No, he couldn’t give in yet. He had things to do.
“Doc, why don’t you go upstairs, lie down. We need to get out of their way down here anyway.”
“Mul - “
“Come on, I’ll take you.” He lifted her to her feet.
“Mulder, I can’t lie down. I can’t . . . “
He didn’t speak, just holding her against him, and supported her up the stairs. He led her into their bedroom and seated her on the bed.
“I need to make a phone call, Doc.”
“Don’t leave, please.”
He hesitated a moment, then nodded and joined her on the side of the bed. She watched him pull out his cell phone again.
He dialed a number quickly, from memory, then put his free arm back around her.
“Yes.” The man’s voice was tentative, as though the call had caught him off guard.
“Fox Mulder here.”
“How did you get this number?”
“I’m resourceful. And it’s a good thing for you. I want my son back and I want him now. He and Maggie Scully.”
“What are you talking about?”
“While you and I were visiting, some of your goons broke into my in-laws home, attacked the Captain and Skinner and took my son and mother-in-law - “
“Mulder, listen to me, I swear we had nothing to do with this.”
“I believe that about as much as I do your assurances of earlier today. I want them back, unharmed, now. I figure with your connections . . . “
“Mulder, don’t do anything rash. Give me a little time, forty-eight hours. I’ll - “
“Twenty-four. I want my family back and safe. You don’t want to know what I can do if I have to.”
“Mulder, don’t - “
“I wouldn’t disconnect this number if I were you. I may need to communicate with you and I don’t want to waste any time trying to find you. I might not be very patient.”
“This number will not be disconnected and someone will be here to answer it at all times. Whoever answers will know how to find me if I am away. I will find your family Agent Mulder. Believe me, I did not authorize this and I will get to the bottom of it. I need to get off the phone and begin what needs to be done.”
“On the off chance that you would recognize the truth, you might want to check on the colonel. His obsession with me - “
“I agree Agent Mulder. Please convey my concern to your wife. I will be in touch with you shortly.” The connection was broken and Mulder closed his eyes. The man had been shaken, that hadn’t been faked. What if he was telling the truth and someone else had them?
Her voice drew him back from the edge. She needed him; madness would have to wait. He sat beside her on the bed. “Right here, Doc.”
“What did he say?”
“That it wasn’t them.”
“Do you believe him?”
Mulder hesitated then, reliving the phone call, hearing every tone and nuance of the man’s voice. “Yes, I do. But he’d come up with ideas before we hung up. These men aren’t stupid Doc. They wouldn’t have lasted as long as they have if they were. They know what danger they’re in - exposure is the last thing they want.”
“They’ll get Will and Mom back for us?”
He nodded. “They will, Doc. Don’t worry.” He spoke with more assurance than he felt. Maybe having his memories intact again wasn’t a good thing.
She looked so vulnerable lying there. Her hands were trembling and, when he took them into his own hands, they were cold as well. “You need to rest, Doc.”
“I can’t. Mulder, I shouldn’t even be lying here. I need - “
“Doc. Right now the only thing you can do is look after yourself.” He rose and removed her shoes, then pulled the afghan up over her.
“How can I - “
“Your mother’s with Will. She’s not going to let anything happen to him. She’s got four kids and four grandkids. No conspiracy, no man is going to be able to get past that. I remember how she looked at me the first time she saw me, when she thought I had harmed you. She made my blood run cold. Other than the two of us, I can’t think of anyone more ferocious in the defense of our son.”
Dana actually managed to smile a little at that and nodded.
“I want you to nap now, because I’m going to need you to be strong later.”
Her smile faded. “What?”
“I don’t know, that’s why you should gather your strength now.”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
“I’ve got something that’ll help.” She looked puzzled and reached for him as he rose again from the side of the bed.
He squeezed her hand. “I’ll be right back.” He was back immediately, with a glass of water. He placed a capsule in her hand.
“Seconal?” Where did you get this?”
“Before I came back for you . . . Even I have to sleep occasionally, Doc. Come on, take it.”
She shook her head, “What if you need me?”
“That’s a constant Doc. Come on, do this for me.”
“Are you going to leave me?”
He looked stunned at the question. “What?”
“Are you drugging me so that you can make some sort of deal? Exchange yourself for Will and Mom?”
