CHAPTER 3:
PRE-MOVIE MISHAPS

After a good fifteen minutes, they finally arrived at the movie theater. The two hopped off almost simultaneously, with Brennan waiting patiently as Booth checked to see that all the car doors were locked.

"You know, that truck incident back then…," Booth began, letting his statement trail off.

"…is eerily similar to the Final Destination plotline?" Brennan finished, in an odd mix of uncertainty and sureness.

Booth stared at her for a moment before smiling amusedly. This instantly stirred confusion on the anthropologist, evident in her tilted head and furrowed brows.

"Looks like someone's been brushing up on their movie trivia," he finally replied, the curve on his lips unwavering.

She was very pleased with herself, and it showed. It wasn't everyday that she can relate to un-squinty topics, as Booth would fondly call them, after all. "I think Angela and I watched one of the earlier movies in her apartment before," she explained, trying hard to remember specific details. "The one with the airplane crash, I think."

"That's the first installment," he informed her. "And now were about to see the third one."

Booth placed his hand at the small of her back as they made their way towards the entrance. She shuddered briefly upon contact- his touch had never failed to make her feel so vulnerable. Yet one look in his reassuring eyes gave her all the security that she needed. The irony had always intrigued her.

Her mind knew that his gesture was an assertion of dominance, of possessiveness; but her heart also knew that she enjoyed this simple act, and that she wouldn't mind being his.

When they entered, the building was packed. People, mostly teenagers, filled almost every nook and cranny of the place.

"Wow, lots of kids here tonight," Booth remarked, noting their unusually large number.

"Teenagers," Brennan corrected matter-of-factly.

Booth nodded, with a look on his face that appeared to say 'Yeah, sure. Whatever.' He pulled out the ticket from his pocket, scanned through its contents, and shifted his gaze to his wrist watch. They still had fifteen minutes left before the movie started, he figured.

"Don't they have school tomorrow?" she asked.

"It's Friday," he answered dryly. "Sweets was right. You really are overworked," he then added, taking her obliviousness to what day of the week it was to be an undeniable symptom of the workaholic syndrome.

Booth proceeded to the snacks counter, where Brennan immediately followed suit. They stood in line for quite a while. While Brennan's attention was focused on the various shades of popcorn that were displayed in front of them, his vision sauntered over to the posters of upcoming movies displayed on the walls. One movie, which even had a merchandise stall, particularly piqued his interest.

It was an animated feature about seals thriving in the Arctic region. Rows of cups, mugs, shirts, and other memorabilia plastered with the animal's furry faces filled the stand. This must be the movie Parker's been begging me to take him to, he thought, recalling their conversation over dinner the previous night.

After another short bout of contemplation, the sides of his lips quivered as he made a rather silly realization.

"Look, Bones. It's me, seal-y booth," he couldn't help but crack a joke about it.

Brennan pried her eyes off the rainbow-colored confections and looked at the direction that he had pointed at. The perplexed expression on her features prompted him to explain further. "You know, the animal. There are many seals…so it's seal-y…kind of like an adjective…and they're in a booth, which is like a stand…" He chose his words with utmost care, saying each slowly and clearly, as if he were talking to a three-year-old.

It appeared that Brennan got the joke, as she suddenly broke off into laughter. Loud laughter. "Seal-y booth. There's no such word as seal-y!" she exclaimed in between laughs. People began eyeing the two strangely, making Booth wish that the ground could eat him up at that moment to shield him from their piercing daggers.

"It wasn't that funny," he remarked, in an attempt to divert their attention.

Unfortunately for him, her guffawing episode continued on for what seemed like an eternity. As Brennan was about to end her hysterical fit, the guy in front of them removed his ear phones and turned to see the cause of all the commotion. The minute his eyes set on her, stars welled up on his blue orbs. His jaw hung open as he fumbled in his mind for something decent enough to say.

"Oh…my…God. Brennan? THE world-renowned author Temperance Brennan?" the man screamed out, his voice rising a number of pitches above normal. His body shook as he eagerly awaited for her reply.

"Yes, that would be me," Brennan confirmed, seemingly unaware of how much her presence had affected him. "How may I help you?"

