Breaking-in would be wrong - but Clark's still considering it.
After all, these people are holding his property on the other side of several feel of marble and glass and security codes.
That's not protection, that's ransom. Lex would laugh.
Clark is not laughing.
Right now he sees no humor in the matter, just one huge mistake piling on another.
And on top of everything else he`s late, but why today? Any other day, any other night, he'll go through this gladly, just not now. The store has to be open. It's only 7:05. It can't be closed; Clark has plans: big, huge enormous plans that are supposed to take place tonight, and they're all hinging on him getting into this stupid store.
He might be having some sort of anxiety attack.
He's Superman for chrissakes. Stores are supposed to open for him, not close in his face. If he were wearing blue spandex and that gaudy red cape this would never have happened. It's not his fault that the staff meeting went over this morning. It's not Clark's fault that the meeting caused a snowball effect, which made him late for his interview at City Hall, which made him late for lunch, which in turn made him late to start his story. It's not his fault that it's all been down hill from there.
All Clark had to do was pick up the ring.
It was so fucking simple.
Tiffany's was not supposed to be closed.
Now he's supposed to go off and save the planet when he can't even get five minutes to pick up Lex's ring. And he's supposed to like it? He's supposed to be happy and chipper, and all that bull. It sucks that Superman can't have a bad day, and really, it's not nausea; superheroes don't get nausea, they just get nervous. Actually, no, they don't even get nervous. Clark has never seen Bruce nervous a day in his life. The man probably doesn't even have nerves. Anxiety probably isn't even in Bruce Wayne's lexicon, which is more than can be said for Clark Kent currently standing outside the Metropolis Tiffany's with his nose pressed against the glass like a ten year-old during Christmas. It's in there. His ring. *Lex's* ring.
What kind of mixed up karma is this? He goes around saving people and now he can't even catch a break?
Actually, Clark doesn't even believe in karma, this is all Chloe's fault. Why? Because she's female, and she believes in karma; and she hates Lois. If they actually liked each other he could have consulted them together, but no. So now Clark can't pick up the ring because the stupid store isn't open, and who said that Tiffany's was the best jewelry store in town? Lois.
Right now, Clark hates Lois.
Superman doesn't have anxiety, but Clark Kent does.
The thing about life with Lex, Clark has come to find, is that it's a lot like living with himself. Lex may have more money, and there's that whole business with the sex, but for the most part Lex is just another guy who doesn't like to do the laundry and who hates making the bed. Sometimes he uses up all the hot water, and domestic bliss has very little to do with bliss at all. But, again, at least there's a lot of sex involved.
Nevertheless, sex and romance are not the same thing, and while there's plenty of one there's really none of the other happening these days. So all Clark wanted was to rectify this for one measly, stinking day. Stupid Tiffany's.
He'd even planned on cooking as well, but now he just can't be bothered. Here Clark is, late yet again, and there's Lex: sitting in the penthouse dining room, in a tuxedo, waiting for Clark's sorry behind. Clark really doesn't deserve him, and all he had to do was remember the fucking ring.
He knows he shouldn't curse this way, but it could have all been so perfect and instead Lex gets this. "Clark, are you all right?" Lex pointedly does not look at his watch like Clark knows he desperately wants to. It must truly be love because Lex hates it when Clark is late.
"I'm fine," Clark drops his coat and his briefcase on the sofa, making his way towards the table. It looks amazing. The room is illuminated by candlelight, and dinner was obviously prepared by someone else. Clark wants to kick himself, everything is exactly how it's not supposed to be. This isn't romantic, but at least Lex is trying. "Just fine."
"You don't look `fine'," Lex murmurs as Clark drops a kiss on his head, before pulling out a chair and sitting down.
"I - I just didn't want to be late, and you look `wow.' You know, I could just...," Clark says, as he takes in Lex in all his finery and then looks down at his rumpled clothes. Yes, Clark definitely knows. This was not how the night was supposed to go. A glance at the table reminds him that he even left Lex's flowers on his desk, and he could just dash...
"Don't even think about it." Lex knows what Clark's thinking before he even finishes his thought, and Clark knows he really shouldn't be that surprised. Five years together will do that to people.
"I'm not dressed for dinner," he attempts in last-minute desperation.
"I won't hold it against you." Lex's smile is still the most amazing thing Clark has ever seen, and he tells himself that the twisting in his gut is purely over that and not any qualms he may have that Lex won't say `yes.' It's not possible that he was deliberately late to get the ring, is it?
