This is dedicated to my friend who will know when she reads it. I started it at the beginning of February when I really felt like Kate does in this story. And my friend was there for me just like Castle is for Kate, without having to be asked. I appreciated it then as much as I now appreciate the thought that she would do it again any time. And I wouldn't even have to ask. Love you :)
Disclaimer: I'm just borrowing everything for the fun. I borrowed the title as well, from the song my The Foundations. Because it fit and means great memories to me.
Build Me Up
Kate bent forward to shut the window and resumed her spot back on the couch. Leaning back her body found her favorite pillow stacked behind her. She drew her blanket up to her shoulders and pulled her knees to her chest. That had been her position for the last forty-five minutes and would be for the rest of the evening. It was February and already dark out it being long after dinner hours. Still Kate didn't bother turning on the lights. She wasn't planning on reading or entertaining herself in any other way that required a form of illumination. Radio and TV were far away from both her mind and her reach. Just sitting would do for tonight.
Just sitting had done for several nights now. Around midnight there would come a point where she would decide to move to the bedroom. But until then she would just remain on her couch snuggled up in a blanket. Usually, she would choose tea with it, tonight she had voted for a red wine. She had found out a long time ago that wine had a soothing effect on her body but most of all her mind.
For only about the second or third time in her life Kate knew for herself that she had reached her personal breaking point. Right now she didn't know how she felt anymore. There was strength in her somewhere but she didn't think that she could actually fathom where it was coming from. She had the feeling her body was functioning on auto-pilot and her mind was just going along with it because it was scared that otherwise it might get lost.
She was sure that the last weeks had used up all that she had in her. All the resources she had accumulated were gone and there was nothing left to replace or renew them. She hadn't really seen it coming until she had found herself sitting in the darkness for the first time four days ago. And oddly enough, she found that she didn't mind too much. What she did mind was the fear she had dug up from deep inside of her on her second date with her comfy piece of living room furniture. A fear that posed the question for a remedy. She knew that she couldn't keep going like this for long. Something had to happen and she would have to be the one taking initiative. But still she had turned down a pizza-outing with the guys and the girls-night-out with Lanie, knowing full well that that would have been what might have made her feel alive again. But apparently, that realization still had to grow on her.
Kate jumped a bit when her phone made itself known. She had put it on vibrate in anticipation of an oncoming heart attack caused be the stillness of her appartment paired up with the normally shrill message signal of her cell. Now she wished that she had turned it off completely. Picking it up from her coffee table she slid it open and hit "read".
Castle. She should have known. She could just ignore him. Sure, it would be mean, but she could always pretend that she was busy taking a shower or had misplaced her phone or gone out. He'd know that's a lie though. He'd know because that would be pretty unusual for her.
"Where are you?"
She remembered herself uttering the desire of having loud in her life instead of coming home to a quiet appartment with an additional work load in the form of files every night. On the other hand she also remembered how trying to make that wish come true had ended. For some reason though she hadn't minded the eventual outcome too much. Not only had there been food involved but relaxed conversation and laughter, too. Lots of it actually. She was a sceptical person and was sure that in order to let herself indulge in such an evening again it would take a lot of self-convincing. Deep inside she knew she wanted to, but tonight that side of Kate had to be silent because the quiet Kate with all the walls built around herself had taken over. She couldn't say that she liked it but tonight she just wasn't strong enough to fight the fact.
"Up for burgers?"
She hit reply. "Sorry, don't feel like going out. Already ate and ready to head to bed. Hope that doesn't mean you'll have to starve tonight. Thank you though. See you tomorrow."
She knew as soon as she hit send that it was lame. He deserved much better but she just wasn't sure she could do better right now.
She put the phone back on her coffee table and grabbed her glass of wine. After her first sip her mind had already left the present again and drifted back to the last days. It didn't take long though for it to be pulled back to the matter at hand: a new message on her phone.
"Who said that you had to go out?"
She was about to start working on a confused reply when she heard a knock on her door. Oh no. Again, she should have known. She slowly reached over to the small table next to her sofa that held a small lamp on it and flipped the switch. As the light cast a soft glow on her surroundings she bit her lower lip and shot a debating look at the door. She quickly picked up the remote to turn on the TV leaving the volume at a low level. Then she made her way to the day to open it praying to whatever or whoever there was that she looked as casual as possible. She didn't need to check the peep hole. Kate had a pretty good idea who it was.
"Castle, what are you doing here?"
"And you don't even sound surprised," he said with his standard grin playing on his face.
"Well, I'm not. But I told you I didn't feel like going out," she said looking at him expectantly.
