He woke and looked around the room. It was dark, but something . . . he spotted her in the desk chair. “Dana, are you okay? Do you need - “
She rose and for some reason he did as well. She had changed out of her suit. She was wearing a t-shirt of his. It came down nearly to her knees. He hadn’t realized how small she was physically. When he’d been with her, she’d taken up so much space in his mind.
“Kiss me.” She said quietly.
“You did before. Kiss me.” She moved to him and looked up.
He wanted this, despite the wrongness of it. He met her lips and her arms went around his neck. She pressed her body against his and his arousal grew. She ground herself against him and he groaned into her mouth. Wrong, very wrong. This was the last thing she needed.
He forced himself to move back and held her from him. “Dana.” He gasped the word. When he got his breath back, he rested his forehead against hers. “If you’re trying to find out if you’re a desirable woman, you are.”
“But?” Her voice shook slightly.
“But it’s not my style to take advantage of a woman, especially one as vulnerable as you are right now.”
“Why did you get divorced?”
“Me? I’ve never been married.”
“Oh.” She glanced over at the desk, “I thought . . . I thought she was your daughter.”
He looked over where she was looking. “That, uh, that’s my sister.”
“Yeah. That’s her last school picture, it was taken a couple of months . . . “
“Mulder, I’m sorry.”
He shook his head, “We were talking about you.”
She sighed, “I’m a fool. Having it hit me in the face . . . “
“You’re not a fool. You’re in love with a man that may not deserve you, but that only makes him a fool, not you.”
She looked at him, surprised. “Thank you.”
“You should go on back to bed.”
“You’re tired. I’m sorry.” She turned toward the bedroom.
“No. I’m not tired. I don’t sleep a lot. I just thought you . . . Come here.” He took her hand and led her to the couch. “How did you meet him?”
She stiffened slightly.
“If you talk about it, it won’t be as big.”
She looked at him, brow furrowed.
“I’m a, a psychologist.”
“You are?” She looked startled.
“No, I mean . . . “ She shifted on the couch, “I was his resident three years ago. He searched me out, selected me. I knew he and his wife were separated, but I didn’t ask why. It was none of my business and, and I didn’t realize where we were going in a relationship. We had coffee and worked late. We didn’t date, not until after he got a divorce.” She sighed. “A friend tried to tell me, my family, my brother was incensed.”
She stared down at her hands.
“He told me he and Beatrice had grown apart. That she just didn’t understand his work.”
“You should talk to your family.”
Her head jerked up, “No. I . . . I can’t face them.”
He nodded slightly.
“I wouldn’t, I refused to . . . to sleep with him until he was divorced. Now it’s me getting a divorce.”
“Dana, you shouldn’t make a decision like that tonight.”
“He’s lied to me, he’s betrayed me. I can’t be married to him.” She slumped against the arm of the couch.
“That’s your choice, I don’t want to influence you, but . . . “
“What?” She met his eyes.
“I can tell you some of the stuff my mother did when she divorced Dad.” He shrugged, “I was fourteen and I liked to eavesdrop.”
For some reason that actually caused a slight smile to form on her face. “Okay, educate me.”
Dana woke and looked around the room. Where was she? She heard the shower in the next room. Mulder. She was at his apartment, but she’d been on the couch with him . . . He’d been good to her, and a gentleman. She’d thrown herself at him and he had caught her and put her back on her feet.
She rose from the bed and moved into the kitchen. She found the coffee and started it brewing. She turned when she heard him enter. He was dressed for work. It was a new look as far as she was concerned and her eyes scanned him.
His lips twitched, “Do I pass?”
She blushed, “Yeah, I guess you clean up okay.”
“Good. So what are your plans today?” He took the cup of coffee she handed him.
She straightened her shoulders, “I have a lot to do. I have to find a place to live, see what kind of money I have, the things we talked about last night.”
“You don’t have to do everything in one day.”
“No, but I want to check on the money today. Daniel has always handled everything and now I want to know why.”
Mulder nodded, “Okay, but don’t worry about finding an apartment. I have to go out of town this afternoon on a case. You’re welcome to stay here.”
“I couldn’t - “
“You’d be doing me a favor.”
“A favor?” She questioned.
“Do you know how hard it is to find a reliable fish-sitter these days? No, really I’d feel better if you were here. With what I’ll be doing, it will be a bright spot, thinking of you here.”
“Mulder, what are you going to be doing?” Her concern was immediate.
