Welcome To The Harem

You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Foxie Meg
Summary: "This isn't a marriage. This is a farce." - Joanne Fletcher, Dreamland I. Dreamland, PG.

TITLE: You Don't Bring Me Flowers

AUTHOR: Foxie Meg

RATING: I think just PG.

SPOILERS: Dreamland I & II

SUMMARY: "This isn't a marriage. This is a farce." - Joanne
Fletcher, Dreamland I

KEYWORDS: Minor Character

FEEDBACK: C'mon, sing me a few love songs, send me some
flowers, whatever. *Grins* mrschatterly@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: She isn't mine, but the X-Files has a bad habit
of making their women non-human, and I'm just trying to add
a little dimension to a truly tragic character. "You Don't
Bring Me Flowers" belongs to Neil Diamond and Barbra
Streisand, and I thank them for the inspiration.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: It was a funny episode. In fact, it was
downright hilarious. Duchovny was at his comedic best and
acted his pants off (not in a literal sense, unfortunately)
and I salute Michael McKean for pulling off such an ultra
repulsive character. But there was a bit of true tragic
poignancy as well when you consider Joanne Fletcher. Her
husband was attracted to Scully's fire and determination,
but might his wife have been like that before his sharp-
tongued insults beat her down into the woman Mulder met?

So, this is Joanne's story. Or at least, a small part of
it.

xXxXxXx

"I remember when
You couldn't wait to love me,
You used to hate to leave me...

I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
Well, I learned how to love
And I learned how to lie

So you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye..."


--"You Don't Bring Me Flowers"
Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand

xXxXxXx



YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS

When I was in college, I knew what I wanted to be. Oh,
I didn't know specifically what career, but it was going
to be strong, unfeminine. I was going to be the head of
some department, the president of some big company; I
was going to be in charge.

You see, I was a feminist. Men were pigs, women were the
future. We were the only ones with any sense whatsoever
and the weight of the entire world rested upon our shoulders.
Or, more specifically, my shoulders. I was going to rule
the world because I knew how things should be done. I was
independent, liberated, and completely self-sufficient.

I was a *woman*.

Then I met Morris Fletcher, sexist pig extraordinaire.
Player, scumbag, chauvinist... and very, very insecure.
But he was funny. He challenged my ideals, the core of
my feminist beliefs. At times, his teasing insults
bordered on verbal abuse or at least sexual harassment.

But I was a woman, and I could take it.

I also had a very evident savior complex and a very real
need to be loved that I had denied in my all-out pursuit
of independence from the male species.

So despite the fact that my friends all insisted I had
taken leave of my senses, I married Morris Fletcher. I
was going to save him and he was going to love me. At
least, that was the plan. Seems that deep down inside
that feminist attitude of mine, I was a hopeless romantic.

Morris, on the other hand, could not be called a romantic
by any stretch of the imagination. At least, not in a
traditional way. But he had his moments. And, in my
own way, I loved him.

I should have known when it rained on our wedding day.

I got pregnant very unexpectedly fairly early in our
marriage. I suspect I might have even been pregnant when
we got married, although I didn't know it at the time. My
mother always said that first pregnancies are the worst
and I believe her.

Women who complain of morning sickness should be taken
outside and shot. It's women like me, the ones who are
sick to the point of dehydration for the entire first
trimester, who deserve the right to complain. And we do,
if we can find the energy.

I was so miserable in those first three months... ice chips
and soda crackers were all I could keep down and I was
depressed. I hadn't expected to get pregnant -- hadn't
wanted it. I was deathly afraid of motherhood and I
had the terrible idea that Morris and I were ill-suited
to be parents.

I couldn't sleep at night and couldn't function during
the day. I did my best not to cry because that would
be un-feminist of me, but no matter what, I couldn't
force myself to be happy. Nothing at all was all I
could manage.

Morris freaked out.

We'd only been married for two weeks when I suddenly
started throwing up one morning and kept throwing up
all day long. Naive kids that we were, it took us
awhile to figure out that it was more than just the
flu.

When it finally hit us, he surprised me.

I couldn't force myself to do anything more than lie
in bed all day, reading and watching TV. At first, I
tried to stick to the intellectual stuff that a modern
woman like myself should amuse herself with but soon
found that I didn't have the energy to keep up with it.
So I resorted to a diet of trashy novels and soap operas.

Morris, on the other hand, pulled himself together and
tried to come up with a solution. The doctor diagnosed me
with severe dehydration and suggested ice chips. When we
got home from the visit, Morris put me to bed, tucked the
covers up around my chin and left.

I reached for my latest literary foray into the world of
"throbbing, engorged members" and "glowing, pearlescent
breasts," mentally cursing him for his chauvinistic
selfishness. Just where was he in such a hurry to run
off to, anyway?

Within moments, I heard a strange banging noise coming
from the kitchen.

"Morris?" I called. "Morris, what the hell are you doing
in there?"

"Nothing, honey!" he yelled back, and if I hadn't been so
sick, I would have immediately gotten up to go make sure
everything in my kitchen was still all right. As it was,
I was too miserable to care.

Rudolpho and Yzetta -- or whatever their names were in
that particular book -- were just breathing impassioned
(and ridiculous) declarations of emotion as they neared
their respective (and, of course, simultaneous) climaxes
when I heard him come into the room.

