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Late Night at the High Noon by Mike Ghost
Late Night at the High Noon
By Mike Ghost
FEEDBACK: All feed back is welcome. This is my second effort.
SPOILER STATEMENT: Never Again . . . Oh, what the hell. Every thing before season 7
RATING: NC PG 13 / slight NC 17
CLASSIFICATION: MSR/ S/ Mulder Angst
SUMMARY: A long night, an empty motel lot in a desert, and music that never stops. Fear is not what always goes bump in the night, or what lies in the shadow behind every tree in an unlit park, or even the hand that reaches below our bed at night. Fear is often personal… close to the heart. Find out what awaits Mulder and Scully at the end of the late night in the High Noon Stay.
THANKS: I want to thank my editors (beta readers as we say on the net) with out their efforts this story would never been finished Valerie, Julie, Sarit
And to Valerie: truly a goddess.
DUSTJACKET: Mike Ghost
DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully does not belong to me . . . or ever will. They belong to themselves. The effort to breathe life into these characters belongs to Chris Carter, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, and the hard working people at 1013.
Late Night at the High Noon
by Mike Ghost
One night Billy awoke from a terrible dream
callin’ his wife’s name.
She lay breathing beside him in a peaceful sleep
a thousand miles away.
He got dressed in the moonlight
and down to the highway he strode.
When he got there
he didn’t find nothing but road
–Bruce Springsteen “Cautious Man”
THE MOTEL STOOD OFF THE I-90, A BLACK ELECTRICIANS tape drawn out over miles empty concrete, stretched 45 miles east of Las Vegas. If you were to take a walk out to the edge of the road, looked eastward, the city was seen as a great boiling light in the night sky. In the last five hours only three cars has past this way. Their head lights, climbing over the motels window sills, as if to peek in, stretched across it’s walls, eventually to fade away. The cars’ head lights would later disappear into the hills in a strange after glow.
The motel was built in 1962. The road was still filled with dirt at the time of its construction. There was little, or no reason at all, to build a motel in the dessert. There was no town nearby, nor constructions or business in place. Very little was known about the owner, except that he died alone, three years later. How it came to be built, no one can actually say.
The business grew, so like most Indian hawk shops off a lone road did. As Vegas grew so did the motel. A gas station was added. Soon after, a Bar & Grill. It did well until the May of ‘72. Then its business fell through the bottom. It simply changed, as turning the page in a book.
In `75, the motel was renovated. It was three years after the death of the immigrant worker. His death effected the community as a whole and some even suggests that his ghost still walked its creaking boards and knock on it’s doors. Some say they can here him crying on some windy nights. After loosing money for three years, the motel was purchased by a casino owner out of Reno. He needed it for a tax-write off and it was at a all time low. Thus, he renamed it and remodeled it in stucco so it looked like an old trading post. The interior was stripped down. The carpets were pulled. There was blood on one of the room’s carpet, and few would remember the scraping of gray matter from the basin and wall. It was now painted an agreeable shade of white.
The motel was illuminated in a soft glow from the stars, except when the lights of a passing car hit the exterior, turning it back to the color of the desert. The red neon sign lit the western side of the building, where the bar, grill and front desk stood.
It was where Poco Gonzales had emerged the day he died in May of ‘72. Where his life ended abruptly. He loved this place, loved the people who came through here on any given day of the week. He could start a conversation with anyone. He especially loved the Jukebox that sat on its stubby feet in the back corner. It was next to the men’s room.
He had a few too many shots of tequila that day, while he laughed and talked with his friends. The young girl, who sat at the table he stood by, (who was not his wife) had her arm looped around his leg. Her fingers enticingly slid up, then down, his sagging, scraped up jeans. He didn’t complain when she went for higher ground. They stumbled, arm in arm, to the rented room under an opal sky.
The rapport of the gunshot had whistled across the desert and was heard a half-mile away. With a snub nose .357 revolver, his wife made a fist-sized hole in his head. The young girl’s continuous screams were as loud as the gun shot. However, that didn’t stop his wife from turning the gun on the 15 year old girl and dropping her, killing her screams.
Vacancy was brightly lit below in white neon, while the No was grayed out with black ends. It emitted a continuous hum, while moths and mayflies beat themselves senseless against it’s darken pane.
The music inside stopped, then started again with a recording of ‘Sheryl Crow’s, “Run, Baby, Run'”. It sounded like it was being played out of a coffee can.
At the motel, a man emerged from room 4, looked around and closed his door quietly. He headed down to room 5 and knocked lightly on the door, calling for the occupant inside. A soft scraping sound came from the next door down. The door whined open a bit, and a lumbering darkness appeared in the door jam.
“Shhe lock u out, huh?”
The man who’d been knocking on the door, for the most part, ignored his new guest. The lumbering guest appeared next to him.
“You wan’ some?”
He held up something. A mixture of sour gnash and dirty rags stung his nostrils. Although his guest’s face was masked in the shadows, he could easily make out the half-full bottle. The dark-slow moving liquid splashed inside its glass walls. The uncapped bottle looked like a bottomless well.
“Com’ on, Mis’r. Here.” He lowered his voice. “Why don’t you come in for awhile? Stay. Mm, your wife doesn’t need to know. We could… talk… nothing else. If don’t want.”
The tall man good-naturedly declined the offer and the lumbering man disappeared behind the door he had appeared from. At that moment, the door he had been knocking on opened a crack, omitting a half-oval face. Her eyes blinked sleep from them, with a twisted dark lick of hair hanging across one of her eyes. She spoke in whispering tones, her voice filled with gravel.
“Mulder, what is it? Something wrong?”
° 1 °
“Scully, I need your laptop.”
She stared at him. A car’s lights flashed by as it headed for the hills.
“Mulder. What time is it?” He tells her with a grin that the High Noon Bar & Grill’s still open and doing very good business. Scully reminded him: “We’re in Nevada, Mulder,” as she closed the door to skate the door chain off to let him in.” Cockroaches get more sleep in this town.”
“We’re on a case, remember.” Mulder slid into chair by the table and unhinged her Power Book, chiming softly as it started up.
Daylight, she told him. “I’m not talking to you, Mulder. Don’t ask me any questions tonight. I going to bed.”
“We’re on a case, remember.” Mulder slid into chair by the table and unhinged her Power Book, chiming softly as it started up.
Daylight, she told him. “I’m not talking to you, Mulder. Don’t ask me any questions tonight. I’m going to bed.”
“You can never feel safe, Scully. Even walking one door down, you know that?” Only giving her a courteous glance since he sat down, however, with the last line, he glanced at his partner. Her face was momentarily puzzled. Scully was in the midst of disrobing. She wore a Yankees nightshirt that hung mid thigh and was buttoned up the front. Her hair twisted in many directions and her breasts giggled braless under the cotton gown as she climbed into bed. Her voice snapped his attention. “‘Not’ a word, Mulder. Lock up when you leave.”
