The Glass Slipper
"DUDE-did you Daisy? SHE WAS HOT MAN!" Fischer leaned over and nudged Seeley's arm, "Dude-what are you looking at? The cheerleaders are that way!" he grabbed the back of Seeley Booths head and turned it towards the 11 girls in front of them.
"Man-I'd love to be a part of that pyramid" Wendell said laughing. "I'd love to be on the bottom layer" hi-fiving Fischer he laughed and took a swig of the Texas Rose in the paper bottle they had.
Seeley, although there to watch the girls practice too; wasn't as interested in the bottle being passed around. He'd seen what alcohol could do first hand and would rather just avoid it. His friends were used to it and just left him out of the loop. Too be honest, they were lucky to even be around him, without him their days of scoring the hot girls would be numbered. There wasn't a girl at St. Agnes who didn't want to have Seeley Booth on their arm. Who wouldn't, all star running back for the football team and the best left wing in 5a hockey for the entire state of PA; plus with the movie star good looks and aw shucks demeanor, he was the hottest guy in school hands down. Looking down towards the girls Seeley wasn't surprised to see Payton's eyes focused solely on him. While performing her routine she was making each move specific to him, a sort of promise of things to come.
"You couldn't score that with my stick" Seeley said to his buddy with a grin, and joined in with their banter.
"No-but I'd sure give it a try" Fischer said with a laugh. Back to watching the girls and trying to figure out the rest of the evening's plans and who would go where and with whom, Seeley drifted out of the conversation again. The whole stake out the cheerleader, find a house party or an empty car routine every Friday was wearing thin for him. He felt like if he didn't participate he wasn't living up to his reputation, but if he did participate there was a small feeling like he was missing something better. His Pops had taught him how to behave around women and for the most part he did. Girls like Payton though? That was a whole 'nother story. She wouldn't think twice about ditching him for the next pretty boy that came along. He knew it, she knew it, but still they played the game. Him; the big man on campus, her, the queen.
Looking back at the girls from staring across the field, he wasn't surprised that she saw he wasn't watching her PG13 leaning towards NC17 performance. I'm going to pay for that tonight he thought. "Seeley, so do you have Pops car tonight? ALLLLL night?" Wendell asked with a knowing leer.
"Yeah-I just have to pick Jare up from little league practice at 7 and then I'm home free" what did you guys have in mind tonight? Wanna hit the ice and go a couple of one on ones?" he asked.
"Ummm no, no thanks, I want to see if Daisy is always that flexible!" Fischer said, hi fiving Wendell again. Wendell said, "Yeah-I think she said she and Caroline are going to be 'free' tonight if you know what I mean."
"Well, I'm sure Payton will want to do something too" Seeley smirked. In fact he knew she would. The three girls were never more than 3 feet from each other or their cell phones to be able to text, talk and twitter together. If Caroline and Daisy were going out, than that meant Payton was, which meant that Seeley was too. Seeley's phone began to ring, "you got the BMOC-tell me what you got and I'll tell you what I know" he answered, "Shrimp? This is Pops; did you remember you said you'd pick Jared up from practice tonight?
"Yeah Pops-I remember and I'm leaving the field here in a few minutes to do that, Pops do you need me to stay tonight?" hoping that he would say yes, Seeley knew his friends would be disappointed and he'd really catch hell from Ms. Payton Perotta but he didn't really want to go out and using his Pops as an excuse wouldn't be that bad, his buddies wouldn't dare say anything.
"No-Shrimp, you go have fun with your friends tonight, just don't be out too late ok? You have practice in the morning and I don't want you to miss that" his grandfather responded chuckling. "Drive safe, okay kid?"
"Okay Pops, I will, see you soon" Seeley hung up and looked at the time, 20 minutes before he had to get Jared.
Cheerleading practice was over and the girls were starting to disperse. "That's our cue man" Fischer said when the three girls broke apart from the pack. Looking up at them Payton crooked her finger at Seeley and made it no secret she was calling the shots. Seeley stood and stretched, knowing he would go down there but in the mood to make her wait for it, and to make her steam a little. He thought that Miss Thing needed to be reined in a little and for some reason tonight he was spoiling for it. Ah hell, who was he kidding; he'd been feeling a little resentful and nonchalant about their relationship for some time now. They'd been dating since freshman year and she had been picturing the ring and the white picket fence since they were sophomores. The University of Pittsburgh had already sent him the acceptance of his scholarship to play hockey there next year, and although it was going to be good, he thought maybe the white picket may wait. He'd been going to the Army recruitment offices and getting some information for a couple of months now. He hadn't told anyone, but thought he might just up and join. There had to be more than college, marriage and suburbia out there.
Grabbing his buddy's arm and pushing the other one out of the way Seeley started down to the bottom of the bleachers. Just then he saw someone walk in front of the girls at the bottom and heard Payton say, "oh look its poor little Temperance…heading home, wait, she doesn't even have a home!" the other girls started to laugh at the girl walking by.
Her hair pulled back into a ponytail, wearing a jean jacket that was obviously too big for her and carrying a large pile of books, she never wavered just walked on by. Deciding that she wasn't getting the attention she so rightfully deserved, Payton trotted over and stopped in front of her. As always, her two wingmen went with her and surrounded the girl. "Where you going Tempe? To the library? Gonna hang out with the rest of the dorks and geeks tonight? No date, oh wait, who would want to go out with a nerd like you?" she said scathingly.
"Please let me by" came the muffled response as the girl kept her head down.
"What?" Daisy said reaching over and grabbing the top book out of her arms, "Ethics for Anthropological Research and Practice" she read the title, "What the hell is that?" throwing the book down on the ground and stepping on it she leaned in to grab another book just as Caroline and Payton also reached to grab some. Disrupting the weight distribution in her arms, all the books went crashing to the ground. Temperance bent down to get them, just as she did, her notebook also fell from her hand and papers went everywhere. Not knowing whether to get the papers or the books first, she lunged at the closest thing she could reach. Stepping back and laughing the three girls didn't try to help at all, in fact were doing their best to scatter the papers more.
Seeley ran the rest of the steps down the bleachers and trotted over to the girls, "Payton-knock it off" he told her firmly, reaching down to pick up some papers. "Guys-grab those papers, now" he told his friends, "no way man, I'm not helping to do that I want to go," Wendell said.
"Pick them up or you can take Caroline home on your bicycle," Seeley said with no patience.
Fischer and Wendell gathered the rest of the papers while the girls just stood and laughed at them, chasing them in the slight breeze, both of them more than a little tipsy. Meanwhile, Seeley had gone over to the girl and seeing that she had most of the books gathered up, but was struggling to stand, offered to help her up. Looking up at him he was mesmerized by the most brilliant blue eyes he had ever seen in his 18 years. What made them so bright was the shine of tears and hurt in them. Standing up without his help, she reached out slightly for her notebook, seeing that she was just going to drop the books again, he picked it up and took the papers from his friends who had managed to get them all, dirty, ripped and stained, but all of them. He put them in the notebook and handed it to her, "I'm sorry-"he said, "Do you need some help carrying them?" he asked, his hand on her arm.
"Please just let me by" was all she said. Still looking at the ground he barely heard her.
"Are you sure?" he asked again, "I can help carry them to your car or something?" he trailed off, not even sure if she had a car, or even what grade she was in.
"I'm fine, thank you" she said in a whisper, "I just want to go please." Temperance looked up again and into his eyes. He saw the wounded pride in them and stepped aside telling her he was sorry again.
Temperance walked away quickly, her head bent down and her too large jacket blowing around her hips from the breeze.
"What a loser" Payton said, "She's in my Biology class, and is supposed to be wicked smart but she never says a word, just sits there with this dumb scared little mouse expression." Rolling her eyes, she turned back to her man and put her hand on his arm, "Seeley-you're too nice you know, one of these days some girl is going to take advantage of that you know…"she said with a wink at her two partners in crime. "Payton-you're a bitch" he said, "and I hope you can figure out a way to get home tonight, I have to get my brother" looking at the shocked expressions on all of them he told his buddies that he was going to bail on them tonight after all. "Seeley Booth you better realize who you are talking to" Payton yelled at his retreating form as he walked away, "You can't talk to me like that!" she screeched.
"Looks like I just did Payton" he said walking backwards and then turning to jog after the girl with the books.
"Well-that sucks" Fischer said, "now what?"
Caroline called her mom and was able to get permission to borrow her car, so the group was still able to go out, which was all they were concerned with anyway."What about me?" Payton whined, "I don't want to go unless I have someone too." The girls tried to figure out a way to include her without Seeley and when she just got madder and madder they decided that they would just all go to her house and the guys would go home.
"Damn Seeley-and his knight in shining armor complex" Wendell grumbled as he and Fischer started walking home, "I had PLANS for tonight you know?"
"Yeah man, I know, believe me I know" Fischer sighed, "I was really looking forward to the end of the night-dammit".
Booth jogged up behind the girl and then past her, turning to stop in her way he said, "Hey-I'm sorry about all that, are you okay?" Temperance stopped short and looked up at him. "I'm fine" she said quietly. "Well, I have to go get my little brother from little league practice, but I can be a little late if you need or want a ride somewhere?" he tried again to get her to look up at him, but she just shook her head and said, "I'm fine, thank you". She began to walk around him again, "Wait-hold on" he said grabbing the sleeve of her coat, "I'm not like those guys; I don't mind taking you home?"
Temperance looked at him and said in a level voice, "Your name is Seeley Booth, you're the best hockey player in the state, you're the starting running back for St. Agnes High School, you were Jr. Homecoming King and you are on the student council" he looked at her and saw a small fire burning in her eyes, "I don't need a ride home-you don't even know my name, and I bet you can't even tell me what grade I'm in" she finished, "you're exactly like them-so thank you for getting my papers back, but I don't want a ride home" and squaring her small shoulders she hitched up the bag on her shoulder and walked around him.
The wind came up a little faster and a few drops of rain started to fall as Seeley watched her walk away-he saw her hitch up a little in the jacket and watched a stray piece of paper fly out of the notebook. She didn't notice it and he reached out to grab it as it blew by, dancing lightly above the ground. Holding it in his hands he watched her until she had passed by the gym and was out of sight. He looked down at the paper and saw it was a flyer advertising a lecture by Dr. Nigel-Murray with the National Anthropological society next Saturday afternoon at the main lecture hall of the University of Pittsburgh. Seeley absently stuck the paper in his jacket pocket and turning towards the parking lot he decided he had better beat feet, his brother was going to be mad having to wait in the rain, and then his Pops would be upset too.
The next day at practice, Coach Hodgins was brutal. He'd had them running the same drill for over an hour. Apparently he noticed that some of the boys were working on less than 100% and he was punishing them all for it. Seeley, while in excellent shape was starting to show the fatigue of running for 50 yard bursts over and over. While standing in line waiting for his group to start the next sprint, and breathing raggedly, he said to Fischer and Wendell, "thanks a lot jerk-off's, this is all your fault-next time you get drunk and show up late for practice, make sure you don't suck us all into it, okay?"
"Whatever Seeley-you're just ticked off because you didn't get any from Payton last night, and since she's sitting in the stands right now, you know you're gonna get an earful when this is all over!" Wendell said, stepping up to the hash mark now that it was their turn to run again.
"Quit your yapping over there girls" Coach Hodgins said, "Unless you want to make them 75 sprints?" a collective groan could be heard throughout the boys. "Yes coach" they chorused, focused on making the best of the running situation. Thirty minutes later, Coach called an end to practice and gathered up the team. "Boys-if you think you are going to be able to skate through the next game you are out of your mind-Zack Addy has the highest passing percentage in 5a football right now, and with Clark Edison leading their team in rushing, there is nothing to take lightly. This team is prepared to win, and you all look like you are barely alive, better pick up the pace boys or you'll be watching the State Championships from the bleachers" with that he dismissed them to the locker room.
"Seeley-come here" he said as the guys trotted off the field.
"Yeah coach," he said towering over the shorter man, "what's up?"
"Seeley-I wanted to tell you that AD Hacker told me that you had gotten a scholarship to the U, and that's all well and good, but he said that you hadn't been in to talk to Dr. Saroyan about career counseling or anything yet. What's going on? Any problems at home? It's your senior year Seeley, you better be making some firm decisions, or you are going to be making some big mistakes-do you understand what I'm telling you?" the coach rarely spoke so bluntly to the players, but he did really try to do the best he could by the majority of them. "You've got a gift kid, you're a much better athlete than those two Neanderthals you hang around with, I hope you aren't letting them drag you down?"
"No coach, I'll go talk to Dr. S on Monday and get some information" Seeley told his coach, "I won't let you down."
"It's not me I'm worried about Mr. Booth-it's you" he said, "Now go, it looks like there is a little blonde over there that wants to monopolize a little of your time, but try not to let her get too much of it, okay?" the coach, slapped him on the butt with a grin and walked towards where his assistants were gathering up equipment.
"Yes coach" Seeley said grabbing his helmet and unenthusiastically heading toward the bleachers and the butt chewing he was going to get from Payton.
Temperance Brennan walked into her favorite place in the world. The Natural Museum of History located in the historic district of Pittsburgh. Nodding a hello and giving a slight wave to Russ, the security guard at the door she quickly made her way through the people attempting to get in line for the next tour. Russ smiled and blushed slightly as he waved back. She'd always liked him, he would sometimes come have lunch with her on the weekends, they had a lot in common; both of them were alone in the world. Although, he had been seeing the gift shop girl, Amy for a couple of months and seemed like he was pretty happy.
Stowing her things in the employee locker room, Tempe felt like she was truly home. She was so lucky to work here she thought, it's the best place I can think of. Even though it hardly paid anything, she still felt like she was a millionaire spending her days doing what she loved. She hoped that someday she would be able to spend all of her time in a museum and never have to worry about the outside world crashing in. Getting her smock on and turning to grab the gloves and stuff she would need to help clean the exhibits, Tempe was pleasantly stunned when her best friend, Angela came in with yet another color of hair and what looked like a new earrings as well. "So-Temper-What's up Sweetie?" Ange said taking off her jacket to reveal a white tank top and teal bra combo that Tempe actually envied her the ability to wear.
Angela called herself an artist and was never shy about displaying her art wherever and whenever she wanted, today with her pink highlights in her naturally brown hair she looked like a shiny jewel. "Any new stuff I need to know about at St. Agony HS?" she teased. Angela had completed her GED while traveling through Europe. She said she had learned more that way and was able to absorb her education rather than being force fed it. Of course, her dad was a multi platinum recording artist and she had had an interesting childhood all the way around. Angela was currently one of the tour guides, and although slightly unorthodox, she was by far the crowds favorite, often getting a lot of people to come back more than once a month. She liked to "tweak" the facts of the exhibits, sometimes to elicit a crowd response and other times just for her own amusement.
"No", Tempe said, "same thing as always, although I think Payton Perotta makes it her personal mission to attack me every time she sees me" she smiled glumly at her friend. "Want me to beat her up for you? Remove those blonde bimbo curls with a razor?" Angela asked putting on her smock as well.
"I don't think so, thank you though," Tempe was momentarily stopped by the memory of whiskey brown eyes set in a concerned face. "Eventually I have to graduate and she will go off and make 2.5 kids and drive a mini-van that will be punishment enough!" Tempe rarely made jokes and when she did it always made Angela love her even more, "Good thought kiddo-have a good day" she said as she danced out of the break room onto the main floor.
Tempe gathered the rest of the things she needed and headed up the back stairwell to the exhibit employee entrances, from here, she would be able to wander behind the exhibits, encased in glass and explore all the smells and textures without being disturbed. She liked the anonymity cleaning the exhibits presented and since they were closed and cleaned on a rotating basis she didn't have to deal with tourists and kids pointing and making faces at her. When she had first started and they explained what she would be doing she had this disturbing mental image of being like a monkey in the zoo, having to clean while people were watching. Shaking her head of the cobwebs that threatened to intercede, she got to work.
Temperance had been working steadily for a couple of hours when she heard a man singing slightly off key, "I've been thinkin' 'bout All the times you held me I never heard you shout The flow of energy was so fine Now I think I'll lay it on the line And keep on tryin' To get home to you", coming into her line of sight Tempe saw Max, her favorite scientist from the museums working ward. "There's my girl" he said, stopping his song and smiling, his expressive face alight with pleasure at seeing her there. "How are you today my dear?" he asked spinning her around.
"I'm fine Max, how are you?" she giggled like a little kid when he spun her out and pulled her back in close for a hug. "Well, now that I've seen you, my life is complete" he winked.
Max had taken a liking to the studious girl right away and loved to tease her. He thought she needed more teasing in her life. Unlike the rest of the student help the museum had, she had the spark, that girl is going to go places he had always thought. Over time he had gotten to the point of inviting her down to his lab to see experiments or discuss they why's and how's of things. She was always a lively debate partner and wise long beyond her years. Although he only had a barest understanding of her home situation he never pressed her for details, instead allowing her to tell him what she wanted when she wanted. For her part Tempe thought Max was the closest thing to her own father she had ever found. Her foster father certainly never engaged her in conversation more stimulating than to shout at her for not doing the dishes correctly or vacuuming wrong or a million other things he imagined she did wrong on a regular basis. If I could have picked a father beside my own, I would choose Max, Tempe often thought.
"Why are you up here, stuck behind glass like one of these stuffy old exhibits?" Max asked her pulling out an apple and beginning to pare it up, offering her a slice he sat down on an old crate stacked there for a million visitors to see in the western themed display. "Well-in order for me to pay for a car so that I can go to college so that I can graduate so that I can someday sing and dance in a museum, I must clean" she responded somewhat seriously and again, slightly wistfully. Taking the apple, she also sat down on a crate and looked up at the older man. "Ahh…the pursuit of transportation, always a valiant struggle" he responded cutting off another piece of apple. "I came up here to find you, and see if you would like to come down and see the fabulous new box of goodies I just received from the Jeffersonian? It's a whole box of bones from a soldier in the bronze age, I was going to start reconstructing it this afternoon" knowing that she could barely resists bones he figured she'd jump at the chance to assist. "Of course, after your shift is over" he corrected, "I don't want you to get in trouble".
As much as she really wanted to help him she knew that today she wouldn't be able to stay late, she had to help her foster mom later on to clean for a party they were throwing for their friends tomorrow night.
"I wish I could Max" she said with a heavy sigh, but I have to help Rebecca clean this evening, her and Lance are having some sort of party tomorrow for his friends from work." never wishing she was by herself and out from under the thumb of her foster parents more than right then.
"Well, maybe next time then" he said getting off the crate and offering her the last piece of apple, "Don't stay up here too much longer little girl, life is for living not for envying-okay?" with a wink he walked out of the exhibit and left her to get back to work. She's finished this exhibit and since there wasn't enough time to start another one and get it finished before the end of her shift, she thought she go down and see what fantastic tales Angela was regaling the tourists with today.
After getting out of her uniform and a inhaling her meager little lunch, she went out into the museum proper and joined the tail end of the tourist line. The managers didn't mind, Tempe was a very hard worker and so they allowed her to join in and help wherever she could if there was a need. Listening to Angela bring some romance and whimsy to the medieval exhibit in front of her, she smiled when Angela got to the part about the knight slaying the dragon to rescue the fair maiden. Wrapping up the story, the crowd gave her a round of applause as she bowed low and thanked them for coming along on her tour.
"You know there are no such things as dragon's right?" Tempe asked her as they made their way back to the break room. "Just because there is no evidence of something doesn't mean it never existed Sweetie," she responded. "Actually, that's the very definition right there Angela" Tempe laughed.
Grabbing her arm Angela pulled her aside and said in a very slow stage whisper, "Hey hon, don't look now but there are some fish out of water if I ever saw them" pointing to the four guys that had just come in to the main hall. Looking where her friend had indicated Temperance saw Seeley and Jared Booth and two other guys from their school, Tim Sullivan and Wendell Bray.
"I wonder what they are doing here?" she asked Angela, "I doubt any of them have ever been here before" she finished sarcastically. Looking at her friend Angela saw a little gleam of interest in Tempe's eyes directed to the elder Booth boy. Deciding she was going to have a little fun, she half dragged and half shoved Temperance over to the boys.
"Welcome to the Natural History Museum gentleman," she said carefully maneuvering Tempe closest to Seeley, "my name is Angela and this is Temperance, is there something we can help you find?"
Jared Booth looked at the two girls and blushed, clearing his throat he said, "I have to finish my report on modern war weapons versus ancient ones. Is there some sort of brochure or something I can have to add to it?" he stammered, mesmerized by the glimpse of the taller girls teal bra peeking out from her tank top.
"Right this way my good man" Angela said looping her arm through his and giving a twitch to her hips, "you two can come too?" nodding at the other boys standing with them. She left Seeley and Tempe standing awkwardly alone by the main desk.
"Um, hello again", he said looking down at her, "I didn't know you worked here"
"Yes-I do, and I have to get back to work now actually" she started to turn away to leave.
"Wait" he said, stopping her, "I just wanted to tell you again that I was sorry for what happened yesterday at school"
"It's not your fault how other people behave, but thank you" and she was gone.
Seeley watched her walk away, expertly dodging the tourists and kids and exhibits with a natural grace. He was trying hard to get a full breath out his lungs; she had the most amazing blue eyes and was so pretty. Much prettier than Payton. Thinking of Payton, he'd decided he better go hurry Jared along so he could get home and get changed, they were going to have another one of their "talks" tonight. More often than not when Payton wanted to "talk" it meant that he was going to listen to her tell him how great their life was and that he was on thin ice and how he had better stop taking her for granted. They would also most likely end the night the same way, he would apologize, she would forgive and they would have sex in his car. It was becoming so routine he wondered when he was going to get tired of it enough to tell her to leave him alone for good. Putting his hands in his pocket, he looked again towards where Tempe had disappeared and then started off to find his brother and friends.
Leaving the museum with the star struck boys in tow, Seeley noticed Temperance walking towards the bus stop. Her too big jacket flapping in the breeze again, he wondered where she was going and what she was going to do that night.
Later that night, Seeley and Payton were sprawled on a blanket on the ground. Lazily stroking her back he was thinking of another girl altogether while Payton prattled on and on about something. He'd been making non committal grunts of acknowledgement as she talked when she suddenly stopped speaking and stared at him. Not noticing the silence right away was the wrong move. "Have you been listening to me?" she asked angrily. "I've been talking for the past 20 minutes and I bet you have no idea what I was saying.
"You were talking about the winter formal and the dresses and stuff weren't you?" he asked yanking his mind back to the present. He found himself staring into her angry face. "Yes-it's the last formal before senior prom and I think we should all go in matching colors, you and me, Daisy and Wendell and Caroline and Fischer. We want to rent a limo too" she added "one of the big private ones" winking; she slid her hand down his thigh. Reaching down to move her hand, he said, "I don't know, that's a lot of money and what will we do at prom if we take a limo to this dance, do we even have to go to this dance?" he asked already dreading her answer.
"Um, yes, we HAVE to go to this dance, hello; we've been the Winter Queen and King for the past 3 years, so I think we have to. Geez Seeley, I don't know where your mind has been lately, but it seems like all the things that were important to us no longer matter anymore-what's going on?" She asked petulantly, "Are you seeing someone else?" anger blazed in her eyes.
"No Pay-I'm not seeing anyone else" he said, thinking I would like to though. "Hey listen, it's getting late, I better get you home."
"Late? It's only 9 Seeley, curfew isn't until 1AM!" Payton slid over on top of him and began to kiss his chest and up to his chin, "let's stay here and 'talk'" she said suggestively.
"I think I'm talked out Payton," Seeley said, sliding out from under her and pulling his jeans on. "I'm going to take you home, so let's get dressed."
When Payton saw that no amount of taunting and tempting her with her wiles was going to change his mind, she got dressed in a fit of pique. She refused to speak to him on the drive home and he gave up after a few attempts. Fine by me he thought, I don't want to deal with you anyway. Dropping her at her house, he didn't get out to open the door or walk her up the driveway, as she clearly expected him too. Leaning in towards him through the open window she said in a very controlled voice, "Don't mess with me Seeley Booth, there are hundreds of guys dying to be in the position you are in right now." Slamming the car into Park, Seeley got out of the car and stalked around, he pushed her up against the car and told her, "Than go get one Payton, I'm done. I'm done with you, with us and with this whole little game you like to play, you're mean, you're ignorant and you think that all you have to do is crook your little finger and I'll come running. Well, guess what little girl, I'm done being your punching bag and I'm moving on-oh, and if I were you, I'd do a little more time in the gym and a little less time lunching with the rest of your coven" he added as a mean afterthought. Watching her run up the walk and slam the door, Seeley felt bad for being deliberately cruel to her, he wasn't raised like that. He had just had enough of ultimatums and idle threats.
Deciding he was going to do something he had never done before, he headed over to the Museum. Wondering if she would even be there, he had no idea what time she got off, but it was the only thing he could think of. He knew her last name was Brennan, but didn't know the last name of her foster parents, so he couldn't look her in the phone book. By the time he got there, it was 9:15 and the parking lot was mostly deserted. Seeing a group of people clustered by the three remaining cars, Seeley drove over there and recognized Angela, rolling down his window, he stopped by them, "Hey!-Angela- remember me?" She turned at the unfamiliar car and voice and then broke into a beaming smile, "Yeah-hot guy number one, what's shaking?" she asked leaning into the window.
"Uh.." now that she was here he was at a loss for words, this girl was something, he thought, "I was wondering if you could give me Temperance's phone number?" he said trying to avoid the necklace and what it was resting on, which from this angle is exactly where his eyes were drawn.
"Temperance?-You want Tempe's phone number? She asked warily always protective of her friend, "Why?"
"I want to see if she would like to go out with me sometime" he said, "Is that okay?" he wasn't picking up a friendly vibe anymore. "Tempe doesn't have a phone number to give" she said, "and I wouldn't give it to you unless she said it was okay anyway. Her foster parents won't let her have phone calls from anyone, let alone the BMOC from St. Agony HS-sorry kid."
"What do you mean? She has to have a phone-everybody has a phone!"
"The only phone she has is the one that Lance and Rebecca Sweets own, there is no way they are going to let her use it-I tried to buy her a cell phone and told her she could hide it if she had to, but she was so scared they would find it that she just said no." Angela spent the next couple of minutes outlining the Sweets household and just exactly where in the equation Temperance Brennan fit. "You could say she's the 'step-daughter' of fairy tale fame" she finished.
"How do you get a hold of her?" he asked.
"Well, one of two things, actually; I have the museum call her for me-the Sweets can't say no because they've been in trouble with the state for not allowing her to earn some college credits by working here, so they always let her talk to them and I get a her a message that way, or, she listens to KBRG 91.6 in the evenings between 10-11pm without fail and we have a code. I'll request a song that means something and then she'll request one back to let me know she got it. One song means meet me, one means call me when you can, and one means I'm thinking of you. It's pretty hokey, but so far no one has caught on and this way she gets to interact with her friends here at the museum when she isn't here."
He asked her to request the 'call me when you can' song and tell her that he wanted to talk to her at school on Monday. "Please tell her not to be scared, I just want to talk to her" he asked Angela.
"Okay" Angela said, "I'll tell her, but don't think that is going to change anything. Temperance doesn't trust very many people and if you hurt her, believe me I know people, very big people and I will make sure you never, ever forget what messing with Angela Montenegro is all about-you understand?" she leaned back down into the car, and from the fire blazing in her eyes, he knew she could do it to. Re-assuring the fiery girl that all he wanted to do was talk to her, he gave her his number just in case she heard back from Tempe, "call me anytime, day or night", he said, "I'll leave the phone on."
"Okay, BMOC-I'll give it a shot" she said as she walked over to her own car and said goodbye.
CHAPTER 7 *
"OKAY OKAY IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN EVERYBODY-IT'S GORDON GORDON'S REQUEST HOUR, GET 'EM IN FAST GET 'EM IN HARD AND GET 'EM OUT SATISFIED THAT'S OUR MOTTO-THE REQUEST LINE IS OPEN!"
Hearing the familiar British accent announcing the best part of her night Tempe plugged in her headphones so that her foster parents wouldn't hear the radio. There was a strict rule that after lights out at 9 there was to be no radio or anything in this room. Not that there was anything besides the radio in the sparsely furnished room, a couple of personal items she had carried from home to home, some books and her small cache of school uniforms; there was nothing really else in there. A bed, small desk and dresser made up the rest of the décor. The only things that she would ever regret losing was a picture of her and her brother and their parents, a small plastic pig Angela had given her and a little silver dolphin charm Max had given her when she had worked for the museum for an entire year. She also had a hairbrush that had belonged to her mom and her jean jacket. That had belonged to her brother. She wore it year round, and kept her very personal items in it, her silver charm, pig and headphones. She always felt like he was wrapped around her, protecting her from the world when she wore it.
"THE FIRST REQUEST OF THE NIGHT IS IN… AND IT IS FROM THE LOVELY ANGEL…CALL ME BY BLONDIE!"
The familiar music and lyrics started and Temperance was surprised, Angela wasn't typically the first one through, if anything, she called later in the show because it was easier for Tempe to use the phone that late at night. Quietly creeping out of bed, she went to her door and opened it as silently as she could and only wide enough so that she could see if it was dark in the hall. If the light was off than the odds were pretty good that Lance and Rebecca were in bed. Looking both ways down the hall, the lights were off and their door was closed. Staying to the outside of the hallway where the floor wouldn't creek, Tempe crept to the phone alcove and dialed the familiar number, getting through early in the show was going to be tricky she thought. Tonight however, the spirits were on her side and the first call went straight to the DJ, "GORDON GORDON HERE WHAT CAN I PLAYA FORYA?" he hustled in her ear…barely speaking above a whisper, she said, " Would you play I GOT THE MESSAGE by ZZ TOP?"
"GLAD TO MISSY, THIS MUST BE THE BONE LADY? AM I RIGHT?"
"Yes-it's me, thank you" she hung up quickly and went back to her room. She and Angela had been using this system for over a year and the DJ was used to them calling and requesting the same songs. Most of the time he never even had to ask who it was. She felt close to him somehow, like maybe he could tell something about her from that minor interaction. Although she tried hard not to believe in gut feelings and intuition, something about the anonymous DJ made her feel comforted.
"GOT ANOTHER SONG ON THE HOOK FOR ALL YOU PEOPLE IN RADIO LAND COMING FROM THE BONE LADY IT'S I GOT YOUR MESSAGE FROM ZZ TOP…"
The next morning Rebecca said that she was going to the grocery store to get supplies for the party, she told Temperance to make sure that the kitchen was spotless by the time she got back. She told her that Lance had gone to the golf course early and would not be happy if he came home and it was not done. Nodding to her foster mom, Temperance waited anxiously until she heard the garage door close. Hurrying to the phone, she dialed Angela's phone, hoping that she would be up this early.
"hellooo? Oh- this better be somebody famous or hot…" Angela's sleepy voice picked up on the 3rd ring. "Ange-it's Tempe, what's up?"
"Oh Temper-I'm so glad you called" she immediately launched into the reason for her song choice, "okay so you remember the 4 hotties that came in to the museum yesterday, the younger one wanted that brochure? Well, the one that stayed to talk to you, he cornered me in the museum parking lot last night. I'd gone back to meet Amy and Russ for drinks, and"-
"Are you okay?" Tempe interrupted, "did he hurt you?"
"Oh god no Sweetie, he wanted to talk to you! He was insistent that I give him your phone number, well obviously that isn't going to happen with Mr. and Mrs. Hitler so I promised him that I would get you a message" She said, pausing to yawn, "he asked me to tell you that he wanted to speak to you on Monday at school and not to be afraid, and Bren, he seemed sincere, I mean how many guys would ambush a girl in a museum parking lot just to talk to another girl, and speaking of which, I was looking GOOD last night and he didn't even bat an eye… I think you may have turned someone's head my shy little friend," she finished, obviously enjoying being the messenger.
"Well, I don't know why he would want to talk to me, he doesn't even know who I am" she said surprised. "Well, Temperance, maybe that's why he wants to talk to you, didja ever think of that?" Angela retorted.
Temperance heard the garage door opening and hastily told Angela thank you for the message and hung up-jumping up she ran to the sink and started the water running at the same time she was frantically wiping off the table and trying to put the lid on the jam at the same time. "Didn't your mother tell you to take care of this, this morning?" she heard from the man in the doorway.
"Yes sir-she did" Tempe whispered, her back to the man. "Well, I think that the least you can do is follow simple instructions, I mean, we clothe you, feed you, allow you multiple luxuries and freedoms, and for what, so you can disrespect us in our own home?" his voice was menacing and pounded on her like physical blows. Luckily he had never touched her, his verbal weapons were more damaging, he began to tell her how lucky she was to be there when no one obviously wanted her and how she was troubled and not worthy of adoption, his litany went on and on until Temperance was forced to pull out a happy memory from before her parents left to keep from crying. Crying would make him the victor, he would enjoy seeing her powerless and over the past year and a half she had gotten better at making him win the game less and less. Sometimes he still got through her defenses, but not as often. Finishing up with the dishes, she turned to the man and asked if she may be excused, she had to go to the library to work on her studies. Even though he was just getting revved up, the man acquiesced, after all today was an important day and he didn't want to get a sour stomach. This evening he had to be in tip top shape for the work party they were hosting. Letting her go get her things, he told her as she left, "make sure you are home by 5, you will be necessary to serve the guests."
"Yes sir" she said as she brushed past him to her room, to gather her books and bag. Getting dressed in her hand me down jeans and clean t-shirt she grabbed her things and left through the back door, heading to the library about three miles away. Even with the big dark clouds threatening rain, it was an unseasonably warm day, so still she had her jacket on; she needed it today.
When she got to the library she sunk into her familiar and isolated chair with her books. The chair was back by the rear windows and was seldom ever used; as very few people came to the reference section of the library. She sat with her beloved Anthropology Quest book, written by the esteemed Aristoo Vaziri; and became enthralled with the various customs and curiosities of remote tribes in the Amazon jungle. She was particularly interested in this volume as Dr. Vaziri was going to be a guest speaker along with Dr. Nigel-Murray on Saturday.
Lost in the book, Tempe didn't realize it had started to rain and rather hard. Had she noticed, she would have known to leave a little early so that she could take the bus. Her alarm went off on her watch at 4pm and she looked up and outside at the pouring rain. Cursing a little she knew she was not going to be able to get home without being completely soaked, which would mean that she was going to catch hell when she got there. Loading her books up in her bag and pulling her jacket tight she went to the front door of the library hoping that the bus would be pulling in, after waiting for 10 precious minutes past the pickup time posted on the window of the bus stop, she began to walk home. She walked as fast as she could, avoiding puddles and the spray from passing cars. She was about 100 yards from her house and thought she would have a chance to make it and not be too overly wet when a car drove by and purposely nailed her with curb spray. She didn't see the driver, but recognized the car; it was a purple Audi and belonged to one Payton Perotta.
Great, just great, she thought, rushing the last few yards she tried in vain to get the dirty water off of her, while still avoiding the clean water from the sky. Rushing through the kitchen door and skidding on the linoleum, she went down hard and banged her forehead on the kitchen table. "Look what you've done!" Rebecca screamed at her and pointed to the streak of water across the floor, "get upstairs and get cleaned up and then come back down here, our guests will be here any minute. Honestly Temperance, you're worthless sometimes." Holding her head and cringing from the pain in her knee as she hurried up the stairs she went straight to her room, she grabbed a towel and dried her hair as quickly as she could. Taking the wet towel, she went to the bathroom and washed off the dried blood from the bump on her forehead and washed her hands. Changing her clothes, she noticed her knee was black already and very puffy. She dry swallowed two aspirins and headed downstairs to help make her foster dad's night the best it could be.
The next day she was woken up by the buzz of the alarm clock at 6am. Knowing that Lance and Rebecca were going to take the day off after their late night, she turned off the alarm immediately to avoid waking them up. Her whole body ached, her nose was stuffy and there was a huge bolt of pain in her knee when she tried to stand and walk to the bathroom. Looking at herself when she got in there she almost cried out. Her forehead had turned a lovely shade of blue and slightly red around the edges of the bruise, the shallow cut in the center looked like a cruelly drawn smile. Her eyes were puffy from lack of sleep; the party hadn't ended until well after 2 AM. Her sinuses were stuffed up and she could feel her chest was tight as well. Fabulous, now on top of looking like the bride of Frankenstein I'm getting a cold she thought getting into the shower. That actually proved to be pretty tricky as it was difficult to bend her knee. What a mess I am she thought, allowing the tears to fall. She worked so hard to keep them in that it shamed her when she let her guard down and actually cried. Halfway through the timed shower, Rebecca and Lance were sticklers for conservation; she remembered that Seeley Booth was going to try to talk to her today. Well, if that just doesn't make my day worse…getting out of the shower she did the best she could with her hair to cover the bruise and there was no getting rid of the circles.
Slowly she shuffled back to her bedroom to get the hated uniform on. She had asked for slacks when she first started at St. Agnes School and was told that she needed to wear the traditional uniform. So, the requisite plaid skirt and white knee socks, black loafers and white button down shirt with a plaid tie. Unfortunately, she had grown taller not wider, so although he skirt still fit her, it was a little shorter than she was comfortable with, but Rebecca refused to buy her any others as these all still fit. With the shiner on her forehead, the bruised and puffy knee, red nose and swollen eyes Temperance looked like a cross between a bad catholic school stereotype and Rocky Balboa's latest victim. Well, it's the best I can do she thought as she headed outside to wait for the bus to take her to school. It's only two more years of sheer hell before I graduate anyway right? She sighed.
Waiting for the bus she was glad to see that today looked like there wasn't going to be any rain that was a relief, which meant that she may be able to go read under the trees by the field. She tried to get out there as often as possible and with the incoming fall and winter weather, it looked like it was going to be harder and harder to do. She enjoyed being outside and although not particularly athletic herself, she did secretly like to watch the field scrimmages that went on at lunch. She liked watching both the girls and the boys practice and envied them their comfort and obvious skill at their various sports. She didn't understand any of the rules to them, and didn't know really what each one was, except for football. She knew a little about that game because her dad and brother had both been fans and she remembered watching the games with them. Plus, once she and Max had watched a college game in his office last fall. It was one of her favorite memories of the friendly museum scientist. His team had lost, but he had thoroughly enjoyed trying to make her understand the intricacies of the game. This, come to think of it is how she knew Seeley was a running back, couldn't tell you what that position entailed, but knew that's what he was.
School was the typical torture; sophomores weren't ranked high in the hierarchy of school. They were slightly better than the freshman, but we're more of a nuisance than anything to the other class levels. She usually just tried to make it from class to class without being seen and was pretty successful for the most part. Not today, it seemed everyone noticed her, either for her limp or her forehead, or the sneezing fit she had in the hallway where she dropped her books. No one offered to help her pick them up, instead just walked around her. Heading back to her locker to grab her history book and her lunch the bell rang signaling the class change for seniors. They were on a different schedule than the rest of the classes, and normally she could avoid them, but today with the bumps and bruises was a little too slow getting out of the hallway that they commandeered each day. "Well…looky looky" drawled a sarcastic voice, "looks like there's a sophomore who didn't know which way to go"
Turning her head to look, Temperance looked right into the eyes of Payton Perrota, who after her disastrous weekend was spoiling for a fight. "Oh my god!" she laughed, "look at you, what happened doll? What a train wreck!" Payton walked around her laughing and pointing, which caused the rest of the seniors to turn and see what all the commotion was. Feeling like she was suffocating Tempe just kept her head up and tried to squeeze by the crowd. However, the crowd was feeding off of Payton and wouldn't let her get past. "Well hon, what was it? Come on, you can tell mama Payton, what happened?"
"LET HER THROUGH" Seeley's voice was loud and clear and the crowd moved as one when he walked into the center where Payton was corralling Temperance up against the lockers. "Well Seeley Booth-looks like you are making a habit of rescuing misfits," Payton trilled, "might want to look into that, you might get the wrong kind of reputation" she finished smirking.
"Too late for that Payton, my reputation was ruined when I kept dating you" he said walking towards where Temperance was standing. The crowd all started to jeer and laugh and Payton threw her bag at him, barely missing. "You jerk! You'll pay for that!" she screamed at him, while Daisy and Caroline had arrived to keep their friend from doing any more damage. "Oh-I'm sure I will" he said over his shoulder. Carefully taking Tempe by the arm, he said, "Come on, let me help you get out of here" leading her down the hallway the crowd drifted to the sides to allow them easy passage.
Knowing that she wouldn't get out of there alone, she allowed him to lead her down the hall to the outside doors.
Once they were outside, the warmth of the day and the incredibly bright sky momentarily disorientated Temperance, realizing abruptly that he was still holding her arm, she jerked back and blinked owlishly up at the tall boy. "Thanks again, I guess", she said, "If you aren't careful you really will get a reputation for saving the misfit toys."
Smiling down at her, he replied, "I don't mind, it wasn't that big of a deal-Payton is just mad because we broke up this past weekend and she hadn't had the chance to spin the 'poor me' web. I just announced to the entire senior class something she wasn't happy about."
"You broke up with Payton Perotta?" she squeeked, "wow-you really do have a death wish" she finished, "she's been after me for over a year and all I ever did was breathe her air, I can't imagine what she'll do to you."
He snorted and grinned, "I'll be fine, it's cute though that you're concerned"
Yanked back to reality for a moment, she blushed and said, "It's not that I'm concerned, just, well…um..Why did you want to talk to me anyway? Angela said that you wanted to talk to me?" she dragged herself back to the moment and asked.
She noticed the exact moment he had let go of her arm, it was still tingling somewhat, and when he'd been holding it, it was sizzling. Starting to turn towards the school yard, she started to walk with him, although not as close as he would have liked. He'd been watching her speak and noticed that her hair had red sparks in it, her skin was perfectly smooth and he eyes were so blue. He'd felt a crushing pressure in his chest and his jeans and wasn't sure which one confused him more. "Do you like football?" he asked. His carefully prepared and often agonized speech completely forgotten.
"Football?" she asked "Um, I guess so, I don't really watch it much, I used to but not anymore" she said not understanding. "Why do you ask?"
"We have a game on Friday, here at home and I thought, well, maybe you'd like to come watch me play?" he stammered. Watch him play? Geez Seeley, that's smooth he thought.
"Oh- I don't think I can, I don't have a lot of free time and I'm not sure that I would know what I was watching anyway, but thanks." Wondering if this was going to be the end of their conversation, she looked across the field towards the trees with a longing expression.
Mistaking her expression he said, "Why not? Do you have to work? It's okay if you don't understand it; I can explain it to you?"
Deciding that she might as well be brutally honest, she had nothing to lose, she looked up at him and said, "I'm not sure what kind of dork outreach program you've got going on here, but I don't think that I'm available to be your guinea pig, so thank you again for rescuing me from the dragon Perotta, but I'm going to let you off the hook." She turned to walk away when her arm began to sizzle again.
"Dork outreach program?" he said with a twinkle in his eye, "I've never heard of that one before, I actually thought you might enjoy the game, we're playing for the wild card to enter the playoffs and it should be pretty exciting. Maybe Angela can come with you?" AHHHH…that's it she thought, he actually wants Angela. "Listen, I'll ask her if she wants to go to your game, but I still can't go" she told him. "Look-let's start over" he said. "My name is Seeley Booth, and you are?" Holding his hand toward her he nodded at her to answer. She decided to play along, she could worry about it later, "my name is Temperance Brennan, and it's nice to meet you."
"Temperance, it's nice to meet you too, and that's an interesting name, does it mean something?" he asked, lightly squeezing her outstretched hand. "It means, 'Moderation'" she grinned up at him, "so, nothing as exotic as you would think, what does Seeley mean?"
"It means, 'happy or fortunate' it's a family name" he ended with a wry twist of his mouth. "Most of the time I go by Booth, I don't really like being called Seeley."
"Well", she said, "I like it" feeling flushed with pleasure he smiled at her in full, "thanks."
"So where do you normally sit?" he asked. "Sit?" her brow creased in confusion. "Yes-sit, its lunch time right" indicating her lunch bag with a nod, "aren't you going to eat?"
Stunned, she had forgotten that they were standing outside the doors to the HS and it was indeed lunch time. She'd started to feel comfortable around him and was actually looking forward to talking more, which really scared her because she just wasn't a people person. Especially, when the person in question was the hottest guy at school.
"Oh-well, over by the trees on the far side of the field" she said pointing slightly, "I like to read, or watch the scrimmages." Crooking his elbow towards her, he said, "the trees it is then."
"You don't have to do this you know?" she said again. "I know what I have to do and what I don't believe me, Temperance, let's just go eat okay? We'll talk a little, maybe laugh once or twice, no one gets hurt, no one gets bit, what do you say?"
Thinking to herself she wanted to scream YES I say YES but still wanting to hold onto the little shred of self respect she had left, she just whispered, "Okay" and put her arm in his. Together they walked down the outdoor stairs and towards the field.
