Title: The Visit
Author: ScullyFu
Email: x-file_addict@msn.com
Posted: 01/01/01

Archives: Spookies, Gossamer, Ephemeral are okay. Others, please ask.
Spoilers: There are a couple of minor mentions in passing.
Rating: NC-17
Classification: ScullySlash. Scully POV.

Disclaimer: They're not mine. CC, 1013 and Fox have the sole rights to their existence. Dammit!
Summary: Mel comes to town on business.
To Meredith and Char Chaffin, for generously providing their time and critiques, thanks again, ladies.
Note: This is the fifth in the series and falls between "First Contact" and "Beach Blanket Bingo". 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/

Eighteen thousand, seven hundred and twenty minutes to be exact.

A couple of weeks, she said. Thirteen days ago I extracted a promise from Mel to stay here with me when she comes up for her presentation to the FBI. So, why has it seemed like an eternity?

Thank God, Mulder and I had that case file to work on for over a week. If I hadn't had something to distract me, I'd have gone out of my mind. But when we got home and her voice was on my message machine, all my anxieties melted away. I returned her call, and God, it was good to speak with her. The first thing we did was to take turns declaring how badly we each missed the other and count down the days until she'd be in D.C.

So, here I am at Dulles waiting for her to arrive. She had some errands to attend to before she could get out of town, so now it's heading on close to eight o'clock on Tuesday night. I'm feeling nervous. This will be the first time we will have seen each other since the weekend in Boston. There she is. Jesus, she looks great. She's looking around for me. I catch her attention with a little wave and a big smile.

Making my way over to her, I take her hand and give it a squeeze. I want to kiss her, but opt instead for a peck on the cheek.

Pulling me into a hug, she whispers, "Jesus, you feel good."

I shiver as her warm breath wafts past my ear.

Over her shoulder, I check the people around us, but no one seems to be paying us any mind. No one thinks anything of two women friends greeting each other with a hug and a kiss in an airport. I know I don't.

Oh, God, I've missed her. My body craves her. My lips ache for hers. I have to push away now; I can't afford any out of the ordinary behavior. Who knows who may be watching? If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's to always be a little less than trusting and never let my guard down.

"Let's go get your bags and--"

"Go home," she interrupts, seemingly reading my mind.

I can't stand that she's so close and I'm denying myself her touch. I decide to take a chance. It's an airport, for God's sake. Linking my arm through hers, she leans into me and we walk slowly through the terminal to the luggage carousel.

The ride back to my apartment is subdued; except for a few pleasantries, we both remain mute. I don't want to talk. I just want to relish in the fact that she is here, with me, for the rest of the week. Reaching over, I put my hand on her knee and run it up and down her thigh. Closing her eyes, she puts her head back as she sighs and seems to relax.

After a moment, she asks if we're almost there. "Yes, not long now," I say.

"Good, I don't know how much longer I can wait."

"Oh, I can pull off at the next exit."

She laughs and I look at her quizzically.

"I don't have to pee, Dana. I meant I don't know how much longer I can wait to make love to you."


She leans over and whispers in my ear, her voice low and throaty, "I nearly went crazy thinking about you."

I step more firmly on the gas pedal and we're home in another twelve minutes. Miraculously, there's a parking spot right out front. I can see in my window that the automatic timer has switched on the table lamp. No sooner are we inside, than we drop her luggage to the floor.

Pushing her up against the closed door, I kiss her roughly and start undressing her. In a matter of moments, her clothes are strewn all over the foyer.

I'm kissing her shamelessly. She quivers as I explore every inch of her neck and torso with my lips and fingers. Her nipples go taut at my touch. She sighs when I reach between her legs, her knees buckling as she sinks down onto my hand, inviting me to enter her. Less than a heartbeat and I am deep inside, my fingers acting as tentacles, feeling their way in her darkness.

My breathing has become rapid, matching hers. I push my tongue into her mouth; boldly taking what I know is mine. My fingers strain to get further inside her. She is wet, so wet for me.

She grinds her clit against the heel of my hand. Her moans sound like they've worked their way up from the center of her being, her very core, exactly where I'm touching. Breathlessly, she calls my name as she comes.

When her muscles relax, I withdraw my hand. Stepping back from her nude, flushed body, I tell her how beautiful she is. I hold out my arms and she comes to me.

Silently, our eyes locked on each other, she starts undressing me. She's going too slowly. I rapidly help the process along. The feel of her skin on mine is heavenly.

"I've missed you so much," I say, leaning back against the couch, with Mel standing between my legs, and sharing what are now slow deep kisses.

"Me, too."

"Come on." Taking her hand, I lead her through the front room and down the hall. "Let's get in bed."

I throw back the covers and we slide in between the sheets. We lie huddled together like snow monkeys against the elements, simply enjoying the closeness.

"I'm sorry," I say, placing a kiss on her temple.

"For what?"

"I didn't plan on attacking you the minute you stepped a foot inside the apartment."

She chuckles. "Oh, I see, you were planning on waiting for a while, right?"

I smile. "No. I wanted it to be romantic and slow. I wanted us both to savor the first time I made love to you, but I couldn't help myself."

"You didn't hear me complaining, did you?"

She kisses my neck and wraps her fingers in my hair. I'm thinking it's not too late to fulfill my original intention. I roll over so that I'm above her. Acting as a nightlight, the forgotten front room lamp allows me to see that her eyes are still as dilated as a cat's in the night. My mouth searches out hers. Umm. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this.

Her hands are skimming their way over my naked body. Periodically, she will stop and apply pressure through her fingertips. Usually, it coincides with when I make contact with a certain part of her anatomy.

I trace the outline of her body with my tongue, lingering here and there to lick the droplets of moisture from her skin. Her sweat is a little salty, and like salt, it makes me thirsty. I want to drink her in. Drown in her. Die in her arms.

My head is poised at her entrance, down where it is dark and tangled. She gasps as I use my thumbs to pull back her outer lips. I sigh as I gaze upon the beauty before me. Layer upon layer of a budding flower. A blood red rose. The symbol of eternal desire. My mouth is watering. I want to breathe in its fragrance and touch its delicate petals. Gently, as I would a newborn, I bend down and apply a kiss. Oh, Jesus. It feels like nothing else I've experienced, it's like I've found myself. After years of denial and self-delusion, it's here with Mel that I feel complete.

Vaguely, as though from a distance, I hear my name. At the moment, I'm otherwise engaged. Long and slow licks bring me juices with which to quench my thirst. Like a dying man in the desert who suddenly finds himself at an oasis, I covet more of what I have been without. My tongue enters her fountain. Her hips start to slowly rotate, occasionally bumping into my nose. I feel her fingers twisting my hair. If she pulls any harder, I may have a few bald patches.

Mel's begging me to finish her off. Her clit is swollen with want. I flick my tongue over it again and again. Sucking on it, coaxing it back out from its hiding place. Enticing it to come out and play some more. Our fingers have somehow found the others and are entwined. She pulls my hands up to cover her breasts. I marvel at their softness, their fullness, and their darkened peaks. Squeezing them causes her to whimper. If I didn't know the cause, I would think she was hurt. But this is the sound of a woman suffering only from a case of extreme pleasure.

"Please, Dana, I can't wait. Please. Now."

I oblige her and she climaxes not once, but twice. My mouth has not left her. I am rewarded with a last long drink of her. I half-kiss, half-lick my way up her body, noticing the appearance of a rash. I determine it is nothing to be suspicious of, its only cause being sexual excitement. Stopping at her breasts, I kiss each one tenderly a number of times and apologize in case I'd rubbed or pinched too hard. Never, she whispers.

Supporting my weight on my elbows, I'm lying on top of her now. Her body has a slick sweaty sheen, allowing me to glide up and down on her, rubbing our breasts and pelvises together. Oh, what a heavenly sensation.

Mel reaches down and places her fingers on my clit; I shudder at her touch and come instantly. Laying my head on her shoulder, I say a prayer of thanks to the Lord for bringing her into my life.

What was an almost awkward silence in the car is now a comfortable one. Periodically, one of us will sigh with contentment. I reach back and pull the covers over us.

Nearly an hour passes as we lie in a state of suspended animation. Mel's stirring causes me to return to a conscious state. I watch covertly as she walks into the front room and returns with her bag. She must assume I'm asleep; and not wanting to disturb me, places her thumb over the lock to muffle the sound and pops open the case, removing her clothes and lying them on the bed.

"Hi," I say.

"Did I wake you?"

"Not really."

As she continues laying her clothes out, I tell her that I cleared out a drawer for her. She looks at me with appreciation.

"Want to go out and get something to eat?"

"If you don't mind, Dana, I'd really just like to kind of lounge around tonight."

"Sure. I'll just fix us something here then."

"Maybe later, okay? I'm not especially hungry right this minute."

"Me either." I pause and clear my throat. "Going to get a shower?"

Standing at the end of the bed holding her clean clothes, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion, she looks at me as though I must have lost all my powers of observation. She breaks out in a wide grin.

"Want to join me?"

"I thought you'd never ask," I say, grinning and getting up.

Our first shower together is a highly pleasurable tactile experience. We take turns soaping each other, hands gliding smoothly over sudsy bodies. We shampoo our hair and stand under the showerhead to rinse off; alternating turns of dipping our heads under the steady stream of warm water.

Oh, and we kiss, repeatedly. Touch intimately. Murmur how much we enjoy being together. Stare into each other's eyes and grin like drunken fools. Did I mention that we kiss? God, the woman has that down to an art form.

Afterwards, sitting on the couch, with only our robes covering us, we cuddle together, both of us with hair still wrapped up in towel turbans.

"Is the entire week going to be like this?" I ask.

"Uh, is there a problem, officer?"

I laugh at her bad Eddie Murphy imitation. "No, of course not. I just don't know if I can take so much pleasure in such a short time frame is all. I'm not used to it."

"Well, get used to it," she says. "Every time we're together I fully intend on doing everything in my power to give you as much pleasure as you can handle," she pauses, "and then some."

"Oooh. I like the sounds of that."

Removing the towel from her head, I finger comb her hair. I hit a few snarls, but with patience I'm able to get them out without splitting the ends.

She does the same for me. "I really wish you'd let your hair dry naturally, Dana. It's so sexy on you."

She leans over my shoulder and kisses the spot just under my ear. Jesus, that feels good.

"You don't think it'd look unprofessional?"

