The call came early, while Booth was still in the shower. It did nothing to improve Brennan's already precarious mood and she ended the conversation with a barely repressed frown marring her features. Another shooting at a mall with the same modus operandus as the others, but instead of being able to go with her partner to carry out her usual post-mortem examination of the crime scene, she was needed, needed in the lab.

She went back into the bathroom to finish drying her hair, still digesting the hidden meaning behind the phoned request as she wiped a clean swath across the mirror with her hand, when she heard the water being turned off. Booth came out dripping but instead of reaching for a towel, his hands went around Brennan's growing belly from behind pulling her close, dampening her silk robe everywhere his steaming, wet body made contact with hers.

The act not only startled the scientist, it also added to her unsettled frame of mind.

She couldn't know that just before emerging from the shower, Booth had taken the liberty of doing the math on their behalf. It hadn't taken him long to conclude that they still had at least half an hour of free time before they had to leave the house.

A lot of things could be accomplished in thirty minutes, especially if they dressed fast and picked up breakfast on the way to work.

As he held her, Booth thought about how thoroughly irresistible his girlfriend looked standing there barefoot doing battle with a brush and a hairdryer, her new, exciting contours barely hidden by that filmy robe. It continually blew him away that a woman could look so desirable so early in the morning, even with her hair a soggy, tangled mass and not a shred of makeup on. And the true shocker? That the woman in question was his. Maybe it wasn't always the wisest thing to give in to impulse, but this morning, alone with her in the quiet intimacy of what had slowly evolved into their everyday routine, Booth was completely convinced that nothing could go wrong between them that day.

Brennan looked up into the streaked mirror to find her mate's face perched innocently on her shoulder, smiling at her slightly distorted reflection. His could have been a purely guileless smile; Coming on the heels of that aggravating phone call from Cam, though, it proved to be far too close to a smirk for comfort. But Brennan conceded that she was feeling particularly snappish right now, so it was just as possible that a smart-alecky grin may not have been the look he was actually going for.

Either way, she decided he wasn't getting the benefit of the doubt.

"Please don't do that" she said icily, as one of Booth's hands parted the front of the robe just a little to settle on her stomach and then began sliding higher, towards what she knew he considered to be even more attention-worthy regions.

"You're getting me all wet, and I'm not in the mood to be touched at the present moment."

Okaaay, Booth thought uncertainly.

Thrown off a little by the comment and the acid tone in her voice, he studied his beloved's expression to determine whether she was really upset at him or just moody because she hadn't been sleeping well lately. Honestly, he couldn't tell. So he made the executive decision to keep on going, hoping to salvage the decidedly iffy situation.

Although his hand stopped its upwards progression, just in case.

"Why? I'm just checking up on how big the baby has gotten. I love this new part of you" he said huskily, pressing her against him tighter, his fingers splayed protectively over the swell of her abdomen.

There was supposed to be a compliment in there somewhere and Booth was positive if his partner looked hard enough she would find it, but her sour face made it clear that regardless of good intentions it had been the wrong thing to say. He shook his head sadly. By now he should be well past the point of knowing that one should never mention size-any kind of size, no matter how complimentary it seemed-to a pregnant woman, but sometimes, like now, he accidentally got lulled into a false sense of security by their new domestic situation and it led him to say the stupidest things.

Still, even though the comment evidently came out all wrong and her water-stained silk robe was not exactly looking its best after the recent wet embrace, he was left scratching his head over why she suddenly seemed so upset with him this morning over something so minor. Especially when things had been so good between them last night.

Really, really good, if he could be perfectly honest.

They'd been in bed reading when she turned to him, looking somewhat crestfallen. Depressed, even.

"Angela dragged me to a maternity store today against my will. I told her that most of the items in my regular wardrobe were still viable clothing options for me considering that I'm barely seven months along in my pregnancy and I'm not all that large. I insisted that I didn't need to purchase anything else at this time, but she said that I should try to showcase my condition in a more effective manner and not, and I quote, 'go around looking like I'm trying to cover it up like some compromised teenager from a bad 50's soap.' She even offered me some of her own pregnancy clothes once again, although it's quite obvious to both of us that our tastes and physiques are markedly different. It didn't come up in our conversation, but I'm pretty sure the word "frumpy" crossed her mind in reference to my appearance."

"Angela would never say that about you. It's probably just because you're still wearing a lot of your regular clothes. I know you're picking out some of your roomier stuff, but some of it looks…." Oh Jesus, he thought, suddenly panicking; "please, please give me the right words here…"

Brennan got tired of waiting for him to find them.

"Frumpy. You can go ahead and say it, Booth. You and Angela-and probably everyone else at the lab-all think I look frumpy. Frumpy and unattractive." She didn't seem angry, just apathetically resigned to her fate.

He stared at her in thunderstruck disbelief.

"Bones, you are so incredibly beautiful. Even if you walked around in a potato sack and nothing else, you could never look frumpy-ever. You're just pregnant, and the bigger clothes that aren't maternity don't fit you right, especially since you can't wear them with belts anymore; they kind of swallow you up. That's what Angela meant by showcasing your condition, and not hiding it. Carrying a baby for nine months is an amazing, miraculous thing, and it could never make a woman-least of all you-look unattractive. There, did I just redeem myself, or what?" he asked with a smile.

"So you don't think that I currently look unattractive?" The very real doubt in her voice surprised Booth-he had very seldom ever gotten anything but head-on self-confidence from his partner.

He put his magazine down, along with her book, and leaned over her.

"Beautiful" he murmured softly, raising the hem of her t-shirt over her belly.

"Everywhere."

He kissed her stomach as he pulled the shirt further up, over her head, and then his mouth went on to sample the bounty of her full breasts.

"Every…single…inch…of…you" he whispered in between kisses. His lips were on neck, and then on the space directly behind her ear, and finally on her lips as he mindlessly helped her out of her pajama bottoms and then efficiently shimmied out of his own clothes.

"You really think so?"

The question came from somewhere different than before, and Booth was satisfied that it no longer meant anything at all because her arms had gone around him and her mouth was back on his full force. There was no way she could really expect an answer when her tongue was so thoroughly entangled with his.

Interrupting the kiss briefly, he gave her one anyway.

"You think I would be this turned on every single time I see you-in and out of your clothes, any clothes-if I didn't think you were the most gorgeous thing alive? Temperance Brennan in my bed, pregnant with my kid-god-it's the sexiest thing I've ever seen."

It was the last thing he would say for a while that made much sense to either one of them, as he went on to give her some proof of just how desirable he found her.

Such a comforting, easy night between them, so why on earth had the baby comment elicited such a strong and negative response just now when yesterday he had used almost the very same words to much better, and satisfying, effect?

Women. You could work with them, live with them, love and be loved by them, but for as long as you lived, you would never understand them.

Not a chance.