Welcome To The Harem

A Willing Partner by Maidenjedi
Summary: Bridge clubs were one thing, luncheons another, and then there was visiting this woman who spoke softly and knitted socks for her husband. Teena, Cassandra, CSM, pre-XF, PG.

TITLE: A Willing Partner
AUTHOR: Maidenjedi
ARCHIVE: List archives, otherwise please ask.
KEYWORDS: Teena, Cassandra, CSM, pre-XF
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, thank you very much.
SUMMARY: Bridge clubs were one thing, luncheons
another, and then there was visiting this woman who
spoke softly and knitted socks for her husband.


Author's Notes at the end.


The maternity ward was full of exhausted new mothers,
pacing new fathers, and scurrying young nurses. The
steady beep-blip-beep of heart monitors and soft scent
of mother's milk overtook the senses immediately.

Teena Mulder was not fond of this place. When Fox was
born, she'd argued vehemently with a Nurse Becker and
a Doctor Fulghum about the virtues of leaving in three
days instead of the usual five to seven. They
wouldn't hear of it and insisted she stay, laughing
off her objections as some sort of post-partum
insanity. Rubbing her four-months pregnant belly as
she stood in the hall outside Cassandra Spender's
room, smelling the antiseptic and layers of floor wax,
she thought she might opt for a midwife in a cabin
over a maternity ward when the time came.

A bouquet of flowers clasped in her hand, Teena
straightened her pink wool suit and reached up to
brush a stray hair from her eyes. Bill hated this
color, this bubblegum pink as he called it; it was why
she chose to wear it. He always spoke so highly of
Cassandra Spender, praising her quiet ways and
her ladylike deportment, her sheer devotion to her
husband Charles, and it burned Teena. Bridge clubs
were one thing, luncheons another, and then there was
visiting this woman who spoke softly and knitted socks
for her husband.

The same husband who strayed into the welcoming beds
of warmer women. The same Charles Spender who had
knocked up a willing Teena Mulder.

Teena resisted the urge to tap her foot impatiently
while she waited for the nurse to finish with
Cassandra. This was a purely dutiful visit; the women
were by no means close friends. Teena loathed women
like Cassandra, women who managed to snag wealthy
husbands but couldn't keep them in line once the
honeymoon was over. Teena's own husband was too weak
a man to stray often and committedly; sex was a duty
to him. Charles Spender was as devoted to regularly
passionate sex as he was to the work he and Bill did
for the government. He was also devoted to secrecy.
Gossip may have hinted briefly at Teena's child being
Charles'; it was silenced swiftly and in the eyes
of their friends, Bill and Teena Mulder were as happy
as newlyweds.

Cassandra, of course, never doubted it.

Cassandra's pregnancy had been difficult, and Teena
was given a respite from paying social calls to the
younger woman. She was also, much to her chagrin,
nearly forgotten as Charles lavished attention on his
sickly wife. He wanted an heir, this man did. It
didn't keep him from Teena's bed for long, and one
wild night, while Bill was away, Charles had come
looking for and found a willing partner.

Teena suspected strongly that she had gotten pregnant
that same night.

The nurse came out of Cassandra's room. "Mrs. Mulder?
Mrs. Spender can see you now."

"Thank you," Teena said curtly. The nurse held the
door open for her, and closed it quietly behind her.

Cassandra's white room was awash with flowers and
cards from well wishers. Unopened boxes were piled in
one corner, undoubtedly gifts for the newborn
baby boy she had given birth to nearly a week before.
The woman herself nearly disappeared under the blanket
on her bed, her figure small and seemingly untouched
by the rigors of childbirth. Her pale skin and
red-tinged eyes, in fact, were the only signs she had
been under duress.

"Teena," Cassandra said enthusiastically, "please,
come in!"

Teena moved forward, as always a little taken aback by
Cassandra's open-armed personality and vivacious
smile, more so now because it stood in such stark
contrast to Cassandra's tired expression.

"Cassandra, how good to see you. You're looking
awfully well."

"Thank you, Teena. You are too."

The two women seemed to square off then, the awkward
silence settling around them like dense fog. Teena
wondered what they would have to talk about; in social
gatherings it was simple, for the atmosphere lent
itself to the occasion. Here there was a window
revealing rather nasty weather for the month of
May, cartloads of flowers and....

"I heard you had a boy, Cassandra. Charles must be

"Oh, he is, Teena! And so am I, though a girl would
have been lovely. Boys are so precocious! Oh," she
paused a moment, "how is little Fox doing, by the
way?" So like Cassandra to take the focus from
herself, and she had always been smitten with Fox
Mulder. When she had visited Teena in the hospital in
the week following Fox's birth, he'd taken to her as
well. He called her "Aunt Cassie" at Bill's behest,
and had even been asking after her for weeks. Not
that Teena was going to tell Cassandra this; it was
something of a sore subject. Teena's own son barely
gave his mother the time of day.

