Brennan walks in the front door, carrying an armful of groceries. She heads into the kitchen and sets them down on the kitchen table. "Booth?"
Booth appears a minute later, in a T-shirt and jeans. "You're home." He steps closer to her and gives her a soft peck on the cheek. "I was getting worried."
"I only went to the grocery store, Booth."
He nods. "Yeah, but you left three hours ago."
"They ran out of that organic chicken Christine likes so much, so I had to figure out an alternative. I hope she can't tell the difference once it's cooked. The store didn't have the right brand of toilet paper either. I spent a good twenty minutes weighing the different options, factoring in softness and durability. Plus, the lines were tremendously long. It's as if everyone in town was shopping at the same exact time."
"You look exhausted."
"I am. My plan was to get in and get out as quickly as possible. The second I pulled into the parking lot, I knew I was screwed. I had to drive around the lot three times just to find a parking spot. Are we set for a monstrous blizzard or a killer tornado? Because extreme weather and a natural disaster are the only explanations I can come up with."
"You're forgetting a zombie apocalypse and alien invasion," he jokes, starting to put the groceries away.
"She's upstairs in her room. She tricked me into having a tea party with her after dinner. She's probably up there now deciding which of her dolls and stuffed animals will be joining us."
Brennan smiles. "She loves when you participate in her little games, and I must admit it is quite fun watching you pretend to drink tea out of a tiny cup while sitting at a tiny table." She lets out a chuckle, putting the milk and eggs in the refrigerator. "My favorite is when she asked you to be her ballet partner, conning you into wearing a tutu. No, wait, it has to be the time I let her borrow my makeup to give you a makeover. Oh, no, it is most definitely the time—."
He holds up his hand. "I get it, Bones. Our daughter has an overactive imagination and she likes to use me as her dummy."
She walks over to the steps and angles her head upwards. "Christine, honey, come downstairs and help mommy."
The sound of scurrying feet can be heard as Christine runs to the top of the stairs. "Mommy!" She hurries down the stairs and leaps into her mother's arms. She wraps her legs and arms around Brennan's waist and neck, and gives her a slobbery kiss on the cheek. "Hi."
Brennan adjusts her so that the little girl is now sitting on her hip and pushes back her daughter's auburn bangs, giving her a kiss on the forehead. "Hi." She pauses. "I need some help putting away the groceries."
Brennan carries Christine into the kitchen and sets her down on the counter. "How about you empty the bags and hand the groceries to me, and I'll put them away?"
Christine nods. "Okay, mommy."
"What do you want for dinner?" Brennan asks, taking a box of cereal from her daughter and turning to put it in the pantry.
"Mac-n-cheese, please!" Christine grins, kicking her legs up and down.
Brennan looks at Booth and raises an eyebrow. "Is that okay with you?"
Booth nods. "I love your Mac-n-Cheese."
"That doesn't answer my question, Booth."
"Yeah, that's okay with me. Mac-n-Cheese sounds great."
Once the groceries are put away, Brennan starts on dinner, while Christine sits on Booth's lap at the island counter. The two of them are keeping busy, working on a word search in the newspaper together.
"Balloon, daddy! I finds balloon!" Christine picks up the pencil and draws a bubble around the letters and smiles. "Look, daddy."
"I see, princess. You found the word balloon. You're really kicking my butt."
Christine shifts and scans the puzzle, focusing hard on the mess of letters.
Booth grabs his phone when it starts to ring and glances at the caller ID before answering the call. "Rebecca, is Parker okay?" That's the only reason he can think of as to why his ex would be calling him so late. After a couple seconds on the phone, his hand starts to tingle and he swallows.
Brennan stops what she's doing and turns around to face him. She dries her hand with a towel as she walks closer to the island.
"I'm on my way. Thanks for calling." He hangs up quickly and nudges Christine. "Baby, hop down. Daddy needs to go somewhere." His voice is shaky and his eyes are welling up with tears, but he's trying to remain calm.
Brennan looks at him. "Booth?"
He scrambles to get off the stool and drops his phone into his pocket.
"Booth, what's going on?"
"I have to go." He gives Christine a kiss on the top of her head and presses a kiss to Brennan's lips and then rushes to the door, grabbing his wallet and keys and heading out of the house.
"Mommy, where's daddy going?"
Brennan shrugs. "I don't know, Honey." She grabs the house phone and dials Booth's cell phone number. He left in a hurry, rather suddenly, and she's concerned and confused, a combination of feelings she doesn't feel often, thankfully. "Come on, Booth, pick up," she whispers in the phone over and over again. After the sixth ring, he answers. "Booth, what's going on? What'd Rebecca want? Is Parker alright?"
"It wasn't Rebecca." His voice is even shakier now and his breathing is heavier too.
"Who was it then?"
"Look, Bones, I really need to go. I'll call you later."
"No, Booth, just tell me what's going on. I'm worried about you and Christine's wondering where you went."
"I'm on my way to Alexandria. There was an accident. I don't know a lot. I just know that Rebecca and Parker are in bad shape. I can't talk right now. I'll call you later when I know more information. I promise. I love you."
"I'm fine. Just finish making dinner for Christine. I'm not sure when I'll be home."
"What hospital were they brought to?"
"Stay at home with our daughter, Bones. I can handle this on my own."
"I'm sorry, Booth, and I love you too. I hope everything will be alright with Parker and Rebecca. Call me when you have the chance, okay?"
"Bye." He hangs up quickly and tosses his phone into the passenger seat. His whole body is trembling, tears are streaming down his face, his heart is racing, and his hands are gripping the wheel so tight his knuckles are turning white.
Brennan sighs, setting the phone back in the dock on the counter. She turns to look at Christine, who has turned to her puzzle again. "Daddy had to take care of something, Honey. He'll be back later."
"Don't cry, mommy. Daddy be back soon."
Brennan whips away the tears that she hadn't realized had fallen and clears her throat. "What type of pasta would you like, Christine?"
Brennan disappears into the pantry and tries to put herself back together for Christine. She swallows and holds onto the shelf, in attempt to get her body from shaking. She lets out a breath and grabs the blue pasta box. She closes her eyes and then opens them before heading back into the kitchen. "Wash your hands, please."
"Flowers!" Christine shouts, circling another word.
"Christine, honey, did you hear me?"
Christine slips off the stool and walks over to the sink, pushing over her little pink stepstool, the one with her name painted on it. She reaches forward and turns on the sink, running her hands under the stream of water. "Mommy, is daddy in trouble?"
"No, Honey, daddy's fine."
"Don't be sad. Daddy's fine."
Brennan smiles and rubs her eyes, swallowing the lump in her throat. She hates lying to her daughter or in this case, holding back the truth, but if she's learned one thing over the years, it's that there are certain times where lying is appropriate.
Right now, she's lying to spare her daughter's feelings, lying to protect Christine from the hurt and confusion both she and Booth are feeling at the moment. She'll tell her the truth later when she knows more about what's happening. For now, she'll try and distract her with Macaroni and Cheese and word searches and be Booth's stand in for the tea party he was invited to after dinner. Maybe that will help distract herself from what's happening, as well.
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