I walked into the Morgue, eyes glued to my phone. Still no sign of SmallvilleGuy.
"Nervous?" Maddy asked. She had pulled her headbuds down and I could hear the faint sound of music coming from them.
"Of course not," I said, taking my seat. "SmallvilleGuy is one of my best friends."
Once I would've said only friend, but Metropolis had proven to be full of surprises. I could almost count my friends on more than one hand.
"So close you don't even know his real name," said a voice that sounded almost like Maddy's.
I looked up to see Melody lounging against the wall. She waved her fingers at me. I mostly counted her as a friend and she had taken to hanging out at the paper from time to time. I didn't think she would ever join--she and Maddy were still figuring out how to share interests--but I liked seeing her spend time with her sister.
Devin shrugged."Online friends don't always. Still--maybe I could poke around."
"No!" I said.
James, the only real rule follower in our group, nodded in approval, but it wasn't that. I wanted desperately to know all of SmallvilleGuy's secrets, but not that way. He trusted me and someday, someday he would tell me. And now, of all days, wasn't the time to push.
Because I was going to meet him today.
His parents had apparently always wanted to come to Metropolis in December. SmallvilleGuy and I weren't asking any questions, just taking advantage of the opportunity. Still, there were rules. He wasn't allowed to tell me when his flight was landing or even which airport they were flying into. My friends thought his parents were just overprotective, scared about him meeting up with an online girlfriend, but there was more to it than that.
So I had been glued to our messenger app all day. No word from him since last night. Maybe he was already in the city and just waiting until he'd decided enough time had passed that I couldn't glean any clues about his arrival time.
"Hot on the trail of a story?" Perry asked, on his way to his office.
"That's not what she's hot for," James murmured, and I took my eyes off my phone long enough to glare at him.
Finally, finally my phone buzzed.
And I jumped out of my seat and headed towards the door.
"You could say goodbye, you know!" Devin called after me.
I fluttered my fingers over my shoulder. When I got into the elevator, I realized that maybe I needed a few more details than "here."
SmallvilleGuy: Starbucks across the street.
SkepticGirl1: How do you know where I am?
SmallvilleGuy: I know you
And I smiled and put my phone away. Two more minutes and I would see him.
As soon as I exited the building, I started looking. I was pretty sure I knew who I was looking for--a tall boy with dark hair and blue eyes covered with glasses. He'd never quite confirmed that his game avatar looked like him, but I was sure I was right.
And there was, right outside of the Starbucks. His eyes lit up when he saw me, and I rushed across the street.
"Lois!" he said, coming towards me. "You could've waited for the walk sign!"
"I looked both ways!"
And then we looked at reach other for really, the first time. I was right. He looked just like his game avatar (minus the green skin).
"Hi sap," I said.
"Clark," he said.
I smiled. "Clark."
"No last name."
It was already more than I expected. I took a step closer to him and then stopped. In the game, we would've already kissed each other. And it always felt so real, but it wasn't. Would this count as our first kiss?
I could read the same thoughts in his eyes. So, instead I reached out my hand to his. He took it, curling it in his strong fingers and I felt the warmth of his hand like I couldn't in the game.
"I brought you something," he said, and I finally noticed his other hand held a medium sized bag.
Was I supposed to bring him something? But he shook his head. "You might not thank me for it."
I narrowed his eyes at him. "Gimme."
And I dropped his hand to take the bag and burst out laughing when I saw what was in it.
"You never paid up," he said.
I pulled out a Metropolis Monarchs shirt and cap. "You're not taking me to a game, are you?"
He smiled a little. "It's December. They don't play in the winter."
"Um," I said, after another few moments of staring at each other. "Do you want to go to the Daily Planet? Meet my friends?"
He winced. "I do, but--"
"Right. Not the best place for a mystery boy."
"I want to tell you, I do."
"I know," I said, and I reached for his hand. "Coffee then."
"Wait," he said.
"One secret," he said. "I can tell you one thing."
"Really?" He was so careful not to let anything slip. I thought of all the erased words, the messages he typed, but never sent.
I frowned. "That's a secret?"
So I filed it away to think about later. Was I supposed to figure out something from this? Or was he telling me because it really didn't mean anything, but it would make me think he'd given up something when he really hadn't?
"Lois," he said, slightly amused.
Oh right. I was supposed to think about it later.
"Sorry," I said.
"One more thing," he said, and I looked up at him, eager for another secret, another clue to my mystery boy.
Instead he leaned down and brushed his lips across mine. I leaned into him and deepened the kiss. His arms went around mine and I knew our in game kisses would never satisfy us again.
"Hi," he said, when we broke apart.
"Hi," I said.
We laced our fingers together and walked into the Starbucks.
So much better than another secret . . . I think.