“No. Doc, I hadn’t even . . . I’ve proven I’m useless to them biologically. The information I have is available at the press of a button. No, Doc. I just want you to rest. Then you can be awake while I try to sleep.”
She looked deep into his eyes then and after a moment glanced back at the capsule in her hand and popped it in her mouth. She took the glass from his hand and swallowed the pill.
He took her jacket and skirt, then began unbuttoning her blouse, as her fingers already were becoming clumsy. He left her in her slip and draped her robe across the foot of the bed.
“I love you, Doc.”
“And don’t you forget it. Hold me? While I go to sleep?”
He nodded and toed off his own shoes while she scooted over to give him room.
He stretched out beside her and pulled her into his arms. She came willingly; absorbing what comfort she could from the feel of him around her.
He felt her tears off and on as she lost her struggle against sleep and murmured what he hoped were comforting sounds in her ear. When her hand slid from it’s grip on his chest, he knew she was finally asleep.
He placed her tenderly on the pillow and she automatically rolled toward him.
Mulder looked down at her after propping himself up on one elbow. Even asleep her face was drawn. She had drifted into REM sleep and the dreams weren’t pleasant.
Why hadn’t he listened to her? Where in hell had he gotten the idea that any place was safe? Would these men he didn’t want to trust, find his son? And Maggie, he couldn’t forget Maggie. Could Doc survive a double blow like that?
It was almost as thought she felt his own need for comfort and squirmed toward him, a hand coming to rest on his thigh.
It hit him then, that’s what he needed - the comfort of her body. He wanted to be sheathed within it and then oblivion for a little while.
He was going mad, to be thinking of that now. And she was asleep; it could be considered a form of rape. Later, he would find his own comfort later. Now he had work to do.
He tucked the afghan around her, kissed her forehead and headed downstairs.
The police had followed his instructions and the FBI was now on the scene. He checked his watch, he’d been upstairs less than thirty minutes but it felt like a lifetime.
“Mulder? I’m sorry about this.” An agent approached him, hand extended. Mulder found some slight comfort that they had assigned Greenbaum. He was easier to be around than some, his slightly stocky body belying the keen mind hidden underneath. And he’d never called him Spooky to his face.
“Jerry. Thanks for getting here so . . . “ His voice trailed off but he shook hands with his fellow agent.
“We’ve got the phone lines in and we’re set for their next move.”
“There won’t be a request for ransom.”
“Okay. What are we looking for?” Good, he was treating him as an equal, not just the . . . the father of the victim.
“Did you hear about this morning?”
Jerry nodded, “Yeah, your blood’s as red as mine.”
“They wouldn’t have taken him. Where is Baldwin being held?”
Jerry looked embarrassed then, and glanced over at the agent by the phone.
“Jerry?” Mulder had stepped closer to him and the older agent suddenly understood why this man intimidated so many agents. He’d been hearing about his memory, his insight, hell, his brilliance since the man had exploded from the academy, top of his class. He’d heard the stories, the jokes about little green men - for the first time, he believed them. He believed it all. This man knew things, understood things he never would.
He took a deep breath. “Baldwin’s not in custody anymore. General Foreman had him released.”
“Where is he?” Mulder spoke quietly, his voice not raised in any way, but Jerry feared for an instant that he would humiliate himself by wetting his pants - and the man hadn’t even moved.
“We’re . . . we’re working on that. We only found out about ten minutes ago. A guy called, said he was a friend of yours,” Jerry flipped through his pad. “Langly. He said his name was Langly.”
Mulder nodded once and stepped back, looking over at the other man present.
Jerry took the opportunity to straightened his tie and catch his breath.
“If Langly calls back, I have to speak to him.”
The younger agent nodded quickly but didn’t speak.
Mulder turned back to Greenbaum, who straightened up immediately. “Have you had word on how my father-in-law or Skinner are doing?”
“Not yet. You want me to call over there?”
Mulder shook his head, “I’ll do it. Thanks.” He took the cell phone Jerry extended and moved to the other side of the kitchen. Jerry noted that he didn’t bother with a phone book.
After a couple of long minutes he was finally connected. “Melissa? It’s Mulder. How’s your Dad?”
“Going crazy wanting to hear from you. Any word?”
“Not yet, the FBI is here, and we’ve got other help. Can I speak to him?”
“Sure, just a second.”
“Mulder? What’s going on?” The Captain was using his command voice. Mulder felt a desperate need to hand over command to him, but that wasn’t possible.
