Dr. Temperance Brennan stood at the concessions counter in the middle of the movie theatre. Her date, Josh, was gazing into the glass case, trying to decide between Dots and Skittles. Brennan looked up at the price listing and fought to suppress a gasp.
"Everything is so expensive!" she said a little louder than necessary.
The underpaid teenager across the counter glared in her direction. "This is America, lady. If you're not smart enough to smuggle your own food in, you're gonna have to pay the price."
"Seriously, there is no way to decide between the candies. We'll take them both!" Josh said, beaming.
A familiar chuckle sounded behind them and Brennan whirled around. Her eyes scanned the crowd, but she recognized no one. Once she was convinced she had simply misheard, her thoughts turned to wondering why she had agreed to this date.
Josh was digging through his pockets looking for change.
If Angela really thinks this guy is my type, she's completely lost her edge, Brennan thought.
Josh looked over his shoulder. "Do you want anything?"
"No, I have some water in my purse."
The teenager stopped fiddling with her tongue ring and glared once more. She pointed to a sign that adorned the back wall. "Can't you read? No outside food or drink allowed in the theatre."
Brennan wrinkled her forehead. "Earlier you said we should conceal our own refreshments."
"I said 'smuggle.' That means you have to keep it totally secret and not the employees what you're doing." She stuck the tongue stud between her two front teeth.
Brennan stepped forward. "Actually, smuggling is importing or exporting goods without paying duty fees." She was going to comment on the impropriety of the tongue ring when she heard the chuckle again. She searched every face, but failed to find the person she was sure had let it out. Although, she thought, if he really was here, he would have already made his presence known by interrogating Josh. She ignored the urge to add, I'm not convinced that would've been a bad idea.
Josh collected his change, candy, and the giant fountain drink. Liquid slopped over the side as he gestured to the left hallway with his head and they walked into the theatre. He selected a seat near the middle and promptly propped his feet up in front of him. Brennan did her best to overlook his childish maneuver. She knew that if she didn't stop analyzing every little detail, she was not going to have any fun, not that she really counted on that happening in the first place.
The pre-movie advertisement reel faded from the screen and a loud bang echoed from the speakers. The screen flashed a bright green as the rating notice appeared. While the previews played, Brennan couldn't help but think that she hadn't missed much by not seeing many movies.
White names ran from corner to corner before the title showed up in a blue tint. Josh, who was well accustomed to using the oldest tricks in the book, pretended to yawn before placing his arm over the back of her chair. Her back stiffened, but he made no motion to move.
She relaxed partway into the film, when the two main actors began to realize their affection for one another. She leaned forward, feeling herself being drawn in by the romantic music that played. She was about to make a comment to Josh when she felt something small hit her in the back of the head. She reached up to her hair and pulled out a piece of popcorn. Brennan looked back into the rows of seats, but no one was staring her direction.
"What's up?" Josh asked concernedly.
"Nothing," she said, shaking her head. She turned back to watch the movie.
She had all but forgotten about the projectile snack-food when she was hit again, this time by three pieces. Her eyes molded into a glare and her hands clenched into fists. This was just more proof of why it was good she didn't go out in public a lot.
A moment later, a protest sounded behind her. Whoever was throwing the food had missed her and hit someone else. Her gladness was short lived. Soon, more pieces of popcorn found their way to her head.
At last Brennan could stand it no more. She rose from her seat and told Josh she'd be right back. She stepped into the aisle and slowly climbed the stairs, looking for the culprit. Surprisingly, she didn't have to look too far.
Special Agent Seeley Booth was shoving popcorn into his face and grinning like a madman.
"How did I not see you before?" she asked and a few patrons shushed her.
"Bones, sit over here." He patted the seat next to him. She glared, but obliged. He ate some more. "So, what's it been, like ten years since you've seen a movie?"
"That's none of your business."
"And you pick this one as your big reentry. Really, you should've talked to me first. I could've told you the right one to see." He smiled.
"Did you follow me here?" she asked, her mouth still frozen in a frown.
Booth looked her straight in the eye. "Now what would give you that idea?"
"I doubt you would come to a chicken-flick all by yourself without a reason."
"That's 'chick-flick,' Bones. And I happen to like," he paused to look at the screen, "Cameron Diaz. Great actress."
