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

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Cardinal
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV, Clark/Lana, Adult) Ch10 (pg 1) 6/11/10

Post by Cardinal » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:04 am

Mary Mary - Thank you for reading, and even more for replying. I'll admit that I'm very seriously considering writing a Roswell/Smallville crossover fic once I finish one of my current stories on another site. A lot of the general structure of that potential fic has already been hashed out in my mind.

* * * * * * * * * *


Chapter 11


No!



Superman stood rooted to the spot, his jaw flapping uselessly at the mind-blowing question he had just heard. He wanted to ask Lana to repeat her question, but his mouth refused to work. Superman wasn’t even sure he could breathe. Lana couldn’t have hurt him more if she had tried to. For her to actually suggest that he was working with the people who had killed Lois and Ed was more than he could take.

Superman stepped back, unwilling to stand close to Lana. For her part, Lana could see the pain writ large on his face. She tried to follow after him, to see why he was so affected by what she had said, but he waved her away. Lana watched in amazement as Superman sank to his knees and began retching on the rooftop. She stepped close enough to hand Superman a tissue which he accepted without comment. When he made it back to his feet, Lana could see tear tracks making their way down through the light coating of urban dust that had accumulated on Superman’s face.

“You weren’t there the day Ms. Lane died in the burning wreckage of her car,” Superman said. “You didn’t have to see Clark’s devastation. He looked like a man whose world had ended. You weren’t there when Ed Kinser died. You weren’t the one that had to let Clark know his best friend, a man he had just spoken to not five minutes before, had been brutally gunned down.”

Superman sniffled, wiped his nose one last time, and then incinerated the tissue while it was still in his hand.

“It’s only because you weren’t there, that I can forgive you for what you said and the careless, almost callous, way you said it.” Superman’s face took on a steely look, with a firm set of his jaw, hooded eyes, and furrowed forehead. He looked menacing now, from his head to his boots. “I’ll thank you to never mention that idea in my presence ever again.”

“But, look at it from my…”

Superman cut her off with a curt hand gesture and a look that suggested she was on dangerous ground.

“Not…another…WORD!” Superman said. Lana could feel the emotions boiling inside of Superman. She was wondering what it would be like if the Man of Steel ever snapped, when he added, “If you're going to suspect Clark, you might as well start suspecting me.” Superman eyed Lana speculatively. “Since my word doesn’t seem to be good enough for you, I know some people whose word should be good enough for you.”

Bowed, but not broken, Lana asked, “Who?”

“Your mentor Rachel Dawes and her husband Bruce Wayne. They know Clark really well. I guarantee you they will be just as positive about this as I am.”

“How do Rachel and Bruce know a reporter from Metropolis at all,” Lana asked, “much less ‘really well?’”

“Just ask them. Tell them ‘Superman told you to ask,’” Superman said tiredly. “Now if you don’t mind, I have a city to return to protecting.”

As she watched Superman take off, Lana was already reaching for her cell phone. Since she didn’t want what she had asked Superman to be overheard by anyone else, she was forced to withstand the cold a few minutes longer while she called Gotham City. First she tried Rachel’s cell, but the call went to voice mail. Then she went one number farther down on her list and called Bruce.

Alfred answered, and when he heard Lana’s voice, the ever-correct English manservant said, “Miss Lang, how delightful to hear from you. Mistress Rachel will be sorry to have missed your call.”

“It’s nice to hear you too, Alfred, but I’m not calling to talk to Rachel. I need to talk to Bruce.”

“Master Bruce is sleeping and not to be disturbed.”

“Please, Alfred? It’s really important and you know me well enough to know I wouldn’t waste his time.”

Lana heard a soft sigh from the other end of the line.

“As you wish, Miss Lang. Master Bruce will be on the line shortly. Please hold.”

Five minutes later, Bruce was wearing a velvet smoking jacket over his silk pajamas and was sitting in a leather chair behind the massive desk in his office when he picked up Lana’s call.

“Lana, my girl, how is your hometown treating you?”

“The town’s fine, Bruce. The weather sucks though and the men are purely confusing.”

“Men? Isn’t this something you should be talking to Rachel about?”

“Not this time. I was told to ask a question of either you or Rachel. Since Rach didn’t answer her phone, I assume she’s in a meeting.”

“So, it’s me by default.”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, Kiddo, talk to me.”

Lana thought for a second as Bruce took his first sip of Alfred’s special brew of coffee. Lana then asked, “Do you think there’s any chance that Clark Kent is working with Intergang?”

“Wha…shit!”

Over the next several seconds, Lana heard a string of increasingly vile expletives coming from the other end of the line until Alfred picked up the handset and said, “I’m sorry, Miss Lang. Master Bruce has had an unfortunate accident. He will be back with you momentarily.”

Lana spent her waiting time wondering what Bruce could have done to himself. When he came back online, she found out.

“Jeez, Lana, you oughta give a guy some warning when you’re going to drop a bomb on him.”

“What did you do, Bruce?”

“Oh, nothing much…just spilled a mostly full cup of steaming hot coffee on a very sensitive area.”

“I’m sorry,” Lana replied as she tried to stifle a giggle.

“So am I,” Bruce replied dryly, “but Rachel’s the one you’ll have to deal with once she learns what you made me do.” Lana was snorting with laughter by now, exactly as Bruce intended. “So, why are you even asking me about Clark Kent?”

Lana calmed down and said, “Superman told me to ask you. He didn’t think I believed him, but he says you and Rachel know Clark really well, and he thought I’d believe you.”

“Oh, Lana!” Bruce said. “Please tell me you didn’t ask Superman if he thought Clark Kent was working with Intergang.”

Lana could hear the pain in Bruce’s voice, which was something she really didn’t expect. A sharp-tongued dressing down or a few snide remarks about her apparent lack of tact was more like what she was expecting. Something weird was going on here.

“Let me explain it to you like this,” Bruce said, matter-of-factly. “You are more likely to work for Intergang than Clark is. He’s been working on breaking that organization since before, well…since before…”

“Since before either Lois Lane or Ed Kinser died?” Lana asked. She could hear the air go out of Bruce with an explosive rush.

“Yeah,” Bruce said somberly. “Their deaths have only increased his passion and determination. This case you’re trying is a big deal to him. Not only will it remove the current head of Intergang, but it may lead to the conviction of many other people, both in and out of Intergang.”

“So…what you’re saying is, I was waaaaaaaay off base.”

“No, Lana, you were a lot farther off base than that, but it sounds like you’re getting the idea.” Bruce paused for a moment and then asked, “Whatever made you suspect him in the first place?”

Lana then went over the evidence she had found, in the order she had found it. By the end, Bruce had to agree that her idea had looked reasonable.

“I don’t generally believe in coincidences either, Lana,” Bruce said, “but in this case, please believe me when I say Clark is as clean as new-fallen snow.”

“Whew!” Lana was elated that Clark wasn’t on the wrong side, but she felt like a jerk for thinking that he might be.

“Don’t worry about Superman, Lana, he may not want to talk to you right now. The next time I talk to him, I’ll explain your thought process to him.”

“Really? Thanks Bruce,” Lana said. “Now I just have to worry about lunch.”

“Why’s that?”

“I’m supposed to meet Clark for lunch at noon, and I feel rotten for thinking ill of him.”

Bruce looked at the cup of coffee he had just sloshed all over his desk, the second cup he had spilled this morning, and thought, I’ve got to remind Alfred to not let me have anything hot the next time I talk to Lana.

“Well, Kiddo, it’s getting to be near to lunch time for you, so I’ll let you go. Call later to let us know how lunch goes.”

“Why?”

“Because we care just as much for you as we do for Clark.”

He couldn’t mean what it sounds like he means…could he? Me and Clark? Nah.
"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) Ch11 (pg 2) 6/16/10

Post by Cardinal » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:04 am

Chapter 12


Lunch Date



Once he and Lana hung up, Bruce immediately dialed Clark’s cell phone, hoping that he wasn’t off somewhere working as Superman. Gotta get that boy straightened out before he sees Lana again or else there’ll be hell to pay.

Clark picked up on the third ring after checking the caller id and said, “Bruce! What earned me a call from Gotham City’s laziest billionaire?”

“Lazy, my ass!” Bruce chuckled.

“Hey, I can’t help it if you don’t have a job,” Clark retorted. He was walking through the lobby of the Daily Planet on his way to meet Lana, something he was no longer looking forward to. Now, he just wanted to be polite, eat quickly, retrieve his coat, and just disappear…except he wouldn’t get to ‘just disappear’ because he had committed himself to spending months by Lana’s side in his capacity as a reporter. “So…really Bruce, why’d you call?”

“There’s something I need to tell you before you meet Lana for lunch.”

“Okay,” Clark replied, “Since you know about lunch, I have to assume she took my advice and called you. How long did it take you to convince her that I’m clean? Or am I going to get arrested the minute I walk into the Siegel Center’s lobby?”

“Hold on there, Clark,” Bruce said. “There are some things you need to hear from me before you get there, because I know you won’t listen to Lana long enough to give her a chance to explain. You two, or maybe I should say you three, if I include Superman, need to be able to work together to accomplish your goals. Goals that Lana happens to share.”

Clark kept walking and he said, “Okay, shoot. But you’d better talk fast, because I’m on my way to meet that cast-iron bitch right now.”

Oh great, Bruce thought, now I’m starting to feel like a marriage counselor for two people who haven’t even dated yet.

“Walk slowly then, Clark, quit being the self-righteous prick you can sometimes be, and actually think about what I’m about to say. If you do, you’ll see Lana actually had a decent reason for what she thought.”

Bruce went on to explain what Lana had learned and in what order she had learned it. Clark had to grudgingly admit that the two, seemingly incredibly lucky, narrow misses might tend to make someone suspicious. Especially someone whose job it is to be suspicious in the first place.

“She still could’ve done a better job of presenting the idea than to just ask if she thought I…” Clark paused in mid-rant when a new thought hit him. “Hmm, how was she supposed to know Superman knows me?”

“Exactly!” Bruce couldn’t resist sticking in the needle just a bit. “Maybe you should just go ahead, tell her your secrets, and get it over with.”

“When pigs fly,” Clark replied, without thinking. “As I recall from your tale of when you and Rachel really started working together, you had been in love with her forever and then you finally decided to trust her with your secret.” Clark ran a hand through his hair as he stepped onto the edge of Schuster Plaza. “As far as Lana and I are concerned, we just met, and while she seems to be dedicated to her job, pleasant when away from work, and more beautiful than the day is long…I don’t know her well enough to trust her with my mother’s secret recipe for chicken soup, much less my secrets.”

“You really need to loosen up, Clark,” Bruce deadpanned. “That was a joke.”

“Oh, well then, maybe I should start off by telling her your secrets, Bruce.”

“Uhh…that’s not funny.”

“Come to think of it, if Lana’s so trustworthy, why haven’t you told her everything?”

Bruce hemmed and hawed before he said, “The fewer people that know, the safer I am. And the safer they are, too.” Bruce paused a beat, then said, “You, on the other hand, don’t need to worry about safety nearly as much as I do.”

“Yeah, yeah. See ya, Bruce,” Clark said as he entered the lobby of the Siegel Center. “Time for me to have lunch, I can’t wait to see if I’ll get Dr. Jekyll or Miss Hyde today.”

“Bye, Clark. You two play nice now.”

“I always play nice,” Clark said to himself as he tucked his cell phone inside his suit coat. “It’s Lana that goes from one extreme to the other.”

Not wanting to do anything that might set Lana off, Clark made sure he was a few minutes early. So he was ready and waiting when Lana came out of an elevator along with a horde of other office workers who were heading out for lunch. Clark could almost hear the click of her pumps on the Italian tile of the lobby floor before he was able to see her.

When she finally got out of the crowd, Clark was pleased to see she had on a sensible dove gray wool coat over her suit. Folded over her left forearm was Clark’s khaki Burberry trenchcoat. He had left his other coat behind at the Planet so he could wear this one and not have to carry a second one around with him.

“Hi, Clark,” Lana said, brightly as she held his coat out to him. “Thanks again for the loan.”

Clark lifted the coat off of her arm and pulled it on as he said, “No problem, Lana. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for women in distress.” Clark finished fastening his coat. “Shall we go?”

Lana led the way out through the revolving door and onto Schuster Plaza, but from there, Clark had to lead the way since she had no idea where Houlihan’s was located. They headed in the general direction of the Daily Planet at a brisk pace. Once they cleared the plaza, Clark hailed a cab. Clark held the door as Lana climbed in.

As Clark followed Lana into the cab, the cabbie asked, “Where ya goin’, Mac?”

“Houlihan’s, please,” Clark replied. Once he found his seat and closed the door, they were off.

At the first stop light, the cabbie looked back in his rearview mirror and said, "Houlihan's? I figured a young pair of lovebirds like you two would be heading to some fancy French place like Le Monde.”

Both Lana and Clark flushed with embarrassment at being mistaken for a couple in love. They glanced awkwardly at each other and then looked away at the same time. The cabbie caught all of this in his rearview mirror before pulling away when the light turned green. Oh, he thought, so that’s how it is. Not sure yet are they?

Both Clark and Lana had a lot of things to talk about, but neither one wanted to talk about anything in front of the cabbie, so an uneasy silence settled over them for the duration of the short drive. They wouldn’t talk, but they kept sneaking peeks at each other, with one hurriedly looking away to keep from getting caught as the other turned in for a look.

Their other senses were working, too. Lana noticed Clark was wearing the same sweet and spicy citrus-based cologne she had smelled on the collar of his trenchcoat the night before, while Clark was quick to pick up on the light floral scent of Lana’s perfume once they were in close proximity.

As the cab pulled up curbside at Houlihan’s, Clark paid and then after climbing out, he offered his hand to Lana to help her from the cab. Lana gratefully accepted his assistance, and soon they were standing just inside what looked like a comfortable English pub. Even though the place looked to be full, a table was waiting for them since Clark had called ahead.

Once seated, Lana took a careful look at a menu before ordering a Cobb salad and sweet tea. Even though he didn’t need a menu, Clark waited for Lana to order first before choosing a Club sandwich with steak fries and a Coke.

“Thanks for asking me here today, Lana,” Clark said, while they waited for their meals to arrive. “There are a few things we need to talk about.”