“We don’t have much . . . Langly called, Baldwin’s free. General Foreman had him released.”
“That SOB! He’ll hear from me.”
“Not now, not until . . . “
He heard the older man sigh. “You’re right. Look, I’m fine. They stitched me up, my heart’s fine. I should be there.”
“I could use your help there, Sir.”
“They won’t give me information on Skinner. If you or Melissa could get his status, maybe talk to him - he might have recognized someone, something.”
“Yeah, we could do that.”
“And I haven’t talked to Charlie or . . . Bill.”
“Shit, Bill. He’s gonna go ballistic. Yeah, I can handle that from here too. It wouldn’t be a good idea for you to talk to Bill. Okay, but how’s Starbuck?”
“I gave her something to make her sleep.”
“Good. When she wakes, have her call me. Mulder, don’t do anything stupid. You look after her . . . and yourself.”
“I will. Thanks . . . Dad.”
There was a brief pause. “I’ll check on Skinner and call you back, Son. This is going to be okay. Don’t ever underestimate Maggie Scully.”
“I wouldn’t dare. Talk to you soon.”
He broke the connection and leaned against the counter, closing his eyes. How many years since he had called anyone Dad? He straightened up and turned to Jerry. “Anything?”
Mulder nodded and dialed a familiar number. “Yeah?”
“Frohike, what’s happening?”
“All five of your people have been alerted and are safe.”
“We’re working on it. How’s Dana?”
“At the breaking point. She’s asleep right now. I thought it would be . . . “
“Yeah, you’re probably right. Mulder, we’re gonna find them.”
“Yeah, call me.”
“You got it. Tell Dana we’re thinking about her.”
Mulder made some noise that sounded like an assent and hung up. Now what was he supposed to do? Waiting was his worst trait.
“Mulder,” Jerry approached him, “can I get you something to eat? Coffee?”
Mulder’s stomach roiled at the thought. “Thanks, no. I’ll uh, I’ll be in the other room.”
Jerry nodded sympathically. The man didn’t mean to be spooky. He was sure of that. How would he hold up under the same circumstances? And hadn’t his sister been taken years ago? Shit, talk about a nightmare. He watched the younger man move into the living room.
Mulder stood just inside of the larger room, unable to focus on anything. If he thought about what was happening, he’d go mad. That would have to come later. Right now he needed to step away. He moved to the bookcase and pulled a photo album from the shelf.
He sat and began leafing through the book, watching his wife grow up in front of his eyes. She’d definitely been a tomboy, keeping up with her brothers, while Melissa had hung back. He actually smiled at some of the pictures of her, with her pigtails and skinned knees.
He didn’t know how long he had allowed himself to be lost in the past when he heard her cry out. The album hit the floor as he raced to the stairs. Jerry met him at the bottom of the steps.
“It’s okay.” He was already moving up. Jerry wisely stayed at the bottom and after a moment, moved back to the kitchen.
He let himself into their room where she was sitting up crying, but she didn’t seem to be awake yet. “Doc, Doc it’s me. I’m here.”
She focused on him then, “Mulder.” She reached for him and he took her into his arms. It felt like the only safe place in the world. Her grip on him tightened and she tried to get even closer, her tears slowing as his lips took possession of her.
After a moment he broke away, “Doc, god, I’m sorry. I - “
“Don’t stop. Please, Mulder make it all go away for a little while. Please.”
He blinked at her as she reached for his zipper, but didn’t bother to protest. He needed this as much as she did, more.
When they collapsed back onto the bed, she realized they hadn’t even removed any clothes. They’d never done it like this before, but it had been right.
Mulder was almost unconscious from his release, his eyelids felt leaden.
She leaned over him, awake now, as though the drugs had vanished from her system with her orgasm. She brushed his hair from his forehead and kissed it, then pulled the afghan over him and slipped on her robe.
“Sleep, Baby. I’ll take care of things for a little while.” She could tell he wanted to protest. She kissed him again. “It’s your turn to rest. Just for a little while. I’ll wake you soon.”
He seemed to nod and she waited until he stopped his struggle and surrendered to sleep. She let herself out quietly and headed downstairs.
Jerry came to his feet when she entered the kitchen. “Mrs. Mulder?”
She nodded, tightening the sash of her robe.
