"Come on, Bones! Time's a wasting. Let's light a fire under that… posterior… of yours and get to the beach."
His partner did not respond.
Still yelling through the wooden door that separated him from Brennan's room, unmindful of the fact that other guests might be sleeping in or spending a romantic day in bed with their significant other, Booth called out once more. "I know it takes girls longer to make sure everything's tucked in and just right, but jeez, Bones, it's going to be night before you're satisfied with your suit."
He, on the other hand, had not been so picky with his appearance. As soon as he woke up, he scrambled into the shower, brushed his teeth and then threw on the very first pair of swim trunks he encountered in his duffle bag. A typical guy, he only needed the small carryon to contain his ten pairs of trunks (why do laundry when you're on vacation?), a few t-shirts in case he went anywhere that required actual clothes, and a couple pairs of underwear for when he was just lounging around in his room. After all, he planned to spend all day, every day at the beach, and he sure as hell didn't need anything to sleep in while in paradise.
But Bones…? It was fair to say that she did not subscribe to the minimalist ideal when on vacation. On a whim that he was pretty sure was part desperation and part insanity on his part, he had asked her to go with him to Jamaica while sitting alone - drinking, feeling sorry for himself at Wong Fu's. Obviously, booze and self-pity were not conducive to making good decisions. He had first realized that when Bones showed up at the airport with several full-sized suitcases on wheels.
Typically, she was a pretty level-headed woman, almost to the point of making him feel like the girl. It didn't bother her to get her hands dirty, and, though she took professional pride in her appearance, once she left her apartment in the morning, how she looked was the last thing on her mind for the rest of her day, so Booth had been a little shocked to see his partner dragging along her entire wardrobe. When he questioned her, she revealed that she'd never been on a non-working trip before, so she wasn't sure what she would need. She brought casual clothes for the beach, semi-casual clothes for sight-seeing, moderately dressy clothes for going out to dinner, formal clothes just in case they wanted to splurge and attend a four-star restaurant, and work clothes, too, just in case they stumbled upon a dead body or two.
His second clue that asking Bones to go on vacation with him was a bad idea was when she upgraded her seat to first class and then proceeded to book one of the nicest suites their hotel had to offer when they checked in. Granted, he sure as hell hadn't been planning on the two of them shacking up in his room together, but he was perfectly capable of paying for his partner to have the room next to his. After all, he was the one who had invited her (stupidly), and she had made it no secret that the only reason she had agreed to go with him was to make sure that he returned after his ten days were up.
Basically, she was his glorified babysitter.
He heard her voice from behind the door before he actually saw her, but, still, Booth didn't stand up or relinquish his spot leaning against the wall opposite Bones' suite. "You told me the whole point of non-working vacations was to relax. How exactly is you rushing me and yelling like a barbarian from outside my hotel room supposed to help me relax?"
He had a retort. It was right there, perched conveniently on the tip of his tongue, but, once his gaze landed upon his partner, Booth couldn't get his mouth to work. She looked…
Bones, however, felt no such hesitation. "That's all you're going to wear?"
"Well, I was going to slip on my snow suit… like someone else I know, but I realized this morning when I went to get dressed that I left it at home… in the store where it belongs." Finally, the words he had wanted to express moments before came flowing off his lips. "What the hell is with your get-up, Grandma?"
"Do you have any idea how damaging UV Rays are to the human dermis?"
"We're in Jamaica, Bones," Booth sighed, pushing away from the wall to begin their trek together towards the elevator. "The rule here is, if Captain Morgan wouldn't say something, neither can you."
"I don't know who that is."
He rolled his eyes. "That's not the point."
Sounding confused, his partner asked, "then why bring it up in the first…?"
Interrupting her, he explained, "the point is that you can't talk about science the whole time we're here. You can't use words like dermis when something as simple as skin would get your point across. And you can't turn this into a Convention on the Evils of Global Warming for one, okay, Bones?"
"Fine," she relented, pressing the down button to call the lift to her top floor suite, but he could tell – no he just knew – that hearing that one word from her meant anything but 'fine.' "If you want to subject yourself to harmful UV rays, rays strong enough to melt polar ice caps millions of years older than you are, be my guest. If you want to wake up one morning and find that one of your moles has changed colors and grown, who am I to stop you? If you want to face round after debilitating round of chemo therapy and radiation, I'll keep my mouth shut. And, if you want to explain to Parker why he's going to have to grow up without a father simply because his dad was too proud to…"
This time it was his turn to concede. However, unlike Bones, he really meant it. "Fine," Booth yelled, stomping onto the elevator and fairly punching the light for the first floor. "I'll wear some damn sun block."