Neither one of them had any idea that they were being watched like prey from a certain blonde hawk…
Once they got to the trees Temperance started to panic. With her banged up knee, too short skirt and his proximity she wasn't sure how she was even going to sit, let alone eat her lunch. When they got there, he sat down and waited for her to join him, she started to slide down and then changed her mind and began to kneel and then standing up again in frustration, she kind of looked around to see if there was a way she could just fall with grace. Realizing her dilemma, he stood up and took his letter jacket off. Laying it down on the ground, he stood in front of her and took both her hands. Raising her shocked eyes to his she said, "What are you doing?" "Trust me, I'll hold you, you lean back and you'll land right on my jacket" "Why?" she asked. Blowing out his breath in exasperation he said, "Just trust me okay?" Deciding all she could do was a bruise on her butt if it didn't work; she started to lean back and felt his arms absorb her weight. Light as feather she touched down on his still warm jacket.
Opening his lunch and indicating she should do the same, he sat down and asked her, "so, what exactly happened to you? An exhibit fall or something?"
Slowly trying to speak and eat at the same time, she told him of running through her kitchen and sliding into the table, brushing her bangs down to hide the bruise. "Don't do that, you'll make it worse" he said reaching up and lightly pushing her bangs out of her face. While they were both a little shy during the awkward exchange they began to loosen up and started talking in earnest about everything. He asked about working at the museum, what she wanted to go to school for, how long she had lived in town and seemed genuinely interested in her responses. He told her about playing football and hockey, living with his grandparents, his brother. They talked for the entire lunch break, both of them relaxed and feeling a connection. All too soon the bell rang and Temperance was frantic at how she was now going to stand up. "Not to worry", Seeley said reading her mind, "I'll help". He once again stood over her and leaned down to grab her hands, "Just let me pull you" he said, he tugged on her hands and she stood straight up but stumbled slightly and fell into his chest. "Oh sorry" she whispered, looking up, "it's okay" he said his voice slightly husky. They began to walk back to the school and when they got there, he said, "I have to go to gym, where are you going?"
"I have biology then I'm done for the day, it's one of the perks of being in accelerated classes" she said smiling at him, "I'll go to work after that."
"Well then, smart girl, lunch tomorrow?" he winked. She looked down and then away and then back to him, "you don't have to have lunch with me you know."
Seeley reached out and tipped her chin with his finger, leaning in close he said, "Temperance, let's just get this out into the open, how about you stop telling me what I don't have to do-I know what I have to do and what I don't, and right now, I have to know if you will have lunch with me tomorrow?" staring earnestly into her eyes she was able to see the slightly pleading look he was giving her.
"Okay Seeley, lunch tomorrow sounds nice" she answered shyly, "thank you".
"My pleasure kid, have a good one and I'll see you tomorrow" he said as the 2nd reminder bell rang, turning to jog away, he looked back over his shoulder and said, "Be safe tonight after work", and with that he was gone.
Temperance hurried to biology, for once not dreading the next 90 minutes spent with the senior class. She didn't have time to grab her book, but as it was mostly review today she would be okay with her notes and smiling a little she shuffled off to class.
Her Biology teacher was a big fan of allowing students to choose their own seats as a metaphor for making good life choices. She believed that by allowing them to seat themselves by their friends, she was allowing them to learn at their own pace. Most of the time all it allowed the kids to do was continue their lunch time discussions or plan their weekends. The popular kids sat together and did mostly nothing, the smart kids sat together and tried to learn what they could and the rest of them just tried to stay under her radar. Today when she got to class, Temperance was dismayed to see that her usual seat in the back was full, and the only available seat was in the front row, right next to Payton. Sighing at the futility of it all she walked up front and sat down. She looked straight ahead and tried to ignore all the eyes on the back of her head, the whispers that had started when she came in, and most of all the hostility of the girl next to her. Wondering where the teacher was, she was actually a little scared and flinched slightly when Payton leaned in to her and said, "Hey little girl, I saw you with my boyfriend. It's okay though, he's allowed to slum it a little, you're not the first little tramp he's chased since we've been together, I hope you know though, he always comes back to me, so don't get your panties in a twist. Enjoy him while you can" she finished in a whisper as the teacher came in. Temperance's heart stopped when Payton began to speak and her throat was tight when she finished, I knew it she thought, that's what happens when you let your guard down. Thinking there was no way she was going to have lunch with him tomorrow, she turned her attention to the white board and tried to get through the next 90 minutes without letting Payton see that she had gotten to her.
After the biology class that had seemed to last 90 days rather than minutes, Temperance stowed her books that she didn't need for homework, stuffed her bag with those that she did and headed off to work. She often cut across the back practice field, as it made the walk a little shorter to the bus stop. This time when she got there, she could see that football practice had started a little earlier than usual. Oh- it must be because of the game on Friday she reasoned. Head down she walked in front of the bleachers and breathed a deep sigh of relief to see that the cheerleaders hadn't made it out there yet. But he was.
At that moment Seeley felt the urge to stop watching the QB and look to his right. Seeing her, his heart lightened a little. He saw her glance over and felt her eyes land on him. Pushing his helmet up, he smiled and waved to her. Not enough the guys would ride him the rest of practice, but enough to let her know he saw her. Instead of the smile he anticipated and maybe a wave back, she abruptly turned her head and looking down began to walk faster. He moved away from the huddle to watch her walk down the access path towards the road. What the hell was that about, he wondered? Did I do something since lunch? Blowing his breath out hard, he decided this was going to be a lot harder than he thought. He hadn't had to work so hard to get a girl to like him since, well, since never. Pulling his helmet back on, he sidestepped back into the huddle and pretended to know his route. Hoping he could figure it out before the snap so that he didn't crushed; he forced his mind back to football.
Temperance kept stealing glances over to where the team was huddled, she didn't know which one was which until he stepped away from the group and raised his helmet to look at her. She saw the smile on his face and when he waved to her, her knuckles turned white with the grip she kept on her notebook to keep from waving back. She looked quickly away and hurried to the bus stop. She wasn't going to let him get to her; he'd already gotten too close.
Once the lumbering bus made its way to the Museum, she was once again somewhat back to her normal self. Looking forward to a night of quiet and wondering what exhibit she would be assigned to, she almost didn't hear Angela calling her name from the parking lot.
"Sweetie! Hey-Temperance" she called walking briskly over to the bottom of the entrance stairs where Tempe had finally stopped. "OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Instantly on the defense and adopting a mama lion persona, Angela brushed her hair away from her forehead and looked at her bruise, as well as the one on her knee. Temperance told her all about the slipping on the floor and told her that it really did look worse than it felt. For some reason ever since Seeley had touched her forehead, her headache had gone from pulsating to a minor hum. "Well as long as you are okay-how did it go with studly?" she asked with a wink. "Was it all fiery passion and nonstop lovin?"
"Hardly Ange-he saved me from Perotta again, we talked about a lot of different stuff at lunch, he went to class, I went to class, Payton told me he slummed all the time and not to get my hopes up and I came here. That was pretty much it." she tried, but couldn't keep the hurt from her voice.
"Okay-so what I'm hearing here is you've already decided you aren't going to try this because the girl who has been trying to hurt, humiliate and basically make your life hell for the past year told you to back off? Is that what is going on?" she asked as they walked into the museum. "You know how ridiculous that sounds right? What did you think she was going to say, 'hey-take my boyfriend, you deserve him I hope you're very happy?' of course not! She's mad because he left her, and she's decided that she is going to get him back and use you to do it!" Angela turned on Temperance and said, "Bren-I love you to pieces but sometimes you can be so naïve. I can't believe you would think she had your best interests at heart." They both went into the locker rooms and changed into their uniforms. "At first break, you come find me and we will have a little dating 101 ala Angela Montenegro, okay?" giving her friend a quick hug Angela hurried downstairs to start her shift. Meanwhile, Temperance felt like she'd just been thrown into a washing machine, she didn't know what to do now, sighing, she gathered her supplies and headed to the assignment board to see which room she was going to be in. Great-she thought bitterly, I'm in the Olympic Room, surrounded by the ancient Greeks and the early Olympian Games should take my mind off of a handsome football player I know. Knowing there was no way out of it, she headed up to get to work, already dreading her dating 101 class…
Two hours later, Angela came upstairs and rapped on the window pane to get her attention. Temperance knew that telling Angela she was busy wasn't going to work, so she figured she'd let her do all the talking and 30 minutes later she could go back to work.
"Okay hon; tell me EVERYTHING-from the first words to the last words spoken today, by all three of you." Angela told her once they were in the same room and seated on the fake Coliseum steps. For the next 10 minutes Temperance told her friend what had gone on, even about his picking her up, their touches, everything. "Wow-that's hot" Angela said fanning herself off and motioning for Temperance to continue. She finally wound down and said, and that's the last thing that happened. "Well, we have a little bit of damage control, but not as bad as I would have thought" she told her. "Tomorrow, when you get to school, he will come up to you at some point and ask what happened, be honest, tell him his tramp of an ex girlfriend told you to leave him alone, you panicked and decided to do that. Then you apologize to him this time and tell him that you aren't interested in leaving him alone and if he wants to hang out with you that he better be on the level or you are going to just walk away right then and there.-Now, he could respond in one or two ways", she put her hand up to stop Tempe from interrupting, "1st way, he could say something along the lines of 'we just had lunch, not picking out rings or anything thanks drama queen and maybe this wasn't a good idea' if he does, smile, hold your head up and walk away. If its option number 2, he will tell you that Payton is full of it, to ignore her and he would like to keep getting to know you. If that's the way it pans out, smile, look him in the eye and tell him you'd be interested in getting to know him too, tell him you'll meet him for lunch and then go to class-understand?" she finished.
"I think so" Temperance said, "but what if neither of those happens and he doesn't look for me, or I don't get the chance to talk to him? Do I search him out?"
"Believe me Sweetie, mama Ange has been around these waters for a lot longer than you, and he'll seek you out" She said with an exaggerated gypsy accent. "Angela-you're only 3 years older than I am you know, you can't have been around that much!" Tempe said with a slight giggle.
"Honey-I was in Europe for 2 years by myself when I was your age and believe me, American boys are a piece of cake compared to the neurotic Europeans!" she laughed and winked.
"We'd both better get back to work", Tempe said. She loved Angela like a sister and was so glad that they had met. She didn't know what she would have done without her. Agreeing and telling her to wait for her after her shift ended, Angela left her to go back downstairs.
At 8:45 when the museum started to prepare to close for the evening, Tempe headed downstairs to drop off her supplies, get her things and meet Angela. "Hey hon-you want a ride home?" Angela asked her, pulling her hair up into a tight bun and adjusting her bustier. "No-you look like you have plans tonight" Tempe told her, "I'll take the bus."
"Okay babe-suit yourself, I'm going to go show some college boys what their missing at Jiggle tonight-wish me luck!" she said with a leer and a wink. Laughing at her friend, Tempe reminded her to be careful and hugged her goodbye.
Walking out with the rest of the employees shortly after 9, Temperance was surprised to see Seeley leaning against the hood of an older model Explorer. "Temperance?" he asked quietly, standing up and walking towards her. She wasn't worried, Russ and Amy were standing under the streetlight if she needed to yell, she didn't think he would do anything anyway; he looked like a lost puppy, his hands in his pockets. "What happened today?" he asked, "Didn't you see me at practice? I waved to you."
Temperance decided to take the plunge and tell him everything. She saw the bus come and go out of the corner of her eye and decided that she was going to be in trouble for something anyway, might as well just get it over with. When she was done speaking his jaw was tight and he had his arms crossed over his chest. He looked so intimidating that Temperance took a step back. "I can't believe she said that to you" he said cold fury in his voice, "I have NEVER cheated on her, NEVER. I never would, I believe in monogamy. She has cheated on me tons of times, but I have never done it. Regardless of what she has told you, I have no intention of getting back together with her. To be honest, I don't know why I've stayed as long as I have. We have nothing in common, aside from sex there is nothing there." On the word sex, Brennan blushed; she had never even had a first kiss let alone anything else. I am so out of my league she thought. Seeing her blush, he stopped and took her hand, "Look, I um, I like you, you're nice, you're a tough little chick and you're beautiful. I'd like to get to know you better and I'm willing to take as much time to do that as necessary, I think there has to be some give and take on both sides though" bending down, he looked her right in the eyes and continued, "I promise you Temperance, I'm not using you to get back at Payton or anyone else, I won't do that. Will you trust me?"
Later when she thought about it and everything that had changed in that one moment Temperance still had no idea what made her say, "yes, I trust you Seeley" with such conviction. He smiled and reached out to hug her, pulling her close she felt like she was coming home. He smelled like Irish Spring and Sandlewood and was so warm, his chest so hard she wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest, it felt so right. A few minutes went by and he leaned his head down to her, the age old instinct to lean into him for that first kiss overwhelmed her. Still, she fought it and stepped back, leaving him with a surprise on his face. Haltingly she said, "I'm sorry, I have to go home now, I'm already late and missed my bus, so I really need to leave, I'll see you tomorrow?"
"How about I drop you off?" he said, "It's my fault you're late anyway."
"Okay-thank you" she smiled up at him; he helped her to the car and opened the door for her. The drive to her house was short and silent, both of them lost in thought, both of them were glad that he came by the museum and both were thinking of the almost kiss. Too quickly they reached her house and she started to get out of the car. He came around the side and opened the door for her and said, "I'll wait til you get inside, and Temperance?"
"Yes?" she said getting out of the car.
"You'll see me tomorrow" he told her smiling the little half smile that she was rapidly beginning to imagine was for her alone.
"Okay-thank you for the ride" and before either of them could stop, she reached up and kissed his cheek and hurried up the walk to her house. Going inside without looking back, she didn't see him reach up and touch his cheek, her kiss burning his flesh as though he had been branded. He grinned and thought to himself, I am so going to see you tomorrow little girl.
Once she was inside, Lance and Rebecca met her in the entry way. "Where were you?" they both asked, "the museum closed 45 minutes ago, it's a 10 minute bus ride from there to here" Rebecca said scathingly, "Were you even at work? Who dropped you off? We heard the car door, was it that Angela? What is going on Temperance Brennan?"
Hoping like hell she could get through this Tempe did something she had never done in her life, she looked both of them in the face and said, the museum closed as usual tonight and there was a short staff meeting, it wasn't on my original schedule, so I didn't know about it until this afternoon when I got there, I would have called, but I didn't know that it would go so long. I got a ride home with Max Keenan; he's one of the scientists there. You can call him to confirm if you want, he will be at the museum tomorrow." Hoping that they couldn't hear her heart pounding from where they were standing and that they would buy the story, she started to go upstairs, "I have some homework, so I will have my light on for a little longer" she said softly walking past them. "Well young lady, we will call tomorrow to make sure that you are telling the truth, we won't have liars here in this house, and you may have your light on for one half hour. No more. Understood?"
"Yes ma'am, yes sir" she said going to her room. By the time she got there she had stopped trembling and had a small smile on her face. Nothing they could say would take away the feeling that threatened to envelope her tonight. She had never been so bold before and when her lips met his cheek, she felt like there had been a liquid fire connection. Her face must have been as red as a tomato, but she didn't care, she had made the first move. Tomorrow she would worry about calling Max and filling him in, she felt terrible about the lie and involving her friend, but she also felt like it was a necessary evil and she would make it up to him somehow.
She turned her radio on, put in her headphones and started her homework. She would need the flashlight tonight it would seem. There was a lot more than a half hour's worth, oh well, she'd be tired tomorrow but for some reason, her evening was energizing her. Listening to the radio Tempe got a huge shock when she heard this from her favorite radio personality:
IT LOOKS LIKE WE HAVE A VERY SPECIAL DEDICATION TONIGHT GOING OUT TO THE BONE LADY, IT'S FROM THE BMOC, WONDERFUL TONIGHT BY MR. ERIC CLAPTON HIMSELF…ENJOY BONE LADY!
The acoustic melody wove a web of serenity and peace that Tempe wanted to sink into. She felt the tears prick her eyes and sighed, listening to the familiar voice she was transported into two directions at once. The first, to when she still had her family, her parents were huge Eric Clapton fans and had all of his albums, both solo and with his various groups, the second, to tonight when she saw the man behind the boy of Seeley Booth.
The next day it was slightly easier to get ready for school, although still black, blue and puffy her knee seemed to have more movement in it, and already the bruise on her forehead was beginning to turn yellow around the edges. She went downstairs to breakfast and as usual, her foster parents ignored her until the last possible second, as she was leaving Lance said, "You'll be on time this evening we trust? No impromptu meetings or anything?"
"Yes sir, I will" she said, closing the door and heading to the bus stop. As soon as she got to school she made a beeline for the office and dialed Max's direct line. Surprisingly he answered it himself, "Max Keenan" his voice brusque. "Max? Hi, it's Tempe" she started, hoping he wasn't mad. Hearing her voice, he instantly melted and said, "Hello sweetheart, why are you calling so early, are you okay?"
Temperance told him that she was fine and about the lie she had told last night and would he be mad? Max assured her that he would never be mad for something like that, in fact he would let a couple of other people in on the "impromptu meeting" just in case they decided to talk to other people, he assured her that they could be trusted and he wasn't worried about it. Thanking him, she knew there was a reason he meant so much to her. Next to Angela, he was the closest thing to a real family she had.
Temperance headed off to her locker and saw a piece of paper sticking out of the top grate. Afraid to see who it was from, her heart crashed into her stomach. Pulling it out and looking around to see if she was being watched, she slowly opened it. All it said was "it was wonderful" and it was signed BMOC. Grinning like a loon, she stuffed the note into her inner jacket pocket and grabbed what she needed for first block. For the first time in the 2 years that she had attended St. Agnes HS she was looking forward to something. Well, someone.
Classes dragged on today and she was more than ready for lunchtime when it arrived. She wasn't sure where to meet him, so she figured she would just head down to the trees, hopefully he would come down there too. When she got there, he was already there and jumped up and smiled at her. Offering her his jacket to sit on again, he told her he'd help her sit if she wanted to again, she blushed slightly and said she thought she could manage it. The awkwardness between them was tangible and neither of them quite knew what to do or say to break the tension. Finally, he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and said, "There, now we're even!" laughing they settled into chatting about this that and everything. He told her about his favorite hockey team, about his scholarship to the University, and some pretty funny stories of being part of the football and hockey teams at St. Agnes. He asked her about Anthropology, the museum and what her favorite kind of music was. They bounced all over subject wise and on a whim, he asked, "Temperance, I've been meaning to ask you, why do you wear that jacket all the time?" thinking that she wouldn't tell him because it was a hand me down, or thrift store purchase or something, he was really surprised when she said, "it's my brother's and it's all I have left. I feel like if I have it on, then he is with me, and I'm not as lonely and scared anymore. I guess it's like a security blanket, lame huh?" she said, not meeting his eyes.
He said, "It's not lame and I think that it makes perfect sense to me" he scooted over closer to her and leaning towards her he said, "We all have to believe in something and I'm glad you have this to believe in-and I hope you know, you don't have to be lonely or scared when I'm around you" she looked up suddenly and was surprised to see how close he really was. Seeing her deer in the headlight look and not wanting to take advantage of her, he leaned back and cleared his throat and said, "Angela told me that you don't have a phone and about your radio code, I hope you don't mind?" she shook her head and said, "I don't mind, it was nice what you did last night, that's one of my favorite songs."
"I want you to have this," he said, handing her a piece of paper, "It's my cell and home phone number, if you ever need anything, please call me. I know Angela is your best friend and she seems like a really protective person, but I'd like to know if you need anything too, ok?" taking the slip of paper she promised to call him if she needed anything. Hearing the bell, they gathered up their things and headed back to the school. "Biology right?" he asked her when they got closer, "yeah-I guess I'd better hurry too, otherwise there is no telling who I'll be sitting by in class"
"If Payton says anything to you or gives you any problems, or if any of her nosy henchmen do, will you let me know?" he asked, genuine concern in his voice and etched onto his features, "I will, but I think if I just go back to ignoring her she may leave me alone" giving a little wave he watched her hurry off to class. Don't bet on it kid, he thought, Payton won't let anything go. Thinking he may want to have a little talk with Ms. Perotta sooner rather than later. I won't let you hurt her Payton.
In order to prepare for the big game on Friday, the gym hour was when the football team started practice this week, so Booth hustled off to the locker room and was changing into his practice gear with a big loopy grin on his face when Fischer slid on his knees in front of him, hands on his chest blinking his eyes in a dramatic way. "Oh Seeley, oh oh" he laughed and jumped up, giving Wendell a fist bump, he looked at Booth and asked him, "So what's going on man? You and Payton really done?"
"Yep-we're done, I can't deal with her crap anymore" he answered, pulling on his shoulder pads, "besides what's it to you two? Caroline can use her mom's car, so you won't have to give up any time with Daisy or Caroline-and apparently it won't take long for Payton to find some other sucker"
"Just watch your back man, Payton doesn't think you guys are done, she's explained it to all of us more than once about how you are going through a phase and you'll be back when you're done bustin' a nut on the new girl. She's out for blood too, just so you know." Fischer told him suddenly serious. Seeley had been his friend since they were in 3rd grade and he felt like it was his place to tell him. None of them were overly sentimental being 18 year old kids, but that's a long time to hang out with someone to not care a little.
"We really didn't want to say anything, Payton made us promise, but dude-she's ruthless on the subject-so be careful" Wendell added, new man to the friends but still willing to have their backs.
"Thanks guys", Seeley said standing up and cracking his back to the left and right, "I think I can handle all 5'2 125 lbs of Payton Perotta" he chucked them on their shoulders and the three of them headed out to the field. I hope so, Wendell thought, you haven't heard what she's been talking about. Actually worried that something bad could happen and wondering if he should tell someone, he wrestled with getting his mind on practice, Coach Hodgins did not take pity on anyone and wouldn't think twice about making him run all practice, and he was on defense for Pete's sake!
Remarkably Biology was a smooth class for Tempe today, Payton and her harem were all scuttled together up front and Tempe's regular seat was empty in the back. Using her book as a cover, she brought out the note, and re-read it, a flush creeping up her face and making her chest tight at the simple words. She wasn't paying attention and had no idea what they talked about in class; she kept reaching over to touch the paper and staring wistfully outside the window. Her mind was swirling and her body was reacting to these unfamiliar feelings. She wanted to talk to Angela, even though she wasn't working today, she thought maybe if she called Angela and told her she needed her she'd come in. Hoping that Angela didn't have plans tonight, she decided to call her after class before she went to the bus stop.
Making the call, Temperance felt bad that she couldn't ask someone at the school, she'd never really had a friend before Angela. She talked to girls and interacted with the other students occasionally, but was never really a part of a friendship. She always felt like she was on the outside looking in, part of that was her own natural shyness and awkwardness, part of it was the life she'd led for the past few years. It was hard for her to trust anyone. Getting through to Angela she was more than happy to come meet the girl before her shift and talk to her, "just let me finish my hair, and I'll be right there" Angela told her, "Oh no rush, I still have to wait for the bus, so it'll be at least a half hour" Temperance said.
"No way" Angela replied, "I'll pick you up at school and that will give us more time to talk, I'll be there in 15" she hung up and Temperance was left listening to the dial tone. She went to her locker and put her books away, for once no homework, so she'd be able to get some sleep tonight after work. She actually only had to be there from 3:30 to 7 tonight, so was going to have some free time after that. It never failed, on the nights she worked to close; she had homework, on the early nights nothing. Which meant a whole lot of time spent avoiding the Sweets until she could be excused to her room. Unfortunately they were very persistent about "family time" and she could rarely get out of it. They thought they were bonding with her, but instead they spent hours picking her apart and pointing out her many and varied flaws described as helpful criticism. Sighing and shrugging her shoulders, Brennan went to meet her friend by the back entrance. Although not as recognizable as her father, Angela was still a pretty popular person in her own right and she preferred to not cause a scene out in front of the school.
Walking past the football field again Temperance was carefully peeking to her left to see if she could see him again. Recognizing him this time, he was running with the football. Just then he was tackled and forced to the ground. The coaches starting yelling and there were whistles blowing as the action on the field stopped and everyone ran to where the players were standing around. "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT CHARLIE?-we don't tackle our own guys, remember? Touch to end the play, why would we take out our own team you dumb-A$$?" Coach Hodgins was livid. Shaking his head and getting up, Seeley tossed the ball to his coach and said, "Coach-I'm fine, Charlie tackles like a girl, it's no wonder we have so many missed blocks" he smiled grimly at the junior with an unspoken promise to get him back. "Let's just run the play again" he said, catching his breath and starting to head back to the huddle. As Coach Hodgins cleared the field, Seeley saw her watching, her hand over her mouth and her eyes wide with terror, deciding he was going to risk it, he changed course and jogged over.
"Hi Temperance" he said when he got there. She dragged her eyes slowly up his body to his face, "are you okay?" she whispered, still in shock. "Hey little girl, I'm just fine" he told her recognizing the fear in her eyes, "that happens to me all the time" reaching out to touch her cheek he made her look at him, "don't worry, go to work, I'll be fine okay?" Coach Hodgins was blowing the whistle and yelling at him to get his $$ back to the huddle. Seeley leaned over and kissed her on the cheek and said goodbye over his shoulder as he ran back to the rest of his team. He accepted all the taunts and teasing the guys handed him good naturedly and snapping his helmet back on, was able to slightly hide the blush on his cheeks and the wide grin. Temperance started to walk away, but reached up to touch her cheek wondering if it burned as much on the outside as it did on the inside.
"TEMPE- Temperance, over here!" she heard Angela calling. Looking over she saw her friend was leaning out of the T-Top of a black Firebird. She was waving at her and was getting a lot of attention from the stragglers who also had early release. Her hair was up in a faux hawk and was tipped with silver, along with the black tank top, silver jacket and black leggings she looked like she was going to perform on stage, not hang out with a 16 year old girl and give her dating advice. Smiling at her friend and her outlandish appearance, Tempe hurried over to get in the same car. "Tell me EVERYTHING" Angela ordered her, starting the car and spinning a donut to get out of the parking lot. Temperance giggled and started to tell her everything that had happened since he had met her outside of work the day before.
After practice and the requisite butt chewing he got for his little kiss, Seeley was heading home when he decided to stop by the museum. He thought maybe he'd be able to see Temperance even if he couldn't talk to her. When he got there Angela had her head down and was looking over a stack of brochures in front of her, "Hey Angel-" he said sidling up beside her, "where's Tempe?"
"Hello BMOC, whats up? Tempe is upstairs cleaning the…"she stopped to peek over the desk at the schedule hidden out of public view, "she is in the white house room, 3rd floor. I've got a tour to take up there in about 10 minutes, so tag along and I'll drop you off in that exhibit, ok?"
"Hey thanks-she won't get in trouble will she? I know the exhibits she cleans are closed"
"Nah-she'll be fine, just be quick when I open the door"
"Angela-did she mention anything to you about going to the football game on Friday? I asked her on Monday and she said she didn't think she could, but she was going to talk to you and see…she hasn't said anything, and I didn't want to push her." He asked, somewhat shyly. Man, he thought, Angela is gorgeous, it's a good thing she's too much car for me.
"In fact Boothy she did mention it, she told me about it today in fact, I told her if she can get out of the house, I'll go with her. She doesn't want to ask the Sweets if she can go, because that will most likely make it very difficult for her to go to the lecture on Saturday, and she's had that planned for months…so I can't say for sure but…maybe? Oh shoot, gotta go, my tour is up…hang out in the back, when I lead them past the employee entrance I'll drop back, open the door and it's all the way to the right, follow the light okay?" Angela pulled her museum smock closed and headed over to the queue of people standing behind the red velvet rope. "Okay ladies and gents, and you too cutie" she winked at a little old man in a wheelchair up front, "let's get this wagon rolling. Today we are going to discover the amazing depths our Government has when it comes to wing nuts and nut jobs…and on we go!" the crowd laughed and followed her as she spun a tale of intrigue and suspense, nothing like what the history books actually wrote, but entertaining.
Following her, Booth grinned at how the men were looking at Angela and the women were looking at the exhibit, she was quite the draw. When they got to the right wing of the Government floor, she had the crowd go ahead and she let Booth into the employee entrance, "go get her Studly" she stage whispered before heading back to the front of the crowd to lead them astray.
Booth continued onto the right as he was instructed, the exhibits being cleaned were dimly lit by emergency exit signs, soon he came to a room that had a little more light, it appeared to have heavy black curtains pulled over the glass up front so that the ceiling lights could be turned on. He crept into the room quietly, not sure what he was in for and not wanting to scare her. He saw her immediately sitting on a chair in the corner, a yellow and black book in her hands she was studying it intently. "Are you sure you should be reading in here young lady?" he asked in a stern voice, causing her to squeak and jump up, dropping the book she looked at him with wide frightened eyes. "Oh, hey, I'm sorry-I didn't mean to scare you, just surprise you." He said, hands out to her to show he was on her side. "I don't like surprises!" she hissed. He'd reached her by then and bent down to pick up the book at the same time she did, when their foreheads met half way down, she stepped back and sat back down. "My forehead has never taken the beating it has this week" she said under her breath while she rubbed it. That made Seeley laugh out loud and he leaned down and picked up the book. "Football for Dummies" he read, looking at her, he asked, "are you reading this for me?"
"Maybe-I wanted to understand the game a little better" she said defensively. "Does this mean you are going to go to the game on Friday?" he asked a hitch in his voice. "Well, I was going to try-I'm sure my parents, my foster parents will say no, but it doesn't hurt to ask."
"Will that get you in trouble with your lecture on Saturday?" he asked, handing her the book back and seeing another dummy book in her bag. He was trying to read the title upside down when she asked, "How did you know about that?"
He pulled out the flyer from his pocket and told her how he had gotten it when she lost her papers the first time they met. "I hope you don't mind, I forgot to give it back to you" he said.
"Oh that's okay, they're downstairs in the museum, I figured I lost it somewhere so just grabbed another one, and if they say no to the football then I'll ask if I can go to the football instead of the lecture anyway" Temperance told him, a little fire in her eye.
"Tempe-you can't do that, this lecture is important to you, Angela told me you've waited months to go to it"
"Yeah-but the game is important to you…and…"her voice faltered and a blush appeared, "I…like you and thought maybe the game would be fun." She finished quietly.
Seeley leaned over and gave her a hug and held her against his chest for a moment, then said into her hair, "Don't give up the lecture for me, there will be other football games, but you may never get this chance again, okay Bone lady?" letting her go against his will, he saw the title of the other book was "Hockey for Dummies" squelching a grin, he turned and gestured around the room, "so what's going on in here?"
"This is just one of the many office re-creations from the white house, the oval office is next door, and this is like the inner outer office for the secretaries and stuff. It's actually a pain to clean because you have to move everything and then put it back according to the chart" she told him, "and I should really get back to it, I'm glad you came to see me though, that was nice and you didn't have to."
"No problem, and we've discussed what I don't have to do remember, you want some help?" he asked, "I've got nothing else to do, Jared and Pops went to a movie, so I'm on my own…let me help please?"
Seeing she wasn't going to get out of it, she gave him the layout sheet of the office and they started cleaning it. There was some light bantering and chatter as they worked; for the most part they stayed on opposite sides of the room. After about an hour or so, she looked over at him and he'd removed his hoody and was only wearing a tank top advertising a local gym. Her jaw dropped as she saw just how well formed he was. She'd never seen anyone with that many muscles in real life and he was working the tight body. Feeling like he was being watched, Seeley turned around slowly and slightly flexed, "do you like what you see?" he asked her flirtatiously. Temperance's face turned bright red as she looked away and stammered, "Um…I didn't know you had such well formed musculature structure is all, most adolescent males aren't that well proportioned and…you know."While she was talking he'd walked over to her and when he invaded her space she stopped talking, "Temperance" he asked, his voice low, "can I kiss you?" Just then the lights flickered and Tempe's eyes shot to his in panic, someone's coming, hurry, hide over there, she pushed him over to a large table and ran over to where his discarded hoody was, knowing she didn't have time or the aim to throw it to him, she slid it over her head and grabbed the schematic, trying to look like she was making sure everything was in place. Max walked in with Angela and said, "Hey kiddo-you're shift is up, whatcha doing in here? Redecorating?" he ambled over to her with a grin. "Nice hoody too, when did you start supporting the football program at St. Agnes?"
"Not the whole team, but a certain Mr. Hottie Max," Angela supplied, "Where is the BMOC anyway Temp? He still in here?" Not sure whether to say he was or wasn't, Seeley solved the problem and stood up. "Oh wowie-Boothy look what you've been hiding" Angela said with a purr in her voice,"come let mama make sure you're not too cold in here since Ms. Thing has your hoody on"
"Angela-mind your manners" Max said in a fatherly tone, "Hello, I'm Dr. Max Keenan, and who might you be?" When he walked over to shake Seeley's hand, Angela gave Temperance two thumbs up behind his back and fanned her face with her hand. "Hello sir, my name is Seeley Booth" the two men shook hands and Max stepped back to allow Seeley to walk over to Temperance's side.
"Well, like I said, her shift is over and the Sweets are downstairs starting to cause a ruckus, apparently they didn't want to wait for you to ride the bus, so I told them I'd come collect you, little girl." He said talking to Temperance, "and truth be told, I wanted to meet the young man here anyway. I mean, if I'm going to lie to parents about a staff meeting that is expected to take-what? 3 hours you think Angela? Yes, 3 hours on Friday night, I'd like to know why I'm making such a career killing mistake."
"Max! You can't do that!" Temperance said, "I don't want you to lose your job because of me"
"Tempe, honey, first off, I'm not going to lose my job I'm on the board, and secondly I happen to think that attending a high school football game in on the list of requirements to go to heaven, at least I'm pretty sure, you'll have to look into it for me just to be sure okay?" he winked at them all and said, "let's not dawdle, I've got a web to weave" and ushering the three of them ahead of him, he turned off the lights. "Mr. Booth, a word?" he asked as the girls went ahead, "yes sir?" Seeley said.
"Don't hurt her-Angela will be the least of your worries if you hurt that little girl" he told him.
"Yes sir, I understand, and please tell Angela and understand this yourself, the last thing I want to do is hurt Temperance. I like her, I'd like to get to know her better and I would appreciate some faith that I'm not the love 'em and leave 'em type" he said, not letting the older man intimidate him.
"Good to hear son, good to hear!" Max said, clapping his shoulder.
When they got back to the museum proper the girls went in to get their things as Max went to pave the way for them to attend the Friday night football game, Booth waited outside the employee only door. When Tempe came out she handed him his hoody and told him she'd see him tomorrow. "Keep it" he said, "It looks better on you anyway" and kissing her cheek he jogged out of the front doors and down the steps to his car.
"OOOHHHH girlie this is SO MUCH FUN!" Angela cooed at her…
The ride home from the museum was tense. Rebecca and Sweets just could not believe that Temperance had to attend a meeting that would last 3 hours on a Friday night. When she couldn't stand it anymore, she exploded, "FINE! Then I won't go! I'll just call the museum and tell them that their training program isn't important enough for me to attend according to my guardians, and while they're at it, why don't they just cut me from the schedule altogether, I mean I don't need the little bit of money it pays or the college credits!" Silence greeted her at first, and then Rebecca turned in her seat and said, "Really Temperance, I don't think it will come down to all of that, quit over-reacting, your father and I will take you to the museum, and we'll pick you up as well. I think that is more than fair."
"Thank you" she said, and then under her breath, "he's not my father."
That evening after dinner, Temperance went upstairs and straight to bed wearing her pajama pants and his hoody; and put her headphones on. She tried hard to stay awake, but was only able to make it until about 10:45 before her body just gave in and she drifted off to sleep. She didn't hear the song that BMOC requested that night although for some reason she was softly crooning it to herself while getting ready the next day. "The smile on your face lets me know that you need me
there's a truth in your eye saying you'll never leave me the touch of your hand says you'll catch me whenever I fall. You say it best when you say nothing at all."
She smiled when she thought of how close they were while she slept in his hoody. She decided that she was going to wear it to school too. For the first time in 2 years, she left her jean jacket at home. Deciding that even if it did get too cold today for just the hoody, she didn't care. Rolling her jacket carefully into a small roll, she hid it at the very back of her closet, and dispersed her very personal trinkets throughout the room so that they would be hard to locate should the Sweets start to search for them. With a big smile, she checked her reflection and saw that the bruise on her forehead was starting to turn more yellow, which could only mean it was healing. Same with her knee, the swelling had gone down, although it was still pretty bruised up. She pulled her hair into a loose pony tail and went downstairs to grab a granola bar and head off to school. Luckily, the Sweets were nowhere around, so didn't see who was waiting for her when she walked outside.
She didn't see the car at first either, in fact she was almost completely past it when she heard, "Hey pretty lady, wanna ride?" she was startled and looked up into the brown eyes she was rapidly starting to lose herself in. "Hi" she said shyly, "why are you here so early? Don't you have weight training?"
Seeley was wearing the requisite uniform as well, but his shirt was tight against his chest as he flexed slightly and with a sexy grin said, "do you think I need it?" he made his pecs dance under the shirt, which sent her into great peals of laughter, "Oh Seeley, you're funny" she said climbing into the Explorer. "I wasn't sure what time your bus was, so I've been sitting here for awhile" he told her on their way to school, "I hope you don't mind? I just wanted to see you before lunch today"
Suddenly Temperance was panicked, why did he want to see her? Had she done something wrong? Feeling the sudden tense waves she was putting off, he said softly, "hey Bone Lady, I still want to see you at lunch, I just wanted more time today, okay?" he glanced over and reached to grab her hand. "I like you Tempe-don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you okay?" he squeezed her hand and entwined his fingers in hers. Temperance knew that she should probably breathe, she just couldn't remember how. Somehow she thought, my body should take over at some point here so I don't pass out. She kept waiting and eventually she was able to convince her lungs how to process air again.
Holding his hand made her whole body tingle, and all she could think of, was if this is hand holding, what is a kiss going to be like? They got to school and he grabbed her bag and walked her to her locker. Everyone was staring at them like they had come to school naked. "Why is everyone looking at us Seeley?" She asked the fear in her voice evident. "Because Tempe-we're new. This is new. The status quo has been changed, and they're wondering how best to respond to the situation. Put your big girl panties on, hold your head up high and I'll see you at lunch. It's too cold to sit by the trees, so we can sit in the car or wherever you want okay?" He leaned over and handed her bag, then gave her a light kiss on the cheek. Head down, she headed straight to her locker and ignored all the staring as best she could…
That day for lunch Seeley decided to take her off campus to a little diner that was close by. He used to go there quite often; they had great pie and French fries. It had actually been months since he'd been there, Payton didn't think it suited their "station" in the realm of the fairytale world she lived in.
Although Temperance didn't really care for pie, she did enjoy the cozy little diner. It felt relaxed and as she sipped her milkshake, she and Booth were going over what she had learned in the dummy book. After about 20 minutes of back and forth questions she said, "I've definitely got the I formation down, I understand that, and I get the 4 tries for a down part. It's the rest of the plays that I don't get. Why, for instance, would they try to run the ball and only get a couple of yards at a time, when they can throw all the time and get a first down every play?"She asked, her brow furrowed. Man, she is so cute he thought to himself, then answered her, "because if they did it all the time then there would be no guessing what play they were going to do, they do the run up the middle so that when they do a pass play they are somewhat off guard."
"If you say so" she said, "shouldn't we be getting back?"
"What would you say if I told you we weren't going back?" he took a last bite of pie and smiled at her. "What?" Temperance asked him, "I have to go back; I'll really be in trouble if I don't. I can't miss any classes because then CPS will get a phone call, then the Sweets will get a call, then I'll be let out of my room at roughly the age of 50."
"Okay, so no hooky-got it-let's go Bone Lady" He stood up and put his hand on her lower back to guide her out of the diner. Getting into the car she said, "Thank you for lunch, and for explaining football to me, I really am having a good time."
"Me too kid, me too" he said with a smile. They were quiet on the drive back to school, he was trying to figure out a way to get a kiss and she was trying to figure out what to do if he tried to get a kiss. He thought he'd just block her door when they stopped and kiss her, so that was the plan when he pulled in. He didn't notice the blonde in the purple Audi right next to him. When he got out he glanced down and saw Payton sitting in her car and crying. Hard.
Knowing that it was probably a ploy, but still too much of a gentleman he asked Temperance to wait a second by the edge of the parking lot. He told her if he wasn't there in 10 minutes to go to class, he'd see her after school, and that no matter what, she was not to think anything bad was happening. He'd tell her everything. He kissed her cheek and hugged her close. "Don't worry Bone Lady; this is just one of her games." Since she had never even been this close to anyone before Temperance really didn't know how to react, but trusting that he was being honest and was too kind to be deliberately cruel, she acquiesced to his request. "Okay Seeley, I'll see you later" and she was gone. She did decide to not wait though; she would rather go and spend the last couple minutes of the lunch period by herself. She was afraid things were moving too fast or not fast enough. It was hard to believe they had just met less than a week ago.
Tapping on the glass, Seeley opened the door and got into the micro car when she unlocked the door. "Okay Payton" he sighed, "What's wrong?"
Payton wiped her eyes with a Kleenex and whispered, "I'm late."
Silence. Swallowing hard, Seeley looked over and said, "Late? How can you be late Payton?"
"We last had sex more than a week ago, and we used protection. We were careful every time. If this is a joke, it's not funny and it's not going to make me come back to you." He reached for the door handle and she said quietly, "I was late last month Seeley; I just didn't say anything to you-I didn't know you were going to break up with me! I thought...I thought..."
"You thought what Payton? You thought I'd go to college; we'd get married and be happy for the rest of our lives? That's your dream, not mine!" his voice was raising in anger. "Payton I don't believe you and I don't have time for this, I'm leaving now" Seeley opened the door and stepped out and began to walk away, quickly noticing that Tempe wasn't there.
"Seeley" Payton's voice came from around the side of the car, "I'm sorry, but I have to tell my parents. They will know it was you…" her voice tapered off. Turning around he saw that she wasn't crying anymore, in fact there was a feral gleam in her eyes. "What game are you playing Payton?" he asked her turning to face her full on. "Game Seeley? No game…you've had your fun, time to come back to the real world. That girl has nothing for you, and I? I have it all. You're the only one that doesn't see that. Of course, I can tell my parent's one thing and you another can't I? Or, I could not tell them anything…or wait, I'm only 17, you're 18 though…wow" she said coyly.
"Payton you really are a b!tch, what do you want from me?" he asked. "From you? I just want to know that you will do the right thing Seeley, I mean, you're that guy right?" she said, grabbing her bag from the car. She checked her make up in the side mirror and said, "Walk me to class Seel?" interlocking her arm in his. Dropping her arm he said, "This dog won't bark Payton, I'm not going to let you blackmail me into something, we're done. Don't threaten me and leave Temperance alone. I mean it."
"Seeley Booth you don't even have a chance, just watch your back!" she spat at him and stalked up to the school. I'll get you Seeley she thought to herself, you just wait, that little princess of yours is about to have a very rude awakening. Seeing that Caroline and Daisy were waiting for her inside the entrance doors she decided that she needed to let them in on her plans.
The three of them skipped class and headed back to the parking lot to make the necessary arrangements. "Are you sure we can get Wen and Fischer in on it?" Caroline asked, "I mean they're his best friends, they won't do something like this on purpose. Will they?"
"We'll have to see how much they like it when they aren't getting any and when they aren't part of the crowd anymore. I don't care if they want to do it, they're going to do it get it?" Payton told her friends, "leave it to me; this is done, this weekend."
Tempe watched him get out of her car, then the exchange outside the car, her grabbing his arm and him shaking her off. She saw Payton head to the school, and Seeley to the field. She wanted so badly to go to him, but wasn't sure if she should, wasn't sure about anything. Deciding that she was going to take her chances with CPS, the Sweets, everything, she ran off to the field, hoping he was there.
"Seeley! Seeley wait!" Tempe yelled down to the field, running as fast as she could with her knee banged up. "What happened?" She asked when she caught him and he turned to look at her.
"Why didn't you wait?" He asked her. "Well, it seemed like I was watching and I didn't feel comfortable just standing there, I needed to think for a minute-no, forget that, I needed to go back to being the me that I know and…understand" she told him.
"What does that mean? The 'you' you understand?"
"I've never talked to a boy before Seeley, let alone planned on going to a football game for one, or gone to lunch with one, or hugged or even…kissed one, nothing. So, this is all new to me, I don't know the rules of the game. I'm not stupid, but I am ignorant about this whole thing, so I needed to get away for a minute, catch my breath and be…me" Tempe told him, looking into his warm brown eyes. "Now, will you tell me what happened?"
"Payton just wanted to play a game, it was nothing, don't worry about it" He told her and reached out to grab her hand, starting to walk he said, "I didn't know that you've never been this close to someone, I knew you were shy, and I've never thought you were stupid, I forgot just how young you are Bone Lady and I thought you…well, never mind what I thought ok? Why aren't you in Biology?" he asked realizing just exactly what time it was and where they were.
