Title: Snapshots: A Brief History of a Life Less Ordinary
Word Count: ~20,500
Please see first part for disclaimer/summary/notes.
August 26th, 1988
Jess sat down at her desk shaking her head.
“What’s wrong, Jessica?”
“At lunch Toni asked me out again.”
“What is that, like the fifth time?”
John leaned back in his chair and simply looked at her in silence.
She saw his look. “What?” she demanded.
“Why don’t you accept and go out with her?”
Her eyebrows climbed into her hairline. “What?”
“Why not? You haven’t gone out once or done anything fun since you got back.”
“I think she’s a great agent, and I’ve been grateful for all the help she’s given me work wise. But
you know Toni’s reputation. She doesn’t exactly have a good relationship track record.”
“Well, hell, Jessica, I wasn’t suggesting you settle down and have kids together. I know Toni plays the field. Just go out to dinner with her and have a nice time.” He paused for a moment. “At least think about it.” He went back to his paperwork.
Jessica worked for a couple of hours, but found she had trouble concentrating. John’s words kept running through her mind. She hadn’t done anything fun since well before she was injured. And she’d only been on a handful of dates since joining the Bureau. And Toni had been going out of her way to be helpful at work.
And she was gorgeous.
“I’m going to get something to drink,” she said standing up. “You want anything, John?”
“No. I’m fine.”
She left the bullpen and headed down the hallway. Instead of stopping at the vending machine she paused at a door to one of the conference rooms. She knew Toni was inside the room, with her partner and a couple of other agents from her section, going through some files. She took a deep breath and opened the door. All four agents turned and looked at her.
“Um, could I talk to you a second, Toni?”
“Sure,” the older woman replied with a dazzling smile. She stepped out into the hallway with Jessica, closing the door behind her. “What can I do for you, Jessica?”
Suddenly feeling a little tongue-tied and cursing herself for the blush she felt coloring her cheeks, Jessica found herself looking at her own feet instead of the dark brown eyes of the taller woman. “About dinner...”
“Is your invitation still open?” She risked a glance up.
Toni’s smiled softened. “Of course it is. Pick you up at 7:00?”
Jessica smiled shyly and nodded. “Okay.”
They sat at a table sipping their drinks as they waited for their meals. Toni had been pleased when she found out Jessica liked seafood. She could tell the younger woman was a bit unsettled and tried to lighten the atmosphere. She smiled, “Relax, Jessica, it’s dinner; not an execution.”
Jessica looked up, but didn’t return the smile. She needed to get something off her chest. She took a steadying breath. “Toni, I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me at work. You’ve been a big help and an understanding ear.”
“I’m just not sure what you want.”
“Just dinner, Jessica, and to get to know you a little better,” she replied easily.
The tension in the younger woman eased and she relaxed back into her chair.
By the end of their meal, both women were smiling and laughing as they exchanged stories and information about themselves. Both had a good time and didn’t realize how much time had passed until the waiter indicated the restaurant was closing.
Toni walked Jessica to her apartment door. The younger woman slipped her key in the door and then turned to Toni.
“I had a really nice time tonight, Toni. Thank you,” she said with a smile.
“So did I. Maybe we can do it again sometime?”
“Good night, Jessica.”
Toni Jeffers was frustrated. It had been three weeks since her dinner date with Jessica Morgan, and she had yet to get the younger woman to agree to a second date. She sat at her desk, tapping a pen against her teeth. Jessica intrigued her. She was obviously smart, the fact that she was so young and had more than one advanced degree proved it. She was also extremely insightful; she missed very little, if anything, when observing crime scenes or people, even casually. But all of that was information that could be gleaned from her personnel file.
What had surprised Toni, was how much she like the woman beneath the personnel file. In fact, she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. The next day was Toni’s birthday, and she had turned down more than one offer to take her out to celebrate. And that was out of character for her. Everyone knew Toni was quite the social butterfly – never in want of a suitor and seldom dating anyone more than a month or two. However, she had not gone out once since her date with Jessica.
She finally tossed the pen down on her desk. She got up and headed to the cafeteria. She smiled when she saw Jessica sitting at one of the tables. She carried her tray over to the younger woman’s table. “Mind if I join you?”
Jessica looked up and smiled. “Not at all. Have a seat.”
Toni was uncharacteristically unsure of herself. She’d never had trouble getting someone to go out with her, male or female. She had never had to persuade anyone before. She wasn’t sure what to say. “Jessica?”
“Tomorrow is my birthday, and...”
“Thanks.” She took a deep breath. “I don’t have any plans and I was wondering if you’d be willing to help me celebrate.”
“What did you have in mind?”
Toni mentally scrambled; she had expected another polite refusal. “I was thinking something fun and playful. Will you join me for a day at Kings Dominion?”
Jessica was surprised the older woman suggested a day at the amusement park. “Are they still open?”
“Yeah, on the weekends.”
She thought about it a couple moments before responding. “Okay. It sounds like fun,” she said with a smile. Jessica was rewarded with a bright, dimpled smile.
September 17th, 1988
Toni picked Jessica up in the morning and they headed to Kings Dominion, which was 75 miles south of DC on I-95. They arrived at 11:00 and spent all day there. They screamed on the rollercoasters; laughed as they played games; stuffed themselves on hotdogs, pizza, and cotton candy; got soaked on the log flume and white water rafting ride; browsed the souvenir shops; and found themselves holding hands on and off for most of the day.
