Happy Angsty Biiiiirthday, to you!
Happy Angsty Biiiiiirthday to you.
Happy Angsty Tear-Your-Heart-Out B/B Biiiirthday Dear Bella.
Happy Birthday to you!
What follows is the start of a continuation of a particular "Scene From a Hat" called Angst in a Car, written by request for Bella-mi-Amore. I told her I'd write it for her birthday. She took me seriously:)
Said Scene should be read beforehand. SSJL and Bella take no responsibility for any tissue-box exhaustion, throwing of laptops across the room, or throwing self out of window. Read at your own risk.
Love ya, C. It's okay that you couldn't wait. I couldn't, either:)
The call came late…too late to be a casual 'hey, howya doin' from a friend, but it wasn't on his work phone. He took a couple swipes at his alarm clock before his sleep-muddled mind realized that wasn't where the sound was coming from.
"Answer the phone, honey," his wife murmured from beside him.
Rolling over, his hand finally made contact with the chirping phone. In a rasp, he answered. "'lo?"
"Booth, is that you?" The voice sounded far away, and it sounded familiar, but he still had trouble placing it.
"Oh thank God. I was worried you didn't have this number anymore." The voice, having lost its uncertainty, was now apparent. Angela.
"No, it's still me." Struggling up, his feet felt around on the floor for his slippers. "It's a surprise to hear from you, though. Especially…so late." His ankle hit the bed stand, and he let out a soft curse. Finally finding his slipper, he got up and maneuvered by nightlight into the hallway, shutting the door gently behind him. "What's going on? Is everything okay?"
There was no answer, and a surge of adrenaline suddenly made him feel much more awake. "Ange?"
"Yeah. No. I mean…no one has died or anything. I'm sorry. You can't believe how long I went back and forth about calling you." He heard her sigh fretfully, and he wasn't comforted by her words. "It's Brennan."
He knew it. The second he heard his old colleague's voice, he knew it. "What's wrong with Bones."
"I don't know. That's the problem."
Rubbing his eyes, he shook his head. "This isn't making a whole lot of sense."
"The thing is, Booth, if I knew what the problem was, I could help her with it. And I sure as hell wouldn't be calling you. But I'm feeling extremely helpless at the moment, and I don't know what to do, and I'm calling you because I feel like if I don't do something I'm going to go out of my mind." Her tone had an edge of desperation to it that scared the shit out of him. He tried one more time.
"I really don't know if I'm the person to be talking to, Angela. Bones and I…we haven't really talked in a long time. Surely someone else…maybe Oliver…"
"She is not with Oliver anymore. She broke up with him."
His stomach clenched with the sneaking suspicion that he was slightly less mystified by whatever was happening than was Angela. Whatever was wrong with Bones had something to do with him. He'd bet his life on it.
"Should I call her?" he asked, quietly. Uncertainly.
"I very much doubt she'd tell you anything when she has the option to hang up."
The frustration he was feeling rose a notch to match Angela's. "What should I do, then?"
"Ange, I…" he paused, thoughts racing in no particular direction except towards his old partner. "Maybe…I can come this weekend."
"No. That's not soon enough."
"You're asking a lot."
"I know. But please Booth. Do this for her. Please?"
He paced in the hallway. He rubbed his forehead. He sank down onto his haunches with his back against the wall. "Yes."
The relief in her voice was palpable. "Thank you."
"I don't know what I can…"
"I don't care if you know yet. Just…thank you."
When he disconnected the call, he sat there for a few more minutes, blinking in the darkness. Finally, he got up and shuffled back to his bedroom. Sliding into bed, he felt his wife turn and wrap her arm around him. "Who was that?" she asked sleepily.
"Just something I need to take care of."
"Nothing, babe. Go back to sleep."
Nothing. Except needing to face up to the second-biggest mistake that he had made in his life. The first having been falling in love with his partner in the first place.
He hadn't been sure if his keycard for the lab would still work. Technically, he should have had it deactivated when he stopped working here in D.C., but he wasn't a true employee of the lab and the fact that he had a key may have slipped by unnoticed. He had hoped. Otherwise, he'd be stuck waiting outside of the building like a stalker after-hours. Or he'd have to go to her apartment and wait for her. Like a stalker. Or call her. And, if Angela's prediction was correct, be hung up on.
He swiped his card. It was his lucky goddamn day.
The smell that hit him as he came into the building was one that he never thought he'd respond to with fondness, but the instant it entered his nose there was a part of him that felt back in his element. Even though he had never been so far away from it in his life.
Walking softly into the lab he saw her, alone. The last time they had met, she had been dressed to the nines, looking more like a high-class society girl than the practical scientist she was. Today, she wore the lab coat that was her trademark, hair pulled back in the no-nonsense ponytail that he used to associate with her. In the old days, when he closed his eyes, the first image of Bones was that practical scientist.
