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Booth was mad. No, not just mad, furious. He could not form a rational thought in his mind as he sped through downtown DC, to get to his daughters school.
It was 20 minutes ago that he got the call asking him to come and collect his daughter. He had been worried at first, maybe she was sick- or there had been an accident.
"Is she okay?" he had asked with concern.
"Physically she is fine. She is not ill," the principal had replied.
"Then what's wrong?"
"She was found smoking in a janitorial closet with another peer."
"What? Are you sure?"
"Mr. Booth, please assure yourself that it was a positive identification, as I caught them myself."
He didn't know what had come over her- his usually intelligent child, doing something so blatantly stupid. Maybe she wanted attention?
His phone sounded indicating he had an incoming call from his wife.
"Have you arrived at the school?"
"Try to act calm and rationally. I'll meet you at home as soon as I can, and we will discuss this together."
"Rationally? You're joking right? You do realize that our daughter might get suspended?"
"Yes, and I am very upset Booth, don't assume that I'm not. However, I am more concerned that she is not aware of the dangers to her health."
"Health," Booth almost laughed. "Bones, it was one cigarette. It's the lying, and skipping class I'm worried about. I knew that new friend was a bad influence. Look Bones, I'm here, I'll see you soon."
"I love you."
"Love you too."
Jacqueline was scared. She had asked the principal to call her mother first, but she hadn't answered. Her father was going to kill her.
When the office door opened, she looked up and saw her father's tight lips and blazing eyes. She moved to get up.
Booth stopped and pointed at her. "You. Don't move an inch."
He turned to the secretary and asked to see the principal. Almost immediately the principal emerged from his office at the back.
"Hello Mr. Booth. Thank you for coming so quickly."
Booth nodded. "Is she being suspended?"
"Yes, there is a mandatory suspension. It is the school boards policy, with no exceptions."
Jacqueline began to quietly cry.
"Quiet," Booth said turning to her. "I understand."
"Since Jacqueline does possess a clean record and is not usually in trouble, it will only be for tomorrow, and she may return on Monday. She will also have detention for the two weeks following her return."
"Thank you. And I will assure you," Booth said turning to look at his daughter, "that this will never, ever, happen again." He shook the principal's hand.
"Get up," he ordered Jacqueline. She obeyed quickly and lead to the way out of the school.
As soon as the car door closed Jacqueline tried to talk to her father. "Daddy, I'm…"
"I don't want to hear it Jacqueline."
"Jacqueline, I mean it. Shut your mouth."
The rest of the ride was quiet and tense.
When they arrived home Jacqueline followed her father into the living room and sat down in a big arm chair. She wiped the tears from her eyes.
"God Jacqueline. What the hell were you thinking? Skipping class? Smoking? In a closet no less? How could you be so stupid? I'm so angry with you. You have no idea."
"I don't know what I was thinking."
"You're going to have to do better than that!" Booth gritted out angrily.
"I was curious, I guess."
"What do your mother and I always tell you? Huh?"
"I don't know…" she whispered.
"Answer me! What do we always tell you?"
She wiped her eyes again. "To come to you first," she whispered.
"So? Why didn't you?"
"I don't know."
"Give me a break and stop with the 'I don't knows'. You're not a child anymore."
"I just… I wanted to try it, and I knew you wouldn't let me…"
"Damn straight we wouldn't have let you Jacqueline! Not only are they horrible for you, but you're fourteen! Fourteen Jacqueline!"
The front door opened and closed and Brennan appeared.
"You started without me?" she asked Booth.
"You took a long time."
"I had to make a stop." Brennan looked at her daughter, and then to her husband. "Please, continue."
"Jacqueline- ugh, I don't even know where we were."
"I heard something about being curious when I walked in," Brennan helped out.
Booth was breathing heavily, visibly still furious.
"Jacqueline," Brennan started seeing her husband wasn't going to say anything at the moment. "I am extremely upset with you and the lack of good judgment you showed today."
Jacqueline frowned and nodded. "I know, I'm sorry. It wasn't my idea. Jessica stole them from her brother- and I said no at first. I really did, and I know that doesn't make it better, but she started to make fun of me."
Brennan nodded waiting for her to continue.
"I didn't want her to not like me. You know I've had trouble making friends at this school. People don't like me… and Jessica, well she does."
Jacqueline had switched schools at the beginning of this year. At her old school, she had friends, but she had graduated from it at the end of the previous year. Rather than simply moving on with her class, they had been divided into two high schools, and the one that was closer to her home, was not the one where most of her peers had gone.
"That's no reason!" Booth interjected loudly.
Brennan held up her hand to her husband. While he was right, not having friends was her specialty, not his.
"I know you've had a hard time this year, but I think that even you know that if you need to smoke to keep a friend, that she is not truly your friend."
"I know…" Jacqueline sobbed again. "I'm sorry. I just hate it there. People are mean to me. If I get all the answers right, people call me a teachers pet, and taunt me non-stop… but if I do bad, then you'll be mad at me and I don't want that either!"
Even Booth softened. He hadn't known how bad it had been. "Jackie," he started, using her nickname for the first time. "You didn't tell us that it was so bad for you."
"Of course not! Then you would tell my teachers, and the kids would find out I needed my mommy and daddy to interject and then it would be worse."
"You should have talked to us," Booth insisted. "Smoking is not the answer."
"I know. I screwed up. I'm sorry."
"If you want to try something like smoking, alcohol, marijuana… I want you to come to me. That way we can talk about it, and discuss the side effects of it, and if you're still curious, experience it in a safe environment," Brennan explained.
"Bones!" Booth said turning to his wife shocked.
"Oh come on Booth. Like you never got high?"
"That has nothing to do with this!"
"Of course it does. Rationally speaking, at some point Jacqueline will be asked if she wants to partake in smoking a joint, and I would rather it would be with me, then she tries it at some party and it happens to be laced with harmful chemicals."
Jacqueline's eyes were wide as she listened to her mother.
Booth covered his face with his hands. "Bones…"
"So now Jacqueline. I think your father and I need to discuss the idea of you changing schools. Perhaps to a private school." She looked to her husband.
Booth nodded. While he had resisted in the past, mainly because of the past, he knew he was fighting a losing battle. Bones, and even Jackie had in the past been open to the idea.
"We'll talk," he responded.
"Good. Now I don't want this opportunity to past without a solid learning experience. Therefore, I want to show you why it is bad for you to smoke."
"Please tell me you're not going to pull out cigarettes…" he begged.
"Of course not. Jacqueline, please follow me."
Jacqueline got up and followed her mother to the kitchen. Booth was cautious, but curious.
Brennan lifted a cooler onto the kitchen counter. "Now these, she said lifting a blob up in a plastic bag is a set of healthy lungs."
"Oh my god…" Booth breathed out realizing what she was doing. "Where did you get those?"
"I borrowed them from a friend who teaches the dangers of smoking."
"Eww!" Jacqueline gasped, paling a bit.
"And these," Brennan continued unaffected, "are the lungs of a smoker". The difference was extremely obvious. The smoker's lungs were shriveled and black.
"Ok!" Jacqueline said turning around. "I promise, on my life, that I will never pick up another cigarette again… in my whole lifetime. Now can I please go to my room?"
"Yeah," Booth sighed. "And you're ground for two weeks."
"My pleasure…" she muttered leaving the kitchen.
"Bones, was that really necessary?"
Bones put the lungs back in the cooler and washed her hands.
"She promised not to smoke anymore didn't she? My hope is that this conditions her, to think of the lungs, whenever she thinks about smoking."
Booth sighed. He had to give her that one. At least she would most likely, never smoke again. And neither would he.
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