A/N: Welcome to the first 'real' chapter of Where You Lead. Starting this chapter on, the story veers off from BOF. We start off with a slightly extended version of Booth's birthday and, of course, a different ending than the one we had of BOF chapter 34.
Warning: The first few paragraphs borders on an M rating. If you are below the age of 16, scroll down to the first page break then read it.
Disclaimer: Hart Hanson owns it all.
November 15, 1991.
He was woken at four thirty in the morning by warm hands sliding down his naked torso from behind and equally warm lips trailing kisses up and down the side of his neck. Blinking his eyes open, he turned his head to look over his shoulder. His eyes adjusted to the dark and he was able to make out Temperance's features. Her pale, porcelain cheeks and bright blue eyes stood out in the dark.
"Bones…?" his voice was raspy with sleep. "What are you doing? It's the middle of the night." He settled on his back, his arms winding around her thin frame before pulling her snug on top of him.
She nodded. "I know," she sighed happily, smiling as she rested her head on his shoulder and ran her hands up and down his front. "But it's your birthday, remember?"
He laughed, tilting his head back on his pillow to look at his alarm clock. Temperance took the chance to pepper kisses on his exposed throat. "It's four thirty in the morning," he moaned, unsure whether he was upset by her interruption of his sleep or excited by the prospect of lovemaking, if the way she was trailing her hands down his body was any indication.
"Mm-hmm," she hummed against his throat, just below his Adam's apple. "I figured you'd be busy all day today with your friends and celebrating with the family…We might not have time to do this later."
"We could've waited until after everyone went to sleep," Booth suggested half-heartedly, his fingers inching up her shirt to feel the warm skin underneath.
She shook her head. "No, you'd want to sleep early," she said knowingly, her hands swiftly sliding his sleep shorts down his hips and legs. "You don't want to be tired or late to the game tomorrow. That's the only time you ever go to sleep early."
He paused slightly, his lips hovering over her pulse point. "Am I that predictable?" he muttered, a little irked.
She laughed, her fingers closing around him and making his eyes roll back in his head as she started firmly stroking him. His mind went blank instantly, just a tiny thread of control he stubbornly hung onto. "Bones," he whispered harshly against her racing heart as she pressed her hips against his. "Baby, you know we're in the house, right?"
She hummed in reply. "I'm aware," her voice was low and breathy as she moved above him, their clothed centers rubbing together frantically for more friction.
"I…" Booth started to say, a small part of his brain still thinking clearly, worried about someone overhearing them. Temperance started to place biting kisses on her chest and sternum, her grip on him tightening slightly, and his sensibility went completely out the window.
He tugged her tank top over her head, eager as her naked flesh came into his view. He rolled their bodies together so that she was lying underneath him, his fingers deftly, hurriedly, tugging at her sweatpants. She 'helped' by wriggling her hips and distracting him with kisses pressed hotly all over his face, neck and chest.
Once she was as bare as he was, he slid into place above her, settling himself snugly against her. He leaned down to capture her lips in a wet, hot, open-mouthed kiss.
His hand slid down the slim length of her body, stopping at her hip. He squeezed his fingers into her flesh gently before dropping his hand lower to the back of her upper thigh. He hitched her leg around his hip, and her eyes fluttered close, her back arching as she hummed in pleasure when his hand reached between them.
"You are so crazy, Bones," he murmured, even as he slid inside of her. Her throaty chuckle turned into a pleasured moan as she wrapped herself around him tighter as she welcomed him home.
When he woke up again a couple of hours later, he felt sluggish but lax at the same time. It was an odd combination and, as he made his way down the stairs following the enticing scent of chocolate chip pancakes, he couldn't help the silly, happy grin on his face.
"Morning," he yawned out to the three occupants of the kitchen.
Jared grunted at him in response. Pops lifted his head from the pan he was flipping pancakes on and gave Booth a smile, returning his greeting.
Temperance abandoned the cupcakes she was arranging on a plate, beaming widely as she came up to him to give him a sweet kiss on the lips – as much as he loved her kisses (the passionate ones, the playful ones, the coy ones; all the different kinds), he couldn't help but compare the soft, sweet brush of her lips against his with the arousing kisses she had given him earlier that day.
"Happy birthday, Booth," she smiled at him shyly when she pulled back, her arms dropping to her sides as she made to step away from him – she was still a little self-conscious showing affection towards him when they were around Pops and Jared. He suspected the fact that their relationship was hidden from the rest of the world outside the house had something to do with this. After all, it was easier for her to be a little looser with him when they were alone.
Not willing to let her go just yet, Booth wrapped his arms around her slender waist and pulled her gently back towards him, ignoring her squeak of protest. "Thank you," he grinned at her, raining gentle kisses on her forehead, down her nose and to her lips. "Are those my birthday cupcakes?" he asked without turning his eyes away from her, punctuating each word with a soft, lingering kiss on her lips.
She blushed bright red at the physical affection given in front of Pops and Jared though she made no effort to push Booth away. "Um…Yes," she mumbled against his mouth.
