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       March 2000

 

Byers, Langly, and Frohike were gathering around the computer when they heard the knock on the door. It was the latter who walked away to open it. Unlatching the dozen locks that kept them secure inside, he saw their Spooky friend. The look on Mulder’s face was not one of amusement.

“Man, you look like hell. Have you been getting any sleep lately?”

“Sure,” Mulder just mumbled, passing him by and throwing his jacket on a chair by the door. “Anyway, what’s that important thing that you wanted to show me?” he added, eagerly, and the guys looked at him wondering what was wrong with him.

Lately, he had been acting strange; missing more weekly meetings than usual, and looking especially distracted. Byers was really worried about him, sensing he might have gone to his dark place, only they couldn’t figure out why.

“You seem to be in a hurry. You got a chick waiting at home or what?” Frohike joked.

“What? No!” Mulder answered a little bit too quickly.

Homeboy was definitely hiding something, his fidgeting was a dead giveaway. But, surely, he wasn’t going to tell them, so their plan went on.

“We have an important mission for you,” Byers approached him and gave him a piece of paper.

“What’s that?” Mulder quizzically looked at the three of them upon reading the handwritten note on it.

“That’s the name of your date and where and when you’re going to meet her,” Frohike explained. “Tonight.”

“My what?” Mulder seemed… frightened? At the prospect of a date? He should have been thrilled.

“Dude, your totally irresponsible dive into combat last night was a loud cry for ‘I need to get laid’,” Langly poked. “We are just providing.”

Mulder was known for jumping into battle without thinking twice. Yesterday, however, he had been stupider than ever. Had it not been for Scully’s skill, Mulder would have been killed by a psycho virtual lady. It had been the last straw. 

“Please, tell me you haven’t hired an escort—.”

“Of course not!,” Langly interrupted him. “It’s a friend of ours,” he added.

“You have single female friends and decide to introduce them to me now ?” he laughed, but they didn’t get the joke. 

“Well, you seem to be needing it more than ever these days…” Byers continued.

“You’ll have to cancel. I’m sure she’s a nice woman, but I can’t do it.” Mulder offered the piece of paper back to them, but none of them took it.

“Sure you can. Your evening is free; we made sure of that. You’re going,” Frohike got serious. “Or are you secretly dating someone you’re not telling us about?”

“Erm, no. Of course not. You’d be the first to know,” Mulder said fidgeting with the piece of paper.

They’d been teasing him about Agent Scully for ages, but they had stopped after realizing he was more into her than they had noticed. It didn’t take long for The Gunmen to figure out that mentioning their friend’s partner seemed to result in a distant look in Mulder’s eye. And, not the good kind. Whatever was going on with the two of them seemed like a never-ending cycle of platonic behavior and they knew Mulder well enough to know that he wouldn’t be able to take that much longer . Agent Scully was keeping Mulder in the friendzone . Much to the guys’ despair, as they thought they were perfect for each other. 

“We chose a restaurant close to your place, so you don’t have a reason to escape or be lazy about it. Be there at the time. Have some fun. We won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” Frohike insisted and started pushing him out.

“But I’d rather—,” Mulder tried once again, but he was shushed.

“Just go!” Frohike pushed him out and closed the door at his face.

 

. . . . . . . . . 

 

Michelle was more excited about this date than she should probably be, but she had been infatuated with Fox Mulder for as long as she could remember. So many years ago, she had met him in passing when she had gone to the Gunmen’s lair to pick up Langly for a Motörhead concert. Was it Bastards or March Ör Die ? Mulder had been there and she had wanted to get in his pants ever since. 

It wasn't like she couldn't get any other guy —in fact, she kind of had been getting every other gu y —but Mulder kept resisting her charms somehow and she couldn't stand it. He was as tall as she was—which didn’t happen so often—, had an epicurean body and his eyes trapped her anytime he glanced her way. She wanted him so badly. Michelle had started popping in the guys' lair more often, even asking them about Mulder’s love life on occasion.

"You're wasting your time, dude," Langly had said. "He's married to the Bureau.” So, she decided to forget all about him.

However, when Langly told her if she felt like having a date with Mulder, she didn't think twice. If she could get his attention for an hour, she'd definitely get him to fuck her. 

Michelle gave one last look in the mirror before heading out. The right amount of cleavage, her long fair hair on a perfect ponytail, red glossy lips. Perfect.

On arriving at the restaurant, she saw him there, sitting on one of the outside tables. He looked stunning, dressed in a leather jacket, seemingly lost in thought swiveling the sparkling water on his glass. Michelle smiled. She was gonna get laid tonight, whatever the cost.

 

. . . . . . . . . 

 

As soon as Michelle sat in front of him, Mulder realized he had already seen her a couple of times at the guy’s lair. She used to hang around there quite a lot at the beginning of times, and then one day she stopped. Mulder had wondered what might have happened to her; she seemed like a nice woman. He wondered if Frohike had scared her away, but he never asked. Just in case. 

