"She's mine. Back the
How many times in the last
two months has he thought about saying this?
Of course, he'd never say
something so brutishly possessive. It's bad enough that he knows he is being a
jealous asshole, there's no need to let anyone else know. But damned if he
doesn't feel like he must say something before it is too late. He can't just
stand idly by as someone else sweeps his beloved off her feet.
Normally, he doesn't mind
this sort of thing. In fact, he is usually amused when he notices other guys,
even her fellow agents, checking her out, admiring all her obvious superficial
attributes. He is in love with a beautiful, brilliant woman who happens to work
in a very male-dominated field. Of course other men were bound to covet her.
He has always been a good sport about it.
But this asshole is
admiring her less-than-obvious attributes as well. He is being charming in a
way that even a jealous lover must grudgingly applaud.
And she's responding to
She is responding to his
interest like she responded to his own shy efforts years ago, back when he
differentiated himself from the rest with his sense of humor and capacity for
meaningful conversation. She is giving this schmuck that full-wattage smile
that makes his throat tight. And she is looking into the guy's eyes with that
enraptured expression on her face usually reserved for him.
In the two years they have
been seeing each other, this is the first twinge of real jealousy he has ever
felt. But who does he think he's kidding? This is no little twinge. More like
a debilitating muscle spasm. He hates the fucker with a passion so pure that
you could build microchips with it. Bring this emotion into a room and watch it
purify the air. That's how much he despises him. He wants to tear this
interloper apart as he howls in frustration at the ignominy of it all.
The irony is that he
doesn't even think they are aware of what is building between them. Yet he, an
unwilling observer of this little tableau, can see it plain as day. And so can
everyone else, he is sure, as he looks furtively around the crowded room full of
agents and Washington regulars, embarrassed for her. The two of them are so
wrapped up in the delicious sense of shared discovery that they can't see past
the haze of pheromones surrounding their budding new so-called partnership.
Everyone else can see that
guy is worthless as a partner. He isn't looking after her best interests. He's
guiding her through doorways with his hand on her lower back for everyone to
see, in a parody of the gentlemanly gesture of olden days. But a real gentleman
-- one who cares about her well-being, her reputation, her dignity, and her
peace of mind -- would walk away at the first sign of sexual chemistry with
a colleague he respects, especially if she is unavailable. A gentleman would
spare a woman in a committed relationship that kind of heartache. If he
genuinely wants her partnership, and not just an affair, he should tread
carefully until this passes. Hell, I've done it enough times, he murmurs into
If walking away is
impossible, then they should at least back off until the initial wave of
interest subsides. This kind of thing is natural between two attractive people
working in close proximity. It's the biggest fucking cliché in every
profession! And it is especially prevalent in law enforcement, where partners
are required to develop strong relationships and trust each other with their
lives. Most grown-ups know how to handle it. You acknowledge it, you
rationalize it, and then you carefully move on. She, of all people, should know
better. She is the epitome of professionalism, damn it. Why is she doing this?
Workplace romances always
end badly when indulged. Always, someone gets hurt. And it's usually the woman
who bears the brunt of the negative repercussions. Often, wounds inflicted upon
the heart and the reputation never heal.
God, what the hell can a
man do when the woman he loves is behaving this way? What can
anyone do? Is it even possible
to hold on to a loved one that no longer seems interested? It would be like
grasping at starlight -- sad, desperate and utterly pointless. For the first
time in his life, he can comprehend the rationale behind those archaic laws
against stealing a spouse. "Alienation of affection." "Criminal
conversation." Pathetic attempts to legislate the vicissitudes of love.
What did he use to do in
these situations, when he was younger and oh-so-much-wiser? Back when he knew
how to remain detached in relationships, nothing could pierce the smooth veneer
of his force field of coolness.
In the past, if he saw
some guy moving in on his girlfriend, he would be the first one to back away
with a promise of no hard feelings if she was interested. All he wanted was the
truth; in return he promised there would be no negative consequences. Never one
to hold on to a woman by any means but mutual attraction, he was a firm believer
in "Set it free, and if it returns it was meant to be."
But things have changed
She came into his life.
Now, he has someone he
would go to the ends of the earth to keep. This is the woman with whom he wants
to raise a family, spend a lifetime, and kiss on his deathbed at a ripe old
age. "Set it free" suddenly sounds like a line of bullshit from the sixties.
