Title: The Truth Comes Out
Archives: Spookies, Gossamer, Ephemeral are okay. Others, please ask.
Spoilers: There are a couple of minor mentions in passing.
Classification: ScullySlash. Scully POV.
Disclaimer: They're not mine. CC, 1013 and Fox have the sole rights to their existence. Dammit!
Summary: Mel gets the job!
Thanks to Rochel. Her dedicated attention to grammar and insight into character motivation were of immeasurable importance to the presentation of this story in its finished form.
Note: This is the sixth in the series and falls between "The Visit" and the start of the "Beach Blanket Bingo" trilogy. At this point in the series, I think it is necessary for you to have some background information from the other stories set in the Beach Blanket Bingo Universe. But, if you only have time for one, I'd suggest "First Contact" to get you up to speed. But all the stories are relatively short, so if you want to read them to get caught up, please, be my guest. Go here: http://scullyfu.populli.net/
I'm going fast as I can, please don't make me rush
This feeling's coming on way too fast
I'll tell you all of the things that you'll never forget
But I'm not ready to say I love you yet
----Great Big Sea
"So, you think you can stand me being around full time?"
"You got it?" I ask excitedly.
"Yep," she says matter-of-factly.
"When do you start?"
"In a few weeks after the backup system has been implemented, the new software is loaded, and some preliminary tests are run," she explains.
"I was getting nervous; it seemed to be taking so long."
"Well, to tell you the truth, even I never expected their decision to take nearly three months."
"God, I can't wait for you to be here," I whisper, a longing quality creeping into my voice. Bracing myself up against the counter, I realize how excited I feel and yet weak at the same time, just from hearing the news of her arrival.
"Me, either," she says, her voice mimicking my own edgy desperation.
"When are you coming down?"
"Oh, I'm not sure, honey. I have lots to organize before I leave Boston."
"Well, you'll have to go apartment hunting some time soon. Right?"
"Actually, I was thinking of getting an agent."
"What do you mean?" I ask, surprised by the proposition.
"Someone who would find me an apartment or house based on the criteria I provide."
"But, why do you need one?"
"Mostly because of the time involved. I've been to D.C. a number of times, Dana, but never with the intent of finding housing. So, I thought it would be easier this way. Let someone who's familiar with the area do the grunt work and then I'll make the final decision."
"I could do the grunt work." I'm a little disappointed she's not involving me in the process. I thought she'd let me help.
"I appreciate the offer, baby, but you've got a full schedule as it is, you certainly don't need me adding any more to your limited down time."
"I'd be happy to do it for you." I hope my voice doesn't give me away.
"I know, honey. But really, I don't want to burden you," she says soothingly.
There's a pause while I decide whether to press my offer. She's not trying to cut me out; she's being thoughtful. "Okay," I say. "We'll do it your way."
"Thank you. But, I'll tell you what you could do for me."
"Name it," I say eagerly.
"Can I give the agent your number as a local contact?" she asks. "That way if she finds something and I'm not able to get away you could go look at it for me and do a yea or nay?"
"Definitely." I pause. "Thank you for letting me be part of the decision."
"Hey, I trust your judgement." Her voice turns sultry. "And, you definitely know what I like. Speaking of which--"
Chuckling, I cup my hand around the mouthpiece and say, "Behave, I'm at work."
"You're not alone?"
I throw a quick glance Mulder's direction. He's trying to look busy, but I can feel him watching me. "That's correct."
"Then I won't tell you," she says in that teasing manner of hers.
"Tell me what?"
"Okay, just remember this is your idea." I can almost see her smile. "Right now I'd like to kiss you madly and touch those special spots on your hot little body. You know: the ones that make you melt like butter on a blistering summer's day."
"Stop it," I say with a giggle.
Mel starts to speak again, but I interrupt her with a low warning, "I mean it; not now."
As I turn to leave the confines of the back room, I realize Mulder has been within earshot of my end of the conversation this entire time. How much did he hear? Did I say anything to give away Mel's identity? I don't think so. No doubt, I'll find out in a moment; he looks like he's working up to something. He's twirling his pencil end-on-end nonchalantly, as though speaking to me is almost an afterthought.
"So, Scully, this is a first. I don't think I've ever actually heard you giggle or seen you blush before, at least not at the same time."
Here it comes.
"You've been holding out on me."
He really doesn't expect me to respond, does he?
"I thought you've seemed different lately."
Okay, what the hell is he getting at?
He stops playing with his pencil and sits forward in his chair. "You've been awfully cheerful lately; although, I've noticed a fluctuation in that phenomena as well." He appears to be pondering over his perceived evidence and seems to make a connection. "Yes, now it makes sense. You've been happy when your *friend* is in town and then you revert to your usual stoic self when he's not."
'He'. Mulder said 'he'. His assumption my *friend* is a male will make life easier, knowing he doesn't suspect Mel.
"C'mon, Scully. You can tell me. Give."
"Mulder, I am not going to discuss my private life."
"Oh, so it seems there is a private life to discuss." He sticks the pencil behind his ear.
He gets up from his desk and saunters over to where I'm sitting. Standing over me, he smiles, probably hoping to intimidate me. He's seen me in action with much more imposing authority types than himself and should know by now this tactic is not going to work.
Wearing his best boyish grin, he says, "Why, Scully? I'm happy that you've found someone. I'd just like a few details; that's all."
"Mulder, I am not going to discuss my sex life with you; if that's what you're getting at."
"Now, Scully, did I say anything about your sex life?" he asks, all feigned seriousness.
Dammit. "Well, no."
"But, since you brought it up, how is--?"
"Shut up, Mulder."
He laughs and goes back to his chair.
After a few moments of blessed silence, he pipes up with, "So, just tell me if you are seeing someone."
"Oh, for heaven's sake."
"Just tell me."
"You really are exasperating, you know that, don't you?"
"If you don't want to say it out loud, just nod."
"For God's sake. Yes. Yes, Mulder, I'm seeing someone."
Unlike me, he's grinning from ear to ear. It's obvious he's happy with himself; he's goaded me into revealing something I didn't want to tell him.
"So, that explains all the times you've flown out of here at five and come into the office just a little bit late the next morning; or, the trips out of town on the weekends; oh, lets not forget the flower deliveries; and the smiles and laughs." He actually stops to take a breath. "Not to mention the way you usually cut your phone calls short when I enter the office. Yes, it all makes sense now."