"I've decided I didn't need to go today and I'll just deal with the consequences later. Do you want me to leave you alone? Because, I will if you need space?" she asked hoping he'd say no. Her heart was pounding at the risk she was taking and the feeling that she was surrendering to him was beginning to overwhelm her.
"I'd like to spend more time with you-have you ever been to the carousel at the park?" he asked, his thumb lightly stroking the back of her hand. "It's the big one downtown."
"I went when I was a kid, before my parents left" she told him.
"Would you like to go there now?" he asked, "or would that be weird?"
"I think it would be perfect", smiling brilliantly at him and leaning into him slightly. Her voice was bright when she said, "we could talk more about football or something?"
Laughing he said, "You're really getting into it huh? It's too bad it's the last game of the season!"
"If you lose right?" she said. "Yes, if we lose, if not one more than the Championship, it would be nice to go out as State Champs my senior year, but I've still got hockey, so that would be okay too"
As they got in the car, they drifted into different topics, talked about favorite foods, movies and debated the appeal of the three stooges. When they arrived at the park, Seeley let her wear his letter jacket as it had begun to get a little colder out, he put on his workout jacket and she offered him his hoody back, "here, I have your jacket, this is warmer than that light jacket, why don't you wear it?" she asked. "Because, I gave it to you, it makes me feel good to see you wearing it. It makes me feel…like…well, like you belong to me and I like feeling like everyone else can see that" he blushed when he answered, "I mean, not like you are an object of mine, a possession, but more like…like you chose me-so, you wear it & when we leave, I'll take my jacket back. Well, for now anyway" he said, winking at her. Temperance smiled and blushed; she was so unsure what to do. All of this was so new to her and she didn't want to make a mistake. Deciding she would just tell him that, maybe he could help her navigate these waters? They walked through the park, the leaves were all falling and winter was definitely around the corner, there were small pockets of kids with their parents, a few adults reading or walking dogs, but pretty quiet for a Thursday afternoon.
"Seeley?" she asked, looking up at him, "Can I ask you a question?"
He grabbed both of her hands and started to walk backwards in front of her, "Anything Bone Lady, what's on your mind?" stopping and drawing her into the circle of his arms, they'd stopped at the edge of the pond on the outside of the carousel enclosure. He slid along behind her and wrapped her arms up in his and rested his head on the top of her head. She almost melted, he felt so good pressed up against her, she could feel his coiled strength and still faintly smell his cologne. Smiling a small smile and thinking to herself she hoped she didn't pass out, she said, "Well, um…it's kind of a question, sort of a statement and "she blew out her breath, "let me start over-I told you I've never done this before, none of this, and I know that you have a lot of experience at this and well, other things…" he voice trailed off. He thought he knew where this was heading and leaned down and softly said, "Temperance, I'm not going to rush you into "other things" or anything at all, I'll take what you want to give me, regardless of what it is, so please don't think I'd take advantage of you. That's not what I want."
"No" she leaned back and looked up over her shoulder slightly, "I know that, I can…well, feel that from you, what I was going to say is that I don't want to make a mistake. I don't know what I'm doing, so if I say something or do something or don't say something or don't do something, I don't want you to think it's on purpose. I'm not really good at non verbal communication, or verbal communication either for that matter, I tend to be too literal, and I'm pretty smart when it comes to books and research and academia, but as far as social stuff, I'm really out of my element. I just don't want to embarrass you or me…I don't think I could handle it if you thought, well, thought…oh what am I trying to say?" she finished in a frustrated burst.
Seeley took her hand and led her over to a bench by the water. "I know what you are trying to say and I understand completely. Nothing you say or do will ever embarrass me, I can see that you aren't trying to do something to gain something else. You don't have that personality, and I love that about you. When I was dating Payton, I could always see her wheels turning, she was always looking for the upper hand, for a long time I didn't mind that, in fact I thought it was sexy and I was thrilled with it. I thought that it meant we would always be challenged and I thought the fighting and lying and all that was just a package deal. The last few months, I've come to realize I don't want to constantly be fighting and trying to one up, or outsmart or challenge the person that I want to be close to. I want to learn new things with them, together, I want to teach them things, and learn from them. I want someone who wants to have a life independent of mine, but who still needs me. Who needs me for me, not for who I am or what I can do to promote their agenda. I want you to ask me questions and if you say or do something or think you might, I don't want you to be embarrassed, talk to me, and we'll figure it out together? Okay?"
Although she heard everything he'd said her mind was stuck on "what I love about you" and like a CD skipping that kept playing in her mind. She wondered if he realized he'd said it, of course he did, Seeley knew what he was saying she argued with herself, deciding she would hold onto that little phrase just for her right now, she grinned at him and said, "okay-it's a deal. You teach me stuff, I'll teach you stuff and we'll figure it out together-want to teach me how to ride a horse?" she nodded toward the carousel that was now starting to operate, the music lilting over through the air on the breeze.
"Sure Bone Lady, let's go" they jumped up and walked over to the ride. There were a couple of smaller kids that got onto the candy colored smaller horses, but Seeley led her over to the biggest horse on the ride. Glossy black, its mane & tail was a mixture of black, teal and purple swirls, the mouth forever frozen in a screaming challenge, legs outstretched, clearly the wooden herds guardian and leader.
He helped her to sit on the horse, and stood next to her his arm protectively around her back and his other hand covering hers on the brilliant golden pole. "Aren't you going to ride?" she asked nodding to the Bay next to her black stallion. "Not this time, I'm going to make sure you are able to handle him before I let you go" he smiled at her and winked. Temperance did something she never thought she'd ever have the courage to do, as the ride started to move slowly at first, she leaned over and looking him in the eyes, said softly, "never let me go" and let her lips touch his. Their first kiss was soft as butterfly wings; she closed her eyes and sighed when she pulled back.
Face flushed and eyes bright, she was looking down at his shirt collar when he tipped her chin up and said, "I never will, and if this horse wasn't going up and down on this stupid pole, I'd let you kiss me again."
Looking into his eyes, she giggled slightly and said, "I think I've reached my bravery quota for the day!" she then leaned back and laughed a little, "I forgot how much fun it was to ride these" she looked like a little girl and he could feel his heart swell. "I'm glad you're having fun, you need more fun in your life, Tempe," he told her. They stayed on the ride for another couple of minutes and then decided to walk over to where there were some carnival booths set up, the strong man, milk bottle toss and a couple of arcade games.
Booth picked up the large wooden mallet and handed the man a $5 bill, he turned to Temperance and said, and "Which one would you like?" he nodded his head towards the display of stuffed animals and she said, "The dog." The dog in question was a grey bulldog, wearing a yellow Pittsburgh Steelers football jersey. Nodding at the man, Seeley took off his light jacket and braced himself for the swing, he leaned back and brought the mallet down hard on the weight board, the metal disc shot up to the very top of the measurement pole and the bell rang loud and clear. "We have a winner!" the man shouted to the people watching the two of them, "take your dog young lady!" he reached over and handed her the stuffed toy. Roughly the size of a 12 pack of soda, she thought it was the best thing she'd ever been given. The fur was so soft and life like that she felt as if it was a real dog and it was all hers. She smiled up at Seeley as he got his jacket back on and said, "Thank you-I love it!" she leaned in to press her body against his, and the dog was caught in the middle of the hug. "I'm glad, what are you going to name it?" he asked taking it and holding it up to take a better look, "at least it has the right jersey on it, although, a bulldog?" he winked at her handing it back and taking her free hand. She tucked it under her arm and said so softly he almost didn't hear it, "Booth."
"Booth huh? That's as good a name as any" he told her as they walked back towards the parking lot. School was due to let out in 20 minutes and she had to get back to get her things and she had to ride the bus home, there was no telling what would happen if she was late. She didn't want to do anything to jeopardize her Friday night plans. They were almost to the parking lot when he saw a small picture booth on the edge of the path; he tugged slightly and started to head towards it. "What are you doing?" she asked, going along but not sure to what. "It's a picture booth, let's get our picture taken, you want to?"
"Okay sure" she replied, she'd never been in one before. They both entered the very small space and he drew the curtain, there was no way the two of them were going to fit in there comfortably side by side, so he sat down and pulled her into his lap. She put her arm around the back of his neck and put Booth on her lap, they smiled and kidded around for the first couple of flashes, until he leaned over and tilted her head slightly towards his, he looked into her eyes and then slowly closed his as he leaned in to kiss her. Barely grazing her lips at first, he increased the pressure and put his hand onto the back of her neck, slightly stroking it, she gasped slightly and he teased her inner lip with his tongue. She drew back for a second and he stopped, allowing her to decide what to do next. She shifted herself slightly and gently touched his tongue with hers. The electrical shock they both felt intensified the kiss and Booth was forgotten as she and Seeley's lips met and danced. They were both hesitant and explored each other with their lips and tongues, it was slow and sweet. The flash from the photo bulb went off and they both jumped apart. Putting his forehead on hers, his breathing slightly ragged, she said softly, "I've never done that before." Seeley pulled her head back down and pressed his lips to hers again, in a soft, tender movement and then moved his lips down her cheek to her neck, "I've never felt like this before and I know I've never had a kiss like that." Temperance shifted slightly in his lap and he groaned and grabbed her hips, "don't do that, please Tempe, I don't think I can handle it." she blushed and jumped up, almost stepping on Booth and barely avoiding hitting her head on the top of the little room. "Oh my god-I'm so sorry" she was said mortified when she realized that he was having an all too physical reaction to the friction she'd caused when she shifted. "Don't worry," he laughed, "it's okay, don't be scared okay?" he saw the panic in her eyes and tried to reassure her, "you get the pictures from outside and I'll be out in a second okay?" she nodded quickly and pulled the curtain away from the door and stepped outside, her heart pounding and face burning. She walked around to the side of the booth and pulled the pictures out of the tray. Seeley leaned his head back and wiped his hand over his face, get a grip man, he thought, you've kissed girls before…what's wrong with you? He couldn't explain the feeling he had, his body was tingling both from the bulge in his jeans and from a buzzing in his ears and there was a fist clamped around his heart. He felt hot and cold at the same time. Taking a couple of deep breaths, he waited another minute before adjusting himself and stepping out. He picked up Booth and came around where she was leaning up against the booth. Her eyes were closed and she looked as though she was having the same reaction he had. "How'd they come out?" he asked, reaching for the pictures. They were the typically grainy style and they showed them both smiling at the camera, his arm around waist, hers around his neck, the next one was them making a silly face, the next she was holding Booth toward the picture and Seeley was looking at her, and the last one, that one showed the heat of their kiss. "Not bad kid, you ought to be in pictures" he told her handing her Booth and the pictures back. "Can I have one?" he asked. She handed them back and he tore off the one of her showing Booth the camera and him looking at her, "I like this one" he said, tucking it into his wallet they started off to the parking lot again, and back to reality.
Neither of them spoke much on the ride back to school, it was a comfortable silence, when they got there, Temperance put Booth into her locker and grabbed her books. She was afraid to take him home; there was no telling what the Sweets would do. She wouldn't be able to hide him as well as she could the smaller treasures she had. Putting the pictures into her notebook, she would be able to see him anytime she wanted. Hurrying back outside, she didn't see Caroline watching her at her locker and make a phone call as soon as she was out of sight.
Temperance ran back to where Seeley was waiting in the parking lot and told him that she would see him in the morning; she thanked him for the best day of her life and shyly for her first kiss. "It won't be the last one, I promise little girl" he said, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek. He wanted nothing more to touch his lips to hers, but realizing he would most likely scare her away, he took the safer route. "I'll see you tomorrow, sleep well" and he was gone, heading to football practice. He would be late, but he found he didn't care at all. This day had had more highs and lows than any other day in his life and he was just going to ride the ride until the end. Waving she headed over to the bus stop and waited for the bus that would take her back to the real world.
When she got home, Temperance was surprised to find a note on the counter. 'Temperance-there is a casserole in the refrigerator, you may have one slice of it, we will be home late-Mom & Dad' She threw the note away, looked at the casserole and decided she wasn't hungry, and since they weren't home, she was going to use the phone to call Angela. She'd never needed a friend so badly in her life than right then.
"Angela?" she asked when the girl came on the line, there was loud music in the background and she wasn't sure she could hear her, "Temper? Are you okay?" Angela said, "Hold on, let me move somewhere more quiet" Angela went from the recording studio to an inner office and shut the door, "there, that's better, Tempe are you alright?" she could see she was calling from home.
"I'm fine, the Sweets aren't here and I needed to talk to you, you'll never believe what happened to me today-where are you?" she asked, wondering why the noise.
"Dad is in town, I'm at the studio hanging out-but tell me about your day!" she told her all businesslike.
Temperance gave her friend a breakdown of her day from start to finish, she told her what Payton had done, although Seeley had never actually told her what she had said, just that it was a game she was playing and then went on to describe the diner, the carousel, Booth, the pictures and the kiss. "Oh Angela- I was so scared, I didn't know what to do, and then well, I mean I knew what happened when guys get…aroused…I just didn't know that it could happen with just a kiss!" Temperance could feel her face flame up just thinking about the way he had groaned and touched her hips to stop her from shifting in his lap. She was giddy from the thought.
"Wow! Sounds like little Temperance has got BMOC on the run! Way to go girl, and believe me, if a kiss made that happen, than you are one lucky little girl! How was the kiss? Who kissed who first? Tell me everything!" she was like a little girl herself, although an experienced woman of the world, Angela loved the first kisses the best.
"I feel weird; I don't know how to explain it…" Temperance said, "It was nice, and sweet and well, this is weird, you know what a kiss is like!"
"okay okay Temper- you don't have to give me the details, hold onto that memory kid, it'll turn out to be one of the best ones you ever have-so are you ready for the big meeting tomorrow?" she teased.
"yes- I am, I'm going to go to the museum after school, and then Max will take me to the game and then he'll come get me-" Angela cut her off, "I want to go!-I'll meet you there and then bring you back to the museum, how's that?"
"That would be okay, I'll ask Max in the morning when I get to school, um…Angela, can I ask you a question?" she suddenly was slightly embarrassed and afraid.
"Anything kid, what's up?" Angela answered.
"You said once you would get me a phone if I wanted one…and I turned you down because I didn't want to get in trouble, but…well, I was wondering, would you be able to? I can pay you for it as I get my checks, and I won't use a lot of minutes or anything…I was just thinking, maybe, well that I'd like to be able to call you and Max and…"
"And studly?" she broke in.
"Um, yes" she whispered, "if you can't then I totally understand, and I wouldn't ask it's just…just…"
"I know Sweetie, I know. Consider it done, I'll have it for you tomorrow and don't worry about paying for it, I'll take care of that, you talk and text and whatever else you want as long as you want, consider it my gift to you for the next 10 birthdays okay?"
"Thank you Angela, you're my best friend, thank you" she said, "I have to go, I've got homework and I don't want to get in trouble for being on the phone, but thank you"
"Anytime, and you're my best friend too Temperance, I'll see you tomorrow. Oh-and one more thing, hold onto today nice and tight. This is one of those memories people write songs about!"
They hung up and Temperance went upstairs to do her homework and relive her first kiss…
The next day, Friday, Temperance took her St. Agnes Hoody and the sweat pants & scarf Angela had bought for her and put them in her backpack. She carried her books separately and hoped that she could get out of the house without the Spanish Inquisition. If they asked, she was prepared to tell them the training tonight was going to be hands on, so she needed to be suitably prepared. Checking her reflection one last time, she was pleased to see the bruise on her forehead was a shadow of its former self, and the cut was going to heal without a major scar. Her knee was stiff, but not nearly as bad either. She checked her ponytail and then grinned foolishly because she'd never cared enough before.
When she got downstairs, Rebecca told her they would be at the museum at 10pm to pick her up. Since the game started at 7 that was going to be cutting it close, but she would just enter the museum from the rear entrance if she had to and come out that way. She was going to call Max when she got to school to let him know that Angela would be bringing her back. So, at least he could run interference if she was a little bit past 10. She told Rebecca that they should just be wrapping it up by then, and that she would meet her out front. Grabbing a roll and a pint of juice, she left the house and walked quickly to the bus stop. Angela was already there, which was a surprise, because as far as Temperance knew, 7am was not even on Angela's clock.
"What are you doing here so early?" she asked, getting into Angela's sports car. Yawning, Angela handed her the cell phone and said, "I wanted to give you some instructions on how to use it and how to get numbers in there and stuff, now, it's preprogrammed with all of my numbers, including my dad's tour bus and manager, it's got Max's numbers on it and since I had studly's, his cell phone is in there too. You can add ringtones, pictures and all that stuff later, we can do it at work on the internet there if you want." She then launched into a detailed explanation of how to change things and to make it silent or vibrate for when Temperance was at school or home. Driving to school almost on autopilot, she showed her how to text, reply and send messages. Once they got there, Tempe felt pretty confident, she told Angela, "thank you again for this, it means everything to me…" looking down as she got out the car she realized Angela was wearing pink Happy Bunny slippers, she started to giggle and then said, "I can't believe you drove all the way here in your slippers! You must have really wanted me to have this phone!"
Angela looked down and wiggled one foot, "I just wanted you to be happy Sweetie, you deserve it, besides no one gets me out of bed this early, so feel special okay? I'll see you at the museum tonight, I'll have one of dad's trucks and meet you by the loading dock just in case the Sweets stake the joint out okay?" she winked and floored it, narrowly missing a beat up old Chevy truck packed full of football players that had just arrived. Tempe laughed and headed to her locker. She took Booth out of it and took his picture with her new phone, looking shyly around the corridor that was slowly filling up, she attached the picture to a text, "Good morning, guess who?" she sent to Seeley. Trying to hide her impatience at his response, she struggled to hide the idiotic grin on her face. Suddenly, the screen started flashing and it buzzed in her hand. She almost dropped her books, thinking the entire school could hear it. She looked around, and no one had even noticed. She opened up the message and her smile brightened up the hall when she read, "Hi Bone Lady-Good morning to you and Booth too, turn around."
Turning around she didn't see anything at first, and then across the hall she saw him leaning against the wall. Khaki slacks, dark brown Doc Martens, a white button down shirt, St. Agnes tie and his football jersey. She reached out to grab her locker door; sure her knees were going to give out on her. His steady chocolate gaze sent ripples of anticipation through her whole body and set off fireworks in both her heart and her stomach. Not to mention the heat that flooded her pelvic area. She saw his flip his phone closed and start to cross the hall to get to her. She slowly closed hers and leaned back against the lockers when he got close. She never took her eyes off of his and he never wavered, he pressed up against her, both hands on either side of her against the lockers. He leaned in and casually brushed her cheek with his lips and then when she sighed and turned her head slightly and sought his mouth with hers, the crowded hallway disappeared. All they could feel was each other, the heat from their bodies, her sweet honeyed taste and his strong male reaction. "Get a room" someone snarled as they walked by and she blushed and broke the kiss off, her eyes wide. Softly he chuckled and said quietly near her ear, his breath tickling her neck and rolling unknown until now spasms of desire through her core, "they're jealous." She nodded mutely as he backed away slightly; still standing very near her in a very distinct this girl is mine pose.
He nodded at the phone still clutched in her hand and said, "I see you got one huh? Was it Angela?"
"Yes, I told her it was impractical not to have one at this juncture in my life, I mean what if something happens when I'm waiting for the bus or something after work, it's darker earlier now because of winter coming on, and often I have to work until close…and well, plus…well I wanted to be able to talk to you whenever I wanted, and not just through the radio station." She finished demurely, her face flushed slightly pink, both from his proximity and her rationale for the phone. "I know Bone Lady-I like the radio thing too, but this will be much better, and I'll give you a ride home after work, you don't need to wait for the bus…" she interrupted him and said, "We've discussed that, I have to do it this way, the Sweets are not going to like me being brought home by you" "what if I meet them?" he said knowing that he would never win this argument they'd already had it a couple of times now, "No, I have to do this" she said, probably more forcefully than she had intended, there was a crease in her brow and normally he thought it was cute, he thought of it as her confused line, but clearly she was not confused about this, "Okay, Okay, you win Bone Lady, I give in, I do like the radio thing though, it's nice to do, I hope we can still communicate that way too?" they'd been requesting songs for the past couple of nights and each time she always felt, as he did, closer.
"Definitely" she answered, smiling brightly up at him again. The bell rang for class and the hall started to empty as kids headed off to their classes. This afternoon was early release for the pep rally, the entire school would be on the field, watching the seniors get introduced and generating the school spirit they would need to defeat their rival. Not wanting her to be late, but wanting to do something extraordinary today, Seeley stripped off his jersey and handed it to her, "please wear this today?" he asked, his eyes melting into hers. "It would mean a lot to me, and I'm sure it would give me luck this afternoon, I can get it back from you right before you go to the museum to wait for Angela. I can't meet you at lunch today because I have to do some stuff with the team, so will you please wear it? For me?"
Subconsciously knowing this was a huge deal in the high school realm, she agreed to wear it. "You won't get in trouble?" she asked nervously as he held her books and she put it on. It draped clear to her knees, she glanced down and giggled. "No, all the seniors let their girlfriends wear their jerseys on their last game day, its tradition" he told her handing her back her books and reaching down to bring the hem of the shirt up. His knuckle lightly grazed her upper thigh and both of them froze for a second, their eyes meeting, his darkening to almost black and her's going a very bright blue. The tip of her tongue slid out to gently moisten her bottom lip and he watched her like a hawk, "I'm your girlfriend?" she asked quietly, hearing the second warning bell, but not caring about school at all. "Yeah, I thought you knew that?" he told her huskily, he wanted to remove the shirt she'd just put on, and everything underneath it right then and there, is willpower was shattering slowly…He leaned in and kissed her lips softly, gently probing with his tongue until she opened her mouth and met his with hers. Moaning softly he leaned in and raised his hand to her hip, taking the jersey with it.
"Ahem, Mr. Booth?" a man's voice coughed and interrupted them. Looking around, Seeley saw Coach Hodgins and AD Hacker, "uh, yes Sir, sorry Sir" he said turning slightly to hid Tempe behind him, the two men looked over and the scene and AD Hacker said, "well, let's not be late to class okay? Miss? Can I escort you so there is no tardy slip?" he winked at Coach Hodgins and started towards Temperance. "Yes please, Sir" she said, her face was flaming with embarrassment. She handed Booth to Booth and headed off with the Athletic Director.
"So, the rumors are true, Mr. Booth? I hope this young lady will not be a distraction to you this afternoon?" the man started to walk with Seeley, after he had secured Booth into her locker. "I know that she is a little younger than you, and I've asked the teachers, she's had a very difficult life, you aren't adding to that are you? She's not a ploy to get the attention of your former flame or anything is she?" he asked him. He'd heard a lot about the little sophomore, and there was a note of personal interest in her file that even she didn't know about, two notes in fact. One from a local scientist and one from an international recording star, both of them stating almost word for word that they were in constant contact with CPS regarding the young student and that either one of them were to be notified if there were any issues of violence, neglect or mistreatment by her current foster parents. When he'd read the names on the notes, he was very impressed and wondered if the girl knew just who had her interests at heart. He'd also wondered about his star running back and whether he knew just what he was doing, seeing the way that Seeley had acted protectively with her just now, he realized that he didn't need to worry about anything on that front. It was obvious even to him, a high school gym teacher and football coach that this boy was in love with this girl. A tale as old as time, he thought.
"No sir, no distraction, I just didn't get a chance to give her my jersey, and you know…its tradition" he glanced down and grinned. "Yes, tradition, off to class Mr. Booth, and please no more PDA in the halls, that's not tradition, and I don't want my starting RB to get a detention today okay?" he winked and headed off to the gym and the class of freshmen that were waiting for him as Seeley headed off to Government. "Yes Coach-see you later" he laughed and jogged off.
Everywhere that Temperance went today was instantly silent as she walked by, every class, every hall, everywhere. The buzz that started every class before the teachers took over was cut off mid stream as she walked in, head down to her seat. She was afraid to meet anyone's eyes, she could feel the curiosity and in some rare cases the open hostility coming off of the other students in waves. Deciding that tradition or not, she was going to take this jersey off at lunch made her stomach feel a little better, for a brief moment. In the next instant, she hoped though, that it didn't send the wrong message to Seeley, maybe she could put a note in his locker? Or text him? Of course, she didn't even know where his locker was, and if she got caught with her cell phone out, it would be the shortest time in history before someone lost one as the school had a very strict no phone policy during school hours.
Now, her stomach in even more knots, she sat quietly in Physics and tried desperately to figure out a way to get a message to Angela, she would know what to do. Temperance could feel someone staring at her, and glanced around to try and see who it was. She dropped her pencil to use picking it up as an excuse to look behind her and saw Caroline Julian sitting at the back of the room, glaring daggers at her. She had never even spoken to her, although she knew she was part of Payton's 'coven' as Seeley called them. She thought the Caroline was a very pretty girl, bi-racial with light red hair; she was wearing a football jersey of her own. Temperance had no idea whose it was; she assumed their names were on the back. She turned back to the front of the room, and tucked her head down, determined to try and get through this class and the next before lunch.
Because of the pep rally, classes were shorter today and they were only in them for 45 minutes instead of the usual 90, so they would be able to get through all of them before the long weekend. Finally the bell rang, Temperance took her time gathering up her things, when she heard a voice right next to her say, "I hope you like all the attention you're getting little girl, because it's all going to change real soon…you messed with the wrong girl!" turning towards the voice, Caroline was standing there, snapping her gum, her eyes bright with anger, "Payton is going to get you, I hope you're prepared, because when she's done with you, Seeley isn't going to want anything to do with you ever again!-just be ready!" she smiled, winked and walked off.
Temperance took a breath and tried to calm down; as she walked away she saw the name on the back of the shirt was, "BRAY". She went straight to the nearest girl's restroom and locked herself in a stall. Setting her books down on the back of the toilet, she took the jersey off and looked at it. CC was on the left shoulder and "BOOTH" was stitched across the back. She assumed that it had to have some sort of moniker on it, otherwise why would everyone be staring at her so blatantly. I've upset the status quo, she thought. Ordinarily that would actually make her smile somewhat, never a social butterfly it amused her the way the cliques and cultures clashed even here in school. She could only imagine the school was made up of separate tribes and villages, all struggling to show dominance, and survive, and for her to be the one to cause a ripple in that, it just seemed absurd. She was a nobody.
Practically homeless, no real family and no friends, except for an exotic diva and a museum scientist. Oh, and the most popular boy in school, let's not forget him she thought. Sighing she leaned against the stall and was going to start grabbing her books when she heard the door open, something told her to not come out, it must have been the cold shiver that raced up her spine. She carefully put her feet up and perched on the back of the toilet, hoping that the locked door would not be breeched.
"What did the little roach say?" Payton's voice was heavy with hatred, Caroline said, "she didn't say anything, she just gave me this poor little mouse look, and that was it" I left to come find you; I don't know what class she has next, so don't know where she is at. "I've got her in my Sociology class" Daisy piped up, "you want me to threaten her next?" She was actually looking forward to it, Caroline and Payton only let her hang around them because of Fischer, and she wanted to prove to them that she was just as bad as they were. "no-don't say anything to her, just put this on her desk after class before she leaves, don't speak, just give it to her okay?"
Payton was very specific with her, she thought Fischer could do better than the annoying junior he'd picked, but for some reason they'd been together since he was a freshman, so they all hung out together. She found her annoying at the best of times, but seeing as Fischer was Seeley's best friend, and Caroline was her best friend, the six of them stayed tight as a group. Well, they were tight until Seeley messed it all up by jumping ship. Payton didn't know what irritated her more, was it that he left her or that he picked a nerd to replace her?
Handing her a photo, Payton checked her makeup and said, "Let's go, the bell is going to ring, and I can't miss the rally, I'm the head cheerleader after all" they all left the bathroom and headed off to class. Temperance exhaled the breath she had been holding and slowly got off of the toilet tank. She was trembling and her face was pale when she checked her reflection in the mirror as she left. She'd made up her mind, as soon as Sociology was over, she was heading to the parking lot to call Angela, and she didn't care what happened.
Once she got to class, once again barely under the bell, she looked for Daisy Wick. Seeing the girl at the back of the class; also wearing a jersey that could only say FISCHER on the back. Deciding to accept whatever she had in store for her with grace and dignity she held her head up high. One more class, and she was done for the day. She hoped. Her emotions were on raw right now. When she sat down, she opened her notebook and looked at the photos hidden in the back. Seeing him staring at the camera while he held her, and their kiss made her blush, but gave her a little extra strength as well. She looked straight ahead and concentrated as much as she could on the lecture, taking a note here and there, she was counting down the minutes with each tick of the clock.
Throughout his day Seeley was also regarded with a quiet kind of awe. No one said anything to him about Temperance wearing his jersey, but he heard the whispers and felt the staring. Knowing he could handle anything they threw at him, his only concern was how she was holding up. Normally, he could feel where she was at and today, his radar was all off. He'd see her occasionally in the halls on any other day, today; he wasn't able to catch that glimpse. That made him feel even worse, as he had started to need them, crave them. It's what got him through the morning until lunch, and then to the end of the day. It must be because the classes are shorter today he reasoned. He'd never felt like this before, he felt like he didn't take a breath until he saw her for the first time in the morning. It'd had only been a little over a week since he had first talked to her, and she was now so ingrained in his system that oxygen and food were the only other things he needed to survive, or so it seemed.
He was planning on asking her to be his girlfriend, rather than just assuming, but when he saw her this morning, it seemed as though there was no way she could be anything but. He wished that he had someone he could talk to. Jared was a punk, and although he was his brother, they weren't that close. His Pops would tell him not to get too wrapped up in one girl, although he would support him. He could ask his mom, but that relationship was strained as well. Sighing slightly, Seeley wondered when things became so complicated. All he wanted to do was love her. LOVE HER? What the hell? He couldn't possibly love her after only two weeks, could he? He was just a senior in high school, what did he know about love anyway. He did know that everything he thought was love with Payton wasn't even close to what he felt for her. He was happy just seeing her smile, just hearing her voice. Hell, even hearing a song she had dedicated to him made his chest swell. You're whipped Seeley, you're whipped and you haven't even gotten in the saddle. The thought made him smile and shake his head, maybe this was love. He didn't care; he just didn't want the feeling to stop.
Deciding he had better concentrate on his English Lit class and not his girlfriend, a small smile slipped out, he would try to see her before he met the rest of the team for lunch. He slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out the now slightly creased picture, the one he had taken from the photo booth tape. She was so cute, holding her 'Booth' towards the camera. His gaze was focused on her face, and he remembered exactly what he had been thinking in that moment, he was thinking he was the luckiest guy to ever live, and although Payton had just dropped a bombshell on him, he found that he didn't care. He hadn't even thought of that part of the day until now. Payton hadn't said anymore to him, and he hadn't gotten any angry calls from her parents. Wondering if he had called her bluff, or if the other shoe was going to drop, he'd pushed their conversation from his mind. He'd have to sit down with her and talk, he realized, surely she could see reason?
It dawned on him that the rest of the class had taken out their books and were silently reading along as the teacher read to them from Romeo & Juliet. Ah, great he thought, just what I need a tragic romantic tale. That ought to keep my mind off of her. Just thinking of her, the brunette hair, shy smile and blue eyes was enough to make his pants tight, if that's all it takes to get you interested Mr. Booth, he thought, than you are in real trouble! This time, when he looked at his book, he forced himself to concentrate on the text and was soon immersed in the story of teen romance gone wrong.
After EL class, Seeley decided to make a detour to her locker on his way to the gym, it would be a tight squeeze, time wise, hopefully she would make a brief appearance and he could get his fix.
The bell rang and Temperance simply waited for the inevitable. She had the advantage in that she knew Daisy was going to bring her something, so she dawdled with her books and waited until the room cleared. Daisy walked by and said scathingly, "think about your position, Temperance, think hard" and dropped a photo on her desk.
It was a shot of her and Seeley standing beside his car, outside the museum, the night that he had come to talk to her. It was also clearly date and time stamped. Her heart thudded in her chest and then sank down to her stomach. If the Sweets got one of these, they would know she had lied, they would know that she had been lying to them still, especially tonight. They were following me? She thought, I can't believe it, what am I going to do? Feeling her eyes fill, she blinked rapidly and headed to her locker. When she got there, the hall was mostly deserted, she opened the locker and two things fell out. A picture of her and Seeley at the curb outside her house, also time date stamped, this time it was when he dropped her off, that same night. The other thing was a short note, "Hi Bone Lady-sorry I missed you-I'll look for you before the pep rally, I'll need my jersey for it-by the trees? BMOC" she looked around and stuffed the picture into the locker, grabbing Booth, she buried her face in his fur and let a few tears fall, then headed off to the parking lot to call Angela…
While Brennan was explaining what was going on to Angela, Payton and her minions were planning the next stage of the upset they were planning. Hopefully, they would be able to keep up the physiological warfare. Payton knew that what she needed to hammer on was Temperance's own insecurities and to do so, she was going to start exploiting the girl and Seeley too for that matter. Daisy and Caroline were all on board. Convincing Fischer and Wendell was going to be a little more difficult, but Payton rarely lost, so she wasn't too worried about it. She told the girls what they needed to let the boys in on, and she would take care of the rest of it. Although Caroline and Daisy were willing to go along with Payton, they had specifically told her they wouldn't do anything that hurt either of the two of them, nothing graphic. "I'm not stupid", Payton said, "I'm not going to risk going to jail, or anything happening to me over this, I'm just going to make him pay a little for humiliating me."
Angela was definitely concerned, she asked Temperance, "Do you want me to call the police or something? We should report this, it's stalking, and you know who is doing it. I could call my dad's lawyer?" Tempe wasn't sure what to do, she and Angela talked back and forth and decided to just wait and see what happened next. Maybe if they didn't react, Payton would get bored and leave them alone. "I'm worried about Seeley though", Tempe told Angela, "What if she does something to him that affects him long term? I mean, I've read stories and seen programs, some girls go crazy and try to kill their ex boyfriends for things like this, what if she is capable of that?" Angela could really sense the worry in her voice, but couldn't believe that she was so concerned about his life over her own. "Don't you think that she may try something like that with you too? If she's that crazy?" she asked her, "It's not out of the question, you know"
"I doubt it, she knows if she pushes me far enough I'll leave him alone, I'd rather not see him hurt, so if it gets that far, I'll walk away."
"Walk away? You'll just walk away from him without looking back? You'll give in?" Angela was incredulous, "are you listening to yourself? You'd hand him over to her without a fight? After all the things you say he's made you feel and all the things you feel for him, you could do that so easily?"
"I didn't say it would be easy, but if it came down to him being safe and me being unhappy, I'll choose his safety every time. There's no reason for me to think otherwise, it would be selfish of me to put my happiness before his safety, don't you see that?" She couldn't understand why Angela wasn't agreeing with her.
"No Sweetie, I don't see that, I see you getting scared and rather than standing up for yourself, I see you running away and leaving him to fight the battle alone. That's what I see. But, this isn't the time or place to debate it, I'll see you this afternoon at the museum, and we'll go to the game, eat popcorn cheer for the BMOC and point out the cheerleader's mistakes. We'll have a good time, and then we can worry about what the ex is going to do later, okay?" telling her goodbye and to be careful just in case, Angela hung up. She debated about 30 seconds before making a phone call. After explaining what she knew, she felt better and decided she was going to go to the gym to try to reduce her stress before the game. Sometimes being the best friend to a 16 year old kid was hard on a person.
Temperance hurriedly ate her lunch and headed back to her locker to get her bag and check on Booth. She felt silly, it was just a stuffed dog, but she was attached to it. When she got there, there was a note stuck to her locker. 'Meet me at gym, Seeley.' Wondering why he wanted her there rather than under the trees as he said earlier, she decided to head down there. When she got there, there were some people milling around, but she didn't see him anywhere. Not sure whether she should go in or not, she walked around to the back to see if he was there. When she was out of view of the school, she felt the presence of another person behind her. She turned quickly and came face to face with Payton.
"Would you look at that" she drawled, "She's wearing my jersey-don't you know that belongs to me princess? Now, why would you want to take something that isn't yours?" she said, cornering Temperance up against the wall of the gym.
"Seeley gave this to me to wear today, he said it was tradition" she told Payton, trying to keep the quiver from her voice. "Oh, it is tradition hon, it's tradition for the girlfriend to wear it, not the piece of a$$ on the side, so we can do this one of two ways, you can give me the jersey and walk away, or I can take it off of you-which would you prefer?" Temperance thought she might have had a chance against her until Caroline and Daisy showed up. Once she was surrounded, she decided to save everyone the trouble of a fight and just give in to Payton. After all, it was just a stupid jersey. It didn't matter…really.
Temperance took the jersey off and flung it at Payton. She then turned to go, "wait, where are you going?" Caroline asked. "You got what you wanted Payton, leave me alone" Temperance said, "I didn't do anything to you, he talked to me, so if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at him, I've done nothing wrong"
"Oh-you've done plenty wrong Temperance Brennan, you've messed around with my boyfriend, you've messed up my future, and you've made yourself a nuisance, you just don't know when to give up do you?" Temperance was looking around, desperately hoping someone would come around the corner of the gym, anyone. "No one's' coming precious, their all heading to the field for the pep rally" Daisy said looking at her watch, "In fact, ladies, we should be going too-we don't want to get in trouble."
"You two go ahead, I've got one more thing to tell little Miss Home Wrecker here" Payton said, handing her gym bag to Caroline, watching them leave, she leaned over and placed one hand on either side of Temperance's head against the wall. Leaning in close she whispered, "I don't know what he promised you, or what he's given you, but I hope it was enough to think about when he's gone…because he's given me something that's going to bind us together for the rest of our lives, if you know what I mean" she reached down and patted her stomach, "he's good isn't he? Really knows his way around a bed that Seeley does…I hope you got a little taste of it Sweetheart, because starting tonight, he's all mine…" she winked and left Temperance there against the wall.
Flushed and trembling, all she could think of was getting away and never coming back. There was no way she was going to the pep rally or the game now. He'd gotten Payton pregnant? And was trying to get close to her now? Temperance was so lost and confused. Gathering up her own bag, she headed around the other side of the gym towards the parking lot. She saw the football players all coming out of a side door and she ducked behind a tree so that they didn't see her. Blinded with fear, anger and tears she just wanted to get away. She saw Seeley break away and head over to the trees, and she felt a great stabbing pain in her chest. She so badly wanted to be there, but she couldn't face him.
When she got to the parking lot, she knew the soonest bus to the city center was at least an hour or more, so she'd decided to just sit on the curb, then head to the museum when the bus came. She'd tell Angela then, and that would be the end of it. She knew if she called Angela now, she would come down here and make her confront Payton, and she wasn't going to do that. Listening to the loudspeaker, she heard the school band start in on the fight song; she figured that most of the students were there, she could hear the low buzz of the crowd. Resisting the urge to not watch, she went as far to the edge of the parking lot that she could, where she could see both the field and the bus stop. She watched the band come out on the field in formation and march around, then the football players all came out in a rush from one end, bursting through a paper flag with their school name on it.
Only one of the seniors wasn't wearing his jersey. Creeping closer to the edge of the field, and still staying out of sight, she watched the football players' line up to get introduced. As each player's name was called, his picture and number flashed on the electronic screen in the end zone. As co-captain of the team, Seeley's name was the second to the last to be called, as he stepped forward, she strained to hear what Coach Hodgins was saying, "Number 51, Co-Captain, Running Back, Seeley Booth" Seeley stepped forward and waived to the crowd, desperately searching for a little brunette wearing a maroon jersey. "Mr. Booth, what happened to your jersey? Are you not suiting up this game?" Coach Hodgins was jokingly asking him, and just then, a blonde cheerleader bounced up and did handsprings over to where the team was standing, "I believe I can explain that Coach" she said into the microphone. Walking over to where Seeley stood, she stripped the jersey off and handed it to him, "Guess there was a mistake made earlier huh Seeley?" she said quietly before reaching up to kiss his cheek and bounding back to the rest of the cheerleaders. The crowd was mostly silent, a few people applauded, but most of them sat in shock. No one saw that coming. "Well, yes, okay the mystery of the jersey is solved apparently, and introducing our other co-captain…" Coach Hodgins voice droned on, but Temperance was no longer listening. She could only imagine what must be going through Seeley's mind right now. I'm sorry Seeley, she whispered.
The band and cheerleaders came back out on the field and the football players went to the bottom bleachers to watch the rest of the rally. Tempe's cell phone began to vibrate, looking down, she saw an incoming text, and "Where are you?" was all it said. She let it go and began to walk back towards the bus stop. Another text, "Temperance-call me", she deleted this one too, and just as she was began to shut the phone off, she got another one; "I don't know what is going on, if you don't call me, I'll come find you". Knowing that he would, which would get him in trouble and make him not be able to play most likely, she texted back, "I'm fine, something came up, good luck tonight" and then she turned her phone off. Wiping the tears from her cheeks she sat at the bus stop and waited for the night to be over.
Booth tried calling her repeatedly and got nothing but a message stating there was no voicemail set up yet. Watching Payton, Booth was angry. He knew just exactly "had come up" and he was going to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later. He didn't even care about the game, he just wanted to find Tempe and tell her that it was all going to be okay. First, he had to deal with Payton. When the cheerleaders headed off the field the pep rally was over, the team was supposed to head to the gym and locker rooms for film tapes before the game. They weren't going to run a mini practice, just relax and mentally prepare for the game. Booth strode over to her and grabbed her upper arm and walked her off the field, "Let me go Seeley! I swear if you don't let go of me I'm going to scream!" She started to work herself up into a genuine scream and he tightened his grip, "You scream Payton and it'll only be worse for you" he said forcefully. When they got to the far side of the field, the opposite side of the trees and away from the departing crowd, he pointed to the field and said, "What the hell happened, where is Tempe and how did you get my jersey? You better start talking Payton, I'm not playing games anymore" he crossed his arms and glared at her.
"Seeley what is going on? Why did that tramp have your jersey?" she asked him, ice in her eyes.
"That 'tramp' is my girlfriend Payton, so watch it" he snarled his answer, "why are you so obsessed with me, weren't you the one that told me that there were 'hundreds of guys' that wanted to be in my position? What do you want? I'm not going to get back together with you. Even if Temperance and I break up, I'm still not coming back to you, I've moved on! Figure it out for crying out loud!"
"I don't accept that Seeley, you promised me; remember in 9th grade, 'we'll always be together Payton, no matter what! Well, this is 'no matter what' Seeley and a promise is a promise" she said stubbornly.
"9th grade? You're basing all of this on something I said 4 years ago? What about all the times you told me, 'I promise Seeley, it was a mistake, I'll never cheat on you again', what about that? How many times did I come back to you, how many 'one more chances' did I give you? Did you think I was going to wait around forever? Please-you're delusional Payton and you need to grow up and move on and if you EVER pull a stunt like that again, I will make sure your parents know just how easy you really are. Don't talk to me, don't talk to Temperance and don't even think I'm afraid of this baby story you've got cooked up. I would have been willing to walk away and just be friends Payton, we've been through a lot of things over the years, but I will not let you hurt her"
"HER!" She screamed, "Hurt her? What about me Seeley? One minute you and I are screwing each other's brains out every chance we get, making plans, talking about colleges and then the next thing I know, that little b!tch has my boyfriend on a leash and is twitchin' her little virgin $$ all over campus wearing what is rightfully mine! I put up with all your, 'what am I going to do Payton, my brother needs me, my dad is out of control, we need to stay with my Pops, what should I do, football or hockey, blah blah blah' I listened to all that crap, I held you when you cried-what about me Seeley Booth? I put in a lot of time to get out of this place and now what? You're going after some two bit dork like she's a b!tch in heat and where does that leave me? My senior year, no boyfriend, no prom date, no plans for college, NOTHING! So spare me the 'poor me' speech, I've heard all of them I'm going to listen to-either you figure it out and grow up yourself, or so help I'm going to screw you six ways till Sunday Seeley Joseph Booth, I'll spill everything. EVERYTHING. Do you understand me? There won't be one person that doesn't know what your dad did to you. Do you really think you have anything on me that is worse than that? I own you Seeley, don't forget it!" She started to walk away and he grabbed her arm to stop her.
He softly whispered into her ear, "Don't push me Payton-you watch it-I've got things on you as well, things that I'm sure the Col and his wife would never want to hear about their lily pure daughter Payton Joy. You think I'm just this big dumb jock that is just going to roll over and let you hold me hostage, guess again princess…you don't scare me" he let go of her arm roughly and walked away.
