The distance between two
One scene – A thousand words (ish)
The same challenge as last year; to see if I could create a linking moment between each Season Six episode.
One chapter a day until Season Seven arrives.
Wish me luck.
6x23 – 7x01
For Better Or Worse - (spoiler ;-)
The flames engulf the vehicle below her, fiery red tentacles that rise from his car, and the dread that's been building in her veins reaches breaking point, spilling forth, coating her cheeks in tears. She'd thought the ride from the house was torture, gripping the seat that divided her from the driver, but nothing compares with the anguish that shudders through her chest, rips open her heart, until the jagged shards fall to her feet.
Nothing's gone to plan. From the moment they'd stood, waiting to apply for their marriage license, everything she'd hoped for, dreamed and imagined has unraveled before her, and now…
She can't come back from this, the darkness that's closing in, her vision narrowing until the only thing before her is the inferno. A blaze that's consuming more than metal and upholstery, it's consuming…
Her head trembles, attempts to shake that thought away. No. No, this isn't how their story ends. There has to be a ray of sunlight somewhere, some glimmer of hope, someone to hold her by her shoulders and tell her everything's going to be okay. It has to be okay, he has to be okay, because she's been there, faced life without him, and she can't go through that again.
It's been less than a year since she'd held his hand, broke the news that he'd been poisoned, that unless a miracle occurred he only had hours to live. But they'd done the impossible - they always do - and within the week she'd been standing at his side, telling him that her home was in his arms as he'd prepared to leave on a flight back to New York.
She can't lose that, can't lose the home that she's found in him.
There's so much that they haven't had a chance to do. The last box still needs to be packed, the items that linger in her old apartment are ready to be moved into the loft with the rest of her belongings, ready to join her clothes that snuggle against his in the closet.
How can she return there? How can she stand under the shells that signify their life together… stand alone in their bedroom?
Her lungs burn, the lack of air in her body swaying her slightly backward, her automatic nervous system forced to take over, and she inhales, breathes in enough oxygen to survive. Yet, the traces of smoke clinging to each molecule become wedged in her throat, morphing into a sludge that will drown her.
And she closes her eyes.
The panic that's rising now isn't new, she's faced this feeling far too often of late, but she'd overcome the sensation every time. The bullet that had dotted his i, the vest that now hangs on his wall is a testament to the fact that luck shines on Castle.
She doesn't have to imagine after all, what it is to drown, just how much her body can be deprived of air before her vision becomes hazy, and she draws in another jagged breath. She'd conquered that fear; with Castle by her side, she'd won against the faceless evil.
He'd been by her side throughout every battle this year, his hand had curled around her own, and her fingers stretch against her wedding dress, reach for his. Except she finds nothing to grasp, nothing but material. That and the reminder that he's not here.
Please, don't be in the car.
Stepping forward a fraction, the toe of her shoe catches the long, lace hem of her mom's gown, and, burying her nails in its beauty, a sob breaks free. She'd cried then too, when her dad had stood in the doorway, his eyes shimmering with tears. He'd been speechless, had merely stared as the hands on the clock had spun around, until finally, with a gutted whisper, he'd confessed to having hoped for this day.
For her to stand before him in her mother's wedding dress.
The story had cascaded from him, how he'd searched and found it in storage, how he'd wanted to tell her in person only to run into the delivery of the large white box. He'd let them in, had taken a peek inside and discovered that she had Matilda's crystal encased designer gown awaiting this day.
Acquiring a piece of her mom's past had been one of the few moments of joy in what has otherwise been a horrendous three days. Disaster after disaster. Yet those glimpses of happiness had occurred; when Martha had handed over her earrings, when they'd seen what their family and friends had done in their absence. How Alexis had apparently taken charge, had taken it upon herself to go above and beyond what was needed; it's a far cry from the tension that had rocked both Castle and his daughter last fall.
And while it wasn't space, or as near as they could get - their rooftop venue had been impressively close with the stars above them - the Hampton's lawns are stunning, exceeding her little overgrown garden a million times over. She'd wandered the grounds, and had experienced a calm that, for at least a little while, led her to believe that everything was going to be okay, better than okay, their day was going to be perfect.
Their wedding was going to be spectacular, their honeymoon to the Maldives the most delicious of cherries on top of the most amazing of events. It was the day she was supposed to be his wife. He was supposed to slide another ring alongside the diamond that sits proudly on her left hand. They were supposed to be dancing to their song…
What does she do now?
She knows devastation, knows what it is to struggle for her life - was that less than two weeks ago? - knows what it is to search and search for answers that slide like sand through her fingers, and, as the heat washes over her, feels as if it's searing every layer of her skin, she faces another battle, another war.
This time it won't be about justice for a life lost years ago, it won't be about finding closure for herself, her dad, for the families that mourned without knowing why their loved ones were gone.
The fight before her is for the man who has captured her heart, who's loved by a mother, a daughter, brothers in arms, friends and fans, all because he lightens their lives, brings wonder into each day.
The fight before her is for her partner, her fiancé, her - come hell or high water - future husband.
Because the possibility that he's down there, that she doesn't have anything left to fight for…
That will destroy more than just him.
Hours (sob), there's just hours, and besides the common sense stuff (don't laugh ;-) I've managed to stay spoiler free and I'm half dead as a result. The anticipation of what is about to occur has fractured me, and damn I am just so very excited (as I'm sure most of us are).
Thank you to those that have left words of support and encouragement along the way, they've helped overcome the longest twenty-three days of the year, and have brought about the largest of smiles xoxo
Thank you to Jamie and Jo, for your hard work, friendship, and flails xoxo
Thank you for reading xoxo