Lost and Found - Revised

by A. K. Naten

Title: "LOST and FOUND" - REVISED JULY '02 Author: A. K. Naten
Category: Slash / Scully-Reyes / Lots O' Angst Rated: R / Some NC-17
Summary: 2 years after 'The Truth' season-series finale

THIS IS A F/F SLASH PIECE. If you're under 18, get lost; you'll never be able to appreciate this kind of angst anyway.

This is sort-of a continuation of my prior story, 'Limbo', although it isn't really necessary for you to read that fic first; this could stand alone. (see 'Limbo' at my webpage: http://www.geocities.com/a_k_naten/ScullyReyes.html) It's set after the series finale, "The Truth" because I had to find a way to explain away the sickening "Mulder and Scully forever" BS that we were left with, even though I started this whole story months before that. As a result, there's a lot of attempted 'explanations' in the first part. I've taken a lot of liberties and made many assumptions, so bear with me. I'm also totally ignoring the 'Doggett luvs Monica' innuendos, because this is BS too - they're friends in my universe - nothing more.

I normally don't like to include song lyrics in my fics, but for some reason, there were many that seemed to be important to me while I was writing this, and I therefore found it necessary to include them. THIS PIECE IS VERY, VERY ANGSTY - if you don't like that, then bail now; otherwise I don't want any whiney-ass emails saying, "oh it was too depressing!" This is also chocked-full of details and descriptions - if you know my work, then you know how much I love the particulars. Things jump from first-person-Scully to first-person-Monica throughout, just in case you don't 'get it'.

Thanks to my favorite beta-reader and confidante, Mahrta Conchita; thanks also to MarshaMarshaMarsha, who helped me with the 'clarifications' ;-) . I tried to nitpick this as best I could, but since I'm not perfect (damn), please forgive any errors.

DISCLAIMER: The characters of Dana Scully and Monica Reyes belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, Fox Broadcasting, etc., etc., and are used without permission; I'm just borrowing them and giving them the love-lives that they should have had all along. Besides, the show's over and CC isn't doing shit with them anyway. No copyright infringement is intended, etc., etc., blah blah blah, nah-nah nah nah, hey hey hey, goooood-byyyye.


Chapter 1

"Everything's so blurry, and everyone's so fake
And everybody's empty, and everything is so messed up...
Preoccupied w/out you, I cannot live at all
My whole world surrounds you, I stumble then I crawl...

You could be my someone, you could be my scene
You know that I'll protect you, from all of the obscene...
I wonder what you're doin, imagine where you are
There's ocean's in-between between us, but that's not very far.

Can you take it all away, can you take it all away?
When you shoved it in my face, the pain you gave to me
Can you take it all away, can you take it all away?
When you shoved in my face...

Everyone is changing, there's no one left that's real
Make up your own ending, then you know just how you'd feel...
Cos I am lost w/out you, I cannot live at all
My whole world surrounds you, I stumble then I crawl...

You could be my someone, you could be my scene
You know that I will save you, from all of the unclean...
I wonder what you're doin', wonder where you are
Cos ocean's in between us, but that's not very far..."

Puddle of Mudd

June 25, 2004
1:00 p.m.

I'm sitting at an outdoor table of a cute little bistro, picking apart the remnants of my tuna salad sandwich... the chunks of red onion in it have made it a bit strong for my tastes. I release a weary sigh and take a long drink of my iced tea - at least that's good. This really is the last place I want to be right now, but it's essential that I continue my mission... that I continue looking for her.

But I miss William. I've only been gone for three days, and I know he's safe and sound with Mom, but still... I've only had him back for a little over a year now, and I'm loathe to leave him at any time.

A young man and woman at the next table giggle and cuddle each other lovingly, touching and pelting each other with small kisses. I smile wryly at them, wondering if they know how lucky they are... wondering if they realize how much they should enjoy it while it lasts. My mind begins to drift back... back to a time not so long ago when Mulder and I had tried to conjure up some of that happiness... and before that, when Monica and I had briefly shared some of that happiness, in a more genuine way. But so much had happened since then... so many things had caused situations to change... caused me to change. I take another gulp of my tea, trying not to rehash the past yet again, but I can feel it seeping into my consciousness.

When Mulder was found, I was so relieved... so overjoyed. Even though I was in the midst of a fledgling relationship with Monica, finding Mulder alive and well - for the most part - was important to me on so many levels. I don't think Monica ever really understood what Mulder meant to me, not really, and I suppose that is my fault. All she saw was that I suddenly cared about him more than her, and I guess I can understand why she became upset. But, in my defense, helping and saving Mulder really was the more important factor, at that time. I still cared about him, and I had to save him... he needed me more than she needed me. And even though I knew she didn't like it, she still helped me... and she helped him. No matter how upset she was with me or the situation, she still did everything in her power to help Mulder. Gotta hand it to her, she's got honor and integrity like no one else. Except maybe Doggett. Between the two of them, they single-handedly brought the whole FBI 'shadow' organization to its knees, thereby making it safe for Mulder and I to return home again. In essence, they saved us... they saved everyone. But instead of thanking her and repaying her somehow, I hurt her. I abandoned her and everything we had together.

Mulder and I returned to Washington after six months on the run; we were exhausted, anxious and apprehensive, but we were victorious. Everything had been exposed... all the 'bad guys' were either dead or in jail... the 'conspiracy' had reached the highest levels possible, and now it all was under investigation, by order of the President, due to pressure from the public and the media. It was all labeled a 'government scandal', and although I'm sure plenty was destroyed and/or covered-up, it was over for the most part. It was over.

Reyes and Doggett risked everything they had to bring the 'shadow' men to justice, and they had succeeded. They succeeded where Mulder and I failed. But, they both paid a price too. Each had several attempts made on their lives - Doggett's house was burned to the ground, and Reyes had been kidnapped once. It was agonizing for me to learn what she had gone through, and that I wasn't able to be there to help either of them in any way. Even more agonizing, though, was the fact that the relationship that had been burgeoning between Monica and I was damaged, maybe permanently.

After Mulder and I returned, I tried to explain to Monica that I thought we should take 'a break' with our relationship. I just couldn't deal with it at that time; things were too intense and complicated all around. Maybe it was unfair of me, but I was so incredibly confused. The feelings that I was having for Mulder were strange and complex, and to try to remain intimate with her just added extra confusion. It was more than I could handle. She said she understood, but I know she didn't... not really. How could she? To her credit, though, she still helped us - again. We had decided that we wanted to get William back, and, as always, Monica and John helped us win that battle as well. It took a long time, but we got him back.

The victory was bittersweet though... everything seemed to fall to pieces so quickly. As soon as I won William, I lost Monica. It was right before Christmas... she left town suddenly, and I haven't seen nor heard from her since.

John has told me that she's fine and doing well, but that she doesn't want to see me nor hear from me. I suppose I can't blame her, can I? You see, after we got William back, Mulder asked me to marry him. Talk about a shocker. As well as I knew Mulder, I never saw that one coming. He wanted the three of us - him, me, and William - to live together and be a real family. It was a dream I never knew he harbored. And as deeply as I cared for Monica, I couldn't deny that it was a secret little dream of mine too. Part of me wanted that normalcy... part of me wanted to have that happiness and live that life. More importantly, I wanted William to have that life.

So I made a decision; I sacrificed what I had with Monica for a chance at 'normalcy' for me and my son. Did she understand my decision? No, I'm sure she didn't. I'm sure that that was the final straw for her. I'm sure that's why she took off like she did, and I'm sure it's why she doesn't want to hear from me. ...But it still hurts.

Of course, there had to be some irony with this whole thing, and the irony is that, after making the sacrifices that I made, and after destroying what I had with Monica, Mulder and I didn't stay together... we didn't even get married. Our little attempt at 'happy family' lasted a total of nine months. How much of a fucking loser does that make me? ...A pretty damn big one.

I have punished myself and raked my own soul over the coals so many times, I barely feel it anymore. I know what I did, and I know how I hurt her, and I have lived with that knowledge month after month, day after day, hour after hour. In a strange, full-circle sort of way, it is that guilt that has driven me and brought me here, to this little bistro today.

I'm searching for Monica.

I've been searching for months now; I decided last Christmas that I had to find her. She'd been gone for a year at that point; 18 months now. I want to apologize; I want to try to right the wrongs that I did to her; I want to heal the hurt, and erase the mistakes; I want to start anew... I want her back.

I need her back.

I'm sitting watching this couple again, and I'm really tempted to tell them to get a room. They're making-out in earnest now, and I don't think it would repulse me quite as much if it didn't remind me of things... of her. I find myself drifting back in time, when I wore rose-colored glasses... when things were right and beautiful between us, and Monica and I used to spend entire weekends in bed, telling each other that love against all odds was possible...

Our relationship was often tentative and awkward, but we were so captivated by each other. She was turning out to be the lover I never had, but apparently always wanted. She was able to give to me what I craved, without either of us speaking a word; she brought out feelings and desires in me that I never knew existed. She sometimes scared me with her intense passion, but before I became too frightened, she always pulled me to safety with her warmth and tenderness.

Monica was so open and accessible, so free with her feelings and so giving, it took me awhile to get used to someone being like that; I didn't know what to do with a lover who gave me everything and asked nothing in return. Emotionally, intellectually, sexually... we seemed to be an ideal match - far from perfect, but pretty damn close. There were some drawbacks, of course... being two women was the biggest one, obviously, and the fact that we had never told a soul about our relationship was another. It was often pretty hard to conceal, but I had always thought that it was worth it, and I used to hope that one day, we would no longer have to hide.

I find myself smiling as I remember, clearly, going back to work the week after we had first made love together... how I couldn't concentrate for shit... how all I could think about was Monica's lips and the feel of them on my skin... the gossamer touches of her fingers as they canvassed and inspected my naked flesh... the absolutely ethereal feeling of our warm, velvety bodies blending and merging together. All of it was unlike anything I'd ever experienced; it was beyond amazing.

And then I remember, in quick succession, later that same week, when she and Doggett had shown up at Quantico to talk to me about a case. It had been the first time that we had come into 'public contact' at work, and I remember how incredibly difficult it was to concentrate on what Doggett was talking to me about. Monica had stared at me so unabashedly with such hunger and such desire, all I could do was swallow hard and desperately fight to conceal the grin that pulled at my lips while Doggett chattered on. The memory of that look - of Monica's darkened eyes silently eating me alive in such a public setting - had remained etched in my mind all this time. It still gave me goosebumps to think about it.

But those memories are what convinced me to go after her. The depth and authenticity of my feelings hadn't changed... they just got pushed aside. They got mixed-up and muddied and lost for awhile, and I thought that I could just create new ones with Mulder; I thought I could make myself be happy with him; I thought he could take her place and everything would be fine. But he couldn't. Everything wasn't fine. There can be no replacement for what Monica and I had; there never will be. My feelings for her are as strong now as they were before - probably more so, in fact. And the power of those feelings is what drives me to find her now.

I must find her. ...And I think I might be close.

end Ch. 1

Ch. 2

"She calls me from the cold,
Just when I was low, feeling short of stable...
And all that she intends,
And all she keeps inside, isn't on the label...

She says she's ashamed,
And can she take me for awhile?  And can I be a friend?
We'll forget the past, but maybe I'm not able
...And I break at the bend.

We're here and now, but will we ever be again?
'Cause I have found,
All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away, again."


June 25, 2004
4:30 p.m.

I'm zipping along the eastern Florida coastline in a cheap white rental car, a paper containing hastily scratched directions is clenched tightly in my hand. I have no clue if I'm close to my mark, or if I'm even definitely heading in the right direction. My fingers drum the steering wheel nervously while my mind fills with thoughts of what I might find... what I might not find. I wonder if this address will be another false lead, like the ones before... if I'll be a month too late, like last time. I wonder if Monica will even be remotely glad to see me, or if perhaps, she'll just spit in my face.

Finally, I see signs that match my directions, and I eventually steer the car onto a narrow, sandy little side street that matches the name I have scribbled down. The houses are small, quaint cottage-types that sit right along the ocean. Wonder how she can afford one of these little beach-front babies?

I turn another corner and begin counting house numbers as I inch along slowly, finally finding the one that matches my notes... #75. It's a small, white clapboard cottage, elevated above sea level with several pillars. A balcony runs around the perimeter of the upper floor... the small, 4-pane windows are adorned with old-fashioned hurricane shutters at the sides. Some rickety-looking stairs lead up to a small screened-porch area on the side, and an unlatched wooden gate clanks in the brisk sea breeze.

I push my nerves aside and step out of the car, the winds immediately whipping my long hair around my face, temporarily blinding me. My heartbeat increases slightly as I begin walking toward the house. There are no lights on inside... no signs of movement... no sounds, save the wind... a bicycle sits under the steps... a barbeque grill perches on the edge of a concrete patio. There's a sandy driveway/parking area, but no car. I look around for a moment, then walk to the other side of the house, wondering if I'd just missed it. Sure enough, a black Jeep appears along the opposite side the house.

Monica's car... or at least, that's what John told me. He ended up telling me a lot after I broke down and begged and pleaded with him to help me find her. The fact that the car is exactly as it was described to me - right down to the black and white yin and yang sticker on the rear window - gives me some hope. My heart is now skipping beats and trying to pound in earnest. This is it... this is the place.

I return to the other side of the house and ascend the stairs slowly, fear and anxiety of what may lie ahead grips my throat like a vise. I reach the screened-porch area and knock on the flimsy wooden door.

No one answers.

The stiff breeze continues to whip my hair about, rattling the door as well. Since it's obviously open, I decide to open it and step into the porch area. I'm grateful for the relief from the wind, and I brush my hair out of my face and look around. Wicker chairs and tables adorn the porch area, and a superfluous amount of candles and incense burners sit about. ...Definitely Monica's place, I think, grinning wistfully. Seeing things like this brings back memories of her place in D.C.; I used to tease her about her fascination with candles. I can't help but wonder what the inside looks like. Steeling my nerve, I take a deep breath as I let my knuckles fall on the main door of the house.


I knock again. ...Still nothing.

Maybe she's asleep? Her car's here... she must be here... I knock again, harder.

Still nothing. Dammit.

Feeling my hope drain away yet again, I turn and look around, wondering what to do next. Sitting in the corner of the porch are dog water and food bowls. Considering this, I turn and look out toward the beach... where a dog and its owner might be taking a stroll...