"Absolutely not. What's unprofessional about naturally wavy hair?"

"Well, in and of itself, nothing, I suppose. But it's just I have to always be above reproach, in both behavior and appearance."

"Uh huh. And the point is?"

"I just don't think that I'd be taken seriously if I went with the curly look."

"Have you ever tried wearing it that way to work?"


"So, you're not operating on any empirical evidence, just theory. Is that correct?"


"And you dare to call yourself a scientist!" she says, reaching over to tickle me.

I'm laughing and trying to wiggle away, but she keeps scooting towards me until there's no where left to go.

"I won't stop until you promise that while I'm here you won't blow dry your hair straight. For scientific purposes, of course."

"Well, if you put it that way, what choice do I have?"

"Okay, then."

I manage to catch my breath after she stops tickling me. "Buy you a cup of tea?"

"Sure." She follows me into the kitchen.

"So, tell me about your presentation. When is it, exactly?"

"Tomorrow at eleven; we'll have a lunch break at one, followed by a Q&A session."

I take out the mugs and tea selections as well as the milk, honey, and lemon.

"Do you have any plans for the rest of the week?"

She walks up behind me, wraps her arms around my waist, and nuzzles my neck.

"You mean besides making love with you as often as possible?"

I gasp as the kettle slips from my hand and hits the burner with a little too much force. "Yes, besides that." My voice sounds a little shaky.

"As a matter of fact, I am meeting with my coach for a debriefing on Thursday."

"Who? What?"

"Rachel, my coach, is going to critique my presentation. She was my mentor in college and we've stayed close. Besides our professional relationship, she's really helped me through some rough personal times."

I decide not to press her on the personal issues. She'll tell me in her own time, if she wants to.

"We've been in touch throughout this entire process. I've emailed her my speech and visual aids and she's sent me suggestions for tightening it up. I've also sent her a video of my entire presentation."

The kettle boils and Mel takes a seat at the kitchen table.

"Sounds like you're really prepared for this."

"As ready as I'll ever be. That's why being here with you is so great. You'll take my mind off the presentation. Otherwise, I'd be sitting in a hotel room in front of my computer tweaking it constantly and driving myself loony."

"So you're using me strictly as a diversion?"

Although I try to sound breezy, she must see my insecurities showing.

"I want to be here with you, Dana. I was just razzing you. Come here."

Putting the kettle back on the burner to keep warm, I walk over to stand by her. She reaches out and puts her arms around my waist, using the side of my breast as a pillow. I stroke her hair.

"Forgive me?"

How can I not? "I am so unsure of everything right now, Mel, and when you say things like that, I don't know whether you're serious or not."

"Dana, honey, I can't think of any other way to convince you of how much I enjoy being with you. Whatever you need to set you at ease, let me know. I can't read your mind; you'll need to speak up."

"No, it's just me. I told you before that I wasn't good with relationships, well, now you see why."

She gets up, takes me in her arms, and holds me. Shortly, she guides us into the front room and we sit on the couch, my hands secured in hers.

"I'm going to say this again and I want you to let it filter in. I really like you, Dana. You are a marvelous woman. You're generous and kind. You're a wonderfully compassionate person and a fantastic lover. You're intelligent and funny. And, as if all that weren't enough, you are extremely beautiful. I always enjoy our time together. I just wish it could be more. But for now, this is what we have and I'm grateful. I want you in my life."

My heart soars. "That's what I want as well."

"So, give me a little credit."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, what type of woman do you think I'd rather be with? The one I just described or someone who doubts herself and needs constant re-assuring? Because, Dana, as much as I care about you, I can't make you feel secure about yourself. That has to come from you."

"I know."

"You can, however, feel secure about me. I promise you that I will never cheat or be unfaithful, so don't worry. If I say I am with you, I am. Now, I'm not saying this is going to happen, so don't take it the wrong way, but should there ever come a time when I want to leave, you will be the first to know. But, like I say, I don't foresee that occurring."

"Thank you for your honesty."

She pulls my face towards her and kisses me. "Dana?"


"Want another cup of tea?"

"Not particularly. Do you?"

"Nope. How about we go to bed?"

"Yes. Come on. You need to get a good night's sleep before your big day tomorrow."

Tonight we simply lie in each other's arms, sex taking second place to our silent need for mutual reassurance of our feelings and commitments. Our breathing falls into a syncopated rhythm and we fall asleep.

Before I open my eyes to greet the day, I reach for Mel. She's still right next to me, although her back is turned. Rolling over onto my side, I wrap my body around hers. Under the blanket, she feels like sleep, warm and toasty. Without a word, she reaches back and puts her hand on my thigh, squeezing ever so gently. I whisper good morning and nuzzle her neck. Pulling her hair behind her ear, I place a kiss there and see her smile.

The alarm rings and I quickly reach back to shut it off. Mel stirs and mumbles a good morning. I smile. I know how much I hate to get up some days. I'm just about to throw the covers back and get up when she turns towards me and slides her arm across my waist to the small of my back, pulling me to her.

"Give us a kiss, then," she says.

Gladly. Morning's kisses, slow and deliberate, the promise of a day filled with renewed passion. Our tongues collide and tangle together. Her hand is under my top. Fingers crawling across my skin. Touch me, I murmur dreamily. Her hand slides under my waistband and pushes my pajamas out of her way. Although her hand is warm, I shiver. Her touch makes my stomach flutter and I'm instantly aroused. Oh my God. How delicious is sex in the morning? She's taking her own sweet time, driving me crazier with each swirl of her tongue around my clit. My entire body is humming with the red flow of energy. She whispers for me to come. Jesus. My eyes are shut, but lights are flashing behind my lids. Colored lights. Swirling, blending together, then bursting apart, shattering into pure white shards. Grabbing the sheets, I give myself to her.

My breathing eventually returns to normal. I open my eyes to see Mel staring down at me.

"Good morning," she says, now fully awake.

I feel a grin forming. "Indeed, it is."

"What time do you have to be to work?"

"I usually get in around eight or so."

"Well, you'd better get going."

"The alarm just went off. I've got plenty of time."

"Dana, it's already seven twenty."


I whip my head around like some damned cartoon character to verify the time. "Shit!" Jumping out of bed and grabbing clean underclothes, I charge into the bathroom.

"Take it easy, you're going to hurt yourself," she says, admonishing me. Unfortunately, it's a moment too late. I've just slammed my thumb in the damned drawer.


"See?" she calls after me.

I return to the door. "Mel, I've got to leave in less than fifteen minutes if I have any chance at being in the office before eight thirty."

"So you'll be a few minutes late, is that a crime?"

"I hate to be late." I close the door and do a speedy shower, makeup, and toothbrush routine. I start to dry my hair when the bathroom door opens abruptly.

"Hey, none of that, remember?"


"You promised you'd wear it natural this week."

"Yeah, but"

"But, nothing. You're conducting a scientific study."

I put the blow dryer away. "Alright, alright."

"Besides, it'll save you time."

"Speaking of which, I've got to run, see you around five."

I'm scurrying through the apartment, hopping from foot to foot, putting on my heels; I gather up my keys and laptop.



"Slow down. If you get behind the wheel in such a state, you're going to have an accident."

She takes hold of me and makes me stand still.

"Take a few deep breaths." She waits while I obey her instructions. "That's good. Now, try to relax. The office will still be there if you're a few minutes late. The world is not going to end."

She kisses me, rather thoroughly. "Thank you, I definitely feel calmer now," I say, teasingly sarcastic and slightly out of breath.

"Get going. I'll see you later."

"I've left you the spare key on the kitchen table."


"Bye." I start for the door, then turn back. "Good luck on your presentation."


I go back for what I plan to be a quick kiss, but it quickly turns into a smoldering one.

Mel breaks it off, and wide-eyed, points me in the direction of the door, and saying, "I'll see you tonight."

As much as I'm trying to concentrate while driving in, the trip becomes a blur of warm morning memories, of Melanie and I feeling our way in the darkness towards each other, pressing our mouths together, sleeping in each other's arms. I sigh with contentment.


Descending the basement stairs, I see that Mulder is already at his desk, of course.

"Running a little late, Scully?"

I check my watch. "It's only eight fifty, Mulder. I think that falls within acceptable parameters."

"Oh, I'm not commenting on the time."

"What then?"

"Your hair. It's still damp. You didn't dry it and it's going curly. So, I figured you must be running a little late."

"Actually, no." As I get myself a cup of coffee I fill him in on the experiment, omitting the part Mel plays in it.

"Well, I vote for natural. It's a good look for you."

"You don't think it looks unprofessional?"

"Not at all."

"I don't want to do anything to compromise my being taken seriously."

"Scully, your entire demeanor screams 'no nonsense'. I doubt that your hair is going to get in the way of that."

He chuckles, so do I. "Okay, but I still haven't unveiled the new look to the rest of the Bureau."

"I can't believe you've spent time worrying over this, Scully."

"I wasn't worrying, Mulder. I was simply thinking."

He lets out a belly laugh. My eyebrow goes up instinctively and I feel myself prepare for battle.

"What? Are you laughing at me, Mulder?"

"Never, Scully."

"Then what is it that has you so amused?"

"You, 'simply thinking'; that's a good one, Scully."

I must be slow this morning, but I still don't get it. My face must show my puzzlement.

"You don't think simple thoughts, Scully. You're a deep thinker, you think complex thoughts."

"Thank you, I think."

"You're welcome."

We settle into our daily routine. I find myself watching the clock throughout the day. It seems this day is dragging. My thoughts drift off to Mel and her presentation. I wonder how long something like that lasts. I never even asked her much about it. Well, tonight we'll talk. I check the clock again. It's slowly creeping up onto four o'clock.

Mulder and I look up simultaneously as we hear the elevator ding and someone walking in the hallway. We don't normally get people down here. Skinner once in a while, but these are definitely a woman's footsteps, high heels clicking against the linoleum. We throw a look at each other just as the door pushes open.

"Dana?" I instantly recognize the voice.

"Mel?" I quickly glance over at Mulder. "What are you doing here?"

"I just finished upstairs and thought I could catch a ride home with you rather than taking a cab." She's smiling at me, her eyes warm, locked with mine.

Not wanting to give anything away, I force myself to maintain my usual stoic countenance. But, inside, I'm grinning from ear to ear.

Mulder practically jumps to his feet and Mel notices him for the first time since she entered the office. Yet, still she can't stop watching me. I throw a look in Mulder's direction. She gets the hint.