Curious, and morbidly wondering if he already knew about what she had suggested to both Superman and Bruce, Lana asked, “What?”

“I have an idea for my next series of in-depth articles, but I’d like to run it by you first since it most definitely involves you.”

Lana knew where this was going and couldn’t believe he had the nerve to pretend like his boss hadn’t already called her boss to arrange things.

“Save the spiel, Clark,” Lana said. “Tom already told me about this ‘wonderful’ idea of yours and has made it clear that I’m to cooperate with you in any way possible.”

“But…how does he know? The only person who knows about this is Perry…” Oh, that old man’s gone and stuck his nose in my business again. “I’m sorry, Lana. I had no idea Perry was going to interfere. I wanted to ask for your approval.” Their drinks came, but while Lana took a sip of hers, Clark just played with his straw. “If you don’t like the idea, I can cancel it. I wouldn’t want to make you do something you aren’t completely comfortable with.”

“Thanks, Clark, but no. If it was canceled now, Tom would assume I had leaned on you and from the look he gave me earlier, that might cost me my job.”

“What?” Clark was completely disbelieving of this. He and Tom Bloch didn’t even get along. Why would Tom want to help me? “Would you mind explaining that? Tom and I aren’t even friendly acquaintances. He should take great joy out of getting in my way.”

“I think he’s scared of the power of the Daily Planet and I know he was horrified with the way I humiliated you at my press conference. He sees this as a good opportunity to make things right between me and you…and after what I did today, I’m beginning to agree with 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) Ch12 (pg 2) 6/19/10

Post by Cardinal » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:40 pm

Chapter 13


Dessert



“And that is?” Clark asked.

Despite already knowing exactly what Lana had thought and said, Clark was curious to see just how far she might go in telling him what she’d said. Most people would choose to downplay what they had said and done, but if her conscience was really bothering her, she might tell him everything, along with whatever apology she wanted to make, and that would be a good sign.

“I…” Lana hesitated just a second before diving in. “I was looking into the official records of the death of Ed Kinser, since Superman told me he believes I’m in danger just like Ed was.”

Clark pretended to be surprised by Superman’s official interest. “Really? It’s good to hear he’s taking a personal interest in your safety.”

“Well, he ought to be taking an interest in your safety, too,” Lana replied. “People have tried to kill you twice already…and that’s what got me in trouble.” Lana was embarrassed, but she was determined to set things straight with Clark. “When I learned you had narrowly missed death twice, I, uh, started to get suspicious. In my line of work, we don’t believe in coincidences, so…” Lana took a deep breath and then blurted out “…IwonderedifyoumightbeworkingwithIntergang.”

Lana cringed as she waited for Clark’s reply. She knew that after the bad start they’d gotten off to at the press conference, a revelation of this type couldn’t help their friendship at all. She looked carefully for any sign of anger, or even displeasure, on his face, and when she didn’t find any, she knew he’d already been told.

“I know now that there’s no way you’d ever work for Intergang; a mutual friend of ours straightened me out on that subject. I’m so sorry to have ever suspected you.”

Clark smiled upon hearing Lana’s apology. “Well, at least you learned the truth before letting the general public in on your suspicions.”

“Yeah, that wouldn’t have been good for either of us. Your good name would’ve been smeared, and my reputation as a prosecutor would’ve been ruined.” Lana toyed with her napkin. “Since you’re not tearing my head off, I have to assume Bruce called to tell you what I had suggested.”

“Actually, Superman called me first.”

“Superman has a cell phone?”

“No, at least I don’t think so,” Clark said. “Where would he keep it?”

“Then how…?”

“Well, I bet he knows where a lot of payphones are located, or he may have flown home and called me from his home phone.”

“Superman has a house?” Lana asked.

“I assume so, after all, the guy’s got to sleep sometime, and I bet he has to wash that suit, too.” Clark was curious, so he asked, “Why do you sound so surprised?”

“I don’t know. I guess I just never thought about what Superman does when he’s not flying in the Metropolis sky.” Lana thought for a bit. “How does he pay for a house and a phone and all of the other things that go along with living a normal life? If he has a place to live, he must live there in disguise, or else his neighbors would notice.”

“Whoa, whoa, slow down, Lana.” Clark smiled again as he enjoyed the irony of Lana asking him about Superman’s secrets. “It’s obvious you’re new here in Metropolis. Otherwise you’d know that guessing the answers to those questions is a favorite pastime for the locals. He’d obviously need a regular job, and yes, everybody is sure he disguises himself. It’s just that no one has any idea what that disguise might look like.”

Their lunches finally arrived, and after they each took a few moments to start eating, Clark said, “Anyway, to get back to your original statement, when Superman called me, I was livid. The words to describe how angry I was at you don’t exist. I oughta know, ‘cause words are my life.”

“Sorry,” Lana said again, this time with a very small voice.

“I’d just had enough time to get over my initial rage, and was already on my way to meet you, when Bruce called. He explained how things looked from your side, and, I had to admit, your idea did look reasonable. So, instead of meeting you just long enough to retrieve my coat and thoroughly chew you out, I had to let my anger go. You don’t know how hard that is for me,” Clark said with a helpless smile on his face, “but this makes twice in two days with you. I just can‘t seem to stay mad at you.”

Lana was afraid she’d blush if she looked at Clark, so she looked down at the table and toyed with her salad instead.

Wanting to move their conversation away from a topic that was making Lana uncomfortable, Clark said, “Now, I know your ‘security consultant’ fairly well, and while he means well, he does tend to have some blind spots.”

“Like what?”

“Simple security precautions like varying your routine, especially going to and from work. Don’t leave your apartment building at the same time every day. Maybe once in a while you could take a taxi instead. Or maybe you could take a different set of subway trains to get there. When it comes to lunch, don’t always eat at the same places. Walk sometimes, take a cab others.” Clark leaned in to emphasize his point. “Anything that throws off your predictability makes it harder on the bad guys. They can’t possibly cover every route you could take, so they need to have a good idea of when and where you will be somewhere to set up an ambush.”

“You’re serious.”

“…as a heart attack.” Clark shrugged his shoulders. “Your ‘consultant’ can’t be by your side instantly. Even with his abilities, it will take him a few seconds, so any extra time you can buy by being cautious may save your life.”

Lana was still playing with her salad, but now, she was doing it while she concentrated on what Clark had to say.

“So I should hide like a groundhog until bad, old winter goes away?” As Lana’s frustration mounted, she slapped one hand hard on the wooden surface of their table. “Dang it, Clark, I don’t like hiding. The crooks should be hiding from me, not the other way around.”

Clark had to react quickly to keep his sandwich and fries from ending up in his lap. Lana saw that, plus the way her salad danced on its plate, and apologized for getting worked up.

“I know you’re right, Clark. It’s just that right now I don’t seem to have a lot of options, and it makes me mad.” Lana exhaled heavily, which made her hair flutter in an impromptu breeze. “I guess this means I can’t even start my early morning runs. It wouldn’t do to give the bad guys a regular shot at me like that.”

Thank God she doesn’t insist on running early in the morning, Clark thought. I’d never be able to get up that early to protect her.

“Maybe I can join a decent health club instead.”

Without thinking, Clark said, as Lana dug into her salad, “Mine’s pretty good, though I admit I don't go there that often. Besides the normal equipment, it’s got a full-sized indoor pool and a private workout area for women, so you wouldn’t have to worry about half the guys in the club following you around like a pack of starved dogs eyeing a steak.” Clark took another couple of bites of his food, and chased it with a mouthful of Coke. “Best thing about it is, my club isn’t too far away from where you live.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Clark realized his mistake and cringed as he waited for Lana to call him on it.

Normally, Lana thought, learning that some guy I’ve just met already knows where I live would creep me out; I’d think I had picked up a stalker. But since Clark has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from Rachel and Bruce, not to mention being friends with Superman, it’s not so bad.

I wonder if that means he likes me. I mean, this is only my second day on the job, and he’s already used his reporter’s skills to learn that. I think it’s kind of cute, and in any case, it’s good information to know.


Clark was waiting for an interrogation that never came, but Lana just ended up giving him a secretive smile. It was a smile that said ‘I know something,’ and that’s never a good smile for a guy to see. Clark smiled uncertainly and went back to his lunch.

The rest of the meal was spent in light-hearted conversation, as Lana compared her memories of how Metropolis used to be with Clark’s opinions on how things were today. They found that they had more in common than their mutual passion for cleaning up the city’s corruption. As examples, both loved the lush greenery of Forest Park, they both appreciated the efficient public transit in Metropolis but they both wished they lived close enough to work to walk, and they both loved the wide array of cultural opportunities that living in such a major city provided.

By the time their meal was complete and they were ready to head back to work, Lana and Clark knew a bit more about each other, and they were becoming comfortable together.

When they climbed out of the cab just on the edge of Schuster Plaza, Lana said, “I’m fine, Clark. I can walk myself back to work, it’s just across the plaza.”

“I know you can,” Clark replied, “but I want to escort you. There’s nothing I’d rather do right now than spend several more minutes with you.”

Several? It’s just across the plaza.”

“Yeah, but if we dawdle a bit, I bet we can stretch it.”

“That sounds like a plan to me,” Lana said with a smile.

The two of them took a meandering route across the plaza, even pausing for a minute to sit on the coping of the now-dry Italian-style marble fountain.

“It’s too bad they have to empty this for the winter,” Lana said. “It must really be a sight to behold when it’s running.”

“Yeah, it’s impressive, but it’s got style even now.” Clark gestured at the office buildings that surround the plaza. “With all of these soulless glass boxes that are in evidence, we need something beautiful like this.”

Lana was touched by what Clark had said about the fountain, she thought it was sweet and romantic.

As they reluctantly headed for the front door to the Siegel Center and their respective returns to work, Lana asked, “So, when are you taking me to your health club?”

Clark was startled by Lana’s question. After letting slip that he already knew where she lived, he had thought she might be a bit shy about spending too much time with him.

“Tonight?” Clark asked as he tried desperately to remember if he already had anything scheduled.

“Wellllll, not tonight,” Lana replied. “I’ve already got plans to go home and visit my parents. I haven’t seen them since I bought my condo.”

“Do you miss them a lot?”

“Yeah, I do. My folks were one of my leading reasons for coming back home after all these years.”

Hearing the longing in Lana’s voice, Clark reflexively slipped an arm around her shoulders and gave her a quick hug of support. It was a gesture of familiarity that he never would have dreamed of doing to someone he had just met, except…Lana was different. He’d only known her for less than two days, and she already felt like a close friend.

A close friend, Clark thought, I know what happens to people who get close to me. Maybe I should just back off.

Standing just inside the lobby, Clark said, “Lana, we’re becoming friends awfully fast, and there’s something I need to say. My last two really close friends were killed. Becoming my friend might not be the best thing for your health.”

Lana could see the fear on Clark’s face, so she took his hands in hers and said, “As Superman has already pointed out, Intergang is already after me, Clark. Being your friend won’t make that any worse. Besides, I choose my friends not based on how safe they are, but on what they add to my life.” Lana watched as what she said sunk in. “So, how about tomorrow night?”

“Huh?”

“To show me your health club.”

“Oh, yeah. What time?”

“Meet me at seven.”

“Okay. Where?”

“At my place, where else? After all, you do already know where I live.”

Clark flushed crimson as Lana took her leave of him. For the first time in longer than she could remember, she was thinking about a man as more than just another person. This one has possibilities, she thought.
"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) Ch13 (pg 2) 6/20/10

Post by Cardinal » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:52 am

Chapter 14


Meet the Parents



The rest of Clark’s workday passed smoothly as he continued his research for covering Lana’s trial preparations. Of course, thinking about his assignment led to thoughts of Lana, which he found to be a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Still, he was worried about the way he acted around her. He knew he had made a few slips over the past two days. He wasn’t normally careless, but something about her made him relax. She had the ability to draw things out of him without even trying. He hoped she’d never really try.

At the end of the day, Clark once again became Superman to follow Lana home. He was gratified to see her take a different route to her subway station. At least she thinks Clark Kent is worth listening to, he thought.

Once she was safely in her apartment, Superman changed back into Clark Kent and made his way home for dinner before spending several hours in the night skies of Metropolis. As he stepped inside his apartment, Clark started to reach for his music system and then reeled back as if it was made of Kryptonite.

Clark just stood there for a moment and studied the flat black box and wondered if he really wanted to know what he was thinking deep down inside. He was fairly sure that whatever it was, it would be about Lana, after all, she had consumed his thoughts for the better part of two days.

Finally reaching forward to press the power button, Clark thought wryly, I must be a glutton for punishment. Whatever it is, it’s not going to be something I’ll want to hear.

The song had a bouncy tune and included a strong horn section. Hearing Peter Cetera’s voice let him know that it was a Chicago song, but he still couldn’t place the song until it was well underway.[/size][/font]


“Along Comes a Woman” - Chicago

There is a time when a man needs somebody to talk to
Someone to talk to, somebody who'll always be there

All alone, nothin' seems to matter
So alone, doesn't get much better
Can't explain somethin' that you're feelin'
For the very first time

There was a time when you needed someone to hold onto
Someone to hold you, somebody who's always sincere

All alone, suddenly you see her
So alone, you know you’re gonna need her
Can't explain, somethin' that you're feelin'
For the very first time

Then along comes a woman
There's a change in the way that you're feeling tonight
Then along comes a woman
And you know that it's right

There was a time when you needed somebody to count on
You needed someone to count on, somebody to care

Now she's here, nothin' seems to matter
She's so near, everything is better
Can't explain, somethin' that you're feelin'
For the very first time

Then along comes a woman
There's a change in the way that you're feeling tonight
Then along comes a woman
And you know that it's right



Clark’s initial reaction had been to pick up the black box and hurl it through a wall into his bedroom, but then he reconsidered and decided to listen. Upon learning of his son’s use for the self-diagnostic tool, Jor-El had told him that the most important time to listen to the music would be when he least wanted to.

After all, Clark thought, getting closer to Lana won’t put her in any more danger than she’s already in, she pointed that out herself. And then Clark thought about what Bruce had said yesterday in the Bat Cave.


