Welcome To The Harem
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Plausible Deniability
Summary: The beginning of an affair, before CSM became a black-lunged bastard and Mrs. Mulder repressed it all. First Part in a series of 5 - Pre-XF, CSM/Mrs. Mulder - NC-17 (sexual situations, mature language)
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (NC-17)
Title: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" (1/1)
Author: Plausible Deniability
Rating: *NC-17* (sexual situations, mature language)
Spoilers: Concerns events hinted at in Talitha Cumi (3.24)
Keywords: Pre-XF, CSM/Mrs. Mulder
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the television program "The X Files" are the creations and property of Chris Carter, Fox Broadcasting, and Ten-Thirteen Productions, and have been used without permission. The song "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" was written by Otto Harbach and Jerome Kern and recorded by The Platters, and is also used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: The beginning of an affair, before CSM became a black-lunged bastard and Mrs. Mulder repressed it all.
THANKS to my Beta readers, Becky, Hindy, Laurie, and Rachel. Thanks also to The Platters, and to 80s idol Rick Springfield for recording the ultimate camp jealousy song, "Jessie's Girl."
And both were young, and one was beautiful...
-- Lord Byron, "The Dream"
QUONOCHONTAUG, RHODE ISLAND
"You two have fun," Bill calls gruffly from the driver's seat as he backs the Bel Air out of the drive. "Teena, you make sure he feels at home."
"I will," she calls back, waving him off. Her dark hair lifts in the gentle September breeze.
Teena and I watch as the blue coupe disappears down the beach road, leaving a little cloud of dust in its wake. Then she turns and links her arm through mine.
I gaze up at the blue sky. A second ago I could smell the salt sea air, could feel the warm sun and the light wind blowing in from the south. Now my senses register none of it. Teena Mulder is touching me. Teena; lithe and vibrant and more beautiful than any other woman I have ever known.
She strolls with me back toward the house. "I hope he has good weather on the way down to D.C.," she remarks in her low, musical voice. "Bill hates driving in the rain."
The weather...of course she can make small talk, can trade pleasantries as if this is a moment like any other moment. She is a breathtaking woman, and I am merely the slightly dull friend of her capable husband. There is nothing remarkable to her about walking companionably beside a tongue-tied house guest.
"Are you hungry?" she asks. "It's the housekeeper's day off, so before Bill was called away I was planning on our going out for dinner. But I could scare up a couple of lobsters and some summer corn if you would like, and there's key lime pie for dessert."
"I love key lime pie," I say, even though I have never eaten it before.
She squeezes my arm. "Let's have an early dinner, then."
I loiter in the sun-splashed kitchen, leaning against the counter, watching her fluid movements as she explores the icebox and then searches through white-washed cabinets. She lifts an enormous lobster pot into the sink, and fills it nearly to the top with water.
"Here, let me," I say, squeezing between her and the sink to hoist the filled pot onto the stove. "That's heavy."
She has that serene, patrician way of saying thank you -- an instinctive politeness bred into the bone. She moves like a patrician, too; easily, spine straight, the picture of finishing-school grace.
"How is your book coming?" she asks as I step back to let her light the stove.
I look up in surprise. I have only mentioned my writing to her once, and then only in passing. "Oh...well enough, I suppose."
"I want you to tell me all about it."
And so I obey, spinning the story out for her approval as we wait for the water to boil, and as the lobsters cook from rusty-brown to brilliant red. I am still talking as we set the table together, and I continue on into our meal. She listens carefully, asking many of the same questions I have asked myself as I have toiled over my creaky typewriter.
Finally I stammer to a halt.
"It sounds fascinating," she says, eyes aglow.
I wonder if she really means it, or if she is only humoring me. She was a literature major at Wellesley, Bill told me once. I would like to think she knows what she is talking about.
"I'll probably never really finish it."
"Oh, no." She reaches across the table, and covers my hand with hers. "You have to."
I look down at the ruins of our dinner, and realize I have talked my way through the entire meal.
"You know," I say slowly, "this is the kind of dinner that I could only dream about when I was growing up."
She laughs. "What -- corn on the cob and bottled beer?"
...And lobster and drawn butter and linen napkins and real silver. Poor Teena -- she takes so much for granted. But then, she is no position to appreciate much of the special attraction of this meal. After all, Teena is not sitting across from one of life's Beautiful People, and that Beautiful Person is not laughing appreciatively at something she has said.