"Hello," she says, extending her hand. "You must be Mulder."

He's already walked around his desk to where she's standing and is reaching for her hand. "Must I?" He chuckles at his little joke. "And you would be?"

He shakes her hand, holding it a little too long, turning on the charm. She's about to get the full treatment.


I take note of her response to him. She's friendly and appears somewhat amused.

"And you're Scully's friend?"

"Yes, Mulder, I do have some."

He looks at me as though I'm a minor annoyance and then turns his attention back to Mel. "So, you're from out of town?"


"Are you applying for a position here?"

"Of a sort. I'm interviewing for a consulting position for the new computer software system the FBI is purchasing."

"Did you and Scully go to school together?"

"Actually, no." She turns her head away from Mulder, rolling her eyes. This time I can't help but smile.

"I see," he says, stroking his chin in a gesture reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. All he needs is a pipe and smoking jacket. "So you met out in Seattle at the conference Scully attended about a couple of months ago?"

"As a matter of fact, yes." She looks at me with a puzzled expression, obviously wondering if I've mentioned her to him.

"I'm a profiler," he declares proudly, by way of explanation.

"I see," she says, revealing a slight smile.

Mulder is too busy being charming to see the true intention behind it.

"It's what I do best. Right, Scully?"

Oh, brother.

"Right, Scully?"

"Right, Mulder."

Mel chuckles. "So, can I hitch a ride with you, Dana?"

"Of course. In fact, I think we'll head out now." I glare at Mulder while I collect my laptop and gun. "Ready?"

"Whenever you are."

Mulder gives it one last shot. "I hope to see you again before you head back to Boston. Will you be in town long?"

"Only through the weekend."

"Maybe we can get toge"

I cut him off. "Good night, Mulder."

As we head out the door, we hear him call after us. "Night, Scully. Night, Melanie."

We stop for a celebratory dinner on the way home and we're still laughing over Mulder's performance as we walk into the apartment.

"He can really turn it on when he wants to," I say.

"God, men."

"Oh, don't get me wrong, he's definitely a good guy. It's just that the women he's been involved with more recently, well, actually since I've known him, have all been of the staple through the navel variety."

"Oh, Dana, really? He's so good looking. Surely he could have anyone he wants."

"I'm sure he could."

"Has he ever put any moves on you?"


"Yes, Mulder. Why do you sound so surprised? You're a gorgeous woman, Dana, why wouldn't he?"

"For heaven's sake, Mel."


"This is silly."

"Why? Don't you think he's good looking?"

"I guess so."

"You guess so? Jesus, woman, have you had your eyes closed for the last seven years?"

"What is it you want me to say, Mel?"

"I just want you to tell me if you find him attractive."

"And if I say yes?"

"Nothing. I'd actually think there's something odd if you haven't noticed."

"Well, then, yes."

"See? That wasn't so hard now. No biggie, I was just wondering."

"And how about you, Mel?"

"How about me, what?"

"Do you find him attractive?"

"Yes, very much so. But he's not my type." She sweeps me up into her arms. "Now, you, on the other hand..." She leaves the sentence unfinished as she kisses me till I'm completely breathless.

God, this teasing is going to be the death of me. You think I'd be used to it after seven years of Mulder, but this is different. Buck up, Dana, it's like she said before -- she's only razzing me. I've got to relax and stop being so literal all the time. Sometimes I tend to over-analyze everything.

"So, want to cuddle up and watch some TV?" she asks.

"Sure. Want some coffee or wine or beer?"

"How about a beer?"

I go into the kitchen and re-appear with one for each of us.

"I see you didn't forget about the Mack and Jack."

"No. I found some at the store and bought it special for your visit."

"Aw. That's sweet. Thanks." She motions for me to take a seat next to her on the couch. I hook my leg over hers as she drapes her arm around me, and I lay my head on her shoulder.

"What's on?" I ask.

"Jeopardy. I love that show."

"Me, too."

"I bet you'd kick some butt on that show. Ever think of trying out to be a contestant?"

"Me? No."


We shout out the answers, trying to beat the contestants, and get annoyed when someone wins by one lousy dollar.

"I hate it when someone does that. Either win big or lose, but don't play those stupid games."

I voice my agreement. We pass the evening pleasantly enough and discuss her feelings on the presentation and plans for tomorrow.

"Will you be back in time for dinner?" I ask.

"Definitely. I told Rachel I'd meet her at her office around ten. That gives us all day to rehash the presentation. Would you like to go out on a date? Say an early dinner and a movie?"

"A date?"

"Dana, just because we're sleeping together doesn't preclude us from dating."

"It just sounds kind of funny, but a nice kind of funny. Anything in particular you'd like to see?"

"No. You choose. Can I call you at the office tomorrow afternoon?"

"Of course. You can call me anytime."

"You seemed a little nervous about me being there today."

"I was just surprised is all."

"Okay, I'll call you and we can set up a time to meet."

Getting into the swing of it, I ask, "Want to go out Friday night?"

"You mean like a date?" She smiles and pinches my arm. "Sure. What do you have in mind"

"Well, I'd like to go dancing, but I'm not familiar with any places that cater to just women."

"They're called Girl Bars. Anyway, leave it to me. I'll ask Rachel. She took me to a great one last time I was in town."

"Is she gay?"

"No, but in her field she meets truckloads of gay people and knows all the best hangs."

"Just what is it that she does again?"


"And there are lots of gays in that field?"

"Oh, hell, yes," she says, laughing.

"So, what sort of clothes do most people wear to a Girl Bar?"

"People are pretty casual, so wear whatever you like."

"What are you going to wear?"

"I'll probably just throw on my jeans and a t-shirt."

"Okay, that's what I'll wear then, too."

She looks as though she's working up the courage to ask me something.

"Do me a favor?"

"If I can."

"Would you wear something sexy?"

"Sexy? Like what?"

"Do you have any leather pants?"


"Would you wear those with a tight t-shirt?"

I smile at her request. "That would make you happy?"

"Very much so."

"Then consider it done."

"One more thing, please?"

"Yes?" I drawl.

"No bra."

I lean over and trace the outline of her mouth with my thumbs. She sucks in some air. Just before kissing her, I run my tongue over her lips.

"Dana," she moans.


"Being here with you is what I imagine heaven to be like."

"I wish we could spend more time together."

"Do you mean that?"

"Yes, of course."

"Well, maybe we can."

I break the embrace. "What do you mean?"

"If I get this job, I'll be taking an apartment down here for the length of the contract."

"How long is the contract?"

"A minimum of six months."

"Six months?" God, to have her here for that long. We could really get to know each other, build the relationship.

"They usually run longer by the time I work with the IT folks and all the training people to get them up to speed. I also act as the liaison between the client and the provider to work out kinks, and assist with needed customization, so it's not unusual for a contract this big to run a year."

Oh, Lord, maybe a full year of having her living in the same town. I tell myself not to get too excited at the prospect just yet. "Do you always get an apartment wherever you have a contract?"

"Yes. It's easier than commuting even short distances and when you're first getting started the client wants you there constantly. This job involves a lot of hand holding and just getting people to relax. There's usually a period of buyer's remorse when the client realizes that they aren't able to just plug and play a new system. It's part of my job to convince them they've made the right decision."

"So, we may be able to spend a lot more time together then?"

"Is that alright with you?"

"Oh, definitely."

"Good, because it's something I'd like as well."

We watch TV for a bit longer while we finish off our beers and then decide to turn in.

"Do you want me to run you to Rachel's tomorrow?"

"No, I'll catch a cab. She's actually not far from your office."

"It's no bother. I can go in late. There's nothing that pressing."

"No. After this morning, I think it best not to upset your schedule. I'll stick with the original plan." She smiles to let me know she's teasing.

"If you insist, but it's really no problem."



"Be quiet and kiss me."

"With pleasure."

And it is. She is so warm and open with her feelings. I envy that. I'm consciously working on opening up more. But it's hard to overcome years of practiced behavior.

I put my head on her shoulder and link our arms together. "Mel?"

"Uh huh."

"Have you ever been in love?"

She looks at me quizzically. "Yes."

I stare at the TV for a while and then ask, "What's it like?"

"Dana, you mean to tell me you've never been in love?"

"I don't think so, not really."

"That surprises the hell out of me."


"Well, I guess I presumed that since you'd been involved with men before, well, it just seemed natural that you'd have been in love somewhere along the line, that's all."

"I think I probably thought I was once or twice, but now I'm not so sure."

"So, what do you think being in love is like?"

I contemplate the question. "I think it's caring deeply about the other person, doing what I can to make them happy, thinking of their feelings. Wanting to be with that one person more than anyone else. Being happy when we're together, slightly miserable when we're apart." I realize how school-girlish that sounds and blush. "Feeling deeply connected. Committed to sticking together through good times and not running away when things get rough." I hesitate. "Does that sound like love to you?"

"Yes, it does," she says, smiling.

I lift my mouth towards hers and she meets me halfway. "God, I love kissing you," I murmur.

"You do, huh?"


"What is it that you love so much about it?"

"I love the way it makes me feel so special. The way your tongue moves and caresses mine. How my body tingles and wants more."

"Do you want more now?"

"Yes." I pause. "I want to make love with you."

"Let's go to bed and I'll try my damnedest to make you tingle some more."

"Oh, I think that's definitely do-able."


"So, why'd you rush out of here so fast yesterday, Scully?"

"We didn't rush out. I was ready to leave."

"Did you drop Melanie off at her hotel?"

"No, Mulder, she is staying with me while she's in town."

"I guess you two really hit it off in Seattle."

"We have a lot in common."

"Two young, attractive, single career women..."

"That's enough, Mulder."

"What I'd say?"

I refuse to be pulled into this childish game of his.

"Scully, would you two like to join me for dinner tonight?"

"Thank you, but we already have plans."

"Well, how about tomorrow night?"

"Sorry." I offer a half-smile.

"It certainly sounds as though you two are enjoying yourselves."

I can barely keep from smiling, if he only knew how much.

"And she goes home this weekend?"


"Maybe if you've got nothing planned for Saturday, we could all go to dinner." Hastily, he adds, "My treat."

"I'm sorry, Mulder. But we've got plans," I lie. There's no way in hell I'm going to share her with Mulder on her last night here. I guess I'm being selfish, but right now I want her all to myself. Later on, when we're more settled into our relationship, I'll share. But for now, I'll allow myself to be stingy.

