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X-Files Fanfic Challenge 3: Summer Garden Party

Weird Togaish DressAuthor: SyndicateGirl
Archive: Yes, definitely! But please keep my headers attached and let me know where it is if you can. Thanks!
Spoilers:
Rating: PG
Classification:  Response to Fanfic Challenge 3: Someone wears this dress to a party. Between 500-2000 words.
Summary: Cassandra is having a bad day, and it is about to get worse...then better ;-)
Disclaimer: The X-Files characters are Chris Carter's and 1013 Productions', not mine, unfortunately; no infringement is intended. Please don't sue - I'm a writer, and have no money! :D

TITLE: Summer Garden Party

Cassandra was practically running to the dry cleaner.

Not an easy task in heels that pinched after having worn them all day.

As she rounded the corner, her blonde hair whipped into her face again.

It was an unusually breezy early June afternoon, and she was positive that her hair was already a tangled mess.

She glanced down at her watch again: 5:58pm - dry cleaner closed at 6:00pm.

She had just enough time to pick up her dress, go home, and change before the party.

Fortunately it was at a nearby country club, so she would be able to make it by 7:00pm.She hated cutting things so close, and silently cursed her car for breaking down earlier.

It had been one of those nightmarish days when nothing seems to go well.

An alarm clock that didn't go off, missing keys, late for work...then her car had decided to become the culminating annoyance of her day.

It had coughed, sputtered, and died on the side of the road.

Cassandra rounded one more corner, and made it to the dry cleaner just as the door latch was being snapped into place.

She looked through the glass door at the older man inside, "Please," she pleaded, "I just have one dress to pick up for a party tonight!"

He smiled sympathetically, and opened the door.

After several quick "thank you"s she was running out the door, and hailing a cab to get home.It had been an obnoxious day, but the thought of wearing her icy turquoise dress brought a smile to her face.

It was a soft, flowing cocktail dress that highlighted her best assets, set off her sea blue eyes, and made her skin glow.

She adored it.  It was also her only dress since the movers had lost her large box of party dresses.

The idea of a party was also assuaging her tension quite a bit.

Thoughts of music, laughter, and good food were going a long way in transforming her anxiety over being late into enthusiasm for the good times to come.

Although there were stress-filled days like today when Cassandra wondered why she had moved so far from home to live in a fast paced city, she was genuinely happy with her decision, and loved her work.

She had taken a position as a translator with the State Department a few weeks ago, and still didn't know many people.

So, when her boss, Bill Mulder, invited her to the annual summer party, she happily accepted.

"It will be good for you to have a chance to finally meet everyone," he had said.

Then, with a smile, "Teena will be thrilled!  She's always telling me how there are no interesting women to talk to at these things."

Cassandra's thoughts were interrupted by the cab driver pulling in to the driveway of the tiny cottage.

She handed him some bills, "Keep the change!" she called out as she hopped out of the cab, and rushed to her door.

Cassandra raced back to her bedroom, and started to get ready.

She pulled on her slip, garter belt, and stockings, then turned her attention to her hair and makeup.She couldn't look perfect enough tonight.

After all, she wanted to make a good impression, particularly with her boss and his wife. 20 minutes later, she admired her reflection in the mirror.

Her light blonde hair was neatly coiffed into a low chignon, and her makeup was perfect for a summer soiree.

It looked like things were starting to go well after all.

Humming softly to herself, she swept into the bedroom, and pulled the protective paper off of her dress, expecting to see a beautiful turquoise hue.

What she saw made her drop the paper onto the hardwood floor.

Her favorite dress had been mistakenly swapped with what could only be dubbed a rejected ancient Roman monstrosity.

It looked like someone had hacked off a toga, and twisted what was left of the fabric around the shoulder.

Then, for that extra bit of "style," an unflattering belt was added, essentially inviting the wearer to be as frumpy as possible.Cassandra took a few horrified steps back, as if the terrible dress would reach out and grab her.

"You have got to be kidding me..." she muttered.

She drew in a calming breath, "All right," she thought to herself, "you can wear one of your other..."

She stopped her mind from going any further with that train of thought, realizing that her only other good dresses were in a well marked box in some mystery location, floating around somewhere in the country.

Dresses that didn't look like a hideously shrunken toga.

"Who would buy this?!" she yelled out of frustration.

Cassandra closed her eyes, and drew in another deep breath.

She stepped gingerly forward, and took the dress in her hands.

At least it was her size.

She held it up to get a better look at it, and wrinkled her nose in disgust.

But, after a quick glance at the clock, Cassandra realized there wasn't much she could do now.

So, hesitantly, she slipped into the bastardized toga, vowing to tell anyone at the party who even gave her so much as a sideways glance the story behind why she was wearing this...thing, and not her favorite dress.A few minutes later, she was out the door, trying to hide herself as best she could with a light, summer coat.

