Lois Lane, The Daily Planet's star reporter, interviews Gotham City playboy and philanthropist Bruce Wayne.
A bright yellow taxi smoothly slid into the vacant spot behind the long, sleek gray Bentley parked along the curb in front of the Daily Planet.
In a flourish, Lois Lane, the Daily Planet's star reporter, exited the cab. As she pulled on her coat, she absently flipped a wad of bills at the driver through the passenger's window to pay her fare.
For Lois, it was business as usual as she made her way to the newspaper's entrance. A million thoughts -- everything from the stories she was involved in with her colleague, Clark Kent, to planning her upcoming nuptials -- roared through her mind like the wail of hurricane-force winds as she passed by the luxury car that had taken up the spot nearest the door.
Stepping into the revolving doors, Lois saw the reflection of the expensive European-made vehicle in the glass. As she shuffled forward into the crowded elevator, she knew Lex was here.
As it ascended to the seventh floor, where the newsroom was located, a soft smile played on her ruby lips as she touched the engagement ring. Metropolis' weathliest businessman and the third richest man in the world had slipped the solitaire diamond set in twenty-five carat gold, which she wore on her finger after she finally accepted his proposal at his penthouse last night.
He missed you. He can't bear to be without his bride-to-be for a moment.
The elaborately decorated wooden elevator doors slid open and Lois walked down the steps into the newsroom. Draping her coat over the back of her leather chair, she set her brown satchel beside her computer.
She hoped she was the reason her fiancé had been making frequent visits to the Planet, not the rumors circulating around the office.
The idea that Lex was planning to buy the paper was absurd. The Planet had had its ups and downs in its one hundred and six-year history, but every day it published an edition without fail. Not only was The Planet the top paper in the city, it was one of the best in the world, and she doubted that there'd ever be a day when that'd be different.
Picking up a black mug with the Planet's logo prominently displayed on front, she glanced at her partner's desk that was across from hers. Clark Kent had not yet arrived for work that morning.
Personally, Lois suspected Clark had started the rumors. Clark had no love for Luthor that much was clear. He was jealous because he felt rejected that she'd chosen Lex over him even after he'd declared his love for her.
After dumping the remaining liquid in the mug onto a plant next to her computer monitor, Lois decided she'd help herself to a cup of coffee while waiting for her source to arrive for a scheduled interview.
"Excuse me, miss," a very crisp, clean voice with a distinct British flavor said. "Do you know a Miss Lois Lane?"
Within moments, she was all business. She tucked strands of her short dark chocolate hair behind her ears. "I'm Lois Lane."
The elderly gentleman, who sported a thin mustache, removed his black hat and held it flat in his hands. "I'm Alfred Pennyworth, Mr. Wayne's butler, valet and personal assistant. I called you last week to set up an interview for Mr. Wayne at ten o' clock today."
"Yes," Lois said, turning slightly as she picked up her spiral notebook and pencil lying on her desk. "Wayne Tech is expanding to include locations in Metropolis."
"Precisely," a deep rich masculine voice said. "But I wouldn't expect anyone less than you to conduct this interview, Miss Lane."
The neatly cropped edges of her bob moved with the same fluid motion as a model's hair did in shampoo commercials as she turned her head to regard the muscular built man wearing a gray suit.
His hands were tucked into his jacket pockets, he stood poised, exuding both confidence and gentlemanly charisma.
Although she was engaged, she still appreciated good looks.
The moment passed and Lois was the ever-efficient-professional again.
"Mr. Wayne," she said, shaking his hand and then gesturing toward the chair next to her desk. "If I didn't know better I'd say you were as bad as Lex Luthor about returning calls from reporters requesting interviews. I've been trying to set up this meeting for a year."
"I would have handled the details for you, sir," Alfred said, "But you insisted on doing it yourself."
"Yes," Bruce smiled warmly at the young investigative reporter. "I hope you didn't mind the delay, Miss Lane."
She didn't miss the subtle meaning in his smile.
Blushing, she looked away to hide the color on her cheeks. "Lois," she gently corrected him.
"Lois," he said. "I must apologize. I rarely have much free time. I've been in Europe for the past few months supervising the construction of several Wayne Enterprises sites and then I participated in the economic summit at the Hague."
Entering the newsroom, Clark Kent flipped through paperwork in a folder as he headed toward his desk. "Lois, do you have the information about Star Lab's Brother I surveillance system project investors?" Sensing two pairs of eyes boring into him, he slowly lifted his gaze until it met Lois' and then slowly shifted to the man seated in the chair next to her desk. "Sorry I didn't realize you were interviewing someone."
Lois shook her head as sign that his interruption hadn't bothered her. With the flick of her wrist she made the introductions. "Clark Kent, this is Bruce Wayne." She gestured back to her colleague. "Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent." Seeing Wayne's butler hovering around in the background, she added as an afterthought, "And this is..."
Shifting his hat to his right hand, Alfred extended his left hand, "Alfred Pennyworth. I'm Mr. Wayne's butler, valet and personal assistant."
"It's a pleasure," Clark smiled as Alfred again made himself scarce.
