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God Hates a Coward by Shelby Parker
“God Hates a Coward”
Gossamer: MSR (Romance M/S, humor)
Spoilers: Small Mention of “Never Again” and “Small Potatoes”
Summary: Scully and Mulder find out, under unusual circumstances, that the biggest of leaps start with one small step.
Post wherever as long as my name and e-mail address stays with it. But Please let me know first.
Disclaimer: The characters of Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, were created by Chris Carter remain his copyrighted property, as well as the copyrighted property of 1013 productions and Fox Television, a unit of 20th Century Fox. No infringement is intended. No profit is being made.
Authors Notes: I would like to thank Jennifer Hallmark for her tireless dedication, not only for beta reading this little ditty for me, but giving me the confidence to post it. By now I must owe her a thousand red pens! Jennifer you have been such a lifesaver, there is no way I could have ever done this without you! I would also like to thank RedTyger for letting me bounce off the original idea off of her. This is my first attempt at a humor piece, let me know if it made you smile.
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October 1, 1998
2:15pm St John’s Church
I really hate weddings…
Well, I never used to, but you reach a certain point in your life where standing up in front of your friends and family in a lavender bridesmaids dress makes you feel like…well, like the fourth runner up at some county fair.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not twenty anymore. When I was twenty, no one looked at me, eyes filled with a mixture of pity and hope. No one asked when I would be the next one to walk down the aisle. There where no whispers of ‘Poor Dana…why hasn’t she found anyone yet?’…
So instead, I stand here clutching my bouquet full of blush colored roses and smile as the bride, my soon to be sister-in-law, walks down the aisle. In the back of my mind I am really scanning the Church to see where the exit signs are located. I don’t know why I’m complaining, this is the easy part…it’s the damn reception I dread. I would fake a headache but that would just send my poor mother into a panic attack. I could pray that Mulder would call, telling me that there has been a rash of crop circles found in Kansas, but he doesn’t know I’m even here. So instead I’ll stand here looking like one of Barbie’s shorter, less attractive friends, and play bridesmaid like a good little girl. Once again I have to say…I really hate weddings.
Parking Lot of St John’s Church
Okay I admit it…I’ve been following her.
I knew something was up when she started to receive the phone calls. They began a month ago, and they were always the same. Clipped yes or no answers said through clenched teeth. Usually at some point she would close her eyes and slowly shake her head back and forth like she was trying to will the person on the other end of the line to cease and desist.
When I would inquire, which I stopped doing after the third call, she would tell me everything was— let’s say it together boys and girls— fine.
To be honest, I thought it was her health. I remember when she was making appointments for her treatments during the cancer. Same look on her face, as if she was willing it to go away. I would never admit it to her, but I called in reinforcements on this one. I had the Gunman hack into Patient Registration at Mercy General. Yeah, I know I invaded her privacy, but how the hell do you think I found out about her treatments before? After they assured me that she was not scheduled for anything not only at Mercy but any hospital within a fifty mile radius, I started to really worry.
I am used to facing the unknown when it comes to my work, but to say I don’t like the unknown when it comes to Scully, well that would be a gross understatement.
So there I sat outside her apartment parked in an 82’ El Camino , hey don’t laugh, it’s not mine…Frohike comes in handy at the strangest times. I watched her walk out of her apartment carrying a garment bag that looked like she was packing for a hell of a long weekend and I panicked. The last time Scully went away for the weekend she came back talking about a guy named Jack.
What is with her and guy’s named Jack anyway? Think 37 is too old to legally change your name? Nah, too obvious.
So after following her at a comfortable distance, I was surprised to see her pull into the parking lot of St John’s Church. I was even more surprised to see her lug the bag in with her. After the Limo— covered with gaudy paper flowers no less— pulled up, I started to put two and two together.
I am a profiler you know.
So then I wondered what all the secrecy was about. So, she was going to a wedding…big deal. I remembered the last time she went to one of these things, she didn’t have a problem with it, and hell, I even think she caught the bouquet.
But then again that was five years and a thousand heartbreaks ago…So I did the only thing I could think to do…I started the car and headed back home, hoping that my tux wasn’t riddled with mouth balls and that I wasn’t taking my biggest risk to date.
