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The Dedication

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It had been five long years since I saw her last. Oh how I ached to touch and to taste, to run my fingers through her silky, auburn tresses, to...

 

I literally shook my head to chase those thoughts away. After Mulder’s trial (and conviction), Dana left – left with a man who was a fugitive and running from a death sentence. John and I returned to DC and the X-Files, but the division was soon shut down and we were reassigned – to offices on opposite sides of the country from each other.

 

For the first year or so, John kept me up to date with whatever reports, clues, or rumors he heard. They were always about Mulder, but never about Dana. Then John and I lost touch. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. We each had accepted undercover assignments that made contact, if not impossible, too dangerous.

 

I never heard anything about Dana after that day she left with Mulder.

 

So imagine my shock at seeing her on a remote beach on Tortola, the main island of the British Virgin Islands. I had just finished up a particularly nasty undercover case and was on a much-needed vacation. I’d managed to find a hotel room for a decent rate and planned on staying for three weeks. It was only my second day there when I had met a very nice local boy, about twelve years old, who agreed to show me the island’s ‘most beautiful secret’: a remote beach that tourists did not go to, or even know about. It involved a short drive and a long walk through the trees.

 

The sand was white as sugar and the water a deep turquoise. There were only about half a dozen people present – all quietly enjoying the serene atmosphere. Then I saw a shock of red. My eyes were drawn to a woman sitting on a towel, arms resting on drawn up knees. She was wearing sunglasses and a white bikini.

 

It was while I took a few seconds to appreciate the sight, that she stood and walked into the surf. She dove into an incoming wave. When she surfaced she swam with strong, graceful strokes, slicing through the water with ease. After a few minutes’ workout, she came back in. It was only then, as she waded through the surf, that I finally saw her face.

 

It was Dana.

 

She was as beautiful as I’d remembered – more so. Her normally pale skin was bronzed by the sun, her petite form was still lean, but now there was more muscle definition, and there seemed to be a lightness to her – as if she no longer carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. She was absolutely stunning.

 

I was awe struck, unable to move from where I stood; my heart was racing and I felt light-headed. I watched as she squeezed the salt water from her hair and slicked it back with her hands. She then picked up her towel and small tote bag, donned her sunglasses, and walked away. She disappeared on a path that curved out of sight.

 

For the following three days I returned to the beach known only to the locals. Each day she was there. Each day I watched her. Each day she never noticed me. And each day I couldn’t find the strength of will to approach her.

 

On my fifth trip to the beach she wasn’t there. I waited, but she never showed. My young friend, Tommy, who took me to the beach and returned me when it was time to leave each day (I never did know where he disappeared in the interim), noticed my melancholy as we returned to my hotel. With the innocence of youth he asked me directly if I was sad because the pretty, red-haired lady hadn’t been at the beach. I simply nodded.

 

The following day, when Tommy came at our appointed time, I said I was not going to the beach that day. He grabbed my hand and tugged.

 

“Come on. I’ll show you.”

 

“Show me what?”

 

“You’ll see. Trust me.”

 

I always was a sucker for the kind look he gave me. I sighed, gathered my things, and went with him. On our way to the beach I hoped against hope, trying keep from being too disappointed. I knew it would hurt to not see her there... even if I couldn’t summon the courage to let her know I was there, to talk to her.

 

We arrived at the beach. She wasn’t there. But suddenly Tommy grabbed my hand, as he had at the hotel, and pulled.

 

“Come on.”

 

With no will to resist, I followed. He led me to the path I’d seen Dana take five days earlier. As we rounded some large boulders I saw the path led up a small headland. Sitting atop the headland, surrounded by trees and completely hidden from view of the beach, was a small, but beautiful villa. I couldn’t fully see the side that faced out over the water, but I could tell that side was almost completely glass. The view from inside must have been amazing.

 

Before I realized it, Tommy had tugged me along until we were approaching the front door of the villa. I suddenly stopped still.

 

“Come on. You want to see the pretty lady. This is where she is.”

 

I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. He rolled his eyes and sighed – dramatically. He then knocked on the door. My heart dropped to my stomach and I panicked. I quickly moved to the side, flattening myself against the side of the house, and prayed no one answered the door.

