Also for break up thing: "are you sabotaging my dates?" (with whatever punctuation combo)
The first time it happens, Kate doesn’t think anything of it. Castle had returned to the precinct in the fall, after they had parted ways in the summer over a falling out in his Hamptons home.
She had accepted his offer to spend Memorial Day weekend with him, to swim in the ocean and lounge on the sand, sit beside him in the cool night air and watch fireworks illuminate the sky. And when he had kissed her on what was supposed to be her last night in the luxurious guest room before she drove back to the city the next morning, a two day trip had turned into a week long vacation from work. Seven full days of sun kissed skin and hours spent tangled with him in his high thread count sheets, and so much laughter, too many smiles to count.
She still can’t recall a time in the last ten years where she has felt so consistently, genuinely happy.
Throughout the summer, she manages to drive up to his place as often as she can, sometimes earning the surprise of him showing up in the city with a steaming cup of coffee for her already on her desk.
“Castle, you’re supposed to be writing,” she had chastised him in the break room on that scorching July morning, flickering her gaze to the closed blinds before stepping closer, fingering the collar of his shirt, flirting with the tanned skin beneath.
“Come on, Beckett,” he had whined, leaning in to steal a kiss from her mouth that had tasted like salt air and bittersweet caffeine. “You’ve been inspiring me all summer. I’m actually ahead of schedule for once. I can spare a day off.”
He had been ahead of schedule, so much so, that his publisher had actually called to praise him for a change while he was lying on the chaise lounge with her beside the pool during her final visit to the Hamptons in the middle of August. She could hear every word Gina was saying to him through the speaker of the phone, the pleasant surprise in her voice as she’d gone over the recent chapters Rick had sent her.
And Kate had grinned at him from behind the shades of her sunglasses, indulging in what had once been a secret source of pride for him. But it’s the comment that his second ex-wife makes that isn’t so pertinent to his writing that wipes the smile clean from her face.
I suppose it was for the best that I didn’t accept your offer to go to the Hamptons after all.
Castle had gone still and so had she, lowering her glasses to stare back at him in question, but the dread had already begun to leak into her stomach, the realization.
“You asked Gina to come with you?”
“Uh, Gina - thanks but - ah, no, I’ll call you back. Kate-”
She had already risen from the chair, feeling too exposed in the bikini she’d been stupid enough to buy (for him), and escaped through the French doors he had left open, stalking through the house for the stairs.
“Kate, let me explain-”
“Explain?” she had snapped when he’d jogged up the stairs after her, turning on the second step from the top to glare down at him. “What’s there to explain, Castle? I turned you down, and you asked another woman to come with you the second I did.”
“You were with Demming,” he’d pointed out. “You’d said no-”
“And you acted like it mattered to you,” she had scoffed, all of the bright and wonderful light that had breached her chest over the last two months going dark. “You never cared if I accepted the offer, as long as you had someone, right?”
The wounded look that had consumed his face, bled through his eyes, stuck with her, haunts her during the nights she spends alone in her apartment, and yeah, maybe it had been a little low of her, an unfair blow, but he’d hurt her and it had been her first instinct to hurt him back.
She had shaken her head at him, something in her heart splitting open. “You made me think - I thought you’d changed. That you - we were different.”
“We are. You are,” he’d protested, reaching for her, but Kate had turned her back on him, climbed the last of the stairs and strode for the master bedroom where her overnight bag and clothes were. “Seriously? The first bump in the road and you’re done?”
Beckett had grit her teeth, tugged a t-shirt on over her head and slid on a pair of jeans.
“Fine. You think I enjoyed seeing you with Demming, hearing about how you two were going to spend a romantic weekend away? That it was easy for me when I was – while I had feelings for you too?” he had questioned while she shoved what little she’d brought with her back into her travel bag. “Maybe I wanted to hurt you like you hurt me.”
They were more similar than she’d like to admit at times.
Kate had stood up straight, stared back at him with a hollowness that she felt spread from her chest to her eyes.
It was another month after that before she saw him again, before she’d had to arrest him, interrogate him, and then accept him back into their dysfunctional partnership. Being around him again has been a difficult adjustment, the longing in his eyes causing each breath to ache, the banter that returned to them so naturally accompanied by the sensation of razor blades shredding along her insides, the ‘what could have been’s a constant companion each night she went home without him.
And after a disastrous summer, three weeks of working with Castle again, their relationship strictly platonic, she doesn’t say no when the attractive heart surgeon with the shared interest in Harley Davidsons asks her out on a date.
She has no idea how Castle finds out, but on the day of her first date with Josh Davidson, Rick calls her before she can even begin preparing for the night out at a fancy restaurant, seeking her advice for a dilemma concerning Alexis and her new boyfriend’s pet rat. She ends up having to cancel her evening with Josh to crawl around the floor of the loft, searching for a rodent with his daughter and the man who still made her heart throb with soreness.
Her date with Josh eventually does take place when he comes to pick her up from work on his bike, but halfway through dinner, Castle calls her with imperative information on the case and she has to apologize to the man sitting across the table, promise to make it up to him with a rain check date, and rushes off to meet her ex. Something she notices isn’t exactly lost on the intelligent doctor.
