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The Daughter in The Dark
My mom used to say I should never doubt myself. Even if your choices are stupid, she told me when I was almost seven, they are still the choices you chose to make. I never knew why she kept telling me that, but she said it so many times that it's imprinted in my skull. It was like it was her motto, something she told herself to keep going when she wanted to give up. If I could've read minds, all I would have heard from hers was 'I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.' She never wanted to admit that she had to be her own life coach to keep her going. She was strong. Hell, she'd have to be strong to take care of me all by herself. My mom usually avoided questions about my dad, but she told me that he had a career going for him, and she didn't want to slow him down. So, she allowed him to leave after I was born.
I'll admit that it makes my dad seem like a bad guy, but I'm sure that he's not. My mom gave me pictures of him, so I know what he looked like when him and my mom were together. He was attractive and charming, the two thing that swept my mom off her feet and into his arms. If you saw the pictures of him, you'd know that he didn't mean to hurt my mom, or get her pregnant, for that matter. She never told me anything else about him, except his last name. It's shorter and catchier than 'DeMarcus,' so my mom agreed to have my last name legally changed.
When my mom died, Social Services told me that my dad was the logical choice to be my legal guardian, but he was never around during my childhood. So, instead, they put me with my grandma. I had to move from Maine to Virginia to take care of her. I kept her house clean, reminded her to take her medications, scheduled her doctor appointments, and pricked her finger to find her sugar level. If I wasn't there, she wouldn't have survived. I had to learn how to balance a check book, and I got a job to help support her. By the time I was fourteen, my earnings combined with her savings account was enough to get into an Assisted Living Center in Richmond. The doctors there told me my grandma needed to stay there because her diabetes had gotten way out of hand. They didn't tell me that I was going to be guardian-less; I knew that as soon as I began taking care of her. Social Services picked me back up and sent me to live in a foster home near there so I could visit her as often as I liked, which was three times a month. Not visiting her that much was my way of starting over.
A year later, I finally figured out where my dad lived, after searching through some files while Social Service employees were distracted. He lives in Washington, D.C. and works for the FBI. I was excited to solve the mystery of my dad's identity, but I wanted to know more about him. I didn't want to read more information off a file; I wanted to talk to him. That same night, I snuck out of the foster home with a pocket full of money and a backpack full of clothes. I didn't leave a note or tell anyone where I was headed; they wouldn't understand that I needed to talk to him. So, I got on a train that took me to Alexandria, and then got across the Potomac.
You may think I'm crazy, but you don't know how it is to go your whole life not knowing a part of you. It's sorta like the feeling you get when you're halfway finished with a complicated jigsaw puzzle, and then you realize half the pieces are missing. Imagine that puzzle being yourself. Wouldn't that suck? Exactly. I knew that running away was reckless and spur of the moment, but I had to stand by it, whether it prevailed or not. That's what my mom would've done, and to be half the woman my mom was would've been better than staying who I was before.
By the time morning came, I was in D.C. It wasn't that complicated to find the FBI building, but getting in was difficult.
"Only governmental personel are allowed in, Miss," the dark suited man told me, putting his hand on my shoulder and pushing me toward the exit.
I replied, "I'm here to see an agent. It's really important."
"I'm sorry, no civilians allowed."
He shoved me back, and I knew punching a Federal Officer would get me in jail.
I threw on my best innocent look, wide eyes and all. I lied, "Please? This is really, really important . . . he handled my mother's case, and he told me to come by if I needed any help, which I do."
The man's face relaxed, and he gave in. "Agent's name?"
He began walking toward an elevator. "Follow me."
I couldn't conceal the smirk on my face as we traveled up to the fourth floor. I was going to see my dad for the first time.
The doors opened, and I got off. The agent didn't say 'Goodbye' or acknowledged that I was gone. I guess he didn't have a good life.
Desks were lined up and occupied by people. Some were typing, and some were on the phone. All the men were dressed in black slacks, white button downs, black socks, shiny shoes, and bland ties. The women were in white blouses, black pencil skirts, and uncomfortable-looking shoes. I tapped on a man's shoulder.
"Can you tell me where Seeley Booth's office is?"
