"Hurry up, you guys," Angela called out. "It's on."
Everyone gathered around the television in Booth and Brennan's living room. Jack and Angela sat on the floor in front of the sofa with two-year-old Reed. Sweets and Daisy sat hand-in-hand on the loveseat, Max pulled up a chair next to where his daughter sat on the sofa, wrapped in Booth's embrace.
Padme sat in Jared's lap in Booth's recliner. Caroline was busy shushing the rest of the interns in the kitchen while Cam and her boyfriend took up the opposite end of the sofa from their hosts.
Booth grabbed the remote and turned up the sound.
"I can't believe my living room is full of people watching Oprah," he said with a snort.
"Be quiet," Brennan said, leaning into his embrace as he began to stroke her expanding waistline.
"Good evening, and welcome to the Oprah Winfrey Prime Time Special. This evening, we'll be talking to New York Times Best Selling Author Hannah Burley about the new book that is causing quite a sensation.
The Love in the Story is the sentimental telling of a real-life fairy tale that was made into the holiday blockbuster movie starring George Clooney and Ashley Judd. What makes this story unique is not only the story itself, but the fact that Hannah was able to tell the riveting tale without revealing the identity of the couple at the center of it all… and she's here to tell us all about it."
"I can't believe she's on Oprah," Daisy gushed.
"Didn't she retire like, two years ago?" Sweets replied.
"Yes, but she's been doing these live prime time specials three times a year kind of like Barbra Walters," Cam replied. "But they're really more like a nighttime version of her old show."
"Can't you people ever stop talking?" Caroline groused. "Be quiet so we can hear what the girl has to say. Here she comes."
All eyes were back on the television as Oprah welcomed her guest and those assembled at the home of Seeley Booth and Temperance Brennan watched the familiar blonde walk out to join Oprah on the sofa.
They listened with rapt attention as Oprah gave some details of Hannah's background and asked her questions about her investigative reporting.
"So how does a hard-hitting journalist who spent most of her career as a war correspondent end up writing a modern day fairy tale?"
"Well, Oprah, I walked right in the middle of it, and it was a story too good to pass up. Three years ago, my editors had been after me to do a softer piece, human interest in one of the soldiers or something, so they had me embedded with a troop in Afghanistan.
It was there that I met the man with the biggest heart I've ever encountered. At the time, that heart was broken. He would correct me and tell me that the heart is a muscle and can only be crushed, but nonetheless, he was a hero in a lot of pain.
We became friends and he told me about the woman who had stolen his heart but was too afraid to take ownership of it. Of course, I thought she must be some kind of idiot to let him go… imagine my surprise when I found out she was a certified genius.
We became close, and I realized that this soldier was my story. I never expected to fall in love with him."
"She did love you, you know," Brennan whispered into Booth's ear.
He squeezed her a little tighter in answer.
"She asked me to take care of you," she admitted.
"That first day, when we went back to your apartment," she said, watching his eyes as he listened to her. "When you went back to the bedroom to get my gift," she paused as both sets of eyes turned to the piece of artwork hanging above the fireplace. "I found an envelope with my name on it. I read it when I got home. She told me that you were an Alpha Wolf and that I was your mate…"
"Wolves mate for life, you know," he said quietly, nuzzling her ear.
"Precisely," she replied. "She told me to hold on to what we have. To love you and to take care of you."
"Well, you do a great job of that," he said, softly kissing her cheek.
"We should be paying attention to the interview," she said with a smile as she rested in his embrace.
"He was actually a retired soldier, on a temporary mission. He wasn't career military… at least not then... He was a man with a sense of duty and honor like I've never seen. He had left behind a life- a successful career, friends, family… his child… to do his duty by serving his country. Thousands of men and women do that every day, and each of them deserve to be honored, but there was something about him that I just couldn't let go of. I had to get to know him. I wanted to know what made him tick.
We became friends, confidants and eventually lovers…"
"Even though you knew he was deeply in love with another woman?"
"We were in the middle of a warzone, Oprah. Death and destruction all around… in fact, we actually met when he saved my life. We were there for each other in a time when we both needed it. I helped him heal and he helped me grow up.
I guess I thought it was a desert fling, what we both needed at the time. I expected to write a human interest piece on him and that would be the end of it. I never expected it to go beyond the story or our time in Afghanistan. But when he was called home unexpectedly, I wasn't ready for him to go. So, I followed him."
"You really didn't ask her to come back with you?" Brennan asked Booth quietly.
"Of course not," he answered, leaning in to kiss her temple. "Are you really asking me that…now?" he asked, rubbing his hand over the expanse of her belly.
"No," she answered, resting her hands on top of his. "I can't really blame her, you know. Any woman with half a brain would have followed you. I should have… I shouldn't have let you go in the first place."
"No," he agreed with a smile. "You shouldn't have. But in a way, I'm glad you did. I mean Hannah's showing up was kind of the catalyst that finally got us to come to our senses."
"So, I should be glad that you slept with her while I was busy working?" she asked with a sly smile.
"It was just biology, Baby," he whispered in her ear. "Fulfilling urges and all of that. Nothing like the real thing." He leaned over and placed a deep, passionate kiss on her lips, not even caring that they were sitting in a room filled with friends and family.
"You two wanna stop making out so the rest of us can hear the interview?" Max asked with a twinkle in his eye. He was thrilled that his baby girl had finally found her way past her defenses and into the arms of the only man who would ever love her as much as he did.
"Sorry, Max," Booth said sheepishly.
"No, you're not," Max replied with a laughing smile.
"You're right," Booth answered, smiling as he leaned in to place a sweet kiss in Brennan's hair.
They turned their attention back to the television.
"So then, you met this other woman…" Oprah said.
