I'm whistling as I enter the office on Monday morning. Other than Maggie, Scully and I haven't told anyone our news yet, but it keeps bubbling up inside me. We're going to have a new baby!
Sometimes I'm amazed at the direction God has taken my life in the past few years. Less than four years ago I was a lonely, alien-obsessed loser; desperately in love with my beautiful partner, but afraid that declaring my love would mean I'd lose her completely. . .and also convinced that her association with me had cost Scully her fertility and any chance for motherhood or a normal life. Now Scully is my wife, she adores me almost as much as I adore her, and we've got a beautiful daughter we both love more than life itself. . .and now another baby on the way. I've also gone from being the bureau's favorite in-joke to head of an elite task force, but that's almost beside the point.
As for God Himself. . .yeah, I'm a believer again. I don't know exactly how it happened. I'd been a believer as a kid, then I'd doubted for close to 30 years then, somehow, I realized I believed again. It was like having spoken a language in childhood, having it lay dormant for years, then waking up one morning to find you're fluent in it again. One day I knelt down beside Dana in church to pray, and it wasn't my usual 'Look, on the outside possibility that there actually is somebody up there' but a direct, heart-to-heart conversation between me and the creator of the universe. I think I'm going to be confirmed Catholic this spring, but I haven't made a final decision on that matter. Dana has assured me that it's fine to take all the time I need before I make a formal commitment.
I reach my office and do a little paperwork before the normal weekly briefly of the task force. I try to concentrate on the assignments at hand. Fairly soon I've sent Colton, Briggs and a couple of other agents off to do some research and phone interviews on a possible serial killer operating in California. The three men left at the table with me are Agents Charles Guilbeau, Andrew Chan and Wayne Allen. Guilbeau and Chan are the two members of the task force I'm closest to; Guilbeau is my second in command and Chan functions as my partner when the task force is out in the field. Allen is the newest member of the task force; he went to the Academy with Scully and is a transfer from the Omaha office of the bureau.
For some reason, the thought of the baby suddenly pops into my head again, and I grin.
Guilbeau says, in his calm, deep voice, "When is the baby due?"
I spew coffee all over the conference table and notice that Allen is doing the exact same thing. Chan merely looks confused.
"Wh-what did you say?" I finally manage to ask.
"Oh, come on!" Guilbeau says, rolling his eyes and looking first at me and then at Allen. "Both of you have had these huge grins plastered on your face every time I turn to look at you. In my experience, only two things make a man smile like that. The first is that he's finally gotten laid by a woman he's been pursuing for months; given the obsessive adoration both of you display toward your wives, that's obviously not it. The second is that all that messin' around finally paid off and you're going to be a Daddy. So I'll ask again. When is the baby due?"
"Around the end of September," Allen says. "But we haven't told anyone yet, not even our parents."
"The middle of October, we think," I reply. "Scully hasn't been to the doctor yet. Don't tell Skinner you knew before he did, he'd kill us both."
"Anybody who sees you -- either of you -- is going to know," Guilbeau answers with finality.
I like to think of myself as a brooding, inscrutable maverick agent. Apparently what I actually am is a guy whose emotions are so easy to read that he might as well declare them on a T-shirt. Oh, what the hell? When I think of all the terrible things Scully and I had to endure during our years on the X-Files, I guess I can survive a loss of mystique.
A few hours later, I poke my head into Skinner's office. "You free for lunch?" I ask.
"Sure," he nods.
We're soon sitting across from each other in a restaurant a few blocks from headquarters and he asks, "What's up, Mulder? You've got that look on your face -- like the one you used to have when you wanted me to authorize a particularly outlandish business expenditure related to the X-Files. And no, before you ask, you can't reopen them and have Scully as your partner again."
Recalling the words Skinner said to us when we told him Scully was pregnant with Melissa, I reply, "A very wise man once told me that the X-Files weren't a good fit for a couple with young children, anyway. And a pregnant woman doesn't need to dashing around the country encountering mutants and monsters."
Skinner picks up immediately on the implications of my statement. "Scully's pregnant again?"
"Yeah ," I nod. "We just found out."