° 2 °
After turning off her bedside lamp and laying on her back uncomfortably for awhile, she slipped on to her side to watch her partner. Soft light poured down on him from above. An island of light on a sea of darkness; she saw things this way. It was something her Dad had instilled in her when she was young, like devotion to the sea, his obligations, and regarding love for his family. It filled her with many curious things, her father standing on the dock with the sun as bright as the chrome fender of her bike. Her Mom would hand her a sandwich while she held her fishing rod. Her dad would turn to her, smiling. His eyes probing gently, ‘Hold your line, Starbuck’ .
Her thoughts turned back to the Mulder at the table. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a black T-shirt. His glasses mirrored the LCD screen of the laptop, as his fingers clattered ceaselessly against the keys. Moments later, a modem squealed to life. She closed her eyes and listened, then opened them again. He would occasionally bring a clenched hand to his chin, stretch his arms out, or jot notes on a legal pad. He cast reflective glances at her. She watched this for awhile before closing her eyes, slipping into darkness.
° 3 °
Mulder folded the screen down until it notched into place. He rolled his watch up. He had been at it for an hour and a half. He rose, stretched and glanced around the room. His eyes lit on the occupied bed.
Sometime during the night, the small woman had pulled her covers from around her hip. Her gown pulled up to the small of her back, showing the back of her white cotton panties.
A voice told him he should go, but he found himself taking a few steps toward her. He stood there, looking down at her with his hands closed loosely. They felt like he had a roll of quarters in each, weighing them down. He felt strong emotions churning deep inside ‘My Scully,’ a voice told him. She lay on her side away from him. Her panties—they appeared quite worn out. The threads was unwinding from around her legs where it puckered in from the elastic. There were areas, even in the dim lit room, where her skin shown through the cotton. What were you expecting; something exotic for Agent Scully?
‘Perhaps’, he thought.
He remembered when his mother had complained about his worn jeans. ‘Are you wearing those torn things again? Didn’t I tell you to throw them out, Fox.’
Imagining himself lecturing his partner’s panty preference brought a mean grin to Mulder’s face ‘Didn’t I tell you ditch those briefs, Scully. What would Skinner say? What would the Bureau say? Can’t you afford a good pair of briefs? Take them off and let’s see what we have in your drawer.’
Mulder stared at his thumb making small circles on her full calf. He stopped, feeling a mild panic, his heart stepping up in his chest. He realized that he had sat down and made himself comfortable on Scully’s bed. Her bed. Way past the point where he should have gone, and was now actually caressing her leg.
Mulder brought his hands to his knees, staring forward into space, then craning his head back to his partner. She appeared so much younger like this. In the field, she carried herself with authority, a commanding force.
Pleasantly noted. When your partner is in bed, half-naked, and her hair is like Alfalfa, she becomes… becomes…
‘What?’ a voice inside him asked. At first, he didn’t recognize his father’s voice. Mulder was stricken with two thoughts: First, the image of his father sitting on the porch in the predawn light. The second, holding him while he died, a small thread of blood seeping from his placid lips. That was four years ago and receding. It was like most things in his life.
Not so commanding. Not so… authoritative, Mulder tries to answer him. None of those words suffice. Then another inner voice spoke up.
‘Yes. Less guarded’, he thought.
His evil hand had almost gone back to doing what it wasn’t supposed to do; massaging his partner’s leg. He forced his hand to stay connected to his leg, sighed and decided to leave before the unconscious side of him climbs up in bed next to her.
Samantha would climb into bed with him after bouts of nightmares. They would lie there talking, their heads leaning in. The streetlights would make the shadows of the front yard bushes climb the wall. The rusty chirp-chirp of crickets’ would slip in through an open window. Letting the memory go, Mulder reached up to pull his partner’s nightshirt over her panties, when his eyes were drawn to her lower back.
Her tattoo. A snake eating it’s tail. It’s design was Greek-like; something way too antiquated for his Scully.
Now there’s for reminiscing’, he thought as his middle finger brushing the head of the snake.
Several years ago, Mulder had been forced to use his vacation time, while he had Scully continue an investigation while he was away, one she was not favorable to. He knew she was distancing herself from him and he thought that, perhaps, time away would help. While he was gone, she went out on date that later went bad.
He remembered the hospital. His stomach racked with a combination of guilt and fear. Only after he saw her, touched her cool hand. Her eyes lit on his, saying so much while he fiercely squeezed her hand in response. He later went in search for answers.
Mulder sat in the local detectives office, reading Scully’s police statement. At first he was a little uneasy. She had written in a very professional, very objective and very detailed, manner. She had to be detailed, he told himself. It was an investigation.
His fingers traced down the double space line.
Her statement outlined their first meeting. His card the attacker gave her. Her call to him—’Ed Jerse, that was his name’, he thought. A dark, apprehensive hate rose in him that he would never, even today, freely admit. He remembered the exchange of words with his partner that night about having a date. How he hated his own words. Like she couldn’t get a date. He chewed his lip and read on from there.
Mulder read the part about the tattoo. He sighed.
He absently watched a detective, on the other side of the glass, walk across the room for coffee. He then glanced at a large clock on the wall. Mulder’s mind saw her lying there, her shirt pulled up showing her slim back, that small ‘V,’ curving down like a snake disappearing into her pants. The dark room, the smell of wet ink, musty warm bodies. Her parted lips as the needle darted its color across her back.
A part of him wished he had been there, another part would have been afraid.
He flipped the page.
‘The attack,’ he thought. ‘It should have happen by now. Was it in the street, when they left the bar, when did it happen? When she wouldn’t go home with him?’ As he read, he knew he was lying to himself. He read the part where Mr. Ed Jerse offered to let her spend the night at his apartment and she agreed.
It felt like a helium balloon rose up behind his forehead. He mouthed the words, without making sense of them. She had agreed to stay the night. That doesn’t mean anything happened, he thought. She had written she was under the influence of alcohol. She should be applauded for staying off the road in the middle of a snowstorm.
‘And why was she there in the first place?’ an inner voice ask. It was one of those mean spirited ones—the ones who like to apply a cold finger to your heart.
Was it asking him? After all, it was none of his business. It didn’t mean anything, anyway, Jerse had offered Scully his couch, not his dick.
‘And what if he had?’ That voice wouldn’t shut up, and knowing Mulder would not probe for the answer, it went to its next question. ‘Did you read the preliminary questions?’
No, not yet. Well, he could do that.
He opened the report he had closed and turned to the last page. His index finger traced down the page and he mentally noted her proper checks in the small boxes that were necessary.
