Thanks to: My partner and best friend Tess, for quick-as-a-wink beta that improved the story vastly - as her wonderful counsel always does!
Dedication: To my dear IWTB listmates Angie and Rev, on their Nov. 24 birthdays!
"Were you surprised?"
"Oh, yeah. I think they deserve a good thrashing. Are we in agreement?"
"Certainly... after we tell them how much we love them -"
"It's a deal, Baby. And now, let's just dance..."
In the corner of the room their children sat and watched their parents dance.
All of them misty-eyed, especially their daughters - the main instigators of the entire evening. Carrie wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, and got a poke in the ribs from her sister Cynthia - who was fighting back tears as well. And behind them, their older brother sighed and reached out two big hands, dropping one onto each shoulder. A gentle squeeze for both his tender-hearted siblings...
And they watched their beloved mother and father circle the room; their mother so much tinier. She'd stopped wearing heels years ago and so her height disparity to their father was, as usual, more pronounced - and after twenty-five years she was still slender and petite. Likewise their father still stood arrow-straight and had not lost much of his thick shock of hair. A handsome couple, in any setting - no, a beautiful couple. Beloved - beautiful...
Twenty-five years. It doesn't seem possible we've been married that long. A silver anniversary, and both of us had always thought we'd never even see each other again, much less reunite, marry, produce more children... and grow elderly together. Blessings, so many of them - bright and eternal and I'm so, so thankful.
In my arms she is thistle-light and graceful, the limp of her right leg only noticeable to me, I'm sure. She almost lost it, the night we found each other - I never prayed so hard, riding with her in the ambulance, holding her bloody hand - begging God to spare her life. I would have gone into hiding again, just to save her...
But God listened. God spared her leg - spared her life - God helped us find a way to stay together. A mere four months later God watched over us on our wedding day; we could feel His presence we as spoke our vows at the altar.
I feel His presence now, as we sway to the music. Silver anniversary music, chosen by our children just for us. Children we were never supposed to have, and yet here they are. Our oldest, William - himself a seasoned married guy at twenty-seven - and expecting his second child. Our daughters, Carrie and Cynthia - our miracle babies. Identical, from head to toe - sweeter than sugar and just turned twenty-two. We celebrated their birthdays yesterday -their mother and I having no idea at all what was in store for us the very next day...
I lay my cheek against Scully's soft red hair, as we float across the dance floor... and I remember everything as if it had happened yesterday instead of twenty-five years ago. How she looked. How she smelled. How silky her cheek felt pressed against mine...
How I couldn't wait to take her away from the reception, and make her mine. Somehow it would be different, making love to her as a wife instead of a lover. Why, I'll never know - but I couldn't wait one second longer. I swept her off the floor and out of the reception - pausing only long enough to press a kiss upon our son's little cheek, as he lay cuddled in his grandmother's lap - and we were on our way.
We never had a real honeymoon. It was acceptable to us; we were both too stressed out for planning anything beyond getting married. Scully's leg was still in a cast. Badly broken in two places and bone piercing the skin as well - the doctors barely saved it. But the miracle was that they DID save it - and on our wedding day, she walked the aisle, leaving the wheelchair in the vestibule - her brother Bill holding her steady and sure as they paced slowly to the altar.
She actually danced at the reception - once with Bill, and twice with me. Granted, her brother and I had mostly held her up, but still... she was standing upright and by her sheer determination she kept herself upright through a bride's traditional wedding ritual and I was so proud of her. The last dance was fully in my arms with her feet dangling off the floor - but she'd done far more than I thought she'd been able to accomplish.
I refused to dwell on the agony of worry, that we'd never see each other again; the terrible accident that left one agent dead and Scully fighting to keep from losing her leg. The frightening ride to the hospital and the long hours in surgery as the doctors raced to save her. The overwhelming relief I felt when I knew she was out of danger. The decision to stop hiding and stop running, taking the consequences as they came - and the surprising show of support I found from a Federal agency that had all but abandoned me...
I refused to dwell on any of that, as I carried her to our room. Now I had her, all alone. In our hotel suite with three days ahead of us and nothing more strenuous to do than making love, a lot. Eating whenever we wished. Phones turned off. Doors hung with 'Do Not Disturb' signs.
