Thanks to MoonlightGardenias for her great beta work, encouragement and advise. I really couldn't have written this story without her. And a special thanks to Dave and Gregg, who have also been instrumental in this story being written – and finished
These characters belong to Kathy Reichs, Hart Hanson, Fox, Josephson Entertainment and Far Field Productions, et al.
I would also like to send out a final thank you to all those who have been kind enough to review, they really do fuel the creative process. Thanks also to those who have added this story to their favourites list, and a humble thanks to those who have added me to their favourite author list.
And now on to the final instalment of 'Say It With Flowers', I hope you all enjoy.
EPILOGUE: THE FINAL BOUQUET
A low rumble of thunder woke Brennan. It was early morning and the room was in semi-darkness. She glanced towards the window as a wave of heavy rain lashed the glass. Lightning flashed suddenly and for that instant, the dimly lit room sprang into harsh relief.
The weather, that a few weeks ago had made her feel helpless and disheartened, now had almost the opposite effect on her, instead making her feel warm and tranquil.
The other side of the bed was empty, but a warm place remained. For a moment, she thought that Booth had left, but the flushing of the toilet assured her that she was not alone.
Another flash of lightning lit up her room, and she fell back into the childhood practice of counting till the rumble of thunder, to work out how far away the storm front was.
Booth's voice came from the doorway. "About a mile."
Brennan cleared her throat. "Actually, it's hard to determine exactly how far it is because the thunderstorm is surrounding us, and the front has already moved over. Plus which, the lightning might not have come from the thunderhead that produced the thunder, which is caused…"
By this time Booth had reached the bed, and silenced her with a searing kiss. "Can't think of a better way to shut you up," he said as they broke apart, both breathing more heavily than before.
As Booth climbed back into bed with her, Brennan once again had to admire his symmetry; he truly was a fine alpha-male specimen. She turned on her side to face him fully.
"What are you thinking, Bones?" Booth asked, pushing a strand of hair from her face and caressing her cheek.
"Good things," she replied, moving closer to him.
"Like…" he queried.
"Like how superb you look naked," she replied, kissing him softly.
He pulled back. "And…" he pressed.
"And how good you've made me feel for the past thirty-six hours."
Booth smiled. "Right back at you," he replied, kissing her lightly.
Bones, however, was in the mood for another round of lovemaking and pulled him close for a more searing kiss. Her hands were re-familiarising themselves with his toned chest and stomach when the phone rang.
"What the hell?" Booth mumbled, as Bones' talented fingers began to play with his burgeoning erection.
"Ignore it," Bones mumbled, between kisses that set his skin on fire.
After a few more rings, the phone fell silent.
"See," Bones said. "Must've been a wrong number."
She grazed his nipples with her teeth and Booth moaned.
"Damn Bones," he hissed.
Brennan had just begun trailing a line of kissed down his mid-line when the phone started ringing again. She groaned in frustration as she left her ministrations and picked up the receiver.
"What?" she asked rudely.
Angela's voice came down the line. "Well, good morning to you too, Sweetie."
Brennan sighed and looked at the bedside clock. "Angela, it's five-thirty in the morning. And it's Sunday. What the hell is so important?"
"Bren, you haven't been heard from for over thirty-six hours."
"That's because I've been rather busy," Brennan said with exaggerated patience.
There was a squeal over the phone that even Booth heard. Angela, Brennan mouthed as Booth smiled. He knew Brennan would have no peace until she divulged all, so he threw back the blankets and got dressed.
Leaning over to her, he kissed her lightly and whispered, "I'm going to get some fresh pastries from the bakery. I'll be back soon."
Brennan nodded, and regret showed on her face as he left the room. She was going to have to talk to Angela about her lousy timing, and how one didn't call at five-thirty in the morning, unless it was a life-or-death emergency.
"Huh? What?" Brennan asked as her attention was pulled back to the receiver in her hand.
"What have you been doing for the past thirty-six hours?"
Brennan laughed a little self-consciously. "Ange, it's kind of private."
