Boundless by Meredith

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Boundless

Boundless cover

Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 12:33:35 -0600 Subject: “Boundless” (1/2) MSR, NC-17 by Meredith

From: (Meredith S)

“Boundless”

Author: Meredith

Cover Art: Analise

Classification: MSR,A Rating: NC-17 for sexual situations

Disclaimer: I am making no money from this. Never have, never will. No Copyright infringement is intended.

Spoilers: None

Summary: Under extreme emotional circumstances, no one’s actions are predictable.

Feedback: Oh, please. Please Please. This story has given me chronic heartburn. Please hit reply to or write me at the old addy, .

Authors notes: At the end of Part 2.

_______________________

“Boundless”

Scully could eat, perhaps, if he would speak to her.

From the moment they arrived in Pennsylvania, she had been nauseated. Her diet had consisted mainly of saltines, hot tea and Pepto-Bismol. She was beginning to be frustrated by the routine and idly wondered if she should just spread the viscous pink liquid directly on the crackers or brew it with a little lemon and honey for a bit of variety. Sighing audibly, she brutally popped a Zantac out of its foil-backed bubble and swallowed it dry.

Mulder’s complete and utter paralysis had been a shock. She expected rage. Joy. Confusion. Hell, even Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of death and dying. But not this… this absence. This boundless expanse of nothingness.

He nodded; quite a bit, actually. And shook his head. He even managed a few short sentences when absolutely necessary. But he had mainly acquiesced to her investigation and watched mutely as the events unfolded around him. In turn, Scully did what was necessary. What she owed her partner. She did what he was now powerless to do — uncover the truth.

Wind whipped furiously at the north-facing motel room, causing the window to shudder in its concrete block frame. The first brilliant leaves of the season, ripped mercilessly from their branches, splattered painfully against the glass in wet, dulled clumps.

An icy numbness settled in her palm, which rested against the tremoring pane. She could barely make out the stretch of highway through the horizonless gloom, although she knew it was there. Beckoning. The path away from this.

She hadn’t known what they expected to find. She wasn’t the type to waste time speculating. That was Mulder’s job, however incapable he was of performing it. But with honest acceptance, Scully understood that people can exist entirely on paper — their identities defined for unknown purposes by those with a higher, or lower, agenda. She knew she was ready to find that contingency.

Angela Connor seemed perfectly suited for that definition. She might have existed only in the cumbersome databases at the Social Security Administration, a shell of a human form waiting to be filled when proving her existence became necessary. There could have been identical duplicates of her scattered around the country, a platoon of female clones basing their lives on the genesis of one actual human being.

Scully had long ago come to terms with the reality of cloning. It didn’t disturb her in the least, not anymore. So she was more than prepared for the anonymous call they had received the previous week to lead to that dead end. But for some reason, that wasn’t the case.

There was only one Angela Connor, maiden name Bradshaw, birth date and location unknown. Age 34, 5 feet 8 inches tall. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Adopted in 1975 by Lois and Hal Bradshaw of San Francisco, California. Sister to two brothers, Scott and Adam. Devoted wife of Peter, mother of Benjamin. Grandchild. Aunt. Cousin. Niece. Friend. She seemed wholly real and three-dimensional.

But seeing is believing. At least it comes close.

So they had come to Lancaster.

The urge to pull the curtain closed against the darkening afternoon fury was suddenly overwhelming. As she yanked on the pulley cord, a sharp pain below her sternum made her wince. Thoughts of indigestion or a possible virus skittered around in her mind, which efficiently avoided the more plausible reasons for her illness that lurked there. No, too vicious and sudden in onset to be an ulcer. I’ll just have to ride it out, she thought resolutely. There was no other choice.

Crossing the room, she knocked softly on the connecting door before opening it. He sat on the edge of the hotel bed in the darkness, staring mutely out his window at endless stands of trees bent and stooped by the gale. The room’s only illumination the weak remnants of daylight succumbing to the storm outside.

“Are you sure you want to do this today?” she whispered, touching his shoulder gently.

He nodded, barely acknowledging her touch. “I need to see her — to know.”

Scully grimaced at the fatigue in his voice, the glassiness of his gaze. He was still facing inwards, unwilling to meet her in the eye.

“All right. I’ll get an umbrella. It’s raining.” Her voice choked, clutched by the instinctive fear that he might never find his way out of this abyss.

