Title: More Than Ordinary
Disclaimer: I refuse to lie and say I don't own them. Because I do.
A/N: A second helping of Hodgela for those of you who wanted it. And a little more shippery than before, too! So many of you noticed that I wanted someone to acknowledge the budding romance. I don't think there are enough Angela/Booth moments out there. I think they make great friends.
"I could take you out to an expensive Italian restaurant," Jack said, hovering in the doorway. "But you're too cute for all that preened-to-the-point-of-pain stuff." Angela wrapped her scarf around her neck, ruffling her layered hair with her fingers.
"You're right. Who needs starched linen and vintage wines when there's a perfectly good cheap and cheerful restaurant just ten minutes walk from here?" Their eyes met and he smiled, offering her the new aubergine coloured coat that she'd bought. Angela slipped her arms into her coat, tucking her scarf into the collar.
"Italiano?" Jack asked and she linked her arm with his. It felt odd, in a sense, to be so at ease with him. She ought to have been experiencing the pre-date jitters. But with Jack, it were almost as though she were going to be eating dinner with the same man she had dinner with almost every night since joining the Jeffersonian Institute. Mostly at Wong Fu's.
"I'm easy," she said with a shrug and he looked at her sideways, his spectacular blue eyes twinkling in the high voltage laboratory light.
"I hope not. I always imagined you were a woman with virtues." She chuckled, shaking her head. He felt warm and solid by her side, like a sturdy, reliable companion that she'd never had before. It felt peculiar yet nicer than she could have put words to. "I've been looking forward to night, Angela, for a long time," Jack revealed, the electronic doors hissing open and releasing them to the chilly October night. Their breath rose in white, condensing puffs and she buried her chin inside her coiled scarf.
"You only… kissed me yesterday," she said, finding it difficult to speak of their illicit office kiss. It was forbidden, and Angela suspected Camille wouldn't have been in approval of such interoffice goings on. Hodgins had never been a man who worked by the rules.
"I've been waiting much longer than that, I'm afraid." She felt a tingle in her spine, wondering how long their mutual attraction had been growing for. How foolish they had been, dancing around in fear of the other not reciprocating the whirlwind of frenzied emotions. How much time they had wasted. She almost felt sad.
"How long?" She wasn't sure why the question escaped her lips, and apparently Jack wasn't expecting it either for his head spun, his eyes settling on her face.
"Awhile Ange," he said, nodding softly. "I'm just glad… relieved maybe… that you agreed to come on a date with me at all. You're…" he stopped and she understood what he wanted to say. Angela had been told by so many men that they felt she was out of their league.
"There's no reason why I wouldn't have agreed," she said, bumping his arm with her own. For a long few moments, their footsteps was the only sound between them, moving across the asphalt and along the street. The silence was comfortable, and she felt at ease. "Jack?" He hummed, blinking slowly. "Thanks for… being you." There was no specific reason why she said what she did. She felt so random, that she had to continue. "You eyes are the colour of zircon in this light." Angela gestured to the street lamps overhead. "As an artist, I know how difficult that colour would be to recreate." Jack parted his lips as though he wanted to speak, but nothing emerged and he just smiled. "Lets have dinner."
"Favourite movie?" Hodgins asked, replenishing her wine. Angela removed a drop of tomato and basil sauce from her lip, contemplating. "I imagine some chick flick with all handsome men and unlucky in love women. Nothing gory and certainly nothing technical." Jack returned to smearing pesto over his pasta, and she watched him tip the green sauce, her heart fluttering.
"I wish I were Brennan right now. Then I could pretend that I don't watch movies," she said. "I wish you were wrong and I could surprise you with some deep, intelligent response, but alas, I say with reddened cheeks, my favourite movie has to be a cringe-worthy…" she paused.
"Pretty Woman?" he guessed and she exhaled.
"Damn you Jack." He chuckled, the sound gruff and warm.
"You don't need to surprise me with anything, Angela. You surprise me every day with just being you." She smiled fondly, too involved in their light banter to be concerned with her cooling pasta. "Was that terribly mushy and not macho enough?" Jack asked, and she shrugged.
"Just a little, but I appreciate the effort." He smirked, lifting his glass.