I sigh with the tediousness of it.
Sensing he's on to something, he leans forward in his chair. "How long has this been going on?"
"I'd like to know. See if it fits in with my observations."
"If I tell you, will you *please* stop pestering me?"
"About five months."
"Five months?" He sounds astounded. This doesn't seem to fit with his equation. Score one for me.
"What does he do?"
"Mulder, you promised."
"Just one more question."
"Come on, just one."
"I said no. End of discussion."
Throughout the rest of the day, I catch him looking at me with the slightest of smiles on his lips. Finally, it's time to leave. Actually, escape is a better word for what I'm feeling.
The real estate agent called me at work today saying she had found the most wonderful house. Mel said she preferred a house, but was willing to settle for an apartment or condo in a small complex. The agent informed me she had spoken to Mel; she wasn't able to fly down, but had suggested calling me and asking me to go take a look. I have power of attorney for this particular transaction and Mel has worked it out with the agent so that if I decide a place is right, she is to consider it a done deal.
God, it's only been about five months since we first met, and here I am making big decisions for her. Since we got together life hasn't been the same. Mulder's right. I have been happy, incredibly so. I feel renewed. Life has new meaning and I have something to look forward to again.
Tonight, after work, I met the agent and she showed me the perfect place. The minute I drove up I had a good feeling. Once inside, I looked around and was convinced. I wrote the agent the deposit check and signed the lease. It is charming and fits in with all Mel's criteria. She said she wanted a one or two bedroom with a fireplace, modern kitchen, separate dining room, and lots of windows for natural light and airflow. I told her she'd definitely want air conditioning for when it's hot and muggy.
Although she doesn't watch a lot of TV, she still wanted cable hookup for the high speed Internet access for her computer, and she was adamant about off street parking. She wanted to be near a park, to keep up her normal running routine. It had to have easy access to the freeway and stores. Most importantly, she needed a six months lease with an option to go month to month after that for as long as she needs to remain in D.C.
It's an older place, a well-maintained single family dwelling unit. So the only thing that's attached is the garage: no possible noisy neighbors above, below, or on the sides. The cozy one bedroom has a loft and there's a fireplace on both floors, very romantic. God, I wish she were here. Seeing this place and knowing how much she'll love it only makes me miss her more.
The last time we were together was over a month ago. Our schedules just haven't meshed. She's been busy tying up loose ends before the move; and I've been out of town on work three weekends in a row. We've talked on the phone every couple of nights, but it's not the same. What could ever take the place of her soft lips on mine? Her caressing hands? Her body urging mine to experience things I'd never dreamt even existed? Falling asleep in the safety of each other's arms, sweaty and sated.
When she gets here we'll have to work out some sort of schedule to make sure we see each other. Although I know its best for her to have her own space, I wish she could just stay with me. There's so much I want to do with her. We can go out on dates. I hope she has time. I don't know just what sort of hours she'll be keeping; but I can't imagine she'd work past six or seven in the evenings.
The phone startles me.
"Hi, honey. How'd the house hunting go?" she asks cheerfully.
"Hi. I just got home and was about to call to tell you I signed the lease."
"You did?" she says, sounding surprised. "That was fast."
"Yes, it was too good to pass up."
I tell her all about the place.
"It sounds great. I can hardly wait to see it for myself. Are you free this weekend?"
I feel my heart quicken at the prospect of seeing her. "I think so. Are you able to come down?"
"Uh huh. Maybe we could go furniture shopping on Saturday."
"Followed by dinner out?"
"I'd like that." There's silence for a moment.
"Mel, I miss you badly."
"It's going to be good having you here, so close."
"I'm looking forward to us spending a lot of time together."
Now that I know she's coming down this weekend I miss her that much more. Without warning, I hear myself say, "I want to kiss you." I feel warm and my breathing is shallow. I can hear hers through the phone.
"Jesus, Dana, I'd give anything to be there."
"I think the first piece of furniture you buy should be a bed," I say.
"Oh? And why is that?" she asks playfully.
"I think you can guess."
After a few more minutes, we say our good-byes and she promises to call me during the week to find out about my schedule for our weekend plans.
Thank God we didn't have to go out of town again this weekend; I don't know how much longer I could've lasted without seeing Mel again. Finally, I see her. Walking over, I take her overnight bag from her as she comes into the waiting area.
We greet with a brief kiss and hug. Just touching her makes me relax. I hadn't realized how tightly wound I'd been these past weeks without her.
"Hi, sweetie," I say, looking into her warm dark eyes.
"Want to grab some coffee before we head out?"
"Sure. I'd like to just sit and stare at you for a while."
I feel myself blush. She does that to me often.
We walk to Starbucks, order, and find a table for two. Underneath it our knees kiss each other and silently convey our messages of loneliness and anticipation. True to her word, she just stares at me for the longest time.
"Say something. Please?"
"Words don't mean a thing, Dana. Not when I'm staring at the most beautiful piece of art I've ever seen."
God, I'm blushing again. Her eyes so intense I feel she must be looking right through me. I force myself to break away from her unabated scrutiny.
"You really are stunning," she says. "I believe the term is drop dead gorgeous."
"Why? I want you to know how beautiful you are to me."
Suddenly she starts laughing. What?
"It's just so cute the way your eye does that."
"What do you mean? What about my eye?"
"The way your left eye blinks a split second before your right one."
"It does not."
"Does not," I say a little more emphatically.
"Does, too," she counters, smiling broadly.
"There!" She exclaims pointing at my left eye. "There it did it again."
"Dana, it's so cute," she says, drawing out the words. "You have a slightly out of sync blink. I love watching it."
"I'm so happy to be a source of amusement for you."
"It's like you're winking at me." She pauses. "I find it sexy."
That stops me cold. "You do?"
Dropping her voice and leaning over to my ear, she repeats, softly, so that her warm breath kisses my skin, "Terribly sexy."
"Oh," I stammer, "Okay, then."
She lays her hand on my arm and although I'm wearing a sweater, I feel shivers spike through me. I put my hand over hers and give a little squeeze.
"I think we should go shopping now," she says.
"Do you want to go back home and drop off your luggage? It's not really out of the way."
"I don't think we'd better. This weekend has to be about accomplishing things." I'm puzzled; obviously the question shows on my face. She gives me one of her wicked smiles. "If we go home, baby, we may not make it back out before the stores close."
