“Uh, hello. Is this the number that was looking for the red-headed woman?”
“Yes it is. Do you think you’ve seen her?”
“She looks enough like my employer to be her sister.”
“Oh, your employer. Have you been with her for a long time?” He didn’t sound bored exactly, but tired, as though he had listened to a lot of phone calls.
“Oh no, Senor. I was just hired a couple of weeks ago to look after her, after the automobile accident.”
“Accident? Is . . . is she okay?” He sounded like she had piqued his interest a little.
“Yes, she should have the cast off of her arm in a couple of weeks. The only problem is she can’t remember things.”
Maria could actually feel the tension leap over the phone. “She . . . she’s suffering from memory loss?”
“Yes, that is why she asked for me to call you, and find out why you are looking for this woman.”
“Your employer, may I speak with her?”
“She asked me to call you from a phone booth, so that you could not trace the call. She does not want her husband to know she is doing this.”
“Well, yes, I think so. It was her husband who hired me while she was in the hospital.”
“Could you tell me where you are? I could come to you, meet with your employer, just to see - “
“I cannot tell you that. I would have to ask her if it was okay.”
“Yes, please, please go to her and ask if I could come. I’d meet her in a public place, she doesn’t need to worry about being alone with me or anything.”
“You sound very excited.”
“I am, if she is Scully, her family and I . . . we very much want to make sure she’s okay.”
“Scully? That doesn’t sound like a woman’s name.” Maria questioned.
“I know, its . . .it’s what I call her. And she calls me Mulder.”
“Are you her novio? I mean, I don’t want my mistress to be hurt. Why did she run away?”
“She didn’t. Listen to me, I think she was taken and that may be why she doesn’t remember. She might have been hurt. Look, I just want to see her. You come with her, protect her, but please ask her if she will meet me.”
“I . . . I will do that.”
“And call me back. Even if she says no, I . . . just don’t leave me hanging. If she refuses to go any further . . . please call me back.”
“I promise.” Then she broke the connection. Now she was really confused. Mr. Madison had been very good to Mrs. M and nice enough to her. Would he have kidnapped his wife? This man didn’t sound like a detective or anything, he sounded like he was in love with the missing woman. What would that mean?
She ducked into the store and purchased the spice she was using as her excuse, in case Mr. Madison was home when she arrived.
Fortunately he wasn’t, but Carrie was waiting impatiently just inside of the door. “Maria? What happened?”
“Oh, Mrs. M. It was not what I expected to happen. The man on the phone, he was missing his lover. When he heard that I had only known you a couple of weeks and that you had amnesia he was very excited. He wants to come out here and meet you.”
“Did you tell him where I was?”
”No ma’am. He begged me to let him come and talk to you and asked if you would meet him in a public place, with me as protection, and for me to call him back whatever your answer.”
“Why is the woman in the picture missing?”
“Oh, he said she was kidnapped! That’s why he’s so worried. And he said he called her ‘Scully’. Does that sound familiar?”
Her brow was furrowed, “Scully? I . . . I don’t know. Maria, should I meet him?” She sounded very unsure of herself then, and Maria reached out her hand to touch her but instead, hugged her to her breast.
“Mrs. M, we don’t have to decide tonight. Please don’t work yourself into a state. Sleep on this, that’s what my mama always told us.”
Carrie nodded. Scully? What kind of a name was that? She was startled back to the present when the phone rang.
“Madison residence. Hello, Mr. Madison. Yes, she’s right here.” Maria brought the phone over to Carrie, and covered the mouthpiece. “Are you okay?”
Carrie managed to smile and took the phone. “Mike? Is everything okay?”
“Yes and no, Sweetheart. I just fell into a big meeting that could mean a lot of funding for some projects I have in the pipeline, but it means I won’t be home until late. Do you mind?”
She closed her eyes in relief. She was too confused to sit across a table from him tonight anyway. “Mike it sounds very exciting, no I’ll be fine. Maria and I will have a little dinner and I’ll see you in the morning. Please don’t worry about me.”
“Can’t stop Sweetheart. Thanks for letting me off of the hook.”
“You be careful driving if you’re really late.”
“I will and I’ll try not to disturb you when I get in. Love you!” and he was off the phone before she had to reply. She sank into the nearest chair and handed Maria the phone.
