Thanks for the continued support! The following takes place after the amazingness that was, 'The Parts in the Sum of the Whole.' Enjoy.
Booth and Brennan sat across from each other at 'their' table in the Royal Diner. Normally, they could solve any problem over food. Normally, they cheered up each other if things were bad. Normally, everything was right between them at the end of the day.
Nothing about the last few hours was normal. A kiss and a hopeful suggestion of a romantic relationship, followed by an emotional, gut-wrenching rejection was definitely not normal.
Their plates had long been in front of them, the food now soggy and cold from being moved side-to-side. Short moments of silence stretched into long, uncomfortable ones. Things between them had changed. And not for the better.
Finally, Brennan tossed her napkin on the table and pushed away her plate. "I should go, Booth," she told him softly. Her eyes flicked up to his, but the hurt and sadness she'd seen earlier was still there, and she quickly looked away.
Booth nodded and pulled out his wallet. "I'll take care of this, then we'll go."
"You should stay," Brennan told him.
"But you rode with me," Booth replied. This was really not going well.
"I'll get a cab," she sighed and stood, grabbing her coat. "It's for the best, Booth," she finished, turning and quickly making her way to the door.
"Bones, wait!" he exclaimed as he tossed a few bills on the table and hurried after her. She was already outside by the time he caught up with her, and he reached out and grasped her shoulder. "Stop, for just a minute, Bones," he pleaded as he stepped in front of her, his hand sliding down her arm and coming to rest just above her elbow. He kept hold of her arm, fearing that if he let go… He didn't even want to finish the thought.
Brennan's eyes slipped shut for an extended moment, but she didn't pull away from him. Years ago, she'd shunned his touch, but suddenly, she was aware of how she'd grown accustomed to it. The realization was frightening. "What happens now, Booth?" she asked slowly. "How can we work together when we can't even share a meal?" She despised crying, especially in front of him, and she berated herself for doing so now.
"It's been a long day," he sighed, hating himself, knowing that he was the cause of her tears. "I shouldn't have sprung that on you."
"Yes, you should have," she told him, finally meeting his gaze. "You're not the kind of person who holds things back."
"But now you're hurting because of my selfishness. Bones, I'm sorry…"
"For telling me you love me?"
"No, I'll never apologize for that. I'm sorry for putting my feelings first." He stepped a tiny bit closer. "I knew you weren't ready to hear that I love you, but I hoped that you'd take a chance anyway."
"Booth," Brennan's voice cracked as she pulled away, "This is too much. I can't do this." She turned and walked in the opposite direction. She rounded the corner and thankfully found a man and woman vacating a taxi. Calling out to the driver, she quickened her pace, sliding into the backseat a few seconds later. She knew Booth would follow her, so she wasn't surprised when he stopped her from shutting the door.
"We're not finished, Bones," he declared, leaning over and peering in at her. "Not by a long shot."
"I need to go, Booth," she practically pleaded, unable to look him in the eye.
"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"I don't know," her voice cracked again. "Please let go."
Swallowing around the lump in his throat, he straightened and took a step back, shutting the cab door with a resonating thud. He stared after the cab as it pulled away, hoping she would turn back as she had all those years ago.
Thanks for reading!
Chapter 2 is already written and will be posted later in the day. :D