Guy Rule Number One
The elevator doors closed and Lois turned toward the newsroom, feeling her anger at Clark begin to boil over. She stalked down the steps toward her desk, daring anyone to get in her way. The image of Mayson Drake with her arm around Clark as the elevator doors closed.
“The nerve of that man…” She muttered under her breath, slamming her drawers of her desk as she grabbed a pen from her top drawer. “Of all the…” She looked around the room, “Jimmy!!”
Brian poked his head up from his desk, “He had to run an errand before lunch. Something I can help you with?”
Lois scowled, throwing her pen down on her desk, “No!”
This was a mistake.
He knew it from the moment he’d stepped into the elevator with Mayson.
He’d made the conscious choice not to pursue a relationship with her yet here he was, having lunch with her and what’s worse—leading her on. What was even worse—he knew what he was doing. He was doing it to get back at Lois because he was mad at her. Using an innocent woman’s attraction to him to get back at Lois. His parents would be horrified at his behavior.
The more he thought about it, and the longer he sat there with Mayson, the more disgusted he was with himself.
He was scum.
Lower that dirt.
“I have to admit; I was afraid you were giving me the brush off after the other night…”
He hung his head, trying to force himself to say something—anything. What was he supposed to say? ‘I’m sorry I mislead you. I’m a jerk that was trying to make the woman I’m secretly in love with mad?’
“Help! Somebody!! He’s got my car!!”
‘I can’t win.’ He thought to himself.
“I’m sorry Mayson, I just remembered I have a….” He tried to think of a reasonable excuse but unable to lie he just finished with, “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.”
With that he left, leaving her stunned at the table.
After stopping the carjacker on 4th Avenue Clark headed back to the Planet. He needed to talk to Lois. He’d lost his temper. He still wasn’t sure why she’d done what she’d done but avoiding her wasn’t going to solve any of this.
He was just about to land on the roof when he noticed all the traffic lights turn green –and Jimmy in the middle of the crosswalk, reading a Rolling Stones magazine.
All four lanes had cars racing toward the intersection. He dove down, grabbing Jimmy at the last second, dropping him on the curb then returning at the last second to stop the cars from colliding, motioning for all the drivers to stop.
After assuring himself everyone was more annoyed than injured, he returned to Jimmy’s side to check on his young friend, “Are you all right, Jimmy?”
“I'd uh... feel better if my breakfast... stopped dancing,” Jimmy said, looking around at the chaos on the street. “What happened?”
“I don’t know.”
“Stupid Clark and his stupid girlfriend on their stupid lunch date…” Lois grumbled under her breath. Who did he think he was? Yelling at her like that? Couldn’t he see she was just trying to help him? He hadn’t been on a date since Linda King, and her big hair had rode into town. How did he expect to…
‘What?’ her conscience chided her.
She was in a miserable mood. She’d called every contact she had from Met U, trying to find anyone with a connection to Ryan Wiley. Unfortunately, the only person that could tell her anything had been kidnapped—and thanks to her lunkhead of a partner she had no idea where he’d taken Molly.
“Metropolis Transit Authority reports that all 10,400 traffic lights are stuck on green. There have been several near disasters, but thanks to Superman, no serious injuries.” The LNN announcer said from the television.
Forgetting her anger at her partner for the moment, Lois looked toward the television where Perry was standing with a few other reporter and where Jimmy had just walked up, clutching a magazine in his hand, “You can say that again.”
Lois glared at him. She needed to talk to him and find out what exactly he’d said to Clark.
“All available police officers have been put on traffic detail…” the announcer continued.
Perry looked toward Jimmy, “Jimmy, why are you standing here watching pictures when you should be out taking them?”
Lois frowned. It looked like her talk with him would have to wait.
“Right, Chief,” Jimmy nodded. “I’ll get my camera.”
“That would help,” Perry said with a raised eyebrow.
Lois watched Jimmy head to his desk and followed him. She was just about to pull him into the conference room when she spotted Clark coming down the stairwell, readjusting his tie. She wanted to say something—anything, but the look on his face told her not to even try.
“Clark, where have you been?” Perry asked.
Clark pointed to the monitor, “I was, uh…stuck in traffic.”
“Oh.” Perry nodded, “Well, now that you’re here, see if you and Lois can piece together a story on this mess for the afternoon edition.”
“You know actually…” Clark began at the same time she started with, “That’s not a good idea.”
Perry looked between them, “Is there a problem I should be aware of?”
“No, just something…personal,” Lois said hurriedly.
Perry looked around, “Well, last I looked this was the Daily Planet, not an episode of ‘Lane and Kent’s Drama!’” He pointed toward her desk, “Whatever it is you can fight about it on your own time. There’s too much going on right now, and I don’t have the patience…” He glared between the both of them. “Are we clear?”
“Yes,” Clark said flatly.
“Yes…Chief,” Lois said with a scowl. She wasn’t thrilled about the idea of working with Clark right after their fight, but she was still a professional.
Perry left for his office, and Clark followed her to her desk, “So, any word on what caused this?”
