Somewhere in her youth or childhood, Scully must have done something very bad to deserve this. At some point, she'd angered the big man upstairs. How appropriate she would suffer her torture in a church basement.
"C'mon Dana," Mary Pat tugged her towards two chairs across the room. "We have to hurry up if we want seats next to each other!"
At the entrance, a woman flicked on a microphone. "Only women take seats," she instructed. "Men, you'll have to wait until we start!"
A few men grumpily sat up from their seats and lined up against the wall, some leaning against posters that featured passages from the Bible.
Scully sat in the folding chair next to Mary Pat and studied the poster behind them, which showed a mountain range. The text "OUR FAITH CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS" floated in the sky.
"Is there a passage in the Bible about the Earth swallowing us up whole and spitting us into a speed dating event?" Scully asked her cousin.
"We're Catholics, Scully," Mary Pat replied, rolling her eyes. "That means we don't need to know the Bible."
"If we're Catholic," Scully said, "remind me why we're attending speed dating in a Protestant church?"
Mary Pat snorted and pulled her compact from her purse, giving her makeup one last inspection. "It's a Unitarian church. They barely count as Protestant." She touched up her lipstick. "Anyway, the flyer said 'All faiths welcome,' and I'm pretty sure that includes lapsed Catholics. And," she looked at Scully sharply as she snapped her compact shut, "you promised you would do this with me."
Mary Pat had a history of liberally construing promises. 'Mommy promised I could stay up 'til eleven.' 'Grandma, you promised you'd take us out for ice cream.' 'Daddy promised I'd get a baby sister.' Now, even 37 years old and divorced, Mary Pat still hadn't lost the habit.
Scully had not promised to attend a speed dating event with her. When she'd discovered that her cousin was moving to the D.C. area, she'd promised to take her out some night. Mary Pat had interpreted that as "I will take you out some night and we will do whatever you want, Mary Pat, I promise."
She'd tried pointing out the distinction to Mary Pat with no success. She'd vented to her mother, who just told her that she thought it was nice she was spending time with her cousin and asked why shouldn't she go speed dating?
Scully had difficulty articulating the exact nature of her objection, and wound up just saying it was pathetic, an excuse that sounded…well…pathetic even to Scully's ears.
Her mother had waved her concerns away. "There's nothing pathetic about putting yourself out there. Who knows—maybe you'll meet someone nice!"
"I am not going to meet Mr. Right at a church-sponsored speed dating event," Scully had replied.
"Well, you're not going to meet him alone in your apartment, either…" her mother had pointed out.
Scully hadn't been able to think of an answer to that.
So here she was, wishing she'd stayed at the office late with Mulder, finishing up their expense report for Skinner. For a wonderful moment today it had seemed like she would have a genuine excuse for canceling, but when Mulder had overheard her calling Mary Pat to cancel, he'd yelled across the office, "What are you talking about, Scully? I can finish this without you! Go have fun with your cousin!"
Mary Pat had heard every word, of course, and that had cut off that means of escape.
Scully sighed, leaned back in her folding chair, and hoped that Mulder wasn't making too much of a mess of their receipts.
"Dana," Mary Pat whispered, leaning into her, "are those two guys by the water fountain…?"
She let Scully complete the thought, which she did after flicking her gaze to the indicated men. "Twins?" She nodded. "I think so."
Scully tried to get a good look at the men without it being too obvious she was staring. They looked identical: two men with blandly handsome faces that called to mind her old Ken doll. Not only did they look genetically similar, but they seemed to share the same stylist. Their hairstyles were identical (like an army haircut that had had a week to breathe) and they both wore khaki Dockers, button up shirts, and sweater vests. They were distinguishable by only one thing: the man on the right wore a gray shirt with a blue vest and his companion wore a blue shirt with a gray vest.
"No…" Mary Pat whispered, shamelessly staring. "They can't be twins. No twins in real life would have the same hair style and wear the same clothing with a swapped color palette. That only happens in cartoons and horror movies."
"They must be twins," Scully hissed, daring another look at them. The two men were chatting congenially to each other, and one of them slapped the other on the back. Scully leaned in closer to her cousin. "They look identical."
"But if you're a twin and a normal person you don't purposefully dress like your twin!" Mary Pat insisted. What Mary Pat was basing this on, Scully wasn't sure.
"Then what's your explanation?" Scully demanded.