Walking out onto the rear balcony, I peer out toward the rumbling ocean, looking for any sign of Monica, or a dog.

I still see nothing.

The setting of the late afternoon sun is gorgeous as its rays glitter and dance upon the surface of the aqua water, but after about 10 minutes of no sightings, I'm ready to give up... and I'm ready to pull my hair out.

Suddenly, off in the distance, far up the coastline, I think I spot a yellow dog racing along the water's edge... and someone walks behind it. I smile and my heart promptly leaps into my throat. At last, my luck may be changing... if you want to call it 'luck', that is.

Walking down off the balcony, I head toward the beach, coming to stand on a dune overlooking the area. I observe the dog again... the person with him is throwing a ball or something, which he fetches exuberantly. The dog jumps and races around, and the person pats him and continues to toss the object. As they inch steadily closer, I can tell that it's a woman. She's dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, and she has long, dark hair that billows gracefully in the breeze. My lips twitch in a small smile, and I feel a million butterflies being unleashed in the pit of my stomach.

I observe and critique, trying to determine if it's her... watching how she walks... analyzing how she moves... Is it her? Is it her? I chant to myself, my curiosity and impatience starting to get the better of me.

They walk closer and closer until, straining my eyes desperately, I am certain I can make out the body and the face...

It's Monica.

She's smiling and clapping her hands, calling to the yellow lab. My heartbeat is throbbing loudly in my ears and the sound of the ocean surf has now become strangely deafening. The dog runs to her and she bends down to pet him as he licks and kisses her face, and she laughs playfully and pats him lovingly. I find myself smiling at the scene, despite my escalating anxiety. She looks wonderful... relaxed, happy - as beautiful as ever. My heart is now pounding harshly in my chest as they continue to walk in from the water until, suddenly, another woman - whom I hadn't noticed before - appears from the other direction. The dog runs up to this woman, happily jumping up at her, like he knows her. I can see that she has long, reddish hair, and she's quite a bit smaller than Monica. I try not to think too much about the striking, and obvious, similarities... I'm too busy watching the two women as they approach and come to stand in front of each other, apparently having a conversation, as the dog scampers around.

My mind begins to swirl with thoughts and fears as the women continue to talk and stand close to one another. A feeling of dread begins to overwhelm me, but before I can even prepare for it, my heart abruptly plummets down into my stomach as the shorter woman slips her arms around Monica's neck, and they kiss. My mouth drops open and I suddenly feel nauseous as they then hug and slide their arms around each other's waists, turning to head toward the house. I'm frozen as I watch them walk closer... I can now clearly make out their features... I see a smile on Monica's lips... I watch her laugh and brush her long hair out of her face.

I stand there, gawking like an idiot, when I suddenly realize that the other woman has glanced up and taken notice to me standing on the dune. As she comes to a stop and puts her hand up to shield her eyes and look closer, I totally panic and turn to flee the scene.

"Who's that?" Jennifer asks, stopping and pointing to the dune.

"What?" I look and question, not seeing anyone.

"Up there, on the dune... someone was watching us." she adds. I scan the dunes, looking for a sign of someone.

"I don't see anyone."

"No, someone was up there, Mon... I saw her," Jennifer insists.

" 'Her' ?"

"Yeah... it was a woman... a petite, little short woman with long hair, sorta like mine," she describes, motioning with her hand.

My face drops and my heart sinks...

No... it couldn't be... not here... not now... there's no way... oh my god.

My mind swirls in a sudden frenzy of thoughts... This can*not* be happening.

"Stay here with Rocky," I spit out as I turn and dash off toward the dune, in search of the mysterious observer.

"What?!" Jennifer calls after me, but I'm running away too quickly to answer her. "...What the fuck?!" she yells, but I don't care.

I'm scampering to my car as fast as I can on these stupid-ass non-beach-wear shoes. I have to get out of here before Monica sees me... before I embarrass myself thoroughly. Jesus... I can hardly believe it... I finally find her and she's involved with someone... goddammit!

That's what I get for being such a selfish idiot... that's what I get for throwing her away, like some cheap one-night-stand... that's what I get for thinking that I'd be better off with Mulder... GOD! - With MULDER!?!

I'm nearly crying my thoughts aloud, and I can feel my throat closing-up on me. I should have known that she wouldn't wait around for me... why the fuck would she wait? Why the fuck should she?! What did I expect? For her to live in seclusion and celibacy, like a nun?! God... she must hate me.

I continue to scream at myself until I finally reach my car and climb hastily inside. I'm panting hard, and I can feel tears stinging my eyes and blurring my vision. I frantically dig in my pocket for the damn car keys... come on, come ON!

I'm such a fucking idiot... this was such a mistake, coming here, looking for her... what the fuck was I thinking?! I fumble with the key until finally it jams into the ignition. I turn it hard and crank the engine, praying that the damn thing starts. Thankfully, it does, but it's too late.

She's spotted me... oh shit.

She comes hurtling off the sand and onto the sidewalk like a maniac, skidding to a halt in her bare feet and darting her eyes around frantically until she sees me cowering in my car. She eyes me carefully, for a long minute, then starts walking toward me, like a lioness stalking her prey... it's exactly how I feel. She gets within 6 feet of my car and stands, looking directly at me, staring hard. Her chest is heaving from the mad dash that she's just made, and I can't tell whether she's angry, happy, or if she's just going to calmly whip out a pistol and shoot me between the eyes.

Wanting desperately to get the fuck out of there, I slam the gear shift into drive and turn the wheel hard, edging the car out onto the road quickly... but she will have none of this. She jumps over in front of the car so that I have to hit the brakes abruptly to avoid clipping her legs. Dammit!

Her hands come to rest on the hood of the car as I halt it, and we lock eyes with each other for a long minute. I can tell that I'm not going to be escaping... she won't move away until I talk to her. Resigning to defeat, I shift the vehicle back into park and kill the engine. Only after I do that does she come around to my side of the car. I won't look at her... I can't. I stare straight ahead through the windshield. She reaches my window, but I refuse to look over.

"Don't tell me that you drove all this way, just so you can turn around and leave again," she says breathlessly and somewhat sarcastically.

I remain silent for a moment, unsure of what to say... I'm still on the verge of tears. I can feel her leaning in and resting on my window ledge now... I sniffle back my tears and swallow hard,

"I don't want to bother you," I say timidly, finally bringing my eyes up to meet hers.

Oh god... she burns me with her gaze immediately. I try to look at her face... it's hard and unyielding... it resembles the woman I knew once upon a time, but there is something very different too. Her eyes draw me in relentlessly... they are intense, questioning mine, demanding a reason for my intrusion into her new life... there is anger in them, but something else too... something old and familiar. I feel myself beginning to melt... this was definitely a bad idea.

"Well then, what are you doing here?" she asks, her eyes look confused and curious now, more than angry.

"I don't know," I say stupidly, hesitating as I look down at my lap... it's too damn hard to look into her eyes. "I just... I just wanted to... see you... I don't know." I mumble and shrug and shake my head, and I can't help myself. She stares pointedly at me, undoing me completely. She's still so captivating... just like I remembered... still so goddamn beautiful. She's thinking hard... I can hear the gears turning inside her head... she must think me insane.

"So... you've seen me... and now you're just gonna leave? Just like that?" she snaps.

She obviously isn't going to let me weasel my way out of this. I suddenly take notice to the redheaded woman walking up the sidewalk toward us... she has ironically become my savior, for the moment.

"I think I should... under the circumstances," I say, nodding toward the woman walking with the yellow dog in tow. Reyes turns and looks back at her, then slowly turns back toward me, fixing her gaze on an imaginary place on the car for a moment. She obviously doesn't know what to do about all this, and I feel bad for putting her on the spot... in addition to a lot of other things.

I take the opportunity to study her for a moment... her hair is a long, flowing mane, sun-kissed and a shade lighter than it used to be... her skin is golden-tan and smooth... she has a jagged scar above her left eye and another small one at the right corner of her mouth. My stomach lurches at the thought of what type of injuries might have caused those scars. I look back at her eyes... they grip me the most. I can see the anguish lurking beneath the blank mask that she always wears in times of stress. I had come to know her well enough in the short time we were together to know and remember how she operates... that mustn't have changed. As she purses her lips slightly and draws a deep breath, I can only imagine all the mixed emotions that are whizzing 'round her head. She surely must hate me. My eyes begin to sting with the fresh arrival of more tears, and I suddenly want nothing more than to be a million miles from this situation. I abruptly flip the key and start the car engine again, snapping Monica out of her thoughts,

"Wait, Dana," she says, reaching in and grabbing onto the steering wheel, "...don't go."

"No, no," I reply in a tremulous voice... the tears are welling painfully in my eyes and I'm now gripping the steering wheel so hard that my knuckles are white. "I have to go... I shouldn't have come here... I'm sorry," I try to say it calmly, but it comes out in a near-sob. I blink my eyes furiously, trying to clear my vision. Reyes bends down further and leans in closer to me... I can smell the faint tang of her sweat mixed with salty ocean air... oh jesus...

"Please, Dana... please don't go," she says quietly, staring a hole in the side of my head. "We should talk... about this... about a lot of things," she adds, trying to sound calm, but it sounds strained, as though she's fighting hard to contain some other emotion. I wonder if she really does want to talk to me... she shouldn't even give me the time of day. I sniffle and wipe my face, trying to get ahold of myself.

"Meet me for dinner tonight," she says, sounding impulsive. I look up at her, surprised, and I shake my head 'no' slightly. "Yeah... meet me for dinner, and we can talk." she adds, looking deeply into my watery blue depths.

I shouldn't... I should just leave... leave her be... but how could I refuse the opportunity? This was what I've been searching and waiting for, wasn't it? Besides, she's being polite, asking me to dinner... there's nothing overtly sinister nor false in her expression... she doesn't seem angry, amazingly... and I really do want to talk to her... I have so much to explain... so much to apologize for.

"Okay... dinner... where?" I reply in a rush.

" 'The Cove', at the corner of Beach Street and Atlantic Avenue... 7 pm?" she asks, staring hard at me and watching my every expression. She's trying to figure out what I'm thinking... trying to read me... either that or she's trying to make me nervous, which isn't too hard for her to do.

"Okay," I say, nodding slightly and dropping my gaze. I can't stand her eyes on me anymore. I start to steer the car away, but she reaches in and grabs the wheel again, startling me.

"Be there," she says firmly, giving me a somewhat hard look that says, 'don't fuck me over'. Like I would do that, jesus. Well... then again... it wasn't a bad idea.

I say nothing, give her nothing... I just stare back at her dark eyes. I understand what she must be thinking, and why. She can't tell whether or not I'm really going to show up, especially since I'd seen the other woman. She releases her grip on the wheel and leans back out of the way, allowing me to finally pull away and drive off.

I have to go back to my hotel and lie down... or maybe take a cold shower.

"That was 'her', wasn't it?" Jennifer asks knowingly. I jump slightly, not having heard her approach, and I turn to look at her. The answer is evident on my face... she sees it immediately. She gives me a half-smile,

"And you're going to meet her tonight, right?" she asks, again already knowing the answer.

"Just for dinner," I reply with a slight shrug, trying to conceal my raging internal turmoil. I don't know what to say to her right now... hell, I don't know what to say to myself. Jennifer gives me a small, hurt smile, then looks away,

"Well... you'd better go get ready," she says sharply, turning immediately and walking back toward the house.

I feel badly for putting her through this... I feel badly that she had to be here to witness all this and now, endure whatever comes of it. I'm suddenly angry with Dana... angry that she had the nerve to track me down and come looking for me... that she's interrupting the new life I've carefully created for myself... that she's going to fuck with my head and drag me backwards when all I want to do is move forward. She's going to bring up all those painful memories again... memories that I successfully, albeit painfully, managed to thrust away and lock up tight.

I can't believe she's really here... I had hoped for this, early on, when we'd first broken-up; but realistically, I was sure it'd never happen. The reality I had seen was that she would marry Mulder and they would live in some quaint, little expensive Georgetown condo, with William, and maybe a nanny. They would forge a new life together, and her memory of me would just fade away. I would just be some co-worker that she fucked once upon a time... I would just be another page in her widely-varied history book. She would forget about me... she would turn all her attentions to Mulder and William, and I would be totally and permanently forgotten. It was what she had wanted... she told me so.

Damn her.

What does she want? Is she just here to say 'sorry' and ask for forgiveness, or is she going to ask for more than that? I had glanced at her left hand on the steering wheel of the car... the ring wasn't there. Of course, that may just mean that she simply hadn't worn it... it doesn't mean that it's gone altogether.

The good thing is that she saw Jennifer... at least I have that in my back pocket. She doesn't need to know that I still think about her... that I still think about what she feels like... and tastes like... no, she doesn't need to know any of that. For all she knows, I'm happily involved with someone new, and I no longer want nor need her. I'll let her think that... that will be my game plan.

I'm going to need a drink before I meet her for dinner... maybe two or three. I sigh deeply and look back at the road... a small cloud of dust is the only remnant of her presence.

A difficult evening lies in wait for me this evening... I can feel it.

end Ch. 2

Ch. 3

"One mistake's all it takes,
And your life has come undone,
Walk away, 'cause you're breaking up the girl.

It's a drag, 
I know it's hard,
But you're tearing her apart,
Walk away, 'cause you're breaking up the girl.

I am afraid, there is much to be afraid of,
Here today, gone tomorrow;
Don't end up in the gutter,
Just like the one before, 
You're just the same... such a loser.

Gotta let it go, 'cause you're breaking up the girl."


June 25, 2004
6:00 p.m.

Jesus... why can't I make up my mind about what to wear? I'm so nervous and edgy, I can't get the beads of sweat to stop accumulating along my hairline. I have the a/c cranked so high in my little hotel room, I half expect the front desk to call me and tell me that I'm causing a black-out somewhere. I came back here and promptly laid down to try to quell my nerves, but I keep rehashing the little altercation that took place just an hour ago. It had been more than a year in the making, and it lasted less than 5 minutes. Fuck... I think I'm sweating even harder now...