St John’s Church
When I was a little girl I used to watch weddings with such rapture, the pageantry of High Mass made me dream of the short walk that would lead me to the man of my dreams. Now that I am older, much older, the only think I can think of is when are they gonna get to the damn I do’s?
I never doubted that I would one day be standing here watching my little brother stand in front of 125 people exchanging vows. Charlie is our romantic, he’s always followed his heart, for that I have envied him. I don’t know how four such different souls came from the same two people. Bill from day one has shared the same personality traits of a Bull dog. Stubborn, proud, and sometimes he can be so damn ugly that only those of us who love him can see past it. It is a shame that he can’t be here, but then again do I really want to hear Bill’s version of how I should be living my life? But I would give heaven and earth to have Melissa here. Missy…always such a believer, believed in almost everything I couldn’t dare to…such promise to have a bold and bright future awaiting her. She once told me that destiny was just waiting for us to reach out with both hands and grab hold. I can still hear her voice echoing in my mind. As soon as I start to well, out of the corner of my eye I catch my mother looking not at the happy couple, but at me. I wonder what she must think, tears for the joy of the occasion I hope. But the look in her eyes tells me that she knows. For all the times that she and Missy fought, I always knew they would have a bond that she and I would never share. I smile at her and she returns it, a stray tear falls down my cheek just as I hear the Father McCue pronounce them man and wife.
After a quick shower and shave I put on my tux. I was relieved that it hadn’t been used as moth food and that it still fit. I grabbed my keys and was almost out the door when it hits me…
What the hell am I doing?
What am I gonna do, show up there like some dysfunctional Prince Charming?
Hell, I didn’t even know who’s wedding it is. Scully surely didn’t need me to march into any reception and save her from doing the Funky Chicken by herself.
Funky Chicken…Gotta smile at that, I mean the image of Scully flailing her arms about and shaking those hips back and forth. Could you just picture it?
Anyway, I digress.
I can just see her looking at me when I walk in, she would raise one of those perfect eye brows and tilt her head to the left and look at me like I was nuts. Or worse her cheeks would start to turn red and I would get the look of death. I’m very familiar with both looks and I would prefer the former, no question. I mean how pissed would she be if I waltzed in there and she had a date.
Now there’s a thought that makes my heart fall to my feet.
Scully with a date? Nah? Well maybe. In fact it was a high probability. Hey, I know I’m not the only one who would think that Scully is well…just Scully.
To try and put Scully into words would be like trying to tell someone who has never seen a sunrise what it’s like. It just can’t be done and do it justice. Scully with a date. My Scully with a date. The thought of that, besides turning my stomach, propels me from the couch and to the door.
Humiliation be damned, I’ve got a reception to crash.
St John’s Church
I have decided that whom ever thought of the reception line was one hard-up bastard. I’m not even the bride and yet I have had more smarmy guys trying to put the move on me than I care to remember.
As I turn to greet yet another guest I don’t know, I see the King of Smarmy… Mark Williams. Suddenly the urge to flee this church like my ass is on fire has never been stronger. Mark Williams is a friend of Billy’s. He’s the type who thinks that he is an utter babe magnet wrapped up in a three piece suit, complete with pinky ring. I have been fending off his advances longer than I care to remember. I mutter an excuse to my new sister-in-law about having to use the restroom when I hear it.
“Dana, baby, where are you running off to?” Oh God, his voice is like nails on a chalk board. After my umpteenth cleansing breath of the day I turn around.
“Mark.” Said in the tone I usually reserve for slides of dead cows.
“Don’t I get a hug too?” Mr.. Smarmy says and opens his arms wide like at any moment I would break out in a run fueled by the music from Chariots of Fire. Fat chance buddy.
“C’mon I haven’t seen you in ages.” Run! Run! Run! My mind screams but before I can flee I feel his sweaty palms across my back and I’m enveloped in a cloud of Aqua Velva. I can feel him trying to snake his head around to kiss me. I’d push him away but my arms are trapped at my side. My head is ducking his at a lightening pace. Then I feel it. It’s like an octopus tentacle has attached itself to my cheek. I silently ask God once again…‘Was it something I did?’ If it could have just stopped there. But no…
“Don’t forget to save a dance for me later, baby.”