“Are you okay Mrs. M?”
“Yes, just a little relieved. Mike won’t be home until late tonight, so I won’t have to pretend there’s nothing on my mind.”
“And right now there shouldn’t be. You just got out of the hospital and you’re still not yourself. I’m going to run you a bath and when you get out I’ll have your dinner ready. Come on now.”
Carrie smiled up at the young woman and let her lift her from the chair. She felt very coddled suddenly and it brought unexpected tears to her eyes.
“Oh Mrs. M did I hurt you?” Concern colored Maria’s voice.
“No, not at all. You’ve made me feel very good. While you were gone I realized what I had asked you to do and . . . “
“I was happy to do it Mrs. M. And whoever this man is looking for, I hope he finds her. He loves her very much.”
“He told you that?” Carrie looked at her curiously.
“He didn’t have to.” She led her mistress back to the master suite.
“Carrie? Sweetheart, I’m sorry to wake you so early.”
“Mike? What time did you get in?” She was rubbing her eyes, trying to focus.
“It was after midnight. I didn’t want to disturb you, but I’ve got to go out of town for a couple of days. I shouldn’t be away more than three.”
“Oh, where do you have to go?”
“New York. I have to talk to some money people. I wish I could take you with me, but it’s going to be meeting after meeting. I know you’d love to shop, but I’m not sure you’re up for it yet.”
She managed to smile, “You’re probably right. Maybe I can go next time?”
He smiled brightly. “Count on it. We’ll see a show and I’ll spend lots of time with you.”
“That would be wonderful. Don’t worry about me; Maria takes very good care of me.”
“I still hate to leave you. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“Are you leaving right now?”
“Yes, the cab should be here any minute. Go back to sleep.” He gave her a quick kiss and left. Carrie waited a few minutes then came from her room.
“Mrs. M? Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Is Mike gone?”
“Oh, yes. They just drove off. I don’t think I can catch them.” She turned anyway.
“Maria, its okay. I, uh, I want you to call the number back. Mike is going to be out of town, so if this man is going to come here, it needs to be now.”
“Mrs. M, are you really sure?”
“Something’s wrong Maria. No visitors, no friends, I don’t remember who I am - it’s just not right. This man may not know me, but I have to find out what’s going on.”
After a moment, Maria nodded. “I understand. Where do you want to meet him?”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember any place I would normally go. Maybe that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want anyone that knows Mike to see me. What do you think?”
Maria thought for a minute. “There’s a little library in the strip mall where I got the cilantro last night.”
“A library.” She nodded, “I don’t think Mike’s friends would spend a lot of time there. Let’s go.”
“You want to go with me?”
“Yes. I have a driver’s license. If you can direct me . . .?”
“Oh, si. You remember how to drive?” She looked a little fearful.
“I think so. I’ll go around the driveway a couple of times.” She grinned and Maria rolled her eyes.
“Hello?” The man seemed a lot more alert than when he answered yesterday.
“It’s me.” Maria spoke softly.
you. Thank you for calling me back. What did she say?”
“She wants to meet with you. Can you come to Los Angeles?”
“I’ll be there today. Where?”
Maria gave him the address of the small branch library. “Do you think you can find it?”
“I’ll find it. What . . . can you give me a name?”
Maria hesitated, but Mrs. M had said yes. “Carrie Madison, Mrs. Michael Madison. You won’t hurt my lady?”
“No. I swear I won’t hurt your mistress. If she’s not . . . if she’s not my Scully, I’ll still try to help her.”
Maria couldn’t help but believe him. He sounded so . . . so anxious.
“Let me give you my cell phone number. You can always reach me at this number. What . . . what should I call you?”
“Oh, I am Maria.”
“Maria, thank you. You won’t be sorry. I need to go, so I can get a flight. I know I can’t call you back, I’m not asking, but don’t give up on me. I’ll take the first flight I can get.”
“Si, Senor. We will be there.” She hung up then and returned to the car.
This was the dream. She hadn’t realized it when she arrived at the library; at least she hadn’t consciously realized it. But this was it. She made her way cautiously down the row of books and spotted the tall man at the end of the aisle. It was him; it was the man in the dream. Her steps faltered and Maria took her arm.
