|Third Time's the Charm
Author: ifonly13 PM
After the twisting path of their relationship, he was happy to fall into the cliche.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Kate B. & Rick C. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 3,361 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 29 - Updated: 08-24-11 - Published: 08-22-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7314665
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I dreamed this up while interning in Washington, DC this summer. I needed something way lighter than what I was dealing with at my organization and this was the outlet. This is the first chapter in a two-parter.
Disclaimer: I'm not Andrew Marlowe, therefore I do not own Castle.
Lanie was wrapping up for the night. She had her feet up on her desk, her favorite Pandora station playing on the computer, and the last bit of a chocolate milkshake to finish off. With a flourish, she signed the last certificate of death for the day, then tapped the folders into a neat pile against the edge of her desk.
"Doctor Parish, how lovely to see you!"
She gave a short scream, then turned to glare at Castle's approaching figure. "Haven't I told you not to scare me in the morgue?"
He paused. "No," he drew out. "You told me not to scare you during an autopsy because you had sharp objects. Nothing about the morgue as a whole."
"What do you want?" she asked, setting the files on the corner of the desk before gathering up her jacket and the milkshake. "Don't you have a woman to go home to?"
Castle blocked the door, holding out a hand. "Yes, but she's part of the reason I'm here." Lanie raised a brow, urging him to go on. "I need your help."
"With what, exactly?" She had to smile; he looked so uncomfortable that she knew what was coming was going to be good.
He took a deep breath. "I need to pick out a ring." It came out rushed.
The grin that blossomed on the medical examiner's face managed to light up her eyes as well. "What kind of ring are we talkin' about, Writer Boy?"
"The one right before the important one."
There was a squeal that Lanie was pretty sure came from her before she slapped a hand on the man's chest. "Castle, lead the way." She had her jacket on, the computer shut down, and her purse in the crook of her arm in a flurry of motion.
It was like a scene from a spy movie. The two of them moved through hallways, peeking around corners and whistling innocently when people walked past them. Somehow, they made it down to the sidewalk and hailed an empty cab, a miracle considering the snow that was falling. Lanie appreciated the address that Castle rambled off – it was one that she often window-shopped in but never entered, knowing that her salary would never allow her to buy anything once inside.
Lanie unwrapped her scarf as a saleswoman greeted them. "Good afternoon and welcome to Tiffany and Company!" The woman's eyes got a sparkle in them when she saw who had walked through the front door. "Mr. Rick Castle. Here to buy another engagement ring, I assume?"
"Elizabeth, it is a pleasure. And yes, actually." When the young woman's eyes drifted toward Lanie, Castle shook his head. "And this is my friend Lanie Parish. She's here to help me out a bit."
Lanie looked up from the case she was gazing into to give the blonde woman a wave.
"Oh, so we're doing this one the right way, are we?"
Castle leaned over Lanie's shoulder to whisper in her ear. "Elizabeth helped me pick out the rings for Meredith and Gina. Apparently, your presence means that I'm one of those 'third time's the charm' men."
Lanie raised a brow. "You better be. I ain't gonna let my girl have her heart broken if you don't think she's the one."
Castle crossed his heart toward Lanie as they followed Elizabeth over to the engagement rings and waited while she unlocked the glass case. "What style are we looking at for Number Three?"
"Kate." When Elizabeth tilted her head in confusion, Castle clarified. "Her name's Kate. And simple."
It took two minutes before they had the classic solitaire ring out of the case and resting on a display pillow. Now, they were busy debating carat size.
"Castle, I know my girl. She won't want a huge diamond on her finger while she cuffs perps. Stick with the one and a half. Any bigger and she'll never wear it."
"You sure it's not too small, though?" he asked, examining the diamond. Lanie was pleased to see that his fingers were shaking a little. Good. Nervous means that he cares.
"Positive." Lanie smiled at Elizabeth, who had been watching the exchange with a knowing smile. "He'll take the one and a half carat one, Elizabeth." She turned back to Castle, who was worrying with his fingers. Lanie placed a hand over his, stilling them. "Trust me. She'll love it."
He exhaled, his shoulders relaxing. "Okay. Okay."
Lanie wandered off as Elizabeth went in back to fill out the order request. Every girl dreamed of getting one of those robin's egg blue boxes at some point during her life and Lanie was no different. Unfortunately, a medical examiner's salary was no better than a cop's and she didn't have the luxury of dropping nearly twenty thousand dollars on a ring or even a thousand for a pair of earrings. She looked down, running her fingers over the case above a pair shaped like an octagon, nine diamonds sparkling up at her from each one.
From the back room, Elizabeth watched as the petite woman looked down at the mosaic earrings. She remembered feeling that way before she had started working at Tiffany's – totally in awe of the sparkle and shine surrounding her.
"Rick, I just need your signatures on a few forms," she called out, waving the clipboard in his direction.
The snow had stopped outside, but Lanie still bundled herself back into her scarf, pulling her chin into the soft folds of the purple cloth.
She looked over as Castle closed the door behind the five women who had giggled their way past the mystery writer and into the store. "For what?"
He walked over, taking one of her hands and placing a kiss on her knuckles. "For knowing Kate."
"Rick." The use of his first name from the woman had him looking into her eyes. "You know Kate. You get her like no one I've ever met. She gets to be herself with you. She has shared aspects of her life that she had been afraid to share with anyone but me and her father. You are there for her when she needs you." Lanie smiled. "As long as you continue to stay at her side, you'll be fine. I'm not saying that she'll make it easy, but you've toughed it out for the past four years. A lifetime can't be that much harder."
"I'm not sure if that was a compliment or a threat." His face softened for the first time since he had walked into the autopsy room. "But thank you. For keeping me sane."
Lanie gave him a little punch on the arm. "Anytime, Writer Boy. Anytime."
A/N: Now, compared to my average All My Secrets chapters, this one is dreadfully short. But that's because I wrote this a month before starting AMS and because I didn't have a ton to give Lanie or Castle to do. Next chapter will be different - promise.
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