2. While You're Making Plans
They hadn’t succeeded in getting Sweets drunk, but they had managed to get her tipsy, she realized, looking for her car keys. Everyone was getting ready to leave. You could see the effect of alcohol as everyone hugged and cheek-kissed their friends goodbye.
“Could you drive me home?” Angela asked her. “I can’t drive and I can’t ask Hodgins. I’m so drunk that if he looks at me one more time with those little puppy eyes, I’m gonna break my vow of celibacy just to cheer him up.”
Brennan laughed. “No problem.”
She watched Angela hug everyone again, as she waved a collective goodbye and went to wait outside in the hall. She leaned her back on the wall, sighed and closed her eyes. All that paperwork to finish... She’d have to wake up early in the morning to get through it in time.
“I don’t know how we’re ever gonna get Sweets drunk. That boy in undrunkable,” Booth sighed, joining her.
She laughed. “’Undrunkable is not a word.”
“It is. I just said it.”
“Just because you say something doesn’t make it true...”
He knew what she was referring to. “I got you to take a sip, so it must have been true. Unless you drank so that we’d all move off your case.” He looked at her and leaned on the wall beside her.
“Were you drinking the truth?” he asked. Their arms brushed together. His cologne was getting to her.
“I guess...” she answered.
“Good for you,” he said, bumping her with his elbow. He wondered if she was thinking of Sully and realized he was clenching his fists.
They waited in silence for a minute. Come on, Ange! She took his left wrist and pulled up his sleeve.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
She turned the bracelet of his watch to check the time and let go of him. Angela finally made her appearance.
“Booth!” she exclaimed. “Did I say goodbye to you?”
“Twice,” he replied with a laugh. “I hope you’re not driving.”
“Got my chauffeur right here.” She pointed to Brennan. “Goodbye, Booth,” she said again, hugging him. He kissed her on the cheek while Brennan kept her eyes down on the floor.
“I’ll wait for you outside, sweetie,” Angela let out before walking off, shoes in hand.
Booth and Brennan were just standing there. They never kissed goodbye, but they couldn’t just shake hands, right? Too uncomfortable, Brennan found an excuse.
“I better go after her before she forgets I’m driving her home...”
“Yeah. I’ll see you tomorrow...”
Brennan didn’t run out, but she was quickly on the sidewalk. She unlocked the door for Angela and sat behind the wheel. Her friend kept talking on the way, providing a good amount of distraction for Brennan to keep her mind off of Booth’s cologne lingering on her clothes and making her insides jump every time she breathed in. When they arrived at Angela’s apartment, Brennan waited for her to take off her seatbelt. She didn’t. Instead, she started talking again.
“I really hope you’re not mad at me.”
“Why would I be mad?” Brennan asked.
“For kissing Booth years ago.”
Surprised, maybe. And confused, too.
“It wasn’t a real kiss, I swear,” Angela continued.
Brennan was tired and she didn’t see the point of getting into all the reasons why it was illogical for her to care. She didn’t want to explain why it was irrational for her to be jealous of her beautiful friend. That wonderful woman who was always kind, always unexplainably glowing with joy... That woman who didn’t have to force anyone to kiss her.
“Don’t worry,” Brennan assured her. “It’s not like our kiss was real either.”
She had forced him into it. She had grabbed him so he wouldn’t pull away... It was a blackmail kiss, nothing more. She had to remember that.
Angela undid her seatbelt and turn to her. “Now, don’t tell me you two didn’t kiss for real. Everything that involves you both should be rated R.”
Fine! She’d get into it. It’s not like she hadn’t gone over it 478 times already.
“For starters, we weren’t alone.”
Before Angela’s mind went somewhere inappropriate, she continued.
“Caroline Julian was there.”
That didn’t sound any better apparently, since Angela was covering her mouth, trying not to burst out in laughter.
“It was over a year ago when I wanted to get a trailer so that my brother and the kids could see my dad for Christmas. Caroline wanted to see us kiss. I put up mistletoe, and I...”
Grabbed him, caught his eyes on my lips, and lost it.
Brennan shook off the image. “I kissed him. We never talked about it, we never will. It didn’t mean anything.”
“I’m sure it would if you wanted it to...” Angela told her.
Yeah, sure. It’s a proven fact that wishful thinking has always worked.
“Ange, he... we did not want to kiss. I obligated him to. A means to an end. That’s it.”
“Did that means include tongue?” Angela added with a smirk.
She could still feel its warmth. She could still taste it. STOP IT.
“Only because... When... It’s a physiological reflex, you know?”
“You squeezed him too hard, and his tongue popped out?” Angela laughed.
“Shouldn’t you be getting home?” Brennan concluded.
“Fine.” Angela got out of the car. “But just so you know... If you’re still thinking about it the way I think you do, it was a real kiss, and it meant way more to you than you’ll ever admit, so I’ll stop asking about it.” And she disappeared into her apartment building.
Angela usually gave good advice. But since she was too drunk to drive, she was undoubtedly too drunk to know what she was saying. Brennan didn’t think twice about it and drove home as if nothing had been said.
