming this conversation? I heard him say that he had feelings for me! Feelings! After all this time! How could I tell him that I did too? How could I tell him that I missed his eyes and his smile? I couldn't do that, not like that, end of story. "You're a good man, Clark." I started confidently. "You have a big heart and I love you too Smallville…" Darn mouth! I needed to recover and fast. I didn't want to give him false expectations. I did love him and more than a friend too, but it was not the right time or the place to say so... to do so.

"…but as a dear friend." I lied and I regretted every word of it… every second of it. His eyes darkened, his smile faded, his face just dimmed. I approached him carefully and, caressing his beautiful face with my hands, I was tempted once again to kiss him, but my heart hurt and I would have never forgive myself if I did. I felt him hesitate and I knew exactly what he was thinking. He wanted to kiss me too, but I loved him too much to wound him like that. I had done more than enough on that department today.

I cleared my throat and tried to make things better, but I failed. All I did was make some excuse about finding someone better than me… I knew he could, I knew he should. I felt trapped, trapped in a life I didn't want to live. After watching the color wash away from his face –and most surely mine had done the same- I begged him to accept my friendship. What a joke? How could we be friends after this? How could I see him with welcoming eyes when I wanted him too? But it had to be that way. Thankfully, he accepted and I was relieved.

Taking another glance to the yo-yo in my hand, I realized that I didn't need it anymore. I didn't want it… I wanted him to have it, that way he could still remember me, even if I was to be Mrs. Lois Lane-Wayne. Maybe that was too pretentious or maybe a little bit cruel, but just as I would treasure his raincoat I wished he would do the same, even if it was a reminder that we couldn't be together. What a mess? Why did it have to end like this?

"Good night, Clark."

"Good night, Lois."

As I walked out the Daily Planet, my heart hurt even more. 'Why couldn't I tell you what I should have said?' I thought. 'Why did I just hide it inside my heart?' And just like that I missed him even more… I missed everything about him… I couldn't believe that I still wanted him after all those years, after thinking it was just a childish crush, after formalizing my relationship with Bruce. 'Where is a hero when you need one?' But there was none, honestly, no one but me, Lois Lane, could fix it because that was the upcoming truth. I would spend the rest of my life missing everything about him.

I guessed that I must have been a very bad person in another life. Was someone punishing me for something I did or didn't do? Maybe that was it or maybe not. I was not looking for villains or someone to blame… we were all victims of the circumstances or as you might call it… fate. I strolled down the street under the pouring rain. The rain, sometimes you have to choose between a raincoat and an umbrella. Which one would provide me the safe heaven I needed? Which one would shelter me from getting hurt again? Whatever the choice would be, I would wound myself in the process, I would wound them as well. Both Clark and Bruce occupied a special place in my heart, but I made a decision – that was the right choice at the time.

 

-LL-

 

"What's wrong Lois?" Bruce walked towards me. I didn't expect to see him, not tonight, not in Metropolis, not in my apartment.

"Nothing, Bruce, I had just a long day at work." I lied again and again I regretted it. I didn't like to hide like that; I didn't want to be disloyal or ungrateful. But I couldn't trust my voice or my heart at the moment.

Usually, when I was down or melancholic, Bruce comforted me and let me free of whatever troubled my mind, but now it was different. He kept quiet and so did I. We stood in silence for a very long time. I sat on the couch, holding up my tears. He stood by the window, staring at the starry night.

"It is Clark, isn't it?" He said and my heart almost failed, but I said nothing.

He noticed? He figured it out, but how? Then it hit me. All those talks about 'writing into space' and 'settling down my heart' were his way of telling me this. I bet he got confirmation at the Gala in Gotham City, maybe that was why he went away that night. Maybe that was why he gave me so much space. Maybe he tied my 'Smallville nostalgia', as he teasingly called it many times, with the way I looked at Clark that night, with the way he looked at me… I was almost embarrassed for being so transparent. Bruce knew me well, more than almost anyone I knew and he also had a gift for reading people. I was not an exception, so although I tried my best not to let my feelings for Clark show, Bruce might as well had read my doubt within a minute.

