Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) COMPLETE 2/17/11

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 58-60 (pg 8) 1/17

Postby Cardinal » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:35 pm

Chapter 61

A Preventative Measure


“Bruce,” Lana said, with a slightly disbelieving tone in her voice.

“Yeah,” Clark replied.

“Bruce Wayne.”

“Uh-huh.”

“The multi-billionaire industrialist and former playboy.”

“Oh yeah.”

“He’s Batman.”

“Suit and all.”

Every time Lana rephrased what she was saying to make sure she and Clark were talking about the same guy, his smile grew wider. He hadn’t turned off the bedside lamp yet, so he was able to watch as Lana first started to really believe.

“No way! No freaking way!” Lana paused when she saw Clark wasn‘t joking. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“Absolutely.”

Lana was still trying to wrap her head around the idea that Bruce Wayne, her best friend’s handsome, genial, and filthy rich husband, was Batman. “Why’d you tell me?”

“Like I said, I trust you with everything. If I can trust you with my secret identity and origin, then I can trust you to keep a secret about a middle-aged man who runs around at night in latex and body armor.”

“How does he do it?”

“He’s strong, tough, disciplined, and has more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife. As for why he does it, you’ll have to wait and ask him yourself…I will say that by putting The Joker on death row, you did what no one else had been able to do.” Clark eyed Lana. “Bruce was so happy that day, and you made it possible.”

“He never told me.”

“Of course not. You might’ve begun to wonder why a guy like him was so excited. As far as you knew, it was Rachel who should’ve been excited.”

“But she wasn’t.”

“I think she and Bruce had already discussed the possibility of getting you to come home and help me if you won that last case. Rachel knew you had the talent and experience for the job, and Bruce knew you had the guts…I believe Rachel wasn’t too happy with your win because she knew she was about to lose the daily comfort of her closest friend.”

“That sounds like Rach…God I miss her.”

“Then call her tomorrow and have a good long chat about whatever it is women talk about. Let her know you miss her; you’ll both feel better for it.”

“Where will you be?”

“I’ll be in my office doing some internet research on an article Perry’s got me working on, just so you girls can have some privacy.”

“That sounds like a good idea. Thanks, Clark.”

Sleep didn’t come easily for either Clark or Lana this evening, so they ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning. It didn’t matter to them what they talked about, they just found the sound of each other’s voice to be soothing, and that’s what finally allowed them to drift off to sleep.

Thursday morning dawned bright and clear. It was the last full day of work for Clark and Lana before they left early Friday afternoon for Gotham City. Clark was up with that dawn and snuck out of bed, dressed in a hoodie and sweatpants as if for a morning run, and slipped out of the condo. Kara heard the door rattle, but went back to sleep when she saw it was him.

Clark had kept the focus on Lana and Kara the night before, but inside, he was a tightly-focused ball of rage. Someone tried, a second time, to kill Lana, Clark thought angrily. To take her away from me. That someone needs to learn there will be a steep price to pay if he goes for ‘third time’s the charm.’

Clark made his way through the mostly empty streets of Metropolis until he came to a payphone well away from his building. One by one, he made collect calls to every news organization in the city, except the Daily Planet, to inform them of that rarest of events, a Superman-called news conference. He was scheduling it for nine a.m. in Schuster Plaza, right in front of the Siegel Center.

Whenever they asked him how were they supposed to know it was really Superman that was calling, Clark said, “Be that way. Don’t show up. Just don’t blame me when your managing editor blisters your butt when everyone else in town has this story and you don’t.”

Clark knew not one single organization would risk missing out on Superman coming to them with something he wanted to say. He then guaranteed perfect attendance by promising each and every organization that what he had to say would be something juicy. The reason he didn’t tell the Planet about the news conference was that he intended to cover it himself as his excuse for not being at work.

His work done for the moment, Clark hurried to a local bakery for a goody bag for breakfast. Gotta remember to get the groceries tonight, Clark reminded himself. Kara eats like I do, so I’ll need to seriously increase the amount of food we buy. As Lana showered, and Kara stumbled out bed, Clark came back in with a heavenly-smelling array of freshly-baked pastries.

The pastries were well on their way to being demolished, along with a fresh pot of coffee, before they began to talk about their plans for the day. Clark didn’t want to tell Lana about what Superman had planned; he was too afraid she might talk him out of it. He was well aware of the old saying that it is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to gain permission.

After the news conference, his Clark persona was going to spend as much time as he could on the article he was working on, so that’s what he told Lana. She didn’t really have any more preparations to make before Monday’s beginning of jury selection, so she planned to sit in on a few meetings to see how other cases were coming along. That was, until Clark reminded her that she’d likely spend most of the morning dealing with insurance adjusters.

“Oh great! That’s gonna eat up my day,” Lana said, as she blocked her mouth with one hand to keep from spewing pastry crumbs all over the kitchen table.

“Didn’t you have a detailed manifest when the movers came?”

“Yeah, but that was in my records. I lost all of those in the explosion.”

“True,” Clark said, “but I was thinking you might be able to get an official copy from the moving company’s local office. That ought to make things go faster.”

“That might work,” Lana said. “Thanks.”

Not too long later, Superman was landing on top of the Siegel Center with a warmly-dressed Lana wrapped in his arms and Supergirl right behind them. The three of them stepped inside the stairwell and closed the door before Clark kissed Lana. He didn’t want to risk an outside kiss for fear of anyone seeing Superman kissing Lana Lang.

“I love you, Lana. See you at lunch.”

“I love you too, Clark.” Just before he stepped out onto the roof, she handed him the sweatpants from under her suit, and added, “How ‘bout some Italian today?”

“As you wish.”

Clark zoomed into the sky with more than an hour before the news conference, but he could already see the media beginning to gather on the plaza below. He smiled grimly at the thought of what he had to say and their shocked reactions. He moved back onto the roof and pulled out his cell phone and called Perry at the Planet.

“Perry White speaking.”

“Mr. White, Clark Kent here.”

“I can hear that Kent. Why are you on my phone instead of in my newsroom?”

“Got a story. I was just coming over to the Siegel Center to bring something to Lana that she asked me for, when I saw a pile of newsies in front of the building. It turns out that Superman is going to be giving a press conference today right here, so I thought I’d cover it since I don’t see a Planet reporter here yet.”

Clark could hear Perry mutter what could only be a few choice swear words before he put his mouth back to the phone. “Okay, Kent, good call. I’ll send a photographer over to get some shots since this is likely to be front page stuff.”

“Okay, Perry, I’ve gotta go get a spot in the crowd.”

Before Clark disconnected the call, he could hear Perry yell, “Olsen! Get in here! I’ve got something I think you can actually handle…”

The cell phone went back into the N-space box and Clark took off, using the crisp, cold winter air to help clear his mind before he faced the press down below.

When nine o’clock rolled around, Clark decided to go for a dramatic entrance by dropping straight down out of the sky to land right in front of the media. There was no podium to stand behind, but the television stations had come up with their own mike stands so they could have a clear copy of what he said.

Now that it was time, Clark finally loosened his hold on what he’d been feeling ever since the bomb attempt the night before. He wanted everyone to see and feel that he meant business today. This was a warning he wasn’t going to give twice.
"In the Name of the King"
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 58-60 (pg 8) 1/17

Postby Cardinal » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:39 pm

Chapter 62

A Line in the Sand


Clark looked at the assembled crowd, most of whom were media types, with a few curious onlookers sprinkled in, and smiled upon seeing the large turnout. The smile was tight and wolfish, not at all the sort of smile people normally associated with Superman.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, thank you for coming,” Clark said. The rich baritone that his mask generated usually helped him project an air of strength and dependability. Today, he was going to use that voice to create an aura of implacable menace.

“As you are well aware, there was another attempt on the life of the Deputy District Attorney last night. This makes two tries in two days.”

The crowd could see that Superman’s face held none of its usual affability and good humor. From the furrowed forehead, lowered eyebrows, and firm set to his jaw, it looked to them like Superman was angry. They’d never seen him angry before, and the wisest among them wondered what a truly angry Superman might be capable of doing.

“Miss Lang is only trying to do her civic duty by leading the prosecution of Morgan Edge, and yet some people in our city don’t want that to happen. They believe Edge is above the law, and will do anything in their power to disrupt and intimidate the justice system until they get what they want.” Clark leaned into the mikes. “Let me be perfectly understood. This stops now! or else all bets are off. If the people who want Edge freed continue to insist on playing by their own set of rules, then I, too, will play by those rules.

“Come after Miss Lang one more time, and I’m coming after you. Once I don’t need to abide by the rules any longer, I won’t need to alert the police and have them make an arrest, I’ll just locate your bases of operations and incinerate them. And as for your banking accounts in the Cayman Islands and in Lichtenstein; I have friends who can make that money disappear like it was only the memory of a dream.

“No money, and no product with which to make more money. How does that sound?” Clark had been debating about whether to include the next line in his statement, but he was so worked up now, that he couldn’t have stopped himself had he wanted to do so. “And remember, if you’re broke, then the protection you normally receive from a very small minority of the local law enforcement community will dry up too.”

The fact that Superman was publicly airing what had long been considered to be Metropolis’ dirty little secret drew a few low whistles from some of the more veteran reporters and astonished looks from the new ones.

“Let me say this one more time: if Miss Lang is the target of another murder attempt, if she so much as stubs a toe as she crosses the street and I think you’re involved, then I’m coming after you. Let’s see how you like being hunted for a change.”

The assembled media was stunned into momentary silence. Superman had just seriously raised the stakes; they wondered if Intergang was ballsy enough to call his bluff.

The media members weren’t the only ones who were stunned by Superman drawing a line in the sand. Ten floors up, Kara had been using her x-ray vision to search the floors immediately above and below Lana’s office in case someone tried to bomb her at work. When her vision strayed outside of the building, she quickly noticed the media build up, but didn’t pay much attention to it until Clark came swooping down out of the sky. Lana finally noticed that Kara had become fixated on something and asked what was up.

“Umm…maybe you should step up to the window and take a look yourself.”

Even more curious now, Lana did just that and was barely able to see Clark’s brilliant red cape. The television cameras were easily visible, making it clear he was addressing the media. What on Earth is he doing? Lana wondered. And, more importantly, why didn’t he discuss this with me?

Lana turned back to Kara, who still appeared to be staring through the floor, and asked, “Did he talk to you about this?”

“Nope.” Kara’s reply was short because she was distracted by listening to what her cousin had to say. I don’t believe what I’m hearing, Kara thought.

“What’s he saying?”

“He’s…” Kara thought better of telling Lana. “Hmm, maybe you should just ask tall, dark, and about-to-be celibate when he comes here for lunch.”

Lana raised her eyebrows at that.

“I’ll be sure to give you two plenty of privacy before the ass-kicking begins.”

Lana’s eyebrows climbed even higher as she really began to wonder what Clark had done. She had to file that away as a question for later though, when she picked up the phone and dialed her insurance agent’s office.

With the initial shock of Superman’s statement gone, the media woke up and started peppering him with questions. First up was an experienced reporter from the local ABC affiliate. “Superman, this seems kind of sudden. What is it about this particular situation that’s made you take this kind of stand now?”

“Actually,” Clark replied, “this has been years in the making. Most of you can remember when Lois Lane died in a car bomb explosion. That was years ago, but she and her writing partner were investigating potential links between organized crime and a major Metropolis industrial concern.

“Then, when that writing partner, Clark Kent, came up with enough information to have Morgan Edge arrested, the previous Deputy District Attorney, Ed Kinser, was murdered during pretrial preparations.

“Now, Ed’s replacement, Lana Lang, has been the target of two very serious murder attempts in two days…and let’s not forget the innocent bystanders that were killed or injured by last night’s explosion.

“I’ve had enough. It stops today.”

The next question was from, strangely enough, a gossip columnist from the Inquisitor. Clark privately wondered how she had ended up assigned to this story, but he decided to let her ask a question.

He figured it should be harmless.

“Since Miss Lang wasn’t at home last night, where was she?” When Clark didn’t answer immediately, she added, “It’s a poorly kept secret that Lana Lang is dating Clark Kent, but it appears she wasn’t hiding out at his place either. I’ve interviewed the two doormen who worked second shift in Kent’s building yesterday and the two that worked third shift, and none of them saw her enter or leave that building. So where was she, Supes?”

“Miss Lang was staying in an undisclosed location for security purposes. And until Supergirl and I are convinced that Miss Lang is no longer in any extraordinary danger, that location will remain undisclosed.”

Clark hoped that would satisfy the woman, because he sensed she was on the verge of heading into dangerous territory. He hoped in vain.

“I was just wondering if she spent the night with you. I mean, that would be quite a coup for Miss Lang. Not in town for even a month yet, and she’s already snagged…or should I say shagged…two of Metropolis’ most eligible bachelors.”

Clark’s eyes narrowed even further. “That kind of statement is beneath even the admittedly low standards of the Inquisitor.”

“It may not be the nicest thing to say, but it is a viable alternate explanation for why you’re so uptight about the threats to Miss Lang.”

Clark knew from his experience as a journalist that getting more and more defensive about this would just guarantee the situation would get worse, so he relaxed, and said, “The only passions that Miss Lang and I share are truth and justice. Our relationship, such as it is, is purely professional.” Clark looked elsewhere. “Next question…”

“Yeah, how’d you learn about where Intergang has stashed it’s loot…?”

Once the news conference was over, Superman disappeared into the gray Metropolis winter sky, and Clark showed up on the fringe of the crowd just as it began to disperse.

One of his male colleagues asked, “So, Kent…what do you think about Superman moving in on your girl?”

Several nearby reporters turned to hear what Clark had to say. With a serenely confident smile on his face, Clark said, “Superman’s just a very good friend.”

“And what about Miss Lang?”

That serene smile changed to a knowing smirk. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

Shaking his head in wonder, the guy said, “Come on everybody, there’s no story here.” Thinking about Clark’s looks, writing talent, and the likelihood that he was ‘more than friends’ with the luscious Lana Lang, he added, “Some guys are just born lucky.”