"I don't know…" Mary Pat struggled for an explanation. "Maybe it's like when you go to a party and someone's wearing the same outfit as you—"
"But they're wearing the same face!" Scully pointed out. She looked at them again, just in time to see them reach into their pockets, pull out packets of gum, and offer each other sticks of gum at the same time.
"Maybe they're doppelgangers," Mary Pat suggested.
Scully rolled her eyes.
The woman with the microphone began speaking again. "We're starting in two minutes, so get ready!"
Mary Pat barely flicked her eyes to the woman before returning them to the men. "That's that weird shit you deal with, right?" she continued. "Aliens and werewolves and that type of stuff?"
"I'm off the clock," Scully sighed. "I think they're just twins."
"Weird twins," Mary Pat amended. "And I thought those three over there," she jerked her head to the other side of the room, "were the weirdest people here until I saw the Doublemint Twins."
Now Scully followed her cousin's head jerk to the other wall. Who did she mean? A man in tight jeans and a bowling shirt who was pacing nervously, a well-dressed man tapping at his Palm Pilot, and—
"Oh no…" Scully groaned.
"Jeez, Dana," Mary Pat snorted. "No one's making you date 'em."
"No, that's not it," Scully hissed. "I know them!"
Standing at the other side of the basement were the Lone Gunmen. They hadn't noticed her yet, probably because Frohike and Langly appeared to be in an argument. Langly was waving a poorly Xeroxed 'zine in Frohike's face and pointing to an article in it. Byers was standing between them with his eyes glued to his shoes.
"You know them?" Mary Pat asked. She frowned at them, looked at her cousin, and then looked back at the trio. She was clearly struggling to fit the men into what she knew of her cousin's social network. Her eyes lingered on Byers's suit. "From work?"
"In a manner of speaking," Scully informed her. She was beginning to regret even telling her cousin that she knew them, but it was sure to come up when she—Lord help her—speed dated with them. It was probably better to brief Mary Pat now. "They're friends of Mulder's."
"That's your partner, right?"
"Um…" Mary Pat tapped her wedge-shoes on the linoleum floor. "Sorry I called them weirdos. I didn't really—I was just being catty , y'know, I'm sure they're very nice…"
"They are," Scully agreed. "But they are a little unconventional and—look, I don't want them—" She paused, and placed a cold hand on her burning cheek as she tried to assess just why running into the Lone Gunmen here was so bad. She liked them, strange as they were. After years of working alongside Spooky Mulder, she couldn't even say she was embarrassed by them, and in any case Mary Pat was too self-involved to pass serious judgment. And it's not like she was worried about them ruining her speed dating prospects for the evening.
No, she didn't want to run into the Lone Gunmen because they would surely tell Mulder that they had seen her here. He knew that she had plans to hit the town with her cousin, but she had been vague when he'd inquired further.
"Just be sure to let them know that you dragged me here against my will," she hissed to Mary Pat.
Mary Pat shrugged. "Aye, aye," she agreed. She gazed at the group with a critical eye. "The one in the middle's not bad…"
Scully hastily shook her head. "Please no."
"Okay, okay," Mary Pat agreed, "I'll shoot for Palm Pilot guy…"
"Ladies and gentlemen!" the announcer bellowed. "Thank you for attending the All Souls Unitarian Congregation's Speed Dating Event! We're happy to have you, and we hope you will check out the bulletin board in the hallway, which lists many of the events and services our congregation offers including day care, couples counseling…"
Scully tuned out the announcement. Byers, she'd noticed, had looked up from his shoes, and was curiously surveying the room's occupants. It took only a few seconds for his eyes to rest on her.
She shot him a tight smile and waved her hand. Byers immediately nudged his companions, who then whipped in Scully's direction. Langly raised an eyebrow, and Frohike looked like he'd swallowed a frog.
"…and next Thursday is our annual Chili Cook-off!" the woman finished listing the many events and services through which All Souls Unitarian Congregation engaged with the community. "Now, the speed dating! I'll explain the rules for our first-time participants. Every three minutes, I'll ring this bell," she rang a cowbell, "and then, all the men will move one seat to their left. You're free to leave at any time, but there will be a break with coffee and snacks about a half an hour in. Now," she clonked the bell, "let's get started!"
