Amanda hummed and grinned, staring at herself in the mirror as she applied the last of her lipstick. Perfect, she thought, smiling. I look perfect.
Her eyes travelled downwards, assessing the size of her bodice, the slenderness of her waist, the way the scarlett offset her eyes, and her hair, and her newly done nails. When her eyes caught on the brilliance of her ruby amulet necklace, she grinned even harder. She giggled and hummed, and whispered to the mirror, “Romeo… where is my Romeo?” then she giggled again, almost drunkenly, as she closed the tube of “fatal red lipstick.”
“No Romeo for Jen… too bad….” She shrugged, pursing her lips and reciting, “No Romeos and happy endings for those who don’t deserve them…”
She sighed and smiled to herself, humming a favorite song of hers as she applied blush, then eyeliner, then eyeshadow, then mascara.
“Every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you…”
She hummed a few bars, then, “Every smile you fake, every breath you take…”
Her eyes travelled to the senior class picture framed in delicate glass overlay on her wall. She narrowed her eyes as she focused in on a girl with blonde hair, another with brown hair, another with shorter, curlier brown hair, and a red head that made her heart run cold. Her fingers curled possessively around the ruby necklace that dangled from a gold chain on her neck.
“ I’ll be watching you…”
When Amanda laughed again, Sarah Jamison ducked behind the open doorway, breathing deeply. She closed her eyes, slumping to the ground, her mind running rampant…
So the day began to progress as normally as a winter day could in Mulder and Scully’s world while in the middle of New York city, investigating a murder mystery. After her strange 'episode' early that morning, Scully had shrugged off Mulder’s insistence like a bad habit, getting dressed and bottling up her feelings, like always. Afterwards, Mulder had made an excuse about having to go get coffee, running away from her indifference, like always, and so they had sucessfully avoided “the talk,” once again.
They spent the cab ride over to the theatre ignoring each other as best they could, Scully focusing her thoughts away from the impending dread she felt, Mulder trying to discern exactly when his partner had become the “mystery date” from hell. Horns honked and people screamed. It was not fun. Traffic was nothing short of hell on Earth, and Scully hadn’t made it any better. Somewhere within the two words she managed to convey to her partner, she muttered something about visiting New York as a child, and that the driver was an idiot. In the end, Mulder felt responsible for everyone’s splitting headaches, and he tipped the poor arabian looking cab driver a twenty for his trouble. The poor guy had unsuccesfully argued with Scully about the best way to make it around 5th street the entire way over--- that is, when she finally decided to speak to someone.
Not her partner, of course.
And though Mulder had never learned arabic, he was pretty damned sure that whatever it was that guy had said about Scully, it wasn’t nice. And he would have felt obliged to defend her honor, had he not been thinking the same exact things…
Nevertheless, he and Scully ended up interrupting yet another rehearsal—this time to check things out—to check out the balcony, the construction, the workers, and Ed, the lighting guy. Mulder had also muttered something about going in to see Gracie, the wardrobe woman, and timing himself to see how long it took him to get from the stage to the balcony set. Scully had only muttered back to him, wandering off in the direction of the actors, not wanting to spend much time with Mulder; any more than she had to, that is. Especially not after what had happened, after he had seen her vulnerable and crying this morning. No, she didn’t need the grief and she didn’t want to deal with it. Vaguely, some insistent, adolescent corner of her mind realized that she was ignoring her partner, yes of course, but also her... her… boyfriend….sort of. But she shook that thought off along with the disgust she felt for thinking it in the first place.
So she balled up her fists and walked away.
Mulder had only watched her go, feeling as if she were taking his heart with her.
“Nice to meet you, Agent Scully.”
Dana Scully smiled, thinly, and shook hands with Ben the actor, Sarah’s friend, who was also Mercutio, the doomed friend of Romeo in the play to be performed the next day. She watched as he shifted his feet and squirmed, adjusting his costumed overcoat as best as he could under the given conditions.
“Sorry,” he apologized, grimmacing. “This thing ripped the other day and they haven’t fixed it well; a real hack job, if you ask me. I thought I knew Gracie better than that…”
Scully cleared her throat and took a breath, starting, “Yes, well, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions, Mr…Plunket, is it?”
