A/N - When Gemlily5 asked for a follow up to Booth's proposal in The Skeleton in the Office (Chapter 4 of my Little Moments) almost a month ago, I couldn't say no.
Girlfriend, you've got the patience of a saint putting up with me and the delays caused by my quest for perfection. I hope this lives up to all the expectations and anticipation. I cried. I laughed. I can't wait to hear what you think about it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.
The Woman in White
Seeley Booth is a patient man. He's lain in the sand for hours watching for a kill shot. He's tolerated his ex's attempts to keep him from his son. He's found and waited for the love of a lifetime.
Just because he's patient doesn't mean he isn't nervous. As he waits for her, he can't shake his concern for her flight reflex. He stares at the big double doors at the back of the church - yes, she had agreed to a church wedding. Watching. Waiting. Hoping.
He straightens his cufflinks and turns to his left offering Jack a weak smile. Looking to the rest of the squint squad sitting in the front rows he wonders what he'll say to their friends if she can't go through with it. How he'll manage to go on if she walks, or runs, away.
The organ music starts and all doubts melt as quickly as they'd entered his mind. He can't keep his mouth from falling open when he sees her coming towards him on her father's arm. How he managed get this lucky he'll never understand. But all he needs to know is that he's in love with her and will love her for the rest of his life.
The dress is elegant in it's simplicity. It's without the usual lace or jeweled embellishments of most bridal gowns. The pearly satin clings to the curves of her body in all the right places, while leaving enough to the imagination to keep him from pulling his Glock on any man who looks at her too long.
Max Keenan releases his daughter with a kiss on the cheek and knowing look to Booth. It's a look that expresses both approval and warning. The glint in the older man's eyes says I know you'll take care of her, while at the same time if you don't, you're a dead man. Booth nods his understanding and gives Max a firm handshake.
Once brown eyes meet blue, everyone and everything fades into the background. All he can see is her. In an instant, he's never been so glad that he held out for ten years. Never has he been so sure that he would have, in fact, waited for her forever. Never has he been so drunk with euphoria knowing he won't have to.
"Friends, relatives, we have come together here today to witness the union of Seeley and Temperance," Father Joseph begins. Yes, she had also agreed to let his parish priest perform the service, albeit a non-denominational one. "The couple has chosen to write their own vows. Seeley..."
He takes her smaller hands in his larger ones. The words he had so carefully crafted and prepared somehow don't seem to do his feelings for her justice. "Wow," he says to her with a cocky smile. "What does a man in love with a best-selling author say in a moment like this? Geez, Bones, no pressure there."
"I don't know what that means," she says leaning slightly toward him. Those that know them well laugh. They laugh because they know that she does know what he means a heck of a lot more than she lets on. Especially now. This time when she says it, it's to comfort and lift him.
He takes a deep breath. "I've told you before that I knew. I knew that you were the one I wanted to spend my life with, build a family with. We kind of did things a little backwards. We built our family even before we knew how much we cared about each other. Everyone here is our family," he gestures with a tilt of his head to those sharing this with them.
"And I can't wait for the day we add a couple of little squints of our own to the squad because I know what a great mom you're going to be." He pauses, slightly overwhelmed by the emotions coursing through him. He can feel his heart pounding in every cell and fiber of his being. He feels the prick of tears, but they don't fall.
"There was a time that I didn't know if we'd get here. There was a time that I didn't know if it mattered if we got here, but you know what, Bones? I'm so glad we did. This is more than just a piece of paper, it's more than just being able to be there for each other in an emergency. It's my promise to you. A promise that I will be right here - by your side - everyday, no matter what. I've never been so glad that I waited and I've never been more in love with you than I am right now." He grins at her, "And I know I'll love you more still tomorrow and every day after that for the rest of my life. You're stuck with me now, Baby, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be."
Her eyes glisten with the moisture of joyous tears as she squeezes his hands. "I knew. From the moment we first kissed, I knew. I think that's the real reason I got into that cab - I knew this was going somewhere and I was terrified."
