Fun fact, I do not own Bones nor any of the material from that wonderful, wonderful show. That being said, enjoy!
It was a Tuesday which meant the bar was almost deserted. A couple of regulars were tucked off in their respective corners, nursing their drinks of choice. The bar was small but just avoided the label of "dingy." It was one of four such establishments within two blocks and was by far the least successful. But Isadora, the bartender working that night, was okay with that.
After a stressful month, she was relieved that her shift was as laid back as it was. But that didn't stop her from being bored.
She was standing by the phone, doodling on the notepad for messages. No one had called. The phone was generally only used to call cabs for intoxicated patrons so the purpose of the notepad wasn't entirely clear. It mostly served to while away empty hours. Isadora used it for drawing, Matt wrote poetry, and Sam just colored in entire pages. Needless to say, it was a fascinating job.
The sound of the door opening brought her away from the feathered wings she was drawing and led her to stare at the man who'd just walked in. He wasn't particularly tall, she noted, but he was certainly attractive, even though he appeared to be bald under the baseball cap he wore. The dark haired, blue eyed bartender plastered on a bright smile.
"What can I get ya?" she asked.
He didn't respond right away and seemed a little dazed. "Water," he croaked finally, taking a seat at the bar. "For now."
Normally, Iz found requests just for water vaguely annoying. Water never comes with tips. But for some reason, she didn't mind with this guy. "On the rocks?"
He didn't even smile. Yeesh. "Uh, sure. Yeah. Thanks."
She studied him openly as she filled a glass – he was still too distracted to notice. His eyes were blue, or maybe grey. Maybe even green, actually, but definitely some light color framed by an almost delicate spray of lashes. In fact, even his eyebrows seemed delicate. Well, all the hair he did have seemed delicate, she had to admit.
"Oh, shit!" She'd been so occupied with him that she hadn't paid enough attention to his water and the glass had overflowed. "Sorry!"
"You don't have to apologize to me," he pointed out, coming back to the present a bit.
Iz slapped a napkin down on the bar and set his water down on it. "Careful. It's slippery."
This time, she got a smile out of him. "I think I can manage it."
"So, Jeffersonian, huh?" She indicated his hat when he looked confused. "Did you tour there today?"
"Uh, no. I work there, actually." He held her gaze for a couple seconds. "I'm a forensic consultant."
She was impressed. "You look a little young for that," she admitted. Was she flirting? She wasn't sure but she was going to have to figure it out quickly and then decide if she wanted to continue.
"I'm very smart."
Iz decided to flirt. He was cute, after all, and didn't appear to be a creep. Yet. "So, Mr. Forensic Consultant, what brings you to Freddy's on a Tuesday? I mean, aside from it clearly being the place to be."
He glanced around at the nearly vacant bar and laughed. "I'm out celebrating."
She raised an eyebrow at him. "I've never met anyone who celebrates by ordering water."
"Well," he began, casting her a swift, crooked smile, "it hasn't really sunk in yet."
He was trying to get her to ask, she could tell. She chose to take the bait.
"What hasn't sunk in yet?"
"My cancer's in remission."
Wow. That was very blunt from a total stranger. Wasn't that news that would usually be shared with family first? But Iz couldn't help beaming. "Congratulations! Water's no way to celebrate that, though. How about an Old Fashioned on the house?"
He grinned back at her. "No offense, but it doesn't really look like the house can afford it."
Iz pulled some cash out of her pocket. "No worries. I can afford it."
He opened his mouth to protest but she just walked away from him and put the money in the till.
"Don't argue with me, Mr. Cancer-Free-Forensic-Consultant. This is your night to celebrate."
"Wendell," he said with that wonderful, crooked smile.
She grinned back at him. "Isadora."
"That's not a very common name."
"I'm not a very common person." She slid his drink across the bar. "And you can call me Iz."
Another smile. "Nice to meet you, Iz."
"Right back at you, Wendell." She poured herself a drink and raised it as a toast. "And congratulations to you."
"Should you be drinking while you're working?"
"No," she admitted. "But my shift is over in ten minutes and I'm at the bar with a cute boy so why not?"
His blue/grey/green eyes flashed. "You think I'm cute?"
"Settle down there," she scolded playfully. "We've only just met. So what form of cancer did you just kick in the butt?"
"Ewing's Sarcoma. It's, uh, bone cancer. Pretty rare."
Iz raised her glass to him again. "Impressive once again, Wendell."
"What's really impressive is this Old Fashioned," he argued. "I think it's the best I've ever had."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "You're lying. But I appreciate your flattery."
"It's not flattery."
"Maybe it's the euphoria of the good news," she suggested. "Heaven knows I can't mix a drink to save my life."
That got him to laugh. "So why are you a bartender?"
Iz shrugged. "I needed an income. Bills, you know."
"You have no idea."
She grinned at him. "Wanna bet?"
Wendell considered it for a moment. "Yes, I do."
For some reason, her heart fluttered. "What are the stakes then?"
"If I win, you take me out to dinner." He grinned.
"And if I win?" Iz prompted.
Wendell's grin got a touch sheepish. "Then I take you out to dinner."
Again with the heart flutter. "All right, deal."
He flashed her a grin that oozed confidence. "I have a doctorate and my education was sponsored entirely by a community scholarship which I'm still trying to pay back and I just got done with a course of chemo. Your bills are nothing."
Iz held her hands up in defeat. "You win. I only have my bachelor's and I'm sure chemo's more expensive than surgery."
"You've had surgery?"
She smirked. "Wouldn't you like to know where."
"I would, actually," he admitted. "But I think you owe me dinner, Iz."
As crazy as it seemed, she liked the way her name sounded in his voice. Or maybe she just liked his voice. "As soon as Sam gets here, we can head next door. It's a great restaurant and I don't work there so extra bonus."
His face split into a grin. "I'm looking forward to it."