He stole one last kiss from her, his lips tugging at hers gently, before releasing her. "Awesome," he cheered, heading straight for the plate and swiping a chocolate muffin from it.
Temperance's face was still flushed an almost maroon color as she stumbled over to the kitchen island, eyes averted to the cupcakes she continued to stack on the plate so as not to look Pops or Jared in the eye.
It was a good thing, too, because if she'd looked at them, she would've seen Jared frowning disgustedly at the two of them and Pops rolling his eyes while giving Booth a mock stern glare.
Booth, unrepentant, polished off three muffins before the pancakes were served. His 'bottomless pit' as Temperance liked to call it and his excessive sweet tooth allowed him the appetite to finish off a high stack of pancakes dowsed in maple syrup and whip cream. It made Temperance a little sick just watching such high amounts of sugar being consumed. Silently, she wondered if he was going to end up sick later.
"So what do you have planned for later, Shrimp?" Pops asked Booth halfway through breakfast.
Booth looked up, frowning. "Whadaya mean?" he asked through a mouthful of pancake.
Temperance made a noise in the back of her throat as she was given a view of half-chewed breakfast in his mouth. "Booth!" she complained, glaring at him.
He offered her a sheepish grin, chewed quickly and swallowed before speaking again, "We're doing what we always do – after school, we're having dinner together."
Pops frowned. "You're not inviting friends over?" he asked.
Booth shrugged, "Nah."
He didn't seem all that bothered by the prospect of spending a quiet birthday with just three other people in attendance.
As the day progressed – starting with about a couple of dozen birthday wishes from friends, teammates and schoolmates in general – Temperance realized just how different she and Booth were.
While her birthday had gone unnoticed by anyone outside the Booths (with the glaring exception of Amy), Booth's birthday was known and acknowledged by people he barely even knew. Just how they knew his birthday was beyond her though she supposed they could've just heard Booth's friends wish him happy birthday and wish the same thing just for a chance to say something to the star basketball player.
Booth's enthusiastic 'thank you's and cheerful persona throughout the day just proved to Temperance that despite the reservations she'd had before, she, Pops and Jared were doing the right thing.
"Let's go to the park," Jared said to Booth the moment the car stopped in the driveway.
Booth shot him a look. "What?"
Jared looked at Booth as though he was particularly slow. "Let's go to the park," he repeated himself, his words deliberately slower this time.
Booth rolled his eyes. "You want me to drop you off?" he moved to clarify.
Jared shook his head. "No," he sighed. "I thought maybe we could throw the ball around a little."
Booth stared at him. "You want to go to the park with me?" he asked incredulously.
Jared leaned forward in his seat. "You're not very bright today, are you?" he asked knowingly.
Temperance giggled at the glower on Booth's face. "Maybe you should go," she suggested.
Booth's head swiveled to the front to look at her sitting beside him. "Why?" he asked, suspicion definitely creeping into his voice now.
She shrugged, "No reason, Booth. Your brother wants to spend some time alone with you on your birthday and it's going to be a while before dinnertime. It's fine if you wish to go."
He was still giving her a doubtful look as he pulled out of the driveway, Jared now sitting in the passenger seat up front.
Temperance waved at them with a smile on her face. When she was sure they were gone, she turned and hurried into the house.
As she, Pops and Jared had discussed earlier in the morning before Booth had come down for his birthday breakfast, Jared had taken Booth to the park to be distracted until everything was ready. Temperance would've kept him out of the house herself but she and Pops both knew that Jared wouldn't be much help setting things up. She could only hope that Jared didn't accidentally let something slip.
Inside the house, Pops had already started work on the little surprise party they would be throwing for Booth later on.
It was a small party, considering how many people Booth knew and was friendly with – Temperance was the only person other than Booth who came into constant contact with his school friends and she knew she would've been laughed away from their circle if she'd approached any of them. Pops might not be completely in the know of what went on in school socially but he knew enough to understand that Temperance would be too uncomfortable asking any of them to come over.
It wasn't anything extravagant and it definitely wasn't going to be a wild party since Pops and Jared would be attending and Booth was wary of anything alcoholic being in the house. It was just a dinner party, with Booth's basketball buddied promising to be in attendance – they Temperance wasn't wary to approach.
The table was already set for dinner later so Temperance helped Pops tidy the living room up a little and lay out the party favors. Once that was done, she ventured into the kitchen to help him prepare Booth's birthday dinner.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" she asked as she made her way to stand beside him as he worked on the spaghetti.
Pops gave her a smile. "No, thanks, sweetheart," he said gruffly. "I got it. You just get started on the cake."
Temperance nodded, moving away to grab the necessary ingredients. Pops snuck looks at her as he stirred the sauce. "You know, we could've bought him a cake," he pointed out to her. "You didn't have to go to all this trouble. I know you must be tired from school…"
Temperance shook her head. "It's not a problem, Pops," she assured him. "I wanted to make it."
"Ah," Pops said, an understanding gleam in his eye as he threw a knowing smile her way.
