The first words are prophetic. I'm sorry there have been so many delayed updates on this story, but just a couple more reviews please :)
"So this is the end. It's done." Cam looked up, startled, and found Felicia shivering in the doorway of her office. Cam realized it was because she had her personal air conditioner at full blast; she was hot blooded, but she felt a little bad when Hodgins detoured to her office periodically in two lab coats, begging her to turn the heat up despite the fact that it was April.
"What's finished?" Cam repeated, unconsciously correcting her sister's grammar. Felicia noticed, for once, and made a face.
"Well…Jet is in jail. So…here it is." She held an envelope and Cam, incredulous, took it from her and peeked inside.
"Apparently they drained his bank account and tracked down various people he had swindled."
"This fast?" Cam asked in disbelief; that dead end job was some poor schmuck's punishment for screwing up in the field. Remittances weren't usually returned for a couple months or even years, if at all if there was no one left to claim them.
"Yeah well," Booth said, skulking in the doorway, "I took care of the paperwork for you at least. As a favor." She smiled tightly at what his words really meant: as an apology.
"All of it?" Cam asked in shock, still not pulling out the check to stare at it in fear it would disappear or have a tricky decimal.
"Well," Felicia sighed, "not….all of it. I did spend some."
Cam bit back 'that was to be expected.'
"I'll totally pay you back."
"I like wine," Cam told her with a suppressed smile. Felicia did at least have the grace to blush.
"I think I remember what kind it was."
"Sergio is good for you," Cam observed.
Booth snorted his opinion. Cam didn't need a translation from the peculiar Booth language. She strode over and smacked him hard on the stomach.
"Also," Felicia said quietly, "there's something else." She held out another envelope. Cam didn't know what to expect, but her heart plummeted in a thunderous free fall when she watched Booth's face transform quickly to his hard masked FBI status. He spun on his heel and left her doorway, glowering.
This envelope wasn't the paycheck size, but rather a manila envelope used to hold documents. She unwound the string while Felicia played with a piece of her newly flattened hair; her afro had been short lived. Very Felicia, never happy with what she had.
She stuffed a hand inside and pulled up a sheaf of papers, all old and all crinkled. She swallowed. His handwriting was on all of them. She felt nauseous. The room grew too hot with her vision; the scalding tears making her whole head feel flooded with boiling water. She sat abruptly into her seat. She knew now, why Booth had left.
"I lied," Felicia said softly. "I didn't burn them. I couldn't. Not…not even when I hated you most, or when Tony loved you most. I couldn't."
"He didn't love me the most," was what dropped out of her lips, even though she knew how blatantly untrue it was. Felicia made an ugly face that twisted her pretty features. Cam realized for the first time that with her hair straightened, Felicia actually looked like her sister, and not some random black girl who just happened to hang out with her light skinned strange looking sister.
"Well then he liked you more."
"We just had more in common. You were always with Mom."
"Mom never wrote me any letters." And Cam finally understood. Felicia wasn't angry at Tony for not writing to her, she was angry that she felt that no one ever loved her enough to even make the gesture. It gave her a chip on her shoulder that came out in over enthusiastic selfishness, hoping to force the spoiling, when all she really wanted was for someone to want to spoil her. A hopeless, vicious, lonely cycle.
"We are both so messed up," Cam laughed, and the hot tears that had been corked up inside of her spilled on her face. Felicia, instead of retorting and instigating a fight actually looked terrified.
"You're…you're crying Cammie."
Cam laughed a little more.
"Well…yeah. You didn't think I never cried? That after Andrew…after everybody? Really?"
"Well…yeah," Felicia echoed her. She stared down at her expensive shoes. "Basically. You were the toughest person I ever knew."
"Being tough doesn't mean never crying," she answered quickly, but stopped, absorbing her own words as if a stranger had come into her head and given her that line, something she herself had never considered.
"Lisey…" she began tentatively. "It means a lot. Really."
"Really?" Felicia brightened.
"Yeah. Thank you…for keeping the letters."
"Even after all these years of hoarding them?" Cam thought carefully before she answered; she couldn't deny her entire life would have been changed had she got them when she was supposed to. Her reactions would be different and she would be painfully waiting every few years for another. She wouldn't be where she was. Who she was.
"Yeah," she finally said slowly. "I think they found me when they needed to anyway."
"Do you think…I could come see the baby?" Felicia stared at her as hopeful as if she were a dog begging for scraps. Cam felt her heart bruise; Felicia finally realized she wasn't part of the family sitting at Cam's table. She was beneath it.
"Her name," Cam said with a quiet sad smile, acknowledging Felicia's new deference (probably short lived). "Is Toni."
Cam nodded. "Yeah," she said softly. "It was never going to be anything else."
"What about Mom?"
"I thought…" Cam awkwardly bit her lip. "That…was for you."
Felicia covered her mouth with a few fingers and turned away.
"How's next week?"
"Sure," Cam said just as carefully. "She's not here today, sorry." She didn't mention where Toni was: with her two temporary sisters, learning basic motor skills while Andie patiently petted her face and gabbled to her in baby talk.
