Going Down to Mexico
Disclaimer: Mexico is just one of the many countries where I do not own Castle. Rating: K Time: Between seasons two and three.
Author's note: Like many who love Caskett, I hated the end of season two when Rick left Kate to go off with Gina. So, why not change it? This is also a sort of a prequel to chapters 589 to 591 of After a Deadly Affair.
And, I mentioned at the end of the story Vengeance, that I had three stories in mind for that universe. I decided to make that one story about three missions by Battle Group Castle. The first mission is written and I know where I want to go with the second mission, but I need to sort out the timing and some details. While I'm doing that, I'm writing this which has been buzzing around in my mind for a while.
"This is very good, Rick. Now, see? You managed to finish Heat Wave in a month. I'm proud of you."
Normally, Rick would have lapped up praise, even from his publisher and ex-wife. Today, he could do no more than smile.
"I agree. Getting ten percent of nothing while representing you is not my idea of a good time." Paula, his agent added.
The smile faded a bit.
"Now, you need to get busy on the next book." Gina added.
"The next book? I'm worn out from working non-stop on Heat Wave. I need a break." He didn't like the way he sounded. It sounded like whining.
"You do not need a break. You need to get another book started. Do you have any idea how hard I had to work to keep you from getting fired by Black Pawn? The board of directors was furious at all the missed deadlines. The chairman wanted to fire you and sue you for the advance we paid. This, "Gina tapped the manuscript for the book, "will take some of the heat off, but you have to strike while the iron is hot. I need you to write an outline for the next book. At least you're not wasting your time hanging around that cop and can do some work."
"Hanging around that cop got Heat Wave written, remember?" He snarked.
"So, write another Heat book." Paula said.
"It's not that easy. Writing is not like churning out donuts, or something." He had worked non-stop on Heat Wave to try to get Detective Kate Beckett out of his head. It hadn't worked.
"Write another Derek Storm book then."
He shook his head. "Derek Storm is dead, remember? A book about his corpse slowly rotting isn't likely to make anyone's best seller list."
Gina rolled her eyes, which momentarily reminded him of Beckett. "Write about Derek before he joined the CIA then. Or, have him go after blood diamond smugglers in Africa, or human traffickers. You didn't cover every second of his CIA career, so go back and fill in the blanks."
"Or come up with a new character." Paula added.
He had only been able to come up with one character for a very long time. She had great legs, a killer smile, and very little use for him.
"Rick, listen to reason." Gina had adopted the tone she commonly used when addressing a not very bright underling. He hated it.
However, she went on. "You love the perks of being a successful writer. The house in the Hamptons, the loft, the Ferrari, good Scotch, not to mention the adulation you get. That all depends on you writing books. You make a great deal of money and I know you spend a great deal of money. If you think you can just slack off writing and have fun, you'll find yourself in an efficiency apartment in Brooklyn before you realize what's happening."
"Listen to her, Rick. When you weren't writing anything, there were people at Black Pawn who wanted to know if I represented any good, young writers. They were asking about a young Rick Castle. I told them I didn't have anyone, of course. But if you don't write, they'll keep asking. And they'll ask other agents."
He briefly wondered if Gina had been asking about a young Rick Castle.
"There's just one Rick Castle and he's not an old man, ready to be put out to pasture."
"That's the spirit." Gina said, smiling.
"Plus, we need to get him out in the public." Paula added. "Derek Storm was a known commodity. Nikki Heat isn't. We need to sell this book. We should be booking Rick on every talk show from here to LA. Plus press interviews, and publishers' conventions. And anything else we can think of."
Gina scooped up the manuscript from his desk. "I need to get this to Black Pawn ASAP to show all the doubters you're still writing. Even if it did take far too long, it's a pretty good book."
Castle took offense to that. Pretty good book? It was the best thing he'd ever written. He opened his mouth to say so, but Gina was already headed for the door. "I'll be back in four or five days. I'll expect you to have a book outline by then."
"I'll come by as well." Paula said. "We can plan our sales campaign."
Then, both women were gone.