Clark spent the rest of his morning working on the story of his news conference after finding Jimmy and walking with him back to the Planet. As Clark had predicted, Lana spent most of her time dealing with her insurance company. Kara watched and listened, while thumbing her way through a few legal journals Lana had in her office and making occasional visual checks of her surroundings.

The other people in Lana’s office had come by in twos and threes to see how she was holding up under the strain of her current situation, until she finally got tired of being interrupted every ten minutes and went out into the main office to tell everyone she was doing just fine.

Combine that with her irritation with Clark, and it was no wonder that Lana was well and truly annoyed by the time Clark showed up in his business suit with two plastic bags of Italian takeout in his hands. He and Kara exchanged winks as Clark came in. She was about to leave when Clark handed her the smaller of two bags. “Here ya go, Kara, a grilled lemon-pepper chicken breast with fettuccine Alfredo and garlic breadsticks. Just the way you like. There’s even a slice of Tiramisu in there.”

“No lemon ice? What a gyp!” Kara teased. Food in hand, Kara moved into the main office to allow Clark and Lana to have some time alone. “I’ll be out here if you two need me.” Kara then whispered to Clark, “And you might. Lana’s in a foul mood right now.”

Lana was sitting at her desk with her head in her hands. She perked up a bit when Clark came near her, but was still aggravated. She planned, however, to keep that inside and let Clark fall into her trap.

One whiff of the food in the bag was all Lana needed to be reminded that she was hungry. Those breakfast pastries just hadn’t cut it this morning. “Mmm…smells yummy. What didja bring me?”

“A little of this and a little of that.”

Clark unloaded two different meals from the bag, which he intended for them to share. One was sausage and peppers rustica and the other was shrimp in a light cream sauce with angel hair pasta. Once Lana had cleared the paperwork from her blotter to make room for the food, she dipped into her deskside fridge and came up with two cans of Diet Coke.

Clark grabbed one of the chairs from in front of Lana’s desk and pulled it around next to her. They spent the next twenty minutes feeding themselves, and each other, as they shared the two dinners. It wasn’t until they were each working on their own slice of Tiramisu, that Clark asked how things were going.

The lunch they’d shared together had done much to take the edge off of Lana’s irritation, but some of it still showed when she said, “The insurance company hadn’t even sent an adjuster to take a look at the building. Instead, they kept telling me this wasn’t an insured claim. I told them it was. We went round and round until I told them, ‘Fine. Don’t pay. The next time you hear from me will be through my lawyer.’ I spent the last hour before you got here hiring the sharpest lawyer in town for this sort of thing and then getting the moving company to fax him a copy of my manifest.”

“At least you didn’t try to handle the legal stuff yourself.”

“Are you kidding? There was a saying we all learned as first-year law students: the attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Now that Clark was nice and relaxed, it was time to spring her trap. “Now you know about my morning. Suppose you tell me how Superman’s news conference went. I’ll be especially interested to hear why you didn’t discuss this with me beforehand. ”

Clark tucked one fingertip into his suddenly tight shirt collar and tugged, but to no avail. “Did I mention that Bruce just called? He and Rachel are at Metropolis International. After last night’s bombing, they decided to come here as a show of support.”

“That’s nice,” Lana said, in a voice that indicated she really didn’t care right now. “They’ll keep. You start talking, Buster.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 58-60 (pg 8) 1/17

Postby Cardinal » Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:46 pm

Chapter 63

Justice


“I went down there and drew a line in the sand,” Clark said. “Or, you might say, I drew an indelible circle of protection around you and dared anyone to cross it.”

“Circle of protection?” Lana asked. “You can do magic now?”

“Nah, not magic…just muscle, brains, and a desperate love.” Clark shifted in his seat to face Lana, and said, “I’ve lost one girlfriend in this fight. I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose another.

“And since I’m not stupid enough to try and stop you from continuing on with this case, the only way I had left to protect you was to raise the stakes for the people who are coming after you.”

“Good thing you didn’t try to stop me,” Lana said. “You’d have been in for one hell of a fight.”

“Are you kidding me? Your determination is one of the things I love about you. I just wanted you to be safe.” Clark tore his eyes away from Lana’s and gazed off into an indeterminate future. “It’s just…the bomb explosion scared me all over again.”

“And I thought we were sharing our fears now.”

“We are,” Clark said. His eyes returned to Lana’s. “That’s what I’m doing now, sharing my fears. You see, we were in that condo before the explosion. I looked around everywhere and couldn’t find it. We were lucky we didn’t trigger the explosive while you were packing.”

“Where was the bomb located?”

“Not sure. I forgot to ask Kara, but I have my suspicions.”

“Care to share them with me?” Lana asked.

“The bed.”

“But…didn’t you look under there?”

“Not under the bed, in the bed.” Clark grimaced. “Plastic explosives, such as C4 or Semtex, are basically invisible to my x-ray vision, and by hollowing out a small hole in the middle of all of those springs, they can use the metal springs to disguise the small metal parts of the bomb’s triggering device. Ingenious, really. Using one of my strengths against me.”

“How’d they trigger it?”

“If it was in the bed like I think, then the only thing that makes sense is a pressure switch. It was likely set for enough weight to make sure it didn’t go off unless someone was actually on the bed. Say, sixty or seventy pounds.”

“Good thing we didn’t hop on the bed then for a little fun before heading over to my folks’ place.”

“You’re telling me.”

Lana rolled back her chair and stood. She eased behind Clark’s chair and looped her arms over his shoulders and across his upper chest, allowing her hands to grasp her forearms as her head nestled against his. She hugged him and gave him a peck on the cheek.

“So, we got lucky last night and you were just trying to add another layer of protection for me.”

“Mm-hmm.” Clark reached up with one hand and began rubbing one of Lana’s forearms. “But now that I’ve had a chance to think about what I said, I know you aren’t gonna be happy to hear it.”

Lana adjusted her position slightly so she could look at Clark’s face. “Okay…then you’d better let me hear it now.”

Using his eidetic memory, Clark recounted the entire news conference. Lana was worried about the connection the gossip columnist had made between her and Clark and Supes, but felt relieved when Clark told about ‘his’ appearance at the end and the way he’d cleverly downplayed the Superman aspect by hinting heavily that he was dating her and that things were going swimmingly between them.

“Oh well, the worst thing that happened there was that our relationship is now out in the open.” Lana gave Clark another hug and reclaimed her chair, spinning it around so her whole body faced him. “Should I be expecting much in the way of media coverage now that we’re officially together in the public’s eyes? I mean, Clark Kent and Lana Lang aren’t exactly huge celebrities.”

“Mmm…yeah, somewhat anyway.” Clark scratched at the tip of his chin with a thumbnail. “I’d definitely expect an article about a…” Hmm, what should I call it? “…a Supesclana love triangle in the Inquisitor tomorrow morning. That’s one paper that won’t let go of a story just because they think it’s no longer true.

“Other media outlets may make mention of our relationship, if only in passing, because you’ve become something of a media sensation here in Metropolis the last two days. And with the jury selection beginning on Monday, your time in the spotlight will grow.”

“Well, as long as they talk about Clana, instead of Supesclana, and stick to the truth, then I’ll have to be satisfied.” Lana rubbed her palms on the front of her skirt. This part of their conversation might not go so well. “That brings us to the illegal part of your press conference.”

“Huh?”

“Threatening ‘an eye for an eye’ isn’t illegal in and of itself, but the things you promised to do to Intergang are, and that makes me uncomfortable. Upholding the law is what I do for a living, so having the man I love promise to go on a lawless rampage of destruction if I’m attacked again doesn’t sit well with me.”

Clark took in what Lana said, along with the distressed look on her face. This was why he hadn’t told her ahead of time: he had known she wouldn’t agree with what he planned to do.

“That highlights one of the fundamental differences between us, Lana.”

“Besides the fact you can fly?” Lana asked humorously.

Clark smiled involuntarily. “Yeah, besides that.”

“And what would that be?”

“As the Deputy District Attorney, you’re interested in the law, or maybe I should say, interested in justice through the workings of the legal process.” Clark stared into Lana’s eyes and waited, until he was sure she knew how serious he was being. “As Superman, I can’t always worry about the law. What I’m concerned about is justice. And sometimes, the law gets in the way of justice.”

Lana thought about that. She knew, from her own hard-won experience, that Clark was right. Sometimes the law protected the guilty, to the detriment of the innocent. But to her mind, that’s what prosecutors were for: to strip away those protections until the guilty were at last revealed for what they were. She knew, however, this wasn’t an argument she was going to win today. Instead, she aimed for a more obtainable goal.

“Clark?”

“Hmm?”

“Can you promise me something?”

Wary of what she might ask for, Clark’s reply was a noncommittal, “Maybe.”

“The next time you want to pull a stunt like this, please talk to me first. Okay?”

“Okay. That’s a promise I can make.”

That was all that Lana needed to hear. She just knew that if Clark made her a promise, he was going to keep it. No ifs, ands, or buts.

“And Lana?”

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry for going behind your back this morning. I was afraid you’d try to prevent me from doing what I thought needed doing. Please forgive me.”

“You’re forgiven.” Those two words were all that was needed to make everything right again, and it meant just as much for Lana to say them as it did for Clark to hear them.

The lunch hour was nearing its end, and Clark was moving his chair back into its position in front of Lana’s desk, when they heard someone knocking at the door. Even though Kara was out in the main office, Clark x-rayed the door anyway and saw that Bruce and Rachel had finally arrived.

He liked seeing them together like this, especially away from Wayne Manor. They normally didn’t get to play up to their roles as the wealthiest couple in Gotham City, but here was Bruce, dressed in a $5,000 dollar suit that Clark could never hope to afford and Rachel was dressed in a style to match.

When Clark told Lana who had come calling, she darted across the room to join him in welcoming their friends. She pulled the door open and Rachel was first through the doorway.

The two best friends hadn’t seen each other since the day Lana had boarded the plane to come to Metropolis nearly three weeks ago, a period of time that was nearly interminable for two women who were as close as they were, both on and off work. Frequent phone calls both ways hadn’t been enough for the two women and they let it show now with ferocious hugs.

“I’ve missed you so much, Rach,” Lana said.

“Me too, Kiddo.”

“I was going to call you after work today, but this is much better.”

The men were casually shaking hands as they both kept an eye on their women. Clark wondered if he should tell Bruce that he had already told Lana about their secrets. He decided he’d better not interfere with whatever Lana had planned; especially after her irritation with Superman’s press conference.

The women finally broke up their emotional hug. Rachel moved on to hug and kiss Clark and Bruce stepped over to say hello to Lana. Rachel’s lips had just brushed Clark’s cheek with a light kiss, when they heard the resounding crack of flesh against flesh. Rachel and Clark both looked over at Lana and Bruce just in time to see Bruce backing against the nearest wall with Lana in his face every step of the way. There, on the side of Bruce’s face, was a bright red handprint from where Lana had slapped him.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 61-63 (pg 8) 1/20

Postby Cardinal » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:50 am

Chapter 64

On the Edge


Every step back Bruce took was mirrored by a step forward from Lana.

“You…freaking…bastard!” Each of Lana’s words was punctuated with a poke in Bruce’s chest.

“Umm…Clark? A little help here? Please?” Bruce didn’t really need the help, but he was completely befuddled by Lana’s assault. The last time they had talked on the phone, he had given her some advice and everything seemed to be fine between them.

Rachel was amused to see her black belt husband backing away from the tiny Lana Lang like she was about to kick his butt. Rachel put her lips to Clark’s ear and asked, “What brought this on?”

He returned her whisper, and said, “I told her my secrets…and then I told her Bruce’s secrets.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I take it she’s got a problem with secrets and lies.”

“Like you wouldn’t believe, Clark,” Rachel said knowingly. “I think her passion for the truth was one of the primary motivating factors in causing her to choose a career in prosecution…and now Bruce gets to feel her fury.”

“Actually, I think part of her fury is due to what I did this morning. I’m sure she was mad at Bruce already; what I did just made things worse.”

“I told the moron that he needed to let her in on his secret, but noooooooo, he wouldn’t listen to me. And since he wouldn’t accept my advice, I think I’ll let him handle Lana on his own.”

On the other side of the room, Lana was still tearing into Bruce. Kara had come to the door and shut it, laughing all the while, as soon as she figured out what was going on. It amused her to no end to see Bruce being stalked by Lana.

“I worked with Rachel for five years, and was a close family friend for four of those years. I worked in close concert with Batman, for over a year to bring down The Joker. All this, and yet you chose not to trust me with your secret. You @sshole!”

Another poke.

Bruce was getting tired of being poked. His hands started moving to grab Lana’s hands to stop the poking, when he saw Clark shake his head ‘no’. Bruce didn’t know if Clark meant he should just let Lana do what she wanted to work out her anger, or if he was warning him that touching her right now might have consequences. Either way, Bruce resigned himself to being Lana’s personal piñata for a while longer.

“It took Clark less than three weeks to trust me with his secrets, and let me tell you, his secrets make yours look like nothing.”

“Yeah,” Bruce said, when he could finally get a word in edgewise, “his secrets are bigger than mine.”

Lana’s fierceness faded away, and she asked, “Then why couldn’t you trust me? How many nights did you laugh yourself sick because ‘poor, old Lana’ couldn’t figure it out?”

“I never laughed at you. Not in public or in private. Not once.” Bruce wiped one hand across his face as Lana’s eyes pleaded with him to come clean. “I’m not like Clark, Lana. With skills like his, he can afford to take chances on who he tells.

“I, on the other hand, am just a regular guy. If people find out who I am, I can be killed. I’m less trusting because I have to be.”

“Okay, that covers why you’re less trusting in general, but it doesn’t do anything to explain why, after all the time we spent working together, you couldn’t tell me.”

“I…I don’t really know, Lana. I’m forty years old now and there’ve only been a handful of people I’ve ever trusted. It was so hard just to trust Rachel, and I’d known her all my life.” Bruce paused, uncertain if he should go on. He looked at Rachel for support. She knew what he was thinking, and nodded her head. “If it hadn’t been for the craziness in The Narrows that night and my uncertainty of if I’d ever see her again, I might not have been able to tell her.”