"You know," he continued, still looking out the window. "I could ask you to stay with me, to promise me that you won't leave." He paused briefly and then walked towards the couch sitting beside me and I still couldn't say a word. "That we are going to be the best we can, but I couldn't do that to you." He held my hand in his.

I needed to say something. I needed to stop him, but I couldn't. How could he tell me all that? He didn't know what happened with Clark? He couldn't read my mind, could he? Finally, I looked into his eyes and poured my heart out. "I feel like I have everything I ever wanted… a job, a family, a new home, and you…but there is still something missing in my heart and I can't help it… I feel like everything I ever wanted is not what I really needed to have, to be, to love."

"I know."

"But how?"

"I just know you Lois. I don't have to be shared with every detail of your life to realize where your thoughts are at every moment. They are always in the same place, they are always in Smallville."

"But… I love you Bruce, I really do… it's just…"

He kissed my hand softly. "I know and I love you too. I could tell you that I will wait for you forever, but I wouldn't do that. I would wait gladly… but I wouldn't tell it to you. I couldn't do that to you." Bruce placed his free hand over my heart. "You know why?"

"Why?" I almost whispered.

"Because I know that you don't belong with me and I am okay with that." He ended and kissed my cheek.

"I am so sorry for not being totally honest with you."

"It is okay, Lois, I have always known, there is nothing to be ashamed. Love is that way isn't?"

"I guess." Another whisper…

"Besides, I was happy with you, happier than I ever was and I hope you were too."

"I was –I am." And I really was. Bruce was a great man, a very special man, but he was not the one for me. Maybe someday he would find someone as special for him.

"See? Everything happens according to plan, not ours, not the way we like it sometimes, but nonetheless the way it should be." Bruce held both of my hands this time and looked me in the eye with that powerful stare of his, but I didn't feel scared or patronized. I felt loved and respected. "More to the point, I haven't been completely honest with you either. I have been busy and almost neglecting our time together."

"Don't say that. I would never blame you for that, Bruce." It was my time for me to be strong and to hold his hand as well. "You are an important person and I knew the chance I was taking when we started seeing each other."

"And I thank you for that." He smiled and then hugged me tightly. "Thank you, Lois for letting me love you and for loving me back. I would never forget this special time in my life." Bruce had a way of words that left me breathless and tonight was not the exception.

I couldn't reply though. He just said everything I felt, everything I was thankful for and even everything I longed for. He really knew me and despite the fact that my heart ached for him too, I felt relieved, free and renewed. I hugged him back just as tight and a tear ran down my cheek. "If you need anything, Lois, and I mean anything I am just a call away."

"Thank you." Was all I could say? I had a million things running on my head, my heart beat fast and my breathing was heavy. "I would never ever forget you."

And just like that, he grabbed me gently by the arms and urged me. "Now go, before it is too late."

I nodded and placed the engagement ring gently on the palm of his hand, the one he gave me that night at the Gala, the one I wore ever since but only until tonight. He looked at me and kissed me again on the cheek. His smile was warm and friendly, not a hint of irony or regret in his eyes. Bruce was a great man; I would never get tired of saying that because it was the truth. His mysterious ways made him more appealing and interesting, so maybe he would find that special someone to love him like he deserved.

Then I understood the meaning of his words completely, those words he had said to me the night of our engagement. "Even when you are in front of him, he can't have you." It was not whether Clark could have me or not, it was a matter of me realizing where I wanted to be, who I wanted to love. Bruce knew my heart wasn't completely free and yet he dared to love me. He hoped I would love him back, even when he understood it wasn't possible, at least not in the same way. I had given my heart away long before I met him. I had given my heart away fifteen years ago… to my first kiss… to Clark Kent.

 

-LL-

 

I went back to the Planet, but he was not there. Clark was gone and I had no idea where to start looking. That was a lie, I did have his cell phone number, but this was not something you talk about over a call. This was an important thing that had to be discussed face to face. I drove to Smallville; somehow I knew he would be there. On my way to his house, to his mother's house to be precise, countless emotions ran thought my heart, my head was officially in the clouds. When I arrived, that memorable Smallville fresh scent intoxicated my whole body and I loved it.