_______

The library at the University of Pennsylvania was dim and hushed, an extraordinarily peaceful haven from the driving gray rain. Mulder and Scully walked slowly through the main hall toward their destination.

Tiger-oak bookcases 7 feet high framed the chamber-like room at the south end. Beautifully arched ceilings painted a warm ochre refracted the smallest sound — the crackle of thick, slowly turned pages, the ghostly echo of footsteps on the polished marble.

There were only two people at the reference desk, and only one was a woman. The agents walked slowly between freestanding shelves and the wall, their approach hidden. Thirty feet from the desk. Twenty. Ten. He stopped short.

“Mulder?” she whispered, looking up at him.

He stared straight ahead and shook his head mutely. “I can’t.”

“Yes, you can,” she said firmly, but he refused to move.

“Ask her a question.”

“Mulder, I…”

“Just ask her, Scully,” he said sharply, the first sign of emotion she’d seen from him in days. She couldn’t refuse.

Scully, black-clad and showing her fatigue, emerged from the foreign language dictionaries and approached the desk.

“Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you. Could you please tell me where the ladies room is?”

“Sure,” said the young woman. “Take a left outside this room and you’ll see a hallway just on your right. It’s at the end on the left.”

“Thank you.”

Behind them, Mulder leaned against the dusty volumes helplessly as the two voices he cherished the most lingered together for one rare moment — one well-known, the other familiar in cadence only. Time shifted and blurred, the past becoming the present, the future becoming lost, the present having never existed.

__________

“I got you roast beef with mayo and some chips,” Scully said as she dropped white paper sacks on the small table in Mulder’s room, kicking the door shut with her small foot. The storm had died a peaceful death, blowing itself out until there was nothing left but a damp silence encased by night. She neatly chained and deadbolted the door against the expansive calm without even thinking.

Mulder nodded, leaning against the cool of the concrete wall, his eyes unfocused on the black outside. His pale outline reflected back at his partner from the window, the interior light casting his image into a visual no-man’s land, half within and half without. There, and yet not. He made no move toward the bags.

“You should eat some dinner,” she said softly.

Silence.

Shit, she thought miserably. Nothing she said, tried to say, or didn’t say had made any difference. How long was she supposed to put up with the ominous silence? Feeling her frustration surge to the forefront, she began to crack. But he spoke before she could.

“Scully….. I think …. I think when this leave ends, I may not come back.” His voice was barely a whisper, spoken to the trees.

Stunned, she inhaled sharply. Back where? Here? Home?

“Mulder, don’t jump….”

“Maybe,” he said dully, not noticing her shock, barely noticing her. “I don’t know.”

Scully fumbled angrily with the plastic wrap of the deli sandwich, trying to find the words, any words. There simply were none.

_____

She knew they made a odd pair, two somber dark-clothed creatures sitting at the edge of the playground, staring uncomprehendingly at the wild, colorful abandon of children. But he had left the motel room on his own volition, and she had no choice but to follow him.

Scully had traveled far past understanding that they didn’t belong, that their silence stood as a void against the sun and the sweet, high voices of glee and wonder echoing in the autumn air.

Dozens of small bodies ran and spun, rode and swung on the bars, the teeter-totters and slide under the gazes of a smattering of moms and dads — some standing, some scattered on hard park benches. Some even played. A crisp wind tossed locks of hair and coat hems and intermingled the must of decaying leaves with the clean smell of innocence.

Scully couldn’t take her eyes off a small red-haired girl spinning alone in circles, mumbling lyrical nonsense as only the very young can. She almost couldn’t comprehend it — the delight, the utter freedom. Limitless joy. A distant memory, perhaps, its meaning shimmering on the horizon. There. And gone.

Her partner’s eyes were almost focused on a tall brunette who was laughing at the boy she had in tow. Laughing at his antics, laughing merely because he was laughing. Mulder sat utterly still, as if long dead.

The girl was merely the neighbor friend. The boy belonged to the woman. Scully had discerned that fact back in D.C. After all her research since the call, there was precious little left to discover except the full spectrum of what was, evidently, the truth.

Scully took her partner’s hand in her own and squeezed it gently, his fingers cold and unresponsive in her palm.

The leaves continued their slow, unremitting fall.

_____

God. Let this be over, she prayed.

