"Where do you think you're going?"
Kate froze, inches away from pressing the elevator call button. She turned around slowly to see Lanie standing at her desk, arms folded over her chest and a look of interest and "I'm asking a question that I already know the answer to" on her face.
"Remy's," Kate replied. "Skipped lunch; I'm starving."
"And you're all dressed up because…?"
Kate looked down at what she was wearing. Nice pants, nice jacket, nice shirt. She took pride in her appearance, even at work, liaising between killers and fellow detectives.
However, she'd changed for her evening outing. "I had blood on my other shirt. I didn't have anything else to wear." It wasn't a lie – Ryan and Esposito had been play-wrestling earlier that day, and Ryan had somehow gotten a bloody nose and dripped blood on Beckett as he went to clean himself up.
"Blood resulted in you changing your shoes and putting your hair up?" Lanie pressed. She was next to Kate now.
Kate took a breath. "I'm meeting Castle for dinner." Lanie snickered. "Yes, I am meeting Castle for dinner," Kate continued quickly. "Satisfied?"
"This is the sixth time you've had dinner with the writer monkey this month."
"And you're dressing up every time."
"I'm just saying girl, it sure looks like-"
"Kate frowned. "Saying what?"
"-you're dating Richard Castle."
There was a moment of silence until Kate broke it. "What? No!" she said loudly. "We're just having dinner. As friends."
"Whatever," Lanie smiled. "I'll leave you to your 'non-date' then." She walked off, leaving Kate to stare at the elevator doors as she waited for it to arrive at her floor.
She and Castle had been going out to dinner pretty regularly. And she enjoyed herself every time.
She knew he felt the same – he'd told her so.
He took her home after every dinner, they had wine while sitting on her couch, and they talked. At first, they forced themselves to talk about things other than work. Now, it was easy. Work never entered their minds.
Their first outing had been considered a date – he'd taken her out because cases kept interrupting her plans with other guys. Since then, she and Castle just seemed to be going out to dinner every once in a while.
Or, six times in the past month.
Kate suddenly thought about the time they'd walked up the stairs to her apartment only to find themselves holding hands with each other, something she realised had happened because he'd given her his hand to help her out of the taxi they'd taken – they'd just never let go.
Thinking about it made her smile. His smile made her feel warm, comfortable.
Oh my God, she thought, as she stepped into the elevator and pressed the 'Ground' level button.
I'm dating Richard Castle.