She’d slept surprisingly well, but had been up before six. She felt no guilt about the speed of her driving. Mulder had said it was a three, three-an-a-half hours drive for her. It was over eight for him, so she could check in and be ready for him.
It really was stupid to get so excited about seeing a man she saw nearly every day of the year, but that didn’t calm her any.
Her eyes widened as she caught sight of the place when she pulled into the graceful curved driveway. Mulder had chosen this place?
The Victorian front of aged and weathered brick was lovely and the turret on the right drew her attention. It was such an inviting place. She could feel the age and gracious living that was this building's past.
She approached the counter as a brunette woman about her age looked up and smiled. “You must be Ms. Scully.”
“Uh, yes. How . . .
“Mr. Mulder described you to me. I’m Janet. Welcome to the Rookwood Inn."
“Th-thank you. Mulder described me?”
The woman’s smile widened. “Very well as a matter of fact. I haven’t seen Mr. Mulder this morning; it was quite late when he arrived.”
“Mulder’s here?” When they had talked he hadn’t mentioned starting out. Of course it hadn’t been late for him.
“Yes. He drove in last night. Something about not wasting any of the remaining time?” Her voice was curious, but she didn’t ask, observing the light blush that took over Dana’s face. “Follow me. We can get your things later.”
Not sure what comment would be appropriate, Dana followed the woman to the stairs and up one flight. "You're in the Williams' Suite. The house was originally the Williams Tavern, so this is in the oldest section. The living room has a fireplace and couch, with two wing-back chairs. The bar was originally a revival dresser." Janet led them into the suite and Scully looked around. Janet turned left toward a door. "This is your bedroom. You have a four-poster, 'rice' bed with canopy. Your seating area is in the turret with an English armoire and love seat. You also have a private bath with an antique soaking tub. I hope you enjoy yourself."
“Thank you." She turned taking in the room. Mulder chose this? "Where is Ag - Mulder?”
“This is a two bedroom suite. He’s here too.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
They stepped back out into the main room. The door at the far end of the sitting room was closed. "That’s Mr. Mulder's room. He has the smaller room with an antique brass bed and two Victorian chairs."
Dana nodded, stunned. She had stayed in some nice places before. Last night’s accommodations had been very nice, but she was more familiar with dumps. She’d never stayed in a place like this.
“Thank you.” It was inadequate, but she wasn’t sure what to say.
“Just ring down to the desk if you need anything.” Janet smiled again and let herself out. Dana returned to her room and sank onto the bed. She wasn’t sure how long she sat there, but the tap on the door brought her back to the present.
“Like it?” That honey, raspy voice caused her to shiver.
“Mulder,” she rose and moved toward him, “We can’t afford this.”
“Who’s this ‘we’ Kemosabe?” He grinned down at her. “I can afford it. I’m the one horning in on your time off.”
“I thought you were going to have to hock something to get your dry cleaning out.”
He shrugged, “That may have been a slight exaggeration.”
“When did you get here?”
“Around one, I think. It wasn’t a bad drive.”
“You drove up last night? Why?” Her surprise was evident.
“Sure. We only have today, tomorrow and Tuesday. Duty calls on Wednesday.”
“You’re crazy, Mulder.” But she was smiling at him.
“That’s one of my most lovable traits, Agent Scully.” He winked at her. “Let me get a quick shower, then we can eat some breakfast and go do our thing.”
“What thing is that, Mulder?”
“You’ll see.” He backed from the room, leaving her to explore their new surroundings.
After a delicious breakfast, with some of the best coffee she ever remembered drinking, Mulder led her outside to his car.
“We have to drive a little ways, then we walk.”
“When did you have time to plan all this?”
“I’m good, Scully. Don’t you forget it.”
“I won’t.” He wasn’t sure he really heard that, she spoke so softly, but he felt it.
The town had meticulously restored and preserved their historic district. Scully wouldn’t have been surprised to see men and women in colonial garb pass them. Mulder led her to a magnificent home and opened the door for her.
A tour was forming, so they joined it, wandering through the rooms, working their way upstairs. Mulder leaned down to speak to her, “Come on, Scully, if you were a ghost, isn’t this the kind of place you’d look for to haunt?”
