Sara B. 02/06
They were all standing behind the
fencing waiting. Today their dad would be home from a six month cruise. Tonight they would stay in a motel and tomorrow they would head out for Grandma and
Grandpa Scully’s. Their mom was doing her best to keep her brood in check
while tamping down her own anxiety.
Maggie Scully looked over her family: Bill
Jr. and Melissa were bickering, as usual, and little Charlie was demanding her attention.
Only Dana remained quiet, sitting next to the fence reading. But then
that the norm; Dana was the pensive one.
noticed a young boy and girl standing about thee or four feet from her Dana. The
girl busied herself watching the ship but the boy couldn’t take his eyes from Dana.
He seemed to be a bit timid but it was obvious he wanted to say something. Dana
looked up, saw the boy and smiled, which he returned shyly.
“I have that book; it’s one
of my favorites,” he said quietly.
“My dad gave this to me, it’s
a little hard for me but I’m determined to finish it.” The boy moved
closer and sat down next to Dana. “My dad is second in command under Captain
Palmer. What does your dad do?”
“My dad isn’t with the Navy,
he’s in the State Department and they were on some special assignment. My
name is Fox,” he pointed over at the girl he was with, “that’s my sister Samantha.”
“I’m Dana, those two
over there are my brother Bill and my sister Melissa and that one is my younger brother Charles. Everyone else calls him Charlie but I call him Charles.”
Scully noticed a very well dressed woman watching Dana and the boy so she walked over to her.
“Excuse me, are you his mother?”
The woman turned and regarded her
coolly. “Yes, Fox is my son. I’m
Teena Mulder.” The way it was said Maggie
was sure the woman expected her to know the name.
Scully, we’re waiting for my husband, Bill. We’re all excited; this
has been a long deployment.”
“I wouldn’t know, my husband
isn’t with the crew. He and his colleagues only joined the ship two weeks
ago. Bill, my husband, is with the State Department.”
had heard Fox tell Dana this but she didn’t mention it. For some reason
this woman seemed to need to feel superior. She felt it didn’t really matter
so why not just let it go. “I could tell your family was not typically
Navy.” The woman looked back questioningly.
“Your clothes. You and your children are the best dressed family
here. No one in the Navy could afford such beautiful clothing.”
Teena Mulder was obviously pleased with
Maggie’s comments and a little of her coolness dissipated. “I don’t know how you manage with four children with your husband gone so often. I have problems with my two while Bill’s gone for any length of time.”
“We manage. Bill Jr. takes his ‘man of the house’ duties to heart and little Dana over there,” Maggie
pointed to the two children sitting next to the fence, “she’s my quiet one so she rarely gives me trouble. The other two just sort of fit in the cracks.”
“Fox, that’s an unusual name,”
Maggie offered more in an effort to engage the woman in conversation than real curiosity.
“I suppose it is,” Teena replied
without offering further explanation.
Fox watched their mothers talking. He hoped his mom wouldn’t say or do anything to upset Dana’s mom. His mom could be very cutting with her remarks.
So far they seemed to be getting along well. He turned back to Dana. “So, how old are you?”
“I’m eight but everyone thinks
I’m older. My sister says I’m an old soul, whatever that’s
supposed to mean.”
“I’m ten, I’ll be eleven
next October, and they say the same thing about me. How do you like being a Navy
Dana smiled at him and her whole face lit
up. “You’re a nice person, Fox Mulder. You mean Navy brat. It’s okay but lonely.” She saw the question in his eyes and answered it before he could give voice to it. “We move a lot. That isn’t
a problem for Missy and Bill because they’re ‘out there’ and people take to them easily. Charles is too young to really be bothered but I don’t think he’ll have any problems. But me, I’m quiet; my daddy says I’m intopectem or something. I don’t make friends easily.”
Fox liked this girl. She seemed so much closer to his age than she actually was. “We’re
friends.” Fox said quietly and she smiled again. “And I think the
word is introspective.” Dana repeated the word back to him slowly.
Suddenly the excitement level of the people
around notched up. “What’s happening?” Fox asked.
“They’ve signaled that the
men will be coming ashore soon. My dad will be one of the last to get off. We need to move back or we might get hurt.”
She could tell he didn’t understand. “The families get excited
and sometimes they don’t realize they’ve just plowed over you. Come
Dana and Fox joined their moms and siblings
near the back and slightly separated from the rest. Fox realized they were holding
hands, it felt comforting.
The group watched as the men disembarked. Maggie knew that her Bill always came ashore last
but she loved watching the reunions and she couldn’t hide her excitement. Teena
Mulder stood next to her, showing all the emotion of someone standing in the checkout line.
A moment later a young woman came over
to Mrs. Mulder and said something quietly. Teena then turned to Maggie
and asked, “Maggie, this is our Au Pair, Nina.
Would you like her to watch your children while she tends to mine? It
might make it easier for you and your husband.”
was taken aback. First, she couldn’t even conceive of keeping her children
from greeting their father and Bill would hate it. Second, she wasn’t quite
sure what an Au Pair was but she suspected it was a glorified name for nanny. She
declined graciously saying she wouldn’t subject that on anyone.
The woman moved to take Samantha
and Fox but the boy wouldn’t let go of Dana’s hand. Teena seemed
embarrassed at his stubbornness. Maggie
interceded on behalf of the two children. “Those two seemed to have bonded
quickly. Why not let them enjoy it for now.” Dana and Fox moved closer to each other.
Thirty minutes had passed when three
men exited the gangway dressed in civilian suits. Maggie
knew that one of the men was Bill Mulder. She suspected it was the man in the
center. He was tall and lanky like young Fox.
She was quite surprised when she discovered it was the much shorter and slightly stocky man on the right. Maggie watched the reunion and was startled by the coolness of it all. She was used to the gushes of joy and unbridled kisses that military families displayed
when the men returned. “The rich are different.” It wasn’t until Dana and Fox looked up to her that she realized she’d said it out loud. She looked at Teena to see if she’d heard.
If she did, she made no outward reaction.
“Dad!” Bill Jr. screamed and three of her children went running. Dana
alone held back still holding Fox’s hand.
Fox turned to Mrs. Scully and said,
“I’ll watch her if you want to go.”
“Oh, Fox, thank you. But I think we’ll both be going in a minute.”
Over the din they heard, “Maggie,
get over here and bring Starbuck with you!”
“I have to go now, Fox. I won’t ever forget you.” Dana squeezed his hand
and she was gone.
Fox called after her, “I won’t
forget you either!” He knew she heard him when she turned and waved.
Dana Scully’s hand was poised to
knock on the door while inside Fox Mulder was bent over a light-box examining slides.
The two shared one thought, “I remember, do you?