“I’m, I’m okay.”
He turned when he heard her voice. His eyes widened and he took a step toward her. “Scully.” It was a whisper and even then his voice broke.
Maria stepped in front of her mistress, her expression fierce as though protecting her young.
The man’s hands came out to the side, to show he meant no harm. “Scully, it’s me, it’s Mulder.”
“Mu . . . Mulder?” That was the name she had been trying to say in her dream. She didn’t remember it, but it felt right on her tongue.
“Could we . . . could we talk? Here, with people around. I don’t want to scare you.”
“I’m . . . I’m not scared.”
He kind of smiled then, “You’re not?”
She shook her head. “I keep dreaming about you, but I couldn’t remember your name.”
“Do you remember me now?”
“No. But I feel like I recognize you. Does that make sense?”
“For us it does.” He looked down at her wrist, “Are you okay?”
She smiled then; he was honestly concerned, whoever he was. “I’m fine.”
“I’ve always hated that phrase.” She looked confused; “You use it when you want me to back off.”
“That’s not what I mean. I really do feel fine. The headaches are mostly gone and my wrist doesn’t hurt.”
“You’ve had headaches?” His hand touched her hair; it seemed involuntary on his part.
“Mrs. M.” Maria interrupted, “You don’t know this man.”
“Maria, it’s okay.” Carrie turned to look at her and smiled gently. “I know it’s okay.”
“Maria, you’re the woman who called me.” He reached into his pocket then and withdrew his ID. “I’m Fox Mulder, I’m an FBI agent.” He held out another badge, “and this one’s yours.”
“FBI?” Carrie asked.
“Would you sit with me, talk for just a little while.”
Maria watched her and even though she knew her mistress didn’t know this man, this was the most comfortable she had seen her since they had met.
“Maria, it will be all right. I’m not leaving, but he and I have to talk.”
After a moment, Maria nodded. “I will be able to hear you.” She glanced down at her watch. “Thirty minutes.”
Carrie nodded, “Thanks Maria.” She turned toward the tall man and he led her toward a table in the rear of the library, his hand lightly on her back.
He held the chair for her, then sat slightly across from her. “Scully, I . . . I can’t believe I’ve found you.” He started to reach for her hand. He stopped himself, but couldn’t stop looking at her. “Your hair’s never been this short before, or as curly.” She touched it self-consciously.
“Mu . . . Mulder, who are we? Am I your wife? Lover? What?”
“Uh, not exactly. We . . . we’re partners. At the FBI.”
“Partners?” She frowned slightly and shook her head. “We’re just partners?”
“No, we’re not just anything. I guess the best word would be lovers.”
She blushed lightly, “But we work together?”
“Yes, for years.”
am I here? Why don’t I remember you? This wreck . . . I - “
“Scully, I don’t think you were in a wreck. You were kidnapped from your apartment. You came home from work, changed clothes and then disappeared. I went to your apartment the next morning. I found the clothes you had worn the day before but your apartment was immaculate. I don't think you were taken there, maybe you took out the trash, I don’t know. You’re been gone a little over five weeks. I’ve been . . . I’ve been frantic. Your mother is going out of her mind - “
“My . . . my mother? I have family?”
“God, Scully, I’m sorry. Let’s start at the beginning.” He tried to relax, taking a deep breath. “You live in Washington, DC. You’ve been with me at the Bureau for seven years. Your mother’s in DC too. Your father passed away about six years ago from a heart attack. You have an older brother, Bill.”
She looked confused at his expression then, and the way he touched his jaw. “Is he . . . is there a problem?”
“He and I have ‘issues’, mostly regarding you. You also have a younger brother, Charlie. I haven’t met him. You had a sister, Melissa, but she’s gone now too.”
He nodded, “She . . . she was murdered.”
She gasped and he did take her hand then. “I’m sorry. Maybe this is too much too fast.”
She shook her head; “I need to know.”
He nodded; that sounded like his Scully. “I’ve been looking for you ever since. I didn’t know where to start. The guys put your picture on the web. When your friend called me, said you couldn’t remember, I knew . . . I knew I had to check it out personally.”
“Why can’t I remember?”
“It was done to you. They’ve wiped your memories. I just hope it’s not permanent.”
“What else have I forgotten?”
