Simple Choices - 7/? (R)


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He’d gotten her to go on to bed, and he’d lay with her until she fell asleep.  Actually he was loath to leave her, his hand resting gently on her stomach.  He couldn’t feel that tiny flutter she had felt, but soon he would.

 

He hadn’t lied to her.  Having a child had never been part of his plan.  He had thought he would spend his life searching for his sister, trying to find out more about the global conspiracy that had shaped his life.

 

He glanced toward the living room.  As comfortable as he was, he knew she was sound asleep and he needed to check out his email.  He took another sniff of her soft, fragrant hair, then carefully eased himself out of the bed.

 

Mulder pulled up his email from Rob and quickly saved the information on a disk, then returned to the screen.  For a place to start, he read the information Rob had sent on Roger Austin.  It was a little odd that he was in the same prison where Ethan was incarcerated, but lately everything in his life had been a little odd.  He smiled and looked back toward the bedroom.  Odd and wonderful.  

 

He was able to pull up Austin’s record, and began studying his file.  A course on anger management wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Assault after assault dotted his record; he’d nearly killed a couple of guys for no better reason than they had pissed him off.  Some petty theft showed, but there was definitely family money.  Apparently he’d stolen just because he felt like it.  His family had to have hired the attorneys listed on his sheet; these guys were not cheap.

 

Mulder finally found Austin’s mug shot and sat studying it.  He had shaved his head and had dark eyes.   His nose had obviously been broken numerous times as well as his jaw.  Some orthodontics wouldn’t hurt.  He’d obviously had some jail house dentistry.

 

He should be able to get more information from the databases at work.  He put that one aside and began looking at Carson Nelson.

 

*****

 

He looked up when he felt her behind him.  He peered up at her sheepishly.  “Sorry, I just couldn’t - “

 

“Wait to check it out.  I understand,” she smiled.  “But it was getting lonely in there.  The kid and I don’t take up the whole bed.”

 

“’The kid’ and you aren’t going to take up the whole bed no matter how big you get.  I sleep wherever you are.”

 

Her smile grew.  “Did I tell you I talked to Sherrie?”

 

“Tonight?  When?  Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine, Mulder.  I wanted to ask if I really could be feeling movement.”

 

“And?” His hand rested on her belly as he looked up at her from his chair.

 

“And she said yes, and that it was a very good sign.”

 

Mulder’s eyes lightened.  “Excellent.”

 

She nodded.  “That’s what I thought.” She let a finger run down his cheek and down to his collarbone.   She watched his Adam’s apple bob.

 

“Uh, Dana . . . “

 

“Yes?”

 

“You, uh, you better not - “

 

“Not what?” He couldn’t see her face now, but her tone was . . . lighter.

 

“Anytime you touch me is dangerous.”

 

“Dangerous?”

 

“I’m trying to be good, but I’ve never quit wanting you. You shouldn’t - “

 

“Turns out, I’m not married anymore, Mulder.”

 

He looked up then, startled.  “What, uh, what . . . “

 

“Come to bed, Mulder.”

 

His eyes widened and his hand reached to shut down the computer without even looking back at it.  He rose from the chair, looming over her.  She couldn’t stop the smile that grew on her face.   She took his hand and turned toward the bedroom.

 

At the bed she turned and looked up at him.  The expression on his face caused her smile to fade.  This man loved her.  Her, her ‘husband’ had never looked at her like that.  “M-Mulder?”

 

His hand cupped her cheek.  “It’s been a long time.”

 

She nodded.

 

“Are, are you sure?”

 

She relaxed then and a slight smile returned to her face.  “Yes.”

 

He returned her smile.  It grew as she reached for the hem of his t-shirt.  He obligingly lifted his arms to assist her in its removal.  Her hands lightly rubbed the hair on his chest, following it down to the small line that ran below his waistband.  He watched, his breathing shallow.  He caught her hand as she started to dip below his jeans.  “It’s okay, for us to . . . “

 

She nodded.  He leaned down slowly and took her lips with his.  Her arms twined around his neck.  When they broke the kiss, he lifted her gown over her head and she stood before him nude.  His eyes devoured her.

 

Evidence of her pregnancy was before him.  Her breasts were fuller, her nipples larger and a deeper rose than in his memory.  Her belly was rounded and her waist thicker.  The reality of their child hit him again.  His lips took hers again and he lowered her to the bed.