To Lana, the idea that Bruce might not have been able to tell Rachel was a stunning admission. She didn’t know a closer couple, and yet, here was Bruce, telling her they'd almost never happened.

“There are only a few people who know the truth: Clark, Kara, and a few other people in our line of work. Then there’s Rachel, Alfred, Fox…and now you.”

“No one else?”

“No. Not Gordon, not O’Hara, not anyone.”

Lana reached up to stroke the handprint on Bruce’s face. “I’m sorry I slapped you, Bruce, but you should've told me.”

“Yeah, I probably should have, and I’m sorry I didn’t. Can you let bygones be bygones now?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Come on. Let me buy you a cup of coffee.”

“I’d like that, Bruce, but I can’t. Lunch is over and it’s time for me to get some work done.”

“Okay. We’ll be here at five when…” Bruce’s voice drifted off when he saw Clark shaking his head from side to side.

“They’ll be waiting for us at some fancy restaurant. We’ll meet them there as soon as I bring you home and you have time to change.” Clark looked at Rachel. “Sound good to you?”

“I think so. Bruce will call your cell once we have a place picked out.”

Lana escorted her boyfriend and their friends to the security entrance before turning back to her office. Kara followed her inside and resumed scanning the floors above and below to assure that no one repeated last night’s attack.

It wasn’t until the threesome was outside on Schuster Plaza that Clark made a request.

“Try to get a table at Le Monde. Please.” Clark said.

“Okay,” Bruce said. “Any special reason?”

“Yeah. This cabbie that Lana and I met recommended it for ‘lovebirds.’ I thought it was time we tried it.”

The afternoon went fine for Clark and Lana at their respective places of work, while Bruce and Rachel settled into the spacious Presidential Suite in the Metropolis Four Seasons Hotel. But someone else was having to make a decision that he had tried mightily to avoid.

Lionel saw Superman’s news conference on a local TV station’s noon broadcast and played it back several times. He knew enough about the way things were run in Intergang to know that the threat Superman had made about the money in the Caymans and Liechtenstein would be considered to be the gravest one of all by the remaining gang leaders since Morgan was the only one who had direct access to those accounts and was thus the only one who could move the money to other accounts and do it quickly.

How Superman knew of the existence of those accounts didn’t matter. Only that he did and that his knowledge made it highly unlikely that he’d get any more cooperation from Intergang.

Looks like I’d better call them off before I have to suffer the indignity of them canceling the contract themselves, Lionel thought. He picked up his secure cell phone and dialed a number from memory.

“You!” the voice on the other end said. “We were just about to call you.”

“I bet you were,” Lionel said dryly. “I called to cancel the job I currently have you working on. To keep your goodwill, I’ll even pay in full as if the contract had been successfully completed.”

Surprised by the largesse, the voice said, “Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. If you need any more jobs done, don’t hesitate to hire us.”

Lionel disconnected the call and then made another one. While he waited for someone to pick up, he thought, I do have another job I need done, but Intergang is exactly the wrong group to do it. This new call was answered by a mysterious voice.

“Yeah. Whaddya want?”

“Your services. Specifically, the one I outlined the last time we spoke.”

“Same price?”

“Yes.”

The unseen man shrugged his shoulders. “Consider it done.”

It should take them months to get those accounts switched over to the new boss, Lionel thought. The resulting financial difficulties should be penalty enough for Intergang. Best of all, they won’t know I was the one who had Morgan hit.

Lionel poured himself a healthy-sized portion of his best cognac. He held the crystal tumbler up to the light, enjoying the way the last light of day poured through the golden brown liquid.

One last drink. A toast to an old friend. A man whose continued existence had become a liability; a veritable millstone around Lionel’s neck.

“Here’s to you, Morgan. May you rot in Hell, and may it be a long time before I join you.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 61-63 (pg 8) 1/20

Postby Cardinal » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:55 am

Chapter 65

A Night Out


When Lana and Kara walked onto the roof of the Siegel Center, Clark was there waiting for them, looking resplendent in his blue and red.

Kara shook her head, and said, “I can’t believe it, Kal’s on time again.”

Not sure why Kara sounded surprised, Lana said, “He’s always been on time for me.”

“That’s nothing short of a miracle. When I first came to live at the Kent farm, Clark was always late. So much so that Mrs. Kent and I always used to joke that Kal was gonna be fifteen minutes late to his own funeral.”

Clark had heard that short conversation, and he joined it as he moved in to relieve Kara of her duty. “That’s true. In fact, I think I put that in my will.” Clark handed Lana her sweatpants, and as she wriggled them on underneath the skirt of her suit, he added, “But with Lana, I miss her as soon as she’s out of my sight and I count the minutes until I can see her again, so you can imagine the motivation I have to be wherever I’m supposed to be as soon as I can.”

“That’s so sweet,” Kara said, “and you are so whipped.”

With that, Kara launched herself skyward to prevent any comeback from her cousin, but he didn’t mind. As far as he was concerned, he was whipped and he was loving every minute of it.

Clark scooped Lana into his arms and took off. The sun was already down, and there was just a glimmer of light on the western horizon, even from their present altitude. Clark was thankful for this, as it made it virtually impossible for anyone to follow him and Lana as they made their way home, and he added to the difficulty by taking a zig-zag route.

“Are you hungry?” Clark asked.

“Mm-hmm,” Lana replied.

“That’s good, because Bruce and Rachel have made reservations for four at someplace very nice. That is, if you managed to pack a nice dress last night.”

“Don’t worry, I got all of my good winter-weight dresses packed, and since I also got my shoes and my makeup, I’ll be good to go.”

“Bruce said the reservation’s not until 7:30, and he and Rachel will come by in their limo to pick us up at seven.”

“Good, that should give me plenty of time to get ready.”

Clark dropped Lana off on the balcony, and by the time he walked through the front door a couple of minutes later, Lana was running the water to heat it up for a shower, and was already out of her suit. She asked Clark for her toiletries, and while he fished those out, she finished undressing and stepped underneath the hot, stinging spray. Clark reached in to hand her her body wash, lather-building scrubber, shampoo, and conditioner.

Clark had sensed Lana was in a hurry, so he held back from offering to join her in the shower, and instead used the smaller shower at the other end of the condo.

A quick inspection convinced Lana that she didn’t need to shave her legs, so she was done reasonably quickly, though her long hair did require some time for both shampooing and conditioning.

Knowing they were eating somewhere fancy, Clark dug out a sharp black suit, lightly starched pinpoint shirt, black socks, and was busy giving his best black Ferragamos a quick polish when Lana finally came out of the shower. With Clark’s speed, even a quick polish resulted in a chrome-like gleam, but he lost all interest in his shoes when he saw Lana in nothing but a bath towel.

He seriously considered asking her if they could just stay home, figuring he could always tell Bruce something had ‘come up’ at the last minute. But Clark could see Lana was excited to be going out on the town, and truth to tell, he wanted everyone to see them together. He thought, Having a girlfriend like Lana and not ever taking her out for some fun is like having a Ferrari and never taking it out of the garage.

For her part, Lana was eyeing Clark up and down since he had dropped his towel in the hamper out of force of habit and was standing there, holding freshly polished shoes, and wearing nothing but a huge smile. I bet I could talk him into staying home, Lana thought, but I don’t want to disappoint Rachel. She and Bruce came a long way just to support me today. Besides, this is my first real chance to get out and live a little. Good food, better friends, and the best man. What more could a girl want?

Lana began asking for specific dresses and Clark dutifully fished them out of his N-space box for her. Soon, they had four dresses laid out on the bed along with Lana’s bulging bag of undies. Clark took his stuff into the back bedroom to dress, so Lana would have plenty of room, and was pleasantly surprised to see that Kara had made her bed before leaving this morning.

Clark was completely dressed, except for a tie, when he strolled back into the master bedroom a few minutes later. Lana was wearing a bra, half slip, and stockings and had narrowed the dresses down to two. She held one up with each hand and asked for Clark’s opinion. One was forest green and the other was royal blue. Befitting dresses made for winter, both had long sleeves and were made out of some warm-looking material that Clark couldn’t identify by sight.

“I like the green one,” Clark said. “We’re still between Christmas and New Year’s, so it’s a good seasonal color, and more than that, the green really seems to bring out the green in your hazel eyes.”

“Green it is then,” Lana said.

Lana then headed back into the bathroom to do her makeup and hair, while Clark gathered the three other dresses and hung them in his closet on the big, wooden hangers he preferred.

Once again, Lana found reason to be thankful that she didn’t wear much makeup. That always made things simpler, and tonight, faster for her. Her hair took longer, but she was done with minutes to spare. As she finally stepped into her dress, Clark came back into the bedroom and picked a tie out of his closet. It was pure silk and green to match Lana’s dress. He pulled the matching pocket square off of its place on his fancy tie rack and neatly folded it before tucking it into the pocket on the outside of the left breast of his jacket. Lana grabbed a clutch purse, filled it with her absolute essentials, and then the two of them donned full-length winter coats before Clark escorted Lana to the door.

“You know, after going out the front door like this, your cover will be blown. People will know where you are spending your nights.”

“Not necessarily,” Lana replied. “You don’t have to take me back in through the front door, so they might think we were elsewhere. Or if you do, they'll just think I‘m spending one night, since I won’t use the front door again for a while.”

“Still, I’ll have to start eyeing my place closer than I ever did your place. Can‘t risk another bomb attack.”

“True. But I think it’s worth it.”

Looking into Lana’s loving eyes as they stepped onto the elevator, Clark couldn’t have agreed more. “I think so, too.”

From the time on the wall clock in the lobby, Clark could see they were a few minutes early. Before they made it to the doors, he stopped Lana, and said, “You need to know that there are some photographers outside.”

“Paparazzi?”

“Nah, just photographers for local news organizations. It seems that you and I are the ‘it’ couple for the next few days and they all want shots of us together.”

“What’ll we do?”

“Well, if we try to hide, they’ll just get more insistent and belligerent. The best way to handle them is to stand out there and allow them to take as many shots as they want. If we keep ‘em happy, they won’t bother us as much later.”

Lana and Clark did as he planned. They stood outside and made themselves available for anyone who wanted to take a picture. Clark didn’t smile too much, because he was busy scanning each and every photographer, as well as any passersby, for any sort of hidden weapons. The photographers didn’t mind too much though, because Lana was luminous. Her effortless grace captivated each and every one of them, while her magnetic beauty made their hearts pump faster. Once Clark was sure everyone nearby was clean, he settled down enough for the photographers to get a number of good shots of the young couple.

When Bruce and Rachel pulled up in the rented limo, Clark waved off the driver and opened the door for Lana himself. The driver shrugged his shoulders and waited to make sure Clark securely closed the door behind him, before he resumed his place behind the wheel.

After the exchange of pleasantries, Lana asked, “Where are we going?”

“A restaurant called Le Monde,” Bruce said. “A few questions let me know that the name, which means ‘the world’ in French, is indicative of the cuisine. The chef is French, but he’s liable to make anything from around the world. Asian, Mediterranean, French, you name it.”

“Sounds like it might be fun,” Rachel said.

And fun it was. Bruce had somehow used his money and/or influence to garner a prime table without having a reservation. Clark didn’t want to know how much money that might have taken, but then again, he knew Bruce’s attitude toward his money: there’s no point in having it, if he's not going to use it.

The four friends feasted on a multi-course meal. First came the soup course, followed by salads, and then a fish course. After a light sorbet to cleanse their palates, they dined on a beef course and finished with extravagant desserts.

Like Lana had hoped earlier, the food was good and the conversation with her friends was better. Rachel and Bruce caught her up on current events in Gotham City, while she relayed the challenges of being second-in-command in the Metropolis D.A.'s office.

Best of all, she was sharing this night with Clark. She had seen the looks various women had shot his way when they entered the restaurant. Such displays of thinly disguised lust made her feel proud, and just a little smug, to be the woman on his arm. If they only knew how perfect he is in every way, Lana thought, they’d flip!

Clark had had much the same reaction when the ladies had excused themselves to visit the powder room. Both men had stood and held the chair for his respective woman before regaining their seats. Clark had watched with appreciation of the gentle swing of Lana’s hips as she walked away. He’d also noticed the way a number of the guys along Lana’s path had involuntarily ogled her before jerking their heads back to the person they were with.

Go on, Guys. Take a good long look. She does the same thing to me…only I get to go home with her. And if you knew her mind was as fine as her behind, would it make you want her more, like it does me? Or would it just scare you away?

The dinner was as long as it was delicious, and it was closer to 10 p.m. than to 9 p.m., by the time the four friends made their way back out into the night and the comfortably heated limo. Bruce and Rachel invited their guests to come up to their suite for a nightcap, but Lana waved them off.

“Sorry, Rach, but Clark and I both have to put in a half day’s work tomorrow before we leave with you for Gotham City, so we need to be getting home. Thanks for asking though.”

Clark echoed Lana’s thanks and it wasn’t long before they were in through the front door of Clark’s building and riding the elevator up.

“What a wonderful evening,” Lana said. “A night like that was just what I needed.”

“Yeah, and if they’d planned the trip, instead of it being a last minute thing, we could’ve added in a trip to see the Metropolis Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker.”

“Oooh! That would've been wonderful!” Lana turned to Clark, and said, “Though I’m not sure how you know I like the ballet.”

Clark grinned as he shrugged his shoulders. “I asked Rachel for some tips after lunch. She was glad to see me taking an interest in things you love that I might not like quite as much, so she told me.”

“What else did she tell you?”

Clark made a mouth-zipping motion, and said, “Sorry. Can’t tell ya. I gotta keep that stuff secret for when I want us to have a big night. That way, you’ll never see it coming.”

They got home to find that Kara had returned with a selection of her clothes and belongings to put into the guest room. She had been watching TV when they came in, but apparently had just been waiting for them to get home, as she headed to bed shortly thereafter.