His hot and sour breath dances across my ear. Yeah, I’ll give you a dance all right, just as soon as hell freezes over.
“Mark, I really have to use the restroom.” If I didn’t before, I do now, just to wash his scent off of me.
“Okay, catch you later.” Then thankfully he releases me and I turn heel and make a path straight for the restroom. I try and remember if it has a lock and a comfy chair in it.
Parking Lot of St John’s Church
Well, it looks as if all of my intentions were in vain. The parking lot is deserted and I have no clue where the reception is. I feel like I’m seventeen and my prom date has ditched me. Maybe I should go in and ask where the reception is? Just tell them I’m a wayward cousin or something. Yeah, it would work except for the fact that I still don’t know who’s wedding it is.
I’m thinking that would blow my cover…I start to resign myself to the situation until my cell rings.
“Mulder.” I say hoping against all hope that it is Scully.
Of course it isn’t.
“Hey, Mulder, what’s up?” Frohike.
“Right now, not a whole hell of a lot.” I mutter.
“The guys and I are going down to down to grab a bite, you in?”
“Nope, you boys are on your own.”
“What’s the matter, Mulder, you sound down. Anything I can do?” Poor guy sounds concerned.
“No, not unless you can tell me who the hell got Married at St John’s Church about an hour ago.”
“What?” Amazing how fast concerned can change to confused.
“You sure you’re okay, Mulder?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, really.”
“Okay, well, call if you need anything.”
“Will do, Frohike.”
I hit the end button and start the car. All dressed up and nowhere to go. Isn’t this just perfect? Maybe it’s for the best anyway. I mean if Scully wanted me to be there she would have said something…right? Once again the phone rings.
“Sgt Charles Scully and Christina Roberts were married at 2:00 o’clock at St John’s church, the reception will be held in the Chesapeake Ballroom of the Annapolis Waterfront Marriott.”
“How did you..”
“I just called and said I was a second cousin and I didn’t know the last name of the groom.”
So close yet so far…
“Frohike, I don’t care what anyone says, your Kung Fu is the best.”
“Tell me something I don’t know…Oh and Mulder?”
“Give her a whirl around the floor once for me, okay?” He said in a wicked tone.
“Just a dance, Frohike?” I really shouldn’t tease him, but it’s just too easy.
“That’s as far as you’d get buddy.” He say’s with a chuckle and hangs up the phone.
Well, Frohike, when you’re right…you’re right.
After posing for what seems like hours, everyone except for the happy couple were ushered away. I was halfway into the ballroom when I remembered I forgot my bouquet. I went back and saw that Charlie and Christina were still posing for the camera. I almost felt my eyes begin to roll on their own accord until I saw the way they were looking at each other. Then I began to appreciate the need to capture that on film. A pang of guilt hit me when I realized what I must have looked like standing up there with them. I just hope I didn’t grimace too much. My eye catches Charlie’s and the look I see there…well, let’s just say everyone should be so lucky. He smiles and I return it in full. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. Then I hear it…
“Dana, baby, you coming in here or what?” Mr. Smarmy strikes again.
My answer is to act as if I don’t hear him and look for yet another rest room. I hope people won’t think I have a bladder control problem. That would just be too much, you know? Ah, there it is. I push the door and breathe a sigh of relief.
I duck into a stall because to tell you the truth I don’t really want to make small talk with anyone right now. I’m not up for the question and answer portion of the evening quite yet. See, I have this plan. If I can just hide out till dinner is served I’ll be okay. No one really talks during dinner and since I’m at the head table its just family and they already know how utterly pathetic my social life is. After dinner there will be dancing but I doubt anyone will notice my absence from the floor. It’s not that I don’t like to dance, I do… but I don’t see anyone I want to dance with. Then the big finale, after Charlie and Christina leave I quietly slip out the back door. Yep, it’s all figured out.
The patter of heels clicking on tile tells me my solitude has come to an end.
“You look beautiful Christina,” ah, it’s Tara.