For some reason, his stare made her blush heavily. She rushed to clarify, "I-it's nothing like that…My mom baked birthday cakes every year for my dad, Russ and I. I just…I thought it'd be nice to make one for Booth…"
Pops kissed the top of her head and ruffled her hair lightly as she passed with the newly cleaned and dried beaker. "I know," he nodded, as though this was a story that he'd heard a hundred times. "It's nice that you're doing this for him."
She smiled, a little less unsure now about the cake. "Thanks," she mumbled, dropping her gaze as she measured the amount of flour needed. She'd just placed the batter in the oven when the doorbell rang, signaling the first of their visitors.
"I'll get it," she assured Pops who had collapsed into his chair in the living room, complaining of his back aching.
By the time Booth and Jared got home, the living room was filled with antsy teenagers. "Hey, Tempe," Kyle called out, talking through a mouthful of Cheetos. "When's Seeley getting here?"
Temperance opened her mouth to reply when Jimmy answered for her from his perch by the window. "Hey, I see his car!" he shouted, catching everyone's attention. "He's here!"
It was nearing sunset and the room was darkened further by the closed curtains, so none of them had to find hiding places. They heard Booth and Jared's arguing voices on the other side of the door just before it swung open.
"What the hell," Booth groused. "Why the hell is it so dark in here?" He was so distracted by his annoying little brother and the brotherly spat they'd been having that he'd completely skipped over any suspicious signs that might've indicate a surprise birthday party in his honor.
He stepped further into the house, almost walked into a wall on his way towards the living room and felt around for the light switch on the wall. The moment light flooded the room, Booth jumped in shock when the twenty or so people in the room he didn't know was there shouted, "SURPRISE!"
He stared at them in complete shock, a stunned smile beginning to spread across his lips. "Wha…?" he muttered stupidly.
His eyes swept across the room and found Temperance beaming expectantly next to Pops. He took his steps towards her. "Did you two do all this?" he asked unnecessarily, grinning widely now at his friends.
"Yes," Temperance nodded. "I know you said you didn't want a big fuss over your birthday but you've turned seventeen and this isn't a big fuss, really, and we invited only a handful of your friends and-"
Booth had to force himself not to lean down and kiss her. "This is great, Bones," he told her in a voice that matched the warmth of his eyes. "Thanks, Bones, Pops."
Jared scowled at his big brother. "What about me?" he complained. "I had to keep you out of the house for hours while they set it up. Do you know how exhausting it is to spend four hours with you?"
Booth rolled his eyes but thanked his brother as well, albeit in a wrier tone.
Temperance had been wary that the party wouldn't be up to Booth's expectations, even if he had none to begin with considering his lack of knowledge of it. She'd been worried that it would be too boring for him but he and his friends entertained themselves well enough that by the time presents had been over and done with (her 'COCKY' belt buckle being his favorite one, as he'd proclaimed to the entire room) and dinner was being served, Temperance had no doubts at all that she, Pops and Jared had thrown him a party good enough to be a fond memory.
Booth had received a surprise visit from a special guest a few minutes before dinner was served – Debbie, who had flown in from California with presents and an apology from a swamped-with-work Lydia who couldn't be there. Booth had hugged her long and tight, and it was clear to Temperance that he'd missed his two aunts.
Halfway through dinner (which was eaten buffet-style, everyone spread out all over the living room as music blared from the radio and a movie she didn't recognize played on the TV screen), they received a late guest in the form of Cam Saroyan.
Although it had been a few weeks since Cam's latest – and hopefully last – attempt at 'seducing' Booth, and several weeks since her discovery of Booth's and Temperance's romantic relationship, Temperance was still not all that happy about Cam's presence in their lives.
She wasn't one to read between the lines or understand the subtlety of human behavior. That was clearly in Booth's department, not hers. Even so, she had the distinct feeling that despite whatever strange civility she and Cam had managed to scrounge up between them, Cam was still not very fond of her.
Temperance had to say that the feeling was mutual.
But she knew that Booth seemed to enjoy Cam's company as a friend so she pasted on the most genuine smile she could muster up and greeted her with an awkward half-hug she couldn't duck out of sooner if she tried.
"Cam, you made it," she said needlessly, her tone lacking any enthusiasm whatsoever.
If Cam heard it, she didn't acknowledge it out loud. Booth was a little too busy sweeping her up into a hug to notice the lack of warmth between the two girls.
"Of course I did," Cam said, directing this at Booth as she pulled away from him. Temperance didn't know if she was being awfully observant or awfully envious as she noted how long it took for them to part from their embrace. "I wouldn't miss your birthday for the world."
Booth grinned. "Is that for me?" he asked, nodding at the wrapped package in her hand.
Cam handed it to him wordlessly. "I got it for you a couple of weeks back," she smiled, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. "I wish I could stay for longer but Felicia and I got grounded and I'm still carrying out my sentence."
Booth's eyebrows furrowed together as he looked up from the wrapped present to look at her. "If you're still grounded then…?"
Cam grinned impishly. "I snuck out my bedroom window and shimmied down the trellis," she admitted without an ounce of guilt. "I've got to head back before mom or dad notices. Felicia can only cover for me for so long before she gets bored."