After lunch, I'm at work on a paper I'm getting ready to present at next month's Women in Law Enforcement Conference. Mulder answers the phone and I know immediately from his tone who's on the other end.

"Oh, hi," he says, taking his feet off his desk and sitting up straighter in his chair.

Watching him is quite a revelation. Rarely having the opportunity to see him action, and in such close proximity to boot, I am mesmerized. I wonder if he realizes that he's preening. Holding the phone against his shoulder, he adjusts his tie. Then he runs his hands through his hair. I lost count after he licked his lips for something like the fifth time. His voice has a familiar quality, as though he's known her for a long time, and it has a little flirty quality to boot.

Having been totally focused on his behaviors, I don't have a clue as to what he's been saying. I must be staring. Suddenly, I become aware that he is trying to get my attention.

Motioning to me, he says, "Here she is now, Melanie," and thrusts the phone in my direction.

I get up to take it from him and can feel him watching me.

"Hi, Mel." I turn away from Mulder, hoping to find a bit of privacy.

"So, is our date still on?"

"Of course. Are you in still at Rachel's?"

"No, we worked for a bit, had lunch, then finished up early this afternoon, and I came back home."

I love that she refers to my apartment as 'home'. It makes me feel as though she's nesting, that she feels comfortable there and is settling in.

She continues, "Should I come in and meet you somewhere?"

"No, I want to change before we go out."

"Okay, what time will you be home?"

"Probably around five thirty. Depends on traffic."

"I'll see you then."


I turn to hang up the phone and find Mulder still staring at me. He doesn't say a word as I return to working on my paper. The rest of the afternoon flies by and soon it's time to leave. Gathering up my laptop and gun, I tell Mulder goodnight and head home.

When I arrive, Mel is waiting, all ready to go. She greets me with a kiss and a hug. God, that's nice. "I wish you could be here every night," I say, smiling.

She grins. "Be careful what you wish for."

"So, are you hungry?"

"Yes, I only had a salad for lunch."

"Well, give me time to shower and change and then we'll go eat."

"Okay. Did you decide on a movie?"

"No, thought we could just go over to the Cineplex after dinner and see what is playing when we get there. Is that alright?"

"Sounds like a plan."

Over dinner we talk about Mel's meeting with Rachel and her input into the presentation.

"I ran her the audio tape I make of every presentation and she was quite pleased with the way it went. She thought the question and answer session went particularly well. So, she gives me hope."

Smiling, I say, "I think it sounds as though you did a fantastic job!"

"Thanks. You wouldn't be a tad biased now, would you?"

I feel myself blush. "I'd better start looking for an apartment for you in my spare time."

We laugh. "Or, you could just stay with me," I offer.

"I think the apartment is the best idea. But that's putting the cart before the horse. There's one thing I learned early in my career; and that's not to get excited until the ink is dry on the contract. But thanks for the offers."

I'm slightly disappointed, but decide it really is better if she has her own space to work out of. My schedule is such that I can be called away in the middle of the night, no need disturbing her.

The bill paid, we're off to the movies. Choosing one we both haven't seen is not a difficult decision, since I haven't been to a movie for well over six months. We stop at the snack bar, grab a soda to split, and head into the dimly lit theater. The movie has been out for a few weeks and there aren't a lot of people here. We sit down towards the back. Hopefully, no one will feel the need to sit right in front of me. Sometimes being short is a curse. Maybe that's why I don't go to the movies all that often. It seems that no matter how many empty seats there are available, someone always seems to think the one directly in front of me is the best seat in the house.

Fortunately, this is not one of those times. I hate getting up and changing seats after I get settled. We sit with our shoulders rubbing together. I wonder if she feels the electricity that we're generating? I look around to see if anyone is sitting behind us, and satisfied that the closest person is well out of visual range in the darkened room, reach over and take her hand. She smiles at me, obviously happy that I've taken the initiative. Her thumb is lightly stroking the top of my hand. Her touch is casually intimate, one of a lover.

Thank heavens the movie is starting. It's all I can do to keep my hands to myself. As hard as I try to focus on the movie, I am totally distracted by her proximity. My mind is running through the catalogue of our lovemaking sessions. I am filled with want for her. I'm getting warmer with each passing minute. I want to kiss her, but I can't even chance giving her a simple peck on the cheek.

She tilts her head so that her mouth is next to my ear. Her breath is sweet from the mint tea we had with dinner. Oh God. All I need to do is turn my head and I can have what I want. I force myself not to look at her; if I do, I don't know that I can resist. I take a few deep breaths to try to calm down.

"Dana, what's wrong?"


"You can't sit still."

"Nothing's wrong."

"Then please stop fidgeting, it's very distracting."


It takes all my energy just to sit quietly. The rest of the movie is a blur. Mel seems to enjoy it, laughing periodically. I chuckle when she does, although I have no idea why I'm supposed to be amused. Finally, the credits begin to roll and we get up to leave.

Outside, the night has cooled off and it feels good to get some fresh air. We go down the block to the parking structure to retrieve the car and I drive home. My hands are gripped tightly on the wheel.

"Are you sure you're alright?" she asks.


"You seem tense. Were you worried someone was watching us?"

If she only knew how loaded that innocent question was. "Yes." It's the truth. I am concerned every time we're out together that we can't behave like a normal couple. No one would think twice about a man and woman kissing or hugging in public. But, I can't risk it and it's not fair.

"Did you see any indication of that?"


"Is that why you were squirming all over the place?"

I hesitate. "Partly."

"What was the other part?"


"Me?" She laughs. "What do you mean?"

"The way you were stroking my hand; God, it made me so excited. It was all I could do to keep from kissing you." I pause. "It was because of you that I couldn't sit still."

She reaches over and touches my face. "Dana."

The way she says my name fills me with emotion. It's gentle and sweet, filled with compassion and understanding. It's nice to have someone who makes me feel like a woman, and treats me like more than a designer suit with a gun.

Once we get inside the apartment, she goes to the kitchen and puts on the kettle. I go into the bedroom to change into my pajamas and when I return she has a steaming cup of tea waiting for me on the front room table. She's sitting on the sofa and looks up when I enter the room.

"Come sit next to me," she says.

I do.

She puts down her cup. Taking my hand, she says, "We're alone now."

I nod.

"Still want to kiss me?"

"Very much so."

I ease her back against the couch and lean over her. "You are so incredibly beautiful," I say, stroking her hair back behind her ears. She smiles at me. "I've never felt like this about anyone before and it scares me a little." I search her eyes. "Mulder invited us out for dinner on Saturday, but I told him we already had plans."

She looks at me inquisitively. "I wanted us to spend our last night alone. I want you all to myself. Jesus, Mel, I can't seem to get my fill of you. I want you with me all the time."

She raises her head a bit, stopping just short of my lips, waiting for me. I can't resist any longer. Capturing her mouth, I slowly savor her. She's taught me the wonderful art of kissing; how to use it to build closeness, an intimacy that can be just as emotionally powerful as the actual act of sex.

Tonight, this is all I want. To kiss her till we're out of breath. Whisper endearments to her. Study her eyes and learn some of the secrets she holds there. Touch her gently. Discover what she likes. Let my tongue speak for me.

It's been more than an hour since we got home and we've been on the sofa for most of that time. This is glorious. Without speaking, I've learned volumes. Like how much she enjoys it when I trail kisses up her neck. How she moans when I trace the outline of her ear with my tongue. The way her breathing changes when I'm close, but not touching her. Her soft gasps when I suck on her neck. How she shivers when I nibble on her ear. How her eyes dilate when I take a visual inventory of her body. How she throws her head back when I kiss the tops of her breasts. The way she keeps her eyes open until our lips meet. How heat rolls off of her in waves.

Rising and taking her hand, I say softly, "Bedtime."


While I'm at work, Mel plans to spend the day at the Smithsonian and I'll pick her up there.

"So, Scully, what did you and Melanie do last night?"

"Dinner and a movie."

"What are you doing tonight?"

"Mulder, why all the questions these last couple of days?"

"I'm just interested in what you do when you're not on duty, Agent Scully." He grins, knowing full well that I see right through his attempted smokescreen.

"Look, Mulder, she's already seeing someone, okay?"

He seems a little taken aback. "He's probably one of those dotcom entrepreneurs, or a lawyer. Right?"

I can only chuckle at his suppositions.

"So, tell me, Scully, does she seem happy?"

"Honestly, Mulder."

"Humor me, Scully."

I sigh. "Yes, extremely." I decide to try to soften the blow. "And anyway, I don't think you're her type."

"And what do you know about her type? You haven't even known her that long."

"Well, just from things she's said."

He starts to speak, but I cut him off.

"Enough, Mulder. I'm not going to discuss this any further."

He looks mildly disappointed, but seems to shrug it off well enough.

Burying my nose in a research book, I continue working on my paper.

Before I realize it, it's time to leave.

"Night, Mulder."

Waggling his eyebrows, he says, "Have a good weekend and say hi to Melanie for me."

Amused by his juvenile behavior, I smile.

Mel is waiting for me at our pre-arranged pick up spot. As I pull over to the low lane, she waves to make sure I see her, and hops in when I stop at the curb. On the way home, she tells me about her day and of all the new exhibits that have been added since her last visit to the Smithsonian.

After fighting our way through Friday evening traffic on the Beltway, we arrive home. Since we're not planning on going out till much later, we decide we'll wait on dinner for an hour or so. In the meantime, we have a glass of wine and pass the time pleasantly, chitchatting about all sorts of trivial subjects, girl talk. The kind of thing Missy and I used to do on occasion.

Mel announces, "I think I'll get my shower before dinner."

"Okay, are you hungry? Should I start dinner now?"

"Wait for me to help. I won't be long."

"Take your time. There's no rush."

She gives me a quick kiss before heading into the bedroom.

We are extremely comfortable together. I'm constantly amazed at how everything happened so fast. I guess that's how it is when you find the person you click with. I smile at the thought of her in my bedroom, naked. How did all this happen? I'm not exactly sure, but I do know that I'm happy as a clam.

I head into the kitchen and start taking out the pots and pans we'll need to make dinner. I'm at the sink washing up our morning dishes when there's a sudden shift in the atmosphere. I feel her presence.

"Hey, you, I said to wait for me."

Twisting my head to look at her, I say, "I'm just doing the preliminaries."

