Kate was pacing back and forth in front of the doors that would change her life. On the other side of these beautiful, probably mahogany double doors was the man she was about to marry… except she had never met him before.
Months ago, she had been perusing around on the internet while once again spending Saturday night in her apartment, alone excepting for a bottle of wine. Suddenly, an ad popped up looking for single people looking for love. She ignored it, thinking it was for one of those websites most people used for hooking up, but then she saw that it was some sort of experiment. Four professionals, a sexologist, psychologist, sociologist, and spiritual something-or-other looked through all of these applications and tried to find a perfect match. If they found someone for you, you had to marry them without knowing them, without knowing even their name.
So Kate found herself pacing, heart beating so hard, so loud, that she feared it would explode and she would never live to see her wedding day. Her wedding where she married a complete stranger. Oh, I hope he isn't ugly, she thought.
"Katie?" Her dad reeled her attention back to the present and he smiled at her. She tried smiling back, but she was so frozen with fear, even that small task was impossible. She just nodded and continued her pacing.
"I'm all right, Dad," she said, willing her heart to slow and her palms to stop sweating. Never in a million years did she think she would be matched to someone, yet here she was. She spotted two people who worked at the hotel walking toward them.
Feeling the nervous butterflies in her stomach, Kate said, "Oh, my God. I think I'm gonna throw up."
Suddenly her dad was at her side, putting his arms around her, squeezing her tight. For some reason, the pressure helped her piece herself back together before she walked down the aisle. He pulled away and looked at his little girl, hair in soft curls pinned at the nape of her neck, makeup done to perfection, absolutely gorgeous in her mother's wedding dress.
"She'd be so proud," her father whispered to her. Tears welled up in Kate's eyes as she hugged her father once more before her life changed forever. . .again.
"Thanks, Dad," she said softly in his ear before pulling away from him and taking a deep breath.
The two hotel workers looked at her with genuine smiles. "You ready," one of them asked. Kate couldn't find her voice, just stepped up to the doors and nodded.
As the doors opened, Kate's breath caught. She did a quick scan of the room, saving the groom for last. The room was small enough for family and close friends from both sides, but it was beautifully decorated. As she and her dad made their way down the aisle, Kate smiled at her friends and shyly waved at the people sitting on the other side of the room beaming at her. She heard whispers of She's beautiful and He hit the jackpot! as she looked up and saw. . .
Kate froze in her tracks, jerking her father's arm back with her. She recognized the face in front of the minister; she had seen him hundreds of times on the back of her mothers' books. Richard Castle. How could the universe manage to find the one man in New York that would affect her on such a deep emotional level?
Before she realized what was happening, she leaned over and whispered in her dad's ear, "Tell them I'll be back in two minutes." Kate saw the looks of confusion, hurt, and disbelief as she jogged back to the doors and exited the room, trying desperately to stop the flow of tears that managed to run.
In the safety of the hall, Kate once again paced back and forth, trying to catch her breath and quell her tears. She still wanted to get married, but to Richard Castle? How was that even possible?
In the years before her mom was murdered, Richard Castle's books were always scattered about the house. Johanna Beckett loved to read, and she loved to read Richard Castle. So when she was killed, Kate found comfort in those books, felt like she was able to hold onto a piece of her mom, no matter how small. It was because of those books that Kate's head stayed above water for years after that horrible winter evening.
Seeing him there, looking at her with pride and joy—or at least the beginnings of pride and joy—had thrown her off and she just needed to collect herself. She hoped more than anything that he wouldn't think she was running out on him. She wanted to do this, wanted to marry him.
Just then, her dad came to join her in the hallway. "Katie, are you okay?" Patient concern littered his voice, fully aware of who she was about to marry.
"Yeah, Dad, I'm fine," she said as she wiped away the last tear that managed to escape before she locked down her emotions once again. "Was he mad? Did you tell them I was coming back?"
Jim smiled at her reassuringly. "Of course I told him you were coming back, sweetheart. And he didn't look upset, just concerned."
Kate sighed with relief as she hooked her arm through her father's once again. "Let's go get me married, then."
Chuckling, Jim opened the doors so he and his daughter could, once again, make their way down the aisle toward her future husband: Richard Castle.