Nothing had prepared me for the sight of my young
husband with a cup full of crushed ice in one hand
and a shy, sheepish grin on his face.

I melted. For the first time in ten weeks, I smiled,
and then I laughed, and then I cried. Poor Morris
looked as if he thought maybe he'd done something
wrong.

"Joanne? Are you okay?"

All I had to offer for an explanation was a sniffle
and a, "I just love you, that's all."

"Oh, okay," he grinned with relief. "If that's all
it is..."

And he sat down beside me and reached over toward my
legs. He'd discovered very early that my knees are
very ticklish, and at that moment, he employed that
knowledge fully in his whole-hearted attempt to make
me laugh.

"I love you too," he finally said softly, smiling a
little and reaching for the cup of ice that I'd quite
forgotten about. He fed me the cold little chips with
a spoon until all that was left was a little bit of
water in the bottom of the cup.

"Feel better?" he asked a little nervously.

I nodded, and he smiled at me before awkwardly patting
my knee and taking the cup back with him to the kitchen.
A few minutes later, I heard the recliner kick back as
the sound of a football game came over the old black and
white TV set we had.

My second pregnancy wasn't nearly as bad physically, but
it was bad emotionally.

It was while I was pregnant with Terry and Chrissy was
still a mischievous little toddler that Morris developed
a wandering eye.

Or maybe he'd already had it and just let it become more
obvious.

At any rate, now that I was seven months pregnant and
not the skinny little girl he'd married, he no longer
bothered to hide the appreciative, longing glances he
gave pretty women.

I was offended and hurt, but I wasn't really worried.
Even if he ever found a woman who reciprocated his
lust, I was sure he didn't have the guts to go through
with it.

Whatever else Morris may have grown into or out of,
he is still incredibly insecure. In fact, up until
a few days ago, I was still confident that he would
never get the nerve to go through with a bonafide
affair.

We haven't been talking to each other for months,
maybe years. That's because, in those rare times
we're not completely avoiding contact with each
other, we're screaming in each other's faces. I
know he's miserable -- I am, too -- but this is
pretty much standard procedure for us. We have
one of these cold wars every few years or so --
or maybe the same one just gets revived -- but it
never even entered my mind that there might be
another woman.

Not until he started mumbling about 'Scully' in
his sleep.

Not until he started sleeping downstairs in the
recliner with porn blaring on the television.

You see, no matter how bad our fighting got, we
always slept in the same bed. We didn't want to
worry the kids. Of course, the way Chris and Terry
feel about him now, they'd probably be glad if we
told them we were getting a divorce.

I have to admit, I wonder sometimes if it's worth
this misery. But things have been bad before and
they've gotten better.

I do love my husband. I wish I could like him, and
I wish I could think that he still loves me. You
see, after all this time, I am still that hopeless
romantic hiding behind a cynical, feminist facade.

I want nothing more than to lead a normal life --
or as normal as one can lead when one's husband
works in Area 51 -- with relatively happy kids,
a relatively happy marriage, and maybe even a dog
or a cat.

If I sacrificed my feminist ideals for this
traditional, predictable, normal dream, I at least
want to be paid back for it. I want the dream, no
matter how mediocre it may seem when I hold it up
to my college dreams of leading the world in a
cultural revolution.

But, despite everything, I am still a little girl
who wants the fairytale: I want to love and be
loved.

All I really want is to have my husband back, and
to be happy with him. To find that awkward,
insecure young man who put permanent dents in the
kitchen counter of a cheap little apartment in
Pentagon City when he crushed up ice cubes for his
wife with a meat tenderizer.

His bags are waiting for him when he gets home today.
He'll be happy to know that I'm giving him permission
to move out and pursue that redheaded Scully bitch he's
so enamored with.

I don't know which I want more -- for him to leave and
get us all out of this misery, this god-awful farce...
or for him to prove me wrong and tell me he's staying.

After all this time, it seems, I still don't want to
lose him, no matter how much I may hate him... because
underneath all the hurt and all the anger, I know I
still love that man, scum-sucking asshole that he is.

God help me, I still love him, and I want him to stay.

I know we'll never have my perfect Cinderella dream;
I know he'll probably never remember our anniversary
and he'll never write me love letters and he'll never
play the part of a bodice-ripper hero and whisper
in my ear how ravishing I am. But I also know that I
don't really want that.

I just want my husband back.

God, Morris... I just want you back.

xXxXxXx

THE END


MORE AUTHOR'S NOTES: For your convenience, I'm including the
complete lyrics to the song (in case you want to know):


"You Don't Bring Me Flowers"


You don't bring me flowers,
You don't sing me love songs

You hardly talk to me anymore
When I come through the door
At the end of the day

I remember when
You couldn't wait to love me,
You used to hate to leave me

Now after loving me late at night
When it's good for you, babe,
And you're feeling all right
Well, you just roll over
And turn out the light

And you don't bring me flowers
Anymore

It used to be so natural
To talk about forever
But used-to-be's don't count anymore
They just lay on the floor
Til we sweep them away

Baby, I remember
All the things you taught me

I learned how to laugh,
And I learned how to cry

Well, I learned how to love,
And I learned how to lie

So you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye...

You don't bring me flowers
Anymore

Well, you'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye
You don't say you need me
You don't sing me love songs
You don't bring me flowers anymore.