Disclaimer: Not mine.
Her day off and he's called in for a meeting. Sometimes she forgets that he's not hers all the time. That he has other obligations besides being her partner. In the back of her mind, she knows he's world famous and that his books are bestsellers but she still forgets that it isn't all shiny book signings and fan related events. There are meetings - boring - and tours - hates them. This better not be a meeting about an upcoming book tour. He does have a new book coming out in September.
What if it is? What if he's gone? Kate throws her head back into the cushion of her couch and raises her hands to press against her eyes. She's been around him too much. Now her imagination is in overdrive and it's doing nothing but make her worry. Is he going to tell them about the baby? It's not really something they can hide anymore with her expanding waistline.
She rests a hand on the bump their Cub has created, smooths her fingers over the cotton covering it. She'd been excited this morning, waking him up with warm kisses and other fun things. She was already half dressed by the time he broke the news. No furniture shopping because he had a meeting he'd forgotten about.
She understands. She does because she's been so wrapped up in this - her relationship with him and now the baby - that she almost forgot about the lunch she'd planned with her father last week. Okay, she hadn't remembered at all until her dad called and asked if she was still coming. She smiles a little when she pictures the look on his face when he saw her - baby bump and all.
So it's not that she doesn't understand how her boyfriend forgot, it's just that she's been looking forward to this and now it isn't happening. It will. Soon. But she went to bed thinking of dark wood versus light and if she really wants a changing table and dresser to match or if she wants to mix it up and just paint them to match the colors of the room. Now she's here, on her couch with her legs stretched out and just staring down at her own stomach. Still half dressed. Her hair is a mess - last night it'd been a braid but she isn't sure what it is now and she's in pajama pants but she's still wearing the cotton shirt and cardigan that she changed into this morning.
Part of her wonders if she should be bigger by now at eighteen weeks - she might ask her doctor about that - but she knows that every woman is different. It still brings a smile to her face to see that her baby is growing.
"Hey little Cub, we were going to buy you a bed today but Daddy's silly and forgot he had other things he needed to do." She's the one who feels silly, talking to her baby bump, but she's bored and it's about time she starts getting used to this. "He's pretty great th-"
She feels a flutter, a light barely there sensation that she almost writes off as just her imagination. But she's read about this - the first movements and how they can feel like butterflies or like something tumbling around.
"Did you just move?" Okay, now she is being silly because she's actually asking and expecting an answer from her unborn child. She doesn't feel it again but she's pretty sure she didn't imagine it. Excitement races through her veins and she grabs her phone from the coffee table. Meeting be damned, she isn't about to just wait to tell him.
Except she is because as soon as she opens a new message, someone is knocking on her door. She considers ignoring it but it's not a demanding rude knock - it's light and timid. She knows that knock. As ridiculous as that seems. She knows who it is before she forces herself off the couch and pulls the door open.
The flash of red hair and blue eyes doesn't surprise her, the fact that the girl is here and not in class however, does. Alexis isn't one to skip. Ever.
"So a little birdie told me that you're supposed to be on a shopping trip today and my class got canceled so, what do you say?" She doesn't want to say no to an offer like that but she also wants Castle to be here. She doesn't want to pick everything - she wants his help.
"Does this little birdie stand a bit over six foot, blue eyes, believes in zombies and aliens?"
"That's the one." Kate steps aside, let's his daughter in. She knows what happened. He called Alexis because he knew she was really disappointed and it's sweet. It really is but she won't buy baby furniture without him.
"Alexis, this is really sweet of you but I'm not dressed, my pants won't fasten, and I really don't want to buy a crib without your father." It's not a lie. Her pants don't fasten anymore unless she rigs them with a hair tie.
"Ya know, even though Dad told me you have a baby bump now, I couldn't picture it." The teen frowns, lets her eyes stare at Cub and Kate feels a little self conscious but she doesn't hide. "You look great."
"Thanks, I -"
"We don't have to go baby furniture shopping. If your pants no longer button, maybe we could go clothes shopping instead? Cub is a growing baby." Now she can't refuse. Because it really is sweet and she loves spending time with Alexis. She'll have to thank her loving boyfriend later.
It still seems wrong that he's a 'boyfriend'. The word seems too casual for what they have. But that's her fault isn't it? She's the one who balks when he pushes them forward. She isn't going to think about it, not today. Not when his daughter is standing by the door, looking at her like she's still waiting for an answer. Oh. She is still waiting.
"That sounds great, just let me put some pants on and untangle the lion's mane." She's now in a hurry, leaves Alexis in the living room and heads off in search of pants. Her favorite jeans won't fasten but she's going to wear them anyway.
