Thanks again to all of you who are waiting patiently. Chapter fifteen is coming along. Ryan and Esposito are figuring things out, and Castle is getting himself in hot water. That's what's coming, but that's not what this teaser is about.

This teaser is a snippet that would have occurred the morning, of Day 14. Consider it a deleted scene. At this time, I do not intend to publish it, as it is, because the story has moved passed this moment. But I hope you enjoy it anyway. Hopefully, Chapter Fifteen will be ready in another week or so.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Deleted Scene: Castle Key

Day 14: 252 days to go.

You still may not realize it, but by the time you go to bed tonight, you will have been pregnant for two weeks.

Harris, A. Christine Ph.D., 1996, The Pregnancy Journal: A Day-to-Day Guide to a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy, p14

Kate reached around the vinyl shower curtain for her towel. Not as plush as the towels which had burned up on her towel racks, six months ago, but it did the job. Kate wrapped the plain white towel around herself and pushed the curtain open, stepping out of the tiny shower stall.

No matter whether she was bending over the sink, using the commode, or stepping out of the shower, it seemed there was only one place for her to stand. God, how she missed her old apartment. She reached under the sink for another towel to wrap around her dripping hair and opened the door to clear the steamy mirror. The tall black and white gift bag was still on the dresser where she'd set it last night on arriving home.

A scowl marred the fine bones of her face. What the hell was Castle thinking? Giving her panties? And at work too! She shook her head, not for the first time.

She padded into the bedroom portion of the furnished studio she'd sublet after the bombing last spring. Pulling open her lingerie drawer, she stared at the neat stacks within. The cool kiss of air drew her skin into tiny bumps as she hesitated. Her eyes were drawn back to the narrow gift bag.

The stylized L P should have been a dead giveaway yesterday. La Perla Lingerie was exclusive, ridiculously expensive, and utterly feminine. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth as she closed the drawer and reached into the gift bag to inspect the panties Richard Castle gave her.

She spread the thong between her hands, noting the intricate detail, the luxuriant fabrics. She inspected the tag. Her style and her size—again! Damn him anyway. She shook her head slightly and was about to drop the tag when something else caught her eye.

"Of all the arrogant, egotistical…" The words La Perla's exclusive Castle Key Design, jumped out at her. Of all the panties he could have chosen, it's the pair bearing his name. Angrily, she shoved them back into the gift bag, and dropped the whole thing in the waste basket. Three furious steps away and she whirled, yanking it out of the trash. Staring around the room, seething with anger, she dropped the bag on the floor and kicked it under her bed to dispose of later.

She must know someone who could use them. Better yet, a second hand clothes closet! Would they take underwear if the tags were on?

She yanked the lingerie drawer open again, staring at her options. She eschewed the stack of lacy thongs for a sensible Hanes bikini brief. She grabbed the pink cotton on top and slammed the drawer closed.

Castle panties indeed! Did he honestly expect her to wear them? No doubt he was hoping for another opportunity to take them off her. Well, it'd be a cold day in hell before he'd seduce her again!

Anger lent speed and purpose to her movements, and her clothes were laid out faster than usual. She hesitated over a black top with a plunging neckline. It was perfect for the girls' night with Lanie tonight, although not exactly professional. Normally, she'd change before going out. As she observed the narrow, plunging neckline, she was confident, even with a blazer covering most of it, her appearance today would fuel Castle's fantasies for nights to come.

And it'd serve him right.

After considering a moment, she grabbed the cotton brief off the bed and returned it to her lingerie drawer, selecting a sexy red panty set in exchange. It was time for a new man in her life, and to forget Mister-I-can't-wait-to-get-you-back-in-bed-Castle. A night out with Lanie was just the time to start looking around.

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