There was a sharp exhale on the other end of the line. "Bren, it's been three years in coming. That's a long…long time considering I told you to go for it within a month of you guys being partnered. You finally do something, no, HE finally does something, and for the past few months, my patience has been tested even further. Now you FINALLY go on a date, and I don't hear from you for one and a half days. My patience will only stretch so far. Now spill! What happened?"
Brennan sighed at Angela's tirade and took a deep breath to steel herself against the reaction she knew she was going to get.
"Well," she drew the word out. "We haven't really left the apartment since coming home Friday night, and barely left the bedroom, except for meals and using the bathroom. Oh, and may I remind you that Booth was seeing someone when we were first partnered," she finished, needing to defend herself against not doing 'something' from the start of their relationship.
The expected squeal sounded through the receiver. "Oh Sweetie, that's fantastic! Did you knock his eyes out with that sexy lingerie that we bought?"
"Why would I want to knock his eyes out?"
There was a patient sigh at the other end of the line. "It's just an expression, Sweetie. How is he in bed? How big is he? Did you orgasm? What are his kisses like? Is his body as hot out of clothes as it is in?"
Brennan took her chance to cut in as Angela paused for breath. "Ange, slow down. It was fantastic. All of it. Although…" she hesitated a little too long allowing her friend to jump back in to the questions.
"What? What happened? What did you do?" Angela demanded.
"Relax. It wasn't anything, just a misunderstanding. And how do you know it was my fault anyway?"
Brennan heard a, "Please," through the line, even as she was still speaking.
"We'd just arrived back at my apartment after the date, and…"
He'd headed toward the kitchen while she went to 'change into something more comfortable', which he had assumed would be an old t-shirt and pair of tracksuit pants.
The glass of water he was holding almost fell from his hand, and the water he'd been sipping formed a fine spray when it left his mouth as he turned to the clearing of her throat.
'His' Bones was standing before him in a very short, red, teddy-style gown with her black stockings and heels still on. The length of the gown also allowed him to see that her stockings were being held up with a garter-belt.
Brennan smiled at the look on his face, let alone the remnant of water that covered his chin and dress shirt. "So I'm guessing you like it then?"
Booth swallowed heavily. The semi-erection he'd been sporting most of the night came to full attention in record time. "But at the door, you said…"
"I said, 'Thank you for understanding.' And you've been most understanding all night long, for which I am very grateful. You haven't pressured me in anyway, instead giving me the freedom to reach this place on my own. I wouldn't miss this for the world, Booth. We've both been waiting long enough, and I'm more than ready to consummate this relationship. How about you?" she asked the last openly staring at the very noticeable bulge in the front of his pants.
"Ah, yeah…waiting…long enough…"
His tongue-tied falterings made her smile even more, and she closed the distance between them. Booth's arms circled her waist and pulled her close. "Hey," he murmured gently into her ear, "I meant what I said, and I know we discussed all this when we agreed to start a more personal relationship, but this only has to go as fast, or slow as you're comfortable with."
"I was never one to take things slow really," Bones answered. "I've never been one to be nervous about a sexual encounter."
Brennan saw the flash of hurt and anger in his eyes. For a moment she had no idea what she'd said to cause that reaction from him.
"Is that all this is to you? An encounter?" Booth asked, pulling back.
"No! No, that's not what I meant." She sighed in frustration. "I don't know how to explain this." She sighed again, this time in anger at having to expose an irrational feeling; a feeling she could neither qualify or quantify. "I'm very…insecure…about what's happening."
Brennan hushed Booth with a glare. "I know, 'We'll take it as slow as I need.', but I don't WANT to stop or slow down. This is…it's just the first encounter that's going to continue into a longer lasting relationship." The last was said in almost a whisper that Booth had to really strain to hear.
"Lasting, huh?" Booth asked softly, with a smile.
A blush spread across her face and she ducked her head. "Yeah."
Booth lifted her head with a finger under her chin. She looked into his eyes, marvelling at the love and acceptance she saw there.