“I’m Jerry Greenbaum, FBI. I’ve never worked with your husband, but I know him. We’re doing everything we can - “
“Thank you Agent Greenbaum.”
He nodded, “Would you like some coffee? We just made a fresh pot.”
“Thanks.” She accepted the cup from him and added some cream and sugar. “Can you bring me up to date?”
Jerry sighed. “There’s not been much activity. Did Mulder tell you that Colonel Baldwin was released?”
She looked up stunned and he took the cup from her hand as she sank into the nearest chair. “Released?”
“I’m sorry, I thought . . . Yes, General Foreman ordered him released. That’s the lead we’re working on first. We’ve had a little trouble locating the General but we have a lead on the car that picked Baldwin up.”
“Is there . . . is there any word on my father, or AD Skinner?”
“Mulder talked to your father, but I haven’t heard anything.”
“I’m going to call him now. Is there a phone I could use that won’t - “
Jerry handed her his cell phone. She nodded her thanks and headed to the living room. She spotted the photo album on the floor and picked it up. It was turned to a camping trip they had taken when she was nine or ten years old. She glanced at the stairs; Mulder must have been looking at this when she’d cried out in her nightmare.
Tears threatened to form in her eyes, but she shook her head. She needed to talk to Ahab and she didn’t want to upset him any more than he was. She dialed quickly and Melissa answered the phone.
“Missy? How’s Dad?”
“Dana! He’s fine. What’s happening?”
“Nothing as far as I can tell. Missy, I’m so scared.”
“I know. But Mulder seemed really confident when he called before. He knows about this kind of thing. We’re just going to have to trust him.”
“I do, but he’s . . . he feels so guilty.”
“Yeah, but it’s not his fault. I believe him; I believe these people have conspired against us for generations. And I think he’s the only one they’re afraid of.”
Dana was silent for a minute. She hadn’t expected this. “Missy? Who have you been talking to?”
“Uh, Langly. After he came over to the house when you came back the first time, we’ve . . . He’s fun in a Zonker Harris kind of way.”
“You’re seeing Langly?” She knew this was a stupid topic of conversation, but at least it was keeping her mind off of unthinkable thoughts for a little while.
“Dad’s back, he wants to talk to you.”
“He’s was checking on Skinner. Hold on.”
Dana could visualize him as he took the phone. “Starbuck! Are you okay?”
“Yes, Ahab. I guess you are too, if you’re wandering around the hospital.”
“I’m fine. They put a couple of stitches in my scalp. I’m only here to help Mulder. Skinner’s still sedated, but they’ve upgraded him to serious. It looks like he’s going to make it. He’ll have a hell of a headache, but . . . “
“Good. You’re helping Mulder?”
“Yes, we talked, he thought since I was already here, I could be his eyes and ears. In my opinion, it took a hell of a long time for the FBI to put a guard on Skinner. Have they found Baldwin?”
“You know about that?”
“Mulder’s keeping me in the loop. Where is he?”
“He’s resting. We haven’t gotten any word yet.”
“Dana, your mother is the strongest woman I know. You need to have faith.”
“I’m trying Ahab. But Will is so little, I . . . “
“But you have to know your mother will look after him. Starbuck, you know that.”
“I’ve talked to Charlie, he’ll probably be calling you soon.”
“What about Bill?”
“He wasn’t in when I tried. I’ll call him again.”
“Maybe I should - “
“No, Starbuck. Let me handle him. You don’t need that, and I need to . . . “
She heard his pain then and realized how strong he was being for her. “You’re right, we need your help.” She looked up as Jerry came to the door and motioned that there was another call.
“Ahab, there’s a call coming in. I’ll let you know what’s going on as soon as I know anything.”
“You do that Starbuck. We love you.”
“I love you too. Bye.” She broke the connection and turned toward Jerry.
“It’s Langly. Mulder said he had to talk to him. Do want me to get him?”
“No, he needs the rest. I’ll talk to Langly.” She followed him into the kitchen. “Langly?”
“Dana? Are you okay?”
She ignored the question, “What have you found?”
“That Baldwin wasn’t released by Foreman. Foreman is in Germany in the hospital. He had an angioplasty while he was there for a meeting. He’s gonna be okay, but he hasn’t been on the phone to anyone.”
“So it was maneuvered.”
“Yeah, we’re working on it now but it’s slow going. I know you don’t want to hear that - “
“No, I don’t. But at least you’re learning something. Any idea where Baldwin went when he got out?”
