Final Forgiveness 2: Perry's Story (2/5)
by Alicia U.

Back in Metropolis, Perry waited anxiously for Alice to pick up the ringing phone. It had rung six times, and Perry was about to hang up when a breathless woman answered.

“Hello,” she breathed.

Perry was silent for a moment, nearly forgetting why he had called. The sound of her voice was like music to his tortured ears. He cherished the sound of her voice, for he was never sure if this would be the last time she would allow him to call her.

“Darlin’…” was all Perry could say.

“Perry? What’s wrong?” Alice asked anxiously.

“Oh, it’s nothin’, honey.” There was an uncomfortable silence. “I wanted to ask you if you wanted to have dinner with me.” Before Alice could say ‘No’ or even protest, he added, “No commitment at all. I miss you so much, and you know I’ve been trying to reform my life, and I just want you and the boys back in it. Believe me, no strings attached. I promise.”

Alice sighed. How many times did she have to tell him no? How could she be sure he was telling the truth? How many times could she let him break her heart? But, if he only wanted to talk, what would be the harm in that? Maybe she had let him suffer long enough. “Okay, Perry, just dinner. But I’m holding you to that no strings attached deal! How does tomorrow sound?”

Perry exhaled at breath he hadn’t known he was holding. Maybe this was the beginning of the rest of his life. He would convince Alice that he’d changed. She would see the new Perry White, and he hoped she’d approve. “Thank you, darlin’. I promise you won’t regret this! So, I’ll pick you up at 7?”

“No.” Perry’s heart fell, but then she said, “How ‘bout I meet you there?”

Perry was a little disheartened. Alice wanted to meet him there; that meant she still didn’t trust him. But she was still going to see him; at least that was a positive step. “Okay, so 7:00 at The Garden.”

“Okay, Perry, see you then.”

“Thank you so much, Alice. I’ll prove to you that I’ve changed. You’re going to meet the new Perry White. I promise,” he drawled.

Alice sighed, “I just wish I could believe you, Perry. You don’t know how much I want to believe you. I just don’t know if anything can ever change. You like your life the way it is. You love working long hours and late nights. Perry, you know as well as I do that ink runs through your blood. The grind at the Daily Planet is what you live for. It’s what comes first. I don’t know if I could ever accept that again.”

Perry bit his lip. Had he ever realistically believed that she would come running back to him after a single phone call? However, he was making progress. This was the longest conversation they’d had in a year. And she had agreed to see him for dinner. “I hope things can change between us, Alice. I’m trying my best, really I am. I am sick of not having you in my life.”

They hung up, and Perry flopped back onto the sofa. He knew that this dinner would be all he’d be able to think about for the rest of the day. In fact, he would probably have to fight to concentrate on anything else.

Suddenly, the football game that he wasn’t really watching caught his attention. Metro U. had just scored a touchdown and they were panning the crowd. A man that looked surprisingly like his son Jerry was dancing on top of one of the chairs with his shirt off and the letter “M” painted on his stomach in red. Perry sighed. Jerry was in prison and wasn’t due out until the end of the year. Today, he decided to take a ride upstate to visit the son he hadn’t seen in two years.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Lucy shifted in Superman’s arms. She felt very uncomfortable flying with him now that she knew the truth about him. Should she tell him that she knew?

Superman stopped flying. “Lucy, what’s wrong? Are you nervous about moving back with your mother?”

Lucy closed her eyes. She had to come clean with him. “Superman, or should I say, Clark, I know the truth.”

Clark nearly dropped Lucy. “What?” he exclaimed.

Lucy nodded. “I just figured it out before, when you were trying to pry Jenny off of you. Don’t worry, I think it’s kinda cool. Just think, my sister’s married to Superman.” Lucy wondered why she was taking this news so well. Why was she taking this new development in stride instead of freaking out about it?

Clark took a deep breath. Jenny had really taken it out of him. He didn’t think he would ever get used to the fanatics out there, and he sure hadn’t thought he would run into one in his sister-in-law’s apartment. “Lucy, you can’t tell anyone about this. Please. Lois and I were going to tell you and your mother about this soon, and I am so sorry you had to figure it out this way.”