When she finds them, she weaves a hair tie through the loop and wraps it around the button. It'll work for now and her shirt covers it so its no big deal. Her hair is another mess, literally, and she doesn't really want to take the time to fix it. She unbraids it, tosses it up into a bun and calls it good. It's a day with Castle's daughter, Alexis isn't going to care that she's sans makeup and wearing clothes that don't really fit.
Three stores down - four shirts and three pairs of pants later - Alexis drags her into a baby focused store. Strollers, hats, footie pajamas, the whole nine yards. At first she freezes, unsure about any of it but this is what comes with expecting a child. She needs this stuff. She needs clothes for Cub. And...everything. She's a little overwhelmed by the rows of pinks and blues and greens.
She wants Castle. She wants him to be here, to get that look of silly glee on his face and bounce from rack to rack picking out ridiculously adorable outfits.
"Oh Kate, look at this!" She catches her breath, obeys the voice calling to her and she almost bursts with affection. Clearly, Castle isn't the only one who can get that look in his eye. His daughter seems to have inherited the trait and maybe this isn't so bad. She's in good company. "It has little feet!"
It does. And it's one of the cutest things Kate has ever seen. A brown and tan sleeper that has bear paws as feet - she knows that little Castle has picked something that big Castle would be proud of but of course his daughter doesn't stop there, she keeps pulling things off the rack. She should've known that shopping with any Castle would be like this.
"It's adorable Alexis."
"Dad told me I could get anything I thought you might need and let's face it, Cub needs this." She bites her lip, let's Alexis have the moment because she knows the girl is right. How cute is their baby going to be in a bear outfit?
Their Cub needs clothes. Oh. Oh. The last time she pictured herself with a family, her mother was still alive. She's always seen herself doing this - baby talks, baby clothes, baby everything - with her own mother and that hurts just a little.
She doesn't want Alexis knowing she's managed to upset herself so she paints on a smile and finally reaches out toward the soft baby clothes right in front of her. Her mother doesn't get to be here for this, any of it, and the fact that she's putting everything off won't change that. She needs to face it.
Her shopping partner coos over a pink ballerina onesie but quickly puts it back and grabs at something else equally as tiny. All the clothes are so little. It's insane to think she's going to care for someone that small.
"When are you guys finding out if I'm getting a brother or a sister?"
"Thursday - hopefully. All depends on if this little Cub cooperates." She glances over the clothes, catches the way her blue eyes light up. "You should come."
She doesn't think before she suggests it but the smile she's met with almost knocks the air right out of her lungs. Sometimes Alexis surprises her.
"Of course. This is your little brother or sister, you have every right to come and be a part of this." She looks away from the delighted red head - not to be rude or because she's uncomfortable but her fingers have landed on something so soft, she absolutely needs to see it.
Her heart swells and she knows she's hooked. Maybe she hesitated and yes, maybe she needs to talk to Castle and confess a few things but she knows that after this, all she's going to want to do is buy baby clothes because the white sleeper she's touching is the softest thing she's ever felt in her entire life.
"Touch this." She feels ridiculous but holds it out anyway, watches the pale fingers grasp at the fabric.
"You have to get this, I've never felt anything so soft. And it has ducks on it so it could work for a boy or a girl." She's sold. She doesn't even think twice. This is a good idea after all.
The bags are scattered on their bed - Castle's bed. For some reason after the shopping trip, she found herself at his door. She doesn't really want to think about why. He isn't home, she's not sure where he is but she's pretty sure his meeting wouldn't take this long. She's a little too busy pulling out baby clothes and maternity clothes to think about it too much.
She's comfortable here. Even when he's gone, she can still walk around the loft like she belongs. Because she does. She belongs. She isn't sure what that means or why she's thinking about it now while holding up the bear sleeper that Alexis insisted on getting. It's too cute.
Where is she supposed to put the baby clothes? They haven't bought a dresser yet and he doesn't have any hangers small enough. She leaves them on the bed, decides they'll just have to stay there. She wants to show Castle anyway. When he gets home. She checks her father's watch - frowns when she reads the time. Where is he?
He hasn't called, isn't answering when she texts. Maybe it's nothing and she's worrying for no reason or maybe he's been abducted by Secret Service agents and is being held captive somewhere. Yeah, she spends too much time with him. But there's nowhere else she'd rather be. He keeps her happy - even when they're fighting, she's still happier than she's been in quite a while.
She sits amongst the heaps of fabric taking up the surface area of his bed and chuckles as she looks at all of it. Maybe she went a little crazy. She blames Alexis for pulling her into the baby store. It's not her fault that there were so many cute and soft baby things. It's probably a good thing Castle wasn't there. If she ended up with at least ten baby outfits, she doesn't even want to know how much she would have came home with if he'd tagged along.