"Right," Hannah answered with a smile. "I have to admit, at first I found her to be rather odd. It was kind of off-putting… I wasn't sure what he saw in her. And I wasn't sure I wanted to give him up. But then, I got to know her and realized what a special person she is. Eventually, we became friends."
"And they've both been involved in the process of the book and the film?"
"Oh yeah, all the way. I wouldn't have done it without their permission or their input. The story was too good not to tell, but it's their story. I'm just glad that they were okay with the book and the way I told the story."
"One of the things that is so great about it is that you tell the story through the eyes of the people around them. From the waitresses at their favorite restaurant to the doorman in her building… it's amazing what people notice."
"I know, right? I think that was really the fascinating thing about their story and what makes it so unique. They're totally polar opposites… if fate hadn't brought them together, their paths would never have crossed. But at the same time, they're absolutely perfect for each other. It's incredible, really. And everyone around them could see it…."
"Everyone except them…"
"Exactly," Hannah replied with a light chuckle. "But if you ask him, he knew. Right from the beginning. It just took him almost six years to act on it."
"Because of her past and her fears…"
"Again, that's what he says. I think he had plenty of fears of his own. His past wasn't exactly a walk in the park. But I like to think they were waiting for me to bring them together…"
"Oh yeah," Angela said with a roll of her eyes. "That's exactly it. Is she serious?"
"I don't know, Cherie," Caroline jumped in. "She DID give them that swift kick in the pants that none of us seemed to be able to do."
"Yeah," Angela agreed. "Not even with blackmail kisses…"
"Hey, it was worth a try," Caroline protested.
"Shhhh." Hodgins placed his hand over his wife's mouth to keep her from replying. "I can't hear what they're saying."
"And how are they now?" Oprah asked. "Still going strong?"
"Definitely," Hannah replied. "Happy, healthy, and I don't think they'd mind my telling you that there's a baby on the way."
"We'll be right back with author Hannah Burley and the stars of 'The Love in the Story'," Oprah said as they cut to commercial.
"I can't believe they got George Clooney to play you, Booth," Angela gushed. "He's hot."
"So is Booth," Brennan replied, snuggling up to the man in question.
"Thanks, Bones," he replied, pressing a soft kiss to her lips.
"And Ashley Judd," Padme said. "I loved her in 'Kiss the Girls'."
"That was creepy," Cam said. "But really good."
"What about The Ya-Ya Sisterhood? She was great in that," Angela said. "I bet she's really good at playing you , Bren."
"They're back!" someone yelled from the kitchen doorway.
"I really love the style of the book," Oprah said. "You took a similar tac as Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus used in The Nanny Diaries. You never use names, only giving the characters nicknames. It's intriguing to the reader… they did it because their characters were an amalgam of real the real people that they based their book on, the characters didn't represent one actual person. But yours do. This was a creative way to preserve their anonymity."
"Thank you, I hope so," Hannah replied. "I mean, I hope that people find it interesting and creative. And that it does keep the real couple out of the spotlight."
"And even the cast doesn't know who they are, right?"
"Right," Hannah said. "That was one of the only restrictions that they laid down when we set out to do this. Complete anonymity. Ashley is driving me crazy," she went on with a smile. "She really wants to know who she's playing."
"Let's talk to her about that," Oprah said. "Please welcome Ashley Judd and George Clooney!"
Hannah had called as soon as the interview was over and everyone shared their congratulations. Booth and Brennan shared their thanks with her for the whole experience and for her preserving their privacy.
Hannah gave Brennan Ashley's contact information and left it up to her if she wanted to reveal their identities to the actress or not.
Soon after Hannah's phone call, their guests began to make their way to their homes. And after a while, Booth was glad to find that he and Brennan were alone again.
"It's been a wild ride, Bones," he said, pulling her into his arms. "We've had some bumps along the way, but I don't think I'd change a thing."
"The notion of going back in time to do things differently is ridiculous, Booth," she began.
He stopped her with a kiss.
"Hannah's right about one thing," he said, breaking the kiss.
"What's that?" she asked.
"Ours is a story too good not to tell, Bones."
"It is, isn't it?" she replied, reaching up to kiss him again.
He nodded, and then leaned in to press their foreheads together.
"But Hannah's book doesn't really tell our story," he said.
"It doesn't?" she asked.
"Nope," he replied with his famous smile. "She may have introduced the world to the love in the story… but that's not the whole story. It's only the beginning."
Before she could reply, his lips were on hers and they were sharing the sweetest kiss. It was a kiss of gratitude for all they had been through… it was a declaration of the love they shared… and it was a promise of what was to come. She knew that Booth was right. Hannah's story was only the beginning of their journey.
They still had thirty, or forty, or fifty years of story to tell.
AN- This is it, folks! Thanks for reading! I don't know if I can truly convey how much I mean that. I think that a lot of folks shied away from this story because of the Hannah element, and I think that's a shame because it is truly a story of the depth and longevity of the love Booth and Brennan have for each other. I really love this story and I'm thankful for all of you who have let me know you've enjoyed it, too.
For those of you who expected Hannah to be evil incarnate, sorry to disappoint. I just don't see her that way on the show and I couldn't write her that way. I think on the show, she's a necessary evil, but she's not evil. She's just a nice girl who fell for the wrong guy. It's not her fault. I kinda like her and I'd like to see her make a classy exit.
This is the first story that had a specific beginning and end in my mind. It was only supposed to be five chapters, but I added the fourth chapter after reading some of your reviews.
I absolutely couldn't have done it without Ceeray... she's been an unfailing cheerleader, faithful confidante, inspiring editor and master researcher. Thanks, C! This one's for you.
Now, please review. :-)