Time Off
He let himself into his apartment and tossed his briefcase on the table.  He headed directly for his bedroom and lost the tie and the
suit coat.  It was Friday and he had a long weekend coming up.  He could relax and do anything he wanted.  Scully wouldn’t be back in the
office until Wednesday.  She’d wanted to ‘get away’, so he had taken a couple of days himself.  There was stuff he should do around here. 
Yeah, or he could just kick back and relax.
After changing into jeans and a t-shirt, he checked his refrigerator.  The Chinese had a nice green carpet growing on it and the pizza was
dried out.  Yes, if he would cover it and not just throw the box into the frig it would last longer, thank you very much Dr. Scully.
What the hell, he didn’t have to stay here and eat.  He could go anywhere, do anything.  There was a new bar and grill not all that far
away that he had thought about trying.  Carpe Diem, right?
He nearly closed the refrigerator door with the food still inside, but before it could close completely he heard Scully’s voice in his head. 
He reached in and drew out the offending food, trashing it.  Come to think of it, he needed to empty all the trashcans.  Okay, then he would
go get something to eat.
His chores finally completed, he pulled out his leather jacket and turned toward the door.  He hadn’t taken two steps when the phone rang.
 It might be Scully.  He grabbed the receiver.  “Hello?”
“Mulder, we downloaded some really cool stuff.  Want to come over and help us check it out?”  Frohike’s voice sounded over the line.
“Not tonight.  I’m on my way out.”
“Ahh, going to spend time with the luscious Agent Scully?”
“She’s out of town.”
“Out of town?  What are you going to do?”
“Hey, my existence doesn’t hinge on Scully being here.”
“Yeah, right.”  The scorn was deep.
“I’m hanging up.  Talk to you later.”  He headed out and drove over to check out the new bar he’d thought of.  He hadn’t remembered it being
quite so close to Scully’s place.
 He was a little early for the evening crowd; happy hour was just thinning out, which was fine with him.  He ordered a burger, no onions;
hell, he might get lucky, and a beer.  The burger didn’t last long; he’d have to come here again.  He nursed his beer as the crowd began to
arrive.  It seemed to be kind of a yuppie place.  Happy hour must have been pretty popular.
He was mildly surprised when a woman sat next to him at the bar.  “I haven’t seen you here before.”
“Uh, first time.”
“Don’t suppose you have a friend?”  She looked past him and he realized a second woman had taken up residence on his other side.
“Sorry, not tonight.”
“Too bad.  Of course, you could hang out with both of us.”
“Well, that might be interesting.”  What was he supposed to say?  No woman had come on to him like this is a damn long time.
“Do you work around here?”
“Uh, no.  I just spotted this place and thought I’d try it.”
“So where do you work?”  She was persistent anyway.
“Uh, the FBI.”  In places like this that always sounded like a line to him, even though, in his case, it happened to be true.
“The Bureau?  Are you kidding?”
“No.”  He pulled his ID from his pocket.
“Fox?  Your name is Fox?”
He shrugged, “What about your name?”
She smiled and leaned forward to expose a little more cleavage, “Caitlin, and this is Suzi.”
They talked for a while, then Suzi found someone else and moved off.  Caitlin became even friendlier.  Mulder finished his first beer and
ordered a second, along with another Manhattan for her.   
He was beginning to wonder which drink this was for her, but she was an adult.  She just seemed to be drinking a little too fast as far as he
was concerned.  He took hold of her hand as she caressed his chest.  “I think you need to slow down a little, Caitlin.”
“Come on Fox.  Why slow down?”
“I think you’ve had a little too much to drink.”
“What’s the problem?  You married or something?”  Her voice was slightly slurred now.
The question caught him off guard and that must have shown on his face.
“You are.  You're married.”  She hissed at him.  She’d had more to drink than he’d realized.
“No.  No, I’m not.”
“I saw it.  I saw it in your eyes.  Is this how you get your kicks?”  Her voice was beginning to rise.
“Caitlin, look I’m sorry.  You’re getting upset for no - “
“You sure are.  You’re a sorry son of a bitch.  I’m not falling for that again. I feel sorry for your wife.”
‘Sorry son of a bitch’, exactly what Bill had called him.  Maybe it was becoming more obvious with age.  
“I am not . . . nevermind.  I’m sorry I . . . look it was nice meeting you, and I’m sorry I upset you.”  He stood then, leaving half of his
second beer, and made his way through the couples to the door.