The men stampeded forward in what felt like a high-stakes game of musical chairs. The Lone Gunmen, Scully noticed, wound up on the other side of the room, and sitting in front of her was the man wearing a bowling shirt who had been nervously pacing.
"Hi." He stuck out his hand, which Scully shook. It was very sweaty. "My name's Dave—this is my first one of these—I'm sort of nervous—sorry I'm sweating so much—"
Scully tried to assure Dave that it was fine and provide her name, but Dave spoke over her. "This isn't something I normally do—I mean, speed dating, right? But my girlfriend and I—I mean, my ex-girlfriend and I—we broke up three months ago and—"
"I'm sorry," Scully tried to say, but again Dave just rolled on ahead, his sneakers tapping the linoleum frantically.
"We told people it was a mutual thing, but it wasn't, not really. She dumped me, I mean, maybe not technically but that's pretty much what happened and I've been pretty broken up about it so my buddy Bryce said that it was time for me to move on and he suggested I attend this—he goes to this church, they have a basketball court, which he likes—do you like basketball?"
Scully opened her mouth to respond, but Dave had apparently forgotten he'd asked her a question, because he just continued talking.
"My ex-girlfriend loved basketball, but I don't really like it. That's not why we broke up. But anyway, so Bryce said he'd done speed dating before and he'd gotten some good dates out of it and he thought it might take me out of the funk I've been in. It took me weeks to work up the courage—I actually came last month and slipped out before they actually got started. It just seems so awkward meeting a stranger, right?"
Scully nodded and tried to speak again. Alas, she should have known better.
"But I guess we do the same thing at bars, but honestly I was never any good at that either. This one time I—"
When the bell chimed, Dave had barely finished his anecdote about the time things had gone horribly wrong while he attempted to impress a girl at a bar by throwing darts.
Dave let out a long breath. "That wasn't so bad," he sighed, passing her a sweat-stained piece of paper with his number scrawled on it. "Call me sometime; I'd love to get to know you better." Then he stood up and hopped onto the newly emptied seat to his left. He was swiftly replaced by a man with over-gelled hair. His eyes swept Scully up and down like he had x-ray vision, before settling on her hair.
"Redhead, huh?" He jerked his arm back so it rested on back of his folding chair. However, since it was just a folding chair, it wasn't large enough to support this position, and his arm wound up slipping off. He hastily used his hand to rub his chin, as if that had been his intent all along. His face now redder than Scully's hair, he forged ahead with his pick-up line: "Tell me, are you a natural redhead?" He waggled his eyebrows to accentuate his meaning, as if Scully hadn't been hearing this line from lounge lizards all her adult life.
Scully's smile tightened, and she ignored the question. "So," she glanced at his nametag, "Chet, what do you do for a living?" Before Chet got to answer this question, Scully took a page from Dave's playbook and continued speaking. "I cut up corpses for a living. Let me tell you about a John Doe I had under the knife yesterday…"
Four men later, and Dave was still her best interaction of the evening. There had been Palm Pilot Guy who had, naturally enough, spent the entire three minutes showing Scully the features of his newly purchased Palm Pilot. There was Quincy, who seemed to have confused the words "girlfriend" and "chef," and spent their three minutes asking Scully about what type of food she cooked and how often she would be cooking it in a committed relationship. Next up had been a man named Dana, who had spent most of their time defensively insisting that Dana could be a man's name, too. Scully knew this, of course, but her ready agreement didn't satisfy Dana, who went on to explain the entire etymology of the name. Evidently, he normally met with more resistance. Then there was Jesse who, after discovering Scully was an FBI Agent, quickly excused himself and dashed from the basement. Scully made a mental note to do a search on Jesse Isaacs the next time she was at a computer.
Next up was one of the Doublemint twins: blue-shirt-gray-vest to be specific. His nametag identified him as "Dominick." In his brief introduction, he told her that he was a podiatrist who loved to play tennis. When she informed him she worked for the FBI, he leaned forward.
"A G-woman, huh?" he remarked. "That sounds absolutely fascinating. Made any arrests lately?"
She started telling Dominick about one of her and Mulder's more run-of-the-mill, unclassified cases. Dom (he told her to call him this, since all his friends did) was a great audience, following her story easily, and only slightly grossed out.
"And the wax museum workers didn't notice?" he exclaimed near the end of the story. "How is that possible?"