She stands and begins clearing away the dishes. I jump up to help her.
"No, no," she protests, trying to shoo me from the table. "You're a guest."
"But I ought to do something to help --"
She gestures toward the radio on the windowsill. "You could switch that on, if you don't mind."
I click on the radio, and then reach for a dish towel. She gives me a look of good-natured reproof.
"At least let me dry," I insist. "Please."
Her stern expression dissolves into amusement. "How can I turn down such a beseeching look? I've never had a man beg to help me with the dishes before."
She moves over to make room beside her at the sink. We settle into a comfortable silence, Teena washing the dishes and handing them off to me one by one. On the radio, Connie Francis sings "Everybody's Somebody's Fool." Teena joins in on the refrain, her husky voice just the slightest bit off-key.
"Bill hates it when I sing," she confesses between choruses.
"People who live in glass houses....I heard Bill sing once, in a bar in Kuala Lumpur. It was not a pretty sound."
She passes me the last dish, and pulls the stopper from the sink to let the dishwater drain away. Connie Francis fades into silence, and the music on the radio switches to the achingly lovely strains of the Platters' "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes":
"They said someday you'll find
All who love are blind
O-oh, when your heart's on fire
You must realize,
Smoke gets in your eyes..."
She tilts her head to one side, listening. "That's a nice song," she says softly. Something about the wistfulness of her tone makes my heart twist.
She is so beautiful. Not for the first time I envy Bill Mulder, envy him with an intensity that frightens me. I should not feel such cold hatred for my best friend, or such strong yearning for his wife. I am not entitled to wonder how soft her lips would feel if I were to kiss her, or what it would be like to have her body trembling under mine.
She is Bill Mulder's wife, and Bill trusts me.
...But then, I have often worried that Bill Mulder trusts too much.
"My goodness, you look thoughtful," Teena says, tugging the dish towel from my hand.
"I -- I think I may go down to the beach." Anything to turn my thoughts from the suddenly dangerous territory into which they have ventured.
"If you'll give me a minute to change out of this dress," she says, drying her hands, "I'll join you. It's a gorgeous day for a walk."
I wait for her in the airy hallway. Barely five minutes later she comes skimming lightly down the stairs. She is dressed in new canvas sneakers, snug blue jeans, and an oversized white cotton shirt which I recognize as one of Bill's. Her dark hair is tied back in a ponytail. She looks even younger than she did before.
I open the door for her, and we stroll out into the blinding sunshine. We cross the little artificial swath of lawn that Bill Mulder has carefully cultivated. Beyond the lawn we pick our way down the craggy path, clambering carefully over the large rocks, our descent short but steep. At the base of the rocks, clumped sea grass and smooth stones give way finally to a long sweep of sandy beach.
We set off toward the south, the sun casting our shadows on the wet sand.
"How long have you known Bill?" she asks, her hands in her pockets, matching her strides to mine.
"Oh, a long, long time. About eight years now. Since we were not much more than boys."
She smiles sadly. "It's difficult for me to believe that Bill was ever that young."
"I suppose you could say we both grew up rather quickly." I look out at the sea, and the waves which glitter in the brilliant sun. "Bill's missing some good skiing weather."
She tosses her head. "He's always being called away for one reason or another. Whatever this project is he's working on, it's certainly demanding."
I have become adept at making vague replies. "Yes. We all appreciate the work Bill is doing."
"Well, you may appreciate it," she says with sudden vehemence, "but I don't. I'm tired of putting my life on hold."
I am not sure how to reply to this, so I simply gaze ahead at the beach before us. There is a lighthouse up the rock-covered rise, a lonely black-and-white banded tower jutting up magnificently into the cloudless sky.
We have walked on only a few yards when Teena turns to me and blurts out, "I want to start a family."
Her words conjure up a sudden flash of tormenting images: Bill in bed with Teena; his hands touching her, possessing her; their bodies locked in passion...
"Bill says he's not sure," she continues rapidly, "but I'm certain he'd change his mind once the baby came. I want a baby so much -- a little girl, maybe, though I'd be happy either way. It's so hard to be patient."
"Bill will come around," I say -- though, knowing Bill, I am not particularly convinced of it.
"Do you think so?"
"How could any man say no to you?"