Mulder came to the one line he would rather have not seen: HAVE YOU ENGAGED IN ANY SEXUAL INTERCOURSE OR/AND ANY OTHER SEXUAL ACTIVITY PRIOR TO THE INCIDENT?
It was checked.
He stared at it for a long time.
It sounded so delusional
Mulder slowly closed the report and sat down. Again, this was none of his business. He combed his disheveled hair with his fingers. Jerse had offered his dick, and Scully had accepted—
“DAMN IT, SCULLY!” He spoke to the open room.
His words stung him.
It wasn’t what had happened to Scully that was eating at him, but what had happened between Ms. Scully and Mr. Jerse. It revealed more than he’d like. Mulder saw Jerse between his partner’s legs, grunting away. The truth was so close to the surface of Mulder, he vowed never to let it show again. However, he did show it again. In the form of cracking jokes on Scully’s first day back at work.
Back in the High Noon Stay, Scully took several deep breaths before her breathing evened out again. Mulder waited while her sleep returned to its usual deepened state.
‘It’s not your nightmare, Scully; it’s mine’.
It was amazing, how scared Mulder had been then. The detective’s room closed in around Mulder like a coffin. He was more scared than he had ever been before. He could be crawling on his belly, with Victor Toom’s fingers in reach and not think twice about it. Yet, he finds that his partner had been with another man and he was struck with an unimaginable fear, unequal to any other because, he didn’t know where it came from. It blindsided him. It told him something he never knew. Of course, that was two years ago.
Mulder hadn’t climbed into the bed as much as he had feared. His finger, however, had traced her tattoo and had come to rest on her hipbone. His thumb drew lazy circles. Oddly, he gained strength from it. Oddly, he didn’t notice this, either.
Mulder remembered that had been a bad year for them. He had believed his sister had suffered a fate at the hands of a horrible child molester. His mother had been near death in a coma. Scully was dying of cancer. It wasn’t just her. They both suffered from a disease that year. Hers was cancer. His was fear of watching her die.
Mulder remembered coming into the office that fateful morning. Her withdrawn, contemplating expression. His attempted humor. He couldn’t stop. Even when he knew Scully was annoyed. He could have kept going until he had gone completely over the edge, madder than a hatter, but finally he stopped.
Her eyes had never once lit on him as he took his position behind the desk and her in front. He watched her thumb up the dry rose petal on his desk. Mulder would never forget that image. It was introspective of oneself. And the people you care for.
° 4 °
Mulder looked at his hand. His thumb kept making small circles. He didn’t care. It was a small pleasure. Glancing to the head of the bed, he could only see half of her face, her Alfalfa hair twisted on top. She looked like she was having a pleasant conversation with her second pillow.
Mulder wasn’t mad now. He wasn’t hurt. He looked at his memory like something you pick-up, examine, and set it back down. Something you don’t quite understand. Something he could almost touch. It was as if a ghost had sat down next to him and took his hand, nothing more.
Mulder continued to study his partner’s face. He noticed her breathing wasn’t as deep as before. There was something else. Had his eyes played a trick on him? Something had moved. It was her lashes. They moved again. It occurred to him that she must have been dreaming… and he wondered what her dreams were like and to what places they took her.
‘Have you examined the evidence for yourself, son?’ It was the voice of his Dad again, no rest for the dead. Mulder wondered what-the-hell his Dad was talking about, when Mulder’s eyes happened onto the bureau.
Judging the facade of the motel, he and Scully had expected the worst when they had arrived. Scully told him he has an amazing flair for finding places like this. She dished it. He fed it back. ‘It’s nothing like the brochure. You suppose the hot tub’s in the back’. When they got inside, however, the rooms were more spacious than they had appeared. The beds were king-size not double, and they each had a large bureau with full-length mirrors.
It wasn’t the mirror that he looked at now, but the reflection of the person in it. It was the OTHER Scully. The Scully he gets to see the front perspective, knees and all, her tummy, her breast crunched up with the covers. It was the Scully with her small nose, small mouth, and whose eyes—
Her were staring at him.
They blinked, again. Yeah, she was awake, no denying that fact. Her eyes did not seem all that mad, curious perhaps, maybe even reflective. I see. OTHER Scully was watching him while the REAL Scully was out for the count. He realized what a stupid thought that was.
Mulder looked at his betraying hand still stroking her hip. He snatched it away to his lap. Then, in a ridiculous effort, he dragged her nightshirt down over her bottom.
“Sorry. That was… was very inappropriate of me,” he muttered, not even sounding like himself, he thought. He sounded like the man that had accosted him in front of her door earlier, looking for a little pipe cleaning. Mulder rose. Sorry, he told her again, as he headed for the door, shutting it behind him. He didn’t even give her the chance when she had sat up calling his name, asking him, to please wait a moment.
° 5 °
Mulder had stepped out into the night. The air was wonderful. A breeze rose from the south bringing in warm air. The stars were finely lit. An 84’ Chevy truck pulled in front of the bar, crunching gravel under its tires, and killing it’s lights. Two men stepped out, one was laughing. At the same time a couple got into a car, gunned the engine, hit the lights, and turned down the road the truck came up on. It was a regular Grand Central Station.
Mulder hadn’t noticed this though; he was still trying to get over his indignation. He was a little shaken, flushed with embarrassment and anger. One thing you don’t do; get caught massaging your partner’s ass behind your partner’s back. It goes just right under forgetting to change from your sweats into your slacks before going to work. Then there was also the one, wearing two different shoes to school. He did that once. He wasn’t awake and took to his normal habit of dressing. It was on the school bus that he discovered his error.
Mulder did another thing he had never done since school: He slammed his fist into the four-by-four wooden beam that held up the over hang. It sounded as stupid as the act. When it hit, needles shot up his arm like electricity and his hand went numb. He cradled his hand for a moment, then shook it off. He knew it wasn’t broken, but his knuckles were scraped fairly well, which made the act even more stupid.
“Lovely,” he crooned, then looked around. No one. Good.
Mulder stepped down into dirt parking lot, moving through the cars. Actually, there were only two cars there. The rest were in front of the Bar and Grill. He headed in the direction of the highway, needing to clear his mind.
He knew it wasn’t as bad as that. It was like Scully not to even mention a word of what happen tonight. However, he did question his own motives. He had always known there was an intense, indefinable feeling for her. But what if their current relationship wasn’t enough, what then?
‘What then’ is the question. The thought of Scully being courted by another man troubled Mulder more than he liked. The man taking up their lunchtime, perhaps swinging by the office. Scully going ‘Ed this, Ed that.’ Not that he would be named Ed, but it made it a-hell-of-a-lot easier to hate him. How about this, a man name Ed, but behaves like Colton. Much easier to hate.
