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Rum Punch and Steel Drums

By razztaztic

Romance

Chapter 1

Booth watched as the news anchor updated the public on the status of the investigation just completed, his shoulders hunched as he sat at the bar alone. The much-too-sweet rum concoction he'd ordered earlier sat in front of him almost ignored. From the corner of his eye he saw Brennan walk slowly into the restaurant and pause to stare at the TV as well. With a sigh, he clicked off the TV and tossed the remote aside.

She hesitated a moment, taking in his posture and the untouched drink in one sweeping glance. Without waiting for an invitation, she slipped onto the stool beside him. "Getting yourself in the mood?"

He pulled a slice of pineapple from the toothpick stuck into the drink. "Trying," he responded, chewing slowly. Almost unwillingly, his eyes slanted toward her. "You know, this really isn't going to be the type of vacation I was hoping for."

"Oh?" She avoided his gaze.

"Tessa's not going." Booth's tone was short. "Something came up at work." He glanced at her briefly, then picked up his drink.

"Too bad." Her voice trailed into silence; when he began to shift restlessly, she hurried to tack on an apology. "I'm sorry." Her tone was supportive when she added, "I like going on vacations by myself."

He looked at her in skeptical disbelief. "Really?"

"Sure," she nodded. "Nothing wrong with being alone."

Amusement sparkled in his eyes. "No, I mean, you like to go on vacation." He wasn't surprised when his levity went unnoticed.

"Yes, I go places all the time."

Booth chuckled inwardly at her cluelessness, then paused as an idea began to form in the back of his mind. His eyes strayed to her again, narrowed in speculation. "Ever just, you know, sit on the beach?" His grin was wide and almost flirtatious. "Pretend there's no such thing as skeletons?"

The faint hint in his question sailed over her head. "Is that in any way fun?"

He tried again. "When was the last time you got away?"

"Got away from what?" she asked curiously.

Unable to prevent a chuckle from escaping, he turned away and rested his chin on his hand. "Oh, Bones, you know." He picked up the small paper umbrella and twirled it on the counter as he prevaricated. "What usually happens to me," he confessed finally, "is I think about not coming back."

"Seriously?"

"Yea." Standing to draw on his jacket, Booth missed the note of alarm in Brennan's voice as she watched him settle the black leather over his wide shoulders. He picked up the plane tickets he'd tossed on the counter earlier and headed toward the exit. "You know, you go with someone, you joke about not going back to your real life. The two of you laugh." He stopped beneath the curved archway and looked back at her. "When you're alone, the world is full of possibilities."

Seconds ticked away as he stood there, tickets in hand, his eyes locked on hers. When the barest hint of a smile crossed her face, the idea he'd had earlier roared to life again and in a snap, Booth made his decision. He took one step forward.

"Come with me."

For a moment, Brennan was speechless. "Come with you?" she repeated, puzzled, her brow furrowed. "To Jamaica?"

"Yea." Another step brought him closer. "The tickets are paid for, the hotel is paid for." His voice dropped a notch, deepening to a husky growl as he placed one hand on the bar and leaned in further. "Come with me."

Her eyes blinked rapidly as she processed her confusion. "But Tessa . . ."

"Isn't going." His chin dropped, his eyes darkened to smoke as he repeated the tempting offer. "Come on, Temperance. Come with me. Be spontaneous." The devil of a smile lifted one corner of his mouth.

He heard the catch in her breath and his own chest tightened as the memory of a kiss in the rain washed over him. "I . . ." she cleared her throat and tried again. "I don't have anything packed."

"You're rich," he responded, shrugging aside the objection. "On the best seller list and everything." The scent of her filled every breath he took, making his nostrils flare. "You can buy what you need there."

"My passport is in my office." Her voice didn't rise above a whisper.

Neither did his. "So go get it."

The silence grew taut and heavy before Brennan abruptly slipped off the bar stool and faced him, shoulders squared, chin raised defiantly. "I'm not going to have sex with you," she declared.

Sensing victory, Booth's grin widened. "I haven't asked you to."

"You will," she replied smugly.

He stepped back and allowed her to walk around him. "I don't know what you're talking about." He arranged his expression into one of schoolboy innocence. "I just thought you'd enjoy a little vacation, that's all. Anything else is just your overactive imagination, Bones."

Brennan tossed a knowing look over her shoulder as she rushed out of Wong Fu's. "Just remember you said that."

As she disappeared from view, Booth sat down on the edge of the stool she'd vacated, his long legs stretched out in front of him. The surly mood of earlier erased, he laughed to himself and tucked the plane tickets safely away in the inside pocket of his jacket.

Jamaica with Bones. This should be interesting . . .
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