Mulder has recently left for his daily commute to headquarters and I'm reminded, once again, how glad I am that I decided to work only three days a week after Melissa's birth. She and I are playing with her toy Noah's ark, matching the animals up and making their appropriate sounds as we march them up the gangplank, when the doorbell rings.
I'm a bit surprised. I've formed casual friendships with several other mothers in the neighborhood, but it's kind of early for one of them to be dropping by to ask if Melissa and I want to join them on a trip to the park or the zoo. I leave my daughter sitting on the floor and walk to the door. I peer out through the diamond pane in the center and recognize the figure fidgeting on our front porch.
"Yves?" I ask, pulling the door open. "What are you doing
"I need your help," she says as I usher her in.
I haven't seen Yves Harlow Bond since her wedding a couple of weeks ago. On that day she looked radiant, the model picture of a beautiful bride. Now she looks scared.
"I didn't even realize you were back from your honeymoon," I say. "Why don't you come in and tell me what's wrong. Would you like some coffee?"
"Please," she says with a nod.
I settle down in a chair in the Mulders' kitchen and sip coffee. Dana sits across from me with her daughter in her lap, smoothing the little girl's curls. She looks like the very picture of suburban domestic tranquility, but looks can be deceiving; I've heard enough stories from Frohike, Langley and Byers to know that the path that led her and her husband to marriage and parenthood has been anything but smooth.
"Jimmy and I returned from our honeymoon day before yesterday," I begin. "Late last afternoon, he got a call from Frohike. He talked for a few minutes, then told me he had to leave; that he might be late and I shouldn't wait up."
"Didn't you consider that. . .unusual?" she inquires.
"Not really. You have to understand that, even though Jimmy and I are united on a personal level, we're still sort of. . .rivals, professionally speaking. He's on the staff of The Lone Gunmen. I do freelance writing for a variety of different publications, some of which are in direct competition with the Gunmen's magazine. So, if Jimmy was off pursuing a hot story, I wouldn't necessarily expect him to tell me what was going on until the story had been written and the magazine had gone to press."
"But now you're worried that something might have happened to him?"
"Yes. When I woke up this morning, Jimmy still hadn't returned home. I called his cell phone and the Gunmen's main line. There was no answer from either phone. So then I drove over to the Gunmen's place. Jimmy's car was there, but the van wasn't. I knocked and hollered for a few minutes, but there was no answer, so I assume all four of them have gone off someplace. I didn't know what else to do after that, so I came here."
I look over at Yves with sympathy. Although Mulder has pretty much cleaned up his act since we married, I still remember the worry and fear I experienced during the years when he would routinely ditch me. Of course, he always explained that it was because he didn't want me to get hurt or didn't want me to to get in trouble with our bosses, but I still didn't like it.
"Yves, do you think it's possible that it simply didn't occur to Jimmy to call and check in with you? He's not really used to the routine of being a married man."
"I suppose that's possible," she concedes, "but it doesn't seem like him. He broke a few dates while we were engaged due to work-related responsibilities, but he *always* called to cancel. He never just stood me up."
"Tell you what," I suggest. "I'll call Mulder and see if he can run a trace on the van. If Jimmy's only been gone since late yesterday afternoon, they can't have gone too far."
I punch the first button on the speed dial of my cell phone and get a terse, "Mulder" on the second ring.
"Mulder, it's me."
"Hey, Scully! What's up?' he says in a different tone of voice. I can almost hear the smile spreading across his face.
So I explain the situation and he replies, "I'll put an APB out on the van. I'll just say the guys are wanted for questioning as possible witnesses, but aren't suspected of any crimes. I'll also run a quick check through the central data base, see if any of them have been picked up for anything within the past 18 hours or so. I'll call you as soon as I know anything."
"Thanks. Love you. Bye."
"Daddy?" Melissa inquires, grabbing for the phone.
"Daddy already said bye-bye, Melissa. I'll let you talk the next time he calls."
