The Art of Conversation - Scene 1

Description: An answer to my self-imposed Banter for Banter Sake Challenge. No A-Plot. No B-Plot. Just a conversation between Lois and Clark.

Rated: PG

A/N: I apologize in advance for any errors as this was un-Beta’d.

***

Lois leaned back in the driver’s seat of her Jeep, making sure she kept to the deepening shadows of dusk. “So, what did you do last weekend? I tried calling but you never answered.”

Clark’s eyes widened slightly with surprise. “You did?”

Now, she was having second thoughts. Was he going to turn the tables on her and make it sound as if she were chasing him? She almost denied her earlier statement or sugarcoated it with some work excuse, but she was too curious what he’d been up to, so she stuck to her guns. “I did.”

“There weren’t any messages on my machine,” he said, dodging her question.

“It wasn’t important,” she said, brushing off the truth, which was more ‘I don’t like to leave messages, because I always end up sounding like a rambling idiot.’

“Oh.” He nodded.

Lois waited, but apparently he was more patient than she was. “So?”

“So?” he repeated back, confused.

Really?

“Where were you?”

Clark shrugged noncommittally. “Here and there,” he said vaguely, still not answering her question. He was quite adept at that technique.

Two could play at this game.

“Where specifically?” she said, attempting to hide her annoyance under a mask of curiosity.

His smile that tended to blind her with all of its charm slipped onto his lips. “Miss me?”

“No,” she said snidely. “I wanted to rearrange my living room, if you must know.”

The smile fell off his face so fast it should’ve made a clunking noise on the floorboards of her car.

Served him right! Arrogant bastard.

Okay. That wasn’t true. She had missed Clark, but he didn’t need to know that! Apparently, he hadn’t missed her.

Lois continued to stare at him, her eyes narrowing.

“What’s with the third degree?” he asked.

She flipped up her hand as if she were backing off. Sooooo not happening. “Well?”

“I went out for some fresh air,” he finally said, again non-specifically.

Lois pinched her lips together. “Any place in particular?”

“Bali,” he murmured, looking down at his hands.

“Excuse me?” What did he think she was? An idiot? “You went to Bali for the day?”

He coughed into his hand. “I walk around and picture myself elsewhere.”

“Bali?” she repeated.

“Not always. Sometimes Rome, Paris, London, Nepal, the Arctic Circle, Des Moines. Lots of places, really. It doesn’t matter where I am physically… only mentally.”

Yep. Clark was totally a mental case.

Something clicked in her mind. “Wasn’t there a train derailment outside of Des Moines recently? Chemical spill? People injured?” She hadn’t covered it, but she recalled the article below hers the other day.

Clark scratched his head and glanced out the passenger side window. “Yeah. Friday night,” he replied softly. “Twenty-seven people ended up in the hospital. Two died.”

Lois knew that he’d remember the details. Somehow, he always knew. Smart Aleck!

She shifted in her seat to face him better, despite the fact it meant that she wasn’t paying as close attention to the building they were supposed to be watching. “So, you were walking the streets?”

“I went out to clear my thoughts.”

“I see,” she replied.

There was honesty behind his words and yet… they still didn’t answer her question. He was hiding something, but what? Other than the fact that she knew Clark wouldn’t have spent the entire weekend walking the streets of Metropolis to clear his mind. She sighed and faced the steering wheel (and the building) fully once more.

Clark reached into the backseat a few minutes later and pulled forward a bag. “I brought snacks,” he said.

She knew a peace offering when she heard one, but she wasn’t in the mood to accept a treaty at this time. However, she was starving and could use the distraction from her annoyance. “What did you bring?” she asked, eyeing his bag.

“Chips and soda.”

Typical.

“Can you reach my bag of veggies?” she replied. “They’re behind my seat.”

He didn’t say anything as his arm went behind her seat, but in his expression she read a scoffing, ‘You brought veggies to a stakeout?’ Clark was too polite to say it aloud though, so he’d survive the night. Not everyone had the metabolism of an eight-year-old boy.

“Have you ever thought about running for political office?” Lois asked, biting into a carrot stick.

“My plate is full enough as it is,” Clark replied, reaching into his bag of chips. Again, not answering.

“That was a simple yes or no question, Clark,” she said.

“No.”

Good. He’d be too good at avoiding the truth.

She had always thought Clark was the opposite of slimy but the analogy to politicians was fitting too snuggly for her liking.

“Hmmm.” He seemed to be considering the question now, though. “No. I’m going to leave politics to the professionals and stick with what I know best.” He popped another chip into his mouth.

Those chips smelled too good. Unhappily, she took another bite of her carrot. “And that would be?”

He raised an eyebrow. “You really don’t know?”

Was he planning to answer all her questions with questions tonight?

“Shoveling manure?” she guessed innocently, dipping her hand into his chip bag. She’d just eat one and then go back to her veggies.

“I’m good at that,” he admitted without being boastful. “But I wouldn’t say it’s my best skill.”

Wanna bet?

“Otherwise, I would’ve stayed on the farm. No, I’d say I’m pretty good at reading people,” he said.

Wanna bet?

“Oh?” She took another chip.

He set down the bag between them. “Listening to people. Investigating. Getting to the heart of a problem. Finding solutions. Informing the public of impending dangers. Helping people,” he went on. “You know, being a journalist.”

“That’s what you do best?” she probed in a teasing tone, so he wouldn’t know how dead serious she was.

“It’s what we do best,” he corrected.

Smart man.

She decided to play devil’s advocate as she took another chip. “And politicians don’t do any of that stuff?”

He pulled out two sodas from his bag and passed one over to her. “Sometimes.” He granted politicians that much, which was more than Lois was willing to do. “But I feel that other things get in the way.”

Lois took a sip of her soda. “You mean like rules.”

“I follow the rules, Lois. You’re the one who breaks them.”

Touché.

She shrugged, admitting nothing.

Setting down his soda, Clark shifted in his seat so that he was facing her directly. He lifted his hands so that they were parallel between them, and then bent his fingers towards the other hand at a ninety-degree angle. “Politicians have to work within strict confines…” The Law. “And I like our freedom to be able to work outside of that.”

She smiled. “In other words, you like working outside the box.”

His eyes twinkled in the darkness as he smiled. She had never noticed what a striking shade of brown they were; almost the same color as freshly toiled earth.

“Exactly.” He chuckled. “You’d be surprised at how claustrophobic I can be.”

Lois set down her soda and picked up the bag of chips.

She was glad to hear that Clark wasn’t another slimeball after all.

“How about you?” he asked, pulling out another bag of chips. “Politics in your future?”

Lois laughed. “Nah! Too many meetings.”

Plus, she didn’t want anyone digging around in her past.

Maybe they both were good at shoveling manure. Her more metaphorically than him.

***And Scene***

Comments

Disclaimer: This scene was inspired by the characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster as they were portrayed on the Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman television series, developed by Deborah Joy LeVine. The characters do not belong to me; they belong to themselves (although Warner Bros, DC Comics, and the heirs to Siegel and Shuster might disagree).


Edited by VirginiaR (03/15/16 12:24 AM)
Edit Reason: Added Link
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VirginiaR.
"On the long road, take small steps." -- Jor-el, "The Foundling"
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"clearly there is a lack of understanding between those two... he speaks Lunkheadanian and she Stubbornanian" -- chelo.