 

*****

 

He’d made it to Princeton in a little over two hours.  At least he hadn’t been pulled over, but he didn’t want to be away from Dana overnight.  She seemed to be doing much better with Ethan formally out of her life; and Mulder himself in that place instead.  Ethan hadn’t attempted to contact her since that day.

 

Mulder followed the signs to the alumni office.  Nice digs, but Princeton would have that.  Oxford did too.  He moved toward the front desk and smiled at the young woman sitting there.  He noted the attention he received, the flip of the hair, the slight arch to the back.  Was there a time he would have been interested?  It was before Dana obviously. 

 

“I’m looking for some information about one of your former students.  Is this the right place?”

 

“That depends.  We don’t give out personal information,” she sounded as though she was teasing him, testing the waters to see if he was interested.

 

Instead he pulled out his shield.  “This student is deceased.”

 

She drew back slightly, focused now on the badge.  “Murdered?”

 

“No.  His name was Carson Nelson.  Could you check that for me?”


”Uh, yeah.”  She turned toward her computer and began typing.  “Do you have a middle name?”

 

“No.  He would be in his late twenties.”

 

“Oh, I, I didn’t realize . . . “

 

“What?” Mulder moved around behind her to look over her shoulder.  He jerked back at the picture on the screen.  It was him, ten years or so younger, but him.  “Could, could I have a copy of his transcript?”

 

“I’m not supposed to - “ she looked up, but stopped.  “Yeah, okay.”

 

“What,” he was having trouble forming words.  “His major, what . . . “

 

“Uh, biology.”  She handed him the transcript with a hand that trembled slightly.

 

“Do you show an advisor?  Where’s the biology building?”

 

“I don’t have any information about his advisor.” She pulled out a campus map.  “Here’s the biology building.  You’re here.” She pointed to the two buildings.

 

“Thanks.”  He snatched up the map and was out the door before she could say anything else.

 

He lost no time making his way to the biology building.  There was no reception desk, so he scanned the directory and headed for the department chair’s office.  The young woman working at the desk had violent pink hair and a stud in her nose.  Princeton?  If he hadn’t been so consumed with what he had just seen he’d have laughed.

 

“Is there someone here I could speak with?”

 

“Like who?  Like a professor or something? “

 

“May I help you?” An older woman had entered the office.  “I’m Dr. Batten.”

 

“Thank you.” Mulder turned away from the pink haired girl gratefully. 

 

“Are you, you look familiar.  Were you in my class?”

 

“No ma’am.”  He withdrew his shield again.

 

“FBI?  Is there a problem?”

 

“Are you familiar with a Carson Nelson?”

 

“Of course, that’s who - Are you related to him?”

 

“No.  I wasn’t aware of our resemblance until a few minutes ago.  Is there somewhere we can talk?”

 

“Yes, of course.  My office.”  She turned away and he followed her down the hall.   She motioned to a chair and took her seat behind the desk.  “You didn’t know Carson?”

 

“No.  I’m trying to get some information about him.”

 

She nodded.  “I worked with him.  He was brilliant.  His research was incredible, the man never forgot anything.  We talked about graduate school.  I wanted to take him on as my student.”

 

“His suicide - “

 

She shook her head.  “That was tragic. It should never have happened.”

 

“Could you tell me about it?”

 

“Not really.  Oh, there were rumors, something about a woman he was seeing, but I don’t believe that was it.  I’m not saying it didn’t contribute, but . . . He was a lonely boy, man.” She shook her head.

 

“Did he live on campus?”

 

“Yes, I believe so.  Yes, he mentioned a roommate.”

 

“Do you remember his name?” Mulder sat forward quickly.

 

“Oh goodness, it’s been years.  Let me make a phone call.  I have a friend in housing.”

 

He nodded and sat back.  His cell phone rang as he waited for Dr. Batten.  He answered quickly. “Mulder.”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“Dana, nothing.  I’m sorry I upset you.  I’m getting information about Nelson and it caught me off guard.”

 

“What?”

 

“Baby, please, let me find out what’s going on.  I promise I will tell you everything I find out, but please promise me you won’t worry while I’m gone.  I’ll be home tonight and you and I can go over what I found out.  I want your input, but you cannot dwell on this now.  I am fine.  You have to look after yourself.”

 

“You are okay?”

 

“Yes, Dana.  The information I’m getting surprised me, but I am fine.”