"Oh." Again, I avert my eyes from her gaze. "Yes, yes, I see what you mean. You're right, it's best to get the shopping done first. Then we have all evening to spend together. Right?"
"And all night." She smiles at me, leaving no doubt as to her intent. "But, I've got to get some things organized if I'm moving down in a few weeks."
"Well, then, let's get going."
Before going to the store, I take Mel by her new temporary home so she can get a feel for how she wants to decorate. She is taken with it, all of it and I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. We stroll through the house discussing possible positioning of furniture and which of her pictures to bring down from Boston.
"You did great, honey. I knew I could trust your judgement. Come here."
She takes me in her arms for the first time since she arrived and we kiss. It is long and sweet. It's obvious both of us have been lonely for the other. As our tongues stroke in unison, our hands caress wanting bodies. I pull her as close as possible. After a few minutes, we break apart, breathless, and grin.
"Told you I missed you," I say.
After a few more minutes of quiet time together, we each re-apply our lipstick, then head out and make our way to the mall.
The entire lot is crowded and we're forced to park at the opposite end of where we want to be, happy just to have found a spot. Window-shopping our way through the labyrinth of tiled floors and weekend shoppers, I notice she is staying extremely close to me, brushing up against me at every opportunity. When we stop to look at a display, I see our reflections. Mel looks at me intently with a gentle smile. She touches me cautiously, obviously remembering our pact not to show affection in public places. The way she keeps invading my personal space is making me increasingly excited.
We stop to get a soda, and she wraps her hand around mine, refusing to let me pay for the drinks. The feel of her bare skin on mine causes me to tingle. It's been so long since we've made love, really touched each other. I'm suddenly too warm; I knew I shouldn't have worn this sweater.
Eventually we make it to the large department store that anchors this end of the mall and take the escalator up to the store's bedding department. "I think I'll stick with a queen-sized." Then she leans into me so that her breasts are against my upper arm, and whispers in my ear. "It's big enough so we won't feel cramped, but small enough so I can find you in the dark."
I glance around quickly. "Mel, there are people around."
Grinning, she says, "No one could possibly hear."
Despite what she says, I'm nervous. Heaven knows why. Why should anyone think twice about two friends looking at a bed? As a sales person approaches, I take a few steps away from Mel.
"See something you like?" she asks, her voice friendly.
Mel looks directly at me. "Oh, yes, indeed."
The sales woman seems to miss the implication, perhaps intentionally. "Great. Which model are you interested in?"
Releasing me from her gaze, Mel turns her attention to the matter at hand. "I was thinking about this queen-sized mattress set."
"A very nice choice."
"Can I lay down and try it out?"
"Of course. Be my guest," the woman gushes. She obviously senses a sale.
Mel sits down and bounces a few times; then she swings her legs up and lies down. I watch as she gives it a test run, turning from side to side, onto her stomach, and then returning to her back. If this were a car she'd be kicking the tires by now. She pats the bed.
"Come on, Dana, lie down. See how it feels."
I shoot a quick glance at the sales woman. "I don't think so."
"Dana, come on. I may have some overnight company and want to make sure they're comfortable. I'd like your opinion." Again, she pats the bed, her smile meant to encourage me.
The sales woman looks at Mel and then at me. If she makes any connection I can't read it on her face. Instead, she decides to chime in.
"Yes, please. Try it out." She apparently senses my discomfort. "Don't be embarrassed. Lots of people do this in the store. You want to make sure your bed is-"
"It's not my bed, it's hers."
She seems startled by my interruption. "Yes. Well." Looking at Mel, she says she'll be back in a few minutes. "Take all the time you like."
"Okay, she's gone. Now will you lie down?"
"No," I say a little too loudly. I lower my voice. "I don't want to."
"Dana, you are making way too much out of this and drawing attention to yourself in the process."
That strikes a nerve.
"Well, I wouldn't have if you would just stop badgering me to do something I obviously don't want to."
"Sorry. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."
I cross my arms over my chest. "Well, you did."
She gets up from the bed. I can see in her face she's upset. Dammit. Damn my damned stubbornness. Damn my insecurities and always worrying about appearances.
"Let's go," she says.
I'm confused. "What do you mean? You haven't bought anything yet."
Oh, great. The sales woman is coming back. She probably thinks since Mel is up she's about to ring up a sale.
"Is this set going to work for you or would you like to try out a few different styles?" she asks.
Her plastered on smile and patronizing tone are beginning to grate on my nerves. The woman is forced to step aside as Mel walks briskly past her, leaving me standing in place.
Crap. "Now is not a good time," I say. "We'll have to get back to you."
The disappointment is clear on the woman's face. "Oh, well, okay," she stammers. Looking at me, she no doubt senses my tension. She fumbles in her jacket pocket a moment before pulling out a business card and handing it to me.
"Thank you, uh, Phyllis," I say referring to the card. "I'm sorry to have taken up your time."
"Oh, no, don't worry about it. I'll see you when you come back," she says, smiling hopefully.
I'm barely cognizant of what the woman is saying. Looking past her the entire time, I try to keep an eye on Mel and where she's headed. I'm puzzled by her behavior. Well, I won't let her rush me. It was her fault. I told her I didn't want to get on the stupid bed.
She's already at the escalator and has not looked back once. I've never seen her so annoyed. What the hell has gotten into her? I don't know where she thinks she's going; I'm the one driving. Damn her for leaving me to deal with this woman.
I can feel the sales woman still watching me as I brush past her. If I want to catch up, I have no choice but to do a little speed walking. This sort of attention was exactly what I didn't want.
Mel is already out of sight by the time I reach the escalator. Well, she can't have gotten that far. I start walking down the moving steps, not wanting to lose sight of her for too long. The walls around the escalator block my vision of the store. Getting back onto solid ground, I try to find her. I panic a bit before spotting her in the handbag area.
Now that I've found her, I relax a bit. Taking a couple of deep breaths I pause to reflect on what has just transpired and decide that she's getting upset with my reticence. She's so spontaneous; it must be doubly hard for her to understand and accept my reserved nature. Before I approach her, I decide I should probably apologize, just to keep the peace, although I don't think I've done anything all that wrong.
I walk up and touch her arm tentatively. She turns to look at me. I can still see the upset in her eyes. We don't speak for a long time. Eventually, I offer a weak smile.