Lucy rolled her eyes. Why was Clark making such a big deal about this? She already told him that she thought it was cool, what more did he expect from her?

Clark added, “Thank you for getting your friend away from me back there.”

Lucy smiled and her eyes shined as she remembered the look on Jenny’s face when she had threatened her. “No problem, Clark. I should have known that she’d act like that, but I thought she had matured. She hadn’t acted like that in months, so I thought it would be okay if you came over.”

Clark smiled also. “She sure had a killer death grip. I didn’t want to break her fingers.”

Lucy squeezed her eyes shut, trying to forget about Jenny, the psycho-roommate. “Clark, I am so glad I am out of there. That girl was going to drive me crazy. I swear, I hope Chen convinces her to get some psychiatric counseling.”

Clark nodded and then he laughed. “Did you know she thinks I’m gay?”

Lucy laughed heartily. From what she’d seen of Lois and Clark together, Clark was definitely *not* gay! “Why do you think that?”

Clark coughed and turned a shade of red that almost matched his cape. “Well, uh, when we were flying away, I caught the end of Jenny and Chen’s conversation. And, um, well, Jenny thinks that I should have, um, responded to her when she was all over me, and since I didn’t I must be gay.”

Lucy covered her head in her hands, not wanting Clark to see her laughing hysterically. When she was finally able to speak, she sputtered, “I am going to kill that girl when I can get my hands on her! How dare she say something like that? I wonder when she’ll figure out that some men just aren’t turned on by things like that. *Some* men might be *faithful* to their wives. Besides, if I do say so myself, Jenny is nothing compared to Lois, so why would you want her after you’ve had Lois?”

Clark’s face turned redder and redder with every word Lucy said. “Exactly, Lucy, exactly. I love you sister so much, and I could never do anything that would hurt her…”

Lucy interrupted, “Why is Lois always the lucky one? Why did she find someone like you? Why can’t I find someone like you?” A single tear fell down Lucy’s cheek, and Clark’s heart went out to her.

Clark took a deep breath. He knew that Lucy had been having troubles with all of the men in her life, and she tended to find the worst men and think she could change them. But Clark also knew that his good friend Jimmy Olsen had a crush on Lucy and that he was the type of man that would be perfect for Lucy, loyal, trustworthy, and funny. “Don’t worry, Lucy. I’m sure you’ll find someone. You’re still so young. Lois and I were in our late 20’s when we met.”

Lucy looked up into her brother-in-law’s deep brown eyes that were filled with emotion and smiled. He was right. She was only twenty-four; she still had plenty of time to find a man like Clark. “Thanks, Clark. I needed that.”

Clark, who had been drifting towards Metropolis during their conversation, answered, “Anytime, Lucy. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you. I’ve always wanted a sister, and now I have one.”

Lucy smiled brightly. She was right, Lois did get all the breaks; Clark was, indeed, the perfect husband. He even accepted her, Lois’ flighty little sister.

Before Lucy knew, they were floating above the Metropolis skyline. Lucy watched wide-eyed as they passed over the Trade Towers, the LexCorp tower, the stadium, the Daily Planet building, and the rest of the city. She took in the beauty of the city she had grown up in from a new perspective. Before when she had flown in Superman’s arms, she had been concentrating on other, more important, things, but now all she wanted to do was watch the city as it passed beneath her. She had grown up in Metropolis, but she had never realized just how beautiful it was.

Clark chuckled and Lucy asked, “What, what’s so funny, Clark?”

“I was just thinking about how alike you and Lois are.”

Lucy guffawed, “What! Lois and I are *not* alike! What are you talking about?”

Clark laughed again. “Lucy, that’s *exactly* what Lois would have said. You even have the same facial expressions. And this is how Lois acted the first time I took her flying. I think you have so much more in common than either of you realize.”

Lucy nodded. When she and her sister were younger, people had remarked how Lucy seemed like Lois’ little shadow, with Lucy trying to copy everything that Lois did. “I guess we are, Clark. Would you mind if we stopped at your place first? I want to talk to Lois.”