"You know, Smoky and Blevins and whatever other shadowy figures were involved in the conspiracy to keep you and Scully from finding the truth all those years were pretty stupid. They obviously believed that the way to get you to give up the X-Files and toe the line was to throw shit at the two of you; but all that did was make you both more determined. If they'd had any sense at all, they would have slipped aphrodisiacs and fertility enhancing drugs into the basement coffeepot; both of you would have been too busy bonking each other's brains out and raising a family to notice if an alien wandered right through the office."
I chuckle at that. "Tell me about it. Dana doesn't seem to be as nauseated this time around as she was with the last pregnancy, but she's exhausted all the time. I go home from work to play with Melissa and deal with as much of the cooking and housework as I can, so she can rest. If ET phoned *our* home, he'd have to leave a message and maybe I could get back to him within six weeks."
"You ever have any regrets?"
"About what? Spending so much of my time as the bureau's alien-obsessed monster hunter or giving it up?"
Skinner shrugs. "Either. Both."
"Not really," I say slowly. "My main goal the whole time I worked the X-Files was to find out what happened to my sister; I did that. During the first year or so of our marriage, I spent a lot of time kicking myself for not asking Scully to become my wife a lot earlier than I did, but I've found that as the years go by I don't even regret that. We had some great times working together. I'm glad we got married, glad we have Melissa, glad we're going to be adding to our family. . .but I'll always treasure my memories of our years together on the X-Files."
I love my daughter, but I've begun to look forward to the three days a week I spend at Quantico because they're more restful than the ones I spend at home chasing a two-year-old around. Melissa has recently reached a point that my mother and sister-in-law assure me all toddlers go through at about this age; she won't go down for a nap in the early afternoon, but she can't make it all day long without a nap, either. So she falls asleep between three and four in the afternoon, sleeps 'til about six in the evening, and then stays awake 'til right about the time Mulder and I are ready for bed. I usually match her schedule, which means that I have absolutely no time when she's asleep that I can spend cleaning up the house.
Mulder has suggested we hire a housekeeping service to come in one day a week -- it's not like we couldn't afford it -- but I'm reluctant to do that. I guess his paranoia has rubbed off on me; I wouldn't want a stranger underfoot all day when Melissa and I are home but, at the same time, I don't like the idea of a stranger coming into our house and cleaning it on one of the days when Mulder and I are both at work and Melissa's at my mother's. So, for now, we just live in a state of clutter. My husband, unlike my own father, is not the sort of man who expects that the house be kept immaculate. Truth be told, I think he *prefers* the "lived in" look .
Mulder arrives home just a few minutes after Melissa and I have awoken from our naps. We greet him with kisses and Melissa does her "Daddy's home dance", which consists of running around his legs and whooping until he scoops her up and tosses her in the air.
"You look tired," Mulder says gently. "Want to go out for dinner?"
"Thanks for the offer, but no," I reply. "I don't feel like getting dressed up and waiting long enough to eat at a nice restaurant and we've already had fast food once this week." I refuse to get into the habit of eating fast food more often than that; it's not good for the baby or Melissa.
"Would you like me to cook?" Mulder continues.
My husband is a brilliant, handsome man who has many talents, but cooking isn't one of them. I shake my head. "No, you play with Melissa. I'll get supper started."
Several hours later, after we've eaten and Melissa has been bathed, read to and put to bed. Mulder and I adjourn to our own bedroom. I change into my nightgown and crawl into bed. He strips down to his boxer-briefs and joins me. My head has barely hit the pillow, but I'm already almost asleep when I feel his hands stroking softly up and down my legs. Every time, he reaches a little bit higher, slowly pushing my nightgown up, 'til he's feathering his fingertips across my bottom.
"Fox, I'm sorry," I say, then burst into tears.
"Dana, sweetheart, what's wrong?"
"I know what you want, but I'm just too tired!
"Shh!" he murmurs, pressing a gentle kiss against my cheek and smoothing my nightgown back down over my hips. "It's okay. You're tired, I understand that. I'm the one who should apologize. I need to stop being such sexual pig."
"I just don't want you to think I don't love you."
