Back to Writing. Don’t Faint, It’s a Short Story

 Joe Kelly, one of my favorite Superman comics writers, has a thing on Twitter that has people writing every day for 90 days.  Last night I felt the need to write.  I can’t catch up to Joe’s 90 day thing, but I needed to write.  Which is a good sign.

So I wrote whatever jumped into my head.  Nothing for fiction.  And when I was done with that.  I said in my head I wanted to write some Clois fiction.

I actually wrote a short story. Trust me, my stories are usually sagas.  At any rate, I wrote some last night and then I finished it this morning.  Probably about 4 hours, all tolled.  Not exactly edited much.  Just wanted to get it out.

This takes place about where the new 52 is right now with the beginning of the Doomed arc.

Clark gave me the title and the focus half way through the story.  Gotta love him.

Hope you enjoy.

Morning Coffee

by baudyhallee

I own nothing

It had been a long time since she had heard from him. Funny how when he was absent her life felt out of kilter. She had a home, a man, a career, love . . . That word. It could mean so many things. It was inadequate often times to precisely define feelings.

Where was he? She didn’t worry. That was a waste of time. But she missed him. Even though he had his own life now as she did hers. But . . .something was missing – and she knew it was him. What he meant to her. Even now. Even with the choices she made.

Okay, so maybe they weren’t the best choices – or not made with the best motivations. Maybe she should have been more direct. She blinked. Had she truly not been direct? She knew he had picked up on the signals – but even when he leaned forward, he took a step back. She had seen it too many times not to notice the pattern.

He was attracted to her. Could possibly still be.

Lois shook her head. Doubt was futile. She waited for no one – well, except she had for four long years. Why?

Because he was there. His spirit, mind, and body – but most of all his heart. A truer heart she had never known. It made her believe in him – and there was no other being on the planet she felt that way about.

He made her feel. And it was the only time she didn’t want to analyze or overthink it. She just wanted to linger in it. Accept it for what it was.

Dammit, where was he at this moment? Was he thinking of her as she was of him? Was he safe? Happy? Even if he was without her, she wanted him happy.

Clark.

Was he at the farm? Writing furiously at his keyboard in Metropolis?

She had his number. All she had to do was hit speed dial.

Staring at the ceiling she felt stupid. Jonathon was out on assignment. She couldn’t quite remember if it was Afghanistan or whether he had told her at all. Was she that disinterested? Did Jonathon sense it too?

Jonathon didn’t need her. Sometimes she wondered why he wanted to move in.

The lights of Metropolis twinkled outside her balcony as a small persistent voice repeated, “Call him!”

“This is ridiculous!” Lois grabbed the phone and punched the number. One ring, two rings, it was going into voicemail.

“Hi! This is Clark. Sorry, I missed your call. If you leave a message after the beep I’ll be more than happy to speak with you. Thank you. Goodbye.”

His voice was cheery and inviting. And it made her cheeks rise into a grin.

“Hey, Smallville! Just thought I’d call and . . . “ Her mind blanked. “Let you know . . .” Another long pause. Awkward. “I miss you.” Stunned she clicked off the call.

Had it come to this? Electronics whirred around her in the silence of the room. Her lower lip pouted. She took a cleansing breath to change things. She would not give into pity. She didn’t do that.

Rising from the floor in front of her couch, she went to the bedroom with phone in hand. Lifting the covers, she got in. She didn’t feel lonely – just expectant.

“Maybe I was supposed to call – maybe he needed to know I miss him.”

Lois rolled over on her side. “Maybe I should have just bitched at him about taking so damn long between blogs. How is he ever going to pay the rent? Oh yea, Jimmy. That’s just weird.”

Across the continents his hands were too large to hold the cellphone he always had with him. The virus was beginning its early stages, swelling and bone formation.

Punching the voice mail button and speaker phone, he heard her voice on the wind outside the Fortress. A grin stretched his face. He had forgotten the last time he had felt that.

Hearing her say ‘Smallville’ never failed to give his heart a thrill. Only she called him that.

He thought the phone reception was faulty on the first pause. Lois never paused – it was forward motion all the time with her. The second pause struck fear in his heart. Was she in danger? And then he heard words. The ones that hit him in the gut. “I miss you.”

He closed his eyes and managed to hit the back button. “I miss you,” she said again in that straight forward way of hers.

He stretched out his hearing and heard her soft, rhythmic breathing of sleep. She was alone, but he couldn’t go to her. Not like this. Clark Kent may no longer exist. That made him fear all the more.

He pressed the back button again. “I miss you.”

“Lo-is.”

He realized that could be the last word he truly articulated clearly. He could feel his jaw stiffening from the virus. Despite that, it seemed fitting and proper.

I miss you, too.

In that moment, he could feel the regret froth to the surface. He had made decisions and choices. The regret seemed sharper than the fear and loneliness that created it.

His life before seemed more balanced. A true gift compared to the insanity his life had become.

Something as simple as morning coffee.

A habit. A necessity at times, but right now if it happened, it would seem like an event. No small thing despite outward appearance.