"Okay." Felicia was struggling not to look at Cam. They didn't hug but Cam nodded.
"I'm glad you came." She actually was.
"I love you," Cam told her honestly. "But honestly Felicia if you ever pull this shit again…you're right. We won't be family anymore." Felicia nodded seriously.
"I know that. I do love you Camille."
"I believe you."
There was a pause in which Felicia surveyed the room.
"It's freezing in here."
"Really? I think it's pretty warm."
"Are you crazy? Maybe you're sick."
Cam laughed. "That's all I would need."
"You look pretty pale."
"Well compared to you…" teased Cam.
"You sure you're not sick?"
"I'm sure. I've got in under control. I'm not nauseous or anything and I went to the doctor just in case."
"Okay. I'll see you next week?"
"Are you going to read those now?" Cam smiled.
"Actually I have to go to the drug store. And make some reservations." Felicia smiled and wiggled her eyebrows.
"Ooh la la." Cam borrowed his coyote grin.
"Emilio's? Really?" Cole teased her with a deep Boston brogue that she hated and loved. He pulled his chair out and sunk down, looking casually devastating in a blazer shirt combo with very dark Levi's. She had told him to dress well for the occasion.
"It's grown on me," Cam defended primly. She was painted back into one of her dresses from work. Emilio had enthusiastically kissed her hello on both cheeks (thankfully not on the mouth) and escorted her to a table with three chairs.
"So on the phone," Cole smiled, his grey eyes sparkling with good humor over her mysterious call earlier that day, "you said we were meeting someone."
"A major player in your life."
"And now do I have to guess?"
"If you want to."
"That's easy. It's your father. You want me to meet your Dad." Cam flushed a little uncomfortably and shook her head. It had never occurred to her to introduce Cole to her father; he had already met the most important people in her family, whose opinions she valued the most. Although her father would be upset she had Booth had broken up, he would be happy to see her with a stable family man, and would just about die to meet his first grandchild.
"No?" Cole said in surprise and folded his surgeon hands on the table, interlocking his fingers. "Interesting. The plot thickens. Okay, give me a minute." He looked in the process of thinking very deeply about something while their young waiter Benny brought them some bread.
"Heaven," Cam sighed, tearing into a small loaf.
"Okay, do I get another guess?" Cam shrugged, stuffing her mouth full of the middle of the white bread that steamed against the sides of her cheek.
"You can guess as much as you want. But if you aren't going to eat that?" He laughed an pushed the rest of the bread towards her. She gestured impatiently for the butter but he already had it in her hands before she was done. She flashed him a chipmunk smile.
"Fhanks," she gulped. She really, really loved him sometimes. And it usually occurred to her over simple things like how he knew how much she loved butter.
"Is it Felicia? I mean, I've seen her around, heard her, I should say, but we've never really met."
Cam shook her head before gulping, painfully washing her bread down with diet coke.
"Okay…I know everyone from the lab…are we meeting a new intern?"
She shook her head and gestured for Benny who mushroomed up next to her to take her order; her favorite, number 14 please and thank you.
Cole stopped guessing to do the same. He ground his teeth around his wrinkled nose while he sipped out of his own glass.
"You're grinding your teeth," she teased.
"Oh shut up," he sniped miserably, put out that he wasn't winning a childish guessing game.
"Do you want me to tell you?"
"No," he said mulishly. "I want to guess."
"I don't think you're going to guess."
"Aha! A clue! So it's someone I won't expect. Oh my God." His face blanked and she was worried he had guessed. "You didn't track down my family did you? Is Johnny putting you up to this?" He twisted around looking for someone Cam had never met.
"No," she sighed. "It's –"
"No! Don't ruin it!" Cole put his hands over his ears. "La la la la!"
"You're such a child," but she said it affectionately; she also said it almost every day.
"Is it your cousin?"
"That kid dating your sister who was your partner's something or something?"
"No. How do you know about Sergio?"
"Booth told me."
"I don't know how I feel about you guys being friends."
"Who said we were friends?" Cole sounded scandalized at the very thought. "Is it-" he continued guessing through three refills of their glasses, followed Cam to the bathroom and stood outside the door yelling through while she refused to answer, and all the way back to their table where their food was waiting for them.
Cam picked up her fork and stuck it into her lasagna but Cole put a hand on her arm and for one wild, insane moment she thought he was going to chastise her for not saying grace, something he did with his daughters. Instead he mildly raised his eyebrows, smiling with all of his teeth, even the crooked ones.
"Don't you think it would be polite to wait for whoever we are waiting for?" Cam took a deep breath and smiled a grin to rival his own.
"Our food would get cold. It'd be a long wait because they aren't getting here for nine months."
"I-" Cole began but squeaked. He gaped, more fish like than coyote suddenly and closed his mouth before trying again. "When-" Cam put down her fork and grabbed his hands, her own eyes shiny.
"The cherry blossom festival." He made another gurgling sound. She finally spread her hands and offered a hug.
"I'm pregnant," she said simply.
And he laughed.