Booth helped Temperance from the bedroom, and they walked down the hallway where Max was just opening the door to the next set of guests. The boy that walked into the apartment in front of the two adults made an immediate line to his father, grabbing him around his middle as he hugged him tightly. "I missed you." He said, looking up at his father with a smile, Booth gave him a sideways grin and waved toward Rebecca and Harding before looking down at his son again.
"You going to do that every time you see me?" Booth asked, ruffling his son's hair as Parker nodded. "Good…" He hugged him and glanced to the door to the dining room. "Well, I'm sure that the dining room crew has the table ready… why don't we take this party in there?" He said, turning to Temperance, who was balancing herself a bit against the wall, he offered his arm. "You okay?" He asked, seeing the slight smile on her face as she glanced to everyone leaving the room for the dining room.
"I'm perfect." She whispered, taking his offered arm as they followed everyone into the dining room.
Angela and Antonia had just finished setting the table when everyone, loud and boisterous began to enter the dining room. Antonia insisted on telling each person where they were going to sit, while she pointed out the things that she helped with very excitedly.
"And I put that plate, and that plate on the table all by myself." She grinned. "I didn't need help in reaching or anything!"
"Well, it looks like you're getting to be a very big girl, Miss Antonia." Cam said with a smile as the little girl smiled shyly.
"Parker!" She exclaimed, seeing the boy standing a bit awkwardly in the doorway behind the adults. "You can sit here… next to me." She exclaimed, running toward him with her hand extended. He smiled and happily took the little girl's hand as she bounced across the room happily and pulled a chair out for him. "Here, you sit there, and I'll sit here…" She said, climbing into her chair. "That's my Uncle Russ, and my Aunt Amy, and that's Emma and Haley, and that's my Oompa… and…Big A, and Uncle Bugs, and…"
"I already know them!" Parker laughed as the little girl stopped mid sentence and stared at him.
"But you can tell me anyway if you want." He said, as her smile returned and she continued her chatter as everyone found his or her seat.
Booth helped Temperance to her seat and watched as Angela came out of the kitchen with a bowl of sweet potatoes. "Alright, alright… that's enough labor for you… I'll take care of the rest." Booth said as he took the bowl and nodded toward the table.
"Are you sure you don't need help?" Harding asked, standing beside Rebecca's chair, he watched Booth shrug.
"Sure…" Booth said as the two men disappeared into the kitchen.
Several minutes later, plate after plate of food was revealed to the guests, who seemed impressed with both the quantity and quality of the food that was being presented. "Well, it looks like being dead for four years didn't do anything to your culinary abilities." Max joked, as there was a lull in the conversation and Booth's face darkened.
"Dad." Temperance said, her voice sounded stern and concerned. She knew the look on Booth's face, and she was not amused in the least that it had graced their presence at their family meal. "Don't."
"What, honey? I was just saying…" Max stopped with the pleading look on his daughter's face. "I'm sorry, Booth." Max said sincerely as Booth nodded his head and turned back toward the kitchen. Harding walked out of the kitchen with another bowl of mashed potatoes, and placed it on the table as he walked over to his own seat and sat down just as Booth walked through the doorway with the turkey.
There were exclamations of excitement at the presentation of the bird, and Booth was more than happy to be the one to place it on the table, his chest puffing with pride. "Daddy made that turkey with his bare hands… that's what he said!" Antonia exclaimed as everyone laughed, her expression changed to one of confusion, and then amusement when she realized everyone was just laughing and having a good time.
The conversation around the table was easy and full of happiness, and Booth was about to carve the turkey, his hand holding the carving knife and fork, when he felt a soft hand on his. His eyes moved to Temperance, and an automatic smile appeared on his face as he read the sentiment in her eyes. "I almost forgot." He said, shaking his head, and put the fork and knife down, he smiled at everyone around the table. There was family, friends, and more family, and for a moment, he was speechless. "Bones made a request…I know, go figure…" He said, rolling his eyes as everyone quieted, and let out a soft laugh. "No, I'm kidding… Bones just wanted us to take a minute…think about everything we've been thankful for…and maybe we could share it?" He said reaching for his daughter's hand as she looked up at him from her spot at his left side, and Temperance's hand on his right side. Antonia grasped Parker's hand, and each and everyone else gripped the hands of the people next to them.
"I just wanted to take this moment…" Temperance spoke up. "To say thank you to every person at this table for all that you have done for me. Thank you for supporting me through my difficult times, thank you for…coming back to me." She whispered, looking over at Booth, who smiled back at her. "For never leaving…" She whispered. "Thank you for your friendship… your loyalty… your smiles and hugs." She said, glancing to Angela and Hodgins, Cam, and finally Antonia, who was watching her mother very closely and a smile lit up her face. "Thank you for coming back home to us…" She whispered to Rebecca. "Thank you for not giving up hope." She whispered to Parker. "Thank you for helping me to face my fears." She said to Harding, watching him nod with a proud smile. "Thank you for being a constant support." She said to her brother and father. "Thank you all… because I couldn't have made it this far without you." She said, her voice cracking. "Thank you." She said again, as she closed her eyes and tried to compose herself as she took a deep breath and opened her eyes.