Clark and Lana followed suit. By the time they got ready for bed, it was late. The last thing they talked about before nodding off was a curiosity of Lana’s. “Where was Alfred this evening? I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bruce and Rachel without Alfred looming somewhere nearby.”

“I asked Bruce about that earlier today. He said they’d left him in charge of the final preparations for the New Year’s Eve party since this trip was a last minute thing.”

“In that case,” said a drowsy Lana, “we know everything will be in its place, and there’ll be a place for everything.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 61-63 (pg 8) 1/20

Postby Cardinal » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:06 am

Chapter 66

Start the Party


The next morning, Lana woke to find Clark in the midst of unpacking his N-space box and making room for her clothes and other belongings. She walked around and saw that he’d given her most of the space in his under-the-sink bathroom cabinet, along with half of the space in his dresser and chest-of-drawers, and roughly half of the space in his closet.

She was sure she’d have to rearrange her things to suit her tastes and organizational style, but the fact that Clark was making room for her things paralleled the way he was making room for her in his life. She smiled uncontrollably as it hit home that this was her home now. She began to hope she’d never have to leave.

Following their established routine, Clark flew Lana to work with Kara right behind. Kara took over once they reached the rooftop and escorted Lana to work, but not before Clark and Lana exchanged heated kisses and meaningful ‘I love yous.’

The morning flew by peacefully and both were pleased to get some work done without any of the drama that had accompanied them recently. When Marie showed Lana a color Daily Planet photograph of her and Clark waiting outside his building the night before, all Lana did was smile. But from Marie’s perspective, it appeared that Lana glowed with pleasure. That was all Marie needed to see.

Lowering her voice so that only Lana and Supergirl could hear it, Marie asked, “So, is Clark Kent the one?”

Almost afraid that speaking her desire to someone else would jinx it, Lana whispered nervously, “Just between you and me? Yes, he is.”

Concerned for her very likable new boss, Marie leaned in close. “Are you sure? You’ve only known Clark for three weeks.”

Lana nodded her head slowly. “Yes, Marie. I’m sure.”

Clark took a good-natured ribbing from his colleagues for making the news for once instead of reporting it. He didn’t mind making the news, as long as it involved him and Lana being in love.

Even Perry made a short comment about it, tossing Clark an 8x10 glossy that hadn’t been in the paper, and saying, “You two make a nice looking couple, Kent.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, are you done with that article yet?”

“No sir, I’ll need the whole morning to finish it. Lana had some friends come in from out of town yesterday to support her after the explosion the night before. They took us out and we stayed out late.”

Growling at what love had done to his star reporter, while secretly being delighted with the way Clark had retuned to his old self since meeting Miss Lang, Perry said, “No harm done, as long as you turn in the finished product before you leave today.”

“No problem, Perry. I won’t let you down.”

Perry waited until Clark was back at his nearby desk before saying, “I know you won’t, Kid. I know you won’t.”

Clark was running a few minutes late as he checked a few last facts for his article, so he called Lana to let her and Kara know what was going on. Lana appreciated the thoughtfulness of the call, and finished her own work before chatting with Kara as they waited for Clark. In the end, he was only fifteen minutes late.

Today, since they were leaving for Gotham City after lunch, Clark brought them something light to eat: Chinese noodles along with some stir-fried vegetables. Lunch was over quickly, as both of them were anxious to get going. Kara took off, pleased to have the weekend to herself, as Clark flew Lana home to pack for their trip. Her luggage had been lost in the explosion and fire, so Clark gave her a couple of pieces of his luggage to use.

Clark carefully placed his rarely-used ultra-formal tuxedo in his garment bag, along with his white tie and white vest. He tucked his freshly shined black shoes in the shoes compartment at the bottom. He then packed enough comfortable clothes for two days, since they weren’t planning on coming back until Sunday. The last thing he did was to make sure Lana was engrossed by her own packing before he reached onto the top shelf of his closet, way in the back, and snagged a small white box which he carefully placed inside his N-space box.

Because Lana was being outfitted onsite by Rachel’s dress designer, she didn’t have to pack a fancy party dress. Being a woman, she still managed to pack twice as much for the two days of their trip as Clark did, even though he was twice her size. Once packed, they headed downstairs with Clark carrying the suitcases, while Lana insisted on carrying Clark’s garment bag.

Bruce and Rachel were waiting at the door, and within one hour, the four of them were airborne on Bruce’s personal Gulfstream G550 business jet. As they sank into the luxurious cream-colored leather furniture, Clark said, “I thought you had a G-V.”

“I did,” Bruce replied. “I traded it in for the 550 six months ago. It turns out the longer range is useful for some of those trips to Asia.”

Knowing Bruce didn’t have much to do with his company’s day-to-day business, Clark chuckled. “What? For those days when you get a craving for some authentic Chinese food?”

“Well, you’re the one that got me hooked on real Peking Duck. Can I help it if you’re not around to get me some when I want it?” Both guys started laughing at the very idea of Bruce flying off to China for nothing more than a good meal.

For most of the two hour flight, the four passengers split into same-sex pairs for some private talks. Lana and Rachel used their time alone, after admonishing Clark to keep his ears to himself, to sip white wine and discuss the kinds of things they hadn’t wanted to mention in front of the guys the night before. The guys, on the other hand, were talking shop over snifters of armagnac.

Bruce kept his personal plane in a hangar at a small private airport which was closer and more convenient to his home than the massive Wayne International Airport, so that’s where they landed. As soon as their luggage had been unloaded and stored in the capacious trunk of the stretch Bentley limo that Alfred was driving, they were off.

“I can’t believe how quick that was,” Lana said. “I may never fly commercial again.”

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Rachel said, “No waiting to check in and then no waiting to board. Not to mention all the waiting around you get to avoid when you land.”

“Then there’s the unlimited leg room and the super comfy seating to consider,” Clark added.

“Leave it to a tall guy to get excited about leg room,” Bruce said, “though I grant you, the seats are comfy.”

Wayne Manor was only a twenty minute drive away from the airport, and Alfred had them there by 4:30 p.m. Rachel hurried Lana inside, because the dress designer was going to be there with his assistants and his newest creation by 5 p.m. for the fitting.

Lana only stopped long enough to plant a quick kiss on one of Alfred’s leathery cheeks and said, “It’s good to be back, Alfred,” as he held the open car door.

Startled, the always correct butler blushed a furious shade of red, while the two younger men pretended not to notice his discomfiture. Once Alfred assigned a couple of young assistants to the job of carrying in all of the luggage, he drove the car around back to the garage, and Clark and Bruce finally busted out laughing.

“Alfred’s always in control,” Bruce said, between wheezing laughs.

“But one innocent kiss from Lana,” Clark said, “and he looked like a twelve-year-old kid getting his first one.”

“I know. I’m dying over here.” Another wheezing laugh. “I need to tell Rachel about that. She might want to try it sometime.”

The guys went in and shot some pool while they waited for Lana and Rachel to finish with the fitting. After they finished the first rack and were setting up another, Bruce said, “I saw a replay of your threat on last night’s news cast. Very intimidating. It might even work.”

“I hope so. Lana means everything to me.”

“Nice touch threatening their cash reserves like that.”

“Thanks,” Clark replied as Bruce broke the next rack and pocketed a ball on the break.

“Just one thing,” Bruce said, as he lined up his next shot.

“Yeah? What?”

“If you do have to break the rules and go after Intergang,” Bruce sank his first shot and watched as the cue ball drew back down the table, “make damn sure you limit yourself to Intergang. Anything beyond that, and you’re getting dangerously close to what I warned you about. I’d hate to have to come after you.”

“Yeah. I’d hate it too.”

Meanwhile, Lana was standing on a box with the mostly finished dress draped on her body. The designer would give a couple of terse orders to his assistants, who would then make minute adjustments to the dress and hold them in place while the designer stood back and judged the effectiveness of his changes. Once he was pleased, the final changes were marked, and the designer sent the dress off with his assistants.

“They’ll be back with the finished dress in and hour and a half, Dear,” the designer said to Rachel, while Lana put her own clothes back on. The designer turned to Lana. “And as for you, my lovely, dressing you was simply a pleasure. It’s so much easier to make a beautiful dress when I start with a beautiful woman. Such a treat.”

Lana thanked the man and then, after some three-way girl talk, which Lana found to be extremely disconcerting since one of the women was a man, the designer took his leave and Lana poured the thanks onto Rachel.

“I had a dress or two which would have worked, but after the explosion…”

“I know. Good thing I already had this arranged.” Rachel looked down the hall at the departing designer. “Maurice is impossible to book on short notice.”

“Where’s your dress?”

“In the closet. I had my final fitting a week ago.”

“What color is it?”

“Cornflower, something that should help me stand out.”

Lana rolled her eyes. “Like you need the help.”

“You’re a dear friend, Lana, but I’m almost forty now. With younger women like you all over the place, I need all the help I can get.” Rachel eyed Lana from head to toe. “You, on the other hand, are going to be the belle of the ball. The pale golden silk of that dress just loved you. I can’t wait ‘til you get it back and Clark sees you in it.”

Lana checked the time on her watch and saw that it was just after six in the evening. “What time is the dinner planned for?”

“Mmm…roughly 9 p.m. Cocktail hour starts at eight in the foyer, followed by dinner in the grand dining room, and ending with dancing and copious amounts of champagne and chocolate in the ballroom. The dancing should start around ten-thirty and last until everyone goes home. From past experience, that’ll be sometime after three in the morning.”

“I only had a light lunch, and another of Clark’s pastry breakfasts, so I was wondering if I could sneak down for a light snack to tide me over ‘til dinner. I’d hate to have a rumbling stomach right in the middle of cocktails.”

Rachel walked to one wall of the room and pulled on a thick cord that hung from the ceiling. Less than a minute later, a servant came to the door and knocked. The ladies called out their permission to enter, and when the man did, Rachel pointed to Lana, who apologetically asked for a small tray of veggies along with some low-cal dip.

Rachel wasn’t surprised, but was very pleased, when her most excellent kitchen staff complied with Lana’s request in short order. The vegetables had been easy, since they were just baby carrots, slices of celery, and cauliflower heads, but the dressing had been made from scratch by the head chef. It was a rich-tasting onion dip, and the man had scored extra points by discreetly including a small mound of mints to help conquer onion breath.

With there being less than two hours until the beginning of cocktail hour, Lana would have been frantic for time to prep, except for the fact that Rachel had hired top-of-the-line hair dressers and makeup artists to help her and Lana achieve the best look in the least amount of time.

While the women were being primped by the fashion pros, Bruce saw one of the servants for the party in a regular tux and remembered that he had one thing party-related to check on with Clark.

“You did remember to bring the white tie and tails today, right?”

“Yeah, I remembered. It’ll be nice to get to use that tux for a change.”

“When was the last time you wore it?” Bruce asked.

Clark stopped and stared blankly as he tried to remember. “I think it was at the Mayor’s Ball a couple of years ago. I took a girl from accounting at the Planet. Naturally, she had to drive, and I remember thinking that if she kept looking at me instead of the road, we’d have a wreck.”

Suddenly, Bruce recalled a few bits and pieces of this story. “Isn’t that the one you accused of trying to nail you in the back seat of her car on the way home?”

“Uh, yeah. She stopped in the middle of Metropolis Park and got out because she said the stars and the moon looked so romantic. I got out to give her her wrap.” Clark winced at that particular memory. “She pushed me into her backseat and virtually attacked me. By the time I got it through to her that I wasn’t going to give her what she wanted…”

Bruce interrupted, and said, “Namely the high, hard one.”

“Jeez, Bruce, for a high society rich guy, you can be unbelievably crass sometimes.”

Bruce shrugged unapologetically. “Sorry. It’s just a cost of working with the scum of the city like I do.”

“Anyway, by the time she knew that no meant no, her dress was bunched around her waist and my pants were around my knees.”

“I bet Lana won’t have to fight you like that tonight. She’ll just smile, beckon you with one crooked finger, and your pants will fall off like…magic.”

Clark smiled helplessly, as he said, “I don’t doubt it one bit.” His expression turned serious. “But talking about tonight reminds me, is the, uh, surprise ready?”

“It should be, but let me check with Alfred.”

The two men went out in search of Alfred, and found him in the grand dining room where he was supervising the layout of the silverware and china for the ninety-six place settings at the table. As always, he was an exacting taskmaster, making sure that everything was just so.

As soon as Alfred saw Master Bruce and young Clark, with the latter looking particularly anxious, he knew what they wanted. He stopped supervising just long enough to catch Clark’s eyes and formally nod his head. Clark wanted to ask anyway, just to be sure, but Bruce dragged him away.

“If Alfred says it’s ready, then it is. Don’t insult the man by asking after he’s already told you.”

“Okay.”

“By the way, Clark. That full, formal nod of his head wasn’t just letting you know that everything is ready.”

“He approves?”

“Yes.” Bruce lightly elbowed Clark in the ribs. “It’s nice to know you’re not as dumb as you look…sometimes anyway.”

“Shut your pie hole, Bruce.” Smirking at his host, Clark added, “At least one of us managed to graduate college.”

“Hey, I’ve got a college degree,” Bruce said, “and mine’s a doctorate.”

“Only honorary, and you had to donate $40 million for a new law school library to get that.”

Bruce chuckled and cuffed Clark on the shoulder. “Come on. We’ve got enough time left to finish our game before we have to go up and dress.”

It was nearly seven-thirty before the guys went upstairs to dress. Bruce led Clark to the guest suite that had been assigned to him and Lana before retiring to the master suite.

Clark showered and was completely dry in a very short period of time. Only the slowness of the water coming out of the showerhead slowed him down at all. He took his time getting dressed though. Silk boxers and an a-shirt were followed by a white button-down shirt. Then came the pants followed by black socks and shoes. Suspenders were already attached to the pants, so he pulled them on over his shoulders next. These were followed by the white vest, or waistcoat as some call it, and last came the long black coat with tails that hung down to almost the back of his knees.

All he had left was the white tie.

