It was one little word and she didn't even know why she was so fixated on it. She knew that what Booth said was accurate; people who work in intense situations shouldn't get involved. It made things way too difficult.
"Daddy! Can we get ice cream now? Hi, Dr. Brennan!"
Temperance blinked, pulled out of her thoughts back into the present, and smiled at Parker. "Hi, Parker."
Booth stood up and scooped his son into his arms. "You wanna join us for some ice cream, Bones?" he asked, flashing her a grin.
"If you don't mind me tagging along," she said. She would never admit it, but she loved seeing this side of Booth. He was so different with his son than he was when they were working.
"I'm getting chocolate! With marshmallows." Parker said. "It's my favorite! What kind do you like?"
She supposed that was Parker's way of saying he didn't mind. "I like vanilla," she admitted.
"Aw, Bones, that's boring," Booth teased. "You at least need to get sprinkles on it."
"Yeah, Bones, sprinkles are fun!" Parker said.
Temperance laughed at the fact that the boy had picked up on his father's nickname for her. "Okay, Parker, I'll get sprinkles on my ice cream," she said, grinning at Booth over his son's head.
Twenty minutes later, Parker seemed to be wearing more of his ice cream than he had managed to eat. Booth groaned. "Come on, buddy. I need to get you cleaned up before I take you back to your mom."
"But, Daddy, I don't wanna go home yet," Parker protested.
"Sorry, pal," Booth said. "I need to get you bathed and fed dinner." Temperance could tell that he was reluctant to take his son home too.
"Bones, you wanna come too?" Parker asked unexpectedly. "We can play games while we wait for Sid to bring dinner."
Of course Booth didn't cook, she realized. "How about I cook dinner for you and your dad instead?" she offered. "I'll stop at the store while your dad takes you home and gives you your bath."
Booth gave her a surprised look and she quickly added, "As long as your dad doesn't mind."
"I don't mind at all, Bones. How about that, Parker? A bath and then a home-cooked meal before you go back to your mom's?"
Parker grinned, looking like a miniature version of his father. "Long as there's no broccoli."
Both adults laughed. "I think I can live without broccoli for one night," Temperance said. "I'll meet you two at your place, Booth."
Temperance had spent longer than was necessary at the grocery store, trying to determine what she should make for dinner for the Booth men. She still kept hearing Booth saying that he and Camille had a relationship, meaning that they no longer did, and it was frustrating her that she couldn't stop thinking about it.
She finally decided on homemade macaroni and cheese with a side salad and as she wandered the store, picking up everything she might possibly need since she had no idea what Booth might have in his kitchen, she thought back to Vegas, when they pretended to be a couple and to the look on his face when he pulled her out of the ground during the Gravedigger case.
Despite the fact that she was realizing she had feeling for Seeley, she knew that he was right when he said that people who work in stressful situations together can't have relationships. So she was determined to put those thoughts out of her mind for the evening when she rang the bell at his apartment, arms full of groceries.
"Geez, Bones, did you buy out the whole store?" he asked when he opened the door. "There's only you, me and Parker. And he's only five so he doesn't eat much."
She shrugged and started unloading her bags on his counter. "I wasn't sure what you would or wouldn't have so I bought everything I might need."
Booth shook his head as she pulled out a disposable aluminum baking dish. "I have pots and pans and stuff, you know."
"I don't know how much you cook, Booth," Temperance said. "Besides, this is disposable, which means less clean up."
Parker ran in then, his hair still damp and his face scrubbed clean. "Hey, Bones, what's for dinner?"
"How do you like macaroni and cheese?" she asked.
"It's my favorite!" he said.
"Mine too," Booth said. "Good choice."
Temperance smiled. "Now you guys go find something to do while I cook."
"Come on, Daddy. Let's play MarioKart!"
"Okay, but only if I get to be Mario," Booth said.
"Awwww, I wanna be Mario! You can be Toad."
"Are you sure you don't wanna be the princess?"
The good-natured teasing made Temperance smile even more and she was unconsciously humming to herself as she prepared the meal. Once she got the main dish in the oven and prepared the salad, Booth made her sit down and watch them play some kind of racing video game. Parker encouraged her to play with them, but she declined, citing that she had to listen for the oven timer, but she really didn't want to look like a fool in front of either of them.
Rebecca arrived to pick up Parker just as they were finishing dinner and she raised her eyebrows when she saw Temperance there. "Well, Dr. Brennan, I'm assuming you're the one responsible for a home-cooked meal instead of another one of Sid's deliveries," she said.
"Bones came to the playground with us and we had ice cream and she watched me and Daddy play video games," Parker shared.
The look that Rebecca gave her made Temperance flush. She knew that the woman was jumping to the wrong conclusions but she didn't know how to correct her assumption without making things more awkward.
"We had a rough week," Booth explained. "So we all needed to decompress a little."
Rebecca nodded. "Okay, Parker, it's time to go home."
Parker gave his dad a big hug and kiss. "I love you, Daddy," he said.
"Love you, too, sport," Booth replied.
It surprised Temperance when Parker wrapped his arms around her though. "Thanks for dinner, Bones. You should come hang out with me and Daddy again next weekend."
She hugged him back, more than a little startled by his suggestion. "We'll see," she said.
"Have a good night," Rebecca said, giving them both a knowing look as she took Parker's hand and they headed out.
Booth closed the door and turned to face Temperance. "What's wrong?" he asked.
She shook her head. "Uh... it's... nothing."