"Fox is doing wonderfully. Bill wants to start him in
preschool in the fall. He's been asking so many
questions and gotten so curious that we can hardly
handle him these days!" Teena noticed the sharp,
forced cheerfulness in her own voice and tried to curb

it. Just a few more minutes, just a few more
minutes...."Boys are so much trouble, Cassandra, but
I'm sure your little...what was his name, again?"

"Well, I was partial to John, of course," Cassandra
had always been a loyal Kennedy supporter, "but
Charles insisted on Jeffrey."

"That's such a nice name. Are you going to call him

"Oh, I don't think so," Cassandra screwed up her nose,
a trait Teena loathed because she was so cute when she
did it. "I've never liked 'Jeff'. Jeffrey sounds so
much more dignified."


Silence prevailed for maybe twenty seconds when the
women both asked at the same time "Isn't this dreadful
weather we've been having?"

Teena offered a terse smile to Cassandra's youthful

"It is awful! And in May, of all months! You'd think
we'd gotten enough rain in April, and certainly we had
a dreadful winter."

"Dreadful, yes, it was."

"My hair just won't behave in weather like this!
Teena, I don't know how you do it. Do you have any
grooming tips for me? Your hair is always so
perfectly done!"

Teena started a little as the door creaked open behind

"Is there room in here for the happy father?"

Charles Spender came into the room, smelling, like
always, of Morley cigarette smoke. He caught the
surprised look on Teena's face and stood up straight.

"Well, I'll just leave you two lovely ladies to
yourselves. It seems I'm interrupting a gossip

Teena stuck her hand out and shook it, palm facing

"No, Charles, its alright. I was just going to leave
these flowers for Cassandra and little Jeff," she saw
Cassandra stiffen in the corner of her eye, "and be on
my way. I've left Fox with a sitter and...."

"Oh, Teena, wait one moment. Bill mentioned something
to me earlier today. I want to be the first to
congratulate you on your....expected blessing."
Charles eyes bore into Teena's, searching for an
answer to the question she knew he would be asking if
not for Cassandra.

"Teena! And you didn't tell me! How wonderful!"
Cassandra nearly clapped her hands in excitement.

"Yes, well," Teena grasped for words as she tried to
avoid Charles' glare. "I'm not very far along, I
thought it would be best to keep it close to the
chest, you know."

"Teena, I never knew you for the superstitious type!
Well, congratulations, I'm so excited for you! Our
children will grow up together! Oh, I wonder if
you'll have a girl, just imagine - "

"It would be wonderful, wouldn't it? Cassandra, I'm
going to leave these flowers here, I really must be

"Give Fox a hug from his Aunt Cassie, won't you?"

"I will."

"Good afternoon, Teena." Charles voice cut into the
air and its very timbre sent a shiver up Teena's
spine. She wished she were alone with him, wished
that she could tell Cassandra right there that her
husband was getting his kicks with another woman.

As she walked out of the hospital into the stormy
spring afternoon, Teena Mulder rubbed her stomach
again, thinking of the child inside and the man who
fathered it.

She thought of those things, thinking only of what her
mother might say about her daughter becoming pregnant
with the child of another woman's husband. She
of Bill and what he would say; she thought of her
little son and how innocent he still was to this
tangled web his parents lived in.

She thought of the burning scent of antiseptic and
floor wax, the sound of beeping monitors and the scent
of mothers' milk.

She drove home, shedding the polite mask she had put
on for Cassandra Spender. The pink wool of her suit
made her itch and she longed to be free of it and the
glossy personality it projected.

At home, she paid the babysitter and peeked in on a
sleeping Fox, made her way to the bedroom and stripped
to her slip and stockings. The phone rang, its shrill
tone making Teena jump and rush to stop it before Fox
woke. "Hello, Mulder residence."

"Teena, it's Charles."

"Charles, I was just thinking about you," her voice
going kittenish and her skin flushing at the gruff
undertone of his. Suddenly her silk stockings were
horribly confining.

"Want to meet somewhere? When will Bill be home?"

And the dance went on.


Author's Notes: Thanks to Emily Titon for unwillingly

pitching the idea to me: What would Teena Mulder and
Cassandra Spender have to say to each other? Thanks
also to Janet Caires-Lesgold for the research help,
and to Shahara Zade for the encouraging feedback for
'Beginning of the End'.

I've always wondered about Cassandra and Teena. What
kind of women were they before the abductions? I
tried many times to write this same fic from
Cassandra's perspective and finally gave in to Teena's
voice. Whether I captured her or not, I don't know,
but I finally finished it. Hope you enjoy it.

For Michael, now and always.

"Bring me the head of Fox Mulder." Yeah, okay,
whatever buddy. Like we haven't heard *THAT*
one before. - XPFC's Beta Julie