She never thought she'd be privy to it. She just wasn't cut out for anything permanent. The long haul. God, just thinking about it was scary. The longest relationship she'd had. Well, she was in it currently. This was it. Before now, it had been fly-by-night. Oh, she'd had a couple that lasted longer than that, but not many.
Just like this job. She'd never held one for this long before. This one upset her so much at times, she wasn't sure why she stayed. It wasn't loyalty. She had never felt such a thing to anyone but herself, her art, before now. She liked to think she was making a difference somewhere, to someone, even if it was to the dead.
She didn't know how Tempe or the others did it. How they left at night and managed to not have bad dreams. Maybe they did and were just better at hiding it than she was. Hodgins had some. He wasn't afraid to let her see that. Ever since he'd faced being buried alive he'd been pretty forthcoming with his feelings.
And now he'd gone and done it. He'd proposed. She turned to face the man in question. He was sprawled out on the bed, asleep, crouching on her side of the bed in the short time she was gone. Good dinner combined with good sex did that to a man. She smiled, happy to know that in some ways he was like all the others of his gender. There were times it was easy to forget that he was so very different from any she'd met before.
"What were you thinking?" She wasn't expecting an answer.
And even if she got one it wouldn't help. This was her hurdle to jump all by herself. Oh, he said he wasn't going to break up with her and she suspected he'd be more than patient with her. Would there be a time when enough was enough, though? For her there would be if she were on his end of things.
What did she know about commitment? About being a wife? About having a family? And he'd want to have a family. She wasn't sure how she knew that. These weren't things they'd discussed, both had their reasons. She didn't want to talk about anything that would suggest she wanted a future. He held back not wanting to scare her off. He didn't seem to understand that his mere presence in her life as the most permanent fixture she'd had yet was frightening.
She turned her attention back to the view out the window, pushing back her bangs after seeing her reflection. She tugged the robe tighter around her, needing its warmth and comfort. She could be in bed with Hodgins' arms around her, but that wasn't what she needed right now.
She went over her conversations with Tempe about Sully in her mind. She'd been so adamant that Tempe jump right in and go for it. She wanted her friend and colleague to go for it all. She deserved it after all. She'd been so disappointed when Tempe hadn't gone after him. Angela was sure Sully would have let Tempe try things out temporarily before making a permanent, yearlong decision.
So, why couldn't she take her own advice? What was she scared of? Herself? Hodgins? A little of both? He'd see to it she was happy there was no doubt of that in her mind. He had enough money to do that, not that money bought happiness. She wasn't the type to think that.
She closed her eyes, feeling the stinging sensation that meant tears weren't too far behind. She should be in bed with him, basking in the post-coital bliss he always seemed to give her. He was nothing if not a giving lover. He gave to her in bed as he did elsewhere in their lives. She was the one who held back, hesitant to give her all.
"And you deserve it all," she whispered.
She felt his hands at her shoulders then. He kissed the back of her neck and she leaned into his embrace. She was so lost in thought she did not hear him get out of bed. She had not even seen his reflection in the window when he moved up behind her.
"I'm sorry. Come back to bed. I'll work on that."
She gave a low laugh, turning into his embrace. Cupping his face, she looked into his eyes. When he smiled like he was now, it lit up his whole face. He wasn't the most handsome man, wasn't the most personable man, and some might find his chosen occupation a turn off. But he was a good man, funny, honorable, and would do right by her. He'd do right by anyone he considered his friend. She was lucky enough to be one of those people, with or without a wedding ring.
She was memorizing his face. It was a kind face, an intelligent face, capable of showing so much to anyone willing to look. When he was happy, like he was right now, it showed everywhere not just in his smile or his eyes. Even his cheeks looked different.
She knew eventually he'd get tired of her putting him off, of her inability to commit beyond what they had. She wanted to remember what he looked like now, in love with her and untainted by bitterness. She would paint him, a physical reminder because eventually the bitterness would take over and they'd be unable to sift through it.
She could have him instead of a painting. It was hard for her to take the risk. He seemed to understand that. She appreciated that. Loved that. Needed that. She was grateful that he did.
He moved his face, kissing the palm of her hand. "You look so sad," he said.
"I'm just thinking of how incredibly lucky I am."
"If that's your got lucky face we need to work on it a bit."
She laughed. "Do you ever think of anything else?"
"With you naked in my bedroom?"
"I'm wearing your robe."
"Yeah, and I know first hand, down to every nitty gritty detail what's underneath that robe."
"What? It's a compliment."
She could see it in his eyes, despite his efforts to hide it. He was hurt and confused. He'd done everything right and she hadn't given him the answer he expected. And deserved. She turned again in his arms, facing out the window. It hurt too much to look at him, knowing she was causing him pain. She wasn't trying to. She wanted to do the right thing, she just wasn't sure what that was. And was what was right for him right for her? It was all so confusing and daunting for someone like her who until now enjoyed living for the moment.
"Wow, look at that moon." His arms tightened around her waist, his head resting against her shoulder. It was cozy, intimate, the sharing of a special moment that only lovers could appreciate. It was no wonder she'd never noticed something as simple as the moon before.
"I know, I noticed it earlier."
He slid one hand from around her, placing it in hers. "Come back to bed, Angela. It'll all work out."
"You sound so sure."
"I am. Whatever way it's supposed to work anyway. The bed's getting cold."
She laughed softly. "We wouldn't want that."
She followed him back to bed, shedding the robe along the way. She noticed he'd taken the time to slip on his boxers as she slid into bed beside him. She didn't mind, as good as they were together in that way, that wasn't all there was between them. She just wished an answer was as easy to come by as sleep was tonight.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com