Mulder chuckles, the sound warm and rich in my ear. "Scully, the idea that you don't love me died the day you came charging up that hillside in Puerto Rico to save my sorry ass."
"Mulder, that was years ago! I mean it was a really, really long time ago. We'd only known each other barely a year then."
"I know. But people -- especially people like my ultra-cautious and by-the-book partner -- don't run risks like that unless it's for someone they love."
"So you knew that long ago that I loved you?"
"That you loved me, yes. That you were *in* love with me seemed a lot more open to debate. Because, while you were always there to watch my back and patch me up when I got hurt, you gave precious little indication that you wanted me in your bed or between your legs."
"I fought that part a lot harder," I admit.
"Because I knew that once I admitted to myself that I was in love with you -- that I wanted you as my lover as well as my partner and best friend -- that I'd have to. . .compete."
"Compete? With whom or for what?"
"For you and against all those other bimbos. . .like Phoebe and Fowley and Bambi and Detective White, to name just a few. . .who were always throwing themselves at you."
"There was no competition, Scully. I wanted only you."
"I know that now, but I didn't know it then."
"Go to sleep, Dana."
"I love you."
"I know. Sleep now."
The next day, Chan and I are in a diner a couple of blocks from headquarters eating lunch. We've been discussing baseball, being as our on-going cases rarely go well with food.
We're about to leave when there's a commotion at the register. Some punk kid, who doesn't look like he's even old enough to shave on a daily basis, is brandishing a pistol and threatening the cashier. You'd think he'd have more sense than to commit armed robbery within walking distance of the finest criminal investigation agency in the entire world, but criminals are rarely the brilliant masterminds they're shown to be on TV; the majority of the ones I've come across in my career are extremely stupid.
Everybody is screaming and crying and the guy yells "Get down", which is great: it's exactly what Chan and I need them to do.
Once we see that everybody else in the restaurant is safely down and that there's no danger of a civilian getting caught in the crossfire, we spring up and I holler out "FBI! Drop your weapon and keep your hands where we can see them."
Did I mention that most crooks are extremely stupid? Does this idiot realize the jig is up and drop his weapon like a good little robber so that some overworked public defender can plea bargain his sentence down to a couple of years? No, he decides to shoot at us, apparently either not knowing or not caring that if he happens to hit a vital organ he'll get the death penalty as a cop killer.
The weird thing about being shot is that, in the first moment or two, the pain doesn't register. What actually hurts in the instant of impact is my head striking the floor as I go down. I hear the answering roar of Chan's gun as he empties his chamber into the guy. Then things go woozy as the pain slams into my body like fire. I hear Chan screaming for someone to phone 911 and the code he tells them to use for 'officer down'. I feel his hand as he presses it against my ribs. Then I pass out.
I'm in the middle of a lecture to my students at the Academy when the door opens. I don't like stragglers or buttinskys, so I turn to glare at the intruder until I realize who it is. Striding up to the podium he bends down to my microphone and says, "I'm Assistant Director Walter Skinner. Class is dismissed. I need to speak to Dr. Scully immediately."
I don't even wait for the students to completely file out before I ask, "What happened to Mulder and how badly is he hurt?"
"He's been shot. We don't know how serious it is yet. He's at Washington General; I drove over here at 90 with sirens blaring and lights flashing. Come on, let's go."
Even as I cling to Skinner's hand and let him guide me out of the building, I ask, "How did this happen? I thought he was going to be in the office doing paperwork today. Did he get a lead that a suspect was in the D.C. area?"
"No he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. He and Chan were at lunch when a punk kid tried to rob the place. The kid ordered everybody down and Mulder and Chan pulled their weapons and identified themselves. The bastard shot Mulder."
"Did they get him or did he escape?"
"Chan's return fire killed him."
As soon as we're in the car, Skinner says, "Call Kimberly in my office. I told her to find the details and have a number for you to call."
I make both calls and identify myself in my triple identity as Mulder's wife, a medical doctor and an FBI agent. There's no news yet, he's still in surgery.
By the time we arrive -- I think Skinner's speed topped a hundred at one point -- Mulder is out of surgery. They assure me that although he's lost a fair amount of blood he is otherwise fine; the bullet missed all his vital organs and passed in and out cleanly. He should make a complete recovery.