 

“Will you call me, when you’re on your way home?”

 

“Promise.  Are you at work?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Make sure Sherrie takes a look at you before you head home.”

 

“Mulder - “

 

“Do it for me.  I’m going to need your input on this information, so I need you to take care of yourself.”

 

“Be careful.”

 

He smiled, soothed by her voice.  “I will be.  I want to be home with you.”

 

“Bye.”  She hung up.  He didn’t say goodbye and she had gotten used to that.

 

He took a deep breath and slipped his phone back into his jacket pocket.  He looked back over at Dr. Batten.  She was scribbling something on a pad, then hung up.

 

“His roommate was Chad Boseman.  My friend is checking with Alumni Affairs to see if we have a current address.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“May I ask why you’re investigating Carson at this late date?”

 

“I’m looking into the disappearance of his sister.”

 

The older woman’s eyes closed for an instant, then she nodded.  “I heard about that after he was gone.  He never spoke of her, but it explained some of his distance.  He was a loner, maybe that’s why he was so good at research.  He was used to not having people around.”

 

“What did you hear about it?”

 

“Not much.  Just that it happened when he was a child.  I felt so sorry for his parents, losing both of their children.”  She looked over at her phone as it rang.

 

“Yes?  Thanks Gloria.  Yes, I’ll give you a call.”  She hung up and looked over at Mulder.  “The last address we have for Mr. Boseman is Washington, DC.”

 

For the first time Mulder grinned.  Almost too good to be true.  He took the slip of paper she handed him and thanked her.  He needed to get home.  If Dana had picked up on his shock, he needed to get home to her.

 

*****

 

She met him at the door, but before she could ask any questions, his lips covered hers.  When they broke for air, she couldn’t remember her question.  He turned her toward the couch and sat beside her.  “What did Sherrie say?”

 

She rolled her eyes.  “I’m fine.  You cured me.”

 

“I - “ his voice broke off when her hand came to rest on his thigh and began moving up.

 

She nodded.  “You ‘relaxed’ me.”

 

He swallowed hard.  The blood flow to his brain seemed to be diminishing rapidly.  “I thought women being insatiable during their second trimester was an old wives tale.”

 

She shook her head.  “There’re some pretty smart old wives out there.”  She shoved him down onto the leather and loosened his tie.

 

*****

 

He looked down at her sprawled across his body.  She had fallen into one of her naps following their lovemaking.  He pulled the afghan down over them so she wouldn’t be too cool.  Feeling her warm body against his, he slipped into sleep as well.

 

He woke to find her standing beside the couch.  She was watching him with a smile on her face as she picked up his suit coat from where it had dropped earlier.  At the sound of the paper crackling in the inside pocket she stopped and pulled it out.  Remembering, his hand went out to stop her, but it was too late.  She draped the coat over the coffee table and unfolded the paper.  It was a copy of the photograph.

 

“Where did you get this?  Is this you at Oxford?” She looked up and saw his expression.  “What?  What’s wrong?”

 

“Uh, that’s not me.”

 

“It’s not?” She looked back down at it.

 

“That’s Carson Nelson.”

 

She looked up at him then, startled.  “Carson - Are you kidding?”  He shook his head.  “This is what upset you.”

 

It wasn’t a question, so he kept quiet.

 

“Are you related to him?”

 

“Not that I know of.”

 

“Mulder, what’s going on?”

 

He sighed then.  “I don’t know.”

 

“Mulder - “

 

“I, could you look at something?”

 

“Sure.”

 

He moved over to the computer and booted it up.  He held the chair for her, seating her in front of the screen.  He leaned over her and pulled up Austin’s mug shot.  She hadn’t seen this before and winced at the photograph.  “At least I’m better looking than one of them,” he quipped.

 

“Mulder do you think - “

 

“Look at him.” Mulder covered the man’s jaw and nose with one hand and his bald head with the other, leaving basically only the eyes.  Her gasp was his answer.

 

“This man is five years younger than me.  Carson was ten.”

 

She just watched him for a moment.  “You think they’re - “

 

“I haven’t decided what I think yet.  I spent the ride home not thinking about it.”

 

“Because of me,” she said softly.

 

“Partly, yes.  I didn’t want you worrying, and I wanted to see if I could find a picture of Stephen and Chuck.”

 

“How can I help?”

 

He relaxed then smiling.  “You already did.”