He gave her a half-hearted grin, “It’s just a case.”
She nodded, then left to get dressed. She dropped him back at the theatre. He had her stay in the car, but she lowered her window. “Dana, you look after yourself. I’ll check on you tonight.”
“Thank you.” She squeezed his hand and watched him walk away.
She walked into the bank and took a deep breath. She looked around, locating an older woman, as Mulder had recommended, and got to work.
By the end of the day, she was exhausted and stunned. There were checks in her purse for more money than she had ever imagined. She had been studious about taking only half of any account that had both of their names, closing only those in her name alone. All penalties had come out of the funds she had removed. She’d also canceled every credit card with her name on it. Mulder had been right to check by social security number rather than name.
She would see her attorney tomorrow, the appointment was made, but for now she wanted to find a bank Daniel didn’t use and set up her own accounts.
She pushed into the final bank just before five, and had to enjoy the look on the woman’s face when she pulled out the cashiers checks. With a new checking account and savings account set up, and a warning that she was extremely over the limit of what was insured, she could only think that her feet hurt. She wanted to go to Mulder’s apartment and put them up.
She picked up some dinner and retreated to the comfort of his place. After she showered and ate, she made herself comfortable on his couch and reached for the phone.
“Dana! Are you okay?”
”I’m fine. I need a favor.”
“Of course. Where are you?”
“That doesn’t matter. I was wondering if, tomorrow while Daniel’s in surgery, you could pack up my personal items from the office.”
“Dana, you don’t have to - “
“I do. I can call you tomorrow night and come get my things.”
“Dana, was it Chloe?”
Dana was quiet then.
“I didn’t know either, he blurted it out when he came in this morning. Dana, he’s devastated. He wants you to come home. He was frantic.”
After a long moment, Dana spoke quietly, “Was she the first, since we got married?”
Sheila didn’t answer.
“Thank you. I’ll call you tomorrow evening.”
“Dana - “ but the phone had been disconnected.
She found she wasn’t surprised, maybe disappointed, but Sheila had been with him longer. Maybe she honestly thought it was okay for him to have other women. Dana sat on the couch, staring into space until the ring of the phone caused her to jump.
“You are there.”
“Mulder. It’s good to hear your voice.” There was a pause. “Mulder?”
“That, that was just nice to hear. Did things go okay today?”
“Yes. I can afford to pay you rent now.”
“That’s good to know. I’m afraid fish sitting isn’t that lucrative, at least in DC. ‘Course you do have that other skill to fall back on.”
“You mean doctorin’?”
He could feel her smile. “Yeah, that one.”
“I guess so. I’m going to go see Dr. Kuhn tomorrow.” She hesitated, “I hope he can help me get back on track.”
“You’re not going to be leaving, I mean, you’ll still be at the apartment?”
“Yes, I’m not going anywhere. Mulder, are you okay?”
“No, but it’s better after talking to you. I need to get back, I just, I needed a break.”
She wasn’t sure how to respond to that. “Mulder? When will you be home?”
“Couple of days, I hope.”
“Will you be there, at the apartment?”
“Yes. Can’t let the poor little fishes starve.”
“Good. I do need to get back to work. I’ll try to call again tomorrow. Nite.”
“Good night Mulder and thank you.”
She was relaxed then, the grief of the day dissipated in the comfort of his voice.
She woke after a good night’s sleep, again wearing his t-shirt. She would have to buy some clothes today, but at least she could afford them.
Her meeting with her attorney, Patricia Bryant, was first thing that morning. She wanted nothing from Daniel but to be left alone. No alimony and any debt in her name to be covered by her percentage in the practice. Her only stipulation was that papers be filed immediately.
“Dana, I’ll do what you say, but you’re letting him off too easy.”
“Patty, I just want out. I, I’ve learned things over the last few days that I didn’t . . . Please, just do this my way.”
“You’re too calm, Dana.”
“If you mean I’ve faced up to what an idiot I’ve been, yes. I don’t know if you heard, but I was car jacked a few weeks ago. I was nearly killed. He was actually angry with me for missing a fund raiser. He said if I had been on time, I wouldn’t have been involved.”
“Have you thought that he might not have known how to react to something like that?”
“Yes. It was me, I didn’t even want to call him. I didn’t ask for his support and he didn’t come to the hospital to check on me. We’re not married. We live in the same house while he sees other women. And I didn’t even know. I was so stupid that it didn’t occur to me.”