“Thanks Tara, I’m really sorry Bill couldn’t make it I’m really looking forward to meeting him”
‘Why?’ I almost mutter aloud.
“He’s really disappointed that he couldn’t be here. It’s not often we get the whole family together.” Tara says a bit too sweetly.
“Can I ask you a question, Tara?”
“Are you close with Dana?” she almost whispers it like she knows I’m in here. I lean forward a little.
“Dana? Well, not really. In fact, I don’t think anyone is close to Dana to be honest.” Tara’s voice has now taken on a conspiratory whisper.
“That’s so weird, I mean Charlie raves about her and to be honest I don’t get it.”
That’s my boy, Charlie, you tell em’.
“Well I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Bill rave about her or anything, I get the feeling they weren’t ever close”
Bill rave about me? Ha! Maybe Rant and Rave.
“I mean she’s nice and all, but she seems so aloof and cold.”
Aloof? Cold? Great, this is just great.
“Well, she’s been through a lot, and I don’t think she’s been…” Tara suddenly stopped and for a moment I think I’ve been discovered.
“I shouldn’t say it, it’s too catty. And I really do like Dana.”
No, go on, say it, Tara. Really, now I’m curious to hear this.
“Come on, Tara, spill it.”
That’s right, Christina, get it out of her.
“Well, let’s just say I thinks it’s been a long time since Dana has had a man in her life.”
“That’s a shame.” Her voice betrays her words.
Now wait just a minute! I have a man in my life. Okay, maybe it’s not as conventional as most relationships. Okay, maybe you can’t really classify it as a relationship, not by most standards. But I have a man…kind of.
“Yeah, it is. I think that if she were? Well, you know?” Tara says with a hint of a giggle in her voice.
“Yeah, I know. Now that I think about it it’s apparent. I mean if I were still single and didn’t have a how can I say this… outlet? I’d be pretty morose too.”
This makes Tara’s giggles turn into full blown laughter.
“Outlet? Well that’s one way to put it.” And just when I think it couldn’t get worse, Christina joins in and from the way it’s carrying on you would have just thought they had hear the joke of the century.
Apparent, is it? I need a outlet huh…I have a good mind to just open the door and make them both regret that they ever opened their mouths. But instead I just bow my head, because you know what the shitty part is. They are right, and that really pisses me off.
Parking Lot of The Annapolis Marriott
Suddenly my hands are white knuckling the steering wheel and I can feel my heartbeat speed up.
I have stared down serial killers, mutants from hell, Skinner on a Monday before his coffee? I can handle this. Right?
A quick tug on the visor to check and make sure that I’m not sporting porcupine hair. Why the hell I got this haircut is beyond me. I can only hope that Scully is in there wearing a Pepto Bismol pink ensemble, complete with hoop skirt so no matter what I look like she can’t laugh. That’s a lie. I really hope she’s in there wearing something silky and sexy. Actually anything that isn’t beige would do. What am I gonna say to her? I have been going over opening lines since I left St Johns.
“Well, Scully I heard that there was a rash of Elvis sightings in this Hotel.”
Nope, no mention of Elvis. As much as I love the King he doesn’t bring up good memories for Scully and I. Namely inbreed killers mutants and the disaster of my pilgrimage to Graceland. Okay, Elvis is out.
“I always crash receptions to look for stray bridesmaids.”
Yeah, that would go over well. Besides, Scully is no stray anything.
I could go for the truth.
“Well, Scully I’ve been tailing you since last night, wondering what my secret squirrel has gotten herself into now.”
Shit, it just hit me. What am I gonna say when she asks how I knew about this shindig in the first place? This opens a new mental can of worms for me. What the hell am I gonna say? The urge to flee is overwhelming. But there is something inside of me that telling me to stay and fight. Too many opportunities have passed us by. Too many times when I could have and should have followed through but instead ran away. Too many nights sitting in my apartment wondering and wanting. Then I hear a voice in my head.
‘You should live a little, God knows I would if I where you.’
I push the visor back up and kill the ignition. Fuck fleeing. It’s time to fight. For her, for us.