 

*****

 

It took little time to find Chad Boseman.  He worked on the Hill for Senator Wymont.  He had resisted her accompanying him, but she had talked him around, pointing out that if she saw his emotions, she would have the facts rather than over blowing it with speculation.

 

They waited outside of the building and approached him when he left for lunch.  “FBI?” Chad glanced at the ID, then looked up at Mulder.  “You - “

 

“Do I look familiar?”

 

“Yeah, uh, yes.”

 

“Remember Carson?”

 

The younger man’s eyes widened.  “Are you, he didn’t have an older brother.”

 

“Have you got a few minutes?”

 

“Oh sure,” he said.  “I was headed to lunch.”

 

“If you don’t mind, we’ll join you.”  Mulder’s hand came up to Dana’s back.

 

Chad glanced down at Dana’s body.  “The concourse is close.”

 

“That’ll be fine,” Dana said smiling.  “Thank you.”   

 

Mulder insisted she take a seat, to hold the table, while he got food for the two of them.  The two men joined her at the table.  Chad took a bite of his gyro, savoring it a moment, then turned to Mulder.  “Did you want to ask me about Carson?”

 

“Yes, and his sister.”

 

“Jenny?”

 

“What do you know about her?” Mulder asked quickly.

 

“Nothing really.  I didn’t know she existed until one night I needed a marker and Carson pointed to a drawer and I opened the wrong one.  There was this picture of a little girl and I took it out.  He was just frozen, you know?  I asked who it was and he told me her name.  He was so freaked I asked if she was his daughter.” Chad chuckled then at the memory.  “Anyway, he told me she was his sister and had gone missing years ago.  I asked him why he had the picture stuck away in his desk and he couldn’t come up with a reason, so after that she sat on his dresser.  He didn’t talk about her or anything but I think having her out there and not hidden in a drawer made him feel better.”

 

Mulder was staring off into space.  Dana took his hand, bringing him back to the present. He nodded and squeezed her hand.

 

“Were you friends?” Dana asked, taking over the questioning.

 

“Well, I guess so.  I mean, we were good roommates, but we didn’t hang out together. He was in the labs a lot of the time.  Maybe that’s why he was such a good roommate.  He was quiet, brilliant; I wished he could help me with my courses more than once, but I was poly sci and he was pure scientist.”

 

“Did he date much?”

 

“No.  He wasn’t social.  He could have dated.  Hell, every woman I brought back to the room that got a look at him . . . Well, you know.”  He glanced at Mulder and grinned.

 

Dana smiled and nodded.  Mulder glanced over at her puzzled.  “I’ll explain later, Mulder,” Dana assured him.

 

“But he did get involved with one woman,” Chad sighed.  “He got in over his head, that’s for sure.”

 

“What happened?” Dana asked quickly.

 

“She was older, more ‘experienced’.  She just overwhelmed him.  I’m not saying he was a virgin when she went after him, but he was more innocent.  Then Diana blew in and - “

 

“Diana?” Mulder interrupted.  “What was her last name?”

 

“Uh,” Chad drew back from the intensity emanating from the man suddenly.  “Let me think.  It’s been years.  She was tall, dark hair - “

 

“Fowley,” Mulder said quietly.

 

“Yeah, that’s it.  Do you know her?”

 

“Apparently not,” was his only comment.  Dana looked over at him, but left it alone for now.

 

“Do you know anything about Carson’s research?” Dana asked, changing the subject.

 

“Not really.  Like I said, I was poly sci; but it always sounded like science fiction to me.  He was reading articles about in-vitro fertilization and gene stuff, even cloning.  It was way beyond anything I could follow.”  He took another bite of his lunch.  “I’m going to need to head back to the office.  Is there anything else?”

 

When Mulder didn’t speak, Dana met Chad’s eyes.  “This is a personal investigation, not FBI.  We’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t discuss this.”

 

“Oh, yeah.  I understand.  If you have any more questions, it’s okay to contact me.”  Chad drew a card out of his wallet and handed it to Dana.

 

“Thank you.  You’ve been a big help,” Dana shook the young man’s hand as he rose from the table.  Chad looked over at Mulder one last time, then nodded goodbye to Dana and took his trash to the bin before leaving them.

 

“Mulder?”

 

“Let’s go home.”

 

She nodded and took the hand he held out to her.

 

*****

 

 

 

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