Booth chuckled. "Well, I appreciate you sneaking out here, even if it's only for a little while," he teased. "Thanks."
Cam nodded. Shooting a furtive look at Temperance, she stepped closer to Booth and pressed a quick kiss to his cheek. "Happy birthday, big guy," she flashed him a smile.
The smile turned slightly wary and less cheerful as she turned to look at Temperance. "Bye, Temperance," she said. "Thanks for inviting me."
"Of course," Temperance's tone was just as stiff as Cam's.
Booth, obviously, wasn't as unobservant as Temperance believed. He knew his girlfriend and his neighbor still had a few issues between them they hadn't had a chance to bury yet. He also knew that most of those issues – if not all of them – had to do with him.
He would've stepped in and took on the role of peacemaker if he hadn't had experience in the past showing him how ugly things could get if someone got in the way of two less-than-friendly girls.
Temperance and Cam weren't close friends or sisters or the like but he knew that, with time, they'd be able to let go of this illusion of rivalry and see that they actually had some things in common…Alright, so he hoped that this would happen. Stranger things have occurred, haven't they?
"Well, that was nice of her, wasn't it?" he said when Cam had disappeared back into the foyer, waving the wrapped gift in his hand slightly.
Temperance rolled her eyes. "Yes, she should be nominated for sainthood," she quipped sarcastically, an unintentional pout forming on her lips and her arms crossed over her chest.
Booth chuckled. He gave into the urge to show her even the slightest bit of affection and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Aw, Bones," he murmured softly, his tone just loud enough for her ears. She looked up, her expression softening at the warm, loving look in his eyes. "You know you're my favorite girl."
She tried to fight her smile but his cheeriness was infectious. "I better be your only girl, Seeley Booth," she warned jestingly.
He smothered his grin, shrugging his shoulders and saying, "Eh," flippantly. Temperance chuckled, pinching his side in gentle retaliation.
The party lasted well after midnight. Pops had gone to bed early, leaving free-spirited Debbie to oversee a bunch of teenagers. Booth's basketball buddies had brought dates with them and Debbie had offered to dim the lights and put some 'make-out music' on for them. Temperance had blushed bright red.
Once the last of their guests had left and Debbie had settled into Booth's bedroom for the night (Booth was bunking with Jared until Debbie left on Sunday; Temperance had offered to let her stay in her room but Debbie had only been interested in 'oohing' and 'ahhing' at how pretty the room was, saying it wouldn't feel right kicking Temperance out of her own room), Booth and Temperance settled on the couch, ignoring the mess around them for the night.
"Was it a good birthday?" Temperance asked Booth sleepily as they reclined on the couch, Booth with his back against the armrest and Temperance between his legs, practically lying on top of him.
Booth smiled. He wrapped one arm around her waist and brushed his fingers through her soft hair. "The best," he murmured, pressing kisses into her sweet-smelling curls.
Temperance let out a drowsy chuckle. "Okay, good," she mumbled, shifting so that she was lying on her side on top of him, her cheek pressed into his chest and her palm resting over his beating heart.
They laid in silence for a few minutes. Despite her even breathing and closed eyes, Booth knew she wasn't actually asleep yet. After a few moments, Booth spoke up again, "You know, aunt Lydia is terrible at getting gifts."
"So, every year, she gives cash instead."
"Normally, I just get something cool with the money…Or hide it, back when I was still living with my dad…"
Temperance's eyes stayed close even as she lifted her head slightly and turned her face to press a kiss to his chest.
He smiled, repeatedly stroking her hair gently with his fingers. "But I was thinking, this year, maybe I could put it into the fund for our road trip…"
At this, Temperance opened her eyes to look at him. "Our road trip?" she said quietly.
Booth nodded. "She gave me a couple hundred bucks so, y'know, it's gonna be a big boost for our fund," he told her.
Temperance bit her lower lip thoughtfully. "Are you sure?" she asked him worriedly. "You don't have to put any birthday money in that fund. You could use it to get something nice for yourself."
He shrugged. "I don't want anything," he answered truthfully. "Look, the road trip is something great for the both of us." He paused, giving her a tentative, calculating look. "You do still want to go on the road trip, right?"
Temperance rolled her eyes. "Of course I do," she scoffed, as if the idea that she didn't want to was preposterous.
Booth grinned. "Then it's settled," he nodded, his mind made up. "Birthday money goes in the road trip fund and come graduation, we're gonna be on our way to the Grand Canyon."
Temperance shook her head at the almost childish joy in his expression. "Booth, you do realize that even with your birthday cash, it's probably not going to be enough for us to go all the way to the Grand Canyon?"
He gave her a ridiculous mock stern look. "Not with that attitude it won't," he scolded her teasingly.
Temperance huffed. "I just meant that maybe we should postpone the trip for a year or two," she suggested. "We could have the time to save up more. We only came up with the idea this past summer."
Booth nodded. "I know."
It was another one of their shared nights in the guest house at the beach house. It was well after midnight, the house was eerily quiet and Booth and Temperance were wrapped up in one another as they laid on Temperance's temporary bed, her back to his front. The sheets had been partially pushed aside when they had been passionately embracing earlier and Temperance had kicked the rest off a few minutes before.
