Castle Ficlet - Lily’s Socks
Keys in hand, Kate pauses just outside the loft door, taking just a moment to calm her mind and center herself. The hustle and bustle of the work day continues to buzz through her brain just as it has during the subway ride home, the walk to Broome Street and the ascent in the elevator. As captain, she spends each day inundated with requests, paperwork, and the general disgruntlement of her coworkers. Most days she doesn’t mind, but on days like that one the bureaucracy of it all drives her nearly to the brink, which is why she uses her pre-apartment-entry routine.
No one ever told her being a mother and working full-time would be easy, which is good, because it isn’t. She has known since the beginning that without a husband as amazing, dedicated and loving as hers, leaving her child each morning would be a struggle. With Castle, it’s just a minor bump of sadness on the road that is life. Still, when she’s at home she wants to spend as much time focused on Lily as she can, which is why she always makes a point to clear her mind.
Shutting her eyes, Kate takes in a deep cleansing breath through her nose and pushes it out slowly through pursed lips. She knows there will be time later to vent to Castle about the ridiculous hoops she needs to jump through to satisfy 1PP’s requests, but that won’t be until after Lily is in bed. From that moment until dusk she will focus on her family.
Mind now clear (well, clearer), Kate pushes the key into the lock and turns it with a smile. “Hello?” she calls out upon entering the space. She shrugs off her coat and drops her bag beside the door. Hearing no response to her earlier inquiry, she asks again, “Castle?” Just then, she hears him. His voice is faint and to her right, which leads her to guess he’s coming out of the office-slash-playroom.
“Mommy’s home; let’s go see Mommy.”
Kate tentatively steps further into the apartment, her eyes trained on the office door, eager to see her little one and learn what she’s been up to that day. Due to her early shift that morning, Kate needed to leave the apartment before Lily was awake. All she could do was dust her fingers over the sleeping girl’s forehead and promise to greet her later. As much as she misses greeting the day with her daughter’s smile, the early shift allows her to be home by mid-afternoon, which means she is able to spend more time with Lily before she goes to sleep, so it is an acceptable trade off.
A moment later, from between the bookshelves, teeters out a grinning girl displaying her four front teeth. Her hair falls in whips across her forehead and, though she knows the notion is ridiculous, Kate feels like its darker than it was just a day earlier. The strawberry blonde from Lily’s birth is slowly darkening into auburn, but with her ivory soft skin she’s just as beautiful.