The third time, it finally dawns her.
She trudges out of her apartment - where she had actually been enjoying an impromptu movie date with Josh, where she had actually been able to fathom a relationship with someone who wasn’t Rick Castle - to meet him at The Old Haunt upon his insistence that he had made an important discovery.
“This better be important, Castle. Josh and I were just-”
“Josh?” he echoes, disdain drenching his tone, screwing his lips into a twisted frown as if he’s just tasted something sour.
Kate pauses in the middle of the secret office space they had discovered, glancing over her shoulder to narrow her gaze on him.
“Yeah, we were watching a movie at my place. It was the longest date we’ve managed to get through,” she informs him, cataloguing the hints of irritation flickering through his features, the sudden stiffness settling on his shoulders. “Is this what you called me here for, Castle? To interrogate me about my date?”
“Obviously my call was more important than your boyfriend if you were willing to leave him in your bed to meet me.”
Indignation flares hot and wild through her chest and Kate spins on her heel to glare at him. “First, he is not my boyfriend. Second, it is none of your concern whom I have in my bed. And third, you did this on purpose, didn’t you?” she demands, perching her hands on her hips and stepping forward, sending him a step backwards. “This entire time… you’ve been sabotaging my dates, haven’t you?”
Rick squares his jaw tight, one of his tells that she had learned early on, and Kate growls, thrusts her hands forward to shove him against the wall.
“You son of a bitch-”
Castle catches her by the biceps, squeezing her muscles hard. “I’m not sorry. I can’t be.”
“Well, at least you can admit that, you jackass,” she spits out, yanking her arms from his grip, but Rick doesn’t release her.
He spins them both around, using the upper hand of his strength to maneuver them without issue, pin Kate to the wall with his knee in between her legs. She gasps in surprise, at the sudden friction the once welcome pressure his thigh provides her with.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs, causing her to go still for a split second, to forget the harsh bloom of heat through her stomach, the fury still spreading through her chest, the sincere cerulean of his eyes giving her no choice. “I’m sorry for inviting Gina to the Hamptons when you turned me down, for acting like a scorned little boy-”
“Stop,” she breathes, squeezing her eyes shut, because she doesn’t want to do this, doesn’t want to rehash it-
“It was unfair to her and to you and I’m sorry that it made you think you’re anywhere near replaceable, that I was more focused on holding my pride instead of apologizing the day you found out. I’m sorry that I let you leave, Kate. I wanted nothing more than to go after you-”
“Then why didn’t you?” she hisses, her eyes flaring open, the demand surprising them both, but Beckett swallows hard, takes a deep breath. “You pissed me off and I ran, because yeah, it - it made me feel like I was just another body to keep your bed warm-”
“Kate,” he sighs, mournful, but she shakes her head. She isn’t looking for an apology, doesn’t want one, not anymore.
“So maybe we both handled it badly and I’m sorry too, for running, not letting you explain, but I didn’t expect you to just keep your distance, not see you again until I had to arrest you for murder. Since when do you give me my space?”
She expects a quirk of his lips, a glimmer of amusement in his eyes, but Castle’s gaze is pained, the line of his mouth tight and hesitant.
“I just thought that whole ‘if you love someone, let them go’ thing might apply in that situation, but apparently, not so much.”
She’s suddenly so very glad his body is partially keeping hers upright, because her knees threaten to give while her heart goes still.
Love someone? But he didn’t - he can’t - how-
“Don’t pass out on me, Beckett,” he chuckles, but oh, his voice is trembling as badly as her hands are. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have - I was an ass to ruin your dates, you don’t belong to me and I had no right, I just-”
Her shaking fingers rise to cup his face, drag his mouth down to meet hers, to seal in all of her panic, suffuse her with the warmth of his lips over hers.
Hey I think that was supposed to be YOU telling ME a story… ;)
– – – – –
There’s magic in the air. A sense of wonder, undefinable. The stars bright over the Hampton’s sky, crisp air that infuses your lungs, makes your cheeks glow, your fingers numb, and the unerring sounds of the ocean as it crashes against the shore, recedes, rushes back in tumbling roaring waves, salt water spray and sea foam against your calves. Your toes burrow into the icy sand and you feel alive, ripe with possibility.
You grab for his hand, fingers entwining; you crush them between yours because you can’t help it, that need to have him close; tug him against you so that he stumbles a little, laughs with joy when he catches himself. His eyes, his lips, everything smiles when he looks at you, that bright shining love he has for you that has been your warmth, your comfort, your rock, that one steady thing in the stormy seas of your lives.
You step into him, chests brushing so that you have to look up at him and the cold ocean nips at your feet and the wind messes your hair, lifts and tangles it and his palm is warm against yours and his breathing steady, his heartbeat against yours, its strong rhythm, unerring like the tide that crashes and recedes and you lift up on your toes, nose brushing the cold tip of his, feel his warm breath caress your face and you open your mouth to free the words that have tangled inside you, that make your heart race and your stomach flutter with joy.