“No, but that’s our top priority. How’s your Dad?”
“He’s good. He’s staying at the hospital to help out. Missy is with him.”
“Good, she’ll be an asset there too.”
Dana refrained from comment, but later she’d see what the situation was. For some reason, having Missy see Langly felt . . . right.
“I need to get off this line, Langly. Let us know what you find and we’ll let you know what the FBI finds. Langly, thanks.”
“You got it Dana. Keep the faith.” He hung up and she handed the receiver back to Jerry.
She sat at the table and told them about General Foreman. She could tell he didn’t want to get this kind of information from her, but in all fairness, he took the information and immediately went to work on it.
Things were moving too slowly. She could feel her anxiety trying to overwhelm her again. She didn’t want to wake him, but she needed to see Mulder, be near him. “I’m not really helping down here. I think I’ll go back upstairs.”
“Of course. Dana, we’ll let you know as soon as we find out anything.”
She nodded and struggled against the tears that were too close. Dana turned from him and headed upstairs. She carefully opened the door to their bedroom. Mulder was still asleep, but not peacefully, jerking occasionally and he made a noise she could only describe as a moan once.
As scared as she was for their son and her mother, she knew his suffering was as bad or worse. He hadn’t slept like this since he had finally come to believe that she was really with him. She slipped into the chair beside the bed. Dana picked up her purse and pulled out her wallet. She opened to her favorite picture - one of Mulder and Will asleep on the couch.
They both looked so relaxed, Will was obviously totally secure, sprawled across his Dad’s chest. Even in sleep Mulder was holding their son protectively, his hand almost large enough to cover the baby. She let the tears come then. Her baby was missing, what would she do if . . . Samantha had never been found. That was what haunted her and was obviously haunting him as well.
Would their relationship be strong enough to get through this? Would she lose him too? No, she couldn’t, neither one was as strong alone as they were together. They had to hold onto that. She had to make him see that she didn’t blame him for this. He blamed himself enough.
He suddenly cried out, “No!” and she jumped, dropping the picture.
“Mulder, wake up. I’m right here. We’re together.”
His eyes flew open and he grabbed her. “Doc?”
“Yes, it’s me.” She caressed his face with her hand and he leaned into it. “Bad dream?”
He shuddered slightly and didn’t bother to respond. “How long was I asleep?”
“Less than an hour. You haven’t missed anything.”
“Doc, I can’t believe I attacked you like - “
“I think it was me attacking you. I needed it and I think you did too. Mulder, I’m scared. I’m so scared.” He sat up and pulled her against him then.
“Me too. But I gave them twenty-four hours. I think they’re going to honor it; I have to believe they will. We just have to wait.”
“Yeah, I know. Not my strong suit.”
“Mine either. Mulder . . . “
“Don’t hold anything back from me Doc.”
“I’m not.” She sighed and burrowed deeper into his side. “I want Will and my mom. I need them. And I keep thinking about Samantha.”
His arm tightened involuntarily, and he didn’t speak.
“Mulder, I know you’re thinking about her too. You can’t hold anything back from me either. We have to be there for each other. I don’t want you to think you have to be strong for me. I know you’re as scared as I am, hell, maybe more. I know you’ve been through it and I know it wounded you. I want to be strong for you.”
“Doc, I’m okay. With you here beside me, I’m okay.”
She sighed. She could hear the truth in his voice, but neither one of them was ‘okay’. She knew that too. Twenty-four hours. How the hell were they supposed to get through twenty-four hours?
After a moment, he hugged her close, then sighed, “Doc, I need to check in with Jerry.”
She nodded and kissed him. “I’m going to get dressed again and I’ll be right down.”
“Doc, you could - “
“Don’t even say it.”
He nodded and rose from the bed. She followed him shortly, in time to see one of the agents she hadn’t met yet accept a pizza at the front door.
“Mrs. Mulder, I hope you don’t mind.” He motioned to the box.
“No, of course not. Have you seen my husband?”
“He’s in the kitchen.” He looked like he wanted to say more, but refrained. She was grateful; one more assurance that everything was being done would probably send her over the edge. It was going to be a long night.
Jerry was still there, though she was pretty sure his shift would be over. She felt gratitude for that as well. It was probably because he was a friend of Mulder’s. She wasn’t going to ask, she was just glad he was still there.
