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Empty Chair, The

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Title:  The Empty Chair

Author: Sara B.

E-Mail: sabo727@tampabay.rr.com

Website: http://sabo727.tripod.com/

Feedback: Live guilt free; provide feedback!

Spoilers: Miniscule reference to ‘The Red and the Black’ 

Category:   M/S Married, M/O almost sex, William - Major angst warning

Rating:  Over seventeen 

Summary: Mulder and Scully are married but is Mulder cheating on her?  What is Scully going to do? 

Disclaimer:  The recognized characters are used Without Prejudice and are the property of C. Carter, Fox and the wonderful actors who breathed life into written words, most notably G. Anderson and D. Duchovny who were able to make us believe in the improbable.  No Infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.  The story and before unknown characters belongs to me.

Gratitude: To Kim Knight, you are the best, thank you.  To my Dennis for just being who you are.  To CC and Company, who created the X-Files.  Lastly to the readers, you make this hobby have meaning.

Archive: I’d be honored.  Please keep my name attached and let me know where it will be.  Thank you.

Author’s Notes:  The beginning of this story came to me while I showered and I had no idea where it was going.  The story nearly wrote itself. 

The Empty Chair

Sara B.  01/06

 

Dana sat staring at the empty chair across the dining table from her, Mulder’s place.  This was occurring with increasing regularity.  Unfortunately she could no longer fool herself by thinking that Mulder, her husband of thirty-seven months and Will’s father, was working late.  He wasn’t, just like he hadn’t been for three months now.  That wasn’t to say she didn’t know where he was, because she did, all too well.  Mulder was with Charlene at her apartment; the same place he was every other time he didn’t make it home for dinner, or sometimes the entire night. 

Charlene Christine Coalman was the object of Mulder’s affections.  It started three months ago.  Three months, that was the last time Mulder took Scully in his arms.  It was the last time he kissed her with meaning; the last time he told her he loved her. 

Tonight was supposed to have been special; she had something to tell Mulder that she hoped would return him to her.  She found out that Will was not destined to be an only child.  Yesterday her doctor confirmed that she was pregnant, three months along coincidentally.  

She’d told Mulder that she needed him to come home by seven tonight, it was important.  He’d promised that nothing would keep him from being there on time.  He didn’t make it and he hadn’t even bothered to call, not that he ever did.  If she hadn’t known it was a lost cause before, she did now.  Part of her was grateful she hadn’t had a chance to tell him.  It would be easier to leave now.  Yes, she would leave right after the holidays.  William would have both of his parents for one last holiday season.

Scully got up and cleared the table.  She didn’t make a plate for him because she knew that Charlene would take care of feeding his hunger for food, or anything else.  She cleaned up the kitchen then went to the family room to finish decorating the Christmas tree.

She’d spent the entire day decorating the house and making a special dinner.  She’d left the tree to finish with Mulder.  Since their first Christmas together, Mulder always got a kick out of decorating the tree.  This was to be the first one that the entire tree would have decorations.  Before, they needed to leave the bottom bare because of Will but this year he was old enough to understand not to pull on the ornaments.

Scully climbed down from the ladder from putting the star on the tree and surveyed her surroundings.  Everything was beautiful; it was picture postcard perfect.  The perfect holiday setting for the perfect family.  If you didn’t look into the darkened corners, you never would know that the inhabitants of this home would soon be going their separate ways.  A huge yawn caught her unawares and she realized how tired she was.  Unfortunately she still had one more big job to do before she could rest. 

Scully opened the bedroom closet door and started removing clothes and carried them to the guest room.  She then went to the dresser and took her things out, again taking them to the guest room.  Just because she was staying through the holidays did not mean she could stand sleeping next to him on those occasions when he did find his way home.  She also did not want to sleep in ‘their’ bed with all the memories of better times.  No, let Mulder sleep with the ghosts; it was more fitting anyway.

Once she had removed her things from the master suite bathroom she readied herself for bed and, after a last check on Will, she headed to an unfamiliar bed to fall into a fitful sleep.    

 

Mulder was zipping up his pants.  He couldn’t believe what he’d almost done; he’d almost cheated on Scully, really cheated, though he wasn’t sure the semantics would win him any arguments.  He finally come to his senses and realized this had to stop; he was getting in too deep and he almost betrayed the only people who ever loved him, Scully and Will. 