"I suppose I should go," I offer. Dana and her husband have done what they can to help me, put the wheels in motion that may allow me to find out where Jimmy is a bit sooner than I could have done on my own. That's all I have the right to expect; really more than I had any right to ask for.
"Stay, Yves. At least until Mulder calls back and we know what's going on. It's hell being alone when you're in the dark."
"I guess you know something about that, huh?"
"More than I want to," Dana agrees.
"Dana, I appreciate your help -- yours and Mulder's -- but can I ask you something?"
"Does your husband dislike me for some reason? He always seems sort of. . .skittish when I'm around. From what Jimmy and the other guys have said, he's not normally like that."
"It's not anything personal, Yves," she assures me. "You just remind him of an old girlfriend of his. He went to Oxford and his college girlfriend was British. She really did a number on him. She was very into mind games and exploiting other people's vulnerabilities to feed her own ego."
"So now he dislikes all British women?"
I laugh softly. "I don't think Mulder dislikes *all* British women, although to be honest I can't say I've ever seen him around any other ones than you and Phoebe."
"You met her, then? They were still. . .involved when you and Mulder first began working together?"
"No, they'd broken up long before then; right after college. But she came to America once, on business. She works for New Scotland Yard. Mulder and I consulted with her on that case. It was years ago, shortly after Mulder and I first met. Anyway, it's not just that you and Phoebe are both British. The same general description would apply to both of you; you're both tall, long-legged brunettes."
"I look like her, you mean?"
"Not really. You're prettier and a lot more feminine-looking. Phoebe was. . .well, okay, maybe some of this is just sour grapes, but I swear if Fox hadn't introduced her as his former girlfriend, I would have pegged her as a lesbian. She was about your height, but she was almost completely flat-chested; her breasts were smaller than mine, even. And she had really short hair and wore almost no make-up, so the the overall effect was of a woman who wasn't particularly interested in attracting men."
As if she's worried about being perceived as catty, Dana suddenly changes the subject.
"So, other than this little incident, how's married life going?"
"It's nice, " I say with a smile creeping across my face. "Can I ask you something sort of. . .personal?"
"As long as it's not for publication."
"No, nothing like that. I was just wondering. . .how long was it before you got used to seeing your husband
naked? Every time Jimmy starts taking off his clothes, I just drop whatever I'm doing so I can sit there and watch. He's real casual about nudity; I guess it comes from all those years of playing football and changing in locker rooms and stuff."
"Mulder's kind of like that, too. He played baseball and basketball and ran track all through high school; he hasn't competed in organized sports since then, but he runs or swims on a daily basis. Or maybe men or just naturally less hung up about their bodies than women are. I have two brothers who ran around in their underwear most of the time I was growing up. But to answer your question. . .I still like to watch Mulder get undressed."
"Yeah," I nod. "Most morning, he'll go out for a jog real early, then come in and strip down for a shower. I usually wake up right about then. It's a nice way to start my day; watching a sweaty, sexy man taking off his clothes."
"You like that, too?" Yves asks with a shy smile. "I thought it was kind of a quirk of mine. . .to enjoy it when Jimmy's all sweaty."
"Can I ask *you* something kind of personal now, Yves?"
"Turnabout is fair play, I suppose."
"Why did you marry Jimmy? He's a nice guy but he's not exactly. . ." I drift off , realizing that there's no real way to phrase my question without insulting her husband.
"He's not exactly my intellectual equal, you mean?" she finishes up. "Several dozen people -- Langley, Frohike and Byers among them -- felt duty-bound to point that out during our engagement."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to insult Jimmy. I *like* him."
"So do I. He makes me happy. I don't mean only sexually, although that's certainly fantastic. I just mean. . .
all my life, ever since I can remember, I've always felt I had to prove myself to people around me. I guess a lot of that goes back to my parents, but that's a whole other story. The thing is, with Jimmy, I don't get that feeling of being. . .on trial all the time. He accepts me for who I am. He loves me. And we do have a lot in common."
"Really?" I ask. "Like what?"