"I'm sorry," I say. "I over-reacted."
She says nothing, but grasps my hand. This is a good sign. I relax a bit. Her mouth moves as she tries to formulate words, but nothing comes out. She takes a deep breath, releases it, and tries again.
"I'm sorry I pushed you, Dana."
"No, you were just having fun. You did nothing wrong."
"I should have realized that you'd be uncomfortable in that situation with people around."
"No, it was all my fault."
"I don't want to fight." Applying gentle pressure to my hand, she says, "Truce?"
I look around and find no other shoppers in the immediate area. Feeling suddenly daring, I move in close, lift up a bit, and place a quick kiss on her cheek. "Truce."
She smiles at me as her face lights up. "Come on."
"Where are we going now?" I call after her as she scurries away.
"Back upstairs to buy the bed."
Hurrying, I catch up with her at the escalator. "That sales woman is going to think we're crazy," I chuckle.
"So what? Besides, by the time we're finished shopping, she's going to have herself a nice commission check."
After a moment of awkwardness, the sales woman leaves us alone again. Emboldened by my earlier spontaneity, I climb onto the bed and indicate Mel should do the same.
"This bed is very supportive," I say. Keeping my eyes on the ceiling, arms tightly at my side, I add, "I think any overnight guests would be extremely comfortable."
From my peripheral vision, I see Mel roll towards me and rise up on her elbow. Not more than three inches from me, she whispers, "I only plan on one person sharing my bed."
My fingers clutch the bedspread. My stomach flutters. I fight to stifle a moan; it's all I can do to not pull her to me and kiss her, even here in public. I've got to get up off this bed.
An hour later we walk out of the store. Mel has purchased the mattress, box springs, and frame getting a beautiful wood bed. She also charges all her linens, pots, pans, bathroom necessities, a sofa, lamps, and every other thing imaginable she'll need to set up housekeeping on short notice.
"Your credit card will never be the same," I say as we walk out of the store into the evening crispness.
"Yeah, but Phyllis is my new best friend. Besides, I have a great tax woman who somehow manages to get this all written off."
"Lucky you." I smile. "All that shopping made me hungry, are you ready for dinner?"
"You bet. The rest can wait till tomorrow."
"I still need a TV, DVD, phone, answering machine, desk, and--"
"Don't worry. I won't try to make you lay down on the desk." She gives me a wink before putting the packages in the trunk of the car.
"Oooh, there. Stop. Right. There," she moans as my hands travel over her unclothed body. "Yes. Oh God, yes." She lets out a squeal as she reaches back and grasps my knees that are straddled over her hips. "God, baby, that feels soooo, aaahhh, good."
I start to move to another part of her body when she speaks in a breathless, rapid-fire fashion. "There! There! There! Don't move. Ooh. Harder."
"Relax. You're tensing up and it's going to hurt."
"No. Just keep doing it. There. Aaaah." She sucks air in quick spurts. "Jesus, Dana, you have magic hands." She lifts her head up and grins at me. "My shoulder has been killing me for days, but you worked out that knot quite nicely. Thanks."
"My pleasure." I help her turn over onto her back. With her still lying under me, I sit down lightly on her lower abdomen, keeping most of my weight on my heels.
"All that fancy knife training paid off," she says, smiling.
"Well, live body, dead body, it's all the same to me." I brush her hair back off her face and grin at her.
"I like your bedside manner, Doctor."
"Do you now?"
The fun verbal sparring and repartee suddenly turns serious.
"You're wet," she says, raising her hips and rubbing against the source. Oh, yes, please. "Kiss me." As I'm leaning into her waiting lips, she adds, "Hard."
Grasping her head between my hands, I push against her mouth; our teeth colliding as she parts her lips and invites me in. Our tongues slip and slide against each other: stroking, circling, advancing, retreating.
I want her so much. Her hands gently map the familiar territory of my body. She knows where I like to be touched; the exact amount of pressure needed to take me out of myself.
Rolling around in my bed, the sheets twisting and wrapping us together, trapping us like a cocoon; we kiss and touch, giving ourselves to each other. The pleasure of tasting her is nothing short of exquisite. The feel of her heated naked body pressed tightly against mine is heavenly. Like puzzle pieces, we fit together perfectly.
"Don't ever...away...so long," I murmur into her mouth between passionate kisses.
She gasps as I run my hand up her thigh; moans softly as I adorn her breasts with kisses; calls out my name as I lightly stroke between her legs; shudders as I enter her; and while I hold her in my arms, she comes.
"You are so beautiful," I say. Pushing her hair back, I place a kiss on the pulsating vein in her neck.
I've never been with anyone that makes me feel the way she does. I've never wanted to be with anyone as much; there's no one that makes me as happy to be alive. Yet I hold back telling her exactly what she means to me. What am I afraid of? If I verbalize it will this all disappear? I worry about what will happen if I give myself totally to her. Will I lose myself in the process?
I've had plenty of time without her this last month to think and I know I want to be with her, only her. So, why do I continue to hesitate? She deserves to know how I truly feel. I'm going to tell her tonight.
Although she's resting, I can sense some sort of change in her; it's like I can almost hear her thinking. She starts to speak but stops. I don't press her the first time; but when it happens again, I can literally feel her internal struggle. Mel never seems to have difficulty saying what's on her mind; so this has me a bit concerned.
"What is it, sweetie?"
She hesitates then says, "Nothing."
Gently prodding, I say, "It doesn't sound like nothing."
Her shoulders rise and fall as she releases a shuddering sigh.
Now I'm worried. Mel is so open with everything. Of course, I don't presume to know all there is about her or her past; just as she doesn't know everything about me, but I'm getting a bad feeling about this hesitancy. I want to honor her wishes, but I want to know if something is wrong.
I stroke her hair, a sort of reassurance. "Sweetie, I can see you want to say something, and whatever it is, it's causing you quite a bit of distress. Can't you please tell me?"
I feel her warm tears rolling down my breast.
"I do love you, Dana, so very much." Her voice has a wavering, emotional quiver to it. "I never thought I could be this much in love."
This must be bad. What's wrong? Oh, God, what if she's ill? My head is starting to reel with possibilities. I force myself to remain calm. Whatever it is, we can deal with it. I'm a doctor; I can take care of her, make sure she gets the best medical advice and treatment.