Before she could respond, the young man serving as the guide for this tour turned to them. “You know there is a story of a ghost that’s supposed to live here.”
She looked up at Mulder, eyebrow high. “You didn’t.”
His hands went up in the air in mock surrender. “I didn’t, I swear.”
The guide launched into his story of lost love and eternal waiting. Scully crossed her arms and leaned back against Mulder to listen. On impulse, he draped his left arm around her throat, resting his hand on her right shoulder. She didn’t pull away, just resting more comfortably against him.
Everyone was quiet for a moment after the guide finished his story, then Scully took a deep breath. Mulder was loath to release her, but she straightened up. He heard one of the older women behind them whisper to the other. “I love watching newlyweds.”
Geez, Scully had to have heard her too, and since they were the only couple in the group . . . He waited for her to pull away or stiffen, but she didn’t. His hand brushed against hers as she followed the guide. Instead of pulling away, her fingers curled around his and she squeezed them lightly. His heart rate soared when she also looked up at him and winked. She had heard, but it hadn’t upset her. Damn, this was a good day.
They continued on to the next place, enjoying the company even more than the tours. She hadn’t thought about the fact that he had grown up in this area of the country and was actually a better tour guide than any of the people awaiting them at the different stops. This man was a font of trivia and, to her surprise, not all of it related to paranormal phenomena. He had her laughing as they walked down the street, hand in hand.
“Getting hungry, Scully?”
“Mmm, I could eat. What are you hungry for?”
His eyes gleamed for a minute, looking down at her, then he stepped back. “I don’t know. There’s a little sandwich shop over there.”
Scully turned to see where he pointed and saw a little place very similar to the tea shop she had eaten in yesterday. She shook her head slowly, “That doesn’t look like your kind of place. What if I buy you a pizza?” She pointed to a little Italian restaurant on the other side of the street.
“A pizza? Scully?”
She rolled her eyes, “Yes. My treat. Come on.”
Grinning he allowed her to pull him across the street. They split a pizza and a pitcher of beer while he regaled her with legends and stories of the surrounding countryside.
After lunch they continued on the walking tour for a little while, then turned into a large antique shop.
“You want to go shopping?” She grinned at Mulder.
“Hey, if you want to buy a bed or something, I think I should check it out.”
“A bed, huh? I was thinking more about end tables.”
“End tables? They won’t hold much weight.” He grimaced.
She laughed out loud and his eyes lightened to a deep green at the sight. He followed her around, checking out the books, albums and smaller things. She realized he had gotten stopped by a rack of comic books. Her smile widened and she joined him.
“Spiderman?” She peeked around him.
“No, Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes. I always had a thing for Saturn Girl.”
“Saturn Girl, huh? Isn’t she married to Lightening Lad?”
His mouth fell open. This woman could surprise him without even trying. “Uh, yeah. You know that?”
“Please, I have two brothers, Mulder. Bill had Saturn Girl hidden under his mattress before he could buy Playboy.”
Mulder’s blush caught her slightly off guard. He managed a grin, “Better than National Geographic.”
She chuckled and started to turn away, but he took her hand. “Thanks for letting me join you.”
Scully met his eyes. “It’s been fun, Mulder. A lot more fun since you joined me.”
He absorbed that, the feeling of happiness warming him. “You know, if you’re really interested in end tables, I can take you to see the stuff my Dad had. No one’s using it and I’m sure I’ve seen some tables like the ones in that first display.”
“The ones near the front? Are you kidding? Mulder, those are very expensive.”
He shrugged. “If you’re interested, they’re yours. We can go check them out next weekend, if we’re in town.”
“O-okay. If you’re sure.”
“I’m sure. Besides, imagine them with beer can rings or chopsticks stuck to the top.”
She mock shuddered. “Don’t do it Mulder. Those poor tables don’t deserve that.” She took his hand with no hesitation, “Well, are you going to buy those comics?”
“It wouldn’t embarrass you?”
“Me? Embarrassed by Mulder? Can’t even imagine it.”
