A/N: Quite a while ago I wrote a fic titled, "One of Those Days." Many people asked me to write a similar fic from Booth's perspective. I always thought about it, but never did... until today. After slicing half-way through my thumb while washing a knife, giving myself a mild asthma attack (from dusting), and managing to get a bone splinter in my finger while dusting a boar skull (don't ask), I decided today would be a good day to write that sibling fic. Enjoy, and let me know what you think. :)
Booth looked up at the clock sitting on top of the mantle, between the two small wooden African fertility statues. They had hollow carved-out eyes that gave the impression of following you wherever you went in the room, which made him feel as if he were being spied on.
In truth, she had no idea he was there. He got her spare key from Angela, who was more than happy to provide it—in fact, too happy. The haughty air about her and her scarcely concealed grin made him frown as he took the key and thanked her gruffly. What did she know, anyway? He was just trying to do something nice.
After all, she had been gone for two weeks—she sent him correspondence, either e-mail or text, and an occasional call, from every city she touched down in. She had been asked to give a series of lectures on the forensic side of genocide and victim repatriation by the United Nations, and had flown everywhere from Beijing to Brussels over the past fifteen days. Now she was finally on her last flight, the one that would bring her back to D.C. She deserved a little pampering.
Her plane was due to touch down in an hour, and it would likely take another hour before she got her bags and made her way home. That gave him just enough time to get his lasagna baked and the house cleaned up. His plan was to have dinner on the table and Foreigner in the stereo by the time she walked through the front door.
Well, that was his plan, anyway. He had already taken care of the latter part, throwing the Foreigner CD in almost as soon as he'd walked through the door. He cranked the volume up loud enough to probably be heard from across the street, then began dicing tomatoes for the sauce—a homemade recipe handed down from his grandmother, to his mother, and finally passed to him just before her illness overtook her. The recipe was traditionally handed from woman to woman, but since Booth had no sisters and Jared could barely make a bowl of Easy Mac without it becoming irrevocably plastered to the inside of the microwave, it fell into his hands. Chop the tomatoes, heat the oil, toss in some garlic, and add a touch of this, a touch of that, until he could smell the memories of his mother's home cooking.
It was while lost in one of these memories of her floral apron that the knife slipped. It caught the crook of his index finger, sending blood spurting out onto the cutting board and countertop. He let out a string of swears that surely made his great-great grandmother turn in her grave in Italy, and dropped the knife on the cutting board, grabbing his wounded finger. The knife hit the board, bounced, and clattered onto the floor. Startled and hoping to avoid another Edward Scissorhands moment, he jumped back and promptly collided with the handle of the saucepan where nearly a cup of olive oil was near simmering. The pan overturned, sending hot oil pouring down the back of his shirt and pants, soaking into his shoes and all over the floor.
In a fit that could only be described as spastic, he managed to strip down to his boxers in ten seconds flat. His oil-soaked clothes lay in a heap on the floor, and he bore bright pink splotches from his mid-back all the way down his thigh, but no serious damage was done. Well, except for his finger, which was still dripping deep crimson onto the Spanish tile in Brennan's kitchen. He ran the finger under cold water and inspected the incision. It was not too long but deep, and most likely could use a stitch or two, but he had neither the time nor desire to drive to the emergency room and wait six hours to be sewn up. He wrapped the finger tightly in a paper towel and decided to deal with it later.
The most pressing issue was the fact that her kitchen floor was now covered in slick, quickly cooling oil. The more it cooled, the stickier it would become, and the more difficult to remove. He quickly weighed his priorities—clean clothes versus a clean floor—and decided that she would be more offended by coming home and finding him in oil-stained boxers than to find him cleaning her floor. He balled up his dirty clothes and disposed of them in the washing machine, adding an extra splash of detergent and adding his boxers quickly before setting the load.
He dashed across the hall into her bedroom, as if the fertility statues were ogling his nakedness, and browsed the sacrosanct room for a robe. It felt eerie being in her bedroom, as if he were encroaching on sacred ground. He found a variety of robes in the room—one lying on the bed, discarded before she left, another hanging on the outside of the closet, and yet another flung over the bathroom towel bar. But he soon became acutely aware of the fact that his shoulders were nearly twice as broad as hers, and his arms at least twice her girth—nothing she owned was going to fit him, plain and simple.