While I'm thinking, she whispers something so low that I can't make it out. "I'm sorry I couldn't hear you."
She takes a breath and releases it as though the weight of the world is on her shoulders. "It's not enough."
We have not moved from our positions. It's like we're frozen in time, in some sort of suspended animation. The only movement, the rising and falling of her shoulders as she sobs. Jesus. What is she talking about? I feel my heart rate increase, obviously due to my own increased anxiety level.
She's silent. Her breathing is so deep and rhythmic that for a moment I think she has fallen asleep. But then she lets out another heavy sigh. She puts her arms around my waist and holds me so tightly I have difficulty breathing.
"Oh, God," she moans, sounding on the verge of tears again. "I don't, I don't." She pauses, obviously trying to keep herself under control. "I don't know if I can do this anymore, Dana."
Fear has turned my skin clammy.
"Mel, you're starting to scare me. Please, just tell me what's wrong."
She slides up next to me, her face tear-streaked, brown eyes drowning in sorrow. Reaching over me, she grabs the box of tissues from the nightstand. She dabs at her eyes and then blows her nose. When she speaks her throat sounds thick.
"I love you so much, Dana, but I'm just not sure that I can go on this way anymore. I've tried to pretend that it doesn't matter, but I'm just lying to myself. It does matter."
"What does? Mel, what's wrong? Are you ill? Because if you are, don't be afraid, I'm not going to leave you to face whatever it is alone."
I sit up and then gently wipe the stalactite tears from her chin. She lets out a nervous laugh and shakes her head. "I'm not sick. At least, not the way you mean."
God, why is she being so cryptic? Come on. Come on. Calm down, let her do this in her own time.
I take her hands in mine. "What then? What's wrong? Just tell me. Please."
She sits up next to me and leans back against the headboard. She keeps her eyes straight ahead, refusing to look at me. Talking in a big breath, her chin quivering with emotion, she speaks slowly, "I don't think you feel the same way about me and it just hurts too much to be around you." Burying her face in her hands, she starts weeping.
Oh, no. God, she's going to tell me this was all a big mistake. She's leaving me. Oh, God! No, please, no.
What have I done? How could she possibly think I don't love her? Maybe because I've never told her. I've waited too long. I've allowed my fears to cause her doubt. If I tell her now, will she believe me, think I'm sincere? Or will she think I'm just saying it to placate her, so she won't leave? My stomach feels like I've just made the first big drop on the roller coaster at Magic Mountain.
I pull her to me, wrap my arms around her, hoping to convey to her all the tenderness I feel. "Shh, please don't cry. It's all right. I've been such a fool. Shh. Shh."
As I rock her in my arms, she continues to cry. God, this has been tearing her apart. "Sweetie, please. Try to calm down." I press my lips to her forehead and leave them there. I tighten my grip on her. "Shh. This entire thing is my fault. I'm sorry. Please, don't leave. Please. I'm a coward for not telling you before."
She struggles out of my embrace and sits up eye level with me. Looking directly into my eyes, deep into my soul, she studies me. She knows me so well in so many ways, but in this, the most important of all things, I have kept her out. Not any more.
Her crying has subsided to an occasional sob or gulp for air. Used tissues are wadded up and scattered across the bed and floor. Her nose is red but she seems to be pretty much back in control.
"Telling me what?"
I don't dare falter. She has to believe me. I clear my throat. "That no one makes me feel the way you do." I run the back of my hand down her cheek. "I don't want to be with anyone else." She starts to dip her head trying to break away from my gaze, but I grasp her chin in the cup of my hand. "Being with you has brought me the joy and comfort I've been without for far too long."
Silence overtakes the room. I weave our fingers together, waiting for her to respond to my proclamation of love.
"Is that all?"
I'm stunned. I don't know how to answer that. Silence is not what she was looking for.
Without a word, she gets up and grabs her robe from the end of the bed, covering her shaking body.
"What are you doing?" I ask.
She doesn't answer, but continues walking out of the room, stopping only to retrieve a blanket from the closet shelf. As she closes the bedroom door, I call after her, but she doesn't come back. I hear the sound of the TV being turned on and voices drifting in from the front room.
Fear has overtaken me and anger is simmering just below the surface. My head is spinning as I continue to lie in bed, confused over what has just transpired. What the hell just happened? What did I do this time? Jesus, she's being awfully moody today. Is she still upset about the bed deal earlier? Will all this be forgotten in the morning? That's doubtful; she's too damned emotional to just let this drop. Will she change her plans and leave early tomorrow? Lord, I've got to make this better somehow. But just what does she want from me?
Dammit! Neither of us is going to get any sleep until this is settled. We're both too upset. There's only one thing to do. Tissues go flying as I throw back the covers. I start to pick them up, but then change my mind. Those can wait. Right now I'm going to get to the bottom of all this. I open the bedroom door and make my way into the room illuminated only by the light from the TV. Before I can speak, I see her.
Oh, Jesus. She's on the couch, lying on her side, the blanket up to her chin. Her knees are pulled up in the classic protective fetal position with her arms wrapped around them tightly. I can see her rocking herself. Glancing at the TV, I see she's staring at nothing but late night TV snow. All my anger goes right out the window when I see her, her pain palpable in the late hour. I silently make my way over to her and kneel down.
My heart is breaking for her. She starts to turn over to face the back of the couch. "Please, don't," I say while placing my hand on her blanket-covered shoulder, gently restraining her.
She stops and lies still on her back, staring at the ceiling. She is in complete darkness now as my back blocks the light from the TV.
"Mel, baby, please help me to understand what it is you want, what it is you need."
"I want you. I need you. All of you."
"Honey." I smile though I doubt she sees it. "You have me."
"No, I don't," she whispers.
"Mel, didn't you hear anything I said to you in the bedroom? Baby, you mean the world to me."
"Then say it," she demands.
"Say what? I've bared my soul to you and told you things I've never told anyone else. I don't know what more I can say."
Her silence tells me I should try again.
"My life is never as good as when we're together. Jesus, Mel, you are the center of my universe. You make me feel at peace and remind me of what is truly important in life."
She says nothing. Tentatively, I lean down to kiss her. At the last possible moment she turns her head away.
"You're not being honest with me or yourself, Dana."