 

I thought my knees would give out when I heard her voice.

 

“Tommy! What are you doing here?”

 

Her voice was light, cheerful, and tinged with the faintest touch of a British accent. I couldn’t decide if my heart had stopped, or was racing out of control – it felt like both. I risked a peek around the corner and saw her and Tommy hugging. They let go of each other and he smiled brightly at her.

 

“I got a surprise for you,” he declared cheerfully.

 

I ducked my head back out of sight.

 

“What is it?” she asked.

 

“I’ll get it.”

 

“Alright,” she replied, ruffling his hair. “And I’ll get you something to drink.” Dana retreated inside to her kitchen.

 

Tommy came around the corner and grabbed my hand. “Come on. You can talk to her now.”

 

“I-I don’t think this is a good idea, Tommy.”

 

He pulled on my hand – hard.

 

“Tommy? Did you want apple juice or–”

 

There she was... standing in the doorway with a small bottle of apple juice in one hand and an orange juice in the other, staring at me, and looking more beautiful than I thought possible.

 

“Monica?”

 

Tommy got behind me and suddenly shoved me forward, propelling me to within a few short feet of the woman who had stolen my heart all those years ago, even if she hadn’t known it. The woman I never stopped loving. The woman I would always love.

 

I blushed – probably as bright red as a boiled lobster.

 

“H-hi.”

 

I don’t know what I was expecting from her, but the response I got certainly surprised me. Dana shoved to the bottles of juice into Tommy’s hands and threw her arms around me, hugging me tightly. It took a couple of moments for me get past the shock and returned the embrace. I couldn’t remember if she’d ever hugged me before, but if she had it wasn’t anything like that full-body embrace!

 

When we parted, she smiled and grabbed my hand, not unlike Tommy had. “You have to come in so we can talk.”

 

I simply nodded and trailed behind, her hand pulling on mine. I would have followed her anywhere.

 

Before I knew it, we were sitting in the living room, sipping fresh lemonade, and I was answering her seemingly endless questions. Questions about John, questions about the FBI, questions about my work since we’d last seen each other, even questions about what I did in my free time.

 

“Well, that’s enough about me. What about you, Dana? What are you doing here? And where’s Mulder?”

 

“I live here. This is my home.”

 

“It’s beautiful.” I gestured to the glass wall looking out on the water. “And the view is spectacular.”

 

“I’ve always loved the water.”

 

“So, what about Mulder? Where is he?”

 

Dana shrugged her shoulders. “I haven’t the faintest clue. I haven’t seen or heard from him since the day after we left.”

 

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. “But I thought you and he–”

 

“I know what people thought. They thought we were lovers.” She sighed heavily. “Nothing could have been further from the truth.”

 

“But you had a baby with him.”

 

“By in vitro.” She arched an eyebrow. “Would you have slept with him?”

 

My response was instant and visceral. “God, no!”

 

“Then why would you assume I would?” she asked, with a touch of mirth coloring her tone. Then she continued in a serious tone. “Mulder could never be what I want, need, or require in a lover. He was too self-involved and insensitive.” She paused for a couple of beats. “And he was a man,” she added softly.

 

My eyes widened as her words sunk in. Dana preferred women. I stood up and walked to the glass wall. I gazed out at the water. If only I had known. Suddenly she was there, standing beside me.

 

“I’m sorry if that bothers you.”

 

I didn’t miss the disappointment and hurt in her tone.

 

“No, no! It’s not that, Dana. I just...”

 

“What?”

 

“I wish I’d known. If I had–”

 

“I know. But you have to realize, that even if I’d told you, I was in no way ready, or in a position to get involved with anyone.” She took a deep breath as I turned to look at her. “No matter how much I cared about you.”

 

I heard the words, but they didn’t make any sense. She cared about me? She must have seen my confusion, because she brought her hand up and cupped my cheek.

 

“Yes, Monica, I cared about you, very deeply. But I was dealing with too much stuff back then. I’d lost so much – I’d lost myself. No matter how much I wanted you, I just couldn’t have handled a relationship.”

 

“I was in love with you,” I whispered as tears welled in my eyes. “I still am.”

