Little Foxes, five year itch, part 2/3
Little Foxes, five year itch, part 2/3
Notes: Alternating POV in this one.
Spoilers: Basically just part one of the story.
Disclaimer: Don't own any X-files characters but if I did, boy what I would do!
Alex had no concept of time. Las Vegas does that a person. He'd landed at McCarran airport just a few days ago. Once he'd stepped out the door, he'd been assailed by the blinding sunlight and the dry desert air. Even the palm trees were wilting in the incredible heat. From there he'd been plunged into the never-ending circus that is Vegas.
The casinos are dim, there are no clocks, everything's open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The neon lights made his eyes numb, the clink of coins in the slot machines followed him into his dreams. The bright sun or dark sky outside gave the only clue as to whether it was day or night.
Fox spent another sleepless night without Alex. Kat and Star slept like the babies they were but in the middle of the night one or the other would wake up, crying for their daddies.
Fox felt Alex's absence like a hole where his heart resided. He blinked back tears and alternately cursed his lover and prayed for his return.
It was hard to lie to the kids but he'd had to do it. He didn't want them to know Alex had left them. He made up some flimsy excuse about daddy Alex needing a few days vacation and somehow they bought it, much to Fox's relief.
Now, if only that were true.
Alex had been excited about being away from the family for a few days. He did all the regular tourist things, taking the little trolley up and down the strip, stopping in every single casino from the pyramid structure of the Luxor to spectacular Caesar's. He ventured into the romantic Paris, taking the trip up the elevator inside the replica Eiffel tower and poked around the shops of the Aladdin. He ventured downtown to watch the light display there and stared at the golden nugget in the hotel of the same name.
But all that wore thin after a few days. He couldn't keep up the level of excitement at the gaudy displays of excess. Beneath the glitter, the showgirls, the perky escorts on glossy advertisements scurrying against the curb with the wind, was a sense of dismal misery. The desperate women at the slot machines with too much makeup crusting their faces was depressing, the hordes of elegant Japanese tourists taking pictures of everything and everyone wasn't amusing for long, the Vietnam vets asking for a handout and sleeping on the sidewalks on their portable cardboard beds made him sad.
He tried to console himself with every fun thing he could find to do by himself: riding the roller coaster at the Stratosphere, buying Fox and the kids, even the baby, matching tee shirts with their names in gold spangles, sliding down the water slide and splashing into the warm pool of water with all the other kids and catching the latest adult attraction: a drag show with performers named Miss Understood and Polly Ester.
Fox made an effort to make dinner. Alex's nagging voice was in his ear. No hotdogs, something nutritious, no fatty, fried, empty calorie junk. Okay, that didn't leave much that he could cook. Scrambled eggs with salsa and cheddar cheese was good. How about roast beef sandwiches from the deli? Or grilled cheese sandwiches or salad? Oh fuck it, Alex just come home already!
Okay, no need to flip out. He just needs a few days by himself. That doesn't mean he's left for good. He needs space. We need space. Oh Christ, I sound like a marriage counselor now. A really crappy one at that.
Right, eggs are good, okay we got two teaspoons of salsa, so let's add that to the grocery list. See Alex, I'm writing stuff down on the little magnetized writing pad stuck on the fridge. Low fat cheese and a nice salad. Not bad at all. I can do this. It's not that hard. See?
Tomorrow I'll do the shopping and the children will not throw tantrums and, or, run away from the wobbling shopping cart. Just a nice morning of shopping and running errands. I can do this.
Okay dinner went well. The kids are watching their video. They didn't get me too wet at bath time. They even cleaned up their toys from the floor. Great, time to do laundry. Okay now how much detergent am I supposed to put in? It's just like cooking really, pinch of this, a dash of softener, one of those sheets. Wait those go in the dryer right? See I can do this.
Alex could swear his retinas were slowly being burned out of his head. Couldn't they turn out these blasted lights for a little while?
What to do now? Go see Boylesque or the Showgirls at Tropicana? Ooh, Elvis! Fox loves Elvis. Worships him.
Oh look a wedding chapel. Another one. Well how about that, I just passed another one. A drive-in one. A themed wedding. Elvis presiding at a wedding.
There were Elvis impersonators representing both young and thin, and old and fat incarnations: Elvis with wide sideburns and a white suit; Elvis in a cowboy suit; Elvis with big sunglasses; Elvis at the bar in another casino, knocking back bourbon.