Brennan held his gaze as they drew closer together. All the anticipation from the past three years, and especially the last few weeks, was culminating in this moment. As their lips touched, her mind flashed back to their brief moment under the mistletoe a few months previously.
As Booth deepened the kiss, all comparisons flew out of the window. As the need for air became paramount, they drew apart, both breathing heavily.
Brennan resisted her natural urge to shove Booth up against a wall and make short work of removing his clothes and let him take her right there.
Normally she was uninhibited and wild, but she wanted this night to be special and she had a feeling Booth would be uncomfortable with her usual 'style'. So instead she took his hand and led him into her bedroom.
"…And he proceeded to make love to me," Bones finished.
"Oh Sweetie, you're lucky he's so understanding," Angela said, relief sounding clearly in her voice.
"Yeah, I know."
There was a moment of silence as Angela digested the information.
"So," she started again. "How did you seduce him?"
"Angela, we were both more than ready to take this step. All I had to do was wear that chemise we bought."
She could almost hear Angela's profound disappointment.
"However," Bones continued, before her friend could voice her. "I did give him a little strip show before we made love."
With the door now closed, Brennan moved toward the bed. She lifted her left foot to Booth's waist and lightly touched his erection through his pants before planting her foot on his stomach.
Finally getting the idea, Booth reached for her shoe and slipped it off. Brennan lowered her leg, making sure to caress his erection again, this time harder, with her stockinged foot.
Brennan repeated the act with her right foot, before closing the gap between them and helping him to remove his jacket and damp shirt. She ran her hands down his smooth and well-defined muscular chest and stomach, grinning as she felt the muscles jump beneath her fingers as she dipped below the waistband of his trousers, to delve into his boxers and caress him gently.
"Whoa, keep doing that, and I'll do something I haven't done since I was a teenager," Booth said as he removed her hands. "I've been wanting this for so long that I'm on a bit of a hair trigger," he explained, removing his trousers.
Brennan smiled widely as she saw his boxers.
Booth looked down, instantly deflating somewhat. "What's wrong?"
"You have little skeletons all over your underwear," she said, trying not to laugh.
He blushed a little. "I bought them 'cause they remind me of you," he said, sounding hurt.
"I don't know whether to find that flattering or weird," she replied, hooking her fingers into the waistband and carefully removing them.
"Oh, you should definitely find it flattering," he replied as she stood up again.
Drawing her close, he claimed her lips in a burning kiss.
"I think someone's a little overdressed," he said with a wink.
"Well then, I guess you should help me with that," she replied.
Smiling widely, Booth said, "It would be my pleasure."
Reaching out, he pushed the straps of her gown off her shoulders, massaging them before bending forward to kiss her neck. Gliding his hands down the smooth material, he came to the hem and ran his hands up her bare flesh, taking the chemise up with them. As he reached her chest, he let his hands wander to the front, and circled her straining nipples with his thumbs.
Booth smiled as she moaned with pleasure. He took the opportunity to lean in and capture one swollen tip between his lips, and worry it with his tongue. Her moans grew louder, and he switched to take the other nipple in his mouth and give it the same treatment.
Removing his mouth, he grinned slightly as he heard a slight whimper coming from Bones, at the loss of his ministrations. Nudging her arms up, he drew the chemise over her head and threw it on to the bed.
Booth took a moment to take in the beauty of 'his' Bones, almost naked. Her chest was heaving, a flush of excitement colouring it a becoming shade of pink. As his gaze returned to her face, he saw her hooded expression.
"What's wrong?" he asked with concern.
Bones hesitated, "No one's ever looked at me like that before."
Confusion clouded Booth's eyes. "Looked at you like what?"
Shrugging, she said with uncertainty, "I don't know how to explain it. You know I'm not that good at reading people."
"Um, the look I was giving you, was one of admiration, love and lust," Booth said as he bought her close for a hug that was definitely NOT a 'guy' hug. Pulling back, he saw tears in her eyes. "Hey, I didn't mean to upset you."
She shook her head and replied, "No, I'm not upset. Well, maybe a little. I guess I've never really had anyone who's voiced those feelings before."
