A/N: I've had this idea swirling around in my brain for a while, and I hope that its transfer to paper isn't too terrible. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think about it, good, bad, or indifferent.
Temperance looked at Booth, her heart in her throat. There he was, kneeling before her, a ring held up. She blinked at him, unable to breathe as he asked a question she longed for and dreaded at the same time.
"Temperance Brennan, I have been in love with you since the moment we met, and even though you're the most frustrating woman I've ever known. I can't imagine living without you. Will you marry me?" Booth looked up at her, hope and fear in his eyes. Temperance brought a hand to her throat as it constricted. She looked him in the eye for a long moment before finding her voice again.
"Seeley, you know how I feel about this…" She watched the hope disappear from his expression as he lowered the ring.
"So that's a no, then."
"I didn't say that. Just give me some time to think about this, please."
"Okay Tempe. You think about it.'
"No matter what my answer is, my feelings about you aren't going to change. No matter what, I love you." Temperance leaned down and kissed Seeley. He looked up at her with a sad smile and closed the ring box he held.
"While you think about it, why don't you hold onto this." He placed the ring box in her hand and stood up. Temperance closed her hand around the box and watched as he left her apartment. She felt the loss of his presence almost immediately, and had never felt so alone in her life. Unable to take the emptiness, she grabbed her jacket and left for Angela's apartment.
Angela paused her movie when she heard the knock on her front door. She stepped over a pile of newly acquired bridal magazines and made her way across to the door. She was surprised to see Temperance at the door looking so distraught.
"Oh my God, Sweetie. What's wrong?" As Angela ushered Tempe into her apartment, the forensic anthropologist noticed a huge rock on her best friend's finger. Angela followed her friend's gaze and blushed a little. "Jack proposed this afternoon."
"What is this, National Proposal Day?" Tempe flopped into a chair with a frustrated sigh.
"Wait, Booth proposed? Wow, this is huge. Sweetie, please tell me you didn't break FB eye candy's heart and turn him down."
"I haven't given him an answer yet."
"Bren, do yourself a favor and don't analyze, just go with how you feel."
"That's the problem. I don't know how I feel. I love him, I do, but marriage is such an antiquated custom…"
"Sweetie, you're analyzing again. Stop it. Now, since you're here, you can spend a girly night with me looking through these magazines and watching movies. I even have your favorite ice cream." Angela went to her kitchen to retrieve the guilty pleasure, a Klondike bar. Temperance took the ice cream and smiled gratefully.
"What are we watching?"
"Muriel's Wedding. Then I thought a little 'It Happened One Night' was in order." Temperance groaned. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all. She left Angela's late that night, and made her way to her car. As she started it up, the radio station she had been listening to was blaring an unfamiliar song.
I'll be with you in apple blossom time,
And I'll be with you to change your name to mine.
One day in May, I'll come and say
Happy's the bride that the sun shines on today
Then what a wonderful wedding there will be.
What a wonderful day for you and me.
Church bells will chime, you will be mine
In apple blossom time.
Temperance flicked off her radio with a frustrated growl and drove home in silence. When she got home, she wanted nothing more than to sleep off the evening. Yes, she loved booth more than anything, but did she want to marry him? It always seemed such an antiquated ritual to her. The propagation of the species wasn't contingent on remaining with one partner, if anything that could hinder the process, and yet in nature there were animals that mated for life, like swans. It shouldn't matter, really. She didn't want to have children, so why would she be concerned about whether or not it was right to remain with one person for the rest of her life?
With a sigh, she pulled on a tank top and sleep shorts before hopping into bed. She hoped a good night's sleep would clear her head so she could think rationally about her decision. With that thought firmly in place, she drifted off to sleep.
She walked through a field, enjoying the sunshine that beat down on her face. She could smell the freshness of the air and see the vibrance of the flowers. Straight ahead of her were two doors, one with the word 'yes', the other with a large 'no' emblazoned on it. Angela stood between the two doors holding a stack of bridal magazines.
"You've got to choose, yes or no," Angela said. Temperance looked at her and shook her head.
"I don't know." Angela frowned at Tempe and opened a magazine. Dresses flew from the magazine and took off after the forensic anthropologist. Brennan ran, but the dresses were gaining on her. Up ahead was a small cottage. As she reached the door, it swung open and slammed shut once she was safely inside.
"Are you all right?" A voice said from the darkness. The deep timbre was comforting.
"Yes, thanks. I thought those dresses were going to catch me." She took a moment to look around, and found herself speaking to a dog as it smoked on a cigar and played poker.
"Have you given him an answer yet?" the dog asked.
"What?" Temperance found herself spinning wildly out of control until she landed. Confused, she took in a breath of air. Wax, greasy food, feet. She was in a bowling alley. Tempe looked down at herself and gasped. She was clad in a wedding dress, holding a bouquet of red roses. Behind her were bowling pins. A feeling of dread filled her as a giant bowling ball hurtled toward her. The ball had something written on it, and Tempe squinted to see what it said. Will you marry me? She screamed, and closed her eyes.