She gently brushes the hair off the back of my neck and lets her lips find my skin. She knows how much I love this spot, how sensitive it is for me. I moan a bit and lean back into her arms. God. She quickly turns me away from the sink and kisses me until I'm as wet as my dripping hands. Seduction is a wonderful thing.

As we're kissing, I turn us around so that she's leaning back against the counter; I untie her knotted robe and let it fall loose. Her body is flushed; is it from the heat of the shower or with desire? My hands slip under her bathrobe. Her skin is still warm from her shower. She's soft and silky from the lotion she applied and my hands glide over her. Her nipples go instantly hard when I touch them. She gasps as I squeeze them. I can't help but sigh. Taking her breast in my mouth, I'm again filled with wonder at her beauty. After a bit, she guides my head to her other breast. Her breathing is ragged.

I kneel before her, my tongue traversing her peaks and valleys. My hands push her legs apart and I bury myself in her. She smells just as sweet here as the rest of her body. She moans as my tongue explores her. It doesn't take long before she explodes. I drink up her juices and then rise to kiss her.

"Jesus, Dana. How do you do that?"


"Make me so damned horny all the time? You make me feel like some sort of sex maniac."

I smile; satisfied in the knowledge that she's so turned on by me. I kiss her passionately and allow my hands to roam her body. She breaks away.

"You're really trying to kill me here, aren't you?"

"Am I?" I tease, pulling her back to me and nibbling her ear.

"Ummmm. What are you doing, Dana?"

"Doing?" I say, running my hands down to the small of her back.

She gasps as I simultaneously place soft love nips on her shoulder and squeeze her ass.

"Dear God," she moans. "Do it again."

Sliding one hand around to her belly, I send it down further, to the place my mouth was just a short time ago. She's still wet and I'm able to enter her easily. Releasing me, she grips the kitchen counter and whimpers as I start to slowly stroke her. Moving in counterpoint to my thrusts, she forces me in deeper and deeper as my thumb continues to seduce her clit.

Throwing her head back, she yells, "Dana," and surrenders herself to her climax. I adorn her neck with butterfly kisses. Releasing the counter, she again wraps her arms around me and puts our foreheads together. I withdraw from her body and hold her tightly. We stay in that position until her breathing returns to normal.

"Thank you," she whispers, her breath hot and sweet.

"You're quite welcome," I answer, smiling.

"You are so good to me."

"And you are so good *for* me."

The telephone rings and we very nearly jump, it is so jarring to our heightened senses. I let the answering machine pick it up.

"Scully? If you're home, pick up." There's a pause, then, "Okay, nothing urgent. Enjoy your weekend. See you Monday."

We laugh at the absolute absurdity of the situation. Mulder calling to try to speak to Mel while she's just been fucked by me, twice.

"Now I need to go get another shower before we start dinner."

"Go ahead. I'll be here when you get back."

"Walk me there?"

Arms around each other's waists, we head into the bathroom. As I'm leaving the bedroom, I hear the water beating on the shower curtain.

Before I go back to the kitchen, I stop and put on some music. The situation calls for slow romantic music, so that's what I choose. When Mel comes back from her second shower, I've already started dinner.

"Whatever it is smells good. I'm starving."

"Just tortellini with marinara sauce. Could you please grate the parmesan?"

"Whatever you say. I'm your love slave."

We have another glass of wine with dinner and then do the dishes.

"What time do you want to leave?" I inquire.

"Oh, I don't think we want to get there any before ten thirty or eleven. Things don't really get going until then."

"What do you mean?"

"Only that no one goes to a club early. Most people start filtering in later on in the evening."

"I bow to your superior knowledge of these matters."

Since we're not leaving for another couple hours, we decide to watch some TV to pass the time.

As we're getting ready to go out, I relay to Mel how Mulder has been surreptitiously trying to pump me for information about her for the last two days.

"Well, I guess that means I won't be getting any flowers on my birthday. Thanks." She chuckles.

"Don't worry, I'll send you a big bouquet."

"Awwwww." She grins. "So, you about ready to go?"

"Give me another ten minutes?"

"Okay, I'll be in the front room."

When I appear from the bedroom Mel looks up from a magazine and I swear that when she sees me her mouth drops open.

"Jesus, you look fantastic." She comes over and pulls me to her. "Your hair is so sexy up like that." She nibbles at my neck as if to accentuate her statement.

"Come on," I say. "Let's go check out this club."

When we get there you can almost feel the sidewalk vibrating with the beat of the music. There are a lot of women and a few men waiting in line. We fall in at the end of it. There seem to be a lot of couples, as well as groups of girlfriends out for a fun evening. The age group seems to be between twenty-one and fifty or so. The manner of dress is all over the map, some people really dressed up and others, dressed casually, just as Mel predicted. Within fifteen minutes we are carded and on our way inside. Mel pays the cover and we head up a flight of stairs where we arrive at the bar area. The music is blaring out of the next room.

"Let's get a couple drinks. Beer okay with you?" she asks.

"Fine. Here, take this," I say, pulling cash out of my pocket.

"My treat," she says, planting a kiss on my cheek.

I've staked out a couple of barstools while she's been gone. Returning with our beers, she asks, "Did you see those women in line checking you out?"

I'm surprised. "No." I chuckle.

"I'm serious. Pardon my French, but you are one fine piece of serious ass, Dana."

I can't help laughing out loud. "Right."

"For all your experience as a detective, you just don't have a clue. Look at yourself, woman." She pauses. "Look." She points to a mirrored wall. "Go ahead and try to see yourself from where I'm sitting."

I start at my feet and examine my way up my body. I look at her and shrug.

"Don't you see how wonderfully sexy you are? God, the first time I saw you in Seattle, my heart literally stopped beating. I thought I'd never seen anyone as stunning as you were. And I never thought I'd ever have a chance with you."

I step off the barstool and slowly edge myself towards her. The music is pounding away in the background. All around us women are embracing; some are kissing, some doing more than that. No one seems to care or pay any attention. It's intoxicating, the way everyone seems to feel free enough to just be themselves. We haven't taken our eyes off of each other. I feel liberated by the environment; the music driving me forward. I'd absolutely never do this in a regular club. Pushing her legs apart, I step between them. Her lips quiver beneath mine. Intensifying the pressure, I feel her respond. Hers part first, then mine. Our tongues meet. They know each other. They are on intimate terms. They won't divulge our secret.

Here we stand in the damned bar kissing passionately, our mouths moving this way and that. Miraculously, we each still have hold of our beer.

I break back, still watching her eyes closely. "Jesus," she exclaims, keeping her gaze on me steady. "You constantly surprise me." She smiles broadly. "Come on, you sexy thang."

She leads me to the dance floor. The lights are flashing in a random pattern to the beat of the techno music. Everywhere I look I see women enjoying themselves. Some look as though they've been here a while, some are dancing up a storm, others barely swaying to the beat. Mel and I work our way to a tiny empty piece of floor and start moving to the music. It's transitioned from one of those easily forgettable disco dance mix songs to another, then another, and then another. There seems to be no letup of the thumping heavy bass. I shouldn't be so harsh; it's just that it's not the kind of music I normally chose to listen to. This is good to expose myself to new things.

I suddenly become aware that Mel is behind me when one of her arms snakes around me, her hand resting on my lower abdomen, fingers pointing downward; the other is across my upper chest, just above my breasts, pulling me back and holding me to her body. Using her hands, she's guiding me to get me in synch with her movements. Her hips are thrusting into me and every time she moves her left hand it sneaks a little lower. The lights are flashing, creating images that aren't real. People look disjointed and stark. The harsh light with the blue haze is not kind.

Her lips are on the back of my neck. She's nipping gently across my shoulders. Stopping at my scar, she kisses it, almost reverently. The music is throbbing. People move up close to a friend's ear and still have to yell to be heard. Bodies glisten with sweat. There are women dancing up on platforms. Do they work here? It seems as though most everyone has a drink. Some are smoking, although there was a "No Smoking" sign clearly posted as we entered.

Mel has inched her hand down my body; she presses her fingers between my legs. Astonished, I immediately open my eyes to see if anyone is watching. Apparently not. No one is paying us any mind. They are all caught up in their own activities. The flashing strobe lights make it difficult to actually see anyone or anything for any length of time. I close my eyes to experience the sensations of the music, the movement, and Mel rubbing me. I feel wickedly free. The next song works its way through to my consciousness and catches my attention. The woman isn't really singing as much as she periodically speaks in a sexy, breathy manner. As a matter of fact, she only says a few words throughout the entire song. The beat is hypnotic. I turn around in Mel's arms and lick my way up her neck.

My hands in her hair, sucking on her earlobe, I position my legs around one of hers. We start moving again. The singer is repeating, 'Extremis' over and over again while the music changes beats and different instruments take the forefront. The woman's voice is seductive. I'm so close to Mel that our breasts are rubbing together. I lower myself onto her thigh and start grinding in time to the music. She grasps my head between her hands and kisses me roughly. I like it. It's exciting.

I've located her sartorius, a narrow muscle of the thigh, the longest in the human body, that passes obliquely across the front of the thigh and helps rotate the leg to the position assumed in sitting cross-legged, and squirming against it brings me thrillingly close to orgasm. The woman's voice fills the room, assaulting me from all directions. Closing my eyes, I get swept up in the passion streaming through my body. I open my eyes; Mel is still staring at me, her dark eyes smoldering. She moves her hand between us and pinches my nipple. I throw my head back, climaxing hard, as she holds me tight against her body.

"Let's get out of here for a while," she yells, pulling me off the dance floor and down the stairs toward the exit. Halfway down, we stop abruptly. She pins me against the wall and as she clamps my hands above my head, kisses me passionately. I think I hear someone mumble, 'Get a room', followed by laughter. When we reach the lower landing she thrusts our hands out to be stamped.

Outside, the air hasn't cooled off much from earlier. There's still a line of people waiting to get in. I glance at my watch, eleven fifty; we've only been here a little more than an hour. We parked on a back street and she's hurriedly walking us to the car; opening the passenger door, she motions for me to get in. I think we're going for a ride, but instead she sits down on the doorjamb and takes the seat in her hand.

"Hold on."