Rising to his six-foot, two-inch height, Bruce extended his hand, offering Clark a strong, firm handshake. "A pleasure." Returning to his seat, he relaxed his muscular frame against the desk. "I've read your work, Mr. Kent, and I'm impressed. You're one of the best, and that made my decision about which of the Planet's top reporters should conduct this interview harder."
His eyebrows furrowed a few inches, Clark's eyes narrowed as he evaluated the millionaire industrialist and philanthropist. While he appreciated the other man's compliment, he seriously doubted Wayne debated about choosing Lois to conduct his interview at all. Clark knew how Wayne was with women. He'd read about the Gotham City playboy's romantic relationships, many of which had been brief, and seen pictures of the Barbie dolls -- starlets and socialites -- he sported on his arm at various affairs on many newspaper's society page.
Wayne's sex appeal only added to his dislike of the wealthy businessman. Anyone who had astronomical amounts of money he didn't trust. Lex Luthor was one of those men. While Lex made numerous charitable contributions in the community, the owner of LexCorp played dirty pool.
Clark glanced over at his partner who was in the midst of conducting an interview with Wayne. Sadly, Lois didn't know what he did and she wouldn't believe him if he told her, but her fiancé was a criminal.
The wooden doors of the elevator slid open and Lex, dressed in sleek black suit, closely followed by his entourage to include his personal assistant, Mrs. Cox, stepped out. Moving forward to stand in front of a wooden banister that had an expansive view of the room below, his eyes panned across the busy newsroom.
Soon all this will be mine, Lex's voice, sounding very Machiavellian, echoed through his head.
The corrupt industrialist's thoughts drifted back to a recent executive board meeting where he'd bribed the Planet's corporate officers to vote in favor of his purchase of the paper.
His motivation for owning the paper was to get revenge on Perry White. He blamed the Daily Planet's editor for keeping him from being at home when his foster sister, Lena Griggs, died. Once he had ownership, he'd force Perry into early retirement and kill the paper once and for all.
A gleam danced in his eyes as he savored the moment he'd have his revenge.
His evil plans were momentarily forgotten as his eyes fell upon his future bride. He had been married eight times, but Lois was the only woman he truly loved. She was all he ever wanted, and he always got what he wanted.
His eyes shifted to the man his fiancée was interviewing who he instantly recognized as Bruce Wayne.
The irresponsible, light-hearted millionaire, who witnessed his parent's murder, intriqued him. Like himself, Wayne was known for his contributions to charity, notably the Wayne Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping the victims of crime and preventing people to turning to it.
It was too bad. It was too late. Neither Wayne or his foundation could save him.
A smile playing on his lips, he strode down the steps into the newsroom. Coming up behind his fiancée, Lex leaned over and brushed his lips against the back of her neck. "Darling," he said, his husky whisper tickled her ears.
Swiveling on her chair, Lois turned her body and face beaming with affection toward her prospective husband. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she raised her lips to his for a tender kiss. "Lex," she murmured, the feeling in her voice matched him.
Clark rolled his eyes in disgust.
While observing the romantic scene, Bruce took special interest in Clark's reaction. It seemed that Clark was romantically interested in Lois, or perhaps it was just that he felt the exchange between his colleague and Luthor wasn't appropriate for this setting. He suspected it was the first.
After a moment, Lex straightened up and nodded recognizing the gentleman across from his fiancee. "Mr. Wayne, if I'd known you were coming into town I would have prepared a proper welcome for you."
His expression, a poker face, Bruce didn't put much stock in Luthor's statement. He was smart enough to know that Luthor made it his business to know about everything.
"In that case," he said, adding a friendly offer. "Why don't I send all of you tickets to the Wayne Foundation ball this evening at Metropolis Country Club?"
Lex nodded his approval.
Rising, Bruce reached into his inside suit pocket and handed the reporter his card, "I think you have everything you need from me, but if you have any questions you can call me." He then turned his attention to toward Lex. "Mr. Luthor, I hope you don't mind a little competition."
Lex laughed. "Whatever do you mean, Mr. Wayne?"
His blue eyes gleamed with pleasure. "I've made a lucrative counter offer to your bid to buy the Daily Planet."
"I didn't know you were interested in owning media entities, Mr. Wayne."
Bruce nodded. He hadn't bought any newspapers or radio or TV stations before because his financial interests had been in science and defense as well as being a major patron of the arts, particularly theater.
There was no harm in expanding to new investment avenues, especially if it meant keeping Luthor from having a media monopoly.
"Well," Bruce said thoughtfully. "I really couldn't pass on the opportunity. Who wouldn't want to buy one of the most widely read papers in the world?"
Before Lex had a chance to reply, Alfred politely interjected. "Sir, you have a lunch meeting with the major."
"Yes, thank you, Alfred," Bruce said smiling. "We'll see you tonight."
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|Reviewed by Peter Egan
|Coming from someone unfamiliar with the Superman storyline and thus unqualified to offer a perspective relative to that, I will say I did enjoy the read.|
|Reviewed by Felix Perry
|I like it. Brings back many memories of hours spent reading Marvel on hammocks, in cars, on back steps, at the beach etc. So many lessons were also learned from these comic series of superstars.