The words are no sooner out than I regret them. What was meant to pass for harmless gallantry somehow reverberates like the rawest of confessions.
I can feel her looking at me -- measuring me. I am not much given to empty compliments; I sense Teena knows this. I stare straight ahead, half of me praying that she will let the moment pass.
"I'm so glad to have the beach house," she says finally, impulsively, taking hold of my arm. "Maybe a summer or two here will change his mind. A place like this has such a family feel, don't you think? We always spent every summer at the shore when I was a girl. We had picnics and clambakes, and my father would take us sailing, and some nights we would even build a bonfire and tell ghost stories under the stars."
We are back to small talk. I feel relief -- and something else; disappointment? -- wash over me. "I'm quite fond of ghost stories myself."
She smiles up at me. "Are you? So am I. It's exhilarating to be just a little bit frightened, don't you think?"
"Yes, just a little bit."
She laughs at my grave expression. "You're too serious, you know...you and Bill both. Sometimes you both seem as if you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders."
"Sometimes it feels that way."
"Mmm-hmm. I expect all overly serious people think so." She looks at me mischievously, a kittenish sidelong glance. "We used to play a game when we were children, my sisters and I. We used to see how close we could stand to the edge of the water without actually getting our feet wet."
"Why do I have the feeling you're contemplating doing it again?"
"You're going to ruin your shoes," I warn, ever-practical.
She scowls playfully. "See what I mean? Much too serious." She toes off her sneakers, then bends over and rolls up the bottom of her jeans, revealing several arresting inches of lean, tanned shins. "Come on," she urges, taking me by the hand. "You, too."
"Me? I don't think so."
Another comic scowl. "Now you're talking just like Bill."
Whether by chance or by design, she has hit upon precisely the most effective goad. I am *not* like Bill. If I were like Bill, and he could have her but I could not, then where would be the justice in this world? I am someone very different from her husband. I have seen more. I have done more. I *know* more. And yet, I am still capable of shrugging off the weight of the world when I am with her.
"This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever done," I grumble, but I take off my shoes and socks.
She drags me to the water's edge, grinning. "You need to unbend a little. Now stand here, and just wait for the next wave."
I stand obediently, my fingers laced with hers. But when the breaker is still not even halfway to us, we both realize it is rolling in too fast. With a girlish shriek she lets go of my hand, and darts toward dryer land.
I stand my ground, and the swirling surf rises around my ankles. The cold salt water soaks the bottoms of my pantlegs.
Behind me, she lets out a peal of laughter. The wave recedes, and I turn and look ruefully at her. "What was the object of this game again?"
She dissolves into giggles.
"You know, this is my second-best pair of pants..."
Her shoulders shake.
I want to laugh, too, if only with the sheer joy of having amused her. Her eyes are sparkling. Unruly wisps of her dark hair have pulled free from her ponytail, giving her a bewitchingly disarrayed look. She has never been more beautiful.
"You're not supposed to just stand there -- !" she scolds amid her mirth.
"You didn't tell me that."
More giggles. "You didn't ask!"
"Okay, that tears it," I growl theatrically, stalking across the wet sand toward her. "You're not going to get off scot-free..."
She lets out a squeal, and dodges away. But I am better than half a foot taller than she is, and my legs are longer, and it is an easy thing for me to catch her. A feint to the left, one well-timed lunge, and I am swinging her up into my arms.
She tries to scream but she is laughing too hard, kicking her heels helplessly, her arms clasped fast about my neck. She throws her head back and tries to gasp out a protest as, grinning crazily, I stagger toward the surf. Heedless of my clothing, I wade in until the water is hip-deep.
"No!" she manages to shriek, breathless with laughter. "It's cold!"
"Say you're sorry," I demand, loosening my grip.
"No, don't, please -- !"
"One..." I toss her experimentally in my arms.
"Two..."; another toss.
She clings frantically to my neck. "Help! No!"
With a leer I swing her up into the air and dump her unceremoniously into the blue-green waves. She disappears with a resounding splash.
She comes up spluttering, her dark hair streaming in a wet slick over her face and back. "Oh!" she cries in speechless outrage. "Oh!"
It is a good thing I am standing in frigid water. Her shirt is molded like a second skin to her body, the thin cotton virtually transparent. Desire jolts through me like an electric shock.
