They still don't belong to me, although I've had a tremendous amount of fun playing with them! I've really been enjoying reading all your reviews - so much so, that the total number of reviews crept up on me unawares! Wow, I'm stunned! I'm glad to hear you've been enjoying the story. Sorry, but it has to end, and prove it here's the final part.

Sometimes, a vacation can be so much hard work that we're left feeling the only thing we need is a vacation to get over the first one!

Chapter 22 escape

Brennan had to endure comments and looks from the rest of her team as she headed back into the lab. She ignored them for a moment and turned to watch Booth drive away. She felt suddenly empty, as if an important part of her was missing. The sensation was uncomfortable, but also strangely pleasant. Uncomfortable, because she was already missing Booth dreadfully. Pleasant, because she knew how good it would feel when she saw him again.

Angela seemed to be stunned into silence as they stood in the elevator. Dr. Goodman had disappeared in a different direction as soon as they entered the building. Hodgins contented himself with sending cryptic glances in Brennan's direction. Only Zack chattered on as usual, talking about the case they were working on, a set of skeletons from the civil war.

Brennan decided to continue as if nothing had happened, and had managed to bury herself completely in her work when she was summoned to the phone. The conversation she had left her with the feeling that life was going to get either very pleasant or very unpleasant in the very near future. Feeling almost nervous, she knocked on the door to Dr. Goodman's office and asked to speak with him.

Ten minutes later, she left the office, bade a hasty goodbye to the others and almost ran down to her car, feeling like a kid let out of school early.

- - - - -

Booth's apartment was empty, although his car still stood in its allotted place. Brennan parked in the visitor's space and walked to the park. When she reached the grassy area, she thought at first that Booth and Parker were not there, but after looking around for a few moments and debating whether to ring him, she spotted a familiar blue and white bike with a large hooter near the playground. She hurried over to them, and found Booth pushing Parker on a swing. Parker saw her first, dragged his feet on the ground to slow himself, slipped off the swing and came running over to her. She bent to give him a squeeze, then looked up at Booth, who had followed more slowly.

"Hi, Bones, what are you doing here?" He sounded pleased to see her.

"I – ah – arranged for the afternoon off. I wanted to see Parker master his bike."

"Yay!" yelled Parker, and went to grab his bike.

For the moment, Brennan concentrated on Parker, feeling Booth's presence close by and feeling comforted by it, but without needing to pay much attention to it. He, too, seemed content to help his son with riding.

Parker had nearly got the balance on his bike, and Brennan was delighted when for the first time Parker passed her, rode further along the path, then turned round all by himself and rode back in a large circle. Booth jogged up to her, and put his arms round her, swinging her round in pleasure, and they both laughed to see Parker riding happily around.

From this point onwards, Parker was content to ride his bike to and fro along the path, while Brennan sat on the bench cuddled up to Booth watching him. She felt Booth's chest move with his steady breathing against her back, and felt perfectly at peace. She felt almost disappointed when Booth said it was time to go. They walked back to his apartment, watching Parker wheel his bike just ahead of them, and still she had not summoned up the courage to pose the question she wanted to ask.

Brennan packed Parker's clothes back into his bag, making sure that Baba was tucked in safely, while Booth lifted the bike into the back of the SUV. Then they all got into the car and drove Parker home.

Brennan watched with interest as Booth rang the doorbell on a small, neat house on the corner of a block. She saw Rebecca open the door and bend to greet Parker with a hug. Booth she seemed to treat more coolly, hardly looking at him as she took the bag. Booth fetched the bike and wheeled it to the door, and from Parker's arm movements she guessed he was telling her about riding his bike round the park. Then Parker waved his arm in her direction, and Rebecca looked over to the car and waved. "Thanks for helping out," Brennan heard her say. Parker went indoors with his bike, Rebecca carried the bag in, and the door was shut firmly.

Booth came back to the car and opened the door. He climbed into his seat, put the keys in the ignition, then turned to look at her. "Do you want to go have dinner somewhere?" he asked.

Brennan nodded. "Yeah, sure. That would be great."