"We both like to dance and ski and just generally enjoy almost any kind of outdoorsy stuff. The few other guys I was ever really involved with before were good intellectual companions, but they didn't like a lot of the physical activities I do. Jimmy does."
The next few hours pass slowly, although I do enjoy playing with Dana and her daughter. I like children. I always have. That's another thing that drew me to Jimmy. He's so gentle, especially with anyone needing help. He'll be a good father.
Finally, when it's almost lunchtime, Dana's cell phone beeps.
I can only hear one side of the conversation, but it consists mostly of questions. "Where? Why? Their bail?! Which one? Well, where is he? Yes, I'll tell her. Wait a sec, Melissa wants to tell you something."
She hands the phone to her daughter who promptly says, "Hi, Daddy!" I guess the kid doesn't get a lot of phone calls.
Scully takes the phone back and says, "Okay, see you in a bit."
"What's happened?" I ask as soon as she clicks off.
"You can quit worrying, Yves. Jimmy is fine. Well, more or less. Apparently he's a bit beat-up, but nothing serious. He was in jail in Delaware. Mulder got him out and he's bringing him here, along with Frohike and Langley."
"Mulder said he'd explain that once he got home."
I go ahead and make lunch for Melissa, Yves and myself, then another large pile of sandwiches for Mulder and the rest of the guys. Every time I've had to bail Mulder out of jail, he's always been ravenous.
We've just finished our lunch, and I'm thinking about trying to get Melissa down for a nap, when Mulder and the guys pull up. Well, forget the nap plan for the immediate future. She'll be too excited about having Daddy home at this unexpected hour to settle down and go to sleep.
Melissa rushes the door and hollers out "Daddy!" as soon as he walks in. He promptly scoops her up.
Then Jimmy, Frohike and Langley enter. Frohike looks kind of dejected, but he perks up when he sees Melissa.
"Hi, Melissa," he says, reaching over to tousle her curls.
"Hi, Fickey!" she says, clapping her hands. "Hi, Lagee! Hi, Jimmy!" Then she peers over Mulder's broad shoulder with a puzzled expression on her face. "Bize?"
"Byers didn't come this time, Melissa."
Melissa clings to Mulder with a what-is-this-world-coming-to expression on her face. She accepts the fact that Jimmy and Yves sometimes accompany the Gunmen and sometimes don't, but the idea that it's possible for Frohike and Langley to come over without Byers is clearly one that she's having some trouble wrapping her little mind around.
I look at Jimmy. He's obviously been in a fight. Sometimes I think the older guys keep him around less for his journalistic abilities than as hired muscle.
"You okay?" I ask gently.
"Yeah," he answers with a sheepish grin. "You mad?"
I shake my head. Then, stretching up on tiptoe so I can whisper in his ear, I say, "I was so scared, Jimmy."
"Shh!" he whispers back, wrapping me tightly in his big, strong arms. "I'm fine. I'll prove it to you as soon as we get home."
I whimper softly, so low that I know he can only hear it because my mouth is still alongside his ear. In addition to being worried half sick, that's another thing I missed last night: his warm body next to me in bed.
Jimmy pulls a chair out from the table and settles down into it, with me in his lap. I should be embarrassed, I suppose, about how needy I'm being. But it would take a lot more than a bit of embarrassment to dislodge me from my husband's lap at this moment.
"You guys help yourself to sandwiches. I'll get you something to drink. Iced tea okay with everybody?" I ask.
At their answering nods, I fill four tall glasses and bring them to the table. I sit down and say, "Okay, now I want an explanation. What kind of trouble did you guys get yourself into this time and where is Byers?"
Frohike takes a big bite out of his sandwich and then a large gulp of iced tea. Then he looks up at me and says, "We did not, technically speaking, get ourselves in trouble."
"It's not that we're not *capable* of getting into trouble all by ourselves," Langley concedes.
"And when you," Frohike says, pointing to Mulder, "or you" now he's pointing to me, "are involved, we can get into even more trouble than we can on our own."
"And when you," Langley chimes in pointing to Jimmy, "or especially *you*" now he's pointing to Yves "are involved, it gets even worse."