Special Agent Charlene Christine Coalman came to him three months earlier requesting his help on a serial killer case.  They worked well together and soon they came up with a profile that helped catch Michael Trent just before he claimed his seventeenth victim.  Then there was another case and another.  Soon the work was being done in the evenings, at her apartment.  He even ended up sleeping on her couch occasionally, he told Scully he’d slept in the office. 

Charlene was the epitome of every woman he had ever been with before Scully.  One night they ended up necking like teenagers and tonight he found himself in bed with her.  Fortunately he stopped himself before things went too far.  Okay, it was already too far but not passed the point of no return; he hoped.  He jumped from the bed, hurriedly dressed and left.  Charlene’s pleading voice followed him down the hallway as he made his way to the elevator.

Mulder quietly entered his home and looked around at the decorations that Scully had painstakingly put up.  He walked into the den and was dismayed to see the tree was finished.  At first he was angry with Scully for not waiting for him but then a voice in his head asked when had he been available to help?  He hung his head; he’d been missing from his life and hurting those that he truly loved.  Mulder passed the dining room and saw the half burned down tapers and remembered that Scully wanted him home for a special dinner tonight.  Not only had he forgotten, he’d almost betrayed her in the most base and disgusting way and he had no idea why.  Sure Charlene was beautiful, but she wasn’t Scully.  Tears pricked his eyes.  How will I ever make it up to Scully?

He climbed the stairs and as soon as he saw the guest room door closed he knew Scully was in there.  The door was always open unless the room was occupied.  A small hope flourished that one of Scully’s brothers or maybe her mom had dropped by but he knew it was not the case.

He entered their room and saw the empty bed.  Mulder walked back to the guest bedroom and tried the door; it was locked.  He ran down to the kitchen and retrieved the house keys.  Will’s curiosity made it imperative that they have keys to all of the locks in the house.  He prayed that Scully hadn’t thought of this and removed the key; she hadn’t; he thanked whoever might be listening for this one favor.

Mulder opened the guestroom door to see Scully curled up in a tight ball on the bed.  She looked so small.  When he approached he saw that she was crying in her sleep.  He sat on the bed and pulled her to him. 

“Opium is not a good scent for you, Mulder.” Scully said as she pulled herself from his embrace.  He was so shocked, he didn’t move to pull her back until she was off the bed and across the room.  “I hope it smells better on Charlene.”

Mulder felt his world crash down.  He’d fooled himself into thinking Scully didn’t know.  He saw now how stupid he’d been.  Scully was brilliant, how could he have thought his lame excuses would get passed her?  Worse, how much pain had his stupidity caused her? 

“If you’re through polluting the air would you leave and take your lover’s stench with you?”  It wasn’t a question or a request.  Scully stood at the open door with her hand on the knob.

“Scully, baby, I need to talk to you.  To explain.”  Mulder wasn’t sure what he could explain but he needed to try.  Something told him that he’d finally pushed Scully too far and if he left the room he’d never get another chance, not that he was sure he had one now. 

“The time to talk was at seven, over the specially prepared dinner that I made.  Or while we finished decorating the tree.  Or three months ago when you started your affair.  Now is not the time to talk.”  She didn’t move from the door.  “I see you’re not planning on moving till you talk.  Okay, that’s fine.  Talk all you want but don’t expect me to listen; I’ll come back when you are gone.  I need to get some air freshener anyway.” 

Mulder followed her down the stairs with his eyes, silently pleading with her to stop and look at him without the hate in her eyes. 

Mulder knew that the scent of Charlene on his clothes and skin only inflamed Scully’s anger so he ran to take the fastest shower of his life.  While drying he wandered to the closet and found Scully’s clothes were missing.  He checked the dresser and found her drawers were empty, except for all the sexy lingerie he’d given her throughout their marriage.  He quickly donned sweat pants and a tee-shirt then went to find his wife and salvage his marriage.

Scully was standing in front of their door looking at something.  Mulder stopped to just look and admire her.  Why had he done it, how could he?  One look at Scully and he saw everything he always wanted and so much more.  “Scully,” he said quietly so as not to startle her. 

She didn’t look at him just shoved the folder she was looking at.  “Want to add those to the family portraits on the mantel?”

Mulder opened the folder and fell to his knees.  It contained pictures of Charlene and him.  The first were their necking sessions on her couch, each photo got more explicit and the last several were of tonight.  “Scully, I swear, nothing happened.”

