“Why do you always stare at her, but you don’t do anything about it?”
“Mr. Mulder, it’s the truth.”
“I don’t… stare at her. That would be rude.”
“Fine then, which word would be better. Heather, go get the thesaurus.”
“No, no, no. You all need to get outside for lunch and recess. Put the book down and go get some fresh air.”
“You admit it’s true and we’ll go.”
“No. You’ll go because I said so, smarty pants. Scoot, scoot.” He gestured for them to go and they grumbled as they went, casting knowing glances back at him as he shook his head, trying not to smile.
Waiting until they had walked down the hall and around the corner, his hands in his jeans pockets, he saw when she came out of her classroom and his heart skipped a beat. She was leading her class of kindergartners out in a line, two by two, singing as they walked toward the playground.
She caught his eye and he smiled slowly, watching her blush and tuck back a piece of her long red hair. She shook her head and reached for the hand of the line leader, continuing to sing as they walked, her eyes landing on his once more before she left his sight.
He let out a breath, shaking his head as he went back into his classroom. He was not on lunch duty this week and chose to stay in the classroom where he could eat his lunch in silence, before the kids came back from their much needed break.
Also, if he sat in just the right spot, he could stare… no not stare… watch Miss Scully as the little ones crowded around and demanded her help.
“Is watch a better word?” he mumbled to himself, taking out his lunch and sitting down to… surveil her.
Christ, no. That was even worse. He glanced at the thesaurus, but left it there, Miss Scully appearing in his view.
“Miss Scully, can you help me with my juice box?”
“One opened juice box coming right up,” she said with a grin.
“I can’t get my yogurt open.”
“Be there in a sec, Joshey!”
“Miss Scully, I can’t open my water. My mom closes it too tight.”
“Miss Superhero Scully, to the rescue!”
They all laughed as she buzzed from table to table, helping each child until near silence fell as they all began to eat. She smiled as she watched them, her little faux children. She loved them all and knew when the school year was over she would be incredibly sad.
Glancing up, she saw Mr. Mulder, the most popular fifth grade teacher watching her. She placed a hand on her hip and raised an eyebrow at him, letting him know she had caught him in the act. He paused, his sandwich close to his mouth and rolled away quickly on his office chair.
She chuckled slightly and shook her head, turning her back on him, not wanting to encourage him in any way. Her focus would remain on the children, not the man with gorgeous eyes who gave her butterflies every time he spoke or looked her way.
No, she needed to keep all thoughts of Fox Mulder from her mind.
Until she was home anyway, where those thoughts could linger and bloom…
Five hours later, a parent meeting and then one with the principal, he got into his car and sighed. His class had come back from lunch with an obvious plan, whispered notes passed throughout the afternoon. He knew they were in cahoots to get him and Miss Scully together, no matter how he tried to stop them.
Focusing instead on letting it run its course, he had ignored them, keeping the teasing and giggling to a minimum. At the end of the day, watching them leave, he hoped the large red construction paper envelope that Marie Sinclair held in her hands was for someone else and not Miss Scully. Knowing he was probably wrong, he had wished them goodbye, happy it was Friday, with the whole weekend ahead of him.
Leaving the parking lot, he turned left, a purchase needing to be made before he could go home.
She was tired, the week feeling longer than five days. Two meetings after school and sitting behind a slow moving truck for a mile, she was ready to relax.
Taking off her shoes, her mouth watered at the scent coming from the kitchen. The meal and bread had finished at precisely the same time, just as she had planned. Dinner was ready, and all she had to do was open the wine and let it breathe.
She quickly showered, washing off the day and slipping into something more comfortable. Her hair down and slightly damp, she made her way downstairs and into the kitchen, dropping an opened construction paper envelope onto the counter.
Lifting the lid of the bread maker, she took out the holder releasing the bread and placed it on the cutting board, cutting it into large thick slices. Two plates were taken out of the cupboard and the chicken and potatoes were dished from the crockpot, allowing them time to cool, as her mouth continued to water.
The front door opened and closed and with a grin, she reached for the bottle of wine and filled the glasses. Turning around, she was greeted by the sight of a bouquet of gerbera daisies in many colors, and the man who made her stomach flutter.