I feel like shit. I'm not used to this any more. When we worked the X-Files, I got my ass kicked on a such a regular basis that I'd pretty much adjusted to feeling like crap about 90 percent of the time. Now I'm used to sitting behind a desk pushing paper or working up criminal profiles. Profiling is nasty, dangerous work, but the danger is psychological rather than physical. It's been a long time since I woke up in a hospital.
But, as always, the person beside my bed remains the same. "Hey, Scully," I murmur.
"Mulder! You're awake." She punches the intercom and shares my conscious state with the nurse.
"C'mere," I murmur. Scully stands and leans over me. I reach up to touch her face. "I love you."
"I love you, too, Fox."
"Nope," I whisper. "The proper response under these circumstances is 'Oh brother!' with the patented Scully eye roll."
A nurse and doctor enter the room and ask me a few questions, then discuss my condition with Scully. They agree that, since she's a doctor, I can go home with her tomorrow morning if there are no complications.
"I'm sorry, Dana," I whisper once we're alone again.
"You don't need this. You've got enough going on, with your job and being pregnant and Melissa. . .now you've got a banged-up husband to take care of."
"Mulder, it's hardly like I think you got shot just to get a little extra attention!"
The next day, Mulder is home in our bed zoned out on pain pills. I took the day off work, of course, but I went ahead and brought Melissa to my mother's this morning anyway; we didn't need her underfoot and she would either not understand that Daddy is sick or cry because she was worried about him.
It's early afternoon and I've brought Mulder's lunch dishes down from the bedroom and tidied up in the kitchen so now I head back upstairs. Maybe I can catch a nap.
When I reach our bed, I sit down and stare at my husband. He's naked -- he said he felt more comfortable that way -- although a sheet is tangled about his waist, covering his most interesting assets. Still, what I can see is very, very nice. He didn't shave this morning, so there's a day's worth of beard stubble on his chin and cheeks. His well-muscled chest with its sprinkling of hair looks warm and inviting. There's a bitch of a bruise on his side, where the bullet went through, and a small bandage where the surgeon stitched him up. His nice long legs and huge feet and big biceps and sensitive, expressive hands are all still for the moment.
I realize with something of a shock that I'm horny. Extremely so. My almost-constant exhaustion has mysteriously vanished. Mulder doesn't look like a safe suburban Daddy and FBI paper pusher at the moment. He looks dangerous and sexy as hell. I want to play doctor with him in the shady sense of the term. I could spend hours touching and tasting and. . .
What is wrong with me? I wonder. Mulder is hurt, the last thing he needs is me climbing all over him. Although there would certainly be more than enough to climb *on* as he's currently sporting an erection that is tenting the sheet to an extent that a whole troop of Boy Scouts could camp out under there!
"Scully," he murmurs.
"Yeah, Mulder?" I reply. The huskiness of my voice surprises me. Apparently it surprises him, too, because his eyes pop open.
Mulder gives me a slow, sleepy sexy smile and asks, "Whatcha thinking about?"
This is kind of embarrassing, but Mulder and I have never been anything less than totally honest with each other since we got married. "I'm turned on. But I'm a little worried that there's something faintly kinky about the fact that seeing you all bruised and patched up is a turn-on for me."
He shakes his head and reaches up to cup my face. "Sexual desire is a normal response to relief of tension, Scully. You were worried about me; now that you know I'm okay, you want me."
"What about you, Mulder? You were obviously having a very interesting dream. Want to share the details?"
"Scully, I don't think you want to hear it. I've got. . .a lot of images stored in my mind that sometimes mix together in bizarre ways in my subconscious."
"You were dreaming of an old girlfriend?" I inquire, willing myself not to sound pissed. He's not responsible for his dreams.
"No, it was us, it's just. . .it was like we were starring in one of those videos that weren't mine; the ones you made me give to Frohike as soon as we got married."