Although I would never admit this to him, I wish I would have gone ahead and asked Mulder to come with me like my mother wanted me to. Instead I told a white lie about him having plans already. Which might be true, and if it is I wonder what he is doing. Who he’s doing it with, his plans that is…
God, I’m really in need of a Thorazine Big Gulp.
What have I reduced myself to? When did I become this paragon of self-deprivation? I am trying to think back to when I achieved the status of Martyr? I’d say it was somewhere after Eugene Tooms and before Donnie Pfaster. I put myself out on a very small limb once, and I literately got laughed at. No man had ever really laughed at me before when I was trying to declare my feelings. Okay, okay I know telling someone you’d put yourself on the line for them, only them, isn’t really a declaration of romantic intentions.
But for me it was.
I think I made him nervous, which serves him right, he’s been making me nervous for the better part of five years. Thing is, he can do it with just a glance or a smile. A real smile one— that lights up his whole face, making his eyes become a prism of…Damn, is it getting hot in here?
Suddenly my mouth is parched and the little hairs are sticking up on the back of my neck. I need a drink, the champagne I’ve been nursing through and after dinner is now flat and warm. Funny how you can make one glass of champagne last through what seemed like fifteen toasts. I start to excuse myself from the table when I realize that there is no need to, I’m the only one at the table. Wonder when that happened? Where did everyone go? The bride and groom aren’t hard to find, they are in the center of the dance floor holding each other close. Tara is sitting at the kiddy table still.
Well, at least she’ll have plenty of stimulating conversation. I’m sure that a bunch of kids 10 and under won’t use words Tara can’t understand, well, not too many. Where is my mother? I scan the room and find no sight of her.
Lobby of the Annapolis Marriott
I can do this.
This is the right thing to do. It’s just a wedding reception for Christ’s sake.
I know as soon as I walk in there, Scully and I are in for a change. Even if nothing romantic comes from it, even if I walk in and we do nothing more than sit at the table trading in our usual exchange. Things will change.
As soon as my eyes catch the Chesapeake Ballroom sign my legs suddenly stop working.
“Fox? Is that you?”
I turn my head around because my legs are still locked at the knee. Shit. There is no turning back now.
“Hello, Mrs. Scully. You look beautiful.” My God, my voice sounds like it did when I was in the 7th grade before it changed. Her face is a mixture of confusion and mirth. Then I see it. One eyebrow rising up her forehead.
Must be hereditary.
“Thank you, Fox. You look very handsome yourself. I’m sorry if I look startled, I wasn’t expecting you.”
“Dana, said that you were otherwise engaged this evening.” Her eyebrow is still arched but her voice had lost the confused tone it once held.
She said what?
“Well, plans have a habit of changing.” My voice has returned to normal, at least I think it has.
“Yes, they do, Fox, they certainly do.” I discover that there is something else Scully and her mother share. Their smile.
I extend my arm to her. “Shall we?”
“Actually Fox, I was thinking…”
Where was she? I had refilled my glass and did a walk around the ballroom. Maybe she’s in the ladies room.
“Ladies and Gentleman, can I have you attention.”
I turned my attention to the overly excited DJ.
“It’s time for the bride to toss the bouquet. Would all the single ladies please gather on the dance floor.”
Oh no…I forgot about this. Okay, where can I hide? The ladies room was just beyond the dance floor so that is out. Okay no problem, I’ll just slip out the back.
“Do we have all the single ladies on the floor?”
As I increase my speed I start to pray.
“If you see a single lady and she’s not on the floor raise your hand.”
I am about to pass the second to the last table, ten more steps to freedom.
“Dana Scully.” My name resonates throughout the room.
Dana who? Nope don’t see her…just a couple of more steps. I’m almost at door when I make my mistake. I turned around to check my back. Big Mistake.
I turn just as they point a spotlight right in my eyes.
Now I know what a deer must feel like caught in the headlights of life.
“Everyone, let’s get Dana up here!” The DJ from hell says.
The crowd starts to clap and holler my name. I stand still, I am a 34 year old woman, a doctor and an FBI agent, I do not have to do this is.
“Dana, come on up here!” Oh God, he sounds like a Game Show host on acid.
I can feel my shoulders slump and my head bow in defeat. As I start my slow descent to the dance floor I only have one thought in my head.