Mulder’s request for Scully: MUST BE NAMED ED AND HAVE COLTON’S PERSONALITY.
So when she asks if he likes ‘Ed’, Mulder could say, with all honesty, what’s really on his mind. Besides, Colton hated him. The feeling would be mutual. It’s not like he wants to end up liking this person anyway.
‘She would’. It was that steady, thoughtful voice again. The one inside of him, squeezing his heart. If there was any feed back you did not want to hear, it was certainly offering. ‘It would be important to her. He might play basketball. He would ask to play a game or two after work… and your partner could come and watch you play. He might be into the paranormal. When you come over to visit your partner; you and her boyfriend could sit there for hours talking.’
The voice of reasoning was making his stomach turn.
First, Scully is Not seeing any one else.
‘And you come across this fact, how? This time it was voice of Scully. It was truly amazing how the imagination could have so many different conversations when no one is around.
Mulder made his way to the edge of the highway. He was amazed how wide it was. When driving it at sixty plus, it doesn’t look like anything at all. When you’re on foot, standing still, well, you could play a hell of a good game of hoops on it. ‘Scully, you know your boyfriend?’ Well, this diesel took him right out. Eighty-five plus. SMACK! Knocked him clear out his Oxfords. He was thrown a hundred feet. And talk about road burn. He knew that wasn’t funny. But all he wanted to do is put tonight’s events behind him.
° 6 °
He turned to see Scully coming across the open lot. She had her dress jacket on, skimming her hips. She looked like she was in a mini skirt and her homecoming date had lent her his jacket. Despite her look, her voice was all business.
“Mulder, what are you doing?”
“What am ‘I’ doing? What are ‘you’ doing? And where are your shoes?” Although she was bare foot, she had managed to walk with out showing it, with only the occasional gingerly movements.
“Mulder, we need to talk.”
Mulder exhaled, “Scully, go back to bed. I just need to take a long walk.”
“Where?” She wasn’t tapping her foot but her attitude gave the impression she was.
“You’re not my Mother, Scully.”
That ticked her off. “I didn’t say I was, but your behavior might suggest otherwise.”
Mulder’s mouth unhinged, to the point where Scully could see the fillings in his bottom molars. He chuckled, “Go. To. Bed… Scully. Before I say something I might later regret.”
“MULDER!” she shouted, her voice a mixture of anger and fright, and when he turned. Lights as bright as day filled the night air and in the back of his mind he thought, this is what Samantha must have felt. Two air horns blared, echoing back from the motel. Wind ripped at the couples clothing and hair, oddly warm and furnace loud. Scully pulled him by his hand back from the road.
“Scully, what are you doing?” he asked. He had turned from the retreating taillights on top of the trailer that stared at him like red glowing eyes, and faced his partner. She was untangling her hair with one hand and pulling on his hand with the other. He pulled his hand free from her grasp. Since he out weighed her by seventy-five pounds, so when their grasp broke, she landed on her seat.
She wore an expression of a toddler who had fallen down, a look of total surprise on her face. He half expected her to pucker her lip and pout. He fought a smile from his face.
“Thanks. Thanks a lot, Mulder,” she yelled at him.
He offered her a hand but she batted it away.
“What were you thinking, Scully? That I might jump underneath the wheels of a diesel because I had a momentary lapse of indiscretion with my partner?”
Scully bit her lower lip, looking away.
“You did think that,” he nods his head, exaggeratedly. “It takes a little bit more than that for me to want to take my life.”
Scully flashed him with baleful eyes. “You would think that.” She hesitated. “I’m going in, Mulder.” Thanks, he whispered to her with an added nod. “But it’s so like you not to take it seriously. Given the opportunity to clear the air, you either run off, send me away, or turn it into a Big-Mulder-Joke.”
Was she challenging his integrity? It would seem so. He gave up. “Okay… okay then. What do you want to talk about?”
She paused, and turned to him, folding her arms over her breasts. “All right. If you deem it as inappropriate behavior, why did you do it?”
That shut him up.
“You really pick ‘em,” he said.” All right, I originally came over to see if you were all right, to cover you up. I saw your tattoo. It got me thinking… and I wasn’t aware that my hand was… was, well you know, it felt instinctive.” ‘That’s a safe word,’ he thought. He paused for a moment, seeing if his comments sufficed, then continued, “My turn. You didn’t seem upset, why?”
She pursed her lips then spoke carefully. “I didn’t feel invaded by it, it was comforting, and I was curious. So I didn’t disturb you.”
The men that pulled in earlier, got in their pickup again and pulled out. They raced by kicking up dust. Their whooping carried from the open passenger window, one screaming to Scully , if her boyfriend wasn’t doing it for her, he would. First time since college, Mulder felt the burning urge to bring his fist up, shooting that middle finger skyward, suffice to say he only stare at their tail lights, his hands at his side. He said without looking at her, “Let’s head back.”
She asked, after a moment of endless silence. “Mulder, do want talk about my tattoo?”
“One of many things I’d like to talk about.” Her voice was soft.
Although, they walk like a couple holding hands, their hands never touched. He only touched her lower back when they first turn back towards the motel.
“What was he to you, Scully?”
She looked at him, confused. He told her about reading the police report regarding that night. She nodded in response. “That is a hard one,” she exhaled, thoughtfully. “He was there, Mulder. That was something that I needed in my life back then. It was at a time that I suspected I was sick. I felt our working relationship was just, well just that. After Melissa—the one you share a past life with—I felt my role was ordinary, unimportant, and not having anything else in my life…
“You were lonely,” he finished for her.
“Yes. And frustrated.”
“I thought you didn’t believe in any of it—Melissa, rebirth, people from our past.”
“Mulder, I found a picture. Nineteenth century photo with the names you provided from your hypnosis. I didn’t know what to believe, even if it wasn’t true, you believed it was. Don’t get me wrong. I cherish our friendship. I know that our relationship is special. I just felt I had to make changes to my preconception of it.”
“That’s where the date with Jerse stepped in,” Mulder said.
She took a deep, cleansing breath before continuing. “Mulder, it was not the act of having sex with Ed, but the need of having some one close. It’s not something I normally do—sleep with strangers—it was just that I felt something’s was missing in my life.” He nodded slowly. Scully knew his expression and, and ventured a little further. “You want to know if it was any good”—Mulder was already shaking his head in denial— “It was what it was, Mulder. It filled places that needed to be filled. I have no interest now or ever of seeing him again.”
Scully sat down on the stoop, Mulder followed her lead. They both looked in different directions at the parking lot around them. Scully’s face was cast a soft red under the neon, only when Mulder’s shadow blocked it, did her face take on its normal hue. In the building next door, Garth Brooks was singing about his ‘Friends in low places’.