“Well, you’re an MD. That’s one of the reasons the Bureau recruited you.”
“I’m a doctor?”
“A forensic pathologist. You do autopsies, find evidence to help solve crimes.”
“I don’t remember that at all. The only thing I’ve remembered . . . “
“You said you dreamed of me?”
She nodded again. “I . . . I thought it was here. That makes no sense but it was the same dream over and over since I woke up in the hospital. You were in front of me, with your back to me and I tried to call out to you, but I couldn’t get your name out, just the sound ‘Mu’. I even looked up boy’s names on the Internet to see what names might sound familiar. It was one of those dreams where you can’t move, where everything impedes your movements. It couldn’t have been here, but it was a dark corridor and you wouldn’t turn to look at me.”
His hand squeezed hers. “You had this dream even in the hospital?”
“Come home with me. We’ll find out what they did to you and make you well. You’ll remember your family and your work, and . . . and me.”
She looked down at her watch. “Our thirty minutes is over. I need to get back to the house.”
“No, Scully, don’t go. He’s not your husband, this man you’re living with. He’s part of the conspiracy that took you from me.”
“Why? Why would anyone do this? That’s what I don’t understand.”
“It’s part of our work. We . . . we’ve been investigating a conspiracy. We’ve worked on it for years and I guess we got too close. They decided that if they separated us . . . I don’t know. I can’t prove that to you, but it’s the truth. I do know that. You’ve just met me, you’ve got no reason to trust me, but Scully I’d never hurt you.”
“Mike has been very good to me.”
“The man . . . the man that says he’s my husband.”
“Has he,” Mulder swallowed, “Has he touched you?”
Her eyes widened at that question.
“Scully, he’s not your husband. If . . . if he’s touched you it’s rape. You don’t even know this man. Scully?”
“He hasn’t . . . I mean we’ve shared the bed every night but . . . but he hasn’t . . . I mean . . . “
She watched Mulder close his eyes in relief. “I don’t want you to go home to him.”
“He won’t be home until tomorrow at the earliest. He won’t know.”
“You shouldn’t be alone with him. I need to get you out of there.”
Maria appeared at the table then, “Mrs. M, we’ve got to get home.”
Scully looked torn then, what was the right thing? She couldn’t leave tonight; she couldn’t just disappear. But if her family thought she had been kidnapped. The headache growing now was not faked. She winced and rubbed her forehead.
“It’s okay, I just . . . I don’t know what to do.”
“Do you believe me?”
She nodded, “It explains why no one has called or come to see me. Maria’s the only person I’ve seen since I left the hospital except for Mike. He’s mentioned friends, but they all seem to be in the film industry like him, and they’re out of town or on location. I’ve been isolated. Maria is new to the household, I haven’t seen the cleaning crew.”
“Mrs. M, what are we going to do?”
Scully squared her shoulders. “We’re going back to the house. I don’t want to make Mike suspicious if he calls and I’m not there. Mulder, where are you staying?”
“I . . . I haven’t gotten a room. I didn’t know what I was going to find.”
“Maria, he could stay in the pool house, couldn’t he? I mean Mike never goes out there.”
“Mrs. M? You want to bring this man to your home?”
“He’s my partner. You saw my badge. Please Maria, we have to do this.” She took Maria’s hand then and Maria knew she couldn’t refuse this woman.
“How do we get him to the pool house?”
Scully and Mulder both smiled then. “He can follow us, see the layout, then leave. He can park around the corner and come back through the rear of the property. No one will see him.”
Mulder sobered then, “Do you think the house is under surveillance? Bugged?”
Scully’s eyes widened again. “Would they do that?”
“These people want us apart. I don’t know what they would do if . . . we can’t let them know I’ve found you, not yet.”
She nodded slowly. “This is very dangerous isn’t it?”
He shrugged, “As long as you don’t remember anything, you’re probably safe. But even if you don’t come back to me, I can’t do that to your mother, or Bill.”
“Why wouldn’t I come back to you?”
He swallowed, “We need to get you back to the house before he gets there.”
Maria nodded, relieved and looked around. “We need to get home.
Carrie stood, but seemed reluctant to leave his presence. “I’ll be right behind you Scully. I’m not letting you be taken from me again.” For just an instant she thought he was going to kiss her and she wondered how she would react to that, but he leaned back slightly. She turned and followed Maria from the library.
