Chapter 2

"Forget Agent Perotta…nothing's going to change between us."

He'd said the words with a smile and she knew he was sincere, but that didn't stop the nagging doubt in the back of her head over the next few days. Everything changes, that was the way the universe worked, even on a sub-atomic level. Just look at them, at her, at how he'd changed her over the last four years. She wasn't the same person she used to be, she knew that. It was obvious. She had a family now, two families really—her biological one and the one she'd made by choice with her friends. She laughed more, smiled more, looked forward to getting out of bed more in the mornings. And that was all because of him. If he started dating someone, especially if it became serious, things would change again. And she didn't think it would be for the better this time.

She tried to imagine Booth with a serious girlfriend. He deserved the happiness of course, and she knew she should want that for him, but the thought of it made her sick to her stomach. When the blonde hussy had asked about his eyes twinkling, alarm bells went off in Brennan's head. She'd tried to answer calmly and concisely as a scientist, but inside she felt like screaming. It made her think of how she would feel if she had to watch him twinkle at Perotta or some other bimbo. Even now, the image made her put her head down on her desk in misery.

"Sweetie, what's wrong?" Angela asked from the doorway. Brennan lifted her head up and ran a hand through her hair before meeting her friend's worried gaze.

"I'm confused Ang. I don't know what to do." Her voice broke at the end as she gave up the fight to be strong and looked to her friend for help. These emotions were overwhelming her. She couldn't sleep at night, couldn't concentrate at work, couldn't even work on her book without these images coming into her head. He'd said nothing was going to change, but it had to, it was inevitable. But would the change bring them closer together or further apart?

"Talk to me." Angela said simply, sympathy showing in her expression as she sat down on Brennan's couch and patted the cushion next to her. Wordlessly, Brennan got up and sat next to her friend. She knew she was out of her depths with this emotional stuff. She needed Angela's expertise.

"I don't know if I have the words. I don't know how to say what's wrong exactly."

"But you're miserable." It wasn't a question. Angela just knew her friend well enough to notice how she'd been moping around lately. So Brennan simply nodded in confirmation.

"And you don't know exactly why…" Again Brennan nodded. "Okay then, do you remember when it started?"

"Yes. When Booth was a suspect in that hockey player's death." Brennan said softly, playing with the fringe of the throw blanket that lay on the back of the couch.

"O….ka….y." Angela began. "What about that set you off? You knew he wasn't guilty, you never doubted it for a second, so it can't be that. And nothing bad happened to him, well aside from the broken hand and the concussion but he's Booth so we can almost expect that. He's fine now, right?"

"Yes."

"So what about that case was different? The fact that Booth was the one in trouble this time instead of being your knight in FBI body armour?" Angela teased, trying to get at least a small smile out of Bren.

"No. I never want him to be in trouble or hurt, but as long as I know he's okay, then I can handle it."

"Okay, so what else was different about that case?"

"Perotta." Brennan all but whispered the word, as if speaking the name would somehow give the woman more power.

"Ah," Angela said simply. Brennan was worried about the blonde tart, but jealousy wasn't something she'd experienced a lot of in her life. Angela knew it was because her friend tended to keep people, even lovers, at arm's length. When they were together fine, but when they were out of sight or had moved on, that was fine too. But that wasn't going to work with her relationship with Booth. She just hoped she could help her friend see that.

"She said his eyes twinkled." Brennan said quietly, disturbing Angela's reverie.

"What? What do you mean?"

"She asked me if they twinkled at every woman and what it meant when they did."

"And what did you say?"

"I told her he didn't do it with everyone but when he did, it meant he was attracted to that person."

"Oh Bren, that had to hurt." Angela reached over to squeeze her friend's hand in comfort.

"It did Angela, it really did. I just don't know why," Brennan looked at her friend with unshed tears clouding her eyes. "I mentioned something just offhanded about her to Booth later on and he said to forget about her, that nothing would change between us…"

"But you don't believe him."

"No, not exactly. I believe that he means it but I don't believe it's possible for things not to change. Even I'm not that naïve. Things change, even when you don't want them to, even when everything's just fine the way it is. He's just so…wonderful Ang and I rely on him so much, I don't know what I'd do if he wasn't there. But one of these days he won't be—he'll be off with that…blonde… or someone like her, and I'll be back where I started. And I don't want that life anymore. Not now that I know how different it can be."

The tears were flowing freely now, and Angela could see the heartache and confusion all over her friend's face. Her poor clueless friend, so desperately in love yet so blind to it. "Sweetie, have you talked to him about this?"

"What? No!"

"Why not?"

"Because it wouldn't be fair to him, Angela. You know how he is, he always puts other people's needs ahead of his own. If he knew I was scared about what would happen to me, to us, if he were to seriously date someone, he might not pursue something that would make him happy. And I don't think I could live with myself knowing that I'd denied him his chance of happiness in order to keep him with me. I'd rather be miserably alone than do that."

"Bren, honey, there is a third option you know." Angela turned on the couch to face Brennan. "You could just tell him you love him."