It did, perhaps a little to well. Did it make him feel better? It actually formed more questions in his mind. “Scully,” he had to ask. “Was it my fault? Did I give you the impression that I didn’t care or that I took you for granted?”
“No. No, not really. I thought at first I was being taken for granted, and I was right. The man you had me follow didn’t pan out. That wasn’t it, though. I enjoy being an investigator. Even doing it alone. I should have gotten something out of it, but I didn’t. I was stressed and I was reaching out. With all that’s said, Mulder, and all things being equal, if Ed hadn’t attacked me when he did, and it ended in a good night. If you had offered to take me to Memphis, I would have gone with you.”
Mulder had a fleeting smile. “I guess there isn’t any regret?”
“I regret any harm that came to our friendship on account of it.”
Mulder shook his head. “I guess I never thought Melissa had any effect on you. I thought it wouldn’t matter to you.”
“I, too, thought that,” she said. “I guess we were both surprised by our reactions.” Mulder chewed on his bottom lip, and asked her about Phillip Padgett.
The stalker had lived next-door to Mulder and had the uncanny ability to make things happen simply by writing it. What struck a chord with Mulder was that Padgett had taken a liking to Mulder’s partner.
“I told you the truth, Mulder. Initially I went next door to return the Milagro. He told me I was in his book that he was writing. He offered me some coffee and conversation. I admit I was intrigued with him, Mulder,” she pulled her hair behind her ear. “But not the way you think. I knew where I was, I had my weapon and I knew you were next door. Now, do I have erotic notions? Yes. However, this is no one’s business but my own.”
“Were you ever worried?” Mulder asked. “Let’s say, if there was some truth to his ability.”
In his book, Padgett had Scully’s character naked in bed with the ‘Stranger.’ Mulder assumed it was Padgett himself. That was Padgett’s thought. That was after Mulder had broke Padgett’s door down, and discovered Padgett and Scully coming out of his bedroom. It was later that he read the manuscript discovering the inserts. Mulder didn’t know what to make of it. Later, she admitted nothing had happen.
“You broke down the door,” Scully said. “That wasn’t in his book. Perhaps there are forces that where beyond his capabilities, beyond any of our capabilities, and…”
…Scully lost her thought as she remembered the hand of the ‘Stranger’ closing in on her throat, his other hand simply sliding between the skin and bone of her chest. Cold. Cold as a lake’s sandy bottom. A mind, that wasn’t her own, spouting, ‘this isn’t happening he’s not real oh god oh god he’s not real’.
“Could we… could we skip this line of conversation,” she said, closing her eyes, effectively diminishing herself. Mulder tilted her chin up, her eyes followed. Her voice was barely audible. She really didn’t see him at first. “Mm, I’m ok. Really.”
“I’m sorry for bringing it up,” he said in a concern tone.
While Mulder trailed Padgett to the basement, the ‘Stranger’ appeared from Padgett’s book and attacked Scully, nearly ripping her heart from her chest.
Scully cleared her throat, holding back the strong turning of emotions. She fluttered a smile. “No matter, Mulder. The important thing is that I wasn’t looking for another Ed Jerse. That’s not where my life is at this moment.” She smiled shyly at him, then looked away. “My turn, Mulder.”
His eyes narrowed in puzzlement.
“What I am trying to say is ‘why’ the name ‘Mulder.’ All your friends call you Fox, when you told me that isn’t the name you prefer. Why didn’t you asked them to call you Mulder?”
Mulder knotted his fingers out front on his lap. “Who’s to say I haven’t?”
“They called you, ‘Fox.’”
She stared at him, perplexed. Scully saw he wasn’t going to continue on his own (when does he ever), so she prompted him. “Mulder?”
“Scully, I have asked every potential friend I have had at one time or another to call me Mulder. Each one may, or may not, start out calling me by the name I requested, but later it always switched back to ‘Fox.’
Either they didn’t take me seriously, perhaps… or feel it wasn’t worth recalling.”
“So they called you, Fox.”
He nodded, saying, “Except for one. I’ll give you a hint,” he leaned in with his shoulder. “She’s a redhead, and undoubtedly has the most annoying way of shooting down my hypothesis.”
He favored her with a boyish smile, touching her deeply and she quietly thanked him. She knew the ‘Lone Gun Men’ all called him Mulder, he did too. But she didn’t feel the need to say it. She felt much better with the change of topic. The air smelled fresh with the mixture of dirt from the lot and old wood where they sat.
She was even slightly aroused this evening. Not to do anything about it, only to nudge her body, to let her know that she was a young, attractive, and have a thirsty desire. “Well, Mulder, if there wasn’t me off setting your implausible theories, who would?”
Mulder was moving hair out of her face. “I guess, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Mulder, one more. Agent Fowley?”
“What about her?” He was very still. His fingers pulled out a long thread of her hair and laid it on her shoulder. It was better—her Alfalfa look was nearly gone.
She wasn’t sure if he was being defensive about Diana or not. His tone suggested either way. “You never told me about her, Mulder. What was she to you?”
“What’s there to tell?” He finally dropped his hands, turning away.
“That you two went out?”
Mulder didn’t respond.
“Hey, Mulder. You’re the one that brought up Ed Jerse. Are you suggesting that my questions aren’t valid?”
He pursed his lips. “She’s a friend Scully, nothing more. We went out. We opened the X-files together. In the end we had a different take on where we were going.”
“Were you hurt?” She asked, concern ebbing its way into her tone.
He puzzled it over for a moment, choosing his words thoughtfully. “I was disappointed.”
She nods carefully, then ran her hand into his, gripping his index finger. “What about now?”
“She offers information,” he said, openly. “She seems genuinely interested in the X-files.”
“I don’t think that’s all that brought her back.”
He exhaled. And for a moment, she thought he was going to offer her one those patronizing ‘Scully’s, however much to her astonishment, he reluctantly agreed. Scully felt an unexpected panic touch her stomach. She felt her hand unravel from his, pulling it back to safety of her lap. She was sorry she had ever brought it up, and she heard herself cautiously ask. “Has she said anything to you?”
He nodded. “She’s made it apparent.”
She wasn’t going ask how, however, she did say: “And you?”
“We had our moment in the sun and she knows that. She’s just an old friend now, Scully.” Scully chewed on her lower lip. Her mouth felt very dry when she spoke. She told him that people do change. He gave her an intense stare as a smile touched his lips. “That’s not where my life is at the moment.”
She gratefully accepted the answer, letting it digest. Despite what Mulder said, she knew she would never cut Diana any slack. In other words, keep your dirty-slut-hands off of my Mulder. She hated the sound of it. As long as she didn’t openly say it though, she guessed she could live with it.
° 7 °
Mulder and Scully sat there enjoying the moment and each other’s presence. So much like twins, their eyes would trace to wherever the other was staring.