 

“Well, kiss her already!”

 

Dana and I both jumped about a foot. We both turned and looked at Tommy, who was standing there grinning like a fool.

 

“Tommy,” Dana said in a warning tone.

 

“It’s her, isn’t it?”

 

“Not now, Tommy.”

 

“She’s the one from the books.”

 

Tommy handed me a hardback book. It was the latest Devon Kyle Seaburn novel. Each of his previous books had been at the top of the bestseller lists for months at a time. I had devoured his first four books, re-reading them more than once.

 

“Oh! I love Seaburn! I’ve read all his books except this new one.” I frowned. “Hey, I didn’t think this one came out until next month.”

 

“I always get one before they’re in the stores,” Dana said.

 

“How?”

 

She smiled. “I know someone at the publishing company.”

 

“It’s her, isn’t it?” Tommy pressed.

 

“Tommy, I think it’s time you head home.”

 

“But–”

 

“Go on.”

 

“Okay,” he sighed, then left.

 

Dana turned to me. “So, are you hungry?”

 

“I could go for something light.”

 

“Come on.”

 

We went into the kitchen and she fixed us both a nice salad. We spent the entire afternoon and into the evening talking – about everything and nothing. Simply connecting. It was the best day I’d had in over five years.

 

And then it was time for me leave.

 

“Will I see you again?” Dana asked.

 

“Do you want to?”

 

“Yes, I do.”

 

I smiled at her sincerity. “Are you going to the beach tomorrow?”

 

“I go to the beach every day.”

 

My mouth engaged before my brain. “Except yesterday.” I saw an auburn brown arch in question, and I blushed.

 

“And just how do you know that?”

 

“My second day here Tommy brought me to the beach.”

 

“Which beach? Our beach?”

 

I nodded. “The one at the bottom your path.”

 

“That little scamp.”

 

“What?”

 

Dana was smiling. “That’s a private beach. It’s jointly owned by those of us that live around it. There’s no public access – no road leading to it or nearby parking.”

 

“I noticed. It was quite a walk through the woods. I hope he didn’t do anything wrong by bringing me.”

 

“No. He lives here, too. He can bring whatever guests he chooses. He and his mother live on the other side of the beach.”

 

“I always wondered where he disappeared to while I was there.” I paused and took a deep breath. “Anyway, when he brought me that day, I saw you. I was so shocked I couldn’t move. I came back to the beach every day since, but you weren’t there yesterday.”

 

“I see. Were you ever going to let me know you were here?”

 

I looked in her eyes and knew I had to answer truthfully. “I honestly don’t know.”

 

“What was stopping you?”

 

“I was afraid, Dana. Afraid that if I approached you that you wouldn’t be very happy to see me.”

 

“Well, now you know that I am happy to see you. So, why don’t you come here tomorrow? Say, around 11:00?”

 

“I’d like that.”

 

She smiled. “Have Tommy show you the way to my driveway. That way you don’t have to trek through the woods.”

 

“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

She gave me a quick hug and I left.

 

That night I couldn’t sleep. All I could do was think about the woman that had never been far from my mind for the five years I’d known nothing about her whereabouts or wellbeing. She was different from the woman I’d known. She was definitely more at ease, and she smiled a lot more than she used to. She actually seemed peaceful, content... and happy.

 

Happy.

 

That was it. That was the big change. The Dana Scully I knew was never what one could call happy. I realized that this Dana was the real one. The one I never truly got to see before. The one she’d said she’d lost. She had always been beautiful, but happiness made her stunning.

 

I only had two weeks left of my vacation; two weeks before I had to go back to my job, back to reality. Getting to know this Dana, spending time with her... it was going to break my heart. But I was helpless to prevent it.

 

I returned to her home the next day. And the next. We spent our time talking and laughing and reminiscing. I was amazed by the new things I saw in the woman I once thought I knew. I mean, she was still the woman I’d known, but there were so many more layers and facets to her, so much more depth than I’d ever been allowed to see before. I found it intoxicating to be around her. I was like a moth drawn to the flame.

