Lois smiled to herself as she slipped the invitation back into its envelope and tucked it inside of the binder she had on the table in front of her. She didn't know why she kept pulling it out and looking over it, except to constantly reaffirm that this all wasn't a dream. She really was going to marry Clark in just a week.
With a small shake of her head, Lois tried to focus her attention on the purpose of her impromptu coffee break at the Talon. She'd spent the better part of her morning getting in touch with the various vendors for the ceremony, making sure everything was going to plan, and now she wanted to glance over her list one more time before returning to the Kent Farm. She had to hurry if she was going to arrive with enough time to help Mrs. Kent finish preparing for the party she was throwing that evening in honor of the upcoming nuptials.
Glancing quickly at her watch, Lois flipped the binder open to the list and mentally ticked off the items. Her dress had been dropped off for the final round of alterations and cleaning. She would have one more opportunity to try it on and make sure everything was perfect before she picked it up the day before the ceremony. Her flowers and bouquets would be delivered the morning of the ceremony, and the photographer assured her that he had everything covered.
At this point, the only thing that seemed like it might go wrong on their wedding day would be for Clark to get called away on an emergency. Though she hoped it wouldn't be necessary, she had prepared for such an eventuality. He had been put in charge of the rings so he would have a ready excuse, should he be forced to arrive late to the ceremony or make a hasty departure due to unforeseen circumstances. After all, no wedding could take place without the requisite rings. Though she hoped such precautions wouldn't be necessary, she knew from experience that, when it came to planning events around Clark's alter-ego, it always paid to be extra cautious.
With a self-satisfied smile, Lois snapped her binder closed and drained the last dregs of her coffee. She really had to get going. There were a number of things she needed to do before the party began, and the decorations Mrs. Kent had requested Lois pick up from the Talon's storage space were currently sitting in the passenger seat of Lois's car.
She was about halfway to the Kent farm when her cell phone rang, and she smiled when she heard Clark's voice on the other end. "Hey, handsome. I'm on my way back now. How's everything out there?"
"Well, Mom's been baking all afternoon, and I've been trying to stay out of her way. I've missed you today. It's amazing how quiet a house is without you in it, you know."
Lois snorted with laughter. "I like to keep you on your toes. Anyway, I would have thought you'd embrace the chance for some peace and quiet."
Sounding amused, he said, "So did I. I guess I've just gotten used to having never a dull moment, with you around. When was the last time I told you how much I love you, exactly?"
"Oh, it's been at least three hours," she replied with a grin.
She heard his exaggerated sigh over the line before he said in a remorseful tone "Then I'm definitely slipping."
Pretending to be disappointed in him, she said, "Hm. Yes, well, you'll have to work on that. Anyway, I'm only about ten minutes away, so I think you'll – " Her voice trailed off as she caught sight of something standing by the road up ahead. It looked like an older man dressed entirely in white, but his image was unclear, as if seen through the haze of a heat wave. As her Mustang approached and she turned her head to get a better look at him, however, his image didn't sharpen.
Lois never would be able to figure out why she suddenly felt cold dread settle in the pit of her stomach. There was nothing particularly threatening about his demeanor, and even the apparent haziness could have a rational explanation. He seemed like a perfectly harmless old man, standing by the side of the road, watching her car pass by. But still, something about him scared her, and she wanted to get away as fast as she could.
Punching the gas pedal hard as she drove by him, Lois dropped the cell phone on her lap, heedless of Clark on the other end of the line as he said her name. Glancing in her rear-view mirror to see if the man was still there, she watched as he extended a hand in her direction, and her dread intensified as she turned her attention back on the road. She was only a few minutes away from the Kent Farm. If she could only get there, she just knew everything would be okay.
She wasn't going to make it. She knew it the moment the bright light spilled over the horizon and rushed towards her. Crying out in alarm, she changed tactics. Yanking on the emergency brake, she took her foot off the gas, cut the wheel sharply to the left, and rode the skid as her car fishtailed and swung around with its back tires screeching. Once it had turned almost an entire one hundred and eighty degrees, she released the emergency brake, slammed on the gas once more, and turned the wheel in the opposite direction to correct the skid as the car shot forward. Lois floored the gas pedal, hoping to put some distance between her car and the light spilling onto the roadway. She didn't know what the light was coming from or what kind of danger it might pose, but she somehow knew she didn't want it to reach her.
She almost made it. Almost. Unfortunately, even with her expert driving, she just wasn't fast enough. She'd only gotten about thirty yards before the light swept over her vehicle. When her engine suddenly died, Lois slammed on the brakes and tried to safely pull the car over to the side of the road.
"Clark!" she cried out in terror once more as she threw her arm across her eyes, temporarily blinded by the intensity of the white light as it washed over her body.