“Nothing happened?  The man I love, whom I made sacred vows to is standing there naked with his dick in some naked woman’s hand; and you tell me nothing happened?  God, Mulder, why not try to sell me the Brooklyn Bridge or maybe Washington’s Monument?  Something happened, I just don’t understand why.”  Her legs gave out and she fell into a heap on the floor.  Mulder was immediately to her side but she scurried away.  “Don’t, don’t you dare touch me.”

“Scully, don’t push me away, please.”  Mulder pleaded between sobs.

“Don’t push you away,” she choked out.  “You’re the one screwing around yet I’m the one pushing away?  I think you better check the scorecard Mulder.  I’m the one who for three months has been trying to save this marriage.  I’m the one who kept her mouth shut in fear she was going to say the wrong thing.  I’m the one who went to sleep alone too many nights and woke to an empty bed twenty seven times.”  She gasped, “I’m the one who tried to seduce her husband only to have him turn from me and tell me he was too tired.  I’m the one who, until tonight, thought there was a chance.”  She broke into sobs and Mulder wanted to engulf her in a never ending hug.  The realization that this was entirely his fault came crashing down on him. 

 

Something was pushing at him and Mulder opened his eyes to find Will shaking him; he must have fallen asleep on the floor.  He could hear Scully in the kitchen.  “Daddy, what you doin’ on da floow?”  Will asked.

“Your old dad just needed a little nap and this seemed to be as good a place as any,” he chided his son.

“You made momma sad.  She’s been sad for a long time.  Daddy, why did you make momma sad?”

‘That’s the million dollar question,’ Mulder thought.  “I don’t know, Buddy, but I’m trying to work it out.”

“I don’t know, dad, you hurt her bad.  She moved out of your woom.  She’d been cwyin’ dad, momma nevew cwies, nevew evew.  She does when she’s happy but she not happy.”

“Yeah, I know.”  Mulder just looked at their son, so much Scully and so much him.

“You fix it?”  Will asked earnestly.

“I would if I could but I did a really bad thing and I don’t know how to fix it.  I wish I could but I just don’t know how.”

Scully strolled in.  “Will, your breakfast is ready.”  She looked away quickly when Mulder looked at her. 

They sat eating their breakfast silently.  Will looked from one parent to the other.  It was the first time he had ever felt fear and he didn’t understand it. 

“Hey, come on, Will, eat up.  Grandma will be here soon to take you shopping.”  Scully tried to sound normal but it just wasn’t happening. 

 

Maggie Scully picked up Will and they were on their way.  Scully came back to the kitchen and got a cup of coffee then poured it down the sink.  Mulder watched her every move but said nothing. 

“Mulder, when did it happen?  When did you stop loving me?”  She still didn’t look at him.

“I didn’t Scully,” he replied simply.

“Oh, oh God!”  She fled the room, ‘he never loved her.  Mulder just told her he never loved her!’

Mulder watched her flee and realized what she thought he was saying and went after her.  “Scully, no!  That isn’t what I meant.  I meant that I still love you, probably more now than ever before.”  He caught up with her half way up the stairs and pulled her down on the step.

“Why then, why that woman?  I don’t understand, why?”  Despair and desperations flavored her words.

“I know you won’t believe me but I don’t understand it either.  It was like I couldn’t control myself.  I wanted to be with you and Will but I was compelled to be with her.  I knew what was going on but I wasn’t participating.  Last night, God, last night when I was there, and we were naked I kept thinking of you.  How much I love you, need you.  How I want you all the time.  It was like I was watching my body doing things beyond my control.  She took me by mouth and suddenly I was aware of what was going on and I had to get out of there.”  He looked off a little.  “Driving home it felt like I’d been drinking.  I had all my faculties but my mind was a muddle.”

Scully looked at his face, his eyes and realized that Mulder was telling her the truth.  He believed what he was saying.  She reached up and touched the base of Mulder’s neck.  It was the first time she’d touched him willingly and he savored the feeling.

Her gentle probing stopped and she said, “there is it.”   She moved behind him and looked at his neck.  “Mulder, there’s a small bump and a little redness.  What happened those nights you didn’t come home?”

“I slept on her couch, I swear.  On her couch, alone.”

“How did you fall asleep?”  Mulder was starting to follow her thinking; he turned and looked at her. 

“We would be working and then we’d eat something and I’d get tired, exhausted.  Next thing I knew I was waking up in the morning.  Scully do you think. . .”

