Title: The Million Dollar Painting
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating: Eventually M.
Summary: Hodgela. He wants the painting. She wants paid.
A/N: I don't know if an M rated Hodgela has been attempted yet. So here it is.
"Well, I couldn't very well ask Brennan, could I? Can you imagine her response?" Angela pressed her weight to the doorway, the unimposing frame of Hodgins standing before her, his eyes pleading.
"You have a mansion, Jack. And a over-garage apartment. Can't you stay with Zach?"
"The whole place is being redecorated, Angela. My family are a bunch of freaks – you don't understand? My father, rest his soul, would have been horrified to see what they're doing – removing all the art, putting it in storage. But as long as my mother is alive, she can do as she wants. Even if she lives in Rhode Island." Angela felt a smirk toy at her lips.
"Where's Zach, then?" she asked, not giving in to him easily.
"He took a week vacation, he's visiting his family up north. He wasn't going to stay in the apartment while his landlord was made homeless. Seriously, Angela, I would go elsewhere, but my best pal, Wayne, is in China of all places. Please? I'll be on the best behaviour I can summon." Stepping back, she allowed him, backpack in tow, into her apartment. Hodgins released a sigh of relief.
"I was going to stay in a hotel," he said, "but my skin is too sensitive for the detergent they use on their linen. Besides, when you know what I know about dust-mites, you'd be hesitant too." Angela lifted a tapered eyebrow skyward, amused and irritated, simultaneously. Jack was her annoying colleague, with far too many opinions and a mass of curls that seemed to dwarf his head. He was scrawny, like a rocker from college.
"All in all, it's a pretty bad week for you, isn't it?" Jack shrugged, unzipping his navy jacket, dropping his bags to the floor. "If it's not your family snatching suits of armour from under your nose, it's itchy dermatitis and scratchy bed linen." Jack lifted his eyes, meeting hers.
"You jest, but if someone came in here and took away…" he passed his gaze over the eloquent paintings on the wall, "that," he added, pointing to a wispy pink and yellow sunset inspired picture, "would you be laughing at the hilarity of it then?" Angela cast her eye over her most favourite of her own works. She'd named it Eternity, because it looked as though the sky went on forever. The technique had taken her years to perfect. But she was delighted with the results.
"No," she said, shaking her head. "But then none of your art works are actually yours are they?" Hodgins stepped up to the unfinished painting she was halfway through – a leafy forest, whose floor was covered with a lush blanket of bluebells. She loved bluebells, and her own painting had been inspired by a classic oil painting she'd seen while vacationing in the English countryside.
"Angela," Hodgins said, ignoring her question completely, "that's amazing." He crouched before the canvas board. "When will you finish it?" She slipped off her red beaded shoes, that reminded him of an Indian slipper, and dropped to her sofa with a resigned sigh.
"Whenever work permits it, I suppose." Together, they'd been putting so many hours into the Jeffersonian Medico-Legal lab that it felt as though real-life barely existed anymore. Hodgins tilted his head in sympathy before turning back to the painting. "Tomorrow is Sunday, so maybe I'll finish the bluebells. They're the hardest part…" Her colleague murmured, tracing the fine pencil line.
"The detail is extraordinary. It's hard to appreciate your art, Angela, when all we see is the reconstruction of a dead person." She shrugged sadly, quite aware that her artistic development had been seriously impeded by her job. However she was paid well and if she went back to sketching on the street, she'd loose all the beautiful artefacts she now had in her home. Besides, she'd made valuable friends at the Jeffersonian.
"So, how long will you be my unexpected guest, Jack?" she asked, massaging her calves. She'd spent an hour running earlier, and her muscles ached from lack of exercise. She'd been neglecting her regime, lately.
"A week? It's the paint fumes – they kill me. I had a bad chest." He forced a wheeze and she rolled her eyes. "I'm eternally in your debt, Miss Montenegro." Hodgins took the painting in his hands, lifting the three foot by two foot canvas off the ground. "How much would it cost to have something like this, then?" The light caught the vibrant purplish blue paint of the half finished flowers, and she wondered if she'd ever be 'just' an artist.
"My paintings don't have much worth yet, Jack," she said when he replaced her canvas.
"But they do," he disagreed, turning to meet her eyes. "Art should hardly be categorised by monetary value. It's about the emotion one feels when they turn their eye on something as mystical as this. I don't think I could put a price on how this makes me feel." Angela swatted his arm, torn between disbelief and flattery. The man who analysed dirt particles for a living rarely hinted at an appreciative side.