"Lord, I can't believe this is actually happening. Somebody pinch me!"

"Okay." Brennan did as he had said. She reached for his arm and gave it a light squeeze. "Oww, that hurt. Holy crap, Temperance Brennan just touched my arm!" The guy made some kind of noise, which Booth classified as a cross between a gasp and a squeal, before rubbing the area of contact dreamily. Oh, great. Bones has a fanboy, he thought with revulsion and a hint of delight.

"You told me to pinch you, am I correct?" Brennan asked, confused at his reaction. He should be writhing in pain and not dancing with glee, for all she knew. It was wrong.

"I don't suppose you're not going to wash that arm of yours again now are you," Booth commented half-jokingly as he crossed his arms across his chest.

"Why would he do that? That's completely unhygienic," she snapped back.

Before the two set off into yet another argument, the guy cut them off. "I'm sorry. I'm such a huge fan of your works…and I didn't expect, of all the places, to meet you in the flesh right here in the cinema. This is the best day ever!" he yelled out to the world. Or to everyone in the vicinity anyway.

"I'm glad that you enjoy reading my works, uhm…mister…"

"Elmer. My name's Elmer," he introduced himself.

"….Elmer. Right. It feels great to meet a fan around here."

Booth fought back a chuckle as he thought about how happy Elmer must've been after hearing her say his name. He must've been on the verge of spontaneously exploding by then, if it were even possible.

"I'm your biggest fan. I own all your books and have read them at least twenty times each," Elmer admitted rather proudly.

"Now that's just creepy," Booth remarked, backing away a little.

Even Brennan was starting to get a little freaked out by his confession. "Thank you. That's very…," she trailed off, searching in her wide-as-the-Pacific vocabulary for an appropriate enough reply. "…flattering."

Brennan turned to face Booth, the panicked expression on her face priceless. He wasn't much help, though, as he merely shrugged, apparently enjoying the currently unfolding show. She sighed before turning back to face the adoring fan, who had a plethora of questions to ask her.

"What's your favorite volume? Is he the guy you based Andy off? What brand of toothpaste do you use? Do you like banana cream pie? Will the world end in 2012?"

His questions drifted to the bizarre as each agonizing second passed.

It would've been an entirely different story if Elmer had been another man. But the way Booth saw it, he was no threat. He was just another fan, completely harmless, albeit a little too obsessed. He'd definitely seen worse in her book signing sessions, where the crazed fawners came in groups.

Brennan was on the verge of calling security when a booming voice stopped Elmer in his tracks.

"ELMER! Is that you?!"

Elmer swallowed hard. "Mommy?"

He slowly turned on his heel to face his mother, who had both arms nestled on her hips. She was obviously angry. "Didn't I tell you that you're grounded?!" she demanded in the same imposing tone.

"But mom, I-" Elmer began.

"No buts. You're coming home right now, mister," she cut him off, grabbing him by the wrist and dragging him off. "I'm a grown man, mom! I'm in college for heaven's sake. Give me a break!" His objection fell on deaf ears.

"I'm really sorry about the trouble my little Elmie's caused," the woman apologized.

"Don't call me Elmie!"

"He tends to connect too much," she explained ruefully, continuing to ignore her son's screams of protest.

"We know what you mean," Booth agreed and so did Brennan, as she nodded in the affirmative.

They watched in silence as the pair slowly exited the area.

"And the parental unit saves the day," he whispered to his partner when the doors closed shut. She was in no mood for his Booth humor, however.

"Why didn't you interject?"

"Bones."

"His questions were getting personal."

"Bones."

"He was crossing the line."

"Bones!"

"I was already getting…freaked out. And you knew it!"

"Bones!"

"What?!"

Booth raised his hand and pointed in front of them, where a young man behind the counter was clearly wary of the anthropologist. "Go-good evening, sir, ma'am. Welcome to the Snack Shack…," he paused, fearful of Brennan's tensed stance and deadly glare. "Please don't hurt me!"

"Sorry about that," she muttered, giving the most reassuring smile she could muster at the time. It seemed to have worked, as the cashier's form visibly relaxed.

"What would you like to order?"