"Yeah, but it's our anniversary and...I'm a really bad boyfriend aren't I?" Clark could kick himself, he still might, or he would if Lex wasn't giving him that look. The one that says `Dinner isn't really that important, and wouldn't I look better out of this tux anyway?'
"No, you're a great boyfriend, but Superman: he could stand some improvement," Lex says, lifting his wine glass in toast.
"I'll remember that."
Clark doesn't have any problems with living in sin. At least not any big problems.
Okay, there are the ones known as his mother and father, but apart from the occasional outburst from his father, things are all right for Lex and him.
They live together in the penthouse, and there's some sharing of bills. Clark's not a kept man or anything like that. The Daily Planet isn't the New York Times, and Clark will never make big money, but they're happy. The truth of the matter is that Clark's never given that much thought to getting married.
That doesn't mean he doesn't want to do it.
It's not as though Clark has always dreamed of having some big white wedding where his tuxedo was the wrong color, and his mother fussed and his father drank. That only happens on television, and besides Lex will always have a spare tuxedo for him or something. But marriage, it's not a bad thing.
Surely there have to be some benefits.
Things being the way they are they're not legally anything in anybody's eyes, apart from their own. Wills and domestic partner paperwork aside, Clark wouldn't mind that little piece of paper saying they were.
Just for his peace of mind.
Besides Lex isn't governor yet, and state laws haven't changed recently to the best of Clark knowledge. So this could only be `a good thing`. And perhaps Lex did have some good reasons when he pointed refused to date Clark until he could legally vote, but still, it's been a long time. Anyway, there must be some reason that Chloe went to all that trouble with her reception.
In the plus column, Lex likes Hawaii, and getting married would just, wow.
It would really make Clark's mom happy.
So, that's why they're going to get married.
Clark just has to inform Lex of this.
Wendi Jennifer Marie Spokes has been working for Tiffany and Co. for almost sixteen years. She's worked her way up from a mere counter girl to manager of her own store, and every day she thanks God that she didn't decide to become an insurance agent instead. She's seen drug addicts come in and buy the entire store, and she's watched as couples have gone from engagement rings to wedding bands to sterling silver pens to sign the divorce papers.
She's seen a lot.
But Superman waiting outside her store at 6:30 in the morning holding a Styrofoam cup of coffee and an apple Danish is definitely something new.
"Good morning, sir." Her southern accent is crisp and her face doesn't betray her acute and rather intense curiosity. Nobody should look that good in spandex, and where the hell does he keep the money to buy breakfast anyway?
It's too early in the morning for her to be hallucinating.
"I'm sorry to bother you this early," he says, shifting his coffee into the hand holding the Danish. She smiles at him appraisingly as he wipes his hand on his uniform-thing, and then reaches out to shake her hand. Alien or no, Wendi has never seen hands that big on anybody. It's a good thing he's standing right there, because she thinks she's feeling a bit faint. "I know the store isn't open yet, but I was wondering if you could help me out."
"It's no bother at all, Mr - Superman. Tiffany's is always pleased to do what it can for its customers, so how can I help you?" Wendi's doing her best to breathe evenly because Superman has just moved a little bit closer to where she is, and he's very tall. And he smells very good, of course that could just be the Danish, but she wonders momentarily if there's a Mrs. Superman at home.
"I need to pick out a ring," Superman says, and Wendi has a brief flicker of disappointment.
So much for picking out china patterns on her lunch hour
Clark is supposed to be at work, he knows this, but when he's gotta go he's gotta go. Not that he equates asking Lex to marry him with needing to use the bathroom, but it's sort of the same. Needing to pee is an urgent matter just like needing to ask Lex to marry him. He just can't wait anymore, and he doesn't want to risk wandering around town with the ring and having something happen to it. Better to try and get rid of it first. Not that getting Lex to marry him is getting rid of anything.
He's babbling to himself. It must be nerves.
"Superman." Lex's voice sounds exceedingly dry as Clark lands on his balcony and walks in the perennially open French doors. For a moment, Clark's afraid that he's interrupted something, but Lex's assistant said that he didn't have any morning meetings, so maybe Lex is just upset because Clark wasn't there when he woke up this morning.
He should probably explain that.
