"This will mean BIG things for Castle," the woman rambled on. Kate was stunned into silence. Castle was leaving? She could barely grasp the concept. The precinct wouldn't be the same without him ~ not that she'd ever tell him that. Kate was far too impassive for that. She was not a big sharer of emotions.

Kate nodded along with the woman pretending to take a vague interest, and showing nothing in her eyes. She polished off the champagne as she considered a life without Castle. She had done it before. But she was used to having him around now, under her feet, his excitement and teasing brought into her everyday life.

She would miss him.

But she hadn't expected him to stay around forever. He was only staying on at the precinct to study her work for his Nikki Heat character. No, she reminded herself. It had never been a permanent arrangement. As her mind swirled with questions, she tried to look interested in the woman before her.

She was another one of Castle's BOOK-PEOPLE. Publicity. Kate shuttered at the thought. She was attractive, sure, in an everyday model kind of way, especially with the low cut boob-tube and small piece of material she used for a skirt. It was common in this line of work. But did that mean that Castle would consider taking the job? And would this woman be working close to her? Would she replace Kate? She wondered.

Castle hadn't mentioned taking the job in some remote country ten-thousand miles away; she didn't even know it was an option. Kate had come to the premier of his book launch because she was the inspiration for the female lead in his new book HEATWAVE. She had no other reason to come to one of his book parties. Kate hated socializing. She was a homebody.

But she had come for Castle, and now she wished she hadn't.

"So is he taking the job?" Kate asked the woman she couldn't remember the name to. Her voice was shaky, but the woman didn't seem to notice.

"He hasn't decided," she answered.

Relief washed through her. He might stay after all.

"But if he does take the job, then he'd move there permanently? It would mean BIG bucks."

It would mean the end of their partnership!

Kate sighed. She didn't want to hear anymore.

"Will you excuse me…" she told the woman politely. She needed another drink. Approaching the champagne display, she took another glass and gulped down half of it, as she thought about the near future.

This was exactly why she didn't want to grow attached to him, she thought angrily at herself. At one point or another they all left her.

Castle smiled as he walked towards her. Her heart pounded as she watched him with intensity. He was certainly handsome, but she had no intention of letting him know that. Castle's head was already far too big as far as attention went. He had woman swooning left, right and centre, and she refused to become just another notch on his belt. Not that she hadn't fantasized about it from time to time, until she remembered his personality, and fell back to reality with a hard thud. No, it would never work between them; he was far too well-known for her liking. She'd always feel in competition with any girl that made a move on him. They were all supermodels and so much younger than Kate, how could she compete with that?

"You're amazing!" he stated.

"I know," she teased. "Any particular reason?"

Castle gave her that all-knowing look. "You look beautiful by the way…" he observed looking at the blue dress she was wearing. She was rather breathtaking. Certainty a change from the slacks and coats she wore to work.

Kate blushed. "Thanks." She reached out to adjust his tie.

"And I look smashing myself?" he asked hopefully.

Kate hesitated. "Well… you'll do!"

Castle laughed.

Yes. She thought silently, I wouldn't kick you out of bed.

"So are you going?" she surprised herself with the question.

"Going where?" he frowned.

"To Brittan…"

Castle frowned. "How do you know about that?"

"I'm a detective," she shrugged. "I'm good at my job."

"I dunno," he answered vaguely. "I haven't decided."

"But you're thinking about it?" she pressed. Why did she feel so uneasy about the idea of him leaving? It wouldn't be that bad, she told herself. He wouldn't be under her feet anymore, which she found a constant annoyance. He wouldn't smirk with excitement when they solved a case, or arrest the perpetrator. He could barely contain his maturity when they were out in public, no, she wouldn't miss that. Maybe there was a silver lining to his leaving.

"Yeah, why not? It could be good for my career!" he stated matter-of-factly. For the first time he seemed to grasp the concept of maturity, why couldn't he be more like that on a case? She pondered, feeling slightly irritated. Castle smirked that annoying grin she hated so much. "Are you going to miss me, Detective Beckett?" he teased.

Kate rolled her eyes. She took back her thought on his maturity level. He was such a child.

"Yes, my heart is pinning for you Castle," she said with sarcasm. "Get real?!"

His smile faded. "I might take the job…"

"Fine," she shrugged.

"Good!"

"Good!" she couldn't control the change in her voice, and it made her uneasy, when castle watched her with obvious pleasure at her discomfort. "You can bug someone for a change!"

Castle was enjoying this.

He leaned in and whispered in her ear, sending a chill down her back. "I'd miss you too…"

"I won't miss you," she denied.

"I don't believe you!"

"You wouldn't, you live in a fantasy world, in your books where Nikki Heat is attracted to you."

"You're attracted to me," he said with conviction.

Kate hated when he got like this. He was stubborn and relentless. "In your dreams…"

"No," he smiled teasingly. "In my dreams the attraction is way more obvious, and you don't pretend it's not there!" he winked.

Kate blushed, and cursed herself silently as a smile broke through. "You're impossible! I'll be glad when you go."

"No you won't. I bet you'll ring me within a week!"

"I don't think so," she had no intention of making a spectacle of herself once he was gone. If he took the job, he took away their friendship, if that's what it was they had. Kate could never be sure where their relationship stood. It was still too early to put a label on it.

But she wasn't in denial about missing him. He had been around too long not to impact her in some way.

"Do you care if I take the job?" he asked seriously.

Yes, she thought, don't go. "NO!" she answered. "Why would I?"

Castle shrugged. "It would mean I wouldn't come into work anymore…" he reminded her.

"I'm aware of that, Castle!"

"It wouldn't bother you?"

"NOPE!"

"I might take it then…" he told her. "I was reluctant at first. I was enjoying this new chapter of my life, police work, and all that but if you don't care then, I might as well go…"

"Fine," she said with an icy tone. If she told him she didn't want him to go, would he stay?

Castle nodded and turned to leave. He took three steps before she opened her mouth.

"Castle?" she called.

He turned back to look at her. He raised an eyebrow.

"I wouldn't totally hate it… if you stayed." Kate said reluctantly. She hated admitting she was wrong.

Castle smirked that childish grin again, Kate pulled a face, he was charming, but the annoyance followed VERY closely behind. "Good… because I turned down the job!"

"Really?" she smiled unable to hide her happiness.

Castle shrugged. "There are still plenty of cases for me to solve… I'm still developing Nikki Heat's character," he winked. "Enjoy the party, Beckett!"

He turned then and left her standing there rolling her eyes!

COMPLETED 15.11.2009

5:58pm