Author's note: Because I'm too busy to write another chapter for Land of the Living, I decided to give you guys this little thing here. At least then you'd have something to read until I post chapter 25 this Saturday. :-)
The scenario: This one-shot takes place right after The Man in the Wall. It's the first part of what I call 'The Postcard Series'.
Disclaimer: Bones and all its characters do not belong to me. But this plot is mine, all mine!
- A Postcard From Him -
Booth sighed and twirled the little paper umbrella in his cocktail around. Why did I go on this trip anyway? Travelling by yourself is everything but fun. He lifted the small umbrella up and tapped it against his mouth. Why the hell did Tessa bail out on me? Booth just couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that his girlfriend had told him two days before their departure that she didn't want to go anymore. Two days! We've planned this thing three months in advance and she waits until two flaming days before we leave to tell me that she's 'changed her mind'. He began tapping his nose with the small umbrella now.
Booth sighed again. He wondered what could have made her revise her opinion about their little get-away trip. Tessa had been excited to go to the Costa Rica with him. She had even been so excited about the whole thing that he had nearly felt like cancelling. All he had wanted was to spend a week without death, violence and criminals and with a pretty girl right beside him who was ready to please him whenever he wished.
All he had now was a large empty bed and a whole week of boredom lying ahead of him. And he wasn't the type of guy who picked up random women at bars to have his way with them for one crazy night and dump them the next morning.
Maybe I mentioned Bones too often. He quirked his eyebrows. Where the hell did that come from? With another heave of his broad chest he sent a deep sigh rolling over the bar. His girlfriend didn't like his partner. That was a fact he willing to bet his gun on. The awkwardness of seeing his partner at his front door came back to him. It had been weird to see her there but he hadn't minded. Not until Tessa had showed up, wearing nothing more than her underwear and his shirt. He still thanked God that she hadn't walked out completely naked! Now that would've been awkward! Not to mention embarrassing ... Booth grimaced. Why would I be embarrassed if Tessa had walked out naked?Bones has seen worse things.
He twirled the umbrella around between his thumb and index finger. Who was he trying to fool? He wanted to keep Tessa hidden from Temperance. Or was it the other way around? Men who were having an affair always tried to keep their mistresses and wives from meeting. Booth ran a hand over his face. Why am I comparing my partner with a mistress?
Uttering some non-intelligible curses he threw the paper umbrella back into his cocktail. He didn't need to figure it all out now. He had an entire week to think things thoroughly through about the girlfriend versus partner question. And with that he got up to go for a walk on the beach.
Two days had passed and Booth was still bored out of his mind. He had walked so much that he was sure he needed a new pair of feet. Every night he had consumed a great number of cocktails so he could now safely say that there wasn't a drink out there that he didn't know. The pounding headaches he had the morning after had given him at least something to do - sleep until noon to get rid of his hangover.
He was currently sitting under a large parasol on the beach. His eyes wandered over the strange mix of locals and tourists. Many of the latter already had sunburn from sitting on the beach for two hours. Booth grinned to himself. At least I was smart enough to go sit under a parasol. He checked his arms which were now nicely tanned. A smile tugged at his lips. Can't wait to show Bones my new tan.
An image of him comparing his tanned skin with her pale one popped into his head. He'd throw her his special smile and make a smart-ass remark on how he had spent an entire week lying on the beach with a beauty at his side while she had been cooped up at the lab.
Booth ran his hand through his hair. He couldn't say that to her. For starters, she wouldn't care. The lab was like her second home. Next, what beauty at his side? All he had lying beside him was sand and, a bit further, a wrinkled old lady who had no teeth, nor hair. He shuddered at the smouldering look the granny threw him. God, I love every creature that you have put onto this earth but please keep her far away from me. And telling Bones that Tessa had been that beauty wasn't an option either. His partner knew Tessa wasn't here with him. Plus, for all he knew, the two women could have made some sort of agreement to tell each other everything about him. They could be plotting against him! A female conspiracy!
He groaned. Great, Hodgins has rubbed off on me. Tessa couldn't stand the sight of Temperance, nor could she stand hearing him talk about her. The last time he had brought her up - in his defence, Tessa had asked him how work had been so he couldn't help but begin about his partner - his girlfriend had politely but very firmly stated that the next time she heard the word 'Bones' she'd pack her things and leave him by himself, alone and very horny on a Friday night.