The Jukebox kept turning out the tunes, one after another. Even an Elvis tune sang: “… We’re caught in a trap… I can’t walk out. Because I love you too much baby,” Scully watched Mulder sing along, with the corner of his lip up-turned Elvis style. He reached the high notes just a little off key, but close enough to make her arms tingle. She found the corners of her own lips turned up, hinting a smile.
When the song ended, Mulder asked his next question. Years later, Scully would recall being speechless, but would refer to that question as the crux, the crossroad of their relationship.
“Have you ever thought about us?”
“As a ‘couple?'” She sounded flabbergasted, then shook her head. “No… no.” Mulder continued to stare at his partner. “Okay,” she smiled. “Now that’s a lie.”
“I wouldn’t be human if I told you I hadn’t.” She wrapped her hands around her knees and listed his qualities, pleasantly pausing between each one. “When I first met you I thought that you were brilliant.. good looking… a gentleman, and perhaps a little—”
“Spooky?” He cut her off, but she quickly corrected
“—Eccentric, Mulder, ” she peeked up at him from under the wisps of hair covering her eyes. “You also had a certain bad boy quality about you.”
“Like James Dean?”
“With a little less leather, yes.
“Mulder, what do you call, breaking into military bases; disobeying local authorities and your superiors. Throwing punches at A.D. Skinner,” her eyebrows crept up on that one,” in the middle of the hall.” Mulder commented, his voice serious, but his lips smiling, he didn’t like the way Skinner was eyeing her. She smiled in returned and continued. “You’re a bad boy at times.
“Anyway, I thought in our first year, you might approach me, but you didn’t.” She took a deep, cleansing breath and released it. She had a reminiscing quality to her eyes, seeing a moment what might have arisen but never played out.
Mulder felt as though he was left out of the loop. He wanted, for a tiny moment, to bring his hands up in a ‘T ‘and yell ‘timeout’.
“You were too busy, Mulder, ” she continued, “You had work going fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. That left no room except for day dreaming. Then, I was also afraid that you might ask me out. I was afraid where it might lead, a place I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go anymore. I know that sounds, well… confusing.”
“No. No, you felt like you were fighting your own internal conflict,” Mulder said.
She nodded. “I guess, you could say, it worked out for the best. We’re friends now. And I just don’t see you that way, anymore,” she lied, darting her eyes out into the lot. She brought her eyes back to him. “What’s wrong? You look ill.”
“I don’t think I like the way the story ends.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you remember the story of ‘Hansel and Grethel,’ where they came upon a Ginger Bread house, and the Evil Witch tried to eat them? They threw her into the stove, killing her and all the evil she represents. Well, in the original Brothers Grimm version, it was the Father and Mother. When they couldn’t feed the family, they agreed one night in bed, to take the two children into the forest, leave them, and be done with it.”
Scully faltered for a moment. “I’m not following, Mulder. I’m aware of the Brothers Grim version… but that happen in the beginning of the story.”
“Exactly. Did we really have a good beginning?”
She paused to consider it. “Ohhhkay… then why didn’t you ever ask me out?”
“I tried, but we always had some-paranormal-thing going on.”
She didn’t smile at this. He knew she expected more than his usual playing around, and, even he thought that that comment was bad.
“I thought you might deserve better,” he finally answered. “It was also my understanding that you might feel, well, that mixing business and pleasure wouldn’t be such a good idea.” She nodded in agreement on that one. “And when I flirted, you never responded.
“‘Flirted?’” Her tone was even. “You mean joke, don’t you?”
He argued what he really meant. Now, she was more than just a little peeved. “Mulder, I asked you why you never ask me out and you give me Brothers Grimm as an answer. Now do you know why we’ve never gone out? Cause you could never take it seriously, that’s why.”
Now it was his turn to be ticked off.
“No. The reason why I never asked you out is because you were never ready. There was something holding you back, and it wasn’t me, or what you thought our relationship might be. It’s you that’s holding yourself back.”
He could see that her brows knitted. She said nothing, and looked away.
“Come on, you’re a big FBI Agent, Doctor Scully. You tell me. What are you afraid of?”
She whipped her head around. “Mulder, just drop it.”
“No, it’s not that simple, Scully. Now that I think about it, how many dates have had in the last six years? I recall two that I know. I mean, what’s stopping you?”
“What’ stopping ‘you?'”
“We’re talking about you.”
No longer annoyed, she was now angry. “You. All right! You’re the one holding me back.”
“Oh no. I don’t think it’s just me, not all at least, or something would have happen between us by now. Scully, you’re in that never-ending twilight. What’s holding you there?”
She looks at him, and in her dark eyes, he saw something deeply brooding below the surface. She was afraid. No, petrified.
“Nothing’s holding me here, Mulder.” Her tone was even. “Well, nothing I know of.”
He continued to push. To throw questions out there to get a response. “If I were to propose a date, would you go?” Mulder asked.
“I really don’t know.”
“Do you want date other people?”
“Would you care if I asked Diana out, again?”
“DAMNIT, MULDER!” She jumped up and took a couple of steps away. “Do what ever-the-hell-you want! Take her out, all right! I had enough of these asinine questions.”
“Asinine, huh?” He watched her for a moment before she spoke.
“I’m going in, Mulder.”
She trod up the wooden steps, passing him, heading for her door. He got up from the steps, his voice held a hint of panic.
“You said ‘opportunity clear the air,’ right?”
She stopped and turned. She squeezed her eyes shut, looking up. “Yes.”
“Come on,” he told her and touched her elbow. “Let’s walk a little.” They came down the steps and started walking down length of motel.
“You went out with Jack, what? A year?”
“Yes, but he, too, had his work.”
“But he died in the apartment after he took you hostage.”
She closed her eyes. “No, he died on a hospital gurney days earlier, trying to be revived after being shot in the chest on a stake out.”
Mulder nodded. He felt a brief smile touch his lips. When she opened her eyes, she had brief smile too. Years earlier, she would not have accepted Mulder’s notion that Jack had died, and his body had been inhibited by a felon who had died at the same time. “You must have felt some pain when he died?
“You held his watch, which you gave to him, with an inscription on it.”
She tried to remember what she felt. Conjure up something she should have felt. The deeper she went, the more it bothered her. “I remember, I just don’t remember what.”
Mulder stood there nodding his head. “Your Dad, he died the same year? I know on the day of his funeral you wanted to work, to keep busy. But you must have let yourself grieve sometime?”
“Mulder, I really don’t feel like talking about this.”
“I know you don’t.”
Mulder understood , but that did not mean he didn’t want the question answered. “Do you mean if I cry? Mulder? Shedding tears is not always a form of grieving. You should know that. In some cultures when they have a ‘Wake’, they celebrate. However, to answer your question, no. No, I didn’t”
“I don’t know, it’s just hard for me.”