"To learning new and extraordinary things about each other," he said and she tapped the edge of his glass with her own, her eyes becoming hooded with contemplation. "Is everything alright, Angela?" Hodgins asked, leaning close, his face fully illuminated by the flicking flame that capped the top of their candle.
"Everyone seems preoccupied with extraordinary things, these days," she said, glancing around the restaurant. "Extraordinary people, extraordinary features, extraordinary relationships," she looked at him now, settling the full weight of her gaze on him, "extraordinary love." Hodgins held his glass midair, caught quite unawares. "I mean," Angela hurried, "I'm not saying in anyway that we're at that place just yet. My God, I don't want to sound like one of those insane women who only want to get married and have kids…" Jack dropped his hand to hers, a simple touch that stilled her wayward panic and brought with it a moment of serenity.
"I know what you mean," he said softly. "And it's okay. Don't apologise for being who you are. Or who you are not." She sighed, pensive and calm. Before her, the pasta she had ordered had gone almost cold, and she was glad they hadn't decided to dine at some expensive restaurant where the prices would have been scandalous and she'd have felt guilty wasting the food. "Angela… I have this… thing…" his hesitation startled her, and she felt a sinking weight in the pit of her stomach.
"Oh God I knew it was too perfect to be true. What? A sexually transmitted disease? A mental illness?" A chuckle rose in his throat, spilling forth as something of a giggle. She was delighted to hear that he didn't laugh with a girly titter, but rather a bellied laugh that made her smile, despite her anxiousness.
"A family gathering," he said slowly, "with rich society people who have a terrible amount of money, and I was just wondering if you might accompany me…?" He looked at her, his eyes filled with nervous trepidation.
"An official date?" she asked, and the tone of her voice seemed to appease his insecurity. Jack nodded.
"Yeah. If that's what you'd like to call it."
"Sure. I would love to." She downed a mouthful of wine, letting the taste linger on her tongue, and she took the opportunity to watch his face, his rugged handsomeness, the way his eyes, his most prominent feature, became a spiralling kaleidoscope of blues. "Being in a room with pretentious fools… oh well," she shrugged with a smile, "at least it's an excuse to get dressed up and spend ridiculous amounts of money on a new dress." Hodgins chuckled, draining his glass.
"I'd say something clichéd, like you'd look great in a burlap sack, but the truth is, it's a black tie event and you need to wear a dress," he shrugged and she giggled.
"I'm flattered, really," she said, shaking her head. "Thanks for a lovely evening, Jack. It's nice to forget about work. Which is ironic really… how I can be sitting with a work colleague not thinking about work." He shrugged.
"Well, you're not just Angela the Artist." Angela rested her chin in her hand.
"And you're not just Jack the Entomologist." She caught the scent of mild vanilla from the candle and inhaled. "I'd like to leave now."
Standing at her car, she passed her keys across the tip of her thumb nail, not entirely sure what she ought to say to end their evenings. The Jeffersonian's parking lot was already empty, mostly because they spent so long ambling back to the building – taking more time than what was really necessary.
"This might not be our official first date," she said, "but it's the best I've ever had." Jack braced himself against the side of her car, reaching out a hand to tuck her hair behind her ear. Angela felt a tremor run along her spine, and she pulled a shaky breath into her lungs.
He leaned forward, much like her did the first time he kissed her, but this time, she took the incentive and pressed her mouth to his, catching him off guard, cupping his face, tasting the wine on his lips. Jack leaned into her, his tongue meeting hers, their bodies pressed close against the October chill. His arm slipped around her waist, drawing her close.
She felt a jolt of arousal shoot through her body, and she wanted to touch him, to know what it felt like to be with him. Her hands danced along the hard planes of his body, mapping the exquisite shape of his tight muscles through his clothes, when he reached out, grabbing her wrist.
"We will Angela," he promised. "But not yet. I want us to have a proper date first." She nodded, brushing her hair from her eyes. He stroked along her cheek with his thumb. "Goodnight," he whispered, touching her lips with his again. "And thank you, Angela. This was the best non-date-date for me, too."
As he left, she wondered what their official date would be like, and trembled at the knowledge that his kiss was merely a prelude of what was to come.