The ball struck her, and again she found herself hurtling through space until she landed some place that smelled strongly of sulfur. When she opened her eyes, she was tied to a stake, a fire-breathing dragon standing over her. A knight sat on a horse, holding a sword above his head and a shield before him. The dragon let out a roar and stood on its hind legs as it let loose an intense burst of flame. The scales on the underside of the dragon formed a design like that of the Mar Muerte tattoo. The knight threw the sword at the dragon, and Tempe watched in fascination as it flipped through the air and struck the dragon in the heart. The creature fell, and the knight dismounted his steed, making his way to her. The knight took off his helmet, and Tempe found herself looking into the eyes of Seeley Booth.
Temperance sat up with a start as her clock radio went off. She tried to shake off the bizarre dream, but her mind held onto it firmly. The song playing on her radio was familiar, and as she placed the name of it, she groaned. Not another one.
Oh my darling, I was so lonely
Searching for you and for you only
Oh my darling I love you so
Oh my darling, my love is true
Longing for you, no one else will do
Oh my darling I love you so
When I first saw you dear, I knew you were alone
I said to myself that I'd make you my own
Your brother caught us kissing
I thought he would surely tell
Until he started playing those wedding bells
Brennan slapped off the alarm, cutting the song off midway through. Of course, one of the few happy blues songs and it's about a wedding. Brennan scrubbed a hand over her face to ward off her sleepiness and climbed out of bed. She had a book signing to do at noon and then she planned to visit her mother's grave before meeting Booth for dinner. Were they still planning on having dinner after yesterday? She made a mental note to call and find out. With that worked out, she got in the shower to prepare for her day.
At eleven, Brennan left her apartment to head to the bookstore. As she turned on the radio, she held her breath. Please, not another wedding song.
"And in other news today…" Oh, thank you, no wedding song. "…the famous running of the dresses happened today in Boston, giving brides everywhere the opportunity to pick out a dress at incredible prices." Damn. With a frustrated sigh, she turned off the radio and drove away from her apartment.
By the time Brennan got to the bookshop, she was more than ready to snap. On her way there, she passed a wedding dress shop, a billboard for an engagement ring store, a wedding party leaving a church, and the bright flashing sign of a convention center advertising the upcoming bridal expo. She met up with the manager of the shop and was led to her table, noting with a groan that the display just next to her was for wedding planners. The entire world wants me to give an answer, I just know it.
The remainder of her time at the bookstore was uneventful, and she left feeling relieved that she hadn't had another encounter with anything even remotely wedding related. As she walked out to her mother's grave, flowers in hand, she sat down on the grass just next to the headstone and leaned against the marker.
"Mom, it's me, Temperance. Booth asked me to marry him yesterday, but I don't know what to say. I mean, I love him, with all my heart, but is that the reason someone should get married? What do I decide? Will it really change our relationship at all if I say no? I want to be with him, I do, but isn't my relationship with him stable enough to last without all the paperwork attached? I don't know what to do." Brennan closed her eyes and sighed. While she still didn't believe that her mother could hear her, she had come to find out that talking to her was soothing, and often helped her sort through her problems.
As she sat there, she heard the gentle rustle of the breeze, and the sound of birds singing in the breeze. Tempe began to doze in the comfortable atmosphere, thinking of old childhood memories. Christine and Temperance stood along a lakefront, skipping rocks across the surface of the glassy water.
"Mom, we read this story today in school and it talked about coincidences. What exactly are those?" The eight year old looked up to her mother as Christine looked over the water and smiled softly before answering her daughter.
"A coincidence is God's way of letting you know what the right decision is. Grandma always called them God Winks. You know, like he was winking at you when you're on the right track."
"So it's like if you need to think about something, and you sorta get an answer from a cartoon or something someone says?"
"Yeah, it's sorta like that." Christine ruffled her daughter's hair, and then skipped another stone across the water.
The sound of movement nearby brought Temperance out of her daydream. She looked around, but saw nothing moving around her. With a shrug of her shoulders and a quick yawn, she stood and dusted the grass from her pants. As she did so, something caught her attention. Lying up next to the headstone was a worn envelope, slightly yellowed with age. Curious, she picked it up and a picture fell from it.
Temperance gently grabbed hold of the picture and looked at it, curiously. It was a photograph of her parent's wedding. Christine beamed up at Matthew, love very obvious in her expression. Matthew looked down at her, pride showing in his stance. Tempe turned the photo over and saw writing on the back.
Ruthie, This picture will never show the depth of my pride to have you as my wife. Max.
Brennan felt a single tear slip down her cheek as she slipped the picture back into the envelope. She took a deep breath, set the flowers down next to the picture and stood. She had a dinner to go to with Seeley, and she didn't intend on being late.
Booth sat on his couch watching television when he heard the click of his door unlocking. A glance at the clock indicated that it was time for Tempe to show up for dinner. He sighed, and tried to put on a pleasant air. The fact that she hadn't given him an answer right then had hurt him. At least she didn't say no. Seeley took a deep breath to calm his stomach, which was one giant knot at the current time.
Temperance approached him and stood behind him. She bent and slid her arms down over his shoulders before giving him a kiss.
"Hey, you," she said and kissed him again. Booth looked at her, and slid his hands over her arms. He paused the motion as he reached her hands. There was something on her finger. Seeley took her left hand and brought it up to look at. On her ring finger was the engagement ring; a round cut diamond set between two dolphins. At his stunned expression, she grinned. "I had a little talk with my mom, and she let me know what I needed to do."
"With a little God Wink."