She entered the kitchen and Mulder seemed to sense her even though she was barefoot and knew she had made no noise. He motioned her over to where he and Jerry were talking.
“Sounds like Baldwin had some help. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the general, but he’s off the hook on this one.”
She nodded, feeling a touch of guilt that she hadn’t remembered to tell him of Langly’s call. They settled in to wait. No one seemed able to sustain a conversation. That was fine with both of them, they were comfortable with silence. They’d had to be when his memories were still gone.
Sometime after midnight, he had convinced her to let him take her back upstairs. She wasn’t sleepy but bone weary, and in increasing pain without Will there to nurse. That kept her from resting as much as the never-ending thoughts that kept swirling around in her head.
She finally fell into a restless sleep around dawn. Mulder sat with her, not even trying to sleep, just watching over her. There was nothing else he could do.
“Mulder!” Jerry yelled up the stairs to them.
They exchanged glances and both raced down the stairs, her shorter legs not hampering her at all.
“We’ve got them! They’re fine and on their way here. Mrs. Scully is refusing to go to the hospital, says it’s unnecessary.”
Dana actually smiled then, “Yeah, that’s Mom. Where, where were they?”
Jerry looked down at his notes, “In Virginia. They were at a place called Skyland Mountain. They - “ He broke off when he saw the blood drain from Dana’s face. He reached for her, but Mulder was already seating her in the chair and pressing her head between her knees.
“Doc, it’s okay. They’re okay.”
“Skyland - “
“Don’t think about that. They’re on their way home.”
He was whispering to her, but Jerry could hear most of it. Why was this place in Virginia such a big deal?
She looked up at the older agent suddenly, “Why were you looking for them there?”
“We weren’t. To be honest, we weren’t even close. Apparently your mother got away, with the boy, and hid out in the lodge at the top of the mountain. The phones had been turned off, but a maintenance worker came up this morning to work on the place. He found them, but he didn’t have a cell phone, so he drove them down; that takes about an hour.”
“Dad should be here.”
“Right, you should call him. He and Missy should both be here. How long until they get home?”
Jerry glanced at his watch again. “They should be here within the hour.”
Dana nodded and grabbed a phone off of the table. She took it into the other room, but Mulder could hear her tone if not her words. He smiled for the first time in days, listening to her.
Mulder picked up the phone after a short hesitation. Doc was nursing Will, who seemed to have no after effects from his ordeal. He dialed the number, unsure if it would still be a working number. The man he had spoken to the day before answered.
“Mulder, I was expecting your call.”
“I . . . I wanted to thank you.”
“You assume we had anything to do with this?”
“Yes. Skyland Mountain. Baldwin’s disappeared, without a trace. Do you ask favors of them? Do they actually work with you on occasion?”
“Agent Mulder, we made your twenty-four hour deadline. May I count on you to keep the agreement that we made?”
“You will leave my family alone.” It wasn’t a question. He hadn’t actually expected an answer to his first one either. He knew what had happened. He also knew he’d never prove it, but Baldwin was out of their lives.
“We have no reason to be involved with your family. We wish you well.” The connection was broken and he looked over at Dana and nodded.
She hurried into his arms with Will and he held them, soaking up the very essence of these two people that he loved above all else.
He looked up as she approached him. “He’s asleep again.”
“You should have let me go.” He leaned forward and caressed her huge belly. Placing a light kiss on it.
“It’s the only exercise I can get now, heaving myself up and down off the couch. Besides, she stops with the kick boxing when I’m walking.”
“Well, slows down.” She grinned at him. He helped her back down onto the couch and began rubbing her lower back. She sighed and leaned into it.
He smiled. This was what he had always wanted, this family with this wife. And he hadn’t missed any of the pregnancy. This pregnancy - they had traced it back to that frantic coupling while Will was missing. He didn’t regret the fact that they hadn’t even thought of using protection during that time. Now their daughter was due in a matter of days.
There was only one baby this time. They had been extremely cautious about the testing in the beginning, but they knew she was okay and that there was no ‘other’ to mar their joy.
He had cut back on his work, doing more deskwork and consulting, jobs that would allow him to stay home. Skinner understood, better than anyone else at the Bureau and he was grateful for his support.
He smiled even wider as this precious wife of his reminded him to keep up the massage. Yes, she was the perfect mate for him and mother for his children. He renewed his efforts to keep her happy.