She hoped it wouldn't be too warm tonight.


"Who is that?" CSM asked around a cigarette.

He had an amused look on his face, and was staring towards the hedged side of the party.

Bill took another swig of Scotch and scanned the lawn.

Looking through the sea of cocktail dresses and martinis, his eyes finally settled on the slender blonde talking with Teena.

She was obviously holding Teena's interest, because not much later a laugh punctuated the still summer night, carrying over the jazz band's rendition of another Coltrane song.

Bill smiled, "Oh, that's Cassandra."

"The new translator?" CSM asked, taking a sip of his whiskey sour.

Bill nodded, "Yeah, that's her. Smart girl. Great translations. A real looker, too."

"True enough, but what is that thing she's wearing?"

Bill looked over again, studying it for a while before shrugging.

"Maybe it's some 'latest fashion' thing?  Teena's magazines are always filled with bizarre high fashion clothes."

CSM shrugged and took another sip of his drink, watching the blonde from where he stood.

She moved her arm as she talked, obviously acting out something that made Teena laugh.

CSM could have sworn he saw the garter belt peeking out from under the blonde's skirt.

He grinned.

Intrigued by her motions, and faintly disturbed by how much he wanted to find out more about her.

He didn't like feeling vulnerable, particularly for the sake of something as ridiculous as what amounted to a schoolyard crush.

Still, there was something about her that intrigued and aroused him.

By the time Strughold came over and started talking about work, CSM was engrossed in watching Cassandra out of the corner of his eye.

She danced with a younger member of the syndicate, got a drink from the bar (CSM thought it was a Sloe Gin Fizz, but he wasn't sure), talked with Teena, met a few of the other Syndicate members, talked with some of the wives, and had something to eat.

By the time the three men were done discussing work, CSM had finally decided to go meet her in person.

He'd ask Bill for an introduction.

After all, it was highly plausible that there could be a future working relationship between him and Cassandra.

So, he really needed to meet her for professional reasons if nothing else.

By the time he was done justifying his decision, he looked up to find that Cassandra was gone.

In fact, it had been several hours, and much of the party had already broken up by now.

He said his quick goodbyes to Bill and Teena, and made his way to the parking lot.

Maybe he could catch her car before she drove away.He walked out as casually as he could muster, and looked around the lot for a car with a blonde.

What he found was a blonde, sans car, standing on the side of the parking lot, obviously waiting for a ride.

The horrible dress had been covered up by a surprisingly tasteful coat.

He lit up a cigarette and walked over, "Waiting for a ride?"

Cassandra jumped slightly at the voice of the man she had been watching on and off all night.

She smiled and nodded, "Yes.

My car broke down earlier today, so I'm waiting for my cab."

CSM could have sworn he saw her blush just a little.

Such innocence.

He wondered if he had ever been that innocent.

CSM shook his head, "No need, I'll give you a ride. I'm Bill's friend, by the way. And, you're Cassandra, the great translator I keep hearing about from Bill."

She smiled, "Great, am I? Well, I'm honored. It's rare to get a compliment like that from Mr. Mulder."

CSM chuckled softly, "You already know him pretty well, then. He only gives compliments when he really means it, and even then they have to force their way out of his head."

She laughed, "Well, it is nice to meet you Mr.?"

"Spender."

"Mr. Spender," she echoed, as they walked towards CSM's big, black car.

"Thank you for the ride. It's not often one finds a gentleman nowadays."He grinned.

If only she knew what a gentleman he wasn't in the safety of his own mind.

"Not a problem," was his response as he set his hand on her lower back and guided her towards the passenger's seat.

She looked up and gave him a trusting smile.


4 hours later, CSM lay panting in bed beside Cassandra, his hand groping the nightstand for his Morleys.

They had driven back to his apartment, and a few martinis later, they were twisted together in his small bed.

Sheets tangled around them. Her hair undone, falling in wild waves across his chest.

Clothes scattered everywhere.

Her heinous toga dress strewn across his typewriter.

CSM wasn't ashamed of the fact that he had underestimated her stamina.

On first glance, she seemed almost too delicate and fragile to touch.

He was happy, for once, to be wrong. He grinned, planting a kiss on the top of her head.

"I'm glad you came to the party."

She smiled, leaning down to kiss the hand that lay across her breast, "So am I."

"In fact," he said, taking a draw from his Morley, "There's another summer party in a few weeks, over at the Mulder's place on Martha's Vineyard. If you would be interested in going with me."

She looked up with a surprisingly shy smile considering what they had just done together, "I would love to."

He nodded, grinning, "Just do me one favor before the party, Cassie."

She planted another kiss on his hand, "What favor would that be?"

CSM couldn't help but laugh, "Burn that horrible dress."

CSM: Nothing vanishes without a trace...burn it!

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