I am so lost here. There's something more she needs. What is it? What is it? Think, Dana. I slowly go over everything we've done and said since she arrived. There's got to be something I'm missing. I can't put my finger on it. Think, Dana. I force myself to remain calm, to start at the beginning. The answer is somewhere, just think back. Wait. Is it possible that maybe, just maybe, this isn't even about me, well, at least directly?
"Mel, may I ask you something?"
I take her silence as approval to proceed.
"What is this really about?"
She turns her head back in my direction. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, honey, that something is going on and I don't think it's entirely about us."
"Say what you mean, Dana."
"Okay. Remember the first time I was at your house and you were giving me the tour? The way you got all melancholy when you talked about just sometimes sitting in your office?"
She remains silent, but nods her head ever so slightly.
"And, then, when I was holding you, you were upset and made me promise never to lie, and I asked if someone had done that to you?"
"Well, does that have anything to do with this?"
She appears to be giving this consideration, but doesn't answer.
"Mel, I'm not her. I don't know what happened, but I'm not her."
"You're doing the same things she did."
At last, maybe now we can get to the bottom of this. I need information if we're going to work through this.
She sits up with her back against the arm of the couch, the heaviness of what she has to say apparent.
"She never would tell me that she loved me. She'd say the same things you do about how important I was to her, how there was no one else; but I needed her to say 'I love you' and she wouldn't. It was a game for her to see how she could keep me dangling without ever totally giving me what I needed. I was only a game."
"Oh, baby, I'd never do that."
"Then, she started seeing other women behind my back." Her voice is so low and full of sorrow I find myself crying silent tears for her.
Another conversation comes rushing back; she told me she'd never cheat on me and if there was someone else or if she ever wanted to leave, I'd be the first to know. Now it's all coming into focus. She's been afraid I'd do the same things that other woman did to her. God, how I hate her. How could she take Mel's love and then just discard it, and toy so mercilessly with her in the process?
"I wouldn't do that," I say, trying to re-assure her.
"At the end, she didn't even have the common courtesy to keep her *friends* away from me. She'd bring them to the house and flaunt them right in front of me."
"Jesus, honey. Please. You don't really think I'd never do that to you, do you?"
She offers me a twisted little smile that I choose to interpret it as a 'no'.
"I finally woke up and realized that she was not going to change, that the reason she never said she loved me, was because she didn't. I was a fool to fall in love with her."
"You're not a fool. You were in love; that's all. Love isn't rational. She was not a good person, Mel. You didn't deserve to be treated like that, no one does."
I stroke her hair and whisper softly. "I'd do anything to keep from hurting you. You are so special to me."
God, I don't know if I'm ready, but she needs to hear the words and I can't risk losing her. Trying to assuage hers, I push my own fears aside. "I love you, Mel, and want us to be together, always." I pause attempting to gauge her receptiveness.
"You really do love me? You're not just saying that because--"
"Because I'm afraid you'll leave? God, yes, I'm afraid. If I lost you, I-"
She interrupts and asks again if I love her.
"More than life itself."
"Then why couldn't you tell me?"
"I honestly thought I had. Every time we've been together, every time we speak on the phone, every email." I pause. "Every time we make love. I, I just assumed you knew."
"And you were scared."
She knows me so well. "I was scared."
"Scared of being in love with me?"
I ponder that for a moment, weighing all the factors. "Just scared of being in love."
"I don't know, exactly. Lots of reasons, all of which seem utterly inane right now. I'm sorry I was the cause of your pain. I truly am. I'll make it up to you somehow. Will you let me, please?"
Breaking into a slow smile, she says, "Just love me."
Moving towards her, I feel my lips aching, waiting what seems like an eternity for hers to meet mine. "I love you. I'm so sorry. Just don't leave me, I couldn't bear it."
I reach for her and she comes to me. As we are about to kiss, it is my turn to sigh; but it is one of absolute relief. Truthfully, I don't know what I would do without her.
She lifts the blanket that has been doubling as a shield and presses up against the back of the couch. I lie down next to her and she drapes the crocheted afghan over us. Thank you, God. We don't exchange a word. I adorn her face with butterfly kisses, reinforcing how much I love her.
After a while, the two of us squeezed onto the narrow sofa begins to be uncomfortable. I've almost fallen off twice, only to have Mel grab me just in time.
"Want to get up before you get hurt?" she chuckles.
"Uh huh." Somewhat reluctantly, I rise. "Come on."
I shut off the TV and we walk hand-in-hand to the bedroom.
In the softness of the candlelit room, she kisses me deeply and strokes my face tenderly. My arms snake around her as she covers me with her body. As she rubs her bare legs over mine, we moan into each other's mouths. She snuggles and hums against my neck; licks and nibbles on my earlobe. My skin breaks out in goosebumps.
"Dana." The softness in her voice somehow makes my name sound like a prayer. "Are you sure you're ready for this kind of commitment?"
Our shadow flickering on the walls catches my attention momentarily. "Honestly? No." Her entire body goes stiff with tension. "But I do know that there's no one I'd rather spend time with. No one I'd rather go to sleep with and wake up with." She relaxes and melts back into me.
"Baby, I was so frightened and confused. I've not been fair to you, either. I just wasn't making the connection that I was transferring all my pain and fears of her to you." She rolls onto her back, clutching me even tighter to her. "I knew this was all new to you, and I knew I said I'd give you time, but it'd been months and well, I just didn't think I could be around you if you didn't feel something for me beyond the fun times and the sex."
Her emotions are very close to the surface and her voice is threatening to break. "I couldn't go through another rejection like that again. I want us to be a couple, Dana, in every sense of the word."
My fingers wind through her hair. "Sweetie, these last months have been the happiest times of my life. You make me laugh and I feel young again," I say, smiling at her. "I'd lost touch with my needs and desires a long time ago and you...you've helped me to reconnect with what I wanted out of life before I got so caught up in just surviving." I kiss her cheek. "I do have fun when we're together, but what I feel for you goes much deeper. You are so good to me. I, I feel so loved by you."
"You are. Deeply."
"Kiss me," I murmur.
She does, thoroughly, and much more, touching me in my favorite and most sensitive spots. Instinctively, my legs wrap around her hips, pulling her until we are pressed together. Other times our lovemaking has been frenetic, but tonight time seems to be suspended as we explore each other's body anew; it's as though this is the first time. There's a new intensity when we touch, a feeling of a deeper connection.