"How could you *do* that?" she demands incredulously, her voice rising in pitch. "You -- you *lunatic*..."
I cannot help laughing.
"Oh!" she cries again. Then she splashes me -- not with the genteel little scoop of seawater that I was expecting, but with an impressive deluge that she expertly backhands in my direction.
Desire cools momentarily under the shock of her attack. I look down at myself in amused disbelief. I am soaked.
She laughs, and dives under the waves before I can retaliate. I wade in a few inches deeper, peering at the water, trying to spot her white shirt beneath the surface.
Then I feel a pair of arms circle my legs. Clever girl. She has swum up behind me.
Her aim is clear: to flip my feet out from under me. Before she can do so, I fill my lungs and dive out of her grasp, plunging forward into the cold surf. I coast underwater a few yards, then circle back for my own ambush.
I surface silently behind her. She is standing with her back to me, the water reaching to her shoulderblades. She looks to the left and to the right, clearly puzzled by my disappearance. I slip cautiously closer, until I am no more than a foot or two behind her.
"Shark!" I bellow at the top of my lungs, and seize her around the waist.
Her screech is one part terror and one part hysterical laughter. She falls against my chest, and I drag her with me beneath the waves.
When we come back up, we are both laughing and breathless. Somehow she has twisted in my arms, so that we are locked together, face to face. Though the water around us is chilly, her body is pressed warmly against mine. I can feel her chest heave as she draws deep breaths into her lungs. Water sparkles on her long dark lashes.
I bend my head and kiss her.
Oh, God. Reason flees -- but then, reason had already fled, hadn't it? -- as I feel the yielding pressure of her lips. She opens her mouth beneath mine, and I groan as my tongue slides past her teeth, tasting heat and salt water and fresh air, all of the elements combining in one heady assault. Teena is everything I have ever dreamed of.
I feel a tightening in my groin, a rush of heat as I grow hard. For one fleeting instant the last vestige of my loyalty to Bill cries out for me to break contact, to push Teena away, to turn my back before she can learn the full extent of my perfidy. But in that same fleeting instant she presses her hips against me, moaning softly, grinding herself into my erection.
Teena knows -- she knows and she wants this every bit as much as I do. Bill is forgotten in a blaze of maddening lust.
I lift her in the water, cupping her buttocks, wrapping her legs around me. We are both gasping. I thrust brazenly against her, kissing her, madly dry-humping like some hopelessly overeager teen-ager. She shares in the frenzy, straining against me. I growl deep in my throat.
I arch down to where the wet fabric of her shirt clings to one hardened nipple. I take the taut peak gently between my teeth, licking at it. Her hands twine in my hair, and she leans weakly against me, burying her face against the top of my head.
God, she is spectacular. Vaguely I am aware that we are outdoors and the water is still cold and the waves are still breaking on the beach, but only vaguely. My perception has narrowed so that Teena is my world, my everywhere; her warm breath and her soft flesh and her maddening curves are all that exist for me now.
But we are still fully dressed -- ludicrous to admit, really, since we are standing rib-deep in water and panting with frustrated passion. It would be an easy thing for me to release myself from my pants, to drive into her in one impatient thrust, but her clothes present a more daunting obstacle.
"Teena," I whisper, surprising myself with the hoarseness of my voice, "let's go back to the house..."
Her eyes fly open. "No," she says. "No, not the house."
I see the alarm in her expression, and understand. The house is Bill's domain.
"Where, then?" The throb in my groin is almost painful.
"The beach," she says. "The lighthouse, the boathouse -- anywhere."
We stumble together out of the surf, Teena leaning on me for support. The beach is empty and deserted, but exposed. I take her hand and pull her towards the lighthouse. I pick up speed as we go, scrambling up the rocks without a backward glance. By the time we reach the base of the lighthouse, Teena is jogging just to keep up.
I circle the base of the tower, searching for the entrance. Finally I find it: a weathered door, the bare wood showing through cracked paint. I try the knob. It's locked.
I swear under my breath, and without even thinking, I step back and kick in the door. It flies open, wood splintering.
I glance over my shoulder at Teena. She is staring at me, her eyes round.
"Sorry," I say. "I didn't think I could wait for a locksmith."
She laughs, then, and pushes past me into the lighthouse.