"Don't lie to me, Temperance," he said, causing a shiver to run down her spine as it always did when he used her given name.
"It's just... Rebecca thinks that we... you know... and Parker hugged me and..." she was flustered and at a loss for words, something that didn't happen often.
Booth smirked and put his hand on her shoulder to guide her to the sofa. "You want some ice cream?" he offered.
She nodded, glad to have some kind of distraction.
A few minutes later, he handed her a dish with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. "Thanks, Booth," she said.
"Hey, no need to thank me, Bones. You're the one that cooked the awesome dinner. All I did was scoop stuff out of a carton."
"It was fun," Temperance said. "Thank you for letting me spend time with you and Parker. I know that your time with him is important to you."
Booth shrugged. "He liked having you around. He's right; you should hang out with us more often."
"I... I don't know if that's a good idea, Booth. We work together and we don't want people to get the wrong idea," she said.
"What would the wrong idea be, Bones?" he asked, arching an eyebrow at her.
She rolled her eyes. "You know. That we're... more than just partners and friends."
He got quiet for a long minute and then looked up at her. "Aren't we though?" he asked in a low voice.
Their eyes were locked and Temperance had to swallow a few times before she could speak. "I guess we are. But... you said earlier that people who work in stressful situations shouldn't have relationships. That the reason Cam got hurt was because of the relationship you two had."
"It could have just as easily been you or Zack that opened that skull," he said. "Eppes didn't care who he got as long as he got someone."
"But then why did you and Cam... split up?" she asked.
"Do you really need to ask that, Temperance?" he retorted. "After everything we've been through... " He stood up and moved to sit next to her. Having him in such close proximity made her nervous and she fumbled the ice cream she was holding, spilling it all over herself.
"Oh, Booth, I'm sorry!" she said, jumping up and heading for the kitchen to grab paper towels. He was right on her heels and he grabbed her arm.
She put the paper towels down and looked up at him, unconsciously licking her lips. He bent his head and kissed her. Slowly, tentatively, at first, but once she reciprocated, the kiss deepened. They pulled away from each other, breathless.
"Do you have any idea how long I've been wanting to do that?" he asked, his voice husky.
"No, I don't," she replied. "But I'm glad you finally did."
He smiled. "Come on, let's get this sticky mess cleaned up."
She raised an eyebrow.
His grin widened. "Don't you trust me to give you a bubblebath?"
"Can you do me a favor?" he interrupted. "If we're going to do this more than friends thing, maybe you should call me Seeley."
Temperance smiled. "Are you still going to call me Bones?"
"In the office, yes," he said. "In the privacy of my own home? Probably not."
She laughed. "Okay, let's get me cleaned up then, Seeley."
He grinned and scooped her up into his arms.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Sweeping you off your feet, Bones," he replied as he carried her into the bathroom and set her down on the closed toilet. "Stay right there," he instructed, leaning down to turn the water on. The room soon filled with billowing steam clouds and Temperance watched as he carefully prepared the bath, dumping in just the right amount of watermelon scented bubbles and checking the water temperature with his elbow. He stripped off his shirt, leaving only a white tank top and his jeans.
Temperance was unabashedly enjoying the view of his muscles when he turned and grinned at her. "You're totally checking me out," he accused lightly.
She laughed and nodded. "Guilty as charged, Agent Booth."
"Why don't you get out of those sticky clothes and into the tub," he suggested. "I'll go find you something clean to wear when you're done." He left the bathroom without waiting for an answer and she smiled to herself as she removed her clothes and folded them neatly in a pile on the edge of the sink. She sank into the water and sighed as the bubbles settled around her.
Seeley knocked once and then opened the bathroom door, carrying a pair of blue and red plaid boxer shorts and a white cotton tee-shirt. "You look relaxed, Temperance," he said, his voice a little thicker than usual.
She opened her eyes and smiled at him. "This is the perfect ending to a really great day," she admitted. "I had a lot of fun with you and Parker today and now... well, I don't generally allow myself the luxury of a bubblebath."
"You don't allow yourself many luxuries, do you?" he asked, putting her clean clothes on the closed toilet and sitting down on the floor next to the tub.
"No, I guess I don't," she said. "It doesn't seem like there's enough time in the day."
He nodded. "I know what you mean. But having Parker really changed my perspective on that."
"I would imagine it would," Temperance said.
"So I guess now my mission is to get you to stop and smell the roses," he said.
She smirked. "Well, we're off to a good start with smelling the watermelons."
Seeley laughed. "It's Parker's favorite. I can get some rose scented bubbles for next time."
"What makes you think there's going to be a next time?" Temperance asked, arching an eyebrow at him playfully.
He leaned his arms on the side of the tub and grinned. "Because you enjoyed that kiss just as much as I did and you wouldn't be naked in my bathroom if there wasn't going to be a next time."
"You think you know me so well," she said.
"Yes, I do."
"Then I guess it's my mission to prove you wrong," she said, splashing him a little.
"Hey, you're not supposed to be getting me wet," he protested, but he was still grinning.
Temperance's eyes sparkled and she reached for Seeley's arm. "Oh, but that's just what I'm planning to do," she said, tugging him hard enough that he his arm landed in the water. "I think this tub is big enough for two."
"You really are full of surprises, Bones."
"Don't call me Bones tonight."
"You got it," Seeley promised, standing up and removing his clothes so he could join her. As he slid into the tub behind her, Temperance decided that going to the playground today had been one of the smartest things she had ever done.