I found 'The Cove' in the phone book, and called to inquire about the dress code. They had said 'casual' and mentioned that their outdoor deck sat overlooking the water, so there would probably be a breeze. Thank God for that... I don't want to be sweating like a pig in front of Monica. I pull out my little yellow cotton sundress for about the tenth time, deciding that this would be the most comfortable, coolest thing to wear. The only bad part about it is that I'll have to wear some flat sandals, and then I'll look incredibly small. I don't want to look small tonight... I want to look composed and in control. I can't let Monica see me as little, vulnerable and needy... even though there's always that danger when I'm under her spell. I pull the dress on, admiring how it clings to me in all the right places. Perhaps this isn't such a bad choice after all.

I start debating how I'm going to get around to telling Monica that I'm sorry... that I know I made a huge mistake by letting her go... that I missed her so much. Somehow, it all seemed pointless since she obviously had a new girlfriend. The sight of that woman hugging her and kissing her lips burned in a dark, green place in the back of my mind. I think about how I'd been chasing her all over the place since last Christmas, and now, when I finally find her, she's taken. That doesn't suit me... it doesn't fit with my plans... I'm going to have to change her mind about this woman... and me.

I'm too early. Monica had said 7:00, but it's 6:45, and I've been here for 10 minutes already. Okay, so I'm way beyond nervous... I can't help it. I hate bars, so I've taken a seat at a small table where I can clearly see the doorway. I'm sipping a glass of wine, checking my watch and staring at the door... trying to make her materialize instantly. It's not working. I idly wonder if she comes to this place often... do they know her? Is she a 'regular' here?

Some idiot guy has turned away from the bar and is eyeing me up and down, grinning at me lecherously... god, if he only knew. I ignore his pathetic eyebrow-waggles and continue to look at the door and check my watch.

By 7:10, I'm ready to scream. If she's trying to punish me by being late, it's working. ...or maybe her girlfriend wouldn't let her go... maybe they had a fight about this. God no... I can't think that way. I don't wish anything bad on her, I really don't... but...

Her entrance through the door stops my thoughts. My god... she's too beautiful for words. She's tall, and slim, and gorgeous, and her hair is long and flowing like a dark, sparkling river, cascading down over her shoulders, which are exposed. She has on a sleeveless, black halter-type shirt, and I think I can glimpse a small expanse of her stomach peeking out from between the bottom of the shirt and the top of the low-riding, black pants that she's wearing... at least her taste in clothes hasn't changed. I know I'm staring, and I quickly bring my eyes back up to her face... she's looking at me now. She gives me a tight smile and walks toward my table.

"Hi." It's all I can manage to say to her as I take in her skimpy yellow sundress attire. She looks like a combination of demure and sexy, and it's very un-Scully-like.

"Hi." she replies, looking nervous and, I think, embarrassed. She's watching me watch her... she always used to do that... and I used to totally get off on it.

"You look... nice," I say as I survey her up and down. This makes her blush furiously and I feel, momentarily, like I have the upper hand... this is good. Actually, she looks better than 'nice', she looks incredible. Her hair is a light brownish/dark dirty blonde color - so much better than red; I wonder if this is her natural shade. Otherwise, she's still her same, gorgeous, petite self; but I think that I can also detect a hint of... exhaustion... she looks a little thinner... a little world-weary maybe. It makes me think that, perhaps, her past eighteen months have been no easier than mine.

I suddenly have a feeling of pity for her; my slightly intoxicated mind is waffling between nasty and nice. But, no... no. I have to remember that she brought all this on herself... she chose the path... she made the decisions... she had said 'yes' to him... accepted his fucking ring... she had requested that we part ways... and so I let her go. I never told her how badly it hurt me... I never told her anything. I just did as she asked... I just disappeared.

"What?" she suddenly asks, inquisitive and staring. "What are you thinking about?" She's obviously watching my pensive expression.

"Nothing... I guess I'm just surprised that you're actually here... and that you've come without Mulder attached to your hip." I say it cynically, knowing that the welling anger and hurt must be showing in my eyes. She makes a small face and looks down at her hands momentarily,

"Well... let's just get right into it, shall we?" she says with a smidge of her own sarcasm as she looks back up at me with one of those damned cocked eyebrows.

"Might as well," I retort tartly, returning the challenge in her voice and on her face. Just as we begin having a little staring contest with each other, the waiter comes up to tell her that a table is now available outside. Our awkward, little tense moment has been diffused.

I need another drink.

Well, she's already on her way to being drunk, and she's obviously not happy to see me. I know I can't condemn her for feeling this way; what I did to her was terrible. But at the time, I thought I was doing what was best. God, could she even begin to understand that? ...Probably not.

We've been seated at a round wooden table, on a deck overlooking a tranquil waterway. We both order more drinks but then fall silent. Monica is staring at her glass on the table, and I'm looking at her... wondering what's going through her head... wondering what she's going to do about me... wondering what she really wants right at this moment. She seemed so ready to jump on me when we were inside, but now she's completely silent. The only noises I hear are the rumblings of other people's conversations and the slap-slapping of the water along the deck's pilings.

"Well... this is awkward," I finally say. She makes a small snorting sound and finally looks up at me,

"Well what did you expect? For me to greet you with open arms? Tell you how great it is to see you?"

Okay, so the cynicism and anger haven't disappeared... she's just been holding it in. I was prepared for this, but... it still hurts.

"No... I don't expect anything from you, Monica," I say, trying to sound calm.

"Then why are you here, Dana? What do you want?" Her eyes are piercing me severely, and her voice is turning positively venomous. My breath catches in my throat; I've never seen her like this... it surprises me, despite my preparation. I can't say anything at the moment; I just open my mouth and stare back at her sorrowfully, trying to formulate my thoughts. She makes a disgusted noise and grabs her drink, turning away from me with a scowl. She reaches in her purse and pulls out a pack of cigarettes, deftly flipping one between her lips and firing it up. ...I wonder if she remembers how much I always despised her smoking... I wonder if she's doing it for the effect.

I know she must resent me, and although I figured she'd be upset, the intensity of her anger has taken me off-guard. She was always such a calm, kindly person, especially with me. I'm realizing now that I'd never seen her truly angry or pissed-off, even when she seemed really upset. She always had her own quirky ways of handling her emotions, and it obviously worked... until now. I don't know what to say to her, or where to begin, but I know that I'm going to have to do the talking.

"Look, since this is obviously going to be... difficult, I'll just say what I want to say, and then I'll leave you alone," I blurt out. She turns her head slowly and gives me a sideways glance.

"I'm sorry... for everything... for doing what I did to you... for being so stupid." She just stares at me.

"I don't expect you to forgive me... I don't expect anything from you... I just wanted to... apologize." She still stares, drawing on her cigarette.

"I was wrong... I made a terrible mistake. You did everything for me, I know that. I thought that my decision was... for the best, at that time, and... it wasn't... I was wrong... and, I'm sorry." I'm speaking broken and hurriedly... my nervousness must be glaring.

She blows her mouthful of smoke out towards me - intentionally, I'm sure. I guess this means that she thinks I'm full of shit.

"Well," she puts her arms on the table and leans in towards me, "...that was a beautiful and truly touching speech, Dana."

She says it with such sneering sarcasm, I can't believe it. Her eyes are glaring at me, and I think I can detect a subtle smirk playing in one corner of her mouth. She sits back again, drawing deeply on that damn cigarette. She's punishing me... pushing my buttons... trying to get me to explode. But I won't... I won't play this game. Jesus, I never would have thought that she even had the capability to play like this. But then again, I never would have thought that she could feel such bitterness either.

I have to get up and walk away now. I force myself to stay calm and stare back at her for a moment - she wants me to freak out and lose control, but I won't. She's sitting there, waiting... one arm crossed over her mid-section, the other holding her cigarette as she stares a hole in my forehead. I push my chair back and slowly stand up, then I turn and walk away. I want to turn around and look at her face again, but I know I can't.

I just leave.

end Ch. 3

Ch. 4

"You and me, we used to be together,
Every day together, always.
I really feel that I'm losing my best friend,
I can't believe this could be the end.
It looks as though you're letting go,
And if it's real, well I don't want to know.

Don't speak, I know just what you're saying,
So please stop explaining,
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts;

Don't speak, I know what you're thinking,
I don't need your reasons,
Don't tell me 'cause it hurts.

Our memories, they can be inviting,
But some are altogether mighty frightening.
As we die, both you and I,
With my head in my hands, I sit and cry.
It's all ending, I gotta stop pretending who we are.

You and me, I can see us dying... are we?"

No Doubt

June 25, 2004
8:30 p.m.

I know, I'm a jerk... I can't help it... I'm incredibly pissed-off. The funny thing is, it's so out of character for me to do this... to act this way. I really don't like it. But... I can't help it. She deserves a little anger from me... she deserves to feel my hurt, to bear some of the pain that I had to endure all those months ago, and still do, to this day.

I've ordered yet another drink - tequila this time - and I'm trying desperately to quell the misery and emotion that I feel stirring inside me.

Damn her... damn her for doing this to me... exposing me to her guilty thoughts and her pathetic professions of sorrow and apology... digging up memories that I had suppressed - that I had buried - so that I could go on. She's waltzed right back into my life and put me in a spot from which I cannot move. She's made me feel vulnerable again.

Damn her! And fuck her!

I finish my drink, gulping down my anger and the tears that now threaten to spill out and embarrass me. I need to go home... I need to get out of here and collect myself. I suck the last remnants of my lime and throw some money on the table, then stand up... the room threatens to spin and I start to think that maybe my driving home is a bad idea.

When I finally make it outside to my Jeep, the salt air fills my lungs, and my head starts to clear a little... but not enough to drive, I don't think. I sit down on the seat for a moment, debating whether or not I should call a cab or take a little cat-nap right here. Deciding against both, I grab my cigarettes and make my way toward the wooden walkway that leads down to the beach.

Stumbling and nearly falling twice on the uneven boards, I finally kick my shoes off and step down off the end of the walk, plunging my toes into the cool, inviting sand. The crash of the surf and the wind in my hair immediately puts me at ease, and I can feel the tension begin to drain away slowly with the tide. This has always served as a sort of meditation for me, and although it's normally a no-no for me to combine nature with nicotine, I light up a cigarette and draw it deeply into my lungs. Tonight is quite different, after all, and I'm under a lot of stress, so... I'm allowed, I tell my nagging sub-conscious.

I sit here for a long time, perched on the sand, smoking with my eyes closed, listening to the waves smashing against the shore. It's really tempting to lie back and fall asleep for a moment, but I won't; besides the fact that it's foolhardy, it'd also get me unduly sandy. The moon is gorgeous and huge tonight... perhaps that's why I'm so moody and volatile. My normal calm, collected self has seemingly disappeared... I wonder if the Man In The Moon has kidnapped her... or maybe it's just that Dana Scully has frightened her away.

Dana Scully... that name used to make me weak in the knees. Now it just makes me sad; sad to think that what we once had was - according to her - thrown away simply because of bad judgment. She came here to say she was sorry, and to tell me that she made a mistake. So, what now? What am I supposed to say to that? That it's okay? That I forgive her? 'Oh gee-whiz, Dana, I understand why you fucked me over - fuhgettaboutiiiiit! - hey, let's go have a little fuck, eh? - my treat!' ??!! Jesus, she must be fucking insane if she thinks I'd just smile and brush it off.

My angry thoughts are beginning to counteract the feeling of calm that had started to wash over me. I need to stop thinking so much and relax.

She's been down on the beach for nearly an hour now. What is she doing? Just sitting and thinking? Throwing her guts up in the sand? Maybe she's thrown herself into the ocean like some pseudo-Elizabethan-drama-queen. No... Reyes is a lot of things, but she's not dramatic.

And me? I guess I'm pathetic, because I didn't really leave. After I stormed out of the restaurant, I sort-of unconsciously decided to do some surveillance to see what she was going to do or where she was going to go. I'm not surprised that she went down to the beach. I suppose I'll have to go down there and find out for myself what she's doing... not that I particularly want to come face to face with her vehemence again. Although, just to be in her presence, I think I'd almost willingly endure anything she tosses at me, I'm that desperate. God... I can't let her know that.

I know she doesn't think that I care about her... I know she'll never believe that I still love her. She thinks that I'm just here to clear my guilty conscience... she thinks that I'm just having trouble sleeping at night, so I'm here to beg her forgiveness. I have to prove my feelings to her... I have to make her understand that it's so much more.

I climb out of my car and head down the same narrow wooden boardwalk that I saw her take. When I reach the end, I encounter a pair of black shoes... well at least I know she hasn't wandered back up to the street someplace. As I pass through the opening in the dune, I don't see anything for a moment; but after my eyes adjust better, I see a dark figure sitting on the sand, illuminated by the full moon, and just out of reach of the incoming tide. If she is asleep, she'd better move back soon, or else she'll end up with a very wet ass.

The breeze is causing the flaps of her flimsy shirt to fly apart, and her long hair whisks to the side, over and over. She must be cold, sitting there on the frigid sand with the cool ocean air nipping at her bare shoulders and back. She is motionless, however... an unmoving block of Gibraltar, refusing to break down nor give in. I had no idea she could be so stubborn either.

I kick off my shoes and walk toward her, reaching her at last and feeling confident that she hasn't heard me; however, the subtle stiffening of her spine tells me that she senses my presence. She turns her head ever so slightly to the side, seeing that indeed someone is here... surely she knows it's me. I decide not to say anything... I just stand behind and to the side of her, allowing room for both of us to think... to digest... to prepare - even though I don't know what for... I don't know what to say to her. Perhaps she's thought of something to say to me.

I could feel her before I even saw her feet appear beside me... I always could feel her presence. It both disturbs and reassures me to find that I still have this ability; right now I think it mostly just saddens me. I don't want her to be here right now... and yet I do. I don't want to lay my eyes on her... and yet I must. I don't want to talk to her... and yet I will.

I don't say anything, I just get up, dust the sand off my pants, and turn to look at her. She has her arms hugged around herself, either in an attempt to keep herself warm against the cool air, or to protect herself from what she must think I'm going to do or say. I'm somewhat ashamed to think that she might actually be afraid of me in some way; I think my sharp words cut her a little more than I expected, and from the expression that she wears now, I think she's anticipating more of the same. She's never been good at showing her vulnerable side, but I think I'm seeing it full-force right here, right now. She looks sorrowful and pathetic, a lost soul in a land she's totally unfamiliar with: Apology.