Scully had just taken off her overcoat when the roiling in her abdomen struck with terminal intensity. She stumbled into the white bathroom and barely managed to rip off the sterilized-for- your-protection toilet seat strip before expelling her stomach’s meager contents of the day. She hadn’t been able to eat after the incident in the park, so there wasn’t much mess. But no food meant the dry heaves, which meant the inevitable bile.

Exhausted, she lay down with her cheek pressed to the cool tile floor. Hot, angry tears slipped from her left eye, trailed down the bridge of her nose and pooled on the floor.

This had to end soon, or they wouldn’t survive.

Mindless jealousy began its slow stalk of her conscious thoughts, as had been its habit every now and again for the last 5 years. Only this time, she had a target. A picture. A tall, pretty brunette with a beautiful son and husband. A goddamn nice woman who, just because she had everything, didn’t deserve to be hated by a woman who had nothing.

How dare that woman hold such power over him. How dare she live while he slowly died, as he had been doing for 25 years. As part of her had been doing for 5 years. How dare Angela Connor not know the misery she was responsible for.

She sighed, accepting the irrationality of her anger and letting it ebb as she ran out of tears. Angela Connor did not, of course, have a perfect life. She had normal, everyday problems, concerns and fears. She must occasionally fight with her husband. She had a demanding job. Parenting was probably a constant challenge. But at times, that seemed to Scully like having it all. Scully would gladly let her have that life if only Angela could relinquish the one possession she didn’t even know she had.

She drew herself up weakly on all fours, then rose slowly to her feet. Sticky red eyes stared back at her from the vanity mirror, her swollen face imprinted with small square tile marks on her right cheek. She feebly rinsed her mouth with Scope before crawling toward the bed.

Scully’s exhausted mind dwelled on a single thought before falling into a fitful sleep. Mulder’s life quest, a quarter of a century in the making, was over. She just had to convince the silent, heartbroken man in the next room of that reality.

______

“Boundless” — Part 2 of 2

______

They were due back in D.C. soon. He had to decide.

If he had had the energy, he might have flipped a coin, simply to choose one path of hell over another. Destroy one life, destroy more; destroy a man, destroy a woman; destroy the past, destroy the future; destroy a sister, destroy a soulmate.

Mulder hadn’t moved in 4 hours. He was still sitting on the edge of the bed, his undershirt untucked, his jeans unbuttoned. In the process of disrobing he had simply stopped, the will to continue having evaporated. His hands heavy, unfeeling cold objects unable to guide his soul out of the limitless despair.

A small part of him knew his lack of action didn’t make sense to his partner. There was no conscious rationalization taking place in his mind, no semi-logical argument disproving her opinions or themes. He was simply functioning on autopilot. Reflex actions. Like dropping to the ground after being kicked in the balls. There was no choice in that. You just simply fell and waited for the numbing ache to dissipate.

Mulder had been falling for days, wondering idly when he would feel the smack of the ground beneath him.

A sudden shudder traveled through his frame, causing him to gasp and fight for control. If she cursed him, damned him for revealing his presence — or even hiding it — how could he live? His every waking moment an excruciating torment, knowing that his choice had ruined other lives?

Why, he thought bitterly, did owning the family name Mulder require simple choices with such destructive ramifications? Was damnation merely a required inheritance?

The truth. He had never been ready for the truth. It was an ambivalent gift, exacting its destructive price. He barked a short cough of what could have been laughter. This was some supreme fucked-up fairy tale, surely a morality play to keep others from making his mistakes. Unfortunately, he was caught up in the action and no one could tell him in what particular manner the protagonist would meet his end.

Tonight he had started feeling the pain.

Mulder squeezed his eyes shut against the black. He needed her. After such involuntary silence, his actions became more the result of his heart’s yearnings than his mind’s decisions. Craving salvation, he rose on stiff joints. The moment had been inevitable, the pull too strong. He had always been helpless without her. She would have the answers, would tell him what to do. She would save him from himself.

______

He could see the faint light in her eyes when she woke, calm. She knew it was him.

She sat up slowly, peering across the mini-chasm between the two double beds. It could have stretched for miles, although he could almost touch her shadowy figure sitting opposite, her form vaguely defined by the streetlamp glow sneaking between the thick curtains. She was impossibly close, yet as always fated them, impossibly far.

“Mulder.”

“Scully.”

Helpless to contain himself, anguish rolled off him in waves, pouring over her in infinite succession, drawing tears from the recesses neither thought they had any more. She stretched out her hand silently toward him. He took it hesitantly and let himself be pulled into her embrace.