Tessa's reaction had been the complete opposite of Brennan's. His partner had brought up Tessa in almost every conversation - enough to drive him crazy! Especially since he didn't want Temperance to think he and his girlfriend were ... Are what? Together in a serious relationship? Burying his heals in the sand, he cursed under his breath. He now had an answer to the question he had asked himself at the beginning of his trip.
He wanted to hide Tessa from his partner for the simple reason that he wanted to give Temperance the idea that he was available.
This is not good. He thought as he dragged his heals back and forth in the sand. This is definitely not good.
Another day later Booth found himself wandering over the boulevard near the beach. His bare and tanned chest was visible thanks to his open shirt. His sandals were dangling at the tips of fingers. Three beautiful women tossed him winks and sensual smiles as they passed him by but he didn't pay any attention to them. Booth was tossing his realisation of a day ago back and forth in his mind.
Why do I want Bones to think I'm an eligible bachelor? Because you want her, stupid.
He had always been a good Catholic. When he was in a relationship, he prepared to go the whole nine yards for his companion. And the whole nine yards didn't include cheating. He had not once considered the possibility, let alone pursue it. He had never cheated and for as long as he was still breathing, he never would. Until a certain forensic anthropologist with auburn-red hair and piercing blue eyes had entered his life.
He felt like flinging his sandals at someone's head - his own stupid one to be more precise. What the hell is she doing to me?!
Booth had known that she meant trouble the minute he had seen her work on the remains of their first case. Trouble in the meaning of 'too hot to resist'. At the time he had managed to keep her at a distance but he had come dangerously close to blurting out how he could barely walk, talk, eat and sleep when he was thinking about her. His prayers had been answered when she had been called away to some South-American site to help with the identification of genocide victims. It had given him some time to collect all the luscious thoughts she had evoked within him and lock them away in a deep dark corner of his mind.
Until they had burst out of their confinement when he had once again lain eyes on her that faithful day at the airport. 'What are you doing here?' she had snapped at him. Good question. he had thought. Probably getting into more trouble.
Since he was being so honest with himself, he might as well admit that his whole squints-belong-at-the-lab demeanour had been meant to scare her off so she wouldn't follow him around and continuously keep him on the verge of taking her up a wall.
Stubborn woman. he scoffed silently. She had to have her way and become my partner.
He sighed. And I let her get away with it.
The thoughts about not going back that he had discussed with Brennan at Wong Foo's began whirling around in his head. If I go back, I have to face both Tessa and Bones. He grimaced. Great, another reason to stay here and pretend I'm someone else.
Then his eye caught sight of a small souvenir shop. Deciding he had nothing better to do then to take a look at the useless crap such souvenir shops usually sold, he began making his way towards it. All the while he kept pondering whether or not to fake his own death and stay here. Because going back would definitely be the end of him. He couldn't face Tessa without thinking about having a quickie with his partner and he couldn't so much as look at Temperance without feeling like he was cheating on his girlfriend, even if it was just mentally.
Picking up and putting down various objects, Booth realised that he had never been a coward. He certainly didn't want to become one now. That's when he noticed a particularly suitable card at the back of the shop. He grinned broadly. Might as well let her know I'm coming back.
Monday morning the mailman dropped a pile of bills, a newspaper and a couple of other things through the small opening of Temperance's front door. Scratching the back of her neck and yawning loud, she sauntered over to the stack of paper.
Bills ... newspaper ... scientific magazine ... Hello, what's this?
She flipped the object around a couple of times and studied it closely before breaking into one of her rare smiles. In her hands she was holding a postcard Booth had sent her. On the front there was a picture of an exotic beach bathing in the light of the sunset. The words There is no place I'd rather call home were printed across it.
Only someone, obviously Booth, had crossed out some of the words and had scribbled down his own version of the line. It now read: There is no other person I'd rather call Bones.
Still smiling from ear to ear, she went over to her refrigerator where she pinned the card against the metallic surface with a small kitchen magnet in the form of a skull. Temperance turned around to go get herself ready for work, where she knew she would find a smiling and relaxed FBI-agent. He'd probably annoy her to no end with details of his exotic vacation and she would let him. Just long enough to come up with her own annoying story.
Twenty minutes later she passed through her kitchen for a last cup of coffee. Her attention was immediately drawn to the card sitting on her refrigerator. Although the words on the front made her smile and feel proud - That infernal nickname! - the single line on the back evoked a sentiment of promise in her.
Casting one final glance on the card she spun around and headed out of her apartment, leaving the card behind which read There is no other person I'd rather call Bones on the front and Next time you're coming with me! on the back.