“I’m gonna hold you to that.” He tugged her toward the checkout, then headed them back to the car. “There’s something I think you’ll enjoy.” She nodded, safe in his hands.
She was surprised when he pulled into the Norman Rockwell Museum. She did enjoy the hominess of his art, but hadn’t imagined Mulder enjoying this. It was surprisingly normal and a lot of fun.
The Wheatleigh was an unexpected treat. She’d had no experience with this side of Mulder, French cuisine, wine lists. Diners and paper napkins was more their style. The dinner was incredible, fresh seafood, crisp wine and even more stories.
“I’ll save up and we can stay here next time, Scully.”
“I saw the brochure, Mulder. We’d both need second jobs for that.” She said dryly.
“Well, if it’s a real special occasion maybe . . .”
“It would have to be real special, Mulder.”
“I’ll see what I can do. You know in the meantime, Scully, there’s a haunted tour in the Florida Keys if you want to make plans in the future.”
“A haunted tour?”
He grinned, “Lots of spooky houses and weird bumps in the night. Sounds great doesn’t it?” He nodded rapidly.
She laughed out loud and his heart clutched. What do you know, they could spend time together without a case and have a good time. Take that Van Blundht. After the leisurely dinner, coffee and chocolate chocolate mousse with Kaula, he headed them back to the B&B.
Her eyes lit up when they pulled up in front of the house. It was dramatically lit, she could envision this house when it was new, with women in magnificent gowns attending afternoon teas and balls here.
He led her inside and up the stairs to their suite. A fire had been laid in the sitting room. “May I?” She pointed to the matches.
“Sure.” He watched as she knelt and lit the kindling. She rose after the fire was going and sat in one of the wing-back chairs.
She felt mellow, relaxed and very happy. It was cool since the sun had gone down, so this was perfect. She turned as the music started.
Mulder was messing with the controls, and had found some light jazz. He really was doing everything to make this a perfect vacation for her.
Then he was standing in front of her. “Dance with me?”
He nodded and held out his hand. They had danced before, at the Cher concert, but that was so long ago. She took hold of his hand and he tugged her to her feet. She came into his arms and they moved to the music, more swaying than dancing. It felt so good.
She didn’t even know how many songs they danced through, but she felt like she could stay in his arms all night. Something made her look up, as he looked down. The first kiss was tentative, he wasn’t sure of her reaction, but she didn’t pull away. He kissed her upper lip then, and nibbled on her lower one.
She was responding, oh God, she was responding. She welcomed his tongue into her mouth and his arms tightened around her. His hand cradled the back of her head. He wanted her. He was even beginning to believe she wanted him, but that wasn’t why he’d planned this. Well, it wasn’t the only reason, and he refused to rush her after only one day of time off together.
“Scully,” she shivered at the sound of her name in that voice, “you better, you better go to your room.” He kept his arms around her to steady her.
After a moment, she nodded.
“I’ll, I’ll see you in the morning, Scully.”
She swallowed and stepped away. He was right, they loved each other, but they didn’t need to rush this. He really was a gentleman. She smiled at him and gave him one more, chaste kiss. “Goodnight Mulder.”
He nodded, but didn’t speak. He watched her walk to her bedroom and closed his eyes to keep from leaping after her. He listened for the door to shut and the lock to engage. He heard neither and looked over. She hadn’t completely closed the door behind her.
That wasn’t an invitation to jump her, he understood that, but it was definitely not a rejection of what had just happened here.
He turned to his own bedroom.
He didn’t expect to sleep. He knew he would lie awake, aware of her on the other side of the suite, but he was relaxed, more assured of his position in her life than at any time since she had entered his world.
He woke refreshed and rested. He lay there for a moment to analyze what he was feeling. Happy. Damn, when was the last time that he had woken up happy? He rose from the bed with a smile.
He headed out to the main room and started the coffee after glancing at her door. It was ajar, she was still asleep. His smile grew.