Before I can ask what's going on, she adjusts the seat downward into the prone position; then she pushes the seat as far back on the runners as possible. Her hands are all over me. As she roughly pulls my shirt up, it catches on the headrest and my hands are bound there. Since I didn't wear a bra, my bare breasts are fully exposed. As she stares at them, I can see the lust in her eyes; in no time her hungry mouth is on me, nipping, licking and sucking. I'm wet and aching. She keeps chanting my name. Squeezing my breasts together, she switches from one to the other at whim. Ahhhhhhhh. Her fingers tremble as they busy themselves with the button and zipper of my pants. She works her hands under me and starts to lift me up. God, what am I doing?

"Mel." She doesn't respond. I try again, "Mel." When she still doesn't respond, I say, "The light. Turn off the light."

She smiles at me before she reaches up and moves the overhead lever to the off position. Except for the moon's illumination, it is pitch black.

The sound of the music is seeping out of the club and making its way through the night air. Her hunger for me is apparent as she furiously pulls at then pushes my pants out of her way. My clit is convulsing, throbbing for her touch. Hurry. Hurry. I'm so turned on I can hardly breathe.

Ripping at my heels, she tosses them aside so she can remove the final barrier keeping her from me. Climbing into the car, she gets down on her knees between the seat and the dashboard, stretches my legs apart, and quite literally growls. Lifting my right leg over her shoulder, she buries her face in me. Holy Mother of Jesus. I cry out with sheer pleasure. She is amazingly talented. Right now, my reality is hazy. I seem to be floating weightless in space, tethered to the earth only by her tongue. Suddenly, a jolt of electricity shoots through my naked body. I try to grab for her, but my hands can't move from their bound position. The only thing I can do is thrust my cunt up higher, imploring her to take more of me. My bare feet are pushing forcefully against the padded dashboard.

She's sucking on my clit, flicking her tongue, ohhhhh. Without any warning she jams three fingers in me. Jesus, I wasn't ready for that, it hurt. I move my left foot over to the steering wheel to open myself up more. My breathing has quickened with the surprise entrance into my body. I concentrate on relaxing my vaginal muscles; I'm sopping wet, as witnessed by the squishing sounds as her fingers drive in and out of me like a piston. I can't hold off any longer. It's a good thing the car doors are shut because I let out such a scream that no doubt would have awoken the entire neighborhood.

Jesus. She makes me do things. Things good Catholic girls shouldn't even think of. Things I never thought I'd have the nerve to do. Like having sex right here on a damned residential street. Okay, it is dark and late, but still...or that display in the club. Talk about behaving like a dog in heat. But it feels good to be out of control. Do things out of character. Give myself over to the moment. Live. I put myself in dangerous situations all the time. It's exhilarating. I thrive on the adrenaline rush; it reminds me that I'm still alive.

But what if somebody is watching us? I don't doubt that I'm watched periodically. What if now is one of those times? I just put myself in a compromising situation, in more ways than one. What if someone is watching and takes pictures of us here, like this? Jesus. My career would be over. I'd be forced to leave the Bureau. What would I do? I've invested the last seven years there and I may have just thrown it away. And for what? Doing things that are better suited for a bedroom than a public place. Stupid.

Mel grabs the tissues and cleans me up. Like me, I doubt that the car seat will ever be quite the same again either.

"Jesus, Mel. That was fucking incredible. Those had to be the two sexiest acts of lovemaking I've ever engaged in," I say as she releases my shirt from the headrest and slides it back down over my head. Before she hides my breasts from her view, she takes a moment to suck on and lick, ummm, each of them.

Slipping my feet into my pants, she pulls them up my legs. Again, she motions for me to raise my butt off the seat and tugs them up over my hips. I button and zip them up while Mel puts my shoes back on me. I notice that my stomach muscles are a bit achy, no doubt from holding myself up off the car seat for so long.

"I've never met anyone quite like you, Dana."

"I hope that's a good thing."

"Oh, very much so. You just keep unfolding like a flower."

With my hands now free, I pull her to me and we kiss. It's agonizingly long and intense. For the first time I notice that the car windows are steamed up.

"Like that. The things you make me want to do. I would have never in a hundred years have thought that you would let me go down on you in a car on a public street. That's pretty fucking amazing, don't you think?"

"Yes," I say, chuckling.

"And in the club before. Do you know how hot that got me?"

"I believe I just experienced the effect of it first hand."

After a long silence, she asks, "Want to go back in the club?"

"Do you mind if we don't? I think I've had about all the dirty dancing I can handle for tonight."

We laugh and head back towards Georgetown.

"That was some club," I say.

"Did you like it?"

"Immensely. And, well, it certainly was, um, educational."

"Yeah, going to a girl bar can be an eye opener, especially the first time. It's a bit of a culture shock, but in an empowering way, I think. You didn't feel weird or out of place or anything, I hope."

"Quite the opposite. It felt very natural. I've always felt somewhat uncomfortable in regular clubs, like I'm always being sized up, like a piece of beef at auction. But here, I never felt that way, everyone was just having fun."

"You were incredibly wild."

I avert my eyes from her scrutiny.

"I can't remember the last time I was so turned on," she says.


"Well, no, actually I can."

Turning towards me, she smiles as her hand comes to rest on the inside of my thigh, sending chills through me.

"It was Tuesday. When we got back to your apartment and you tore my clothes off and fucked me up against the wall. Don't get me wrong, those pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres tonight were might tasty, not to mention muy caliente, too."

I can't help laughing out loud. "I didn't know you spoke French and Spanish so well."

"You just heard the full extent of my linguistic capabilities."

"So, you like it a little rough, huh?"

"Not all the time, just every once in a while as an unexpected surprise. I find it profoundly arousing."

"I'll file that tidbit away for a later time."

We drive in silence for a few miles. I look at the dashboard, half expecting to see impressions of my feet.

"Do you always dance like that, Dana?"

"Heavens, no! But something about the entire experience tonight, well, it just sort of happened."

"It couldn't have had something to do with your date, could it?"

"Oh, I think she may have been a major factor in the equation. I like this idea of yours."

"And just which idea was that again?"

"The one where even though we're sleeping together, we keep the relationship fresh by going out on dates."

"Oh, yeah, that one. Well, if tonight is any indication of the benefits to be reaped from our dating, I'm all for it."

We pull up in front of the building, but have to park down a half block. It's crispy out now, the air temperature having dropped off drastically in the last half an hour. The truth is, it was probably chilly when we left the club, but I was too excited to notice. Now that the adrenaline has dissipated I'm feeling the cold. I run into the building and reach the front door a split second before Mel.

For no obvious reason, I start giggling. She shushes me and warns against waking up my neighbors. I try to stop, which only makes matters worse. By the time I'm done fumbling with the key and unlock the door, I can barely contain myself and Mel practically pushes me in before closing it behind us. She tells me to go ahead, she'll lock up. I spy the clock on the bedside table; it's one seventeen. I haven't been out this late for ages, not counting the occasional stake out, that is. Thank goodness tomorrow is Saturday. I want to sleep in late and then spend the rest of the day snuggling in bed together.

It isn't but maybe a half minute before Mel has joined me in the bedroom. She flops down backwards onto the bed and moans, "I'm not as young as I used to be. When did that happen?"

"I'm going to run us a bath."

She lifts her head off the bed and grins at me. "Don't you ever get tired?"

While the water is running, I pour in some bath oils and a small amount of matching scented bubbles. Lighting a half dozen candles, I turn off the light. I peel off my clothes and call out to her in a singsong fashion; she appears almost instantly. After looking around at the dimly lit room, she catches my eye. Grinning, she strips and starts to climb in, but I touch her shoulder.

I lay baby kisses on the tops of her breasts. "Me first," I say, using her bare arm to steady myself as I step in.

The water is on the warm side, and I notice that my cunt is extra sensitive to the heat. It takes a moment to adjust to the stinging discomfort, but then it's gone.

I lean against the back of the tub. "Now you." I pat the bubbles.

She tests it with her foot before getting in. I spread my legs for her to wedge in between. We fit together nicely. I gently ease her to me. Pushing her hair aside, I caress her shoulder. She sighs and bends her head to the side. I take the hint and continue my journey up her neck to her ear. I wrap my arms around her warm body.

"You are marvelous," I say.

With her hands on my knees, she slides down and rests her head in the crook of my neck. Her breasts bob up so that her nipples are exposed through the bubbles. Despite the warm water, they are erect and seem to beckoning me. Answering their call, I cup them and she acknowledges her pleasure with a tiny moan. The bath oils have made her body silky and my hands move easily over her. Deliberately, I draw lazy circles around her nipples with my thumbs. She is fantastically beautiful. Her body is taut and lean without having lost its softness. I continue to fondle her breast with one hand, but slide the other down her stomach. I don't go any further, not yet. I have a plan and it includes taking plenty of time. Flexing my inner thigh muscles, I tighten my grip on her; responding, her hands squeeze my knees.

Here we sit, in silence. No words are needed. Our bodies speak volumes.

Absentmindedly, I watch the hot water dripping. I purposely left the tap open to keep the water temperature warm. This is exquisitely decadent. Here I am soaking in the tub, which is one of my favorite things in the world, and I have a woman with me who makes me supremely happy to be alive. I think back to our earlier conversation and wonder if I may actually be falling in love with her.

Mel turns her head and lifts her mouth up to me. I move my lips close to her, but don't accept her offer. She lifts up a bit more; still I resist. It's hard, but I stick with the plan. What must she think? Just as she's about to turn away, I capture her bottom lip with my teeth and pull it into my mouth, sucking on it while I run my tongue across it. Her tongue meets mine and I release my teeth. Instead, I press into her and devour her waiting mouth.

Her desire is building. So is mine. Pinching and tugging on her breast, I slide my hand further down her stomach and slip it between her legs. She whimpers when I won't touch her. I stroke her inner thighs, getting tantalizingly closer to her clit each time, but never allowing myself to touch it. She moves her hands to my thighs and squeezes them forcefully, her body language telling me precisely what it is she wants. Her breathing is becoming uneven. She turns her head away from me. Her neck is so enticing; I must take a small bite.

I don't know how much longer I can stick to the plan. It was meant to drive her to distraction, but is having the same effect on me. I suck hard on her neck, knowing she will be bruised. She's mine; I've just marked her. Everyone who sees it will know that she belongs to someone and they should stay away, but no one will be aware of who that someone is. That will be our secret. I massage her tender skin with my lips.

She's clasped her hand around my wrist and is trying to guide my hand to the spot where her legs meet. She's strong, but I'm determined. After a few moments' struggle, she realizes the futility and releases her grip. When she surrenders, I give her what she's been begging for. I slide my hand up and touch her.