Who did this to me and how in the hell can I get even?
The clapping and chanting from the other guest does not stop until I am actually standing on the dance floor. I try to worm my way into the back so there is no way in hell I will catch it.
“Okay, Christina turn around and give it a toss!”
Oh, shut up, DJ boy.
The rest is a blur.
It was like being in a Mosh pit at a Mega Death concert.
I remember arms flaying, women pushing, and then the next thing I knew I was up against the wall.
Holding the fucking bouquet.
God, I love a woman with a plan. I’ll admit as soon as Mrs. Scully told me what her intentions were I was leery of it, to say the least. But then I thought about it and realized it was a win-win situation for me. If it worked out according to Mrs. Scully’s plan then I was halfway home and if she didn’t I would still get the pleasure of watching Dana Scully squirm.
It’s not that I enjoy watching Scully squirm, well not much. But I saw this as a passive aggressive approach at getting even with her for not inviting me in the first place.
Mrs. Scully led me into the ballroom via the kitchen entrance. Another thing
I’ve learned today. Mrs. Scully is one crafty woman. I didn’t think she had
it in her. The lights were dimmed and everyone had their eyes on the DJ.
“Ladies and Gentleman, can I have your attention.”
Nope, sorry, buddy, I’m trying to find my G-woman.
“It’s time for the bride to toss the bouquet. Would all the single ladies please gather on the dance floor.”
My eyes are jumping back and forth from the tables to the dance floor. As a plethora of single women flood the small area.
I can’t see her anywhere and my heartbeat becomes erratic.
“Do we have all the single ladies on the floor?”
I look at Mrs. Scully who is also scanning the crowd. What if she left? That would be so like us, a tale of two formal wearing Feds, passing in the night.
“If you see a single lady and she’s not on the floor raise your hand.”
In three strides I am in front of the DJ.
“Dana Scully.” I say insistently.
“I said call Dana Scully, she isn’t up here.” My voice is now urgent and the DJ is looking at me like I’m a man in need of medication.
“Dana Scully.” Her name fills the room, yet I still don’t see her. I look back at Mrs. Scully imploringly and she points to the rear exit. I look to where she is pointing and to be honest I still can’t see her.
“She’s in the back, can you get the spotlight on her?” I ask the DJ in the same tone that a man dying of thirst would ask for a drink of water.
He reaches over and grabs the spotlight shining it in the direction of my finger.
“Everyone, let’s get Dana up here!” Instantly her name is called out by the crowd.
I turn to look again and this time I see her. She is standing there with her eyes wide and her mouth agape and you know what? I’ve never seen her look more beautiful. Her hair is swept up atop her head in blaze. Her make up is a little darker, more sensual then usual. But what really does me in, is the dress. Its lavender and floor-length, held up by two spaghetti straps on each shoulder. The décolletage is low enough to show the swell of her breasts and there is a slit on the side revealing one of her perfect legs.
Oh my God.
“Dana, come on up here!” The DJ shouted, sounding a bit too much like Bob Barker.
She slowly lowers her head and begins to walk to the dance floor, the crowd is clapping loudly and chanting her name. I can’t take my eyes off of her.
Before I know it, a hand is yanking at my jacket pulling back away from the floor.
“Fox, get back here or she’ll see you.” Mrs. Scully chides.
I mutely nod while I watch Scully burrow herself in the back of the crowd.
Mrs. Scully leaves me for a moment and walks over to the bride. She leans in and says something to her that makes the bride’s face take on a look of amusement. Then she makes her way back to me.
“Okay, Christina, turn around and give it a toss”
Then all hell broke loose. The composed women had morphed into linebackers on a scrimmage line. The bouquet danced across the reaching fingers and right into the arms of Scully who was slammed up against the wall… standing there… like she was holding a Nuclear War head instead of a bunch of flowers.
People started clapping again as disgruntled women left the floor leaving my
Scully standing there, center stage. Just like she should always be.
“Okay, now can we have the single men on the floor!”
I start to walk forward until once again Mrs. Scully grabs my arm.
“Fox, come back here.” Mrs. Scully says and leads me further back into the shadows of the ballroom. “Just wait until I give you a signal.”