Michelle was a really intelligent woman and good-looking. Years before he might have been interested in what she was selling, but not now. Mulder could only think about finishing this “date and going home to call Scully so they could set their movie-night for the following day. Was it her turn to choose or his? He’d probably go ahead and rent a couple of movies to be safe.

“Am I boring you?” Michelle said, bringing Mulder’s mind back to the restaurant.

“No, no. Of course not,” he quickly replied, admonishing himself for being such a jerk. He just had to behave and pay attention to her for a couple of hours. It shouldn’t be so difficult. He did so in work meetings on a monthly basis. “I’m just tired. It’s been a tough week at work,” he lied.

“Yeah, sure…” Michelle didn’t seem to buy it and her face turned suspiciously angrier by the minute. He couldn’t help it, though. His mind was elsewhere.

“I’m sorry,” he finally admitted with a sigh. “I was just supposed to be somewhere else…with someone else. The guys should have asked me about this first, I’m—.“

“Mulder!?”

Scully’s voice resounded from somewhere to his left. She was standing on the sidewalk, six feet away, looking surprised. What was she doing there? Scully went red, turned around, and walked away. She was fuming. It took Mulder a second to realize that she must have been walking towards his place. Fuck ! She had seen him having dinner with another woman when he had told her that he’d be at The Gunmen’s. Oh, crap. Oh, crap!

“I’m…I’m sorry, I have to leave. Right now,” he excused himself to Michelle, throwing a bunch of bills on the table to, hopefully, cover his part of the bill and some more. “It was lovely seeing you again. I gotta run,” he yelled grabbing his jacket and running away chasing Scully, who had already disappeared around the corner.

Mulder hoped he could still catch up to her. He needed to explain himself. They were in a delicate situation at the moment. He was so close than ever to finally getting her, he couldn’t risk screwing it all up now.

 

. . . . . . . . . 

 

It was her own fault, really, Scully told herself. It had been so stupid of her to fall for him in the first place, she had known that for years. For the last months she had kept him at arms’ length while she tried to decide how to proceed.

Since New Year’s had happened they hadn’t really talked about their relationship status. For months they had been hovering over his desire for her, her fear for things to change between them, to get even more trapped in his world. They had gotten closer—so, so close to actually doing… something. But, things always got in the way. 

Scully thought they had an unspoken agreement, that he was being a gentleman and waiting for her to be ready to step up. Tonight she realized that it was nothing like that, that he was going on with his life, dating other women, while she was trapped in his spiderweb. She felt like such a fool.

“Scully! Please, let me explain!”

She heard his voice at her back and her first instinct was to speed away, only to realize that he would easily catch her. Scully would always win in a shooting contest, but her “little legs” couldn’t compete with his three-feet ones. So, instead, she spun around in her heels, fists clenched at her sides.

“Are we on a lying basis again, then?” She spat.

His eyes told her how sorry he was before he even opened his mouth; but, she wasn’t going to fall for them. Scully focused on his mouth instead, but his lips quivered. Was there any part of his anatomy that wasn’t going to turn her into instant jelly? She knew the answer was a clear no, so she met his gaze again and faced his sorry lying eyes. 

“It wasn’t what you think it was,” he started, as cliche as he could go.

“Regardless of what I might or might not think, that woman was clearly not The Gunmen. So cut the crap, Mulder. You can do whatever you want with your free time, but don’t lie to me.”

Scully turned around and started walking away, hoping he’d take the hint  and return to his date.

“Wait, just listen to me, will you? The guys set me up,“ he started explaining, walking after her, but keeping his distance. “I would have refused but I didn’t want to—.”

“Whatever, Mulder.” Scully didn’t stop walking, trying her damnedest to hold back her tears. “I don’t care. You don’t need to tell me any excuse. It is not like we’re…” 

Scully tried searching for the right word and came up blank. What did she think they were at this point?

“Together?” he offered, and the word made her stop walking. “Because I thought we were,” he added, almost in a whisper, and then paused for a moment. “Are we not together?” he finally asked, sounding really disappointed.

They should have been having this conversation face-to-face, but she was scared to look at him and he knew better than to grab her shoulder. Scully sighed and finally turned around.

“Then, why are you out, on a Friday night, with another woman?”

“I’ve been trying to explain! The guys forced me to. I couldn’t find a good enough reason without telling them about us . I thought you wouldn’t be comfortable with me sharing the news, yet, since…” He struggled to continue.

Since we haven’t established what we are for a while , she finished his sentence in her mind. They had been work partners, acquaintances, friends, best friends… And, now, they definitely were something else, but still hadn’t figured out exactly what. Why was it that they both always knew what the other was thinking but couldn’t bring each other to speak the words? It shouldn’t be this difficult, should it?

A gust of wind hit her and she shivered. The intensity of the conversation hit her hard in that moment. Were they really having the talk right there and then? She was definitely not ready for it.

“We don’t have to do this now. Do you wanna come upstairs and just…watch a movie?” He tried lightening the mood. “I promise to remember not to butter the popcorn.” He smiled at her.

Scully looked around and realized she had unknowingly ended up rerouting towards his building.

“Yeah, I can do that.”

Talk postponed, crisis averted. They were fine. For now.