"Oh, God, yes," she sighs.

Her body relaxes as I push between her folds and massage her. Her head drops and she kisses my arm that is still around her upper body. Each stroke takes me closer to her opening. Eventually, my finger starts to enter her, a little deeper with each stroke, but I always withdraw it and send it back up to her passion-enlarged clit. She groans and begs me for more. I tell her to kiss me and using my tongue in unison with my finger, push it into her mouth and then pull it out.

In between gasps, she says, "Now, Dana. Now!"

I push two fingers up past her pelvic bone, into the source of her frantic desire. She throbbing and her muscles are clenching in a rhythmic movement. I've got her on the edge. Sinking my teeth into her shoulder, she comes hard. Her sporadic movements have the water threatening to slosh onto the bathroom floor. Her fingernails are digging into my thighs. She clamps her legs shut, trapping my hand, not willing to let me escape from her this time.

She gives herself over to her ecstasy while I hold her. God, that was so magnificent. I'm glad I stuck with the plan. She relaxes her grip on me, but I don't leave her. Instead, I continue to submerge my fingers in her, pushing on her g-spot, prolonging the sensations as long as her cunt is pulsating. Her breathing is just now returning to normal. She turns her head, and opening her eyes slightly, gives me a big grin to convey her obvious satisfaction.

"Happy?" I ask.


The water is cooling off so I reach over her and turn off the faucet.

"Ready to get out?"


We take turns drying each other off. I blow out the candles and we go to bed.

I wrap myself around her still flushed body, which emits a faint lavender scent.

The late hour coupled with the warm bath and all the sex have left us both exhausted. I am just about to drift off when she speaks.

"Dana?" she says, her voice dream-like.


"Remember when you asked me if I'd ever been in love?"

"Uh huh."

She turns toward me and begins stroking my hair.

"Open your eyes, please." She waits while I do. "Well, I am again."

I'm instantly alert. It's a surprising admission and one I'm not ready to make yet, at least out loud. What do I do now? I don't want to hurt her feelings by not returning the sentiment, what should I say? She obviously senses my hesitancy.

"Mel, I--"

"It doesn't require a response. I just wanted to tell you how I feel."

"Thank you." I say, meaning to express my gratitude for her declaration of love, as well as her acknowledgement of my feelings.

"You've made me as happy as I've ever been, Dana. I think of you and I can't help smiling." She kisses my cheek. "Everything about you brings me immense joy," she whispers.

We snuggle in each other's arms for a while; our eyes long closed, I sigh into her hair, "Sleep well."


"How about we just go to one of the local spots and get a pub lunch?"

"That works. Whatever you want is fine with me," she says, her mouth outlined in toothpaste foam.

She turns back to the sink to finish brushing her teeth.


"Uh huh?"

"I'm glad you're here."

She rinses her mouth out and turns and flashes me a big smile. "Me, too."

I leave briefly and return with my clothes; we cross paths in the doorway. I hurry through my shower and dressing so that I can get back to her.

"Do we need to drive or can we walk to the pub?"

"We can walk, it's only a quarter of a mile or so. You up for it?"


I grab my keys and lock the door behind us.

Out on the street, Mel reaches for my hand. I pull it away.

"What's the matter?"

"I, I don't think I'm quite ready for that."


Hurriedly, I add, "Not that I don't want to, but--"

"I said, okay, Dana."

"Don't be angry."

"I'm not. Remember, I was the one who said we'd take it slow and give you time to work into this."

The weather has turned a bit by the time we reach the pub, so we settle for one of the booths inside. There's a local band playing and it's crowded and kind of noisy.

"This was a great suggestion. I like a place with lots of character. Do you come here often?"

"Not regularly, maybe a couple times a month or not for months on end. A lot depends on my work schedule."

I hear my name and look up to see Jay. He and I went out briefly after I first moved to the neighborhood, and although we didn't hit it off, we've remained friendly. Whenever I see him, he usually buys me a drink and we have a dance or two and catch up.

"Oh, hi."

Jay looks at Mel, awaiting an introduction. So I do the honors. He motions for me to scoot over so he can join us. Looking at Mel, I hesitate, but then acquiesce.

"So, I haven't seen you in here for a while, Dana. Been keeping busy?"


He shoots a glance at Mel. "Business or pleasure?"


"Oh, I thought maybe you'd met someone since you hadn't been around lately."

I don't like the direction this conversation is going. I smile. "It was good seeing you again, but you'll excuse us, won't you, Jay? We were just about to order."

"Uh, yeah, sure. It was good seeing you again, Dana. Nice to meet you, Mel."

We both nod and smile at him as he departs.

"Sorry about that. He's nice enough, but he can be a bit boorish at times."

"Don't worry about it."

We place our orders and start to talk.

"Dana, did you notice how he thought maybe we were a couple?"


"Is that why you gave him the bum's rush?"

"No. I'm starving and I didn't feel like making small talk."

"You're sure that's all it was?"

"Yes, that's all. What are you insinuating, Mel?"

"Only that maybe his observation hit a little too close to home for you."


"Meaning, that if you'd been here with a man you'd recently become involved with, you probably wouldn't have been as sensitive about Jay's comments. Or, for that matter, you wouldn't have thought twice about holding hands while you walked down the street."

"That's absurd."

"Is it? I don't think it misses the mark by too much."

"Why are you doing this?"

"I just want you to be honest with yourself."

"Thank you very much for being so concerned about my self-actualization." Shit. That sounded bitchy as hell.

She doesn't say another word. The server brings our food and we eat in silence. Finally, I can't stand it any longer.

"Look, Mel. There are things about me that I haven't told you."

"I don't doubt that for a second."

I clear my throat. "At the risk of sounding paranoid, there are people who would like nothing better than to discredit me in any way they can and get me off the X-Files."

"Why is that?"

"Because Mulder and I are a thorn in their sides. I'll explain it all to you some time. But, please know that I have to keep up appearances. I can't afford any question of impropriety or a hint of a scandal."

She's stopped eating and is staring at me from across the table. "And being with me would be a scandal?"

I've obviously hurt her feelings. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that how it sounded. What I meant is that these people are looking for anything they can use to discredit me. And, given where I work, I'm afraid our involvement could be used to compromise me. They aren't above threatening to expose us unless I leave the Bureau." I think it's prudent that I not mention their past record of actual physical harm to Mulder and myself and our family members.

"Are you serious?"

"I'm afraid so."

"Well, the last thing I want is to be the cause of you losing your job."

I try to smile.

"So, there will be no public displays of affection," she says. Then smiling, she adds, "Other than at airports, of course."

"Of course." I smile back. "Mel, you don't have any idea how hard this is for me."

"Oh, I think I do. All I want right now is to hold you in my arms and tell you it's going to be all right, but I can't. That's not so easy for me either, Dana."

"I'm sorry."

"No need to be. If it's a question of jeopardizing your career, then there's really no other way."

"Thank you for understanding."

"I was right when I said you were the most interesting woman I've met. You are just full of surprises. Obviously, they're not all pleasant. I want to know more about these people."

"I promise, but not here."

We both peck at our food.

"Have they tried to physically harm you before?"


"My God," she whispers.

We are going through the motions of appearing to eat, pushing our food around our plates; the music has stopped.

"Do you think your house is bugged?"

"No. I have friends that come over periodically and run tests. So far, they've found nothing."

"Well, that's a relief. At least when we're inside you don't have to worry."

I look at her intently. "God, I want to touch you."

"Can I hold your hand?" She asks, moving her arm underneath the table.

I nod, and looking around, casually reach under and find her hand waiting. The enormous injustice of the situation is too much. She squeezes it reassuringly.

"Dana, honey, don't cry."

"I'm not."

"Hey, I'm sitting right here. I can see the sadness and the way you're tearing up."

"I'm fine," I say, swiping at my eyes.

"Do you want to leave?"

I shake my head and excuse myself. Walking briskly to the bathroom, I lock the door behind me and lean against the wall. It takes all my willpower to not give in to the anger and sadness. After a number of minutes, I go back out to find Mel waiting by the door.

She looks at me, but says nothing until we get outside.

"Hey, it's starting to drizzle, why don't we forget the long walk and just go back home?"

I'm glad the weatherman was wrong; the falling rain provides the perfect camouflage for my tears.

We say nothing the entire trip. When we reach our destination, Mel takes the keys from me and opens the door. Ushering me in, she helps me out of my wet jacket and then removes her own.

Pulling me into an embrace, she whispers, "You're safe now." Lifting my chin, she kisses me gently, clearly intending to set me at ease.

"Are you cold? Let me fix you a cup of tea," she offers.

"I'm fine, thank you."

"Sit down, I'll get you a blanket."

"I said I'm fine."

"Well, I'm a little chilly, how about I put on the fire?"

"I know what you're doing."


"You're trying to make everything all better with a cup of tea and a blanket." I sigh. "Unfortunately, it's not that simple."

"Okay, I give, I'm concerned about you, sue me. But, the fact remains that you feel cold and you're trembling. You need to get warm."

Rummaging through the top of the front room closet, she asks, "Where do you keep your extra blankets?"

"In the bedroom closet."

She goes in and gets one. "Now sit down on the couch. Here, give me your shoes and socks. Do you want to change into a pair of sweats? Are your clothes wet?"

"I'm fine."

"You say that a lot. Is it ever true?"


"Ever notice how everyone has their own special catch phrase they use to keep people at arm's distance? I've noticed your favorite seems to be 'I'm fine'. So, tell me, is it ever true or is it just an automatic response?"

I lift my feet onto the couch and she tucks the blanket around my legs.

"It's true, sometimes."

"Is now one of those times?"

I hesitate. "No."

"So, why can't you just tell me the truth?"

"I wasn't lying to you." For some reason, I feel the need to defend myself.

"That's debatable."

The conversation stops while Mel goes into the kitchen to put the kettle on, leaving me to my own thoughts. I debate with myself as to what and how much I should tell her. And where do I start? My abduction? Emily? Melissa? Mulder rescuing me from the alien ship? Returning, she hands me a cup with steam wafting over the rim; I have to blow it away before I can take a sip. It's so hot it burns the tender skin on the roof of my mouth.

"Dana, you made me a promise that you'd never lie to me."

"I know."

She sits down next to me.

"So why did you?"

"I'm so used to hiding my feelings, keeping up a strong appearance, that it's more of a habit than a lie."