“[Rachel’s] my life, Clark. She’s the light that balances my darkness. I may
fight against injustice, but now also I fight for her, for a city she loves with a
passion that equals my own…what do you fight for, Clark? I know what
you’re fighting against, but what inspires you? What will you give anything to
protect?”



I don’t have anyone right now, and haven’t had since Lois died. Maybe…just maybe…Lana will be the one. Clark continued to think about Lana as he ate and headed out into the night.

Meanwhile, Lana paid the cab driver just before stepping out onto the suburban sidewalk. The house she was standing in front of was an all-brick ranch-style house, just one of many that could be seen from where she was standing. The curbside mailbox said ‘The Langs,’ but this wasn’t the house in which Lana had grown up. That house was a couple of miles east in the outer fringes of Metropolis itself.

Lana’s parents had moved here once she graduated college and was no longer keeping a room at home. This house was smaller and less expensive to keep up, plus, this suburb was safer than the big city. The extra ten minutes of commute time required by living here was more than worth it to both of them.

Before heading up the walk to the well-lit front door, Lana absentmindedly checked to make sure her coat was buttoned and belted properly. It was an automatic reaction, one caused by the fact that she knew her dad liked it when she was a proper lady…which helped explain why she was wearing a skirt for something other than work in the middle of December.

The things we do for our parents, Lana thought.

Once at the door, Lana thought about just walking in, but she didn’t live here, so she knocked firmly and waited. Her folks knew she was coming, so she didn’t have to wait long. When the door creaked open, standing there wearing a thick sweater and blue jeans was her dad.

“Daddy!” Lana squealed. Embarrassed to know she could still squeal at her age, Lana blushed, but her cheeks were already red from the biting cold.

“Lana!” Lewis said. “Come in, come in.” Once Lana was inside and the door was firmly closed, Lewis wrapped his daughter in a bear hug and kissed her on the cheek. “How’s my princess?”

“I’m fine, Dad,” Lana replied. “Though I can’t wait until the movers bring my stuff.” Lana shucked off her heavy winter coat and handed it to him. “How are you and Mom?”

“As well as can be expected, I suppose.” Lewis hung Lana’s coat in the closet and turned back to her. “It’s good to finally have you home, Lana. Your mother and I have missed you so much.”

“I missed you guys, too. You were one of the big reasons I took this job.” The living room, which was right next to the front door, was empty. Lana could see down the short entrance hallway into the family room, but no one appeared to be in there either. Where’s Mom? Lana wondered.

One sniff was all Lana needed to know where her mom was, it was obvious to her that dinner was just about ready, so her mom must be in the kitchen making the final preparations. Just as Lana decided that, a fast-moving blur shot around the corner and headed straight for her. Lewis stepped out of the way just in time as the two women in his life hugged.

Laura pushed her daughter out to arm‘s length to have a good look at her, before she said, “Oh, Lana, I can’t believe you’re here to stay.”

“I wouldn’t want to be any place else, Mom. Metropolis is my home.”

“Well, you’ll be glad to know I made all of your favorites tonight,” Laura said.

“Yeah, thanks for coming home, Princess. I haven’t seen a spread like this in months.” Lewis looked back and forth as if checking to see that the coast was clear, even though Laura was just on the other side of Lana. “That evil wife of mine has got me on a diet again.”

“Ohhh, poor daddy,” Lana cooed. She turned to Laura and asked, “What is it this time, Mom?”

“High cholesterol, as usual.” Laura shot Lewis a look that said he’d better behave, and said, “I promised him he could eat with us…as long as he did so in moderation.”

Moderation?” Lewis asked. “You’ve made a feast for six, but there’s only three of us, and you expect me to exercise restraint? Oh, you cruel woman!”

As they moved to the kitchen table, Laura rolled her eyes and said, “Lana? See if you can keep your father away from the apple pie while I serve dinner.”

Lewis made two playful attempts at the pie, which Lana fended off with ease, before Laura came back to the table with a rack of prime rib that was crusted with herbs. Lana had developed a taste for making stir fry in her wok during her years in Gotham City, but nothing could compare to her momma’s secret recipe for prime rib. The side dishes were next, mixed vegetables which had been steamed and then covered with a light garlic sauce, and baked potatoes with all the fixings. A small salad dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette was the last dish to be set on the table, but the first to be eaten.

After Lana said grace, the three Langs ate with gusto, pausing now and then for conversation, and to make sure Lewis wasn’t eating too much.

“So, Lana,” Lewis asked during one such lull in the eating, “how’s your new job shaping up?”

Lana mulled over how to answer that question very carefully. It looked to her like the Edge case was going to be an easy prosecution, just as long as she survived to take the case to trial. But her parents weren’t going to want to hear that their only child was in mortal danger, even if Superman was on call 24/7. Still, they deserved to know why she wouldn’t be able to visit them again after tonight until the case was over and Edge was in prison for the rest of his life.

“Work looks to be fine, the people I work with seem to be talented and dedicated, with one notable exception, and my boss started me off with a high-profile case that should be a cakewalk.”

“Who’s the slouch?” Lewis asked, even though he was already fairly sure of what his daughter’s answer would be.

Lana’s shoulders slumped and she sighed. “My boss. Tom seems to mean well, and he’s got a good record on crime in general, but he seems to be the type of guy who’s more concerned with perception than results. In Gotham City, I worked with a District Attorney who was a top lawyer but who was a politician because she needed to be to get the job. Here, Tom seems to be the exact opposite: a man who’s a consummate politician who’s a lawyer only because the job requires it.”

Lana leaned back, closed her eyes, and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “I’ve already heard some office rumors that he’s not too keen on prosecuting the cream of Metropolis society for any wrongdoing. Supposedly, he has a reputation for either making sweetheart plea bargains in those cases, or for dropping the charges outright. Bruce may have been right. I may have to do more work here than I thought.”

I guess I’ll tell them about the danger I’m in at the end of the night, Lana thought. I don’t want to ruin our evening with that topic.

Soon enough, the dinner was over and both Lana and Lewis were greedily eyeing Laura’s homemade apple pie. Lana felt like she’d already overeaten, but the lure of the pie was just too much for her to resist, especially when Laura came back to the table with some premium Edy’s Grand Vanilla Ice Cream.

“Pie a la mode anyone?” Laura asked.

Lana and Lewis both held up their hands as Laura indulgently placed large slices of still-warm pie onto clean plates and scooped a healthy portion of snow white ice cream beside each slice.

By the time the dessert was finished, Lana was groaning. “I shoulda worn my sweatpants tonight, I could use the extra room.”

“Why didn’t you?” Laura asked.

Lana shot a quick look at Lewis and said, “Dad’s always liked it when I dress like a lady, so I thought I’d wear a blouse and skirt.”

“Oh, Honey,” Lewis replied, “I thought you were more practical than that. It must be twenty degrees outside…besides, that ‘looking like a lady’ stuff ended in high school. You’re a grown woman now and have been on your own for years. Wear what you want, and as long as you don’t look like a hooker, or worse, Britney Spears, I’ll be fine.”

“Jeez, Daddy!” Lana said, at the same time that Laura rapped a knuckle on the top of Lewis’ head.

“Lewis!”

“Oh come on, Laura. Like Lana would ever dress like that. You and I both know Lana’s always had good fashion sense…good, but sometimes expensive. I was just having some fun.” Lewis smiled widely at Lana, and then added, “Besides, the men she might actually be interested in would run and hide if she dressed that way.”

Oh great! Thanks, Dad, that last comment is sure to set Mom off, Lana thought. Now she’ll grill me about my love life. What love life is what I’d like to know.

Laura eyed Lana speculatively and asked, “So, Lana Dear, have you met anyone yet?”

Lana wiped the corners of her mouth with a napkin, more to gain extra time to think than because she had any crumbs to clean off.

“Umm…Mom? I’ve only been in town for two days. That’s only forty-eight hours. Do you think eligible bachelors have been lining up outside my building or something?”

“Nooooooo. But I know you’ve always attracted more than your fair share of attention from men. I just hoped one of them might pan out this time.”

Gah!!!! I’ve heard of younger women with biological clocks that are ticking, but Mom’s got her granny clock ticking. I sometimes think she might be happy if I married a three-toed sloth as long as it could help provide her with grandchildren.

Lana debated mentioning that there was a guy she was actually attracted to. It would get her mom off her back about meeting someone, but it would also advance things to a whole new level. Laura would then want to meet Clark and that’s something Lana wanted to avoid since they hadn’t even been on a real date yet.

He hasn’t even asked me out yet, Lana thought. I think he’s interested, but he’s taking his time, which should be a nice change of pace from the Lotharios I usually attract. Maybe I can just mention that there may be someone, without giving specifics.

“Well, Mom, there may, and I repeat may, be someone of interest.” Lana couldn’t help but let a pleased grin spread across her face, totally unaware of how much that simple expression revealed to her mother.

Oh my, Laura thought. Lana likes this one! “Well, who is he? Where’d you meet him? Where does he work?”

Lana began to look slightly distressed, which caused Lewis to take a greater interest in the proceedings.

“Mom, I can’t say anything more right now, I don’t want to jinx this one.”

“But…”

Lewis chose that moment to leap to his daughter’s defense.

“Enough, Laura, enough,” Lewis said. “Lana’s said all she feels comfortable telling us right now. If, or when I should say, this young man becomes ‘parent worthy,’ I’m sure she’ll tell us more, but for now, leave her be.”

An appreciative Lana looked over at Lewis and said, “Thanks, Daddy.”

“Just one thing, Pumpkin.”

“What’s that, Dad?”

Lewis leaned on toward Lana and said, “I hope this young man realizes what an incredible catch you are, and if he does, I hope he’s worthy of you.”

Lana leaned toward Lewis just far enough to plant a kiss on his cheek. “Thanks. I hope so, too.”

Laura began to make the after-dinner coffee while Lewis and Lana cleared the table and filled the dishwasher. Soon, the three adults were sitting on the sectional sofa in the family room sipping their coffee and talking. It wasn’t long before Lana felt the need to call a cab for a ride home. That meant that it was time she let her folks know about the danger she was in.

“Mom? Dad? There’s something serious that I need to tell you.”

“What is it, Honey?” Laura asked.

Lana was at a loss for the right words to explain the situation she was in, but she knew she had to say something.

“I…I met Superman the other day.”

Both of her parents were impressed.

“Really?” Lewis asked.

Laura tied Lana’s newest news to her reluctance to mention the name of the man she liked and decided that her daughter must have a thing for the Man of Steel.

“Is he as cute as he looks on TV and in the paper?” Laura asked.

Lana could see where this was going already. She rolled her eyes and said, “Yes, Mom. Not only is he cute, but he’s freaking hot! Wavy black hair, piercing blue eyes, chiseled features, and that body!” Lana paused a second before adding the final touch. “Did I mention he’s already been inside my apartment?”

Lewis had seen Lana’s eyes roll. He knew right away that she was up to something, and now, he knew she was teasing her mother and he was having to fight to keep from laughing.

“Inside…your…apartment?” Laura took a dry swallow. “Already?” My little Lana’s all grown up, I guess. “So, umm…how is he?”

Lana licked her lips suggestively and said, “He was…a perfect gentleman.” She shrugged her shoulders, “Somehow, he had learned where I live and he came over to discuss business, and that is what I have to talk to you about.”

Laura was embarrassed by the way she had been suckered in by Lana, and her mood wasn’t helped much by the way Lewis was snickering. Lana just waited calmly until she had their complete attention. Then she said, “Superman thinks my life is in danger from elements within Intergang since I’m the one prosecuting their leader, Morgan Edge.”

That sobered up her parents quickly. All kidding was gone as Lewis and Laura shared a look. They seemed to have an entire conversation in just that one look. Lana had always envied that level of closeness and communication. She had wanted to find a man she could be like that with.

“So, what did our hero in primary colors suggest?” Lewis asked cautiously.

“Well, the big thing was that he put himself at my disposal as far as protecting me goes. If I have reason to think someone’s going to attack me, all I have to do is call for help and Superman will come to my rescue.”

That Superman would drop whatever he was doing to defend Lana impressed upon the Langs just how important their little girl had become, and just how serious this situation was.

“Also, this guy I just met from the Daily Planet gave me some advice about safety tips, things I can do to make it harder for the crooks to get me.”

“How does a writer from the Planet know about the danger you’re in?” Lewis asked.

“He’s in the same danger that I am. Those goons have already tried to kill him twice; he barely escaped both times.”

Careful to keep any romantic insinuation out of her voice, Laura asked, “Who is he? We might read his stuff.”

Sorry now that she had brought him up, Lana reluctantly gave up his name. “He’s Clark Kent. I understand he’s a prize-winning writer, so yeah, you’ve probably read his stuff.”

Lana was amazed at how well her parents were taking the news of her danger. They were fairly calm. She knew she’d be a bundle of raw nerves if a child of hers was in this kind of danger, and she didn’t even have kids yet. When she asked them about their lack of reaction, they shared another look and then Laura said, “If Superman thinks he can handle it, then that’s good enough for us.”

Lana was stunned.

“You trust Superman that much?”

“Yeah, we do,” Lewis replied. “While you’ve been living in Gotham City, we’ve seen and read many accounts of this man’s exploits. He’s done things I could scarcely credit if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes. If he’s dedicated himself to your preservation, I have no doubt whatsoever that you’ll be fine.” Lana looked over at Laura who just nodded in support.

“I hadn’t realized what kind of support, what kind of belief, Superman has created here in Metropolis,” Lana said. “I knew he was a hero, but this goes beyond that.” Lana shook her head to break herself out of her reverie. “Anyway, I need to tell you that I can’t come over any more until the trial is over. Anyone wanting to get at me might go after you two instead, so no more calls, e-mails, or visits. Just know that you’re both in my heart and my thoughts.”

Lewis and Laura realized it was necessary, but that didn’t mean they had to like it. They closed in on Lana and the three of them shared a group hug before Lana pulled out her cell phone to call for a cab. Trying to keep their minds off of the obvious subject of Lana’s danger, the three of them chatted pleasantly about other things for ten minutes until the cab showed up and honked its horn.

Lewis pulled Lana’s coat from the closet and helped her into it. Both parents hugged and kissed their daughter and expressed fervent hopes for a quick end to the trial so they could see her again soon. Once Lana was on her way, Lewis headed to the utility room where they had a stack of old newspapers waiting to be put out with the recycling. He fished through the first couple of sections of several papers until he found what he was looking for: an article by Clark Kent that had a head shot attached.