Ugh, if I see Elvis one more time, I'll shoot him.
Honestly, what did Fox see in the guy? Okay, he was handsome and those sideburns were kind of sexy and the voice, well, the voice was deep and sincere and all that but still, couldn't he pick someone more contemporary and I don't know, hip?
Alex drained his club soda and left a tip on the counter. He perused the casino a little more. Not that there was much to look at. It was well past the strip, a little dinky, smoky bar, a few stores, including a cheap souvenir place, a magazine and novelty store, a drugstore where you could buy aspirin, porno magazines and tiny bottles of liquor, a small restaurant that more closely resembled a greasy spoon and the casino itself.
There was however, a magic show advertised for that night. They usually had a band playing at the small theatre but occasionally bigger acts performed.
Alex decided to get a quick bite to eat and settled for a hot roast beef sandwich, fries and a Coke for dinner.
He had his own little table for the show. It was only half filled with people and just as smoky as the casino was. He ordered another club soda with a twist of lemon.
The stage darkened and a smattering of applause greeted the master of ceremonies, a tall, nearly skeletal man with a handlebar moustache, hair pasted down with thick wax parting the two halves into a center part and a cigarette poking out of the corner of his mouth.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the amazing Maleeni. He will awe you with his magical powers and slight of hand. You are all lucky enough to see the always in demand, amazing Maleeni appearing here tonight for one night only. Let's give him a big hand."
The applause increased only marginally, as a tall, chunky man stuffed into a shiny tuxedo came out from behind the velvet curtain, spouting an endless scarf from the inside of his jacket pocket.
That little trick garnered him polite applause. The assistant, a buxom, bottle blonde, with a tuxedo style merry widow outfit got the most applause. It was obvious by the narrow bands of the material framing her naked thighs that she'd had to get a Brazilian bikini wax.
She tossed her hair and licked her glossed lips as the amazing Maleeni introduced her as the magnificent Melinda.
The men cheered hardest and the women all sulked. Alex sat back to enjoy the show both onstage and off.
Maleeni wasted no time in showing off cheap tricks like the scarf being pulled out of his pocket, pulling coins out of the audience members' ears and the magical rings illusion.
Melinda squealed quite well as he sawed her in half and separated her body parts to the delight of the crowd.
Maleeni squinted as he scoured the crowd for volunteers as the crowd grew restless with the typical parlor tricks a child could perform.
Let's face it, Copperfield could make airplanes disappear and David Blaine might let himself become frozen and then thaw out but that wasn't enough for the average audience anymore. They wanted more: more dangerous, more exciting, more grotesque, as evidenced by all the reality shows.
Maleeni pointed a finger at Alex. "You sir, look like the perfect victim, er, I mean, volunteer."
Alex pointed at himself, looked behind his shoulder, inquired with raised eyebrows as Maleeni kept pointing at him and finally shrugged as if to say why not.
"Have you ever been hypnotized?"
"Ah, very well, a virgin," he declared deliciously.
Alex smirked, so did Melinda.
She dangled her breasts close to Alex's face as she bent over to adjust her shoe.
Alex ignored her and looked at Maleeni sympathetically.
He really didn't think he was a good candidate for hypnosis and this Maleeni guy looked like he needed to put a plant in the audience to summon as a "volunteer".
Alex let himself be lulled by the "magic" coin Maleeni swung back and forth before his eyes. His voice became deeper, "you are getting very sleepy. You cannot keep your eyes open. Yes, that's right, Alex, you need to sleep."
Alex was almost fooled. Almost. Actually the psychedelic design on the coin was making him nauseous, which in turn made him close his eyes. Maleeni continued crooning, showing off to the crowd how Alex was falling under his spell.
Melinda waved her arms over Alex like he was a washer-dryer and she was a hostess on a game show where she showed off her plastic boobs and didn't say a word, just kept smiling at the appliances.
The crowd grew quiet, leaning toward the stage, anticipating what would happen next.
To prove that Alex was indeed hypnotized, Maleeni asked Alex to raise his hand. Maleeni placed his own over Alex's, making sure Alex understood he was to make his arm as rigid as a board and to resist Maleeni's own pressure on his flesh.
Alex did it consciously. Maleeni smiled in delight.
It had worked! He really could hypnotize someone!
He smirked at Melinda as if to say, see, I do have powers. Melinda rolled her eyes. She knew Alex was faking.
