THE CHOICES WE MAKE
As they approached the motel, Emma could see why Brennan had been reluctant to bring her here. A flickering sign outside read, 'The Purple Palace Motel- rooms available- $20 an hour or $55 a night.' She didn't need to be psionic to guess the type of clientele that this place attracted. Several women, hung around the front entrance, dressed in scanty leather outfits, with thick makeup adorning their faces. A couple looked at Brennan appreciatively as they approached, "Hey honey, looking for a good time?" He ignored them and pulled Emma hurriedly into the reception.
The man behind the desk gave them a smile as greasy as his black hair as they drew near, and eyed Emma with a hungry gaze. Brennan felt the familiar stirrings of annoyance that always jolted him when men paid too much attention to his friend. He drew her closer, wrapping his arm protectively around her waist as if to brook any unhealthy ideas the receptionist might be having. The message came across clearly, "Er, can I help you sir?" the skinny man stammered, looking nervously at the tall, solid elemental, glaring down at him.
"We'd like a room for the night," Brennan stated, not removing his arm from Emma. She looked at him frowning, about to protest when he said, in a quiet voice so only she could here, "Trust me Em, I'm not leaving you alone in a place like this." Privately, Emma thought, she would rather take the risk of being alone rather that risk spending a night in such close proximity with him. But she kept quiet, not liking the twisted grin that had returned to the receptionist's face as he filled out the form and presented it for Brennan to sign. The hit she was getting off the greasy man was unpleasant to say the least; she was actually quite thankful that her friend was more than capable of thowing his weight around when the situation called for it.
Brennan didn't let her go until they were inside the motel room. He closed the door behind them and secured it as much as the basic locking features would allow. Turning back, he saw her shrugging off his leather jacket and hangining it over the back of the chair to dry. The room was small and garishishly decorated, in bright immitation leathers and silks. The king size bed took up most of the space, though two chairs and a television had been squashed into the remaining space. The adjoining bathroom was visible; with one bath, one sink, one toilet and no door, Brennan noticed uncomfortably. He was starting to regret his insistence that they share a room. The cramped area left little room between them, and they were both people who definately needed their own space. He tried to tell himself that it was for her own safety, he was merely being a responsible teammate and looking out for his friend. Somehow, though, he just couldn't fully believe that. He looked at her now, pushing her damp hair out of her eyes as she fiddled with the dial on the heater. Personaly, Brennan didn't think an increased temperature was exactly what he needed right now. However, they were seriously soaked, and they did need to dry off; she was just being practical; so... Emma. The smiled without thinking, the warmth of his gaze startling Emma, as she finished adjusting the controls and turned back to face him.
"So?" she said, shifting uncomfortable on her feet, and wishing now that she had insisted on separate rooms.
"So..." he trailed off, really having no idea what they were supposed to do now. He looked intently at her with his chocolate brown eyes and Emma felt her heart race, as she considered the situation in which they now found themselves. This was the type of place where privacy wasn't high on the list of priorities. 'It's only for one night, you can do this,' her mind ordered silently. The picture he made was making that more difficult. Having leant her his jacket, his black top was soaked and clinging- ever so appealingly- to his perfectly defined muscles. That familiar feeling of longing started to stir in Emma's stomach as she stared at him. He was now running his hand through his wet hair, a trait he often did when he was uncomfortable. For some reason, she no longer trusted her legs to support her, and went hurriedly to sit on the edge of the bed. She looked at the gaudily red carpet, trying to force her traitorous thoughts back under control and glad for once that she had the power of telempathy, not him. Her headache had just returned with full force.
"If you want to take a shower and get dried off i could go out for a while, you know," he definitely looked uncomfortable, "If you want some privacy."
Emma shook her head. "It's still pouring Bren, besides, I'm not the one who is adversely affected by water. If anything, you're the one that needs to get dry. I could..."
"You're not going out there on your own," he said flatly, in a tone of voice that brooked no argument.
