Castle pulls his Ferrari into its usual parking spot at the underground parking of his condo building. It purrs to a stop as he kills the ignition. He looks over at his date who giggles while reaching over to pull him close, leaving no doubt as to what her intentions are.
“Let’s head upstairs,” Castle whispers into her ear. His date giggles again and nodded.
After stepping into the elevator, the door had barely closed when Castle has her pinned against the back corner, hands roaming everywhere, mouth attacking her neck. She moans and responded in kind.
Lynette… or was it Janet? Annette? Yvette? Bimbette? It didn’t really matter to Castle. All he knew was she was everything Kate Beckett wasn’t. Blonde, fun, care-free, slightly dim, ready for a no-strings-attached roll in the hay. It was all Castle wanted. Not to think. Not to feel. To just do and forget.
The elevator dings to indicate they’ve arrived at their floor. They stumble into the loft after Castle finally managed to open the door, mouths still very much attached together. Castle sheds his jacket as he leads his date backwards onto the living room couch.
Things soon got hot and heavy with more articles of clothing making their way to the floor. Lying on top of his date, Castle’s roaming mouth made its way down her bra-covered chest when a sudden flash in his mind’s eye made him stop short. All he could envision was a scar. A scar that while he has never actually seen, he knew without a shadow of a doubt, was there. A scar that was too close to the heart for comfort. Literally and figuratively.
Castle pulls away from his date to sit back on the couch. Heaving a deep sigh, he rubs his hands across his face willing himself to forget. Not sensing the change in his mood, the blonde sat up as well and saddle up against his side, one hand playing in his hair while the other made its way down to trace light circles around the zipper of his trousers.
“Why did you stop Rick?” She asks while trailing kisses across his jaw line. “I know you want me.” She punctuates that statement with a light squeeze on his pants.
Castle shudders at the touch. Yes, his body was certainly ready and he thought this was what he wanted as well. But despite what he told he mother, that he can still work alongside Beckett knowing she doesn’t feel the same way, he is finding it a lot harder than he imagined. The brain can think what it wants but the heart has a mind of its own, he though ruefully.
Castle puts his hand on his date’s roaming hand to remove it from his body. “I just…” Castle started then stopped. Just what? Just got out of a relationship? While it technically wasn’t true, it certainly felt that way. Just found out the love of his life has no feelings for him? Just need a time machine to go back 4 years and make sure he never met Beckett?
“I just have some stuff going on,” he finally settles. “Tonight’s not a good night. I’m sorry.”
The blonde sat up and looked at him, truly looked at him for the first time, pass the ruggedly handsome face and saw the turmoil in his eyes hidden behind the charm. She nodded then stood up and picked her blouse up off the floor and put it back on. She makes her way to the front door with Castle following behind.
“Goodbye Rick,” the blonde gave him a kiss before adding “It would’ve been fun.” For a slightly dim one-night stand, she certainly was very understanding.
Castle makes his way back to the couch and resumed his previous position of having his hands over his face. He stretches and turned his face upward almost as if hoping for some kind of divine intervention to make his conflicting emotions go away. No more than 5 minutes passed when he hears a knock at the door. Assuming it was his date coming back, perhaps to pick up whatever she might’ve left behind or perhaps to tell him off for leading her on tonight, Castle slowly got off the couch and headed towards the front door again.
When he opens the door, it was the last person he expected to see. The last person he wanted to see at that moment. The woman who was everything that ‘Bimbette’ wasn’t.
“We need to talk.” The woman responsible for Castle’s current funk says by way of greeting.
Castle instinctively knows what she wants to talk about; after all the sudden change in his behaviour would not have gone unnoticed by a first-rate detective like Beckett. But he was not in the mood to discuss her deception. His emotions are still too raw, his heart still too fragile. Castle didn’t think he can confront her without saying something he may very well regret.
So he makes a show of closing the door slightly, just enough for the action to be noticeable by her and turn his head backwards to look into the apartment as he said, “Now’s not a good time Beckett. I’m entertaining someone.” Truth be told, the childish part of him wants to throw it in her face. To show her he has moved on. To show her what she’s lost. Maybe to make her a little jealous. But would she even care? She certainly doesn’t care about him, not in that context anyway.
“Uh-huh,” Beckett arches her right eyebrow and calls his bluff. “I saw your ‘entertainment’ in the lobby on her cell calling for a cab. Care to try again or are you going to let me in?”
Unable to find another excuse (so much for a writer’s imagination,) he steps aside and let her into his apartment. Castle makes his way to his liquor cabinet and pours himself a drink without bothering to offer her one. “What are you doing here?”
“I told you Castle. I wanted to talk to you.”
“About?” Castle takes a large gulp of his drink, bracing for the inevitable.
“Your behaviour Castle.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh come on Castle!” Beckett says exasperated by his stonewalling. “What the hell is going on with you?”
“Nothing is going on Beckett. It’s nothing to concern yourself about.” Castle says still defiant.
“Who do you think you’re fooling? Ever since the bombing case, you’ve been acting different. The lunch dates, the weekend Vegas trip, the bimbo.”