Suddenly, Castle could see the future they had planned for him. He'd be chained to his desk, writing out books about Derek Storm as a teenager and every once in a while, he'd be taken out for a book signing or an interview. He left his office and went to the bar. He poured himself three fingers of good Scotch. Very good Scotch, he reminded himself.
"Invent a new character. Sure." He growled. "Nothing to it." He waved his arms around. "New character, magically appear." Nothing happened. The only character he had in his mind was Nikki Heat, and she was really Kate Beckett.
"Have a book outline in five days. To hell with that. I'm not going to let them do that to me."
He went back into his office and turned on his laptop. He started looking for places to go. Miami? Miami was great. How about the Bahamas? Great as well. He remembered the last time he was in Curacao. That was wild. He wondered if the cops still remembered him. Maybe Vegas? Hawaii? There were so many options. He was Richard Castle, after all.
Then he remembered. He was Richard Castle. If he was partying on Calle Ocho in Miami, the gossip columns would find out and he'd have Gina and Paula on his ass in no time. The same with everyplace else.
There must be someplace I can go where the two sisty ughlers can't find me. He thought. There are, but I'm not sure that the bright lights of Pyongyang, Tehran or Damascus is what I'm looking for.
He closed the laptop. Partying with a Vegas showgirl isn't going to solve my real problem. My problem is Beckett. I've known plenty of beautiful women, but she's still the top of the list. I've known a few women who were scary smart and gorgeous. But Beckett is different. Every now and then, her poker face slips and I see the very real pain she lives in every day. I can imagine, say, losing Alexis, and it would tear me apart. I could never be as strong as Beckett is if something happened to Alexis. What should I do? Go back and fight for her? The way she took to Demming, hell, they're probably married by now. Or they broke up. I'd like that, but it really doesn't seem possible. I don't know. Or should I just try to let her go? I walked away because it was obviously what she wanted. She's pretty much always just tolerated me because I'm a help on her cases. Nothing more than that. Okay, maybe a little more than that, but not much.
What I need is someplace to get my head together and decide what I'm going to do.
He sat for ten minutes before the thought struck him. It was perfect. He grabbed his cell phone, but then put it down. He opened a locked drawer on his desk and pulled a burner phone from the back of the drawer. He'd paid cash for it and used the name, U. N. Owen, a nod to Agatha Christie.
He dialed and waited while it rang.
"Hi, Cowboy? It's me, Rick Castle."
"Why are you using this guy Owen's phone?"
"It's an homage to Agatha Christie. The villain in And Then There Were None used that as a phony name to lure his victims to a secluded English country house so he could kill them. U. N. Owen. Unknown."
"Look, I need some help."
"No problem. Me and the boys can be on a plane and be in Noo Yawk in no time. We can handle your problem for you, amigo."
"Not that kind of help. I've got woman problems and I need…"
"Whoa! Rick Castle has woman problems? Damn! It must be the End of Days! We gonna get locusts next? Maybe all seven plagues?"
"Very funny. But, I've got my agent and my publisher on my ass and I screwed up with another woman."
"Damn, Dawg. You're not perfect after all."
"We can argue about that later. Now, I need to know if I can borrow your dad's cabin. I need some time to think and figure out…a lot of things."
"Sorry. No can do. My Uncles Timmy and Jimmy and their pals will be there starting in two days hunting deer. Which means they'll only see a deer if one breaks in, guzzles beer and whups their asses at poker."
"But, maybe I can still help you. I gotta a buddy who lives out in the desert, way off the grid. If you want, you can sit by a campfire, drink a cold beer, look up at the stars and contemplate your place in the infinite universe. My buddy's a little standoffish, so me and the boys'll have to come too. You pay for the beer and it's a done deal. Okay?"
He thought for a moment. "That's the best idea I've heard all day. I'll fly into El Paso. I'll text you the flight number and the time."
"Okay. We'll pick you up at the airport. See ya."
He waited until he was at the airport before texting Gina and Paula that he'd be out of town for a while. He called Alexis and gave her the same news, but no more. She was worried, but he said he'd be in good company. Then he put his regular cell phone in a prepaid mailer and sent it to himself in New York City.
He was off.