Emma frowned in annoyance, "I'm not some little sister you need to protect, Brennan. I can take care of myself you know!"
"I'm not saying you're weak, don't go getting all defensive on me again. It's just not safe for anyone to go wandering around here by themselves at night."
"Oh, but it's okay for you, right... Let's just forget about the fact that you're the one that's rendered completely impotent by water, shall we!" That was a low blow and she knew it. A feeling of guilt surged as she saw him wince at her words. He had always been sensitive of his weakness and the psionic felt the resentment instantly.
"If you don't need me then fine- I'll go," he snapped angrily, snatching up his jacket and making his way to the door.
"Bren, I'm sorry, I didn't mean that," she said, jumping off the bed and grabbing his arm. He stopped and turned back to her, his eyes still narrowed. She swallowed.
"I'm sorry," she repeated gently, "Please don't go..." Her voice trailed off as she gazed, pleadingly into his eyes, her hand still clutching his arm.
Brennan felt his skin tingle where she touched him, the anger was quickly ebbing away to be fast replaced with a completely different emotion. He knew it was wrong, but for some reason he couldn't help reacting to her nearness. He felt his breath catch in his throat as he observed her... her cheeks and lips were still red from the cold, contrasting starkly with her naturally pale skin... so pure and innocent.
Brennan didn't know when he had moved, but her somehow he had taken a step towards her, closing the distance between their bodies. He heard her sharp intake of breath, as his free arm moved of its own violation and reached up to caress her cheek. Breathing deeply, he moved his other hand to her waist, pulling her flush against his body. Emma gasped, her own hand going to his damp chest, moving upwards, over his firm muscles, until the tips of her fingers brushed the side of his neck. She must have touched a sensitive spot, as he elicited a low moan and tightened his grip on her waist. She felt the heat rush downwards as she pressed against him. Meanwhile, the heat of Brennan's radiating desire was turning her legs to jelly and causing her vision to blur, as she watched him through glazed eyes, bearing down on her as he leaned gradually forward... he was going to kiss her...
The sudden realization caused Emma to come crashing down to Earth with a painful jolt. This was wrong. She couldn't do this... they couldn't do this. The team dynamic they had all worked so hard to create this past year would be shattered. She couldn't deny her own desires, the wash of emotions she felt for him had been building ever since their first meeting, although she tried her hardest to ignore them. But she knew he didn't feel the same. Romantic relationships weren't something Brennan did. Hadn't she heard him boasting to Jesse that being good with women and getting involved were two completely different things. She refused to let herself get carried away in a situation that was gaurenteed to end in tears... most likey hers.
She broke from his grasp and backed away, her breathing still shaky. He seemed startled for a second, as though their actions were only just registering in his mind. The look that replaced the confusion might have been hurt, Emma obseved... or regret. The thought caused painful lump to rise in her throat. She swallowed quickly,
"Er, it's not that late, maybe we should go and grab some dinner. I'm really quite hungry." It was lie. In fact, she thought that she might actually throw up if she were to attempt to eat anything right now. Regardless, she they had to get out of this room- claustrophobic didn't even begin to describe her tensile state at that moment.
"Right, ok, sure," Brennan stumbled over the words. He scolded himself mentally- this was his fault; he had frightened her and probably just ruined thier friendship for good. Collecting himself, he said, in what he hoped was a light voice, "We can call a taxi from reception. Better than walking in this weather." Emma nodded, not trusting herself enough to speak, as Brennan pulled open the door, with a little more force that was really necessary, and offered her his jacket again. He slipped it tentatively around her shoulders, pausing for a moment, before stepping back and allowing her to precede him out of the room. Dinner was certainly going to be interesting, he thought, pausing for a second to gather his resolve, before following her into the night.
Continued in Chapter 10... and yes, my muse and my consience do seem to work together rather a lot ; ) It's darned annoying! Thank you for all the reviews to the last chapter, they worked well on my guilt- i'll try to get the next part up soon... studies be damned...