“You’re not stupid, Dana.”
“Okay, naïve.” Dana shifted in the chair. “It was okay, about the money?”
“You were more than generous. With this paperwork, I know his attorney won’t kick up a fuss. Were you aware of all of the accounts?”
Dana shook her head. “There were two in my social security number only that I knew nothing about.”
“There’s probably more.”
“I don’t need more. I don’t need what I took.”
“You earned it.” Patty said dryly. “Where are you going next?”
Dana took a deep breath, “I’m going to the house to get my clothes. He’s in surgery. I checked.”
Patty nodded, “There are some valuable pieces at the house.”
“I don’t want them, or the house. Listen to me, Patty, that stuff is his. I was only comfortable in my room. I really don’t want anything from him but to be left alone.”
Patty leaned back, “Okay. You’re probably right and it will make things go faster.”
“How much faster? When will I be free of him?”
“I need to meet with his attorney - “ Patty started.
“Maybe I could fly to Las Vegas or, or somewhere and get a divorce.”
“Dana, give me a couple of days. I’ll make it happen. Don’t go for some quickie divorce that could be contested later. Okay? Promise me?”
“I promise.” Dana sighed.
“Is there, Dana, are you seeing anyone?”
Dana hesitated, she wasn’t really, but Mulder’s face had appeared in her mind. Patty took in the heightened color and her brow cocked. “Dana?”
“No, no Patty, I’m not. There is a man who came to my rescue when I fell apart, but I barely know him. There’s nothing between us.”
Patty opened her mouth to dispute that, but stopped. Daniel had betrayed and hurt this woman, more than once, if she had found someone, more power to her.
Dana pulled into the garage and sat for a moment. She had to do this, but she didn’t want to. After a moment she opened the car door and stepped out. She drew herself up and walked to the door. Pilar turned to look at her when she stepped into the kitchen.
“It’s just Dana.” They eyed each other, but this time Dana didn’t back down. After a moment, Pilar inclined her head in agreement. “I’m here to get my clothes. I won’t be long.”
“Would you like me to assist you . . . Dana?”
Dana looked at her, then nodded. “I’d appreciate that.”
A slight smile appeared on Pilar’s face and she followed Dana upstairs. Pilar was extremely efficient. Dana was frankly amazed.
“You must be very anxious to get me out of here.” Dana heard herself speak.
“On the contrary. I . . . I admire you. I did not know you were this strong.”
“Excuse me?” Dana stared at the older woman.
“I, I assumed you were just one of them, one of his play things. I was surprised when he married you, but I knew you were not stupid. Now I see that you really cared for him and he used you. He does not deserve a woman like you and he doesn’t appreciate you. You have done the right thing, looked after yourself.”
Dana’s jaw dropped at that.
Pilar looked around the room. “You love these things. They mean something to you, not just possessions to show off.” She surveyed the room once more, then nodded to herself. “I will have these things picked up and stored for you. When you are settled, I’ll have them delivered.”
“Pilar, these are his - “
“No, this room is yours. I will take care of everything. I can give you the information, or, if you trust me, I can handle it all.”
Dana blinked at her. “I . . . I trust you. I don’t have a place, yet, but I will call you.”
“Thank you. He will learn nothing from me.” At that Pilar turned her back to Dana and got back to work. Dana just stared at her, then finally began packing again herself.
She heard the key in the lock and turned. He entered and immediately stopped, sniffing at the aroma. His head swiveled toward the kitchen, looking for her.
The weariness seemed to lighten from his face at the sight of her. “Welcome home.”
“It’s good to be here.” She surprised them both by stepping into his arms. They closed around her. “Very good.”
“Dinner won’t be ready for a while, why don’t you go take a shower and get comfortable.”
He nodded. She looked at him, really looked. He was tired, that was obvious, but he looked so beaten. Her eyes followed him as he walked away.
He returned shortly, wearing sweats and a t-shirt, his hair was slicked back and wet. “So, what are we having?”
“Lasagna. I hope you like it.” She removed it from the oven.
“Are we expecting company?” He looked at the large pan of pasta.
“Actually we’re expecting leftovers.” She grinned. “It needs to sit for just a minute. How about some wine?”
“Do I have any?” He glanced around the kitchen.
“You do. And a lot of other stuff too.” She opened the refrigerator door.
“Damn, Dana. I owe you some money.”
“No, I just found I couldn’t fish sit without sustenance.” She pulled the wine bottle out and expertly opened it. She poured them each a glass. “Come on, let’s sit.”