Rubbing her arm she said to herself, "that's it Seeley, that b!tch is mine"
Seeley pulled out his phone as he walked back to the gym, his hands were shaking, he'd never touched a girl like that, and he felt like a criminal. Payton wasn't going to get away with this, he didn't care if anyone knew about the abuse he'd had at his dad's hands. Lots of kids were abused. It used to embarrass him, but not anymore. That didn't define him, who he was as a person. That was just something that happened to the person that he was. He knew that his Pops had given him and Jared a much better life, he knew he was loved and he knew the kind of man he wanted to be. He could only be that man because of the things that had gone in his life, and if Payton wanted to tell the world, he no longer cared. Right now, all he wanted to do was find Temperance, make sure she was okay and tell her in no uncertain terms that he was going to be there for her, no matter what crap Payton had planned. Already wishing the game was over; he dialed Angela and hoped she would answer.
"Talk to me, it's the lovely Angel" her voicemail came on immediately, "Angela-it's Seeley, something happened today and I don't know what it was, Temperance doesn't have her phone on, I don't know where she is and I'm not in a position to go look for her. Please find her Angela, I don't even care if she comes to the game tonight, I just need to know she is safe, please? I think Payton may have scared her, please tell her when you find her, that I…tell her that I'll call her tonight, the minute the game is over, please Angela?" He hung up and jogged into the gym, looking at the clock, he'd been MIA for about 30 minutes and Coach Hodgins was going to be pissed. If he wasn't a senior he'd definitely be riding the pine pony tonight.
The bus finally showed up and Tempe got on and rode it downtown to the museum. She went inside and straight to the employee break room. She started in on her homework, but was halfway through the book before realizing she was trying to do a Physics paper with a Geography textbook. She cupped her chin in her hand and gazed at the wall. She tried hard to forget everything that happened after Seeley gave her his jersey to wear. All she could think about was how hard Payton was trying to get to her. She turned her phone on, and saw 4 missed calls and a text. "I don't care what happened-please call me-BMOC", deciding she at least owed him that, she called his number.
"Hey-it's Booth-leave a message" she looked at the time, it was 6:15 and he would be getting ready for the game, she hung up without saying anything.
Angela breezed into the break room and said, "You're not ready! What the hell Temper? I thought you'd be changed already, come on girly; we got to hustle or no good seats for us!"
"I'm not going Angela" she told her, "I can't" and she explained everything that went down that day.
"You are going to that game if I have to drag you. You are not going to let that little spoiled rotten little whore get her way. You are going to go, you are going to cheer for your man, you are going to hold your head high, and you are going to go get dressed now!" she told her standing up and pointing to the dressing room. "Get your skinny little $$ in there before I dress you myself" as Tempe started to protest, Angela held up her hand and said, "I do not want to hear it, now go"-This is not going to be as easy as I thought, but nobody messes with my friends and gets away with it, who the hell does Barbie think she is anyway? I'll crush her like a bug she thought to herself, still pointing at the dressing room and making shooing motions to Temperance. Smiling faintly and hoping that she would live to see the end of the night, Tempe went to change. Angela had gone to the student store earlier and bought her a pair of St. Agnes sweatpants, a maroon and gold scarf and a pennant. Wearing his hoody, Temperance looked like she had been going to games her whole life. When she came out of the dressing room, she saw that Angela had put on her own St. Agnes attire, a gold hoody, maroon skinny jeans and she'd put a paw print on her cheek. "Come here Sweetie, you're next" she took a second to paint a 51 on one cheek and a paw print on her other cheek. She'd also made some sort of poster, grabbing their stuff, the two girls headed out the back of the museum to the loading area. Angela led them over to an oversized silver F150 pickup, jacked up 6" or more, huge tires and lights to brighten the darkest forest. "This is some truck, Ange" Temperance said grabbing onto the chrome bar next to the door and putting her foot on the chrome step plate. "This old thing? I only drive it to impress the boys!" she grinned and gunned it out of the parking lot. They made the school in record time and she said, "Before we go in there, I want you to listen to something" she pressed playback on her phone and Tempe was listening to his earlier call to Angela. "Now, does that sound like someone who doesn't want to be with you?" she asked her.
"No, it doesn't" Tempe said, "Well, then quit acting like Payton is Freddy and stiffen that spine!"
"Who's Freddy?" Temperance asked.
"Never mind Sweetie, never mind! Let's go watch some football! Yeah PANTHERS!" she hollered jumping down out of the truck, the people in the parking lot were just staring at the giant silver truck and the beautiful girl who just dropped out of it. Then when Temperance climbed down, they all started talking and pointing. Noticing it, Angela turned to the crowd that was closest and said, "What's the matter? Never seen two hot girls get out of a truck before? You all better watch it; you know who this girl is? Her boyfriend is the bad-ass running back on this team, don't make me call him!" the people walking by laughed nervously and headed off to the field. Turning and winking, she said, "let's go little girl, we've got an entrance to make".
The two girls headed up to the ticket booth and Angela bought two, along with a program and a player roster. Then they headed into the home field stands, "step aside, girlfriend and best friend of Seeley Booth coming through, step aside please, Seeley Booth girlfriend coming through" Angela chanted and plowed through the bleachers, dragging a bewildered Temperance behind her. Once she was where she wanted them to sit, she laid out a St. Agnes Panthers blanket on the bleachers and told Temperance to sit. "Okay, where is he Sweetie? Point him out to me" she indicated with her head to the guys standing on the sideline. Temperance looked around and didn't see him at first, then a jersey that said, GOODMAN moved over and she said, "Right there! Number 51, there he is!" Following where she was pointing, Angela stood up and whistled as loud as she could. People on the other side of the field looked to see where the whistle came from, "Wow Angela-I didn't know you could do that" Temperance said looking up at her friend, "Well, I have to be able to let my dad know when I'm at one of his shows!" the football players all turned to see the pretty brunette standing on the bleacher with her folded poster that said 'BMOC! GOOD LUCK! BONE LADY & ANGEL'.
Seeley recognized her right away and started to head over to the bleachers, "Booth-get your ass back over here," Coach Hodgins hollered. "Yes Sir, just a second!" he jogged over and jumped over the small concrete divider and then to the bleachers themselves, "TEMPE!" he yelled, Angela nudged her arm and told her to hustle down there before he got in trouble. The crowd in front of her parted and even helped her down the bleachers, she'd never moved to gracefully before, just as she got to the bottom the marching band started to play the school fight song and she knew she was going to cut it close, "Seeley! Good luck, I'm sorry" she told him, "Never mind Bone Lady, you're here, wait for me after the game please?" he asked, his eyes boring into hers. "I will" she told him, "if I can, I can't be late" she didn't want to talk about that now! She wanted him to go to the team and play hard, "Go Seeley, it's almost time" she shooed him off, "I'm glad you came Tempe, I'll see you Bone Lady" he turned to go at the same time she did, turning back he yelled up to her, "I love you!"
The crowd disappeared. Suddenly she thought she was alone in the world, no sound but the echo of his words, turning to look back at him; he was the only other person on the field. He winked and waved and then color returned to the world, the sound flooded back and she was inundated with the noise, the people, the sights, the smells. She started to sway a bit and a man reached over and grabbed her arm and her side and said, "hold on sister, you don't want to fall" she looked at him blankly and Angela came over and grabbed her other arm, "Thank you, I've got her" she told the man, holding Temperance's hand, she led her to the stairs and the easiest way back to their seats, "Come on Sweetie, let's go sit down, you can pass out and I can watch the game…"
Booth headed back to the sideline where Coach Hodgins bopped him on the head with his clipboard, grabbed his facemask and pointed to the crowd where he manually shook Booth's head back and forth, and then turning him to the field, he nodded his head up and down. The rest of the team laughed and they all relaxed and got ready for the game ahead. This was their only chance to get into the State Championship game, if they won, they were in, if not, than they would be done for the season. All of the seniors were hoping for a win, the last time they'd been to a SC game was their freshman year and they had lost. Each senior class since then had tried and just not quite had what it took. Hodgins and Hacker believed in them though. They thought this was the team that was going to make it happen for the St. Agnes Panthers.
Booth & the other captain ran out on to the field and met the other team's captains as well as the referee's. Flipping the coin, St. Agnes decided to receive the opening kick. Shaking hands, they pointed to the north end zone and headed back to their sideline. Booth and the rest of the offense gathered, held hands, said a quick prayer and then waited for special teams to receive the ball.
The Marantha Warriors lined up to kick, raising his hand in the air, the kicker nodded and started toward the field, "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH BOOM!" the crowd yelled as he ran toward the ball and booted it downfield, the Panther receiver, Hester signaled fair catch and caught the ball and began to run the opposite direction. His O line was in front of him, giving him the blocking he needed. The kick started him on the 19 and he was able to get to the 30 before being tackled.
"Great run Hester! Great, okay kids go get 'em!" Coach Hodgins smacked their QB on the butt and sent them out on the field.
"Why did the crowd do that?" Tempe asked Angela. "Because Sweetie, it's one of those unknown mysteries of the universe, like, who decided to eat the first thing that came out of a chickens butt, pay attention, your man is up" Temperance decided that Angela didn't know what she was talking about and was giving her one of her patented lines to avoid admitting it. She watched the O line up and she was able to pick him up, he was in the I formation that she knew. She was reaching for her 'dummy' book when she heard, "excuse me, pardon me, I'm sorry, yes-thank you, whoooah, oops sorry about that I hope you have a napkin? Excuse me, excuse me-WHEW! What did I miss?" Max sat down right next to Temperance and looked out on the field. He had a maroon jacket on, a gold hat and was holding a gold and maroon cone shaped horn. "MAX!-what are you doing here?" Temperance asked.
"I told you little girl, watching a HS football game was one of the necessary things to enter the pearly gates, I just want to make sure that I'm covered!" he signaled a runner going up the stairs in the bleachers to pass him down some popcorn. Smiling, he happily starting munching away watching the action on the field. While Temperance had been talking to Max, she missed the play. Noticing they were no longer on the 30, they'd gotten the first down. "What happened?" She asked Angela, "I'm not going to tell you, pay attention, I will say this though…damn! Those shiny maroon pants are fantabulistic! I may have to get me a pair of those, maybe black?" she mused. Determined not to miss a play, she focused on the field. The O was in a huddle. "XY Redwing 77 on two, ready break" the QB said heading into the shotgun formation. He quickly looked to his left and right, then stepped up close to the center and shouted "blackwing blackwing 57 57 right watch him watch him" the line shifted to the right and the wideout dropped back a few feet, "ready hut hut!" dropping into the pocket the QB watched his left WR break free and head up the sideline, dropping back another step and ducking to avoid the missed block, he let the ball go and the WR caught it on the line.
"1st down!" the line judge ruled and the chains and team marched down to the new line of scrimmage. Temperance found that she had understood almost all of that. Max leaned in to ask if she knew what had happened, and she said "Mack realized that there was a blitz coming on that formation, so he called an…something..I forgot, called it and changed the play, so then that guy was able to get free enough to catch it?"
"Excellent! And it's called an 'audible' very nicely done Miss Brennan I love it when my students pay attention!" he congratulated her and turned back to the game. Angela leaned over, raised an eyebrow and then winked. She pointed to the book and smiled. Tempe nodded and smiled back. They all concentrated on the game, quickly the 1st down they had gotten was the only one they would get and their punter had to come out on the field. He shanked it pretty far to the left which gave the other team excellent field position when they came out on the field. Brennan picked out Fischer and Wendell and was interested to see how the two of them played. She knew they were Booth's best friends, but he never mentioned them. It seemed all he wanted to do was talk to her about her life. She was going to ask him questions about his life the next time she talked to him.
The three of them were unaware that there was a camera pointed at them almost continuously…
The other team scored on their possession and went for the 2 point conversion, so were up 8-0 with 7 minutes to play in the first quarter. They really had held the ball for a long time. Coach Hodgins was worried because Zack really had control and seemed to be placing the ball wherever he wanted it. While they were on defense, he made a point to tell Booth that he needed to be on his toes. He knew that Mack, although proficient for a sophomore was not nearly as good as Zack Addy. Luckily for them, Clark Edison had been put on academic probation, so their leading rusher was sidelined.
Calling time out, Mack decided to come over and consult with Hacker about what play to run next. Booth idly looked into the stands, right at his girl. She was staring intently at the field and even from there, he could see that she was calculating the next play and was trying to determine the best course of action. Mack trotted back and called, "Strong side up the gut-silver blast 29 on slow three, ready break" and they got into formation. Seeley lined up on the inside and stepped up to the line. "Ready-14 silver, 29 blast, hut..huthut" and they were off, Booth grabbed the ball and pushed as hard as he could, his tackle was giving him plenty of room, just not fast enough. Brought down from the side, he only picked up 7 yards. He jumped up and ran back to the huddle. "Dammit! Come on-I need some running room, let's go pick up the pace!"
Calling a weak side cutback, Mack lined them up with Booth towards the middle again, he was going to drop back, switch sides and pick the ball up and cross the field. Mack drifted back to the left and handed the ball off, Booth hustled to the right and picked up a cherry hole in the D. He ran for it and broke through, knowing he was being chased by over a 1000 pounds of pissed off, he ran for the end zone. Diving into the corner he rolled and then jumped up, spiked the ball and ran to hi-five his team. The maroon and gold fans went nuts. They were all screaming and jumping up and down. Max and Angela hugged a squished Tempe. She waved her pennant and Angela waved her sign, Max used his cone horn to make a loud "oooogaah" noise. The Panthers decided not to pick up the 2 point conversion, trusting instead they could pick it up later in the game. The ball shot through the uprights and they were ready to kick off again when the 2 minute warning came.
The kicker lined up and this time, Temperance was ready for the "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH BOOM!" she giggled out loud when the ball sailed into the end zone and they brought the ball out to the 20 yard line. "This is so much fun!" she screamed, "I'm going to every game next year, if I have to sneak out!" Angela laughed at her and reached over to give her a one armed hug. I'm glad you're having fun Sweetie!"
The teams switched sides of the field for the next quarter and it went by rather quickly. A couple of penalties, but neither team scored so going into halftime the score was still 8-7 Marantha. When the players began to head off the field, the crowd started to disperse as well, many to the bathrooms, the food vendors or to the smoking section. The bleachers were pretty sparse when Temperance looked up to see an older man heading her way, followed by a sullen Seeley look-a-like. He came up to where they were sitting and said, "hello, my name is Hank Booth. I'm Seeley's grandpa, and this is J"
"Jared!" Angela said coyly and reached out to give him a hug, "hows my favorite Booth Lite?" Jared looked at the girl and felt his entire body flush hot then cold, "uhh, I'm fine Angela-how are you?" he mumbled, "just peachy, now, escort me to the ladies would ya?" she grabbed his arm and giving a little wave dragged the poor kid off.
"Well, when Angela has you in her clutches, there's no telling what will happen" Max chuckled, reaching his hand out, he said, "It's nice to meet you Mr. Booth, my name is Max Keenan, and I'm a friend of Tempe's and your grandson"
"Hank, please" he said shaking Max's hand. Temperance looked at the older man and reached her hand out as well, "Hello, I'm Temperance Brennan, and Seeley has told me a lot about you" she smiled at him and instantly fell in love with him. "Shrimp has told me a bunch about you too young lady, in fact, my grandson is quite smitten with you, I hope that we will be seeing you around the house?" he smiled and sat down on the bleacher in front of them. "I hope so" she said quietly. The three of them quickly starting discussing the game, the field and were really enjoying themselves when Angela and Jared came back. "Thank you Booth Lite-that was very kind of you" she turned to him and kissed him on the cheek. Jared turned bright pink and said, "Come on Pops, we need to get back to our seats" and started to go, "Why don't we just sit here, I'm sure they won't mind?" he turned and raised an eyebrow. "I don't mind, Jared, you can sit here" Angela patted the empty seat next to her and winked. Seeing that Jared was trying to not let his head explode, Temperance actually jumped in and said, "Jared, I saw Tim Sullivan sitting about 4 rows down, maybe you can sit with him and your grandpa can stay here?" it was by far the bravest thing she could ever have suggested. "Yeah, thanks Temperance - Pops? Is it okay?" he asked.
"Sure Cricket-go ahead, I'll just stay here with Max and these lovely ladies" he winked and sat down next to Max. Angela had brought back a soda to share with Temperance, she knew she really didn't care for them, but there wasn't any tea or milkshakes to be had. The girls sat and discussed the cheerleaders and their routine. They were quick to notice that Daisy was always about a half foot behind the other girls and Payton was working the crowd like she was on a stage in Vegas. "Well, it's obvious that she didn't use her brains to get his attention" Angela told her. "Thanks Angela-I'm glad it was my brains that attracted him first" she said, slightly hurt. He had told her she was pretty, maybe she just wasn't as pretty as Payton.
"Well, young lady, I for one am glad that Seeley is no longer with that evil little witch. Never did like that girl, always acted like she was too good for everybody else. You can pour chocolate on a lemon wedge but that don't make it sweet" he finished. They all sat there silently for a second then burst into laughter. "That was by far the funniest thing I think I've ever heard!" Angela said, "I believe I will claim that in the name of me!" she winked at him and reached her fist out to bump his. Max signaled for another bag of popcorn and they watched the cheerleaders leave the field and the players start to come back for the second half.
Marantha had the ball starting the second half and were able to march right down the field and score on their first possession. The score was now 15-7; they'd controlled the ball so well that they'd eaten up a good chunk of time off of the clock as well. While Marantha was getting ready to kick the ball to St. Agnes, Tempe had her eye on the sideline and noticed that the cheerleaders had moved over in front of their section of the bleachers. She warily kept an eye on them while she stood up to yell, "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH BOOOOOM!" when the kicker's foot hit the ball. She sat back down and watched Hester as he ran it back about 6 yards from the kick. Angela leaned over and said, "Okay Baby-here comes the magic man!" Standing up to yell she whistled loud and long and was cheering the O as they ran onto the field. "Come on Temper! Cheer for you man girl!" she grabbed her arm and they two of them started hooting and hollering. Tempe couldn't keep the smile off of her face; she was having so much fun. She never thought she would enjoy something like this so much, but the freedom of expression was extraordinary. She sat back down and watched them line up against the defense. Seeing that they were going to do a passing play, she just watched Seeley. She wanted to see what he did when not directly involved with the play. She saw how solid he was, his pads didn't really need to emphasize his physical presence, if anything they enhanced it. She saw how he stood stock still, his head up high, hands clenched as he waited for the play. She loved how precise every movement he made was. Mack moved out of the pocket and was being pressured on the play, Booth stepped in and tackled one of the linemen moving towards his QB. Just then from the side, there was another hard hit and she gasped and stood up as Booth collapsed under the pile of players that were converging on Mack.
Mack released the ball to the WR waiting down field, and the play was complete. They'd gotten the first down and then some. Temperance didn't see that. She didn't see anything but the massive pile of players being pulled up by the referees. There were whistles blowing and the crowd was silent. Angela grabbed her hand, and Max grabbed her other one. They all stood, along with the rest of the spectators to see who was at the bottom. He was laying there, on his back, his arm above his head. The referee motioned to his sideline to bring the trainer out, Coach Hodgins, Hacker and the trainer trotted on to the field. Marantha had gone to their sideline and along with all the other players had taken a knee on the field.
"Booth-hey buddy, come on, are you there?" Coach Hodgins asked when he got there. The trainer straightened out his legs and brought his arm down. "Hey come on man, let's go" he said as he got the smelling salts out, ready to break the package. Just then Seeley took a deep breath and opened his eyes wide. He saw nothing but the grill on his helmet and the concern in his coach's faces. He started to sit up and Hacker put his hand on his chest, "Hold on Seeley, do you know where you are?" he asked him, concern etched in his face.
"Yes AD Hacker, I know where I am" he replied with a wink. "Think I've bought us enough time?" he asked the three men kneeling over him. "Very funny Booth, you had us all freaked out!" Coach Hodgins grinned at him, and offered his hand, "Well, next time I get my lights knocked out, I'll try not to worry you so much" he said, shakily standing. He stood for a minute and let the blood flow back into his legs, he took a step and faltered somewhat. "I think I better anchor you big guy", Hodgins said getting on one side of him he walked with his arm around his waist as they walked back to their side line. When they got there, Booth and the trainer went over to the bench behind the line and the trainer checked him out. He followed the pen light with his eyes and felt all the pinches and pokes in his legs and arms. He was told to touch his toes and he was able to do that without falling over. The trainer walked over to Hacker and said, "Seems to be okay, had his bell rung, but looks good" Hacker was relieved. This game was important to the school, but Seeley was also a good kid and he hated to see anyone get hurt.
Coach Hodgins told Seeley he would need to sit out for a play or so, but then he could go back in, so he was regulated to the bench for a couple of minutes. He stood and turned to try to catch her eye in the stands and was relieved to see that she was still there. He felt bad that she had to see him get walked off the field, but hoped that she could see he was okay. She was looking right at him and he smiled at her and waved a bit, giving her the 'ok' sign, she touched her heart with her hand and signed back, 'ok'. Putting his helmet on, he walked back to the coach and was ready to go in on the next play.
The fourth quarter started off slowly, neither team could do much with the ball. Zack was completing passes, but they weren't able to convert. Mack and Booth and Hester had been talking and told Hodgins that they wanted to try the run, Mack said he thought they would be able to pick up more yardage and get better field position for a short pass into the end zone. Hodgins realized that he needed to trust his players, so told them to call the ball and let them have the reins.
When they got to the huddle, there was 9 minutes left on the clock and they were down, 15-7. Mack said "weak side cutback, left 1-2 on one on one and break"clapping their hands to end the huddle they lined up, he stepped into the center and called "Red 17 Red 17 left HUT!" The center handed him the ball and he reached behind him where the running back on the other side picked it up, he rushed around the left side and was able to pick up 6 yards. Standing now on the 26 yard line, they had 3 tries to get into the end zone. Mack decided to try a reverse and see how close they could get, so signaling Seeley on the hike, he handed off to Seeley and began to run, everyone started watching him and then saw that Seeley had the ball and was looking to throw it. Seeing that he was about to be tackled, and his left side had missed the block, Seeley ducked a shoulder and cut to the right, he looked over the mass of bodies, and saw that Mack was about 3 yards ahead of his nearest defender so let it go. As he crashed to the field, he looked to see if Mack caught it. He did and the crowd stood as one and screamed for him to run! Mack took off and was about 17 yards from the end zone when he was tackled from behind. This time when they lined up, they tried a run up the middle and were stymied with only 2 yards. They needed to pick up 9 yards on this next drive as time was running out. Mack faded back and dumped a short little pass over the line to the tight end and picked up 3 yards. Trying the same play again, they were able to get another 5 yards. This was their last chance to pick up the necessary 1yard for the first down, or they were going to have to kick a field goal. There was only 4 minutes left on the clock, so that wouldn't give them enough time to do an onside kick, recover and march back down the field. It was now or never.
Calling a running play, Mack handed the ball to Seeley who pounded towards the end zone, cutting to his left he was able to spin out of a tackle, just to bounce into another one, he pulled the defender with him, and his determination to score was providing the necessary adrenaline to pull an extra 235 pounds. Driving with his legs Booth stretched out his full length to put the ball over the goal line. The whistle blew and he jumped up to celebrate the touchdown, when another whistle blew and there was a flash of yellow in the air.
Everyone in the stands groaned in frustration as they saw the offensive holding sign the referee was giving. "What does that mean?" Temperance asked Max, "It means, that they lose the touchdown and are penalized 10 yards, so now, their 4th and 14, they have to make up the extra 10 yards they were penalized, plus the 4 yards they were short from the first down." He told her. "It's going to be tough, they have less than a minute left to get the 14 yards and line up for the extra point, which they are going to have to convert, or they'll lose by one point"
Wondering why anyone would want to play such a confusing sport and wishing she could do something; she had her eyes glued to the field. Angela grabbed her hand and said, "Its okay kiddo, we've got this, I can feel it!" Nodding her agreement, the girls watched the team line up for the last push. Seeley ran a route behind Mack where he was handed the ball he ran halfway to the right before reversing and running up the middle. The D expected him to do a full reverse to the left, so over corrected and he was able to squeak in the corner of the end zone. This time, there was no holding and the touchdown was scored! The crowd was hushed, everyone was waiting to see what the next play was going to be, and Mack got the ball and spiked it causing a time out. He trotted over to Hodgins who told him to try a dump pass again. Mack went back to the huddle and said, "Liberty on 2-ready break!" the boys lined up and Mack called the play, once he said, HUT! The entire O line shifted to the left, on the 2nd HUT they shifted again and that drew the defense in that direction. Mack set the ball down on the ground and put his head down, charging into the middle of the scrum. Seeley came in right behind Mack and picked the ball up and ran it to the right where it was clear sailing. The buzzer sounded and they had scored the 2 point conversion!
The crowd erupted in ebullient cheering, they were throwing cups and programs and pretty much everything into the air! Screaming and jumping up and down, Angela and Temperance were hugging and laughing! They'd done it! They were going to the SC game! Temperance was so happy for Booth, she had tears in her eyes and couldn't stop grinning. Max and Pops shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder and were hi-fiving all of the spectators next to them. As the team was celebrating on the field, Seeley was handed the ball by the ref. He was being pounded on by the other players and everyone was celebrating, after the coaches met in the middle to shake hands, they too joined in the teams celebration.
Seeley, however had other ideas, making his way from the rest of the team, he hustled to the sideline and vaulted the concrete divider. He ran over to the bleachers and began to climb up to the landing where the stairs started. Max and Hank realized what he was doing before Tempe did and said, "He's coming for you Sweetheart, head on down there" she turned to Angela who said, "Go Sweetie, go see your man!"
The crowd half lifted and half glided her down to him, when it was obvious he couldn't get up the barrier, she leaned over the railing and he reached up and pulled her down into his arms. Spinning her around, he held her tight. She was holding on to his shoulders and laughing and telling him how well he played. He set her down and took off his helmet. He leaned in for a kiss and then picked her up and hugged her again. She leaned back and he spun her around. "We did it baby! We did it!" he laughed up at her, and she leaned down and grabbed his face in her hands, "You did it Seeley!" she kissed him softly at first, well aware of the crowd cheering them on. "Here-this is for you, he handed her the game football"
"For me?" She squeaked, "Don't you want to keep it?"
"Nope-it's for you babe, as is this" setting her down, he stripped off his jersey and handed it to her, right before he kissed her on the cheek. "I've got to go back on the field, we have to get the trophy for the division, but I'll be right back, will you be here?" she looked up into the stands where they were rapidly emptying as the crowd headed to the field, and Angela was pointing to her watch. "Seeley-I wish I could, but I have to go, I'm sorry" she looked down, mad that she couldn't enjoy the rest of his moment.
Seeley tipped her chin up and said. "Don't be sorry Tempe, I'm so glad you came and I'll call you tonight, okay?"
"Okay" she said softly as he leaned in to kiss her again.
He swatted her on the butt and headed back to the field as Angela and Max made their way down the bleacher with Hank and Jared. "Did you have fun Temperance?" Hank asked her? "Yes Sir, I did, I had a wonderful time"
"Call me Pops, dear, and I'm glad to hear it, it's too bad you have to go, but would you like to come to dinner tomorrow night?" he asked.
Temperance shook her head and said sadly, "I wish that I could, but my parents won't let me, they don't even know I was here, in fact, I have to go" seeing the sadness in her eyes, he just leaned over and hugged her, "that's okay, maybe next time"
Angela, Max and Temperance made their way to the parking lot and they got in line to get out. Temperance looked at the clock and it was 9:45, they had 15 minutes to get across town to the museum. She knew that Angela secretly harbored a desire to drive NASCAR so wasn't too worried, she was so pumped up with energy that she felt like she could run the entire trip and still have time to spare.
As they left the parking lot, they never noticed the camera was being turned off…
Chapter 31 PART A
On the drive to the museum, Angela and Temperance were high on the victory of the game. They chattered about the plays, the people in the stands, how great Seeley was, him being hit and re-lived every moment. "What are you going to do with your football?" Angela looked over and asked her.
"I think I'm going to take it home" Tempe said, "there is no reason that I can't have it, it didn't come from one of those 'dirty other homes' like the rest of the things I wasn't allowed to bring, and they didn't have to spend their 'hard earned money on foolishness' in order for me to have it. I'm going to put it on my bed in fact" she finished her voice strong and determined.
Angela was silent, inside she was screaming with joy that Temperance was finally starting to take a stand against the Sweets and was coming out of her shell. She knew a little bit about how she ended up in the foster system, and wanted nothing more than for her to see what the world had to offer wasn't as scary as she had made it out to be. "I think that is a great idea, what about Studly's jersey?" she smiled and winked.
"I'm going to keep that too" she said, "I just may not display it, though" she wasn't sure of the reaction she would get. They had raised their eyebrows at the hoody, but said nothing, this was different. This had his name on it. She would just make sure that it was well hidden and take it out at night.
"Um..Angela, can I ask you a question?" she said shyly.
Angela looked over and saw she was looking out the window and twisting her hands nervously in the jersey, "what is is Sweetie?"
"Is it weird that it hurts when I think of him?" spoken so quietly Angela had to mute the stereo just to be sure she heard her, "because it does, it hurts"
"That's love Sweetie. It's the most painful thing you will ever experience, but it's also the most wonderful thing too. You'll have highs and lows all day long and sometimes at the same time, but when you can laugh just thinking about something they said, or smile when you picture them in your head, or your heart feels crushed when they're gone, that's love" she reached over and took her hand, squeezing it softly she said, "it's okay to love again Temper-give yourself permission."
Tempe looked over at her with a slight sheen of tears in her eyes, "What if I do give myself permission and it doesn't work out?"
"Then you hold your head up high, take a deep breath and wade back into the fray. It's not always going to be rainbows and roses, but the times that it is outweigh the times that it isn't. Talk to him, ask him what he thinks, it's okay to love him Temperance, it really is."
Smiling at her friend, she squeezed her hand back. They pulled into the parking lot and she ducked down, not sure if the Sweets would look at the truck, she didn't want to take any chances. She and Angela got out of the truck and headed inside; she changed into a pair of jeans and wiped off her face. Angela grabbed her bag and the two of them walked out the front door. Buried in her own bag was the football, program and the jersey. Angela hugged her at the bottom of the stairs, and told her to have fun at the lecture on Saturday.
She got into their car at 10:10 and immediately Lance launched into a discussion about responsibility and how it was just plain rude to not be waiting outside when they pulled up. She apologized and told them that there had been snacks after the training class and they had stood around and chatted for a couple of minutes. She agreed that it had been irresponsible of her. Trying hard not to smile, all she could think of was whiskey colored eyes and being spun around like a little girl in his strong arms. She couldn't wait to text him tonight, talking would be impossible, but she hoped he would at least contact her once.
She headed upstairs when she got home and put her treasures away. The football she left out on her bed while she went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and upon returning she took it and set it on the floor. The jersey she hung up inside her robe in her closet and she decided to wear the same sweats for pajamas. Looking through the program, she didn't know that each senior on the team had their own profile page. She enjoyed reading about Seeley. He'd talked about his love of sports, his career goals and how much he loved being a part of the team. The coaches were all very complimentary towards him as well. It was funny she thought, he'd mentioned he wanted to be an architect when he graduated from college, yet he'd never told her that. He told her he wanted to go into the Army.
Temperance read and re-read each page of the program and began to get drowsy, she looked at her phone, kept in her pillowslip and there was nothing. Oh well, she yawned, he must be celebrating, it's a big night. I'll talk to him tomorrow. She turned off the flashlight and got under her covers. Although faint, his cologne was still on the hoody and she buried her nose in the scent. Her last conscious thought was that she would ask him what he wore and buy a small bottle herself. She laughed slightly and drifted off to sleep and dream of the best night of her life.
CHAPTER 31 PART B
Booth and the rest of the team hooped and hollered all the way into the locker room. Chanting and congratulating each other they were really living it up when Coach Hodgins stood on the bench in front of the first row of lockers. "Okay Gentlemen, okay, bring it down to ruckus please" he waved his hands dow and said, "First off, CONGRATULATIONS!" the boys erupted in cheers again and then quieted down, "secondly, that was a great game! You boys really stepped up and pulled it out. This week, we'll review the tapes, work on what little bit needs work and next Friday night when we head to McCandless for the SC game we'll be prepared!" he ended with a shout and his hands raised, letting the boys cat call and whoop it up, he continued, "I know there is going to be some partying tonight, Catholic school or not, I'm not stupid, please be careful, think of each other, your families and your own safety first, okay gentlemen?"
They all shouted agreement and then drifted off to get out of their uniforms, shower and plan their celebratory party.
"Hey Booth, are you going to Macks? His dad said we can have the guest house and he'll take car keys, we can crash all night! All of us are going, well most of the O line and some of the D, the rest are heading to Hesters', which one you going to?" Fischer asked him coming out of the shower, rubbing a towel over his wet hair, another tied around his waist.
"Nah, I'm gonna head home, relax, I got some things to do tomorrow" he said, hanging up his pads and getting his shower kit ready.
"COME ON MAN, I know you've been dating that 2nd grader for a couple of weeks now, but we haven't seen you hardly at all, the girls are all going to Macks, come on, hang out with us for a little while. We won the division game for Christ sake man. You act like your married or something!" Fischer said in digust, "hell, invite her to come too, just come out and hang with us man."
"She can't come" he said quietly, "and I don't appreciate you talking about her like that. She's younger than me, but she's more mature than any of you morons" he grabbed his kit and headed into the shower.
Wendell turned to Fischer and said, "Man, we're supposed to get him to go, not piss him off."
Fischer pulled his shirt over his head and said, "I don't know why we are doing this anyway, its Payton's show. I can't stand that little b!tch anyway, so I'm not sure why I'm risking my friendship. Why doesn't she just hook up with someone else and leave him alone"
"We told the girls we would help as long as no one got hurt-we're not doing anything wrong, Payton just wants a little revenge. Once she's satisfied, we'll go back to the way it was, but you know as well as I do, if we don't help you and I can kiss the girls goodbye. Payton's got them by the shorts and they'll do whatever she says. We get him to the party, we get him relaxed, she takes her pictures, we get laid, we go home, easy plan" he hissed as Booth was coming back from the shower.
"That was quick" he remarked, tying his shoe.
"Stupid cheap ass school is out of hot water" he said bitterly. "I'll just shower at home"
Wendell turned to give Fischer a look behind Booth's back, "Come on" he mouthed to him.
"Dude-come to the party, just for a few minutes. It would mean a lot to the guys on the team, we even got Hester and them to come to just one party. There's a lot of younger guys that look up to us, just come for like, an hour, than you can go, k?" he took Seeley's arm and turned him around, "come on man, I don't want to sound like your sister, but we miss you man."
Wendell stood up and came over and gave him a hug from behind, he rubbed his head and put his other hand on his stomach and said, "yes, we missss you Booth"
"Get off of me you nutjob" he laughed and pushed him away, "Okay, one hour-but that's it"
Hi-fiving each other they said "yeah!" in unison and continued to get dressed.
"So what did you get?" She asked.
"I got them walking in, I got the old guy and I got them sitting there for the whole game, I got the disgusting PDA at the end, the football and the jersey handover, more spit swapping. I got it all, now where's my money?" the boy said holding out his hand.
"Not so fast, I want 3 copies of it, and I want stills. The kissing, the three of them in the stands, all of them time/date stamped right?" she said bring her hand back to her side.
"That'll cost you extra" he said "another $100 easy"
"I don't care just make it happen, here's a $100 now and the rest when you have it copied-oh, and when you do whatever you do, make sure you get close-ups on all the spit swapping, okay? Plus, you're still on him the rest of the week right?" she said handing him the cash.
"You got it sister" taking the money he shook his head as he walked away, he didn't care what he filmed, but it seemed pretty sick to want to take this many photos and film of your ex-boyfriend. Deciding he didn't care, he got paid either way, he drifted off to join the rest of the stoners waiting for rides by the trees.
"Did you get them?" Caroline asked when she came back to the girls locker room.
"Yeah-he's going to make 3 copies and then stills from the video, plus he's on tap to follow him the rest of the week"
"Are you sure we should be doing this?" Daisy asked, suddenly uneasy at the way this once harmless prank was playing out.
"Are you wanting out now?" Payton asked, hand on her hip as she and Caroline both turned to stare at her. "No, I don't want out Payton, I was just asking" she said deciding to keep her mouth closed.
The girls looked at her a little longer and then started to get ready for the party.
When Daisy left to go to the showers, Payton said, "Do you have the stuff Caroline?"
"Yeah-I got it from my brother, he said one would be enough to do the trick, any more and he'd pass out-I'll get it in his drink, you get his phone. Then we'll go from there, Wendell just texted and said that they convinced him to go, so this is it"
Payton grabbed her things to take to the shower and said, "This is it, I'm not going to let that girl get what I've worked so hard to keep…"
CHAPTER 31 PART C
All of them headed to the party in separate cars, Booth's excuse was that he was leaving sooner and he didn't want to have to deal with getting them all home. They agreed that would be best, and the little caravan struck out for the hills where Mack's family home was. It was set back from the street and surrounded by trees, perfect for a teenage party. The guest house, 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, was set about 100 yards from the main house; the pool was between the two. When they all got there, Macks' dad gathered up keys and phone numbers as well as names of people there. Warning them that he would not hesitate to call parents to come get the drunken little angels and that they had all better behave. Assuring the imposing ex NFL lineman the kids all agreed.
Booth grabbed a Pepsi from the fridge and because Pops had told him a story about mice and stacked cases once when he was a kid, he grabbed a cup of ice too. Settling into a recliner he sat against the wall to watch the rest of his teammates celebrate. He'd played with some of these kids since they were in pee-wees and optimist leagues, so over 10 years. It was weird to think, one more game and they were done. Knowing some of them had been looking at scholarships; he poured his soda and silently saluted them as he watched the room grow crowded. When Payton and the girls go there with Wendell and Fischer, he decided to try to be the bigger man and let things go. She would either accept them or move on, or she wouldn't, he couldn't do it for her.
Payton knew exactly where he was the moment she walked in. She looked over at him and for the first time in a long time, really looked at him. He was silent and observant, his eyes constantly moving around the room. He was wearing a navy blue Army T-shirt that hugged every muscle, dark indigo jeans and black boots. His letter jacket was open and only appeared to increase the size of his chest and breadth of his shoulders. His hair was still slightly damp and there were the barest smudges of beard stubble. She took a deep breath and wondered why it had all gone the way it did. She never realized just how important he was to her until that moment.
Booth could feel her eyes on him and he deliberately ignored her for a few minutes, then he slowly dragged his eyes to meet hers, and looked right through her. He felt and saw her flinch at the same time that she inhaled when he turned his full gaze on her. That look said it all she thought, he'll never be yours again Payton. She smiled somewhat sadly and blinked back the sudden sting of tears. Turning away, she took a deep breath. She pushed her hair back behind her ears, smoothed down the front of her shirt and went to find Caroline. She knew that what they were doing was wrong; she also knew that he had to pay for humiliating her. At that exact moment she could have been the one to walk away and let it go, but Payton let that opportunity slip through her fingers.
Finding Caroline, she and Daisy put their heads together and figured out how it was all going to go down. They drifted over to where their guys were and started chatting. Mack had his back turned and was messing with the sound system. Payton came up behind him and put her arm around his slim hips and ducked under his arm until she was looking up at him. He stepped back in surprise and she smiled up at him, "hey Mack, great game today! You looked really good out there…" she slowly moistened her lips and leaned into him. Mack said, "Thanks Payton-um…I don't think this is a good idea, uhhh Booth is right there and you and he….well,"
She stopped him speaking when she pulled his head down to hers and said, "Booth and I broke up weeks ago, he has a new girlfriend. I like you, I'd like to get to know you better, so what do you say, wanna put on your big boy pants and see what happens?"
Mack grabbed her hips with both of his hands and leaned in to kiss her. At the same time, he cranked up the music and the kids all moved to the living room to really start dancing. Some couples were still scattered here and there on couches and chairs, but the majority of them were up and moving around.
Booth stayed seated, he was watching everyone and wishing that his girl was here. Wendell and Fischer came over to where he was and started talking to him. "Dude-you look like you're at a wake not a party, come on, grab a girl, dance a little. You're just dancing not doing anything else, so it would be ok'
"Guys-I don't want to dance with one of the cheerleaders. Do one of you want to dance with me? I'll do that!" he laughed taking a drink of his straight Pepsi, "I told you, I've got somewhere to be tomorrow, so I'm only here for a few minutes longer anyway, any other time, I'd be right there with you guys"
"I think he's whipped" Fischer stage whispered to Wendell, his hand slightly covering his mouth. Wendell laughed back, "Yeah-whipped! Didn't see that coming!" they both laughed out loud and Booth stood up, setting his drink down on a small side table.
"So-which one wants his $$ kicked first?" he asked, taking off his jacket and throwing it down. Booth was surprisingly calm, although filled with fury that his friends would talk about her like that. He'd known these guys for years and it hurt that they weren't on his side. "Not me man!" Wendell put up his hands and backed away, "we were just teasing you, remember joking around? You used to be able to take it, the past couple of weeks you act like everything we do or say is nowhere near as important as the romance of the century. What happened dude?"
"Yeah Booth-quit acting like such a punk and get a sense of humor. You've never acted like this before. It's hard to be your friend when we can't even talk to you without you threatening to kick our butts all the damn time" Fischer stood his ground, looking his friend dead in the eye.
Booth unclenched his hands and stepped back a little. The room had gotten slightly quieter as people stopped dancing to watch what was going on over in their corner of the room. Seeing that no punches seemed to be coming either way, they started back to dancing and chatting.
"Guys-it's difficult for us to be together. I like this girl and I want you guys to like her too, but the way that we've all treated her in the past, makes it hard for her to trust, so I have to get her to trust me first before I can even think of introducing her to my friends-"
"That's crap man, we're not a bunch of A-holes that will just make attack her, I think both of us can be civil to someone-I mean hell, we've all put up with Payton for years. She's a freaking barracuda and you stayed with her for 4 years-so don't give us that she's shy crap; you just don't want her around us. Fine, at least be a man and say that" Fischer interrupted.
"Okay man, okay-you win. I didn't know how to do this. Okay? Let me talk to her and go from there, this is all new to me too" he said, reaching back to grab his jacket. Wendell in the meantime had intercepted Caroline and was trying to keep her from her objective. He knew what they were going to do and he'd had enough…
Wendell grabbed Caroline's arm and hissed, "Knock it off C, Payton needs to deal with her own stuff, you're not a part of this"
She shook him off and said, "She's my best friend and he's a jerk- he needs to be taught a lesson, besides, yesterday when you had your hand down my pants you weren't this self-righteous, what's changed, now you don't want to help? Maybe I should tell him what all you've done so far, the note in the locker? Grow a set Wendell, let it go and we all walk away."
Caroline glared up at him and he wondered whether or not it was worth telling Booth right now. Looking over, he could see him and Fischer heading to the pool table. Maybe he wouldn't come back for his drink if they could keep him playing pool. Wendell turned around and Caroline was no longer there. The drink looked untouched, but he wasn't sure, so Wendell grabbed it and dumped it out.
Payton disentangled herself from Mack and said she'd be back in a minute when Caroline caught her eye. "Hey, here's his phone-Wendell is out, he's gone soft. I bet Fischer backs off too, so it's up to us." She told her handing her Booth's phone.
Caroline scrolled through the numbers and copied Temperance's into her own phone. Then she looked through the messages, there were still some from her on there, as well as some from 'Angel', that must be that rock star girl she thought, she got to two from the 'Bone Lady'. Bingo, she whispered, now knowing her nickname she'd be better able to distract him. "Daisy is in the kitchen, get her to get him a soda-we'll get someone else to bring it to him, hopefully Wendell and Fisch won't see it"
Caroline went into the kitchen to get the soda from Daisy, and Payton told Mack they should all toast their victory with shots, she told him she'd bring a bunch out. Mack agreed and started gathering everybody up. Daisy, Caroline, Payton and a jr on the squad brought out a bunch of cups, shot glasses and Dixie cups and started pouring the Petron. "Hey-lets all shot for the game!" Mack yelled as everyone picked up a shot, Booth walked to where is soda was and the jr handed him his soda and said, "here you go Booth" he held it up and they all said, "Panthers!" and tipped the drinks back. "Whew!" "Another!" "More" various shouts went up, so the girls poured out the rest of the bottle and they all shouted, "State Champs!" then the drinks were gone. People started drifting back to their corners, the dancing or the pool table.
Fischer and Booth had a pretty good battle going. They'd each won a game and were working on best 2 of 3 when Booth started to feel a little light headed. He put his hand down on the table and shook his head. Looking around, the room seemed to be moving independently of the people, the walls were starting to take on a liquid look. The colors in the room and the people began to look like a bad Technicolor enhanced movie. He licked his lips and realized his mouth was pretty dry. "Jus a minute" he slurred to Fischer, looking for his soda. Not seeing it, he went into the kitchen and got a glass of water. The whole time he felt like he was falling through the looking glass. Must have hit my head a little harder than I thought tonight he thought to himself. He stood over the sink f or a minute more and started to feel a little better. Still light headed, his mouth wasn't as dry and the noise had reduced to a dull murmur of sound. He turned to go back to the game and slight giggle escaped, this isn't that bad, he could handle this, and if this is what a concussion felt like it was pretty cool actually. He was feeling pretty mellow and calm. Walking back to the game, he grabbed the stick and got ready for his shot.