I will never forget the sight of my wife against the white sheets of our honeymoon bed. Scully, she of the glowing red hair and midnight blue lace teddy - and the white leg cast with the goofy alien drawing I'd just had to doodle, right over her knee. I'd even painted it green with a magic marker... She'd shaken her head in exasperation but her kiss on my mouth had been sweet and lingering, as I signed my name with a flourish, beneath my 'artwork'.
"Nice, Mulder - thanks SO much. Remind me to perform a little whup-ass on you as soon as I get my aggression back..."
Her murmur had made me crack one hell of a smile.
Seeing her in that bed, all soft and lovely - my heart just about pounded itself out of my chest. Knowing how close she'd come to losing the leg... knowing how utterly precious this woman was, to my well-being and to my sanity. I dropped to my knees beside her and buried my head against her breasts, and unsuccessfully fought back the tears. I'd never allowed myself to shed them when she lay near death - now, it seemed as if the water-works wouldn't stop. Scully threaded cool fingers through my hair, and let me purge it out. And when I'd managed to dampen that pretty teddy - right over her pert little nipples - I raised my head and my drenched eyes met hers, noting the tears seeping from the corners of her own. I smiled shakily and she did, too. And her soft kidding put me on the honeymoon track lightening-fast.
"Sweetheart, I'm fine now... and thank you for wetting my bosom and getting my nipples all perky. I think the least you could do is warm them up... with your tongue..."
"Oh, Baby - you don't have to ask me twice." Her soft snicker was a wisp of sound over my head as I bent to cover the pouty little left pucker of delight.
"I wasn't asking, Mulder... I was demanding. Ordering. Commanding..."
In the corner of the room William Mulder wrapped an arm around each twin and snuggled them close. It was their honor to give their parents this night; they deserved public acknowledgment for twenty-five years of living - of loving. Sacrificing for them - caring for them. Protecting them; most of all they protected their children and as a result of that protection William and his sisters had grown up safe and cherished. The love they felt for their mother and father knew no bounds - and the love that was tangible between them as they danced... well, that made their offspring's hearts ache, but in the very best way.
In the curve of their brother's embrace, Carrie and Cynthia leaned their dark heads on his shoulders and sighed in unison. Carrie had always thought she had the most handsome man for a father; all of her friends had been green with envy when she and Cynthia were growing up and they'd drag him to their Little League games. When they were teens and he escorted them to the annual Father-Daughter dinner at Miss Tennyson's School for Young Women... well, the girls as well as the teachers would just about drool. Cynthia was always outraged on behalf of Mom, but Carrie got such a charge out of it - mostly because she knew that nobody, but nobody stood a chance with her father - except for her beautiful mother...
After I kiss my children to within an inch of their lives... I will chastise them hugely for ambushing their father and me in this fashion. They know how much we hate a fuss, how important it is for us to remain in the shadows.
I suppose after all these years it probably doesn't matter any more. But old habits die hard.
I can't take my eyes off him, as we dance. It's killing my neck to look up that far, and even though Mulder leans down into me, these damn low heels are worthless. I long for my higher pumps, I really do. But I can't wear them - stopped wearing them, years and years ago - right after I injured my leg so horribly.
At the moment the look I am seeing in my husband's eyes is worth any measure of neck discomfort.
Mulder hasn't seemed to age much. At sixty-seven he is as elegantly muscular, as gracefully loose-limbed as ever. Still running every day; perhaps not as many miles as he used to, but enough to keep him in good shape. His hair is still thick, sprinkled with gray in that attractive pattern that it seems only men can achieve. His hazel eyes are still compellingly bright and still downright sexy. Behind steel gray wire eyeglass frames the sexiness of those eyes is magnified a hundred-fold...
In his arms the years melt away and I am young and newly-married and in love - the way I was twenty-five years ago this very night - and although we have grown older the love certainly hasn't. He can still buckle me at the knees with one well-placed hand at the small of my back - still reduce me to a trembling mass with one open-mouthed kiss.
We dance and I remember, oh so much. As we finally break eye contact and Mulder rests his cheek on the top of my head as we move across the floor, I remember it all.
