Friday morning, Temperance met with the woman they'd hired to coordinate everything. The two reviewed setup of the private room where the party was to be held and other details, like delivery time for the cake.
Then she left for the spa. She'd read online about the normal preparations a bride makes and then called Angela's favorite spa and made an appointment. The list of beauty treatments was long and it didn't take long for Brennan to be glad she didn't do this on a regular basis. A facial followed her manicure and pedicure; then her legs were waxed. Haircut and styling preceded make up. By the time everything was done, she decided that solving a case would have been easier.
She was done in plenty of time so she headed to Citronelle early to make sure everything was okay. The coordinator was extremely competent and had everything under control. So Brennan relaxed for a few minutes and watched as the room came together.
At 5:30, half an hour before everyone was scheduled to arrive, Brennan retrieved her dress from the car and headed to the bathroom to put it on.
As the guests arrived, the restaurant staff directed them to the private room. The Jeffersonian team arrived in one of Jack's limos. Even though Angela had helped Brennan figure out the table's centerpieces, she hadn't been part of the rest of the planning. In the dim lighting, the room was elegant. A long table occupied the length of the wall to her right. The centerpieces alternated with candles. Across the portable dance floor from the table, there were two large objects covered in linen. A string quartet finished warming up and began to play.
"Angela, you're blocking the door," Hodgins said, before using the arm he had around her waist to propel her further into the room.
After a few minutes of socializing with the team and a few others, she realized she hadn't seen Brennan.
Booth approached Angela and said, "I haven't seen Bones in a bit. She went to the bathroom. Would you mind getting her? I think we're ready to start."
The artist headed to the bathroom.
"Sweetie, are you in here?" she called.
The door to the handicap stall opened and Brennan emerged. She was wearing a strapless dress fitted through the torso which flared gently to the floor. The cream fabric was embroidered with forget-me-nots in rich blues and purples.
Angela was speechless for a moment and then exclaimed, "Wow! You look… incredible. You're going to knock his socks off." She ignored her friend's confusion and said, "Come on, you don't want to be late."
While Angela was looking for Brennan, Booth asked everyone to find their seats. At the door to the room, Brennan paused to adjust her nylons and told Angela to find her seat. After a minute, she entered and walked up next to Booth who was standing at the head of the table.
They shared a long look. Each thought the other had never looked so good. Then they turned to their guests.
"Thank you for coming to celebrate Booth's promotion," Brennan said, her voice pitched to carry to the end of the table. "Since you probably don't know everyone, we're going to take a minute to introduce everybody."
Booth started on the right, introducing his boss and then a few of his FBI friends. Next was his family and Rebecca, then a few of his army buddies and the squints. He introduced Brennan's agent and a few of her college friends, which confused Angela because she knew he didn't know them. Then he came to an empty seat.
"Sitting here is…" he began.
At that moment, a tallish man with brown hair walked in the door.
"Russ!" Brennan exclaimed and rushed to hug her brother.
Booth continued, "Russ Brennan," as the two moved toward the table.
"You might have noticed that this is a little more elaborate than the usual party for this sort of thing," Brennan said. "That's because we're also celebrating something else this evening, our commitment ceremony."
The coordinator removed the linens covering the objects on the other side of the room to reveal a sound system and a latticed-arch covered in forget-me-nots. It only took a minute for Angela to figure out what was going on.
"Sweetie, you're getting married?" she exclaimed loudly. "That's why your friends are here for his party. I can't believe it!"
Angela's mention of the word "married" answered the question on everyone else's mind – what exactly was a commitment ceremony? Gasps came from a number of the guests and everyone besides Booth and Brennan sported expressions varying from smug to shock to surprise.
When the surprise had settled in, the two walked toward the arch and gestured everyone to follow. Brennan called Angela to her side and Booth grabbed Hank and Parker.
The two stood before the arch and a justice of the peace stepped underneath. Over the sound of the string quartet playing romantic music, he said, "These two, Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan, have chosen to recite their own vows and express their commitment to each other."
Booth started. "Over the years we've known each other, we haven't always gotten along. We're very different people, but we complement each other so well. It hasn't always been easy and I doubt it ever will, but I love you with all my heart, Temperance. You've become my best friend and you accept me in a way no one else has. For the rest of my life, I promise to love, cherish and protect you, to consider us before me, and be faithful to you."
He slipped a ring onto her finger, and then she said, "Seeley, you always seemed to see the real me, the one hiding beneath the clinical work-a-holic that most people can't get beyond. Somehow you worked your way through my defense mechanisms and took up residence in my heart. When I'm scared or upset, I promise to come to you instead of running or hiding behind my work. I love you and Parker."