Anymore, when he closed his eyes, the first image that came to his mind was her astride him, lavender dress pushed down at the waist to expose her flushed cheeks and breasts at his face, begging for him to fuck her in his car.
Stop. Stop stop stop.
Her eyes widened when she first recognized she wasn't alone here anymore, and seemed to bulge impossibly for a moment when she processed who the intruder was. She recovered quickly. She always did.
"Come here often?" he asked her. The joke rang hollow, and not even a hint of a smile touched her face.
"Why are you here?" Alright, Bones. She was apparently not in the mood for small talk. He didn't know what the hell to say now, so he tried honesty.
"I don't really know. But I am."
Her face stayed impassive, and she looked back down at the bones spread in front of her on the lab table. "I don't know either. But you shouldn't be." Ouch.
He tried again. "C'mon, Bones. I thought we said…it'd be okay."
She looked at him with an expression he had seen hundreds of times before…the one that told him she felt he was just purposefully being ignorant. "Booth. That's just something people say. You know…like after a bad date, when you and the other person know you are never going out again, and you say "I'll see you around"? It's just…polite."
She was trying to teach him about social etiquette? He was unaware of the devastation on his face until she sighed and said, "Please don't look at me like that."
He couldn't look at her any other way, though. She looked beautiful. But she didn't look good. She looked pale, and thin, and she had dark circles under her eyes. So different from the vivacious woman he saw at Cam's wedding nearly two months…had it really been almost two months?...beforehand. Angela was right. Something was very, very wrong, and he could tell it in her face and her eyes and in his own gut.
"Bones. I know…something's wrong."
A snort left her lips. "Oh, God. Not this again."
"I'm serious," he pleaded.
Her eyes rolled back briefly, and as if giving up the hope of getting anything else done tonight, she stripped off her latex gloves dramatically. "Why does there have to be something wrong? You're hundreds of miles away, and I still can't get you to stop playing alpha-male-protector on me?"
"You're still my friend," he tried to remind her, desperately.
Ignoring him, she stared him down with icy eyes. "How's Jen?" she said, coolly.
Ouch. Even when she had been angry at him at Cam's reception, she hadn't been this hostile, this abrasive. Frustration rose inside him. He came here because Angela asked him to help her. He didn't come to be abused. Even if part of him believed he deserved every bit of it. "She's fine."
"That's good. Did you come to D.C. for a little family vacation? Did you have such a good time the last time you were here that you thought you'd bring her along for the ride?" The sarcasm in her voice was infuriating.
"This isn't about her, damn you," he said, harshness seeping into his voice. "This is about me and you, and whatever is obviously eating at you so much that you can't even talk to me like a normal person." He began pacing in front of the examining table that still stood as a barrier between them.
She sighed. "Booth, I get it, okay? We fucked. It was a mistake. But you projecting your guilt onto me isn't helping. I am not your responsibility. I can take care of myself. You have a wife at home to worry about. So please…go home and worry about her." Her voice cracked on the last syllable, and he caught the change, his eyes widened at the introduction of some new emotion, some rawer one. "Just trust me on this one. Everything will be so much easier if you just go home and forget all about me and the wedding and that damn car and move on with your life."
He felt frustrated tears well in his eyes, and he hated them. "I can't forget, damn you."
She walked around the table and was suddenly in his face, her eyes wild. "You. Have. To." Each syllable enunciated, as if trying to force him backwards with each word.
It sparked his reactance, in tune with his anger at her easy dismissal of whatever huge, powerful thing had happened between them. Not just in the car on that cold wintry night. But everything that had every happened between them, in their entire relationship. "I won't," he promised, nostrils flaring. It wasn't as if he hadn't tried. His statement came out of days, weeks, months of trying to suppress it. "We've got to figure something out, Bones. We can do this. We can help each other."
"You can't help me. You can only help yourself right now. Why can't you just believe me?" She was close to shouting now.
"How do you know if you won't let me try?!" He matched her volume, reaching for her wrist, wanting to shake her, wanting to force her pain out of her so it could join with his own.
She surprised him by jerking away at the first touch and grabbing his wrist instead. He looked down dumbly at his hand, which she gripped tightly and held against her belly. He didn't get it. He wouldn't get it. He couldn't.
Her eyes bored into his while she pressed his hand against her womb. "I told you you didn't want to know," she hissed at him, and even while her face stayed cold, a tear fell down her cheek. She forcibly shoved his hand away then, and was tearing off her lab coat as she stalked out the door, leaving him in this cold, dark place that he no longer belonged in.
A/N: Oh, yes. There shall be more.