He followed her, but not as closely as she would have liked. He obviously knew more about these things than she remembered, but she didn’t want to lose him. When he drove on past her driveway, she couldn’t explain the empty feeling.
She pulled the car into the garage and shut the door behind them. She took a deep breath and looked over at Maria. “Well, I’ve done it now, haven’t I?”
“You need to be careful Mrs. M; he’s in love with you.”
Carrie blinked at her, but didn’t dispute the words. She had felt it too.
Carrie moved through the house to the pool to wait for him. She couldn’t sit still, pacing between the hot tub and the bar. When this strange man pushed his way through the bushes at the back of the property, she hurried toward him, and let him fold her against his body.
“It’s going to be okay, Scully.”
She nodded, a little embarrassed at her reaction to seeing him. He saw that and took her good hand to lead her back to the pool, making no comment.
Once there he stopped to look around a little. “Damn, Scully. You may not want to come back with me.”
“You don’t live like this on a G-woman’s salary.”
“Maybe that’s part of why it feels so unfamiliar.” She looked up at the house itself again. “Come on in.”
“Maybe I better not. If there are any listening devices, they won’t work as well out here. Why don’t you show me the pool house?”
She nodded and gave him the tour. He was chuckling when it was over, “Damn Scully, I might just move out here and live with you. My apartment’s going to look awfully shabby after this.”
“I bet it feels homier.”
“Well, your place does. Mine’s more frat house-like.” He grinned.
They were interrupted when Maria came out carrying a tray. “I thought you might be hungry. What would you like to drink?”
“Uh, do you have iced tea?”
Maria smiled then and nodded, secretly relieved he hadn’t asked for alcohol. She still had to protect Mrs. M.
They sat by the pool in the gathering dusk, eating, not asking questions, just enjoying the company. In a few minutes he noted that even with the cast on her wrist, she seemed able to use her right hand with no problems.
“Scully, does your wrist feel broken?”
She looked up confused, “It’s not given me any problems. Why?”
“I don’t think it’s broken.”
“I don’t think your wrist is broken. Scully, let me take off the cast.”
“What?” She looked at him curiously.
“They’ve left you alone a lot for what they’ve done. I can’t believe you’re not being watched somehow.”
“What does that have to do with my cast?
“It’s just a feeling. Please?”
She nodded and he picked up the small knife that Maria had brought with the fruit.
He had just started cutting when Maria returned and saw him with the knife in his hand. “No! Get away from her!” She rushed to the table and Mulder backed up quickly, laying the knife on the table.
“Maria, Maria please. He’s not trying to hurt me. He was cutting off my cast.”
“Why? Your wrist hasn’t had time to heal, Senora.”
“Maria,” Mulder spoke quietly, “I don’t think her wrist was ever broken. I think we need to see why she’s wearing that cast. Why don’t you remove it? Then you’ll know I’m not trying to hurt her.”
Maria looked back and forth between the two, and when Carrie nodded, took a deep breath. To Mulder’s relief she picked up the knife. There was a frown on her face, but she carefully began scoring the outside of the cast.
It didn’t take long, and Maria finally looked up at Mulder. “Can you help me break it?”
He nodded and moved closer. Between the two of them they gently broke through the rest of the cast and started to peel it back.
“Ow!” Carrie jerked her hand.
“What?” Mulder stopped instantly.
“Feels like a needle.” She reached in herself and broke the rest of the cast away. He saw her face pale and he reached for her. “Oh my god, it’s a . . . it’s a catheter.”
Mulder looked down at the tiny tube, dripping a solution from the bottle molded inside of the cast. Then his eyes met hers.
“What is this?” Her voice was shaking.
”I think this is part of what’s keeping you from remembering.”
“Take it out. Mulder, take it out!” She was starting to shake now at the implications of what she was seeing. Maria had sunk into the chair next to her, unable to speak.
“Just relax, Scully. Take it easy.” He gently pulled the tiny tube from her arm and picked up the cast. After a close examination, he looked up again. “That’s not all.” He laid the cast back on the table and pointed to the electronic device along side of the implanted bottle of solution.