Booth had his arm wrapped around her waist, his fingers rubbing soothingly over the cool material of her nightgown. Temperance sighed as the exposed skin of her back came into contact with his bare chest. It felt like such a relief, such a comforting thing, to feel his skin on hers.
Even with the relaxing day Debbie had practically forced on them the moment she heard of what had transpired the day before with David Booth, Temperance was still a little shaken up. She knew Booth was much worse. He'd retreated almost completely – she was only thankful that he was letting his guard down around her, at the very least, when they were alone.
He wouldn't talk about his father's reappearance or the abuse he and his brother had endured growing up. He would, however, speak of the lighthearted memories of his childhood. Most of them included his grandfather and his late mother. Some starred David when he was sober.
Temperance had been anxious, right after David had left and she was left to comfort a distressed Booth. She didn't know what she was going to do or how she would go about doing it. It was no secret that she wasn't the best at reading people – even Booth – and she hadn't wanted to let him down.
And then, in the still of the night, she'd realized that silence worked just as well as words sometimes.
All she had to do was be there for him, hold him in a warm embrace and show him without words that she was there for him.
It had worked splendidly so far and she hoped that if the need arose for soothing words, she'd be able to tackle them as well as this.
"We should go to the Grand Canyon," Booth said suddenly, snapping her out of her thoughts.
Temperance frowned. "What?" she asked, unsure if she'd heard him right. His words had come straight out of the left field and it took her a moment to realize he'd actually said that.
"The Grand Canyon," Booth repeated. "We should go."
Temperance pressed her head against her pillow, looking over her shoulder at him. "You do realize this is a completely random line of conversation?" she drawled.
Of course, there had been a lot of random comments from Booth this past day.
Booth chuckled, rolling her onto her back before tugging her body sideways so she'd face him instead. "Not really," he sighed, and she saw a small smile lifting one corner of his lips. "My mom made that plan when I was nine."
Temperance blinked. "Oh."
"She said that one day, the three of us would pack our bags, get in the car and go on an impromptu road trip to the Grand Canyon," he explained, a faraway look in his eyes that told her he was reminiscing about the past once more. "We'd escape real life, y'know, leave all our problems behind…I always assumed that was my dad cuz she never said we'd take him with us."
Temperance snuggled closer to him, resting her head on his bicep. "Did you ever go?" she asked softly, running her hand up and down his side.
Booth shook his head. "Nah," his tone was a little too flippant for it to be genuine. "She got sick a few months later and, y'know, she died when I was eleven. We had a bunch of money saved up but some we used for her medical bills and the rest my dad took…"
He blinked a few times, as though to clear the memory, and dropped his gaze to her, their eyes locking. "We should go," he nodded determinedly.
Temperance gazed at him for a long time.
He wondered if she'd ask him if he'd lost his mind or tell him that going to the Grand Canyon wouldn't bring back his mother or even berate him for thinking that she'd do whatever it was he wanted; it was, after all, his fault that she'd even had to go through the trauma of David's visit. It was unfair to think that she'd have to suffer the bad parts of being a Booth when she'd come into the family with the promise that she'd only get the good parts.
Finally, she nodded and her beautiful baby blues sparkled when she said, "Okay. We'll go."
His eyes lit up. "Really?"
She had to chuckle at the excitement in his voice. She'd forgotten that he could have such a pure, childlike joy about him sometimes. "Yes," she confirmed. "If this is what you want, we'll do it. It sounds…Fun."
She seemed almost hesitant to say the word.
"And it would be an enriching experience," she added.
He grinned. She was the only teenager he knew who would call a road trip an 'enriching experience'. "Cool," he said nonetheless. "When should we go?" he wondered, wrapping his arms around her slim body and pulling her snug into his body.
Temperance pursed her lips, thinking. "What about after graduation?" she suggested. "We'd have a whole summer before college starts."
Booth's eyes sparkled at the idea. "That sounds great," he enthused. "We could drag it out a little, y'know, a week or two. Maybe stop a few times on the way."
"We should make a list," Temperance said and he couldn't help but think she sounded most excited about that.
He laughed and the sound was warmer than the half-hearted chuckles he'd given the past day. The sound slid down her spine and warming her down to her toes. "We should," he agreed happily, and she noted that his tone was lighter and happier than it had been before. "We'll make a list of all the places we'll go and, come graduation, we're outta here."
She laughed and it sounded almost like a giggle. "We should save up, too," she suggested. "We need a road trip fund."
He rolled her onto her back, lying on top of her while being careful that his weight didn't crush her. "Okay," he agreed easily, a contented sigh escaping his lips. He beamed at her, his dark eyes boring into her baby blues.
He was silent for a long time and she reciprocated, just enjoying the comfort of his warm embrace. Booth reached out and smoothed back her hair from her face, his large, gentle hands cupping her porcelain cheeks. "I love you, Bones," he murmured quietly, leaning down to brush his lips against hers lovingly.