He cradled the phone between his ear and shoulder and pointed me in the right direction. I walked until I saw a plaque mounted into the wall next to a glass doors that said Special Agent S. Booth. I smiled; he was important enough to have his own office. I could hear him talking on the phone. He sounded angry. I began wondering if it was a bad idea to go through with the surprise visit.
Knowing there was no way out, I opened the door.
The air within his office was thick with tension, which was probably a result of Seeley's conversation with whoever he was on the phone with. He had his desk chair turned away from me, and he was so consumed in the argument that he didn't hear me enter.
"Rebecca, don't do this . . . Parker is fine with me . . . I can't believe you're getting upset over a bruise! We were playing, and he fell and hit the coffee table. That's all . . . I'm pretty sure you're the one making a big deal about it, not him . . . No, listen to me . . ."
I slid my backpack off my shoulder. He turned when it hit the floor, startled. He stood and ended his conversation with this Rebecca person.
"I got to go, I have company . . . we'll talk about this later." He hung up on her, and I was swallowed the lump that had risen to block my airway.
Standing, he cleared his throat. "Can I help you?"
I examined him. He looked like he did in the photos, only older. His eyes were the same shade of brown as mine, and my nose mimicked the structure of his. He was in a black suit with a white button down shirt. His outfit was different because he had a red belt buckle that said 'Cocky' and a tie that was black with bright yellow stripes on it. Interesting.
I quickly stopped staring at him. I questioned timidly, "Was I interrupting something important?"
He shook his head. "No. It was a . . .personal issue . . .Are you lost?"
I shook my head and replied, "No. I'm here to talk to you."
He motioned for me to take one of the chairs in front of his desk. I sat down and nervously crossed my legs. I could feel my heart pumping in overdrive, causing the sound of my rushing blood to echo in my ears. I gripped the armrest of my chair to restrain me from running away.
"What can I help you with, uh . . . " He was questioning my name.
"Elena DeMarcus." I used my actual name, hoping it would conger up memories.
He said, attempting to put me at ease, "I knew a girl with the last name DeMarcus once. Very pretty, like you. Her name was K-"
"Kelly," I cut in. His eyebrows meshed together.
He asked, "How did you know that?"
I bit my lip. My hand traveled to my pocket and pulled out the wallet-sized photo I had slipped in there.
It was the one photo I have of our 'family'. My mom was six months pregnant with me, and Seeley was hugging her from behind, his hands holding her bulging stomach. They were both smiling.
I leaned across the desk and gave it to him. He took it, confused.
"The woman in that picture is my mom. The man . . . you . . . is my dad."
For him, the pieces finally slid together, and he ran his hand over his face. I gave him a moment to absorb everything it. I watched as memories of him and my mother flicked across his irises. He began mentally counting backwards, trying to see if it were possible that I was his daughter.
"How old are you?"
"Fifteen," I stated.
He sat the photo on his desk and stared at it. "Does Kelly know you're here?"
I inhaled deeply. "She died when I was eleven. Car accident. I lived with my grandma after that, but she lives in an Assisted Living center in Richmond. I've been in foster care ever since. Nobody knows where I am."
"Nobody told me . . . I should've been the first person they called when Kelly passed."
"They decided you weren't fit to be my guardian because you weren't around when I was a kid."
He started, "Elena, you have to understand that-"
"My mom decided to break it off so you could have a future, I know. I don't hold it against you at all."
He nodded, and things between us went quiet. I felt my heart slow down a little, and the blood in the ears wasn't so loud.
He asked, "You have a lot of questions, don't you?"
I responded, "Yeah, and vice versa, I'm guessing."
Seeley nodded, and his cell phone rang. 'Hot Blooded' by Foreigner screeched out, and I smiled. I must've inherited his taste in music also.
"Hey, Bones . . . yeah, I got some stuff on the victim . . . I can't meet you . . . I don't feel well. I'm taking the rest of the day off . . . it's just the stomach flu, very contagious. You shouldn't come see me . . . I'll call you when I feel better . . . bye."
He snapped his phone shut, and I asked, "Why did you say you're sick?"
"So I could take the day off and talk to you about this."
Sighing, I nodded and questioned, "Who's Bones?"
He answered, grabbing his keys out of his pocket, "We'll talk about that when we get to the diner."
