|Days of Summer
Author: liviafan1 PM
A young Kate Beckett spends her summer waitressing at a local shack on a Jersey beach, tending to her alcoholic father and paying her way through the academy. One night, her world turns on its feet when Rick Castle enters the door...and her heart. AU. COMPLETE.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Rick C. & Kate B. - Chapters: 40 - Words: 61,991 - Reviews: 868 - Favs: 424 - Follows: 751 - Updated: 01-05-13 - Published: 01-10-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7730320
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"You look beautiful, Katie." She brushes by her father on the way to refrigerator, hides a smile behind the open door. He looks up from his solitaire game, notices her fidgeting with her black top anxiously.
"You know, you remind me of your mother when you do that." She sucks in a breath; her grip on the handle of the refrigerator tightens. "I'd find her tugging on her dress or adjusting the strap of her shirt almost every date we had for the first six months. Used to tease her about it relentlessly."
She swallows hard, staring at the shelf in front of her.
She blinks, shuts the door forcefully. "We really need to get groceries soon."
He sighs, slaps a card on the pile. "It's okay to talk about her, you know."
She runs a hand loosely through her curled hair. "Are we really gonna do this now? He'll be here any minute."
"Then when, Kate? Tonight? Tomorrow? You never wanna talk about it."
She laughs in disbelief. "Seriously? You're gonna sit there and give me a lecture about Mom when you can't spend one goddamn day sober, Dad?"
He stiffens, knuckles white as he grips the Ace of Spades in his hand. She waits for him to say something, anything, but he doesn't. Shit.
She'd pushed him too far.
He sighs, manages to put the card down. He looks up at her and forces a brief half-smile. "Go have fun on your date, Katie," he says softly.
She bites her bottom lip, opens her mouth to apologize. Before she can say a word, there's a loud knock on the door. Perfect timing.
"Come in!" Jim calls.
Rick walks in, grinning broadly, bouquet of daisies in hand. Kate lets him brush a kiss across her cheek, but she's too distracted to enjoy it. She does see his smile fade a bit, probably picks up on the tension.
She tears her eyes away from her father, turns to him.
"Can you just wait outside for a second?"
He deflates another notch. Jesus Christ. When was she gonna stop screwing this up?
"Uh, sure. These are for you." He hands her the bouquet. She smiles, genuine, and lifts them to her nose.
"They're beautiful. Thank you." She hesitates a bit, but leans in to kiss him on the cheek. Figures she at least owes him that much. His eyes brighten.
"Good to see you again, Jim." He nods once and steps out, closing the door behind him.
"He must really like you," He observes.
"Kate." He sighs. "Go out. Have fun. God knows you don't do this often. Don't worry about this tonight, okay? We will talk. I'm not letting you off the hook, but you deserve to just have some fun. I'll be fine."
"I love you." Her voice wavers. God, she feels like seven years-old again.
"Oh, Katie." He pushes the chair back from the table and reaches her quickly, wraps her in a hug. "I love you, too."
He pulls back, smiles slightly. "He's a lucky guy. "
She rolls her eyes, but smiles. He takes the flowers from her and grabs a vase from under the sink, filling it with water. She grabs her leather jacket from the hook by the door and slings it across her arm. "Good night."
"Have fun!" he calls out behind her as she shuts the door.
She finds him sitting on the porch swing, rocking back and forth, staring at his clasped hands.
"Hey," she says softly.
"Everything okay?" He gets up from his spot, shuffles close to her.
She nods. "Yeah. Thanks for waiting."
"You're really making me work hard for this, you know." She can see traces of doubt in his eyes, despite his teasing tone.
"I know. Things are just a little…complicated right now." She's giving him the same party line yet again. "I'm sorry. Forgive me?"
"There's nothing to apologize for. Family's important, Kate. I get it."
Jesus. Where had he been hiding all her life? "Thank you."
He digs his car keys out of his pocket.
"We're taking your car?" She asks, leading him down the sidewalk.
"Unless you wanna drive?"
"I just have my softtail here, so—" She stops in her tracks, realizes he's not beside her. She looks back to find him dead in his spot, mouth dropped open slightly.
"You—you have a motorcycle?" He splutters.