The feel of him in his fine, tailored suit that night. The play of muscles in his arm as he lifted me high off my shoes during the final dance, when it was clear my poor leg couldn't handle much more. I had somehow managed to dance in a leg cast - granted, it was a flexible cast but it encased me from mid-thigh to almost-ankle. I'd been determined to move under my own steam, which meant I walked down that aisle to him - albeit very slowly - and I danced at our reception, again very slowly.
After the last song faded away and I was still high in his arms, eyes meeting eyes - Mulder carried me off the floor and across to where our son snoozed in my mother's lap. We kissed him - and Mom - and we took ourselves out of there and across town for our little mini-honeymoon. I was still healing and Mulder was stressed to the max - a few days were all we thought we could physically handle.
Boy, were we wrong...
Looking back I think we could have made that trip to the Bahamas. So I would have sported around on the beach in a bathing suit and a cast - I could have gotten into it. But it's probably just as well that we didn't go. My mother would have been beside herself with worry and we wouldn't have wanted to be away from William that long. He was still just a baby.
I got carried all the way to our suite, and deposited gently in the middle of the largest king-size bed I had ever seen. I made Mulder fetch my overnight bag and I made him leave the room while I readied myself for him. Maybe I had a damn cast on my leg but the rest of me would be as soft, as perfumed and as sexy a woman as I could manage.
Judging by the look on Mulder's face when I finally allowed him in... my efforts were well worth it.
He just stood at the side of the bed for the longest time, staring at me - all of me. Under that intense hazel gaze I could feel myself tingling, fighting a losing battle to lay still and let Mulder make the first move - and when he cried on me, my heart wanted to break into pieces because I knew it had been a long time coming. Mulder hadn't purged it out and I didn't mind that he'd chosen our wedding night to cut loose. Better to get it out of his system now, than to let it well inside any longer.
I let him cry and I held him tightly - and when it was over I got a few good teases in, to help lighten the mood. He took my orders to heart, and although he was so very careful with my leg, the level of loving I was subjected to can still raise the shivers on my arms, twenty-five years later when I remember it...
His body, covering mine like a blanket. Warm, smoothly muscled Husband-flesh, pressed down against me and heating my blood to boiling. Kisses, a hundred or more, scattered in so many different places and with such frequency I lost track of everything including the sequential lettering of my own name. Deep, within my mouth. Playful, over my nose and eyelashes. Sensual, delivered against my ear. Worshipping, as they trailed streaks of fire down my shoulders and over my breasts. I lay as still as I could because my leg was aching and I didn't want to ruin a second of our lovemaking with any more pain - and besides, Mulder wouldn't let me up, knowing I was better off flat on my back with a pillow underneath my leg for support.
When he finally teased my thighs apart with his big hands and slipped within me, I was so close to exploding that I had to actually concentrate on not climaxing, just to prolong it past five seconds. I held onto my new husband with two hands curled into his hips for balance, and locked my mouth to his as the movements we made against each other took as flying impossibly high... and when I came I screamed right into his mouth, and one of us bit the other's tongue. I remember that; the taste of blood in my mouth and not knowing who'd bitten whom.
Ask me if either of us cared...
We fell asleep in a jumble of arms and legs and sweat - and the next morning my leg was absolutely killing me, but the pain was so worth the ecstasy of the night before. So very much worth it. If I lived to be a hundred I would never forget the feeling of awakening next to the man I could finally call 'Husband' - for the first time unafraid of that right - and optimistic for the future.
Two years later that optimism extended into another pregnancy for me, and another precious birth of not one, but two babies.
How blessed I am... how very fortunate, and how loved...
The Mulder children watched as their parents swirled a final time to the music, and pressed together for a lingering kiss, their father lifting their mother up in his arms until they met, mouth to eager mouth. The daughters sighed gustily and the son smiled with soft understanding...
Five minutes later their parents pressed a kiss to their cheeks and hugged them all tightly - and left the anniversary reception, to spend a few precious days alone and with every intention of re-living their wedding night - without the cast, of course.
The Mulder children were well-satisfied with the success of their gift - and the results it reaped: their parents' happiness - and consequently, their own.
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