His partner simply shrugged her completely covered shoulders. In fact, her entire body sans her face was covered somehow by some kind of protective cloth. "If you insist."
Neither of them said another word as they made their way out of the hotel and down towards the ocean. Despite his complaints, the beach was still relatively empty, so they had their choice of locations to set up for the day. Somehow, though, Bones managed to find the only spot on the visible coastline with any shade and promptly set their towels and her umbrella up there. He followed, dutifully, without complaint, knowing that he was going to have to be more selective when picking his battles with his partner during their next ten days together, and the first one on his list was doing something about her bizarre and totally unreasonable outfit. She looked more like she was taking a trip into the Pennsylvania Dutch Country than she was to the Caribbean.
The dress she wore was of a lightweight material. What kind, he had no clue, and, frankly, he could have cared less. The point was that the sack was long enough to brush against and hide even the tips of his partners' exposed toes, hiding them from the sun's evil rays, the sleeves hung down way past her hands, almost as though the dress was made for the Jolly Green Giant's girlfriend and not a mere five foot, nine inch mortal woman, and the neck was high enough to be considered practically clerical. The real question was where the hell had Bones managed to find such an absurd piece of clothing? To top the getup off, she also wore a wide, straw brimmed hat which kept bumping into him and scratching his skin and a pair of sunglasses big enough for the entire island's population to share at the same time.
As they both sat down, he to take off his sandals and his own pair of shades and Bones to do… who knows what, Booth was just about ready to skip off and go into the water when he felt his partner nudge him with something cool and smooth. Glancing in her direction, he saw that she held a bottle of sun block out to him, a knowing look upon her practically hidden face as if she was fully aware that he had intended to break his promise. Grumbling, he slathered on the greasy, milky white lotion, feeling like a paranoid girl the entire time. If the guys from the Bureau ever found out about that moment, he'd never live it down.
By the time he finished with everything but his back, Bones was calmly, serenely reclined beside him, her nose buried in some kind of scientific journal. That would definitely have to go and soon, but, first, he needed her help. "Here," he demanded, shoving the bottle back into her hands. "I can't reach."
"Well, what do you want me to do about it," she asked, sounding genuinely puzzled. As Booth continued to just stare at her, she further protested, "it's not my fault you're not dexterous enough to put sun screen on your own back. Remember how I suggested you take some yoga classes? They would have helped with this, too, not just the tension."
"Trust me, Bones," he assured her cockily. "I'm flexible enough."
He could see a retort flash across her cool, knowing gaze, but she censored herself, held back, and Booth had a feeling he should be grateful for her small act of kindness. Although there was a part of him that was curious as to what his partner had intended upon saying, the larger part of him knew he was better off not knowing, so he simply turned around and waited for her to oblige him this one small favor. It took several minutes, but, eventually, he felt the splattering of lotion upon his already heated skin and a pair of soft, gentle hands upon his shoulders. If it had been anyone but Bones, he would have sighed in contentment.
"So, what do you want for breakfast?"
Cracking his eyes open slowly, Booth skirted his gaze towards his right side only to find the one thing he was afraid of seeing: his partner sitting beside him, an earnest, completely oblivious expression upon her smooth, pale face. If she was there, her hands entirely unoccupied, then who the hell was rubbing sun screen on his lower back?
Jumping forward as much as he could from his seated position, Booth whirled around to find a member of the hotel wait staff kneeled behind him. Unnecessarily, for the man's hands were no longer touching him, he snapped, "hey, keep those paws to yourself, buddy. I don't swing that way."
"Booth, you still haven't told me what you want to eat for…"
"Back this train up, Bones," he ordered her. "I thought I asked you to put on my sun block for me?"
"No, you basically told me to. There was no requesting involved or implied, and I already applied my own up in my room, and I didn't want to get my hands dirtied again. Do you know that it will stain your nails if you don't wash your hands immediately after application?"
"I don't have nails... at least, not the way girls do, so I really don't care. What I'm more worried about is the fact that you let some stranger feel me up!"