I step right up to her and we stare at each other. I want to say something, but I have no idea where to begin nor how to begin it. She wants to say something too, I can see it in her eyes, even in this near-darkness. We stare some more until I see tears well in her eyes and finally spill out on one side. She is beyond vulnerable right now - she is fragile.

I'm working on formulating a sentence when she suddenly reaches up and grabs my neck with her hands, pulling me down and planting a burning kiss on my lips. My instinct is to pull back, but she doesn't let me go - she just pushes her body against me more and pulls me further into the kiss. I can feel my drunken body betraying my mind as it starts to relax and return her affection... her cheeks are wet and she grips me harder as she opens her mouth and tries to swallow me. Our lips crash together repeatedly as we cling to each other, kissing and dueling madly with our tongues, and pressing our bodies against each other. She is soft and warm, and she pulls me helplessly into an erotic fog of desire and need. She pushes a hand into my hair and forces her tongue deeper into me as my hands slide down her sides and around her ass. I slide my leg in-between hers and push her pelvis against mine as I grind and squeeze her ass. She clutches me hard and releases a soft moan in my mouth.

Oh my god... what are we doing? What am I doing?

I suddenly let go of her and try to step back, but she's reluctant to free me. I grab her hands and pry them off of me, stepping away at last.

"What? What?" she says desperately to me. I can only look at her with what I'm sure is a horrified expression on my face,

"No... no - we're not doing this - I'm not doing this." I take another step back away from her.

"What? What do you mean? Why not?" She's flustered and she doesn't understand... either that or she's pissed that her little plot to seduce me hasn't worked. I just shake my head and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand,

"No." I'm trying really hard to sound firm.

"God*dammit* Monica!" It's her turn to yell now... I'll allow it.

"Don't you understand? Don't you know?!" She's shaking her head and yelling, but I don't know what it's about.

"When Mulder and I were... together... I was... I was so confused... I was torn. I had convinced myself that I was over him, and I thought I didn't love him... I mean, I did 'love' him, but, it wasn't the same as... it wasn't the same thing that you and I had."

She's rambling and has started pacing now... I'm still letting her talk... I suddenly wanted to hear it, no matter how painful.

"After we got William back, Mulder asked me to give us a chance. He wanted to be with William, and with me... he wanted us to be a real family." She stops and stares at me momentarily, but when I make no movement, she continues,

"We talked about it a lot... and I tried to weigh everything very carefully... God, I didn't know what to do. I ended up thinking about what would be best for William... that it would be best for him to grow up with a 'real' family - a mother and a father." She stops to look at me again... I wonder if she can see the red flush of anger on my cheeks.

"That's why I broke it off with you... I thought I was doing 'the right thing'... I thought that it was what I should do. But... I was wrong. God, I was so, so wrong, Monica."

Her voice is beginning to tremble and crack now, and I'm sure she's on the verge of losing it. I don't care... I want her to lose it... and I want to watch.

"I've been looking for you, searching, for 6 months now - Jesus, Monica, I went to fucking Mexico to look for you! Doesn't that mean anything to you? Doesn't that say anything?!"

Yes, it says that your guilt must be very deep, Dana. I want to say that aloud, but I refrain. I'm sure that it would only come out as a primal scream at this point. I can't believe she went to Mexico. My confusion as to how she managed to find me in the first place now becomes a little more clear ...and the implications of it cause me to feel a slight rush of panic. I clench my jaw tight and let her go on.

"Being with Mulder was a mistake... it was disastrous. And I know why... I didn't really love him... he wasn't you... he could never be you, Monica."

I finally let out a snort and shake my head, looking away from her. I'm ready to explode. No shit he's not me - HellOO? What, it took her all this fucking time to get that through her thick head?! ...Please. I'm not buying this sob-story. She's crying openly now.

"God, I love you, Monica!" she cries, tears now flowing freely from her blue eyes.

"Oh Jesus, Dana! You gotta be fucking kidding me?!" I yell out at last, unable to contain myself any longer.

Her face crumples, and I turn and take a few steps away from her, disgusted and teetering on the brink of some very serious anger. I've had enough of this shit... I'm emotional, I'm tired, and I'm unbelievably pissed-off.

Where the fuck does she get off saying that she loves me now - NOW?! She never told me that she loved me - the whole time we were together - she never said it. I had said it. I was open with her, and I had said it - once - and when she didn't return it to me, I thought I had made a mistake and jumped the gun, so I didn't say it again. I remember thinking that I might have scared her with it, but I never really knew - it was only about a month later when Mulder entered the picture and fucked everything. After that, I just assumed that she never felt the same way.

But I found myself wondering now... did she run from me because she knew I loved her, and she didn't want that? Because she couldn't return it? Or did she really want to be with Mulder? Did she decide that it'd be easier to be straight? Did she think him 'safe' because she knew he'd never love her like I did? Did he need her too much, and she got tired of him too? Or was it just me? What the fuck? I spin around to face her again,

"You never loved me... all the time we were together, you never told me once how you felt about me, Dana, so don't give me this rebound confessional bullshit now!"

I'm being loud and harsh with her, I know, but I can't help it... I'm furious that she's laying this on me. I want to tell her that it's too late, that I don't love her anymore, that I don't want her, and that I don't fucking need her! I want to scream it at the top of my lungs.

But... I know it isn't true... and my emotions are beginning to fail me. I don't think I can continue this. I can't continue to be so angry with her... it's killing me... I'm wearing down. She's saying something again...

"I did feel it, Monica... I did. I just... I couldn't say it... but I did love you then," She's crying and struggling to speak through her tears, and she's looking at me desperately.

"...And I love you now!"

"No." I'm shaking my head at her, "I gave love to you, Dana... I gave you everything I had... I did everything for you - I did everything for Mulder too! And you thanked me by telling me to get out of your life!" I'm trembling and gritting my teeth together and shaking my head hard, "You asked me to leave, and I did! It was so hard, but I DID it!" I'm trying to yell, but I'm choking, and my eyes are rapidly filling with tears... one slips out unchecked. Dammit... I don't want to cry.

She says nothing... she just stares at me with her weeping blue eyes. I can't do this. I want to be finished with it, once and for all. I don't want to be angry anymore, I really don't. I can't stand it any longer. Jesus, I know I'm still in love with her, but... I can't do this again... I can't set myself up for another fall... it was too devastating the first time.

"I'm sorry for what I did, Monica... I'm sorry that I made the wrong decision... that I inflicted so much pain... I'm sorry that you feel like I used you..."

She's apologizing again, but I won't change my mind... I can't... I *can't*.

"And I don't want to bother you... I don't want to cause you more pain..."

Yes, she's already said she doesn't want that... so what does she want?

"...All I want is... what I'm asking is... for your forgiveness. I'm asking for you - if you can - to find it in your heart to forgive me for what I--"

"YOU BROKE MY HEART!" I cut her off brutally and shout, throwing my arms out to emphasize the hurt. "Jesus CHRIST, Dana!" I yell this out very loudly as I grip my head in my hands. She gets the point.

A stunned look comes over her, as though she can't believe that it's really me saying this. I'm guessing that she thought she could sweet-talk me out of it, but I want her to know how bad it really was ...is ...was.

She starts backing away from me, saying nothing... looking bewildered and crushed. I suddenly feel bad for shouting at her like that; I hate hurting her back like this. It really isn't my style. It's just hurting both of us more, and it will do no good, I know. ...But I can't seem to help it. All the things I wanted to say to her all those months ago are surfacing now. She deserves it... she deserves to feel my anger, but... I don't want to hurt her... I love her, dammit... I still love her... but...

Oh god... what am I going to do?

"Dana... wait!" I call to her, but she turns and bolts. Dammit!

This is such a fucking mess.

I'm running and running, but this damn sand is so hard to get any traction in. She catches up to me in no time, having more experience in the slippery stuff. She jumps up in front of me, forcing me to stop and look at her.

"Dana... I'm sorry," she says, holding her hands out, trying to be non-threatening. "I didn't mean to... I mean, I just..." she lets out a heavy sigh, "I just don't think I can do this again." She's closing her eyes and shaking her head.

I don't really believe what she's saying; if she's just trying to push me around some more, she has no idea what it's doing to me.

"I'm afraid to try it again, okay?" She suddenly looks very sad and frightened. She's afraid? God... she has no idea.

"I'm afraid too, Monica, jesus," I say, wanting to be truthful. "But... why can't we be afraid together?" ...I hope I don't sound too desperate. "Huh? ...Can't we try it?" I'm begging her, I know. At this point, I'm willing to do almost anything. She hesitates for a long minute, then turns and looks away from me,

"I don't think I can, Dana... I'm sorry," she says, shaking her head as tears roll down her cheeks.

Her fear is my fault... her anger is my fault... her unwillingness to give us a second chance, is my fault. She'll never really know how I felt about her - how I still feel about her - and it's all my fucking fault.

I know I have to leave now. I have to leave her, again, and return to my life, and let her return to hers. It's so bittersweet... I've come to realize that I love her more than anything, but she won't have me now. I blew my one chance with her.

It's over.

I've lost her.

She is crying now... a beautiful, delicate, weeping willow, damaged beyond repair by my selfishness and stupidity. I step up to her, lifting her chin up. We stare at each other knowingly for a moment, then I reach up and kiss her lips softly. She breaks out in a fresh cry and brings her arms around me, hugging me tight to her while she returns my kiss fiercely. I cling to her as my own tears erupt, and we are kissing and clutching and crying all at once. It's tearing my heart to shreds to do this, to feel this, and maybe that's what she wants. Maybe she's trying to transfer some of her agony to me. Again, and as always, I know I deserve the pain, and I actually welcome it. If I could take her pain away, I surely would.

But I cannot... and I must stop this now... I must leave.

I break away from her lips and push myself back, wiping my face with one hand, but she keeps hold of my other one. She is torn... and I am ravaged. I say nothing as I start to back away from her. Our arms are finally as far apart as they can be with our fingers still entwined. I'm giving her one last chance to change her mind. Our fingers finally disengage and pull apart, and her arm falls limply to her side. Tears are streaming down her face and she says nothing as I give her one last look... my tall, dark, impossibly sad, love-of-a-lifetime beauty.

Then I turn around and walk away, leaving her again.

end Ch. 4

Ch. 5

"Look at us, baby, up all night
Tearin' our love apart;
Aren't we the same two people
Who lived through years in the dark?

Every time I try to walk away
Somethin' makes me turn around and stay;
And I can't tell you why...

Nothin's wrong as far as I can see
We make it harder than it has to be;
And I can't tell you why
No baby,
I can't tell you why."


June 26, 2004
1:15 a.m.

I have no idea what time it is when I finally pull my Jeep haphazardly along the side of my house, nearly hitting it. Fuck... I haven't been this trashed in a long time. I half-walk, half-crawl up the steps and into the porch, and when I swing the door open and step inside the house, Jennifer is sitting, waiting for me.

Shit. Not this... not now. I walk out to the kitchen and toss my purse aside, grabbing a bottle of cold water along the way. I avoid looking at Jenn... I'm hoping I can just slide by and go straight to bed.

"Well, how'd it go?"

Shit. I turn and look at her, and I'm sure she can see my tear-streaked, Night-of-the-Living-Dead face. I say nothing but instead head over to our 'secret' cabinet and pull out the magic potion that I hope will help numb me and put me to sleep faster so that I can forget all about this brutal night. I haven't done this for ages either... Dana just seems to bring out the best in me all around.

"Ooooo... she's going for the ganja... not a good sign," Jennifer says sarcastically. I ignore her as I fire up the joint and take a big hit, closing my eyes. I withhold the smoke and head out to the porch in hopes of relaxing alone. I'm releasing my breath when she comes out to join me.

"So... was it really that bad, or what?" she asks. I have my eyes closed and I'm inhaling another lung-full... Jesus, does she even have to ask at this point?

"It was disastrous, and I don't want to talk about it, okay?" I say to her curtly while trying to hold the smoke inside me. I know I'm being brusque, but Dana is the last thing I want to discuss right now, and Jennifer is the last person I want to discuss her with.

"Ooo-kay." Jenn says as she reaches over and takes the jay from me to take a turn; it's really her stuff, so I can't complain. Thankfully, we sit and smoke in silence for several minutes. I keep closing my eyes, hoping that this night will fade away and a new dawn will end my nightmare. Jennifer interrupts my thoughts,

"Listen... I was thinking of going to stay with my sister for awhile." It takes a minute for my now pot-hazed mind to comprehend what she's saying. She's leaving. She's leaving me too. I don't say anything. She clears her throat.

"I've been here long enough... you need your space... especially with... all of this."

She's referring, of course, to Dana. She thinks it's not over. Should I even bother explaining to her how truly and completely it is over? If Jenn leaves me, I'll be totally alone. Normally that doesn't really bother me, but right now, I'm not sure it's what I want. I love Jenn, but, it's not a real heavy 'romance'-type thing. She knows that. We mostly serve as support structures for each other. Obviously, she thinks that I'm going to go back to Dana, and so I won't be needing her. Truthfully, I don't know if I need her or not... I don't know if I ever needed her. We have fun together, and I care about her a lot, but other than that... I don't know what you call what we have, exactly. I'm just sitting, staring at the floor, still not responding to what she's said.

"Aren't you going to say anything, Mon?" She says in a half-laugh. She probably wants me to beg her to stay, but I won't. She should know that too.

"What's there to say? You've already decided." It sounds like I'm angry, and maybe I am... I don't know... I'm still too drunk, and now stoned, to say anything overly intelligent. She's smart for hitting me up with this now.

"So you don't give a shit if I leave? Is that it?" Jesus... not another fight with another woman... would someone please give me a fucking break? Can't she tell that I've already done this tonight?

"Please, Jenn... don't. If you want to leave, then leave. I'm not going to sit here and argue with you - after what I've been through tonight, I just can't, okay?" It sounds cold and uncaring, but I can't help it. She has no idea of the emotional hell that's still raging inside me right now.

"I'm sorry, baby... I'm sorry." She's putting her arm around me, cajoling and kissing me. She always gets like this when she's stoned. She likes to have sex when she's stoned too, but I never liked it; I prefer to be fully lucid. God... I hope she's not thinking of trying to seduce me into bed... I'm so not in the mood for that. She stops with the snuggling and leans back, studying the pensive look on my face.