"Nonetheless," Frohike continues, "to turn garden variety trouble, or even X-File variety trouble, into a disaster of truly astounding, indeed almost-Biblical proportions, requires the presence of a specific person. Suzanne Modeski. This is all her fault."
"You mean Byers' Suzanne?" I inquire. "She's back."
"Byers has a Suzanne?" I ask, confused. I've known the guys for over a year and this is the first I've heard tell of any of them having a girlfriend. Granted, of the the three of them, Byers is certainly the most likely to have inspired romantic interest in the opposite sex, but still. . .
"Byers has a Suzanne," Langley confirms. "At least sporadically. She shows up, wreaks havoc in all our lives, smooches on Byers for a bit and then departs."
"Where *is* Byers?" Scully demands.
"We don't know," Frohike answers. "We last saw him with Suzanne. They were heading out the door while Langley, Jimmy and I were creating a disturbance to keep them from being followed. My guess is, he'll be back at our place when we return; brokenhearted again."
"He's not answering the phone, though," Langley adds. "We've already tried."
After this, we're all pretty quiet while the guys finish their lunch.
As soon as the guys finish lunch, Melissa gives a huge yawn. "I think somebody's ready for a nap," I say.
"No," Melissa says shaking her head. I can see her eyelids drooping, but she doesn't want to sleep when she's afraid she might miss something.
"May I rock her to sleep?" Frohike asks.
"Uh, sure, I guess so," I agree.
So Frohike settles down in the rocking chair and begins to sing to Melissa. He has a surprisingly good voice, a mellow tenor. After he gets through a few standard lullabies, she's obviously asleep and he stands up slowly.
"First bedroom to your left at the top of the stairs," I whisper.
He nods and carries her up, returning so quickly I know he didn't even give into the temptation -- part personal nosiness, part professional curiosity -- that he must have felt to peer in through the open doorway of the master bedroom at the end of the hall.
"I guess we'll go now," Langley says.
"Yeah," Frohike agrees. "Mulder, we'll have the money back to you by Monday."
"Don't worry about it, guys," my husband says with a shrug.
"Jimmy, you coming with us or going home with Yves?" Langley asks.
"Home," Jimmy replies decisively. "I've had a helluva night. I'll see you guys on Monday, unless something urgent arises with Byers."
"Bye Dana. Bye Mulder. Thanks for all your help," I say.
"Anytime, Yves. I enjoyed visiting with you. We'll have to do it again sometime, under less stressful circumstances," Scully says.
"You want to drive?" I ask as we walk out to the car.
"Nah, you can," Jimmy responds, slipping wearily into the passenger seat.
It's not 'til we're several blocks away and stopped at a red light that I realize I haven't even kissed Jimmy hello yet. We hugged, and I sat in his lap and whispered in his ear, but our mouths haven't met since he kissed me goodbye almost 24 hours ago. I decide to remedy the situation and lean over to touch my lips gently to his. I meant it to be quick, but my husband has other ideas. He brings one hand up to my face and holds me steady while his mouth plunders mine. It takes a horn blast from the car behind us to bring an end to our kiss. Jimmy's an *unbelievably* good kisser and pursuing other functions -- even basic ones, like breathing -- always seems a waste of time if it's going to interrupt our kissing.
"Sorry," Jimmy mutters as he settles back in his own seat. But he doesn't look sorry. He looks like a man who knows he's just sent a woman into hormonal overdrive.
Once I would have been scared to give any man this kind of power over me; it's okay now, though. I don't mind that my feelings for Jimmy are, at the present moment, pooling between my legs.
Okay, this is weird. Not X-Files weird, just. . .odd. For the past minute or so, Mulder and I have been standing in our kitchen, staring at each other. Melissa's upstairs asleep and everybody else has left. And it's almost as if we don't know what to do next; as if, after nearly three years of marriage -- not to mention the seven-year partnership that preceded it -- we're suddenly shy of each other. It's reminiscent of the momentary awkwardness we used to experience when I left his motel room to go to my own while we were working on an out-of-town case. We never knew if we should say "goodbye" or "goodnight", hug or just walk out the door, whether an offer to walk me to my room would be perceived as chivalrous or sexist.