She looked through the array of treats being sold and spotted the brightly-hued popcorn that she'd been eyeing earlier. "I'd like some of that purple pop corn over there please." Booth grinned; he'd never imagined that the woman would be so intrigued by the unusual tint of the confection.

"And a chocolate milkshake. Oh, and some nachos. How about you, Booth?"

She turned to look up at him.

"I guess I'll have some soda," he told the cashier without much thought.

"You're only going to order drinks?" she asked, curious.

Booth flashed him one of his charm smiles. "I suppose you're kind enough to share right Bones?" He added his infamous puppy dog eyes for effect. The killer combination has never failed him before- and this time was no exception. It didn't take long before she finally gave in.

"Fine. I'll share," Brennan finally agreed in a defeated tone.

The cashier grabbed their orders, placed them inside a plastic bag, laid them on the counter, and punched in their respective prices. "That will be $9.95," he said, holding his hand out to get the money. Booth was the first to give his payment, as Brennan appeared to be deep in thought.

"Hey Bones," he called out, with a matching nudge on the shoulder.

No response.

"Earth to Bones. Yoo-hoo," he said a little louder, waving his hand in front of her face to snap her out of her stupor.

It seemed to do the trick, as she moved her head up to look at him.

"Well, pay up. We don't have all day you know."

She continued to stare at him.

"I already paid for my drink. Now it's your turn to cough up some dough."

Her face remained a blank slate. He was about to explain himself again, when realization suddenly dawned on him. He pointed a finger accusingly at Brennan.

"Oh, I get it. You're trying to get payback for what I did, or rather, for what I didn't do a while ago aren't you?"

She tilted her head to one side innocently.

"Real mature, Bones."

She shrugged, in a manner that was reminiscent of what he had done earlier.

"That's just low."

She persisted with her silent treatment. She so looked so smug and it annoyed him. He wasn't about to let her win that easily, though.

"If that's how you're going to play, then go. See if I care," he challenged her. And she did for a good minute or two.

Fortunately, a cough from one of the people in the line brought Booth back to his senses. There was a considerable number of people behind them, and they were holding them up. Seeing that Brennan wasn't about to give up her cause anytime soon, he decided to raise the white flag of surrender.

"Fine. You win this round," he handed the cashier a crisp ten dollar bill. "But only for the sake of the other customers waiting in line right now," he then clarified as he pocketed his change.

As they walked over to their cinema room, Brennan couldn't help but grin. She had just beaten Booth at his own game.

"Thanks for the free food, Booth," she teased, munching on a piece of popcorn. She then held the plastic container up to his face as she offered him some. "Want some? I promised you I'd share."

"Please don't talk to me," Booth said in a dejected tone.

"At least were even now," she presented as consolidation, in an attempt to lift the guy's spirit up.

"Sure looks like it. But I'm not letting my guard down next time," he guaranteed her.

They continued walking down the hallway in silence. This lack of conversation didn't last long, however, as Brennan came up with what she thought was the perfect tiebreaker.

"I bet I can watch through the whole movie without wincing even once," she dared in a confident tone.

Booth was quick to negate this. "And I bet you can't. The Final Destination seriesis well-known for their top-notch graphics, after all."

"Come on, Booth. I work with dead bodies in various states of decomposition for a living. You really expect me to feel a sense of trepidation over fabricated blood and gore?" she reasoned out.

Booth's face lit up. "Is that a challenge I hear?"

She nodded. Alpha males never say no to a challenge. It's a fact she had proven on many occasions.

"Loser buys dinner?" she heartily proposed.

"It's on," he replied without hesitation.

The two entered the cinema doors with visions of themselves feasting on some yummy fare, eating their hearts out at some fancy bistro.


I'm hoping that this chapter can make up for the looooong time in between updates. *crosses fingers* Reviews would be very much appreciated. Suggestions are welcome too, as there are still plot holes the size of Jupiter waiting to be cleared up for the succeeding chapters. XD

Now, a little dialogue preview for the chapter four.
Man: Hey, you. Will you tell your girlfriend to shut up please?!
Brennan: You are making a huge mistake here, sir. Booth and I-
Booth: ...are currently in a relationship. So do the man a favor and keep your thoughts to yourself, girlfriend.

'Til next update. Thank you for reading!~