"You're crazy about this chick... I know that, you know that... are you gonna make it so hard? Why don't you just give it another chance? I know you want to."

Oh god... I really don't need this right now. Jenn knows the whole sordid history with Dana, and she knows damn well how I feel, but still... I don't wanna hear this... I already have a conscience, thank you.

"You love her, Mon, you know you do... hell, I know you do."

I'm closing my eyes and counting to ten... hoping she'll shut up by ten.

"She must love you too, or she wouldn't be here... she didn't come all this way just to shit on you. She loves you... how can she not love you, baby? I love you... everyone loves you."

...Nine ...Ten. ...She's still talking.

"If you love her, and she loves you, then that's all that matters, baby... the rest is all bullshit in the past, so let it go... love is all that matters.

She's being corny, but she's going to make me cry, goddammit. I'm emotional, and I'm breaking down. I always get emotional when I'm stoned, plus I'm tired and drunk too, don't forget. Great combination.

"Don't sit here like a fucking fool and let her get away. Go after her, Monica... go after her."

Her soft whispers of encouragement are melting my resolve away completely. Tears begin to run down my cheeks and she kisses them away as she kisses me. God, I feel like I'm losing my fucking mind.

I awaken to the sound of kids yelling and playing outside. Shut up... shut up... shut UP! Christ, where are the parents of these rugrats? Can't anyone get any sleep around here?! I sit up and realize that I've slept on the porch sofa. Wonderful... my back will love me for that. My head is throbbing in excruciating rhythm with every beat of my heart, and I suddenly wish I had some very dark sunglasses on. Trudging inside to the kitchen, I squint at the clock... 11:50 a.m. Oops.

I head back to the bathroom to get a much-needed shower and look for some major heavy-duty pain relief tablets. When I get there, it occurs to me that something is different. It looks empty. And then I remember.

I check the bedroom... the living room... the kitchen again. She really did leave. And, apparently, she did it first thing this morning. Well hell, for all I know, she had her bags packed before I even got home last night... or this morning - whichever it was. I draw a deep breath and release it.

I'm alone again.

The shower was heavenly, and although my body feels much better, my psyche is still in turmoil. I go over to the fridge in search of some nourishment for both, but I'm disheartened to find that I have virtually nothing available to eat. Great. Now I gotta run to the grocery store... with a hangover. I feel like I'm back in college.

I randomly throw on some clothes and tie a scarf around my wet head, then head out to my car, stopping to talk to my beloved Rocky along the way. I spot my neighbor, Travis, tinkering with his motorcycle outside. He's a sweet guy, but he's a little doltish - he always comes on to me and Jennifer, forever oblivious to the fact that we are/were more than just roommates.

"Heyyy, Monicaaa!" He calls out to me in his typical, lilting, flirtatious way as he spots me rounding the corner of the house. He's a good-looking guy, 25-ish, bleached-blonde locks, and well-built too. He graduated from college but never got a 'real' job. I think he works in construction or something.

"Hey Trav, how's it goin'?" He's walking up to me, and I know I have to be polite, even though I really don't want to take the time to small-talk. I have a hangover, and I'm starving.

"It's goin', it's goin'." His conversations are so intelligent, I can hardly stand it. It's a good thing he's sweet.

"Nice shades," he says, reaching out to touch my sunglasses and, conveniently, my cheek. Oh brother. I just smirk at him.

"Hey, uhm, I don't mean to be nosey, but..."

Oh no...

"I saw Jennifer this mornin', packin' up her car with a lot of stuff." I make a small, annoyed face at him and glance away.

"Did she, like, move out or somethin'?" He may be dense, but he doesn't miss what's happening over at my house, does he?

"Yah, well... she's going to stay with her sister for awhile." I try to sound nonchalant, hoping he'll let it drop. He looks at me with a frown, giving those rusty wheels in his mind a workout, no doubt.

"Is everything, like, 'cool' between you two?" God... I have to make a sincere effort not to roll my eyes.

"Yeah, everything's fine, Trav. Listen, I gotta go get something to eat, okay? See you later." I totally brush him off and head for my car, because I doubt he'll ever get the hint that he IS being nosey, and that he's pissing me off.

I contemplate stopping at the lumber store to buy some 8-foot-high fencing as I drive off.

end Ch. 5

Ch. 6

"Desperate for changing, 
Starving for truth 
I'm closer to where I started, 
I'm chasing after you;

I'm falling even more in love with you, 
Letting go of all I've held on to 
I'm standing here until you make me move, 
I'm hanging by a moment here with you;

I'm living for the only thing I know, 
I'm running and I'm not quite sure where to go
And I don't know what I'm diving into, 
Just hanging by a moment here with you."


June 26, 2004
12:10 p.m.

I've been lying awake in my bed for nearly 3 hours now. So many thoughts and feelings are flowing through my mind and body that I can't seem to allocate any resources to haul my ass out of bed.

God... I was prepared for being rebuffed, but I wasn't prepared for the brutality and the emotional pain that came with it. It was nothing like I imagined... Monica was nothing like I imagined. The aftershocks of it kept me restless all night, and I know I only slept a few hours. I'm not sure what's disturbing me the most right now - the fact that she is so incredibly offended by me, or the fact that we are still so undeniably attracted to each other after all this time.

Kissing and breathing and feeling her while experiencing the eruption of all that pain and agony was overwhelming. It was more powerful than anything I've ever felt before - and that includes all the shit I ever went through with Mulder. She has such an unbelievably intense aura about her, especially when she's emotional. It asphyxiates and consumes me; it destroys my defenses and makes me weak with need. I know I'll not be forgetting last night for a very, very long time.

So now I'm lying here debating what to do. My flight isn't due to leave until tomorrow night, but since I have absolutely nothing to do, I'm wondering if I should try to get a flight today and just go the hell home. I miss William. At least he still wants me.

I think Monica still wants me too. Maybe I'm being stupidly optimistic and/or arrogant, but I can't shake the feeling that she's just turning me away for the principal of it all. She's just proving her point with me. She had said 'I can't', and she admitted that she was afraid - but she never said 'I don't love you anymore', or 'I don't feel anything for you anymore.' My mind keeps replaying the look on her face when we parted... the sadness and the agony... like it was killing her. You don't feel pain like that over someone you no longer give a shit about.

So I guess the real question is... am I going to do anything about it?

Somehow I worked up the courage - or stupidity - to get in my car and drive back over to Reyes' house. I have no idea what I'm going to say to her... I've never been much good at 'winging-it', so this should be interesting.

I come upon her house and pull off to the side, too chicken to park directly in front. I sit in my seat and contemplate things for about 10 minutes. Fuck, it's boiling hot... I need to make a decision. Finally calling upon my courage/stupidity again, I get out and start walking. I go through the gate, which is still unlocked, and am greeted by the dog, who startles the shit out of me. He's chained, and luckily, he doesn't bite, so I take a moment to pet and talk to him. I grab the handrail of the stairs and start to head up, but then I remember that her car isn't readily visible, so I decide to go check to see if it's there. The last thing I'd want is to get up there and come face to face with her girlfriend instead of her.

Shit... her girlfriend... hadn't thought about her. I'm realizing that this was a really bad idea when I reach the side of the house and see that her Jeep isn't there. Thankfully, my decision has been made for me, and I turn around to sneak back to my car.

"Hey there!" A male voice is calling out... is he talking to me? I turn around and am greeted by a young, studly surfer-dude who's leaning on the low wooden fence and staring at me with a wide, white smile.

"Hi." I manage to respond, sounding surprised and probably embarrassed too.

"You lookin' for Monica or Jennifer?" he asks.

Jennifer... my stomach swallows the name and begins breaking it down enzymatically, piece by piece, bit by bit.


"Oh, she just ran off for a minute, I think. Should be back soon." I smile tightly and give him a little nod as I begin to turn away.

"You a friend of hers, or Jennifer's, or somethin'?" Who the hell is this guy? Her answering service?

"Uh, I'm a... a friend of Monica's." I reply with hesitation and turn away from him again. I really don't want to give this guy any information, and I really don't want to hear what he has to say either, thank you very much.

"Oh, okay, 'cos I was gonna say, Jennifer left early this morning." I stop instantly and turn around.

"She left?" I guess I might be interested in what he has to say afterall.

"Yeah. Monica said she's just goin' to stay with her sister for awhile, but heck, when I saw you, I thought that maybe you were her sister - you guys really look alike!"

My face drops at the ghastly thought, and my stomach is now ready to flush the name 'Jennifer' out of my system like a piece of excrement.

"I dunno why Jenn would leave. I'm thinkin' something went sour between her and Mon." Surfer-dude adds more of his astute thoughts, or maybe he's just fishing for info; whatever it is, I wish he'd just shut up. Naturally I don't say anything to him, but I have all sorts of ideas and thoughts formulating in my mind.

" 'Course, it's none of my business anyway." He says, flashing me a cheesy, flirtatious grin.

"Of course." I reply, giving him my own, more professional version of a flirtatious grin.

At that precise moment, the black Jeep comes pulling in alongside the house. ...Speak of the devil.

Monica kills the engine and gets out, oblivious to the fact that I'm standing 25 feet from her, flirting with her neighbor. Her dog barks his greeting to her as she picks up two big paper bags and turns in our direction to head toward her house. She stops dead in her tracks instead.

She's so adorable. Tattered, cut-off jean shorts that are just short enough to be terribly sexy; a white tank shirt that is also short enough to qualify as a belly-shirt; hair pulled back into a ponytail and covered with a faded blue bandana; blue hippy sunglasses; and flip-flops. She looks like a college kid. I have to fight hard to quell my urge to grin.

She stands for a moment, no doubt debating what to do and say, but then she walks over to us slowly. She has a lollipop in her mouth and she swirls it around a little before she manages to pull it out with one of her hands.

"Hi." She says simply to me, but with great uncertainty.

"Hi." I reply with equal simplicity, wanting to let her set the tone.

"I see you've met Travis," she says a little uneasily, looking over to acknowledge the beach boy, who is flashing his overzealous grin again.

"Sort-of," I say, giving Travis a sideways glance. "I'm Dana, Travis," I offer, figuring I should pretend to be as polite as possible.

"Nice to meet you, Dana." His handshake is a little too cozy for me, and I swear he's winking at me too. Either he doesn't know about Monica and women, or he does and he's thinking some seriously perverted thoughts right now. Could possibly be both, I suppose.

Monica is staring at me, silently asking me what I'm doing here. She shoots a sideways glance at Travis, quite aware that he's watching us. I force a little polite smile and try to conceal my discomfort. Monica clears her throat,

"C'mon up." She finally says, turning and walking away. Thank fuck. I thought she was going to make me stand there and say something in front of Surfer-Dude.

Jesus H. Christ. What the hell is she doing here?! I'm not prepared for this... I can't handle this right now. I'm totally panicking and breaking out into a sweat as I hit the stairs and begin to climb up. Dana is right on my heels, following me every step of the way. What does she want now? I thought we were through? I thought she'd just leave? I was planning on having a whole day to myself to do nothing. ...Jesus.

My mind is spinning and spinning. I can't believe she's come back... the fact that she's here, refusing to give up, says something. Exactly what, I'm not sure, or maybe, I just don't want to think about it right now. I don't feel like being pissed-off with her anymore, even though I probably should. I just want it all to go away.

The fear that I might be softening towards her makes the word 'sucker' form in my mind. That's the difference between men and women; men can just say 'fuck off bitch' and be done with it, but women can't. Women let the person linger and haunt them. I suppose that's a fault we have to learn to deal with.

When we reach the kitchen, I sit my bags on the counter and take my glasses off, turning to face her. She's brushing her hair out of her face and trying to look around discreetly. She has shorts and a t-shirt on, and I steal a look down at her petite, smoothly-muscled legs. When I look back at her face, she's watching me watch her. ...Some things never change.

"Uhm... go have a seat... I gotta put this stuff away." I nod toward the living room, hoping she'll take the hint and get away from me for a minute or ten. I need time to collect myself and get in control. She doesn't say anything; she just gives me a huge look and walks out to the living room slowly. Jesus... why do I suddenly have the feeling that I've just invited a vampire into my home?

I immediately turn around and put my hands on the sink edge, closing my eyes and steadying myself so that I don't throw-up. My stomach is flipping out of control and I can feel a lump crawling steadily up my throat. My head starts to spin, and I realize that I have about 3 seconds to get to the bathroom before I make a huge ass out of myself. Fucking aye... this is just what I need right now.

I suddenly streak out of the kitchen, flying past Dana and the living room, and rush into the bathroom, slamming the door loudly as I fall on my knees and hurl my guts into the toilet, posthaste. Orange juice and egg mcmuffin... gross. I squeeze my eyes shut and prepare for the next upheaval.

After I'm finally finished, I brush my teeth and splash water on my face for about 5 minutes, all the while wondering if perhaps Dana is sitting in the living room laughing hysterically. When I catch my reflection in the mirror, I almost gasp out loud. I'm as white as a sheet and I look like utter hell. I pull my hair out of the bandana and ponytail and run my fingers through it, trying to make myself look a little better. It's not working. A light knock sounds at the door,

"Monica? Are you alright?" She asks so timidly... It makes me really wonder what she's thinking right now. I dry my face off and open the door to her.

"No." I croak. Her face is a cross between sympathy, surprise, and amusement, and I silently force her to step out of the way as I push past her and head back to the kitchen.

I start putting my groceries away, deciding not to talk nor look at her. I can feel that she's come back out to the kitchen and is, in fact, standing right behind me. When I turn back from tossing the empty bags into the trash, she is putting my iced tea and milk in the fridge for me. My immediate reaction is anger - I don't need her help. But then a feeling that I can only describe as melancholy washes over me as I watch her. It brings back so many memories to see her do this... make herself at home in my home. She pulls a can of gingerale out of the fridge and turns to me,

"You should drink some of this... it'll help settle your stomach." She says it quietly and sympathetically. I don't reply; I just continue to stand there like a deaf mute. She must take this as a sign of permission, because she turns around and starts to look for a glass in my cupboards. Finding one, she helps herself to some ice and pours the drink, turning then and offering it to me silently. I'm staring at her in disbelief, I think, and I take the drink and swallow it. It burns my empty stomach, but I ignore it.

