Mulder pressed the button on his answering machine again, his head tilted, squinting, trying to hear something in her voice that would help him understand.
Mr. Mulder, this is Dana Spengler and I’ve found something you might be interested in. I was hoping you might meet me out here. I’m headed to the Lorton Presbyterian Church, just off Route 643 near Donovan’s Corner. You won’t need your gun, but you should bring your flashlight. And your boots.
He looked at his watch: just after seven p.m. She’d been in the office with him a few hours earlier: sipping coffee, finishing paperwork. She’d given no sign that she’d had any kind of plan for the evening. He stuffed his hand into his pocket and chewed on his cheek, thought for a moment.
Then he shrugged, grabbed his keys, and went out to his car.
When the engine cut off, the world was silent but for bugs: a low hum of early-summer cicadas and crickets. The church huddled in darkness, its small windows black, but he’d pulled up beside her car in the gravel lot, so she must have been nearby. His boots crunched as he turned in the lot, looking for her.
“Psst,” he heard from the shadows. She was leaning, smiling, against the small building’s stones.
“Is that Dr. Dana Spengler?” He called to her.
She waved him over and held her forefinger to her lips. “You’ll kill the atmosphere.”
“A church, Scully?”
“Not just any church.” She was swallowing her smile, the moon glinting off still-visible mirth in her eyes.
“A spooky church.”
She nodded. “Haunted, some say.”
He couldn’t help the grin. “And me without my proton pack. Spengler, though?”
“What, did you have me pegged as Venkman?”
He laughed. She had him, she really did, with her baseball hat and black jeans and boots in this surely-not-haunted church on a Tuesday night. He was hers eternal. “Nah, you’re my sexy collector of spores, molds, and fungus. We going in?”
Scully ducked her head to hide her blush under the guise of digging through her pocket. She came up with a key.
“We’re not gonna pick the lock? What kind of ghost-hunting break-in is this?”
She shrugged. “I called the caretaker. Seemed easier.”
“Square,” he said, and she clicked on her flashlight, giving him a look.
Later, when they were tucked behind the altar of the abandoned church, when their lantern batteries had died and they’d finished the four beers she’d snuck in, when she was straddling his lap and sucking on his Adam’s apple, he’d revise that statement. She was no square, his thoughtful, beautiful ghost-busting Dr. Scully.
“Are you sad we didn’t find the ghost?”
He pulled her tighter against him, hands cupping the top of her ass, and grunted. “No.”
“Good,” she said. “Me either.”
And then he was kissing her and thinking how ghost hunting was maybe even better than baseball, and then he wasn’t thinking much of anything at all.