Mulder found the cups and fixed her coffee as she liked it. He could take it in there to her. He'd seen her in bed before, lots of times, though usually in hospitals. Anyway, she always wore those men's pajamas so he'd be safe. He grinned, more than once he had imagined her heading into the boy's department of some store to get those things. He couldn't help but wonder if the ones he hadn't seen had Superman or cowboys on them.
He glanced down, pajama bottoms, t-shirt, well not formal, but not embarrassing either. He headed for her door.
She was lying on her side, the covers drawn up to her face, with that red hair of hers spread around her like a halo on the pillow. He sat carefully on the side of the bed nearest her with the cup in his hand.
"Hey Scully." He spoke softly to wake her.
She turned, stretching and the covers fell back. His eyes widened, that was no pair of boy's pj's. It was a gown, with those tiny little straps. Spaghetti straps, his mind supplied, and one had fallen off of her shoulder in sleep. Her breasts were covered in white with little flowers, rosebuds, along the edge. Those little roses were the same color as her nipples, which he could see through the sheer fabric. As he watched, they hardened into little buds.
"Mmm, Mulder. Thanks." Scully sat up, sweeping the strap back up over her shoulder and leaning back against the headboard. She reached for the coffee, which he extended with slightly shaking hands.
She closed her eyes and took a deep, appreciative breath of the aroma. Oh God, did she have any idea what she was doing to him? He forced his eyes away and glanced at her face. She was watching him watch her. He could feel the color in his cheeks.
"Did you sleep well, Mulder?"
"Very well." His voice seemed to have a growl to it that caused the hair to stand up on her arms.
"Good. Did you have any plans for today?" She smiled at him.
God, she looked adorable in that little white nothing with her hair all mussed and curly. "Uh, yeah. I, uh I was thinking we could drive over to Salem and look around."
"The Witch Museum?" She asked innocently.
His eyes had traveled south again. She sure as hell didn't seem to be in any hurry to cover herself. "Uh, yeah. I, uh, I thought it might be fun."
She nodded, "I think it will be." She took another sip of her coffee. "Well, I guess I better get up and take a shower."
He nodded, and after a beat realized she was waiting for him to move so that she could get up. “Shower, yeah.” He stood, turned away from her. “I’ll meet you in twenty minutes.”
“Make it thirty, Mulder.”
“Thirty, yeah okay.” He didn’t look back, pulling the door closed behind him. He made his way to his own bedroom to get ready.
He waited in the main room, nursing a second cup of coffee and pacing. The shower had helped; at least he had some circulation in his brain now. He wanted her; she couldn’t have missed the signs. She hadn’t pulled away, last night or this morning. What did that mean?
He turned when the door opened. She hadn’t straightened her hair, just pulled it back in a clasp. The curls around her face were already pulling free. She was wearing casual gray slacks and a blue v-neck sweater that brought out the color of her eyes. He wanted to eat her up. He halted, watching her.
“Did I keep you waiting?”
“It was worth it.”
She smiled and turned to the door. His hand came up to touch her back, but he hesitated. It felt like he’d zap her if he touched her. There had to be high tension wires in the room.
She looked back and took his hand. No explosion, he hadn’t electrocuted her.
They had a delicious breakfast in the dining room, then headed for Salem. He drove and she checked the map.
“I don’t need a map, Scully. We’re in Massachusetts. I grew up in Massachusetts.”
“You’ve been to the Witch Museum before?” She asked, trying to conceal her smile.
“Once. It was years ago.”
They visited the whole three hours without once getting into an X-File or possible case. He was a little surprised that they had that much to talk about after all these years; it was fun. He was even enjoying the stories about Bill, especially the ones where he made a fool of himself.
When they arrived at the museum, Scully excused herself to go to the ladies’ room. She noted the arrival of four young women, slightly younger than her and dressed for attention. To think, that was what she had envisioned for this long weekend, but instead she'd gotten so much better.
When she returned, she looked around for Mulder. One of the women, the tall blonde, was talking to him. He was facing her, his back to Scully and the woman’s friends were off to the side, watching, smiling.
On some level she understood. Mulder was by far the most attractive man in the place, and that was not just prejudice on her part. And he probably seemed unattached. She'd seen him put female witnesses at ease with his manner often enough. Let's face it, the man oozed sexuality and, thank God, he didn't seem to notice.
