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Ty Nant in a Clear Glass Bottle

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Jack didn't spend the night at Angela's place.

He would come in, and he'd certainly go to bed with her, but he wouldn't stay the night. The first few times he offered reasons--early meeting, traffic, Zack would burn the garage down if Hodgins didn't tell him to turn things off at night--but Angela knew better than to ask why, and he stopped explaining himself pretty quickly.

It wasn't spending the night with her that bothered him, because he was perfectly happy to have her spend the night at his place. And once she'd done that a few times, Angela could see why he didn't stay over.

Rich people weren't crazy. They were eccentric. People as rich as Jack weren't even eccentric, they were security-conscious. In his own home, Jack's paranoia started to seem reasonable, which Angela knew was a sign that she couldn't hang out there too much unless she wanted to end up as crazy as Jack. She didn't have the money to be eccentric, let alone security-conscious.

Angela watched her environment with an artist's eye, seeking out the telling details that defined the whole. It wasn't the art or the antique furniture that mattered to Jack. It wasn't the thousand-thread-count sheets, although Angela was willing to seriously reconsider her independence some mornings, tangled up in those sheets and him.

Jack paid attention to the security system. There was a phone by the bed in his room, and he called security every night at ten to ask whether everything was secure, and who was watching the garage tonight. The call was always thirty seconds long, so Angela couldn't really mind it, even when it came at an inopportune time.

Jack also paid attention to the bottle of water on his nightstand, in the sense of taking it for granted; she'd watched him roll over and reach for it a half-dozen times. He never looked for it; it was always under his hand when he reached out, and it was always a fresh bottle. Someone placed it there, every day, like clockwork.

Angela watched him at work after she noticed the water at his place (his mansion, but "place" sounded more like the Hodgins she knew most of the time, the guy who worked with bugs and was totally crazy). He didn't drink break room coffee, only his own from a travel mug--and sometimes he drank water from those clear glass bottles.

Crazy? Eccentric? Security-conscious? Angela added only drinks mineral water imported from Wales to her list of factoids about Jack. It sounded like something straight out of a concert rider.

Angela giggled a little at the thought of Jack Hodgins, Rock Star, and Jack lowered the bottle he was drinking from, smiling uncertainly, like he knew the joke was probably on him. "Ang? You okay?"

Angela leaned in and stole a sip of water from the bottle he held in his hand, taking care to leave a little lipstick on the glass.

"I'm fine," she said, and walked out while Hodgins was staring at her lip-print, her laughter forgotten.

But nobody made her forget the uncertain look in his eyes, or the idea of Jack's personal rider. Her dad had told her once, the real story of Van Halen and the M&Ms--brown, not green, for one thing. So her dad said, the band's rider and stage plot were both really complicated, and venue after venue screwed it up. They finally added the ludicrous demand for M&Ms with the brown ones picked out so that they'd know, as soon as they walked in and saw the candy dish, whether the people running the venue had paid attention to what they needed. If there were no brown M&Ms in the dish, they could relax and get on with the show.


The next time Jack came to her place at the end of the night, Angela was ready. Of course Jack didn't notice right away--Angela kept him busy for a good long while--but at five minutes to ten he picked his head up off the pillow and opened his mouth to say he should get going.

She saw him look toward the clock, saw him go still as he spotted the new things on the nightstand: the cordless phone and a clear glass bottle of Ty Nant water, imported from Wales.

He looked over at her instead of reaching for either one, and for once he didn't say a word.

Angela smiled. "You could stay, if you want."

Jack blinked a few times and then smiled slowly. "Yeah," he said, relaxing against her. "I guess I could."