“First of all, don’t call her that. Second, fine yeah I’m different since the bombing. You know why? Because I realized the truth when we were working that case. Nobody’s tomorrow is guaranteed right? So why waste any more time waiting for something that will never come. A person can wait a life time for perfect sailing conditions; or you can make the best of what you’ve got now and start paddling. I’m just living life. I’m having fun. I’m doing what I want. You should try it too Beckett.”
Beckett looks at Castle long and hard. She can tell he was hiding something. Something happened during the bombing case that made him change. More than just him realizing he wants to “live his life.” But Beckett also knows him well enough by now to know there’s no point in pursuing it any further when he is like this. Richard Castle can be more stubborn than a mule when he puts his mind to it.
“Okay, fine.” Beckett runs her hands through her hair to show her frustration at his refusal to talk about what’s really bothering him. “When you’re ready to tell me what’s really going on, when you’re ready to stop lying to me and to yourself, you can give me a call.”
Castle lets out a loud scoff at the irony of her words. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and he mumbles “That’s rich coming from you.”
Beckett had turned her back intending to leave the loft. At his words she turns back to face him and asks, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You could’ve just told me,” once started Castle finds himself unable to stop, words starts to pour out of his mouth almost of their own volition. “I would’ve understood. I’m a big boy, I can handle the truth. I’ve been told ‘no’ by women hundreds of times.”
“What on earth are you talking about?” Beckett was thoroughly confused at Castle’s seemingly non-sequitur statements.
“I’m talking about what happened at Montgomery’s funeral! About what I told you.” Castle couldn’t bring himself to say those three words again and he can feel himself losing control. “About how you lied, saying you didn’t remember anything!”
“How do you…” Beckett couldn’t finish, she was too stunned by what he just said.
“Bobby Lopez. I was in the observation room when you were interrogating Bobby Lopez.”
Beckett’s eyes widen when she realizes what he meant. ‘You don’t get to use that excuse! I was shot in the chest and I remember every second!’
He cuts her off before she went any further. “You didn’t have to lie. You could’ve just told me you weren’t interested. Or was it all just a big joke to you? To see how long you can string me along?”
“Castle, no that’s not…” Beckett stops again her thoughts and emotions all jumbled. She is surprised at how much it hurt that he interpreted her lie as her not feeling the same way about him. She is even more devastated that he could think she would be so callous as to play with him like that.
“I think you should leave,” Castle simply says. Now that the truth was out, he feels a burden has been lifted off him but he wasn’t ready to hear whatever excuse Beckett was going to make.
“No. No I’m not leaving,” Beckett shakes her head to show her conviction on the matter. Hearing his request made her shake out of her momentary daze. She was not going to leave knowing how he had misinterpreted the whole situation. She knows it was nobody’s fault but her own; now she needs to fix it.
“Castle, I lied not because I don’t feel the same way about you. I meant what I said at the park that day after your book signing. I knew I couldn’t be in a relationship and give myself 100% into it without dealing with my issues first. And a relationship with you is too important to me; I wasn’t willing to go into it when I know I still have my walls around me. As much as I wanted to tell you how I feel, I didn’t trust myself to not mess it up somehow. I’m sorry Rick. I’m so sorry. I am such a coward. I should’ve trusted you with the truth and trust you to respect me enough that you would wait for me knowing the truth as opposed to lying to you and making you wait on your own.
I’ve kept seeing my therapist. Even after the mandatory sessions to get me back on active duty. He’s been a great help. Especially after the sniper case. He’s been helping me work through so much of my issues. About letting go of my mom’s murder. Not to let go of finding the truth and catching the people responsible for it. But letting go of it defining me. I’m telling you now I’m ready. I’ve let go. I’m ready for a relationship with you Rick. I’ve wanted to tell you, there’s been so many times I wanted to tell you how I feel but I just didn’t know how. I was so close to telling you that day at the precinct before Esposito interrupted. I suppose in a weird way, I should thank Bobby Lopez for giving me a coward’s way out. I’m sorry for hurting you Rick. Sorry you thought I didn’t feel the same way. I do. I love you Rick.”
Castle looks at Beckett as she finished her confession. Not sure if he can believe his ears. It was his turn to be stunned into silence.
“Rick? Please say something.”
The uncertainly in her voice, the fear in her eyes and the lone tear rolling down her cheek prompts Castle into action. He closed the distance between them in a few long strides. He puts one hand around her waist while the other held her gently by the base of her neck. He closed his eyes so he can just enjoy the feel of their closeness then placed their foreheads against each other, their mouths just inches apart.
“First thing tomorrow morning, I’m going to send your therapist the biggest edible floral arraignment I can find. Second thing, I’m going down to the precinct and kick Esposito’s ass.”
Beckett laughs in spite of herself. Her laughter is short-lived though as Castle closed the remaining distance between their mouths with a searing kiss.
Castle pulls back after a moment and requests “Say it again.”
Kate didn’t have to ask what he meant, she simply complied. “I love you.”
“I love you Rick Castle.”
Kiss. Before he got a chance to say anything Beckett puts a finger against his mouth. “Rick, take me to bed.”
“Katherine Beckett, I thought you’d never ask.”