"Would you like some tea?" she asked, dropping her hand from her calve, where his eyes had fallen, drawing an sweeping gaze across her skin. She ought to have felt violated. Perhaps she should have thought he had an audacity to be 'eyeing' her at all, but in fact, she blushed like a schoolgirl and hurried to cover her legs.
"Water would be good," he replied, nodding his head. "Then perhaps you can tell me how much money it would cost me to buy the painting when it's finished. Your first commissioned work…" Angela paused in the doorway, dropping her head.
"Jack, that's all very sweet and all, but you don't have to offer me pity money." He looked hurt, his artic blue eyes darkening to something that looked almost grey.
"I'm not pitying you, Angela, I like your stuff." She crossed her arms over her torso, and he thought she must have been painting earlier, for a smudge of green paint smeared her temple. He smiled lopsidedly. "Some things are about genuine admiration, Angela, rather than bogus interest. I'm not trying to find something in common with you…" She nodded, tucking a wavy tassel of hair behind her ear.
"I can't take money for it." Hodgins crossed his own arms, and she noticed with striking vividness, the bicep that bulged beneath his t-shirt. She was hardly obtuse – the attraction had been radiating off Jack for months. He had developed a 'thing' for her that was evident in all their conversations – and their eyes had been meeting, almost of their own will, across examinations tables. Gazes had been held and fantasies had been created. What Angela had never expected was her own growing attraction.
"Come on, Angela… name your price." She clicked her tongue.
"Ten dollars." Jack laughed.
"Multiply by a thousand and you have a deal…" His lips quirked and her mouth opened in disbelief.
"You actually think my painting is worth ten thousand dollars? You're insane, Jack." Spinning on her heel, she strode into the kitchen, dispersing ice cubes into a glass and filling it with water. Behind her, her colleague chuckled, sounding amused.
"I think it's worth more but I'm a modest millionaire." She passed him the glass, their fingers brushing with instant chemistry. She pulled away, grateful that he had a grip on it. "So do we have a deal, then?" She caught a glimpse of the band he wore around his wrist, a brown, interwoven piece of wool, that complimented his skin tone. He looked dysfunctional and he was witty. Good Lord, she was attracted to him more than she'd thought.
"No," she said, shaking her head, "no deal." With laughter in her voice she said "Only the promise of twenty four hours of uninterrupted sex could convince me to give away such a complex piece of art." She brushed past him, collecting soiled pieces of cloth that she used to wipe away access acrylic from her fingers. Hodgins' knuckles went white around his glass.
"Could probably be arranged," he said, sounding strangled. "For such a pretty painting." Angela liked the banter, even if it did make her heart palpitate a little. He only wanted a place to sleep, and she could understand why he didn't want to ask their friend, Temperance Brennan. She'd be undoubtedly cynical and her rigid work rules would probably filter into home life too. As much as Angela adored her, she imagined living with her would be a pain in the ass.
"Twenty four hours, Jack, really?" He friend shrugged.
"Twenty seven, once, but my back hurt for a week after." She heard the ice cubes rattle as he tried to suppress his laughter. "If I was going for twenty four I'd require at least three bathroom breaks and a few for water," he lifted his glass. "But to secure Blue Heaven, I'd be willing to give it a shot." Angela frowned.
"Blue Heaven?" she asked.
"I've named your painting." She dropped her hands to her hips, her eyes twinkling mischievously as she squeezed her paint soaked cloth into a ball. "It seems quite apt, doesn't it? Or maybe it should be called Sexual Ultimatum…" she actually laughed at this, dropping the cloth into a waste-paper bin before moving his backpack to the corner.
"Fine, so when does the twenty four hours start?" Jack drained his glass, pulling his lips into a slow, lazy smile. People always fancied the sexual predators like Booth – but she liked witty repartee. She liked to think that someone could talk her into sexual oblivion and have her legs weak with mere wordy promises. Jack, she was hesitant to admit, had good answers.
"Boy, you know how to romance a girl, don't you…?" Jack settled into the sofa, his legs stretched out as he relaxed into her cushions. "Okay," she said, "how about I change the rules. How about, since I'm letting you stay in my home, rent free, you do anything I ask, for twenty four hours. If you do, you can stay the week and have Blue Heaven." Jack smiled.
"The name fits, doesn't it? Alright, Ange, you drive a hard bargain, but you have a deal. What would you like me to do first?"
"I'd like to do a portrait of you," she said, turning to her already sharpened pencils, "A nude portrait. Get undressed, Jack."
I'd love to have Booth over for a week long visit. But I wouldn't say no to Hodgins, either.