No matter what, meeting Lois for morning coffee was an anchor, a sighting of land after a night or days of chaos and fighting. It was peace. Like putting on a pair of jeans that had worn to your body and felt reassuring. There was something to be said for comfort and ease with someone who understood your silence. They prized their own — until the moment you or they wanted to share. Then a door opened and you were welcomed. Glad to see you. Hear you. Be with you.

Morning coffee had been that. Sometimes they both had pulled all nighters on different ‘assignments’ and sometimes Lois would show up all showered, with the dew of sleep still upon her. Like a present. All fresh, new, and mysterious.

Whenever he hadn’t shown up for their ‘ritual’, she would be bristly with him. That still made him grin. He knew she missed him. His lame excuses didn’t always help but Lois luckily never held a grudge. She’d move on and he’d get her to smile. Which she seemed to always appreciate.

They looked out for each other in that way. Those quiet internal things that you never experienced with anyone else – or rarely did.

Why? Why had he given up morning coffee?

His thumb toyed with the cell phone again. Her pauses made him shiver. And then, “I miss you.”

Had it come to this? What had he done to both of them? He never wanted to hurt her, not even indirectly. But this . . . this decision had hurt . . . them.

For Lois to say the words. To call. It was as if she were crying “Uncle.” Lois never gave up and never gave in. But she . . .

A tear fell down his face as he entered the Fortress. The cellphone feeling even smaller in his hand.

What had he done to his . . . beautiful girl. His life. Where was his peace, his joy now?

This hell he was living. Did he think it was the price to be paid for being a Kryptonian on Earth?

Before it was simple – he championed Earth for humanity. The memory of his parents, biological and adopted. And he did it for her – the woman who captivated him with the spirit behind her thoughts and words. Her bulldog will. Her empathy and gruff kindness. Her honesty to the point of pain for some.

“Clark Kent doesn’t have a chance with Lois Lane. She’s into Superman,” he would hear people say. Superhearing.

But he knew differently. Lois and Clark had a deep friendship. Lois and Superman still had that innate knowing between two people. Could she somehow know on some level that Clark and Superman were one and the same? She probably did. She was quite intuitive.

They always had a connection no matter what clothes he was wearing. And it was unique to them. She obviously didn’t have it with others. Just him.

And now . . . what had he done? What was he doing?

Becoming a monster.

Could it have been avoided if he hadn’t given up morning coffee? Maybe. One thing often lead to another.

While placing the leads on his head to communicate with what was basically a Kryptonian computer, Clark began the algorithms to find a cure for the virus. What would kill it? He didn’t want to expose anyone else.

“I miss you,” rang through his mind.

With a thought he formulated an event. Not earth shattering. A relief, since lately most everything was literally planet shattering on some scale.

Was it selfish of him? Was what he truly desired selfish and not worthy of the duties of a superhero? Yes, lately it had become a duty, not a mission he loved doing because he was the only one who could.

And in this, too. He was the only one who could do it. To make a difference. For him, he had to admit. But also for her. To make her smile even if he couldn’t see it.

“I miss you, too,” he said silently in his mind as he began the search for a cure to prevent his total transformation into a destructive force.

Lois Lane stopped in front of her apartment door to check her purse. Money. Credit cards in the wallet, not outside it. Cellphone. Keys.

The knock at the door startled her. Grabbing the knob, she nearly jerked the door from its hinges. “What?!”

“Ms. Lane?” said the surprised young man.

“Yes,” she said a bit too snappily.

“Here,” he said as he handed her a cup and walked away briskly.

Lois looked at the cup in her hand and realized, “Hey! You want a tip?”

“No, thanks,” he said as he got into the elevator.

She shut the door not quite willing to go into the hallway yet. The cup was from her usual coffee shop. Turning the cup to inspect it, she found a name on the heat band that was clearly printed.

CLARK

Her lip trembled. Her eyes watered before a single thought could transpire. “Damn you, Smallville,” she croaked. He had done it to her again as he always did. She felt first before she could analyze.

Before her hand went over her mouth to contain the sob, she expressed the emotion that was tearing her apart. “I love you.”

Not prone to reveling in despair her brain kicked in.

Where was he? Why hadn’t he brought it himself? Why hadn’t he just called back?

She opened the door and locked it. Taking a sip of coffee, she entered the elevator.

Perfection. The coffee was just how she liked it. Clark Kent was the sweetest man she had ever known.

She understood his need to protect her. These were high stakes. Global, universal stakes. But protecting her from him was the stupidest thing ever.

Was that what he was doing now? She had to know. Mad Dog Lane was on the scent. A story that would never see print or the internet.

Is he in the ice house? Or has the goddess got him tied up with that lasso at Paradise Island? Nah. Can’t order coffee from there.

Leaving the elevator, she walked out to the sidewalk taking another sip of her morning coffee.

I’m not waiting for night time to talk to Creepy. He’s going to come out of that cave or whatever. I want answers!

“Clark, sometimes you need saving, too.”

 

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April 27, 2014. Tags: , , , . BaudyBlahBlahBlah, Lois Lane, Superman.

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