Her voice falters. Not because she has forgotten her vows. Not because she is considering running away. Rather at the enormity of reaching this moment with the man in front of her. "It's taken us forever to get here," she smiles. "In the beginning we could barely tolerate each other. Then I was too afraid to take a risk. I almost gave up the chance to spend the rest of my life living with and loving my best friend, but you wouldn't let me. You've never given up. Not when I was buried alive, not when you were on the ship, not when I was afraid to give this - us, the most wonderful discovery of my life - a try. We've stumbled along the way and there were times we thought about throwing in the rag..."
"The towel, Bones," he corrects gently with a smile and a waggling eyebrow, as he leans slightly closer. "It's the towel."
Everyone laughs. It's so them.
She shakes her head, the corner of her lips curling slightly higher in her little half smile. "You...you know me better than I know myself. I'm only sorry I wasted so much time thinking you wanted me to change when all you really wanted to do was allow me to fly. Home. To you. Where I belong." She can't keep the tears back any longer and a few crystalline beads shimmer as they escape in twin paths down her cheeks. "Thank you. Thank you for waiting for me and not giving up even when I probably deserved it. Thank you for your patience and your strength. But most of all, thank you for your love."
"If anyone has any reason..." the priest began.
"Move it on, padre," Caroline Julian says as she stands up and looks around. She puts her hands on her wide hips, her lips pressing firmly together and her brow furrowing. "There ain't a soul in this church that doesn't want to see these two hitched." She lets out a little cluck and shakes her head. "And if there is, may the good Lord have mercy on their souls because Booth's packin' heat and I'll make sure he gets off on the charges."
Father Joseph turns back to the couple as the congregation chuckles. "Well, in that case, the rings?"
Parker walks over and hands his dad the smooth circular piece of jewelry that's been burning a hole in his pocket. He gives Brennan a wink before slipping back to his position with the groomsmen.
Booth takes her left hand and raises it between them, brushing a soft kiss over her knuckles. "This ring isn't a mark to let others know you're mine, it's a symbol of my love for you and a reminder that I'm yours. It's a promise that I will love, cherish and protect you, come what may, this and all the days of my life." He slips the tiny platinum band around her ring finger in a painfully slow motion, savoring the gift he's been given as it comes to rest nestled against the matching engagement ring.
Brennan turns and accepts Booth's ring from Angela. She looks into his eyes, "This ring isn't a mark to let others know you're mine, it's a symbol of my love for you and a reminder that I am yours. It's a promise that I will love, cherish and protect you, come what may, this and all the days of my life." She slips his wider platinum ring around his finger and watches with delight as his eyes light up when he feels the weight of the object he never thought he'd get to wear.
"By the power vested in me by the District of Columbia, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
They are so caught up in each other's eyes that they miss the final instruction. What they don't miss is the prosecutor in the third row calling out again. "What the hell are you waiting for? Go on and kiss her already, cherie! And don't skimp on the steamboats!"
Brennan doesn't wait for Booth. Instead, she takes a step in his direction and leans up to mould her lips to his. His left hand - the hand bearing his wedding band for all to see - skims over her cheek until his thumb rests against the curve of her ear and his fingers sink into the hair of her loose chignon.
The kiss is publicly appropriate, but communicates a yearning. They'd discussed it beforehand and bickered about what they were and weren't allowed to do. Booth had insisted on no tongue because they'd be in church. That doesn't stop Brennan from slipping hers in a quick swipe over the part of his lower lip hidden between hers.
Something stirs within him. Screw chaste. He surprises her. Taking her in his arms, he dips her back. Kissing her - really kissing her - like there's no tomorrow. In front of God and all their friends. There are catcalls and whistles and he knows there will be confession and penance as a result but he's patiently waited so many years for this moment. And there's no need to be patient anymore.
A/N - A note of thanks to jsq for suggesting that I find a way to give you a little bit of Caroline in one of my stories. Are you smiling? Because I'm grinning like a fool. This may have been the most fun I've ever had writing one of these.
The timing of this post is sort of the equivalent of make-up sex. Some of you who follow my Promise in the Good Bye are pretty ticked at me right now for the "little stunt" I pulled on Saturday. Maybe this took some of the sting out.