"Yes, and I told you that there was no need to go out." Castle raised his left hand from behind his back and produced a large paper bag. "It's got the chocolate shake in it, too," he added raising his eyebrows.
She leaned to her left against the door and looked at her feet. "Look, Castle-"
"What did you have for dinner tonight?" he asked, suddenly turning serious.
Busted... "Erm... Chinese... take out. I ordered in."
"Well, lucky me, burgers and shakes go with everything, right?" He took a few steps forward and entered her appartment without even waiting for the invite. Kate, on the other hand, was left speechless as she watched him make his way into her kitchen to set his surprise gift down on the table.
"What are you watching?"
"Just some old re-runs of a comedy show, nothing special."
"Hmm..." He turned to her and put his hands on his hips. To Kate, this was starting to be rapidly turning into an interrogation. "You just turned the TV on, didn't you?"
"You're watching the sports channel. Now, unless you've been catching up on clown's weight lifting I don't think you'll find any comedy on tonight. And to be honest, I'm willing to bet that when I check your fridge and garbage, I won't find any remains of Chinese take out."
He watched her blush and shift uncomfortably.
"Am I right?"
"Castle, did you really come here to annoy me or did you have a point in walking up the three flights of stairs to my place?"
Truthfully, he was worried about her. But the truth definitely wasn't an option here. Telling her that he had gotten lost in the city and had accidentally ended up at the subway station around the corner from her appartment wasn't either.
"I was hungry for burgers and didn't wanna eat alone. Alexis is spending the night at a friend's house and mom is with Chet so I thought I'd try you." He had the biggest smile plastered on his face.
"Castle, that's really sweet and I'm really sorry but I think you'll have to eat by yourself. I'm really tired and...."
"What?" Kate asked confusion written all over her face.
"I brought some movies that I thought might go well with the burgers."
Kate raised both her eyebrows and looked at him expectantly. She would have tapped her foot for good measure but thought that he would get the point anyways. She didn't believe in his innocent behaviour.
"Ok, Beckett, look. I'll make you a deal. I will leave you to choose a movie while I but the foot on a plate and bring it to your coffee table. Then I will let us eat in silence and when the movie is over I'll be gone."
"I know, awesome idea, right?" He was practiacally gleaming as he starting rummaging around her kitchen cupboards for plates.
Kate's gaze fell on the dvd collection he'd set down on her couch and she found herself going through the titles. She stopped when she found season three of her secret.y favorite tv show. It wasn't a movie, but that was good really. That way she could call it a night after just one or two episodes. That meant 22-minute-intervals.
"What did you choose?" he asked as he set the plates with the food down on the coffee table and went back to the kitchen for the shakes.
"'Friends'," she said as she held up the dvd. "I hope you don't mind."
"Nope, that's a good one. Otherwise I wouldn't have brought it!"
He sat down on one end of the couch to give her all the space she wanted and needed. After Kate had put in the dvd she hesitantly resided next to him leaving enough room between the two of them to accommodate the elephant in the room. She picked up her dinner and placed the plate on her lap. She got lost in the first minutes of the show while devouring the burger, apparently having been a lot hungrier than she had first let on.
Castle was surprised when the credits of the third episode were running across the screen. They had finished eathing by the end of the first episode and had remained in a comfortable silence until now. Wanting so say something Castle turned to his right only to find Kate's head resting on the back of the couch with her eyes closed.
That made him smile.
He took the dishes over to the kitchen and set them down in the sink. He could wash them and then get a blanket for her or even pick her up and put her to bed.
But how cliché was that, really?
From where he was standing she looked pretty comfortable the way she was. So instead he found a piece of paper, wrote something on it and set it down on to the dvd case next to her. Then he took his jacket and made his way out.
Kate woke up to silence. She remembered falling asleep to Monica incessantly making jam and discussing baby plans. An episode that Kate had seen a gagillion times. Glancing around her living room she found it empty. And quiet. Her tv was showing the picture of the dvd menu and offered her the choice between three different episodes and bonus material. She found the remote and turned it off.
Laying her head back again for a moment she assessed the situation. She had slept for a bit and it was before midnight. She had eaten a whole meal. She had even laughed a couple of times.
And none of that she'd had to do by herself.
She put her left hand on the couch in an attempt to push herself up when it made contact with a piece of paper. Frowning, she picked it up.
I'll leave the dvd with you. I know you'll need it.
Sleep well and let me know if there's anything you need. Honestly.
After having read the note a second, third and fourth time she lay down on the couch propping her head up on the arm rest. She pulled her quilt down from the back and snuggled into it.
And then she read it a fifth time and smiled.
Sleep would come a little easier tonight.
Thank you for reading! :)