Hello faithful readers, one and all! Sadly, this is the last chapter of 'Cake Crumbs' but not to fret, there will be another one coming up later, that has Esposito meeting a girl. And yes, it will be continued in the Ryan&Honey-Milk-are-married universe. And there's also the possibility of a 'deleted scene' from this story too! So one more time, here we go!
The first thought that went through Beckett's head when she awoke on Sunday morning was coffee. She lifted her head from the fluffy down pillow, realized it wasn't coming from downstairs but from her beside table in the form of a steaming blue mug of sweet, sweet wake-up juice. Grabbing the mug, she tugged the sheets up around her body and sipped; it didn't register that he'd fixed it just how she liked it - heavy on the milk, easy on the sugar - only that he'd made her coffee. Beckett sipped again, looked around the room. So this was the bachelor's playground, she mused. It wasn't at all liked she'd pictured it; she'd anticipated more stereotypical black leather and silk sheets. Then again, there was more to Richard Castle than met the eye, and boy she learned that one in spades the night before. He'd taken his time with her that first time, so slow and sweet it had practically been torturous. Then he'd turned right around and acted like that impish little boy she'd come to like when his late night, post-sex take out hadn't been sushi or Chinese, but cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, and strawberry banana shakes from Remy's - the same meal they'd had after closing the diamond-smuggling snakes case. He was so full of contradictions, it made her wonder what would come next.
A quick glance at the clock told her it was nearly ten in the morning, which had Beckett thinking it was probably time to gather up her party-panties and do the time-honoured Sunday morning walk home. Looking around, she saw he'd draped a purple cashmere bathrobe on the end of the bed; without thinking it had been from some previous conquest, she went across the hall into the bathroom and felt her heart stumble a little when she saw the little pink make-up bag with a little note attached. She flipped it open, felt her heart do a second stumble in her chest.
Thought you might want to keep a bag here. Rich
She slid the zipper open, and chuckled to herself: he'd put together a toiletries kit for her. Inside was a toothbrush, mini-toothpaste, mouth-wash, lotion, soap - both face and hair, deodorant, razor, hairbrush, and a mini-makeup kit. It was all brand-new, still in its safety-seals; it made her smile broadly. The usual kind of girls he went out with were the kind who'd gladly used his things the morning after. She was special to him, it seemed.
Fifteen minutes later, wrapped up again in the robe and freshly showered, Beckett went back to his room and stuffed her hands in her pockets. Her bliss at seeing the rumpled sheets - her evidence of a good-time on Saturday night - turned to confusion when she felt a little piece of paper in the right pocket. Pulling it out, she laughed out loud when she came across another note.
Top shelf of the closet, box marked 'Playboy Back Issues'.
Deciding it couldn't hurt to have a look she went to his closet - his very large walk-in, she noted; who knew the man was such a fashionista clothes-horse - found the box. Like a child with a present, she sat on the floor of the closet, lifted the lid of the box and felt her heart turn into a gooey puddle.
Inside were boxes from various online stores - H&M, Marquita, LuLuLemon, even Victoria's Secret. And of course, another note. Well the man was a writer, after all.
Thought these might come in handy if you ever stayed over. The bottom right drawer of the bureau is yours too; you can keep your pretty purple bathrobe in there. Yeah, I bought that for you too. Breakfast is ready downstairs.
Beckett bit her lip, genuinely touched. He'd bought her morning-after clothes; 'when' or 'how he knew her clothing size' was irrelevant, the fact that he'd been that thoughtful at all was enough to touch the romantic core so few knew she had. She opened the packages, found a couple of silk-soft cotton shirts, a pair of jeans, yoga pants and necessary underthings. They favoured blues and greens in colour scheme, but the underwear was pure silliness - it was navy blue with gold number twelves on the panties, and she noted, a replica of her shield over her heart on the bra, complete with her badge number. All she could do was shake her head - only Castle would get her NYPD underwear custom-made.
She dressed quickly, went downstairs to find there was not only the smell of coffee but glorious crispy bacon, eggs and fresh toast and fruit. In the kitchen, at the centre of it, always at the center, was Castle. He was in his Sunday casual - a faded grey t-shirt and loose black pants - as he read the paper, his back to her. His hair was brushed but unstyled and he was in his bare feet. She didn't know why, but the fact he was charmed her inexplicably.
Going on instinct, she walked up behind him, put her hands on his shoulders and pressed her lips to the back of his neck. She felt a sly feminine thrill when he went stiffened, then relaxed as he used that sexy-time voice on her again.
'Good morning, Detective.'
'Good morning, Novelist.'
'Did you find everything you needed this morning?'
Beckett grinned, gave him a little punch in the shoulder as she began to fix herself a plate. 'As a matter of fact, I did.'
Castle flashed her that grin that was partly cocky, partly amused as he watched her putter around his kitchen. 'So...do we need to like, have the 'talk' or do we just take last night as a tacit understanding that we see where it goes while torturing our friends-slash-colleagues with did-they-or-didn't-they mind-games.'
'Well...' Beckett paused, chose a blackberry and chewed contemplatively. Usually with her sexual partners, she tried to have the discussion about how she wouldn't be a 'normal' girlfriend because of her job and it ended with them saying 'thanks a bunch, see ya never'. But Castle was her shadow; he knew the ins and outs of her job, and his time was relatively flexible. He was cute, intelligent, he was an excellent father but more than anything he was understanding and he made her laugh, whether she admitted it or not. 'I do have one condition.'
When he smiled at her, Beckett knew she was a goner. But then, she'd been a goner from the first case they'd closed together. It had only been a matter of time...and cake crumbs, she thought, mentally tracing the evolution of the catalyst for the previous night's events.
'I still get to drive when we're at work.'