They don't spend every
waking hour with each other -- far from it, because they are both busy
professionals, separated by the powers that be in this world. Ever since she
started working with that jerk, they see each other less and less, but they
share an emotional bond that obviates the need for constant physical closeness.
Or so he thought.
Lately, he is starting to
doubt that bond. She is doing things like canceling vacations they had planned
for months, working through weekends they both scheduled to have off, and
bringing her partner along on their dates. Doesn't that just take the
cake? Were it anyone else, he would call it unmitigated gall. But since it is
her, he is inclined to believe the best.
He wants to believe.
Ostensibly, her new
partner came along to meet him, since the bar is so close to the office and
they're working late. Again. She wants them to get to know each other, she
said. In actuality, he fears she brought him along tonight because they could
not bear to be apart, even for an hour.
He wonders idly if he's
just being paranoid. A sliver of hope rises in his heart, by force of habit,
but falls quickly. "Just because I'm paranoid," he quips, "doesn't mean she's
not falling in love with her new partner."
It is painful for him to
look at them together, conversing animatedly at the bar, waiting for him to
appear. He feels like an interloper, sitting in a dark corner, observing them.
The clink of glasses, the unobtrusive music, the low hum of polite chatter --
all of it is deafening to him. He wishes there was some way to block out all
five of his senses and numb his heart.
He knows she would never
intentionally hurt him or dishonor their relationship. The depth of her
character was always the overarching theme in how he perceived her. And
the knowledge of her innate goodness was his unrelenting source of trust. But
this is a different situation altogether. She probably believes, in all
clueless honesty, that she and her new partner have a strictly platonic
relationship. She can't see what he is seeing, and he doesn't think she'd
appreciate him telling her about it. In fact, she will probably think he is
being irrational and unfair, or say he's imagining things that aren't there.
It's the kind of realization one has to arrive at on one's own.
But to hell with that! He
is so hurt by this that the pain is exploding out his chest as he sits here,
tears welling in his eyes. If she leaves him, he resolves to confront her with
everything he's got -- no matter how hypocritical it sounds coming from him.
He's going to rip those stupid blinders off her eyes and make her look at what
she refuses to see. He is going to call her a cheap slut and a traitor to every
hardworking female law enforcement officer that's ever tried to fend off sexual
advances on the job. He'll tell her that if she hooks up with her new partner,
she'll be letting down every female agent that ever looked up to her, especially
her former students. And this'll really get her, he thinks: He'll tell
her she's sending a message out to every male cop that it's okay to hit on your
female partner, because you just
might get lucky. Sometimes even paragons of virtue and professionalism will
fuck their partners -- look at her!
He is going to shame her into
putting the brakes on whatever is developing between her and that asshole
partner of hers, such that she'll think twice -- no, two hundred times! --
before ever allowing a relationship to develop between them. He is going to
guilt her into freezing the
guy out of her heart. He knows all the right buttons to push. After all those
years of waiting for her to notice him, and then of loving her faithfully, he
damn well should. Hell hath no fury like
a faithful man scorned.
He laughs bitterly at the
end of his imaginary tirade, dropping his head into both hands. It's a nice
fantasy. Of course, he could never speak to her so harshly, no matter how much
pain he is in. Not his style. No matter how badly she treats him,
intentionally or not, he cannot allow this experience to change who he is: a good
man and a decent person. No heartache, no infidelity, no couple sitting at the
bar breaking his heart, will turn him into anything less.
He would fight for her
if he thought it would do him any good right now, but he knows it won't. It
would only make things worse.
All he can do is
wait, trying to maintain his dignity as he seethes in a vat of jealous anxiety,
hoping she'll come to her senses before she does anything that they will both
She is simply not that
kind of woman, he tells himself.
She will stop before this
gets out of hand.
She will stop before she
breaks my heart, he tries to convince himself. But it isn't working.
And so, with a heavy
heart, he drains his scotch, throws some money on the table, and walks out. Of
the bar, of their relationship, and of the life he dreamed they would someday
She sees him and calls
But he is already gone.
* * *
Author's Notes: Ethan
Minette is the man with whom Dana Scully was in a relationship prior to
joining the X-files. All scenes involving his character, and all references to
his existence, were deleted from the Pilot episode in a sound exercise of Chris
Carter's artistic judgement. The UST had enough elements as it existed without
Ethan in the mix, in my opinion. But what if...? Isn't that what fanfic is all
about -- the what ifs? *g*
For more information on the
back story, check out the deleted scenes and other DVD extras for The X-Files