Ben nodded, leaning back against the wall. In the background, the orchestra pit began tuning, practicing, and actors recited their lines in a flood of voices. Ben began, “We were in the pit---right over there—“
He paused to point, and Scully nodded.
“Mandy got up on stage.”
Mulder folded his arms, nodding. “And then what happened?”
Ed the lighting guy bent over to grab an errant tool, throwing it back in the case. “Well,” he continued, “I walked over some, and turned around. That’s when I saw Jen up on the balcony—all costumed up or whatever. I turned away for a minute—you know---to adjust one of the spotlight angles----“
“And I kept on talking to Sarah while Jen started her lines, you know, Romeo, Romeo, where for art thou… blah, blah….”
Ben grinned and waved his arm at Scully for emphasis. Scully remained tight lipped and silent, her blue eyes catching the glint on Ben’s costume as he kept going .
“Sarah was listening to me, you know, but what she really wanted was to hear was Jen. She looked up to Jen, thought she was great as Juliet, I guess.” Ben shrugged and wrung his hands, nervously. Scully noted it and and blinked.
“But all of a sudden, Jen stopped…”
“Why did she stop?”
Ed shrugged his shoulders and scratched an elbow. “Dunno,” he replied, errantly, muttering, “actors. Who knows?”
Mulder gave Ed a look and the man ammended, “look Mr. Mulder, Jen was a nice girl and all, but I can’t say that she was all straight upstairs, if you know what I mean.”
Mulder cocked his head to the side. “No, I don’t know what you mean,” he replied, authoritatively. “Why don’t you tell me?”
Ed sighed. “Look,” he managed, “I ain’t like those kids down there and I don’t like to gossip, but that girl had gotten herself into a real mess with that understudy’s ex husband. She started doing weird things after that, talking to herself, seeing things. I think the director was starting to get concerned….”
Scully frowned. “Talking to herself?”
Ben nodded, sadly. “Yeah,” he replied. “She was just… I dunno. I saw her in her dressing room one day and she was patting her stomach, arguing with herself, saying something along the lines of ‘I won’t let you take,’ I dunno… her baby, I guess…”
Scully’s eyebrow raised. “Baby?”
Ed nodded a confrimation, yanking on the strap of one of his overalls. “Yeah, well, I wasn’t no medical technician, but from what I heard—and you hear a LOT up here--- that girl had gotten knocked up. I overheard the kid who plays Juliet’s father, whatever his name was, saying that she couldn’t handle it. That she just snapped.”
Mulder narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, then stared down towards the stage area. “So you think this is what escalated to that day?”
Ed shrugged but then leaned in, looking in both directions and lowering his voice. “Like I said, that girl was two apples short, but I swear---there was someone talking to her up there. She was hollerin’ real bad…Arguing—I think…”
“Arguing? About what?”
Ben pursed his lips and shoved a hand inside the hidden pocket of his overcoat. He pulled at the lapels restlessly, with the other hand and frowned.
“I don’t know,” he answered, honestly. “The baby? The affair? Hell, it could have been anything with those two. All I know is that there was a lot of screaming between them. All the time. Name calling, accusations… stuff like that. So we all just assumed that it was her and Mandy fighting again. We thought that maybe they had started pulling hair or----“
“Pushing,” Ed managed, thoughtfully. “There was pushing—only I didn’t see who it was. But Jen was fighting off someone, unless she was having one fucking hell of a seizure…” Ed paused, then added, “Then Jen screamed bloody murder. She yelled ‘no,’ but when I looked up, all I saw were papers. Scripts and papers and all sorts of shit were flying everywhere----like we were in a wind tunnel or something.”
Mulder frowned, the wheels in his brain turning on their own accord. “And how’d that happen?” he asked, mezmerized, “That wasn’t in my report, I don’t think…”
Ed cocked his head to the side and threw his arms up, vaguely. “You got me,” he said, loosely. “But they were there anyways. And that’s when I heard the last scream, and then a thud, and then I saw Amanda staring at Jen from the left side of the stage. She started screaming….”
