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ONE MONTH LATER

 

The freshly sharpened knife cuts through a cucumber as though it were made of air, and she quarters the slices before piling them on top of a nearly-finished salad. Mulder’s kitchen has seen more action in the last month than it had in the previous ten years he’s lived here, now regularly graced by the two of them preparing meals together. It feels blissfully domestic and boring, living this way, though the mundane days are still punctuated by a flesh-eating fast food employee or a genie that lives in a rug now and then. The nights, though, are never boring anymore. Even if it’s just Mulder wrapped around her like a tortoise shell and all they do is sleep, it’s the most exciting time of her life. It’s rare that they only sleep. 

 

Mulder is in the living room messing with the stereo, and she hears a familiar tune drifting in; Red Light Special. Her body responds immediately, swaying in a way that was second-nature to her for a short time. Realizing how out of place it is, she stops, turning to see him standing in the doorframe, smiling at her. 

 

“What is this, Mulder? Doesn’t sound like your style of music.” She’s cautiously curious. 

 

He walks toward her, slipping his hands onto her hips as hers find his shoulders. They sway gently together. 

 

“I was just thinking, Scully, you haven’t really told me about how you learned all those moves.” 

 

He’s smiling a little bit sheepishly, asking her for something he’s not sure she’s willing to give. She starts to slowly walk him backwards, out of the kitchen and towards the dining room. 

 

Scully might tell him. She might relay a watered down version of how she went from straight-laced FBI agent to stripper in three weeks, skipping all the tawdry parts. 

 

But what would Desi do?

 

They reach the table and she pulls out a chair, directing him to sit. Stepping close, she presses her thigh between his legs and pulls his head close against her breasts, looking down at his upturned face as his eyes grow wide with excitement. 

 

“Why don’t I show you instead,” she says, and his grin sets off a flutter in her belly. “There’s just one thing, Mulder, before we start.”

 

A flash of concern rolls across his features. “What?” he asks.

 

“There are rules,” she replies, already twitching and rolling her pelvis against him. 

 

“Right, no touching,” he says, licking his lips. 

 

She shakes her head. “Different club, different rules.”

 

“Okay. What are the rules at your club?” She can see that he’s already growing hard beneath his slacks. 

 

“You have to touch me,” she says breathily. 

 

He smiles devilishly, bringing his hands up to cup her ass. 

 

“That is a rule I can certainly adhere to.”

 


 

Ventura County, CA

 

The salty spray of the surf tickles her nose from her perch on a small wooden bench, coffee in hand and a paperback open in her lap. She closes her eyes and turns her face up towards the sun, breathing the warm, orchard-scented air. It’s peaceful here, though the gulls are screaming and the shouts from a beach volleyball game echo in her ears. Peace doesn’t always come from quiet; sometimes it comes from knowing that you have a safe place to sleep and enough money to buy breakfast. Peace of heart and mind, if not of environment. 

 

“Is this seat taken?” coos a soft voice, and she opens her eyes to see a woman with long chocolate colored hair and thick hips, her bright green eyes standing out against her deeply bronzed skin. 

 

“Oh, um, yes, I mean no. You can sit,” she stammers, groaning internally at her own awkwardness. She’s usually very comfortable talking to pretty women; this one just caught her off guard. 

 

The woman sits, her ample backside brushing close so that their legs are touching, but just barely. 

 

“Do you live around here?” the woman asks, “I’ve seen you a couple times now, I think.”

 

She nods. “Yes, for just about a month,” she answers, “I moved from the East Coast.”

 

The woman smiles broadly, revealing long slashed dimples on her cheeks. She’s cute. Really cute. “Ah, a transplant. We love those here.” The woman tips her own round face up towards the sun. “Nothing like a little California sunshine to cure what ails you.”

 

There’s a silence, but it’s not awkward. The woman turns to look at her again. “Would you like to grab dinner sometime, or drinks, maybe?” the woman asks, and the smirk on her lips makes clear that this is not just a friendly invitation; it’s a date. 

 

She nods, smiling back. “I’d like that,” she says, her voice catching in her throat a little. 

 

“How about now?” the woman asks with a small shrug. Her forwardness is incredibly attractive. 

 

“Now is good,” she says, trying to mask her excitement. 

 

“Let’s go then,” the woman says as she stands. “Oh, I didn’t even ask your name,” she adds with a laugh. 

 

“It’s Amanda,” she replies, still getting used to the feel of that name on her tongue. 

 

The woman extends her hand. “Nice to meet you Amanda, my name’s Desiree.”

 

Amanda smiles broadly. “I knew someone named Desiree once.”

 

“Yeah?” Desiree asks, “hopefully someone you liked?”

 

Amanda nods. “She saved my life, actually.”

 

“Well,” Desiree replies, “those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’ll do my best.”

 

They walk down the beach towards the boardwalk, the setting sun painting the sky pink.

 

END