Clark sat on the floor of his loft. I observed him carefully through the dim light. Finally, I entered and he noticed me immediately. Was he waiting for me? After I so clearly rejected him? My heart warmed at the thought; did he really love me that much? I asked him to sit beside him and he agreed, so I did. After a moment and feeling his nervousness I took a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich from my bag and offered it to him. I had prepared it carefully after Bruce said good bye earlier. I made it for him, especially for him, just like I did when we were only ten. He took it and I could see his hands were shaky.

"Thank you." Clark said and those words moved to a whole other level on my book. Immediately, I remembered all the things that connected us across time and space: the raincoat, the sandwich, the yo-yo, our first kiss. My yo-yo: I missed it, but not as much as I missed the one who gave it to me, my mom. To break the ice and ease to the important matters to be disclosed, I told him yo-yo's story and how it comforted me when mom died.

"She always believed that when you let go of someone, someday that person will come back to you." I couldn't believe how calm the words flowed out of my mouth. I felt so safe; I felt so at peace. "Do you believe it too?" I asked and he didn't answer, but to be honest I knew exactly why.

"Bruce," I started speaking again and instantaneously I noticed a flinch on his face, a shift in expressions. I had to battle this one alone, especially if I wanted us to be together, and I knew that if even the slightest shadow of past relationships remained, it could ruin everything good about it. Then I braved up and said it. I told him how I loved Bruce as a friend, moreover how I had figured out my feelings at last. I loved Clark more than I could ever imagine loving someone.

"I love you, Clark Kent." He didn't respond immediately, but I saw his face brighten, his eyes sparkle. Besides, technically he had already said it and of course he kissed me. Didn't I tell you that? It was like that first kiss fifteen years ago, timeless and perfect.

"Lois, there is something I need to tell you." He said and I realized he was ready to open up to me completely, we both were. This would be the beginning of a new life, a new adventure, one that would change history itself. I knew what he planned to say, so I cut him first. "Can it wait?" I asked because I wouldn't want him to make any rash decisions or say things only on the spur of the moment. He shook his head and right there I knew for sure that he really meant to tell me his secret.

When he opened his shirt and showed me the 'S' on his chest, my heart skipped a bit. Since Superman granted me the infamous interview, I knew there was something special about him. It was not the obvious hero stuff, but something deep in his blue eyes stirred my body to its core. I had always had suspicions, but right after he confessed his feelings for me in the middle of the bullpen I made the undeniable connection… those eyes, those beautiful blue eyes. And even though they were masked behind glasses and staring at the floor, I knew they were the same, the ones that looked into the sky and saved the world. Seeing his insignia so close, feeling him so near in front of me, it was real, reachable.

 

-LL-

 

 

2004 – Smallville, KS

I couldn't help but to cry. Ugh! Were my hormones attacking me again? I sobbed harder by the second until I heard the squeaking sound from the steps. It was Clark; he wore a plain white t-shirt and jeans. I loved seeing him like that. I also loved him on his uniform; don't get me wrong, but just the fact that he was this strong and almost invincible being wrapped in such simple clothes, made him even more special to me, more powerful, more human. He was Clark Kent and he was mine just as I was his. I tried to hide my tears, but it was useless. My eyes and nose were red and my shirt was all wet.

He didn't say anything. As soon as Clark saw the damaged raincoat on my hands, he embraced me. I buried my face into his chest. He placed his chin over my head. I smelled cinnamon and apples again. He tightened the hold around me. I felt safe. He pulled me even closer to him. I felt at home.

I stopped crying, but still feel sad about the raincoat. I hugged him back, but I was careful enough no to let the poor thing fell on the floor. He hesitated. Was there a call for help in the distance? Would he have to save the day again? I didn't mind supporting his true calling, but tonight I needed him, I needed Clark by my side. Was I being too selfish?

