A/N - This one is for etakkate. I've been having a rough time lately and I owe her a thank you for the much needed inspiration. Honey, I hope you enjoy reading this half as much as I did writing it...because if I fall asleep at my desk this afternoon after finding myself until 2 am writing I'm blaming you. *wink*
Fellow writers, like etakkate, will understand what I mean when I say some stories write themselves. When I read her Little Moments note a humorous little romp came to mind but, as I wrote it, it morphed into something more poignant. This was meant to be part of my Little Moments collection but I got a little carried away. It feels like an independent piece so I'm making it one.
Fair warning - I originally wrote it in third person and I decided to do it from Booth's POV at the last minute. Please, please, please let me know if you see any errors where I missed making corrections as it has not been betaed.
I could probably be persuaded to write a companion piece from Brennan's POV if you ask nicely... *bats eye lashes*
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.
We sit at the dining room table eating dinner as has become our habit. She munches on the leaves of her salad and it's froufrou dressing as she sips a glass of her favorite Chilean red. I slice into a thick, well-marbled porterhouse cooked just the way I likes it - a perfect medium rare - and nurse a cold beer.
Reaching across the table, she snatches a fry from the edge of my plate. It's nothing new. She's been doing it for years. But this time it's different. It comes with a pensive rather than mischievous glint. "Everything okay there, Bones?" I ask as I take a drink.
"I'm the scientist," she says quietly.
Her choice of words make me feel raw even though we have been together for several years now. I'm carried back to the night outside the Hoover. I think about all we've been through since - Maluku, Afghanistan, Hannah, Pop's death, Max's health problems, trials and cases. I absently push a piece of meat around with my fork. "Uh-huh," I agree, struggling to chew. The steak that was so appetizing moments ago suddenly tastes like sand. Keep it together, Seeley.
"We're happy, aren't we?" her tone is still soft. The investigator in me doesn't miss the tiny tremor in her usually confident voice but her eyes are shining. Something is definitely up.
I take a deep breath. "I like to think so," I tell her with a smile. I wish like hell I knew where she was going with this. I set the fork down and take another sip of my beer.
She pushes her chair back and rounds the table. She waits for me to move back and sits in my lap. She rest her arms around my neck and sighs in contentment when I wrap mine around her waist.
I look into her eyes and reach up to tuck a stray tendril of auburn hair behind her ear. I still can't get over how beautiful she is. And I'm pretty sure I never will. Unable to resist the curve of her lips, I seal my mouth to hers.
She pulls back, her baby-blues fix on me. "You've given me a decade of empirical evidence," she muses. "I haven't made things easy for you. I've fought against you when I should have been fighting for you - for us."
I see the apprehension in her face. "Bones, Baby," I attempt to comfort her.
She shakes her head. "No, Booth," she tells me. "I have to get this out."
My hands stroke up her back, fingertips moving against her blouse-covered skin in a barely-there caress. "You know you can tell me anything," I say mirroring her soft tone.
"It's not what I have to tell you," she explains. "It's what I want - no, need - to ask you."
Immediately, I'm on alert. Did I forget something? "You know I'll do anything for you, Baby," I hear myself answer.
She smiles. "I just never thought I would get here," she says. "That I would feel this way."
I flash her a softer version of what she calls my charm smile. Maybe this isn't bad after all. "I know what you mean." I run the tips of my fingers down the line of her jaw.
"I love you," she says leaning into the touch.
"I know you do," I say back. "And I love you."
"Marry me?" she says suddenly, the words escaping her lips in a rushed breath.
I'm startled. Deer-in-the-headlights doesn't begin to touch how I'm feeling. She didn't. She couldn't have. It had to be a... "Come again?"
"Marry me." This time it's a statement, not a question. She doesn't blink or flinch.
"But I thought you didn't..." I stammer. She asked me to marry her. She asked me to marry her! And instead of saying yes, I'm backtracking. Giving her a way out when I ought to be booking the chapel or calling the justice of the peace. I wonder when the next flight leaves for Vegas...
"While I do believe that marriage is an antiquated ritual, I find that there are benefits to such a union as well. More importantly, I know that it's important to you and..." she begins to explain. She does that when she's nervous - starts rambling.
"Yes," I answer, finally finding my voice.
"I know you won't..." she's still talking at me, her squinty little brain running at 100 mph.
"Yes," I repeat louder, still unsure why she's continuing to justify.
"Leave - oof..."
Enough. I drag her mouth to mine, kissing her soundly. Kissing her is my favorite way to shut her up. I can taste the ginger in the salad dressing and the bite of her red wine. Beneath that, it's all Bones. I could never get tired of her unique flavor. Her tongue touches mine and I feel her fingers tugging at my hair.
My forehead rests against hers when we come up for air. My eyes close and for a moment I just hold her. "Wait here," I say leaving her at the table. I head into our bedroom and rummage through my night table. Finally, my fingers close around the velvet box I've been hiding from her for the last six months.
I drop to a knee in front of her. Her eyes widen. "Just indulge me, okay?" I ask. I know it's old fashioned, but I need to do this. For me. For the children I want to have with her. But especially for the woman in front of me. I need her to know this is for keeps.
She nods, her eyes shimmering with unshed tears. The box opens with a creak. I can't help but smile at the little gasp that escapes her when she sees it. It isn't fancy but it's unique - just like our relationship.
"This ring," I say as I pull it out, "belonged to my grandmother." I'm overwhelmed with emotion. I never thought this would happen. Never thought I'd have this chance. Especially not with her. "Pops said..."
She takes my hand in hers and catches the tear that slides over my cheek with a finger. I often wonder if she realizes how much strength I draw from her. Probably not. She just isn't that way.
"That last night, Pops said one day you would wear this," I tell her. The old man is probably shaking his head at me now giving me that famous told-you-so look he always got when Jared and I were kids. "I thought I was the one who knew, but Pops really believed in us." I slip the etched silver circle around her first knuckle, its single star-sapphire contrasting against her fair skin. "Bones -Temperance - will you marry me?"
Without a moment's hesitation, she breathes the sweetest words to ever touch my ears. "I thought you'd never ask..."