Hmm, he thought. Maybe this is Lana’s guy. She sure didn’t want to tell us his name. I’d better keep this idea to myself though, or else Mr. Kent will be subjected to a barrage of e-mails from Laura, and then he’d never give Lana a chance.
"In the Name of the King"
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Cardinal
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV, Clark/Lana, Adult) Ch14 (pg 2) 6/26/10

Post by Cardinal » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:21 pm

Chapter 15


Getting Ready



Today was the first day since Hurricane Lana hit town that Clark felt like things were getting back to normal. He did have to get up a few minutes earlier than normal to give himself enough time to get ready for work before his Superman side had to be in position to follow Lana on her way to work.

From two-thousand feet overhead, Superman was happy to see she was following the advice she had received about varying her routine to make things tougher on any potential hitmen. Lana’s trip to work passed without incident, and soon after, Clark was at his desk at the Daily Planet, ostensibly finishing his research on Lana’s upcoming trial. In reality, he had finished his research yesterday; today, he just wanted some time away from Lana to think before plunging into what might become a long-term assignment.

Clark had realized the day before, while at lunch with Lana, that he wanted to ask her out. Maybe insulting me is the new way to my heart, Clark thought. Lana chews my hind end in public, and I go out of my way to get her home warm and dry. She questions whether or not I’m working hand-in-hand with my archenemies, and by the end of lunch, I’m reduced to wandering aimlessly around Schuster Plaza just to spend a few extra minutes with her.

There was one roadblock in his way, and it was a serious one. He was a reporter preparing to write a series of articles that would focus primarily on the woman he wanted to ask out, which was a clear conflict of interest. If he tried to date her and keep it on the down low, everyone in the newsroom would learn about it before the first week was up and then his journalistic integrity would be called into question. He had poured too much of himself into his newspaper career to risk losing everything for a couple of dates, so his only choices were to tell Lana he wanted to ask her out but couldn’t until the trial’s end, or he could ask Perry to assign someone else to write the series of stories, leaving him free to ask her out.

Or, Clark thought, I could just try and cancel the series altogether…but as Lana said, her boss - the ever publicity conscious Tom Bloch - might think she had sabotaged the series and end up firing her. So that idea’s out.

I can’t believe that at a time like this I’m letting my hormones join in the thinking. But honestly, how could I not? Spending five minutes talking with Lana would challenge the celibate lifestyle of a devout priest; her very presence is…intoxicating.


Clark grabbed a bratwurst and a Coke from a street vendor for a quick lunch before changing clothes to patrol the skies of Metropolis. He told Perry not to expect him back after lunch, so he was able to get in an entire afternoon of work at his ‘other’ job, with an ear always tuned in to Lana’s particular vocal frequencies. He didn’t think they’d try to get her at work due to the security precautions in force there, but it always paid to be careful.

Lana enjoyed her day at work. She felt like she was beginning to settle into her job. She really liked Marie, and most of her subordinates. Even her boss wasn’t a bad guy to be around, as long as he wasn’t making sure she knew who was boss.

At lunch time, Lana ate with Marie and a couple of other women named Becky and Jean, who were two of the junior lawyers in the office. She wanted to start getting to know her co-workers on a personal level, but all they wanted to talk about was Clark. Marie had seen Lana walking out of the lobby at lunch yesterday side-by-side with him and they wanted to know what the man who was considered to be one of Metropolis’ most eligible bachelors was like.

Lana was rather reluctant, at first, to talk about a guy that hadn’t even asked her out yet, but persistent prodding by the three women finally got her talking. “Well then, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. He’s really handsome…”

“Tell us something we don’t know, Lana,” chortled Becky.

“He has the most enchanting eyes which are a delicate jade green in color…he seems to be even taller when you’re right in front of him than he does from across the room; he almost looms over me, the way a cliff looms over the seashore…his hair seems to be made of wavy black silk…and, it’s hard to tell underneath those suits he wears, but he seems to be in pretty good shape, too.

“But the thing about his appearance that gets me the most is his mouth. He’s got a pair of plush, almost impossibly kissable lips, and when he uses them to smile at me, I feel like I’m the only person in his world at that moment.

“I’ve only known him for two and a half days and he’s already affecting me.” Lana concluded, as she looked up from her Chicken Caesar Salad. “Doesn’t that sound silly?”

“Oh,” Marie said breathlessly, “I don’t know about that. Clark Kent makes my heart beat faster every time I see him, and I’ve been happily married for nineteen years.” The other two women readily agreed with Marie, who then encouraged Lana to continue. “Please, Lana, tell us what he’s like in person…and don’t tell us he’s a chauvinistic troll either.”

“Yeah,” echoed Jean. “It would kill the fantasy to learn his inside’s not as good as his outside is.”

“Let’s see. He’s nice. Slow to anger, but says he’s slow to forgive people…except, apparently, me. He seems to be as committed to truth and justice as I am, and he’s kind, very kind.”

“Really? What did he do?”

Lana then related the entire story about her first day on the job in case any of the three ladies had missed out on anything. When she ended by telling them about Clark literally giving her the coat off his back, plus a huge golf umbrella, Lana’s three lunch mates sighed in unison.

“Oh, he’s so sweet!” Marie said. “Just like I imagined.”

“It looks like chivalry isn’t dead after all,” agreed Jean.

“Still,” said Becky, with a mischievous gleam in her eyes, “it’d be nice to see inside one of those suits for once.”

Lana looked down at her plate and said softly, blushing lightly, “I’m going to get that chance. I told him I needed to find a safe place to workout and he volunteered to take me to his club as a guest, so I'm going.”

“Shut up!” Becky replied. “You are not.”

“When?” was all Jean wanted to know.

Marie, being the oldest of the four women by more than ten years, just smiled knowingly and waited.

“He’s coming by my place tonight after work and we’re going from there.”

All three women made a fuss about Lana snagging one of the most eligible guys in town only three days after arriving.

Shaking her head in admiration, Becky said, “Dang, Lana, you work faster than Alka-Seltzer.”

Lana wanted to protest that they weren’t going on a date, but then she wondered if that was really true. Was Clark being altruistic, Lana wondered, or was he being sneaky about asking me out on a date? Or both?

Lana spent her afternoon contacting various witnesses and introducing herself. She wanted to have them come in so they could go over their testimony so she could evaluate their reliability for herself. But as the clock drew closer to the magical hour of 5 p.m., Lana found it harder and harder to focus on her work. By 4:45, her desk was cleared of paperwork, and she was drumming her carefully manicured fingernails on her desk’s blotter.

Lana was out the door like a shot at precisely five o'clock. Marie just chuckled as her boss zoomed on by. When one of the men in the office saw his completely delectable, but totally unavailable, new boss rush out of the office like she‘d been shot out of a cannon, he turned to her secretary and asked, “Marie, what gives with Lana?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but she’s got a date tonight.”

“A date? The Ice Queen has a date? I wonder who melted her shell?”

“The Ice Queen?” Marie laughed. “Just because she can’t date any of her subordinates is no reason for you young bucks to give her a nickname like that.”

Once out the door, Lana quickly made her way toward home with Superman flying his customary two-thousand feet overhead. Being December, it was full dark before Lana made it to her building. Bill was on duty again tonight, and after they exchanged warm greetings, Lana headed across the lobby to the elevators. Once there, she rushed back over to Bill and let him know she was expecting a visitor named Clark Kent sometime soon.

Bill, like most of the doormen in this building, was a retired cop. As such, he was well aware of Clark Kent and his role in helping stop crime in Metropolis. He was pleased that a nice young woman like Lana was drawing the attention of a guy like that.

Minutes later, a Yellow Cab pulled up to the curb and Bill watched as a tall, dark-haired young man stepped out, carrying a black duffle bag. He was pretty sure that this was the man Lana had told him about, but he asked to be sure.

“And your name is?”

“Clark Kent, Sir,” Clark replied. “I’m here to see Lana Lang.”

“Sir?” Bill asked good-naturedly. “Where’d you get that idea?”

“I can tell just by looking at the calluses on your hands that you’re a former cop…and people who put their lives on the line to keep us safe always get a ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ from me.” Clark’s respect was serious, and Bill could tell it was.

“Miss Lang said she was expecting you, so just go on up. She’s on the fifteenth floor, apartment number twenty-three.”

Clark shot Bill a grin and said, “Thank you, Sir,” before heading over to the elevators.

Clark knocked once on Lana’s door and then patiently waited after she yelled out that she was just about ready. She was, too. It took her only a couple of minutes after Clark’s arrival to complete her preparations. She normally would have stripped off all of her makeup before working out, but her earlier thought that this might actually be a date forced her to reapply some basic makeup. Lana thought, No way am I going on a date looking like a pasty-faced zombie.

Not having a locker at Clark’s club, and not knowing if there were any available for temporary use, Lana decided to wear her exercise clothes over to the club and back. If that was a Metropolis fashion faux pas, then she would just have to be guilty. She was already going to have to hope he had room in his locker for her coat.

When Lana opened the door, Clark saw that she was decked out in a loose but comfy-looking baby blue t-shirt and baggy white sweatpants with a dark blue parka draped over one arm. Her outfit wasn’t suggestive in the least, and yet, to Clark’s eyes, she still looked wonderful. He looked down at his jeans, red oxford, and blue coat and suddenly felt overdressed.

“Lana? Would you mind terribly if I come inside to change into my workout clothes?”

Lana guessed why he was doing it, and that just made her like him a little bit more. “Sure, Clark, come on in.”

“I’ll be just a second, I swear,” Clark said, as he headed for the bathroom at the far end of the condo.

That’s strange, Lana thought as she waited. He headed for that bathroom like he knew it was there…as if he’s been here before.

True to his word, Clark took only a minute before he popped back out of the bathroom wearing a royal blue t-shirt and almost knee-length red shorts.

As Clark pulled his coat back on, Lana thought, Looks like Clark’s serious about primary colors in his casual wear. Though most women I know wouldn’t waste their time with Clark puzzling out his color choices.

Once they left the condo, Lana locked her door and then stuffed her keys and wallet into her coat pockets.

“It’s a little cold out there for shorts, isn’t it, Clark?” Lana asked.

“Nah,” Clark replied, with a slight smirk on his face, “I’ve dealt with worse than this and come out okay.”

“Whatever.” Lana assumed Clark knew his limits and so she didn’t push him.

When they both said, “Good night,” to Bill and made it to the sidewalk, the two of them walked side-by-side with Clark on the left. He had his duffle bag slung over his left shoulder and his gloveless right hand was dangling between them as they walked, only raising up occasionally to help emphasize a point. Lana’s hands were clad in thin, lightly insulated gloves that matched the color of her dark blue parka.

What Lana didn’t notice was that Clark had automatically positioned himself between her and the street. Anything that wanted to get at her, would have to go through him first. He was determined that was not going to happen.

Lana wondered why Clark didn’t have a car parked anywhere nearby. She knew there was an available commercial parking garage just one street over. When she asked him about it. Clark admitted he didn’t own a car anymore.

“Why not?” Lana asked.

“Why?” Clark countered. “I can get everywhere I need to go by walking, taking a cab, or by using public transportation.”

Sensing there was more to it than that, Lana pushed, just a little bit, to see what he might tell her, so she asked, “Is that all there is to it, Clark?”

“That transparent, am I?” Clark asked ruefully. “I haven’t owned a car since Lois was killed in the car bomb explosion. I sold my car the next day just so the bad guys wouldn’t try to get me the same way.” Clark was quiet for a while and then added, “Me not having a car for quick transportation is the reason I was riding home with Ed Kinser during the beginning of the trial. We always left the courthouse or the D.A.’s offices at a late hour. Since the subway trains ran less frequently that late in the day, Ed always offered to drive me home. Unfortunately, we were falling into a pattern of behavior that Intergang’s assassins were able to exploit.

“They killed him not far from my building.” Clark was becoming more and more upset as he talked. “Normally, I would’ve still been in the passenger seat except I had asked him to drop me off at a nearby Mom and Pop grocery store so I could get a few things.”

Lana could tell that Clark blamed himself for both Ed’s death and Lois’ death. To her, it didn’t make sense for him to feel that way, but he did, so she looked for a way to comfort and distract him; anything to get his mind away from this destructive line of thought and, she thought a bit selfishly, back to her where they belonged tonight.

The only thing she could think of, other than to stop him on the sidewalk for a thorough kissing, a step she wasn’t ready for yet, was to take her left hand out of it’s glove and slip it into his right hand. Lana heard Clark give a soft gasp as her hand was engulfed by his. He looked down at their hands and then, shyly, up at her face and smiled.

Of course, just having done something like that, Lana knew she couldn’t just pull it back now that she had accomplished her mission. Besides, she didn’t want to take her hand back; it felt fine right where it was. Thus, they walked hand-in-hand the rest of the way to Clark’s club, not breaking their casual grip until he had to reach out to open the front door for her.
"In the Name of the King"
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV, Clark/Lana, Adult) Ch15 (pg 2) 6/30/10

Post by Cardinal » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:53 am

Chapter 16


Workout



As Lana and Clark stepped through the front door of Clark’s health club, the two perky, spandex-clad beauties behind the check-in counter drew themselves to attention. Already flat abdomens were sucked in, and chests were subtly, they hoped anyway, thrust out. The women had recognized Clark right away even though he didn’t come in very often. They were pleased to see him politely open the door for the woman that entered with him; it served to confirm their idea that he must be just about perfect. They were less pleased when they realized the woman that came in with him was actually with him, as his guest.

“Hi,” Clark said as he pulled out his club ID and signed in. “I’d like to use one of my guest passes for my friend here, Miss Lang.”

The first woman’s nametag read Marci. She was a well-tanned, brown-eyed, straight-haired brunette. The second one was named Shannon, also well-tanned and brown-eyed, but with wavy honey-blonde hair. To Lana’s eyes both were certified stunners, and they were definitely trying to catch Clark’s attention, but as far as she could tell, he was nothing more than pleasantly friendly to either of them. Lana was sure he hadn’t ogled them, not even a little bit, which only increased her respect for him.