"Thank you." I croak to her. She smiles tightly at me. I take a few more sips, all the while trying to formulate a plan in my head. What am I supposed to say now? What are we supposed to do? What does she want? I'm suddenly aware that I'm staring at her chest, wide-eyed, and she bends her head down slightly and looks at me with concern.

"I think you should sit down too." She puts her hands on my shoulders and gives me a subtle shove toward the living room. It's funny... for some reason I don't seem to mind her 'taking care' of me like this... I feel oddly disjointed and out-of-sorts.

We sit down on the sofa together and I take another sip of the soda before sitting it on the coffee table. I lay my head back and close my eyes, inhaling and expelling a deep breath. I don't know how long we sit here in strange, companionable silence, but it feels like an eternity. We still had so much to say, so much to talk about, and yet we are completely quiet. I can hear her brain clicking... I can smell her perfume... I can feel the heat radiating off her little body. It soothes me, and yet it unnerves me to no end. I can feel her soul pulling mine in like a magnet... I can sense her mind trying to break through the silent barrier and communicate with mine... and I can smell her desire building and building.

I want to ignore it - god knows I should ignore it - but I don't know how much longer I can stand this. As much as I love her and want her, I still don't know what the hell to do. There remains such a great deal of wariness inside me... my heart was still so bruised from the painful blow that was dealt by the very hands that sit beside me now, clenching and twisting in the lap of their owner.

And yet... I crave her so desperately... I love her so hopelessly... and I need her so badly. I have dreamt her, and I have thought her, and I have lived her every day of my life since we parted. I open my eyes, both literally and metaphorically, and turn my head to look at her. She is already looking at me, her clear blue irises piercing me intently. Our old non-verbal form of communication returns full-force for a precious moment, allowing her to feel what I'm feeling, and me to hear what she's thinking.

She's waiting for an answer, a decision, a comment... anything that would give her an indication of what I want to do about all of this... about her. We stare so deeply into each other's eyes, I suddenly feel like I can't breathe. My heart and my head are thudding and I can feel a blush creeping steadily up the back of my neck. The tension between us is painfully palpable. It's time for one of us to say something important, but I can only think of one thing to utter...

"You'll hurt me again." I whisper it so quietly, I'm not sure she can even hear me. But judging from the expression that instantly appears on her face, I know she did. Her eyes well with tears and she shakes her head gently,

"No... never again." She whispers back to me, so tenderly, and she reaches up and touches her fingertips to my cheek. My eyes flutter shut and a tear slips out from beneath my lashes. Her hand is sliding past my cheek and into my hair, and her lips are softly pressing against mine.

It is not forceful nor sexual... it is gentle and reverent. Her lips caress me and reassure me and tell me not to be frightened, and they thank me for giving her another chance. She knows this is what I'm feeling inside, and I now know what she feels as well. She is sorrowful and joyful at the same time. She is still apologizing for the pain she caused, and she is grateful that I will take her back again.

She loves me... and I'm sure she knows that I love her too.

I kiss her back and begin to cry helplessly, and she soon follows suit. We swallow our misery and our tears and kiss more fervently, grasping and hugging, clutching shoulders and necks and twining fingers into hair. Our need and our mutual hunger escalates hurriedly until we are frantically undressing each other, and touching and feeling and kissing all over each other's flesh. Our thighs intermingle and our hands finally touch one another simultaneously, where we crave our need the most. We are a moist, humid mixture of lips and legs and fingers as we kiss and touch and thrust and gasp in desperate unison, until at last we push each other to our breaking points.

We burst wide open, but we remain together.

end Ch. 6

Ch. 7

"I won't pretend,
That I intend to stop living;

I won't pretend,
That I'm good at forgiving;

But I can't hate you, 
Though I have tried;

I still really really love you,
Love is stronger than pride."


June 26, 2004
3:00 p.m.

I wake up suddenly and can't figure out where I am. A few seconds of forced calm pays off as I finally recall where I am, and whom I'm with. I turn my head and look at her, sleeping peacefully. Her face isn't as pale as it was earlier, so I'm assuming her hangover has dissipated. Of course, after the workout we just gave each other, it could just be sex-flushed too. I can't help but smile as I watch her sleep. She's so beautiful... I wonder if I told her that while we were making love. I think I did this last time... or maybe it was the time before that... I can't really remember. I know I told her I loved her, and - thank you God - she told me she loved me too. I've waited two years to hear those words fall from her lips.

As I stare at her peaceful face, I can't help but think and worry about what comes next for us. I have to return home, but what will she do? Do I ask her what she plans to do, or do I say nothing and let her broach the subject? Do I dare ask her to return home with me, or will I have to settle for sporadic visits on holidays and special occasions? This beautiful make-up session has the potential to turn to shit again very quickly.

My fervid thinking must have roused her, because she stirs and rolls over onto her back and blinks her eyes open once... twice... thrice. Then she turns her head slowly and looks at me. The lazy, sleepy smile that curls her lips is so precious and genuine, I can't help but grin happily back at her.

She rolls back toward me and reaches out to touch a finger to my lips. I kiss it and she lets it glide down my chin, my throat, and my chest, then over to my breasts. My nipples harden immediately and she smiles again, pleased at my reaction. I grin back at her, knowing full well what she's thinking. She props up on her elbow and kisses me briefly, then allows her lips to wander down to my breasts, where she proceeds to make love to my nipples with her wondrous tongue. The pleasure she gives me is maddening, and before I know it, her tongue is probing and tasting me in my most erotic spot. My hips gently undulate against her face as she holds me tightly, and soon I am gasping and coming and clinging to her for dear life.

I don't want her to let go.

Dana's standing on the beach in ankle-high water. She has a thin, sheer white dress on, and I can see straight through it - I mean everything. She's smiling at me, the wind is blowing her hair - which seems to be more blonde than it was before - and the surf is slapping against her calves. I can't see myself, but I know I'm smiling and smiling at her because she's so gorgeous. She's laughing and saying something, but I can't hear what she's saying. The water is getting deeper on her... the tide must be coming in. She doesn't seem to notice though. It's up to her thighs now. Her dress is completely soaked. She might as well be naked.

The water has risen to her waist, and the sky seems to have gotten cloudy suddenly. She's still oblivious and she's still trying to say something to me. The sky is looking really dark and stormy, and I shout to her that she should come in, but she doesn't move. The water is now up to her breasts. Why won't she listen to me and come in? The water rolls and rises further still, slapping her in the face. She's just standing there, smiling away, like she has no clue that she's about to drown.

A rumble of thunder echoes overhead, and I'm starting to panic... she needs to swim towards me and get in here, now. But she just stays there, almost floating. I can feel myself running toward her, into the water, but I can't seem to reach her. The further I push forward, the further away she seems to get. The current is sucking her out, pulling her away from me. A crack sounds and a flash of brilliant lightening illuminates the now-black sky. I'm screaming at her to swim to me, but her head suddenly disappears under a wave. The last thing I see before she disappears completely is her white teeth, smiling at me.

My eyes fly open in a rush of panic, and I find myself staring up at the white stucco of my bedroom ceiling.

...Jesus H.

This little cottage must be fairly old, because the shower is pretty antiquated. But then again, I suppose that appeals to her... she likes antiques and history. I woke up and, seeing that she was already up and showered, decided to grab one myself. There is something intensely intimate about taking a shower in someone else's home and using their soap and their shampoo. I get a small thrill from it, but only because it's Monica. It somehow comforts me to know that I will have her smell on me - in more ways than one - when I head home in a few hours. And this is where my panic begins...

When I woke up this time, I realized that my flight was due to leave in less than 3 hours, and I wasn't even packed yet. So now I'm dressing frantically and fretting about leaving Monica and going home with no decision having been made about our future. She hasn't said a word; in fact, she got up and showered and dressed without even waking me. Luckily, I heard her out in the kitchen and awoke quickly. Maybe she was hoping that I'd miss my flight and have to stay... I don't know. Maybe she's testing me somehow. Or maybe she just doesn't want to face the inevitable... I have to return home.

I wonder if I should tell her that I've been considering moving away from D.C., since I'm no longer a Government employee and I'm not really wild about my new job. I wonder if she'd consider moving someplace with me. God... the thought of that suddenly scares the shit out of me, even though it's crossed my mind a hundred times before.

I'm in the bathroom brushing my hair and dabbing on some makeup when she suddenly appears in the doorway. I smile gently at her and she returns it, but with hesitation.

She's been thinking.

"When does your flight leave?" She's quiet, but edgy, and she has her arms crossed, either in defense or protection. I'm not sure which direction this is headed, and it makes me feel uneasy.

"Tonight... eight." I answer as mildly as possible and look at her. She has a sorrowful expression on her face that makes her look child-like. Like a little kid who's on the verge of pouting or crying. She uncrosses her arms and looks down at her hands, pretending to pick at her fingernails.

She's still thinking.

I turn back to the mirror and finish with my minimal makeup. It's hard to look at her, and even harder to talk to her. Whoever said that sex fixes everything has never been in a relationship like this. We just had un-fucking-believable sex - lots of it - and still we are no closer to solving our dilemma than before.

"When am I going to see you again?" She finally asks the big question. Kudos to her. The stupid thing is, as much as I've been thinking about this very moment, I have yet to find an answer.

"Well... I was sort-of hoping that you would come see me?" I'm avoiding her question, kind-of, but not really. I really would like her to come and see me. Better yet, come and stay. She raises her eyebrows and looks a little surprised, as though she never considered that option.

"I dunno... I guess I could... if I could get some time off work." She shrugs and looks past me, at the walls, then the floor. She's hesitant, but I don't think she's bullshitting me. God, I don't even know where she's working nor what she's doing with herself. During this entire weekend, we didn't discuss that even once. ...No time in-between the fighting and the fucking. I suddenly realize that I am clueless as to what she's been up to for the past year-and-a-half.

I gather up my makeup and stuff it all back into my purse, then flip the light off, signaling that it's time for me to go. She doesn't move.

"So... will you call me sometime?" Jesus... I feel like a hooker bidding my favorite trick adieu. She looks at me, then looks away, nodding her head yes.

"And, can I call you sometime?" Now I'm a love-sick teenager. I'm asking her tentatively, because her lack of communication makes me uncertain. I wish she'd say something. I'm having difficulty reading her, and I'm pretty sure it's intentional on her part. Who knew she had such effective walls in her arsenal? She's just full of surprises. She nods again, still looking away.

"Well... I have to go." I finally utter the dreaded words. She looks up at me, her eyes watery and woeful,

"I know."

I make it out to my car without either of us speaking a word. This whole day has been strangely silent, and yet so much has been said between us. I feel that I'm leaving things in her hands; she can decide if she wants to call, or come and visit, or whatever. I'm sure that if I don't hear from her soon, I'll break down and call her, but I'm hoping it works the other way around. It really is necessary for me to let her make the next move, because I don't want to push things or frighten her off in any way. If it were up to me entirely, I'd have her packed and following me home right now. But it isn't my decision, and so I must be patient while she makes up her mind. ...And patience isn't one of my stronger virtues.

I get in my car and she closes the door, resting her hands on the window ledge and leaning in slightly, just like she did a day and-a-half ago.

"Do you want me to go to the airport with you?" ...She's still so thoughtful. I'm actually really surprised that she asks this, and I wonder if she's just being polite, or if she really would like to accompany me.

"No, that's okay... thank you. I'm gonna have to hurry up anyway."

She nods her understanding and looks away from me. I stare at her face for a few precious seconds, memorizing every detail, for I don't know how long it will be until I see it again. I force myself out of the trance and start the car engine abruptly. I have to look at her one more time before I leave... I need to see her eyes. She's avoiding it, but she finally looks back at me; her golden-brown orbs lock with my cerulean ones, and time seems to stand still for a few moments. A lone tear slips down her cheek and she leans in and grabs me, kissing me long and tenderly. I grip her head with one hand and return the kiss deeply, but I cannot stop the sudden rush of emotion that overcomes me. I dimly realize that I have started to cry, and so I push her away from me and jam the gear shift into drive. I have to get out of here. She steps back quickly, putting a hand over her mouth, and I take off, not looking back.

I wonder if she will cry the whole night like I know I will.

end Ch. 7

Ch. 8

"Last night I dreamt
That somebody loved me;
No hope, no harm
Just another false alarm...

Last night I felt
Real arms around me;
No hope, no harm
Just another false alarm..."


September 22, 2004
4:00 p.m.

It's days like this when I really loathe teaching. The kids are lifeless and lackadaisical because they've been in school for - horrors - 3 weeks now, and they think they need a break. Yeah right, *I'm* the one who needs a break. After spending nearly the entire month of June searching for and eventually finding Monica, I came back here and frantically threw my entire Anatomy and Cell Biology course curriculum together in less than two months.


The thought of her makes my heart ache. Three long months have gone by and I haven't heard shit from her. I tried to call her, like I knew I would, but after three strikeouts, I gave up. I think I've failed somehow, and it makes my heart feel broken inside.

She obviously doesn't want to hear from me, or maybe she's skipped town again. I really have no idea. It troubles me because I thought we had at least fixed things to the point where we could begin anew. I mean, I knew she was still hesitant, but when I had left her at the end of June, I was fairly certain that she wanted to give things another try. Jesus, maybe I'm really nave and stupid... I don't know. Maybe something happened to change her mind. Hell, maybe Jennifer had returned and Monica decided to choose her over me. It would serve me right, wouldn't it? I had a constant, ferocious headache from thinking about it all the time, but I was getting better about it... I only thought about her 10 times a day now instead of 20.

The sound of other classes dismissing rouses me from my thoughts, and my students start packing up their stuff while looking at me hopefully. I hadn't given them any assignment for the weekend, and since I didn't feel like doing any work myself, I decide to let them slide.

"Okay... I'll give you guys a break this weekend. Your only assignment is to be on time Monday morning." I wave them off and turn to gather my papers. Someone whistles and they all rumble their approval and take off promptly.

I'm so glad it's Friday; at least I have the weekend to chill out and relax. And William is going to Mom's for the night too - sleep-overs at Grandma's have become his favorite time of the week, I think. We started that little routine last Christmas when I would take weekends off to go on my little sojourns, searching for Monica.