The interior is cool and semi-dark, light filtering down from high-set windows. A wooden staircase spirals upwards. There is no floor, only hard-packed sand. "Where?" I ask, my heart starting to beat triple-time. "Upstairs?"
She shakes her head. "No -- right here." She unbuttons the top two buttons of her shirt, and then impatiently pulls the whole thing off over her head.
I don't need another invitation. I can't get out of my wet clothes quickly enough. But she is even faster than I am, and while I am still wrenching off my t-shirt, I feel her hands on the button of my fly, wrestling with the fastening, tugging off my pants.
A moment later, and we are both naked. Teena presses her body, shivering and damp from the lingering chill of the Atlantic, against mine. "Kiss me," she whispers, bending her head back to look up at me.
Just who is seducing whom here? Our mouths meet, and heat comes roaring back through me. I spread a hand over her breast, feeling the stiff peak of her nipple against my palm. I slide my hand around to cup her breast, stroking her nipple with my thumb. She shivers.
I pull her down onto the sand, folding her body under mine. Her hands close around my penis -- stroking, tugging. But I will not be hurried. I want her to beg, plead, sob with passion under me, and I know how to make it happen.
"Please," she begs, her eyes closed. "Just do it."
"No." I shake my head. "Not yet."
I lower my head to her breast, taking her nipple in my mouth, flicking my tongue lightly over it. At the same time I reach down and slip my hand between her legs. Her thighs are cold, but the core of her is hot and wet. I stroke upwards, my fingers sliding through warm slickness. She moans.
I spread my hand so that my fingers dip into her wetness, while my thumb rests on her clitoris. Her hands curl at her sides; she is clutching greedy fistfuls of sand. My thumb rotates in little circles, gently at first, gradually gaining pressure. My tongue swirls around her nipple.
"Oh, please," she begs again, urgency in her voice. "Please, please..."
But I did not get where I am today by showing mercy. I push two fingers inside her, firmly, forcefully, tormenting her as my thumb works intently on the knot of nerves at her center.
"Please." Her head thrashes from side to side. "Oh, god, please..."
This time she hits just the right note of imploring desperation: she is close to the edge. I cover her body with mine, pressing her into the sand, and enter her in one quick thrust.
"Oh, yes," she groans. "Oh, thank you, yes, yes..."
She is small and tight, almost unbearably so, but there is nothing that matters to me at this moment except her satisfaction. I pull slowly back, and then push slowly in again. She protests my indolence with a whimper. I smile, and begin driving into her with hard, steady strokes, using my leverage to good advantage.
Her hands spread over my buttocks, pulling me closer. Her legs twine around my own. She strains upward, her pelvis tilting, tiny muscles deep inside her squeezing around me. Her face is flushed and dark with passion.
I thrust into her, as tireless as a distance runner who has hit his groove, as relentless as a well-oiled machine. Is Bill this kind of lover?, I wonder fiercely. I can feel her orgasm building. She is breathing in short gasps.
Then, with a stifled cry, she lets go. Her climax breaks in waves around me. I still in her, holding firm so that she can enjoy the moment fully, keeping myself in check while she shudders into completion.
And then it is my turn. I slide one arm beneath her hips, pinning her against me, and thrust into her as hard as I can. She gasps at my unexpected depth.
The sound is like a match to tinder. My restraint breaks and I begin lunging at her mindlessly, savagely, until finally I reach the absolution I am searching for and, groaning, I flood her with my traitorous desire.
Dizzily, I collapse onto the sand beside her. I am dimly aware of my harsh breathing, and the way it echoes in the empty lighthouse.
And her breathing -- her breathing is as soft and steady as the distant surf.
Slowly she raises one sandy, exquisitely-manicured hand, and idly examines it in the sunlight. "Have you ever read Seneca?"
My confused thoughts grope their way back from the edge of oblivion. "What?"
"Seneca. He was a Stoic philosopher. Bill has a copy of his 'Moral Essays' in his den."
"Oh." I am so winded and so satiated that I find it difficult to focus. "Yes, a little."
"He wrote a perceptive thing once: 'Whom they have injured they also hate.'"
I lie quiet for a moment, digesting her meaning. Loyalties have shifted in the space of a summer evening. Teena and I are allies now. And the enemy is....
"An interesting quotation."
"Yes." She rolls over, and runs her hand lightly up my thigh. "Isn't it, though."
Three exhausting days later, Bill returns.