One girl wrote down Lana’s information, while the other one stamped the back of one of Lana’s hands to identify her as a guest. Clark took Lana’s parka from her and disappeared into the men’s locker room, promising to be back in a second. It was more like thirty seconds, but Clark was back after placing both of their coats and his duffle bag into his locker.

While waiting for Clark, Lana had pulled the elastic cuffs of her white sweatpants up to her knees. It was all she could do to lessen the inevitable heat buildup in what already felt to her like an overheated building.

The first things Clark noticed when he came out of the locker room were those shapely, now-bare calves. He first gave a low whistle of appreciation which made Lana blush, and then he stepped closer and said, “I told you before, Lana, if you want me to stare at anything else, you’ve gotta show a bit more skin.” He turned sideways and tugged the bottom of his knee-length shorts up a few inches. “Kinda like this.”

Clark wiggled his eyebrows rapidly, and they both broke down laughing. But locked in Lana’s mind was an image of a long, well-muscled leg. Mmm, she thought, that was very nice. Encore, encore!

“So, are you ready for a tour of this place?” Clark asked.

“Yup, let’s go.”

As they walked down the corridors of the health club, Clark and Lana kept lightly brushing up against each other when they had to move to one side to allow others to pass in the somewhat narrow hallways. Neither one consciously made a decision, but the longer Clark’s tour went on, the more frequently they touched. And Lana was starting to get goose bumps.

The tour ended right in front of the door to the women’s private workout area, a place where women could go to workout without having to worry about looking nice or worry about guys hitting on them while they were trying to workout. Clark knew some women came to the club wanting to be hit on, but those women invariably went to the main workout area.

“Here you go, Lana,” Clark said. “I’d invite you to workout in the main room, but within five minutes, you’d have at least half a dozen guys asking if you need a spotter on the butterfly machine.”

“No thanks,” Lana said as she rolled her eyes. “I’ve had enough of guys like that.”

“I thought so,” Clark said. “When you’re ready to go home, come get me. I’ll either be in the main workout room or on the basketball court.”

Lana headed inside the swinging wooden double doors, and several of the women inside looked up to see the new arrival and were greeted with the sight of Clark standing there watching Lana’s retreating form. The look in his eyes, which he wasn’t even conscious of, told those women all they needed to know. That gorgeous hunk of a man had it bad for the new girl.

One woman broke Clark’s concentration with an ear-piercing wolf whistle. “Hey Honey,” she shouted to get his attention. “We normally have to run off guys that hang around the door like that, but in your case, we’ll make an exception. You can just come on in here with us.”

As Clark got flustered and beat a hasty retreat, the other women all cackled uproariously, slapping their thighs and pounding their fists on the equipment. Lana whipped her head around only to see the back of Clark as he disappeared around the corner. Shrugging her shoulders, she found an open area on the floor and began to stretch. None of the other women knew the new girl, so they looked on with mild interest.

Lana took a trip through the circuit training equipment before going for a long run on a treadmill. She was pleased with the quality of the weight machines, and loved the easily adjustable speed of the treadmill. Clark spent some time with free weights just to keep up appearances and then headed for the basketball court, where a lively half-court game of five-on-five was in progress with other guys on the sidelines waiting to be next.

Clark waited quite a while for his turn before finally getting into a game. The teams were shirts versus skins, and Clark was on the skins team, so he pulled off his still sweat-free blue t-shirt and started to play. The game was to twenty-one, with each basket counting for one point, and they were halfway through when the door opened and Lana’s lissome body slipped quietly into the room.

None of the guys in the game noticed her, but even in her loose t-shirt and baggy sweats, Lana drew every male eye that wasn’t involved playing the game. Most of the guys were intimidated by her beauty and didn’t approach her. The ones that did were able to introduce themselves, but every attempt they made at hitting on her was shot down in flames. Lana was less polite about it than she normally would have been, because her mind was focused on the bare-chested, black-haired Adonis out on the court.

Holy freak, Lana thought, look what he’s been hiding under those suits. Marie and the girls won’t believe this…or else they’ll be as jealous as hell. Lana quickly checked the corners of her mouth to make sure she wasn’t literally drooling and settled in to watch. Forget watching the game, I’m watching Clark.

Lana watched quietly, not wanting to break Clark’s concentration, but she was tempted, more than once, to whistle loudly and shout for him to ‘take it off.’ On the other hand, by the time Clark’s team won 21-18, more of the guys on the sidelines were watching Lana out of the corners of their eyes than were watching the game.

Clark shook hands with the other players and headed for the sideline and his t-shirt which was now in the delicate hands of Lana Lang. The closer he got, the more she was surprised to find that awesome chest completely sweat free. I saw how hard he played out there, Lana thought. How is he not covered with a sheen of perspiration? She herself was only now beginning to cool down after her workout.

Lana made a show of eyeing Clark up and down like he was an all-day sucker to repay him for the way he had made her blush earlier. Due to some of the unbelievable propositions he heard from day to day as Superman, Clark was much harder to embarrass with any kind of sexual innuendo. She pointed at Clark’s chest with the hand holding the t-shirt and asked, “Is this what you mean by ‘showing off a bit more skin?’ If so, you‘ve got a loooong wait ahead of you before you see skin like that from me.”

Clark took the offered t-shirt and pulled it on quickly. When his head popped through the neck hole, he said sincerely, “I’m glad to hear that, Lana. Something like that should be earned, not given away lightly.”

Clark barely heard a voice from behind him say, “Lucky b@stard. Figures she was here for him.”

Another voice said, a bit more loudly, “The least he could do is introduce us.”

Lana heard the second comment. Her face was shielded from the other men by the breadth of Clark’s chest. When he tilted his head as if to ask if she wanted to be introduced, Lana shrugged one shoulder. She was indifferent to meeting a bunch of strangers. In some instances it could even be dangerous, but being with Clark made her feel…safe. She couldn’t explain why, but being with Clark made her feel just as safe as being with Superman.

“Lana,” Clark said, “these are, collectively, the guys. I don’t know half of them by name, so they can introduce themselves individually.” Clark turned to the small crowd and said, “Gentlemen, and I’m using the word ‘gentlemen’ in it’s loosest possible definition now, the woman you see before you is Miss Lana Lang.”

Lana spent the next couple of minutes exchanging pleasantries with the mostly star struck men under Clark’s watchful eyes. When one made like he was going to kiss the back of Lana’s hand, Clark inadvertently growled which startled the guy and made Lana smile.

“Thanks for being such a good sport in there,” Clark said to Lana as they left the court. “Those clowns would’ve given me grief forever about keeping all of the hotties around here to myself.”

Clark didn’t realize what he had said, but hearing him refer to her, even indirectly, as a hottie was payment enough for Lana. “You’re welcome, Clark. It was the least I could do after you were kind enough to bring me here.”

Since she lived close and didn’t have a change of clothes with her, Lana decided to wait until she got home to shower. Clark obviously didn’t need to shower, so he grabbed their things out of his locker and rejoined her in the lobby. Without having to even think about it, Clark politely held Lana’s parka for her to make it easier for her to pull it on. And just as when they came in, he held the door for her before hurrying behind to place himself between her and the street. Little touches like these weren’t going unnoticed by Lana, she loved the way he was treating her.

“So,” Clark asked, “are you sold yet?”

“On what?”

“The club. Are you going to join?”

“Well,” Lana said, “I don’t know yet.”

“Oh come on,” Clark pled. “There’s nowhere else close by. Anywhere else you go won’t be nearly as convenient to your place.”

“How do you know there’s nowhere else nearby?”

Clark looked both ways before starting them across the street. “Because,” he said as he pointed to the gleaming high-rise he lived in, “that white building over there is where I live, so I looked all around here to find a place that was convenient for me.”

Lana recognized the building because she and her mom had looked at it when she was apartment hunting. The apartments were really nice there, and the views were spectacular, but the price had been a little bit out of her comfort zone. Looks like the newspaper business pays better than being the Deputy D.A.

Soon enough, they reached Lana’s building. Clark was becoming more attracted to Lana with each moment he spent in her presence and he knew that was about to become a professional problem, so he had to do something.

Clark stopped Lana on the sidewalk just before reaching the doorman, and said, “Lana…can I talk to you for minute?”

“Sure.”

“I’m not very good at things like this, but there’s something I have to say before I start covering your preparations for the trial.”

“Okay, what is it?”

Seeing Lana standing there so patiently, as if she was willing to wait all night for whatever he had to say, had a calming effect on Clark. He hadn’t quite realized until now how out of practice he had gotten when it came to dealing with women romantically.

“I, uh, I have something to confess.” Clark’s hand rose up to tug at a shirt collar that suddenly felt too tight. “I have a problem. I want, I really want, to ask you out on a date. My problem is a professional one. I’m about to start covering you, and for me to be able to keep an unbiased point-of-view, I can’t get romantically involved with my subject because it would be seen as a conflict of interest. So my only choices are to wait until the trial is over, or ask Perry to assign this story to someone else.”

Being a prosecutor, Lana understood all about conflicts of interest and she was duly impressed by Clark’s willingness to explain all of this without even knowing if she was even interested in him or not.

“Well, I understand your dilemma; let me see if I can help you with it.” Lana tucked a few stray strands of hair behind her ear. “You deserve to know that if you were to ask me out right now, I’d say ‘yes’ without reservation. On the other hand, since this series of articles is going to be written by someone, I’d like for that someone to be you. I trust you, Clark. I know you’ll be fair to me and my staff and won’t try to sneak any privileged information into your articles.”

“So…you’d rather I wait on asking you out?”

“Not exactly. Lana, the woman you see in front of you, wants you to ask her out. But Lana the prosecutor needs you to wait.”

Clark swallowed hard, pleased to know his interest was reciprocated, but sad to know he had to wait. Finally, he said, “Then Lana gets what she needs.”

They walked the rest of the way to the door of her building. He felt confident in her security once she was inside, and didn’t feel right about escorting her to her door now, so he stopped and chatted with the doorman while he watched her get on the elevator.

Bill the Doorman watched Clark’s eyes as they followed Lana’s progress across the lobby. Thirty years as a Metropolis policeman had given him plenty of experience at reading the signals given off by someone’s eyes, and what he saw in Clark’s eyes was just what he would have wanted to see if Clark had been watching his own daughter: interest, tempered with a healthy dose of respect.

“You like her, eh, Mr. Kent?”

“That obvious, huh?”

“Oh yeah, it is.” Giving Clark his best fatherly look, Bill added, “You treat Miss Lang right, you hear? She’s only been here a few days and us doormen already think she’s gold.”

“Oh, I hope to get the chance to treat her right someday, but for right now, I have to back off.” Clark turned to the ex-cop and said, “I do have one thing to ask of you and your fellow doormen though.”

“What?”

“Lana’s in danger right now. You may not know it, but she’s the new Deputy D.A. and she’s in charge of prosecuting none other than Morgan Edge.”

That brought a low whistle from Bill. “That pretty young woman is taking on a thug like Edge? Wow.”

“Wow is right. Just remember what happened to Ed Kinser. He, too, was working on prosecuting Edge.”

“Okay, I see where you’re coming from. You want us to keep an extra-special eye on Miss Lang.”

“Yeah, I do.”

“That we can do.”
"In the Name of the King"
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV, Clark/Lana, Adult) Ch16 (pg 2) 7/4/10

Post by Cardinal » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:56 pm

Chapter 17

The Carrot and the Stick



With it being mid-December, Lana knew the judge in her case likely wouldn’t restart the pre-trial proceedings until after the beginning of the new year to avoid disrupting everyone’s holiday season. Even so, she wanted everything to run smoothly, so she was driving her people to be ready. The preparations were fairly easy since they were mostly just checking and rechecking the work that had been done by Ed Kinser’s original team.

As Lana came into work on Thursday, her fourth day on the job, she was unaccountably nervous. Nothing too bad, but she couldn’t figure out what was causing it until she happened to see Clark walk into the office. As usual, he looked oh-so-handsome in his custom-tailored suit and overcoat and she felt her nerves ratchet up a notch. Lana could see someone point him toward her office, and the sudden lurch in her stomach as she hurriedly tried to straighten the papers on her desk let her know, in no uncertain terms, that she was nervous because this was Clark’s first day covering her and her team.

As Clark got closer, Lana could see a small bouquet of fresh flowers in one hand, with his laptop case in the other. Lana watched as he stopped at Marie’s desk and handed the flowers over to her. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Marie stood up and hugged Clark quickly before returning to her seat and calling Lana on the office intercom.

“Miss Lang,” Marie said formally, “Clark Kent from the Daily Planet is here to see you.”

“Thank you, Marie. Please send him in.”

Lana had risen from her chair and walked around her desk to welcome Clark to her office by the time she heard the door latch click open.

“Hello, Clark,” Lana said brightly.

Clark had a distracted air about him as he set his case down long enough to remove his overcoat and hang it on the coat tree just inside her door. His head was slowly scanning the entire room, finally coming to rest on the main attraction, Lana. As always, seeing her brought a smile to his face, and he belatedly returned her greeting.

“Oh…hi, Lana.”

Nodding her head toward Marie in the outer office, Lana said, “You didn’t have to bring me flowers, Clark. I like you fine already.”

“That’s good, because those are for Marie. She was Ed’s long-time secretary and this is the first time I’ve seen her since Ed’s funeral.” Lana blushed slightly in embarrassment for thinking the flowers had been for her, while Clark waved a hand loosely around the room. “In fact, this office was his, too. When I came in here, I was just looking around and remembering…both old times and a good friend.” He looked back at Lana, “I don’t know what kind of flowers you like…”

“Irises should do the trick, Clark.” Lana blushed at being so forward. But, she reasoned, there are some things you just have to tell a guy.

“Irises? Cool. I’ll remember that.” Clark pursed his lips. “The bad thing is, this is the start of me covering you, so…”

“…so you can’t bring me flowers even if you want to.”

“Exactly.” An uncomfortable silence settled between them. Clark’s face perked up suddenly and he asked, “Sore from last night’s workout?”

“No, not really. I’m in pretty good shape and I took it kind of easy last night.”

I’ll say she’s in good shape, Clark thought involuntarily.

Lana eyed Clark speculatively as she remembered something she had noticed at the gym. “I know you’re okay today, Clark, since you didn’t even manage to break a sweat last night.”