"What happened man? Where'd you go?" Fischer asked. "I needed a drink of watah" he said, "my mouf was dry" he was trying hard to get the words to come out clearly, "my shot right?"
"Yeah Seel-it's your shot" he looked at Wendell and mouthed, "What?"
Wendell came over and whispered into his ear, "I dumped it out man, I've been watching all three of them, and they didn't put anything into that glass, that girl, Roxie over there, she brought him the glass and poured the soda right here, I watched her"
"Well, just watch him-I'll be back" Fischer said handing him his stick.
Fischer went over to where Payton and Mack were still trying to remove each other's tonsils with their tongues and tapped her on the shoulder, "Payton get up"
"Hey man, go get Daisy, Payton's busy" Mack giggled, close to drunk from the booze and high on the head cheerleader. "Settle down Mack, just a second" she said, getting out of his lap.
"What?" she glared at Fischer, "What do you want?"
"Which one of you put something in his drink Payton?" he asked holding onto her upper arm.
"Not me-you guys wussed out so we tossed the plan, Caroline and Daisy have been dancing and I've been with Mack, you guys have him surrounded, so maybe it was you?" she said crossing her arms over her chest and shaking his hand off.
"It wasn't us, and supposedly it wasn't you, so who did it?" Fischer leaned in close and brought her against his chest, "quit messing around Payton, this isn't funny anymore"
"GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME" she told him forcefully.
"Hey guys, how about a football picture?" The junior from earlier came up with a camera, "just the seniors? It'll be great to have after tonights game?" she was picking up on some ugly vibes and was trying to break up the evitable. "Yeah-a picture sounds great" Wendell came up w/Daisy and Caroline, taking Fischers arm and leading him aside, "Get Booth, we'll pose and then I'll take him home, he's over in the corner singing to himself-we'll figure out who did what later"
Fischer went over to his buddy and told him to grab his jacket, they were gonna take a picture then Wendell was going to take him home. Booth was gone, he had a great big smile on his face, vacant expression in his eyes and he really was singing to himself. "Why are we leaving so soon? I want to dance, and we could play more pool!" he said, trying to disentangle himself from his own jackets arms.
"Nah, this party is winding down, most of the people are leaving too, so come on Big Man lets get our picture taken" he helped him put his jacket on and led him over to where the rest of the senior players and cheerleaders were gathering, he sat him in the chair in the middle of the picture, because he didn't think that he'd be able to stand.
"Okay,everyone get close, closer…come on Payton, you're not even in the frame-here, sit here and put your arm around him, Caroline sit on the arm of the chair. It's like a Booth sandwich" the junior directed everyone into the picture. Payton slid down into Booths lap and he looked up and smiled, "Hey Pay," he giggled, "that rhymes, where you been?" he put his arm around her and then leaned into Caroline and said, "woo hoo, two pretty girls." Fischer thumped him on the head and told him to knock it off.
When they all were situated, the junior started snapping pictures, telling them to say "PANTHERS" and "SENIORS!", and no one noticed Daisy taking photo's with a cell phone camera right behind her…
Wendell and Fischer got Booth out to his car, although it was difficult. He wanted to go back inside and finish the game of pool. They finally told him if he didn't go home now, he would be late for his appointment on Saturday. Booth agreed to leave and Wendell drove him home. He called Jared and told him to meet him outside. When they got to Booth's house, Jared was standing outside and his eyes were wide when he saw his big brother stumble out of the car.
"What did he do?" he asked Wendell grabbing Booth's other arm and trying to get under him to help him to walk.
"Someone spiked his drink-so we decided before he ended up on the internet, we'd bring him home, is Pops up?" Wendell told Jared, navigating the porch steps.
"No, he's out, can you help me get him up the stairs? He's too heavy for me" Jared said, still surprised that lily pure Seeley was drunk.
"Yeah-let's get him to bed, he has something going on tomorrow, do you know what time he has to be there?" Wendell asked Jared, "Nah- I don't know of anything, there's nothing on the calendar either"
"Oh well, hopefully it's not too important, maybe let him sleep it off, I guess" he said.
The boys got him up the stairs with a lot of pulling and shoving, Booth was pretty much asleep on his feet. Jared absolutely refused to get his brother out of his clothes and Wendell laughed and said, "I like the guy, but not that much!" they put a garbage can by his bed and draped his comforter over him. Heading back downstairs, Wendell handed Jared the keys to Booth's car and said, "Call me in the morning kid, let me know he's okay"
"How are you getting home?" Jared asked, "Fischer will be here in a minute, he had to take Hester home, in fact there he is now" Wendell said standing on the porch and watching the truck pull up, "See you later kid"
Jared went inside and checked on his big brother. He'd never seen him like this, and he felt a little defensive of him. As much as he knew he annoyed his brother, he'd always looked up to him and tried to emulate him as best he could. He hoped whoever did this to him really got it. Turning off the hall light, Jared turned to go to his room when he heard his brother groan, he went back in and said quietly, "Seel- are you okay?"
"Jare? What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I live here Seeley, you're at home, Bray brought you home a few minutes ago" he told him coming into the room a little more, "Do you need anything?" he asked.
"Nah, just um…where is it?" Booth rolled over and reached into his pockets, finding it he said, "Plug this in would you?" he handed his phone to Jared and pulled the blanket back up. Plugging in the phone Jared turned to leave, "Thanks Cricket, I owe you one" Seeley mumbled as he lapsed back into sleep. Jared's heart turned a little at the nickname, his Pops had been calling him that for years and it was always embarrassing, but for some reason hearing his brother say it made him feel different. "G'night" he whispered as he left.
Temperance woke up with her alarm at 7:30, she checked her phone and was a little disappointed not to see any messages from Booth, but she figured that he must have been out with his teammates and was pre-occupied. Although very far removed from the normal teenage party scene, she could guess what had gone on, and hoped that he was safe. She took her shower and got ready to go to the lecture. She put on a denim skirt, that like her school uniform was a little shorter than she liked, but it was her nicest skirt and she felt that it was better than baggy jeans. She wore a white t-shirt and Seeley's jersey, along with white tights and her loafers. She pulled her hair up and then decided that she would rather leave it down, she wore a maroon headband to push her bangs off of her face. Grabbing her jean jacket, she headed downstairs for a bite of breakfast before getting on the bus to the University of Pittsburgh.
"What time is this lecture over?" Rebecca asked as her initial greeting when Tempe came downstairs, "It's over at 4:30" she replied.
"We'll expect you home no later than 6pm, is that clear?" she asked.
"Yes Ma'am, 6pm" Tempe drank her juice and rinsed the glass putting it into the dishwasher, she checked to see if she had her buss pass and some lunch money and then walked to the door. "Temperance" Rebecca's voice stopped her.
"Yes?" she asked hesitantly and turned towards her.
"Have a good time" she told her. Completely stunned Temperance just stared, her mouth open and her eyes wide. "Thank you" she stammered as she turned to leave. Wondering what was going on, she headed down to the bus stop. During the ride to the University, Temperance replayed that moment over in her mind, she was afraid to contemplate what meaning she could possibly get from it. Hoping that she wasn't being set up by her foster mom, she blocked it from her mind when she got close to the lecture hall. Going inside, she was surprised to see Max standing inside the atrium.
"Temperance!" he called upon seeing her, "Over here young lady!"
She went to him and asked, "Max, what are you doing here?"
"I came for the lecture, and for the company" he offered her his arm, "shall we find a seat m'lady?" smiling at him she took his arm and they entered the auditorium. They found seats down near the center and front. Temperance took it all in and was really in awe. She had never attended anything so upscale and scholarly. Mentally giggling, she thought this was what other people must feel attending rock concerts or something.
Max was pointing out scientists and other scholars to the star struck girl when a young man sat down next to her. She had removed her jean jacket and he said, "Ahh…a St. Agnes fan, huh?" turning towards him she said, "Yes, my boyfriend and I attend St. Agnes"
"Seeley Booth is your boyfriend? He's switched from the prom queen to the smart girls, interesting, I always thought he was destined for greater things." He smiled at her to try and put her at ease, he'd noticed that her face was slightly flushed. "I'm sorry, my name is Zack Addy, and you are?"
"Temperance Brennan" she responded, "Zack Addy, the Marantha quarterback?"
"That would be me, it's nice to meet you Temperance Brennan" he winked and leaned back into his seat. Tempe didn't know what to say, looking at Max who was just as bewildered as she was, she turned to Zack and said, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to listen to Dr. Nigel-Murray and Dr. Viziri speak, isn't that why you are here?" his voice was light and teasing. She looked at him and saw that he was really quite handsome. Untidy light brown hair, big eyes, although he still had a baby face she could see where he would mature very nicely.
"Yes, that's why we're here too" she indicated Max, "I was just surprised to see a football player here, I mean, not that I was trying to be mean, I'm sorry" she flushed again and looked down.
"Don't be sorry, I'm used to the dumb jock syndrome. I'm sure there are a lot more dumb jocks than smart ones, speaking of which, will Booth be joining us?" he asked.
"No, I'm sure he's got other things to do today, he said something about hockey practice, although since they won, I'm not sure." She wasn't really sure she wanted Zack to know anything about Booth and her right now, hell she didn't know anything herself.
"Ah, well then you and I shall enjoy the lecture" he said at which time Max leaned over and said, "Hi, I'm Dr. Max Keenan, this young lady's escort, Mr. Addy is it?"
"Hello Sir, yes, Zack Addy nice to meet you"
"You threw a hell of a game last night kid, great game to watch, heard from any schools?"
"Thank you Sir, it was a great game, I'm sorry we lost though and yes, I've heard from a couple, I'll not be using an athletic scholarship though, I've got a 4.1 and a full ride to U of Pitt, and a letter of intent from Northwestern. We'll see how the rest of the year goes though; I'm not sure whether I'll be studying Anthropology or Structural Engineering. Both subjects are fascinating." He leaned around Temperance to talk to Max. All three of them began discussing schools and academic goals, until the lights dimmed and the dean stepped to the microphone. Introducing the two guest speakers, he turned the microphone over to Dr. Viziri and Tempe became enthralled with the Indian Anthropologist.
Booth woke up to all the bells of St. Agnes and St. Mary's ringing in his head. He groaned and rolled over, effectively trapping himself in the comforter. Lying there seemed a lot easier than fighting to sit up, so he laid there and blinked, trying to get the room to stay in one place. Once he was sure he wasn't going to hurl, he fought his way out of the comforter and saw that he was still fully dressed, except for one shoe. He sat on the edge of his bed and put his head in his hands. What the hell did I get into last night, he wondered. He decided that a shower might make him feel better. He looked over at the clock and saw that it was 11:30. DAMMIT, he swore, he needed to be somewhere no later than 9am. Shucking his clothes and remaining shoe, he jumped in the shower and turned the water as hot as he could stand it, 10 minutes later, he was dancing around his room naked and trying to find his boxers, socks without holes in them and his other shoe. Finally dressed, he grabbed a baseball cap and his jacket and headed downstairs. His shoe was at the bottom of the stairs, so he sat down and put it on. His headache was now down to a dull roar, he figured a couple of aspirin and he'd be home free.
Going into the kitchen he saw a note on the counter that said, "Shrimp-please empty the dishwasher and move some kindling in by the fireplace, there are some logs that need split as well. Jared and I are in town and will be home later. Love Pops."
Groaning at the time that those things would take, Booth emptied the dishwasher in record time. He went outside and stacked kindling by the fireplace, on the note he wrote, "Pops-will split the wood first thing Sun AM, had to go to U of P Love S"
He grabbed a granola bar and a soda and headed off to the University. Hoping that he would be able to even get in. He'd never been to anything like this before, and didn't know if it was like a concert where no ticket, no entrance. Although, the flyer didn't mention anything about needing a ticket, he'd brought some extra cash just in case. Once he arrived and found parking, he hurried to the main auditorium.
He opened up the back door and the lights were dimmed, except for the small spotlight on the man on stage. Seeing that there was no way he was going to be able to find her until the lights went up, Seeley took a seat at the back of the room and tried to focus on what the Indian man was saying. An hour later Booth was never so lost in his life, he'd started counting people just to stay awake when the lights came up and the dean mentioned there would be a break for lunch. Watching the people get up and file out Booth wasn't sure even then he'd be able to see her. He scanned the crowd, watched the lines moving out of the seats and then he saw her. She had been sitting next to Max and a younger man. She turned to put her coat on, and he saw that she was wearing his jersey, his heart swelled with pride. Just then, the younger man reached out to help her with her coat, he bent down and said something close to her ear and she looked up and laughed. Booth's stomach dropped to the floor. When they turned to head out of the room, he thought that he recognized the guy, but couldn't be sure where from. He thought that they would have to pass right by him to exit, except that the doors to the side of the room opened up and they angled down that way.
Booth waited until he could get out of the row of seats and headed outside himself, towards the exit doors that they had taken. Hurrying around the side of the auditorium, he saw Max and Temperance get into a black four runner. He tried to run through the crowd, and realized how much easier it was to run through a group of people when he had a blocker, "TEMPE!" he yelled, too late, she shut her door and the four-runner pulled away from the curb. Booth swore and headed to the parking lot, when he realized, duh-he had a phone. He called her number and immediately got her voicemail, "Hey you've reached the Bone Lady-if this is Angela leave a message, anyone else hang up!" he smiled at hearing his own voice, they'd played around with the voice mail for a while before settling on this one. "Hey Temp-It's Seeley, call me kiddo-I'm…well, just call me k?" he said into the phone. Deciding to grab himself something to eat he got in his car and headed to the nearest sandwich shop.
Pulling into the parking lot, Seeley thought his luck was changing for the good, seeing the four-runner in the parking lot. He went inside and saw her and Max and the young man sitting at a table in the corner, she had her hair down and he stopped for a second and thought that he couldn't remember her ever wearing it like that. Threading his way through the tables, he smiled slowly when it hit him who the other guy was. Walking up behind his girl, he put his hand on her shoulder and said, "Zack Addy-you're not hitting on my girl are you?"
Temperance turned at the white hot burn on her shoulder and looked up towards him, "Seeley!" she smiled and jumped up, putting her arms around him and hugging him. He leaned down and kissed her on the lips softly and said, "Hey babe-good morning", he looked up at Max and said, "Dr. Keenan"
"Seeley Booth" Zack said, "What a surprise to see you here, a little outside of your normal Saturday activities isn't it? I didn't realize that you were all that interested in Forensic Anthropology" he smiled and stood to shake Booth's hand. Max also stood and said, "Its Max, Seeley, not Dr. Keenan." He also shook his hand and then settled down to dive into his sandwich.
"Well, maybe not as interested in the subject as I should be, I'm certainly interested in what she thinks of it" he nodded to her and started to pull the chair out next to her. Then something about the way Zack was looking at her made him sit in her chair and pull her onto his lap instead. "Good game last night, by the way Addy, you almost had us"
The two of them started talking football while Booth idly ran his hand up and down Temperance's arm. She was just happy that he had shown up. She'd never seen him in a baseball cap before and thought he looked even better than without it, especially since it was on backwards. Today he was in jeans and a Flyers sweatshirt. Her blood was pounding through her veins at how sexy he looked dressed down. Concentrating on trying to finish her sandwich, she put half of it on a napkin and passed it to Booth. He noticed and stopped mid sentence, "is this a veggie sandwich Bone Lady?" she nodded yes as she tucked a cucumber into her mouth, "thanks Babe, but I'll get my own, be right back?" she stood and he got up to go get in line.
Temperance sat down and Zack said, "I hope he doesn't feel threatened by me taking his girlfriend and her escort to lunch?" his voice was light, but somewhat acerbic.
Picking up on it faster than Temperance did, Max said, "I don't think you threaten him at all, to be honest. If anything, you may have spurred him to become closer to our little Temperance" he winked and smiled at her.
"Well, anything I can do to help" Zack said sarcastically, making them all laugh. Temperance blushed, she'd never had one guy show her interest before, and now she had two? She finished her sandwich and looked around the room. She caught Booth's stare from the line and smiled at him.
As soon as their gazes linked the rest of the room ceased to exist, and they were all alone. The tip of her tongue darted out to moisten her lip and she felt her face flush at the look of desire he had on his face even from across the room. He twitched his lips into her grin and turned to pay for his sandwich as the room filled with people again. Still staring at him, she was unaware that she'd just looked into a camera held by a young man across the room.
Booth came back to the table where Max was regaling them with the tale from a dig he'd been on years before in Guatemala. Seeley sat down next to Temperance and pulled his chair close enough that she could feel the heat from his thigh. Laughing at the end of Max's story which involved him hanging off the back of a bus holding a chicken, she asked Zack how long he'd been interested in Anthropology as Max and Booth started talking about hockey. Soon she and Zack were deep in a discourse about site recovery and the preferred method of clean-up. Booth watched how animated she was and although he was glad to see her so excited and having someone to talk to, he was a little hurt that she wasn't paying as much attention to him. He wondered briefly if he was interrupting something with her and Zack and then mentally b!tch slapped himself for even thinking that. She was just happy to have someone to talk to about her passion, and as much as he could feign interest, he just wasn't going to be the one she shared those things with. Oh, she could talk to him about them, but it would be like watching a movie with subtitles in his opinion. Deciding to leave her alone and let her enjoy herself, he was surprised at how calm he was. He thought that was a sign he was maturing and he smiled slightly.
He finished his sandwich and leaned back in the chair, his fingers on her neck. He was lightly stroking her neck when he felt her respond. She turned to him and her eyes were indigo pools. He realized he was probably making it difficult for her to concentrate so he stopped. Zack got up to re-fill his soda and asked if anyone else wanted another, no one took him up on his offer so he left the little group.
Max said, "I hope there isn't going to be a testosterone spill over here?" he arched his brow and indicated with his finger that he meant between Zack and Seeley. "No Max, I'm glad he's here, Temperance needs a friend she can share this with, Angela and I don't qualify for that, and no offense, but you're not exactly in her age bracket" he stopped at the wounded look on Max's face.
"Hey, I can still get jiggy wit it" he said in a mock gangster voice, enhancing the image with his arms crossed over his chest. They all laughed at him and he pretended to be hurt, Zack came back and said, "I hope I didn't miss anything?" he smiled at the group and his gaze lingered on Tempe.
"No" she said, "Max was trying to emulate popular culture and it didn't work" she smiled back.
Seeley wondered if she knew just how devastating that smile was on a guy. He grabbed her trash and his and took Max's to the bin by the door and came back, offering her his arm. Looking at Max and Zack, he said, "Do you two mind if I take her back to the lecture?" they both looked at each other and agreed that they didn't mind, and so the four of them headed out of the sub shop and back to the University for the 2nd part of the lecture…
Booth and Temperance walked outside hand in hand when he suddenly stopped in front of her and picked her up in a fireman's carry and put her on his shoulder. Laughing and trying to cover her butt she was kicking and screaming, "Booth! PUT ME DOWN!" she couldn't get too mad as hard as she was laughing. He put her down and she swayed slightly, "Oohh…I feel woozy" she said and he leaned down and pulled her into his embrace. "How do you feel now?" he asked huskily. His lips going to her forehead and down her cheek, she gasped and said "I feel like I never want to leave this spot, and I don't want you to stop that" she burrowed in closer and sought his lips with hers. He stood up slightly and she grabbed his sweatshirt at the collar and deepened the kiss. He put one hand in her hair and the other on her side, her tongue and his fighting for control of the kiss. She pulled back slightly and he lightly nipped her bottom lip, and when she groaned he pulled her in tighter to his body. Reaching down he picked her up and held her in his arms, their mouths never losing contact. He started to walk towards the Explorer and she wrapped her arms around his neck. When they got to the car, he opened the passenger door and sat her inside. She tried to sit there with her legs together under the short skirt and he looked her in the eyes as he pushed her knees apart and leaned into her. Grabbing her butt, he pulled her up against his pelvis and held her with one hand behind her and his other entangled in her hair. Feeling his arousal pressed up against her, she sighed and moaned slightly and Booth leaned in and kissed her again. This time, softly and teasing her with his mouth, he kissed her cheek, trailing kisses to her neck as she leaned back. She put her hands on the side of his head and pulled his mouth back to hers as she scooted closer. Feeling him tense, he hissed slightly and stepped back a little. Still leaning into her, and breathing harshly he said, "Oh my God Temperance, we have to stop-If we don't now, I won't be able to, and there is no way I'm going to do this in the middle of a sub shop parking lot. God girl, you…" he stopped and put his head next to hers, she too was trying to calm her breathing. "Seeley, I'm not sure I want you to stop" she whispered. He looked up and saw the flush on her cheeks and tried to catch her eyes, tipping her chin up, he quietly said, "Bones-when this happens, it will happen right. I'm not going to pressure you to do anything you can't handle right now, you're only 16 and I'm a guy and we only want one thing, but I'll wait for that one thing, for you" he stared into her eyes, "trust me".
"I trust you Seeley- I do, this is all new to me, but I trust you won't hurt me. Although, if we weren't in this stupid car I might not have let you stop!" she said with mock anger. Laughing slightly at her, he leaned in and kissed her again. Pulling her up against him again he held her as she wrapped her arms around him. "I love you Temperance Brennan" he whispered into her hair.
She hugged him tighter and felt the hot sting of tears. "I love you too Seeley" he leaned back and looked into her face, "why the tears then little one?" he asked, his thumb wiping away the one that spilled over her eyelash. She sniffed slightly and said, "I just hope that you won't be like everyone else I love and leave, but that's dumb because life changes and you can't keep someone forever and I can't expect you to stay with me forever when there is no way to gauge forever and feelings change, people change and" he cut her off with a kiss and said, "I'll be here as long as you want me here, no strings, no demands, okay?" she nodded and kissed him back, "Okay"
"Lets get you back before Max and Zack think we got lost" he said, turning her legs around to sit in the car right. Watching him through the windshield as he walked around to the driver's side she thought to herself, forever isn't long enough.
They drove to the university hands entwined and Booth said casually, "You look really pretty with your hair down and I like that you're wearing my jersey today, I'm sorry about whatever happened that made you lose it" he looked at her and squeezed her fingers before turning his attention back to the road, "Do you want me to tell you what it was?" she asked quietly, not wanting anything to spoil this day like talking about the Perotta nightmare. "Not today, today is all about you, I don't want that to be spoiled, especially when I can guess what happened to be honest, I'm sure she's not done and that's what makes me mad-I'll do what I can to keep her off of you, you can trust that" he told her.
"I'll be okay, I'll sic Angela on her if nothing else!" she giggled slightly and turned to him, "I'm glad you came today, I wondered if I'd get to see you"
"Well, we Booth boys aim to please little lady" he said in an exaggerated southern drawl, turning to park. They headed up to the auditorium and saw Max and Zack waiting outside, "I told you they were coming back" Max said to Zack.
"Yes-you did Max" he replied, not at all happy with the situation. Although taking girls from other guys wasn't his style it wasn't every day he found a girl whose interests paralleled his so much, plus she was beautiful. He would give his scholarship away to meet a girl like that. Forcing a smile onto his face, he opened the door and bowed low as they all walked in. He figured, if he can't have her as a girlfriend, maybe a friend would do. The four of them headed in to find seats and to wait for Dr. Nigel-Murray to begin speaking. Temperance was hoping that she could get her book signed after wards, and asked Max if he thought he might be able to get her close enough to ask. He told her that he wasn't the only Anthropologist there, but he'd see what he could do. Zack smiled and said, "I'd like mine signed too, if you can swing it Max"
Max looked at Booth and said, "Do you want anything signed?" with a grin. "Nah, Doc, I'm okay-now if Luc Robitaille was up there we could talk" rolling her eyes at him, Temperance playfully punched him and then settled up against his shoulder as the lights dimmed.
Temperance was enamored with the British Dr. Nigel-Murray, she stared at him throughout the entire lecture like he was dipped in chocolate. Seeley was lights out mentally about 10 minutes into it, but he kept his eyes open and tried not to drool as his jaw went slack from boredom. Occasionally he would discuss a gritty find, but mostly it was dry and boring to Seeley. His mind wandered around the auditorium, thought about the kiss in the car-whoa, stop that Seeley, he thought, that makes it hard, errr difficult to sit here. She was leaning slightly forward in her seat and he reached his hand down and lightly starting stroking the waistband of her skirt, his thumb rasping over the warm skin, that made him even harder and although it was uncomfortable, he didn't stop. Temperance looked over her shoulder at him, her eyes burning but still filled with desire, she leaned back forcing him to move his hand or risk a broken arm. She whispered softly into his ear, "Knock it off Seeley-this is fascinating", just feeling her breath on his ear and neck like that was causing his ears to steam and his brain to mis-fire.
"Yeah-fascinating" he mumbled, trying to re-arrange his lap. When she first sat down, she'd put her coat into her lap, and now that she'd leaned back in her seat, he moved his hand over to her upper thigh. Moving under the jacket he stroked the top of her thigh, slowly moving his hand to her inner thigh when she clamped her legs together and slapped his hand, which caused both Zack and Max to look as well as a number of other people close by. Booth kept his hand where it was until the people looked back to the stage and then brought it into his own lap. "Sorry" he whispered into her hair, "I'll stop" she looked at him and her expression was a cross between pity, irritation and desire. "If you don't-you'll regret it" she told him under her breath, channeling her inner Angela. Booth smiled at his fierce little warrior and went back to thinking of sports and anything other than Anthropology.
All too soon for Temperance, and not soon enough for Seeley the lecture ended. She went with Max to get her book and Zack's signed. She was very animated in the line with Max; she was talking to two other men and a woman standing in line with her. Seeley had never seen her so outgoing, it must just take this subject to get her fired up he thought. He and Zack made their way outside with the rest of the people leaving. Standing outside they were talking about football and hockey when Zack said, "So, I gotta know man, it's been bugging me all day, why her?" he turned to look at the stockier boy. Although the same height, Zack was wiry and lean whereas Seeley was built solidly. "What do you mean, 'why her'"? he asked him, "what's wrong with her?"
Zack cleared his throat at the look on Booth's face and said, "It's not bad man, I just wonder why all of a sudden you started dating the library set, I've known you for years and you're always surrounded by the cheerleaders or the drill team, but the bookworms are never around. Temperance seems like an odd choice for you. Even at Marantha you're somewhat of a legend with the girls."
"I don't know man, once you've been with one cheerleader, you've been with them all" he said, Zack giving him a knowing nod and smile, "I needed something more, something about her just feels right" he stopped, not sure he wanted to get into the very sensitive reasons why Booth needed to be with her. She made him feel like a knight in shining armor, she made him feel invincible, like he could take on the world and all he wanted to do, was take it on for her. That was his reason though, not the one he was going to share with Zack Addy. "Speaking of which, you're a pretty popular guy in your own right from what I hear, that chick Roxie and that one girl, what's her name…the goth one…um….oh yeah, Tessa-she was talking about the "Z MAN" in homeroom a couple of weeks ago" he kidded back to him.
"Tessa was…WOW" the two of them laughed and bumped fists. Max and Tempe exited the building and she was on cloud nine, holding the book she looked like it was the Holy Grail. Booth smiled at the childlike look of wonderment she had on her face. "So, kiddo, what's next?" he asked her reaching for her hand. "I have to be home at 6" a small frown on her face, "and it's 4:45 now, what did you want to do?"
Zack interrupted and said, "Well, have fun whatever it is, I've got to take my sister to Ballet, Temperance, some other time maybe?" he nodded and started to walk away and she said, "Wait Zack" letting go of Seeley's hand, she walked over to the other boy and said, "Here's my phone number, maybe we can study sometime? I go to the library a lot and it would be nice to study with someone that enjoys the topic too?" he smiled and said, "Yeah, that would be fun, thanks" he entered her number into his phone and then gave her his. Watching all of this Seeley could feel the cold clamp of jealousy start to close over his heart, but rationally he knew she was just looking for another friend. Zack looked over her head as she walked back and nodded at Seeley, "just friends" he mouthed and turned to go. Max watched all of this with the indulgent smile of a person who had been there before. He turned to Booth and shook his hand, "good job Son, you're doing just fine" and when Tempe got back he said to her, "I hope you enjoyed yourself young lady and I will see you on Sunday?"
Temperance told him she'd be at the museum and gave him a hug, "bye Max" she smiled and turned to Seeley. Entwining her arm in his, she looked up and said, "What can we do for an hour?"
Seeley grinned at her and said, "Well, I think of a few things…but let's stay away from there for now, okay?" he winked and watched her blush. The two of them walked to the parking lot talking about what they could do before she had to go home to the Sweets.
Seeley and Temperance ended up going to the park and sitting in the car watching the kids at the duck pond. The weather was turning colder and there were signs of snow coming up. They talked about the lecture and Tempe told him that she was going to do that very thing someday. "I just bet you will too," he told her, "I can see you up there, talking to people just like you who want to discover the why's and hows of cultures, societies and human remains. It grabs onto you, your eyes light up when you talk about it, and I like to see that."
"What grabs you?" she asked. They'd talked in the past, but he'd never really given her a real answer, he talked about the Army, and in his profile he mentioned being an architect. "What grabs me? Well, I guess I just want to make everyone safe. I think justice is important. I hate watching people suffer, I mean you read about all these things where people are hurt or killed or missing and no one seems to know how to find their killers, their families never know what happened. I'd like to fix that. Someday. I also want to give something back to my country, I have a lot of freedoms that are taken for granted, by me and by people around me, I want to earn those rights and those freedoms." He trailed off, grinning sheepishly, he said, "Sounds silly huh? My knight in shining armor complex kicking in I guess…"
"I don't think it sounds silly at all, I think you are suited for that. The Army sounds dangerous though, are you ready for that? What if you get shipped to Afghanistan or Iraq? Does Pops know?"
Seeley had thought of all those questions as well, and he really didn't have answers to them until she asked the questions out loud. "It will be dangerous, and I am ready. I'm ready to learn to be a man, Pops served his country too, he'll understand even if he doesn't agree with me. As far as where I get shipped, wherever I go I'll give it everything I have and regardless of the outcome I'll know that I was able to support my country."
Temperance was silent as she thought about what he said. It seemed such an important thought to have by someone so young. When her brother left, he had told her it was his duty to go and make something of himself, she had thought then that duty was something different. Hearing Seeley talk about it, she understood what he needed to do to become the man he wanted to be.
Looking over at him, she said, "I hope that you will be safe Seeley. Will you enlist after graduation?" 7 short months away she thought. "Most likely, Pops still thinks I'm going to play hockey at the U, and you know that's a lot of pressure too, but this is something I have to do."
He turned to look at her and said, "There's something else I have to do" and he leaned over and kissed her. She closed her eyes and felt herself melt into him. She leaned back towards the door, he leaned into her and when he was completely off balance, she placed her hands on his cheeks and she pulled him a little closer and impishly took his hat off and tucked it behind her with one hand. With her other hand, she opened the door and slipped out as he fell almost completely over the console of the front seat.
Jumping out of the truck, she waited to see if he was going to follow. Once he realized what had happened, he looked up and she could see the surprise in his eyes. He smiled broadly and said, "oh you are so going to get it Bone Lady" and then he nimbly climbed over the console and started after her. She ran towards a table and bench that was solidly mounted to the ground and got behind it. She put his hat on her head and pouted and pushed one hip out in a "come get me" gesture. As he went to the left, she went to the right and he could see that it wasn't going to be easy to get her. Suddenly as she was preening, thinking she had him right where she wanted him, he jumped over the table and was able to surprise her long enough to grab her. Unfortunately, his momentum carried him over and as he grabbed her, he started to fall. Realizing he was going to fall on top of her, he spun her around and arched himself to land on his back. The two of them hit the ground hard. She landed on him full force and immediately reached to put her arms out on either side of his body. "Seeley! Booth! BOOTH!" she hollered at him as he lay there quietly, "oh my god" she whispered, "Please wake up Seeley, please?" he cracked one eye and looked at her, still laying full body on top of him, her face awash in panic. Opening both eyes he croaked, "See what you did? I think you broke me!" she started to get off of him and he clamped his arms around her. "Not yet, you must pay for that little stunt" he said, as she started to struggle. With one swift movement, he partially rolled her under him and put his leg over hers; grabbing her wrists with one hand he was straddling her and had her trapped. Reaching up, he took off the hat and put it back on his head, "Never mess with the hair, Bone Lady" he said in a sinister tone and started tickling her with his free hand. As she gasped and laughed he continued, peppering each onslaught of her ribs with kisses to her face and neck. When she complained that she was going to pee her pants if he didn't stop, he relented by letting her hands go, but still lay partly on top of her. When she could breathe again without panting and giggling, she said, "I hate that I have to go home so soon, I could lay here all day with you" she shyly peeked up at him through her eyelashes.
"Well, as much fun as rolling around in the duck crap is, you still have to go, and if I want to stay in Pops good graces, I have to go home too, I did some pretty half assed chores today and he's not going to like that" he said as he started to slide off of her.
"DUCK CRAP?" she said, pushing him off of her and jumping up, turning left and right she was looking at her skirt and her tights to see if there was any on her, she took off her jacket to look at it too. Seeley laughed and sat up and said, "I think you're good, but if you step over here one step I can look a little closer for you?" she looked down and realized one more step and he would be looking straight up her skirt. "No thank you Seeley Booth" she said primly, "I think I can check there myself later."
He laughed out loud and said, "I'm sure you can-you're all good, what about me?" he turned around in front of her and she reached over to knock a wet leaf off of his butt, "was there something there or were you just trying to touch my butt?" he said over his shoulder.
Sputtering that there was something there, he turned and grinned at her, "You're incorrigible, you know that right?" she said heading to the car. He was still laughing when he came up behind her and put his arm around her and placed his hat on her head. "I'm something alright. You know, if you keep looking so cute in my clothes, pretty soon I won't have any to wear" she reached up to grab the hat and he said, "keep it-I've got tons of them." Booth helped her into the car and they drove to her house. "Just let me off down the way, I don't want to get into trouble" she told him. "Can I come meet them? Maybe they would be a little more lenient if they knew you had a boyfriend?"
"NO! Please don't Seeley, as much as I hate lying to them, I can't let them meet you, and it'll ruin everything"
"Are you ashamed of me?" He asked slightly hurt.
"I'm not ashamed of you, I'm ashamed of them, they don't understand…I just…please Seeley, when it's right, I'll introduce you okay?" roughly around the time I'm a legal adult she thought.
"Okay-I trust you. Tempe-can I ask you a question?" he said, pulling the car over about a block from her house.
"You can ask me anything" she told him, turning to look at him.
He took her hand and said, "You know the Winter Formal dance?" she nodded, her chest tight and her breathing labored, "it's in 2 weeks, the week after the SC game in fact, and well, do you want to go?" he asked. Hoping she would say yes, he held his breath. He'd never been so nervous asking a girl to anything before.
"I'd love to go" she told him, her face beaming and eyes shining, "I'll need to have Angela help me get out of the house, but yes, I'd love to go"
He let out his pent up breath and smiled, leaning over he kissed her cheek and said that he would text her later and maybe they could chat a little tomorrow, if she was able to get away. "I hope so" she told him as she jumped out of the truck. Smoothing down her hair and tucking the hat into the inside of her jacket, she walked towards the house. Booth watched her until she was on the porch and then he leaned back in the seat and thought to himself, "What is this girl doing to you Seeley?" deciding that the roof of the Explorer didn't have the answer written on it, he leaned up and began to drive home.
Click Click Click the camera took the photos and logged date and time with every shot…
Temperance went into the house and Rebecca called out to her that she was in the office. She went in there to get the initial grilling for information over. "How was the lecture?" Rebecca asked when she came inside the doorway. "It was informative" Tempe offered up very little, she tried hard to be as pleasant as she could when talking to the Sweets. It was best to just answer the questions posed, without offering up anything else to keep the conversations brief.
"Well, I haven't seen your schedule for next week, so I am unable to plan accordingly-Can you get the schedule to me soon?" she asked her, turning to look at her in the doorway. "What are you wearing?"
Temperance looked down and saw that her jacket was open and the jersey was in full sight. She attempted to close the lapels of the jacket with her hand and said, "It's an old football jersey, I got it at the rummage sale a couple of months ago, the one the school put on?" she tried to keep the tremor from her voice, "It's a little bit too big for me, but I thought I should maybe wear some things to support my school, they…well the football team made it into the State Championship game I guess…" her voice faltered and she looked up, "the jersey, the hoody, I found a football on your bed, I never realized what a sports fan you were Temperance. Is there something you aren't telling us?" she looked past her to see Lance standing behind her. "Yes Temperance, is there something we need to know?" he asked coming in to kiss his wife on the cheek.
"No-I just wanted to support my school, it's a big honor" she told them, trying to edge out of the room. "You've never cared about supporting the athletics at St. Agnes before Temperance, why the sudden desire now?" Lance was in his element, getting reluctant people to talk was his forte.
"I'm going to be attending that school for the next 2 and a half years, it seemed an appropriate thing to do, I would like to have a more rounded transcript than just academia, I was thinking that maybe I could attend some athletic events this coming spring maybe, just to observe. I know that I've never shown an interest before, but I'm becoming more comfortable here and at school and well I know that it will help me to have firsthand knowledge when I have to start researching culture and societies and things in college. Have I done something wrong?" she hoped by turning the interrogation back on them that she might just get out of this unscathed.
"I'm not sure if that would be something that we would be comfortable with Temperance, just who would you be attending these events with? That Angela girl? She seems to be the only friend you have, and I for one am puzzled as to why a girl with her obvious…experience would want with a 16 year old girl anyway. Do you have particular events in mind? I mean, is this going to be an every night thing? What about the museum, and the home? Have you thought about what will happen if you aren't here? Will you be quitting your job for this new social obligation you imagine that you have?" Rebecca was getting revved up and Temperance knew she would have to think quickly to get out of this.
"Well, I know that attending the SC game would be out of the question, because it's in McCandless, but hockey starts in February and I thought some of those games would be fun and yes, I would attend with Angela. I know you don't approve of her, but I'm sure if you took the time to meet her you would see that she is really a very nice person. I don't think that either of us thinks her age or experience is a reason to not be friends. We like the same kind of music and both enjoy the museum, and speaking of that, I would still work there. I have to in order to get my college credits in place, and it allows me some experience outside of school and home. My chores here wouldn't be an issue either, I get them done and I have excellent grades" she wasn't sure whether to continue or not but decided to just plunge ahead, "I would like to fit in with the kids at school, I'm kind of on the outside and maybe by going to some school sponsored events, I can assimilate a little more. There are a lot of things that I haven't done at the school that the other girls my age are doing, and…well…maybe I'm missing out on something that would be important to experience at this stage in my development. Like athletic events, theater and maybe a dance or something" she stopped at the expression on their faces. Knowing she may have taken it too far, she wasn't surprised at their response.
"Absolutely not young lady, we did not bring you into our home to become a degenerate teenager, a dance? That's ridiculous, you're 16 years old and excuse me, but 16 year old boys only have one thing on their mind and you are not going to be subject to anything like that while you live under our roof, I think you have sufficient liberties besides school, you attended a lecture at the university today, you are allowed to work outside the home, you go to the library, I think that is more than enough. Your father and I have no intention of becoming grandparents to your little brat just because you think you need to have the teenager experience. No, I'm sorry extracurricular activities are completely out of the question. I hope that you understand that there is no compromise on this subject?" Lance's voice was controlled and Rebecca placed her hand on his arm, "I'm sure you can understand where your father is coming from?" she asked her, "I think this discussion is over, please remove that jersey and bring it and the hoody downstairs, along with the football. You will not be allowed to wear them in this house. Out of sight, out of mind-that's all" she finished, turning back to her computer.
Temperance stood there a moment longer just looking at them, "you heard your mother, upstairs and bring those things down here now-and Temperance, I hope for your sake that this is the end of this foolishness" Lance said, also sitting down to his own computer.
"Yes Sir, yes Ma'am" she whimpered, going upstairs to do as she was told. When she got upstairs, she took off the jersey and held it in her hands; she brought it up to her face to wipe her eyes and got the hoody out of her closet. Why did I wear this today? She thought bitterly, I can't believe that I was that stupid. Gathering up the hoody which still smelled faintly of Booth, she took the items downstairs and into the office. Rebecca indicated that she should put them on a chair and then told her that they needed her to complete dinner. Reluctantly Tempe put them down and headed into the kitchen. She let the tears fall silently as she completed the evening meal. When it was ready to serve, she went in to the office and saw that the items were gone. She could only imagine where. She started back upstairs when she heard Lance say, "Where do you imagine you are going?"
"I thought I'd go upstairs and read a bit, maybe listen to the radio for a while" she turned back to him, "Dinner is ready Temperance, you will join us for the meal" he told her pointing to the dining room. Temperance and the Sweets sat down to dinner and although she put food on her plate, she didn't take more than a couple of bites, she mostly pushed it around her plate. "I hope that melancholy expression will not be a permanent part of our meals?" Rebecca asked her, "Frankly, I think that it is very disrespectful"
"No Ma'am, I'm sorry" Temperance proceeded to clean her plate of everything but the rosemary lemon chicken breast. She still refused to eat meat and she didn't care what they took away from her, which was something she would not compromise on. Blithely ignoring her mood, the Sweets discussed their Sunday plans and Temperance was glad that they were to be gone most of the day. She had to work in the morning, but would be able to talk to Booth in the afternoon. That was the one thing that was going to get her through the rest of the night. Asking if she could be excused, the Sweets reminded her once again how to do the dishes the correct way and then told her that she may go upstairs when she was done. Temperance began clearing the table when she heard a slight trilling noise. Instantly freezing, she realized it was her phone and she had forgotten to put it on silent. "What was that?" Rebecca asked, eyebrows arched. "I'm sorry?" Tempe said, "What was what?"
"Lance, is your phone on?" Rebecca asked him. There was a strict rule that all phones were off and ignored during meals, "I don't believe so" he said, checking the display, "No-it's off"
"Maybe I left my radio on" Temperance said, taking the opportunity to bolt upstairs. She quickly turned the phone off and stuffed it into her pillowslip as Rebecca followed her upstairs, reaching over and turning on the radio, Temperance was standing next to her night stand when she entered the room, "I'm sorry mom, I did leave it on after all" she swallowed, hoping the 'mom' would appease her. "Please make sure that you are more careful Temperance, after all power is not cheap and there is no reason to leave an appliance on when you are not in the room" turning to leave, she started towards the jacket on the bed and said, "Please hang up your things immediately" she started to grab the jacket when Temperance beat her to it, "I'm sorry" she gathered it up into a ball and took it to the closet. Rebecca seemed satisfied and Temperance put the jacket onto a hanger. The whole time keeping the ball cap behind it so that she didn't have to give that up too…
Booth drove home in a blissful state. He was glad that she had said yes to the dance, and afraid of the repercussions that would happen if the Sweets found out. He was sure that Angela would be able to get her out of the house, he was just wondering for how long. Mentally arguing with himself about whether to introduce himself to them or make Tempe happy and not. Deciding that she knew better how to handle her foster parents, he would just stay low and take what she was able to give right now. Speaking of which, man the episode in the car at lunch was still making his head spin. He'd never been one to jump into a physical relationship, hell the only girl he'd ever been with like that was Payton, but no matter what they had done he'd never felt like that before. Tempe could boil his blood with just a look. He knew that she had absolutely no idea of her power over him either. He wanted to protect her at the same time that he wanted to plunge himself into her very core. Shaking his head to get the pornado out of his mind's eye, he chuckled that he was this tore up over a 16 year old girl. I must be some sort of degenerate he thought.
Turning into his own driveway, he was surprised to see Fischers car there. Looking at his phone, he saw that there were no messages or missed calls. Before getting out of the Explorer, he sent a text to Temperance, "hey Bones-miss you already—ttyl lv BMOC". He walked into the house and Fischer was sitting at the bar playing dominoes with his Pops. "What's up Booth?" he asked, eyes glued to the game, "How's your head?"
"Better-what the hell happened last night?" he asked, stowing his jacket in the front closet and giving his Pops a fist bump, "How did I get home?" Hank wasn't dumb, he remembered what it was like to be an 18 year old kid on the football team, and he knew enough that he was raising his grandsons to be responsible. "Wendell brought you home, you had something to drink I guess. All I know is that you sing horribly off key man!" he laughed at the cringing look on Booth's face. "I don't remember anything, just waking up this morning with a major headache and only one shoe-I don't remember singing at all!"
"Good thing man, it was awful" his gaze back on the game, "so whatcha doing here?" Booth asked. "Seeley Joseph Booth-that was plain rude" his Pops said, "your friends are welcome here any time they want to" a stern tone entered his Pops' normally congenial tone. "Sorry Fisch" Booth said.