He had never been able to tie one. Well, he could tie one, but the ends never came out evenly, so he guessed it was more accurate to say he had never tied one properly. He went in search of Bruce, or someone else who could help him, but Bruce was still getting dressed himself and there didn’t seem to be any servants close-by either.

That was when the door opposite his opened and Rachel came out. She was wearing a strapless dress which was a deep blue tinged with purple. The bodice was form fitting, and the skirt flared somewhat and seemed to be made of a gauze-like fabric that extended to just below the knee. Her shoes matched her dress and had what seemed to be relatively sensible two-inch heels. When she stepped into the light, he could see that her hair was coiffed in an elegant updo of the kind that her rigorous office hours regularly denied her.

Clark thought that her look took ten years off her age, but he wasn’t about to risk her irritation by telling her that, so he settled for kissing the back of her hand, and saying, “You look lovelier than ever, Rachel. Bruce is a lucky man.”

“Thank you, Clark, but don’t use up your newspaperman’s store of superlatives just yet. Wait’ll you lay your eyes on this.” Rachel turned back to the door she had just come out of, and said, “Come on out, Lana.”

When Lana made her way out into the hallway, Clark caught his breath. It was all he could do to whisper, “But he’s not as lucky as me.”

Lana’s silken hair was pulled back just far enough to be off of her neck and ears, and was then allowed to tumble down in an artful confection of loose curls. Clark couldn’t imagine how long it had taken to achieve that effect, but he didn’t begrudge her a single second. He didn’t have long to stare at her hair, however, as the rest of her was demanding equal time.

Clark could tell Lana was wearing cosmetics, but couldn’t tell how many or where. The overall effect was to make her eyes seem to leap right off of her face. They’d always seemed large to Clark, and they were the part of her face he always saw first, now only more so.

As for her lips, they were practically begging to be kissed on the spot, and only the fear of mussing her masterfully painted face kept him from doing just that.

Then, his eyes alighted on Lana’s body and her magnificent dress. It was a one-shoulder dress made of shimmering, pale golden silk. The dress clung closely to Lana’s torso down to her waist, where it was firmly cinched to help emphasize her narrow waist. From there, it fit snugly over the flare of her hips before dropping unimpeded to the tops of her strappy three-inch golden heels. Except for a small slit in front to facilitate walking, nothing of her legs showed, but when Lana turned to close the suite’s door, Clark could see her back was bare down past her shoulder blades. He’d never known a back could be sexy before, but now he knew differently. And as for the swell of her behind as it pushed against the silk? Clark couldn’t risk letting himself think about that.

Lana looked apprehensively at Clark, hoping he’d like what he saw. When she saw him desperately rubbing at his eyes, she knew he did. That allowed her to drink in the sight of him. She loved how this most formal of tuxes only managed to enhance his masculinity and clean-cut good looks. Even his normally unruly hair had cooperated today. He looked like he belonged on top of a wedding cake.

That’s when Lana saw the still untied tie hanging from the hand that wasn’t trying to keep his eyes from burning down Wayne Manor. She stepped up to Clark, took the tie from his hand, and said, “Here, let me do this for you.” She flipped up his shirt collar and it only took her two tries to get the tie tied perfectly. “There. You’re all squared away.”

In the time that it had taken Lana to tie Clark’s tie, Bruce had come out of the master suite and joined Rachel at the end of the hallway near the opulent double helix staircase. As they waited for their young friends, Bruce was approached by a servant who handed him a message. After reading it twice, he handed it over to Rachel, and said, “We won’t tell them now.”

“Why not? This should be great news for them.”

“Because, for them, this party is about other things. They have a lot to talk about tonight, so we’ll tell them later. Maybe tomorrow morning.”

Not being in on Clark’s request for a special surprise, Rachel guessed.

“You don’t mean…he’s not gonna…is he?”

Bruce held out his arm and Rachel looped hers inside his, as he said, “Yup. At least, I sure hope so.”

Clark and Lana were in their own little world at that moment and were thus oblivious to anything being said at the other end of the hall. They might have stayed there all night, had Bruce not finally called out loudly to get their attention.

“Yes, yes, we know. You’re both very pretty. Now let’s get going.”

Both Clark and Lana laughed at that, and Clark held out his arm for Lana. Like Rachel, Lana looped her arm around that of her man and the two of them headed for the stairs.

“And here I thought you had been as gorgeous as possible at your office Christmas party.” Clark leaned in just a tad, and whispered loudly, “I was wrong.”

“Thank you, Clark. You‘re looking pretty amazing yourself.”

“Just don’t get any more beautiful tonight or else Bruce’s fire insurance premiums will double.”

“I’ll try not to, Clark,” Lana said laughingly. “Let’s get downstairs and get this party started.”

“Agreed.”
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 64-66 (pg 9) 2/5

Postby Cardinal » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:41 pm

Chapter 67

Q and A


Halfway down the stairs, Clark panicked when he realized he’d left his N-space box back in their suite with the suit he’d worn to work that day. He excused himself and hurried back to pick it up. Lana only had to wait a minute before Clark was back at her side. He showed her the box, as a way of explaining why he’d disappeared, before tucking the box into an inside pocket of his tuxedo coat.

Lana eyes rose slightly when she saw what he’d left behind. “Can’t leave that laying around. Too many people’d like to know what’s inside.”

“No chance of that,” Clark replied. “I’ve never told you this, but the box has a lock. It will only open for someone with my exact DNA. If I get around to making one for you, I could do that for you. And then even I couldn’t get in it.”

“Cool! Like a super-portable, extra-large capacity safe.”

“Something like that.”

By the time Clark and Lana reached the foyer, Bruce and Rachel had already stationed themselves at the front door to greet their arriving guests. Clark and Lana decided to move farther back in the foyer, near the bar, to give the early arrivals someone to talk to and something to do other than just drink.

In the few minutes they spent waiting for the first guests to arrive, Lana realized something that made her very happy and served to increase her anticipation: she was personally acquainted with a lot of the guests at tonight’s party, and she considered a good number of them to be her friends, so that meant she was going to get the chance to show off her brand new boyfriend to a lot of her friends. Given that a number of those friends had tried to set Lana up at one time or another, and had probably wondered if she’d ever find someone, this was a chance she was going to relish.

Lana spent most of the cocktail hour reacquainting herself with her old friends and proudly introducing Clark to them. She loved the reaction he generated, whether it was the occasional lip lick from a woman, or a flash of recognition from someone who knew his reputation as a journalist.

The funniest part had been when the publisher of Gotham City’s leading newspaper had tried to recruit Clark to come work for him, while at the same time, his wife was looking at Clark with undisguised lust. Lana wasn’t sure which one of the two Clark had been more concerned about retreating from, but retreat he did.

When Alfred stepped into the foyer and formally announced that dinner was ready, Bruce and Rachel paired up and led their guests into the grand dining room. Bruce and Rachel sat at opposite ends of the very long table, with the rest of the seating arranged to split up couples so that everyone would have someone new to sit by, thereby hoping to increase the liveliness of the party by preventing couples from keeping to themselves all night.

Lana and Clark were seated on opposite sides of the table, but were close enough to each other to share smiles and gazes now and then. Clark was sitting between the mayor’s wife and a woman who was the most powerful industrialist, outside of Bruce, in all of Gotham City. Lana spent her dinner in between Commissoner Gordon and the newspaper publisher that had tried to recruit Clark.

Good food and intelligent conversation made the dinner pass quickly for both Lana and Clark, but they were happy to be side by side once more as the dinner came to a close and the dancing in the ballroom began. Lana had been to this party many times before, so she knew what to expect, but Clark was amazed to find that Bruce had a full band at one end of the room to play live music.

Clark leaned down and whispered, “Somehow, I was expecting a D.J. or a small ensemble. That looks like the Glenn Miller Band or something.”

Bruce overheard that whisper and leaned in to say, “Close. That’s Branford Marsalis’ new band, and this is their first performance.”

“Lots of brass and woodwinds in there. Looks like they even have a singer.”

“Two actually. One woman and one man. Branford says having both expands the number of songs in the band’s repertoire, along with allowing one singer to take a break while the other solos.”

Just then, Clark saw someone he’d somehow missed seeing at dinner, Lex Luthor. While still holding onto Lana with one hand, Clark turned back to Bruce, and asked, “What’s Lex doing here? I thought this was an east coast party.”

“It is…well, mostly anyway. Lex is someone on the rise though, so I like keeping tabs on him, especially given who his father is. Also, our mutual friend Oliver went to prep school with him and says Lex is nothing but bad news.

“So, I make sure to invite Lex to any event I have that he might be interested in. You know how well I have this place covered with electronic surveillance, so if he ever gives even a hint of anything while he’s here, I’ll know.”

“Anything yet?”

“Nope. Nada.”

“Keep looking, Bruce. I’m not sure about him either. He's always been good to me, but he’s also a Luthor.”

Lana had heard enough of what passed between Clark and Bruce to have a good idea of what was going on. She didn’t want to worry about that right now though; she just wanted to dance. So, she led Clark out onto the middle of the parquet floor to be ready when the band started playing. Being that this was mostly an older crowd, Lana was sure they’d get lots of slow dances, which was just fine by her.

Lana didn’t intend to dance every dance with Clark, as she wanted to save a few for her old friends. And since Clark wasn’t a big fan of dancing, she figured all of her dances with him would completely fill his dance card for the night.

Bruce and Rachel didn’t dance much beyond the first dance. Since they were the hosts, they spent most of their time mingling with the guests that remained on the sideline. They did get to spend a fair amount of time watching their closest friends dance like they had been made for each other. The general attractiveness of the couple, along with Clark’s impressive size and Lana’s glimmering golden dress, easily made them the most eye-catching couple on the dance floor.

Lana was right about Clark not being too keen on dancing in general, but whenever she wanted to dance with him, he was more than pleased to grant her wish. It was something in the way she moved that made him feel like he knew what he was doing when he was dancing with her. The one other person he singled out for a dance during the night was Rachel, who had laughingly claimed she was now living the fantasy of every other woman in the room.

Lana had managed to pull Bruce, along with a couple of other old friends, out on the dance floor at various times during the night, but as the big wall clock Bruce had installed for just this night reached eleven-thirty, Lana and Clark were taking it easy in a couple of padded chairs at the far end of the room from the band.

Clark saw Lana eyeing the elegant array of chocolates on one of the nearby tables and asked her if she’d like him to get her some. She smiled and nodded her head sheepishly which was all Clark needed to lever himself off of his seat and head over to the refreshments.

It was in that brief period of time when Lana was off the dance floor and alone that Lex moved in to ask for a dance. Between dancing an acceptable minimum of dances with his escort for the evening, and schmoozing with various bigwigs, his chances to make time with the lovely Miss Lang had been minimal. And if the reports in the Metropolis media were right, Lex knew he’d have to move fast before Clark had her tied up lock, stock, and barrel.

Lana hadn’t seen Lex coming, and his surprise request put her far enough off-balance that she couldn’t come up with a decent impromptu excuse, so she reluctantly agreed. Clark came back just as Lex was leading Lana onto the dance floor. He set down the chocolates and the champagne and watched them closely. He knew Lana felt uncomfortable around Lex and if he saw any signs of her in distress, he was going to cut in immediately.

I guess I ought to clue Lex in about how serious Lana and I are becoming, Clark thought. While I have questions about him, he’s always dealt fairly with me.

As far as Clark could tell, Lex was being a total gentleman. His hands weren’t even remotely close to being in an inappropriate place and he wasn’t holding Lana too closely. Still, her body language clearly stated she wasn’t happy. He hated to do this to Lex, but tonight of all nights, Lana’s feelings came first. Clark walked slowly, hoping Lana would relax and last the song, but no such luck.

Clark reached Lex’s shoulder, tapped it, and asked, “May I cut in?”

Lex had noticed at least some of what Clark had been noticing. When Lana had danced with Clark, it seemed as if the two of them moved as one. Knowing that he was a very good dancer himself, he had expected nothing less than that experience for himself, but Lana’s movements with him had been stiff and off-tempo. And as he tried to make small talk while they danced, he noticed her replies were hesitant and she wasn’t making good eye contact with him.

Baffled by his inability to charm Lana like he could most women, Lex reluctantly gave way to Clark and retreated to the company of the New York fashion model he’d come with.

The instant Clark’s hand touched Lana’s, she brightened up somewhat; it was as if he had thrown a power switch. “What’s wrong, Dear?” Clark asked.

“I don’t know,” Lana said. “Lex seems like a nice guy, but there’s something about him that makes me feel dirty when he touches me.”

They finished out the song and headed back to their seats, where Clark’s small repast of Belgian chocolates and French champagne awaited them. Lana ignored the champagne and dove into the chocolates. They were the ultimate comfort food as far as she was concerned. If she was by herself right now, she’d be pigging out to help erase the lingering bad feelings Lex had given her.

Poor man, she thought. He did nothing wrong and I’ve gone and embarrassed him. But I can’t help the way I feel. Another couple of pieces of the super-creamy milk chocolate made their way down Lana’s throat. I’ve always been a good judge of character though. Maybe Lex is a creep and just hides it well.

Once the chocolate was gone, Clark lifted Lana to her feet and said, “Come on. I know just the thing for you right now.”

“What?”

“I’m not telling. Just come with me.”

Curious now, since she was fairly sure she knew Wayne Manor better than Clark did, Lana walked hand-in-hand out of the ballroom, and down various hallways as they steadily made their way toward the back of the house. Clark stopped a passing servant as they walked and had a whispered conversation with him before the young man went scurrying off.

Once resumed, the walk didn’t stop again until they came to a rarely used secondary door that led out into the expansive gardens. So much for a visit to the greenhouse, Lana thought. She was just about to point out that it was almost midnight on the last day of December, which meant it was undoubtedly far too cold for her very thin dress, when the servant came back to them carrying their long winter coats. Both Lana and Clark warmly thanked the young man for his effort and sent him on his way before Clark helped Lana into her coat. He then pulled on his own while she slipped on her woolen mittens.