“No, I try to maintain my physical condition. In my line of work, you never know when it may be needed.”

“I didn’t think journalism was quite so physically demanding.”

“It’s not…most of the time. But every once in a while, I get called on to do some pretty crazy stuff.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Once this trial is over, remind me to take you on a stakeout sometime.”

“Deal.” Not wanting to draw out their time together in her closed office and make people wonder, Lana said, “Let’s go next door and see where Tom wants to put you.”

“Somewhere as far from himself as he can get me,” Clark mumbled.

Lana thought she wasn’t supposed to have heard Clark just then, but she had. Only the fact that she had already passed Clark on her way to the door allowed her to hide the wide smile that was on her face. Lana breezed out of her office with Clark and his laptop case close behind. She stopped at the desk of Tom’s secretary, Rose Ann Mingus, and asked if she could see Tom for a minute. Rose Ann buzzed her boss and asked if he would like to see Miss Lang. When Tom said yes, Rose Ann rose from her seat and showed Lana into Tom’s office, while Clark stayed outside.

By the time Lana came back out a minute later, Clark was sitting with one leg draped across a corner of Rose Ann’s desk and was chatting amiably with her. Lana could tell from the calf eyes Rose Ann was giving him that she was already smitten. Lana wanted to bark out that Clark was already spoken for, but she knew she had no claim to him whatsoever. Not only had they never dated, but they were having to avoid any sort of personal entanglement at all so that he could do his job. All Lana could do was hurry him off and show him where he was going to be allowed to set up shop.

When asked about where she could put Clark, Tom had thought about the effect that Clark usually had on women and wasted no time in saying, “Our law library. It’s as far from most of the females on staff as I can get him. That will help his productivity and ours. Just give him a table to himself that’s not anywhere near where everyone has to walk and everything should be okay.”

Once Lana and Clark made it to the law library, Lana pointed out the tables that were farthest from the normal flow of foot traffic, and said, “Tom thought one of these tables might give you a little more privacy.”

“Privacy?” Clark asked. “Knowing Tom, that probably wasn’t his exact word, but I will appreciate having a quiet place to work. Tell him thanks for me.”

Clark sat his case down and began to arrange things. Lana stood quietly by and watched the efficient way Clark moved. In no time, he had his laptop set up and had both his digital voice recorder and his notebook out and ready, with the now-empty laptop case on the floor under the desk.

“Sometime today or tomorrow, I’m going to need to interview the members of your team. Secretaries, paralegals, attorneys…everyone, including you. I want, as much as is possible, to gauge everyone’s state of mind as I start.”

“That sounds just fine, Clark.” Lana checked her watch. “I’ve got a department staff meeting to attend right now…are you going to join us?”

“Is it about the trial?”

“Not more than a few seconds worth, but this meeting will allow Tom to introduce you to the entire staff so no one wonders who you are and why you’re here.”

“Ah. Sounds good.”

Clark picked up his digital voice recorder and followed Lana out of the room. She went down two more corridors before reaching the big conference room and it’s long rectangular table. Lana took her reserved seat at Tom’s right hand, while Clark leaned against a wall at the back of the room and tried to blend in unobtrusively.

The meeting went as usual until it was time to go over the status of the Edge case. Lana made her progress report and then Tom introduced Clark to the crowd and asked that everyone give him their utmost cooperation. Finally, Tom surprised Clark by extending him an invitation to attend the office Christmas party which was tomorrow night after work. The party was to be semi-formal, and Clark said he‘d be there.

Clark wasn’t the only one who was surprised about the party. Between being new on the job and the fact that she was working hard, Lana had somehow missed out on the fact that there was an office Christmas party, much less that it would be tomorrow. Unless her things miraculously showed up tomorrow, she wouldn’t have anything suitable to wear.

Lana’s worry about having something stylish to wear to the office party faded quickly when she returned to her desk after a lunch time spent telling Marie, Becky, and Jean all about Clark at the gym. Marie brought in a plain Manila envelope for Lana, saying it had been dropped off after passing security screening.

Lana thanked Marie and waited until she was alone before opening the envelope. What she read on the sheet of paper that had been inside the envelope made her angry, and just a little bit scared. She told Marie that she’d be out of the office for a few minutes and bolted for the roof where she immediately called out for Superman.

Clark was just returning to his makeshift desk in the library when Lana’s musical voice called out for his alter ego. She didn’t sound like she was in immediate danger, but he wasn’t taking any chances. He quickly left the D.A.’s office suite and headed for the stairwell. Once safe from prying eyes, Clark became Superman, raced to the bottom of the stairwell, out of a side door, and flew up the outside of the building. He landed at Lana’s side less than thirty seconds after she called, and cursed himself for being too slow.

“What can I do for you, Lana?” Superman asked.

Wordlessly, she handed him the sheet of paper and waited for him to read it. He read it once, and then again more slowly to be sure he had everything correctly.

“When did you get this?” Superman asked. His voice was much calmer than he felt, but Lana needed him to be strong for her right now, so he embraced his Kryptonian side and immersed himself in that legacy of emotional detachment.

“When I came back from lunch.” Lana had remembered to bring her coat and gloves, so she was warm enough, but her hair was being mercilessly whipped around by the high-altitude winds. “Marie handed a Manila envelope to me after saying it had passed through security.”

“You were right to bring this to my attention right away.” Superman began pacing, stroking his chin with his left hand as he held the sheet of paper in front of him with his right. “They must be getting desperate since they tried to bribe you and threatened you all at once. Maybe they did their research and found out about your incorruptibility in Gotham City.”

Superman’s cape was being thrashed about by the wind just as much as Lana’s hair was, but it didn’t bother him in the least. Lana, however, got two things out of it. First was a series of glimpses at Superman’s ‘Buns of Steel.’ Her private twist on the old video workout series made her smile until she caught a glimpse of something else. There appeared to be a small, golden box clipped onto Superman’s belt right over his spine. She wondered what it could be, but decided to not mention it since he was here to work on her problems.

If that box is something that Superman wants me to know about, Lana thought, then he’ll tell me about it when he’s ready.

“I thought maybe they’d wait until the trial was almost upon us to take this step, but they seem to be in a hurry.” Superman said as he finally returned his blue-eyed gaze to Lana. “Once they’re sure you won’t take this bribe, it won’t take them long to come after you. Be ready.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Feedback is greatly appreciated, even though this is just a re-post of a completed fic from my archive.
"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) Ch17 (pg 2) 7/10/10

Post by Cardinal » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:09 pm

Chapter 18

A New Dress



Knowing that someone else shared her burden made Lana feel better. Especially when that someone was Superman. Still, as she headed back to work, Lana knew that there was one other person she needed to tell. When she made her way through the spacious atrium and past security into the office proper, Lana made a slight detour and headed for the library. When she saw Clark was just settling in to interview one of the other attorneys on her team, Lana just stopped him long enough to say, “Clark? When you finish with this interview, may I see you in my office?”

“Uh, sure thing, Lana.”

Thirty minutes later, Clark was in Lana’s office taking a seat in the bigger of the two chairs across from her desk.

“What can I do for you, Lana?” Clark asked pleasantly.

Just as with Superman, her response was to hand him the sheet of paper.

Unlike how he felt constrained to react as Superman, Clark allowed himself to give in to the way the death threat to Lana made him feel. He was angry at the cowards who hid in the shadows and sniped at the good people who lived in the light of day. He was also getting a sense of déjà vu. He had been in this office when its last inhabitant had been threatened. Ed had laughed it off, showing the bravado of youth when he said that Intergang didn’t have it in them to try and kill him. Lastly, Clark was a little bit scared. Here was this woman, a woman he was just beginning to have feelings for, who might end up dying despite all of his abilities and precautions.

Precautions, that reminds me, Clark thought. I need to find a faster way out of this office suite in case Lana ever calls on me while I’m in that library. Thirty seconds like today is unacceptable. Maybe I can rig a window in the library so I can get outside in a hurry.

The first thing he said was, “I notice you were offered a substantial sum to creatively lose the case.”

“Yeah,” Lana said, “at least they’re smart enough to want the trial to go ahead this time.”

Curious, Clark asked, “Why?”

“Double jeopardy.” Lana said simply. “If Edge wins an acquittal through my ‘incompetence,’ he’s a free man and can't be arrested or tried on the same charges ever again.”

“Looks like they want this to go away…permanently.”

“Yeah. If they kill me, there’ll just be another prosecutor in a few months and then they’ll have to try and deal with that person. The only way for them to get this over with is to take the case to trial and win.”

Clark was struck by how evenly and unemotionally Lana had responded both times she had handed him the paper.

“Lana? Have you ever had your life threatened before?”

“Yeah,” she said softly. “It was my last case in Gotham City, when I prosecuted The Joker. Some of his henchmen were still on the loose and wanted their boss freed. They seemed to think the ‘little girl’ at the D.A.’s office was going to be easy to intimidate. They found out differently after their boss got the death penalty.”

After a brief and somber silence, Lana said, “So, what about you? I know you’ve been through two attempted assassinations. How many times have you been threatened?”

“Just threatened?” Clark shrugged his shoulders. “Lots. Most of them are crackpots who just don’t like my writing though, so it’s hard to know who’s a serious threat.”

“But these guys aren’t crackpots.”

“True. So what else can you do to protect yourself?”

“I could get a license for carrying a concealed weapon and start practicing shooting,” Lana said.

“Nah. One pistol against the kind of firepower that killed Ed is useless.”

“Well then, maybe I should start wearing a bulletproof vest.”

Clark mulled over that idea. “That’s a good idea, but we’ll need to keep it secret from everyone, and that includes the Metropolis P.D.”

“Why keep it secret from the police?”

“Because a number of our ‘boys in blue’ are on the payroll of Intergang…and it wouldn’t do for Intergang to learn exactly what precautions you’re taking.”

The idea of police being on the take wasn’t a new one for Lana. After all, it had been a fact of life in Gotham City. Still, it bothered her because this was her hometown. She’d always admired the police as a child. Having to worry if one of her childhood heroes was working for the other side caused her heart to ache.

“Where would I get a bulletproof vest that’s sized for me?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll call in a favor with the F.B.I. They’ll have one for you by tomorrow morning.”

Feeling just that little bit more secure, Lana leaned back in her chair and sighed. Pointing at the paper which was still in Clark’s hand, she said, “If these people are serious, they’ll wait until they see how the trial is progressing before they try to kill me.”

“That sounds right,” Clark replied, “but don’t take it for granted. This letter may just be intended to lull you to sleep. It’s like one of Harry Potter’s Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers once said, ‘Constant vigilance!’”

You read Harry Potter?”

“Yeah, don’t you?”

“Yeah, I read him too,” Lana admitted. “I just never thought a guy like you would read it.”

“Well, don’t go telling anyone, you might ruin my hard-boiled reputation.”

Lana rolled her eyes, and said, “Don’t worry, Clark. Your secret is safe with me.”

As Clark took his leave, he stopped at the door and turned back to ask a question, “Lana, are you coming to the party tomorrow night?”

“Since you said you’re going to be there, I’ll be there, too.”

Clark smiled, and lowered his eyes a bit at the implication that he was Lana’s reason for attending.

“Semi-formal, right?”

“Right.”

“What time?”

Lana actually didn’t know what time, so she buzzed Marie on the intercom and asked. Marie replied that the party would start at seven to give the workers time to go home and change, and to allow the party planner a couple of hours to decorate the atrium and set up the refreshments.

“Thanks, Lana.”

The rest of the day flew by for Clark as he completed interview after interview. He was making a brief profile on each member of Lana’s team so that when a likely story about that team member presented itself, he’d have a place to start. The other thing he did that afternoon was work his way to a back corner of the D.A.’s law library and force open a large window that had been sealed shut. When he pulled the window closed again, it fit snugly and looked like it was still sealed.

Next time Lana needs me, Clark thought with satisfaction, I’ll be able to get there quickly.

Lana’s afternoon was just as busy. On her way out the door, she barely had time to exchange waves with Clark as they stepped onto different elevators. At home, Lana went through the meager selection of clothes she had brought with her. Just as she thought, she hadn’t packed a party dress, suitable shoes, or an elegant clutch. A quick check of her messages confirmed that the movers hadn’t called to say they would be here tomorrow either.

Damn, she thought, I’m going to have to leave work early tomorrow to go shopping for a dress.

At work the next day, Lana had to reschedule her interview with Clark so it would be before lunch. He had no problem accommodating her request, but asked why out of simple curiosity.

“I know you’ll think this sounds unprofessional,” Lana said, “but I need to leave work after lunch to go shopping for some suitable clothes for the party tonight. Everything I brought with me is either for work or for home.”

“Are you taking anyone with you as a second pair of eyes?”

“No. Everyone else will need to stay here and I don’t have any non-work girlfriends yet.”

“I’d volunteer,” Clark said, “but I have some work to finish up here. Besides, I want to be stunned by seeing the entire outfit at once, instead of seeing you try it on piece by piece.”

“I’ll admit that having you along would be nice. I mean, someone has to carry the packages…” Lana waited for Clark to roll his eyes before continuing, “…but I wouldn’t want to interfere with your writing, so I’ll leave you here.”

The interview was standard stuff. Clark already knew some of the answers to the questions he was asking, but he needed them to be asked and answered officially. Once the interview was over, he linked his digital voice recorder to his laptop and copied the interview file onto his hard drive.

With a little use of super-hearing, he managed to leave the office for lunch at the same time as Lana and another set of co-workers. The five of them shared an elevator down to the lobby. Clark exchanged pleasantries with all of the ladies, including Lana, but he made sure he didn’t greet her any differently except to wish her good luck in finding the right clothes for the party.

Clark stood just outside of the elevator door in the lobby, with his hands stuffed in his pockets and a wistful expression on his face, and watched as the women made their way to the front door. His eyes were locked on Lana, and as she held the door for the others, she happened to look back. Their eyes locked for a second, and Clark wondered how long he was going to be able to last.
"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
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Re: Somebody to Love (SV, Clark/Lana, Adult) Ch17 (pg 2) 7/10/10

Post by Cardinal » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:27 pm

Chapter 19

It Must’ve Been the Mistletoe


Lana was frantic.