Alex was told to put his arm down in his lap. He complied. Next Maleeni told him to raise his foot off the floor. Alex obeyed.
He stamped his boot down when Maleeni asked. He was a puppet controlled by the aging magician. Alex was used to the role. Only Alex used to make people and problems disappear, lest Alex himself become a victim of the aging puppeteer.
Alex made a good-natured, co-operative volunteer. He squawked like a chicken to the giggles of the audience, sang like a torch singer to the swoons of the women in the audience, Alex's smoky voice lighting an erotic fire in them, and finally he pretended he was a soldier in the army, marching in perfect solitary formation up and down the tiny stage.
Maleeni put him back into the chair with another command and dramatically told Alex he would wake up with no memory of what had happened and no after effects. He did put a suggestion into his head that every time he heard the word ketchup, he should break into song. It didn't matter what song, but it should preferably be a show tune. Maleeni was partial to them and Alex's rendition of Peggy Lee's "is that all there is" brought a tear to the man's eye.
Alex snapped awake and looked in wonder and confusion at the audience proclaiming total memory loss of the last half hour.
The audience responded wildly and shouted out "ketchup".
Alex grabbed Maleeni's microphone and began to belt out a little something from "Cabaret."
The audience applauded and the curtain descended on them. Maleeni always knew when it was time to leave the stage: when the audience wanted more.
Mulder was forlorn, sighing dramatically as he folded the laundry. He missed Alex, he hated folding laundry, much less doing it and he couldn't concentrate on his writing.
He sighed again as the girls were arguing in the living room over what to watch on television. Mulder quickly put a stop to that by sending both of them to their rooms to play quietly. They sulked to great effect but this didn't seem to work at all on their dad.
Each stomp of a little foot told Mulder how pissed they were but he didn't have the patience to deal with them. He was up to his ears in housework, there was a deadline looming, he was horny as a cat in heat and there was no loving Alex to clamp his legs around, he was still angry about the pan he'd burned and had to throw out, and he was worried that Alex hadn't called at all. He at least should have checked on the kids by now. What if something had happened to him? Alex was pregnant. What if something had happened to their newest edition?
Maybe no news really was good news.
He ironed half-heartedly, leaving only one shirt with a scorch mark. Ah well, didn't much care for that shirt anyhow.
Alex entered the shops at the Aladdin, excited about shopping. That was very unusual for him. He hated shopping for anything that he had to look over. For himself or Fox, he'd know exactly what he needed be it socks or briefs or jeans, find out where it was located in the store, find the size, choose a color and pay for it.
He didn't mind looking at toys or clothes for the girls or going up and down each aisle in the grocery store but anything else that involved window shopping, checking prices or wandering aimlessly was a waste of time for him and quite boring besides.
Every store was nearly empty, with throngs of people looking only in the windows at the sinfully priced merchandise. The souvenirs were the only thing many were interested in.
He was beginning to think it was a waste of time when he came across a shop packed with people. Curious, he stepped inside. It was nothing but teddy bears. Now what on earth was so amazing about these bears that the shop was full?
He ventured further and into the back of the room where there was a larger concentration of people. He stared in amazement at the little factory. People were picking out models of different bears in several colors, shapes and sizes and could literally watch their bear come alive from beginning to end, stuffed with stuffing, fluffed into perfection and dressed in clothes and accessories to finish them off.
A helpful clerk steered Alex to pick out his own purchase. He was like a child himself as he watched the bears being made from start to finish, from stuffed to fluffed.
He decided to get a bear for every one in the family as well as their friends. For Star, it was a medium brown bear decked out in ballet slippers and a pink ribbon to match. For Kat, an ivory bear with cool shades and a lavender ribbon. For Fox, a dark brown one with studious glasses and holding a book with a page marker unfurling from between the pages. He even got ones for Walter and Scully. Walter's was a large, fuzzy model with glasses and for Dana he chose a petite silver bear with granny glasses and a doctor's stethoscope. The one he chose for William was a fuzzy, grinning bear with a baseball cap. He picked out bears for the lone gunmen as well. The last bear was for the baby, a small, delicate little grey bear with a silver ribbon and baby booties on its feet.
He was delighted with his purchases, eager to see the faces of his friends and family as they opened the bags and plucked out their gifts. He gave a heavy sigh and realized that in order to see them he would have to go home and face the music. It was time to go.
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