"It was before we were married and I guess -- maybe -- we were supposed to be undercover on a case or something. Anyway, you were dressed like a hooker. . .short, tight leather skirt, fishnet stockings, ultra high heels, see-through blouse. . .the whole standard streetwalker ensemble. And we went to a motel -- a really cheesy one, comparable to some of the lousiest places we stayed when we worked the X-Files -- and I kind of. . .ordered you to take off the clothes and get on the bed on your hands and knees."
"What happened next?"
"Don't know; that's when I woke up or the dream ended or whatever."
"Would you like me to do that? Dress up like that for you?"
"Scully, are you out of your mind?!"
I shake my head slowly. "No. On the grand scale of kinky behavior, dressing up like a hooker is pretty innocuous. I'd be willing to do it if you really wanted me to."
"Well, no, I don't want you to. I like you the way you are. I dream about a lot of weird stuff; it's not that I want to do it all. For instance, I've got no *actual* desire to live in the Munsters' house."
I grin at that and trace my fingers lightly across his chest.
I smile up at Scully. I thought she'd be disgusted by my dream but, as always, she keeps me guessing. It seems to have made her even hotter than she was when I first opened my eyes.
I shove away the sheet that's covering me and say, "Want to climb aboard?"
"Mul-der!" she says, dissolving in a fit of giggles.
"You know, Scully, some men would have their confidence impaired if they exposed their erection to a woman and she started laughing."
"I'm not laughing at this, Mulder," she says, reaching out to grasp me and causing me to moan softly. "This is very impressive. I was just amused by the way you stated your offer."
"So?" I ask, waggling my eyebrows at her.
"Yeah, of course. But I need to take my clothes off first."
She starts to pull off her shirt but, I still her small hands with my larger one and shake my head. "Not like that, Scully. Stand up. And go real slow."
Scully smiles and blushes and starts to strip for me. For a nice Catholic girl, she sure puts on an impressive show.
But one of the pleasures of our married life has been discovering that she has a tiny hint of exhibtionism tucked into a corner of her soul and allowing her the freedom to express it when we're alone together.
When she's completely naked, she approaches the bed again and asks, "How do you want me to do this?"
"Straddle me and lean down to kiss me, but you're going to have to keep
your knees far enough apart so that they don't press against my sides."
Scully does exactly what I ask. I close my eyes when we first begin to kiss, but eventually open them and am greeted with a glorious sight. In order to get her face near enough to kiss me, but keep her legs from bumping my injury, Scully has to assume a position that hikes her ass way, *way* up in the air, so that it's easily visible above our heads. I reach around and grab her butt, massaging it while we continue to kiss.
When we finally stop kissing, she smiles and arches against me, rubbing her breasts against my chest and thrusting her ass more firmly against my hands. "What do you want me to do next, Mulder? Tell me exactly."
Hot damn! I know that the main reason Scully is asking for instructions is because I'm hurt. But I also know that's not the only reason. I sometimes like to take on the role of 'teacher' when we make love; while we usually operate as equal partners -- because that's fun, too, and it's what we're used to -- this occasional, freely given submission on sexual matters is always a treat.
"Go ahead and mount me, Scully, but make sure you don't bring your knees any closer to my body than they are now."
She scooches backwards 'til my cock is grazing her entrance. I hold it steady for her while she lowers herself down. Because she has to keep her legs spread to avoid bumping my wound, I'm entering her at a different angle than I usually do in this position. Instead of bracing her arms on my chest or the bed, she puts them behind her on my thighs. I grasp her hips and hold her steady. Her hips are more generous now than they were before she ever got pregnant the first time around. I've never mentioned it, because I know that most women don't consider "My, but what a big ass you have, my dear" to be a compliment, but I enjoy having a more voluptuous woman in my bed.
Scully does most of the work; she has to, as I'm in no condition to do much more than lay here. I moan occasionally, but it's with pleasure, not pain. After quite a while -- with Melissa at Grandma's house, there's no reason for us to rush things -- I feel Scully start to quiver and then clench me as she climaxes. She groans out my name and sighs softly when she's finished.
"What do you need me to do for you, Mulder? I know this position isn't the easiest one in the world for you to come in but, considering your injuries, I think it's the only one available to us at the moment."
"Continue to sit on me like you are, but reach one hand behind you and massage my balls. And. . .talk to me, Scully."