She had only the vaguest idea of where the best stores for the type of dress she wanted were located, and one of her co-workers had made a hair appointment for her at five, so she had a little more than four hours to find the right dress, shoes, and clutch. I’ll never make it, Lana thought, as she flagged down a cab on the far side of Schuster Plaza. It’s times like this that make me wonder what it’s like to be a guy.

Clark spent his afternoon putting together his first article. Perry wanted this series of articles to be part of the Sunday edition of the Daily Planet because that was the issue that always got the most advertising revenue, and Perry believed in giving the advertisers their money’s worth. The article didn’t have to be done until Saturday night, but Clark wanted to get an early start since this initial article was designed as an introduction to the rest of the series. If the first article sucked, Clark was sure no one would want to read the others.

Lana scurried from store to store as she looked for just the right dress. In three stores, Lana didn’t even stay long enough to try on a dress. Two others had styles she liked, but not in her size. Finally, she found what she was looking for: a slinky red Versace cocktail dress that clung to her in all the right places. It also plunged far enough in front to give hints without actually showing anything.

After slapping down her credit card, Lana got a couple of recommendations for shoe stores that should be able to help her out. Finding a nice pair of red, three-inch-heeled Manolo Blahniks went much more quickly than the dress shopping did, mostly because she was pressed for time. By the time she had bought a matching Prada clutch purse, along with sheer hose and a slip for the dress, there was just enough time left for her to make it to the hair salon. When the stylist asked how she wanted her hair done, Lana just held up the dress and shoes and said, “This is what I’m wearing. Make me look good tonight, and I’ll be a regular customer.”

Clark was just leaving work when Lana’s stylist got to work on her hair. He knew Lana was going shopping for party clothes and that meant she was going to be wearing something really nice. That made him want to dress up more than he might have otherwise, so he took the Superman Express home. A few minutes in his walk-in closet was all Clark needed before laying out his best black suit on his bed. He remembered Lois had always thought he looked especially sexy in black, whether it was a leather bomber jacket and jeans or a suit. She said it made him seem edgy, even slightly dangerous.

Time to find out if Lana likes black, too, Clark thought. I’ll add a solid red silk tie as a nod to the Christmas season. Clark thought about the wisdom of ‘dressing for Lana’ as he buffed his best pair of black Ferragamo shoes to a glossy shine. He decided there was nothing wrong with wanting to look his best. After all, he thought, Lana’s not the only one that will be able to see me. Who knows who else might be there tonight?

Clark’s conscience cackled wildly at that. Whatever it takes to ease your mind, Clarky Boy! Just don’t believe for a second that you’re dressing for anyone other than Lana Lang.

The suit was of winter-weight wool and had been handmade for Clark by one of the best tailors on Savile Row in London. It was ridiculously expensive, but it was the only one of its kind in his closet, and it was guaranteed to make a statement.

Just before Clark pulled on his overcoat and left his apartment, he patted his pockets to make sure he had remembered everything, including the little golden box that held his ‘other’ work clothes.

Once Lana’s hair was done and she got her first look in a mirror, she paid and heavily tipped the stylist, because her hair looked glamorous, stylish, and even a little bit sexy. She never had the time to do it that way for herself anymore and even if she did, her skills were as nothing compared to those of the woman she had just paid.

Looking at her watch, Lana knew she didn’t have time to run home to get ready. Always ready to improvise, she held her purchases close and told her next cabbie to take her back to Schuster Plaza. On the way, Lana marveled at the obscene amount of money she had spent today, all to impress one guy…a guy she wasn’t even allowed to date.

She was a good fifteen minutes early and scurried through the last minute preparations in the atrium and through security into the office complex proper so she could change in her office. With the door locked, the lights on, and the window blinds closed, Lana hurriedly stripped down to her undies and pulled on her new hose and slip before looking into the small mirror from her purse as she redid her makeup. She needed to go from professional to glamorous in the space of a few minutes. Not for the first time in her life, Lana had reason to be thankful that she had always preferred simple makeup; it made making changes so much easier.

Finally satisfied, Lana pulled on her designer dress, took a few essentials from her workday purse and stuffed them into her clutch, and finally slipped her hose-clad feet into her Blahnik heels and headed for the party.

Clark was pleased to be on time for once. The party planners were using the empty offices of some lower-ranking office members as a do-it-yourself coat room, so he passed through the security checkpoint and dropped off his overcoat before heading back to the party.

Lana had just managed to see Clark come back out of the temporary coatroom before he saw her. She came to a standstill, both to keep him from noticing her, and because she thought he looked good enough to eat.

This professional relationship thing just got a lot tougher, Lana thought. He’s just a long popsicle, no, mansicle that needs to be unwrapped and…and…aarrrgggghhhh, I hate this waiting already. Lana took a deep breath and held it a few seconds before asking herself, Why am I like this with him? I met him on Monday and four days later, I’m dressing up just for him and wanting to do some mighty special things with him. Maybe he’s ‘all that’ and maybe he isn’t, but I’ve got to give it some time to be sure.

Clark had been looking the other way when Lana spotted him, so he just missed seeing her. Spotting Clark the way she had caused Lana to change her strategy. Instead of just walking into the atrium like this was an everyday occurrence, she now wanted to make an entrance. She wanted every eye to be on her when she walked into that room. Really, she just wanted one pair of eyes to be on her at that moment, but the surest way to guarantee that was to attract every eye.

Back out in the atrium, Clark tried not to be too obvious as he looked for Lana. He was sure she’d stand out, so he shouldn’t have to strain to notice her, but no matter where he looked, there was no Lana. As he waited, he mingled with the crowd. Since the D.A.’s office was part of local government, not only were the members of the D.A.’s office present, but so were the mayor, a number of city councilmen, and a wide cross-section of the city’s elite, and Clark saw many people he knew. It occurred to him that he could be of some use to Lana tonight by helping her make a lot of important connections.

After seeing Clark, Lana had ducked back into her office where she waited fifteen minutes to allow the volume of incoming party goers to drop off somewhat. Then she went back into the outer office and listened for a gap in the music, which was mostly secular Christmas tunes being played by a DJ. She timed her entrance to coincide with one such dead space.

The brilliance of Lana’s red dress against the neutral tones of the atrium walls automatically drew every eye that was even slightly turned in her direction. Her hairdresser had taken advantage of her lustrous hair, showcasing it in a cascade of loose curls that tumbled over her shoulders and down her back. Her face, which could seem somewhat severe at work, was enchantingly made up, and that makeup was bolstered by Lana’s warm smile. The material of the dress seemed to grab hold of her form, accentuating each and every curve, and the height of her heels made her legs look longer.

The attitudes of the women who saw her ranged from admiration to sheer jealousy, depending on their disposition. The men, predictably, had different reactions which ranged from appreciative to out-and-out lust.

Clark was on the other side of the room, chatting with a member of the city’s elite named Lex Luthor, when Lana made her grand entrance. Clark’s eyes started at her top and slowly, oh so slowly, made their way toward her feet. He had told her that if she wanted him to stare at her, she’d have to show something off. Now, he had no idea where to start staring first.

Clark was broken out of his trance when Lex asked breathlessly, “Who in God’s name is that?”

Clark was pleased he wasn’t the only man whose attention had been captured by Lana, but it took him a few seconds to regain the power of speech. “Umm, ah, you mean the vision in red?”

Lex just nodded.

“That, Lex, is the new Deputy District Attorney, Miss Lana Lang.” Glad of having an excuse to approach her, Clark grabbed Lex by the elbow and said, “Come on, Lex, let me introduce you.”

Clark had to nudge his way through a growing crowd of male admirers to reach Lana’s side. The look in her eyes as she saw him made every part of his body tingle and it made him seriously want to reconsider writing those articles. He was no longer sure if he could wait to date her.

Suddenly unaccountably shy, Clark averted his gaze slightly and said softly, “Hi, Lana.”

Lana returned his greeting brightly, “Hi, Clark!”

She found the desire and impatience that she saw in Clark’s eyes to be most gratifying since she shared those feelings. When he stepped over to her side, she could see a slender and reasonably handsome bald man who looked to be in his mid-30s.

“Lana, I’d like to introduce an acquaintance of mine, Mr. Lex Luthor. Lex, this is Miss Lana Lang.”

Lex took Lana’s offered hand, intending to kiss it, but Lana made sure there was nothing more than a quick and firm handshake. There was something about him that made her want to distance herself from him as soon as possible.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Luthor,” Lana said politely. Her use of his last name was intentional; she didn’t want to be on a first name basis with him until she knew more about him.

Lex took the hint, and replied, “The pleasure is all mine, I’m sure,” before gliding away.

Clark began introducing Lana to everyone he knew in the room. It took some time, but by the end of the introductions, Lana was able to put faces to the names of people she had read about. Now, if she met these people during the course of a day, she’d be able to strike up a conversation without all of the awkwardness of having to explain who she was.

Clark finally pulled Lana off to a somewhat secluded corner to talk privately for a few moments before releasing her to enjoy the party. He knew he couldn’t monopolize her time all evening, so he wanted to get his time in now.

“Thanks for introducing me to everyone, Clark,” Lana said quickly. “I had no idea how to go about networking in this city.”

“It was my pleasure. Besides, being seen at your side has to help boost my image…of course, as beautiful as you are tonight, I doubt too many people actually saw me.”

Lana didn’t normally go fishing for compliments, but after all the work she had gone through to be ready for tonight, she wanted to know exactly what Clark thought, so she asked, “So, you think I’m beautiful tonight?”

“Tonight, and every night,” Clark replied. “Only…this night, you go as far beyond beautiful as the stars are beyond the moon.” Lana’s eyes glistened upon hearing Clark’s heartfelt assertion, and then he finished by saying, “Beautiful isn’t a good enough word though, it’s not strong enough. I have to say you look stunningly gorgeous tonight.”

A compliment like that could be a complete snow job coming from some men, but Lana felt she had a good read on Clark by now, and she was sure he meant every word. A simple ‘thank you’ was all the reply she was able to manage at this moment as a slow blush crept up her cheeks. Clark was becoming her very own Prince Charming right in front of her eyes. He was too good to be true. She wanted to just melt into him and kiss him until neither one of them could stand up any longer, but they felt they had to wait, and this was a very public place, so she’d just have to remember what she felt like right now when they finally did get around to kissing.

“You know, Clark,” Lana said as she stepped back to eye him from head to toe, “you clean up pretty good yourself.”

Soon, they went their separate ways to enjoy the party. Clark knew that Lana needed to know more than just the names of the people she had met tonight, she needed to know them as people, and who knew what he might overhear with this many important people drinking booze. It might lead to another story.

Even apart, Clark and Lana couldn’t keep their eyes off each other. Every so often, they would steal glances at each other, with one of them looking away when the other looked up. Sometime during the evening, Clark realized he had been around Lana enough in the past week that he was now able to pick out the particular sounds of her heartbeat. He was just congratulating himself on that, since it would allow him to find her even if she was unconscious, when he heard her heart rate jumped upward. Concerned, and wanting to know what was causing it, Clark quickly located her and looked, only to see her eyes looking back at him. This time, Lana held his gaze for a few seconds before turning away.

She’s nervous or maybe even excited when she looks at me, Clark thought. Amazing! Lana might actually feel the same way about me that I feel about her. That thought filled Clark with confidence, which was something he didn’t always have when dealing with women.

For most of the party, the atrium had been too crowded for anything more than standing and talking, but as the night wore on, the crowd began to thin out and the DJ started playing some danceable songs. That induced a few couples to get out in the middle of the floor and dance.

Clark considered himself to be a lousy dancer, and had basically told that to Lana the first day he met her, but seeing those couples pressed close, he wanted nothing more at that moment than to be out there with her. He just couldn’t help himself. All of the danceable songs the DJ had played were slow and classy, which was a pace he thought he could manage, so he made his way over to where Lana was standing with several other women from work.

Lana had been working up her courage for something else, and when she saw Clark approaching, she told the women she was with, “Wish me luck!” and stepped forward to greet him.

Instead of allowing Clark to lead her to the middle of the floor to dance, Lana tugged him into the same secluded corner they had been in earlier. She had noticed something about that corner a little while ago, and it was something she just had to take advantage of. Clark was surprised by her direction, but he assumed she had something private to tell him. He was so intently focused on Lana that he failed to notice her reason for choosing this spot.

“What’s up, Lana?” Clark asked.

Lana just smiled mischievously and pointed up. Clark’s eyes followed her finger and saw what she was pointing at: a sprig of Mistletoe dangling on a string.

When Clark’s eyes returned to Lana’s, his smile was as large as hers. “They say it is a tradition,” he said, with mock innocence.

Lana edged her way closer to Clark, determined to taste his lips. Just once, she told herself, one kiss is all I need. “It's definitely a tradition that shouldn't be messed with,” she replied.

Her firm, even tone dared Clark to do anything other than kiss her. Several diehard partiers nearby saw Clark and Lana under the Mistletoe and began a chant, demanding a kiss. As Clark leaned in, he thought, Just once won’t cause any harm.

It’s the same thing a first-time methamphetamine user says to himself to bolster his courage before his first hit, and just like the meth user, one hit was all it took to start a lifelong addiction.

One small kiss quickly became two…then three, with each succeeding kiss being a bit longer, hotter, and more passionate than the one before. They both realized they had crossed the line, but found themselves unable to stop.

“You know we shouldn’t…” *Kiss* “…be doing this,” Clark said.

*Kiss*

“I know,” Lana replied, “we’re soooo bad.”

*Kiss*

“But I…” *Kiss* “…can’t seem to stop.”

*Kiss*

“Do you want to?” Lana asked.

*Kiss*

“Never in life.”

*Kiss*

“Me neither.”

*Kiss*

The kissing session came to a close when ribald suggestions from the formerly chanting partiers intruded upon their solitude. With difficulty, Clark and Lana stepped back from each other only to find that they were breathing heavily.

Oh my, Lana thought, his lips taste even better than I imagined.

I’ve gotta find a way out of writing this series, Clark thought. I just have to find a way that will pacify Tom so he won’t think she scared me off.

Lana had gotten what she wanted, happily for both of them; now Clark went for what he had come over to her for. He held out a hand and asked formally, “Miss Lang, may I have this dance?”

She remembered what he had said about his dancing, and seeing him willing to try it anyway made her smile.