He followed her to the couch. Once they were seated, they touched glasses and he took a sip.
“Want to talk about it?” She asked quietly.
“No. I just want to sit here with you. I’ve imagined this for days.” He gave her a sheepish smile, “It kept me sane.”
She leaned toward him, surprising him. What was she . . . she reached out and caught a drop of water from his hair. “I’m glad you’re home. I can listen when you’re ready.”
He tried to hide his disappointment at the lack of a kiss. “It was just a case.”
“Young women, brutalized and murdered.”
“Did you catch him?”
“No. I profiled him from the evidence available, but they’re just realizing it’s serial. I’ll still be working the case, but we have to wait for him to resurface or . . . “
“Hey, I’m home now. And you’re here, and my apartment has never smelled so good.”
She smiled then, “I hope I remembered how to cook.”
“You did. Want to bring me up to date on your adventures?”
“I had more fun than you did. The papers were supposed to be served this afternoon. Fortunately, he doesn’t know where I am.”
“Are you worried about that? I mean, do you think he’d bother you?”
She shrugged. “Probably not. He has enough companionship.”
“Dana, has anyone left him before? Or is he the one in control?” He asked, watching her reaction.
“What can he do? I’m sure he doesn’t want the publicity. And I don’t think anyone knows about Karen. His pride - “
“His pride might be the problem. You left him. If that’s a first for him, he could react unexpectedly. I think you should plan to stay here a while longer.”
“Mulder, I appreciate it, but I’m in the way. I’m taking your bed.”
He glanced toward the bedroom, “You are not in the way, and I told you, I sleep on the couch.”
“What?” He met her eyes, caught off guard by her question.
“Why do you sleep on the couch?” She sounded honestly curious.
“I . . . I don’t sleep a lot. When I wake up it’s easier to just flip on the TV if I’m already here.”
”What wakes you?”
He deflected her then, “Playing doctor?”
“Maybe.” But she smiled slightly. “Mulder, why don’t you sleep? You’ve mentioned it a couple of times.”
“I, I dream.” He shrugged, obviously ready to change the subject.
“Bad dreams? About your cases?”
He nodded,”Yeah, sometimes cases, sometimes other things.”
He shook his head then, “Will you stay? I don’t want him to bother you.”
She blinked; she’d forgotten the beginning of the conversation. “Okay, for a couple of days, if you really don’t mind.”
“I really don’t mind.” He took her hand and squeezed it.
“Dinner should be ready now. Come on.” She rose and tugged him to his feet. He tossed the salad, while she dished up the lasagna, then they sat at his table.
“You know, I don’t remember ever eating at this table.”
“I’m not surprised.” She said dryly. “And I didn’t throw anything away. It’s very neatly stacked beside the desk.”
“Uh, did you read any of it?” He looked slightly concerned.
“No, I figured it was confidential Bureau stuff, so I just stacked it. It’s probably in terrible order.”
He gave her a small smile then, “The order doesn’t matter. It’s just some stuff I work on in my spare time.” He took a large bite of lasagna. His smile widened. “You definitely remembered how to cook.”
“Thanks.” She ducked her head and took a bite herself, then nodded. “It’s Mom’s recipe. I’m glad I got it right.”
“I’m not surprised.” She glanced up, then returned to her meal. They ate in silence for a few minutes.
She used her key to let herself in, smiling slightly at the thought that she had this key. Her own key to his apartment.
He was already home; she could hear him in the kitchen, but apparently he hadn’t heard her. She hung her coat on the coat rack and turned as she heard the knock on the door. Since she was right there, she answered it.
“Dana.” Daniel looked down at her coldly. “I would have thought you could do better than this with all the money you took.”
“What are you doing here, Daniel?” She was pleased that her voice didn’t shake.
“We need to talk.” He stepped around her and into the apartment, his back to the kitchen. Dana didn’t see Mulder, but knew he was listening.
“You need to talk to my attorney, Pat Bryant. We don’t - “
“I want the money back. How did you even know about - “
“If you didn’t want me to know, you shouldn’t have put the funds under my social security number.” From the expression on his face, she knew she wasn’t the first person to give him that advice.
Without warning his hand grabbed her arm in a painful grip. “Let go of - “ she didn’t finish the sentence as he backhanded her across the face with his other hand.
“Let. Her. Go.” The voice carried all of the authority of the US Government and Daniel turned to see who had spoken. The gun pointed at him caused his face to blanch and he dropped her arm as though scalded.