“And that’s when everyone exited the orchestra pit?” Scully asked, shifting her weight from right fool to left.
Ben stared at her, thoughtful, and finished, “Yeah, that was when. And it was a mess, too. Papers everywhere, like they were raining from the roof or something.”
Scully raised a russet eyebrow.
“Raining from the roof?” she asked, skeptically.
Ben grinned, sheepishly. “Well,” he amended, “so maybe not in those PARTICULAR words, but there was definitely stuff everywhere. None of us knew where it came from, not that it mattered when we saw Jen lying there. We all screamed except for Sarah. Sarah just walked over to her, like she was in a daze and… just….”
“I think the girl was trying to see if she was really dead, but I can’t know that for certain.”
Mulder refolded his arms and nodded, trying to come up with something of substance to present to his partner. Something that wouldn’t get him an “oh come on, you think I was born yesterday, Mulder” look.
Mulder scratched the back of his neck and asked, “But you didn’t hear what she said?”
Ed shook his head. “No,” he replied, sadly.
Ben sighed. “Only Sarah and Jen would know what Jen said.”
Scully nodded slowly and shook hands with him. “Thank you,” she replied distractedly.
“You’re welcome,” Ed responded.
Mulder tilted his head in affirmation and walked away, slowly. His hands buried in his pockets, his gaze thoughtful, he went off in search of his partner, allowing his brain to go over the information. Invisible force, he thought… papers blowing… screaming, fighting…. A sudden slow smile began to creep over his features as a definite theory began to form, taking root in his unconcious and growing… slowly… steadily…
“Telekinetic homicide,” he mumbled to himself, making his way over to the edge of the catwalk.
“Manic depressive suicide,” Scully muttered, folding her arms.
She shook her head, agrivated, and made her way towards Mulder, a nice hot bath and a nice warm bed invading her thoughts.
She turned at the sound of her name. “Hey Scully, I think I---“
But then came the loud crash, a thud and the sound of shrapnel falling. The back of the theatre erupted in screams and horrified shouts for help. Scully twisted her head around sharply and drew her gun out of instinct. Her three inch, thick heels rebounded against the floor and she took off towards stage left, as Mulder climbed down from the catwalk and took off after her.
“Somebody call 911!”
The commotion was everywhere.
Her gun at her side, Scully was the first to arrive at the scene, looking from stunned actor to stunned actor, then training her eyes on the mess in front of her. She nearly collided with Sarah Jamison, but just as soon as Scully had approached the doors, the girl silently tip toed away, hand over her mouth.
It was an opened elevator door, slightly crooked and worn, rusted around the edges. From inside, slender hands lay sprawled, legs draped unceremoniously, and heads fell lolled to one side, eyes open and unblinking, blood seeping out from the entranceway into the hallway. Scully’s mouth opened out of automation at the horror, and her gun dropped to her side as her body dropped to the ground. She crept forward and felt the arm of one unsuspecting victim, a thirtysomething looking woman if she were to guess, and quite dead—if not from the fall, then from the concussion that was seeping blood like a leaky faucet. Dead, she thought, disconnecting herself from the scene, doing a quick assessment. They’re all dead. Elevator fall. All dead. All of them. Dead on impact. Massive head injuries and broken necks. Broken ribs. Broken spines.
Scully took a deep breath to open her mouth, but Mulder beat her to the punch, exclaiming behind her, “Who? Who did you say?”
Scully frowned and turned around, meaning to address her partner, but she was met instead with a teary eyed Amanda before words would even form.
“Just ask Dana,” the girl ordered weakly, hiccuping and placing one hand on her sequined bodice. “She knew Lisa, too.—I’m sure of it… remember, Dana?”
Scully opened her mouth, her brain registering mild shock, but she shut it quickly and turned around to get a good look at one of the elevator victims.
Blonde hair, Scully registered. Shorter than she remembered, but wavy like it had been in high school. Blue eyes with a tint of American Indian that she had always claimed to have gotten from her father’s side. Still slender. Still tall.
“Oh my god,” Scully whispered, trying to keep her hands from shaking.