“To show some one you love them.”
“I loved my dad.”
“I know you did.”
“Yes. Yes, it’s hard to show love sometimes. It takes everything out of you, your thoughts during the day, your heart during the night.”
“When you don’t know if it’s in return.”
“Yes.” She paused. “I did love Jack, you know.”
“I didn’t say you didn’t. I guess, you see a lot of Jack in me.”
“That’s it. I don’t, Mulder. You two are quite different. That’s not why anything hasn’t happen yet, either.”
“You have an idea of what it is then?”
“I think so. Mulder, your obsession to find the truth in everything frightens me. Overpowers me. It’s also what attracts me.”
They stopped at the other end of the building, staring out, turned to each other searching each other’s eyes. Then they started back
“I can’t give up looking for my sister.”
“I’m not asking you too, Mulder,” she said. “You’re the one who wanted to know why I was afraid. I just don’t want to wake up one day and find the man I fell in love with, dead in some spillway.”
“Scully, I wish I could ease your fear but were FBI Agents. There will always be inherent danger in our job. I live with same fear for you, and you think that’s easy for me?”
“No. I don’t think it is. But what we investigate, I would say, has a little more inherent danger, than your run-of-the-mill-license check, wouldn’t you agree?”
Mulder nodded. When they got back to the steps, Scully reached out to touch his arm, and he turned to face her. “Your quest is your true love, and it doesn’t want to share you with anyone, it’s like a jealous harlot that wants you all to it’s self.”
He didn’t answer her, but he looked to the highway that stretched on longer than the night.
“I hope you’re not disappointed.”
He shook his head.
“Come here.” She reached up around his neck, pulling him into a hug, standing on her toes to do so. His hands slid carefully around her back, careful, like he might actually break her.
“I love you, you know that,” he told her.
“I love you, too.”
It was a moment he never wanted; it sounded more like a good-bye. When all the true best illusions are destroyed.
° 8 °
For a moment, they sat there, not talking, and waited for it to pass. It was no different than the diesel and its bright lights had done earlier. Waiting for it to slip by like the oven wind, waiting for that undesirable shadow of hurt to leave. It wasn’t all that bad. No, it wasn’t. It might explain why the question never came up, she thought.
“What’s wrong?” Mulder asked, noticing her expression. They had sat back down and hadn’t spoken for a good ten minutes. She told him that she was famished. She gazed at the ‘Bar & Grill’, only interested in the ‘Grill’ portion of it. “We could go over and get something to eat?”
“I have no shoes on, Mulder.”
“You could wait at the door.”
“Wait outside a bar wearing only a jacket and nightshirt? I’m not in the mood for advertising something that I’m not willing to sell.”
“You could get your shoes.”
“If I go in, I’m going to bed.”
“I could join you.”
A timid smile touched Scully’s lips and she said, “Let’s sit here and talk some more.”
Scully then slipped into Agent mode. She asked Mulder what he needed her laptop for. He started laying out his theory on the case. He was meticulous in his explanation. He was back gesturing with his hands. She liked his hands. Scully followed up with questions after each of his points. She shook her head twice. He nodded his head slowly, running off each of his fingers. She starts considering what he said. They leaned their head in, looking like a couple of adolescents, sitting on a stoop of their parent’s house, putting plans into work that might get them into a ditch of trouble.
They both shared a momentary smile before Mulder’s turned into a thoughtful frown. He stared at her for a moment, in thought.
“Scully, do you blame me?” he asked.
She smiled, tauntingly: “For waking me?”
Mulder put his hands behind his head sit-up style, and rotated to the left, then right. He shook his head, hunching over like a defeated youth in a little league team. “For everything.”
Her brow creased as if to say, ‘I don’t follow’.
His eyes glanced to the west. “Your cancer… your abduction… sister… Emily… everything.”
Scully said nothing for a long time. It was so long, Mulder had turned back to her, sure that she had gotten up and left. His eyes came back so fast it startled her. She flinched as if his eyes meant to strike her.
“Mulder… ” She could see in his eyes that he expected nothing less than the truth. She was going to give him just that. She turned eastward. She spoke quietly, distantly. She sound defeated. “Mulder, mostly I blame myself. Sometimes God. And Sometimes you. I don’t want you feel personal about it. It’s not your fault.”
“Nor yours, Scully.”
She nodded and offered a fleeting smile. “Or God’s. I think… we want to blame someone who’s close to us because we want them to know we hurt, even though we don’t say it with words, we want it to be realized.”
Mulder queried about blaming her mother for anything and Scully said no… shaking her head, showing a glimpse of a little girl. “Maybe for dressing me in a pink ‘Shirley Temple dress’ when I was six.”
They both shared a semi-smile over that.
Mulder happened to glance down at her thighs. “Scully, you really do need to get a new pair of panties.”
“Mulder, I was sleeping in them; I wasn’t trying to seduce you.”
“I can’t believe you grabbed a jacket and not your pants.”
“I figured I’d catch you at the door, not the far end of the parking lot.”
Mulder started nodding his head to beat of song seeping out of the bar next door. He went on to mouth the words to it, he then did the ‘Swim’. Then a Steve Martin twist, his fingers pointing skyward like pistols, then the ‘Batman’ with his nose inches away from hers, forcing her leaned backwards. ‘What a goofball’, she thought, making her grin silly on the inside. He had only touched her four or five times tonight and she feels so giddy. It was like a ninth grade crush all over again making her feel severely high.
Mulder wondered. “What are you thinking?”
‘I was thinking about how I feel so connected with you, Mulder. I don’t have to see you come in the office to know that you’re there… your presence felt on my back. You’re a source of inspiration for me. I feel you when you lay your head down on your pillow at night. I don’t even have touch the phone or hear your voice.’
She didn’t say that, however. Without looking at him, she did say, “I was… was thinking about the stars on the horizon or what’s left of them… Mulder, I think it’s getting lighter.”
Predawn light had begun to appear on the I-90, it’s line beginning to emerge, hillsides, gullies and more of the dirt lot gradually coming out of the shadows of the night and into view. And that termination, (as those astronomers would call it) the moment between night and day, which is so seldom seen, seems almost magical, when all things seem possible. For a moment, it felt as if Mulder and Scully were the only ones awake on this side of the world.
° 9 °
“Mulder, do I ever hold you back?”
“Do you have to ask?”
He hesitated for a moment, saying, “Sometimes.”
“Scully, it’s not that you hold me back but you offer me an anchor. Let me explain. When I first started working with Agent Fowley on the X-files… ” Scully’s eyes had drifted to the lot when he mentioned Fowley. ” Scully? Look at me, this is about you, not her… ”
On his order, she grudgingly brought her eyes back to him. She inhaled deeply, and sat back to listen.