"Lex, about this morning," Clark starts, and then stops. Lex is hiding behind that monstrosity of a desk, and he can't have this conversation that way. If he's already in trouble then abusing his powers a bit more isn't going to make it any worse, just a swish and roll and Lex and his chair go from behind the desk to in front of it.
Much better. Now Clark can drop down on one knee comfortably.
"Clark, what the hell are you doing?"
"I'm trying to explain why I wasn't there this morning, and why I was late last night, and I probably should have done this a long time ago..." Clark trails off, and for the first time that Clark can remember Lex looks nervous. Very nervous, in fact, and that must be why he's holding so perfectly still.
"Wait. Don't interrupt," and it's another hallmark in their relationship that Lex's mouth just closes up. Clark thinks he should propose more often.
"Lex, you and I have been friends for a really long time, and I wouldn't change that for anything. You're my best friend and --- and that doesn't sound right at all does it?" Clark stops, and Lex's looks like he's going to have a coronary at any second. "You know, I had this great long speech planned out," Clark begins again. "I was going to talk about destiny and Greek history and how you've taught me more about being human that anyone else in this world."
There's a pause, and Clark reaches forward and takes Lex's left hand in his. Somebody's shaking, and Clark's not sure who. "I know I'm not perfect - shut up about the alien thing - and I know there are lots of things that we don't always see eye to eye on... But we do belong together, and you can call it whatever you want."
Clark swore he wasn't going to do anything stupid, like getting emotional, but locking Lex's fingers together with his really doesn't count. He's just making sure that Lex doesn't go anywhere prematurely, and he should probably stop staring over Lex's left shoulder for this last bit. "So what I'm trying to say is that I love you, and I want to be with you for as long as you'll agree to have me. I know this is a day late a dollar short, but Tiffany's was closed last night and I couldn't pick up the ring..." This is the part where Clark's supposed to pop open the little blue box and wow Lex with his romanticism. The fact of the matter is that the box didn't fit anywhere in the suit, so Clark has to extract the ring - while still holding onto Lex's hand - from the same place he keeps his breakfast money. In the little money pouch in his left boot. Once that's all taken care of, he can get back the business at hand, and not a minute too soon.
Lex looks like he's stroking out.
Holding the ring up with one hand, while holding Lex with the other, Clark asks the question that he's only practiced forty-eight times. "Lex Luthor, will you marry me?"
There. He's said it. Clark's asked. Of course, he's probably gripping Lex's hand too hard, and he's having visions of the world falling in the sea, but otherwise he's okay. He might pass out, but he's done his part.
No, that's not what Lex is supposed to say. He's supposed to say...
"And yes, yes I will marry you."
There's the long silence where Clark tries to process what exactly Lex has just said. He said `yes.' They're going to get married. He'll be Clark Kent Luthor. Or not.
He didn't even know he was holding his breath.
"Can I have my ring now, or is just for show?" Lex teases, tugging at the golden band as Clark continues to stare like Lex just reversed their roles.
"Oh, yeah," Clark fumbles for a second, trying to slip the ring on Lex's finger but still refusing to let go of Lex's hand. "I hope you like it, I - I wasn't sure." Clark had Lex's ring size - he knows Lex's body better than his own - but a surprise is still a surprise. They don't share the same taste in a lot of things, but when it really counts they seem to fall in line.
"It's beautiful you know." Lex's voice is soft in ways that Clark hasn't heard it outside the penthouse. Thank god he doesn't cry. Or he's not; he's really not, because he's a superhero. Except Lex isn't marrying Superman, and Clark Kent has dirt in his eye.
That's why Lex is pulling on him so he'll get off his knees.
Clark stands up without stumbling, which surprises him. And he's engaged to get married, that's a big surprise too. "You should thank the people at Tiffany's," he says as Lex stands up and pulls Clark into his arms.
"How about I just thank you instead?" Lex's voice is muffled against Clark's chest, and Clark might be holding him a bit too tight. It doesn't really matter.
They're going to have a long time to get it right.
Notes: This is the <a href= http://www.tiffanys.com/shopping/item.asp?CategoryId=0&c_id=WEB1&c_it=68C2&start_id=1&search=yes&keyword=band&attribute=&category=&lowprice=&highprice=&chunk=5&searchType=2&jewelry=&metal=&jewelryIndex=&collectionsIndex=&metalIndex=&stoneIndex=&priceIndex=&homeIndex=&sLowPrice=&sHighPrice=&collections=&stone=&home=&>one ring</a>.
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