Gun still trained on Daniel, Mulder circled him and drew Dana away from the man and behind him. “Are you okay?”
“Yes.” She spoke low and it was obviously not true, but he didn’t take his eyes from Daniel.
“Hands behind you.”
“What? You can’t - “ Daniel blustered, until he saw the handcuffs in the younger man’s hands. “Who are you?” But he obeyed as he spoke.
“Special Agent Fox Mulder. We've met before.” Mulder snapped the cuffs around his wrists.
“Dana, stop this. Tell him - “
“Tell him what, Daniel?” She asked softly.
Daniel’s eyes widened. “Surely you’re not going to press charges. I’ve never hit you before. Tell him! I’m just under a lot of pressure. Tell him, tell him you’re not going to press charges.”
“She doesn’t have to. I witnessed it.” Mulder pulled Daniel over to the couch and pushed him down on it.
“Be careful of my hands. I’m a surgeon.”
“Yeah, right.” Mulder picked up the phone and dialed. He identified himself and asked for them to dispatch a car. If possible Daniel grew even more pale.
“I, I need to wash up.” Dana realized there was blood on her hands from her nose and lip.
“Just a minute.” Mulder moved with her to the far side of the room. “Dana, I’m sorry, but we might need this.” He withdrew a Polaroid camera from his desk.
She met his eyes, then nodded. He took a couple of quick shots, of her face and her arm both of which were beginning to bruise with her fair skin.
“You can’t do this. I’m well known. I just wanted the money back.” Daniel’s voice was taking on a whining property Dana hadn’t heard before.
Mulder’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah, I guess all that child support can add up.”
The man’s face flushed red, a major contrast from the pallor of seconds ago.
“Child support?” Dana looked up at Mulder. His face was hard and his eyes cold as he watched Waterston. “What child support?” She turned then to look at Daniel. “You were hiding money so that you . . . you bastard!”
”Dana, these things - “
“Don’t talk to me Daniel. Have your attorney call mine. I don’t want to see you again.” She left the room. Mulder stood calmly, watching the man, but offering nothing.
Mulder barely managed to hide his satisfaction when the police took the older man away. He was anxious to check on Dana, so he gave a bare-bones statement and promised to fill out a report the next morning.
Dana was not privy to the conversation between Pat and Daniel’s attorney, but at Pat’s advice, she didn’t press charges. The meeting to sign papers and make property arrangements was scheduled immediately at Pat’s insistence.
Mulder was concerned at her listlessness. He didn’t want to push, but he knew that the bomb he had dropped in his fury had hurt her. She felt even more betrayed by the man that she had called husband and he was responsible for that.
Careful makeup hid the last of her bruises, but Mulder could see that the thought of seeing this man, facing him, even with attorneys as a buffer, was wearing on her. The morning of the appointment he dressed in his best suit and waited for her.
Their relationship hadn’t changed, not in ways that were easily defined anyway. He still slept on the couch, but they had become friends. He was puzzled that she had accepted his invitation to stay as well as why she wanted to. Yes, he wanted her company, and to be honest more, but it felt . . . deeper somehow.
“Mulder? I thought you’d left.”
He shook his head, “I took the day. Don’t worry; I have years worth of leave stored up. I’d rather use it this way than anything else I can think of.”
“You don’t have to - “
“Relax; I want to be there for you. I’ll just wait out in the lobby and after the meeting, we’ll get some lunch.”
He was immediately concerned at the tears that formed in her eyes. “Dana?”
She shook her head quickly, “Thank you.” She said softly and felt his hand gently touch her back to lead her to the car.
At the office she found her steps lagging and his hand felt warm on her back. In the lobby she squeezed his hand, surprising herself again at how quickly she’d come to rely on this man. She straightened her shoulders and let Pat lead her into the room.
It was obvious the attorneys had met before. The details that Dana had demanded were already outlined and drawn up. When Daniel started to protest once again, Pat opened a separate file and pushed it toward him. Dana leaned forward and saw the pictures of herself that Mulder had taken that fateful night.
She watched Daniel’s mouth snap shut and his eyes narrow. He scribbled his signature on the page where indicated, then looked up at Dana with a malicious look on his face.
“I see you brought Mr. Mulder with you. I’d like him to join us. I think he’d be interested in this.” Daniel rose and opened the door. He beckoned to Mulder, who stood and moved toward the door rapidly. Both attorneys looked puzzled; Pat was obviously annoyed.
