Word Count: 1, 924
Disclaimer: I own nothing in the following work of fiction.
Sunlight streamed through the loft as Beckett waited for the sink to fill with water. It was quiet, Alexis was at school and Martha was at rehearsal, giving Beckett and Castle a rare day to themselves. Her latest case had been wrapped up in the early hours of the morning, leaving Beckett with only the paperwork to be done. Since moving in with Castle, more and more of her office hours had been logged at home. The stack of folders from their most recent case sat on Castle's desk, waiting to be dealt with.
When the sink was full, she put the dishes in to soak and turned to lean against the counter. Castle had left his study door open and she could see him reclined in his chair observing the television murder board. His laptop was open, but he had yet to type anything. Beckett let a content smile creep onto her face while she watched Castle frown and tap his fingers on his chin. As if sensing she was watching him, he caught her eyes and pulled a face, making her laugh. Beckett shook her head and turned back to their lunch dishes, rolling up her sleeves.
Putting the last plate on the drying rack, Beckett pulled the plug on the sink and watched the water drain out. She reached for the dishtowel on the counter and began drying her hands. As she wiped away the suds and water, Beckett couldn't help but feel something wasn't right. A quick check on Castle found him typing away on his laptop, absorbed in whatever scene was playing out in his head. Frowning, she folded the dishtowel and set in on the counter.
Beckett's eyes widened when she looked at her hands. The white gold engagement ring that had occupied her left hand for almost two weeks was gone. She gasped looking around at the kitchen floor. The detective part of her kicked into overdrive, trying to remember the last time she remembered wearing the ring. 'Lunch' she thought, recalling how she had tapped the still foreign piece of jewelry against her glass.
"So if I had it during lunch then that means..."
Beckett froze, her eyes drawn to the suds still lining the bottom of the sink.
"No, no, no!"
She flung herself against the edge of the sink, running her hands through the bubbles to no avail. That left only one possibility. Beckett looked at the dark drain with panic written all over her face. Casting a quick glance to make sure Castle was still working; she ran to the bathroom and shut the door, locking it just in case. Beckett pulled her cell phone from the clip on her belt and dialed the one person who she prayed could help.
"Morgue, Dr. Parish speaking."
"Lanie," Beckett whispered, huddled in the far corner of the downstairs bathroom.
"Kate? Now why are you calling me? I thought you'd be off getting down and dirty with that gorgeous fiancé of yours. Wait, is that why you're whispering? He's right next to you isn't he?"
Beckett could hear the grin in her best friend's voice, but chose to ignore it.
"I need help! I was washing the dishes and now I can't find my engagement ring. I think it went down the sink. What am I supposed to do?"
"You do realize that you're engaged to Richard Castle right? Just get him to buy you a new one," Lanie said, barely controlling her laughter.
"Lanie," Beckett groaned as she banged her head against the wall.
"Alright, alright. I've got lunch coming up, so get Castle out of the way for awhile and we'll see what we can do."
"Okay," Beckett said, nodding her head. "How do I do that? He's working."
"He's a writer, he can work anytime. Send him out with a honey do list and tell him that you need it right away."
"Fine, just please get here soon."
Beckett hung up with Lanie and stared at the door for a minute. What was she supposed to put on a honey do list? He'd be immediately suspicious. She rarely asked him to get her anything, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
"Rick?" she called, walking out of the bathroom.
"Yeah?" Castle answered, not looking up from his laptop.
"Can you run to that place on 9th and get some of those tarts we like?" Beckett asked, putting on a sugary tone.
Finally he stopped typing and saw her standing in the doorway of his study, hands stuck in her back pockets.
"It's just I've got so much paperwork to finish and I think something sweet might help."
"You realize that there is like a bazillion ice cream flavors in our freezer right?" he said skeptically. "Ben and Jerry should buy from us."
"I know, but I've been craving them for a while now. Please?"
He sighed, but closed his laptop and stood. Putting his hands on her hips, he pulled her close for a kiss.
"You're not pregnant again are you?" he laughed.
Beckett scoffed and fixed him with a glare.
"You know what? I changed my mind, I suddenly have a craving for those pastries we have on Sundays."
"But it's Tuesday… and we order those in," he stuttered. "From Jersey."
Shaking his head, Castle headed to the front door for his coat and shoes. He muttered to himself as he made sure that his wallet was in his pocket and a scarf was around his neck. Almost out the door, Beckett's voice stopped him.
"Oh and Castle?"
"Yes dear?" he mocked.
"I want to see the box."
Beckett exhaled as the front door slammed shut. She knew it was a low blow, but it bought she and Lanie the better part of an hour to try and retrieve her ring.
Lanie arrived shortly after Castle had left and they both stood glancing down at the guilty drain.
"I hate to say it but I think this is one of those you're up some kind of creek without a paddle moments," Lanie said, looking at Beckett then back to the sink.