She does as I ask, while I continue to hold onto her hips and stare at her breasts -- fuller now that she's pregnant -- bobbing up and down in front of my face. "You've figured out something about me, Mulder, that I don't think I was even aware of myself until we got married. I liked to be bossed around during sex. Oh, not all the time: that would get kind of old. And not with any sort of kinky threats about being 'disciplined' if Idon't do what I'm told. But, sometimes, I like it when you take charge. You know what would have happened if we'd ever been in a situation like the one in your dream before we were married? As soon as you ordered me to take off my clothes and get on my hands and knees on the bed and I would have been in the position you told me to assume. And I would have thrust my ass in the air, and spread my legs so you could see my dripping wet pussy, and I would have *begged* you to fuck me!" Scully punctuates this last statement with a squeeze to my balls and the combination of verbal, physical and visual stimulation pushes me over the edge. I spasm within her and moan out her name.
Once I'm sure Mulder is through, I slide off of him and lay beside him. I'm on the 'wrong' side -- I usually cuddle against the side that is currently sporting a bullet hole -- and it gives a slightly exotic feel to our afterglow.
"You're right, Scully. I did figure out that thing about you sometimes liking to be told what to do when we make love. I think I pretty much knew it by the time our honeymoon was over. Does that bother you?"
I yawn and shake my head. "One of the hazards of being the wife of a behavior profiler, Mulder. You can get into my head in a way most husbands can't. I knew that going into our marriage. Can I ask you a question, though?"
"Did you ever work up a profile of me before we were married?"
"Yeah; when you'd been abducted. In one way, I didn't want to do it -- it was a violation of your privacy, and not the sort of thing I'd normally do to a friend or partner -- but I wasn't going to leave any stone unturned in my quest to find you, and I had to use all the skills I had available."
"Did you discover anything interesting?"
"Nope. Compared to a serial killer -- or even to somebody like me -- you're normal almost to the point of being boring, sweetheart. You put up a tough facade, but that's because you were a woman trying to make it in a male-dominated profession. You don't give your heart or your fidelity easily but, when you do, you're loyal beyond the limits of reason. You're highly intelligent; you're not particularly imaginative or creative, but probably more so than you give yourself credit for. You have the ability to get along well with almost anyone: superiors, peers, children. . .whomever."
"There was nothing even faintly. . .quirky. . .about me?" I inquire. He's right, this profile *does* make me sound boring!
"Well, sure. Every human being on the planet has his or her little idiosyncrasies. Nobody fits the standard psychological profile perfectly."
"What things about me surprised you?"
"Well, based on your love for order and your methodical thinking process and the fact that you have an advanced degree, I would have pegged you as an oldest child; or, at the very least, the oldest daughter in a large family. The fact that you were a middle child -- with an older brother *and* an older sister, plus a younger brother -- was surprising. Generally speaking, middle children are less goal-oriented and more easy-going than you are."
"Okay," I say, glad there's something at least vaguely intriguing in my profile.
"Want to know something else I discovered a couple of years later, related to your birth order? Well, yours and mine both?"
"We were born for each other."
"I'm sure we were, Mulder, but exactly what do you mean by that?"
"There's a psychologist who writes a lot about the influence of birth order on human behavior. One of his books is titled 'Were You Born For Each Other?' and it details the impact our birth order has on marriage. He says one of the very best match-ups -- one highly likely to lead to an extremely happy marriage on the part of both spouses -- is when the husband grew up as a big brother with one or more little sisters and the wife grew up as a little sister with at least one older brother."
"Sounds like us," I agree.
"It also helps if the actual, chronological age difference between the husband and wife is similar to that of the sibling relationship they grew up in," he continues.
"And Bill Junior's birth date is barely three weeks before yours," I finish for him.
"Speaking of Bill Junior, siblings and the like, when are we going to tell Melissa and your brothers about the baby we're expecting?"
"I figured maybe at Easter. That seems like a good time to share news of a new life. I thought we'd tell Melissa in the morning, before church, and everybody else at dinner."
"Sounds like a plan," Mulder murmurs, before drifting off to sleep.
