The thing I love most about Valentine’s Day (perhaps the only thing I love about it) is making cheesy YA novel valentines. This year’s batch is Raven Cycle themed! Tired of chocolates and flowers? Why not treat yourself to a book about deadly kisses! <3
The sign is the first thing she sees when she wakes, dangling as it is from the top of the door that leads to the bathroom.
At nearly 33 weeks into her pregnancy, it’s a nice reminder that Castle still finds her attractive since, to Kate’s own mind, she’s rapidly approaching the size of a small killer whale as her first-born grows in size and strength with each passing week.
She generally has kept quiet about her feelings on her outward appearance, far too grateful that her child’s heart and still beating, and that her pregnancy was viable after taking a bullet to the abdomen.
She hadn’t known, had never even paused to realize that she was late or that the sweeping nausea might have been from something more than the stress of juggling her duties as Captain and the investigation into Loksat. If she had, Kate would have never crossed the lines or taken all the risks she did.
Today, perhaps moreso than any other year in her life, she’s merely grateful for the fact that she’s lived to see 37 and that her wake up call arrives in the form of her unborn baby kicking at her internal organs as a good morning greeting.
“Yes, I feel you, peanut,” Kate says once she’s rolled out of bed, bones popping and muscles stretching with movement, “Good morning to you, too,” she adds with a hand lying low on her stomach, the grin automatic when her child’s steady kick vibrates against her palm.
She’s still standing there, counting the baby’s kicks as the minutes tick by, when the low hum of Happy Birthday begins from somewhere out in the office. She knows the voice as well as she knows her age and her home address, and even though Kate rolls her eyes at her ridiculous husband, she’s grinning by the time he’s made it through the bedroom door.
He’s singing full voice now, a booming baritone that always surprises her with the possibilities of talent within, a bright grin plastered on his face that falters when he discovers an empty bed. “Oh, you’re awake,” Castle says, adjusting his grip on the breakfast tray loaded with all of her favorite things and one extra large, vanilla cupcake with white frosting and glittering, multi-colored sprinkles that are shimmering under the lights of the enormous sparkler candle that’s rapidly burning itself out.
“Mmm,” Kate hums, pushing away the memory of another day in this room with a similar cupcake and a phone call that nearly cost them both their lives and their marriage. “Your offspring wanted to say good morning, ruined your surprise by playing soccer with my bladder.”
“Well,” Castle huffs, approaching the bed to gently place the tray onto the mattress as the candle gives one last burst of light and flickers out. He’s knelt down in front of her a second later, a stern gaze fixed on her protruding stomach, “Cosmo, my man, you can’t wake your mommy by kicking her,” he instructs to her stomach, grinning at the automatic eye roll Kate gives at his use of the nickname she hates. “It’s rude,” Rick continues, framing her belly with his hands and pressing one quick kiss to the fabric of her sleep shirt, “You’ve gotta wait till she’s awake and then kick her, bud. Play by the rules, yeah? It’s mommy’s birthday and we want her to have a good one.”
As usual, her husband’s voice is the calming balm to their little one, the frequent kicks stilling at the low timbre of his words. After a few minutes pass, Castle tilts his head back to grin at Kate in triumph, leaning forward for one more touch of his lips to her stomach, “That’s my boy.”
Back on his feet, he dives in to capture her mouth for a long kiss, that lop-sided, little boy grin spreading against his lips once they’ve parted, “Happy Birthday, Kate,” he mutters against her mouth, coaxing out a smile from her and a second, much quicker peck.
“Thanks, babe,” she sighs, easing herself back onto the mattress with only a muffled groan, already regretting taking a seat as she’ll undoubtedly have to get up to pee in a few minutes. But settled comfortably enough, Kate glances towards the breakfast tray, snagging a cubed piece of pineapple from the selection and popping it into her mouth.
“You know, we could have a girl,” she tells Castle once she’s chewed and swallowed her bite, “And you could be giving her an identity crisis.”
“Nah, this is a boy,” Castle replies, pulling the burnt out candle from the cupcake and discarding it into the trashcan, “I can feel it.”
Her lips twitch at that, just the slightest waver to telegraph her amusement, but he still notices, bringing a hand to his chest and extending his bottom lip in an over dramatic pout, “Your doubt wounds me, Beckett.”
Munching on her second pineapple cube, she shrugs at him, swallowing it down, “Didn’t you think Alexis was a boy before she was born?”
“Rookie mistake,” Castle dismisses with a wave of his hand, “I’m older and wiser now, and I’m gonna be right, you wait and see.”
This time, Kate laughs outright, swiping a finger through the frosting on her cupcake and lifting it to her lips. “Even if you are right, we aren’t naming him Cosmo,” she says, pausing to lick her fingertip clean and doing her best not to grin at the way her husband’s eyes go dark and lusty.
“What? I figured now was the time to ask.”
“Never gonna happen,” she replied, picking up a piece of bacon from the plate and breaking it in half, passing the larger part to him, “Consider it one of my birthday presents.”
Steve: I was fresh out of the ice and… Mary was the only one that seemed to understand that..I’m 17. I’m not an adult. I was scared as hell and she was exactly what I needed.I promised Mary I’d look out for him. I don’t take promises lightly. The Parkers mean a lot to me.