"I came by to see if you wanted to play some one on one tomorrow, Wendell is in and so is Hester, thought we could go to the rink downtown, maybe get in some speed drills or something? Plus, that new Transformers movie is at the dollar theater; maybe we could hit that on the way home?" Fischer and Wendell had heard Payton telling the girls that she was going to be trailing Seeley and they wanted to make sure that he wasn't alone where she could ambush him for the time being. They were still hazy on the plans, the girls wouldn't tell them anything since they had jumped ship on Payton, but they knew she was still out to screw him over.
"Sounds good, but I promised Pops I chop some wood for the fireplace and I've got some essays to finish for the college entrance exams, so gonna pass. Plus, does Hodgins know you guys are going to be on the ice? You know how he can get. The SC game is going to be our main focus next week. Personally, I'd rather wait until after the game to get on the ice" he said grabbing a soda for himself and Fischer as he sat down to watch the game.
"Suit yourself man, Hodgins is still creaming his shorts right now, he won't care we're on the ice" he stopped when Hank bopped him on the head, "keep a civil tongue young man" he growled never looking up from the game. Swallowing and grimacing Fischer said, "Yes Sir, sorry" he winked at Booth. Seeing that he had no chance to win, he stood up and said, "Thanks for the soda and the game Pops, Booth-if you change your mind, call Wendell" he turned to leave saying over his shoulder, "how was your "thing" today anyway?"
"It was well worth it" Booth replied, slightly choking on his own soda at the expression on Fischers face, "I'll just bet it was" Fischer said and left.
"What did you have to do at the U today Shrimp?" Pops asked putting the dominoes away in their custom wooden box.
"I went to an Anthropology lecture with Temperance and Max" he told him getting up to join him in the living room, "It was nice, boring, but nice, I'm glad I went" especially since Zack Addy was there, he thought.
"I like that young lady, she's very pleasant, way out of your league though Shrimp-and her friend wowie! She's the kind of girl that can get your blood flowing if you know what I mean" he winked and nudged his grandson as they settled on the couch to watch TV. "Pops! Settle down, and what do you mean out of my league?" he knew that his grandfather was most likely teasing, but he'd had the same thought himself and was curious.
"I mean, she is very smart, very pretty and she is very sure of her future. That girl has a path in place and intends to follow it come hell or high water and no good looking football player is going to de-rail that. I don't mean it in a bad way, just be patient-she's a serious girl and she's had a rough life from what I could gather, so she may not fall to the Booth charm right away-you have to respect a girl like that, you can't rush her" he said to him, "do you understand?"
"Yeah Pops, I do, and I know-she's by far the smartest girl I've ever met, but man, there is something about her that just makes me…."he stopped, not sure he should put a word to the way she made him feel. Pops reached over and patted his knee, "I understand Shrimp, she's got you in a twist and you're flying in the wind-let the breeze take you where it will, it'll all be okay in the end" he leaned back and thought of how proud of his grandson he was.
"Where's Jared?" Booth asked, looking around, normally he'd be downstairs with them, "Cricket went to a birthday party at the hockey rink and then he was going to go to Howards house to stay the night, so it's just me and you Shrimp" Pops was looking through the TV Guide when Booth felt his phone vibrate, it was a good thing too, he didn't see the stricken look on his face when he saw what had come across on his phone…
"Pops, I'm going to go upstairs for a minute, um..I don't feel so well…k?" Booth stood up still staring at his phone. "Shrimp, you okay?" he asked him worriedly, "Yeah pops, just sour stomach, no big deal, I'll be back in a sec" Booth rushed upstairs and called the number the text came from.
"What the hell is this?" He asked when she answered. "You tell me Booth-what the hell is this crap on my phone? Where were you and what are you doing-how did she even get my phone number?"
"I don't know, I don't even know where this came from, I mean…it must have been last night, but I don't remember it, I don't remember anything from last night, my last clear memory is deciding to even go to the stupid party…what the hell am I going to do? What if she sends it to her?" he asked, "-what do I do?"
"How am I supposed to know Seeley? That's my best friend and supposedly you're her boyfriend, her head is going to explode if she sees this. How did they get my phone number?"
"One of them must have got my phone at some point; I swear I had no idea, what if they got her number too? Oh my god, what if they've already sent this to her?" Booth ran his fingers through his hair as he paced, he couldn't get the image out of his head.
"I'm going to call her, and, I don't know beg her to call off the goon squad, at this point, I don't know what else to do, I can't let her hurt her like this and you're right, she'll lose it if she sees this. Ange-I gotta go, I'll call you later" he hung up the phone and sat on the edge of his bed. He couldn't leave until Pops went to bed, but he couldn't take the chance she would see it.
His phone vibrated and the text said, "What time do we meet at TB?-ANGEL"
He debated half a second and then sent, "BL-no matter what you see or hear, I didn't do it, please believe me, and call me when you can-BMOC"
His second text was "Angel-call u when I'm omw"
Booth went into his bathroom and looked at his expression in the mirror, his face was pale, he splashed water on his face and decided to go downstairs and wait for Pops to get tired, should be just an hour or so, he always went to bed early.
Heading back downstairs, his gut was twisted; he could only hope that she had her phone off. Sitting down next to his grandfather he leaned his head back on the sofa. "Feeling okay Shrimp?" Pops asked him, turning down the sound on the Hellfighters. "I'm A-ok Pops, told you just a little sour stomach, must have been all that bone talk today…didn't agree with me. So John Wayne tonight huh?" the two of them launched into a much discussed topic, John Wayne and his movies, which ones worked, which ones didn't. Although they had debated this all before, each time was a new and interesting discussion. Eventually though, Pops started yawning and telling Seeley not to stay up all night mooning over his girl, he went to bed. As soon as he heard his grandfather settle in, he went outside and called Angela, "I'm on my way" he told her and hung up.
Booth drove carefully towards her house and parked about three houses down, waiting for Angela, he was surprised to see her arrive in the showy jacked up silver truck. She hopped down and Booth sighed, he was definitely in for it, he'd never seen Angela look so upset. She was wearing sweatpants and had her hair in twin ponies. She marched over to his truck and said, "If she wasn't my best friend, I'd kick your ass and then have one of my goons kick it again" jabbing her finger in his face, she said, "you better fix this!"
"I will Ange- I promise, how do we get her out of there?" He looked at his watch and saw that it was closing in on 10 o'clock, "What time do they go to bed?"
"Stay here" she told him pointing to the curb, "I'll be right back"
Angela crept up to the house and saw the lights were off downstairs, the only lights upstairs looked to be the hallway and Tempe's room, and then the hallway flickered off, followed closely by the light in the back bedroom. Angela had never been in there, but she knew that it was hers. She went back to Booth and told him, "her room is the one in the back, the Sweets' room is up front, no lights top or bottom, hop the fence-there's a gravel path under her window, see if you can hit it w/out breaking it. No backyard light, I checked, there's also a large tree against the back fence, be ready to duck if lights come on in the house" Nodding that he understood they both went to the house, Angela stood back and waited for him to go over the fence. Standing in the bed of her truck she was able to look into the backyard and see everything.
Booth hopped the fence and went directly to the path, he picked up a few stones and lightly threw them at the window, when nothing happened after a minute, he picked up another couple and threw them. Suddenly, a flashlight came on and the window slid open. Not knowing who it was, he ducked behind the tree. Temperance shined the light into the backyard and was about to close the window when she saw him come out from behind the tree. "Seeley?" She whispered loudly, "What are you doing?"
"Can you come down here? Please?" he whispered back. "No! I'll get busted, they aren't even asleep yet, what are you doing here?"
"Tempe-throw me your phone, please?" he asked her, "I'll explain it, I promise, just throw me your phone-trust me!"
Temperance wasn't sure what to do when she saw movement outside the fence, recognizing Angela's truck she said, "What is going on? Is that Angela?"
"Yes-Temperance, we don't have a lot of time, just throw me your phone honey please?"
Deciding to trust her friends, she got the phone from her pillowslip and threw it down to them; it still hadn't been turned back on from earlier. She was scared and worried that something bad was going to happen. Booth caught the phone and vaulted back over the fence; he and Angela turned it on and looked through the messages. The only one he saw was the one he had sent earlier, there were no missed calls, voicemails or anything. The only new number was Zacks. Shaking their heads, they decided that it was just them that had gotten the text. Booth went back over the fence a third time and told her he was going to leave the phone behind the tree rather than take the chance of throwing it back up to her, she whispered, "What is going on Seeley? Angela? Talk to me."
Angela said, "Tomorrow, when you have a chance, call me Sweetie, I'll explain everything, just for now, go to bed and we'll talk to you in the morning."
"Are you okay? Am I okay?" She asked them both.
"Yes Honey, you'll be fine and no matter what, remember that I love you" Booth told her as he blew her a kiss and climbed back over the fence. Temperance shook her head and pulled the window closed, she had no idea what was going on, but hoped that it wasn't going to get any weirder. She was scared all the same for them both though, they had seemed so upset. She was also just a tiny bit thrilled to have gotten such a late night visit from him.
Booth and Angela conferred outside of the fence after she ducked back inside her window. "I don't know what is going on, what number did yours come from?" Booth asked her. Repeating the number, he said, "That's Daisy's phone, mine came from Payton's phone-let's hope this is just a test to see what we'll do. Believe me Angela, I would never knowingly do that, I swear I had no idea."
"I believe you, and believe me, that b!tch is barking up the wrong tree with me" Angela told him, "I'm going home, we'll talk tomorrow."
As she drove away, she made a phone call and explained what had gone on and about the text she had received, as she listened to the person on the other end, she decided what she would do right then and there to make sure that Temperance wasn't going to be hurt by this…
Seeley got up early, took a shower and left his Pops a note, "going to church, I'll be home early to do chores, love S"
He drove over to her house and knocked on the door. "Seeley Booth! What a surprise, Payton didn't say that you would be joining us for church today"
"Hello Col Perotta Sir, I didn't know if she would remember or not to be honest" Seeley greeted the imposing man at the door. Joy came up behind her husband, "Oh Seeley-it is so good to see you, it's been a while, Payton is upstairs getting ready, won't you come in?" the Col stepped aside and Seeley entered the house. Standing in the familiar room he realized that he had spent most of his teenage years either in this house, or with this family. Payton yelled down the stairs, "Mom! Where is my slip?"
Flushing slightly, Joy looked at Seeley and whispered, "Excuse me please Seeley-coming Payton" she headed up the stairs. Entering her daughter's room, she was a little embarrassed to see the red mark on her neck, but ignoring it she said, "Seeley is downstairs Payton, you didn't tell us he would be joining us for church today-do you two have plans afterwards?" she bustled over to the armoire in the corner to look for Payton's slip.
"Uh- I must have forgotten Mom, sorry, it's okay right?" thinking fast Payton was hoping that Seeley wasn't going to cause a scene or ambush her when she went downstairs. She'd sent the text last night after leaving Macks house. She wasn't all that into him, but he was someone to go to the dance with and he certainly liked the perks she could provide. While not as experienced as Seeley, he was willing to experiment a little and she found she liked being the one in control.
"Oh yes Honey, it's always nice to see him, it's been a while, have you two been getting along?"
"Well, we've been busy, you know football, cheer squad, school…senior year is totally different" taking the slip her mom handed her, she went into her bathroom to finish getting dressed. Joy went downstairs telling her daughter, "Hurry up Payton, you know your Dad likes to sit up front"
Grumbling to herself about even having to go and worried slightly about what Seeley was really here for, she finished her makeup and skipped down the stairs.
"Hi Seeley" she said, coming close for a kiss on the cheek, "I had forgotten you were coming over today"
"No problem Payton, I thought maybe you and I could go grab a coffee or something after the service? I can't stay long, Pops has a chore list a mile long, but it's been a while and well, you know" he finished, smiling at her.
"That sounds fun" she replied, already dread building up in her stomach.
"Well kids, lets head out, Seeley drive safely and we'll meet you two at the church" the Col said grabbing his jacket and escorting his wife to their car. "Yes Sir" Seeley replied as he helped Payton into her coat and they headed to his Explorer.
Getting into the car he was silent as he waited for the Col to back out of the driveway where he pulled in behind him. "What are you doing here Seeley?" she asked, all pretense of friendliness gone from her voice.
"Payton pulling Angela into this little revenge show was the wrong move. She has professional people that are paid to watch her doing exactly that, watching her. You don't think you're little stunt is going to raise eyebrows in her circle? She's not a high school kid that you can intimidate Payton, so for your sake I would seriously suggest leaving her out of any more of your immature bullshit." She started to cut him off and he said, "I'm not done. Shut up. If you ever cared for me other than a roll in the sack or someone that could advance your social status, you will shut up and listen right now. I've had it with this, I'm tired of you trying to intimidate Temperance and I'm tired of dealing with all of your headaches. I'm going to ask you two questions and that's it, first one; what do you want Payton?"
Sitting there listening to him tell her not to threaten Angela she realized slightly that she had gone over the line with her. Angela really wasn't in her league, and although she was able to intimidate mousy little high school girls, he was probably right in that sending texts like the one she sent to a celebrity's daughter was not the smartest thing she could do. She did not want to have to explain it to her parents should Angela decide to fight back with her lawyers. "What do I want? That's an interesting question Seeley, the bottom line answer would be; I want my life back. I want my boyfriend back, I want you to take me to the Winter Formal, I want you to take me to prom, I want to graduate and then I want us to go to the U together. It's really not so difficult to understand, at least it shouldn't be. We've talked about this already, you've had your fling, you've tasted what else is out there, and now you need to come back. I'm Payton Perotta, I have a reputation and I'm not going to be one upped by a stupid mousy little sophomore." She finished, looking straight ahead. As far as she was concerned, this was a dumb conversation to keep having over and over, he should have come back to her by now.
Booth listened to her, his blood getting hotter with each thing that she said. She really didn't get it, he thought. This girl is completely delusional. "Since I have no intention of ever coming back to you Payton, the second question is, what is it going to take to get you to leave us alone?"
He completely avoided what she had said to try to get her to tell him what he could do, besides breaking up with the girl he felt he could spend the rest of his life with, to make her stop harassing them.
"That's it Seeley, you break up with her or I'm going to make her break up with you. One way or the other, you and I are going to end up together. I meant what I said, I'll be all too happy to do whatever I can to make that happen, including making sure you 'take care of your responsibility', I haven't even started yet, so it's up to you" she stopped speaking as they pulled into the parking lot of the church. Getting out of the car, he walked around to help her out of the car. "We'll finish this afterwards" he told her as they walked inside.
Mass seemed to last a year rather than the hour and a half it normally was. Even though he was in the Lords house, Seeley couldn't shake the anger that was still coursing through his body. He truly had never hated anyone as much as he hated her. He'd been thinking the whole time what he could do to make this all go away. Oh sure, the easiest solution was to break up with Temperance and do exactly what Payton wanted. He had no other rational ideas; each thought was more ridiculous than the one before it. All he wanted was for Payton to realize it was over and move on. He knew that she was capable of some pretty mean things; he just didn't know how low she would be willing to go to get him back.
After church, he and Payton headed back to the car. They got in and drove to the coffee place around the corner, when they got their drinks, they headed back to the car. Payton slipped a little on a patch of uneven pavement, and instinctively Booth reached out to steady her. The click of the camera was never even heard.
As soon as they were both back in the car, Booth turned to her and said, "Payton, I've moved on. I'm not coming back to you. You need to accept that. No matter what you do, I'm never coming back. I'm going to be with Temperance as long as she wants me. I'm asking you for the last time to leave us alone. I've got nothing to threaten you with, you seem to think you can blackmail me with the abuse from my dad, go ahead, I'm not ashamed of it anymore. Your fairy tale description of our life together is just that, a fairy tale. I'm not in it anymore. There is nothing you can do to me that will make me come back to you. Nothing. Do whatever you think is necessary to me to punish me, I'll handle it. I'm telling you for the last time, leave Temperance alone. She has done nothing to you, she has nothing to do with us and what happened to us, she is completely innocent and you are not going to hurt her anymore. Angela has already made some phone calls to her people, and I'm sure one more to include Temperance on their watch list is in the works, so back off" he put the truck in drive and headed back to her house.
Payton was silent for a long time, she was thinking over what he said and when they got to her driveway she turned to him and said, "I'm sorry Seeley. I'm sorry you just can't see reason. But, you're right; there is no reason for me to continue to act like this. We've had our moment and it's passed and I need to accept that. I won't bother you anymore." She leaned over and kissed his cheek and got out of the car. Walking up the steps to the porch, she turned and waved. Booth was stunned. He couldn't believe that she had acquiesced that easily. Fearing the worst, he waved back sarcastically as her parents were standing behind her on the porch waving as well. Deciding he would just have to be on the alert for her and her coven, he drove home to start the chores he'd neglected all week. Taking out his phone, he was disappointed to see there were no messages or calls. Sipping his coffee as he drove, he hoped that his prayers this morning would be answered and he and Temperance would be left alone…
Temperance waited until she heard the Sweets leave, looking at the clock, she saw that is was 8AM and she didn't have to be to work until 10:30. She hurried downstairs and went to the tree in the backyard to retrieve her phone. She put the phone in her pocket to warm it up before trying to use it. While the phone was warming up she decided to try and find the jersey and football. Trash wasn't due to go out until Tuesday, so she knew it still had to be somewhere in the house. She searched through all the closets downstairs, in the spare room and in the extra closet upstairs. She was afraid to go into the Sweets bedroom, so she left that room alone. Sitting at the table preparing to call Angela, she thought she'd try the garage to see if there was anything in there. Looking around the minivan, she saw a couple of black garbage bags, tops tied tight. She opened them up and they had some old clothes, books and some towels. Looking in the other bag, she saw the jersey, hoody and football. They must be going to donate this stuff, she thought to herself. Taking her things from the bag, she went upstairs and put them into her school bag.
Temperance decided that her phone was probably okay to use, so she turned it on and when it was powered up she saw that there was a text message. "BL-no matter what you see or hear, I didn't do it, please believe me, and call me when you can-BMOC" wondering if this the text he was so worried about the night before, she checked to see if there was anything else new in the logs. Seeing nothing, she thought about calling Seeley but looking at the clock, he was probably still at church, instead she called Angela.
"Angela?" she asked when the girl came on the phone, "What happened last night?"
"Tempe-have you talked to Booth yet?" Angela sleepily answered her question with one of her own.
"No-I called you first, he's at church. Please Angela; tell me what is going on?"
"Last night Booth and I got texts from Payton and Pansy, no…wait…Daisy? Anyway, as soon as I got it, I called him to see who the hell it was from and he told me he got one too. So we decided to see if you had gotten one too. As it turns out, you didn't, and he and I decided that Payton was just playing more games. You haven't gotten anything have you?"
"No-just a message telling me not to believe what I saw, what was on those texts Angela?" Temperance wasn't sure she really wanted to know, but she felt like she had to at the same time.
"I don't have it anymore, you'll need to ask Booth about that Sweetie, I'm all for defending you, but I'm not going to get in the middle. This is something that you will have work out on your own. Don't get me wrong, I've got your back, but the personal stuff is all you. What time do you have to work today?"
"I've got to be there at 10:30. Angela-was it bad?" she bit her lip as images ran through her mind, not even knowing the content of the text was torture, but so were some of the things she could only imagine that it could be.
"I've got to be there at noon, I'll come in a little early though, we can chat a little more then, but Temper, I'd call Booth as soon as you can, church or not, just let him know that you need him. Guys like to be needed and I have a feeling things may get worse before they get better." She told her goodbye and hung up. Angela sat on the edge of her bed and put her head on her pulled up knees. I wish I could make it easier for you Tempe she thought.
"Sweetheart? You awake?" Her dad's Texan drawl came through the closed door.
"Yeah daddy I am, just talking to Temper" she went to the door and opened it and let her dad come in. She loved her dad and his life and would never ask for him to change it, but there were times, like now, that she wished he was home more often.
"She still having problems at home?" he asked, sitting on her vanity chair.
"Yes and no, she has a boyfriend and he has a psycho hose beast for an ex girlfriend, and I think that she's going to do something really bad, and I'm worried about Tempe, and her foster parents are just nightmares, they won't let her do anything a normal 16 year old kid is allowed to do, so she's essentially trapped in that home except for school and work. It just breaks my heart the way she gets treated, they shouldn't be allowed to put kids with people like that-" her voice broke as she started to softly cry as she outlined just what had gone on there over the past couple of weeks.
Her dad got up and came over to sit by her on the bed, "Don't cry honey, things will work out eventually. You're doing the best thing that you can do by being there for her, she's going to need someone as this all unfolds, and you'll be the one she turns to. I won't let anything happen to her, or you, I promise baby, okay?" he smoothed her bangs back and thumbed her tears, "Now, what do you say you and your old man go grab some grub, some store bought stuff?"
She smiled at him through her tears and hugged him tight. "I'm glad you're here Daddy, I missed you"
"Missed you too Sweetheart" he hugged her back and then left so she could go get dressed.
Temperance grabbed a muffin and a juice box and headed to the bus stop, she had her bag of Booth's things and she was going to leave it at the museum until she could get it back school. She was going to start storing things in her locker. While she waited for the bus, she called Seeley. "Hey it's Booth-leave a message" his voicemail picked up first ring, she said, "Hi Seeley, it's Tempe, I hope you call or text, I've got to work until 3, but the Sweets will be gone until 7 tonight, so maybe I can see you? Anyway, I hope so, have a good day! Bye"
She hung up as the bus pulled into the stop and she got on, the bus was packed today with early holiday shoppers. Brennan was actually looking forward to the holidays, other than Max and Angela; she hadn't had anyone to buy a gift for in a long time. Wondering what kinds of things she could get for Seeley, she passed the time it took for the bus to trundle downtown to the museum.
Walking into the museum she heard, "Hey Tempe!" turning to look Zack Addy was standing with Russ and Max and he was wearing a museum uniform. "Hi Zack!" She said walking over to the trio, "what are you doing here and why are you wearing that?"
"Stunning isn't it? Navy blue is soo my color!" he kidded with her, "I just got hired, I'll be working here to get some college credits, so guess I'll be seeing a lot of you huh?"
"That's great Zack! It'll be fun to have someone else I know working here, which department will you be in?"
"I'll be working with Max in the science wing, half of my hours go towards a college credit, and the other half go to the final requirement of science for HS graduation-I'm pretty lucky really, there were 4 other people interviewed" he was really quite proud of getting into this program. Max was actually a scientist in high demand and the museum was lucky to have him, if he chose you for his internship, then you really had to be something special.
"Well, congratulations, I'll see you around, I have to get to work myself" she reached up to hug him and she gave a hug to Max as well, "maybe lunch-what time are you done today? I'm done at 3?"
"Lunch it is" he told her, "I'm off at 6, so that will be right around the time I go to lunch, so I'll meet you in the breakroom, that is if I can find it again, this place is huge!"
Russ laughed and said, "You'll find your way pretty soon"
Temperance agreed and then turned to go to the employee break room. Once she was changed into her uniform, she put her phone on silent and looked to see what room she was in. She was going to be cleaning the Pharoah's chamber today. It was one of her favorites, the mummies especially intrigued her. Humming a little she headed up to the second floor to get to work.
At 1:30 she felt her phone start to vibrate. Stopping her cleaning of a sarcophagus, she reached into her pocket to check it out. "BMOC" flashed on the screen.
"Hello?" she answered, both eager and nervous at the same time.
"Hey Babe" he said quietly.
"What's wrong Seeley?" she asked, now quite afraid.
"Nothing Tempe-I'm just glad to hear your voice…just really glad. I was chopping wood when you called and had my ipod on so didn't hear the phone. Are you at work?" he asked her, leaning up against the house.
"Yes, I'm off in a couple of hours, I told Zack I'd have lunch with him since its his first day and then I'm free until 7 or so. The Sweets didn't say anything about me having to come straight home, so I figured I'd be ok. Did you get all the wood chopped for Pops?"
Both of them were deliberately avoiding discussing the events of the prior night. She didn't know how to bring it up and he was afraid to worry her.
"Yeah, I did-so Zack is working there now huh?" he tried but was unable to keep the jealousy out of his voice.
"He was hired by Max to work with the science wing, I really won't see him much, like Angela we're on mostly different schedules" speaking of Angela she began to wonder where she was and why she didn't come up to say hi to her.
"Well, I'd love to do something this afternoon. Have you ever been to Zam's?" he asked her.
"No, what's Zam's?" she asked, trying to think if she'd ever heard of it.
"It's the indoor ice rink next to the mall-would you like to go skating? They rent skates and we can get in for free because I volunteer there during hockey season" he wasn't sure if she even knew how to skate, but since he taught little kids how to skate, he figured he could teach her if she didn't.
"Oh, I've been by there, just never knew the name of it, I'd like that, I haven't been skating since I was five or six years old, so you can't laugh!" she giggled.
"Okay, I won't laugh I promise-and Tempe we'll talk about last night too"
"Okay Seeley, I'll see you around 4?" she asked, "meet me here? Or I can ride the bus?" she still wasn't sure about some of the particulars of boyfriends and girlfriends.
"I think I'll be able to get you kid, see you out front!" he laughed and hung up.
Temperance smiled when she hung up, she was really looking forward to the end of her shift. She texted Angela, "Hi Ange-you here?"
While she waited for her to text back, she started back on the final resting place of a pharaoh.
"I'm here-have to train some dumb new girl, Roxie (stupid name!) will meet you at 3" her return text said. Wow, 3 o'clock is going to be a busy time for you Miss Temperance she thought to herself. Deciding that she wouldn't borrow trouble until there was a reason, she got back to work and looked forward to her lunch date with her new friend, talking to her oldest friend and then meeting up with her boyfriend.
At three she headed downstairs to change. Angela was already in the break room and was in rare form. "What an IDIOT" she told her as she came out of the changing room, "that girl is as dumb as a bag of hammers, I swear. She wouldn't write anything down and kept asking me the same question over and over, we only got through one exhibit before I had to take her to HR for her orientation video" she snorted at the comical expression on Temperance's face.
"Roxie? Skinny girl, blonde bob, big eyes?" she asked her.
"Yeah, that's her, do you know her?"
"She's a cheerleader at St. Agnes, I'm surprised that she would want to work here is all"
Just then Zack walked in and said, "Hello Tempe-whose your friend?" he turned to Angela and waited to be introduced.
"This is Angela Montenegro, she's the head tour guide here and my best friend-Angela this is Zack Addy, he's the QB for Marantha and is going to be an Anthropologist too"
The two of them shook hands and then Zack brought Angela's hand to his mouth and pressed a kiss to the back of it, "Enchante" he said, looking up at her, her hand still held slightly under his mouth.
"Can it Junior" she told him taking her hand back, "I'm way out of your league" she winked at Brennan and opened her lunch. Giving half of her sandwich and cookies to Temperance, the three of them started talking about various things. Temperance told Angela and Zack about the Sweets taking Seeley's jersey and stuff and how she hid her hat so they wouldn't take that, and what they told her about free time and not being able to socialize or go to hockey games. She told them about finding the clothes and football in the goodwill donations though and how she was going to take them back to school. Angela was livid and told herself that she was going to pass that along to her dad. Zack was a little shocked at the description of her home life, but wisely kept his mouth shut.
"Do you have to work on Wednesday?" Angela asked Tempe.
"No, why?" she asked scraping off the mustard from her side of the sandwich.
"Because we are going to go dress shopping" she told her.
"I just told you I can't go to the dance Angela, what do I need a dress for?"
"If we can get you to the high school football game, we can get you to a dance Temper-We're going dress shopping, so add a "shift" to your schedule. I'll meet you here after school." Her tone was final.
Smiling at the determination on her friends face, Tempe said, "okay Ange-I will" looking at her watch she said, "I've got to go, Seeley will be out front in a minute or so, Zack I hope you have a good rest of the day, and I'll see you around" she bent down to hug Angela and thanked her for the sandwich. She hung up her uniform, grabbed her things and headed outside to meet him for the rest of the afternoon, her heart was light and her smile was bright as she saw his car in the parking lot. When he saw that she had seen him he got out of the truck and stood by the passenger door. She ran towards him and jumped into his arms, dropping her things as he grabbed her in a hug. "What was that for?" he asked.
Smiling, she kissed his nose then his lips softly and said, "Do I need a reason?"
He set her down lightly on her feet and leaned in to deepen the kiss, "I guess not babe, I guess not"…
Tempe watched Booth walk around the front of the Explorer, and then stop to look at his phone. While he read the text, she was admiring his profile. She'd never seen him looking so…so grown up. He was wearing dark brown work boots and dark, slightly tight jeans, a red and black checked hooded flannel open at the collar where a white t-shirt peeked out, and a caramel colored Carhart coat. He had a pair of yellow leather work gloves tucked into his back pocket and was wearing a St. Agnes Panthers baseball cap. His hair was a just long enough to curl slightly over his collar, and he had a slight beard stubble. She felt heat start at her pelvis and rush up her body to her cheeks. She'd never taken his incredible features for granted, even when she was just a freshman he'd been the hottest guy at school, but today she was really seeing just how attractive he was. He was physically mature from the long hours of practice, but also he took care of himself and it showed. Booth had sent a reply to the text and turned to come to the driver's side, seeing her staring at him with heat in her eyes he winked and gave her a twisted grin. She felt that incredible glow again and looked down, willing the blush off of her cheeks.
"What's wrong little one?" he teased when he got in. He recognized a hot flash when he saw one, hell he fought them off all the time around her.
"Noth..nothing" she said biting her lip and looking up at him, "I was just thinking…well, wondering..um…nothing!"
Booth laughed at her and put the truck into drive, pulling out of the parking lot he said, "That was Pops, he asked that I grab some milk on the way home from Zams, don't let me forget ok? That should take your mind off 'nothing'" he told her.
"Okay, milk got it!"
Tempe turned to him and said, "So, what happened last night Seeley?-is everything okay?" she normally wouldn't have started this conversation off, but she felt she needed to start taking some control of things and she was tired of being afraid of Payton and her friends.
"Payton sent a text to me and Angela and it was incredibly crude and was a complete fake and I was afraid she sent it to you and I had to know that you knew I could never do something like that. I had to know that you weren't sitting there wondering what kind of a $$hole you were dating was. Angela was hot, she wanted to kick my $$ and then have one of her goons kick it again. We decided to make sure you were okay together. This morning I went to church with the Perotta's and told Payton to leave us alone. At first she resisted, and then when I dropped her off, she told me she would leave us alone. I think she's full of it, but we'll see." He stopped, wondering what line of questioning she was going to pursue. He'd left nothing out but the image itself, he told her about church because he was trying to be as honest as he could without giving her all the gritty details of his many discussions with Payton. He had nothing to hide, but still felt he needed to protect her.
"Oh" was all she said.
He tensed and waited patiently to see if she was going to say anything else when she slightly hiccupped and he looked over to see her wiping her eyes and looking out of the side window. Booth looked behind him in the rear view mirror and checked traffic before pulling into a little strip mall parking lot. He put the truck in park and unbuckled his seatbelt.
He leaned over and said, "Don't cry Tempe, it's going to be okay, she said she was going to leave us alone and I really think she will, don't be upset, please?" he tried to get her to look at him, but she was stubbornly resisting him. Booth got out of the truck and walked over to her side and opened the door.
"Look at me Tempe" he said and turned her face towards his. "Talk to me, please?" his voice was soft but firm, he wanted to get this out now before it came back to haunt them.
"I don't understand why she is trying so hard to break us up. She's never liked me, the first day of school she stepped on my lunch when I got off the bus, she's made fun of my jacket, hair and anything else that is out of the norm since then. Any chance she gets she just attacks me. I don't have any friends at school to begin with and she just makes it harder to talk to people; when they find out that you are the main target in Payton's sights they tend to ignore you too," she stopped and hiccupped again and his heart broke at the look on her face, "I just try to stay out of her way, and what happens? I end up falling in love with her boyfriend! Of course, it just couldn't be easy and be some ordinary guy, no it has to be the guy that every girl in school is dying to go out with and every guy in school wants to be, and is he a jerk? NO, he's actually a nice guy, has a wonderful family, is thoughtful, smart, funny, considerate and not that I have anything to judge it against kisses so good that my body turns to jelly every time his lips touch me. All I want to do when that happens is find out what the big deal about sex is and that scares the hell out of me, but on the other hand, what do I know about it? I'm so unbelievably uncomfortable around him all the time that it's a wonder I don't snap like an old rubber band." She took a deep breath and took his hands, tracing the veins on them with her fingers; she plunged on, "I trust you Seeley, I do, but I don't know how much more of this I can take. I'm not this person, I'm not confrontational, I can't keep getting hurt-I'm afraid that there isn't much of me left to hurt-I don't want you to be constantly picking me up off the ground, eventually you are going to decide that all the pain and frustration isn't worth it and you'll leave too, and I wouldn't blame you. In fact, I don't know why you are still here; maybe it would be easier if we just called this whole thing off. I can't fight anymore, I've been fighting for so long that I have next to nothing left" her voice dropped to a whisper as she stopped talking, still looking down his skin burned when her tear fell on their joined hands.
"Tempe-listen to me, I'm only going to say this once. Stop acting like you aren't good enough for me. I've never met anyone that makes me feel like you do, I think of you all day and all night. You drive me crazy, I touch your skin and it's like silk, you touch me and I physically feel a burn at that spot. I spend half my time around you hoping you don't see how you affect me" he took her hand and put it where the bulge in his jeans was tight against the zipper, hissing when she didn't remove her hand after he let go, his voice was tight when he continued, "the other half of the time I'm reciting hockey stats or saints in my head to try to not get a hard on, I see you in the halls and the world stops moving, I hear your laugh and it's the only sound I hear." She was reluctant to remove her hand, and in fact had lightly started to explore with her finger the ridge under the zipper. He took her hand and put it into her lap and held her other one, "Sorry, it's hard to concentrate while you're doing that" he gasped, "I don't want to call this off, I can't. I have to know what happens next. I don't care that you don't have any experience, part of being with a person is learning what they like and don't together, I want to learn what makes you happy or sad or mad or bored, I want to learn with you. Payton isn't even a blip on my radar anymore, the only time I even think of her is when she does something stupid and mean to you. You don't need to change for me, you don't need to become a person that you aren't, I love you the way you are. I like taking care of you; I want to spend however long you will let me making you happy. I think you are smart, your funny and your incredibly sweet, I love Angela and Max, and I'm glad that you have them in your life. I'm even a little glad you have a friend in Zack, although I wish he had a third eye or something, don't worry about friends at school, I want you to meet Wendell and Colin, they're my best friends and they've always been there for me. It doesn't matter that they're girlfriends are Paytons little minions, we don't have to double date or anything. I want you to be happy is the bottom line Tempe, happy alone, happy with me, just happy. You want to take karate to kick her $$? Fine, I'll take you; I'll join you, whatever you want is what I will do. I can't walk away, but if that is what you want, I'll do it."
When he stopped speaking both of them just sat there silently for a moment, then she looked up at him and traced his lips with her index finger, she inched her hand around behind his neck and pulled his face close to hers. She pressed her lips against his and slowly slid her tongue into his mouth, meeting his, she deepened the kiss, his hands went to her hips and she was slightly surprised to realize that his hand span was larger than her entire waistline. He dug his thumbs into the bend of her waist and slid his fingers under her butt and pulled her closer to him. Raising his left hand up her side to her rib cage, she stopped kissing him briefly when his slightly cool hand slid under her shirt, stopping just under the bottom of her bra; he lightly traced the outline of the lace with his thumb. She pressed herself against his hand, encouraging him to continue his gentle exploration. He moved his hand up and softly cupped her breast, his hand was cool, but warming up rapidly. Temperance moaned slightly and he pulled her closer as his mouth left hers and moved to her neck, she leaned her head back which arched her into his hand even more. Booth felt her hand come back down to the zipper of his jeans and she slowly pulled it down. The friction of the zipper against the hard bulge made him gasp out loud. Recapturing her mouth with his, he tensed and froze when her hand slipped into his fly. Ever so slowly she softly circled her fingers around his hard length.
Booth broke the kiss and stepped back, his eyes were molten chocolate and his breathing was harsh. "We can't do this Tempe, not here, not now" he zipped his jeans back up as she attempted to calm her own breathing. "I'm sorry" she told him, her face awash with color and her eyes shining like diamonds. "There's nothing to be sorry for" he told her, " I just don't think this is the best place or time for this-beside, I told you, I'm not going to rush you and I don't want you to do this just because you think I want you to."
"That's not why I did it," she said, "I heard what you were saying and I believe you and I realized that I can't walk away either and it just felt right. When I'm ready, I want you to be the one that I learn from Seeley. I'm willing to meet Wendell and Colin, and I'm willing to try to be friends with them, I'm new at all of this, so I'm afraid I come across as a cold fish, but I'm willing to try. I'm going to stop being afraid of Payton too. I've done nothing wrong, you were broke up when you enrolled me in your 'dork outreach program', and so she can't be mad. You broke up with her, I didn't do anything. For now, let's just enjoy the rest of the day and we can work through each roadblock she throws up ok?"
He leaned in and hugged her tight. "Okay Bone Lady"
"One last thing though" she said, "What was the text of? I've got all these images in my head, each one worse than the last and I have to know. I don't want to know, I just have to get it right in my mind"
He said, "Are you sure? I don't want you to change your mind after you see it"
"I won't, just show me" she prepared herself for the absolute worst and waited for him to show her his phone.
Seeley sighed and pulled his phone out, he scrolled through the messages and opened it up, and handing the phone to her he dreaded her reaction.
"Where was this taken?" she asked.
"At the party after the game on Friday, we went to Macks house and somewhere along the way my drink was spiked with something, Bray and Fischer told me that I was pretty out of it, and yesterday I had a raging headache, I don't remember much of anything, but they told me I wasn't alone for a good portion of the time I was there, so they don't know when this could have been taken. Fischer thinks when Wendell went to get my truck to take me home she must have come up to me. I really don't remember it, and I didn't do anything on purpose, near as we can guess I was mostly passed out at that point anyway, so its' all staged" he wasn't sure if he should keep going or not, he just really wanted her to understand that he did not initiate any of it.
"Well, I'm glad I saw it I guess. I really don't like that girl" she said, handing him the phone back, and taking a deep breath, "it's in the past though, let's go to Zams, ok?"
Smiling at her response, he said, "okay, let's go, and I really don't like her either!"
Booth got back into the driver's seat and took them to the ice rink. Once they were there, he helped her get some skates and they went out onto the ice. There was a peewee practice going on at one end, but free skate on the other. The net was strung across the middle to prevent any wayward pucks from interrupting the skaters on the ice. Temperance was pleasantly surprised that she remembered how to skate; it had been over 10 years since the last time she was on the ice. Although slightly unsteady, she was doing very well and she and Booth were able to talk while they skated. She told him about the conversation with the Sweets, and when she could see he was upset she told him that Angela was going to 'break her out' again and so she was sure she'd be at the dance. She told him too, that she would do whatever she could to make sure she made a couple of his hockey games. Asking him about the SC football game, he told her that they would be leaving Friday morning at 6AM and would be coming home after the game. She wished that she could go, but driving across the state was not going to be feasible. He told her that it was okay, he wouldn't be able to socialize anyway, Hodgins was pretty tight when the team got to this point in the year. He told her that he'd call her when he got there and then when he woke up on Saturday. It was all a week away, but already he was getting nervous. It was a big game and he was a major play maker. She told him just to do his best and they'd be fine.
"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" he asked. "I'm going with Rebecca and Lance to her parent's house for the day, we'll eat and they'll stand around and tell me how lucky I am that they took me in and I'll feel grateful and then it'll be over. I'm sure it will go like that anyway, it did last year. On Friday Rebecca and her sister will go shopping, Lance will go to the office and I'll be at the house, last year I went to the library for the day, but this year it's closed so they can do some electrical work over the weekend"
"Any chance they'll let you do something on Friday" he asked thinking they could do something, "Maybe if Angela or Max invited you?"
"Not Angela certainly, but maybe if Max invited me I could do something, it's worth a shot" she said watching as he adeptly skated backwards in front of her. Looking at the clock on the wall above the entrance, she saw that it was close to 6:30; they'd been skating for over an hour and a half and hadn't run out of things to say to each other.
"I hate to say this Seeley, but I've got to go, I don't want the Sweets to see you drop me off, and they mentioned they'd be home around 7" He reluctantly agreed and they took her skates back as he took his off and put them back in his hockey bag. Walking her to the truck he thanked her for a good day, after the way it had started off he was really afraid of how it was going to end.
"You're welcome and thank you back" she smiled up at him and jumped into the truck. He drove her home and both were relieved to see no lights on, even though it was after dark. She leaned across the console and kissed his cheek, "see you at school" she said.
"I can pick you up if you want" he told her
"Okay-I'll meet you here at 7ish or so-and don't forget the milk!"
Getting out of the truck she hurried into the house and Booth took off to go get the milk that his Pops had asked for.
When Seeley got home he heard Jared and Howard in the front room battling out a boxing game on the WII and Pops was in the kitchen making dinner. "Grilled cheese is almost done Shrimp, did you get the milk?" he said as Seeley walked in.
"Yeah Pops, I got it-sounds good, let me change and I'll be right down for dinner" Seeley went upstairs and his phone chirped. Checking the message it said, "Radio BMOC?" smiling slightly, he hung up his jacket and took off his boots. Turning on the radio, he heard the tail end of a Fray song and then the DJ spoke, "GORDON GORDON IS UP ALL NIGHT, SO ALL YOU LADIES AND GENTS WANTING TO SHARE THE AIRWAVES, START DIALING…" There was a commercial and as he took off the flannel and put on his Flyers hockey sweats he heard, "GOING OUT ON A LIMB TONIGHT IS THE BONE LADY…BMOC I HOPE YOUR LISTENING!"
The familiar guitar riff of Foreigners Hot Blooded began pounding out of the speakers and he grinned, she was really in a mood tonight. Deciding he'd let like to add to the tension of their afternoon tryst in the truck he called the radio station and requested a complimentary song of his own. He loved that they were able to talk without talking at all he told Gordon Gordon to play a song by John Mayer.
"We got the afternoon you got this room for two one thing I've left to do discover me discovering you one mile to every inch of your skin like porcelain one pair of candy lips and your bubblegum tongue 'cause if you want love we'll make it swimming a deep sea of blankets take all your big plans and break 'em this is bound to be a while your body Is a wonderland your body is a wonder (I'll use my hands) your body Is a wonderland "
While the song started to play a slow smile played at his lips as he imagined how she would interpret the lyrics, he took out the one picture he had of her and looked at it. Thinking that he was an idiot for not getting a picture of her on his phone, he decided to take care of that tomorrow first thing. He headed downstairs for dinner and as he got to the bottom of the stairs his phone chirped again.
"Ugh..please save me from this teenage romance~Angel~"
Laughing out loud he put his phone back into his pocket and started setting the table and helping Pops get the rest of dinner ready, "Hey Jarhead" he yelled, "pause your game and come in here, dinners done"
Jared and Howard came in and began to fix their plates. Although Jared and Howard had been friends for years, Booth never really liked the kid. A slightly mousy kid he was creepy and always seemed like he was planning something. He lived alone with his mom and Booth figured he was going to be the kid that everyone said was just a quiet kid and never got in trouble, right before he did. "Howard" he said, nodding to him, "you here for the night?"
Howard knew Seeley didn't like him and so tried to avoid Jared's brother as often as he could, "yeah Booth-me and Jared are going to Zam's after dinner to play some, wanna come?" he was always trying to get Booth onto the ice, believing himself a better hockey player, but so far he'd never agreed.
"Nah, not tonight, think tonight I'll just watch some TV, you two go and have fun though, I checked the schedule and there is figure skating at the rink, you might get lucky" he winked at Pops and smiled around a big bite of sandwich. Jared blushed as usual, he was only in eighth grade and although his brother was a legendary ladies magnet, he was still trying to find his way in those waters.
"Michele Saroyan is going to be there tonight, so maybe Jared will actually get the chance to talk to her" Howard said making his friend choke on his drink. "Shut up man, I don't like Michelle" Jared said when he was able to stop coughing.
Pops said, "Seeley, leave the boys alone, it wasn't that long ago that you were begging to hang out at Zam's to meet girls yourself" he smiled indulgently at the boys. "Shrimp, can you pick them up if I give them a ride there, around 9 or so?"
