i love the story that you wrote with stana's pic. will you do the one where she's reading a book as well? although personally i would not look that well dressed in lazy morning.. =p
Castle trudges up the stairs of the Parisian apartment that is theirs for the week, huffing his way through the winding two flights. It isn’t that he’s out of shape, Beckett mentioned just last night that his stamina was fantastic, but he had opted to walk home from the signing instead of taking the car service and well, it had taken longer than he had expected and climbing a seemingly unending staircase isn’t helping matters.
The bookstore that had hosted the signing hadn’t been far and Kate always encouraged strolling through cities rather than taking cabs if the distance to their destination wasn’t great, but walking without Kate by his side wasn’t nearly as fun and he had been winded and wet by the time he made it into the lobby.
Just his luck that the mist of a rain shower would choose to descend upon the streets of Pairs during his mile long walk home.
Rick sighs in relief once he makes it to the landing, the front door only a few steps away, and withdraws his key from the pocket of his thin pea coat. It’s still early in the day, his signing had been an early morning event that had pulled him and his wife out of bed at seven and rushed them through a quick breakfast, and he hoped that after a little lounging time, he and Beckett could do some more city exploring.
Castle inserts his key into the lock, turns it and eases the door open, barely making a sound. He likes this apartment; it’s quant and maybe a little cramped in some places, but it has charm, a certain elegance to it that he knows Kate was drawn to from the beginning.
He’s contemplating buying the place, surprising her with it or bringing the idea up for discussion before they leave for Berlin in a few days. The thought of flying back here in the future with his wife for weekend getaways in the city of lights and lovers has the dampness the rain had put on his mood dissipating, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
After his daughter had been captured nearly four years ago, held prisoner in this foreign city, he thought he would hate the place forever, returning only for business obligations and book tours, but Alexis held no grudge against the city, mentioning on the phone yesterday that she herself hoped to return one day soon. Under better circumstances, of course.
Maybe he could find an even bigger place, an apartment or a condo that could comfortably house the three of them, offer an extra room for his mother or Jim Beckett, or perhaps, another addition to their family someday…
Castle blinks away the daydreams, shrugging out of his coat in the apartment doorway and hanging it in the small front hall closet, toeing off his shoes to avoid creating a trail of damp footprints on the wooden floors.
Kate had joined him at the signing this morning, but after two hours of browsing through the popular Paris bookshop, shooting him tired but encouraging smiles from the rows of shelves while he interacted with fans, he had told her to go back home during his break, get some rest. She had been reluctant and he knew why, knew that separating in a foreign country made her uneasy to begin with, but especially after the events of last year. After they had spent too many months apart, time they would never get back, time that had damaged them both. But they had undergone the necessary repairs, the wounds had healed, and this trip had put the finishing touches on the sealed cracks along his heart.
He no longer worries so much about returning home to find her gone or waiting with a bag packed.
Rick drifts into the living room area and finds his wife arranged on one of the stylish armchairs, still in her clothes from the signing - a blouse of thin flowing material that allows his hands easy access to the bare skin beneath, and the fitted black slacks that make her legs appear endless - with a book balanced in her hand and her mind lost to a world created by another author.
Hemingway, he catches the name of the author as he approaches quietly, not wanting to disturb her just yet, to break her concentration on the paperback that has consumed her attention, but he does retrieve his phone from his back pocket, angles the device until he has her entire body in the frame of the iPhone’s camera.
The fingers poised at her lips fall at the snap of sound as he captures the picture, her eyes darting up from the page to find him with a glare.
“Enjoying your latest purchase?” He winces, but he can’t help admiring the photo now adorning his screen. She looks… stunning, like something out of a museum or a fashion magazine, so elegant and artistic.
Beautiful, as always.
“I was,” she emphasizes the past tense, but her lips are curling into a smile, her eyes shimmering gold in the clouded, grey light pouring in through the window. “How did the rest of the signing go?“
Kate closes the book, places it to rest on the edge of the chair while he pockets his phone, coming forward to press a kiss to the top of her head and watching that small smile grow.
“Fine,” he murmurs, cupping the back of her head and settling his hand beneath the knot of her hair. “I am starving though.”
“Four hours of signing books and offering dazzling smiles takes a lot out of you, I know,” Beckett teases, turning her head to smear her grin to the inside of his wrist while he pouts at her. “Give me a second and we’ll go find you some sustenance, baby.”
“Good, because all I’ve had is a granola bar and I’m withering here.”
The snort that leaves her lips has him grinning, dropping the dramatics as she rises from the chair and pops her bare toes on the hardwood before elevating on them to steal a kiss from his mouth. Castle cups the harsh angles of her jaw in his palms while he has her close, rests his forehead to hers and nuzzles her nose when she remains content on the tips of her toes with her arms around his waist.
“You were gone for two hours,” she chuckles, finally descending back to the soles of her feet, glancing up to him with soft amusement in her gaze. Her nails scratch at his back, gentle and soothing, before his hands fall away from her face, allowing her the opportunity to step free of his hold and grab her purse, her shoes, but Kate lingers, dusts one more kiss to his mouth that has his heart fluttering. “But I missed you too.”