By the time the ladies left Brennan's office, Booth's SUV was already leaving the Jeffersonian parking area and heading into the evening traffic. The file he'd felt urgent enough to drive over this late laid unnoticed on the passenger seat beside him as he mindlessly drove through town heading back to his office without really thinking about his ultimate destination. All he was aware of was Brennan's voice echoing in his mind…
"I can't sleep… I wander around from room to room every night…"
"I think I have a broken heart… something's broken inside me and I can't fix it"
"I realized that I do love him…"
"So excited to see him… to tell him… to ask for another chance"
"He moved on… and I have to see them together…"
"…this pain… it's killing me…"
The words kept repeating themselves as if on some ridiculous loop, her voice bouncing around in his head like a demented pinball. She loved him? She said so, and he of all people knew that Bones' didn't lie, but the truth of her words wasn't quite sinking in with him. Sure he'd seen the signs of her reverting back to her old behaviors, but he'd figured that was her way of trying to make things all business between them, her way of getting them to act like partners and not the pseudo-couple they'd been before Sweets forced his hand. And yes, he knew that he hadn't been spending a lot of time with her outside work anymore and that his focus had shifted to his new relationship but he didn't think she was upset about that.
But now, with this new information, he was reviewing every conversation they'd had since they got back, every look, every interaction and things were adding up differently. How had he not seen any of it before now? Every time anything about his new girlfriend had come up in her presence, Bones had begun spouting off about one anthropological theory after another to justify his focus on his new relationship. And every time they'd all been out as a group in his attempt to blend his work life and home life, Bones had always held herself apart from the group, observing without really participating. When had he stopped really noticing her?
Damn it, how had this happened? How had they gotten to this point? A year ago, he never would have been able to imagine Bones' sitting on the sidelines of his life. The idea the he would have put her there by pushing her out was even more unthinkable. And yet… that's exactly what happened. He'd promised her he'd always be there for her, that he'd love her in 30, 40, or 50 years and then the moment she'd turned him down, he'd thrown all that out the window.
But she had turned him down. He couldn't just dismiss that fact and all the hurt he'd endured because of it. He'd had to move on, to do something to restore his sanity, his confidence in himself. He couldn't just follow her around like a wounded puppy, waiting for another chance. He had his pride and he'd already waited 5 years. It was time to give up, to move on, to find someone else. Someone with whom he could build something that was uncomplicated, that wasn't so damn hard all the time. Someone who met him halfway and wanted to be with him as much as he wanted to be with her.
When he'd thought about how Bones would react to him coming back with a girlfriend, and he hadn't allowed himself to think about that often, he'd assumed she'd be relieved. Now that he knew how wrong he was about that, the question remained—what was he going to do now?