“Sure, as long as you’re sure your mother won’t mind.”

“Oh, she won’t mind.”

Before Lucy could even blink, Clark had swooped down to the brownstone on Hyperion and had dropped her into their living room. He shouted, “Lois, I’m home!”

Lois came out of the kitchen to greet him, but she stopped cold when she saw him still in his Superman outfit with Lucy standing next to him.

Lucy’s face glowed as she smiled at Lois. She ran towards her sister and enveloped her in a hug. “Lois, it’s so good to see you again. I missed you.”

Lois had not forgotten Clark standing behind the couch, still in his Superman uniform, but she hugged Lucy as tightly as she could. “I know, sis. I missed you too. It’s so good to have you home!”

Lucy backed away from Lois and they both turned to Clark. Lucy grinned like the Cheshire Cat when she said, “I told Clark I wanted to see you before I went over to Mom’s.”

Lois opened and closed her mouth. How had Lucy known about Clark? Had Clark told her? Had she figured it out? Lois addressed Clark, “Honey, Lucy knows?”

Lucy nodded happily. “I figured it out, Lois. And I think it’s really cool. My sister’s married to Superman!”

Clark sat down on the couch heavily. “Lois, she figured it out. I don’t know how, but she did. I know we wanted to tell them together, I’m sorry.”

Lois moved behind the couch and wrapped her arms around Clark’s neck. “It’s okay, honey. Lucy, how did you figure it out? It took me two years of working with him every day to figure it out.”

Lucy winked and then said, “Well, sis, I guess some Lanes are more observant than others.”

Lois glared at her sister, but then she smiled. “Seriously, Luce, how did you figure it out?”

“Well, my roommate, Jenny…”

Lois groaned; she remembered the time she had spoken to Jenny on the phone. That woman had the gall to ask her how Superman was in bed. Of course he was wonderful, but it wasn’t Jenny’s business to know. “Oh no, not Jenny.”

“Yeah, well, she kinda ambushed Clark when he came in. And he made a face that I remember Clark making the last time I saw him, so I just made the connection. Now we see that the sister without the journalism degree is the better investigative reporter.” She smirked at Lois happily.

Clark smiled and tilted his head up to give Lois a kiss. “I guess it runs in the family.”

Lois’ eyes sparkled when she looked at Lucy. “I’m glad you know, Lucy. You know I trust you, but I just have to remind you not to tell anyone about this, not even Mother.”

Clark grabbed Lois hand and said, “Lois, she’s not going to tell anyone about me.”

Suddenly Lucy sat fell down onto a chair and her face twisted almost as if she were in pain. She muttered, “Oh my God, Clark is Superman!”

Lois nodded, her face clearly showing her confusion. “Yes, but you knew that.”

Lucy started sweating and ran a hand through her hair nervously. “Clark is Superman.”

Lois quickly moved to stand next to Lucy’s chair. She held her sister’s hand and asked quietly, “Lucy, what’s wrong?”

Lucy stared blankly at her sister, almost like she didn’t realize Lois was standing right there next to her. Her mind was racing faster than she could keep up with it. Even though she had flown in Clark’s arms a mere few minutes before, it seemed to take on a dream-like quality to her, and she almost wanted to believe that it truly was a dream. Clark was Superman. That would certainly take some getting used to. Suddenly, she squeezed Lois’ hand more tightly as she finally seemed to realize Lois and Clark were still in the room. She smiled warily at her sister; those tabloid journalists had been right. Lois indeed had had a fling with Superman, indeed; only there was a whole dimension here that no one had explored.

Lucy broke free of Lois’ grip and she began pacing around the living room. Clark and Lois both watched her, exchanging slightly bemused looks.

Lucy thought back to that night more than three years ago when Lois had first met Superman. Superman was the first man in such a long while that Lois had babbled on and on about to Lucy. In fact, Lucy doubted that Superman would ever give her sister the time of day. And throughout the years, Lucy had heard all the rumors about her sister and Superman, but she had never honestly believed them. Now to find out that all off the rumors were true seriously knocked Lucy out of her equilibrium. It seemed like everything that she held certain in the world was crashing around her. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but for some reason this hurt Lucy. Why hadn’t Lois chosen to tell her sooner? Why did she have to figure it out for herself? Lucy had thought their relationship was stronger than that. But maybe it wasn’t.