I nod again. Hell, she’s gotten me this far.
I can’t believe this. I mean, I really should have anticipated something like this. After all, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without being made to look like a fool in front of everyone.
“Dana, you caught it!”
I look up into the face of my mother who now decides to reappear.
“Lucky me.” I say in a flat tone.
“You never know, honey, it just might be the best thing that ever happened to you.” She said in a sunny tone that I haven’t heard from her since she first told me of the wedding.
“Mother? Is there something you’re not telling me?” Please God, don’t let my mother play matchmaker. Not tonight.
“Dana, when did you become so paranoid?” She says with a light tone.
“Sometime around 1992, I think…” I mumble.
“Dana, what happened to your hair?”
“I think in the chaos some of your clips came out. Come over here and I’ll fix it.” Before I can say a word in protest or agreement she has her hand in mine leading me to sit down.
“Once again, can we have all the single men come to the floor.”
“I’ll hurry so you can watch who catches the garter.” She says her voice still much too bright for my liking.
“Mom, it’s not going to matter who catches it.” I say as her hands weave in and out of my hair.
“Honey, you never know, fate has a way of stepping in when you least expect it to.” She sounds cryptic now and I’m starting to get nervous.
“Mother?” I have worked with the king of evasive for over five years now, I know the signs.
“Okay, everyone, I think we are set to go.” DJ boy sings out.
“Okay, all done.” She says and nods her head towards the floor. I don’t even want to look. Somewhere deep inside I know Mark will catch it. A shudder runs through me when I picture his sweaty hands making their way up my thigh.
“Okay, Charlie get ready.”
I close my eyes. I just can’t look.
Reflexively my eyes pop open in time to see the garter fly over groping
hands. Then there seems to be some kind of struggle. Two men are now down on
the ground and the crowd is yelling like it’s an episode of Jerry Springer.
Suddenly the crowd moves back and I can’t believe the sight I see before me.
Fox Mulder — his tie askew, jacket half off, right arm held high over his head, clutching the garter— is looking right at me.
I stayed in the background and watched for Mrs. Scully’s signal. I was getting anxious though.
Next thing I know Scully is sitting in a chair with her back to me while Mrs. Scully fixes her hair, which, by the way, doesn’t need fixing.
“Once again, can we have all the single men come to the floor.”
I look at Mrs. Scully again and she gives me my signal by nodding her head over to the dance floor.
I take in a deep breath and make my way into the crowd sizing up my competition.
God, what is that smell? Is that…nah it can’t be. Is that Aqua Velva? I look over to my right to find the offending source, expecting an elderly man in a leisure suit. Instead I find a man around my age who looks he bought his suit at Pimps-R-Us.
“Okay, guys, this one’s mine.” Pimp man says.
I look at him dumbfounded. His? I think not.
“Yours?” I mutter.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been waiting for a long time for a chance like this.” He says with a leer.
Not as long as I have buddy.
“Be a shame if my hands slipped up her leg a little to far, you know what I mean.” He gives a wink for emphasis.
And then you would have to die.
“Okay everyone, I think we are set to go.” The DJ booms.
“Right here, buddy.” Aqua Velva Screams.
I begin my new mantra. ‘I will not use my firearm . I will not use a firearm. I will not use my firearm ….’
“Okay, Charlie get ready.”
I roll my shoulders trying to limber myself.
I can see the flash of baby blue riding above the reaching hands. I push myself through, knocking one guy down in the process and I’m almost there…Only one obstacle standing in my way…Aqua Velva Man. So I do the only thing I can, I sweep my leg out and kick him behind the knee making him fall to the floor just as my hand makes contact with the frilly object of desire.
Hey buddy, all’s fair in Love and War.
I am just about to breathe a sigh of relief when I look up.
Scully. Right in front of me. Her eyes locked with mine.
My breathing stops all together.
I couldn’t be more shocked if it had been one of Mulder’s little Grey men who held the garter in his hand. His eyes never left mine as he lowered his arm. Truth be told he looked just as petrified as I am.
How? My eyes asked.
He broke our gaze and looked beyond me.
I feel hands on my shoulders but my body has become as ridged as stone. Another tug and I’m turned around, facing my mother.