Temperance felt her heart pounding wildly against her rib cage, the combination of his honest confession and warm gaze leaving her breathless. "I love you, too," she whispered. To hide her blush, she pressed her lips more firmly against his.
She was slightly relieved that the intense moment was broken when his hands snuck underneath her nightgown, his fingers tickling her sides and making break away from his kiss, laughing at the sensation. She reveled in the wide smile splitting across his face, his laughter mingling with hers.
"Doesn't matter," Booth said, snapping out of his memory. "I'll put the money into our savings and we'll see what we've got at the end of the school year."
Temperance sighed. "Alright," she agreed. "But don't complain to me when you can't afford a new tub of Kangaroo Paste," she rolled her eyes, referring to the too-expensive, internationally imported hair gel Booth couldn't live without.
It wasn't uncommon for Temperance's mind to continue working long after her eyes had slid shut for her nightly rest.
She'd make to-do lists and reviewed her homework assignments and outlined what she needed to do with her school projects in her sleep. She'd always been able to do that and, when this was casually mentioned to her father once when she was younger and her family was still around, he'd teased that she was a go-getter even when she was unconscious.
This was why, as she'd gone through the events of her day to make sure she hadn't forgotten to do anything she was scheduled to accomplish that day, she shot up in bed suddenly, her eyes wide and panicked and her breathing growing labored.
"Oh, crap," she muttered. "Oh, no, no, no, no. This cannot be happening to me."
She sat there on her bed, the sheets rumpled around her, completely stunned for a few long moments. She was snapped out of it when she heard a car go by, a honk blaring loud enough to wake a dead man.
Scrambling out of bed, she almost barged out of her room and into Booth's in a rage. Birdie, who was sleeping on his favorite perch right at the top of the stairs, gave a loud 'meow' right as she was about to bang her fist on Booth's closed bedroom door (he'd kept it locked the first few nights Birdie was around, upset that the cat would find a way to get inside to pee all over his floor but Birdie had broken that habit now; he still wouldn't leave the door open, though, not wanting to tempt the cat).
The sound was louder than it would've been normally and reminded her of how quiet the house was now that it was the middle of the night. Not wanting to wake Pops and Jared up, she forewent knocking and quietly turned the doorknob, tiptoeing inside. She made sure to close the door behind her since she didn't want Birdie to sneak in – Booth would blame her and get in a tizzy if he had to clean another puddle of cat pee off his bedroom floor.
"Booth," she hissed, sitting at the edge of his bed and shaking his shoulder roughly. He groaned in his sleep but didn't even open his eyes. She sighed, climbing on top of him and settling on top of his stomach, her knees bent on either side of his waist. Booth grunted, opening his eyes slowly. "Booth, wake up," she urged, shaking his shoulders again.
He peered up at her. "Do I have to lock my door again?" he asked her, his voice gritty with sleep and irritation.
Temperance rolled her eyes. "Booth, this is serious," she snapped.
"Well, that's what you said when you woke me up at three in the morning, panicked because you thought you hadn't studied for your American Revolution test and made me quiz you until six," he yawned, rubbing at his eyes tiredly. "Can't this wait until sunrise?"
"I'm late," she blurted out.
His eyebrows furrowed together. "Late for what? It's four thirty in the freakin' morning!" he growled, not catching on.
Temperance grasped his shoulders tightly and looked deeply into his eyes. "I'm late," she repeated, slowly and enunciating both words this time.
He stared at her blankly. "I think I'm having a weird Alice in Wonderland dream," he mumbled stupidly.
Temperance fought the urge to slap her palm against her forehead. "Booth!" she scolded. "I meant my period!"
His cheeks flamed instantly. "What! Why do you have to tell me tha…Oh," realization struck him and his embarrassment of such a private feminine issue was diminished instantly. His blushing face turned pale.
They stared at one another, completely terrified.
"Wha-what do we…What's gonna…I mean, uh, what…?" Booth stammered.
Temperance swallowed thickly. "I don't know," she whispered.
He gaped at her, wide-eyed and slack-jawed. "You don't know? You're the one who always has a plan and you don't know!" he sounded fairly faint.
She glared at him. "I'm in shock, alright!" she snapped, angry. Taking a deep breath, she spoke in a calmer tone of voice. "We'll go to the store tomorrow and get a home pregnancy test."
"Are those things reliable?" Booth asked doubtfully.
She shrugged. "Reliable enough," she answered firmly. "I'm not going to risk social services finding out by going to a doctor. Not to mention how expensive it is."
Booth nodded, only minutely relieved by the fact that they had a plan now, flimsy as it may be. "Okay," he agreed. "Okay, we'll do that…Oh, wait – I have a game tomorrow."
Temperance nodded. "We'll go after the game, then," she decided.
He started to shake his head in earnest. "No, no, I can't play tomorrow with this hanging over my head," he protested incredulously. "I'd be too distracted. I'd totally tank."
She stared at him, confused. She didn't understand that last one but she gleaned that he wasn't happy with her compromise. "Well, then, what do you propose we do?" she demanded.