He ended up finding the only thing that would wrap around his midsection—a spare bedsheet from her hall closet—and wrapped it twice around his waist, rolling it over to secure it. He felt supremely stupid in this makeshift skirt, but assured himself that it was only until his clothes were washed and dried. He still had an hour and a half until she was expected to arrive home, and her hoity-toity high efficiency washing machine told him he only had to wait 18 minutes before the wash was done.
It was when he was on his hands and knees scrubbing cool olive oil off the tile floor that he realized exactly what "high efficiency" meant. It meant that a very small amount of soap was acceptable, even for very dirty loads. It meant that adding a large amount of soap thinking that it would make the clothes cleaner was, in fact, a horrible idea. It meant turning around to see the contents of the washing machine gushing out into the hallway, his boxers floating in a sea of thick, puffy white lavender-scented clouds.
"No, no, no!" he shouted, trying to stand up but quickly slipping on the stubborn oil that was quite content to stay gooey on the floor. He barely caught himself, and scrambled across the slick floor into the living room, then down the hall. Water and suds gushed over the top of the machine, washing over his feet and soaking the hem of his sheet skirt. He tried to push the lid of the washing machine down and push away the copious bubbles so he could crank the knob to "off", but the spew of water pushed back his hands, unwrapping the paper towel bandage from his finger and starting the bleeding all over again.
After finally mastering the machine and turning it off, he sloshed out of the laundry room to retrieve the mop from the kitchen, where it was oil-soaked and mostly ineffective. Maybe it would work better on the suds. He ground his teeth as the CD skipped, playing the same jolting line over and over—"Together we'll make hi—together we'll make hi—together we'll make hi—together we'll make hi—"
It was at that moment that, even over the damaged rendition of "Feels Like the First Time", that he heard the key turn in the lock. The knob turned, and he saw it pause momentarily. In that pregnant pause he was sure he knew what was going through her mind—something akin to, "What the hell is going on inside my apartment?" He braced himself as the door swung open and she stood in its frame, one arm weighed down by a heavy suitcase, brows heavy with confusion.
Her expression grew increasingly slack-jawed in shock as she took in the scene around her—kitchen floor glistening with oil, counters splattered with chopped tomatoes and water, soap and water gushing down the hallway into the living room, and Booth standing next-to-naked in front of her with only a mop, a sheet, and a sorry look on his face.
"I… this is…" He held up his hands as if in peace, then realized he was holding the mop still. As he jumped to grab it, the oil on the bottom of his feet met the water dripping from the hem of his skirt. It was the kill shot that sent him falling from a dead stand to a face-plant on the polished cherry wood floor.
"Oh," she managed, dropping her suitcase and carefully making her way over towards him to help him up. He held his hands out as if to hold her back, and it was then that she saw the blood still steadily flowing from his finger.
"Oh, God," she repeated, look of concern evolving into mild horror. "What did you do?"
"I can explain," he began, but as he rose to his feet his heel caught the edge of the sheet that was precariously loose around his midsection. He rose, but the sheet did not rise with him. It was then that he stood—bleeding, mildly burned, slicked with oil and soap—in all his glory. Her eyes flitted down, then immediately up, screwed shut as her face flushed a deep shade of crimson.
"I… don't," she said slowly, shaking her head, eyes still shut. "I don't want to know, I don't… I just…" Instead of finishing whatever mangled thought was trying to pass through her synapses, she took a few blind steps backward towards the door she had just entered through. She fumbled her hands around on the entry table until she found what she knew would be there, his own uninterrupted habit—his keys. He always dropped them on that table when he came over, every time, and this had been no exception.
"What are you doing?" he asked as she continued to back through the door until she was well into the hallway, eyes still shut.
"Going," was all she said.
"Where are you going?" he asked, having pulled the sheet up to cover his front sheepishly.
"Your house." She shut the door and left him standing in the middle of the mess, with Together we'll make hi—together we'll make hi—together we'll make hi—still skipping happily in the background.
"Okay," he said to the closed door. "I guess I'll just… clean this up, then."