“A homing beacon. This is why you were given such a loose leash. They would track wherever you went. I don’t think we’ve damaged it.”
“Smash it. Get rid of it!”
He moved it out of the way. “Scully, Maria, listen to me. We can’t damage it; we can’t let them know we found it. I’ve got to get the two of you out of here, and we need to leave this thing here so they won’t be looking for us, at least for awhile.”
“I . . . I will need to leave as well?” Maria looked even more frightened suddenly.
“I think you’d be safer.”
“I . . . I can’t . . . “ Her eyes widened in horror. “You’re federales!”
“Maria.” Carrie took her hand. “Are you here illegally?”
“How could I . . . how could I forget!”
“Maria, you’ve been a big help to me. You called me, you told me where to find Scully. I can help you now. You’ll be legal very shortly. We’ve got to get you away from here. Get both of you away from here. You believe me now, don’t you?” Mulder’s look encompassed both of the women.
Carrie nodded, “Maria?”
“My name is Scully, Maria. I want you to come to DC with us. You’re the only friend I’ve had.”
“Scully.” Maria nodded, then turned to Mulder. “What do we have to do?”
Mulder smiled then and Scully saw his shoulders relax. “Okay. I have a flight back to DC in the morning. I want you to take that flight, Maria.”
“How will you and M . . . Scully get home?”
“It’s better if you not know. I’ll have my friends meet you at the airport. They’ll keep you safe.” He chuckled, “And make you legal before you know it.”
“You need to pack, Maria. Come with me. Mulder, why don’t you get settled in the pool house?”
Maria followed Scully into her bedroom. “My things are in my room.”
“We wear the same size. I want you to pick out everything you need and want from in here. Use this suitcase.”
“I can’t take your things.”
“They’re not my things. They’re part of this charade to make me think I’m someone I’m not. I want you to help yourself. Personally, I think this would look fabulous on you.” She held up an outfit and watched the smile grow on Maria’s face.
Once Scully had convinced Maria to take a great deal more than she had ever considered, Scully herself began packing. She turned suddenly, “Maria, we’re going to need some cash. What did Mike leave in the way of household money?”
“Oh, so much money! There is over $1,000 in the kitchen desk drawer in case of emergency. He showed me, but I have used less than $50.”
“I’m sure you’ve been very responsible. I wonder if he’s stashed any more anywhere in the house? Why don’t you bring me what you know about while I pack, and then we’ll look around for more.”
Maria smiled then, “You are not anything like what I expected to work for when I came here. I think maybe your hus . . . Mr. Madison hired me because I was illegal and wouldn’t contact anyone. He underestimated you.”
“Thank you.” Scully felt unexpected tears in her eyes. Maria gave her a quick hug.
“Now Scully, you pack the rest of these beautiful clothes and I’ll go look for money.”
Scully turned back to the closet. Maria was right, they needed to get their act together.
Very quickly Maria was back with an envelope. “Mrs . . .Scully, I just remembered, the cleaning crew comes tomorrow.”
Scully’s eyes grew wide. “We need to tell . . . “ Maria nodded and they both moved toward the glass doors to the pool.
He moved quickly toward Scully at the look of panic on her face. “What? Is he coming home?”
“No, nothing like that. The cleaning crew comes once a week. They’ll be here tomorrow.”
“That could be good. What time do they get here?”
“They were here at 7:30 last time. You were still in the hospital.” Maria turned to Scully.
“Okay. My flight’s scheduled at 10 a.m. You’ll be here to let them in, then around 8:30, call for a cab and have them take you to the same shopping center, where we met. Dismiss the cab and I’ll take you to the airport. We need to put your things in the car tonight.”
Maria nodded, “Oh, the money.” She handed the envelope to Scully.
there’s nearly $1500 here.” Scully looked up at Maria.
”This was the household account?”
“Yes ma’am. I haven’t looked anywhere else.”
Mulder looked up from the envelope. “Scully, it’s not going to be like this when you get home.”
She grinned at him and his heart clutched. She was so beautiful and he’d found her, safe.
“You, uh, you’re going to want to keep these people away from your closet. We’ll have to fix the cast so it looks undamaged, too. Do you have a scarf you can use as a sling?”
“I have enough scarves to outline a small country. Maria and I will fix up something. We’ll look for more cash too.”
