Chapter Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt "Sunset stroll".

Chapter 16 :: Happiness Happens Day By A. Magiluna Stormwriter

++ Dana ++


"How on earth did we get so lucky?" Monica asks, stretching back on the blanket next to me. "It's not stiflingly hot for once. And that breeze?"

Chuckling, I shake my head and lean over to stretch out next to her. "It's heavenly, isn't it?"

Monica doesn't answer, choosing instead to pull me closer to her side. Sighing happily, I don't bother to fight her at all. We couldn't have asked for a better day if we'd had a direct line to God Himself. I do miss William's presence here, but he's off at the park with the rest of the kids for the day. I really need to remember to do something nice for the Farazell-Fraiser clan; they've always been willing to take William along on their "field trips"; nine children isn't any more difficult for them to handle than eight children, according to Darya and Janet. Of course, with five adults, that's really only two kids per adult on average.

"Tell me something, baby," Monica finally says, one hand stroking my hair and back gently.


"How is it that William has no issues dropping us for a trip to the park with Cubby and the other kids? What if we'd wanted to go to the park with him? What if I wanted him to push me on the swings?"

It doesn't take long for her to start shaking with suppressed laughter. I'm not sure where she gets her strange sense of humor from, but it certainly never fails to keep me on my toes. I shift up to stare at her for a moment before joining her in laughter, particularly at the image of Monica getting herself stuck in one of those baby swings that William adores. Does this mean that her sense of humor is contagious? Damn!

We lay there for several more minutes, and I can't help but send a silent thank you to whoever it was that sold Anastasia this plot of land along Lake Mead. We're completely alone and secluded here. The water is surprisingly quiet, as well, particularly for a Tuesday afternoon in August. The breeze has created little waves on the water, but I have absolutely no desire to go swimming. Having a pool has certainly spoiled me against spending time in a lake. If he were still alive, Ahab would be horrified to hear me say something like that. But I am content to just lay here with Monica. We're in a shaded spot, secluded and quiet, and I could so easily fall asleep under the right circumstances.

"Penny for them?"


"Your thoughts," Monica says, shifting up onto her elbow. "You've gone pretty quiet on me all of a sudden, Dana. Is everything okay?"

Offering her a reassuring smile, I lean up to press a light kiss to her lips. "Everything's fine. I'm just content to be lying here with you and enjoying a particularly mild August day in Las Vegas. Should there be something wrong?"

"Not a damned thing," she replies with a shake of her head. She turns to glance out at the water for a moment, and I'm struck by her beauty all over again. When she finally meets my gaze again, there's a mischievous twinkle in her dark eyes. "Hey, Dana?" My eyes narrow as I study her face, trying to determine her intentions. "Wanna go for a swim?"

"I am not skinny dipping in Lake Mead, Monica. I don't care if this is a private section of land. Besides, you know I'm not all that thrilled with lake water."

Her expression crumples into a pout, and she nibbles at her lower lip thoughtfully before delight lights up her face again. "What about the paddleboat? We could tool around the lake for a little while, build up an appetite for that yummy picnic lunch Kerry packed for us, and maybe fool around after we eat?"

Chuckling at the eagerness in her voice, I consider her suggestion. A momentary panic hits until I remember that, yes, I did pack the sunscreen before we left the apartment. Oh, why the hell not? It could be fun. Sitting up, I turn to dig out the sunscreen and press the tube into her hands.

"You're on, but first we need sunscreen. I am not going to have a repeat of that horrible sunburn I got on Earth Day." I can't help but shudder at the memory of that painful sunburn that felt like it took forever to heal. "And so help me God, but if William comes home from his field trip to the park with a cold, I'm going to be beating some heads into the wall."

Monica chuckles in sympathy and begins to cover my exposed skin with the thick, cool lotion. It feels fantastic as her fingers massage it into my skin, loosening up my muscles along the way. Once she has me adequately covered, I repeat the same procedure on her. Satisfied with our coverage, we stand and make our way down to the dock to pull on life vests. She steadies the boat while I step in and get myself settled, then pulls up the sun shade before she joins me and shoves off from the dock. We paddle backwards for a few feet before turning around to head out onto the lake itself.