"I guess I should be heading back to work," he finally says. "I explained to Chan what was going on, that I'd probably be taking longer than an hour for lunch, but still. . ."
"Yeah," I agree. "I really need to tidy up the house a bit, then get a load of laundry started. Yves showed up barely fifteen minutes after you left this morning. Kind of threw me off my schedule."
But we both lapse into silence, neither of us making a move to return to the duties we've voiced. Finally, Mulder says in that unusually deep timbre his voice sometimes takes on -- the one that never fails to send shivers up my spine -- "Race you to the bedroom".
I don't answer verbally. Instead, I flash a grin at him and turn and hightail it up the stairs. We're both trying to move quickly but quietly. After all, if we wake up Melissa, our game will be over. He moves silently and swiftly up behind me; just as I reach the bed he pushes the door shut and tackles me, both of us landing in the sheets in a tangle of arms and legs.
"I want on top," I say, wiggling beneath him.
"Yeah, in a minute," he agrees, rolling on top of me and kissing me. He switches our positions without warning, flipping quickly onto his back so that I'm sprawled across him. And I damn near come right then, still fully clothed, as his tongue continues to caress my mouth and his hands begin kneading my ass.
"Take off your clothes," I pant out when we finally come up for air.
"Yes, Ma'am," Mulder replies with a grin.
We practically rip the clothes off our bodies, flinging them to various parts of the room without even botherhing to see where they land. Then I'm back on top of him, easing him into my suddenly dripping body, and leaning down to kiss and caress. I arch up, so that Mulder can use his mouth on my breasts while, at the same time, spreading my legs wider so he can pump in and out of me more deeply.
Mulder' s really putting everything he's got into this. Sometimes when I'm on top, he'll just kind of lay there beneath me -- and that can be fun, it it's own way -- but all this bouncing and sucking and stroking going on all at once. . .it overwhelms me with sensation and sends me flying over the edge quicker and harder than I would have believed possible.
I'm still trying to catch my breath when he flips us again, so he's atop me once more, and begins to plunge in and out of me. He keeps going and going, like the Energizer Bunny, while I stroke his back and biceps and admire the sexy sheen of sweat on his handsome face. He finally comes with a groan of my name, leaning down to lick my ear at the same time.
"Wow, Mulder. That was. . .wow," I say as he pulls out and spoons me up against him.
"What put you in the mood so quickly, Scully?" he inquires.
"You're the psychologist," I murmur sleepily. "You figure it out. Besides, you were in the mood, too."
"Hell, Scully, I'm *always* in the mood," he replies with a chuckle. "But, from a psychological standpoint, I guess the reason we ran up here and virtually devoured each other is that this afternoon has a touch of the forbidden to it, and there's always something exciting about that. I'm not really supposed to be home making love to my beautiful wife; I'm supposed to be at work, filling out employee evaluations and plotting strategies for future cases and crap like that."
"Mmm," I say, burrowing my face into the sparse patch of hair in the center of his chest. I really want Mulder to shut up and let me take a nap, but I stifle my urge to say so. It's an unspoken agreement we came to early in our marriage: if he feels a need to talk after we make love that's fine, but I reserve the right to fall asleep in the middle of the conversation. However, sensing he wants me to participate a bit more in this discussion, I add, "I think maybe being around Jimmy and Yves might have had something to do with it, too. They were obviously," I pause to yawn," very glad to see each other."
"That's the understatement of the decade," he drawls. "I was just about to offer them the use of our guest bedroom."
Mulder tilts my head up to kiss me gently on the lips, then says softly, "I really do have to get back to work, Dana. And I may be a bit late coming home, since I took a three-hour lunch break."
"Okay," I murmur. "I guess I should get up and do some stuff around the house while Melissa is napping."