Kneeling at her bedside, he pressed his face into her stomach, his arms wrapped tightly around her waist. Sick of the denial and the confusion plaguing his soul, wearied by a lifetime of aching loneliness and the miserable prospect of nothing else, Fox Mulder broke down and cried in his partner’s embrace.

Do you think she’s happy?” He broke the silence an eternity later, his words muffled by soft cotton flannel at her shoulder.

Scully continued to stroke his back lightly. “I won’t lie to you, Mulder. Sometimes she is, sometimes she isn’t. Just like we all are.”

He snorted in bitterness. “I wouldn’t know about that.”

“Just because you haven’t chosen to pursue that particular goal doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. Or that you don’t deserve it… that you don’t deserve that chance,” she retorted sharply. Softening, she moved her hand to his cheek. “Whether she’s always happy or not doesn’t mean a damn thing. She’s loved. She loves. She’s living. I would think that would mean something to you.”

“I don’t know what that means,” he whispered.

Scully lifted his face to look in his eyes and smiled softly. “You do know. You just never open your mind to extreme possibilities.”

“Oh, Scully,” he murmured, a spark of humor almost returning to his face. “I’ve opened my mind many times.”

She continued to hold his cheek. “But not your heart.”

Taken aback, he stuttered. “I… I haven’t been …”

“I know,” she said simply, and he understood.

She was warm and faintly sweet on his lips as their mouths tenderly met. Responsive, gentle explorations, hesitant and longing. Acceptance and forgiveness in every soft touch. His palms caressed her neck and sensitized the delicate skin before his lips trailed their way down and back. The inside of her mouth was cool, her teeth soothing on his bottom lip. Peaceful, slow kisses ending only with the intrusion of long-ingrained fear.

In the dark, it was easy to become lost.

Mulder suddenly drew back, his eyes flickering away from her face. “God, I’m sorry… I shouldn’t…” He choked back the immediate onslaught of new tears and stood shakily, retreating toward the door. “Not like this,” he murmured pleadingly. “I’m sorry. This isn’t how…”

A mistake. This was a mistake, he thought frantically, not seeing her swiftly wipe her still-wet mouth in embarrassment. This was not the way to save themselves. In desperation, her voice was solemn in the shadows, words carefully weighed.

“Mulder.”

He heard the warning but couldn’t turn back, couldn’t look at her, his hand frozen above the doorknob.

Her voice stumbled, then caught. “You need to choose. You can live in the past, or you can simply live. What do you want, Mulder?”

It might have been a nod of acknowledgment, or a bow of resignation. Or defeat. Not that it mattered much. Dana Scully was once again left alone as her partner silently opened the door and walked out of her life.

_____

It had become remarkable easy to lose track of time, the hours first, then the days. So simple to stare into the darkened apartment at absolutely nothing. To think of nothing. No one. To concentrate so fully on the despair that everything melted into nothingness in its presence.

It would have been so easy if she were dead. Twenty-five years ago or yesterday — no matter. It was a contingency he had been prepared for – one of the countless possibilities he had outlined in detail over the years. The outlying boundary of what he would accept as the truth. The one he was most sure of when he looked deep inside his heart.

Justice. Revenge. He would have fought to bring her killers down. Punished. He would have killed in return. But this — this left nothing. No focus, nothing to hold in his hand. No connections, no reasons, no explanations.

If his sister were dead, he wouldn’t have to decide if he could ever be alive.

Mulder glanced at the pile of papers he had recklessly shoved in his suitcase 5 days ago. The painstaking research Scully had compiled. The detailed background she had assembled and begged him to read. The sum total of everything he couldn’t face in Pennsylvania.

He winced in anguish. Scully. He had left the hotel in the middle of the night and flown home without her. He couldn’t face her, couldn’t thank her, couldn’t beg forgiveness. Couldn’t accept his precious truth, in all its forms.

She had called, of course, leaving a message on his machine before he’d even made it home. It was simple, direct, laced with neither anger nor regret, but with a sadness he had never heard before.

// Mulder, if you want to come back to work after the leave of absence, I’ll be here. You can have the X-Files and me as your partner, if that’s what you want. If not, you will have me, always — as a friend. //

He hadn’t returned the call, and she hadn’t called again.

Mulder at least knew her well enough to understand the meaning behind her words. It was his decision to define the terms she had given. His decision to set their personal boundaries.

