One Night Stand
by Cassie Bones
Kate’s hands sweat as she sits in her expansive bathtub, still fully dressed in her suit from work, the tub empty and cool against her heated skin. She forces herself to continue looking down into her lap and not at the little sticks currently resting on the bathroom sink.
She took three, just to make certain that there was no mistaking…but she couldn’t be. It had only been once (okay, three times) and there’s no possible way…
And if she is, then couldn’t it be…but no. Josh had told her when they first started going out—when it was far too soon for that conversation, by the way—that he couldn’t.
It doesn’t matter anyway, because Josh is gone. He left after she confessed to her infidelity in Los Angeles, even though she insisted that it had ended the next day, after Castle had told her that he couldn’t be with her when she was so willing to cheat on her boyfriend.
"I’ve been cheated on before, Kate; it’s not a good feeling."
And then he’d left; had told Beckett and the boys that he needed to spend the month in the Hamptons and get his manuscript finished before his ex-wife castrated him and ripped up his contract with Black Pawn, joking that he didn’t know which one was worse.
Kate hadn’t even gotten a chance to tell him that Josh was gone, and that she didn’t feel his loss as strongly as she felt Castle’s.
And now, three weeks after their little “tryst” in California, she’s sitting alone in her bathtub and waiting for—
The alarm on her phone startles her and Kate feels her heart thud in her chest, her legs turning to jelly as she stands and steps out of the tub. She rubs her hands against the thighs of her slacks and she reaches for the first little stick, holding her breath.
It comes out in a puff as she stares at the little pink plus sign in the pregnancy test’s window, then reaches for the other two, praying that it’s just a false—
Nope. Not a false alarm. Three plus signs glare up at her and she feels sicker than she has in days; only this time she doesn’t feel the need to vomit so much as go lay down and never get up again.
She runs her hands through her hair as she looks herself in the mirror and considers her options.
On one hand, she’s financially stable; she could totally raise a child on her own, and she could get help from Lanie—who loved babies—and the boys—who would probably turn to mush in an instant—and her dad—who had expressed his want of a grandchild more than once. She could take a six-month leave after giving birth in order to find the kid a daycare and maybe even hire a nanny for nights she had to work late. She heard Zhane down the hall was looking for a little part time work and she was always so great with kids.
Option two is to get an…no, she couldn’t. She has nothing against the women who did, but she just…she couldn’t. She would keep this pregnancy, at the very least, and she would likely keep the baby, too, because giving up anything that was part her and part Castle is unimaginable.
And the third, most terrifying and thrilling option, was to go straight to Castle and tell him. She knows that he would want to be a part of this baby’s life, if not hers, and that he would be the best father ever because she’s seen the way he interacts with Alexis. They could raise the baby together, whether as a couple or just as friends; they would make it work. They have to make it work.
Kate sighs, leaning against the sink, her hands clenching and unclenching against the marble before one of them raises to finger the ring at the end of her chain. Her mother would be insistent upon her taking option three, and not just because she was such a fan of Richard Castle and his books. She would have loved Castle if she’d gotten the chance to meet him and there’s no doubt in Kate’s mind that she would have pushed Kate to start seeing him far earlier than she did. Hell, if Johanna Beckett was still alive, Kate and Castle would probably have been married by now—if they’d even met at all.
But Castle wasn’t returning her calls and was likely not listening to any of the dozen or so voice mails she’d left in the last couple of weeks since he’d gone. She’d even gone so far as to ask Martha if she’s heard from him and the older woman told her that she spoke to Castle every night, assuring her that he just needed a little time. Castle had evidently told Martha about their night in LA.
She’d have to speak to Martha and ask her for the address of the Hamptons house. Hopefully, the woman would give it to her without too much explanation. Castle should really be the first person she told about the baby, then they could tell everybody else together, if that’s what he wanted.
Her heart thuds continually as she makes a mental checklist of things she’ll need for the trip up there and makes plans to call Montgomery and let him know that she’ll be using a couple of vacation days—if she adds them to her day off, she’ll have three or four in a row and that should be plenty of time to figure this out…she hopes. She quickly packs a bag, tossing in a bikini and some of her nicer lingerie, just in case. She prays to a God she stopped believing in a long time ago that she’ll have use for them.
This was never how she wanted things to go for them, but oddly she doesn’t feel like this baby would ever be the only reason they got together. That would have happened regardless, she likes to think; after all, they’ve always been inevitable. This would just be pushing them in that direction a little faster than they’d planned.
She clears her mind of those thoughts as she continues to pack and makes the call to Martha. The matriarch is, thankfully, not too curious about why she wants the address and sounds as if she’s been expecting it for a while now—which she probably has. Kate jots down the address and thanks her profusely before hanging up and locking up the apartment.
She calls Montgomery as she rides the elevator down and he insists that she take the full week off, practically exuberant that she’s finally using her vacation days.
She doesn’t have the energy to worry that her boss would rather her not be at work.
When she arrives at the beach house—or, rather, mansion—she has to keep her jaw from hitting her lap and her foot from pressing down on the break and carrying her as fast and far away from here as possible. After all, what would a millionaire, best-selling author want with her, a Homicide detective?
Instead, she forces herself to break, park, and turn off the engine before climbing out and shutting the door. Then she takes nervous step after another until she’s standing at the large, glass door that shields another white one behind it.
She opens the first door and then takes a breath before rapping, as hard as she can, on the other three times, then she waits.
After a full minute and no answer, she tries the door, finding it unlocked and she reaches for the piece on her hip which she’s suddenly glad she hadn’t left at home, if only because she forgot.
