The crème de la crème of Metropolis society, dressed in tuxedos, sparkling gowns, and dripping with jewels, congregated at the Charleston Hotel. Under the gilded chandeliers, round tables were scattered throughout the red and gold Grand Ballroom. An orchestra played and couples danced on a parquet floor. Guests mingled, drinking champagne and nibbling cake in celebration of Lex Luthor’s fortieth birthday.
Lois Lane had no idea how she and her partner, Clark Kent, had garnered an invitation. They were the only press present and they hadn’t been asked to remain off record for the duration of the party. Dressed in a glittering blue evening gown, Lois had subtly gleaned information from numerous political and entrepreneurial men and women in the ballroom most of the night. She and Clark had claimed a table and briefly compared notes before he’d disappeared on her, as usual.
“Enjoying yourself, Ms. Lane?”
Lois looked up as Lex Luthor joined her at the table. He looked much younger than his forty years, fit and handsome in a sharp tuxedo with lavender accents. While they were friendly with each other – Lois had socially interacted with Lex at hundreds of society parties over the years – she was still a reporter and he was newsworthy.
“I am,” she replied. Her dark gaze was shrewd, though her tone was lazy, as she added, “I have enough material for weeks of front page news.”
“I’ll look forward to reading the articles,” Lex said smoothly. He relaxed back on his seat, sipping the drink in his hand. “Where’s your esteemed partner?”
“Clark? He said he was choking on the pretentiousness and went to get some air,” Lois said.
A corner of Lex’s mouth quirked, revealing a dimple. “I don’t blame him. In fact, if you’d excuse me,” he said, rising.
Lois heard the rip in the lull of the orchestra and her brows rose as she looked at Lex. Lex froze momentarily before sliding a hand casually behind him under his jacket. A glance at the chair he’d been sitting on showed a metal staple exposed, and a slow smile crossed her face. “Problems, Mr. Luthor?”
“Nothing you need to concern yourself with,” Lex said, setting his drink down and buttoning his tuxedo jacket. “Excuse me.”
Lois was on her heels instantly, following close behind him. “Which do you like better: ‘Birthday Boy Exposed’ or ‘Lex Luthor’s Birthday Suit?’”
“You don’t work for a gossip rag, Ms. Lane,” Lex said coldly over his shoulder, deftly avoiding being stopped by others as he made his way out of the ballroom.
“But the Planet does have a society page,” Lois said. “I’m sure Cat Grant would love to sink her claws into this juicy tidbit.”
“It’s merely a rip.”
“It’s merely an embarrassing story to be read by hundreds of thousands of Metropolitans.”
Lex exited the ballroom, crossed the lobby, and walked briskly down a richly decorated corridor. He stopped in front of a closed door, laid his hand on the handle, and gave Lois a hard glare. “Is there something you want?”
“An exclusive interview.”
Lois opened her clutch, removed a small sewing kit, and waved it under his nose. “Five minutes.”
“I can get another pair of pants with a phone call,” Lex said.
“It’s after midnight. All the stores are closed,” Lois pointed out.
“I do own a few tuxedos,” Lex said dryly.
“LexCorp Tower is thirty minutes from here,” Lois said. She smiled smugly. “Imagine the damage I could do while you’re waiting.”
Lex’s lips thinned. “Five minutes,” he conceded finally, opened the door, and entered the room.
Lois refrained from doing a dance. Her gown was made for running – she never knew when she’d have to chase a story – but her dark, upswept hair would suffer for it.
She went into the salon, closing the door behind her. Lex had poured himself another drink from the wet bar and knocked it back. She glanced around. Sectional sofas were set around a glass coffee table. A work desk sat on one side of the room. Partially open pale curtains covered the wall of windows opposite the door.
Lois turned on the micro-recorder hidden in her cleavage, tossed her clutch on the desk, and opened the sewing kit. “Strip.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were propositioning me,” Lex said, unbuttoning his jacket.
Lois snorted indelicately. “You’re not my type.”
“I know.” Lex smirked. “I’m human.”