"No," he replies. "Stay in bed. I like the idea of leaving you like this -- naked and tangled in sheets that smell of our lovemaking. Anything you don't get done today in the way of laundry or whatever I'll help you do tonight after she's asleep."
"All right," I say. So I lay there and watch my husband get redressed, enjoy the second goodbye kiss he leans down to give me, then burrow down into the pillow that still bears a trace of his scent.
Once we arrive home, I head straight for our bedroom. I assume Jimmy and I are on the same wavelength when he follows me and immediately begins to strip off his clothes. However, when he's down to his boxer-briefs he drops to the floor and begins to do push-ups.
"Jimmy, what are you doing?"
"My push-ups," he replies. "I didn't get a chance to do them in the morning, being in jail and all. You know I go nuts if I don't get my exercise routine in every day."
"Does it have to be right now?" I demand.
He flashes me a grin and says, "You know you love to watch me work out, Yves. Just have a seat and I'll be with you in a minute."
I love being under Jimmy. I know from all the magazine articles and overheard conversations regarding sex, that the missionary position isn't usually regarded as particularly pleasurable for most women. I don't care.
Having my husband's big, gorgeous body on top of me is an intensely erotic experience, one that never fails to bring about an incredible orgasm for both of us.
So, watching him do push-ups while clad in nothing but his shorts is an experience that's about to drive me to the edge of insanity. His skin's beginning to glisten from the effort and I'm beginning to moan just from watching. By the time he's done twenty I've stripped and by the time he's up to thirty I've rolled under him.
"I'm going to fifty, Yves," he points out.
"Don't let me stop you," I reply. That's fine, Jimmy. Just keep doing what you're doing. Up-and-down, up-and-down. . .of course, if you want to add a little in-and-out, that would be nice, too. You'd have to lose the shorts, though.
"Thirty-one," Jimmy whispers in my ear.
By the time he's up to forty, I have both legs wrapped around his waist and both arms around his neck.
"You going to make it to fifty?" Jimmy inquires, his voice amused.
"No," I moan out. "Take me now, Jimmy, please!" Shit, did I just *beg* to be fucked? Apparently so, because Jimmy has that "I've won the lottery" grin on his face.
"You're going to have to let go for a minute, so I can get my shorts off," he says.
I slide my legs off his body long enough for him to shove his shorts down with one hand and kick them off, then he positions himself back on top of me and says, "Now, where was I?'
If I didn't need him so bad and love him so much, I'd kill him.
Then he plunges into me with one swift, sure stroke and I come. Immediately. Screaming with pleasure and relief.
Once I've stopped quivering, Jimmy begins to move again, with slow deliberation. And he's resumed the damned counting, probably simply to tease me. Jimmy has remarkable. . .control. I guess it's from all the conditioning he subjected his body to during his days as an athlete. He comes on fifty.
My husband collapses on top of me and I enjoy his warmth and weight for a few moments, but it quickly becomes too much, especially as I'm trapped between the rock hardness of his body and the unyielding floor.
"Jimmy," I whisper, "you need to move. You're squashing me."
He immediately pushes his weight off me but, instead of simply rolling over and spooning me, he stands up, lifting me along with himself.
"We going somewhere?" I inquire.
"Yeah, to take a shower," he replies. "I didn't get one of those this morning, either."
I cling to Jimmy as he negotiates the few steps from our bedroom into the master bath. His sheer strength has always been an incredible turn-on for me. I'm no petite, doll-sized woman, but he manages my weight as easily as if I were.
As we step into the spray, he sets me down my feet then smiles at me.
"Hey, Yves. You know how the guys are always big on running stories that disprove various myths or assumptions held dear by the American public?"
"Yeah?" I ask, wondering why we're discussing work at a time like this.
"Well, they've been urging me to contribute more ideas; also we're looking for a way to boost circulation. I think I've got an idea for a myth that needs to be shattered."
"The one about British women supposedly being so lacking in passion," he says with a grin, then backs me up against the wall and kisses me.
I'm definitely going to kill him. But -- mmm! -- later.
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