“Daniel, what are you - “ Dana spoke without thinking. It was the first time she had addressed him directly.
“Is everything - “ Mulder looked over at Dana.
“Oh, I assure you, everything is fine. Please, join us.” Daniel held the door for the man.
“Daniel, the papers are signed. There’s no need - “ His attorney spoke, but Daniel ignored him.
Dana looked completely puzzled. Mulder took a seat beside her, and kept quiet. He’d certainly had no intention of being part of this, except as support.
“Since Mr. Mulder seems to be so anxious to investigate me, I thought I would return the favor. Dana, this man that you have turned to has a few secrets of his own. Are you aware that he is considered a joke around the Bureau?” Daniel seemed to be enjoying himself. “Yes, he’s called ‘Spooky’ Mulder by his peers. He can’t seem to keep a partner, but maybe that’s because they can’t trust him. You see, he was never completely cleared in the disappearance of his sister years ago. But he had a wonderful explanation. He claims she was abducted by aliens.” Daniel sent a cruel smile toward Dana, “Yes.” He nodded. “Convenient for not finding a body, isn’t it?”
Dana looked over at Mulder. His face was closed, totally devoid of emotion.
Pat stepped in at that point, “I don’t see that this has anything to do with the proceedings today. I believe everything regarding the divorce and settlement has been agreed to and signed. I’m sorry, but I have other appointments.” She rose from her seat, as did Daniel’s attorney.
Daniel looked angered that he had been interrupted, especially by a mere woman, but his attorney took hold of his arm and led him toward the door. Only Dana and Mulder remained in the room. He wouldn’t look over at her.
She reached for his hand. He didn’t pull away, but he didn’t respond either. “Mulder? Why didn’t you defend yourself?”
After a moment he shrugged, “Hard to defend against the truth.”
“I am a joke; I am ‘Spooky’ Mulder.” Finally he looked over at her. “Guess you’ll be anxious to find that place of your own now.”
“Let’s get out of here.” She didn’t relinquish his hand.
The lobby was empty. Daniel and his attorney were gone; Pat was no where in sight. That was fine with Dana; she needed to be alone with Mulder. They needed to talk.
When they reached his car, he opened the door for her. “Mulder, do you want me to drive?”
He shook his head and seated her, then rounded the car and got in himself. “Where would you like me to take you?”
She looked over at him but he was staring out the windshield. “How about home?”
He glanced over at her and quickly away. “Where’s that?”
“1013 Hegal, apartment 42.”
“Dana, you don’t - “
She saw him close his eyes for an instant, then he slipped the key in the ignition and pulled into traffic. They were silent on the ride. She was overflowing with questions, but they needed to be somewhere stable, comfortable.
Dana missed the feel of his fingers guiding her inside, but didn’t mention it. She stood quietly as he opened the door to the apartment and let her precede him inside.
He was avoiding her by going deep inside of himself and the intensity of the loneliness that caused shook her.
She stood in front of him finally, forcing him to acknowledge her presence. “Talk to me, Mulder. Please.”
He shrugged and jumped slightly when she took and squeezed his hand. He allowed her to pull him to the couch and took a seat beside her, with enough careful distance that they wouldn’t accidentally touch.
“Mulder?” Her thumb caressed the back of his hand as she held it and he found himself watching it, fascinated.
“I don’t know what you want me to say, Dana.”
“Tell me the truth. You’re not a joke. Mulder, I’ve cleaned this apartment. I didn’t purposely look through your papers, but I saw that drawer over there.” She gestured toward the desk. “You have a drawer full of commendations. It looks like you’re more of a star at the Bureau than a joke.”
He gave an ironic laugh and looked away. “A star, right.”
“Then tell me about your sister.”
“Why? Why do you want to hear this?”
“Be-because you’re important to me.”
He looked over at her. “Important?”
“Becoming essential.” His eyes widened and she realized what she had said. She brought her hands to her face to cool off her flaming cheeks.
He pulled them away and let his own hands cup her cheeks. His eyes searched her face. “I, I’ve never been important to anyone before.”
She shook her head, she didn’t believe that. “Talk to me.”
He looked hopeless for a moment, then stood and removed his coat and tie, and unbuttoned the top few buttons of his shirt. Finally he returned to the couch and moved closer to her, tucking her against him, where she couldn’t see his face. He rested his chin on her hair. He sighed and she pulled his arms around her.