“That’s debatable,” Lois said. “Besides, it’s not like you’re choosy or anything.”
“I had three wives before I was twenty-five and they all tried to kill me—”
“—So, I’m allowed to be selective,” Lex continued as if she hadn’t interrupted. He slung his jacket over the back of the sofa, toed off his shoes, and undid his trousers.
“Is that why you haven’t steadily dated anyone in more than ten years?” Lois asked, threading a needle.
“My private life is just that, Ms. Lane,” Lex said, stepping out of his trousers.
Lois hid her laugh at the sight of his color-coordinated lavender boxer-briefs. His legs were as smooth and pale as his bald head, but well-muscled. The black socks pulled up over his calves also amused her. She held out her hand for the trousers. “People who say that usually have no private life to speak of.”
“Is that experience talking?” Lex taunted as he crossed the room and gave her the trousers.
“Perhaps.” Her lips twitched when she saw the freckles on his legs that had been invisible at a distance. “Though it’s by choice, not for lack of opportunity.”
“And I’m sure you’re overflowing with opportunities,” Lex said, blatantly eyeing her cleavage.
“Unlike you, who’s lacking,” Lois volleyed back, looking pointedly at his crotch.
Lex smiled bemusedly. “Touché.”
Lois smirked, leaned against the side of the desk, and studied the rip in the tuxedo trousers. The staple had split the material in the middle of the seat on the left side. She turned the trousers inside-out and began stitching.
“Do you do this often?” Lex asked, watching her deft fingers mend the rip.
“I tear all sorts of clothes literally chasing after leads,” Lois said. “It’s unprofessional to interview someone with a hole in your blouse. Speaking of interviews…”
“Technically, you’ve been conducting it for three minutes already,” Lex said. “But I’m feeling generous, so go on.”
Lois gave him a dry look. “Thank you, that’s very kind.”
Lex shrugged enigmatically. “I’m a nice guy.”
“And I’m…,” Lois trailed off, her attention caught by a flash of something outside the window.
Lex glanced over. “Move!” he exclaimed suddenly, grabbed her arms, and propelled her backwards several steps to the wall.
The window exploded inwards with a loud shatter. Pieces of glass hit them, even at their distance from the window. Lois closed her eyes and mouth tightly as the sharp shards cut her. She tucked her face against Lex’s neck for protection. Lex shifted against her, shielding her with his body, as grunts, slams, and breaking cracks filled the air.
Lois lifted her head and opened her eyes when the glass shower stopped. She looked past Lex’s shoulder in time to see Superman deliver his final blow.
The unidentified person in orange collapsed in a heap near the overturned sofa. Superman breathed deeply, looked around, and spotted her. He started for her, a familiar worry-line creasing his brow. “Lois, are you all—Lex!”
Lex released Lois quickly and turned around. “Superman.”
Superman ran his eyes over Lex in his undressed state, glanced at Lois, and took a step back. “My apologies for interrupting.”
Lois got a little thrill at the note of hurt in his voice. Perhaps her crush on him wasn’t quite one-sided.
But then Lex nearly spoiled the jealousy-induced moment by saying, “It’s not what you think.”
Superman, however, didn’t appear to believe him. “Tell the police to deliver Powell to Arkham.”
“Wait—” Lex began, but Superman was already gone, leaving the unconscious person in orange, Powell, tied up with a lamp cord on the floor.
There was a look on Lex’s face that Lois couldn’t place, as he stared at the broken window. It was gone by the time he turned. “My pants.”
Lois heard commotion outside the salon door. She tied off the knot quickly, broke the thread, and passed over the trousers. Her brain was already formulating the exclusive article on Superman’s fight with Powell. A subsection of her mind made note to revel in Superman’s reaction to her and a pant-less Lex Luthor once she got home.
“Clark, are you going to scowl at me all day, or are you going to tell me what’s wrong?”
Lois had been partnered with Clark Kent for ten years and she’d never seen him sulk so much and give her dirty looks as he had been doing today, not even when she’d scooped him on Kenworthy while he was out sick, and that had been a story he’d worked months on.