"Don't be melodramatic, Booth," his partner chastised him. "And Juan is not a stranger. He's a very nice young man who is working and paying his own way through college."
"What, you two are old friends now?"
"No, we just met this morning, but he's been very helpful," Bones informed him. "When I woke up at seven on the dot like I always do, I couldn't get back to sleep. However, while I was sitting in bed, I realized that the layout of my room was entirely wrong, so I called down to the front desk, and they sent Juan up to help me rearrange the furniture in my suite. I knew you'd be sleeping in, so I didn't want to bother you, but I also didn't want to waste the entire morning being unproductive. Tomorrow Juan and I are going to work together to rearrange the other suites."
"What, are you a Feng Shui expert now, too, Bones?"
Smugly, she replied, "I know enough. Besides, the point is that Juan isn't a stranger, so quit overreacting." Turning – and smiling – towards the hotel employee, his partner said, "we'll both just take a serving of the fresh fruit salad this morning, for something light will be best for now, I think." After her new buddy left, she faced Booth once more. "Just because we're on vacation, that does not mean that breakfast is not just as vital and important here as it is at home."
He agreed. He always ate breakfast when he was on vacation, took full advantage of room service, but, when he had booked his trip to Jamaica, Booth had visions of entirely different sorts of meals in his mind. Instead of health food on the beach with his partner, he had seen himself enjoying rich, decadent food off of his girlfriend's back, her stomach, her thighs, but Tessa had essentially broken up with him, scared off by Angela's so-called dating steps, and, instead of pancakes, syrup, and sex in bed, he was getting fruit served to him by Juan under the only goddamned shade tree located on Jamaica's entire coastline.
Rather than say all of that, though, Booth simply barked, "so what? Now you're ordering for me, too, Bones?" In response, his partner merely shrugged her shoulders and went back to reading her hoity-toity nerd magazine. "Give me that," he snapped, reaching forward and plucking the journal from between her fingers.
Before her exasperated "hey!" could even escape her bare, smooth lips, he was up and running towards the waves, periodical flapping rapidly open and closed in the breeze. "Give that back," Bones demanded from her still reclined position on the towel. When he didn't listen and, instead, dropped it unceremoniously into the sandy, damp edges of the ocean's reach, she squealed, "Booth!" He only grinned in reply.
Satisfied that the quarterly was sufficiently damaged to the point where it would be unreadable, he returned to their chosen spot on the beach and handed his partner back her reading material. "Here you go."
"What did you do that for?"
"We're here to have fun, Bones, not to work."
"I read that for… gratification," she protested, irritated. "Just because you don't enjoy enriching your own mind, that does not mean that the rest of us desire to lead a philistine lifestyle."
"Just… tone it down a notch or two while we're here, okay? Read a novel instead of a geek journal. Oh, and, for the record," Booth added, grinning smugly. "If you're getting your gratification in life from a bunch of scholarly articles, you're definitely doing something wrong, Bones."
She glowered at him, and he sat back smugly to wait for their breakfast to arrive. Once it did, they both ate in silence, or, to be more precise, his partner ate, and he inhaled, shoveling the food into his mouth so quickly he didn't even taste the various textures and flavors of the tropical, sweet fruit. While Booth had no doubt that the pineapple, papayas, and mangoes were delicious, he really didn't care about eating; he just wanted to escape into the water, lose himself in the hypnotic, powerful, rhythmic pull of the untamable ocean's waves, for he knew that it was the only place he'd be able to relax and forget everything that he didn't want to think about – Tessa; work; his lack of parental rights and time with Parker; his unnatural, inexcusable, and confusing disappointment over the fact that Bones wasn't wearing a bikini.
Finished, he jumped up and went to jog down to the sea when Bones' voice shattered all his carefully constructed plans. "You can't go swimming for at least thirty minutes, Booth. You just ate."
Spinning around on the heels of his feet, he regarded his partner closely. "What?"
"You'll get sick," she explained, as if she was his mother, as if he should already know better, as if he actually cared about a little stomach ache. "And, if you get a cramp while you're out in the water, you could drown, Booth. While I'm an excellent swimmer, I don't think I'm strong enough to drag your body back to the beach, especially if you were dead, wet weight. Just sit here for a little while. Time will pass quickly enough."