He still hesitated. “Let me be here for you, Mulder.”
He took a deep breath and started talking.
His voice finally trailed off. She had realized early in the tale that this wasn’t something he talked about easily. She hadn’t interrupted with questions or details of physics. He needed to talk and for some reason he was comfortable enough with her to let it pour from him. His voice was raspy now, hoarse and low.
Dana was aware she was inappropriately aroused by the sound of him, or maybe by the trust he was displaying. Whatever. His arms loosened their grip of her as though releasing her from him and she felt cold. Without realizing she wiped a tear from her cheek.
“Are you . . . are you crying?” He asked frightened.
She turned then and cuddled into his chest. After a moment she sat up. “Mulder, listen to me.”
He stiffened as though expecting a blow, but doing nothing to ward it off.
Dana looked into his eyes. This explained so many things she hadn’t realized needed explaining about their ‘relationship’. He was an abused child and expected nothing better for himself. Did he even know what he had revealed to her?
“Mulder,” she touched his cheek, drawing his face toward her, “Forgetting for a minute what I’ve always believed about UFOs and aliens, if that is what happened, and beings that traveled here from unknown reaches of space took Samantha . . . what could a twelve year old boy possibly do to stop them?”
He gaped at her. Those were words he had never expected.
“Be realistic. Twelve, Mulder. You were a child. There is no way you could have done more. The same is true of the divorce. Your parents did not leave each other because of you. The divorce was their decision, I know I haven’t met them, but I have met you. You’re a caring, loving man who feels things deeply. You’re smarter than the others at the Bureau. They can’t catch up with you, so they call you ‘Spooky’ to hide their fear of you. They know you can run rings around them and they resent it.”
He was staring at her, mouth open. She could tell he didn’t believe her, but she could see that her words were like water on a long parched plant that had long ago given up on receiving nourishment.
She realized she was staring - totally focused - on that lush lower lip. Oh hell, she’d been deprived a long time too. She leaned in and kissed it.
It wasn’t their first kiss, though it had been some time. But they were both shaken by the jolt they felt. Tears welled up again in her eyes at the hopeless longing on his face. Instead he retreated again. “You, uh, you hungry?”
“We, uh, we missed lunch and it’s nearly time for dinner, Mulder. I guess we should eat something.”
He accepted her withdrawal without surprise. He’d been indulging in a fantasy here. She wasn’t even officially divorced yet. But it had been good to talk to her. He hid his sigh, “What would you like?”
“How about our place?”
“We have a place?” He managed to say.
“There’s this little pizza parlour . . . “ She said quietly.
He actually found a small smile at that. “Yeah, let’s go.” It was a place he’d never thought of as ‘theirs’, but whenever he did go there for lunch now, he thought of her. Of course that could be said about just about everywhere he went now. Why the hell had he allowed himself to depend on her? People didn’t stay in his life and now that she knew the truth about him . . . well he had some good memories.
He ate, but it had the tasteless quality of a last meal to him. Mostly he watched her. She didn’t meet his eyes, but that didn’t surprise him. He’d been honest with her, more honest than he’d been with anyone, ever. He was actually surprised she was still sitting in front of him.
They had both ordered a beer with their pizza but over half of his was still in the bottle. He wasn’t in the mood for alcohol. There were too many nights when he’d seen the effects of it first hand.
He let her into the apartment, then watched as she made her way to the bedroom. She didn’t offer to join him for TV or to continue talking and he wasn’t really surprised. She probably wanted to pack.
Mulder sank onto the couch and let his head fall back against the back of the couch. He could hear the water running as she got ready for bed. He was going to miss having her here, but he hadn’t really thought anything long term could develop. Now that she knew about him . . . he sighed and leaned forward. He buried his face in his hands and didn’t hear the door open.
Dana stopped to observe him. He looked like she had felt that night she had caught Daniel. He had held her head above water that night and they had barely known each other. Now it was her turn.
He looked up startled. His eyes grew wide, when he realized she was dressed in his t-shirt again. She’d been wearing her pajamas since that first night. His lips parted, but no sound emerged.
“I consider myself divorced. The time of day that the judge signs the papers is not important. I feel completely separated from that part of my life.”
He just watched her and seemed surprised when she moved toward him.
She held out a hand to him and he took it without hesitation. “What?”
“I don’t want to be alone tonight.”