Clark focused intently on his computer screen, dark hair messier than usual. His desk was butted to hers so they faced each other in the newsroom of the Daily Planet. Around them, a few other reporters were working diligently at not working, a common occurrence for a Sunday afternoon.
“Is it because I got the front page story this morning on Powell?” Lois said.
“No,” Clark grumbled. His jaw worked a moment before he said, “I’m questioning your integrity.”
“What?” Lois straightened in her chair and demanded explanation. “What do you mean by that?”
“It’s hard to be objective when you’re sleeping with Lex Luthor,” Clark said harshly.
Lois frowned. “I’m not sleeping with Luthor.”
“Don’t bother lying,” Clark said. “Superman saw you and him last night.”
Lois grinned as she figured out what was going on. The thrill of having Superman jealous returned. “So, Superman warned you about us.”
Clark’s head jerked up and he stared at her through his geeky glasses. “It’s true?”
Lois waved her hand negatively. “Of course not.”
“But Luthor had on no pants,” Clark said.
“I was sewing a rip in them, hence the need to show the world – meaning me – that his purple fetish runs to his underwear,” Lois said. She was still grinning. “Superman must be very jealous if he gave you so much detail.”
“He was hurt.” Clark slumped in his seat, his tone subdued. “How’d Luthor get the rip?”
“Staple in the chair,” Lois replied. “I blackmailed him into an interview, which I never got. The Powell story made up for that, though.”
Clark nodded, staring blankly at his desk.
Lois frowned as her brain caught up with her ears. “What do you mean hurt? Hurt that I would have sex with Luthor and not him? That makes no sense. I’ve thrown myself practically naked at him and he never once – oh my god.”
Clark looked up. “What?”
Lois was slack-jawed as pieces of information re-arranged themselves to form a whole, new picture in her mind. What Clark said about Superman being hurt plus his reaction last night told one story, unless she factored in Lex’s response, which she’d neglected to do. “Superman and Lex Luthor are having an affair.”
Clark shot upright in his seat. “What?”
“After Superman left last night, Luthor had this look on his face that I didn’t understand until now,” Lois said, gathering her purse, recorder, and bribe money from her desk drawer. “It was fear! And obviously, Superman hasn’t spoken with him yet, or you wouldn’t have gotten an earful.”
She stood and headed for the elevator. Clark jumped up and hurried on her heels. “Where are you going?”
“To get a copy of the security footage of last night from the Charleston Hotel,” Lois said. “Then, I have a few insiders at LexCorp Tower who might be able to confirm something.” She felt a brief pang that it wasn’t her Superman desired, but the sensationalistic story of Superman and Lex Luthor was a fair trade off.
“Um, okay. I’ll see you later,” Clark said as she got in the elevator.
Lois made an acknowledging sound, digging through her large purse for her car keys. The elevator doors closed and carried her down into the parking garage. On her walk across the underground lot, she decided to visit LexCorp Tower first after a quick stop at home.
The rooftop access at LexCorp Tower was always open for helicopter traffic. A hefty bribe got Lois into the building through the kitchen. From there, it was a short ride up the elevator to the top.
She’d been on the roof of the Tower twice before, and on other buildings, doing exactly what she was about to do. She’d gotten a few good story leads this way, as well as learning that, while Lex Luthor wasn’t squeaky clean, he wasn’t that bad, either.
Lois stole across the roof, avoiding the few security cameras by the empty helicopter pad, and ducked behind a large silver vent. She opened her purse and pulled out a duct-taped children’s plastic two-way radio.
It took her little time to tie thread from her sewing kit to the antenna on the radio. She crept over to the walled edge of the roof. A peek over the wall showed that Lex’s penthouse balcony was unoccupied. Smiling, Lois carefully lowered the radio over the edge until it settled on the ground behind a grouping of plants.
Lois anchored the small spool of thread with a rock she’d left on the roof on a prior occasion. The reception wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough. Changing the battery if necessary was also a snap. Now, she just had to wait.