Scully straightened her spine and moved in their direction. Time to stake her claim, this was Mulder. She hadn’t spoken, but he reached out when she was close and took hold of her hand, pulling her to him. He looked down at her, but Scully was watching the blonde.
It was obvious that this young woman did not appreciate the interruption. Scully met her eyes and the woman saw the certainty in Scully’s eyes. The woman looked away, then excused herself and joined her friends.
“Yes? You ready?” She looked up at him.
“Yeah.” His arm went around her shoulders and she let her head rest against his chest for an instant. They took their time, wandering through the exhibits. At one point she moved away from him to check out a plaque.
“He didn’t even look around." The one with short brunette hair was saying. "I know he could not have seen her from that angle. And there was a crowd, I don't think he could have heard her. How the hell did he know she was coming? He reached for her. You saw it. Damn, it was, it was spooky.”
Scully struggled not to smile. ‘You have no idea’ she thought. She returned to his side and he looked down at her.
“What?” He asked.
“Nothing.” She did smile then.
He looked puzzled, but decided not to pursue it for now. He glanced over as the women entered the room. They were watching the two of them. Scully had acted quite proprietorial when she'd returned from the ladies room. She didn't think he had approached the woman? No, she didn't think that. He squeezed her hand lightly and the pressure was returned. Damn he was having a good time today.
They returned to the room after another incredible dinner to find the fire had been laid again. He took the bottle of wine he had purchased over to the bar and found a corkscrew. He poured them each a glass. He needed to relax, even if she didn’t. That feeling of high tension lines was there again.
He thought about dancing again, but having her pressed against him might not be the best idea right now.
He handed her the glass of wine, but didn’t know what to say. She looked up from her chair. “Do you want a fire again tonight?”
“Sure.” He rose.
“You know, there’s a fireplace in my bedroom too, Mulder.”
He just looked at her for a longest moment. “Yes, there is.”
“Why don’t we light that one instead?” She rose and moved toward her room.
He wasn’t quite sure he could move for an instant, but she didn’t turn to see. She left the door open and with a deep breath, he followed.
Scully was kneeling in front of her fireplace, watching the fire catch the kindling. She stood when he joined her. She had already taken off her shoes, which made her even tinier. He looked down at her. “Scully, are you sure?”
She rose on her toes and kissed his lips. He swept her up in his arms and carried her the few steps to the bed. He lay her on the bed and she rolled to face him. He toed off his own shoes and reclined next to her, letting his hand rest lightly at her waist.
He bent down to meet her lips again and he felt her hands lightly massaging the muscles of his back. Damn he was going to make this a good night.
He woke in her bed. If he’d woken happy yesterday, he was ecstatic this morning. His Scully was curled up at his side, one of her shapely legs entwined with his, and her head rested over his heart.
“Scully?” He whispered to find out if she was still asleep.
She stirred, pressing her body closer to his. He smiled and leaned down to kiss her forehead.
“Mmm, Mulder, what time is it?”
“Don’t know. The sun’s up.”
“That’s not all.” She moved her leg and he grinned. “I can’t believe you, Mulder. Again?”
“Hey, you’re at your sexual peak, I don’t want to waste another minute.”
“My sexual peak. So that’s what I felt last night.”
“More than once it seemed to me.” He nuzzled her ear.
She chuckled by way of confirmation. “So, do you have plans for today?”
“Scully, everything I want to see in Massachusetts is right here in this bed. Remember, I grew up here. There’s nothing else that even comes close to attracting me."
She couldn’t argue with that. She felt the same way.
Author’s notes: Okay, before I get pounded for lack of ‘full disclosure’, you guys have just as good an imagination as I do (and some better, I read too you know), and I’ve been reminded recently that I have young readers who don’t or shouldn’t read NC-17. Besides, this is a romance story - non graphic.
Also, there is a Rookwood Inn and a Wheatleigh in Lenox, MA. I played a little loose with the suite, but they are places I’d like to stay when I hit the lottery… www.rockwoodinn.com, and www.wheatleigh.com/index.html.