His eyes lightened, but he still made no move. She tugged him to his feet and slipped her arms around his waist. His breath caught and he buried his face in her hair. His hands molded her body to him.
She turned her face up to his and he took possession of her lips. “D-Dana.”
She stepped away from him and smiled. “Bedroom, Mulder.”
“Are you . . .” he swallowed, “Are you sure?”
She had hold of his hand again and moved them toward the bedroom. The bed had been turned down and candles flickered on several surfaces. He stood there as she turned to him and began unbuttoning the rest of his shirt. She pulled the shirt from his slacks and pushed it down from his shoulders. His breathing was shallow, but he didn’t speak, just watching her.
His eyes widened when she unbuckled his belt and slipped it from it’s loops. Then she unbuttoned his slacks and touched his zipper. She looked up, making sure that he wasn’t resisting.
She almost smiled, resisting was obviously the last thing on his mind. She pushed his slacks down, exposing his black silk boxers and growing erection.
A mock shove had him seated on the bed now and she kneeled in front of him and removed his shoes and socks. The sight of her there between his legs caused a surge of desire that nearly blinded him.
She saw that, his arousal was beginning to look painful to her eyes. She rose and looked down at him. No words were spoken, but she reached for the hem of the t-shirt she wore. His hands covered hers and he looked deeply into her eyes. He saw what he needed and gently drew the shirt over her head.
His indrawn breath let her know he hadn’t realized she was nude underneath. His hand was trembling slightly as he caressed her breast.
She reached up and took his lips with hers. “You’re still wearing too much.” She whispered into his mouth.
“Yes ma’am.” He released her long enough to shove his shorts down then his arm snaked around her waist and he pulled her down on the bed on top of him. Startled, she laughed out loud and he found himself mesmerized by the sound.
He rolled to put her under him and met her eyes. “I don’t believe this.”
One hand caressed his face as her other grabbed his ass. “Start believing.”
That finally brought a smile to his face and he dipped his head to pay homage to her breasts. His tongue laved her nipples, suckling lightly. His hands were tracing her curves, memorizing her body. He moved down her body bringing her to new heights of desire.
She gasped as he blew across her rust colored curls. That tongue she had so enjoyed on her breasts was proving it knew how to drive her even crazier. “Mu-Mulder, you don’t - “
“Shh.” He nipped her soft inner thigh, then returned to her sex, his fingers joining the play. Her orgasm was unexpected and took over her whole body. She found her fingers were digging into his shoulders to keep from spinning off into space. She’d never had sex like this, on some level she had known it existed, but god! Where had he learned to please a woman like this?
He held her against him as she shuddered back to herself. “My god, Mulder.” She rested her head against his chest and looked up to see his smile.
In a moment she reached down and stroked his cock. “Dana, you don’t - “
She smiled up at him. “I would never leave you in that state. It’s my turn, Mulder.” She pushed him gently down until he was lying on his back. She settled herself on his abdomen, above his cock, letting it rub between the cheeks of her ass. He closed his eyes, trying to maintain some control.
She leaned down and kissed his chest, her hand playing with one nipple as she sucked on the other. He bit his lip but a low groan escaped. She smiled and continued her assault on his body, moving down his chest, licking, nipping and kissing.
Dana paused, then rose and positioned herself over him. His eyes widened and began to fill herself with him. His hands came to her hips to steady her when she paused. She felt full, stretched, not at all what she was accustomed to. She savored the feeling, then began moving over him.
He kept the pace slow at first, realizing this was different for her but they began to move quicker, deeper. She was so tight and hot and so beautiful over him like this. He felt himself begin to slip, his climax building. Her eyes widened at the sensations and to her amazement, felt herself coming again.
She managed to collapse beside him and they lay entwined. “I never, that’s never happened to me before.” She sounded stunned.
“Dana.” He pulled her closer with shaking arms.
“It’s okay. Rest now.” She caressed his face.
“I want - “
“Just rest.” She kissed his eyelids as they closed. His arms tightened around her even as he slipped under.
She watched his face. He looked so young in repose and . . . and happy. They were moving very fast, but it felt right. He’d been thrown into her life at the right time. He’d saved her life in more ways than either of them had realized.
She didn’t know what to think about all of the things he had told her. She didn’t know what to believe, but he believed and that meant she would have to think about it. She wanted to be there for him as he had been for her. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt so hopeful about the future.
He shifted in his sleep and she heard the word he breathed, “Dana.” She closed her eyes and drifted off in the comfort of his arms.