Lois was taking screen caps of the burned security footage from the Charleston Hotel when she heard voices. Scrambling for her purse, she took out the second two-way radio and her tape recorder. After a moment’s fumbling, she had the recorder running in front of the radio on her desk. She scooted her chair close to the radio to listen and did a mental dance when she heard both Lex’s and Superman’s relatively clear voices.
“If I were in your place, I would’ve suspected the worst, too. Lois is quite desirable.”
“I still want to ring her neck.”
Lois’s brows rose at Superman’s statement. She thought he at least liked her in a friendly way, like he did Clark.
“You say that every day.”
“But this time I mean it. She’s going to write a story about us. That’s what I couldn’t tell you over the phone.”
“You and Superman.”
The clarification snagged Lois’s attention.
“What will she be writing about us?”
“That we’re together.”
“All right? It’s not all right! It’s not fair!”
“I know it’s not.”
“Do you? You’re the one who’ll get me, but only Superman will get you.”
“You’re not two different people.”
“I’m not people at all.”
“You are. And as kissable as that makes you, it doesn’t solve anything.”
There was silence a moment, which Lois found quite easy to fill in with the thought of Lex and Superman kissing. It was kind of hot.
“It’s still not fair.”
“I wanted it to be me, not Superman.”
Lois squealed mentally. Superman had a secret identity! All of her interviews with him never implied that fact. She couldn’t wait to tell Clark.
“You know why that can’t be,” Lex said.
“I’ve been keeping our relationship secret for sixteen years, haven’t I?”
“You’re pouting again.”
Another long silence descended. Lois could practically feel Superman’s unhappiness over the radio.
“Does it really bother you that much?”
“Yes, but I’d rather our relationship by completely secret than let Superman get you.”
“It’s disconcerting when you speak of yourself in the third person, you know.”
“How about if I speak in tongues, instead?”
A low moan came over the radio. “That, I like.”
“How about this?”
Lois heard a loud squeak, followed by laughter. Then, there was a crash that sounded like it was in her living room. She held her breath, wondering if the radio had been discovered. But all she heard was more laughter and Lex cursing.
“You’re lucky I didn’t hurt anything,” Lex said. His voice was very clear, as was Superman’s, which meant they were close to the radio’s hidden spot.
“Then you shouldn’t have knocked me over.”
“You have supernatural balance and shouldn’t have
fallen at all.”
Superman began singing. Badly. “But I can’t help falling in love-ly plants with you.”
Lois stared at the radio in front of her as he laughed again. A playful, laughing Superman was something new – and newsworthy, especially since it was Lex who caused the dour, albeit sexy, alien to act like this.
Superman’s laughter cut off abruptly. Lois strained her ears, but she couldn’t make out anything other than the rustle of the plants. She leaned closer to the radio, waiting anticipatorily. Her eyes widened when Lex’s roughened voice finally broke the silence.
“Do you have time for me to fuck this pretty mouth of yours?”
“Mm-hmm.” Superman’s tone was equally gravelly. “I might even have time to fuck your pretty, old ass.”
“My ass isn’t old.”
“You’re forty, Lex. Your ass is over the hill.”
“Over the hill.”
“Ancient. Decrepit. Aged.”
“Shut up and suck me.”
Superman chuckled and then there was silence again. Lois gaped at the radio. Superman was giving Lex Luthor a blowjob! It was confirmed when Lex growled, “Christ, you’re good at this.”
Lois wiggled on her chair as arousal hit her. Her imagination went wild, picturing Superman and Lex on the balcony, laying amongst the fallen plants, Lex straddling Superman’s head, Superman’s lips thin and tight around his hard-on, slipping in and out of that hot mouth, glossy dark hair tangled by his fingers as he fucked Superman’s face.
Lois’s hand slipped beneath the waistband of her sweats and panties. She wished she had a videophone.
The blowjob lasted a while, much to Lois’s pleasure, punctuated by occasional curse words from Lex. No orgasmic shouts (except for hers) told her it was over, but she figured it out when Superman spoke.