A friend. The syllable was bitter in his mouth. Christ. He had loved her forever.

He shuffled through the papers, without any real purpose or intention. Why he now had the compulsion, after nearly a week, he didn’t know. A muddy fax was near the top — a copy of a letter to St. Gabriel the Archangel Children’s Home, San Francisco. From Angela Bradshaw Connor. Dated 1989. Despite himself, he began to read.

// To the Board of Directors:

I received your letter regarding California law 12830-B, which opens all adoption records to former adoptees at age 25. Thank you very much for notifying me of the rights I have under this law. However, at this time I believe it is not in my best interests to pursue the details of my adoption. I have no desire to dredge up the past and create any pain for my adoptive family, my husband, or myself. I am happy to remain looking forward to the rest of my life, not looking backward to events beyond my control. Thank you, though, for your offers in this matter. I will always be grateful to your organization for placing me with such a wonderful family whom I will always consider my true parents and brothers. //

For a moment, he held his breath. The letter crinkled in his tight grasp, marring the simple wish of an innocent woman.

With biting awareness, Mulder slowly ripped the already-yellowing paper into countless pieces, once and for all severing the threads that tethered him to the past.

________

He didn’t feel guilty at all.

Mulder had never taken the particular liberty of entering Scully’s apartment without her knowledge. Kicking down her door, yes, but never purposefully invading her privacy.

He understood his actions with a profound sense of clarity. Tonight it was right.

The apartment was dark, protected from the October night. Winds gusted outside, electrifying the air with invisible purpose. In the sanctity of her world, all was peace.

He wandered her rooms noiselessly, barely aware that he was touching her furniture and personal items, his fingers tracing patterns on soft surfaces, books and framed photos, absorbing her presence through his touch. Her life was his. He lived simply because she allowed him to chart his own stumbling way to the present. The concrete evidence of his existence borne out through her life was enough to make him giddy. She had created a future for him long ago, and he had finally found it in the infinity of her.

He had never felt more defined in his life.

He marveled at the complexity of their intertwined lives, the compulsion that drew him to her that night, that always drew them together. He understood the physics of their union, fundamental as a natural law of science, yet as unexplainable a phenomenon as he had ever encountered. The perfect combination. Comprehension, and finally understanding, had come late, but with a profound sense of what was right. He smiled, because he knew.

Mulder walked past her bed to stare out the window at the small courtyard below. It would pour soon, he thought absently. The black nighttime sky had taken an eerie appearance, jaundiced from the streetlight and approaching front.

Despite the impending storm, the vista was clear. A fence. Shadows of low shrubs, of tall trees. Flower beds fading in the late season. They would withstand the imminent sound and fury, keeping safe their place in the world.

He stood still against the wall for several long minutes, his thoughts strangely calm. He heard the soft turn of the key in the lock and noticed the distant light. Yet he remained standing in the shadows.

Mere moments later, she entered the bedroom quietly, her shoeless feet making no sound on the floor. A thin echo of light from the living room strove to reach her darkened silhouette at the edge of the bed, but failed. She unbuttoned her jacket in the dark.

The familiar first soft syllable of her name sat poised on Mulder’s lips, but was denied enunciation as he stared at his partner in rapt fascination. The chair next to the bed received her discarded jacket and skirt before he even felt the tightening in his groin.

He swallowed slowly, remembering the tenderness of her touch, and was completely found.

Her full slip, shining and undulating in the dim yellow light, slithered to a pool at her feet along with her stockings, leaving her tiny frame clad only in underwear.

The heat in his body fought his rapid pulse for dominance, for control, as the erotic image of his Scully consumed every thought he once had of admitting his presence. In the half-dark of the blackness she gracefully pulled a t-shirt from a drawer, bending precisely, emphasizing her gentle curves, her hips, her breasts.

She had only to turn around, but she didn’t.

She had only to flip the lightswitch, but she didn’t.

She had only to listen, but she didn’t.

Breath had left his lungs long ago. As if he’d never known her, didn’t have every sweep and slope already burned in his brain, he couldn’t break his gaze from her luminant skin. As small hands reached up behind her to undo the bra’s clasp, his consuming eyes finally closed, slowly, achingly.

He heard the rustle of a shirt being pulled overhead, and then silence.

When he opened his eyes, Scully stood a mere 8 feet from him, hair mussed, hand loosely grasping the shirt hem just under her breasts, half-turned, facing him, and frozen in partial motion.