Booth sat up, easily lifting her body off of him and placing her beside him. He pushed back the covers and slipped out of bed. "We'll go now," he said, grabbing his sweatpants from the floor and tugging them up. "They have one of those twenty-four hour pharmacies a few blocks from here, right? We'll go get one of those pregnancy stick thingies, come back here and find out for sure."
Temperance stared at him with her jaw dropped. "Now!" she hissed. "Are you insane? It's four in the morning! We'd wake Pops!"
"Not if we're stealthy."
She rolled her eyes. "We can't be stealthy," she argued. "This is a very quiet neighborhood before the sun rises and your car's louder than a jet engine."
He rolled his eyes but ushered her out the door anyway, sweatshirt on and one arm in his jacket sleeve. She barely had time to grab her long coat before he'd swept her out the door, closing it as quietly as possible. His car, like she'd predicted, made a huge noise as he started it but neither of them saw any lights being switched on inside the house. After nearly five minutes of waiting in fear that Pops might've woken up, Booth slowly backed out of the driveway.
The pharmacy was open but the one cashier that was manning the store wasn't in. He'd locked the door with a sign that said 'went to the bathroom. Be back in 10 minutes.' They waited anxiously outside the store until the cashier came back, keys in hand.
"Dude, we've been waiting for twenty minutes," Booth complained the moment the cashier walked up to the door, sliding the key in.
The cashier rolled his eyes, "Well, I'm here now, so…Whatever."
Booth glared at him, grabbed onto Temperance's hand and led her towards the aisles. "Where the hell are the stick thingies?" he muttered to himself after a few minutes of fruitless searching.
Temperance rolled her eyes, pulled her hand from his grasp and went up to the counter. "Excuse me, where are the pregnancy tests?"
The cashier – a grungy looking boy in his late teens – looked up at her over the top of his graphic novel. He stared at her for a few moments. "Aisle three," he said finally, and dropped his gaze back to his comic book.
"Thanks," she said, spun on her heel and stormed straight to aisle three. She found them immediately and called out to Booth, "Found them!"
He jumped at her voice and went looking for her. He found her in aisle three a minute later, a pink box clutched in her hand and her eyes fixed on the instructions written on the back. "You got it?" he asked. "Let's go."
"Wait," she said. "We still have to pick one."
He frowned. "What, there are different kinds?"
She nodded, "Yes." She pointed to the boxes on the shelves. "The one I'm holding uses the pink line for pregnant and blue line for not pregnant."
Booth shook his head. "Okay, so is that good?" he asked impatiently.
She shrugged. "What do I know? I'm fifteen. This is my first home pregnancy test," she said defensively. And hopefully my last, she added silently.
Booth exhaled loudly. "Okay, well, let's see," he grabbed a random box and read the back. "This one's a smiley face."
Temperance shook her head. "Too cheerful," she pointed out, despite how irrational that fact may be.
Booth nodded as though this made perfect sense. "You're right," he said solemnly and put the box back.
In the end, they chose the one Temperance had been holding when he met up with her in aisle three, and another one that would read out the words 'PREGNANT' or 'NOT PREGNANT' after eight minutes.
They took both boxes to the counter where the cashier did his best not to look at them and Booth did his best to glare at him if he even glanced at them for a fraction of a second. Booth paid for their purchase – without any objections from Temperance this time – and made their way back to the car.
The drive back home was the slowest and longest drive Booth had ever taken despite the fact that the store was only a few blocks away and there was not a single car in sight. The sneak back into the house and upstairs into the bathroom was nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, though, they managed it all without waking or alerting Pops and Jared. It was barely five-thirty but Temperance knew they had to hurry: Pops would wake in an hour's time, at most, and the last thing she needed was for him to walk in on a potential disaster.
"Okay, let's do this," Booth said as Temperance downed her third glass of water in two minutes.
Temperance drank the last drop in the glass before putting the glass next to the sink. "We?" she repeated dryly. "Booth, only one of us needs to pee on this thing and I'd rather do it alone."
Booth blushed, as though just realizing what needed to happen. "Oh, yeah," he said sheepishly. "Um…I'll be out in the hall. Tell me when to come back in?"
He gave her a kiss of encouragement and slipped out the door quietly. She locked the door and took a deep breath. She felt a little bloated from all the water she'd consumed in such little amount of time, and more than ready to go, but her nerves were getting to her.
She paced back and forth the tiled floor for a few times before rushing towards the door once more. She unlocked it and pulled it open slightly. Booth was seated on the floor, his back pressed to the wall next to the bathroom door. He rushed to his feet the moment the door was opened.
"You're done already?" he sounded surprised. "Wow, you're really fast…"
She rolled her eyes in exasperation. "I haven't started," she told him.
"Oh," he blinked. "Why not?"
She bit her lower lip and chewed on it for a moment. "I-I'm scared," she admitted quietly, embarrassed by such an admission.
Booth pushed the door open slightly wider so he could step inside and wrap his arms around Temperance. "I know," he murmured, his lips and nose buried in her hair. "I am, too. But we'll get through this together, Temperance. We'll be okay."