But he didn't move; he just held me tighter. We embraced each other for a few more minutes and I felt him dither again. Was he crying too? Did I make him sad? I felt a knot in my stomach and a flinch in my heart. Why did I feel so emotional all the sudden? Was it the raincoat? Was it the trip to memory lane? Was it the smell of Smallville all over me?

Then he freed me and wiped away the tears with his thumb. I looked at him. I looked into his eyes, those amazing blue eyes. They were the same shade I had always remembered. He smiled at me and I smiled back. I couldn't do otherwise.

"Lois," he finally said and smiled wider. "I think we should go inside the house now and try to repair the raincoat later."

"No!" I almost shrieked. It wasn't my intention, but I wanted to fix it, to preserve it. I wanted this physical part of my memories to last forever. I knew it wasn't my common behavior – acting like a child, having tantrums because her doll was taken away by someone.

Clark looked at me again and took the raincoat out of my hands. He put it over the couch carefully and softly placed his hands on the sides of my face. "I am not saying we shouldn't fix it, I am only saying that it could wait."

I looked down to the couch and nodded softly. I was tired and felt very anxious without an apparent reason. He caressed my face ever so gently letting his hands fall softly down my neck and placing them on my waist. He knew how to calm me down. He knew how to make me forget about anything else in the world except for him. I looked up at him and smiled again.

He kissed me on the lips tenderly and I felt like flying, like soaring through the air among the clouds. Then he turned me around and we both faced the loft's window. The night had already fallen and the stars seemed like little fireflies playing on it. Clark embraced me once again, my back now resting against his chest. He smiled, I couldn't see him, but I felt him.

"What?" I asked curiously.

"Do you remember the first time we sat up here?"

"How could I forget," I responded quietly not wanting to spoil the moment. "It was the first day of our lives together."

"I still can't believe I tell you my secret. Well, actually I still can't believe you didn't flip out." He chuckled a bit.

"Clark, I fell in love with you when we were kids. I always knew you were special, never that special, but nonetheless I would have accepted you no matter what." He kept quiet and I wondered why. Was it the short-lived memory of our childhood? Or maybe the poignant moment that defined our adulthood?

I remembered that night as if it was yesterday. I came back from my apartment after my conversation with Bruce. On my way to Smallville I grew anxious, but excited at the same time. I could never imagine the roller coaster ride of emotions I felt within my heart. I still loved Bruce, but with a new light, a light of true friendship and admiration. And to think I was about I found out that the other two pieces of my heart belonged to the same man was almost surreal. I didn't flip, no, but my heart did. It flipped to love Clark even more, not only for being the perfect man for me, but also for being the perfect hero for the world. That added a new layer of affection, one that only I could experience. I felt special, almost as special as he was.

"Why are you so quiet?" I finally braved up and asked.

"Nothing, I just want to treasure this moment forever."

"Awww, Smallville, why so sappy?" I teased innocently ignoring the implication behind his expression.

"I always wanted a family of my own, you know that right?"

"Yes." I whispered knowing full well that although he seemed human, he wasn't. My eyes puddled because the idea of family was more remote with each passing day. Two years we have been married and we couldn't be happier, but I couldn't deny that same human emotion betrayed me from time to time.

"You are my family, Lois. You are my home." His arms engulfed me and his hands traveled the length of my belly.

"You are my family too, Smallville. You know that. As long as we have each other, we are going to be happy. You are all I ever wanted, all I ever needed." I said sincerely, but he wavered again. It was not because of indecision or doubt or fear. He seemed content and that made me joyful too. Maybe I was a little sappy a well.

Then he laughed softly and hugged me once again. "We are surely going to be happy… very happy… you, me and little Leigh Anne." My heart stopped inside my chest.

"What?" I didn't even know how the word escaped my mouth. I was still stunned by Clark's words. I didn't monitor my menstrual period lately, or for at least the past two months. Heck, I would forget to check the calendar for months because unlike most of the girls, I didn't have regular cycle, a regular husband or a regular nothing. But the truth was that sometimes, even when I was younger, I didn't have my regular monthly period. So this kind of explained how and why I, Lois Mad Dog Lane, became so very emotional almost overnight.