They were the only beings in the world, its only lovers.

Their stares fused. Inflamed.

Mulder found his voice. “You.”

She cocked her head.

“The answer to your question, Scully,” his tone ragged, seductive. “is you.”

Interminable seconds passed. She approached him cautiously until they were inches apart, her hand still supporting the shirt, exposing her smooth stomach. He caught his breath, and continued.

“She has what she wants. I now know I have all I’ve ever wanted — you. I’ve found my truth. I’ve had it all along.”

Scully stared deeply into his eyes, her expression inscrutable until the moment she spoke. With one word, she solidified their fate, united their souls, and led him by the hand into the future.

“Mulder.”

They kissed with a fierce hunger, an almost primal instinct. He claimed her with possessive force, one arm lifting her off the ground and the other hand tangled in her hair. Their kisses passionate, deep, consuming.

The need to feel his skin on hers quickly became overwhelming. She wriggled from his hold and swiftly untucked the soft black sweater from his battered jeans. He understood her instinctive need and drew it over his head as she deftly unbuttoned his waistband. Grabbing her hand, he chuckled softly, effectively slowing her movements.

She laughed in response, a pure, sweet sound that sent shivers of warmth through his chest. She took a step backwards and slowly, tantalizingly, pulled the baggy white shirt over her head, exposing her breasts to the dim light. A low growl came from Mulder’s throat as he quickly stepped toward her, completely forgetting his original intentions of lingering. Bringing his hands to cup her weight, he lowered his mouth to the soft skin. The feel of her nipples on his lips was exquisite.

Her urgency quickly fled with the agonizing pleasure, heat building in her depth and radiating throughout her body. After an eternity, she grudgingly ceased running her fingers through his soft hair, brought his lips back to hers and led him toward the bed. Turning quickly, she pulled the covers down in one fluid sweep. Mulder removed the rest of his clothing in one clean motion before pulling her under the covers with him.

Their pace slowed as they began to explore, learn, memorize. The smoothness of her thighs, the strength of his shoulders. Touches that made her quicken, strokes that made him lose control.

Settling in the home that was the cradle of her thighs, Mulder was dimly aware that he had buried himself within her without any conscious knowledge. Shame at his selfish action immediately abated when he felt the full impact of her warmth and wetness around him and heard her throaty purr echo into his mouth. The sensation of being inside her, of her inside him, surrounding him, completely within and around him, was the dawning of ecstacy.

Scully slowly felt her senses narrow and melt until vision became smell and touch, creating a thrumming vibration she’d never experienced that consumed her consciousness. She could see the heat of his skin, taste the green in his eyes, smell the edge they were both so precariously balanced on. She was utterly seduced by the intensity of their union, and was the first to succumb.

With her cry muffled in the crook of his neck and the spasm wrapping around his length, Fox Mulder ceased to exist. In a surge of blood and elemental force, he abandoned the ache and lonliness in favor of the boundless mystery of two becoming one.

Their souls finally merged, as their hearts had done long ago.

Outside, lightning illuminated the sky in a brilliant streak, casting the room in a sudden brightness. The sated passion in her eyes, the redness of her swollen lips nearly sent him back over the edge. He caressed her cheek lovingly. “I’m sorry, Scully,” he whispered, his voice catching. “I’m sorry I left you.”

“You didn’t,” she smiled, and he understood.

END

Feedback would be absolutely wonderful. Talk to me at .

Authors confessions: A few of you might have seen a very early version of this at the September X-Press. For such a small story, it’s really been difficult to finish. The best analogy I’ve been able to come up with is that it’s like I set out to make chocolate mousse, only to find I had ingredients for a pot roast. I didn’t want pot roast, damn it. I wanted mousse.

I want to express my boundless thanks to those who were kind enough to comment on early drafts. Thanks so much, Jill Selby, Joyce, and Elizabeth Flynn! But super-sized rolls of Tums go to two folks who endured draft after draft crammed down their throats. Oy! Talk about indigestion. Thank you KL Lietz and Miki Akimoto, who (thankfully) never let me get away with not trying my absolute best and constantly keep my spirits up and my words in their proper place. I owe you both big-time. Also, Lynda Phung — as usual, thanks for just about everything. 🙂

Finally, thanks to you, for reading. Coming to grips with what was available in my refrigerator was a painful process. Any reassurances that this was palatable would be more appreciated than you’ll ever know.

** Meredith **

_______

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