She leaned forward a bit, lowering her voice to a whisper. “
He could hear her perfectly, but he leaned forward anyway to make her think he was trying to hear her better. He finished chewing his food and swallowed dramatically. “Of course, Lois. Anything you say is safe with me.”
With all of her heart she believed him. She took a deep breath. “It’s about Richard.”
He took another bite of his chicken. The quickening pace of her heartbeat drummed in his ears.
“Richard isn’t Jason’s biological father.”
She repeated the statement, finding it harder to say it the second time around. He was having fun pretending like he had never heard the words before, when really his insides were leaping at the admission. It was different from the first time, when his mind was in a haze and he could barely hear her words. He knew it was her – the scent of her perfume and shampoo would never leave his memory – but looking at her as she said it only made it more real.
“Who is it then?”
She took another deep breath, shaking her head and suddenly wondering if this was a good idea. “You’re going to think I’m crazy…”
His hand covering hers made her stop. His face was red, but his voice insisted. “You can tell me, Lois.”
She looked down at her food feeling her appetite fade with every second passing. “Jason’s father…” her voice dropped to a whisper. “… is Superman.”
He was quiet for a long while. “S-Superman? The Superman?”
Her nod appeared to be apprehensive. She waited for something negative to come out and almost felt bad for telling him. She knew all about his crush on her, but didn’t know if it would hurt him somehow. When she looked at him, his hand long gone from hers, he was obviously trying to find something to say.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have told you.”
He held up a hand. “No! No, you’re fine Lois. I mean, it’s just that… well… golly.” He adjusted his glasses. “Does Richard know?”
The blood drained from her face. She was sure he could see it. “No. Superman is the only one. I told him when I saw him at the hospital.”
He could see the misery flood her eyes again. “I don’t know.” She whispered, and his heart ached at the defeated tone she gave it. He almost felt like he knew her situation. She had no idea she just told the father of her child – their child - that he was just that, yet she was still in love with him while engaged to another. At least, he thought she was still in love with him. Jimmy seemed to think so.
“How did Superman take it?”
She smiled, her eyes blinking slowly and filling with tears. “He went to see Jason the night I told him. I have no idea what was said, but the look he gave me…” she brushed a stray tear away. “He knew. He knew everything. I don’t know what he thinks about this, but...” she bit her lip, trying to gain composure. She took the clean napkin he offered. “I don’t want to lay all of this on you. I’m sure you’ve got enough stuff to worry about.”
He reached for her hand again, wanting her to feel some kind of connection, as if she could discover that Superman was here the whole time and wasn’t going to leave her. His face flushed again when she looked at him. “I’m never too busy for you, Lois. Anytime you need someone to talk to, I’m alw-… I’m here.” He nearly slipped again when she smiled at him.
She squeezed his hand. “Thank you, Clark.” She looked at their joined hands and noticed his watch. “Oh, no. We need to get back! Perry will give us an earful if we’re late!”
They paid for their food and rushed out the door,
Later that evening, showered and dressed for bed,
“Had I only known,” he whispered. He never would have left. Never would have sought out a dead world. Never would have made the mistake of forgetting how fast time passed on earth. He felt like he was only gone for a few weeks. When his mother had told him five years, he felt foolish to think that she would be ready and willing to run back into his arms and continue where they had left off. Despite that, progress had been made, hadn’t it?
He looked at his glasses on the bedside table. While they both were in the elevator, once again being the only two inside, she had turned and taken his hand to get his attention. “You’re a good man, Clark
He had blushed again and made his way to his desk, but not without stealing another glance at her. She was full of surprises, it seemed. Something he needed to understand better.
He propped the picture on the frame and turned out the light. Even surrounded by darkness he could still see the two of them clearly. The love of his life. His son. Their son.
“Goodnight.” He whispered, then fell asleep.
Lois hated the quiet of an empty house.
She had done everything to break the silence once she had tucked Jason into bed. She worked more on her column, grateful the outline was given to Perry on time. She made some freshly squeezed orange juice. She had even waited by the door, hoping that his father would come and watch him sleep like he sometimes did.
His father. The truth wasn’t as hard to admit, but then again, she wasn’t staring at Richard trying to remind herself that he still didn’t know. How would the Man of Steel respond to this? Maybe she should have asked
The thought of her co-worker brought a small smile to her face as she turned in bed, trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. He was such a kind friend, and she wondered how she could have taken his friendship for granted for so many years. Always ready to listen, always ready to give her the greater credit when he really deserved it, an honest worker and companion – that was the real
Her eyes closed. Even when doing something he wasn’t accustomed to, like taking her hand at the restaurant to prove his point, he was the shy country boy she knew well, but his character was clear. Heck, now that she thought of it, he did pay for both of their meals.
When he held her hand… looking her straight in the eyes…
She had never noticed how blue his eyes were behind those glasses…