"Yes, Lois, I can hear her heartbeat. It is a lot like yours, just more delicate, smother." He smiled again, I could sense it. "I always wanted a baby girl – a mini Lois."

I turned around and tears had already started falling down my cheeks again, only this time they were tears of joy. "Clark… I…" I started, but words failed me. I never thought we could bear children, not in the natural way at least. We always talked about adopting a kid and even teased with the idea of visiting his Fortress of Solitude for alternatives, but this… this baby… this baby girl as he had called her changed everything. I knew we were happy together and having a daughter only would bring us more delight. I loved him even more, if that was even possible.

"Shh…" He replied and kissed me again… and again all I could feel was pure bliss. The man I loved with all my heart was before me and the fruit of that love grew inside me. I couldn't be more contented, I couldn't feel more blessed, not in a million years. "I love you." He whispered.

"I love you too." I breathed back into his mouth. We breathed the same air, we shared the same love, and we were truly one. I looked at the raincoat again and smiled. 'How something so insignificant could become so important in my life?' It was not the raincoat, it was him… his love… the greatest gift of all and it was all for me. It meant home. He was my refuge.

"How about a piece of mom's apple pie?"

"Are you trying to lure me, Mr. Kent?"

"I would never dare, Mrs. Lane-Kent."

 

\S/

 

 

2011 – Smallville, KS (Present timeline)

"Come on, you guys, wait for me!" I ran behind my husband and daughter. They were always playing around and making the house a mess, but I love that. I loved them. They made me feel alive and gave my once dull existence direction and tone.

"Mommy, you are too slow." Leigh Anne snapped at me. She was so much like me. It wasn't an entirely good thing, you know. She would have to learn how to control herself, but thankfully she would always have me and Clark to guide her and to console her when times were off.

"No, I am not!" I replied and grabbed her in my arms. I still couldn't believe she was there, with her beautiful smile and her big blue eyes. He looked so much like his father. It was just a dream come true.

"Yes, you aaarrreee." She said between giggles as I tickled her. "Okay… okay… you are not." She surrendered and I smiled in victory.

"That's my girl." I looked around and didn't see Clark, I imagined he had to fly unexpectedly, so I kept the little angel occupied.

"What do you want to do now?" I asked her.

"Hmmm, I want ice cream."

"Oh dear, didn't we have lunch already?"

"It is dessert, mommy." She rolled her eyes, just like me, and then grabbed my hand forcefully. I would always be grateful to have Martha in our lives. I couldn't imagine myself raising a super-powered kid without her advice. "Come…" She insisted and just like that she dragged me into the kitchen.

To my surprise, Clark waited for us beside the isle. He had the biggest smile on his face. I guessed it was because of Leigh Anne or maybe because she was literally hauling me across the room. But then I noticed he hid something behind him. He winked at our daughter and she ran towards him with an even bigger smile.

I eyed them suspiciously, wondering what was ahead of all those laughs and winks. Then Leigh Anne snatched a big box from the counter and ran back to me. "This is for you mommy."

"A present! Thanks, but it's not my birthday, is it?" I joked and she laughed loudly.

"Of course is not your birthday, mommy, there is no cake!"

I couldn't help but laugh and Clark mirrored my actions. Only a six-year-old could make such a simple logic just like that. She urged me to unwrap the box, almost doing it herself and when I was finally able open I could not speak.

There was the raincoat… his raincoat… my precious raincoat. It was fixed, almost as new, and careful preserved on a beautiful frame. A tear pried to escape my eye, but Clark approached me before it got the chance to fall down.

"Happy Anniversary!" He said and my heart melted again. I was so lucky. I had such a beautiful family, a perfect husband and daughter.

"Thank you, Clark, this is…" There was the tear again, reminding me how vulnerable I felt around him, around them, but I didn't care. It was the most amazing feeling one could ever have. "...this is perfect." I said and kissed him.

"Can I have my ice cream now?" I looked down and a pair of baby blues stared at us almost begging. Life was great, NO, life was perfect, as perfect as a rainy day under my raincoat.

"Yes, sweetie, you can."

 

The End