She glanced to Angela, sitting beside her, and Angela smiled to her friend. "I'm thankful for my friends, my family… my expanding family." She said, letting out a laugh as she gently rubbed her belly.
"Same here." Hodgins said with a laugh. "Health… I'm thankful for everyone's health too." He chuckled. "That doesn't jinx it, does it?" He asked to a gentle laugh from everyone at the table.
Everyone at the table had their chance to claim what they were thankful. Most said friends and family, and Emma and Haley giggled as they exclaimed they were thankful for the week off of school. When it was Parker's turn, everyone was silent, just as they had been for each vow of thankfulness that came before. He looked nervous, his eyes moving around the table as his lips trembled.
"It's okay, Parker…" Antonia insisted, tugging his hand. "I promise I won't make fun."
"It's not that." He said, giving the little girl an irritated glare, he shook his head. "I'm just… I love you, Dad." He said, as tears filled the boy's eyes. "Every single day that you were gone… I went into my room and I prayed. I prayed that you were happy in heaven, that you were looking down on me, like you said would happen if something ever happened to you. I prayed, but… I never felt it in my heart that it was getting to you." He sniffled, watching the tears in his father's eyes. "I'm just… I had… this feeling, you know? A feeling that you were still out there, and I knew that if I said anything… that everyone would think I was nuts. So what I'm trying to say… I mean… thanks for not being dead, Dad. I'd hate to think of you making a fool out of me." Parker finished, a proud smile on the faces of both father and son.
Antonia was looking at the turkey, practically drooling over it as her father's voice shook her from her daydream. "Hey…yeah, you… what are you thankful for?"
"Um… I'm thankful for um…" She said as she looked around the table, her eyes settling back on the turkey in front of her. "For turkey…"
"Toni… focus…" Booth said, watching a slow smile on her face.
"Oh… and mashed potatoes!" She exclaimed as Booth smiled.
"Okay, I guess it's my turn." Booth said, squeezing his daughter's hand lightly.
"I'm not done with my turn, Daddy!" Antonia exclaimed, watching Booth glance to her, her lip stuck out at him, and everyone at the table knew that she was going to get her way. "Please, daddy?"
"Okay… but you mention one more food item, and…"
"I'm thankful that my daddy isn't invisible anymore, Amen." She said quickly as everyone sat silently for a moment, as her words traveled between everyone at the table. "Okay, Daddy… your turn." Antonia said, her father's focus snapping to the little girl as she squeezed his hand in hers. "You don't got to be afraid, Daddy. I won't make fun." She smiled supportively.
"Well, thank you." He said, winking at the little girl as he carefully stood up, releasing the two hands he was holding. "I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful to be in the sunlight, instead of the moonlight. I am thankful that the truth has been revealed." He whispered, watching as Temperance's eyes never left his. "I am thankful that those that I love… have been cared for… and those that cared for them, are willing to share them with me once again." He said, his eyes moving warily to Max. "I am thankful that when I came into the light on that day… that Temperance didn't push me away. She's given me the sunlight… she's given me… a daughter. She's given me my family back, my life back, and all of these things are better than I could have ever imagined… better than I ever thought they could be. This is why I wanted to share with you… those who have gone from being my friends, to being so much more… I want to share with you two very important pieces of news." He smiled.
"Are we getting a puppy?" Antonia asked, and Booth laughed tenderly as he reached to her and pulled her from her seat, and into his arms, her hand resting in the same place it always rested, directly over his heart.
"No… not a puppy…" He said with a light chuckle. "But… you are going to be a big sister." He said, watching the little girl gasp.
"Bones is having a baby?" Parker asked, a bright smile on his face as everyone began talking at once.
"Yes…yes… that's one part of the news…" Booth said, the smile on his face becoming brighter as everyone quieted down. "The other bit of news is… that while you guys were all yammering in the living room about how hungry you were… Bones accepted my proposal." He said, pulling the ring from his pocket. Everyone watched as he slipped it onto her delicate finger and they all cheered for the happy announcements.
Booth took one more look around the room as everyone congratulated them and smiled, shifting the little girl in his arms, he kissed her cheek and moved to place her back in her chair. "Daddy…" She whispered, holding his shirt for a second as the chaos around them continued. "I forgot one more thing." She whispered.
"What is that, baby?" He asked tenderly, allowing all of the outside noise to melt away for a moment.
"I'm thankful that you're my daddy." She whispered, her words so innocent and pure that there was no way that she would understand the significance or weight of those words.
"I'm thankful for that too, baby." He whispered, kissing her forehead as she hugged him as he put her back on her chair, and went to officially starting their first annual family Thanksgiving feast.
*waves* Okay... i'm sure that there are plenty of you out there who weren't horribly happy with those last two words... I apologize... This 'phase' in the story is complete, and once again will continue in another story. That story will be entitled "Shadows in The Sun" And will be posted shortly (within the next week, possibly). Please read and review... The more input I get, the more I know that a sequel is wanted :)
I also wanted to thank my fellow bread truck drivers... Thnx4thegum and Doctorsuez ... along with all of my twitter fans and non twitter fans... if you all weren't there to drive my muse... I can't imagine what kind of trouble my imagination would get into. :)