Lois and Clark watched in amazement as Lucy continued pacing. She muttered, “How? Lois, I’ve always known you’ve had a thing for Superman ever since the first time you met him. But why didn’t you tell me about this before? And after all I’d done to try to convince you to give up your Superman fantasy and look at the wonderful man you see every day. Some respect I get. I’ll bet you were laughing at me the whole time. And I suppose Mom doesn’t know either. Huh, this is just so weird!”

Lois put a comforting hand on her sister’s shoulder to stop her pacing. “Lucy, I know this is a shock. Try to imagine how I felt when I found out. I mean, he asked me to marry him before he told me. And why didn’t I tell you earlier? Well you have to understand that this is a huge secret. I was the first person that Clark’s ever told about himself other than his parents, so you should feel honored that you’re the second person he’s shared his secret with.”

“What?!?” Lucy’s eyes opened wide and she turned to Clark with her mouth hanging open. “You didn’t tell Lois that you’re Superman until after you proposed? What a creep, Lois, what did you do?”

Clark turned away and Lois smiled at him. “Well, he didn’t know that I’d already figured it out. I wanted him to tell me for himself, but then when I thought he was going to tell me, he ended up proposing to me.”

Clark interjected, “But, honey, I was going to tell you as soon as you answered me.”

Clark stood and wrapped Lois in his arms. He continued, “I needed to know if Lois loved me for the person I really am, Clark, rather than for the man in the Suit.”

Lucy studied her sister and her husband. The two of them made such a cute couple; she looked like she fit perfectly against his chest, and every time they looked at each other, Lucy could see the love radiating from their eyes. It was like everything else vanished from the room, and they only had eyes for each other.

Lucy sighed. How she wished she could find someone she could share her life with like that.

Lois and Clark must have forgotten Lucy was in the room, for Lois whispered what sounded like, “I already loved you, Clark.”

And then Clark breathed, “You know I’ve loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you.”

Lois nodded and outlined the “S” on his Suit before she said, “And I’ll always love you ‘til the end of time.”

Lucy turned away as her sister and brother-in-law engaged in a passionate kiss. Finally, Lucy cleared her throat to remind them that there was, indeed, someone else in the room.

Lois and Clark looked up both slightly shocked that Lucy was still there. Lois’ cheeks reddened as she spoke. “Oh, Luce. We must have forgotten you were still here. Sorry.”

Clark added, “Yeah, we’re sorry,” almost sounding that he was more sorry that Lucy had interrupted them than sorry that they had embarrassed Lucy.

It seemed so funny to Lucy that Clark was still wearing his Superman suit, but he was acting just like the brother-in-law she had always known. It was still hard for Lucy to reconcile, but now she was beginning to understand that Clark was Superman, but he was, first and foremost, Lois’ husband, Clark Kent.

Lucy wondered what it was like living with Superman. Like she had told Jenny, she wondered how often Clark was called away for emergencies. Had he ever left to be Superman while they were in the throws of passion? What did they do at work when he had to leave? Did Lois have to cover for him constantly? How did Lois feel about that? But those were questions for another time, like when Clark wasn’t around.

Lois cast a glance at the clock. “We only have half an hour ‘til we have to be at Mother’s. We’d better get going.”

As soon as Lois finished talking, Clark transformed into a blur. To Lucy, he looked like the Tasmanian Devil of Loony Toons’ fame. He almost created a whirlwind of red and blue, and a second later, Clark stood dressed in a black tee shirt and a faded pair of blue jeans with his glasses in his hand. Lucy stared slack-jawed at Clark. In less than a second, Clark had transformed himself from Superman to Clark, and Lucy was amazed at the difference a new hairstyle and a pair of glasses could make.

Suddenly a question played in Lucy’s mind. “Clark, where did the boots go?”

Both Lois and Clark chuckled and Clark said with a mock-serious expression etched on his face, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”