“The more the better, we don’t want to use any credit cards. Let me know when I can take your things down to the car Maria.”
She nodded and the two women returned to the house. Scully looked back once, feeling his eyes on her and gave him a shy smile.
They found another $1200 in various places around the house. Scully insisted that Maria take the $1200. Scully was convinced that she’d never get to sleep that night, but her eyes closed as soon as she lay down, as though she felt safe for the first time since she’d awakened in the hospital.
She was up at six the next morning. She showered and dressed, then she and Maria fixed the cast and Maria tied one her scarves around her neck to hold everything in place.
When the crew arrived, Maria let them in. Scully was ‘working’ in her closet, making piles of used clothing to give to Goodwill, so the lady cleaned the bathroom then moved on to the bedroom. Scully kept a close eye to make sure they stayed away from her depleted closet.
It was strange when the taxi arrived to take Maria. Neither woman dared show emotion. Maria was only supposed to be going to the store, but they did squeeze hands, and Scully whispered one last reassurance that Mulder’s friends would look after her.
Scully felt truly alone once the cab pulled out of the driveway. Mulder had slipped out the back before anyone arrived, and she was stunned at how deeply she felt the lack of him. That was absurd, for all intents and purposes, she had just met him last night. But even with no memories, she knew that wasn’t true.
After the crew left, she stepped outside. Almost immediately Mulder appeared at the far side of the pool. She was moving toward him before she even realized it.
He held her close, and if she was a little disappointed that he didn’t kiss her, she put it down to making her feel comfortable.
“Ready to go?”
“Yes. Maria talked to Mike before she left. Did she tell you?”
“No, she was pretty nervous.” Mulder admitted.
Scully nodded, ‘She was okay, wasn’t she?”
“I think it helped when she changed at the airport. She seemed to put on sophistication with the clothes. She’ll be okay, and the guys will take good care of her, I promise.”
Scully smiled. “Anyway, she told Mike I was in the tub. I tried to call him back, when I knew he’d be in his meeting.” She shrugged, “I didn’t want to talk to him.”
“You’ll have to check the machine remotely very often. If he comes back early . . . “
“I know. Where do you think we should put the cast?”
“The bedroom, under the bed where no one will see it when they walk in the room. They’ll find it, but hopefully we’ll be out of reach by then. You sure you don’t mind using your cash?”
“It’s not mine. Using it to get away seems right.”
He nodded and headed for the pool house to pick up her luggage. She moved through the house, turning on lights, locking up and positioning the cast in the center of space under her bed. Mike would have trouble reaching it - he’d never fit under the bed.
When she was sure everything was ready, she picked up the phone and dialed Mike’s New York number. “Mike, hi. I’m sorry I missed you earlier.”
“Maria said you were bathing.”
“Yes, I can’t go in the pool with this cast, and I just wanted to feel weightless for a little while. When are you coming home?”
“Hopefully tomorrow night, but it will probably be late. You might be asleep. Mine if I wake you?”
“Uh, no. I think that would be a good idea. It’s . . . it’s time.” She kept her voice steady, but Mulder was watching her closely. “Yeah, okay. Be careful. Yeah, me too.” She broke the connection and closed her eyes. Mulder took the receiver from her hand and replaced it.
She nodded and after a moment opened her eyes and looked at him. “He’ll be home late tomorrow. He’s looking forward to us being . . . together.”
“Looks like you got out just in time.”
“I didn’t want to sleep with him; the thoughts of sleeping with him were actually frightening.” She looked up, “I guess I . . . it’s a good thing my real lover showed up in time.”
“Scully, we, uh, we haven’t ever actually been lovers.”
“But you said . . . never?”
He shook his head.
“Are you gay?”
She pulled back slightly at his vehemence. “Am I?”
“I don’t . . . “
“We’ve just been taking it slow.”
“You said we’ve been together for seven years.”
His mournful look startled a laugh out of her and he gave her a half grin. “So if I were to make a move on you tonight . . . “
“I’d have to fight you off.”
He grew serious then, “Because when we do get together, I want you to know who I am.”
“When? Not if?”
She nodded then and turned toward the small bathroom. Once she shut the door, he sank onto the bed. If she made a move on him tonight . . .