"You're gonna catch flies with your mouth open like that, Castle." She laughs, bites her bottom lip.
"God, that's sexy," he breathes, unfiltered. Ha. She likes this side of him.
"I'm not sure you're ready to see me in action. I think taking your car would be the wisest choice here."
His face falls comically. "Third date?"
"Let's get through this one first and then we'll talk," she teases, shaking her head at him. She takes a few more steps, but pauses again, the corners of her mouth twitching. She whips her head around. He still hasn't moved.
He snaps out of his reverie. "Yeah."
"Jesus, are we crossing state lines?" Kate asks, glancing at the digital clock on the dash. They'd been driving for at least a half an hour.
"Why, you got a hot date later?"
She laughs. "No, you're the only hot date on the agenda for the night."
He smiles smugly. "You called me hot."
She rolls her eyes. "Don't get used to it. Wouldn't want to inflate your over-sized ego anymore." He throws her a look.
"Seriously, though. You aren't kidnapping me, are you?"
"Would you chill? We're here."
"He says as he pulls into a nondescript lot." She looks around, but doesn't see much of anything, except for a few abandoned buildings. She narrows her eyes at him.
"You are really paranoid, Beckett," he observes.
"Comes with the job."
He leads her across the parking lot and through a short alleyway.
"Almost there," he promises. She nods, wordless. "You're not a fan of surprises, are you?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Why's that?"
He shrugs. "I don't know. Why would anyone want their life to be so predictable?"
"I've had a lot of unpredictability in my life, Castle. I think I've had my fill." He realizes then what he said, how it must sound to her, the woman who lost her mother at such a young age.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't—"
"I know," she says softly. "Don't worry about it." She takes his hand in hers, proving a point, and squeezes it gently. He looks at their joined hands in wonderment and her breath catches.
She feels like sixteen again.
She watches as he flexes his fingers to lace their hands together. He lifts his head and slowly reaches out with his other hand, brushes his fingers against her cheek.
"Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight?"
She can't breathe. He's locked her breath away with the look he's giving her, like she's the only thing that matters in the world right now.
Second date, Kate. Second date.
Christ, she needs to calm down.
He seems to be thinking the same thing. He lets his hand fall away, brushing the edges of her chin with his fingertips as he goes. She shivers.
"Come on." He leads her away again, but doesn't drop her hand.
They make it past an empty warehouse when they come across a small restaurant, tucked between the warehouse and an old, crumbling parking garage.
"Both of these areas are condemned, which is why we parked over there," he explains.
"Going to an awful lot of trouble for this place, Castle," she notes warily.
"It doesn't seem like much, I know, but the food is fantastic."
Her stomach grumbles immediately as she steps inside, the delicious aroma assaulting her senses.
"I love Italian," she gushes.
He laughs. "I'm glad you approve."
He grasps her elbows gently. "I'll be right back." His whispered words caress her ear from behind. She hums softly in acknowledgment, but doesn't fully process what he's said until he's left her standing there, missing his touch.
It's a little cheesy, she thinks as she glances around the room. In fact, it's a lot cheesy, but she can't bring herself to seem to mind. The tabletops are adorned with checkered tablecloths with a small vase of flowers in the middle, candles flickering lightly around the room.
Honestly, she'd expect nothing less from him.
"I know. It's pretty cheesy, right?" He sidles over to her, waiter in tow.
She smiles, shrugs. "It's cute."
They follow the waiter to a semi-secluded booth in the back, beneath a window.
She barely sits down before she begins thumbing through the menu, barely notices as the waiter takes their drink order.
Or rather, their wine order.
"I should probably warn you that I'm a little bit of a lightweight."
"Should I look for an appearance from Tipsy Kate tonight?"
"Not unless you want an appearance from Naked Kate as well," she says nonchalantly, eyes never leaving the laminated page in front of her.
"Kidding, Castle," she warns.
"Good. I, uh, didn't want to have to take advantage of you or anything."
"You'll find that I rarely need persuaded in that department, Castle." She lifts her head to find his eyes darken slightly, the menu clutched a little too tightly in his hands. Her mouth goes dry.
Second date, Kate. Second date.
Updates are kinda short, I know. I'm really not the fastest writer, unfortunately. I'm working on it. Thanks for sticking with me.