Story Notes: Takes place sometime after Santa in the Slush. Angela doesn't know about the kiss.
Characters: Angela, Brennan


"So spill, sweetie. How was your date with Dr. McDreamy?"

"Who?"

"That was one of those pop culture references you really should have gotten. I know you have a TV now. We've just gotta get you to actually watch it sometimes."

"I do watch television. Occasionally. When I'm not catching up on my reading. I'm particularly enjoying NOVA on PBS. It airs on a weekly basis, and each episode highlights a different scientific–"

"Ok. Stop right there. I know your brain already gets plenty of exercise. So for you, TV should not be educational. You need a little drama and a few pretty boys."

"Angela..."

"Honey, never underestimate the power of a little manflesh."

"I am surrounded by men."

"I know. I just wish you'd take advantage of it. But I'm getting distracted here. About that date..."

"What about it?"

"Tell me everything. Starting with what you wore."

"I wore a black dress."

"The boatneck one with the slit?"

"Yes, that one."

"Good choice. Sexy without being all 'Hello, look at me.' Shoes?"

"Yes, I wore them."

"Duh. No, which shoes?"

"The black ones you forced me to buy last week."

"It would have been criminal for you not to buy them. You've got great legs, honey, and those beauties were made for you. You'd have Booth eating out of your hands if he ever saw you in those."

"Ange," she warned, shifting the phone to her other ear.

"Right, we're talking about Nathan Barrett, not Booth. So, where'd you go, what'd you do?"

"We had dinner at Marrakesh."

"Oooh, nice. Moroccan – yummy."

"Yes," Brennan acknowledged with a nod, "the food was excellent."

"And the company?"

"Nathan is obviously an intelligent man. Well-spoken. He's one of the top neurosurgeons in the country."

"Who cares about his résumé? The real question is did you have fun?"

"I enjoyed myself. Our conversation was very intellectually stimulating."

"Hm. Intellectually stimulating. But...?"

"But nothing." She shrugged.

"Let's recap. Smart? Check. Good taste in food? Check. Looks?"

"I would estimate his height at about 6 feet 2 inches and his weight at approximately 210 lbs."

"Yeah, but is he cute?"

"I would say he is structured well."

"Hair and eye color?"

"Blonde hair, blue eyes."

"All right, so Doc Hottie's a 6'2" Adonis with blonde hair and blue eyes. What's not to like?"

"I don't know."

"But you're not going to see him again, are you?"

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't have to. I can hear it in your voice. Did he kiss you?"

"Yes, he did."

"How was it?"

"It was... pleasant."

"Just pleasant?"

"Yes."

"He didn't give you too much tongue too fast, did he?"

"No, I wouldn't say that."

"Then I don't get it. If he's smart, good-looking, and a decent kisser, why not give him a chance?"

"I don't know. I'm not sure I can articulate it, Angela."

"You don't know me very well if you think you're getting off that easy."

"I honestly don't know what to say. Dinner was nice. We discussed Moyamoya Disease–"

"Moya-what? Actually, never mind. I don't even want to know." A pause. "Did he say something that turned you off?"

"No, nothing like that. He was kind and solicitous." Brennan closed her eyes and let her mind replay the dinner. "Maybe... maybe it's what he didn't say."

"Which is what exactly?"

"I kept expecting him to say something amusing. A humorous anecdote, perhaps. But he was relentlessly serious."

"I thought you liked serious guys, Bren."

"I know," she said, frowning to herself. "I am a serious person with serious pursuits. And yes, I like serious men. In fact, I prefer serious men."

"Ok, but maybe you wanted to laugh. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm a big believer in laughter. Make that sex and laughter. That's how Jack and I started."

"Yes, but since when did humor become important to me? What is wrong with me, Ange? I should want to go out with this man again, but I don't."

"I have a hunch, but you're not going to like it."

"Since when has that ever stopped you from sharing your opinion with me?"

"Pretty much never." The obvious smile in her friend's voice coaxed an answering one from Brennan.

"All right, then be honest with me. Perhaps an outside – if not exactly objective perspective – could be useful."

"There's nothing wrong with this guy – or that sexy biologist you went out with last month. Nothing... except he's not Booth."

"Angela, I don't know why my becoming romantically involved with Booth is still on your agenda, but–"

"Sweetie, when it comes to you, my only agenda is wanting to see you happy. Deny it all you want, but that hunk of FBI goodness is your yardstick, and none of these other guys measure up."

"I don't know."

"You know; you just don't want to admit it. Look at the evidence. Is Booth smart?"

"Yes, he is intelligent."

"Do you think he's good-looking?"

"He... he is structured well."

"Mmmm. If I didn't adore Jack, I would dip Booth in chocolate and–"

"Angela!"

"See, you're even jealous."

"I am not jealous." She sniffed.

"You keep telling yourself that, Brennan. So Booth's got smart and hot covered. Does he make you laugh?"

In spite of herself, Brennan felt a curious sensation of lightness overtake her. "Yes, I suppose he does."

"I rest my case."

Nearly every part of her rebelled against the notion that Booth was the gold standard against which she measured all men. And yet... Oh dear. "If he... if Booth is my yardstick, as you say, what do I do?"

"Dip that stick in chocolate and lick it."

"I'm almost afraid to ask if that was some form of sexual innuendo."

"Then I'll make it easy for you; yes, it was."

"I thought so."

"But seriously, you should talk to Booth."

"There is no way I can ever discuss this with Booth. We're partners, professionals."

"Hello, look at me and Jack. Do you really think no one else has ever been involved with someone they worked with?"

"How is that relevant?"

"You just admitted you're attracted to Booth."

"What? I did not."

"But I thought you just admitted he's your yardstick?"

"Booth is a good man – with many admirable qualities. I'm allowing for the possibility that over time, he may have become someone against whom I measure other men. That doesn't mean I'm attracted to him."

"Brennan, you can't kid a kidder."

"What does that mean?"

"That means you're ass-deep in denial. I want you to do me a favor."

"What?"

"Hang up the phone. Then go into your bathroom and turn on the light. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I am not attracted to Seeley Booth' twenty times. If you can do that without blushing or looking away, call me back afterward, and I swear I will never again bring up the idea of you and Booth."

"Is that a promise?"

"Yeah, it is."

"All right. Goodbye, Angela."

"Bye, sweetie."