Mel sips her tea. "Do you say 'I'm fine' to your partner, too?"


"And he lets you get away with that?"

"We, we have an understanding."

"Which is?"

"I say 'I'm fine' and he believes me."

"Does he really?"

"I don't know."

"Dana, you've been partners for what, seven years now? And you don't know if he really believes you?"

"It's complicated. We each have our own coping mechanisms. This is mine."

"I see."

"It helps me to stay on track."

"And what would happen if you actually said how you really felt instead of using your coping mechanism?"

I wince at the prospect. "Sometimes it's the only thing that gets me through the bad times and allows me to keep going."

"Dana, this is not work; you and I are personal." She turns my face towards her. "Let me know you, Dana. Be honest with me. I won't run away. I promise."

Oh, God, if it could only be so. "There's so much I've never told anyone. But, I want that, badly." I'm tired of hiding my feelings all the time, always trying to hold it together. I know that sometimes a good cry is just what I need, but I deny myself even that out of fear that if I once give in, even a little bit, I will lose complete control. Sometimes the hurt and ache is so overwhelming I'm even afraid that I'm on the verge of losing my mind.

"Okay, then. That's settled. From now on, I'm your sounding board, good or bad, doesn't matter, right?" She leans over and kisses me. I nod and kiss her back. "Are you warmed up now?"

"Uh huh."

"So, want to watch a movie or have a game of cards or how about a puzzle? I remember growing up that on rainy days my mom would always pull out the puzzles when it rained. And she would fix me hot cocoa with floating baby marshmallows."

I can't help but smile at her fond childhood remembrance.

"Are you an only child?"

"Yes. Actually, it was always just mom and I. How about you?"

"Well, I have an older brother, Bill, and a younger one, Charlie."

"So you're a middle child?"

"No, actually I had an older sister, but she died a few years back."

"I'm sorry. Were you close?"


"Are your parents still living?"

"My dad died seven years ago, but my mom doesn't live too far away. Yours?"

"No, mom passed away about eight years ago."

"I'm sorry."

"I still miss her, sometimes more than others."

"I know that feeling."

We pass the late afternoon with a warm fire, game of cards, and two bottles of wine. Throughout the afternoon and evening, I tell her some things about the Consortium and the effect that they have had on both Mulder and my lives. She is astonished, as well as alarmed, and repeatedly says that she can't believe these things happen. She comforts me, holds me, rocks me, and strokes my hair when I start to cry.

We talk more than play cards and by early evening we decide we aren't going out anywhere, so we change into our pajamas.

"Having you here is so nice," I say.

"I was thinking the same thing." Mel covers her mouth as she yawns.


"Uh huh. Guess that wine and fire mellowed me out."

"It's nearly eleven. Want to go to bed?"

"Only if you'll go with me."

I get up and clear the empty bottles and glasses off the table.

"I'm going to go use the bathroom. See you in a few."

How lucky am I to have her in my life? It's quite obvious that she's not going to put up with me being distant or keeping things to myself. That's a good thing though. I've locked myself away from people for too long. I need to be more open and spontaneous and Mel seems to be able to pull that out of me. I suddenly realize that I'm standing at the sink smiling. My next thought is that I'm happy. Despite the minor confrontations we've had, I'm truly happy.

Walking through the front room, I check the door locks and turn out the light. When I arrive, Mel is already in bed. Her eyes are closed and she looks peacefully calm. I make a quick detour to the bathroom. Climbing into bed, her body heat has already warmed up the sheets. I check the clock and turn out the light and get settled in. The moon is full and is shining through the curtains, illuminating the room in soft light.

"Did you have your friends run a background check on me before you came up to Boston?" she asks.

"I thought you were asleep."

"No, just waiting for you to come to bed." She props herself up on her elbow. "So, did you?"

"No, I did it myself."

"I see."

"Mel, I can't be too careful. I thought I explained."

"You did, but it's a little disconcerting is all. How did you do it?"

"When the FBI accepted your proposal for the consulting job, they ran a thorough background check on you. It's procedure. I just looked at it."

"What did you find out?"

"Nothing. You're clean as a whistle."

"Well, that's good to know."

"I'm sorry that I had to do that."

"I would've answered any of your questions, Dana."

"Yes, I know that now. But before, I...I just had to be sure. Believe me, I hated having to do it."

"I guess it's understandable, given the circumstances. It just seems like such an invasion of privacy is all."

"I'm sorry."

"Forget it. I know you had no choice. If these Consortium people are as ruthless as you say, then you have to be extremely careful."

She leans over me, and although she stares into my eyes for a long time, says nothing. I see the soft sparkling of moonlight in her eyes, pull her to me and kiss her with all the tenderness I can muster. She returns my affections in kind and then lies back down next to me. I take her hand under the covers and we twine our fingers together.

Eventually, she speaks the words I've been dreading. "I have to go home tomorrow."

"I know," I whisper, hoping my voice doesn't betray my despair.

"I've got to get back to Boston. I have other accounts to check on."

"When will you hear about the FBI job?"

"These things take time. The larger the organization, the longer decisions take. Everybody and their brother has to sign off on the proposal. God forbid that one person in the chain is out sick or on vacation, the entire process screeches to a halt till they return."

"So, what's your best guess as to when you'll hear?"

"Well, after the presentation on Wednesday, they indicated that it'd be at least three weeks; but, I think that's generously optimistic, and I wouldn't be surprised for it to take at least twice that or more. But they will notify me by mail of their decision, either way."

"How many more candidates are there?"

"Oh, I'd guess that since this is the third round, they've probably narrowed it down to probably three."

"So, the odds are good then, right?"

"Right. But you never know what exactly will tip the tables in your favor. Could be that all things being equal, the interviewers liked the color of my suit that day."

I laugh. "You're not serious."

"Afraid so. It can come down to something as simple as that. That's why it's so important that everything be just so when you make the pitch."

"And that's why you use Rachel?"

"Exactly. She's got a Masters in psychology, and she's in advertising. She knows how to package the product; in this case, me. It's never anything tangible that you can point to and say that was the deciding factor, but I'm sure her ideas have helped me to land accounts before."

"Sounds like a good friend."


We lie in silence. I don't want to have to ask this. "What time is your flight?"

"Four forty-five."

"In the afternoon?"

She chuckles. "Yes, in the afternoon, silly."

I squeeze her hand. "Mel?"


Snuggling under the blanket, I'm so happy. She is exactly what I've been searching for in my life.

"You were right earlier," I confess.

"About what?"

"About how if I'd been with a man, I wouldn't have hesitated for a moment to take your hand when we were walking to the pub."


"It's all so new. I'll still need time to adjust, but I'll get there. I promise."

"I know you will. I have the utmost faith in your ability to do whatever you put your mind to."

"Don't tease me about this, please."

"I'm not teasing. I'm dead serious. I think it's safe to say you are single-minded when it comes to things that deeply concern you."

We lie in silence for a while, just enjoying the comfort of having the other near.

"When are we going to see each other again?" I ask.

"Can you come up next weekend?"

"Maybe. It depends on how the week goes or if we have to be out of town. I'll know better later in the week."

"I hope you can. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to spend the weekend with you," she says, lifting my hand and placing a kiss on my knuckles.

"Me either. But won't you have to work to catch up on things since you've been away?"

"I kind of doubt it. My staff handles most of the day to day stuff which allows me to concentrate on the big picture."

"The big picture?"

"Soliciting clients, making presentations, and landing accounts."

"It's good to have such a competent staff that you can rely on."

"Yeah, we work well together."

"Do they know you're gay?"

"Oh, sure; but it doesn't matter to them, just as their personal sex lives are none of my business. I want them to be happy and they want the same for me."

"That's sounds like a very nurturing environment."

"They're a great bunch of people. Sooner or later, you'll meet them."

"And you'll have to meet my family."

She groans.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh, these initial introductions to families and friends can sometimes be rough. I mean on my side, there is no family to consider; and my friends are accepting of my girlfriends. They've only ever known me as gay, but you...it'll be different for you."

"I'm not relishing it, especially my brother, Bill."

"Well, I'm not Mulder. At least I've got that going for me."

We chuckle and snuggle closer.

"Don't feel as though you have to tell them right away, Dana. There's no rush."

I take heart in her intimation that we're going to be together for a long while.

"I know it's going to be hard; it's got to be the right time. God knows when that will be though. It'll take some planning."

"You'll figure it out. Let me know if I can help."

She kisses me lightly.

"Let's get some sleep now," she says, trying to stifle another yawn.

I turn onto my side, she spoons around me, her warm breath rhythmically whispering against the nape of my neck, and sending tingles throughout my body. Grasping her hand, I pull it to rest against my heart. She snuggles closer and lightly presses her lips against my neck.

As I close my eyes, a streetlight flickers and a car engine revs. Getting caught up in the cadence of Mel's even breathing, I fall asleep.


"This morning was nothing short of wonderful," she says.

I take a moment to stop and hug her as we're preparing to leave. "Yes, it was."

We spent the entire morning in bed, waking up late, making love, dozing, cuddling, talking, and then making love again. Finally, getting out of bed close to noon, we showered together, touching and mapping each other's body, burning images into our memory. We chat over a light lunch. It's obvious we both realize that this may be the last time we'll be together for a while, this upcoming weekend visit not at all certain.

At the airport, our good-bye is subdued. As agreed, we can show affection in this situation. So, we hold hands, hug and kiss, ever so briefly. No one must suspect that we are more than friends seeing one or the other of us off at the airport. Our behavior must raise no suspicions.

We agree to talk during the week. "I wish there was someway--"


"It's just so incredibly..." I pause, not wanting to get emotional.

"I know. But we'll be together soon. Don't worry. Keep busy. That's what I plan to do."

Her plane is called for boarding.

"I love you, Dana."

She turns and heads toward the ramp to her plane. I want to go after her. Make her stay. Go with her. My feet are as heavy as boulders. My heart is beating too fast. I feel flush. My breathing is shallow. I'm light-headed and suffering a slight wave of vertigo. I need to sit down, but force myself to smile and wave as she disappears. Once she's gone, I sink backwards into an empty chair. Placing my hand over my face, I force myself to take slow, deep breaths to fight off the symptoms of what I diagnose as an anxiety attack.

Someone approaches and asks me if I'm all right. Yes, thanks, I'm fine. They leave.

I'm alone, again.


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On to part 6, The Truth Comes Out