At 5:42 am, Brennan was out of the shower. The forms, the reports, the records... All the boring paperwork was waiting for her on the kitchen table, and her apartment was filled with the aroma of freshly brewed Guatemalan dark roasted beans.
At 5:49 am, Brennan was dressed and serving herself a huge cup of coffee. She felt good. Great, even, because she had taken a big decision.
Today, she was a new Brennan. Ok, even to her that sounded weird. But starting today, she would try and go out more. Before partnering up with Booth, there was black, and there was white. But he had to come in and brought all that grey with him. All that confusing grey was making her life way too complicated. And way more interesting, but that wasn’t the problem. These past four years, she had grown too close to Booth for her own good. And that could never go anywhere, not that she wanted it to. Starting today, she would no longer have to try to stop reacting to every little touch, every look and every smile. Because she didn’t care. Really. Objectively speaking, those... uhm... emotions –for lack of a better term- were inevitable. They were simply caused by proximity. So, if she detached herself from him, even just a little, she could stop overanalyzing everything. And it wouldn’t have to become an issue.
Satisfied, she set her coffee cup on the table, pulled a chair, and jumped at the sound of knocks on the front door. She knew who it was before she even heard his voice.
Frozen in place, she instinctively looked around for somewhere to hide. She almost laughed at herself for acting so strangely. It was only Booth. She opened the door.
“I brought bagels...” he said, wearing his boyish smile and holding up a paper bag.
“It’s barely 6. Do we have another case already?” she asked, letting him in.
“No, I promised you I would help with the paperwork. So, here I am!” He handed her the bagels. “Did you start without me?” he asked, taking his black jacket off and putting it on the back of a chair.
“You could have called first,” she said, shutting the door and following him.
“You don’t call people at 6 am!” he replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world. Then he was already in the kitchen, rummaging through the cupboard.
“But you can just show up?”
He didn’t answer, clearly looking for something. Oh! There it is! He walked to the table and took the green coffee cup.
“That’s mine!” she said, taking it back.
“I thought you poured it for me.”
She frowned. “I didn’t know you’d be here, why would I have coffee waiting for you?”
“Because that’s my mug,” he said, going for it again.
“It’s mine,” she insisted. “I bought it.” She poured him another cup and handed it to him. “Here. Enjoy.”
What was up with her?
“But that’s the one I always use whenever I’m here...” he lingered, pointing to the green one.
“Fine,” he abdicated with a pout.
She watched him sit down, as if he were in his own kitchen, wondering when they had become so at ease. When had the boundaries disappeared?
“I would really appreciate it next time if you’d call first. Even if it’s 6 am. Especially, if it’s 6 am.”
Booth knew it was early, but he also knew she’d be up. She was already dressed and ready to work. What was the big deal? It hit him suddenly, and he lowered his voice to a whisper.
“Oh! Do you... Is there someone...?” He motioned towards the bedroom.
“There could be.”
“But there isn’t.”
“That’s not the point!”
Booth felt a little more relieved than he probably should have.
“It’s not the first time you show up like this. And remember last time I had...”
“A friend over. The deep sea welder you kept indoors. I know. I just figured...”
“You think it won’t happen again?” she interrupted him. “I’m an attractive woman, you know?”
“Oh, I know,” he let out.
The silence that followed was thickened by staring on both parts. Brennan was the first to break eye contact. If she hadn’t known better, she’d have said her heart had just stopped for a whole second. When the heart stops, you die. Her plan of detaching herself was clearly flawed. She would have to work on it.
She sat down before glancing at him again. He was looking at the green cup she was still holding. With a sigh of resignation, she put it in front of him and took the other one. He grinned. She rolled her eyes. They got to work.
Brennan had been waiting for 15 minutes outside a cute little restaurant in Georgetown that Angela had picked out from her bran new GPS. Her friend was late, she was starving, her feet were killing her and she’d just realized she had forgotten her cell phone in her office. She was about to return to her car when she heard a man call out her name.
She turned towards the voice. That handsome man looked familiar... but she could not remember his name.
“Hi!” she said, searching her memory for the slightest hint as to who he was.
He walked up to her. He seemed really happy to see her. If only she could recall something about him other than the fact she was pretty sure she had never slept with him...
“It’s been a while,” she said awkwardly. She wasn’t too good with reunions, especially those with people she didn’t know.
“Five years, I believe?”
“Cal!” she exclaimed before she could stop herself. “What are you doing in D.C.?” She was trying to sound casual, hoping he would not notice she had been pretending.
“You didn’t remember me, did you?” he said with a laugh.
“No, I didn’t,” she admitted. “But I do now. You were Peter’s friend from Chicago.”
Peter, the ex-boyfriend whose TV she had destroyed.
“Haven’t seen or talked to him in ages,” he said. “My company is opening its 7th hotel. I’m just here to oversee things. It’s good to see you! I never thought you’d still be in town. I figured you’d be in the Middle East or in Africa.”
She remembered now. He talked a lot.
“For the past four years, I’ve been mainly working with the FBI full time,” she explained.
“Nice. Last time I saw you, you were moving in with Pete.”