“Dana Katherine Scully, you have two choices to make as I see it.” She says softly but firmly.
“Mother…” It hits me, she’s not shocked one bit to see him there.
“Dana, listen to me and listen good.” Shit. That’s a tone I know well.
“You can either embarrass yourself and Fox by acting like you don’t want him here, when we both know you do. Or you can let him know that there isn’t anyone else in this world you would rather have here with you.”
“But, mom you don’t understand.” I stammer.
“I understand everything there is to understand, honey, I understand that time is short and the time we have with the people we love is even shorter. There are a thousand things I wish I told your father, but I couldn’t because we ran out of time.” Just as quickly as she turned me to face her, she turned me back around facing Mulder. Still torn, I avert my gaze to the floor. “I never want you to feel like you let the most important part of life pass you by, Dana.” She whispered in my ear. “The best part. Dana, God hates a coward.”
Well then, God must really hate me, I think. Because I have been the epitome of a coward for the last five years.
I raise my eyes to meet his and the look I see there almost makes me want to cry. He looks defeated like a child awaiting his punishment. For an instant I want to beat the living shit out of who ever made him feel like that until I realize it’s me.
Now it’s time to atone for my cowardice.
I look at him and smile, a real smile, teeth and all. So simple really, it’s just a smile, but the effect it has on Mulder is amazing. His features change instantly, a breathtaking smile is etched upon his face now.
“Okay, you guys, let’s get the show on the road.” DJ boy says breaking the moment. For a moment I forgot the circumstances that brought us here. Mulder raises one hand out to me, and with out hesitation I walk over to him and place my hand in his.
Through all of our time together I don’t think I’ve ever seen Scully this shocked, and that scares me.
She looks at me questionably and instead of standing my ground, I look behind her to find my only ally in this whole mess. Mrs. Scully. But before Scully can even follow my gaze, Mrs. Scully has turned her around to face her.
In the time that passes, which by the way feels like hours, my anxiety increases ten fold. As much as I appreciate Mrs. Scully’s help, I do not want Scully to be talked into anything. I want her to want me to be here. I want her to want me to be the one holding this ridiculous garter. I want her to want me period.
As fast as she was turned around she is turned back to face me, but this time she can’t even look me in the eye.
I should have known that this was a mistake. I have avoided situations greater than this before. Times when the need to be with her was so powerful it took my breath away. Oh, but I was strong, I held back. Because I need her in my life, even if it wasn’t in the capacity I wanted it to be.
Then her eyes drift from the floor to my face. Her brow crinkles and she looks as if she might cry.
Fuck, I’m such an idiot.
And in a blink of an eye that look is gone. Replaced with the most glorious smile I have ever seen. I have only seen a smile from here once that could rival it. When I woke up from a bad case of freezer burn. I couldn’t return it then. I sure the hell can now.
“Okay guys, let’s get the show on the road.” The DJ sings out, at this moment I want to take his microphone and shove it down his throat. I want that smile to last.
I extend my arm out to her, and —Thank you, God— she walks to me and places her hand in mine.
October 2, 1998
Without a doubt this weekend was one of the weirdest I’ve ever spent, and for me that’s saying a hell of a lot. I can’t help but giggle as I recall Mulder’s nervous hands as he slid the garter up my leg, stopping respectfully right above my knee. I wonder if he would have gone farther if Charlie and my mother weren’t right behind him.
I remember the harsh light that flooded the dance floor fading to a soft glow as Mulder and I danced.
What was the song?
I can’t believe I don’t remember the song.
The only thing I remember is the warmth I felt in his arms and the steady beat of his heart as I laid my head on his chest, breathing in the sweet smell that is uniquely Mulder.
A sigh escapes my lips as a familiar arm encircles my naked waist.
“You okay, Scully?” Okay? Yeah, I’m better than okay.
I roll over to face him, letting the pads of my finger run over his jaw line and then over his full bottom lip.
“I’m just fine, Mulder.”
A lazy smile creeps across his face. “Stupid question.” he mumbles.
The urge to kiss that smile is overwhelming, so I follow it. Because after all? God hates a coward.
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