As their eyes adjusted to the limited outdoor light, they could see that the weather had done as expected and left a dusting of snow on trees, grass, and bushes. The walkways had been too warm, however, for any snow to accumulate, leaving them nice and bare.

The formal gardens at Wayne Manor weren’t of any one type. Immediately behind the main house was a geometric Italian-style garden that, with its dusting of snow, looked like a lace doily come to life. On one side of the main house was a large maze made of hedges eight-feet high. Clark had no intent of getting lost in there tonight; that was best left for a breezy summer evening. The opposite side of the house from the maze was dominated by the chef’s herb and produce gardens which were barren at this time of year. Far out in a secluded back corner of the expansive property was a contemplative Japanese garden, complete with a lovely tea house, but Clark knew they weren’t going quite that far tonight.

Clark took Lana’s mittened hand and led her on a random-seeming course through the Italian garden. They talked of nothing in particular, which was fine by him as he wanted her to get into a relaxed frame of mind. At the back of the Italian garden, the path dropped off a man-made ledge as they entered another section of the grounds, done in the style of an 18th century English landscape garden. The paths were fewer here, but still blessedly free of snow.

Lana found herself enjoying this time alone with Clark. When she’d lived in Gotham City, she’d never come out here in the winter and seen the way everything looked with a coating of snow. That one added element made a world of difference. To her, just enough grass poked through the thin layer of snow to make it look like frosted shredded wheat.

I can’t believe I’m thinking of food right now after the dinner we just had, Lana thought. Not to mention the chocolates.

Lana wasn’t paying attention to where they were going, because she had no thoughts of a destination. As far as she knew, they were just out for a walk. Clark, on the other hand, could see his goal up ahead on a small rise which had been artificially created to give a commanding view of the landscape garden in every direction. Perched on top of that rise was a large, glassed in gazebo.

Lana finally caught sight of the gazebo, but they were still too low to see inside it yet when she said, “Let’s go inside.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Clark replied.

Lana thought something didn’t look quite right as they approached, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was until they got close enough to see into the gazebo. That’s when she realized it was lit up.

That’s weird, Lana thought. As far as I can remember, the gazebo doesn’t even have electric lights, though there are a few electrical outlets under the benches.

And that’s when they came to the slightly ice-frosted door and she saw the flowers. Flowers were everywhere inside the gazebo. Flowers covered five of the gazebo’s eight sides, leaving the wall-mounted sitting benches free on either side of the door. Lana was shocked and even Clark gasped in awe at the profusion of flowers. He’d asked for some flowers, including a bouquet of irises, but this was far beyond anything he’d imagined.

Once Clark held the door for Lana and they stepped inside, she noticed the air was warm. That wasn’t surprising, given that the flowers wouldn’t have survived in the cold for very long, but the sheer extravagance of having such a display out here, where no one was likely to go at this time of year, was mind-boggling.

Lana also noticed that the light was being provided by two brass candelabras. Looking at the candles, she guessed that they hadn’t been lit for more than a couple of hours.

Clark helped Lana with her coat, and then took off his own before laying both coats on a bench on one side of the doorway. He and Lana sat together on the other side of the door and just enjoyed the riot of color along with the heady floral fragrance. Lana spotted a bunch of irises in the midst of the bank of flowers and asked for one to hold. Clark did better than that by grabbing the entire bunch and handing it to her.

Lana was worried about water dripping off of the iris stems and onto her silk dress, thereby possibly ruining it, but she quickly realized the irises had been carefully bundled as a bouquet and thickly wrapped in tissue paper. That caused a bell to ring in the back of her mind. This wasn’t just a rich man’s extravagance for a party. This had been planned…for her. That thought caused her grin to widen as she dipped her nose into the irises for a good sniff.

“You sneak!” Lana said, as she turned to Clark. “You planned this.”

“I’m guilty as charged, Ma’am.”

“Don’t talk like that, please! It makes me think of work.”

“Sorry, Lana.”

“I wonder how Bruce is heating this place?”

“I asked him when I asked for this favor. He said it’s a combination of thick insulating glass all around us and a radiant heating system under the floor. And before you ask, I have no idea where they’ve hidden the machinery that runs the heating system.”

“You mean I could take my shoes off and walk around barefoot in here?”

“Easily.”

“Good, these heels are beginning to kill me.” Lana kicked off her heels, but stayed seated, with her bouquet nestled in the crook of her left arm. Not caring about his tux, Clark knelt on the floor and began massaging Lana’s little bare feet. He worked on her arches, trying to get the muscles there to relax, and then worked in between the bones right along the pads at the base of her toes, before using his thumb to work over her heel pad. All Lana could do was lean back against the bench’s backrest and moan.

“Oh, God,” Lana said finally. “Keep this up and I swear I’ll be yours forever.”

“Be careful making a promise like that,” Clark said, as he switched to the second foot. “I might just hold you to it.”

Lana was blissfully relaxed by the time Clark finished. She was so relaxed that her mind refused to consider exactly why Clark had asked Bruce to go to all of this trouble for her. She just thought tonight was the most romantic night she’d ever had.

“Lana,” Clark said. It had only begun to register in her pleasure-shrouded mind that Clark was still on his knees. “I brought you here tonight for a reason. A wise man once told me that I needed something or someone in my life to fight for. A reason for all of the things I do. Someone to share my life with, both the burdens and the joys. I’m here with you today, because I’ve found that someone. That someone is you.”

Clark reached into the inside pocket of his tux coat and withdrew his N-Space box. From that box, he withdrew a small plain white box that looked like it was made out of cardboard.

“My dad told me that once you’ve made your mind up about something, there’s no point in waiting, just go ahead and do it.” He lifted the lid off of the box. Lana gasped when she saw the gleam of gold inside. “I don’t expect your answer now, in fact, I want you to take as much time as you need to think about it. It’s just that I couldn’t bear to wait another minute to say what’s in my heart…”

Clark pulled the gold ring out of the box and let the box drop. He held the ring up level with Lana’s eyes and let the diamond solitaire glitter in the flickering candlelight. “…and that is: I love you with all of my heart. I never truly knew love until I met you, and I never want to know anyone else’s love but yours. Lana Elizabeth Lang, will you give me the great pleasure of becoming my wife? Will you marry me?”

Clark looked at Lana with that special mixture of hope and fear that all would-be fiancés share. His heart was in her hands now, and it was beating so hard that he thought it might burst out of his chest and end up in her hands literally.

Lana was transfixed by the ring. The longer she looked at it, the more she began to wonder what it would feel like on her ring finger. She wanted to know the feel of the cool metal as it slid up her finger to rest against her hand. She wanted to belong to Clark. She wanted him to belong to her. She wanted to marry Clark.

She wanted to say yes.

But first, she needed to make sure. She moved her gaze to Clark’s eyes and probed their depths. Someone once said that the eyes are windows on the soul. Looking into Clark’s soul, she saw no doubt, only certainty and burning love.

He was sure.

And so was she.

“I want nothing more than to be yours, and for you to be mine. Now and forever.” Lana’s eyes were shining with unshed tears. “Yes, Clark, I will marry you.”

Lana shifted her bouquet to her right arm and held out her left hand. Clark eagerly slipped the ring on her finger before they leapt to their feet for a passionate kiss. The kiss went on and on, and it felt like the culmination of a lifelong search by each of them for their other half. They knew there was a period of engagement to come, followed by a wedding ceremony, but it felt to both of them like now was the beginning of their new life together.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 64-66 (pg 9) 2/5

Postby Cardinal » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:47 pm

Chapter 68

Parental Concern


When Clark and Lana finally broke their kiss, the first thing she did was hold her hand up to see the engagement ring better in the candlelight.

“It’s so beautiful!” Lana said. She used the thumb and forefinger of her right hand to roll the ring left and right to allow the square-cut, one-carat diamond to catch the light and sparkle.

“Does it fit? I don’t know your ring size, so I didn’t want to risk having it resized until I knew.”

Lana looked up at Clark. “It’s a little bit big, but like you said, we can get it resized at a jeweler’s shop.” She looked back at the ring, and asked, “Where’d you get this? Where’d you even find the time to go out ring shopping?”

“I didn’t buy it. It was a gift.”

“Surely not from Bruce or Rachel. They’ve already done quite enough for us just by flying us out here and arranging that gazebo.”

Clark took Lana’s hands and placed her fingers in the palms of his hands, so that the backs of her hands were facing up. Capturing her eyes with his, Clark raised one hand, and then the other, to his mouth, where he gently kissed each hand in turn.

“Not Bruce or Rachel. That ring came from my mom.”

“Martha?”

“Yeah. It was originally the ring that Grandpa Kent gave to Grandma Kent when they got engaged. Grandma died long before my dad met my mom, and since everyone says Grandpa Kent didn’t like wasting things, he gave the ring to my dad to give to his intended bride. And since Dad died when I was a senior in high school, Mom went ahead and gave it to me a few years ago, in the hopes that I’d need it for a bride of my own someday.”

Lana looked at her ring again, this time with the knowledge that she was wearing an heirloom ring. This ring has adorned the left hands of two previous generations of Kent women, she thought, and it’s now starting on its third. She could imagine Martha looking at this very same ring thirty or more years ago, and she hoped Martha had loved Jonathan back then as much as she herself loved Clark today.

“Come on,” Clark said, “let’s go back inside. We’ve got an announcement to make.”

Clark helped Lana with her coat and then pulled on his own coat while she wriggled her right hand into its mitten. She refused to put a mitten on her left hand, however, as that would keep her from looking at her ring whenever she felt like it. And right now, she felt that urge roughly every other second.

Once Clark gave the iris bouquet back to Lana, he held the door open for her and then blew out the candles before joining her outside. They had walked a wandering path to reach the gazebo, but there was a more direct path that would greatly shorten their return walk. As they started down that path, Lana said, “You know our parents will think we’re out of our minds, don’t you?”

“Oh yeah. Mom will be stunned that her son, who is almost thirty and has rarely even been serious about a woman, is suddenly engaged.” He thought a bit more, then added, “But she will be happy for me. What’ll your folks do?”

“Mom likes you, and since she just wants me to be happy, she should come around rather quickly. Dad, on the other hand, has always been extra protective of me…especially when it came to boys. He may be a tougher nut to crack.”

Clark just flexed the thumb and forefinger of one hand as if he was using them to break nuts barehanded.

Lana giggled slightly. “Not like that, Silly!”

“Then I guess I’ll have to break out the ol’ Kent Charm.”

“He’s a dad. I think that makes him mostly immune to being charmed by his daughter’s boyfriend.” Lana looked at Clark and arched one eyebrow. “Which is just how I expect you to be when we have kids.”

Clark chose that moment to trip, even though the path was perfectly smooth. “You want kids?” he asked. “How many? When do we start?”

“Yes, Clark, I want kids. Lots of them.”

“Me too.”

“Seems like only children always want lots of kids.” Lana shrugged her shoulders. “As for how many, I’m not sure. Right now, I’d say three or four, maybe more.”

“You’re ambitious, even in love.” Clark nudged Lana with an elbow as he thought about how many kids he’d like to have. “I don’t have a set number I’d like for us to have. I guess we could have as many as you can have safely and as we can afford. As for when to start, that’s probably the hardest question to answer right now.”

“Yeah. That’ll take some planning on our part. I just hope we aren’t blessed with any early accidents.”

Soon, they walked back up the man-made ledge and into the Italian garden. Once there, they began to hear faint strains of music and merriment from inside the house. The door they had used to leave the house was still unlocked, and they used it to reenter.

“Sounds like a good party in there,” Clark said, as he tilted his head in the general direction of the ballroom. “Think we should rejoin it and make some friends of ours very happy?”

“Yeah,” Lana said, as they walked. Clark was leading them to the front door since he wasn’t too sure which room they were using for the coat check tonight. He wanted to hand off his and Lana’s coats and return to the party. He knew his hosts would love to hear the news.

As they handed off their coats, and had someone take care of the irises, Lana said, wistfully, “I wish I had my cell.”

“Why?”

“So I could call my parents. It’s still not midnight back in Kansas; I know they’ll both be up drinking non-alcoholic egg nog and watching the celebration in Times Square on television.”

Clark quickly steered Lana into a currently unused side room and pulled his cell phone out of the N-space box. “Here you go. Call ‘em now.”

“Really?” Lana asked. Her question was rhetorical, as her hands eagerly grabbed the phone and began dialing.

Hearing the cordless home phone ring, Lewis grabbed the handset and checked its caller ID. When he saw that it was Clark calling him, he tensed up. Something must be wrong with Lana. There’s no other reason for her boyfriend to call us this late. With great trepidation, and the first two fingers on his other hand crossed, Lewis accepted the call.

After five chirps from Clark’s phone, Lana heard her father’s voice on the line. “Daddy!” she said brightly.

All Lana heard then was a momentary gasp of breath as Lewis let out the breath he’d unconsciously been holding. “Oh, hi, Baby,” he said, when his breath returned. “What’s got you calling us at this time of night? Are you and Clark drunk and in need of a ride or something?”

“No,” Lana rolled her eyes. “Get Mom on the other line. I have something to tell you both.”

Lana could hear her dad’s voice yelling across the house, telling her mom to get the bedroom phone. She couldn’t hear her mother’s reply, but when her dad replied by saying, “I don’t care who’s about to sing next; get on the phone, our daughter needs to tell us something.”

Lana could just imagine her mom’s muttered comments as she headed for the master bedroom. She heard a faint click and then her mom’s voice.

“Hi, Lana. I thought you weren’t allowed to contact us.”

“Not normally, no. But I’m using Clark’s phone, and we’re in another state, so it would be hard for anyone trying to track my calls to find out I’m still close to you.” Knowing that both parents were on the line and listening, Lana took a deep breath and plunged in. “Mom? Dad? I want you both to know that Clark proposed to me tonight, just after midnight Eastern time.”

Anything Lana tried to say after that was drowned out as Laura let loose with a sound that was somewhere between a delighted squeal and a primal scream. As for Lewis, he was sure he’d heard Lana correctly, but he couldn’t imagine anyone proposing after knowing his intended for only three weeks. Hell, we just met the boy a week ago. He seems nice and it was obvious they both love each other, but new love often fades. And if it does, what will they do then? Taking small consolation from something he hadn’t heard, Lewis thought, At least my baby’s not pregnant.