“Of course,” she said, as she took his hand, “It would be my pleasure, Mr. Kent.”

Clark and Lana made their way to the open area where two couples were dancing slowly. When the song ended, the enterprising DJ saw a brilliant vision in red gliding onto the floor with a partner and quickly changed the song that was about to play. It was something in the way they moved together as they walked that made him choose such a romantic song, but he knew he was right to choose it.

As they stood there waiting for the next song, Clark placed his right hand on Lana’s hip as her left hand found a spot on his right arm. Her right hand and his left hand were clasped together, and they were far enough apart to be able to gaze into each other’s eyes…and then, the music started.


“The Lady in Red” - Chris De Burgh

I've never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright
I've never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance
They're looking for a little romance
Given half a chance
And I've never seen that dress you're wearing
Or the highlights in your hair
That catch your eyes
I have been blind

The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There's nobody here
It's just you and me
It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight



Earlier in the evening, Lana had just wanted to melt into Clark; now, she got her chance. The longer they danced, the closer they became, until Lana finally nestled her cheek against Clark’s shoulder. Whatever they had intended their relationship to be before this party started no longer mattered. Something stronger than either of them had stepped in and given them a shove.


I've never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight
I've never seen you shine so bright, you were amazing
I've never seen so many people want to be there by your side
And when you turned to me and smiled it took my breath away
And I have never had such a feeling,
Such a feeling of complete and utter love, as I do tonight

The lady in red is dancing with me
Cheek to cheek
There's nobody here
It's just you and me
It's where I wanna be
But I hardly know this beauty by my side
I'll never forget the way you look tonight

I never will forget the way you look tonight
The lady in red
My lady in red
I love you



When the song ended, Clark and Lana held each other tight for a while, knowing that when they took a step back, they would have to face the cold reality of what had just happened between them.

“So much for waiting,” Clark said quietly.

“Yeah,” Lana replied, “we didn’t even last one whole week.”

Clark finally led Lana off of the open dance floor and into the office complex, passing through the security checkpoint and into her own office. Once they were inside with the door shut behind them, they shared an intense stare.

“You know we need to talk about what just happened,” Clark said finally.

“Yeah. We do…but not here.”

“Okay.” Lana began collecting the clothes she had worn earlier in the day. “Leave those. You can take them home tomorrow in a proper garment bag.”

Lana thought that was a good idea, so she carefully replaced everything and asked, “Where are we going?”

“Some place quiet, a place that serves the best coffee you’ve ever had.”
"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) Ch18&19 (pg 2) 7/26

Post by Cardinal » Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:45 pm

Chapter 20

A Bet


Clark held Lana’s coat while she slipped her arms into its sleeves. Mid-December in Metropolis was always cold, and usually windy, but it looked to him like her thick wool coat would hold up just fine…as long as she wasn’t outside too long. Being a guy, he admitted having no idea how drafty it might get for her under the bottom edge of her coat, which thankfully did come down well below the bottom edge of her cocktail dress.

Clark held the door for Lana and then followed her out of her office. As she locked the door behind her, Clark headed over to the impromptu coatroom to pick up his overcoat. Together, they weaved back and forth through the remaining partiers and headed for the elevator. The ride to the lobby was a quiet one because they shared the elevator with two other couples.

The idea of them being seen as a couple hit Clark and Lana simultaneously, causing them both to smile slightly and glance at each other. That brief peek was all they needed to know they were sharing the same thought and that caused their smiles to grow uncontrollably. At the lobby, Clark and Lana allowed the other couples to leave the elevator first. Clark then turned to Lana and offered her his arm. She looped her arm around his and they walked at a leisurely pace designed to allow the other couples to quickly outdistance them.

“Where’s this great coffee you were talking about?” Lana asked.

“Well,” Clark replied, “it’s currently sitting in a coffee pot at Louie’s Diner which is a block and a half past the subway station we came out of the day we met.”

“Three and a half blocks away? In this weather? In these shoes? Do you have any idea how much a pair of Blahniks cost?” Lana was giving Clark a hard time and being obvious about it, but Clark decided to play dumb and take her at her word. When they stepped out onto Schuster Plaza, Lana gasped slightly when she felt the first gust of winter air against her hose-clad calves, and Clark used that moment of distraction to literally sweep Lana off her feet.

Clark had one arm beneath her shoulders and another one beneath her knees, as Lana squawked, “Clark! Put me down!”

“Why?” he asked innocently. “I’ll carry you the whole way so you won’t have to worry yourself one little bit about your fancy shoes.”

“But…but…but you can’t even carry me that far.”

Clark gave Lana a lopsided grin.

“Wanna bet?”

Lana was always up for a challenge, even if she wasn’t supposed to be actively participating in this one.

“Okay, tough guy,” Lana said, “if I win, on our first date you’ll have to take me to any restaurant in town that I name, and take me to any entertainment I name.”

Clark let out a low whistle.

“The little girl seems awfully sure she’s gonna win.” Clark put on a look of mock concentration. “What am I gonna require from her when I win?”

Lana liked the show Clark was putting on, because she knew the longer he stood there holding her, the more tired he’d get and the less likely it was that he’d be able to carry her the whole way. She was already thinking over the names of the best restaurants in town; those she knew of anyway. She’d have to check the entertainment section of the Sunday Planet to see what shows were in town though.

Lana was wondering if Clark had the kind of pull that would get him a table at a fancy restaurant without a reservation by the time he finally decided what his prize would be if he won the bet.

“I think I want you to cook for me when I win,” Clark said, “and I don’t mean a simple plate of spaghetti and a loaf of store-bought garlic bread either. I’m talking about a meal that will knock my socks off.” Clark then leered at her in a comical fashion. “As for entertainment, well, that will just have to come after dinner.”

“If you think you’re gonna be getting any sugar after I have to slave over a hot stove to cook a meal like that, you’re out of your mind.”

Clark started walking across the plaza. He looked at Lana with mock surprise writ large on his face.

I was thinking about a wholesome activity like quilting or playing checkers…but if your mind is set on making out, who am I to say no?”

Lana enjoyed Clark's playful banter. The banter also gave her an idea as he finished crossing the plaza and headed toward the diner that was three and a half blocks distant. She lowered her lips to Clark’s ear and whispered, “Have I ever told you how much I love to win? And how I’ll do just about anything to do it?”

“No…”

“Well, it’s true.”

Lana then began to subject Clark to the sweetest torture ever devised by humankind. She started by blowing ever so lightly into his ear and then began to nibble the edges of his ear, but concentrated mostly on the lobe. From there, she worked her way slowly down his neck toward his shirt collar where she left one perfect lip print before shifting her head just enough to place soft kisses on his carotid artery. She could feel the way his heart was pounding with each and every kiss, which only encouraged her to redouble her efforts. What she couldn’t see was the way her attentions affected him externally.

Clark’s head was leaning away from her in a vain attempt at saving himself from her devastating kisses. A side effect of this move was to give her easier access to his vulnerable neck. At the same time that Clark was trying to lean away from his tormentor, he was also weaving back and forth on the sidewalk somewhat like a drunk…and when he came to a stop at an intersection, as he waited for the signal to flash the ‘walk’ sign, his feet floated six inches off the ground. This caused a real drunk, who was just coming out of a nearby package liquor store with a bottle of fortified wine, to drop his bottle in shock. All the drunk could think was, I know I’ve had enough to drink when people start flying.

Once the signal changed to ‘walk,’ Clark sank back to the ground and rushed the remaining half of a block to the diner before Lana made him accidentally start multiple building fires. When he leaned on the door to the diner and claimed victory, Lana kissed him full on the mouth and said, “You’re not inside the diner yet, Big Boy.”

Clark realized both of his hands were already busy, so he quickly shifted Lana to one hand and slung her over his shoulder, putting her butt high in the air as he used his newly free hand to open the door. Two steps later, and they were inside. Lana had futilely started pounding on Clark’s back as soon as he had slung her over his shoulder, so when he released the door handle and it swung closed, he reached up and swatted her once, very firmly, on her prominently displayed behind.

“Oh!” Lana said, as her body shifted like she’d been goosed.

Now I win,” Clark said, as he gently lowered Lana to the floor.

“No fair!” Lana pouted. “You cheat!”

I cheat?” Clark said incredulously. “You’re the one that was snacking on the side of my face and neck all the way down the street.”

“I still say you cheat,” Lana insisted.

“How?”

“I don’t know. I’m still working on that part of my theory.”

The clientele of Louie’s Diner at this hour of the night was small but select, consisting mostly of police officers of all ranks. The diner was well known as a favorite of the Metropolis Police Department for two reasons: one was that it was open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and the second was the incredible coffee. The cops didn’t like to mention the fact that the diner received deliveries of freshly-made Krispy Kreme donuts four times a day, because they thought that would help perpetuate the idea that all cops love sitting around munching donuts.

Clark had come here tonight because he had been here many times before. He had started coming here because there were always some cops here no matter what time of day or night and they could be good sources on occasion and were almost always good company. Like them, he kept coming back because of the coffee and the convenience.

The cops, off-duty and otherwise, had their eyes on the entertainment that just walked through the front door. The cops were very well acquainted with Clark, and most of them liked him. None of them recognized the new Deputy D. A., but they did recognize a couple when they saw one and watched with barely concealed amusement to see Clark with a woman. The old timers amongst them vaguely remembered Lois and were fairly sure he hadn’t had a relationship of that type since then, so they were silently cheering him on.

Clark had already seated Lana at a booth which was well separated from the other customers and they had each received a menu from their waitress before Lana reluctantly admitted defeat.

“Okay, Clark,” Lana said, “you win. When is our first date?”

“As soon as you get your pots and pans from the movers and feel ready to cook.” Clark looked at his menu. “In the meantime, I recommend a piece of pie ala mode along with the cup of coffee. It’s definitely worth it.”

Lana closed her menu without even looking at it.

“Sounds good to me.”

Minutes later, they were laughing and chatting about nothing in particular while eating their twin slices of pie. Lana had been shocked by the mammoth size of the slices, but hadn’t let that deter her one bit. The vanilla ice cream was rich and creamy, a perfect complement to the pie’s piping hot apple and cinnamon filling and flaky crust. When Clark’s fork snaked across the table in an attempt at stealing a bite of Lana’s slice, she determinedly fended him off.

“Oh my God, Clark,” Lana said, for the fifth time, “this is the best pie ever.”

“Mmm…almost,” he replied. “My mom’s pie is better, but then again, I’m biased.”

“Your mom bakes better than this?” Lana asked, as she pointed at her remaining pie with her fork. “If that’s true, I’ve gotta meet her and learn her secrets. Having the ability to make pies like this one is a secret weapon that could help rescue even a mediocre meal.”

“Well, I think she’d like to meet you, too.” Clark looked mournfully at his already empty plate before eyeing Lana’s last remaining bites. When she protectively wrapped her arms around her pie plate, Clark laughed and said, “She’s always liked strong women…and when I say that, I’m emphasizing both words. She likes women who know what they want and go out and get it, while still remaining women. From what I’ve seen this week, Lana. You do both very well.”

Lana felt like she’d been ambushed by Clark’s compliment. Her mouth didn’t want to work as she tried to respond and she suddenly found herself unable to meet his eyes with her own. She concentrated on finishing off her pie as Clark asked their waitress for coffee refills.

Once their coffee cups were topped off, Lana said, “Thanks, Clark, for seeing that in me. The fact that you gave voice to that and yet are still here with me is more rare than you know. Most guys chase after me because they think I’m pretty, but they leave when they find out I have ambition and brains.”

“Lucky me,” Clark replied. “Less competition is great…for me anyway.”

“How about you, Clark? Have you ever been pursued by women who had unrealistic expectations?”

“Not really. Since Lois died, I’ve gotten quite good at deflecting that kind of attention before it leads to anything.” Now it was Clark’s turn to make an admission. “You’re the first woman to get past my guard in years.”

The kisses and dancing at the party had pretty much told Lana that Clark was falling for her, but it was nice for her to hear him say it out loud, since it showed he was willing to admit how he was feeling.

Clark and Lana sat there sipping their coffees, chatting, and looking into each other’s eyes until they had nothing left to talk about except for what they had to talk about.

“So…what are we going to do about my article series?” Clark asked. “I’ll admit right now that any chance I might’ve had to pull this off is gone. After the exhibition we put on at the party, I can’t be the one to write the articles.”

“Yeah, I kinda figured that,” Lana replied. “Who do you think your boss will assign to replace you? And more importantly, is that person someone who will respect the ground rules laid down for this series, or will that person try to circumvent my veto power?”

“Hmm…” Clark’s thumb and forefinger rose up and started stroking his chin as he thought. Benny’s on vacation, Julie’s on maternity leave, Carol, Will, and Dave all have things of their own to write… The longer Clark thought, the shorter his list of potential replacements became.

“I really don’t know who Perry might assign, I just know I’ve got to make sure he reassigns this since your boss is looking forward to a public relations boost from this.”

“Yeah, I’d like to keep my job.”

“You know, if he did fire you, you could always take your experience and your law degree and go into private practice.”

Lana shook her head emphatically ‘no.’

“Nothin’ doin’. I’m a prosecutor because I want to put crooks behind bars. I want to make a difference. If I enter private practice, I’d end up defending pieces of garbage like Edge. I can’t imagine a more soul-crushing experience for me.” Lana took another sip and finished her thought. “If I lose this job here, I’m going back to Gotham City. Rachel told me there’d always be a place for me there.”

She’s a lot like me, Clark thought. We both have a need to use our abilities to help. She could be making a huge salary by now as a junior partner in a major law firm somewhere, but she’s given that up for the greater good. Her sacrifice means just as much as any of mine do.

What Clark said was, “Well then. Since you want to prosecute, and I want you doing your prosecuting here in Metropolis, it looks like I’ll need to lean on Perry if he can’t find someone.”

“So, it’s over? Just like that?”

“Yeah. You won’t be seeing me in your office anymore, but the tradeoff is you get to see me after work…” Clark suddenly realized he may be taking her wishes for granted, and hastily added, “…if you want to, that is.”

Lana reached across the small table and clasped Clark’s hands. As she ran her thumbs across the backs of his fingers, she was looking for a way to reassure him. All she had to say was, “I want to.”
"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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