“Hello wife,” he said, setting the flowers on the counter.
“Husband,” she replied with a smile.
“Thought the flowers would be a nice surprise.”
“Indeed. And perhaps they are an apology for spending your entire lunch break staring at me?” she teased, handing him a glass of wine.
“Is ‘ staring’ the word we would use?” he asked, looming over her, causing her head to tip back, a smile playing at her lips.
“I would definitely classify it as such, yes.”
“Hmm,” he hummed, bending his head to kiss her softly before she pulled him back for another.
“So, what did they say today?” she asked after another kiss, opening the cupboard and pointing to the vase she wanted, which he lifted down with ease, a smirk on his face.
“That I stare at you and never do anything about it.”
“Hmm,” she hummed, filling the vase with a smile. “And what did you tell them?”
“More of the same. ‘You’re out of my league. Would never look at me twice.’ You know, the usual.”
She nodded, reaching for the flowers and opening the plastic and paper. Taking them out, she arranged them in the vase, watching him out of the corner of her eye as he picked up her mess and tossed it into the trash.
“They’re wrong though. Or you are.”
“How’s that?” he asked, wrapping his arms around her, and nuzzling her neck.
“I’m nowhere near out of your league. And it only took one look.”
“Oh, Miss Scully…” he breathed and she laughed, turning around to face him, the flowers perfectly arranged.
“Mr. Mulder,” she whispered, reaching into his inside jacket pocket and taking out the small pouch inside. Opening it, she took out the gold band she had placed on his finger four years ago in a wedding chapel in Vegas.
Placing it back now, he kissed her, her hands moving to his face, the ring he had given her already replaced after she had showered. Pulling apart, they grinned at one another, their secret still safe.
“Dinner smells delicious. You timed it perfectly.”
“Of course I did. Did you expect anything less?”
“From my intelligent wife? Never.”
“Thank you, my husband. Grab the napkins and silverware would you?” she asked as she carried their plates to the table, coming back for the wine and bread with butter.
He kissed the top of her head as they sat down the red envelope placed beside her and she grinned. Raising her eyebrows, she waited for him to look at the contents once everything was set upon the table.
“Well, let’s see what we have here. Where was it?”
“My desk. I found it after I came back from dismissal duty.”
“Hmm. Well let’s give it a read.” He took his glasses from his inside pocket and put them on, clearing his throat. “‘Miss Scully, perhaps you may have noticed how Mr. Mulder gazes at you.’ Oh, they used the thesaurus and found a better word than stares, as it makes me sound like a pervert. Perhaps you haven’t, but WE have and we feel that without help, OUR help, he will never speak up, thus-’ wow, ‘thus…’ I am impressed- ‘thus we have taken it upon ourselves to ask for him. Would you go out to dinner with him?’” He looked at her with a grin, his adorable face in glasses causing that familiar flutter in her stomach, as he turned the paper around. “You didn’t give them an answer.”
“Only because I didn’t have a pen,” she said with a smile. He handed her the paper and got up to grab a pen. Sitting back down, he gave it to her, and took a sip of his wine.
Turning slightly so he could not see what she was writing, she smiled as she penned her answer. Folding the paper, she tried to put it back without him reading it, but he grabbed it, holding it above his head when she laughingly tried to take it back.
“Too fast for you. So what did Miss Scully have to say in response?” She smiled, threading her fingers together, and resting her chin on top of them. ‘I have noticed the way Mr. Mulder gazes at me and I think you’re right… without help he may never speak up. So, thank you for stepping in and please tell him my answer is: yes. (Also, please let him know I love Italian food).’” He smiled and folded the letter, put it in the envelope and placed it on the other side of his plate.
“Do you know how much I love you, Miss Scully?”
“I have some idea, Mr. Mulder,” she said, leaning forward to kiss him, her hand on his arm. Opening her eyes slowly, she smiled. “I love you too. Now let’s eat, I’m starving.” He laughed and took a bite, telling her more about his day.
As she listened to him, she thought for the millionth time how lucky it was that she had been forced to attend a ridiculous teachers team building seminar five years ago and had been partnered with the awkward handsome man who had felt just as silly as she when they had to make an abstract art project out of random school supplies.