My Mother... I remember trying to explain to her why I needed to travel all over the country, and Mexico, looking for Monica. I hadn't told her, at that point, that I was in love with her nor that we had had a relationship before. I didn't see the need for it, especially since I wasn't sure if I'd find her, or if she'd even want me back. But then, after June, when I thought we were going to be together again, I had returned home and decided to tell her everything.

Imagine telling a 70-yr-old staunch catholic woman - who also happens to be your mother - that you're in love with a woman. It wasn't pretty, and she didn't speak to me for weeks. But I think she's a little better about it now; especially since it appears that Monica does not, in fact, want me back, and I've been obviously broken-up about it. Mom tries to cheer me up in little ways, but she still hasn't really talked to me about any of it. I suppose she will eventually. I know she always liked Monica - I remember her questioning me to death when she abruptly left. 'Why did Monica move away?' 'Where did she go?' 'What do you mean you don't know? You two were good friends, weren't you?' 'How could you not know something like that?'

The memory of her incessant questioning rings in my head, and I find myself smiling while erasing the chalkboard, despite it all. Only mothers can be that clueless, y'know? She's so nave, god love her.

I gather up my things and trudge down the hall to my office, silently contemplating what to make for dinner tonight. Reaching my door, I try to balance all my books and paperwork in one arm while digging for my keys in my pocket.


The voice is familiar... familiar but shocking, and I turn around slowly. She's standing right behind me, her face wearing a gentle smile. I can't believe it. My mouth falls open and I stare at her, dumbfounded.

"Hi." She says it shyly.

"Hi," I manage to utter, and then the books and papers decide to slip out of my weakened hand, splattering all over the floor at my feet. I curse and bend down to pick them up frantically. My mind is racing, and she bends down and starts to help me pick my stuff up as well. I stop for a moment and catch her eye... our gathering pauses and we stare at each other. I want to be mad at her for blowing me off for 3 months, but I can't... I'm too flabbergasted.

"I tried to call you... I left you messages... a couple times." I say to her, trying not to sound too pathetic and whiney. She purses her lips and glances away from me for a second,

"I know... I'm sorry... I...," she looks back at me but hesitates. "I just had to do a lot of... thinking... a lot of soul-searching." She's quiet and very solemn, and her soft umber eyes ask me for forgiveness. "I should have called you back. I'm sorry."

She's so much better at apologizing than I am, because I'm forgiving her already. I guess I should be pissed at her, but I don't dare. I'm too amazed and relieved that she's actually here, and I'm flustered that she's this close to me. I can only quirk a small, nervous smile at her and go back to picking up my stuff.

She automatically gathers my stack of stuff up off the floor and stands up, ready and willing to help me, as always. I finally find my keys and unlock my door, letting us into my little office. I take the pile from her,

"Uhm, just lemme put my stuff away here and then..." I hesitate, my mouth hanging open and wordless, and we look at each other for a moment, neither one knowing how to finish my thought.

"S'ok... take your time." She saves me with a quick smile... her voice is soft and throaty and sexy... I wonder if it's intentional, or if it's just me. She turns to look at the stuff on my bookshelf while I scurry around, cleaning up. I'm doing a really poor job of organizing and putting my things away, but it's only because I'm too busy glancing up at her, watching her expression and her every move. God she's beautiful... I could think it a thousand times, and every time, it amazes me. She amazes me. I can't believe she's really here.

She turns and catches me looking at her. Her smile is shy and coy and tender. She picks up a picture from the bookshelf,

"Is this William?"

"Yeah, that's Mr. Big-Stuff." I'm so obviously proud, but it's a really good picture of him, taken just a month ago at my Mother's house. He's blowing bubbles through one of those little plastic wands, and he has a hysterical look on his face because he was concentrating really hard. I'm kneeling beside him, laughing my head off.

"My god... he's so big." Her voice whispers incredulously and she smiles. "He's so beautiful, Dana." She looks at me with glistening eyes. It must have hurt her a lot to be away from him for so long. I know she loved him dearly. I makes my heart ache to think about that. I cover my discomfort and smile back at her.

"Uhm... where are you staying - I mean, how long will you be here?" I clumsily stumble over my attempt to get information from her. What I really want to ask her is, 'Have you come back for me?'

"I'm staying at the Hilton, downtown, for... I dunno... a week? Two weeks? Depends, I guess."

'Depends'? ...How very cryptic of her. She shrugs and looks away from me and back at the picture. Guess I'm supposed to ask her what it 'depends' on. She looks back at me then, and I look at her with questioning eyes, but I won't ask her what she means. I think it's safer to just let it lie at this point. I clear my throat uncomfortably,

"Well... what are your plans for this evening?" My voice is lowering too, and I almost find it amusing that we're both being sexy with each other. She shrugs and looks at me intently.

"Do you wanna... come over to my place? ...See William?" I know she wants to, I just want to see her face light up... and it does. I smile back at her helplessly.

"I'd like that. But, I don't want to intrude--"

"You're not. I'm not doing anything... trust me." I grin at her and make a little face. She smiles back at me.

"Actually, William's going to be spending the night at my Mom's house later, but we can still... hang out... or, whatever."

Shit... did I just ask her to have sex with me later? Did that sound like a total come-on? Shit, shit. I glance away, blushing furiously at my own foolishness. I look back at her nervously and she's wearing a slight smirk too and placing William's picture back on the bookshelf.

She takes a deep breath and turns back to me, pursing her lips tightly. I have a horrible feeling that she's going to tell me 'thanks, but no thanks', or 'we need to talk', or something wrist-slitting like that.

"What time should I come over?"

Well, I think it's safe to say that she was surprised to see me. I do feel bad for not calling her like I said I would, but I hope she understands that I really needed to think about everything for a good, long while. She seemed to anyway.

God, I can't wait to see William. That picture of him just blew my mind. I mean, I know he's 3 already, but still... to actually see him will just be mind-boggling for me. I'm sure he won't remember me... of course he won't. I wonder if he's talking a lot? I wonder if he runs around and drives Dana crazy? The thought of it makes me smile wide. Funny how he doesn't really look like Dana, nor Mulder for that matter, thank god. I think I'd be disappointed if he looked like his father. As petty and judgmental as that sounds, it's so true.

Part of my hesitation to return to Washington and to Dana was because I'm afraid of what I might find or see here. Remnants of Mulder... remnants of the life that they had together after me... before me... whichever. I don't want any reminders of that... I don't want to see anything that infers that Mulder still has a hold on her in any way, shape, or form. If we do this, I need her to be mine, completely and absolutely. I don't want anything left-over from her life with him. I'd even like to suggest that we live elsewhere - preferably hundreds of miles away from the D.C. area. This place holds nothing but bad memories, and I don't want any of it to be a part of our lives. Call me ridiculous and insanely jealous, but it's all true. Some day soon I hope to tell her all this... I want to try to explain to her that even though I realize Mulder is William's father, he cannot be anything to her. It's bad enough knowing that Mulder is still in the picture to that degree - I have to make her understand that I can't handle anything more than that. I think it's only fair.

Maybe she won't understand it, and maybe she'll be angry with me, but I can't help it, goddammit. I had a slight problem with all of this when we were together before, but it's different now - it's worse because she left me for him. Surely she would understand my anxiety and my need to have a commitment from her?

God... did I just say 'commitment'? Oh jesus... where am I headed with this?! I can't start thinking 'commitment' already! Shit, I've gotta slow down... get ahold of myself. I'm supposed to be over at her place in an hour. I need to get my shit together. ...I need a cigarette.

Frustrated with myself, I dig in my purse for a lollipop - my third one today. Quitting smoking is a helluva lot harder than everyone says, especially when you're dealing with stuff like this.

It's 7:15, and Monica still hasn't shown up. I'm wondering if being fashionably late is a new 'thing' for her.

I'm staring out the window, searching for any signs of a strange car pulling up, but I don't see anything. William is finished eating and I'm pretending that I don't notice him playing with the remains of his mashed potatoes. He's smearing his fingers in them and making a big mess. I turn my attentions back to him and smile lovingly. My messy little angel. Monica will be so amazed at how he's grown. When he starts smearing the potatoes on the table, I decide that I've had enough and I get a cloth to wipe him clean. He's voicing his irritation with me when the doorbell rings.

I take a deep breath and open the door. God, she's beautiful. Damn, I just can't stop with that thought. She grins coyly at me.


"Hi. Come on in." I open the door wider and she steps inside, holding out a little package to me. I look at her curiously.

"It's just a little something... for William." She's so thoughtful, always.

"Thank you. You didn't have to do that."

"I wanted to. I missed a lot of birthdays and holidays." She smiles, but she's just covering the sadness that I can still see in her eyes. She looks past me and over to William, and she smiles so wide, it's blinding. I smile too as we walk over to him.

"Will... this is Monica." He's holding the cloth, getting ready to do god-knows-what with it, and he's grinning at both of us like a little devil.

"Hi William. You don't remember me, but I knew you when you were just a little baby." She's bending down a little to talk to him on his level, and she's smiling at him. He's grinning at her, but saying nothing... he always gets like this with strangers.

"Can you say 'hello', sweetie?" I try to coax him to have some manners.

"No!" He yells at us and laughs. What a little bugger. She breaks out in laughter, and even though I'm embarrassed, I laugh too.

"Monica used to take care of you sometimes when you were a baby. She helped Mommy a lot." I look at her and smile warmly, and her eyes glisten as she looks at me with understanding.

"Yah!" William yells again. Monica and I both break out in laughter again. He's full of it this evening, and now he's going to be showing off.

"C'mon bad-egg, let's get you outta this seat and ready for Grandma, okay?" I lift him up out of his high-chair, and he makes more silly squawking noises. Monica is chuckling at his antics and watching us. I finish cleaning him up and he takes off, running around the living room and then back to his room, all the while making goofy noises. Monica is watching him and smiling wide.

"He's so anti-social... definitely a trait he inherited from Mulder." I say it strictly as a joke, and I even smile and laugh a little, but Monica doesn't laugh. In fact, her smile quickly disappears as she turns and gives me a strange look, then turns and walks out to the living room. Oookay then. Guess I hit a nerve. Shit.

I follow her out to the living room and take her coat, telling her to sit down while I get Will's things together. I'm back in his room, stuffing things into his overnight bag, wondering what Monica must be thinking. Obviously my comment about Mulder upset her, but what am I supposed to do about that? William is Mulder's son... that's something that will never change. She knows that. I sigh deeply, wishing I could take the stupid comment back. This isn't how I wanted this evening to start out.

William has gone out to the living room, and I can hear the two of them talking. I finish with the bag and go out to watch them and see what they're doing. He's sitting on the sofa beside her, staring intently at her while she asks him little questions and teases him about things. She's still so good with him. The way he looks at her makes me wonder if maybe some part of him does remember her. That'd be sweet if it were true.

I suddenly remember that I need to tell her about my mother, about the fact that I've told her everything and she 'knows'. I had called Mom on the way home and quickly told her that Monica was here and that I wanted to spend some time with her so that we could discuss things. Of course, she had to ask me a million questions, but I think she agreed to keep William Saturday night too. I honestly don't remember that well, because I was so wound-up and hyper, I was spouting stuff off to her and not really listening. I think she wasn't too wild about the fact that Monica was here, judging from the tone of her voice. I'm sure all kinds of wretched thoughts about the two of us were going through her prudish mind. I just hope she doesn't say anything out-of-line when she gets here; that's why I wanted to tell Monica. God, I hope she won't be pissed that I told her.

I go out to the living room and sit down beside them, steeling my nerves so I can tell her. William jumps up and takes off again, leaving us alone.

"God, he is so adorable, Dana." She's smiling brightly again and her face is relaxed. ...I'm loathe to change it, and I hesitate for a long moment.

"Uhm..." I begin feebly, but William suddenly cuts me off,

"Mommy! Gamma's here! Gamma's here!"

William is looking out the window, waving and jumping up and down excitedly because he's spotted my Mother. Shit! I look at Monica with what I'm sure is a strange expression, and she looks back at me questionably. My doorbell rings and I look at the door in panic then look back at Monica, trying to cover myself with a tight smile. William is trying to open the door and I jump up to go open it for him. I look back at Monica again, checking her expression. She's got her blank mask on, but I can see in her eyes that she's wondering what's up with me.

I open the door and let my Mom in. She scoops Will up in her arms and kisses him and greets me. Then she looks over and sees Monica. She immediately puts on a polite mask, but I can see through it; I can see that she's tense. ...Oh great.

"Hello Monica." She sounds so proper and uptight, and her voice has that fake, high-pitched quality that mothers use when they're trying really hard to be polite to people they don't especially like. This pisses me off.

"Hi, Mrs. Scully. How are you?" Monica is proper and respectful as well, but I can see a hint of tightness on her face too.

"I'm fine, thank you. You look well... it's been a long time, hasn't it?" What the hell is that supposed to mean? God Mom... do NOT embarrass me, please.

"Thank you... yes, it's been... a long time." Monica hesitates and flips her eyes over to mine for a second. My mother is giving her a fake, cheesy smile as she nods her head.

"So, are you here for business, or pleasure?" Oh my GOD Mom! Shut up! My face blushes pure red, and my eyes are ready to pop out of my head as I throw huge deadly daggers at her, but she is ignoring me and watching Monica's reaction instead. Why do mothers always do this? Ask your friends - and girlfriends? - embarrassing questions that put them on the spot? My face is so hot, I must surely be sweating someplace.

"Uhm... pleasure, I guess." Monica answers with amusement in her voice, and she displays a slight blush too. Oh my god... I doubt that I could be any more embarrassed right now. I'm looking apologetically at Monica, who also looks really embarrassed and confused.

"Oh well, that's nice." She says it so fake and cheesy, I could gag. She looks at me as if to ask, 'what does she mean by pleasure, Dana?' like she's disgusted with us or disappointed in me. Jesus... I'm going to strangle her the next time we're alone. I quickly decide to gather myself and shut my mother up before she comes right out and asks Monica if she plans on having sex with me tonight.

"So, Mom... here's William's bag." I hastily hand her his stuff and give her an incredibly fierce glare, hoping that that's enough of a hint that she should leave now. She looks back at me indignantly.

"And you'll be picking him up... tomorrow morning?" She says it expectantly, with her eyebrows raised. What the hell? Is this her way of inferring that she doesn't want Monica to possibly spend the night here with me? Is this how she says that she doesn't approve of this?!