"That's what I thought," Scully agreed, "but then—"
The cowbell clonked. For once, Scully was disappointed to hear it.
"Too bad," Dom sighed. He handed her his card. "I guess you'll just have to continue this story over dinner sometime."
Scully avoided making any commitment, but she was sincere when she told Dom that it had been nice meeting him. The seat in front of her was swiftly filled by gray-shirt-blue-vest AKA Thomas, an orthodontist who had a passion for racquetball. When she informed him she worked for the FBI, he leaned forward.
"A G-woman, huh?" he remarked. "That sounds absolutely fascinating. Made any arrests lately?"
Okay, this was eerie.
So when the bell clonked and Frohike was the one to sit in front of her, she felt relieved. Frohike, on the other hand, was scowling.
"I can't believe it," he said, shaking his head.
"Can't believe what?"
"I can't believe that the 300,000 men in this city can't get their shit in order, so a lovely woman like you has to speed date."
Scully was less outraged. "It's not like that, Frohike—"
"I made her come!" blurted Mary Pat, not caring that she was interrupting Tom mid-racquetball-anecdote. "Hi," she shoved her hand for a shake, "I'm Dana's cousin, Mary Pat, and I dragged her here." She nodded to Dana and, satisfied that she'd fulfilled her promise, turned back to Tom. "So Tom," she said to her bemused companion, "what is with you and Dom, anyway? Are you doing this on purpose?"
"Does Mulder know you're here?" demanded Langly, who was sitting beside Frohike. The woman across from him flinched.
"Excuse me," she snapped, "what's going on? Do you all know each other?" She tucked her hair, which was every bit as long and blonde as Langly's, behind her ear.
"Mulder doesn't know I'm here," Scully answered, "and I'd appreciate it—"
"Why should she have to tell Mulder she's here?" Frohike demanded, turning on Langly. "Unless she's here for an X-File—"
At this possibility, Frohike and Langely both started swiveling around, searching the basement for anything inconsistent with a Unitarian speed dating event.
"We're not—" Scully started, but she was, for what seemed like the hundredth time that evening, cut off.
"Are you investigating the doppelgangers over there?" Langly demanded, staring at Tom and Dom. Dom seemed unaware that he was the subject of conversation, but Tom turned to Langly.
"Excuse me?" he barked, glaring. "What do you mean?"
"I think he's talking about the way you and your brother are dressed the same," the blonde across from Langly helpfully replied. "And you have the same hairstyle. It's weird." She pushed her glasses up her nose and turned to Scully. "Why would you be investigating them? Are you a detective?"
"Dom and I aren't weird," Tom asserted. "We just have the same sense of style." He swished his finger between Langely and the blonde. "You two have the same hair and the same glasses—"
"Yeah, but we're not twins," Langly sneered.
"Right, and we're not dressed the same!" the blonde pointed out. She gestured to her sweater and Langly's Ramones T-shirt. "You wouldn't catch me dead in a Ramones T-shirt!"
"What's wrong with the Ramones?" demanded Langly.
"Is Mulder hidden around somewhere?" asked Frohike, sitting up in his seat.
"Who's Mulder?" the blonde asked.
"He's her partner," explained Mary Pat.
"Wait, you have a partner?" demanded Tom. "Why are you at a speed dating event if you already have a—"
"Not that kind of partner," Frohike explained. "So," he swiveled around some more, "where's Mulder?"
"Mulder's not here!" Scully managed to get out, just before Langly once again demanded that his date explain what was wrong with the Ramones.
The blonde rolled her eyes. "All their songs sound the same!"
"They do not!"
All the men shifted one seat down, including Langly, though he still continued to address the blonde.
"Are you deaf?" he demanded. "How can you say that 'Questioningly' and 'Pinhead' sound the same?"
Byers, who was now sitting across from the Ramones detractor, sighed and apologized for his friend in a soft voice.
"So why are you here?" Langly demanded to Scully. "If you're not here for an X-File?"
"I told her to come," Mary Pat said once more. She shook Langly's hand. "Hi, I'm Mary Pat, Dana's cousin."
"Your name's Dana?" the blonde across from Byers found this amusing. "Oh my God, did that guy over there spend his whole three minutes talking about how Dana can be a man's name, too?"
"I know, right?" Mary Pat sneered, rolling her eyes. "What was with that guy?"