Lois shrugged, “I was going to make a call to the Department of Transportation…”
“Okay.” He nodded, “I’ll get started on writing up the story…” With that, he headed back to his desk. She glared at his retreating figure, jerking the phone off the headset irritably as she began to dial.
Clark watched Lois out of the corner of his eye. He was still angry at her. He never thought she of all people would stoop so low. Especially after everything she went through with Claude and Luthor. The rumors that were floating around the office—her personal life on display at the newsstands. How could she do something like this? She’d pulled some numbers on him before, but this one came pretty close to surpassing her rejection last summer.
He finished typing the last paragraph and began reading it over. Lois’ voice intruded his thoughts as she walked over to him with her arms crossed over her chest, “It sounds like sabotage. The DOT got an anonymous note saying…” She looked down at the notepad in her hand, “'Cars are isolating us from each other. Walk among your fellow man.'”
Something about that phrase resonated with him, “’Walk among your fellow man?’” She nodded, “Lois, that’s a direct quote from Molly’s book.”
“Well, we know it wasn’t Molly; seeing as how she was kidnapped a few hours ago—which direction Ryan took her we’ll never know.” She bit back at him with a glare.
“I told you I was sorry.”
“Yeah, right before you ‘helped’ me call around to try and find where Ryan could have taken her.” She glared back at him. “You know it was so much fun calling all three hundred of my old classmates to see if anyone knew anything about Ryan. Probably would have gotten through the list sooner if someone hadn’t disappeared on me earlier to go on a stupid lunch date with his stupid girlfriend!”
“Wasn’t’ that the point of all this? You’re not happy if I’m not dating and you’re not happy when I am. I can’t win with you.” He glared back at her.
“That is not what I’m mad about, and you know it! You should have gone to find Superman like I asked you to!”
“That’s your answer to everything isn’t it?” He retorted, “Find Superman. Sometimes he can’t help, Lois.”
“You could have tried.”
“Well, sorry for not feeling very generous. I’d just found out my supposed friend was over there talking about me behind my back.” He hissed back irritably. “Finding your superhero so you can fawn all over him weren’t exactly high on my list of priorities.”
He was angry; furious with her. The more he argued with her, the more he could feel his anger begin to boil over. He got up to leave, and she followed him up the stairs to the elevator, “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Out. To clear my head.” He pressed the call button to the elevator.
“Fine. See if I care? Go! Run off with your little girlfriend and leave all the heavy lifting to me again!”
“Do the words ‘let it go’ mean anything to you?” He snapped back, pressing the call button again.
“Let it go?”
The lights flickered, and the newsroom and the emergency lights came on. Mumbles of angry reporters echoed through the newsroom.
“See what you did?” She snapped angrily.
“You really are a piece of work; you know that?” He muttered under his breath. Seeing his computer screen had gone black he headed back to his desk with Lois behind him.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going now?”
“To check and make sure I didn’t lose my story.” He snapped.
Perry charged out of his office shouting, “Somebody get me MIS! My computer’s frozen and the power’s out in the office.”
Clark frowned as he leaned over his desk, tapping at this keyboard a few times. Nothing. “So did mine.”
“We're a half-hour from deadline! Somebody call the Systems Operator! Never mind, I'll do it.” Perry picked up the phone and frowned, “It’s dead!”
“What???” Lois raced over to him, looking over his shoulder as she tapped at the keyboard.
“It’s gone,” Clark muttered in disgust.
“Chief!” Jimmy raced into the newsroom with his camera bag over his shoulder and a piece of paper in hand.
“I thought I told you to get some pictures!” Perry roared. “You’ve only been gone twenty minutes.”
“The guard downstairs found this taped to the lobby door.” Jimmy handed the paper to Perry.
Clark moved toward Perry and Jimmy to read over his shoulder with Lois hot in pursuit. “'The phones of Metropolis are mute, its computers silenced. We have released the death grip of technology and freed the human spirit.'”
“Free the human spirit?” Lois echoed.
“Sounds like what your friend Molly was going on about …” Clark began.
“But it’s NOT Molly, is it?” She snapped, glaring at him. “If someone hadn’t gotten in my way earlier we’d have a lead.”
He met her glare with one of his own, shaking his head, “For the last time…”
“Hey, hey, hey!” Perry interrupted. “I thought I told you two to give this spat a rest!”
They both turned toward Perry who was looking at them like he had just caught them with their hands in the cookie jar.
“Fine,” Lois said haughtily.
“Good,” Clark added.
“All right, now if you two are done I’d like to get back to the story?” Perry prompted, looking at the note in his hand.
“Yes.” Lois cheered, “Sounds good.”
“Great,” Clark added unenthusiastically.
“Now, are you saying you know who wrote this?” Perry asked, waving the note in his hand.
“I know who wrote a book with those ideas.” Lois corrected. “She was kidnapped earlier today.”
“Kidnapped?” Perry echoed.
“By her dead ex-fiance,” Clark added.
Perry looked at them in disbelief before adding, “Boy these leads get stranger and stranger…” He looked at the duo with an annoyed look, “What are you two standing around for? You’ve got a lead! Follow it!”