Home. This is home. She loves it here and she knows that she could make it permanent. It's her choice. She could mix their things, have some of her knick knacks in the bedroom amongst his. It's something she's starting to seriously consider. She's almost half-way through her pregnancy. She knows it's for the best, knows that she wants to live with him - she just wants the timing to be perfect.
But is there such thing as perfect timing? Maybe she needs to just box up her things and get it over with. That thought scares her a little - no, she needs to plan it. Perhaps, not to perfection but at least so she isn't stressing herself out over it. The last thing she needs is stress.
Speaking of, where is her writer? She's been in his room for about an hour. Part of her wants to call him - ask him where he is but then he'll know she's waiting on him and she kind of wants it to be a surprise. With a somewhat aggravated sigh, she stands and strips out of the jeans she's been wearing all day. She's pretty sure she no longer likes jeans. Sweat pants and slacks are okay but jeans - not so much. Not with Cub poking out.
"Well this is a nice surprise," Kate startles, whirls around with her hand over her chest. She wants to be mad at him for sneaking up but she isn't because he's leaning against the door and he looks worn out.
"I didn't hear you come in."
"Maybe you were too busy getting naked." She narrows her eyes, stalks over to him and doesn't stop until they're toe to toe. Her bare feet to his shoes. His arm immediately wraps around her waist, tugs her those last few inches until she's pressing against him, belly and all.
"I wasn't getting naked - not that you'd mind."
"I wouldn't mind but this is better." She frowns, wonders what he's talking about as he pecks her on the lips. "A half naked woman surrounded by baby clothes."
"Oh, yeah, Alexis and I might have got a little caught up in the moment."
"I'm sorry about this morning."
"S'okay, I had a great time without you." She's teasing, smoky eyes and her tongue poking out between her teeth. "How was your meeting?"
"Same as always. Exciting at first and then boring after about two minutes." She can't resist, she ruffles his hair and pulls him for a kiss. A proper one. Warm and soft. Mouths loving against one another. "I missed you."
She doesn't return the sentiment, he knows she missed him too. She doesn't need to say it - it's in the way she squeezes his sides and the smile she gives him.
"I think I felt Cub move today."
"Yeah?" And it's worth it. It's worth waiting in his home for over an hour because he's beaming at her. She wouldn't mind doing this everyday. Being with him in his home. "Won't be long till we can feel her kick."
"Her?" She catches it, asks because she wants to know his preference. He says he's happy either way but she knows he has to prefer one over the other. She knows because she does. "You want another girl?"
"I - no, I just...I know what to do with a girl. But that doesn't mean I'll love Cub any less if it turns out to be a boy."
"I know." He loves so fiercely that she will never question that. He already loves the baby so much. "Come on, I want to show you some of the clothes we got."
He doesn't let her go, doesn't let her tug him over to the bed. Instead, she's being held tighter and the look on his face is one she's seen before. One that still scares her sometimes. How he loves. It's intense and pure. He hasn't said it again - not since they got together but he's about to. She can see it. He's trying to hold it back and she feels terrible because they're dating and they're having a baby - he shouldn't have to stop himself from saying something so...good.
"Kate," She wants to hear him, she doesn't want him to stop himself anymore because she needs it. She needs to hear it. His lips form a thin line as she watches the battle play out over his features.
"I have both feet in, Castle. You can say anything and I'm not going anywhere." She doesn't expect the laugh that bubbles out of him - in fact she's almost a little insulted because she's being serious and he finds it funny.
"I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure if I said that I never wanted to see you again - you wouldn't just stick around." Of course. He's going to make fun of her choice of words. He's the wordsmith, not her.
She rolls her eyes and tries to step away - the moment is ruined because he thinks he's so funny. He's not. That's not something she ever wants to joke about or think about. He doesn't let her go, strokes a hand over their Cub. Apparently when he's serious, there's no ruining the moment.
"I love you, Kate. Both of you." The smile spreads across her face as she reaches up to cup his chin, tug him down until their lips meet. She shows him how she feels, in the way her mouth caresses his. She proves that she's not scared of him - of hearing the words. Never scared of him. Never.
She needs him to know that. Needs him to understand that even when she's stubborn and hard to deal with, it's not because of him. It's always just her. Her insecurities sometimes get the best of her but this, him, she's ready for all of it. He pulls away first, rests his forehead against hers.
"Not to be the controlling girlfriend but where were you? I know the meeting didn't last this long."
"It's a surprise." He gives her nothing more to go on. She'll interrogate him later but for now, she wants to show him the baby clothes, and maybe model some of her new outfits as well.