"Nooo, I told you I'll pick him up on Sunday, but that I'll call you first." Luckily I've remembered our earlier phone conversation, and so I say it very deliberately while glaring at her.

"Oh, well, alright then." She gives me another indignant look. Holy hell... I feel like I'm 17 years old again. I glance over to look at Monica while my Mom puts Will's coat on. She doesn't look amused... I'm not sure what her expression says, exactly. Her face is still tight, and her jaw is hard.

"Well, you two have... a pleasant evening. Monica, it was nice to see you again." She sounds extra fake now, if that's possible.

"Nice to see you too, Mrs. Scully." Monica's voice is even and calm and still polite, but she's got her arms crossed now. Defensive posture, I'd say.

I kiss William and bid them goodbye, and they close the door behind them. I lock it and turn around to face Monica, leaning back against the wood. She's not really glaring at me, but she's obviously waiting for me to say something.

"Sorry." I blurt it out immediately. "I wanted to tell you that I had told my Mom about... us... but, obviously, I didn't have time." She's still looking at me, arms still crossed.

"You wouldn't have had to tell me... it was pretty obvious." She says it curtly and turns to sit on the sofa again with a sigh. Shit.

"I'm sorry. She hasn't been real... 'accepting' of it... of me. I think she's hoping it's something that will 'pass', but then... she finds out that you're here, and... well... I'm sure her mind is just turning inside-out, y'know?" I'm sitting down beside her tentatively, trying to explain rationally. She's looking at me with a slight frown creasing her brows.

"So you told her everything?" I nod my head semi-sheepishly. "Jesus, Dana." She shakes her head and looks away from me.

"I had to tell her. I had to tell her why I needed to go looking all over the place for you, and after last June, well... I wanted to tell her."

She's looking at me again and I give her a shrug. I doubt she'll understand my thinking on this; as far as I know, she still hasn't told her parents. Of course, a lot could have changed over the past 18 months, and I know she was staying with her parents at one point during that time, so...

"How long would you have looked for me?" She has turned to face me and her voice is soft and serious. She draws me in with her earthy eyes and I stare at her helplessly.

"I don't know... for as long as it would have taken, I guess."

We're still staring at each other, and now we fall into a strange silence. Her eyes start wandering around my face, looking at my eyes, my brows, my nose, my lips, my hair. She's inspecting me closely, and when her gaze returns to my eyes, her lips part slightly and she licks them.

God, I want to kiss her.

She says that she would have searched for me infinitely. In essence, she's telling me that she loves me that much... that she wouldn't have given up. I suppose this is what I wanted to hear. But what I'd really like to hear is that she'd search for me longer than she searched for Mulder, or that she'd search harder because she loves me more.

She's out in the kitchen getting us some drinks and snacks, even though I doubt I can stomach anything at this point.

The whole thing with her mother was unnerving, although I guess it says that she must be serious about me, otherwise she wouldn't have told her anything. I'm not sure how I feel about that though. Her Mom probably hates me now and thinks I'm some evil she-dyke who preyed upon and converted her innocent, perfectly heterosexual daughter, stealing her away from Mr. Wonderful Mulder.

...Mulder. I'm definitely going to have to find a way to eradicate this idiotic competition and jealousy inside my mind, because it's going to get in the way. I'm so stupidly insecure about it... it's already eating away at my insides. I have to stop it somehow... but it'll be difficult. She had nine years plus with him... and I want more. She had his baby... how can I ever have more than that? As much as I adore William, and as much as I know that it shouldn't matter, he will always be *Mulder's* son. Like I said, even though I was well aware of that before, it's different now, and I'm afraid that the stupid green monster inside my head will never let me forget about it. This is the only child she'll ever have, and if she and I are going to be together, he'll be my son in a way too. So I'm going to have to force myself to get over it and stop being so childish.

She comes back out with a tray full of goodies and two glasses of wine. I smile nervously at her and I can tell by her reaction that she knows I've been sitting here thinking too much. I hope she'll take pity on me.

Somehow she seems to sense my distress, and she proceeds to put my mind at ease by steering clear of any heavy conversation. She starts asking me where I've been working, what I've been doing, etc., and I ask her the same. She tells me all about her new teaching career, etc., and we talk about William and the pre-school he attends, etc., etc. It's a nice, light, pleasant conversation, but I know that we're just dancing around the more serious stuff.

Time is flying by, amazingly enough, and we are winding our conversation down. We've reached that uncomfortable lull when I decide it's time for me to leave, or she decides to make a move. I don't relish either scenario really, but then again, I don't have a viable alternative suggestion, either. I really didn't come here in hopes of hopping into the sack with her, but quite honestly, that feeling is hanging very heavily in the atmosphere around us right now.

I don't want to do that tonight. It's not that I don't want her - I do - I just want to take this nice and slow. It's hard though... sitting here so close to her. She looks tired and sexy... she smells warm and inviting... I can feel that old, familiar pull between us. Fuck... this is gonna be hard. I wonder what she's thinking right now. I guess I should just go before I get myself in trouble. I clear my throat nervously,

"Well... I guess I should get going."

"Oh... really?" She looks disappointed.

"Well, yeah. I'm pretty tired from being in airports all day, y'know. I'm sure you've had a long day too."

It's a flimsy excuse, I know, but I don't wanna start anything here. We stare at each other intensely for a moment, and I'm certain that she can see right through my cheap charade. But... I think she understands. She makes a little sad face and forces a tight smile at me before she gets up and fetches my jacket. I feel like I'm punishing her, somehow, and I hate that.

She walks me to her door and we stand there awkwardly for a moment.

"Uhm... maybe we can... do lunch, or something, tomorrow?" She asks it hopefully. I try to smile gently at her,

"Yeah, that'd be good. Just call and tell me when - I'm in room 227." She nods her head in agreement and we stare at each other and smile uneasily again.

"Well... I'll see you then?" I say, not giving her a chance to reply. I'm such a chicken. I turn and walk quickly to my car and jump inside to its safety immediately. I watch her go inside and close her door. Damn... why am I such a wuss? Frustrated yet again, I dig in my purse and pull out my latest crutch... an orange lollipop.

I know I want her, hell, I could hardly think of anything else all day. I should just go back and... and... No. No, I mustn't. I'm bound and determined to take this slow. I have my eyes closed now, sucking my lollipop, trying pitifully to quell the cigarette craving - and others - that burns inside me. I would estimate that I've been here, sitting in her parking lot, for at least 10 minutes now. If she's watching me, she must wonder what the hell I'm doing. I swirl my tongue around the candy, pretending for a moment that it's her tongue that I taste, that it's her sweetness I swallow. No, no, noooooo... gotta stop this shit! I'm shaking my head at myself when a tap-tap at my window scares my eyes wide open.

It's Dana. Oh shit...

I open my window quickly, looking sheepish and very suspect. She stares at me strangely, a wild sort of look in her eyes,

"I, uhm...," she hesitates for a long second, "I don't want you to leave." She says it in a rush, with her eyes closed, like she's praying. Oh fuck. I look at her with shock, and my mouth tries to move and say something intelligent, but I fail miserably.

"I want you to stay with me." Breathe... just breathe, Monica. And for godssake, say something!

"Will you come back inside?" I'm nodding my head yes, but my mouth is hanging open mutely. I force a sound from my throat and hope that it's audible,


end Ch. 8

Ch. 9

"From the depths of my emptiness
Comes a feeling of inner bliss;

I feel wanted, I feel desired
I can feel my soul on fire;

I feel loved...
I feel loved."

Depeche Mode

September 22, 2004
11:00 p.m.

She's walking up my sidewalk, following me back into my apartment. I just admitted to her that I want her, and that I want her to be with me. I wonder if she understands that I meant longer than just for tonight. I wonder if I would shock her if I told her I wanted her to stay with me forever.

She comes inside and I close the door and turn around to face her. She's got a lollipop in her mouth and she's moving it around restlessly, clinking it against her teeth. I wonder if she's trying to quit smoking for her or for me.

I can barely contain myself as I stare at her and proceed to devour her alive, my mind consumed by the sudden need to feel her body against mine. She gets what I'm thinking too, I know she does just from the look on her face. She's thinking the very same thing. Her eyes are darkening and they're cutting into mine with erotic precision. I'd like to take this slowly, if that's possible... but if she continues to look at me that way, it may not be.

I move to stand behind her, reaching up to slide her jacket off her shoulders. She lets me do this and I toss it haphazardly on the sofa while she turns to face me. We're both still and silent, and I take the opportunity to study her for a moment.

Her serene face belies the hunger that I know lurks beneath the surface of her skin... I know this because I can feel it... I can smell it seeping out of her pores. I wonder how long I can keep my hands off of her.

I look at the jagged scar above her left eye and reach my hand out to touch it. I let my fingertips graze delicately over it, and she closes her eyes to the sensation. I move my fingers then to the other scar at the corner of her mouth and touch that one reverently as well. Her eyes remain closed as I try to heal her and erase the painful memories that caused these marks. I have some idea of what she went through, having been there myself, but it hurts me nonetheless. Because I wasn't there for her... and because she did it all for me. I'm telling her that I'm sorry with my touches, and I want to tell her so much more.

She finally opens her eyes and looks upon me with such love and affection in her eyes, it nearly takes my breath away. God, I've missed her so much. My heart has begun to pound erratically and my eyes blur with the arrival of tears. She smiles crookedly around the lollipop shaft sticking out of her mouth, and it makes me grin as well. I reach up and take hold of the stick, coaxing the orange-colored sucker out of her mouth, and I flip it around and place it in my mouth. A sly, sexy grin overtakes her lips as she watches me have a turn sucking on her pop. For some reason, I think this is turning her on a great deal, and I feel quite pleased with myself.

My superior feeling doesn't last very long, however, because before I know it, she is pushing her hands into my hair, tenderly kissing my cheek, and my ear, and my neck. I distinctly get her point, so I pull the lollipop out of my mouth and let it drop to the floor. ...I'll clean up the sticky spot later.

We somehow make it to the couch, kissing and tangling our hands in each other's hair, trying to reign in our passion, but having a very difficult time of it. I want her with a hunger and a force that scares me. I grab at her thin sweater and pull it up over her head swiftly, tossing it aside. She stays right with me, unbuttoning my blouse and removing it as well. I'm advancing on her so that she must recline back on the sofa, and I slip onto her lap, straddling her. We kiss hungrily, fusing our mouths and thrusting our tongues in unison. My hips move against her impatiently and I slide my hand down to press against her heat. A soft groan erupts from the back of her throat.

"Dana, Dana... slow down... slow down." She's pulled her lips away from mine and she's whispering the words against my temple.

"I can't... I want you so much." I'm nearly weeping my need to her. She is so totally in control of me, I wonder if she has any idea. She has complete power over this situation, and I will willingly do whatever she wants. But if she asks me to stop, I won't be able to.

She brings her hands to the sides of my face and holds me for a moment, looking deeply into my eyes before placing her lips gently against mine. She wants to take it slow... she wants to lead... and I want to do what she wants, but sweet jesus... it's going to be hard.

She kisses me languidly, and I revel in the pleasure and feel of her lips and tongue on me and in me. She is dominating every fiber of my being, and I let her have complete possession. Whatever she needs from me, I will give her. Wherever she wants to take me, I will follow. Whatever she gives to me, I will be thankful for.

Sleep evades me because I'm acutely aware of her fingers touching me... again. They dance along my thigh and glide upward until her palm cups the bottom of my ass and then slides gently over and up to my waist... then back down to touch my thighs again... up... then down... up... then down. It's a smooth, pleasant feeling that could lull me to sleep; however, she soon changes her mind and dips a finger into me, stirring me from my comfort zone.

I let out a breathy sigh and I feel her lips pressing in-between my shoulder blades as her tongue darts out to taste my flesh. She is a vampire. She is going to take me again, and I will gladly let her. It has become an even give-and-take between the two of us tonight, and I am amazed at the passion and intensity of our unions, as well as our stamina. I guess it's because we've been apart from each other for three months, or maybe it's just that we both crave each other so insatiably. Whatever the reason, we both seem fully intent on devouring each other repeatedly, until there is nothing left.

I roll over onto my back and she immediately slides her petite body on top of me, kissing me deeply as she starts moving her hips against mine, grinding and stimulating both of us. It suddenly isn't enough and she pulls her face away, her sharp blue eyes penetrating me in the darkness. She spins around and inverts her body atop mine, delving her tongue into my juicy depths quickly while I perform the same for her.

There is nothing quite so intense as feeling your lover's entire body climax in conjunction with your own. But then again, there is nothing quite so intense as this kind of love and devotion.

A glint of early morning sunlight filters through the blinds of my bedroom window, spilling over her body in a fine mist, illuminating her golden skin. She has a tan-line along her hips and across her stomach from wearing a bikini - a very skimpy bikini if those lines are accurate - and I find myself smiling at the thought. I could lay here like this and watch her for hours and hours.

She is asleep, her face completely serene and peaceful. I watch her chest move and listen to the even rhythm of her breathing. It puts me completely at ease with the world. My eyes suddenly well with tears because my heart is no longer broken... it is whole and strong and straining to burst out of the confines of my chest. She is such a beautiful creature. Every inch of her, both inside and out, radiates beauty and warmth and love.

She knows pain and is able to heal it; she feels fear but she faces it; she accepts a mistake and forgives it. She is the thing that everyone secretly wishes for but knows they'll never find. She is the stuff of dreams and fantasies and Hollywood movies. Combined with my son, she is now my whole life.

I love her. More than that, I am in love with her.

I'm lying here thinking all kinds of deep, profound thoughts about her, but will I ever be able to articulate them to her out loud? Will she ever know just how much she really and truly means to me? How can I possibly show her? Maybe one day I'll try to explain my inner thoughts... hopefully I'll be that secure one day... god knows she gives me the space and the encouragement to grow.

I know we've made mistakes and sacrifices, and there has been plenty of pain and suffering. We had to work for this relationship, and it's been damn hard. But anything that's this precious is worth the blood, sweat and tears. We pulled ourselves back from the brink of destruction. We made it out of the dark.

What was once damaged has been repaired. What was once so painful is now on the mend. And what was once lost between us, has now been found.

And we are whole again.



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