Once again they stood at Jessica’s apartment door. Brown eyes gazed into grey. Toni brought her hand up and tenderly caressed the younger woman’s cheek with the backs of her fingers. She slowly bent her head and pressed her lips to Jessica’s.
Jessica closed her eyes as the taller woman’s soft lips met her own. She accepted the kiss and returned it, but when Toni started to deepen it she pulled back. God, she wanted to give in to the beautiful woman, but she needed to be clear about some things. She looked into Toni’s dark brown eyes. Like everyone else, she was attracted to Toni. She just didn’t want to end up like everyone else did – with a broken heart. “Toni...”
“What is it?”
“We need to talk.”
Jessica smiled. “It’s not anything bad. Why don’t you come inside for drink?”
Jessica unlocked her apartment door and led the way in. She turned on the lights and invited the other woman to sit down. “Would you like some wine?”
Jessica retrieved a bottle of wine from her kitchen along with two wineglasses and a corkscrew. She joined Toni on the couch and uncorked the bottle. After pouring two glasses she handed one to her guest. Holding her glass out she said, “Happy Birthday, Toni.”
“Thank you.” They lightly clinked their glasses and sipped the wine. “Mmmm, this is good.”
Jessica smiled. “One of the things my grandfather taught me was an appreciation of good wine.”
“I thought you said he died before you joined the Bureau.”
“He did. But I was living in England where the drinking age is lower.”
“That’s right, you graduated from Oxford.”
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Toni finally asked.
“Well, first off, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed today.”
Toni smiled. “I did, too.”
“And I want to thank you for everything you’ve done to help me at work.”
“But?” Toni asked, suspecting a shoe was about to drop.
“I guess I’m just wondering.”
“Why? Why me? You can have anyone you want – male or female. So why spend the day with me?”
Toni took another sip of her wine and dropped her gaze. “I know I have a reputation–”
“Not a bad one,” Jessica rushed to assure her. “Just...”
“I know what my reputation is, but I’m not ashamed of anything. I work hard and I play hard. I do what’s fun and spend time with people who interest me. And I move on when I’m no longer having fun and get bored. But I don’t lie or mislead anyone.” She looked Jessica in the eyes as she paused for a beat. “I respect your work as an agent. You’re smart, insightful, and probably the best at what you do. And I’ve enjoyed getting to know you on a personal level. I find you a very interesting person; intelligent, kind, wiser than your age, courageous, and beautiful.”
Jessica nodded. “I just don’t want to be another in a series of broken hearts.”
“We’re just getting to know each other, Jessica; I don’t know what the future will bring. I can’t make any promises. But, I won’t ever lie to you.”
There was only a slight pause before the younger woman responded. “Fair enough.”
They both smiled and relaxed.
Since they finished off the bottle of wine, it wasn’t safe for Toni to drive. She stayed the night... on the couch.
She stopped in the hallway and turned around.
“You going to Shanahan’s for Purdue’s birthday?”
“I thought I’d stop by for a little while.”
“How ‘bout I pick you up, so you don’t have to drive?”
“Great! I’ll pick you up at 6:00,” Mulder said with a grin.
She turned back towards her destination. Toni had been disappointed to find out that Jessica wasn’t going to be able to make Section Chief Reggie Purdue’s birthday get-together. She had just found out that Jessica and her partner, Casper, were on stakeout duty.
October 14th, 1988
It was almost 2:00 a.m. and John and Jessica were waiting for the next team to arrive and relieve them from their stakeout watch.
“So, you got any plans for the weekend?” John asked.
“Toni and I are going to dinner and a movie tomorrow night.” She looked at her watch. “I mean tonight. We haven’t planned beyond that.”
John looked away from the house they were watching and glanced at his partner. “How long have you been dating now?”
“Not counting the first dinner we had, four weeks.”
October 15th, 1988
Toni was woken up by loud knocking on her apartment door. She looked at the clock on her nightstand and growled. She and Jessica had been out late and no one should be knocking on her door so damn early on a Saturday morning. If something had come up at work her cell would have rang.
She slipped her robe on and tied it. She looked through the peephole and frowned. She opened the door. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“We need to talk.” Mulder pushed past her and inside her apartment.
Toni did not care for his tone. “What the hell is your problem, Mulder?”
“I saw you last night.”
“I saw you last night... with Morgan.”
She crossed her arms and her eyes hardened. “And what, precisely, does that have to do with you?” she demanded.
“What does it–” Mulder couldn’t believe his ears. “We’re dating and you go out with someone else?! You go out with the Freak?!”
“What the fuck do you mean we’re dating?! We’ve never been on a date, Mulder!”
“Sharkey’s retirement? Reggie’s birthday? Any of this ring a bell with you?”
“Jesus Christ, Mulder, we carpooled a couple of times to work-related events. We did not go on any dates! Now get the hell out of my apartment, and don’t ever come here again,” she finished with a growl.
Mulder’s face turned red with rage, but after a moment or two he marched out of her apartment, slamming the door behind him.
Previous parts: Prologue | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 |