She nodded.  “It looks like the same type of scar I have on my neck.  It wasn’t there three months ago.”

“How can you be so sure?”  He asked.  “It isn’t a place most people look.”

“I’m not most people.  I may not have your memory but mine isn’t that bad either.  I have a catalog of every scar, mole, freckle and pimple on your body.  I’ve taken great pains to examine every inch of you on several occasions.”

Mulder chanced moving closer and whispered, “They were all very notable occasions, as I remember.”  Her hand moved to his cheek.  “I love you beyond words, Scully.  You and Will are my life.”

“I’m starting to believe you.”  She hesitated.

“But, I can tell there’s a big but coming,” Mulder ventured, trying to lessen the tension. 

“But, you hurt me terribly and,” again she hesitated, “that woman is the quintessential Mulder babe.  She’s everything I’m not; everything that I know attracts you: the hair and the body.  Charlene has it all.”

“No, Scully.  She has everything the Fox Mulder you first knew wanted; he was a fool.  This Fox Mulder only wants you.  He wants you, needs you, loves you and he is so damned mad when anything ever hurts you and he will never forgive himself.”  His hand reached the back of his neck and he rubbed his finger over the upraised area.  “Should I have it removed?”

“No!  God no!  We don’t know what that might do to you.”  Scully was adamant.

“But, what if I . . .” 

“Mulder, I think us just knowing about it reduces its hold.  Remember, after we figured that the chip in my neck ‘pulled’ me to that bridge but once we knew it has never happened again.”

Mulder inched closer and nuzzled her cheek.  “God, I missed you.  I have no idea how I could have turned away from you.”  His memory flashed to a night about a week earlier.  Scully coming toward him in a deep blue see through nightgown, mere gossamer encasing her body.  How had he not devoured her?

“I think that was part of the programming.  Don’t you think?”

Mulder took her hand and placed it on the bulge in his pants and he groaned.  “Considering how just the memory of it is affecting me I think I would agree with you,” he panted out.

Mulder’s face turned serious.  “What do you think was the motivation?  To break us up?”

“I guess, but I feel like there’s more to this.  Why send those photos?  Who is this woman and how much is she involved?”  She pondered.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, is she one of their plants or is she another member of the I love Fox Mulder club who stumbled into the opportunity of a lifetime?”

“The I love Fox Mulder club?  What are you talking about?  Is it anything like the I drool for Dana Scully companions?”  They both chuckled at his bit of levity.  Mulder pulled her into his lap.  “You believe me right?  We’re good.”

“Yes, I do believe you.  As improbable and impossible as it seems, this is the most logical explanation for what’s been going on.”

Mulder dipped his head to the crook of her neck and shoulder.  “So, how long will your mom have Will?”  Mulder was trailing his lips along her jaw line.  He was rewarded with little moans and a quickening of her breath.

“Till tomorrow.  I didn’t want him around all the tension right now.”  She halted his seductions.  “Mulder I have something to tell you.”  He lifted his head and looked in her eyes, worried what he’d find there.  He saw nothing but love.  “Mulder, I found out that we’re going to have a baby.”

Mulder pulled her into his arms.  “Scully, baby, what a wonderful Christmas gift.”  He placed his hand on her stomach.  “To think I nearly lost this; you and Will and this.”  His fingers tickled her stomach.

“Oh, Mulder, I think we were in the middle of something.”

“I think you may be right.  Now where was I?  Right about,” he started off where he’d left off.

“God, that feels good.”  She was able to get out before succumbing to his ministrations.

“This will feel much better.”

“Oh. Yeah!”

 

~x~

Across town a meeting was being held. “. . . by all accounts the operation has been a success and Agent Scully will be leaving Agent Mulder sometime in the beginning of the year.”  A young messenger interrupted and handed the man a message.

The man took a deep drag on his cigarette and read the message then placed it on the table.  “It appears that reports of the break up of Mulder and Scully are incorrect.  The operation has not produced the expected outcome.  The operative has been, terminated.  It is my ‘pleasure’ to announce that they are not only back together they are expecting another child.”  His voice was steady; masquerading his tension.

He snubbed out the cigarette and lit another one.  The assembly filed out and one young member approached him.  He reminded him of a young Alex Krycek; he would have to be watched closely.

“I’m sorry the operation failed, sir.”

“There are no failures, only opportunities.”  He walked out of the room without looking at the young man.

The young man watched the man leave and a cold chill ran down his spine.

 

End

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