She thought she was handling things pretty well. Sheíd known it would be a hard day, but she thought she was prepared. As the day wore on though she found herself slipping further down into depression. It got dark too damn early these days and with the fading of the light came a fading of her spirit.
Her mother would welcome her and try to comfort her, but she wasnít up to that. She finally sighed and gave into the realization that she wanted, no she needed, to see Mulder.
He probably didnít realize the day but it didnít matter. She just needed his company, not his sympathy.
What the hell, she grabbed her jacket and headed out the door. The salt trucks had been out and there wasnít much traffic, so she made decent time reaching his apartment. Good, his car was here. Heíd probably ordered a pizza and was settled in for the evening.
She exited the elevator and headed for his door. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a woman opening the door to the stairs. She looked over to get a better look as she approached his door and realized she was watching Diana Fowley leave his floor.
Before she had an opportunity to process what sheíd seen, Mulderís door opened and he stood before her clad only in a towel.
"Scully? Uh, hi." He clutched the towel tighter around him.
She didnít speak, her mind suddenly working with frantic speed to put together everything sheíd seen. Oh god! Just a few minutes earlier and. . .
Mulder watched the color drain from her face and then flush a bright red. Her eyes widened, but he couldnít read her expression. It seemed to have gone from disbelief to horror to despair to fury in the space of a couple of seconds. What was going on? He took a step toward her and reached for her arm with his free hand. She jerked back away from him, not allowing his touch, then turned and fled down the hall.
He took a couple of steps after her before remembering his towel. Something was terribly wrong here and he had to find out what.
She was stumbling in her haste to get to her car, but she managed to make it without falling, stabbing the key into the ignition and skidding into the curb at one point in her rush to put distance between them.
He and Diana - they were back together. His chickadee again. Oh god, and sheíd gone to him for comfort, for support. Why hadnít he told her? Warned her? She flipped off her cell phone when it began ringing. She wasnít talking to anyone right now.
She realized she was back at her apartment. When had that happened? Well, she hadnít been pulled over, so she probably hadnít hit anything. She parked and hurried inside.
Mulder lost no time getting dressed. What in all hell had happened? Was she having a psychotic episode? Heíd figured today would be hard on her, thatís why heíd been getting ready to go to her place - maybe take her to dinner, get her out. But what was going on now?
He too raced to her apartment. Spotting her car there sent a surge of relief though his body.
After three attempts to get her to come to the door, he slipped his own key into the lock and opened her door. She had not turned on any lights so he had to stand in the door to let his eyes adjust. He finally spotted her sitting on the couch, her knees under her chin, her arms wrapped around her legs.
"Scully? Scully are you all right?"
He entered her apartment and sat on the couch in his regular seat, as far as he could from her to give her space.
"Scully, what happened?" He reached out to her and stopped as she cringed from him.
"I donít want you here." His heart sank at her words. What the hell was going on? "I want you to leave now, go back to her."
"Her? Who? Scully what are you talking about?"
The look she gave him froze his blood. He was pretty sure it would have killed a lesser man. He didnít attempt to stand.
"Scully, please. Please talk to me."
"I saw her there. I saw Diana leaving your apartment."
"Diana? Diana Fowley? She wasnít. . . "
"I saw her leave your place and then you came to the door in your towel. Iím glad I didnít get there sooner, so I didnít interrupt. . . "
"Scully, Diana was not at my apartment." Another look. He could feel himself shriveling up, his balls trying desperately to climb back inside of him.
"Scully, listen to me." He wished his voice was steadier, "I was in the shower. When I got out I heard you knocking. I put the towel around me and came to the door. You were there, but something was wrong."
"I didnít. . . I didnít knock."
"Scully, I heard knocking. Thatís why I went to the door. I swear to you Diana was not in my apartment. It must have been her I heard. Iím not sleeping with Diana, Scully. The only woman I have a relationship with is you. Thatís how I want it. Diana has never been invited to my apartment. You have to believe me, Scully. Please." He saw one tear spill from her eye and roll down her face.
"So you were just taking a shower in the middle of the day."
"I was getting dressed to come over here. I wanted to take you to dinner, something to get you out of the apartment. I knew today would be difficult for you."
She finally looked up at him then, startled.
"Scully did you think I didnít remember the date? Do you think I donít know that you, that we, lost Emily a year ago today? I didnít want you to be alone, I. . . "
She buried her face in her hands, giving up to her grief. He didnít hesitate, scooping her into his arms and onto his lap, rocking her as she cried.
As she began to win back control over her emotions he continued to hold her, caressing her hair. The tears stopped and her breathing became more even if still hitching occasionally.
"Emily knew how much you loved her, Scully. It was easy to see. I only hope she realized that I loved her too. Iím not as good at showing people how I feel as you are. I havenít had as much practice."
She was finally able to meet his eyes. "Iíve told you this before Scully, but you thought I was delusional. I do love you. Donít doubt that, and for Godís sake donít worry about Diana or any other woman for that matter. Give me a chance, Scully, to show you how I feel, then if youíre not repulsed, you can try to think about me that way and. . . "
She buried her head in his chest. "Shut up and let me be mortified in silence for a minute."
He couldnít quite suppress the grin. "Sure, Scully. Whatever you say."