” Yes, thank-you,” he said.
He began again. “Diana knew I was very good at what I did. She noticed that while I was working for Violent Crimes. We took each case, and no matter what direction it took, she let me go. In a few months, she was pushing me to do my best, to realize my potential.”
“It was destroying you,” offered Scully.
Mulder nodded. “We solved cases at an incredible rate. Then came the loss of sleep, headaches, and bad dreams…well, the bad dreams have always been there. More over, I was extremely irritable.”
Scully asked: “Didn’t she seen the signs?”
Mulder sighed, “Not really. She prescribed some sedatives and suppressors. On one hand, she told me to get some sleep, on the other, she kept pushing for a case solution.”
“Is this what happened to you two?”
“Not really. I don’t think Diana meant any harm by it.”
‘Like-Hell-She-Did’, Scully wanted to say, giving another reason to put a check mark in the little book in her mind on ‘Things she’d like to do to that woman.’
“In your case, Scully, I feel that you’re my one and only counter weight. Despite the fact that we end up on the other side of the arena at times, I don’t feel out control. I have never felt so connected with anyone in my life. Don’t take this wrong, but I feel you inside me.”
‘And I like to feel you inside of me, Mulder’…and immediately she felt a timid, pleasurable guilt for thinking this. She would admit this to him in her shower later that morning, while one of his hands worked up big bubbles on her back. The other hand reached around to cup a soapy breast, working its nipple with his thumb and forefinger.
“Now you’re here. Working with me,” Mulder continued, “I can’t imagine a day without you. No matter where we’ll be. I think our lives will always be intertwined.”
Scully ran her fingers through his hair. Ran her hand down his face. His unshaven face was peppered like sandpaper. There was a tiny bubble of a tear in the corner of his eye. She wanted to kiss it. Taste that salty drop on her lips, and when she thought she might, she pulled away, dropping her hand to her side with a smile.
“You know what you do to me, Mulder?”
Scully looked away, smiling. She felt good. It was the first time tonight she had a desire to be seen. She felt the fresh air whistling through her lungs and out her mouth. She wanted to go next door and dance next to the jukebox. Feel the mint-green and white tile floor on her small toes. The lights splashing across her nightshirt. She wanted to gyrate on the floor with her hands in the air. Twirl with the biggest, meanest Biker there; his face filled with scrub, wearing his black ‘Terminator’ shades. Just for the fun of it, to let her hair down, and laugh, to giggle, to chuckle, and not in any sort of nominal order. She could do that now.. Scully spoke from some place distant. “Mulder, whenever your ready, I’m ready. Just decide and we’ll go wherever it takes us.”
He would puzzle over what she said for along time, but at that time, however, her smile was so fierce that he found himself grinning. She interlocked her fingers into his for the last time that night, squeezed, and felt the strength of it, then pulled it free into her lap.
“Mulder, it is getting lighter, I can see my toes now.” He was watching them, too. She wiggled them. He told her that he always wonder if she were to inherit a little of your sister, Melissa, what you might look like with rings on your toes. She smiled and wiggled them some more. “You kept me up all night.”
Scully definitely felt like a ‘homecoming’ date that was kept out all night. At-least she didn’t’ have to explain it to her parents. Mulder reminds her that it’s not an all-nighter unless you see the sunrise.
“Scully,” he asked out the blue, “name one thing that describes me?”
“Sunflower seeds. I think it reminds me of your youth, a zest for life, which I find very attractive in you.” Mulder wiggles his eyebrows at her. “I’ll take that back. Mulder, you tease me worse than my brothers.”
“What about me?”.
“Your gold cross. Despite the fact your sciences blinds you sometimes, you’re still willing to make a leap of faith.” He paused for a moment, glancing at a car driving by.” There’s more, Scully. When you were taken from me, I found your cross in the trunk of the car. I was stunned. With all the details I could remember of you, I couldn’t remember you ever wearing a cross. I felt it was another way of letting you down. It haunted me. But I kept with me, on my neck, always.”
A man stepped out, closing the door behind him next to Scully’s room. Mulder and Scully craned their heads around simultaneously from the whine of the door, then listened to it clamp shut. It was the man with the pint of liquor, dressed in a three piece suit, a real-man’s suit, clean manicured fingers, and incredible jaw line. Mulder couldn’t believe it was the same man.
Mulder spoke up. ” My wife and I are getting along very well, now,” Mulder contributed information that the man was no longer interested in. Scully craned back around, mouthing the words, ‘Wife? Wife who… ?’ Mulder took her chin in his hand and pressed his lips to hers. Her lower lip slipped between his, he squeezed and pulled away to see if the man had a reaction.
The man in the GQ suit rolled his watch up for the time and stepped off the stoop, passing the couple.
Mulder smiled at the man’s indifference, turning back to his partner. She wore the most unreadable look. “Com’ on, Scully, go with it.”
She opened her mouth, then shut it, pressing her lips together. Scully scooted up a step, sliding behind him. She pulled Mulder’s face around to hers, pressing her lips to his. Gently, she took his lower lip between hers and sucked on it. Mulder reached up and ran his fingers through the back of her hair, she tasted like freshly squeezed oranges and grapefruits sparkling in morning sun. Half minute later, Mulder thought, ‘My god, we’re still kissing’. When she pulled away, his bottom lip followed. It was his turn to have the most unreadable look.
Scully rose and stepped to her doorway. The sun had crested on the horizon, a boiling edge rippling the air, sunlight kissing everything with sentiment. She stood there, quite ordinary. Her hair was limp, and matted with sleep, her face without make-up, with a touch of freckles on her cheeks and nose. She looked unpleasantly washed out. What most people look like arising at this time in the morning. Yet, to him, not wanting his date to end, he never saw something so wonderful. It filled his chest with warmth.
A smile touched her lips like the sun touching her eyes.
“We have a case to solve today, Mulder. Save the world. Remember? We’re going be dead tired for most of this morning. When it comes to tonight though, we sleep, you and I. Got it?” He wasn’t going to keep that promise. “I’ll meet you, say, in a half-hour for breakfast?” Scully opened her door, favoring him with her warmth, and stepped into her room heading for the shower.
° 10 °
Mulder sat there for a moment starring at the rising sun Just decide, his mind said, chasing many thoughts in many directions, but always coming back to where he sat (perhaps the same place Scully was when she felt like dancing). Mulder broke into a chuckle. It sounds quite wonderful, quite crazy, quite himself. And at this crossroad, the relationship they always had and the one that could be, he wondered if the road is worth venturing. The road was, he told himself; an empty road, with all its private mysteries has always been theirs.
A moment later, he rose, looked at the rising sun once more, and went in to join her.
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