"Sure Pops, no problem I can take them too if you need me too?" he said, reaching for his third sandwich. "That's okay, I told them I'd take them, it'll just be late when they come home and I'd prefer that you get them, it's a little too cold out there for an old man like me"
"Pops, you're not old, you're mature" Booth told his grandfather with affection…
Temperance was listening to the song that Booth chose to rise to her challenge and she was enjoying it the double meaning very much. Wishing that he was there with her she sighed and began to work on her homework again. The Sweets had come home shortly after 7:30 and after the ritualistic interrogation of her day she was able to escape upstairs. Rebecca had grumbled at the shifts that Brennan was scheduled for this week, but wasn't able to dampen her spirits any. Especially since her Wednesday 'shift' was going to be a shopping excursion with Angela. Temperance wasn't really sure what kind of dress to get, but she knew that Angela wouldn't steer her wrong. While she was working on deciphering her French worksheet her phone vibrated in her pocket.
"Please stop w/the lovey dovey songs…some of us are gagging here-love you ~ANGEL~"
Giggling at her friend, Tempe was once again diving into the worksheet when her phone vibrated again,
"It really is wonderful…too bad I'm not there now…would be 'tempting' to see how long you could hold out…I'm really quite persuasive-BMOC"
Tempe could feel the blush creeping up her cheeks. Geez she thought, I really need to grow up a little, he sends me a text that is perfectly innocent and I've got him in handcuffs and boxer shorts. Shaking her head at herself, she thought of earlier and what she had actually done. I wouldn't know what to do next anyway she chided herself, maybe I could ask Angela? Deciding that she would never be that desperate, she texted back, "I'm pretty stubborn, bet you would be the one that loses focus first-BL" she thought that it was an appropriately aggressive suggestion and hopefully he would see the humor in it.
She waited to get a return text and wasn't dissatisfied when he came back with, "is that a legit challenge little one?"
"Maybe-let's see what you can do" she texted back as soon as she read through what he sent.
"Baby-you better be ready, there's a whole lot that I can do, today was nothing compared to when I really get going-you'd better pack a lunch, you'll be busy all day long"
Temperance wasn't sure how far she was willing to go with this, it seemed as if she was walking a thin line, she wasn't a very good flirt to begin with, and she definitely didn't know how to do this very well, it seemed like innocent fun but the feelings she was getting from just the little texting they'd done already was enough to make her ache with an unfulfilled need. She knew in her heart of hearts that she was too young to take that last step, but she was sure willing to chance it. Trying to reduce the flaming in her cheeks by thinking of the periodic table of elements, she texted back, "lucky for you I'm not hungry!"
She went to her bathroom to change into her pajamas and brush her teeth, now that her homework was done, the Sweets had gone to their room a little while ago, but the light was still on under their bedroom door so she knew they were still awake. "I am pretty lucky I guess…gtg babe, have to get Jared from Zam's sleep well and we'll see you in the AM. Oh-that little hollow at the base of your neck is the sweetest spot I've ever tasted…can't wait to taste again-BMOC"
The zing of electricity that shot through her body threatened to take her breath away. He was way better at this than she was. Not knowing how to respond without sounding like a complete idiot, she replied, "Sleep well yourself, nice boxers btw~BL"
"LOL-Love You!" was his reply and she told him "ditto" before plugging the phone into the charger that she'd hidden under her bed. Turning off the light she laid down and turned to her side. Thinking of him she fell asleep, a slight smile on her face as she dreamed of what might be.
Booth got his jacket on when the "ditto" came across and laughed, he headed out to the truck and there was an envelope stuck to the windshield. He ripped it open and his breath caught in his throat when he saw the picture of the two of them in the parking lot this afternoon. Looking around he didn't see any cars that he didn't recognize and there were no people walking around. Crumpling up the picture he saw that there was writing on the back, "are you wondering how many copies of this were made?"
Booth woke up early and got ready for school; he woke the younger boys up and made sure they were lined out before he left. All night long he'd been tossing and turning, barely sleeping at all. When the time was close enough he went to go get Temperance.
She was waiting at the bus stop, standing slightly away from the other kids that had gathered. Mostly underclassmen, but one or two juniors were all waiting for the yellow bus. Seeing the Explorer, she moved further away and waited for him to pull in. She heard the whispers; she knew that they all talked behind her back. It hurt, but she was working to get past that. Today was a new day; she wasn't going to let things affect her so much. Ever since her parents and brother had disappeared, she'd been withdrawing back into herself a little more each day. Meeting Angela, Max and Seeley she'd been forced to come back out and face things as head on as she could. She got into the truck when he stopped and smiled brightly at him.
"Good morning! How'd you sleep?" she asked happily.
"Not good to be honest" he replied with a yawn, thinking she had something to do with that she got a little rush of pride until he said, "Someone, Payton or one of her little friends is out to get us-I found a picture on my car last night when I went to get the boys from Zams-I'm not sure who took it, or who put it on my truck but whoever it is, they were following one of us yesterday-maybe both." He took the crumpled picture out of his pocket and handed it to her. Seeing it her hands began to shake and she looked at him with wide eyes. "What is going on Seeley? Why us?"
"I don't know Bone Lady, but I'll get to the bottom of it, my gut tells me it's Payton. I knew she was mad, I didn't know she was crazy."
Temperance wondered if his gut was going to be the only thing getting them through this when she decided she would just do a little interrogating on her own. She had separate classes with each one of Payton's' tightest group, including Biology with all three of them. She'd had enough. Tearing the picture up, she tucked it into her jacket pocket to throw away when she got to the school. When they arrived, he walked her to her locker and stood there while she got her things ready for her first two classes. She gave Booth a hug and wished that she could take the little bulldog home, but no doubt he'd end up in a goodwill bag too. She hung her bag on the hook in her locker when a picture floated down to the ground, they both reached to grab it, but she was a little closer. It was a picture of her and Zack and Max standing by the entrance to the museum, she was on her tip toes, hugging him; his hands were lower on her back than she remembered. It looked like he was grabbing her butt as she hugged him. Funny that she didn't even notice that when she did hug him.
Seeley took the picture from her and looked at it then back at her. He could see from the time date stamp that it was taken yesterday. She saw the slightly jealous look in his eye and then he hid his expression, "it was an innocent hug Seeley-I was excited to see someone else I know working there, I didn't know he grabbed my butt, this jacket isn't exactly form fitting-I'm sorry"
"Don't be sorry Tempe, you didn't do anything, and I'm glad you have a friend there, remember? I just want to break his hands, well anyone's hands that are that close to your butt! I'll just remind him next time I see him to keep his hands to himself, or he'll be filling beakers w/his lips." He growled out the last bit and Tempe laughed. "We're not going to let these pictures get to us right?"
"That's right little one, they're just random shots and since they're all innocent anyway, there is nothing to get upset about" He took her hand and they walked to their respective classes, he had a meeting with Dr. Saroyan after first block so he could get some college information. He'd been putting it off and coach Hodgins had emailed Pops, deciding that he had to talk to her at some point; he'd made the appointment via the virtual calendar last night. Booth pecked Tempe on the cheek as they headed off to class. He was thinking of the pictures, school and when it would all end. She was thinking of how she was going to confront Caroline in her second block, Advanced Physics.
The AP Physics class was filling up slowly when Temperance got in there, going to her seat, she sat and then turned to watch Caroline's seat. When the girl came in and saw Temperance staring at her, she sneered and flipped her off. Turning slowly, Tempe faced the front of the class. Her hands shaking, and her chest tight with the thought of conflict, she tried to focus on the teacher and ignore the hatred being burned into the back of her head the whole class. Taking comfort in the fact that she most likely wouldn't get physical in front of the rest of the students and teacher, Temperance was going to confront Caroline after class. Hoping she was doing the right thing, she began to watch the clock and count down the minutes.
When class was over, Temperance left her things on her desk and marched right back to where Caroline was packing up her own things. "Leave us alone" she said quietly, trying to look her in the face, but feeling the flush on her cheeks, she was looking more at her collar.
"What Princess? I didn't hear you?" Caroline said loudly and sarcastically.
Feeling a surge of power, Temperance looked her straight in the eye and stepped up to her a little closer, balling her fists she said louder, "I said, leave us alone-we're tired of you guys trying to get between us, tell Payton and Daisy to leave us alone too" she finished strongly, suddenly aware that the entire class had stopped to watch. Caroline also could feel the eyes of the other kids on her, and she dearly loved an audience. Putting down her things she stepped in closer to the shorter girl and looking down said with deadly calm, "you messed with the wrong girl, Payton isn't going to stop until she gets what is hers-and none of us are afraid of you, you little mouse. I'd stop thinking you're all that if I were you and do what is best for your pretty little face and let Booth go." By the time she was done talking, they were face to face and the people closest to them were getting worried that blows were next.
"I'm not afraid of you or your friends Caroline either and neither is Booth-just leave us alone-I'm not going to tell you again" and she stepped even closer to her. At that moment Wendell walked by and saw the crowd gathered in the class, he stepped to the back to see what was going on and realized his girlfriend and Booth's were about to start throwing punches. He scooted through the crowd and stepped up right behind Caroline as she reared back to start the action. Grabbing her hand he said, "Okay everyone, shows over, go to class"
Caroline turned to him, her eyes full of hate and anger. "Let me go, she threatened me!"
"I did not!" Temperance yelled, "I told you I wasn't afraid of you and to leave us alone-and I'm not and you better!" With the crowd dispersing and the teacher coming over, she was reluctant to stay there herself, but didn't want Wendell or Booth to hear a skewed version of what happened.
"Temperance, go to class, I'll deal with Caroline" Wendell told her as he grabbed Caroline's bag and pulled her out of the classroom.
"Is everything okay here Temperance?" the teacher asked.
"Yes Ma'am, everything is fine, just a misunderstanding" she told her and went to get her things.
Wendell and Caroline went out into the hall, pulling her into an empty classroom, he turned on her eyes blazing, "What are you doing Caroline, this isn't your fight, it has nothing to do with you! Why are you and Payton and Daisy so bent on messing with them?"
"It's not right what she did, Seeley and Payton have been together for 4 years and then she comes along and it's all over? She's messing with all of our plans, yours and mine and Fischer and Caroline, all of us. It's not supposed to be like this, we always hung out as a group, we're friends and now, Payton is with Mack and he's an idiot and Booth is off with little miss sophomore of the month, it's crap!"
"First off, nobody promised anyone forever, Payton has been cheating on him since 9th grade, what do you expect? He's a good guy; he's not going to hang around someone that does that on purpose. Secondly, it's not your fight, this has nothing at all to do with you or me or Fischer or Daisy, and this is all Payton and her crap. You think because you guys have been friends since kindergarten that you have to do this and you don't, you can walk away; it's not your fight. People change and she doesn't need any help being a b!tch. I don't like you like this Caroline, I really don't. If you don't watch it, you're going to be looking for someone else yourself. Think about it. Booth is my friend, and I'll do whatever I can to make sure that Payton doesn't hurt him or Temperance, she's a nice girl. She's done nothing wrong. Booth picked her, she didn't pick him. She didn't even want to talk to him at first, and she's right, leave them alone, or you may find yourself in a situation you can't get out of, and as much as I love you I won't be there to help you. You're doing all of this on your own"
When he was done speaking to her Caroline looked up and he saw the cold fury in her eyes, "Well, aren't you all high and mighty now, it's interesting how when all of this first started going down you both said you would help us 'play a prank' on Booth. Now, all of a sudden you're backing down and so is Fischer. Payton is my best friend and I'll help her get her man back at any cost, since he's your best friend, you should do the same. Oh, and don't think for an instant that I couldn't find someone else-you weren't anything until you and I got together Wendell Bray, remember that!" she spat the last bit at him and stalked out of the classroom.
Standing there Wendell thought to himself there were going to be a whole lot of shake ups here pretty soon. He loved Caroline, she used to be sweet, thoughtful and was very willing to experiment, but lately she'd turned into a vicious shrew and he didn't know how much more he was willing to take. He decided to try to talk to Booth today about what he and Fischer already knew regarding Paytons plan. It was time to go on the defensive concerning this little 'prank'.
Finding Booth was next to impossible, he went to the senior hallway and he wasn't at this locker, Caroline was, she and Payton were talking, heads bent close together. As he passed them, he wasn't sure what he expected, but going towards the end of the hallway, he didn't expect to hear, "BRAY!"
Turning at her yell, he was shocked when his old hockey jersey hit him in the chest and she had removed the bracelet he gave her last Christmas and threw it at him too. "Guess you have your answer huh Wendell?" was all she said as she and Payton walked away. Her eyes were red rimmed and bright with tears, but Payton's expression was smug. "Ta Ta Wendell" she trilled waving her fingers at him as they left. Picking up the broken bracelet and jersey, he continued on to his locker.
"Man! What is going on?" Fischer came up to him outside his locker and said, "I heard that Caroline and Temperance got into it, Hester just told me that you and Caroline broke up, or at least that's what it looked like, she and Payton just left, what the hell?"
Wendell looked at Fischer and said, "Sometimes you have to do what's right, and what Payton is doing isn't right. Caroline thinks she's helping to defend her honor and I think she's being ridiculous. Guess the trip to McCandless is going to be a lot less fun now, huh?" he tried to sound like he didn't care, but he did. He already missed that feeling of being part of something, even though she wasn't the same girl he had fallen for, he never expected this to happen.
"I'm sorry Bray, hey Roxie's free?" Wendell punched Fischer on the arm and walked away, "What? Too soon?" shaking his head, he stowed his books and went to find Daisy, she would be out of class in about 15 minutes. Juniors were on altogether different schedule than the rest of the school. Heading to Home Ec, he was wondering what was going on when he saw Temperance walking in the opposite direction. He moved over to the side of the hall just to watch her and wonder what Booth saw in her. She was cute, nice body, obviously smart but other than that he just didn't get it. She seemed so timid and Payton, wow, Payton was a firecracker with a short fuse. Mack had told him some things and he thought that Booth was really trading down.
"That's her, right there w/the green bag, that's the girl that got into with Caroline. She's also dating Seeley Booth!" he heard a girl say to her friend.
"Well, she must be really good for him to ditch Payton-I bet she's a lot less timid in the backseat of cars! All this time we thought she was a dork, bet he wasn't the first one, if you know what I mean!"
The two of them burst out laughing and walked away. Fischer felt awful. He knew for a fact that she wasn't like that at all, and yet that's the rep that she had. Hurrying to catch up to her, he said, "Hey Temperance, Tempe! Wait!" she turned at the unfamiliar voice. Seeing that it was Colin Fischer, she stopped, "Yes?"
"Where you going? Want me to walk with you?" he asked, momentarily forgetting about Daisy.
"Did Booth put you up to this?" She asked warily. "I'm just going to meet him now, he didn't say anything to me about getting an escort"
"No, just thought I'd ask, I was heading the same way and I heard that Caroline and you almost got into it today and I thought you might need a friend or something" he smiled at her and continued, "I mean, I'm Booth's friend and you're his girlfriend, so doesn't that make us like friends-in-law or something?"
"Okay-I guess so" she said, turning to continue back down the hall. She was confused, both Wendell and Colin had approached her today and that had certainly never happened before. She was a little apprehensive walking down the hall with him, but like with Seeley, the hallways mysteriously cleared when he walked down them. The small spiteful part of her decided that it could get used to this kind of treatment, shaking her head to stop those kinds of thoughts, they walked to the guidance center to wait for Seeley. He didn't disappoint, he came out about 10 minutes later holding brochures and pamphlets and text books. "Man, I didn't know how much crap there was to deal with in choosing your major!" He smiled at them both standing there. Wondering what he was talking about considering as far as she knew he was going into the Army after graduation, she just smiled back.
"Well, Sir Seeley, I've delivered the fair maiden, and now I'm off to secure my own wench, I bid thee farewell" Fischer said, bowing low and winking at Tempe. He turned to go singing the Oscar Mayer weiner song as he ambled down the hallway back towards Daisy's class.
Opening her eyes wide Temperance turned to Booth and said, "did you ask him to escort me?"
"Nope-but it was nice of him to do so, don'tcha think?" he said, offering her his arm as they left.
"You hungry? We could go to the diner?"
"Yeah-that sounds good, let me carry some of those would you?" She reached over to grab some brochures from him. "It looks like you have something from every possible major available here" she said flipping through them, "I thought you were going into the Army?"
"I am, but I have to have something to fall back on when I get out, I thought maybe a pastry chef?" she looked up in surprise just to see he had a grin on his face.
Shaking her head at him the two of them headed out to his truck. Stowing their things in the back seat Temperance said, "Can we come back a little bit before lunch is over, I need to go to the student store"
"Whatcha need kid?" He asked her.
"I'm going to buy myself some slacks, it's freezing and these skirts are too short. I don't care what Rebecca says, I can't have blue legs and if I get any taller I think these skirts will be illegal. Turning to look at her rear end, he said, "I don't mind, in fact if you get them a little shorter that would be great for me!" he grabbed her around her waist and hugged her close to his front. "Pervert" she giggled.
"Pervert?!" he said, "I'll show you pervert" and he picked her up and put her in the passenger side of his truck, his mouth crushing hers, one hand buried in her hair, the other one under her butt.
She was laughing and kissing him back and trying to talk, "Seeley stop it! Stop! Not so hard!" he finally stopped and she tried to catch her breath and rearrange her skirt. "Remember what happened the last time you tried that?" she asked him all breathless and innocent.
"Girlie, you are too much" he muttered as he came around to get in to the truck. He drove them to the diner.
This time, the pictures came with audio, and he knew exactly how he was going to arrange that sound bite. He knew that Payton was going to pay for it, so wasn't worried about the time it would take, so far this was the best project he'd worked on in months.
Tempe told Booth that she would see him at practice after school, Angela was bringing her the bag of things she'd rescued from the garage on her way to work and she was going to stow them in her locker. She didn't have to work tonight so she was going to stay at school until the late bus went home. Her plan was to work on her homework in the bleachers while he practiced. She just wanted to spend whatever amount of time that she could with him. When they got back from the diner she went straight to biology and got her book out while she waited for the rest of the classroom to fill.
Payton & the rest of her crew came in and sat in their usual spots at the front of the room, and turned to face Tempe. She could feel someone looking at her, so she turned to the front of the room. Meeting their gaze head on, Tempe didn't even flinch when they kept staring at her. She was gripping her book tightly but refused to look away, even after the teacher asked everyone to settle down; she still refused to tear her eyes from Paytons. The teacher asked Payton to turn around and she did so reluctantly. The rest of the class was also watching the silent exchange, most of them had already heard about her and Caroline this morning, and were wondering if they were going to get a repeat performance.
Glad that there was no confrontation forthcoming, Temperance settled into listen to the teacher drone on and on about the life cycle of plants. Most of which she already knew from 7th grade biology, it amused her that they felt it necessary to repeat that information in an AP Biology class. Wishing she was able to go to a more progressive school, she zoned in and out for the rest of the lecture. When the inevitable rustling of books and bags and papers began Tempe mentally came back to the class and began to gather her things as well. The bell rang and she stood and began to leave. However, the bottleneck at the door stopped her and gave Payton the perfect opportunity to ambush her. "Hi Tempe-did you enjoy screwing my boyfriend at lunch?"
Tempe's face instantly flared red but she stood her ground, "What?" she asked, her voice barely trembling.
Payton pushed the play button on a handheld recorder and the entire class heard the opening to their conversation as they got into the truck at lunch. Except, this time it wasn't as innocent sounding as it was in the truck, it sounded as if she was fighting him off…that way. The room gasped collectively, not only did it sound like they were in fact engaging in some rough stuff, it also implied that Booth wasn't the gentleman that he had always seemed. "You know that's not true Payton, so just stop it, and you know what" she suddenly got a huge burst of courage, "even if it was, he's my boyfriend and not yours, so I really don't see how it is any of your business!"
Moving as one entity the crowd had maneuvered them into the hallway. One of the underclassmen from the same biology class had run off to find someone, anyone that could stop the worst from happening. Temperance had always been nice to her and she felt like someone needed to come to her aid. Running into the senior hallway, she saw Fischer and Wendell standing by the vending machine.
Breathless she skidded to a stop in front of them, "Payton and Temperance are going at it in biology" without a word Wendell and Fischer used their 10 years of football blocking experience to move towards that hallway, Wendell frantically dialing Booth as they ran, he finally answered the phone, "What's up Bray?"
"Get your $$ to Biology now, Payton's called her out" he slammed the phone shut as he and Fischer barreled down the stairs scattering students and faculty alike. The teachers turned and started chasing them, calling for security as they ran. It wasn't often 2 defensive linemen busted through students like that and they knew something was happening.
Meanwhile, in the hallway outside of the Biology classroom, their teacher was trying hard to break through the solid wall of students surrounding the two girls. "It's my business tramp because you stole him from me! You couldn't find a guy of your own so you had to go after mine!" she was as close as she could get without actually touching her and yelling into her face.
"Maybe he was looking for someone else; did you ever think of that? Maybe you cheating on him all the time got to be too much for him! I didn't go looking for your boyfriend Payton; he wasn't even your boyfriend when he went looking for me! I haven't done anything to you and you and your friends better leave me and my friends alone! I'm not afraid of you-and no matter what you think, Booth is my boyfriend now!" She was yelling just as loud right back at her. The adrenaline coursing through her veins temporarily made it difficult to hear as Fischer, Wendell and the AD Hacker all came crashing through the crowd.
"EVERYONE STOP NOW!" AD Hacker's voice was loud and very demanding. Wendell grabbed Tempe and Fischer grabbed Payton as they had both started to step out of the middle of the circle, everyone else scattered including Caroline and Daisy. Booth came around the corner running full out just in time to see Hacker and the girls going into an empty classroom.
"Now, I'm going to ask you both what is going on and you are going to answer one at a time, understood?" He was an imposing man, usually quite jovial and had a ready smile, but after this little episode, he was not in a good mood.
"She has a recording of me and Seeley Booth from lunch today and she played in front of the crowd, and she made it sound dirty and it wasn't, it was totally innocent!" Temperance started, suddenly deathly afraid that the Sweets were going to be called and everything was going to come crashing down. Determined not to lose anymore to Payton she kept going, "She's been spying on us, calling me names, threatening me behind the gym, all because she says I stole her boyfriend!"
"Payton, do you have a recording like that?"
"No sir, I don't know what she is talking about, I was leaving class and all I said was that I hoped she was happy with Seeley, nothing else." Payton had handed the recorder off to Daisy as soon as she had released the play button."
"Did you threaten her?" he asked.
"All I did behind the gym was tell her that I needed his jersey back before the game, he's a senior and a co-captain, it didn't make sense for her to be wearing the jersey when he would need it. I haven't been spying on them, I can't help it if I'm on the cheerleading squad, so I am in the vicinity of the football team and I just happen to be at the same places they are. That's just random. I was mad because Seeley starting going out with her so soon after he dumped me, so I may have thought that she stole him, but I never threatened her"
AD Hacker said "Payton, if there is a recording like that and it is found, you will be in a lot of trouble, you realize that?"
"Yes Sir" she responded primly.
"In that case, please remember that these are hallways of a learning institution as well as a Catholic institution; try to remember some of the things you are taught in class and in service. One full day of detention to be served after this weekend's game and I would encourage you to leave well enough alone, okay?"
She wasn't happy about the detention, but decided she was getting out of there very easily; she agreed and left the room.
Temperance on the other hand was floored at what had just happened. She couldn't believe that he had bought that whole fake lie of hers. AD Hacker could see the emotions crossing her face and he knew that she was wondering what was going on. "Temperance, I'm sure you can see that this is a very serious accusation you've made"
"Ask anyone that was out there, they will have heard it too, I didn't make it up" tears that had only been threatening were now free falling down her cheeks.
"This is a delicate situation that you are in, those two have been together since before I started working here, this is their senior year and they are under pressure to choose a college, etc, so it's understandable that Payton would get upset over this. I'm sure that she did something to provoke you, you seem like a very level headed girl, I'm not unfamiliar with your situation and I know this is very difficult for you too"
She couldn't believe how he was sugar coating everything. She wanted so badly to show him the photo, but it had been ripped in pieces and was in the trash, she couldn't show him the text because it wasn't sent to her. The voice recording was probably long gone now so unless someone who heard it stepped up to provide him proof, that too wasn't admissible. In such unfamiliar waters as she had never been in trouble for anything before, Tempe was lost.
"I'm not going to give you detention, you're only a sophomore and young love is just that, young. Payton knows better, she's almost 18. Temperance I'm also not going to put this in your file, I know that things at home can be difficult in the foster system, and I would not want to cause you any undue stress. However, I will caution you to not be so serious, you're what 16? Stay 16 for a while, you and Mr. Booth may want to slow down a little. I'm not trying to be your counselor or tell you what to do with your life, just encourage you to be a teenager for a little longer. Now, I believe sophomore lunch is almost over, so I will let you go. Remember me though; this is your one get out of jail free card Ms. Brennan, no more, okay?" He finished and patted her on the shoulder as he turned to leave. Wiping her face of the tears, she still could not believe what had just happened. She felt like she was the one being punished, like she was in the wrong, and she hadn't done anything.
Walking out of the classroom she barely recognized the three boys being talked to be AD Hacker. Even when she heard him call her name as she walked away, she still didn't turn. She called Angela and asked her to come get her; she'd be waiting out front.
Booth was stunned. He couldn't believe what had just happened. While he watched the two girls and athletic director go into the classroom, he turned on Wendell and Fischer for an explanation.
"What the hell happened?" he demanded, looking at one than the other.
"Don't ask me man! All I know is I was trying to decide between Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper and this little chick came skidding up and said that there was a beat down about to happen-and then we took off. Although, Bray, did you see that girl, she was kinda cute"
Wendell shook his head at Fischer, always the hound. "Did you hear about this morning?" he asked Booth.
"I don't know anything! What is going on?" Seeley wasn't really interested in being nice anymore, he wanted answers and he wanted them now.
Wendell took the opportunity to fill him in on the conversation that Tempe had that morning with Caroline and how he had stopped her from slapping his girl, and then he told them what they knew about this latest incident, just that they had come up and the two were yelling at each other. There was some general murmuring about a recording and how Booth was a $$hole if that was how he treated women. But all of that had come while the crowd was dispersing as Booth came running up.
"This is nuts, what is Payton trying to do?" he put his hand through his hair and leaned up against the nearest locker, "Wait, did you say you and Caroline broke up too?" he turned to Wendell.
"Yes, this morning in fact, apparently I'm either on your side or Payton's side, and since I think what she's doing sucks, that makes me no longer worthy of dating." He was bitter and really didn't want to re-hash it in front of his two best friends in the middle of school.
Fischer piped up, "I'm still totally in with Daisy, she's not the brightest tool in the shed, but she's a good kid. I keep telling her to let Payton do her own thing, and she's assured me she's out of it, I don't think we need to worry about her doing anything really bad, she's just a little naïve, but don't worry, Papa Colin will give her a good tongue lashing and she'll settle right down" he waggled his eyebrows and tried to make light of the situation.
Booth reached over and smacked him on the head and said, "Dude, that's not cool, okay? Wendell's girl broke up with him because of this crap, my girl is getting into shouting matches and Payton is going to come out smelling like a rose" he stopped just as she came out of the classroom.
Caroline and Daisy had been waiting around the corner and saw her come out of the room in a window reflection; they hurried around to gather her up before she could say anything to the three guys standing in the now mostly deserted hallway. Payton turned to Booth and waved her fingers at him and winked. She mouthed, "Gotcha" as she was forcefully escorted down the hall. Booth lunged for her and Wendell and Fischer both grabbed an arm to keep him from going after her.
"Simmer down man, I'll get the Payton version from Daisy, you get the Tempe version from, well, Tempe and then we'll compare notes, okay?" Although a total hound with the girls and jokester most of the time, Fischer sometimes came through in a clutch situation. This was one of the reasons he and Booth had stayed friends for as long as they had.
They stood around for a few more minutes waiting for Temperance to leave the classroom. Booth wanted nothing more than to take her and leave the school altogether, but he had football practice and there was no way Coach Hodgins was going to let him skip the before the SC game. Finally AD Hacker came out of the classroom and approached the boys.
"Gentleman, I think we can all agree that emotions have all run high today and it would be in our best interests to just let things calm down, there is no need for any kind of retribution, we need to focus on getting through the week, there's a big game on Friday and we need to stay on track. Mr. Booth, your young lady friend is walking a tight line, please don't make her have to cross it, you of all people know that she is at a critical juncture right now." He continued to drone on asking that the next time the other two felt the need to break up a girl fight, they maybe do so without taking out half the student and teacher population, Booth was no longer listening. He was watching her come out of the classroom with a vague and blank expression on her face.
"Temperance! Tempe" he yelled and she didn't turn around, in fact she just pulled out her phone and dialed a number. She hung up and put the phone away and continued on. AD Hacker had stopped talking and patting Booth on the shoulder he walked back to his office. Wendell and Fischer both looked at her retreating figure and the look of anguish on Booth's face.
He started to go after her, and Wendell said, "Let her go man-she needs a little time, let her go" he didn't know who she called, probably that wicked hot chick she hung out with, but even he knew when a girl needed to be left alone and this was clearly one of those times.
Booth had no way of knowing who she called, he knew she only had 4 numbers in that phone, and he couldn't see her calling Max and his phone hadn't rung. That only left two, and he was praying it was Angela she had called.
Temperance saw the black four runner pull up to the curb and she hopped inside. Without saying a word, he pulled away and began to merge into traffic. "I'm sorry, I didn't know who else to call, I can't talk to Booth about it and Angela would want to take care of things, I don't know what to do!" She broke down into sobs and he looked for a parking lot to pull into.
Pulling her over the console he gave her a hug when they came to a stop. "It's okay…shhh…it's alright, tell me what happened, Tempe, shhhh…"he said softly as he stroked her back.
She pulled away slowly and explained everything that had gone on until that point, including what had happened today and what the AD had done about it. Listening to her without interruption, he waited until she came to a hiccupping stop and then said, "Why didn't you tell Booth what was going on when you left the classroom? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm flattered that you called me and skipping class for this isn't a big deal to me, but why not talk to him?"
"I can't talk to him about this, it concerns him, we've already hashed it out time and time again, and she's been bothering us for weeks, and it's just ridiculous, I can't stand it, why is this happening? WHY?" she teared up again and looked out across the parking lot.
"Aside from you and the girls getting into it, what has Booth said to her do you know?"
"I don't know exactly what he's said, but I know he's told her to back off a few times, he even went to church with her on Sunday & told her to leave us alone then. I'm afraid she's going to do something really bad and then what? I can't keep doing this, I'm going to get in trouble at home, I'm lying about work, and I'm getting my friends involved, you and Max and Angela. Angela has done a ton of things for me and I can't keep asking her to help, I feel like this is all snowballing so fast, I don't know where to turn or what to do."
He thought about it for a few minutes and turning in his seat and reaching for her hand, he said, "I think you need to tell him exactly what you told me, it's important that you and he are able to talk about this. I don't know Angela aside from meeting her at the museum, but as your best friend it's okay to ask her for help. I'm sure she doesn't mind. I'm here for you to cry on my shoulder, vent on, whatever, I just want to be your friend, but I don't want to get in the middle of anything between you and Booth. I hope you understand that." He told her quietly.
"I do, I understand it, I'm just afraid that this is all we have…you know, I mean, what if this all that's holding us together is this constant bickering with his ex girlfriend? How much of this can I take? My parents left me, my brother left me. I've been passed from one house to another like luggage no one wants, this is the longest place I've gone to school since my parents left and as much as I dislike the Sweets I don't want to have to go to another home. I just want to go to school, graduate and go to college. I used to want to be a normal teenager, and now that I'm getting a taste of it, I don't think I want that anymore. Maybe I don't know what I want."
He looked at her, and his heart twisted. He could feel himself wanting to hold her, soothe away her fears and make it all go away, but he knew that he wasn't the one for her. If the closest thing he could ever be would be her friend than he would take that. He would be the brother that stayed if that is what she needed. "Temperance, I can't tell you what you want, anymore than Angela or even Booth can. All I can tell you is put your brain in neutral and your heart in drive and see what happens. If you care for him like you say you do, than you need to be honest with him and tell him that all of this craziness is just not what you had in mind. At the very least, you will be able to say you tried, right?"
"I guess so. This is all so new and so hard." She looked at the dashboard and saw that they had been sitting there for over an hour. "I need to get back; I need to get my things and then head on home. Thank you so much for listening to me, I know we just met, I just feel…like I can talk to you."
"You can kid, always" he smiled and let go of her hand, starting the car back up he drove her back to the school. When they got there, he took her around to the back parking lot to drop her off, and came around to open the door. When she got out, she turned into him and gave him a hug, he put his head on hers and hugged her back, leaning back, he tipped her chin up and said, "Anytime Tempe-you just call me anytime, okay?"
She said she would and turned to walk up to the school. He got back in the car and sat there for a minute and watched her walk through the main doors before pulling away from the curb to head to the museum. That kid is really having a hard time; he thought to himself, I hope it all works out. His truck turned out of the parking lot and he merged into traffic and was lost among the other vehicles heading to the city center.
Booth, Wendell and Fischer headed down to the gym to get in a little free weights before practice started; they walked to the front of the school to avoid the group of cheerleaders that were sitting out there listening to the head harpy. Pushing open the front door he saw her get into the four runners and started to call her name. Wendell also saw her and was about to ask who's car that was when he saw the look on Booth's face. Extremely pale except for two spots of red on his cheeks, his eyes were burning with fury, his hands clenched and his jaw tight he turned on his heel and marched back inside. Fischer and Wendell both looked at each other and turned to follow him.
They ended up in the gym and he was totally silent. They'd tried to talk to him and were met with total silence. He kept pounding out the weights, getting progressively heavier and heavier as he went. Eventually Fischer told him that he wasn't going to spot him anymore with that heavy of a bar and he walked away. Booth sat up, drenched in sweat and looked over at the clock on the wall. He said, "We've got to get to practice, let's go" and he headed off to the locker rooms to change his clothes.
"What do we do?" Wendell asked Fischer, "Dunno man, I don't know" they turned to follow him and once changed, the three of them jogged out to meet the rest of the team milling around the field. As they were lining up to run drills, Fischer nudged Wendell and pointed to the parking lot, unfortunately at that exact moment, Booth looked up from the run route he was studying and his eye was caught by a wink of sunshine of f of a side mirror, belonging to a black four runner. He dropped the card and walked over to where he could see a little better. He watched him go around to her side of the truck and saw her initiate the hug, and then when he tipped her chin he threw his helmet down and kicked it. Wendell and Fischer hurried over to intercept him as it looked as though he was going to head off the field. They each grabbed an arm and were both telling him to cool it, she would explain everything, she was upset too and anything they could to make him calm down. They watched her walk up to the school and not once did she turn to look at the team on the field. Wendell let go and said, "Maybe you should go talk to her now man? Tell Hodgins you don't feel well?"
Booth turned to him, tears in his eyes, "She has my number" was all he said as he picked up his helmet and headed back to the huddle…
When practice was over, Coach Hodgins and AD Hacker pulled Booth, Wendell and Fischer aside to discuss the day's events. Unless he was asked a direct question Booth remained silent. The coaches just wanted to know that there would be no repeat issues involving their various girlfriends and cheerleaders, and also wanted to make sure the boys were focused on the game. The three of them assured the coaches that they would be dialed in on game day and that their girl issues would be handled off of the field and school grounds. When they were done talking Booth turned to go to the locker room and without saying a word to anyone he took off his shoulder pads and grabbed his things to leave.
"Booth-hey man, you okay?" Wendell asked as he left the gym, "Booth-hey she stop—"
He turned and looked at Wendell and said, "I'm fine Wendell, see you tomorrow"
Walking to the parking lot Booth's mind was swirling like a tornado. He so badly wanted to go to her house and find out what was going on, he wanted to shake Payton until her teeth rattled, and he wanted to cry on his grandfather's shoulder like he did when he was young, but most of all he just wanted his heart to stop hurting. It was humiliating enough that his girlfriend got into the truck of another guy and shared an intimate hug with him, in front of his friends, but then to tear up in front of his friends too. He might as well turn over his man card. Putting his bag into the truck, he sat down and the hip pads from his football pants made it incredibly difficult to sit in the seat, so he jumped out of the truck with a muffled curse and took them out of the hip pocket. While he was leaning in the back seat putting them in his bag, he heard a familiar voice say, "She loves you, you know"
Turning around, he saw Zack's four runner was parked in the row behind the Explorer and he was leaning up against the hood.
"Really? I'm a little surprised to hear that from you, since she got into your truck and took off with you and hugged you and never even bothered to talk to me"
"Oh knock it off Booth" he said, coming over to his Explorer. "You of all people should know that she startles easily. I've only known her less than a week and even I can see that."
"I'm sorry I would have just expected my girlfriend to come talk to me when she has a bad day instead of another guy, I didn't appreciate seeing her get into your truck and then see her in your arms, excuse me if I come across as a little upset" he said sarcastically.
"All I can say is talk to her man, I told her I'll be her friend, she needs friends and I'm going to be at least that for her, but I'll tell you straight up, don't blow it. If you do, I'll be the one to pick up the pieces and I won't let her stay that way for long. Got it?" he'd moved over and was standing right in front of Booth now, "talk to her man." He clapped him on the shoulder and walked off.
Booth found that he'd been clenching his fists again and as he watched Zack pull away he released them as well as a hard breath. It had hurt to see her choose Zack, but he knew that in her mind he was just a friend, and she didn't have many. There was no way he could try to imagine what had gone through her mind when she and Payton were going toe to toe, and it had to have been even worse when AD Hacker spoke to her for her to just walk away. He had to talk to her. He had to make sure that Zack wouldn't be picking up any pieces.
He got inside his truck and turned his phone on. There was one missed call, praying that the call was from her, he scrolled to the log, his shoulders sagged when he saw that it was from Pops. Listening to the voicemail, he'd smiled; they were always running out of milk at that house. He texted Jared and told him he'd get some milk on his way home, he was going to make a stop first and then he'd be there and to let Pops know. Putting the truck in drive, he headed to the carousel in the park.
Once he got there, he pulled a hoody on and put his baseball cap on and walked over to the carousel. Sitting on the bench outside the carousel he was lost in thought, he'd always come to the park to think in the past, it was one of his favorite places to go in the city. Now, he found that after only sharing it one time with her, the carousel was where he needed to be. His phone began to vibrate, expecting a return text from Jared, he looked down and his whole body tensed, his heartbeat quickened and his stomach rolled to see the picture of Booth and Tempe flashing indicating that he had an incoming text. Given the time of evening, she must be home already and so were the Sweets.
"Booth-We need to talk-Temperance" read the text.
Surprised at her formality, usually he was BMOC and she was Bone Lady, he responded immediately, "Can I call you?"
She texted back after a long delay, "Not now-Sweets home"
"Can I pick u up in am?"
There was hesitation in her response, "okay" she finally sent back.
Booth wasn't sure what to say next. He wanted to hear her voice, but knew that it was impossible, deciding to put his heart on the line and take the plunge, "Bone Lady-I love you & I'm sorry-please talk 2 me"
He waited there for another 10 minutes without a response and feeling frustrated and hurt he got up and started towards the parking lot, sitting in the driver's seat he leaned back and closed his eyes. The phone rang and he answered it without looking at it, "hello?"
She whispered, "I love you too" and then hung up. He opened his eyes and looked at the display and sighed. He felt a warm tear trickle out of his eye, but his heart was lighter than it had been all day as he drove to the store to get milk for Pops.
Once Zack had dropped her off she went into the school and headed straight to her locker. Most of the kids were gone or were on their way to the parking lot or buses; so she was able to get there without anyone really noticing her. She didn't even realize that she'd walked right past football practice until she was on her way back to the bus lot. When she was across from the field she risked a glance and was able to pick him out of the half a dozen or so players standing in a loose knot on the field. His back was to her, and she willed him to turn and look but just then a whistle was blown and they lined up for a play. Seeing that her bus was pulling into the lot, she turned and hurried over to get in line to get onto the bus.
Wendell had seen her come out of the school and started to try to get Booth's attention, but there were too many other distractions with coaches and whistles blowing. He decided he'd just tell him that she'd stopped after practice.
Temperance leaned her head against the window of the bus as it headed towards her house. She was glad that she had spoken to Zack and she knew that he was right that she needed to talk to Booth. She was so unsure what to say or do right now. Thinking over the events of the day, she thought what hurt the most was that AD Hacker didn't seem to think that it was that big of a deal and that she seemed to be the one in the wrong. At her stop she gathered up her things and tried to ignore the whispers she heard walking down the aisle, it seemed that she was becoming quite the topic of conversation. When she was almost off the bus, she heard a girl say to her seatmate, "I don't care how rough he is, I'd do him!" the two dissolved in giggles until Tempe turned around and said scathingly, "lucky for me you'll never get the chance" and walked away. The whole bus oooohed and aaaahhhed as she got off and once she was gone they all started chattering away about the day's events.
She went into her house and straight to her room, Rebecca was home and was on her computer, Lance was expected later. She hoped that if she headed straight up there, she could avoid a confrontation, but she knew that it was wishful thinking. She went straight to her bed and lay down on it, there was a little bit of homework to do, but she just couldn't raise enough interest to care right now. She took her jacket off and reached into the pocket to pull out her pig and dolphin charm. She held them tight and wished that she was able to call Booth, looking at the clock; she could see that he'd be at practice for at least another hour or so. Deciding to get homework out of the way after all she dove into. Turning her radio on she was lost in the music and deep into the translation of Latin verbs when there was a knock on her door. Surprised, she looked up and said, "Yes?"
Lance opened the door and told her that she was expected for dinner. "Okay, I'll be there in just a moment, I need to wash up and change" she told him, heading to her dresser for a clean pair of jeans, when he said, "Dinner is at the same time every evening Temperance, I would think that me coming up her to retrieve you wouldn't be necessary."
"Yes Sir, I'm sorry, I was busy with my homework" she told him automatically. Turning she headed towards the bathroom to change. He left the doorway and allowed her to go past him, "maybe we should restrict the radio? Is it a distraction?" he asked.
"No sir, I was just busy with my homework, I wasn't distracted by the radio" she stopped speaking and went into the bathroom with her jeans, effectively cutting off his response. After she changed she splashed water on her face and went downstairs.
Sitting down at her spot, she grasped their hands for grace, after the blessing Rebecca and Lance started passing the dishes and started in on their favorite topic; Tempe bashing. They started off with her lack of respect for being late to dinner; then moved on to how her job interferes with their expectations for a thriving home life and then finally touched on what the plans were for her over the holidays. Barely listening and giving the requisite "yes Sir/Ma'am or no Sir/Ma'am" they expected, she was totally floored when they told her that they were not going to Rebecca's sisters' house for the holidays. She looked up sharply at this news. Rebecca continued, "We've been invited to spend the holidays in Florida with Lance's niece and nephew on their boat. There is only room for two of us as they were unaware that we had taken you in. So, we find ourselves in a bit of a quandary. We'd really like to attend and not be responsible for disrupting their holiday plans, but as your parents we are also responsible for you. We've spoken to the state and they've advised that due to your age it would be incredibly difficult to place you in a safe home for just the holidays, so I'm sure you can understand our position." She stopped to nod at Lance.
Temperance could not believe what she was hearing. She desperately hoped that they would offer her the chance to stay home alone for the holidays; she could go with Angela or Max or even go to Seeleys'. Feeling like maybe Karma was making up for the awful day, she hardly dared to breathe. She was afraid to suggest Angela or Max, so sat there quietly wondering where it would go.
Lance spoke next, "We really hesitate to offer this in lieu of your lack of respect and responsibility, but as we see no other way out, you will be left here alone for the week of Thanksgiving and the following weekend. However, there will be stringent security measures implemented, you are not to invite that Angela girl over here for one thing, in fact, no one is to come to our home. We'll go into the details more thoroughly when it gets closer, until now, let's just enjoy our meal."
Temperance could not believe what she had just heard. She was momentarily stunned into silence. She picked up her fork and did everything she could to make sure the food made it from the plate to her mouth without incident. While she ate, all she could think of was how quickly she could get back upstairs to text Angela and Booth. Stealing a look at the clock above the stove, she knew that he was out of practice and should be home soon. After the meal, she did the dishes, and then hurried upstairs.
CHAPTER 47C (bear w/all the text speak-hope you still like it)
The first thing she did when she was upstairs was text Seeley, "Booth-We need to talk-Temperance" she was so excited to tell him what the Sweets had said that she didn't even pause to think that he may interpret her text the wrong way. She was giddy and the fights from the day had gone completely out of her mind. Texting Angela she told her "I'm home alone on Thanksgiving! Yay!"
Angela texted back immediately, "SWEETIE! THAT ROCKS!" she and Angela continued to text furiously with plans, each more outlandish than the previous. During this time, Booth had texted back, "Can I call you?" Temperance found that it was difficult to keep up her end of the texting with Angela let alone with Booth too.
When Angela finally wound down and Tempe was able to concentrate on her other texts, she saw that he had sent, ""Bone Lady-I love you & I'm sorry-please talk 2 me" she closed and locked her door and went into her closet and dialed his number, praying that the Sweets wouldn't come upstairs, when she heard him say, "hello" she whispered, "I love you too" and then fearing the worst, she hung up quickly.
