A/N: I apologize for not catching that I'd misspelled the title of this story before the notice went out. That was one of those total facepalm moments! Oh well.
I know this story is a little late considering where we are with the show, but it was just something I couldn't let go of. So I'm going to get it out of my system. :)
Thank you Sophia for your help! Thank you Julie for being my cheerleader!
Booth walked in a daze over to the wall beside the pond and looked down at the ring. Its shimmer mocked him.
He had stared at it several times that night. The way it sparkled. So beautiful. So full of life. So full of promise.
He'd been anxiously waiting for the moment he'd slip it on her finger. To have the opportunity to watch her eyes become even more brilliant than the ring she wore.
But now...each flash of light seemed harsh and piercing. Like a knife cutting through his chest.
Of their own volition, his fingers slid over to touch its cool surface. Oh how he'd wanted this night to be perfect. To finally get the life he'd waited on for so long. To dream about the future with her.
He licked his lips, then pursed them against the taste of their kiss. Her words played through his mind again...she thought they'd have more time before they got to this. What the hell did that mean?
She'd known this day would come. She'd known?
And she wanted to go back? Like she hadn't just ripped his heart right out of his chest? Who was she kidding?
He didn't have to have everything his way. Hell, he'd been making compromises his entire life. He'd make a million more. Yeah, he'd wanted to get married. Yeah, he'd thought they could make it. He loved her. He thought she loved him the same way. She'd given up the career she wanted and followed him halfway around the world for God's sake.
If only she'd had a better reason. If only she hadn't said she'd known. If only she hadn't asked him to pretend as though nothing had happened.
She really thought they could do that? Really? What? Just go back home, slip into bed, make love and wake up the next morning like his proposal never existed? Pretend that he hadn't asked to spend the rest of his life with her?
His eyes traveled back down to the ring where it rested in a sea of black. How appropriate.
His pain quickly turned to anger. Did she really think so little of him?
What happened now? Now...he was done. He was pissed. And every word she uttered made him want to yell. He wanted her to leave. He wanted her to stay. He wanted her to ask for something more than just...forgetting.
But she didn't. She didn't fight for him...for them. She just offered to move out.
How had he ended up in this position again? What the hell was wrong with him? What was wrong with all of them?
He let go of hope and let the box snap quietly shut. Closing yet another chapter in his life, he refused to show any emotion.
Her words of love were nothing more than the clanging of cymbals in his ears. Love? Love was more than wiping a night under a rug like it never happened. Love was more than just packing up and moving away.
Why couldn't she just shut up and leave? Why couldn't she stay and ask for more?
He was trying really hard to man up. And a small part of him acknowledged that he'd jumped the gun in an effort to...to do so many things. To build a new life. To prove to everyone that he'd moved on. To show her how much he loved her. To prove to himself that he was worthy. But he knew for a fact that if she said she just wasn't the marrying kind one more time, he was going to lose what little control he had.
Apparently she was right. He hadn't been listening. If he had...none of this would have happened and he wouldn't be sitting right back at square one. Again.
If only she wasn't asking him to erase this night. If only she could give him some hope for the future.
He could tell she was upset. He could feel it as acutely as he felt his own pain. His automatic instinct was to turn and make it easier for her somehow. To tell her he understood. That he was fine...would be fine. But he didn't tell her...and he wasn't fine. And for once in his life, he put his own needs above those of the one he loved.
He knew that in this moment, if he turned to see the pain in her eyes, it would only anger him further.
He hung his head as he listened to her departure. From the wall. From the garden. From his life.
Her perfume faded away as he looked down at the small box resting in his hands. He knew he could take it back. He knew he could put that money back in his savings account, which had increased substantially after his stint in Afghanistan. But he also knew that whatever he spent the money on...it would always remind him of her. No matter what he bought, it would be paid for with Hannah's rejection.
It would be a constant reminder he would never forget.
There was only one thing to do. He would walk away from it the same way she'd walked away from him.
This was the one thing about the night that he could pretend never happened.
He held it in his hand one last time. Remembered the joy in picking it out for her. The hope it had embodied.
A small part of him didn't want to let it go. His last connection with her. But he knew that whether he kept it or returned it...it would be a festering wound that would never heal. And he already had enough of those to last a lifetime.
It was time for a clean break.
He reared back and threw it as hard as he could. It sailed through the air on its final journey away from him. Much like the woman who'd just left.
He watched as it hit and sent ripples out across the surface of the water.
This night was just another ripple. One he would get through just like all the others. His life would settle and return to a calm stillness one day. And somehow, he'd be a better man for it.
But right now, he was miserable and in pain.
He glanced over his shoulder to make sure she was gone, then turned to head to the only place he felt like going. To the one place that offered the only liquid he wanted to see.
He prayed to God, asking that he be allowed this one night alone. That nobody he knew would be there.
That when morning came, he'd find the strength to keep going.
Because tonight, he was going to drown his sorrows.