He was sober.  One and half beers with the burger, and then Caitlin’s accusation had eliminated all alcohol from his system.  He trudged to
his car.  No wonder he never went out.  He was lousy at it.  Here an attractive woman had thrown herself at him and he had blown it, blown
it completely.  Why the hell had she thought he was married?  He’d just been trying to go a little slower.  What had she seen?  He shook it
off, she had just been drunk.  
The fact that he drove by Scully’s apartment and glanced at the darkened windows was lost on him.  His mood did not improve.  He let
himself into his apartment still kicking himself.  He’d just wanted to slow things down.  If he’d taken her up on it, he’d probably have been
arrested when she sobered up.  Besides, he didn’t like aggressive women.
Wait a minute!  Yes he did.  Or he used to.  He’d always thorough l enjoyed a female instigated roll in the hay.  And if he never saw them
again, it wasn’t a big deal.  When . . .
It was Friday night, he’d had a burger and a couple of beers, been hit on by a truly horney woman and he was home by 8:30.  He was married. 
Well and truly married, without even the semi-annual conjugal visit.  He sank onto the couch.  Damn.
Should he go back out and try to find Caitlin?  Instead he felt around in the couch for the remote.  Just as he found it, the phone rang.
“Hello.” He wasn’t even paying attention, expecting Frohike’s voice.
“Hi.  I wasn’t sure you’d be home.”
Scully?  “Uh, yeah.  I had a burger and a beer, but that didn’t take long.”
“Where did you go?”
“New place, over on King.”  He cringed.  He shouldn’t have said that.  It was just a couple of blocks from her place.
“I’ve seen it.  Why were you over there?”
“Just wanted to try the place out.  I didn’t expect to hear from you tonight.”  He quickly changed the subject.
“Oh, well . . . I . . .”
“No talking dolls?”
There was silence for a moment and he winced, had he gone too far?
Then she chuckled, “No, no talking dolls.”
“So, what are you going to do tomorrow?”
“I don’t know, sleep late, maybe check out the antique shops here.”
“I didn’t know you liked antiques.”
“Well mostly family antiques for me, but I think some of them are really beautiful.”
Family antiques.  His father’s house was full of them.  And she was the only family he had.  He should take her up there, see if there was
anything she liked.
“What about you?”  Her voice brought him back to the present.
He stretched, getting comfortable on the couch.  “Well, I can’t get out of doing my laundry much longer, my partner is going to get offended. 
And I might get some groceries.  There’s a game on tomorrow afternoon I guess I’ll watch.”
“Well there aren’t many talking dolls around here either.  I could go into the office and try to dig something up.”
“That’s okay.”  They were quiet for a minute.  “Strange, isn’t it?
“That I took this weekend to get away, and instead I’m . . . “
”Talking to me?”
“I’m glad you called.”
“I’m not bothering you?”
“I can always pause a video.”  He looked over at the blank screen.
“Oh, thanks.”
He laughed then, “Don’t suppose you’d think about coming back early?”
“Not if you’re going looking for talking dolls.”
“I won’t even go to the office, Scully, I swear.”
“I guess I could think about it.  Tell me what else you did after I left.”
He settled back, reclining on the couch and they talked.
He heard her stifle a yawn.  “Getting sleepy or am I boring you?”
“Well, I’m not bored.”  He could visualize that smile.  “I should let you go.  That tape will be ruined if it’s still on pause.”
“Guess I’ll have to toss it.  You should go on to bed.”
“Umm, I think I’ll take a bubble bath first.”
“Oh.”  That brought up a completely different visualization.
“Listen, Mulder . . . thanks for spending the evening with me.”
“No problem.  Why don’t you call me again tomorrow night, let me know how your day went.”
“You don’t mind?”
“It has been nice.”
“What are you wearing?”
She laughed out loud.  “That’s it, ruin it Mulder.  Gotta go, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Yeah?”  She waited, what kind of comment was she going to get now?
“I miss you.” The phone was disconnected before she could get her breath and respond.  She looked at it for a long time before getting up
from the bed and moving toward the bath.
He stretched and rose from the couch, moving toward his bedroom.  He was nice and relaxed now.  He would be able to sleep.  Yeah, he was
married, now he just needed to figure out how to make her realize it too.  Then he wouldn’t have to spend any more time off without her.