"Juan!" But it wouldn't. He already felt like he was about to crawl out of his skin. He needed to get away. NOW. When the waiter didn't arrive immediately, he searched frantically for him and bellowed, "JUAN," once more.
"Calm down, Booth. He'll get here as soon as he can."
Soon wasn't fast enough, though. Plus, by the time he did arrive, the younger man was smirking. "More sun block, sir?"
"Very funny, Christopher Lowell," he snapped, glaring at the server. "Get me a drink, something alcoholic, and make it whatever has the most rum in it."
"Booth, do you really think that's such a good idea? It's not even noon yet."
"C'est la vie, Bones; c'est la vie."
"That really isn't an accurate use of the term," his partner argued, but, by that time, Juan was already scrambling back with his drink, so he really didn't care.
Instead of answering, he downed his sickly saccharine, alcoholic beverage, ordered another right away, and ignored Bones' pointedly concerned glances. Once the liquor was satisfyingly buoying his mood, he stood up and dusted off imaginary sand that wasn't actually on his hands. "What do you say to the idea of the two of us building a sand castle together, eh, Bones?"
"Wouldn't that just be a waste of time," she questioned. "It'll just get destroyed when the tide changes later."
"Then we'll build another one tomorrow," he suggested, forcing himself to sound and feel happy. "Between your annoying habit of being a perfectionist and my expert bucket tipping abilities, we'll make a castle that could rival the finest in Europe."
"You want to build one that's already crumbling down?"
Frustrated, he growled, shifting so that he was facing his partner. "Stand up, Bones."
Leaning forward, Booth pulled her up by both of her hands and, without explanation, set them both on a path back towards the hotel. "Because we're going shopping."
"For what," she asked. "Things to build a sand castle with? That seems like an entirely inappropriate waste of money, Booth."
"We're going to buy you a bathing suit, and you're going to go into the water with me." When she went to protest, he added, "and you're going to like it, too."
"What - the suit or swimming," his partner wanted to know.
Simply stated, he responded, "both," while literally steering and propelling her into the hotel's expensive boutique. Without allowing her a chance to look and shop for herself, he grabbed the first bikini that caught his eye, walked up to the register, and charged it to his bill. Mouth wide and gaping open, Bones simply watched him in shock as he pulled her out of the store, towards the elevator, and, eventually, pushed her into her hotel room to change. As he waited, time seemed to drag by even slower than it had been on the beach while he counted down his post-eating thirty minute swimming timeout, but, eventually, he heard his partner moving around on the opposite side of the door, and he snapped to attention, standing straight and alert as he casually (eagerly) waited for her to join him once again.
"I think you dropped a part of this swimsuit on the way up here, Booth, because this is just indecent."
His fingers started to tremble, and his hands started to fidget. No matter what, he couldn't seem to hold them still.
"I can't wear this out onto the beach. I'll permanently corrupt all the children, and the parents will complain about how I'm dressed or, more precisely, how I'm undressed, and we'll get kicked out of the hotel."
His palms started to sweat.
"I think I get more coverage from my own bra and underwear, Booth."
Suddenly, he couldn't breathe. His chest felt tight, but he enjoyed every oxygen deprived moment.
And that's when he woke up.
Gasping for breath, Booth ricocheted up in his expansive, lonely hotel bed, immediately awake and cognizant of his surroundings. For what felt like the hundredth torturous time, he had just experienced the same dream yet again. Every night, every time he fell asleep, he saw her. While it would have made sense that Bones infiltrated his mind even when he was on vacation, after all they spent practically all day, every day together back home because they were partners, that didn't explain the suddenly erotic turn his thoughts towards the woman he worked with had taken.
Bones was his friend. That's it! He didn't find her attractive. He didn't constantly wonder what it would be like to see her in a skimpy bikini… or maybe even less. And he certainly shouldn't wake up aroused simply at the thought of going swimming with her.
Pushing aside the light sheet he had been covered with, Booth stumbled to his feet, pulling on a pair of clean swim trunks and a t-shirt from his duffle bag. Leaving his room with nothing but the key card he would need to return with later, he headed towards the elevator that would take him downstairs to the all-night bar. Just like his previous evenings in paradise, he was going to get drunk. He needed to get drunk, so much so that he simply ignored the ringing phone beside his bed.
Whoever it was, they could wait until tomorrow… or, maybe, even until next week.