She inches her way into the house and calls out, “Castle? Castle, are you here?” No answer.
Her hand remains on the gun on her hip as she moves through the house and calls his name every few steps, still not getting an answer.
The house is darkened and she can see it has two floors and quite a few rooms on the first. She makes a complete sweep until she reaches the back, which is illuminated by the sunset coming through the glass doors that lead out into a grassy backyard, and, further, a stretch of beach. Her eyes travel down the sand, heart stopping in her chest as she spots a lone figure standing at the edge of the water, looking out as the sun glitters against the rich blue.
His feet, from what she can see, are bare and his legs are encased in Bermuda shorts, a white t-shirt stretched across his broad shoulders. His hands are buried deep in his pockets and his shoulders look slumped, like there’s some kind of weight on them. Kate feels her own droop in response and she immediately toes off her own shoes and rolls up the legs of her dress pants before making her way down to the sand.
It’s cool beneath her toes as she shuffles down the beach, her heart beating so fast and loud that she swears he can hear it as she approaches. But he doesn’t even so much as turn around, his gaze fixed on the ocean at his feet.
She stands there for a couple of moments, just watching him, her eyes tracing the outline of his body, the stretch of muscles on the back of his legs she’s only seen once before, the bulge of his biceps that she’d clutched as he rose over her, his lips pressed against her neck as his hips pressed into hers. Kate feels her face flush at the thought and takes a deep breath.
The sound seems to be enough to bring him out of whatever thoughts he’s stuck on and he turns, his eyes widening at the sight of her, standing in the sand, barefoot, with her work clothes still on.
She offers him a shy smile. “Hi,” she says.
"Hey," and it sounds like a question as he turns his body completely around to face her. "What are you doing here?"
"Don’t sound so happy, Castle," she retorts, easily, "you’re making me blush."
His lips quirk up slightly, before he seems to remember himself and he sighs, shaking his head. “Seriously, Beckett.”
The sound of her last name on his lips hurts in a way that she can’t explain. In all honesty, she hadn’t been expecting to be welcomed here with open arms, but she allowed herself to hope that in a non-professional, personal setting he would call her by her first name—the same name he’d gasped into her ear as he fell apart.
"I…I need to tell you something," she sighs, her thumbs hooking in her pockets as she looks down at her toes wiggling in the damp sand.
"What is it?" Castle asks, his voice laced with worry. "Is it Alexis? Or my mother? I just spoke to them last night and—"
"Your mother and Alexis are fine," Kate interrupts. "I just spoke to them before I left. Alexis is spending the weekend with Paige and Martha is going to an acting class; they’re okay."
"Then, what…?" His gaze is full of confusion and Kate takes a deep breath.
"I’m pregnant," she blurts out and it feels so strange to say it out loud, least of all in front of Castle, the father of her baby. She feels heat flood her body at the way that sounded, the words having fallen her lips like word vomit. It’s too late to take them back.
Castle just stares at her for a moment, his expression like that of a deer caught in the headlights, almost comical as his gaze flits down to her still flat tummy, then back up to her face. His hand lifts slowly until he’s pointing at her midsection.
"Baby?" he squeaks out and Kate almost snorts.
She forces herself to stay stoic as she nods. “Yours,” she says, her voice nearly a whisper.
"Are…are you sure?" he asks, uncertain. "It’s not…?"
Kate shakes her head. “He’s not…it would be impossible.”
His eyes widen further and she swears she sees his knees buckle. “My baby,” he murmurs and takes a deep breath, running his hand through his hair. “What…what are you going to do?”
You. Not we.
Kate sighs and looks down. “I’m keeping it,” she informs him.
She looks up at him, her eyes hard. “Of course I am,” she says. “Why wouldn’t I?”
He shrugs. “I dunno, I just…a baby, wow.” He shakes his head. “Do you…do you want me to be involved?”
"Do you not want to be?” The thought had never even occurred to her; she couldn’t imagine him not wanting to see his child.
He shakes his head. “No,” he says. “I mean, of course I want to be involved. I just…is that what you want?”
Kate nods and takes a step forward. “Very much,” she says, her voice barely more than a breath.
"What about Josh?" Castle asks. He doesn’t move, either away from her or towards her, but he keeps his arms crossed over his chest, as if warding her away from embracing him.
"We broke up," Kate replies softly. "After we got back from LA, I told him about…us and he…he said he never wanted to see me again." He’d said a few other things but she figured Castle didn’t need to know that. "And, honestly, I was just fine with it."
"You were?" he asks, his voice bordering on hopeful.
She nods. “Josh and I…we were never going to make it, you know? He was never ‘it’ for me. I only felt bad that I…that I hurt him the way I did.” Castle nods, his face falling slightly. “But, Castle, I don’t regret that night.”
"You don’t?" he asks, the hope returning, his face brightening.
Kate shakes her head. “Not a single second,” she confesses. “The only regret I have is that I didn’t break it off with Josh first; then maybe we wouldn’t be standing here; we’d be at home, planning nursery colors.”
He doesn’t respond to that with words, writer though he is; instead, Richard Castle reaches for her, wrapping his arms around her and sweeping Kate into his arms, claiming her lips in a deep, invading kiss that took her breath away. Kate is still for less than a second, before melting into him, her arms wrapping around his neck, squealing into his mouth as he lifts her and spins around, her legs kicking out behind her as she holds on, smiling against his mouth.
When he finally sets her down and they pull their lips apart, both of them are grinning, their noses brushing, gazes locked.
"I love you," Castle whispers against her lips and Kate feels her heart stutter, her eyes filling with tears as she nuzzles his nose.
"I love you too," she whispers, pressing another kiss to his lips.