Easter Sunday morning dawns bright and clear. Melissa is up at daybreak, running into our room to excitedly show us the candy, toys and colored eggs she found in the basket beside her bed when she awoke.
Once Melissa is dressed -- she's wearing a dress with pink flowers on it and a white straw hat with a ribbon in the same print as the dress -- we read her the book Dana has picked out, about having a new baby.
"Me gets a baby?" Melissa asks excitedly.
"Yes, but not for quite a while, sweetheart," I explain. "After summertime and the beach and after Jimmy and Yves get their baby."
"Lissa be big sister?"
"Yes, Melissa, you'll be the big sister," Scully assures her.
"Bunny brings the baby?" Melissa asks, obviously seeking to make some sort of connection between this news and Easter Sunday.
"No, Melissa, the Easter Bunny doesn't bring the baby," I tell her, trying not to laugh. The question is a logical one under the circumstances.
"Jesus brings the baby?" Melissa asks, latching on to the other major figure children associate with Easter.
"Yes, Melissa," Scully says softly. "Jesus sends the baby."
We drive directly to Maggie's house after church, only to find that Bill Junior and his family have already arrived. Charles and Christa came in Thursday evening; Maggie picked them up at the airport and they're staying at her house through tomorrow afternoon.
While Dana and her sisters-in-law help Maggie in the kitchen and keep the kids occupied, her brothers and I hide Easter eggs around the backyard. Most of them we just sort of place on the lawn, for Melissa and Patrick to pick up, as two-year-olds aren't much good at finding things. A few of them we actually "hide" for five-year-old Matthew to find. We go through the routine of us hiding the eggs while the kids find them several times before dinner is ready. As usual, it's a scrumptious feast. Maggie's a good cook at all times, but she really outdoes herself on holidays.
As we gather around the table, I'm overwhelmed by the fact that this is my family. Not just Dana and Melissa, but all of them; even Bill Junior, who I don't always get along with (although we've been doing better lately) and Christa, who I barely know. I remember, in a vague sort of way, the overwhelming loneliness I felt after my mother died and I found proof that Samantha, also, had been dead for many years: the emptiness of knowing that I didn't have any family left was painful. But now I've got almost more than I know what to do with: a wife, a child, another baby on the way, a mother-in-law I adore, two brothers-and-sisters-in-law and two nephews.
Once the table has been cleared and the kids have gone out into the backyard to play and the grown-ups are sitting around with coffee, Charles clears his throat and grins. "Christa and I have an announcement to make. We told Mom as soon as we got in, but we wanted to tell the rest of you in person. We're expecting a baby. It's due in early October."
We all smile and offer congratulations to Charles and Christa. I shoot a look at Mulder, wondering if we should share our news or wait for a more opportune moment. Before I can do anything, however, Tara says, "I don't mean to steal your thunder; I realize this is your first baby but, um, I'm pregnant, too."
"Oh, but that's fabulous!" Christa says. "When are you due?"
"Around the same time you are," Tara answers.
This is too much. I burst into laughter.
"Dana, what's so funny?" Charles asks.
"Dana, it's really not *that* unusual for two couples in the same family to be expecting babies around the same time," Tara says.
I can't say anything, just catch Mulder's eye and notice him grinning like a Cheshire cat.
Bill's the one who finally makes the connection. "Oh, Lord! Dana, are you trying to say that you two are also. . .That you're. . .?"
"I'm pregnant, too," I confirm. "And due in early October."
My mother looks a little stunned by this news. She already knew I was expecting, and she's had a couple of days to adjust to the idea that Christa was, but apparently this is the first she's heard about the addition to Bill and Tara's family. "You mean that within the next six months I'm going to be doubling the number of grandchildren I have?"
"Unless somebody is expecting twins," Mulder offers helpfully. "Then you could *more* than double the number. But we're only having one baby and, as far as I know, so is everybody else."
"I must say it took all of you long enough," my mother says with a smile. "Since I had all four of my children before turning 30, by the time all of *you* were in your 30s and I wasn't a grandmother, I was beginning to worry that I might never become one. But you definitely seem to be making up for lost time!"
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Note: "Were You Born For Each Other?" is a real book. It's by Dr. Kevin Leman.