 

With only ten days remaining of my vacation, I accepted the invitation Dana extended to stay in her guest room instead of the hotel. How could I not? Even if I never saw her again, I’d always treasure that time we spent together, really getting to know each other on a whole new level.

 

But all too soon my time on the island came to an end. Dana drove me to the airport herself. She embraced me tightly and I heard her voice waver as she thanked me for a wonderful two weeks. I managed to hold back my tears until I’d boarded the plane – leaving behind a piece of my heart, and of my soul.

 

Eight months passed.

 

Then one day I received a package in the mail. I opened it up to find a yet to be released book by Devon Kyle Seaburn – and it was autographed! I turned the pages until I came to the dedication.

 

For Monica – A very special person who embodies courage, integrity, and compassion. You bring out the best of those around you. Thank you, for everything. DKS.

 

DKS – Devon Kyle Seaburn.

 

Wait.

 

DKS... Dana Katherine Scully!

 

I was stunned.

 

So that’s what Tommy had been going on about. I hadn’t paid him much attention at the time because Dana had just come out to me and I had just confessed to her that I’d been in love with her, that I was still in love with her.

 

Seaburn’s main character was a woman – Detective Sergeant Mallory Rigdon.

 

MR – Monica Reyes?

 

But Rigdon was short, blonde, and had dark green eyes. I sat down and mentally reviewed each of the first five novels by Seaburn. If I were truthful, I could see a strong resemblance between Rigdon’s personality and my own. But how could Tommy have made the connection between a petite, green-eyed blonde, and me – a tall, brown-eyed brunette?

 

I shook my head to clear it of my racing thoughts. I needed to talk to Dana. I hadn’t contacted her since my island vacation. And since I’d not heard from her either, I took it as a sign that she held no desire for anything more than what we’d shared while I was there. I tossed the rest of my mail onto the kitchen table and picked up the cordless phone. I dialed a number I’d memorized, even though I’d never called it before.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Dana, it’s Monica.”

 

“Hi. How are you?”

 

“I’m good. I got the book.”

 

“I hope you like it. I remembered you said you enjoyed Seaburn’s writing.”

 

“Dana?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“You’re Seaburn, aren’t you?”

 

There was a silence that lasted for a couple of eternal seconds.

 

“I should have known you’d figure it out,” she finally said.

 

With wonder in my voice, I said, “You dedicated it to me.”

 

“Yes, I did. I hope you don’t mind.”

 

“Mind? How could I possibly mind?!”

 

“I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it since we hadn’t talked,” she said softly.

 

I closed my eyes and mentally chastised myself. Out of my own pain and fear I hadn’t initiated any contact with her. I’d failed to consider things from her side. I was the one that had told her I was in love with her after she came out to me, and then left, without so much as a single word from me in the ensuing months – no letters, no phone calls, nothing!

 

“I’m sorry, Dana. I should have contacted you. I just...”

 

“It’s okay, Monica. I understand.”

 

“No, I don’t think you do. But I’d like to explain – in person. Will you be home this weekend?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then I’ll see you Saturday.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“Bye.”

 

“Bye.”

 

It was Thursday evening, but as soon as I hung up the phone I knew I couldn’t wait until Saturday. I called my boss and said I needed some personal time for a family emergency. And then I booked the earliest flight out in the morning.

 

Dana was surprised when I arrived at her doorstep a full day early, but I’d told her I couldn’t wait any longer. I gently took her face in both my hands and brought her lips to mine. She sighed into the kiss and parted her lips when I lightly ran my tongue along them. She wrapped her arms around me and deepened the kiss.

 

I didn’t know if I was lightheaded due to a lack of oxygen or merely her presence. When our lips parted, I rested my forehead against hers as I struggled to drawn in air.

 

“I love you, Dana, and I always will.”

 

“I love you, too.”

 

We spent that entire weekend in bed making love.

 

But then I had to return. I had cases I needed to close and a house to sell. Within six months I tied up all loose ends and moved to the island. Within a month I had a job with the local police department. Five months after that, we took a small vacation to Canada and were married.

 

So, here I am – married to most wonderful woman I’ve even known and happier than I ever dreamed possible. And, I have the only set of autographed Devon Kyle Seaburn novels in the world.

 

FIN