"So you're just here because your cousin brought you?" Langly asked Scully. "It's not fair to come to one of these events unless you're actually looking for someone!"
"How do you know she's not looking for someone?" demanded Frohike. "And Agent Scully can go anywhere she wants!"
"I know that," Langly insisted, rolling his eyes, "but if she's not here on an X-File, why did Mulder say he was working late tonight?"
"Mulder's doing our expense reports," Scully explained, hoping they could soon abandon this 'where is Mulder?' topic that was dominating the conversation. "He volunteered to stay late so I could go out with Mary Pat."
"Who's Mary Pat?" Langly demanded.
"I'm Mary Pat!" Mary Pat waved her hand. "I introduced myself, I told you I had dragged Dana here, we shook hands—remember?"
Langly barely gave Mary Pat a glance. "So Mulder made us miss The Amazing Colossal Man so you could pick up guys?"
"Excuse me?" said Scully, partly out of annoyance, partly out of confusion.
Langly's question was met with objections from four other members of the conversation: (1) the blonde pointed out that Langly was at speed dating too, so who was he to talk; (2) Mary Pat repeated that she had dragged Scully there; (3) Frohike asserted that was no way to speak to a lady; and (4) Byers reminded Langly that Mulder had said that they could see The Amazing Colossal Man without him.
At Scully's inquiry, Byers went on to calmly explain that the Lone Gunmen and Mulder had been planning to attend the Bert I. Gordon retrospective at the Vitagraph down the street. They had initially planned for the 7 pm showing of The Amazing Colossal Man, but—
But, Byers continued as he took his seat in front of Scully, Mulder had called them that night and told them he wouldn't be able to make it, and to see it without him. But instead, they decided to catch the 9:30 screening of The Beginning of the End, which is how they'd wound up speed dating at the church: to kill time before the show.
So in a way, Scully reflected to herself, it was really her fault that they were there in the first place.
"What's The Beginning of the End?" demanded the blonde, showing no interest in the goateed man in front of her. "What's that?"
"Uh—I think that's a Peter Graves movie," the fortuitously well-informed goateed man answered. "I saw it on Mystery Science Theater 3000 once—don't giant grasshoppers attack Chicago?" He held out his hand to the blonde for a shake and glanced at her name tag. "Hi Linda, my name's Trey."
"They destroy Chicago?" This caught native Chicagoan Mary Pat's attention.
Langly snorted. "They crawl around Chicago. They don't destroy it. Now if you want to see Chicago get wrecked, in Independence Day—"
The distinction was ignored by Mary Pat, who turned to Scully. "Dana, let's go see the movie! I want to see Chicago get destroyed!"
"You just want to see Chicago get destroyed because Chris lives there," Scully pointed out. Chris, Mary Pat's hated ex-husband, had managed to keep their Wrigleyville condo in their acrimonious divorce settlement.
Mary Pat nodded her head. "Exactly! C'mon, it'll be fun—we'll get something to eat, see the Sears Tower topple—"
Byers informed her that The Beginning of the End had been made before the Sears Tower's construction.
"And I told you," Langly sneered, "the grasshoppers don't destroy Chicago—they just crawl around it—it's totally lame, and that's why we should have seen The Amazing Colossal Man!" He shot a sullen glare at Scully, having judged her to be personally responsible for this injustice.
"Oh brother," Linda rolled her eyes. "Get over it, you baby." She then turned back to Trey and jerked her thumb at Langly. "Can you believe this guy?"
Trey nodded at his temporary date. "What about those identical twins?" Trey asked her. "What was speed dating them like?"
Linda launched into that account for the entranced Trey, and Langly glared at her, his eyes mere slits.
"Sound the same…" he murmured under his breath. "All the crazies show up for speed dating…"
"Okay, ladies and gentlemen," the announcer called. "Did everyone enjoy getting to know each other?" After some weak applause, she continued, enthusiasm undiminished. "Now we invite you to have some coffee and doughnuts before round two starts. Washrooms are down the hall, right next to our bulletin board where you can see the many services All Souls offers to the community, services like faith circles…"
Scully raised her eyebrow at Mary Pat.
"Okay, let's get out of here," Mary Pat agreed, standing up. "But first I want to use the washroom."
"Right," Scully stood up as well, "we wouldn't want to miss checking out that bulletin board…"
"But you're going to the movie with us, right?" Frohike demanded, having just returned from giving his most recent date what Scully had to assume was one of his more secure phone numbers.