As we lazily meander around the lake, enjoying the view, I am grateful for Anastasia and Tessa having this particular boat custom made to compensate for the differences in their heights, which are similar to mine and Monica's. I'd hate to be unable to sit back in my seat because I had to help paddle the boat. Thankfully, I can relax into my seat and hold hands with Monica while we take in the sights.

After about forty-five minutes or so, Monica steers us back toward our dock. Thankfully, I'm not completely worn out by the time we get back, but I've certainly worked up quite an appetite. We get out of the boat in the opposite order as we'd gotten into it, and I watch with silent admiration as she moors the boat to the dock again and drops the shade.

Taking my hand, she leads us back up to our blankets. A quick wiping down with a damp washcloth and towel cleans up the worst of the sweat and extra sunscreen that may flavor our food adversely. I pull the cooler over to start taking out our lunch, but Monica stops me with an intense kiss, her tongue slipping between my lips with little resistance from me. She really does know how to derail me from whatever I'd been intending to do. The frustrated groan that follows after the absence of her mouth is not feigned.

"I hate it when you do that," I mutter darkly.

Monica's laughter surrounds me and sends a jolt of desire sizzling down my spine. "No, you don't! You love every single second of it, Dana Scully!"

Pursing my lips in a vain attempt to stave off the flush of acknowledgment at her accuracy, I shake my head. "That's beside the point, and you know it. We're supposed to be eating now."

"Oh, I can think of something I wouldn't mind eating a whole bunch of right about now," she quips and waggles her eyebrows suggestively at me. "Or maybe I should say someone…"

"Are you kidding me? Who are you? Dace?" Monica wisely doesn't answer me, instead stroking my cheek gently. Her gaze is contrite, and any brief annoyance I may have felt dissipates instantly as I turn to press a kiss to the palm of her hand. "You're quite lucky that I love you so much, Monica. I'd be kicking some serious ass for that comment otherwise."

"I know," she replies, and that mischievous twinkle is back in her eyes again.

We fall into a comfortable silence as the food is pulled out and set on the blanket. Kerry really outdid herself this time: turkey sandwiches with cranberry jelly and stone ground mustard on multi-grain bread; Zo and Art's favorite Greek salad; prepackaged cups of grapefruit chunks; and Kerry's favorite sweet tea recipe. The only thing that's missing is potato salad, but that's okay. Everything else will still be okay if it gets a little warm. I'll get the potato salad when we get home. Maybe I'll even make macaroni salad for dinner and give William a treat.

"Mon? How long did you want to stay out here?"

She shrugs and glances out at the water for a long moment, squinting only slightly. "Dunno. I'd kind of like to stay until after dark, watch the sun set over the lake. But we didn't really clear that with anyone back at the Ranch, and it would be kind of tacky to start trying to set that up now. Why? Did you want to go back home already?"

"No, not yet. I think I want another ride in the paddleboat. That was a lot more fun than I expected it to be, and really calming, too."

Monica chuckles. "I think I can handle another tour around this part of the lake after we eat. You just have to make me a promise for later tonight."

"You're not going to make me promise you fish tacos after William goes to bed, are you?" I ask, using the same phrase she's used in jest before.

"Mmm… As much as I love me some fish tacos, no, that's not what I was going to ask you."

"So what were you going to ask me to promise you?"

"If we can get someone to keep an eye out on William once he's down for the night, I want to go out into the desert and watch the sun set. Just the two of us. It's not quite the same as watching it over the lake, but it'll still be pretty."

Feeling a sappy smile spread across my face, I nod readily. "I think I can accommodate that request. If we can't get someone to watch him tonight, we'll get it arranged for tomorrow night. And when we get back to the apartment after our stroll, I further promise you all the fish tacos you want."

"Oh hell yes, I can handle that promise!" she says and leans over to pepper my face with sloppy kisses. "Thank you, baby! You spoil me!"

"You are more than worth it, amante."