"It's a good thing, Bones. Trust me. Now, let's see what we can do about removing the rest of your clothes," he said, trailing his hands down her sides to unclip her left stocking to slide it down her leg, then running his hands up her right leg, to unclip the other side, and slide it off.
With one hand on each leg, he ran them up to her waist and unhooked her garter belt, throwing it the same way as her chemise, before lowering her panties. He inhaled deeply, memorising her scent as he came to his feet and reclaimed her lips.
Bones moaned, "Mmmm, Seeley!"
Booth pulled back.
She looked at him. "I'm sorry. Shouldn't I call you that?"
"No, it's fine. It's just that you've never called me by my given name before."
Brennan kissed him deeply. "That's because we've never been intimate before."
Booth inclined his head slightly in agreement. "That's true."
There was a veritable scream on the other end of the line as Brennan finished the rather abridged version of what had happened.
"Oh Sweetie, I'm so happy."
"Yeah well, now that you've been bought up to speed, and stopped what was going to be another incredible round of sex, I'll be hanging up, and seeing whether Booth's back yet. He was going to get something for breakfast," she added before her friend could ask.
"Isn't it too early for any place to be open?" Angela asked.
"I'm sure he's got friends everywhere that are happy to serve him early," Brennan replied knowing how Booth was familiar with so many people. "Good-bye, Angela. I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks for your concern, but next time, could you please call at a later hour?"
Angela chuckled. "Sure Sweetie. Enjoy the rest of your day," she finished, hanging up.
Brennan got out of bed, and looked at the time. They'd been talking for almost an hour. She hadn't heard Booth return yet, so she took the opportunity to have a quick shower.
~~ BONES ~~
Twenty minutes later, and feeling refreshed, Brennan headed toward her kitchen.
Booth's back was to her, as he was finishing brewing an amazingly aromatic coffee. Her eyes were then drawn to the table where a most incredible meal had been set up. Booth turned as she was taking in the layout.
"Breakfast is served," he said, bringing the steaming pot to the table.
He pulled out a chair for her, pushing it in gently as she sat. "Wait here. I have to give you something."
Her pulse increased as she heard him in the lounge room. Coming back to the table, he had his hand behind his back. Kissing her lightly, he bought his hand around with a flourish. A bouquet daffodils and daisies was presented to her. Brennan smiled and hugged him tightly.
"Thank you, Booth. It's all so wonderful. Where did you get the fresh fruit and flowers? Not to mention the pastries. It's Sunday, and nothing's open for at least another two hours."
Pouring her a cup of coffee, he answered, "Well, the flowers and fruit came from the markets, which were just finishing when I got there, and the pastries, I know one of the bakers around here very well, and he lets me buy early if I want too. It's also where I got the hazelnut coffee, freshly ground."
"Wow," was all she could manage.
After a few moments, Booth could tell something was wrong.
"Bones, are you alright?"
She shook her head a little. "I'm terrified, Seeley," she choked out. "Terrified of loving someone so much…then having them leave."
"Temperance, I promise with all of my being, that I will NEVER leave you. I'm not your parents, I'm not Russ. Short of death, and even that I'll fight tooth and nail…"
Brennan's brow furrowed and Booth smiled a little. "Just an expression, Bones. It means that I will do EVERYTHING in my power so you'll never be alone again. And know this…"
Brennan's gaze had dropped, he leaned over and raised her head with a familiar finger under her chin. "Even if I should die, I love you! Always!"
"But when you're dead…"
He used the same finger to hush her. "Yes, I know what you believe, but I believe that somehow I'll still be around. I will ALWAYS love you, even in death."
Tears had begun to flow down her cheeks. "I love you too, Seeley Booth. You have worked your way into my life and given me a heart…euphemistically speaking, of course."
Booth inclined his head with a smile. "I got it, Bones."
Brennan took a deep breath, then continued, "You have taught me so much, but most of all you've helped me be brave enough to love again. Thank you."
Wiping away her tears, he said, "Bones, it's been worth every minute, and I know it'll be worth OUR future."