“Still with him?” he asked even though he knew she was not.
Brennan was shaking her head no, about to answer him, when she spotted Booth coming down the street.
Booth saw her standing on the sidewalk where Angela said she’d be. He was about to wave when he saw she wasn’t alone. She was with a tall, blond, tanned... She was with a man. He picked up the pace. Maybe that model wannabe was bothering her.
Brennan noticed Booth was approaching faster. She tried to ignore him.
Cal asked, “Are you seeing anyone?”
What was he doing here?
“You don’t sound certain...” Cal laughed.
She tried to concentrate on the man in front of her.
“I am,” she said. “No, I mean, I am certain that I am not seeing anybody. At the moment.”
Booth was only a few feet away. Cal noticed Brennan glancing at a tall, dark haired, not-so-friendly-looking man wearing a suit.
“A friend of yours?” he asked her.
She turned her head to Booth and said,
“He’s my partner. FBI partner.”
Cal had a feeling once that man joined them, he would never get a chance to ask her.
“I would love to take you out before I leave town,” he said rapidly, handing her his business card. “You call me if you...”
Booth was already there.
“Hi, there,” he said with his deep FBI voice. Brennan shut her eyes only for a second to sigh, and before she opened them again, Booth had one arm around her shoulders. She tensed instantly.
“Hi,” Cal greeted him back without flinching. He held out his hand. “I’m Cal.” Brennan suddenly was fascinated. It wasn’t often that another man stood up to Booth’s alpha male standing. She took his arm off of her. The men shook hands.
“Agent Booth,” her partner felt the need to say.
Before they battled for status, Brennan broke up the party.
“It was good to see you, Cal.”
But when she perceived the shadow of a content smirk on Booth’s face, she seized the opportunity. This was her chance to put her new self out there.
“I’ll definitely use this,” she said, showing him his business card. “Soon.”
Cal smiled and walked away. Not without glancing back at her.
“You’ll use it as what? A handkerchief?” Booth joked, taking the card from her.
“Give it back,” she ordered.
He examined the card. “What? You want to rent a luxurious hotel room?”
She stole it back and put it in her purse. “It’s his business card. With his phone number.”
“What for?” he questioned her.
“So I can call him.”
“So... you’ll call Cal?” he said, trying so hard not to giggle like a little girl at the ridiculous sound of it. Then he grew serious. “You’re gonna go out with him,” he said out loud, to make it sound more real. He ignored the sting in his stomach, and before she even answered, he added, “Do you even know this guy?”
“No,” she said bluntly. “He’s a perfect stranger.”
She was being sarcastic? This was not good. He thought it’d be better to drop the subject for now. Maybe she’d lose that business card over lunch... He held the restaurant door open for her, but saw her frown.
“Why are you here?” she wondered.
“Right!” Booth let the door close and reached in his pocket. “Angela sent me to give you this...” he said, handing her her cell phone. “And to tell you she would not be able to make it.”
She watched him reopen the door for her. She heard the faint classical music coming from inside, saw the dim lights, felt the romantic ambiance... Angela picked a weird type of restaurant for a casual, middle of the week lunch.
“You coming?” Booth asked, getting concerned. She looked at him again. No. There was no way she was eating in there alone with him.
“You know what?” she started. “Cal’s not in town for very long. I think I’ll... Yeah.” She took out his card, her cell phone, and turned around. “I’ll see you later!” she let out before walking away, already dialling.
Booth stood there, like paralyzed. What the hell had just happened? His partner always wanted to have lunch with him. His Bones would never have ditched him for a guy. Right? Confused and dazzled, he looked inside the restaurant. No. There was no way he was eating in there by himself. Angela picked a weird type of restaurant for a casual, middle of the week lunch.
Booth made his way through the Jeffersonian, looking for Hodgins. Maybe he would join him for lunch. Walking past Cam’s office, he heard laughs and few sentences that made no sense. Angela was talking.
“But is it a date when you don’t know it’s a date? Because unless someone tells them, it’ll probably take years before they figure it out.”
He entered without knocking since the door was open. Plus, two women laughing always triggered his curiosity.
“Oh!” Cam let out as she saw him irrupt in the doorway. She hid her mouth behind a napkin, possibly wiping off a chuckle. “Booth!”
He noticed Angela’s frown.
“Booth? Why aren’t you with Brennan?”
Cam and she exchanged a loaded look.
“You know, Angela,” Booth began. “Bones’ feelings don’t get hurt, but she might want to know why you couldn’t have lunch with her when you had time to eat with Cam...”
“I...” Angela didn’t know what to say.
“We were working,” Cam said to help her.
“Obviously,” he nodded.
“I thought I couldn’t. It turned out I could, but by then, you were already gone. So I thought... I would work. With Cam, here.” Angela took a breath. “Where is Brennan anyway?”
Booth tried to sound casual. “She... uhm... I don’t really know. She met some old friend. You really should call her. He looked a little off.”
He turned around and fled.
"Maybe you should have planned this a little more carefully..." Cam told Angela.
The artist dropped the fry she was holding.
"Yeah. You know it was a crappy date when the gal meets someone else and goes for it."