Lewis waited until Laura settled down, before he asked the pertinent question: “What did you say?”

Lana wondered if it was possible to transmit happiness over the phone line. “I said yes.”

“I knew it. I knew it!” Laura said.

“How'd you know, Laura?” Lewis wondered.

Straining to mask her incredulity at her husband’s lack of understanding, Laura said, “I know because she wouldn’t have called us just before midnight to let us know she’d rejected him. Only an acceptance would be important enough.”

Lana couldn’t tell if they were happy for her or not, because it sounded to her as if they were about to have a small fight. She wasn’t going to allow that on her big night, though, so she stepped in and asked, “So, what do ya think?”

Laura’s reply was immediate. “Are you sure? Three weeks isn’t much time for a decision of this size.”

“Mom,” Lana said, “when you know, you know. Clark’s the one.”

“Well, if you’re sure, then you two have my blessing. I think Clark’s a lovely young man.” Laura hesitated and then added quickly, “I’m so happy you’ve finally found someone, Lana.”

“Me too,” Lana replied. She’d been right about her mom. From countless phone calls over the years, Lana had known that all her mother had ever wanted was for her daughter to find a balance in her life: that special someone who could help her focus on something besides her stressful job. Having been given her wish in the form of a man she had already met and approved of was just icing on the cake.

“What about you, Dad?”

Lana was wary of her father’s response. She knew she’d always been his ‘little girl’ and that he wasn’t in any kind of a hurry to hand her over to some guy. Especially a guy he didn’t know that well yet.

“Well, Baby,” Lewis said finally. “I love you. Always believe that. But…are you out of your freaking mind?”

Lana could tell her dad was worked up, but she almost felt like laughing at his predictable response. “No, Dad. Other than work, Clark’s all that’s been on my mind since almost the day we met. He’s kind, warm, caring, and self-sacrificing. He’s fun to be with and sees me as his equal. In the three weeks I’ve known him, Clark’s opened up to me like no other guy, no matter how long I've known them, ever has. He’s sharing his life with me and I’m sharing mine with him. We truly were made for each other, and as he told me when he proposed, 'Once you’ve made up your mind on something, there's no point in waiting.'

“I love him and he loves me. I've made up my mind, Dad. I'm going to marry him.”

With a recommendation like that, Lewis thought it possible that the Pope would soon announce Clark’s candidacy for living sainthood. No one’s that good, Lewis thought, well, except maybe for Superman. He sat back and scratched his head. Humph, there it is again; the thought of Clark Kent being Superman. Let’s see what kind of rise I can get from Lana.

“Okay, Dear. If you’re sure he’s that super, then we’ll be behind you one-hundred percent. Just make sure there’s enough time before the wedding so you can make sure.”

Lana just about choked when she thought she’d heard her dad put an unusual emphasis on the word ‘super.’ She fought to keep her eyes off of Clark as she felt a wave of panic rise in her gut. What does he know? What does he suspect? Will Clark want to tell him?

“Thanks, Dad,” Lana said. She figured that was likely as good of a reaction as she was going to get from him right now. “I’ve gotta go now, so Clark can call his mom. You two enjoy yourselves. I love you both.”

“We love you, too,” her parents said together.

Clark could see that Lana had been disturbed by something during the phone call, but decided to leave it for later. He took his phone back from her and dialed the number two name on his speed dial.

“Clark? Is that you? Hi!!” Martha was pleased to hear from her son. She knew he was safe, how could he not be, so she figured he was calling to wish her a happy new year like he always did on the New Year’s Eves when he wasn’t visiting Smallville.

“Hi, Mom.” Lana poked his shoulder, and when she’d gotten his attention, she waved her hand ‘hello.’ “Lana says hi, too.”

“Tell Lana I said hello, please, Clark.”

Clark pulled the phone away from his face for a second, and said, “Mom says hi, Lana.”

With the phone back next to his face, Clark asked, “Are you enjoying the new year’s celebrations? Did you go to a party, or were you just waiting for me to call?”

“I decided to take a pass on either throwing or attending a party this year, so I was mostly just waiting for your call. ”

“You know me too well,” Clark said, with a smile. “But this year, I have something more for you than just good wishes.”

“Oh yeah? What?”

“Are you sitting down?”

Martha made her way to the living room where plopped down in an overstuffed armchair. “Okay, I’m sitting down now.”

“Mom, I proposed to Lana just a few minutes ago…and she said yes!” Clark paused and heard nothing but silence from the other end. What he couldn’t see was that Martha’s other hand had raised up to cover her mouth. She was in complete shock. True, she had decided a week ago at Christmas that Lana would end up marrying Clark, but she had no idea it would happen so soon. “Mom? Are you still there? Lana’s wearing your ring.”

That snapped Martha out of her shock. “It was my ring, Clark. Now it’s hers.” Martha could hear the excitement in her son’s voice. She didn’t want to rain on his parade, but she wanted him to be sure about his choice. “Are you positive that Lana’s the one, Clark? Marriage is a lifetime obligation; you do understand that, don’t you?”

“Yes to both questions, Mom,” Clark said. “My heart’s never felt as safe and secure as it does when I’m with Lana.” Lana blushed with pride upon hearing that heartfelt statement. “And I’ve never been loved more deeply or more fiercely.” Lana’s blush deepened. “I’ve trusted her with my life by telling her my secret, and now I’m trusting her with my heart. I love her. She’s the one.”

Tears were slowly trickling down Martha’s face now. She was so happy, and so relieved, for her son. For years, she had wondered if he would ever find a woman who was open-minded enough to accept his secrets, trustworthy enough to keep them, and strong enough to help him shoulder the weight of his destiny.

“If she’s that special, Clark, then by all means, marry her before she gets away.”

Clark reached up with his free hand and used a feather-light touch to stroke Lana’s cheek. Her nearly involuntary reaction was to lean into the caress and enjoy it while her eyes fluttered closed.

“She is that special, Mom. She’s all that I told you and so much more.” Lana’s hand rose up to grasp his fingers and ease them away from her face. Her body felt like it was on fire from head to toe; if she didn’t stop Clark right now, she might end up attacking him before they left the room.

When Clark finally said goodbye and ended the call, Lana said, “I want to jump your bones so bad right now, Clark.”

That’s something a guy never tires of hearing from the woman he loves, and Clark was no exception. “Great minds think alike,” Clark said. He kissed Lana hard and fast, but long enough for him to notice how warm her lips had become. “But we still have to tell Bruce and Rachel.”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

“Come on,” Clark said with a wink. “We’ll just pop in, let them know, and head upstairs. Then you can jump me like I’m a pogo stick.”

Lana snickered as she thought about the stick she was going to be jumping as soon as possible. “Yes, Dear, I’m looking forward to it.”

The devilish look in Lana's eyes let Clark know exactly what she was looking forward to. Of course, he didn’t really need to see her eyes to know that, because it was what he was looking forward to himself.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 64-66 (pg 9) 2/5

Postby Cardinal » Sun Feb 06, 2011 2:58 pm

Chapter 69

Congratulations


Now that they’d told their parents, their last obligation of the evening was to tell their hosts. Lana slipped her right hand into Clark’s left one as they left the room they’d used for the phone calls and headed for the nearby ballroom.

Once at the ballroom door, they quickly outlined how they wanted to tell their friends. Lana was fairly bursting with the need to show someone…anyone…her ring, but since Clark said Rachel didn’t even know a proposal was coming, they decided to play up the drama a little bit.

Clark left Lana at the door and stepped inside just long enough to find the nearest servant. “Could you find Bruce and Rachel and ask them to meet us out in the hallway? Please?”

“Yes, Sir. Right away, Sir.”

The servant glided off into the ballroom, where the party was just beginning to pick up steam again after a short New Year’s speech from Bruce about his hopes for the new year.

Clark rejoined Lana and she wasted no time in reclaiming his hand. It wasn’t long before Bruce and Rachel disengaged themselves from the party and joined their friends in the hall.

“What’s up?” Bruce asked.

“Where did you two sneak off to?” Rachel asked. From what she could see, Lana’s makeup was still fairly pristine, so they hadn’t been involved in a heavy makeout session. Not that she would have minded in the least if they had; it just would’ve been fun to tweak them both about it.

“We went outside for a moonlit stroll through the gardens,” Clark said.

Rachel looked at Clark and then at Lana, waiting for someone to indicate that he was joking. When all they did was continue to smile the largest grins she’d ever seen on a couple, Rachel bit.

“You two do know it’s below freezing out there? Right?”

“Oh yeah, but we dressed warmly,” Lana replied. “Besides, the gazebo was nice and warm by the time we got there.”

Bruce could tell from the way Lana was hiding her left hand that she had accepted Clark’s proposal, so he was having a hard time keeping his mouth shut as his best friends shared their news. He was glad he hadn't told Rachel about the impending proposal ahead of time, because he knew she would’ve been a bundle of nerves all day long. That would have ruined her chance to enjoy her own party, and she might have inadvertently tipped Lana off that something was up.

“The gazebo?” Rachel asked. “Admittedly, it’s got the best views in the landscape garden, but that’s a long walk to take for a sight of snow-covered grass.”

“Yeah,” Clark said, “but there was something out there I wanted to show to Lana.”

“And? What was it?”

Lana lifted her left hand so that the gold band and its square-cut diamond were clearly visible, and said, “Just this.”

Rachel’s eyes widened rapidly, and so did her mouth. Then she shifted her gaze from the ring, to Lana, then to Clark, back to the ring, over to Bruce, and back to Lana once more. The surprised ‘O’ that Rachel’s mouth had made quickly changed to a grin that was as wide and as happy as those worn by Lana and Clark.

“NO WAY!!” Rachel shouted. She reached across and grabbed Lana’s hand, lifting it close to her face to inspect the ring. She then looked back up at Lana. “Is this real? Are you two…?”

“Engaged? Yes!!”

That was all Rachel needed to hear. She reached across and pulled her best friend into a powerful hug, one-of-a-kind couture dresses be damned. The women were shrieking with excitement, so much so that Alfred stuck his head out of the door to see what was going on. A quick glance told him all he needed to know, and he turned back toward the ballroom, but not before Clark caught his eye and whispered a very appreciative ‘thank you.’ A slight dip of his head and a ghost of smile were the only indications Alfred gave that he’d heard Clark before he pulled the doors closed behind him.

Bruce and Clark shook hands. Clark’s eyes were as bright as his smile.

“Congratulations, Clark.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re a lucky man.”

Clark couldn’t agree more. “You got that right.”

“Just do one thing for me.” Bruce said.

“Name it.”

They’d already released their handshake, and Bruce put an arm around Clark to pull him down the hallway. “You’ve made a good start of things with Lana already. Openness and honesty don’t come easy for people in our line of work, but it’s required if you two are going to make this work.”

“I know…”

Clark’s reply was stopped in mid-sentence, as Bruce waved him to silence. “Just listen for a minute. I’m not done yet.” He took a deep breath and continued. “I’ve been doing this balancing act for years. The thing you don’t know yet is that just keeping Lana informed isn’t enough.” Bruce could see he had Clark’s undivided attention now. “You’ll need to, as much as possible, make her a part of your decision-making process. Obviously not in the small details of your life as Superman, as she’ll be busy with her job and those kinds of decisions have to be made on the spot, but in the big things. Make her your partner, not just your supporter and sounding board.”

“A full partnership,” Clark said musingly.

“In the long run, it’s the only way to go. Rachel never would’ve married me otherwise.”

“I love Lana, but what does she know about being a superhero?”

Bruce shrugged his shoulders. “Nothing. But that’s not the point. She comes into this relationship with a completely different perspective on things. She can help you see things better, if you let her. It’s like the difference between seeing things in 2D or in 3D. Lana can help add that extra dimension.

“When Rachel and I finally started dating, we had to haggle out a laundry list of issues…and with her input, I made some serious changes in my approach as Batman. Now that I’m getting older, she’s even convinced me to look at taking on a partner, someone who might end up being my successor.”

Clark leaned back against a wall and gave a low whistle. “Wow. So, you got a Tonto picked out yet, Kemosabe?”

“Not yet, but I have located a promising candidate.” Bruce eyed Clark, wondering how many of his own hard lessons his young friend was going to have to learn on his own. “Anyway, make Lana your partner in your life as Superman, and she’ll affect you in ways you can’t even imagine yet. It’s the best advice I can give you.”

The two men tapped fists and returned to their ladies, who were waiting near the door to the ballroom.

Clark and Lana started to make their apologies and head for their suite, but Bruce and Rachel weren’t having it. They insisted on interrupting the party to make a big, splashy announcement with champagne toasts and dancing to celebrate. Clark was unmoved by his hosts’ pleas; in his mind, he had an appointment to keep that involved a very warm and willing woman and a comfortable bed. Bruce shifted his focus to Lana

“Come on, Lana,” Bruce chided. “There are a lot of your friends in there. People who would want to share in your joy.”

Lana grumbled something about it being ‘emotional blackmail,’ but agreed to let Bruce and Rachel have their fun.

“Wait out here,” Bruce said. “I’ll have Alfred open the door when it’s time for you two.”

“Oh great!” Clark said. His sarcasm wasn’t lost on Lana. She just rubbed the back of his hand and waited patiently.

Bruce had a word with Alfred and then made his way to the bandstand, while Rachel snagged two tulip cups of champagne off of a passing waiter’s tray and joined her husband. Bruce had a quick word with the bandleader before borrowing a microphone from one of the band’s singers.

“Honored guests,” Bruce began, “I’d like to have your undivided attention, please.”

It took several iterations of that request before the dull roar of conversation and laughter subsided enough for everyone to hear him. The guests then craned their necks to see what Bruce had in store.