Not knowing where the diner was, I grabbed my bag and followed him.
I took a big bite of the cheeseburger I had ordered. After the excitement of finally meeting Seeley subsided, I realized how hungry I really was. When I thought about it, I took another bite.
I glanced at Seeley, who was eating his food in the same manner. I smiled at the fact that a large part of me was identical to him; my eyes, my eating habits, my music choices, the way I laughed . . . they were all things that linked me to him.
"So, when you were ten, you had your last name legally changed to 'Booth?'"
I replied, "Yeah, I like it more than 'DeMarcus.' It's shorter and cool."
He chuckled and explained, "You know, I'll probably have to take you back to Richmond and talk to them about why you ran away."
"I guess I should've left a note," I stated, ripping off another bite of my burger.
He nodded, and I asked, swallowing, "Who's Bones?"
"My partner. We solve murders together."
"Is Bones an FBI agent, too?"
"No, a Forensic Anthropologist. She plays with bones, which is why I call her 'Bones.'"
She? "Bones is a woman?"
Seeley nodded. "Yeah, why?"
I stated, "I didn't think that your partner would be a woman."
I explained, "You seem like someone who would have a man as their partner because you're very . . . manly. I know it sounds confusing, but inside my head, it makes sense."
He smiled at my reasoning. "I think you'd like Bones."
"Why?" I asked, dipping a french fry in ketchup.
"She's . . . quirky."
He replied, "She takes things . . . very literally."
I didn't know what that meant, but I let it go. "So, you catch murderers."
"Yup." He took a fry off my plate and popped it in his mouth. I smiled.
"Booth!" A woman's voice rang out, and I turned to see who it was.
The woman had auburn hair that went past her shoulders. She had irises that were bluish-gray. She wore black slacks and a purple long sleeved shirt that clenched at the waist. She was very pretty and looked hurt.
Seeley gave a nervous smile. "Hey, Bones."
"Why did you lie to me?" She asked. I saw that she was pained that he had lied to her.
He stood up. "Listen, I'm sorry, but-"
"You could've told me that you needed personal time. Then, I come to grab lunch, and you're-"
He cut in, "Bones, I have to introduce you to someone."
He gestured toward me, and I felt my cheeks heat up. Way to thrust me right into the spotlight.
Bones looked at me, and then looked back at Seeley, a quizzical look on her face.
He said, "Bones, this is Elena. Elena, this is Doctor Temperance Brennan."
I said softly, "Hello."
Bones immediately stated, "You two are related."
My mouth fell open a few inches. "How'd you know that?"
"Your nasal bridge is the exact same width as Booth's, and your tissue markers are the same. Your jaw is also square but slightly rounded like his."
I looked at Seeley, and he said, "She's good."
Bones asked, "Is she your niece?"
He seemed to get nervous. "No . . . actually, that what I probably need to tell you. Sit down."
They both sat, and I knew that she wasn't going to react well.
"Uh . . . Elena . . . she's my daughter."
Bones' eyes widened, and I looked down at my plate, as if I were a disgrace to Seeley.
"Her mom and I had a relationship fifteen years ago," he explained.
She was dumbfounded, then asked, "You have a daughter?"
I felt bad. I was going to cause her to have a heart attack. I felt like leaving, but I knew I couldn't so I stayed.
"Calm down," Seeley directed.
The way he slipped his hand across her back to touch her farthest shoulder made me wonder about their relationship. It was obvious that, in some weird way, Seeley admired her, and Bones thought highly of him, too. The way his eyes widened when she stormed toward him showed that he was uplifted whenever she was around, even if she was angry. Her reaction to me said that she doesn't like when things came between them as partners or as people. Something was there, I knew, and whether it was obvious or not was unknown to me.
Bones suggested, "We need to talk to Dr. Sweets about this."
I raised my eyebrows in wonder, and
"Booth, this can affect our partnership. We have to talk to him."
Sighing, he replied, "Fine. We'll talk to him."
Bones stood. "Let's go."
She nodded. "The sooner we confront this, the sooner we will reach a resolution."
Giving in, Seeley pulled out a twenty from his wallet.
"Come on, you're gonna meet Sweets."
I asked, standing up, "Who's Sweets?"
He said, "The most annoying eigth grader you'll ever meet.