I'm reeling from the sensations her tongue can command from my body. I'm hers to do with as she pleases. I will not deny myself anymore. I want her. I will have her. Damn the consequences. We'll take precautions; be extra careful.
"I'm hopelessly in love with you."
Between long kisses, there are breathless declarations of love and murmured endearments. I can't believe this is actually happening after all these years. My life had become all about avoiding entanglements, remaining detached, closing off my emotions; but now, now it's just the opposite. It's all because of Mel. I do love her. It's new. It's strange. It's scary. It's a miracle. After all the terrors, disappointments and heartaches, I've found her.
Her very being is a comfort to me. God, to have been lucky enough to find someone who loves me. She sees through my façade to who I really am. What I perceive as weakness in myself, she sees as strengths. She completes me.
I release her and slide my legs up the bed. Underneath her, I place the soles of my feet together, opening and offering myself to her. She kisses her way down my body, nibbling, blowing, and sucking as she goes. My fevered body craves her now familiar balm. When her hardened nipple brushes against my clit, I nearly jump out of my skin. My breathing is ragged and rapid. She teases her way up my inner thighs and by the time her tongue finally soothes my aching core, I'm nearly delirious with want.
It takes a monumental effort, but I fight through my haze and lift her head from me. She looks at me wide-eyed and then smiles as I call for her to turn around so I can please her. I want us to come together. It's important; symbolic somehow. I gently grasp her and use my thumbs to spread her apart. She's wet and swollen with desire. At my touch, her clit quivers. Like the rest of tonight, this part of it is slow, nearly agonizingly so.
Lying side by side, I raise her top leg over me and take her in my mouth, feeling and tasting her for the first time in over a month. Umm, I'm home. Deeply breathing in her fragrance, I lick her softly and allow myself to completely explore her moist, inflamed flesh. I finally realize she's been mimicking my every move, assuring me silently that if I want something, I only need do it to her first.
My tongue presses into her, a little at a time, straining to partake of her hidden delights. We hunger for the same thing. Our juices flow freely and the smell of our arousal hangs in the air. We acknowledge our pleasure with groans and muffled whines. Moving my tongue to her clit, I push two fingers into her and start to slowly explore her inner space. Oh, Holy Mother of God. I don't know how much longer I can last. My own body wants more, much more, so I insert two more fingers. Teetering on the jagged edge of my own orgasm, I somehow manage to speed up my thrusts.
We simultaneously gasp for air. Even in this we are in complete unison. Her thighs quiver uncontrollably around my ears, signaling the beginning of her orgasm. Oh, God, how I love that, knowing I've brought her to this state of euphoria. Our bodies freeze up before giving in to our climax. As we come, we call out each other's names, our voices trembling with emotion. Afterwards, quietly, I tell her to come up to me and hold her in my arms. Panting and sweaty, lying face to face, we kiss passionately and taste the results of our co-mingling while our fingers continue to caress flushed skin.
Somehow, eventually, I'm able to speak. "That was truly exquisite," I say, my voice thick and raspy.
"It, it felt different from other times."
"That's the beauty of the love factor."
"The love factor," I state dryly.
"Yes. We acknowledged our love and it forced the paradigm to shift."
"The paradigm that is our relationship," she explains patiently.
I'm trying to follow her logic, but my body is still pumping oxygen at high rates of speed and my mind is not functioning at optimum capacity at this very moment. "And, when we expressed our love, the paradigm, the framework of our relationship, re-aligned and our lovemaking took on a different meaning; went to a new level."
We lie silently. While I'm considering her theory, I run my finger absentmindedly up and down her arm. "So, when you were in love before, did you experience this same paradigm shift?"
"Yes," she says, pausing, "but never as much as I have with you."
I stop playing with her arm. "Why do you say that?"
"Because the other women wanted to be in love."
"And I didn't?"
"No," she says. She takes a moment to lick at the droplets of dew that have beaded up between my breasts. "I think you did. You just didn't want to give in to it and when you did, well, the paradigm didn't only shift, it quaked and exploded into a million pieces."
"Definitely felt like a ten on my Richter scale," I say, chuckling.
She pulls me tighter. Sleep overcomes us as we cuddle under the blankets, cradled in each other's arms. During the night, I wake up and find her turned away from me. So as not to disturb her, I quietly scoot over and slip my arm over her waist and kiss her bare shoulder. Reflexively, she grasps my hand and pulls her legs up. As I trace the outline of her body with mine, I whisper that I love her.
Today started with a wonderfully lazy morning of lovemaking and silly pillow talk, followed by a long, languorous bubble bath. After brunch we set out to the large electronic store across from the mall to finish up Mel's shopping. I must have told Mel that I love her about fifty times today and it's not even one o'clock yet.
It's not as difficult as I thought it would be. Even though I honestly meant it, the first few times felt a little forced; but now it feels natural, like I've said it to her all our lives. Every time I tell her, she smiles. Without words, her twinkling eyes show me the love she feels for me.
While strolling around, looking at TV's, deciding on models and sizes, I hear my name.
I spin slowly around following the direction of the voice.
"Sir?" Skinner in jeans and a t-shirt with a leather jacket is quite a site, very different from how I'm used to seeing him dressed.
"Doing some shopping, Agent Scully?
Mel walks up and stands casually next to me. Too close, you're standing too close.
"Hi, Walter." She extends her hand to him.
Walter? She knows him? And, she calls him 'Walter'?
"Hello, Melanie. Are you here with Scully?"
What does he mean by that?
"Yes." She smiles at me. "You did know that I have been contracted for the consulting position for the new computer software, didn't you, Walter?"
"It seems I read it in a memo, but that was quite a while ago."
"Yes, its taken a while to get it on track, but looks like I'll be moving down here within a few weeks."
I don't think I've ever seen Skinner looking so casual or smiling quite so broadly. Obviously, Mel has added another admirer to her cache.
She looks at me briefly before turning her attention back to Skinner. "Dana has graciously opened her home to me while I'm here. She's even offered to help me set up housekeeping. Today I get to buy all my toys." Her smile broadens and she looks for all the world like a kid in a candy store.
"That sounds like fun." Skinner looks at me with kindness in his eyes. He's probably glad I have a life outside of work and Mulder.
I smile at him, hoping it doesn't appear too strained.
"Well, we're on a bit of a tight schedule, Walter. It was nice running into you again."
"Maybe we can do lunch once you get settled in?" he asks.