"Of course we are!" Mary Pat agreed, tugging Scully in the direction of the washrooms. "Dana promised we would!"
An hour later found them illuminated by neon lights and squeezed into a booth at the Midnight Diner…or at least, the Lone Gunmen were squeezed into one side of the booth. Scully and Mary Pat were perfectly comfortable on the other side. Their entrees and coffees cluttered the formica tabletop. They had about 20 minutes until the movie started, and Mary Pat was using that time to figure out what the Lone Gunmen did for a living.
"So you're…journalists?" she asked, mulling over the evasive answers she'd received so far. Once the Lone Gunmen had discovered Mary Pat was a civil servant, they had been unwilling to go into details.
"You might say we're a watchdog group…" replied Byers slowly.
"But…" Mary Pat frowned and shifted her body so her back leaned against the window, "I'm sorry—how do you make money, exactly? Do you have donors? Are you lobbyists?"
This guess caused Langly to spit a half chewed curly fry onto his cheese burger. "Hell no!" he gagged.
Someone tsked. "Watch your language, Langly. This is a family establishment."
They looked up to see Mulder standing over them. He had clear signs of a man who had been compiling expense reports from 8 am to 9 pm: his jacket had been discarded, his tie was loose and lopsided, his shirtsleeves had been rolled up, and his hair was messy, as if he had been running his fingers through it.
He slipped into the booth next to Scully, so that now Mary Pat was jammed against the window.
"The expense reports?" Scully asked.
"On Skinner's desk," Mulder sighed. He pointed to a half empty mug of coffee. "This yours?"
When Scully nodded, he reached for it and downed it in one gulp.
Mary Pat poked her head out from behind Scully. "You must be Mulder," she said, extending her arm for an awkward handshake.
Mulder nodded and replied, "You must be Mary Pat, nice to meet you." After pumping Mary Pat's hand, his arm settled behind Scully's back. "So tell me," he asked with a grin, "who won at speed dating?"
Ah, so Byers had told him what they'd been up to when he'd called Mulder from the diner payphone. Well, at least this meant Mulder would get the teasing out of his system now.
"Won?" Byers asked.
"C'mon," Mulder cycled his left hand. "Show me those digits! Who got the most? Who's this table's stud?"
The Lone Gunmen grumbled, but dug through their pockets. Frohike got two numbers, Langly got one, and Byers got four. However, the competition wasn't over.
"C'mon, Scully," Mulder nudged her, "Mary Pat," he leaned forward so he could see her cousin, "lay them on the table!"
Mary Pat needed no urging. She extracted a collection of paper and business cards. "Okay," she said, picking up each number one-by-one, "my first number was from Mike—"
"I didn't meet him," Scully said. "What was he like?"
Mary Pat shrugged. "Seemed nice, works in some senator's office, but was sort of cagey on the details. Then there was Dave," she pulled out piece of paper whose numbers were slightly smudged, probably from sweat, "man was that guy nervous. Then there was Chet," a pained expression flashed across her face at the memory, "Palm Pilot Pete—I gave him my number, and he sure was happy to load that into his Palm Pilot—and then Quincy…he seemed nice…" She added three more pieces of paper to the pile.
Scully kept her face immobile. Quincy, the man who had been obsessed with figuring out how much "keeping house" his potential girlfriends would do, probably had seemed nicer to someone who was more domestic than she was…frankly Quincy had sort of reminded her of Mary Pat's ex-husband Chris, who Scully had never liked.
"Then there was Dana," Mary Pat said.
Mulder looked inquiringly at Scully.
"It can be a man's name," she replied.
Mary Pat nodded vigorously at this. "He was very clear about that. And then I didn't have anyone the next round because Dana," she jerked her head to the left to indicate she meant the female Dana, "scared that guy off."
Mulder grinned at Scully. "Did you tell him the exploding corpse story?"
Scully straightened her shoulders and shook her head. "I told him I was an FBI agent, and he ran out. So on Monday, remind me to do a background check on Jesse Isaacs."
Mulder nodded and committed the name to memory.
"Then," Mary Pat continued, "I got Dom," she held out his business card, "the first of the Doublemint twins."
This required some explanation, which Mary Pat eagerly provided and finished with, "…so after I pointed out how creepy that was, Tom got offended, and I didn't get any numbers after that." She counted up her phone numbers. "Seven."
