Can you please do #11 Five thousand dollars?! and #50 I said no, three times to be exact MSR?
Sorry it’s so late! Set somewhere after Vienen.
Scully stood before her stove waiting for the water to boil for her tea. She pressed a fist into the side of her lower back, just above her hip, where she’d felt a twinge of soreness all morning. Her whole back was actually sore, but that spot in particular was giving her the most trouble. Out in the living room, she could hear Mulder talking to the TV.
“Five thousand dollars?!” he exclaimed. “What are you some kind of idiot? One dollar, Bob, one dollar!”
She yawned and poured hot water into her coffee mug. The tea bag inside bobbed up to the surface and she poked it down with a spoon. She added just a bit of honey and took the mug with her to wait for the tea to steep.
“What are you watching?” she asked, sliding a magazine across the coffee table to use as a coaster for her tea. Currently, a commercial for laundry detergent was on.
“The Price is Right,” he answered, trying to take her elbow to help her sit, but she swatted his hand away and eased down into the spot beside him.
He’d been a lot more interested in her health and well-being since the scare with the abruption. More importantly, he’d been a lot more interested in the baby. They’d been to two Lamaze classes together and he was more attentive than she’d ever seen him. The instructor might as well have been giving a presentation on EBEs. He’d even asked questions.
Scully groaned a little as she realized her tea was too far away and doing little things like bending and reaching now required a lot of effort.
“What’s wrong?” Mulder asked, immediately alarmed.
“I can’t reach my tea.”
“Oh.” He visibly relaxed and picked up the mug for her and brought it into her hands. “I think it’s too hot. Maybe you should wait.”
His fretfulness was sweet, but it was also a little annoying. Earlier that morning, when he’d first shown up at her door, he was eager to do her bidding with whatever task she would give him and she could tell she’d disappointed him when she had nothing in mind. Then, he’d pestered her with asking if she was sure she didn’t need anything so many times that she finally had to sit him down and gently, but firmly, tell him, “I said no, three times to be exact, just in the last five minutes. I’m fine. The baby’s fine. We don’t need anything at the moment, but thank you for asking.”
After that, she’d put her remote in his hand and went to take a shower. After the shower, she made tea, and now, here they were, watching The Price is Right on a Tuesday morning with nothing better to do since he was unemployed and she was on maternity leave.
She shifted in discomfort and winced as her back protested. He went on alert again and sat up. In his eyes, she could see how badly he wanted to ask if she was all right as she twisted and rolled her shoulders.
“Back hurts,” she said.
“Oh.” He looked her over and reached out a little hesitantly and put his hand between her shoulder blades. “I can, uh…you know from class when we…would you want me to rub your back?”
She was equally as hesitant to answer. Yes, she would like it. She would like it very much, but the awkwardness that now existed between them was a precarious situation. He moved his hand lightly down her back while he waited for her answer and she finally nodded. He looked pleasantly surprised.
“Scoot forward,” he said. “Can you? Just a bit?”
He held her tea for her as she pushed herself towards the front of the couch and then he gave the mug back to her as he managed to squeeze in behind her so she was sitting between his legs. Immediately, he started with her shoulders, which any other time she would have appreciated, but her lower back was screaming at her and so, she rested the mug of tea on her knee, holding it one-handed as she reached back for his arm and guided his hand to the spot above her hip.
“Here?” he asked, twisting his knuckles into the muscle with light pressure.
“A little lower and a little to the left. You can do it harder. Yes, right there.” She sighed in relief and closed her eyes for a moment as he managed to hit just the perfect spot with his thumb.
After a few moments, he shifted a little for a better angle and his free hand came around her waist to rest very lightly on the curve of her belly. She smiled to herself as she wrapped both hands around her mug and brought it close to her mouth to blow the steam from the surface.
“I always wanted to play Plinko,” he said. “Or the one where you shove those giant dice into monetary order.”
She took a break from cooling her tea to test the temperature with the tip of her tongue. Still a little too hot. “I liked that little yodeling mountain climber,” she said.
“Would you rather be a contestant on The Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal?”
“Definitely The Price is Right.”
The baby kicked suddenly, just below where Mulder’s hand rested and she tensed for a moment from surprise. He stilled his massage at her reaction and she shook her head a little, cupping one hand around her mug to take his hand and slide it down to the right spot and pressed lightly. The baby kicked again in response and she felt Mulder give a jolt of surprise behind her.
“Does that hurt?” he asked.
“No, it doesn’t hurt.”
He kept his hand in place and started to massage again. She sipped her tea and closed her eyes in appreciation. The Price is Right ended and The Young and the Restless started. She turned off the TV during the theme song.
“How do you know I didn’t want to watch that?” Mulder teased.
“It’s bad enough you sit around watching game shows and Oprah. I can’t let you spiral into soap operas as well.”
“I always appreciated you looking out for my best interests.” He leaned closer and his chest pressed against her back as he rested his chin on her shoulder. “You’re going to be a great mom.”
There was a sting in her eyes and nose and she swallowed the lump that rose in her throat. “Thank you,” she whispered into her tea.
He leaned away to continue his massage and she closed her eyes to pretend this was her everyday life.