"That would be great. I expect it to be pretty hectic for a while, but I'll be in touch."
"Great. I look forward to it. Well, enjoy your day, Melanie. Scully."
As he turns and walks away, I nudge Mel.
"What?" she asks. Her hand moves to cover her stomach in case of another sneak attack.
"I didn't know you knew Skinner."
"Oh, we had a few conversations when I was here making my presentations. He's really very charming." She starts looking around the store, obviously deciding which department to give her attention to next.
"You don't think he suspected anything, do you?"
She stops looking around and focuses her attention on me. "Suspected anything?"
"Why would he?" Her face shows her bewilderment.
"I don't know. You were standing pretty close to me."
"Oh for heaven's sake, I was not," she says, sounding amused. "Besides, it's perfectly normal for friends to be shopping together, Dana." I think she's a bit irritated with me.
"Would you please try to stop worrying so much? You're making yourself a nervous wreck. No one is going to think anything about us unless you start behaving suspiciously."
"I guess you're right."
Grinning at me, she says, "Hey, come on, help me decide. I've narrowed it down to two TV's and DVD's."
Mel's presence is so strong in my life its like she's always with me, even when she isn't. On the drive home, I find myself carrying on a one-sided conversation with her in my mind.
Well, I'm still surprised we managed to get all your shopping done, back to the apartment to get your luggage, and somehow still make it to the airport by the time your flight left at close to seven. Quite a feat!
You haven't been gone even an hour. A weekend is just not long enough, especially now. Before, I could kid myself this wasn't a serious relationship; it was a fling, nothing more than experimentation, dabbling on the edge of social acceptability, pure titillation. But now, now that I've been honest and told you everything, I can't take it back. I don't want to. There's no room for self-delusion anymore. I love you. That's all there is to it. I love you. It feels good to admit it, but even better to say it, especially when we're in bed.
You know I still feel unsettled at meeting up with Skinner in the store. Eventually, I imagine, our affair is going to come out and people will know. God, how I dread that day, the looks, the whispers, the sidelong glances. I've been dealing with that sort of thing ever since I teamed up with Mulder. Everyone assumes he and I have been involved since day one. Guess I'm so used to that by now I don't even notice it any more. I suppose after awhile it'll be the same with our affair. God, that sounds tawdry. I don't want to call our love an 'affair'; it cheapens it to be compared to a series of clandestine interludes at sleazy motels.
Well, I may as well resign myself to the idea people are going to talk regardless of the circumstances. But I just hate the thought of being the main topic of discussion around the water cooler. Actually, I think it'll be good when it's out in the open. Then, at least, there'll be no opportunity for any blackmail attempts by, hell, I don't even know what to call them anymore, the Consortium still works, I suppose.
I doubt I can be fired because of our relationship; that would be discrimination based on sexual preference and they wouldn't want to risk a big lawsuit. That would look great, the Justice Department breaking the law. They might try to force me out through the back door somehow, but I don't think so. Anyway, I feel certain that Skinner would pull every string he could, if it came to that, but I don't think it will. I can manage the work environment, I always have; it's the family that has me worried.
I'm coming to realize I can't keep them in the dark for much longer. I don't want to. I want them to get to know you and how much we mean to each other. I want to bring you to family gatherings, to be open about our love. You are my family now and I want you with me. I've spent a good deal of my life hiding myself from them, trying to spare them the more gruesome details of my job and the danger it involves; but our love should be out in the open, at least with my family.
I haven't yet decided on how or when, but I do know mom will be the first one I tell. I need to ask you to tell me about when and how you told your mother. Maybe there are some books I can read to help me with how to approach this.
Mom will be shocked, to put it mildly, but in the end I think she'll come around. Charlie, well, Charlie has always just wanted me to do whatever made me happy. He and Missy were the only two who stood by me when I transitioned from medicine to the FBI. God, how I wish Missy was here to help me. She'd be so supportive, tell me not to worry about what people think, and just do what feels right. Knowing her, she'd probably want to throw us a big party to celebrate and announce our love. Missy. I miss her terribly sometimes.
Big brother Bill is another story altogether. I'd better wear kevlar when I tell him. First he'll go ballistic and then he'll go 'fatherly' on me, as usual. Ever since Dad died, Bill seems to think he's in charge and can try to control everyone's life, especially mine. You'd think, after all the quarrels we've had over my joining the Bureau and my involvement with Mulder, that Bill would get the idea to stay the hell out of my life. God knows, Tara has tried to keep him in line, but there's no getting around it, sometimes Bill is just a royal pain in the ass.
I hope everyone accepts us, but if they don't that's their problem. I want you to know that I will never go to a family event without you. We're a package deal, you and I.
I reach over to pat her hand and it dawns on me that she's not even in the car. I was enjoying her company and having such a nice conversation with her that I drove home on automatic pilot.
Unlocking the front door, I leave my keys and wallet in the foyer and walk over to check the answering machine; there's not even one message. Mulder is slipping. There was a time when I couldn't be gone for an hour, only to return to a half dozen frantic calls from him.
Putting the kettle on to boil, I go into the bedroom and start to make the bed. I don't want to change it; I want the essence of her with me tonight. Each piece of scattered clothing brings back a flood of memories. I clutch her pillow to my breast and replay each delicious moment, recalling how she teased me mercilessly, taking me to the edge and back many times, before finally sending me careening over the precipice. Oh, sweet Jesus. The two weeks until she gets moved down here is going to seem like an eternity.
The kettle is whistling away. Racing to the kitchen, I turn off the burner; it seems that while I was daydreaming half the water boiled away. Refilling the kettle with a little water, I wait for it to boil and top off the remainder of the cup. Walking into the front room, I flip on the evening news.
As I sit down on the couch, I am determined to concentrate on what the reporter is saying about a new outbreak of violence in the Middle East. Mostly, I'm trying to not think about Mel. I want desperately to talk to her and hear the sweet soothing voice that uttered gentle caresses while we made love.
The phone startles me back to conscious awareness.
"That kills me every time."
I perk up instantly when I realize who it is. "What does?"
"When you answer your phone that way."
"I wanted to let you know I made it home safe and sound."
"Thanks." I pause. "It's good to hear your voice."
"Honey, we just spoke not even two hours ago."
"I know, but I miss you." I pause. "I love you."
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On to part 7, Insomnia