Mulder let out a low whistle and pointed out to the Lone Gunmen that this was as many phone numbers as they had received combined.
Frohike shot Mulder a dirty look. "You can't compare across leagues. And I still have two more numbers than you do, unless you count 800 numbers."
Mulder just smiled and told Scully she was up.
"Well," Scully emptied her pocket, "Dave, Chet, Quincy, Pete, Dana…"
Mulder picked up Dana's business card. "Think he could be the one? It would simplify the embroidery."
Scully gave what she hoped was a mysterious smile. "Maybe…" She turned to Mary Pat. "He was good-looking, wasn't he?"
Mary Pat nodded. "Yeah, blonde hair, blue eyes, a nice jaw…" she tapped her chin. "He should shave that mustache, though…"
"Yeah but," Mulder looked at Dana's business card, "it says here he's a futures trader, so he's out…" he tossed the card across the table. It landed beside Byers's soup bowl.
"What's wrong with a futures trader?" asked Byers, picking up the business card and studying it. "And he lives in a good area…" He handed the card back to Scully.
"Futures traders don't contribute anything to society," Mulder pointed out. "No one's passionate about being a futures trader. It's just something you do to pay the bills and kill time before you shuffle off this mortal coil." He looked at Scully. "You don't want to be with someone like that."
Langly and Frohike backed up this opinion. Langly added that futures trading sounded boring as hell.
Scully shrugged. "I don't know, it might be nice to be with someone stable…"
"Yeah, but you'll have to convince him to shave that mustache…" Mulder pointed out as if this was a fatal flaw. "So who was after Mr. Needs-a-Shave?"
"I didn't get Jesse's number," Scully sighed. "I guess I'll need to get it on Monday."
Mulder nodded. "Now Jesse sounds like he lives an exciting life. He should be the kind of guy you're pursuing."
Frohike glared at Mulder once more before addressing Scully. "Don't listen to him," he said. "You're too good for all of the guys there."
"After Jesse," Scully continued after thanking Frohike, "I got Dom and Tom's numbers…" she set down two nearly identical business cards.
"You got both in the set," commented Mary Pat, letting out a low whistle. She compared their cards. "Their email addresses are the same except for one letter…"
"And that was it," Scully finished. "My three other dates," she gestured across the table, "didn't give me their numbers."
"You can have my number, anytime," Frohike assured her, winking at her. Langly rolled his eyes and Byers looked intently at his cup of coffee.
"You got seven numbers," Mary Pat commented, counting up the pieces of paper. "Same as me—oh! I forgot!" She pulled out one last number from her jacket pocket. "I got Linda's phone number, too! She promised she'd get brunch with me on Sunday!" She leaned forward so she could see Mulder. "Does that count?"
Mulder nodded. "Looks like we've got a winner!" His congratulations were cut short by Langly, who pointed out that if they didn't hurry, they'd be late for the movie. The check was quickly paid, and they exited the diner, Langly hurrying ahead of them to make sure they got seats, Byers and Mary Pat following while discussing Mary Pat's job, and Scully, Frohike, and Mulder bringing up the rear.
"So Scully," Mulder asked, nudging her side, "any other candidates besides Futures Trader?"
"No," Scully said, firmly shaking her head. "It's Futures Trader or no one."
"Futures trading…" Frohike grumbled. "What a waste of energy…"
"Hey," Mulder pointed out, "maybe that's perfect. Once he and Scully settle down, he can quit his job at the firm, and stay home and keep house. What do you say, Scully," he asked, slipping an arm around her back to bring her closer to him, "would you like to have someone waiting at home for you with a pot roast…maybe he could give you foot rubs…a nice, warm body to snuggle with on cold winter nights…"
"Mmm…" Scully murmured, leaning her head against Mulder's shoulder. "That sounds nice…" She sighed. "Too bad about that mustache, though."
"Yeah…" Mulder agreed, nodding soberly. "Hopefully you'll meet someone better at the All Souls Unitarian Congregation's speed dating event next month…"
"Oh, Dana!" Mary Pat whipped around, having heard the tail end of the conversation. "Are you going with me next month, too? Great! Now, you can't back out! Remember, you promised!"
Scully made a mental note to find an X-File across the country for her and Mulder to investigate this time next month.