“Dear Lord,” she groaned, her head in her hands. “He’s doing this on purpose...”

She looked around the empty living room and threw her hands up in the air. “And now I’m talking to myself... great. Just great.”

It’d been three weeks since she’d last seen him. Three long weeks spent thinking about him. Three long weeks since he’d kissed her, and she could still feel the heat of those lips on hers.

This disappearing act of his was unusual. She usually didn’t go more than two days without having him show up somewhere, but now that he’d been gone for so long, she was beginning to see that she’d taken his sporadic appearances for granted.

If she didn’t know better, she’d say she missed him.

“Damnit, Nick,” she said aloud, “Where the hell did you disappear to?!”

- - - - - - -

“Ya think she’s wondering where I went to?”

“She doesn’t care, man. As far as I know, she probably doesn’t even know you’re gone.”

“I’m not gone. I’m still here, man.. and why’re you laughing?”

AJ grinned. “Me? Laughing? Whatever do you mean?”

Nick sighed, changing the telephone from one hand to the other. “I didn’t mean to leave her place so... abruptly. I mean, after what happened...”

“What happened?” AJ asked, his attention completely drawn to Nick’s statement. When he got nothing but silence on the other end, he pressed further. “Nicky, what’d you do?”

Nick smiled. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“I would,” AJ insisted. “So talk.”



“Noneya business,” Nick laughed. “Seriously, man. I’m not saying a damn word. Not until she does. It’s in her hands now; I am not doing or saying a thing until she makes the next move.”

“So, that’s how it is, huh?” AJ smirked. “Interesting..”

“And you’re staying out of it,” Nick ordered. “I want it to come from her, not from your scheming.”

“Fine,” AJ sighed. “But I still have to tell you if she asks about you, right?”

“It’d be nice...”

“You make no sense, Nick.”

“Like you do?”

“Whatever,” AJ groaned. “I gotta go. There’s this.. thing.. San wants to do, and I’ve got the wonderful task of tagging along.”

“What’s she up to today?”

AJ grinned. “Noneya.”

Nick shrugged as he hung up the phone. If AJ wasn’t going to tell him, he may as well find out for himself.

Besides, he missed her. Not seeing her for three weeks really took a toll on him, and there was no harm in doing a little spying, right? What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

- - - - - - -

“Do you ever get the feeling,” AJ trailed off dramatically, “That you’re being watched?”

“What?” Sandra laughed.

“The truth is out there, dude,” he said in a serious tone. “And it’s watching us.”

“Okay. No more X-Files for you, young man.”

“I’ll stop watching when you stop watching.”


“You’ll stop?” he asked, his eyes wide. If there was one thing he’d learned about his friend, it was that she wouldn’t sacrifice that show for nothing.

“No. We both won’t,” she grinned. “Now come on, Mulder; we’ve got shopping to do.”

“Right behind ya, Scully,” he laughed, dumping their trash and following her out of the Food Court.

- - - - - - -

It couldn’t be. There was just no way, he thought as he watched her walk out of the Food Court. He wasn’t that lucky.. was he?

His blue eyes narrowed and a slow smile spread across his lips.

Maybe he was.

- - - - - - -


“But -”

“No. No, no, no, a million times NO.”

They were standing outside Victoria’s Secret, one of them wanting desperately to drag the other in there, and the other refusing.

”Why NOT?”

“Dude, I’m your friend. Not your model, not your girlfriend.”

“But -”

“NO, AJ!”

“You’re no fun,” he pouted, falling in step with her when she walked off.

“And YOU, my friend, need a girlfriend,” she grinned. “Desperately.”

“No I don’t,” he replied. “I have you.”

“Like I said,” she began, bursting into laughter when AJ stood before her, hands on his hips and an annoyed expression on his face.

“I swear you can be so irritating at times,” he grumbled, taking her by the arm and dragging her into the lingerie store anyway, despite her protests.

- - - - - - -

Nick almost choked on his soda, laughter overtaking him quite suddenly.

He couldn’t believe it; AJ had finally managed to drag someone - a woman - into Victoria’s Secret. Not that it would get him anywhere, though; he didn’t think Sandra was the type to try things on and model them for him.

A sudden image of her in one of those numbers he’d drooled over in the catalogs times before sent a wave of heat coursing through his body, and he suddenly found himself with a shortness of air.

Damnit if that woman wasn’t completely under his skin, on his mind, and in his heart.

An odd feeling struck him then, deep in his chest. He couldn’t give it a name, but a sensation that brought nothing but fear overcame him, and he knew that he couldn’t stay where he was much longer. Something was going to happen, he could feel it. When, however, was something he wasn’t sure of. All he knew was that he had to go to her, whether she enjoyed his sudden appearance or not.

- - - - - - -


“No. Pervert.”

“Aw, come on,” AJ urged. “It’s not like I'm a total stranger or anything...”

“Of course you’re not. You’re AJ. That makes it SO much worse.”


“I said NO!” she laughed. “And don’t try to get me to buy this thing, either.”

“It’s cute!”

“It’s not ME,” she said firmly. “But that one over there...”

“Where?” AJ asked, looking around excitedly.

“Gotcha,” she grinned, and before he could turn back to her, she turned and headed for the exit.

“You little sneak!” he exclaimed, laughing. “Get back here!”

“Fat chance!” she called, glancing back at him, and promptly running smack into a hard body.

“Ooops! I’m so sor-” she broke off when she discovered the person’s identity.

“Hey San.”

“No...” she whispered, shaking her head slightly as she began to tremble. “No...”

[chapter list | chapter fourteen]