"What do I do?" Beckett groaned, trying to get a better view of the drain.
"Hey guys. What are we looking at?" asked another voice, making both Lanie and Beckett jump.
They whirled around, clutching their chests in shock and breathing heavily.
"Alexis! You scared me! What are you doing home? Aren't you supposed to be at school?" Beckett rambled, trying to slow her racing heart.
"I have a free period on Tuesdays, remember? So what did you lose?"
"Who says I lost anything?" Beckett stuttered, eyes widening.
"Well you inviting Doctor Parish over in the middle of a workday to look at our sink seemed highly unlikely, so I went with the next best thing."
"You're right," Beckett sighed, deflating. "I was doing the dishes and my engagement ring slipped off and got sucked down the drain."
Alexis looked at both women, her eyes glancing at Beckett's bare ring finger, before pulling out her cell phone.
"You're not calling your father are you?" Beckett asked, panicking again.
"The superintendent," Alexis answered with a shake of her head. "Hi, Mr. Collins? Yes, it's Alexis Castle calling. Kate accidentally dropped something down the sink and we were wondering if there's any way to retrieve it. You'll send someone right up? Thank you very much."
"Why didn't we think of that?" Beckett muttered, looking at Lanie. "Thank you, by the way."
"Don't you look at me, I was about to suggest that when your girl here scared the holy crap out of us," Lanie said, trying to hold back a laugh. "One thing's for sure, you Castles are never boring."
"Speaking of which, where is the ringleader himself?" Alexis asked, looking towards her dad's empty study.
"I sent him on an errand," said Beckett, hopping up on one of the kitchen chairs. "He'll be back in an hour and we get Sunday pastries on Tuesday."
"You sent him to Jersey?" Alexis grinned, wishing she had gotten home sooner.
"This just keeps getting better and better," laughed Lanie.
"I wasn't going to," scowled Beckett. "I was just going to send him to that bakery on 9th, but then he said some things, so I felt that his trip needed to be extended a little."
Lanie and Alexis shared a smile and shook their heads.
"What? I'll make it up to him when he gets back."
The knock on the door halted their conversation as they all went to answer. Standing in the hall was a tall, lanky teen boy, slightly older than Alexis.
"Hi, Mrs. Castle? I'm Lee. My uncle sent me up here to get something out of your sink?" he said, glancing shyly at Alexis who giggled.
"Yeah, right this way," Beckett said, wrapping an arm firmly around Alexis's shoulders and leading everyone back to the kitchen.
"How long is this going to take?" Lanie asked.
"Not long at all Ma'am. I'll have your ring back in a jiffy Mrs. Castle."
"Kate is fine, I'm not Mrs. Castle for a couple more months yet," Beckett laughed.
Lanie and Beckett sat at the kitchen island to watch, while Lee knelt under the sink. Alexis stood by, fetching a pot and some towels when asked. The two teens made small talk while Lee worked to unscrew the connectors on the pipe.
"Aha! There we go," Lee yelled, triumphantly detaching the section of sink.
He slowly tipped the pipe, letting water drain out into his hand. They all watched as the white gold ring fell easily into his palm. Lee handed the ring to Alexis, who blushed and giggled slightly, then he disappeared back under the sink.
"Oh thank god," Beckett sighed, letting her forehead rest on the island counter in relief.
"Kate? I'm back and I come bearing fruity, flaky goodness," Castle announced, holding up the red bakery box as proof of his success.
"Rick! You're back!" Beckett said, as she got down from her chair.
"What's going on?" he asked, seeing Lee's legs extending from under the sink.
"Oh, umm pipe was leaking."
She walked over to Castle, accepting his kiss and subtly holding her hand out behind her back. Beckett felt Alexis press the ring into her palm.
"Here Dad, let me take that," Alexis said, taking the box from him.
Beckett wrapped her arms around Castle's neck, slowly deepening the kiss as she slid her ring back on behind his head.
"I missed you," she whispered, grinning up at him.
"I was gone for barely an hour," Castle said, arching an eyebrow. "Lanie? Why are you here?"
"Nice to see you too, Castle," Lanie shot back, grabbing her purse off the kitchen counter. "I'll talk to you later Kate. It was good seeing you again Alexis."
"Bye Doctor Parish!" Alexis called half heartedly, as Lee stood and gathered up his tools.
"All fixed. I'll just be going. It was nice meeting you Alexis," he said shyly.
"I'll show you out," giggled Alexis, following him to the door.
"Well that was interesting, but I've got to get back to work. Keep an eye on those two will you?" Castle said, kissing her again and walking back to his study. "Oh and Kate? Next time you lose your ring down the drain; can you send me somewhere a little closer than Jersey?"
Beckett just stared after him in stunned silence with her eyes wide and her mouth agape.