A flashlight shined across their faces. A man in a red vest was on the other end. "Excuse me, could you please be quiet. People paid to watch the movie, not listen to you two talk."
"Sorry," Booth whispered. "Geez, Bones, you should really start thinking about other people." He took a sip of a soda and went back to watching the movie.
"Are you kidding me?" she said in her not-so-inside voice. "I'm not the one who is stalking you."
"I'm not stalking anybody," he replied, eyes still fixed on the screen. "It's my job to protect you."
"From all of the crazy murders that were looking to take me out in the middle of the credits?" She rolled her eyes.
"Look." The flashlight man was back. "If I have to ask you two to pipe down one more time, you're going to have to leave. And we don't give refunds."
"Yeah, sorry," said Booth.
"Why don't you just flash your shield and tell him to back off?" Brennan asked. "You do it everywhere you go."
"That," he said, sticking a finger in her face, "is not true. That would be a misuse of governmental power, and I am not for that."
She stood up. "Okay, well, I'm going to go now. I have a date, remember."
"Oh, I remember, but I don't think he does. He looks pretty content with those Skittles." Booth grabbed hold of her wrist and pulled her back down before she knew what was happening.
"You are so lucky we're in public," she said, wrenching her arm from his grasp.
"I don't think that's ever stopped you before." He picked up his refreshments and rose.
"What are you doing?" Brennan asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Take one last look at the screen and your date, Bones, because we're about to be given the boot."
"Given the what?" She gazed where his outstretch finger pointed. Sure enough, the flashlight was shining at them again.
"Boot. Let's go. We're going," he added as the man got closer.
Brennan tried to throw a look of apology to Josh, but he was still fixated by the film, having not noticed the commotion at all. She wondered when he'd realize she'd gone.
After shouldering the door open for their exit, Booth plopped down on the cement curb in front of the movie theatre. He looked up at her, waiting for her to join him. She was tempted to ignore him, to walk off and leave, but then she remembered that Josh had driven; she was rideless. She sat next to him and arched her brows.
"What?" he asked.
"I can't believe you got us kicked out."
"I did not get us kicked out. We did. Besides, you weren't enjoying yourself anyway." He pulled out his cell-phone to check the time. At just past seven-thirty, his stomach began to rumble. Popcorn was not exactly fulfilling.
"I could've enjoyed myself if I wasn't constantly being hit by food."
"Liar. You were uncomfortable and you know it. Face it, Bones, I rescued you." He grinned. It never ceased to amaze him how much he enjoyed watching her reactions to him.
She pursed her lips. "I was fine, you know. I didn't need you to rescue me."
"I know that, Bones, but it was my pleasure. Why'd you pick that clown anyway?"
"I didn't; Angela did. Are you insinuating that I should've picked someone else, like you?"
She had thrown a curveball with her words, though he wasn't sure she had meant to. "What makes you say that?" He swallowed.
"I don't know. You just seemed a little jealous, is all. Actually, you acted like you always do whenever I'm with someone else. And when it became the two of us, you relaxed. You're very predictable, Booth." She was speaking softly, oblivious to the fact that his mind was reeling.
"I'm predictable? I don't think so, Bones. In fact, I'm going to change your mind." His stomach fluttered (this time not because of hunger) and he felt like fourteen-year-old girl.
She turned her head and caught him looking at her. "Oh yeah, how are you going to do that?"
"I have something for you."
She opened her mouth to respond, but she saw him leaning forward. She did the only thing that came to her logically; she closed her eyes. After a moment, their lips met. She found herself surprised that she didn't want to pull away.
Booth backed off quickly. "Sorry," he said.
"Don't apologize. By the way, you were right. You're not so predictable."
He grinned. "Don't I know it."
"Hey, Booth, can I have some of that popcorn? I didn't get to eat before my date, and I'm a little bit hungry."
"Oh, sure." He passed her the bag.
"I have something for you, too."
He closed his eyes and leaned forward.
Booth was graced with not a kiss, but a shower of popcorn.
"There," she said, dropping the bag in his lap, "that should teach you to keep your food to yourself. Now, can we please go get something to eat?"
He wiped the popcorn off his shoulder. "Angela's not going to be happy about you ditching your date."
"Oh, I don't think she'll mind," she replied a little devilishly.
"Yeah, you're probably right." They stood and walked to his car with his arm around her shoulders.