She wasn't sure if she believed him but he'd used her first name and had said it all in that serious tone of his he rarely ever used so she knew that he believed his words completely.
Taking a deep breath – one that felt it was cleansing her body from the inside out instead of suffocating her – she nodded, accepted another kiss from him and closed the door.
Feeling better, she took out the two pregnancy tests from their boxes and sat down on the toilet seat, ready to find out if she and Booth needed to come up with contingency plans or not.
Booth, on the other hand, had rushed towards his bedroom, grabbed the empty potato chip tin can where he and Temperance kept their road trip fund. He pulled open the plastic cover and tipped the tin can over, shaking it out so the crumpled up bills inside fell on top of his bedspread. He made quick count of the cash – two hundred and thirty-two bucks. It probably wasn't enough to get them to the Grand Canyon and it definitely wasn't enough to raise a baby.
But it's a start, he thought grimly.
He saw the stream of light on the floor of the hallway, indicating that Temperance had opened the bathroom door once more. He hurriedly stuff the bills into the tin can once more, covered it with the plastic lid and brought the can with him to the bathroom.
He stepped inside the bathroom, closed the door as quietly as he could and joined Temperance on the floor next to the bathtub. She had her back against the wall, the two pregnancy tests laid out on the floor next to her.
"So?" he asked, anxious due to the unsettled look on her face.
She shook her head. "Not yet," she replied, her voice quiet with worry. "There's still five minutes left."
Temperance glanced at Booth and frowned at the cylindrical aluminum container grasped in his hand. "What is that?" she asked him warily.
Booth held the container up. "This?" he asked unnecessarily. "It's our road trip fund."
"Yes, I know," she said slowly. "Why did you bring it out?"
He shrugged. "I don't know…I mean, I was counting how much we had in there. It's about two hundred bucks and I know it's not much but we-we can work this out-"
She interrupted him immediately. "Work what out?" she asked, panic seeping into her voice.
"Well, you're pregnant," he stated.
"No, I might be pregnant," she corrected him instantly. "We don't know for sure that I am. And we're hoping that I'm not, remember?"
He nodded. "No, yeah, I know," he said quickly. "But if you are, y'know, I don't want you to think that you'd have to do this alone or that I won't be any help. W-we'll postpone the trip until we're older. I'll get a job. We'll pull through."
Temperance stared at him for a long time. Finally, she sighed, shaking her head. "I don't know if you're sweet or insane," she said, a small smile tugging at her lips. She reached out and caressed his cheek with her hand. "Look, I don't know what we'd do if I really am pregnant but I…I'd rather not think about it unless we have to."
He looked slightly hurt. "Is the idea of having my baby that repulsive?"
She gave him a look. "No, but it is a terrible one when neither of us are legal," she pointed out. "Up until an hour ago, I didn't think I'd ever have kids and do the typical marriage thing, even way down the line. I-it's just a bit much for me to consider right now, Booth."
And even though he still felt slighted by her words, he nodded like he understood. Unlike Temperance, he actually could imagine himself happily married to her down the line, with a big family and a nice house somewhere and maybe a dog or two. He didn't think it was a normal thing for teenagers to dream about but it was his dream nonetheless.
Still, this wasn't a dream that was supposed to happen for a decade or two so he nodded and said, "You're right," anyway. Maybe he'd be able to convince her. He had, after all, at least fifteen years left to change her mind and he was very persuasive.
Her watch beeped, startling the two of them because the faint sound was loud in the silent room. Temperance quickly clicked a button to stop the alarm. They shared a look and both took a deep, calming breath.
"This is it," Booth said, his heart jumping to his throat.
They held hands and Temperance reached out, lifting the test closest to her. Her eyes widened and she dropped it, going for the other.
"Well?" Booth demanded anxiously.
Temperance seemed stunned, her face numb, but a slow smile was starting to spread across her lips. "I'm not pregnant," she murmured.
She shook her head.
They both seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at that.
Sharing another look, this one much more lighthearted, they started to laugh. He dropped the road trip fund and grabbed her in a tight bear hug. "Thank God," he whispered, relieved.
Temperance laughed, tears leaking from her eyes as she hugged him back just as fiercely. Thank God, she silently echoed his sentiment.
Gosh, I'm so sorry this took ages. My home computer got totally screwed and I had to wait until my grandmother's house was cousin-free before I could post this.
I hope you've all enjoyed this first chapter of Where You Lead. I know I was going to avoid any talk of babies at all here but I just had to add that scare in. I hope none of you were worried for two seconds – or upset that I'd brought it in at all.
That potato-chip tin can fund? I had the same thing with my cousin-slash-pseudo-brother when I was younger. We saw that Frankie Muniz/Amanda Bynes movie 'Big Fat Liar' and thought, 'hmm, we should get a room as cool as that prop warehouse they hid in' and decided to save up to get one just like it. It took a year for us slowpokes to realize it was a totally unrealistic dream so we took out our savings, split it in half and had a mini-spree at the mall…
Anyway, next chapter of BOF & WYL as soon as I can get it uploaded.
Feel free to leave a line and tell me what you think.