“I’m happy to see so many of my friends here tonight…but something else I see, is a roomful of people who have been blessed, none more than myself. As members of the ‘haves,’ I’m calling on you all to remember your duty to share your good fortune with those who need it most, for a society is judged not by its art or its literature, but by the way it treats its least able citizens: the old, the infirm, the insane, the sick, and the children.

“And that brings me to my purpose up here.”

At that moment, Alfred sent the waiters through the room with trays freshly stocked with tulip cups of champagne. This wasn’t just any old champagne either; it was the finest he owned. It was Krug Clos du Mesnil, and he’d been saving it for a special occasion. Once he’d learned of Clark’s planned proposal, he knew that time had come. The waiters made sure every guest had one of the distinctive tulip cups before withdrawing. Alfred stayed in place at the doors to let Lana and Clark in when it was time.

“I have two very close friends here tonight who have dedicated their lives to helping others. One is a woman most of you know, Lana Lang. She spent five years in Gotham City working with Rachel in the D.A.’s office. Just three weeks ago, we said goodbye to her as she left us to return to her hometown of Metropolis to take up a new position as the Deputy District Attorney there.

“The second friend is her escort this evening. His name is Clark Kent, and though most of you don’t know him, and those who do know him by reputation only, know this about him if you learn nothing else: he’s won numerous journalism awards, including two Pulitzers, for using his writing talents to expose the kinds of people that prey on the weak.

“They met only nineteen days ago, and I have to say, it was just about hate at first sight. But sometimes…sometimes first impressions are wrong, and I’m glad to say that’s the case here. In three short weeks, Lana and Clark have gone from hate to the most intense kind of love; I can’t think of a better or more deserving couple.

“And tonight, while the rest of you were kissing at midnight, Clark was on his knees before Lana in the gazebo, as he proposed marriage.” A shocked murmur rippled across the ballroom. Bruce knew his guests were wondering about the short period of time Clark and Lana had known each other.

Alfred opened the door, and as he did, the male singer started singing softly in the background, with equally soft accompaniment by the band, the Chicago classic “You’re the Inspiration.”


You know our love was meant to be,
The kind of love that lasts forever.
And I want you here with me,
From tonight until the end of time.
You should know, everywhere I go.
You’re always on my mind, in my heart, in my soul.

You’re the meaning in my life,
You’re the inspiration.
You bring feeling to my life,
You’re the inspiration.
Wanna have you near me.
I wanna have you hear me sayin’.
No one needs you more than I need you…



As the song continued, the crowd parted to allow Lana and Clark to make their way to the center of the room, where Bruce gestured for them to stop. They were hand-in-hand and all alone in the middle of the dance floor, as the crowd had moved back far enough to leave a wide path all the way to the bandstand.

Rachel took the mike from Bruce, and said, “Clark Kent and Lana Lang have committed their lives to helping others. Now, they’ve committed themselves to something just as important: each other. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this will be a throwaway marriage, agreed upon in haste and disposed of just as easily. Not these two. These are two very serious people who don’t make commitments lightly. They’re two of a kind really, which may explain the speed of their engagement. When you know you’ve found your other half, why wait?”

Bruce took the mike back. “I’d like to propose a toast: I hope marriage is as fulfilling for the both of you as it is for Rachel and me.” Bruce took a cup from Rachel and raised it. “To Lana and Clark.” The crowd raised their cups and echoed Bruce’s salute. Lana blushed prettily, while Clark looked decidedly uncomfortable to be the center of attention at this moment.

Before the crowd could close in on the newly engaged couple to offer their congratulations, and more importantly from Bruce’s point of view, before Clark and Lana could try to make their escape, Bruce said, “Lana and Clark flew in from Metropolis today to be with us, so both of them are tired and are anxious to get some sleep. But before they go, I’d like for them to dance one time for us.” On cue, the band switched songs and Bruce handed the mike back to the singers, as they’d both be needed for this song: the duet arrangement of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable.”

As the song began, the room lights dimmed and then went out completely. The only illumination was provided by a solitary ceiling-mounted spotlight that shone down on Lana and Clark. I thought I’d never get a chance to use that thing, Bruce thought.


Unforgettable, that's what you are
Unforgettable, though near or far
Like a song of love that clings to me
How the thought of you does things to me
Never before has someone been more



Clark and Lana glided across the dance floor, their steps seemingly in perfect unison. Clark seems to move better each time we dance, Lana thought. I feel like Ginger Rogers to his Fred Astaire.

Clark was enjoying himself too. It seemed to him that when he had Lana in his arms, the rest of the world just fell away. She made it easy for him to relax and enjoy himself.


Unforgettable, in every way
And forever more, that's how you'll stay
That's why, Darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too…



As the song went on, Lex watched from a spot near the front of the crowd. He could see the way they looked at each other, they way they held each other, and the way they moved together. What they had between them was undeniable, even for someone as jaded as he was.

He could only admire and wonder at what might have been. He’d seen Lana once or twice on the news on his infrequent trips to Gotham City during the past several years, but it wasn’t until she came to Metropolis that his interest had been piqued.

He’d had his personal assistant research her past, and found impeccable academic credentials, the kind that would’ve gotten her a six figure salary straight out of law school, had she chosen to join one of the many established law firms that had been competing for her services. With her current experience and demonstrated courtroom wizardry, he knew she could draw a salary in the range of $500K a year if she chose to leave public service.

Seeing her up close and personal at the D.A.’s Christmas party had sealed the deal for Lex. He’d been completely captivated by her beauty and grace, and had been determined to make her his.

Who would’ve thought Clark Kent would move so fast? Lex wondered ruefully. I never would’ve pictured Clark as the type of guy who’d toss caution to the wind and act on his passion. I guess I was wrong.

The song had ended by now, and Clark and Lana were still holding each other close. The crowd started chanting ‘a kiss, a kiss.’ Clark’s descending lips met Lana’s onrushing ones in a kiss of unbridled passion. The crowd cheered and applauded lustily as the kiss went on and on. Only the fact that Lana finally ran out air got them to break the long kiss. At that moment, the room lights came back on, and the spotlight faded away. The crowd started to line up to offer their congratulations to the newly engaged couple.

Lex had very nearly been drooling by the end of the kiss. It had been so passionate that watching it almost made him feel dirty. He couldn’t believe how lucky Clark was. Brains, beauty, passion…what more could a man want? Clark just got to her first. Oh well, Lex thought, as he admitted defeat, Lana has set a standard for the kind of woman I want that will be hard for any woman to match. I guess I’d better get in line and congratulate them on their big night.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction

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Re: Somebody to Love (SV,Clark/Lana,Adult) Ch 67-69 (pg 9) 2/6

Postby Cardinal » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:31 am

Chapter 70

Pleasure


It was a long time before Lana and Clark were able to escape the crowd of well-wishers in the ballroom, but that time did finally come. Arms intertwined as they walked toward the double-helix spiral staircase, they were enjoying the end of a most satisfying night, with Lana still sneaking peeks at her ring, as if she was somehow afraid it might escape if she didn‘t keep an eye on it.

Their progress up the staircase was slow due to the fact that Clark kept stopping them every few steps for kisses. Lana enjoyed the kissing fully as much as Clark did, but she was ready for more, and impatient to get to it.

“Clark,” Lana said, as she came up for air on one such occasion, “not that I don’t love kissing you, but if we keep this up, I’m going to have you right here, right now.”

“That sounds terrible,” Clark whispered, as he leaned in for a nibble while an older couple passed by in the foyer below them, “but I don’t think you'd want an audience.” Between nibbles, he added, “Besides, that would be uncomfortable for you, not to mention it leaving tread marks on your ass.”

Pressed up against the staircase’s railing, Lana gave into the feelings generated by the touch of Clark’s lips on her neck. Her hands flew to his neck and began loosening the white bowtie that she had tied for him a few hours earlier. By the time his lips released their hold on her neck, the tie was undone, and so were the top three buttons of his shirt.

Clark could feel the sudden, and welcome, release of pressure around his neck. “Seems like you weren’t kidding,” he said. He bent his legs just long enough to pick up Lana and cradle her in his arms. He didn’t use super-speed just in case someone was around, but wasted no time in rushing up the remaining stairs and down the hallway to the door of their suite, where he set her back down.

Lana didn’t worry about smoothing the rumples in her silk dress, instead, she took hold of both ends of the dangling bowtie and began to toy with them as she gazed into his eyes.

She couldn’t imagine ever tiring of looking into those jade green eyes. Whenever she looked there, she always saw love; a love that she returned wholeheartedly. Right now, she was intent on expressing that love physically.

Using the tie as a makeshift rope, she pulled on each end to bring his face down for a kiss. When she finally released him, she fluttered her eyelashes at him, and teased, “You did remember to bring a condom this time? Didn’t you?”

A condom?” Clark snorted. “I brought the whole damn box.”

“Oh, Good Boy!” Lana purred.

She used the bowtie to pull Clark down for one more kiss as his hands fumbled blindly behind her for their suite’s door handle. Being Clark, his hands found her behind and gave it a thorough caress and a firm squeeze before they finally located the handle and opened the door. With the door finally open, Lana backed through it, pulling Clark along with her. As he passed through the doorframe, he just managed to touch the door with the toe of his shoe and kick it closed.

At that same moment, Lex was well on his way to the same private airport that Bruce’s plane used. The LuthorCorp jet was fueled and ready, waiting only his arrival to begin takeoff procedures. The rented limo glided effortlessly down roads that were only sparsely populated with cars. If he’d thought about the other cars at all, he’d have thought they were mostly filled with other revelers returning home after a long night of celebration, and he would have been right.

But Lex had never been one for wasting time thinking about lesser people, and in any case, his mind was already focused on something. Lana Lang had been a pleasant distraction during the party, but thoughts of her had been put aside when he stepped into the limo. She was pleasure, this was business.

Just before leaving the plane earlier this evening, he’d received word that Morgan Edge had been killed in a shower room brawl in prison. He’d been pleased that Superman and Supergirl had kept Miss Lang alive long enough to force his father’s hand. Lex knew the old bastard must have struggled with the need to have one of his few remaining friends executed, but it had been a necessary first step in Lex’s own plan; a plan that had finally been put into action.

Now, Lex was nervous. His strike team was well-prepared and well-trained. They’d have the element of surprise and they heavily outnumbered his father’s vaunted LuthorCorp security team. Still, he knew that even the best of plans could go wrong, sometimes for the dumbest reasons.

So he had to wait.

Lex hated waiting.

For anything.

At all.

It really got on his nerves.

Finally, the limo reached the plane, and its secure video conferencing links. If everything had gone well, he’d be able to fire up the video conferencing setup once they were safely in the air, and have a conversation he’d been dying to have ever since he’d learned the truth about Grandma and Grandpa Luthor.

Since this small airport had no air traffic to speak of at this time of night, Lex was quickly airborne and sitting in a leather-clad seat in the plane’s small conference room. The video link was on and he was relishing what he hoped would come next.

Right on cue, a haggard Lionel Luthor came into view. It was obvious from the scrapes and contusions visible on his face that he’d been roughed up during or after capture. Knowing his father, his mouth had likely earned him whatever beating had been bestowed upon him.

“Hi, Dad,” Lex said smugly. “I bet you weren’t expecting to see me tonight.”

“Lex,” Lionel said. His voice was flat, virtually emotionless. Now that Lionel knew who it was who had ordered his kidnapping, he knew he was unlikely to survive the night…unless Superman happened to find him. What irony! Lionel thought. Hoping for my greatest enemy to save me from my own son. “This…is an unexpected betrayal, to say the least.”

“Oh, come on, Dad! You're the one that taught me ‘the greater the trust, the greater the betrayal.’ Right?”

Lionel started to go on about how he’d never done any such thing, but Lex had had enough of him. He gave one gesture and a meaty fist shot out of nowhere to strike a crushing blow to Lionel’s jaw. Lionel was in agony. He wanted to hold his jaw to support it and ease the pain, but found he couldn’t bear to have his jaw touched.

“Jaw broken, Dad? You really ought to watch what you say.” Lex shook his head as if what had happened to his father was of no moment. “I want to make this short and sweet. Dad? When you get to Hell, make sure you look up your old friend Morgan Edge. I’m sure he’ll be waiting for you…and then,” Lex added, almost as an afterthought, “look up your parents.”

That made Lionel look up at the camera on his end.

“Look them up, and when you find them, tell them that it took me awhile, but I finally got their revenge.”

Lex considered the look on his father’s face to be priceless. If it wasn’t for the danger of keeping evidence around, he’d save that shot and have it made into a 22” x 32” poster suitable for framing. He didn’t say anything else, he just shut down the link. His minions already knew what to do. By first light, Lionel Luthor would be found dead, and there would be enough evidence in various places to make it look like a revenge killing by Intergang.

Lex left the small conference room and returned to the plane’s salon and poured himself a snifter of cognac. He eased himself into a plush leather seat and wondered what his first order of business at the controls of LuthorCorp would be. Maybe I’ll change the name to LexCorp.

When he’d finished thinking about erasing his father’s legacy, his thoughts turned back to the very fine Lana Lang. He’d had to push thoughts of her aside while he dealt with business, but now he had plenty of time for pleasure. Thoughts of pleasure led him to wonder what kinds of pleasure Lana was giving to Clark Kent in return for that pitifully small engagement ring.

Lex had no trouble imagining the kinds of pleasure he’d teach her to give; just thinking of it made him ‘rise to the occasion.’ He thought he might be able to enjoy this fantasy a little bit more, but he knew the LuthorCorp flight attendant might come back to check on him at any time, and he didn’t want to get caught.

The more Lex thought about Lana, the more he became convinced that she deserved more than a man like Clark could ever hope to give her. He liked Clark; they had even become friends of a sort in the few years since Clark had won his first Pulitzer. But Lana was so choice. He decided he couldn’t give her up so easily after all. Sorry, Clark, Lex thought, I hate to have to do this to you, but Lana’s mine.
"In the Name of the King"
-----Winner, Round 15 - Favorite Lead Portrayal of Liz Parker
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Use of a Supporting Character (Jeff Parker)
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best New Fic
-----Winner, Round 15 - Best Period Fanfiction


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