As she slipped a ring onto his finger, the justice of the peace intoned, "By the power vested in me by the District of Columbia, I now pronounce you husband and wife."
Then they were in each other's arms, kissing fervently. This day had been long time coming and they weren't about to cut it short. They were so absorbed in each other that they missed the snickers of their audience as their kiss lengthened.
Finally, Parker tugged on his father's coat. "Daddy, I'm hungry."
He pulled back from Brennan, a dazed look in his eyes. Then he smiled down at his son. "Okay, bub. Why don't you head back to the table?"
Everyone took this as a signal to return to their seats. Hank and Angela signed the marriage certificate as witnesses.
When everyone was seated, the restaurant staff began to serve dinner and the murmur of conversation slowly drowned out the music of the quartet.
Temperance asked her brother, "How did you know to come?"
"Dad got a message to me, Tempe," he replied.
She turned to her husband, "Wait. You told my dad?"
"Did you really think I wouldn't?" he said. "Actually, I tried to arrange for him to be here too, but I just couldn't make it happen."
"Thank you," she said gratefully. "It means so much to me that Russ is here."
Booth asked Russ about his mechanic shop and Russ asked his sister about her work.
When dinner was about over, Booth stood and announced, "After we're done, there will be dancing and then dessert."
Angela stood immediately and said, "You're not getting off that easily. We're all dying to know how this happened."
He looked at Brennan. "Temperance, perhaps you'd like to explain?"
She stood, took a deep breath, and said, "You know, Angela, this is all your fault." This statement garnered a laugh from the guests. "You were always telling me that we were the perfect couple."
Brennan turned her eyes toward the rest of the table. "I always denied it of course, saying among other things, that neither of us felt that way about the other. One day she got really tired of hearing that and decided to prove it to me."
Intrigued, Hank asked, "What did she do?"
"She did a series of paintings depicting scenes from our relationship and displayed them at an art gallery," Booth answered.
"And she gave us both notes that led to a conversation and eventually this," Brennan finished.
During the explanation the string quartet had quietly packed up and slipped out, and the DJ uncovered his equipment. When it was over, the DJ spun up Hot Blooded by Foreigner and the bride and groom took the dance floor. It wasn't exactly a typical song for a first dance, but it fit them perfectly.
While most watched the couple dance, Angela was sitting in silent shock.
Cam, who had accepted the reality of Booth and Brennan long before, said, "Nice work, Angela."
"Huh?" Angela said. "I can't believe it. The art show was forever ago."
The song changed and Brennan danced with her brother while Booth danced with his mother. Then she danced with Parker. Slowly the dance floor began to fill up.
After a while, the cake was served, and afterward Rebecca took Parker home.
When Brennan paused to rest her feet, Angela accosted her.
"I can't believe you were dating all this time and you didn't even tell me," the artist said, clearly hurt.
"But we weren't dating and we never lied about our relationship," she objected. "You know how our court cases go. We'd never have managed to keep it a secret."
"But, you didn't even tell me you were in love with him," Angela said.
"Why would I need to tell you that? You already knew. You were the one who proved it to me," the anthropologist replied.
She sighed. "Sweetie, best friends share things like this."
"Ange, I didn't leave you out. I know I didn't exactly tell you what was happening, but you helped me buy my dress and you designed the invitations. And you gave me lots and lots of advice about throwing parties," Brennan responded. "Originally, I just wanted to go to the courthouse, but Booth convinced me this was better."
"Alright, I understand. But we are not done talking about your relationship with Booth," she said. Then she went to find Jack for another dance.
The dancing continued until one by one the guests slowly said good-bye and left. When it was just the two of them, Booth pulled her onto his lap and kissed her softly.
"I can't believe we're finally married," he said.
"We didn't need a piece of paper to prove anything," she replied, cuddling closer.
"No, but it is kind of nice to announce to the world that you're with me," he responded.
"You're such an alpha male," she retorted.
"And you love it," he said, with a smile.
He stood slowly, setting her carefully on her feet.
"Come on, wife," he said, his eyes darkening with desire. He kissed her until they were both breathless and then said huskily, "There's a hotel room awaiting our presence."
She grinned at him saucily. "I think you mean a bed," she replied, slipping her hand into his and heading for the door.
AN: And so... the story comes to an end. Thank you to everyone who reviewed -- you've been fabulous. And many, many, many thanks to redrider6612 who edited this story for me. Without her this story would have been very different and way out of character. I've got a couple of other stories in progress, but it may be a while before I get something new up with the holidays coming up.