Note: This is the start of a new alphabet series of unconnected one-shots. Unlike my last series, they are not going to be all fights, and they aren't all going to involve Booth and/or Brennan. (I'm not ruling out one or more of them being a B/B fight, but there will be a lot more variation in this series.)
I had told a few people that I might yet add another chapter of Quitting Time. That is progressing at the rate of about a sentence every three days, so it might yet happen, but don't hold your breath. One-shots are so much easier.
Achoo, alligator, algebra, argon, airplane, art
Disclaimer: I don't own them
I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. I admit it. When my parents left, I wanted to look after my sister. She made it pretty clear that she didn't want me to do that, though, so I abandoned her to the foster system and took off. I just didn't know how to make her see that I could take care of her. Looking back, I can see that she was angry at my parents for leaving and hurt by their abandonment. I probably made it worse.
I called her every year on her birthday. It wasn't easy to get her phone number – she moved around a lot – but I made the effort. She usually wouldn't talk to me.
I knew a few things about her life – I found out about the degrees she earned and the jobs she had. I talked with her boyfriend Pete one year when he answered the phone. He seemed like a nice guy, but the next year when I called his voice wasn't on her answering machine message anymore.
While Tempe was making a success of her life, I was floundering. I got involved with the wrong crowd and ended up getting arrested. When I was paroled, I met Amy. I fell in love with her and after we had been dating for a few months, I met her kids. I fell in love with them, too, and I knew I needed to turn my life around, to become the husband and father they needed.
It had been a long time since I had been part of a family, and although I wished that my sister was still part of my life, it was nice to feel like I had a place where I belonged. I got a job and went 100% legit.
When Tempe's partner got in touch with me, it brought back all of those old feelings – confusion, hurt, anger – that had swamped me when my parents first disappeared. He was just touching base, trying to figure out if I knew anything about what had happened to them. I was surprised that she had told him about it, though. I thought she'd given up on her birth family.
When they found Mom's body, it hurt, but I wasn't really surprised. I know Mom loved us – I can't imagine she would have stayed away for so many years if she had been alive. When Tempe's partner Booth showed up, I was a worried that she wouldn't want to see me. I was right to worry – she refused to have anything to do with me at first. Eventually, though, we reached a truce. A lot of that was due to Booth – it seemed really important to him that we be part of each other's lives. As I started to rebuild my relationship with Tempe, I finally felt like my life was on the right track.
Amy and I continued to grow closer. I loved being a dad. Sure, there were times when I wished I could have an hour to myself, but the girls were a lot of fun and they loved me as much as I loved them.
Then Dad showed up.
It was so good to see him. Sure, I was angry that he had stayed away for so long at first, but after he explained the whole thing – that the people who were after him would have used Tempe and me to get to him – I understood. He wanted to see Tempe, of course, but I knew that her mania for truth and justice would mean that she would have Booth arrest him on sight, so I went along with his plan to pretend to be someone else.
My little sister is pretty smart – as she'll tell you at the slightest provocation – and she figured it out. She came chasing after us, and her partner chased after her.
That's when I made my biggest mistake. I helped Dad escape.
At the time, it didn't feel like I had a choice. I mean, he's my dad. I hadn't seen him in years. I didn't want Booth to throw him in jail.
Unfortunately, helping him escape meant that I was on the run, too. I broke parole. I abandoned Amy and the girls. It took a few days before I could even get word to her that I was OK and that I loved her.
After a few weeks, Dad and I worked out a way for me to send her money every month. It wasn't as good as being there, but I didn't want her to suffer financially because I'm a screw-up.
Dad helped me find a job and an apartment, then he took off. He said we would be harder to find separately.
I'm half way across the country from my family. I didn't know it was possible to miss anyone this much. There's nothing I want more than to get in the beat-up old truck I'm driving these days, drive to the airport, and hop on the first airplane home.
I don't do it, of course. I know that doing that would put Dad, me, and my family in danger. I can't make that mistake.
I wonder if this is how Mom and Dad felt after they left me and Tempe.
Suggestions for B words, or for whose perspective you'd like to see?