She went to the little desk in her room and attempted to finish her homework. Her mind was swirling with the possibilities of having an entire week to herself. She was trying to caution herself not to get too excited or worked up about it, knowing the Sweets; they'd change her mind the minute she showed any kind of enthusiasm for it. Maybe she would be able to pick up some day shifts at the museum and that would appease them, knowing she wasn't actually alone in the house. She knew that it wasn't her personally they were worried about, more their material possessions that they were concerned she would start on fire or something. Sighing, she picked up her homework where she had left off and turned the radio back on. It was closing in on 9 o'clock when she decided that she would take a shower this evening rather than in the morning, she wanted to braid her hair and leave it down in the morning. Booth had mentioned that he liked it down, and after their disastrous day today, she wanted to look nice for him. She turned the radio down and her phone to silent before stashing it in her pillowslip.
An hour later she came out of the bathroom and was getting ready to go to bed, she thought maybe she'd read a bit and listen to the radio on her headphones before sleep. Telling the Sweets good night, something she rarely did, she closed her door and turned her radio on and put her headset on. Picking up her book she began to read against the pillows on her bed, when she remembered to get her phone and plug it into the charger. She pulled it out and was about to plug it in when she saw there was a text. Hoping it was nothing bad, she scrolled through the log and read "I kno we're going 2 talk N the AM, but I cldn't stop thnkng of u-BMOC"
She texted back, "Sry was in shwr, I was thnkng of u 2" putting the book down, she turned her lights off and pulled the covers up and settled back against the pillows again.
"u thght of me in shwr ;)?"
She grinned and txted, "yes, don't u thnk of me in shwr?" She decided that she was going to go all or nothing, they both needed this.
"my shwr or urs?"
There was a 5 minute delay before he texted back and she wondered if maybe she went too far and was starting to get worried when he sent her, "oh Babe...UR N TRBL now"
Feeling her face heat up, her response was a little more adventurous than she thought she was capable of, "thnk U can hndl it?"
"Can U?" he sent back.
"All U got" and as soon as she sent it, she put her face in her hands and couldn't wipe the grin off if she tried. I can't believe I'm doing this she thought to herself.
"Little 1-thts A LOT-R U sure?"
Tempe thought of something she'd heard Angela say once to one of the other tour directors and she thought it would be appropriate here, she just wondered if he'd figure it out.
"Bring it don't sing it"
Patiently waiting for his reply, she noticed that GORDON GORDON was going to be on soon and wondered if he was listening. She was having such a good time and was wrapped up in the texting when she heard the DJ speak in her headphones…
DIALING IT UP HOT AND HARD TONIGHT…OUR FIRST SONG OF THE NIGHT IS FROM BMOC AND WHOAH…IT'S AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE…LADIES GRAB YOUR MAN AND HOLD ON TIGHT…BONE LADY I HOPE YOU'RE LISTENING!
Brennan was floored when the song started…
Close your eyes, make a wish and blow out the candlelight fFor tonight it is your night
We're gonna celebrate, all through the night pour the wine, light the fire girl your wish is my command
I'll submit to your demands I will do anything, girl you need only ask I'll make love to you like you want me to and I'll hold you tight baby all through the night I'll make love to you when you want me to and I will not let go'till you tell me to…
The Boyz II Men song was making her palms sweat and her body flush. She listened to the whole song before she realized that he had texted her back, "how wz that 4 singing?"
Tempe didn't know what to say, this was all unchartered territory, trying to flirt in person was nothing like flirting via text message and she was unsure how to proceed. While she tried to figure out a response she got a whole different text, "PLEASE tell me that you are alone? ~ANGEL~"
"Yes-what do I do? HELP!" she texted her back.
"Girl-you are your own-have fun! ~ANGEL~"
Dammit, she swore under her breath, still trying to figure out what to do, he texted her again, "still there? ;)"
"Barely holding on-ttyl BMOC lv Bone Lady" she eventually texted back. She had no idea where she was going with this and desperately wanted to see him, plus it was late and she needed to get to sleep. The last thing he sent was, "LOL-I WIN…C U 2moro lv u 2". Smiling she plugged the phone into the charger and went to sleep.
The next morning she got up and put on one of her new pairs of uniform slacks, already glad that she had decided to get them; she would be so much more comfortable today. When she got downstairs, Rebecca asked why she wasn't wearing her skirt. "The skirt is too short by dress code standards, so I bought some slacks to wear until next semester when I will get some new skirts." The lie sounded plausible although she felt awful for having to do it. After last night though, there was no way she wanted to upset anything, she would do whatever she could to be allowed to have a week free of the Sweets and their demands.
Although unhappy about it, Rebecca acquiesced to that explanation; she didn't want to buck the school over something so trivial. "Are you working tonight?" she asked Tempe as she buttered her toast.
"Yes Ma'am, I work tonight through Saturday." Temperance replied. Grabbing her toast and a juice, she started for the door. Turning at the last minute, she tried to connect to this woman who for all intents and purposes would most likely be the one raising her for the next few years, "I want you to know that it means a lot to me that you would give me the responsibility to stay home by myself over the holidays."
Rebecca was taken aback. She had a brief flash of her own teenage years and although it was a different time, she knew that the overall angst was the same, "You're welcome Temperance, let's just hope you don't abuse our trust" she said as she turned to leave the kitchen to get ready for work. Tempe watched her leave the kitchen and then went outside. It was bitterly cold and she was grateful that she had gotten the slacks, as well as for the heavy jean jacket she wore. She headed to the bus stop and saw his Explorer parked on the corner, not sure if he saw her or not, she started to cross the street to meet him when he flashed his lights at her, telling her to stay where she was. He waited for an opening in traffic and came straight over. He leaned over and opened up the door for her, and when she crawled inside he said, "Hi babe" and her heart just melted.
"Hi Seeley" she said and smiled at him. He couldn't take his eyes off of her, she'd worn her hair down and it was slightly wavy from the braids. He never noticed how long her legs were until he saw the grey slacks that went on and on. "You look good today Tempe" he told her as he pulled back into traffic.
On the days that he picked her up, they usually got to school with 15-20 minutes to spare before the first bell rang, so on the way to the school, she asked him to pull over for a second. Puzzled he did as she asked, and found a space at an office building that wasn't open for business yet. He was apprehensive, but thought there was no way that anything bad could happen after last night's text fest.
When he put the car in park she unbuckled her seatbelt and pushed the door lock button before she practically jumped across the console, halfway in his lap and half on her own seat, her breasts pressed against his chest and her hands on the door behind him, she kissed him hard. She led the dance between their tongues and he reached over and grabbed her butt to pull her closer to him. Breaking off the kiss she leaned back slightly and looked into his eyes, which were almost black with longing. "I'm sorry about yesterday and I know we'll talk about it later, but I needed you to know that first, and I needed to do that before we got to school" she finished leaning in to kiss him again, softer this time. He captured her mouth with his and lightly traced her lip with his tongue, and then moved to her neck and then to her collarbone. Feeling herself start to lose control, she inadvertently arched right into his mouth, and he pulled her even closer. He reached down to move the seat back as far as it would go and in one move pulled her into his lap. She felt his hardness against her the back of her leg and knew that if she moved even just a little bit the friction would do delicious things to him, so she shifted slightly and felt as well as heard him groan against her neck. He brought his hand up to her cheek and slowly slid his fingers down along her jawline to her neck and then traced her collarbone through her shirt. She had leaned her head back and her eyes were closed when he whispered, "open your eyes Tempe."
She opened them slowly and he saw a flicker of desire in their depths, making sure that she kept her eyes on his, he slowly moved his hand to her top button and started to unbutton it, without saying a word he moved to the next one, trusting that she would stop him when she was ready, when she tensed he could barely see the top of her bra against her ample cleavage and he leaned his head down and softly kissed the bit of lace that he could see. He heard her gasp and then tense again and he lifted his head, "I'll stop, I'm sorry" he told her, letting her button the shirt back up.
"Don't be sorry, I'm not" she told him as she moved back to her seat. She looked at the clock and said, "We'd better hurry, or we'll be late."
"You'd think I'd actually care about that, but right now I have so many other things on my mind." He told her ruefully, "Not the least of which is how I'm going to get out of the truck with a raging hard on." She laughed loudly and blushed, "Guess we can both sing, huh?" she said.
Laughing with her, he drove them to school, one hand entwined with hers on the console. When they got there, he walked her to her locker and told her he'd see her at lunch, he had to run, his first class was on the other side of the school and the warning bell was about to ring. She stowed her things and headed to her first class of the day, already her mind was on lunch and him.
Both of their classes were uneventful that morning, much to the chagrin of the rest of the student body. The majority of them were hoping for some sort of tangle between one or more or all of them. The fight stories had raged through the school like wildfire and by the time Booth heard them, Tempe and Payton had been having a good old fashioned knock down drag out fist fight. Tempe heard them all too, and although she didn't like all the attention, she was secretly amused that she was thought to be such a fighter. Guess it took something worth fighting for she thought to herself as she walked to her locker after the last class before lunch. There was a note on the locker when she got there and she tensed up again thinking that it was starting all over again.
"In truck-see you there-BMOC" knowing that he would sign it that way and not by Seeley, she hastily stowed her stuff around the bag containing the football, jersey, hoody and Booth. I need a bigger locker she thought, grabbing her lunch she spun the lock closed and headed out to the parking lot.
Temperance had a light step as she headed to the truck, she knew that they needed to talk, but still felt pretty good about it. When she got in, he asked if she had brought her lunch and showing him the brown bag he nodded and pulled his own lunch out. "Want to go somewhere? Or just eat here?" he asked her.
"Why don't we just eat here, we can sit in the cargo area-the seats go down don't they?"
"Yes, I can put them flat" and he got out and opened up the back door to lay the backseat down, making the cargo area bigger. She climbed over the console and leaned up against the passenger seat; her legs outstretched and looked in her lunch bag. She was wondering how to start when he closed the passenger door and climbed in to sit down too.
"So, what happened?" he asked, opening his own lunch bag. Tempe took a moment to finish chewing and asked, "Do you want all the gory details or just the abridged version?"
Booth raised his eyebrows and said nothing just continued to chew and she realized that he wasn't going to let her get away with anything. Starting from the beginning, she told him about the confrontation with Caroline and Payton and then what AD Hacker said, and how she just couldn't believe he was blaming her for everything. She told him that she didn't even realize what she was doing when she left, she just knew that it was easier to talk to someone else than it was to talk to him about it.
Booth was hurt and stunned by that, he spoke quietly, "Tempe, are you afraid of me?"
Surprised, she looked up from the rest of her lunch bag and said, "Afraid of you? No-that's not what I meant. I mean, I can't talk to Angela about Angela, I talk to you about Angela, not that I've needed to, but…Well, I guess I can talk to Max too, anyway, what I mean is if there was something I needed advice on about Angela, I wouldn't ask her. It was the same thing, I needed to know what to do and I couldn't ask you."
"Why not?" he still didn't understand, he would feel comfortable asking her anything.
"Because I want to know exactly what I'm saying to you before I say it, I find it difficult to ask you for advice about you. It's not logical. Zack was the perfect person to talk to because I needed an unemotional and logical answer and I knew that he would give me that. I like Zack, he listens to me and I understand him."
"I listen to you too." He told her, still not quite understanding what she was trying to say.
Exasperated Tempe said, "Booth-what would you have done if I would of come up to you and started to talk about why I didn't think we should be together moments after you saw me and your ex-girlfriend fighting?"
"First of all, I don't like it when you call me Booth, and secondly, are you saying you want to break up with me?" he was more confused now than when the conversation started.
"No, I'm not saying that, I wouldn't have kissed you this morning like I did if I wanted to break up with you. What I'm saying is, I needed a third party objective non partisan opinion on what to do!" she was getting frustrated thinking this is exactly why I wanted to talk to Zack to begin with. "Does that make sense?"
"I guess so, you wanted to ask some random guy what you should say to your boyfriend about your relationship with him" he said, somewhat hurtful.
She got on her knees and moved in front of him. Putting a hand on each side of his face she said, "I love you you big dummy. I don't care what Payton does or tries. I'm done being afraid of her. I just needed to talk to someone else. I'm sure there will be times when you will want to talk to Wendell or Colin and not me. Let's just say we have a free pass to do so okay? I can talk to my friends when I need advice I don't think I can get from you and vice versa. Will that work?" She felt a little foolish talking to him like he was 10 but, for the first time they weren't really connecting they way they had all along.
"I guess so" he mumbled, he still just didn't understand why she couldn't talk to him about everything and anything. Temperance sighed and tipped her head back. She was done trying to explain it, leaning in; she kissed his nose and then went back to where she had been sitting. They drifted into lighter subjects, when she suddenly said, "OH MY GOD!"
"WHAT!?" he said looking around outside to the parking lot.
"I totally forgot to tell you what happened last night" she then launched into a narrative of the family dinner and what the Sweets had offered her. Booth's heart swelled, "So will you come to Thanksgiving with us? Angela can come too?" Hell, Zack and Max could come to if it meant she would be able to get out of the house. "I don't know, the details still need to be worked out, but I hope so, I'll ask Angela, she may have something else going on, and she did invite me to her house first, but we've got time, we'll figure it out. I'm just so excited about this, I've never been allowed to do anything with my friends, and since the last time the Sweets told me I wouldn't be able to do anything with you guys this is a big deal!" He couldn't help but get caught up in her enthusiasm too.
She asked him what his practice schedule was like this week and he told her they were practicing every day and leaving early Friday morning, she told him she was going dress shopping on Wednesday and did he care what color she got. Since she had never done this before she wasn't sure.
"Blue" he told her, "I like blue" he could just imagine with her dark hair and light eyes how beautiful she would be.
"Blue it is then" She told him.
The bell rang and lunch was over, they gathered up their trash and climbed out of the truck, the picture showed the seats laid down and although innocent, when he leaned in to kiss her, it looked as though the back of the truck was used as more than just a place to talk out of the cold…
The two of them walked hand in hand back to the school; she had biology to muddle through and then was off to work, he had gym which equaled a longer football practice. When they got to the steps leading up to the double doors, she stopped and pulled slightly on his hand. "Seeley? Can I talk to you for just a second, seriously?" she was biting her lip and afraid to look him in the eye.
"Yes Tempe, what's on your mind little one?" he asked taking her over to the edge of the stairs and leaning up against them, pulled her in close.
"This morning, in your truck we went a lot further than in the past, and I really liked it, but I'm not ready to go any further and I just wanted you to know that I wasn't trying to tease you, I never expected to go as far as we did, I just couldn't make my brain make my body stop." She finished almost whispering.
"I told you, I'd never pressure you to do anything you didn't want to, and I still feel that way Tempe, you're 16 and when you're ready, you'll know. Until then, I'm happy with a PG 13 rating, okay?" he smiled down at her and leaned in to kiss her softly on the lips, "I don't need anything more than that."
She smiled back and hugged him, the two of them went their separate ways, and she told him she'd see him on the field on her way to work.
Booth jogged down to the gym and thought about the entire day. He was so surprised at her this morning, and as much as he wanted to keep going, he knew that she wasn't ready. It wasn't like his first time, with Payton; she'd already been with someone else and was rather impatient with his reluctance to tag all four bases. He was actually glad that Temperance wanted to slow back down, he loved just being with her, and didn't need to do anything more.
Going into the locker room Wendell and Fischer were playing HORSE with wadded up towels and a broken basketball hoop while they waited for him to show. "So, did you and the princess work it out?" Fischer asked in his typical backhanded manner.
"Yes, as a matter of fact we did," Booth told him, "it's all good, I still don't understand why she called Zack, something about him not being me and being able to talk about me, I dunno, it was girl speak" he was getting his football pads on when Wendell said, "Well, she did stop to watch you yesterday, I tried to tell you but you weren't in the most receptive mood."
"That's alright man, I'm glad you guys were there, it could have been ugly for Addy if you weren't." Coach Hodgins called them all together and practice was on.
Temperance headed to her usual seat in biology and opened her book. Staring straight ahead, she was no longer worried about catching Payton's eye or anyone else's for that matter. She and Seeley were back on track, she was going to be without the Sweets for an entire week, tomorrow she was going shopping for her first dance and right now she felt ten feet tall and bulletproof. Class started and she tuned in as much as she could while she replayed what had happened that morning in her mind. She couldn't say why she had told Seeley she wasn't ready to go further, she knew that eventually she wouldn't stop him, but for her, right now it wasn't the right time. There was so much more about him that she wanted to know and learn about. Slipping into a day dream, she thought about what their future could be like and what lie ahead for them. Doodling on her papers while the teacher droned on, she wrote their initials inside a heart, then Temperance Booth with smaller hearts around it. When the bell ended signifying the end of class, she wadded up the paper and threw it away as she left the class.
She picked up the wadded piece of paper and it quickly disappeared inside her jacket.
Temperance went to her locker and put away her things, giving Booth a squeeze, she closed and locked the lock and headed to the parking lot. As she was leaving the school, she looked out over the field and saw a jacked up silver pick up sitting in the lot. Wondering why Angela was here, she hurried out to parking lot. "Sweetie! Over here!" Angela was in the bleachers waving from the top row, she hurried down to the bottom to meet Tempe. Temperance gave her a hug and said, "What are you doing here Ange? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I just thought I'd give you a ride to work and I wanted to watch the boys sweat it out a little. Plus, I miss you" she pouted, "Ever since BMOC came around, I feel like we don't get to talk as often, even if we didn't get to talk that often before!"
Hugging her friend close as they watched practice, Tempe told her, "No matter what happens, you'll always be my best friend Angela, without you, I wouldn't be me." The two of them leaned into each other and smiled. Standing on the sidelines, Wendell leaned over to Fischer and said, "Do you think I would have a chance with her?"
"With who?" he asked.
Nodding to the bleachers he said, "Her"
Deliberately being difficult he said, "Tempe? I don't think Booth is quite ready to let her go yet."
"I'm not ready to let who go?" Booth asked coming up behind them to get a drink.
"I think Wendell wants to go out with Tempe, at least that's what he told me" Fischer said mischievously.
"Fischer, you're an $$. I didn't mean Tempe, I meant Angela. That girl is white hot and since I'm suddenly single, maybe I'll ask her out" he puffed up his chest and put his helmet on.
"Let me know how that works out for you" Booth said as he turned to look at his girl and her best friend on the bleachers. Laughing Wendell headed out to the field and Fischer followed shortly after.
Angela whistled and Booth turned to see them leaving, he gave Tempe a little wave and she waved back. Angela blew the team kisses and they all stopped to watch the two of them get into the truck and pull out of the parking lot. Booth turned back to the huddle and heard a screeching noise and then a grinding crash of twisted metal and glass breaking. Feeling his heart fall into his stomach he turned to see the silver truck sliding on its side, and without stopping he and the rest of the team turned and started running towards the accident.
Cleats sliding on the asphalt the 40 players on the team were scrambling to get to the truck and not fall down trying to help. One tire on the truck was still lazily spinning as steam from the engine rose into the cold air. Paralyzed briefly with shock Booth and Wendell climbed into and onto the back of the truck and tried to get access through the passenger side window. Looking through the rear slider they were able to see that both girls were conscious. Wendell leaned over the window and Booth held his feet as he reached into the window opening and said, "Angela, Tempe, girls are you okay?"
Angela looked up from where she and Tempe were pressed up against the passenger door and floorboard and said, "Do we look okay?"
Smiling and feeling a lot better if she was able to be snarky back to him he slid a little further in on his belly and told her to reach up, he'd pull her out. They could hear the blare of the sirens starting to get louder in the distance. Angela grabbed Wendells hands and with a push from Temperance and a pull from Booth on his legs, she was hoisted out of the truck. Wendell handed her down to Fischer and then got out of the way of Booth, who was trying to fit into the small opening around Wendell. "Dude-we're both not going to fit, just hold on" he said exasperated as Booth tried to force his 190 lb frame next to Wendell. Peering over the edge of the window Booth refused to believe she was fine until he saw her. Looking up with wide frightened eyes, she said, "Booth get me the hell out of here!" in a higher than normal voice. Relief flooded his body as he said, "Don't call me Booth."
He reached in as Wendell had done and she pushed off the passenger seat and grabbed his upper arms, Goodman had taken his place and hauled the two of them out just as the ambulance arrived. The rest of the players had been keeping a perimeter around the truck and keeping the on-lookers at bay. Once the authorities appeared, Coach Hodgins told the team to get back to the field and out of the way. He told Wendell, Booth and Fischer to come back when they made sure the girls were okay. Fischer and Wendell were standing with Angela who was refusing medical attention while she was on the phone. She'd called the museum first to tell them they were going to be late and then she called her dad. Her dad was on his other line at the same time setting up transportation and his lawyer was calling the insurance company. He told her that she would have another car there within 20 minutes with a driver. Once she had assured him again that she was physically okay, just shook up, she hung up and the tough chick persona dissolved.
Chest hitching and voice cracking she wrapped her arms around herself and said, "I don't know what happened, one minute we're pulling out, the next minute were sliding on the side." Wendell reached over and enveloped her in a hug and she latched onto him and started crying.
Booth on the other hand had his hands full with a hysterical Temperance who was desperately trying to stop shaking, the paramedics had checked her out and other than a slight bruise on her shoulder and glass in her hair she seemed fine. They offered to take her to the hospital and she told them that wouldn't be necessary. "I have to get to work Seeley, I have to go, oh my god, if the Sweets find out, I'm in so much trouble, I'm not supposed to ride with Angela and I should already be there, someone needs to call the museum, I've got to go" She was babbling nonstop while he held her, and tried to calm her down.
"Shhh…Tempe, honey…Shhhhh….you'll get there…hold on, okay?" he just kept murmuring into her hair until he could get her to quiet down and he could feel her stop shaking. Fischer was over looking at the truck and was making some mental notes when the firefighters came over with the girls' purses and a coat. Booth looked over at Angela and Wendell who had now been joined by the police and started over with Temperance held tight in his arms.
Angela was standing in front of Wendell and was wrapped in his arms while the police questioned her, "Tell me exactly what happened, Miss…Montenegro" he said consulting her drivers license.
"We got in, we'd just left the practice field, we were chattering about the guys, I started the truck up, one of my dad's songs was on the radio so we turned it up, I backed out of the spot, drove to the end of the lane and then over to the entrance of the lot, Tempe said it feels like I'm leaning into the door, she pulled the seatbelt off a little to look and see if there was anything under the seat and I pulled into traffic and started to accelerate, next thing I know I feel the truck start to tip and slide. I turned the wheel to try and counter balance us since we were tipping so fast but all it did was make us roll over. That's all I know officer" she said, voice trembling she leaned back into Wendell's embrace.
"What about you, Miss? Do you remember anything else?" he turned towards Temperance.
"No sir, I felt like I was leaning up against the door, and I remembered looking to see if it was locked and it was, and then I tried to see why the seat felt lopsided. I really honestly don't know what happened next, except that the road was rising to meet us and the noise from the crash."
Booth had been holding her and was still stroking her arm as she spoke. The police officer and his partner both began looking at the wreck with Fischer, and then Temperance asked, "Can I go? I have to get to work." Booth told her to wait a minute or so more, they'd find out. He was just so very glad that she wasn't hurt, he wasn't thinking about what would happen if the Sweets found out or anything. Another car pulled up, a polar white Escalade and a very, very large black man got out. He said, "Angela" in a cultured, Australian accent and she lost it completely and ran over to him.
"Oh Grayson! I was so scared, Dad is going to kill me, look at his truck! I thought I'd hurt Temper and oh I'm so glad you're here!" she was sobbing in his arms. The giant of a man was holding her and rubbing her back while she cried. Wendell stood and stared, he was a big guy by modern standards, but this guy made him look like a 98 pound weakling. Once he got her calmed down again the two of them headed over to the police and Grayson flashed a badge to the officers and spoke to them a bit, then they came to where Booth, Temperance and Wendell were now standing. Fischer was helping the tow truck driver attach the cable to pull the truck back over onto its tires.
"Wendell, Booth, Temper this is my main man, Grayson Barrasa" Angela introduced him.
"It's a pleasure to meet Miss Angela's friends he said, now, I believe Miss Temperance that you are free to go according to the police, so let's get you and Miss Angela to work. Gentleman, I'm sure you will be more productive on the field of battle?" he addressed them all and they all agreed. Booth wasn't happy, but he told her that he'd talk to her later and grabbing an awestruck Wendell and telling Fischer to hurry he kissed her on the cheek and they hurried back to the field. The professionals had the scene under control, the looky loo's had all moved on and the truck was about to be pulled back over. The paramedics had already left and the police men had told Angela they would be in touch with her. Heading over to the Cadillac Temperance's head was spinning and she was slightly nauseous.
"What happened?" she asked Angela.
"I don't know Sweetie" she replied, grabbing her hand as they piled into the back seat. Grayson settled into the driver's seat and told them they would be okay, and not to worry. Whispering Temperance said, "Is he your boyfriend?"
Angela looked at her quizzically and mouthed, "Who?"
Temperance nodded at Grayson who seemed to take up the entire front of the truck. "No, he's my bodyguard, has been since I was about 6 or so" she told her quietly. "He's like my second father though, I tell him all my secrets and he never rats me out. Next to you, he's my best friend" Catching her eye in the rear view mirror he winked and smiled. The girls rode the rest of the way to the museum in silence, both of them lost in their thoughts of what could have possibly happened. Temperance especially was hoping against hope that she could get through this without the Sweets finding anything out. She'd been asked for a phone number, and had given the police officer her cell phone and Max's work number. It was one more thing to add to the long list of things that she'd fudged since she had met Booth and it was starting to worry her when that list was going to be drawn into question.
Angela checked her watch and said, "We gotta head out kid, we have to be to work in 20." The two of them headed off the bleachers and as they were heading towards the end of the field, Angela whistled loud and long and the team turned to look. Booth waved at them and they waved back, Angela took it a step further and blew kisses to the team, which a few of them pretended to catch. Watching the two of them saunter off, the team was tossing frat boy speak amongst themselves, but out of earshot of Booth and his boys. Watching them get into the big silver truck, also a source of envy the guys turned back to their various drills and coaches.
Once they got in the truck Angela started it up and a song by her dad was on the radio, a big fan even before she met Angela, Tempe reached over and turned it up. The truck was built for looks and for music and the speakers responded very nicely to the volume being cranked. The two girls were air guitaring and singing at the top of their lungs as they made their way out of the parking lot. Temperance thought there was something wrong with her seat; she was practically leaning on the passenger door. Taking her seatbelt off to check, she looked first to make sure the doors had locked. Then she began to look between the door and the seat and feel underneath it to feel why it was so off kilter, when Angela pulled out of the parking lot and accelerated she looked outside and saw the road and the sky were beginning to change places. Screaming, she looked over and saw that Angela was fighting the steering wheel and trying to keep the truck from rapidly tipping over.
The sound of the crash was deafening. Temperance could feel the shudder as it slid on the uneven asphalt, could see the sparks from the metal on the asphalt and could smell the burnt rubber of the tires as they also slid. The truck came to an abrupt stop and time froze. The two of them were still strapped in, although Angela was holding onto the steering wheel to keep herself from falling over and Brennan was sitting mostly on the floor and the window jam. They looked at each other and said, "Are you okay?" simultaneously.
"What just happened?"
"I don't freaking know"
"I can't hold on like this for much longer, I'm going to unbutton my seatbelt and slide down to you, are you sure you're okay?" Angela's eyes were full of concern for Temperance.
"Aside from the fact that I can't stop shaking and I have no idea what is going on, I'm fine"
Angela unbuttoned her seatbelt and slid down to where Temperance was huddled, the two of them reaching for each other for a both looked out the windshield and saw that traffic from the opposite direction had halted, and there were people getting out of their cars, Angela peered out of the rear slider as best that she could, and saw that traffic on their side was stopped as well. The two of them heard male voices and felt someone climbing into and onto the truck. Holding each other tighter, they both looked up to the driver's side window and sighed in relief when Wendell's face appeared in the opening. Angela for one was never more happy to see that blonde head. She'd been toying with the idea of asking him out when Tempe told her Caroline dumped him, and right now she would have cheerfully jumped into his pocket, arms, pants wherever if he would only get them out of there.
"Angela, Tempe, girls are you okay?" he asked, a small smile on his lips. He could see that they didn't appear to be injured.
"Do we look okay?" Angela asked him right back. She hated that question. Why did people always ask that at the scene of an accident, hell no we're not okay she felt like saying.
Wendell gave her a full grin and said, "Hands up Angela, I'll haul you out." "Booth-pull my legs man, I've got Angela" he said over his shoulder. Booth and Goodman gave a good pull and he was able to get her halfway out. Temperance had pushed on her butt and was helping to give her leverage too; she also used the dashboard to brace her foot against. One more pull from Booth and Goodman and she was out, Wendell rotated her to where he could slide her over to the ground, and Fischer was there to catch her, for once not making a comment when he saw right up her shirt.
The sun was blocked from the window by the two large football players then Booth edged Wendell out of the way and he said, "Dude-we're both not going to fit, just hold on" as Booth kept trying to peer into the window with him. Sliding down after Angela, he quickly got out of Booth's way. Seeley looked inside the window and saw her standing on the passenger door and he was able to breathe again.
When she saw his face she stopped shaking momentarily. Looking up with wide frightened eyes, she said, "Booth get me the hell out of here!" in a higher than normal voice. Relief flooded his body as he said, "Don't call me Booth." She smiled and held up her hands as she too pushed off of the dashboard, once he grasped her forearms and started to pull her up she knew that she'd be okay. Goodman started to pull Booth's legs and the two of them slid right out. He turned and lowered her to the waiting arms of some of the players below.
She looked around at the chaos the accident had caused, the concern on the faces of these boys, almost men and took in the people who had been driving as well. She was glad that they were the only car that was involved, grabbing onto Booth when he got off the truck, she couldn't stop shaking again, and all she was worried about however was getting to work. There was no way the Sweets were going to let this slide. She'd been specifically banned from riding anywhere with Angela.
She and Booth headed over to where Angela was on the phone, alternately pacing and reaching out to touch Wendell. When she got off the phone she lost it and began to cry, which in turn ramped Temperance back up. She was thinking that if Angela had never come to get her, this would never have happened, it was all her fault, all of it, the pictures, the fighting, the breakups, she was willing to take the blame for everything just to make everything go back to the way it was. Booth was doing what he could to calm her down.
They both spoke to the police officer and neither one of them could tell what happened; they were talking, singing and then sliding. That's all they knew. Tempe had seen Fischer wandering around the truck looking at things and was wondering what he was looking for. A Cadillac Escalade pulled up and the biggest man Temperance had ever seen in real life got out. Walking straight to Angela she greeted him and threw herself into his arms. Wendell's face was crushed but he quickly hid the hurt as Angela introduced him to everyone. Tempe wondered if this was her boyfriend, she'd never been the type to settle with just one person, but Temperance had never even seen her with anyone, she was very secretive about her personal life unless she was trying to get a rise out of someone. This man was quite a bit older than her too.
Booth had been holding her the whole time when Grayson as his name turned out to be said he would take her and Angela to work. Hugging Booth, she told him she'd talk to him later and she thanked him for being there. The two girls got into the car and they headed off to the museum. Temperance asked if he was her boyfriend and Angela explained that he was her bodyguard. Once they arrived at the museum, they went to the employees room and were in there getting ready to change when Max burst into the room. Wearing jeans and a Northwestern sweatshirt, he'd clearly just come from home.
"Are you two okay?" He asked, enveloping them both into a hug, "I was worried, I heard about the accident from one of the interns, they were a couple of cars behind you apparently. Do you know what happened?" He was still holding each of them by the arm when he realized they needed to change first, letting Angela go, he turned to Tempe.
"Are you ok?"
"I'm fine Max, just a little bruise on my shoulder, nothing to worry about. I'm more worried about Angela, she thinks this is all her fault, and I'm also worried the Sweets are going to find out."
"Was she driving erratically?" he asked. He'd seen her occasionally in one or the other of her cars and she could be a tad reckless.
"No, we pulled out of the parking lot and the next thing I knew, we're on our side"
Angela came out of the changing room and Tempe went in, pausing to check her makeup on a napkin dispenser, Angela walked back over to Max. "I'm worried about Temper; she thinks this is her fault, for me picking her up and everything"
Max smiled and hugged her close, he thought of Angela like a daughter as well, "It's no one's fault Ange-I'm just glad you are both okay. Now you better hurry, they've been holding the lecture until you got here." In addition to being the head tour guide, she also gave lectures on various exhibits and methods of preservation to interested local historical societies by appointment.
Temperance came out and went over to the schedule; she was going to be in her least favorite wing this week. She really could care less about modern marvels aside from what they could bring to deciphering ancient information. She thought they had no beauty, no mystery, and no history. Sighing and telling Max goodbye she grabbed her things, put her phone on vibrate and headed to the south wing of the museum.
Booth and the rest of the team finished up practice and headed to the locker room to change, as he was leaving the shower, towel around his waist and his hair standing on end Coach Hodgins called him and Wendell and Fischer into his office.
"Guys, things are getting a little weird around here, fighting on campus, mysterious photographs, voice recordings and now a very bizarre wreck, all of which involve current or past girlfriends of you three. Is there something going on that the faculty needs to be aware of?" Although the most prestigious game of the year was coming up, he wasn't going into anything blind. If these guys were involved in something, he wanted to know now.
"No Sir" They said in unison. Smirking and crossing his arms over his chest, he leaned back on his desk and waited for them to continue. Thinking it would be Booth, his eyes settled on him. Surprisingly Fischer was the first one to speak, "Sir, it's like this, Booth and Payton broke up, Payton threw a little 'poor me pity party' and invited Caroline and Daisy to join her, being loyal coven members, they jumped on the idea of making our guy miserable for the rest of his life, however, being the totally hot BMOC that he is, he went out and found another girlfriend and that ruffled Payton's feathers even more. So she decided to ramp up the party and took some pictures, offered a little blackmail and may or may not have made a big mistake by recording something that most likely wasn't meant for any ears but the 4 that originally heard them," he paused long enough to take a deep breath, "then once the new girlfriend found out the old girlfriend was out for blood, she decided that my man's hot blooded lovin' was good enough to fight for and she stood her ground, well this knocked the wind out of poor little Payton's sails, the new girlfriend has an uber hot friend that may or may not have a hard on for Mr. Bray and she is trying her best to make sure that the new girlfriend is protected at all times and somehow her truck was rigged to wreck, and instead given the size of the tires and the lift and some other more technical stuff, it actually tipped over. Now, both of the girls are safe at work if the giant that showed up to get them is half as responsible as he is large…I believe we're all up to speed now, yes?" He finished looking at Wendell and Booth and then Coach Hodgins.
"Fischer that was a very brief and yet pretty accurate description of what's been going on actually" Booth said, looking at the coach, "And Coach, its all HS BS anyway, nobody is out for blood, Payton just needed to be knocked back a peg or two." Wendell just stood there silently, he was secretly hoping that he could have a chance with Angela, and maybe just by being there today, he'd have an opportunity now.
Coach Hodgins was skeptical, but he told the three of them that they needed to be careful and if anything else came up, he would be calling in AD Hacker and Monsignor Cullen. The three of them agreed and went to get dressed.
Wendell and Fischer left to go get in some ice time and Booth called home, "Pops, what's the plan for tonight?" he asked when Hank came on the phone.
"Nothing that I know of Shrimp, Jared and Howard are here playing video games, and I'm sitting in front of the fire. What did you have in mind?"
"In that case, I'm going to be a little later than usual tonight, Temperance and Angela were in a minor car accident today and I want to go to the museum to make sure that they get home okay, so I thought I'd just go hang there until their shifts are over." He didn't tell him that he still wasn't sure that Payton hadn't gone completely off the deep end over this.
"Sounds good Shrimp, just be careful yourself, it's supposed to get pretty cold tonight" He hung up and headed to the museum to wait for his girl. When he got there, he met Max on the steps and filled him on what little he'd seen and knew about the accident. Max clapped him on the shoulder and told him it was a good thing that he was doing. "How about I let you into the exhibit?" he asked him.
"Max, that would be great, I know I shouldn't be here, but I gotta know she's okay" Seeley told him.
"Alright kid, follow me" the two of them headed inside and Max took Seeley to the Modern Marvel wing and unlocked the employee entrance. "If she is where she's assigned, she'll be in the last room on the left side" he pointed down with a flashlight left at the entrance, "go get her Tiger" he told Seeley and locked the door behind him.
Armed with just the flashlight, Booth hurried down the hallway between exhibits. As he got closer he heard singing. Slowing down, he waited just inside the doorway, listening to her singing softly, he really had to strain to hear the words, once he understood what she was singing, he just stood there listening.
"Picture perfect memories, scattered all around the floor reaching for the phone cause, I can't fight it anymore and I wonder if I ever cross your mind for me it happens all the time it's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now and I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now."
He entered the room and saw her standing in the middle, cleaning some piece of machinery and she was swaying slightly to the music in her headphones. He knew there was no way to approach her without startling her, so he tried to brace himself for her reaction…
She felt his presence before she saw him, so when he walked up behind her and took her in his arms, she didn't jump as he expected. Instead, she leaned back into him slightly and rested her head on his shoulder. She reached up and took the headphones off and draped it around her neck. He had one hand on her stomach, the other on her hip as he slowly spun her to face him. When she was facing him, he pressed her up against the machine that she was cleaning and she put her arms around his neck. Looking into each other's eyes, they were completely oblivious to their surroundings. Neither one of them said anything for a minute, just allowed the rest of the song to drift quietly from the forgotten headphones.
"Hi" he said quietly, still not taking his eyes from hers.
"I knew I'd see you tonight "she said back. She pulled him down slightly so that she could kiss him, and he dipped his head to meet her lips. Both sweet and gentle, the kiss was more a declaration that they were both relieved that she was okay, rather than an invitation to passion.
Stepping back he said, "I needed to know you were okay-I was worried" he said simply.
"I'm okay, no lasting issues, just curious what could have happened, are all the guys okay?" she asked, thinking how the entire team had rushed over. She'd never have believed it if she didn't see it firsthand. "Yeah, they're all good, we've gone to hundreds of rescues of fair maidens over the years, that was like our 3rd one yesterday alone" he joked with her.
"Well, no wonder everyone was so professional and prepared" she told him, rolling her eyes and turning back to the machine. "How's Wendell?" she asked off handedly. She could tell that he was interested in Angela, all the signs were there, even for a girl as naïve as she was where relationships were concerned.
"Ahh, Wendell, he's good. He'll torture himself for a while then he'll ask her out, it's his MO. Speaking of which how is Angela? This has got to be killing her."
"She's okay; she's worried about me, the truck, and her dad and mad at the same time. She's never had an accident before and was pretty shook up, we're both glad no one else was involved and no one got seriously hurt. Grayson brought us here and told her he'd be back to take her home, he offered me a ride, but I told him I was going home with you" she had moved onto the back of the machinery, so he couldn't see how her face burned with the slight double meaning in that sentence."
Hearing her say she was going home with him made him harden instantly as he imagined what that would really be like, and he wondered if she intended it to come out that way. "So, you need to go home and pack a bag?" he asked her mischievously.
Face still flushed, she said, "A bag? Why would I need to pack a bag?"
"Oh, so you sleep in the nude? That's a pleasant image. Since we wear uniforms to work, you could get away with not needing another one…you're right, you don't need a bag to come home with me. I'm sure we've got a spare toothbrush somewhere." He was enjoying this little back and forth she'd initiated.
Standing up abruptly, she twitched her lips at him and rolled her eyes. She came around to where he was leaning on a display podium. Walking slowly towards him she licked her bottom lip and stared into his eyes. As soon as she got next to him, she reached her hand down to his erection and lightly stroked the zipper of his pants, causing him to hiss his breath. She leaned in close and softly whispered, "I guess I really would need to go home with you for you to be sure how I sleep" she paused to stroke upward again, "however, I just meant you'd give me a ride home" she said the last word on an exhaled breath as her mouth dipped towards his collar and she nipped him slightly with her teeth, before abruptly releasing him and heading back to the machinery she was cleaning.
He stood frozen where he was, images of the two of them in a frenzied embrace flashing through his mind, as he frantically tried to remember how to breathe. His heart was frozen as most of the blood in his body was boiling and pooled in his boxer shorts currently. Finally, his flight or fight responses kicked in and he was able to breathe again, still hard as granite, he said in a very calm voice, "One of these days, I'll give you a ride you won't forget, but you're right tonight I just meant a ride to your home."
She giggled silently as she knelt behind the machine. Having discovered this side of herself and this part of their relationship was liberating and confusing and well, fun. She never thought that she'd be so bold as to do what she had done, but she enjoyed seeing his reaction, as well as they way she felt. Her breasts were tight and her stomach fluttered. Not to mention, she was just as hot as he was.
The two of them drifted into safer waters as she continued to clean. At a quarter to 9 they exited the exhibit room and headed down to the employee break room so she could change and get her things to go. Just as they got to the end of the hallway, he doused the flashlight and pulled her tightly into his embrace; ravishing her mouth savagely he pressed her up against the wall and picked her up so she was forced to wrap her legs around his hips. Thrusting slightly against their joined flush he moved to her neck and then up to her ear and back to her mouth, the whole time she was holding on to him with all the strength she possessed. Their tongues fought for and relinquished control repeatedly, they both moaned slightly when he tilted her hips into his slightly. Panting he let her down and moved to stand next to her, reaching for her hand, he said, "I'm sorry, I've been fighting doing that all night and I just lost."
Tempe was trying desperately to come back to earth and calm her body and mind at the same time when he spoke, squeezing his hand slightly she said, "Don't be sorry, it was my fault, I brought it up" and then she giggled when she realized the double meaning, he smirked in the darkness, the mood effectively broken.
"Nice Temperance, very nice talk for a lady" he said in a mock serious tone as he kissed her on the forehead and they exited the hallway holding hands. She couldn't stop giggling and was really enjoying herself when she got to the break room and Angela told her there the Sweets were waiting outside in the parking lot. Her giddy feeling vanished completely and she immediately came back to reality, she was a 16 year old foster child living with parents who were only that in name, in love with the hottest guy at school, confused about everything and was trying desperately to keep the web of deceit she was weaving as small as she could. Thanking Angela, she turned to Seeley and said, "I'm sorry Booth- I really am"
He smiled and told her it was fine, he'd pick her up for school in the morning and then pulled her into a hug and gave her cheek a kiss before he kissed Angela on the cheek and left. After changing her clothes, she and Angela walked out front, Grayson was waiting in the Escalade and came over to the two of them; he wrapped an arm around Angela and put his hand on Temperance's shoulder. He spoke to the two of them and then pulled them both in for a hug. Then placing his hand on the small of Angela's back, he walked he r to his car as Temperance headed over to the car where the Sweets were waiting impatiently.
"Who was that?" Rebecca immediately launched into her as she got buckled in.
"That was Grayson, Angela's bodyguard, she had some bad news today and he came to pick her up." She said resentfully. It was really none of their business and she wasn't about to tell them about the accident. Maybe not even for the rest of her life if she was lucky.
"Why did he touch you?" The way Lance said it made it seem dirty and inappropriate and it made Temperance's blood boil in fury, trying to speak in a modulated tone she responded, "because I'm her best friend and he wanted to make sure that I was okay too, that's what people who are concerned do" she added and instantly regretted it.
"Well, I don't approve of him touching you, best friend or not, I think I'm going to make some phone calls in the morning" Lance said, glancing over to Rebecca. "It's inappropriate behavior, regardless of the reason."
Temperance didn't know what to say, but decided she was in it already, might as well see it through, "He's been her bodyguard for 13 years and her dad was worried about her, and in turn, worried about me as I'm pretty close to her. Grayson was just sent to make sure that she was okay and there is nothing going on. He'll tell her dad that she's fine and then go back to the compound. There's no reason to make any phone calls, but I do have her dad's number here, if you'd like to call him?"
The last sentence was either going to diffuse the situation or push him totally over the edge so Temperance waited motionlessly in the back seat, hoping for the best.
"Well, maybe it won't be necessary to call, if he's not going to be around you anymore…it's just that your mother and I worry, you're a very naïve and impressionable child. This Angela girl is not the best influence to have in your life, she's a girl of very loose morals and for someone like you that may seem exciting, but it's not, it's a hard life and we just want you to be safe from people like that." He told her in his most 'we're smarter and better than you don't you forget it' voice.
"Yes Sir" she said back, "I appreciate your concern for my well being." She turned to look out the window and saw a white Explorer turn out of the parking lot and pull in a car length behind them. When they pulled into their driveway, the Explorer continued on out of sight. Going upstairs, she felt her phone vibrate and once she was safely in her room she read the text, "Still lookng 4ward 2 that 'ride' :P-g'nite luv u" he had sent her and she smiled and replied, "me 2" before turning it off and plugging the phone into the charger and getting ready for bed.