this is my entry to the Cullen's Bullpen Challenge for February Riviera41797

Booths Desire

'Why did I agree to this?' I wondered silently to myself as I tipped the beer bottle back and let the amber contents slide down my throat. I set the now empty beer bottle down on the bar, and signaled the bartender to bring another. He nodded in silent acknowledgment, and wordlessly set another bottle down on the bar, whisking the empty bottle away.

I tossed a few bills on the bar to cover my tab. If I planned on driving home, this was my last beer. I quickly lifted the bottle to my lips and swallowed another long gulp, and turned on the stool, facing out; I let my eyes wander around the crowded room.

Music blared loudly over the enormous speakers scattered throughout the dimly lit club. Colored lights were flashing, and a strobe light was blinking near the dance floor. The song playing certainly wasn't improving my mood, I thought bitterly. Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" was playing. . . forcing me to think about something I'd rather not.

I try to avoid the after work get-togethers or parties. I like to keep my work life and private life private. Especially when it comes to the squints. I must have been distracted with something else when Angela suggested it to me, because I normally would never have let myself get talked into attending. After agreeing to come, there was no backing out. Not when it was Angela who got me to agree. She could be relentless when she wanted something.

My eyes slowly scanned the crowd. I spotted Angela sitting in a dark corner with Hodgins. She had a wicked grin on her face, and he seemed totally enamored with her, he seemed mesmerized by her smile, and whatever it was she was saying.

Zach seemed to be in a deep conversation with Cam. They were standing off to the side, standing beside a table, watching the people dancing, and conversing. He looked remarkably at ease, considering the social surroundings, and his lack of social life or knowledge of social situations.

My eyes drifted back to Cam. She looked happy, and I was glad. Remembering our last personal conversation, I grimaced at the thought of our painful breakup. It was for the best. I knew that. Maybe she did too. Being in the type of high risk job we both had, it just wasn't wise. She deserved better, and I couldn't bear to have anyone involved with me hurt as a result of a case I was working on.

Finally, my gaze fell on the dance floor, where my partner was dancing with my friend and fellow FBI Agent, Tim Sullivan, or "Sully" as we all call him.

'She looks like she is having a great time', I thought as I watched her dance.

I hadn't seen her look this happy in a long time, the smile on her face, lit up all of her features, her eyes bright as they followed Sully's moves; he was singing along to the lyrics of the song to her, smiling also.

What is my problem here? I asked myself. Why am I feeling so jealous of Sully?

Because you want her for yourself, that's why, a small voice inside reminded me.

Uncomfortable with the directions my thoughts were headed, I turned away from the dance floor, and leaned both elbows back on the bar, running one hand through my hair. I looked down at the worn bar and sighed. I took one last gulp of the beer and set the bottle on the bar. I'd had enough of that for tonight, the answer to my problem won't be found in the bottom of that bottle, although it may make me feel better momentarily, I mused.

The song had ended, and suddenly she was next to me. She pulled up a bar stool and said breathlessly "Booth! Hi!"

I tore my eyes away from the bar and over to her. She was smiling and glowing with happiness, perched on the bar stood next to me. Her skin was glistening with perspiration from dancing; her cheeks flushed pink, enhancing her already beautiful complexion.

"Hey Bones" I heard myself say "You look like you're having a good time huh?"

'Smooth Booth – point out the obvious, way to make small talk' I thought to myself irritably

"Where did Sully go?" I asked, glancing around for the other FBI Agent who hadn't left her side all night. He had been all over her the entire evening, touching her, his arm around her shoulder, embracing, kissing every other moment, his eyes always following her around lustily. I didn't need to see that.

She shrugged and glanced over her shoulder, "Oh, he said he forgot something in the car, said he'd be right back"

The music changed to a slower tempo song. Couples made their way to the dance floor and embraced. Some singer was crooning on about "Listen to your Heart". I felt her hand on my shoulder, and she said "Come on. Come dance with me Booth"

"Oh, I don't know Bones…Sully will-" I began, but she interrupted me, grabbing my elbow.

"Booth come on. One dance and I didn't ask you to marry me, just dance with me, that's what partners are for, right?" she laughed, and pulled me onto the crowded floor. I reluctantly allowed myself to be guided from my spot at the bar.

I felt my arms go automatically around her waist, and she twined her own around my neck. Our bodies melded and seemed to fit perfectly. Now I was where I'd wanted to be all night.

I was holding her.

I was dancing with her.

The world seemed to evaporate around us. I looked down into her clear blue eyes, which were suddenly solemn, perhaps seeking answers from my own. For a long moment, our eyes locked before she finally broke the silence.

"You seem quiet tonight Booth are you okay?" she asked me, her brows drawn with concern

"Yeah, you know…I'm fine Bones…" I assured her half heartedly, looking away and taking a deep breath, forcing more cheerfulness into my voice than I actually felt.

Her scent assaulted my senses. Sandalwood and some unknown floral fragrance made my head spin, or was it the beer? I closed my eyes a moment and let myself imagine she was mine.

That she was more than my partner.

That she would look at me the way she looked at Sully.

That I'd never made the mistake of shooting that clown, of sending Sully to do what was supposed to have been my job.

They never would have met if not for me, I reminded myself bitterly. I shook my head, pushing that thought from my mind. That was much trampled ground. I'd been kicking myself for that for the last two weeks.

Then I felt her lay her head on my chest and move in even closer to me. Her voice drifted up "I can feel your heart beat Booth…"

I tipped my head down into her hair and inhaled deeply, and whispered her name, her given name, "Temperance…" she didn't say anything, she probably didn't hear me anyway.

What must have been seconds seemed to drag on forever, and then the song was done.

She pulled away from me, and scanned the room for Sully.

The moment was over, my fantasy thoughts gone and the real world was back.

For just a glimmer of a moment, she was mine, if only in my thoughts. Reality kicked in, and I put the false smile back on my face, I dutifully followed her off the dance floor, and back to the bar area I'd been occupying before. Spotting Sully, she quickened her pace.

Sully nodded to me, unsuspecting of my true thoughts. Bones slipped her arm around his waist, and watched me with an unreadable expression on her face. I and said something about having to leave, unable to bear watching them together for a moment longer after holding her in my arms, pretending she was more than just my partner.

"I'll see you Monday Booth?" I heard my partner ask me

I glanced back over my shoulder at her, and replied "Yeah….see you…"

As I left the club, I could hear the beginning notes of "Hot Blooded". I hesitated a moment, shook my head, and left.

The end