“Let’s go inside. I want to fuck you in our bed.”
Lois heard the plants rustle and then nothing more. She waited a few minutes, then shut off her recorder and slumped back on her chair. She had the proof she needed, more than enough, to write a story that would, ahem, blow Metropolis away.
It was good to be her.
“It’s good to be me,” Lois announced, dumping her purse on her desk at the Daily Planet Monday morning. “Everyone should want to be me.”
“I look silly in heels,” Clark said, peering questioningly at her through his dorky glasses. “Why are you so happy?”
Lois glanced around, lowered her voice, and whispered, “I bugged Luthor’s balcony and now I have proof that Superman and Luthor have been an item for sixteen years.”
Clark’s eyes widened. “Oh my god,” his voice cracked on the words.
“Yep.” Lois took the cassette tape, security footage, and her screen caps CD out of her purse and waved them at Clark. “It’s all right here, and I’m not sharing the byline.”
“That’s, uh, fine, Lois.” Clark stood and motioned with his hand. “Could I talk to you a minute in private?”
“Sure.” Lois put the evidence in her desk drawer along with her purse, twisted the key lock with her thumbnail, and followed him into the supply closet.
Clark shut the door, his mouth set in a grim line. “You can’t print that story.”
Lois’s brows arched and she crossed her arms defiantly. “Why not?”
“I doubt either Superman nor Lex want their relationship public,” Clark said.
“It’s news, Clark.”
“No, it’s not. Not really.”
“The most powerful man in Metropolis is in bed with one of the most powerful beings on the planet. I’d say that’s extremely important news,” she said.
“They’re just two men who love each other, Lois,” Clark said quietly. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
“How would you know?” Lois said. “And why do you care, anyway? Unless you’re angling to share the byline, which is so not happening, bub.”
“It’s too dangerous for Lex and might impair his political aspirations,” Clark said. He lowered his chin, breathed deeply, and added, “It’s also unfair to me.”
“You?” Lois said in disbelief. “What do you have anything to do with this?”
Clark brushed his hair back, removed his thick glasses, raised his head, and floored her. “Because Clark Kent is Lex’s life partner, not Superman.”
Lois was speechless. She stared, mouth hanging open, at Superman wearing Clark Kent’s clothing.
Clark stepped forward, framed her face with his hands, and said, “I’m sorry.”
Then, he began speaking in a language she didn’t understand and everything went hazy.
Lois looked at the ream of printer paper in her hands with a frown. She didn’t remember coming into the supply closet. Confused, she headed back to her desk with the paper. “Clark, I think I need coffee.”
Clark’s hair flopped over the frame of his glasses as he lifted his head and shrugged. “Sounds good to me.”
Lois set down the ream, unlocked her desk, and grabbed her purse from the otherwise empty drawer. She and Clark headed for the elevator to go out to Starbucks. The coffee at the Planet was swill.
She hit the down button and stared at the elevator doors with her brows furrowed. “Did you ever have one of those days where you can’t remember anything? Not even what you did the day before?”
“Sometimes. Why?” Clark said.
“Because I’m having one of those days,” Lois said. “I remember Saturday night’s birthday party, Luthor’s underwear, and the article I wrote on Powell, but I can’t remember what I did yesterday. Or much of this morning, even.”
“Boy, Lois, it sounds like you lead a thrilling life,” Clark teased with a grin as the elevator doors opened.
“What exactly did you do yesterday, Mr. Excitement?” Lois said, getting on the elevator.
“Oh, the usual.” Clark pressed the Lobby button. “Beat up bad buys, saved the world, got laid…”
“You played Vice Squad all day Sunday again.” Lois shook her head, forgetting her forgetfulness. She probably sat in front of the computer all day, like Clark. “You and I both seriously need boyfriends.”
“Perhaps,” Clark said with a smile, following her out of the elevator when the doors opened. “Do you think Lex Luthor’s available? I have a thing for purple underwear…”