They headed for an Italian restaurant Booth knew, and as they ordered food, Brennan realized that she felt like she was getting to know Booth all over again. First she had come to know him as a colleague and partner. Then over the weekend she had got to know him as a father. Now she was starting to get to know him as a boyfriend.

She thought again about what she was planning to suggest. Would Booth like the idea? She studied him surreptitiously over her glass of wine. He noticed her watching, and grinned self consciously. She told herself off fiercely. This was Booth. Why should she be afraid?

She thought of how she had felt that afternoon as she had watched him drive away. That was why she was afraid. They had been together as a couple for less than twenty four hours, and already she was terrified of losing him.

As if he had read her thoughts, he held his hand to her over the table, and she took it in hers, rubbing the back of it gently, feeling the strong bones under the softer flesh.

"It's okay, Bones," he said softly. "We can take this as slowly as you like. There's no rush."

She thought about that for a moment, then pouted. "Actually, I was thinking of asking you to go away with me for the weekend," she said, then enjoyed the expression on his face.

"You were?" he asked, bemused.

She nodded. "My agent rang today. The French translation of my book has just been released, and she wants me to go to France for a few days to promote it."

"France?" Booth looked surprised. He frowned, then nodded. "I could do that, I think. I'm off for a few more days anyway, with my shoulder, and I'm due some vacation time."

"I'm scheduled to visit a few bookstores, in different towns, to do book signings, and they want to do a couple of TV interviews, but apart from that I'll be free to do what I like," Brennan explained. "I'd really like you to come with me, Booth."

Booth held her hand tightly. "I'd be honored to come with you," he said.

He drove her back to his place, and they both got out. She stood by her car, and Booth stood close. "You're welcome to come in for coffee if you'd like," he said, turning on his charm smile.

Brennan shook her head. "No, thanks, Booth. I really need to get home. I skipped out of work today on the promise that I make a really early start tomorrow, and I desperately need a good night's sleep in my own bed, then a couple of days' hard work if I'm going to go away Thursday. I've really enjoyed this weekend, Booth. Thanks for letting me share Parker for the weekend, it's been good."

Booth grinned. "You can help me out anytime, Bones," he said cheerfully. Then, more seriously, he looked at her. "Are you sure you want me in France? I don't want to cramp your style or anything."

She shuddered inwardly at the thought of not seeing him for a week. "I'm leaving Thursday morning, for a long weekend, and I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want you to come."

A big grin split his face. "Then that's great, Bones. If it's okay with your agent, of course."

She sneaked a grin. "I did kind of suggest I might be bringing someone with me."

"Oh, did you?" Booth slipped his arms round her waist, pulling her closer, until she could feel his breath on her cheek.

"Yes," she whispered, suddenly overcome by his closeness.

He lifted one hand to stroke her hair back from her face, and caressed her cheek. She held her breath, and leaned closer to him. At first his lips just touched hers gently, then she felt him increase the pressure, and found herself kissing him back, feeling his tongue tease her lips, and then suddenly they were kissing and holding onto each other as if their lives depended on it.

It was Booth who pulled away. "I'll see you Thursday, then," he said, and she saw him stand to watch her drive away before he went indoors. As she drove back to her apartment she thought back over the weekend just gone. She had started it without a clue how to care for a four year old, expecting it to be a nice relaxing break. Instead, she had spent the whole weekend running round after Parker and Booth, and she was surprised to realize just how much she had enjoyed it. Maybe having a child around was not such a bad thing. And next weekend – well, she would have Booth with her, she would be away from work, and she would have little to do other than enjoy the break. That, surely, would be a real vacation.

Well, that's it! I'm about to write the next part of my other story, the boy on the building site, which I'm hoping to post tonight for you. Then I'm off on a week's research trip to France for the sequel to this one (a sequel in the sense of just following the relationship as I've set it up, but a chance to change styles to put in Booth's POV sometimes - he's complaining he hasn't been able to get a word in for this story!). Okay, I'm meant to be studying as well, but the research is my main purpose for the visit!

I'm hoping to have internet access while I'm away, but in case I don't - have a good week, and see you when I get back!

Oh, and you know where the review button is, of course!