It had been a long day. It seemed like every part of her body hurt. In an effort to apprehend a suspect, a long foot chase had ensued and it had pushed her considerable physical prowess to its limits.
She was bone-deep tired.
Running a hand through her hair to smooth it back from her face, she stood and all the muscles in her lower body protested with the effort.
A glance at the empty chair beside her desk caused her mood to plummet even further. Rick hadn't been to the precinct in nearly two weeks. A book tour had taken him away this time. She gave herself permission, for just a moment, to hate his other job, if only because it caused these long absences that she was very much not fond of.
Her phone rang and she reached into the pocket of her charcoal gray slacks to retrieve it.
"I'm on my way now," she said into the handset before the other party on the line had a chance to ask.
"I was just wondering what to do about dinner. The natives are getting restless," Alexis announced.
Bless her. She done more than her share of helping since Rick left and Kate couldn't even begin to tell her how grateful she was. "Order pizza. I'll be there in fifteen minutes," she told her even as she grabbed her purse and started for the elevator.
"Beckett!" a voice called before the doors had a chance to close.
She stopped them and poked her head out to find Kevin Ryan bustling towards her.
"Oh, maybe not, but I won't be long," she sighed into the phone dejectedly.
"Dad called. He said to have you call him when you got home. He didn't want to bother you at work," she added before they disconnected.
"Alright. I'll see you soon."
She put her phone away just as Ryan reached her.
"Do you have plans this weekend?" he asked her.
"Yes," she nodded decisively. "I'm going home, getting my house in order and taking a nice, long swim in the tub."
He started shuffling the papers he was holding in his hands and looked down at his feet. Beckett braced herself for whatever favor he was about to ask of her. "Something came up and Jenny's parents can't watch the boys this weekend. You know it's our anniversary and we had plans to go to Vermont to this little bed and breakfast. I was going to ask Lanie and Javi, but she's going to have the baby just any second now, so really they can't. I was wondering if you might keep them."
It wasn't the first time she'd watched his boys, not even the first time she'd had them overnight. In the last five years, Ryan's boys and Javi's daughter were staples at her house. So it was with barely any reluctance at all that she smiled and nodded to him. "Bring them over. I'll be happy to keep them."
He startled her when he reached out and hugged her. She wasn't really a hugger and close contact with her colleagues wasn't her style. "Thank you so much. I owe you one," he was saying as he let her go.
"It's no problem. I'll see you around seven?"
"You bet. I'll make sure they eat dinner and take a bath before we leave. All you'll have to do tonight is put them to bed."
"Okay. I'll see you then."
Once in the elevator closed, she grabbed her phone and called Alexis back. "You better order another pizza. It looks like we've having company."
The journey home seemed as long as the day before it and it was with great relief that she stepped into her loft and tugged her purse from her shoulder. Setting it aside, she barely completed the move before her arms were suddenly filled with a four-year-old ball of energy.
She hugged her son tightly into her chest before swooping him up and balancing him on her hip.
"Were you a good boy today?" she asked him as she smoothed the light brown hair from his brow. So much like his father, she mused to herself.
"I made you a 'prize." he announced. "And I talked to Daddy on the phone and Lexi helped me order pizza."
"Wow," she beamed. "You've had a busy day."
"Did you catch bad guys?" He wanted to know, like he always did. Kate was pretty certain they had a cop in the making in the little boy.
"I did. He's going to jail for a long, long time. Where are your sisters?"
"They're in the kitchen," he told her.
"How would you like it if Patrick and Devon came to stay the weekend with us?"
He made a face. "Devon is like Molly, too little to play with."
She smiled at him as they stepped into the kitchen. Then she sat him down and ruffled his hair. "He won't always be." She cast a glance towards her daughter where she sat in the highchair, banging two spoons against the tray. "Neither will she, for that matter."
She went over to place a kiss to the infant's forehead and delighted when the eight-month-old looked up at her and smiled brightly before exclaiming, "Momma!"
Kate smiled back and kissed her again.
"Call Dad," Alexis insisted from the other side of the kitchen island. "It sounded important."
"Important like he's going to be home early? Or important like he's going to be home late?" she questioned. He had another week to go on his tour and she really, really hoped they hadn't extended it.
"Important like he really misses you," Alexis answered. "Actually he sounded kind of down and we all know that isn't normal for him."
"Did you order the pizza?" she asked before stepping out of the room.
"It's on it's way."
She nodded and took off down the hall towards her bedroom.
The minute the door was closed behind her, she grabbed her phone and punched in the most recent number for his hotel room. "Yes," a female voice answered, startling her for a moment.
She recovered quickly. "Where is Rick, Gina?" she demanded.
"He isn't here, but I'll be happy to let him know the 'little wife' called when I see him again," Her tone was it's usual acerbic mixture of barely contained hatred and scarcely veiled sarcasm. Gina hadn't been that friendly since Kate and Rick had gotten married. She suspected it was because the publisher still had her sights on the best selling writer as more than a client. Kate had long since accepted the fact that his ex-wives hated her. At least Meredith, Alexis' mother, was a little more subtle about it.
"When do you expect him back? And why exactly are you in his room?" she asked, trying to hold on to her temper.
"I'm not sure and I'm here to take a bath. His tub is much more luxurious than mine."
So she was naked and wet in her husband's hotel room, halfway across the country. Her first instinct was to hang up and hop the next flight to Cleveland. But she stilled the thought. She trusted him. She knew he wouldn't fall for the blond's schemes. Still, it was hard to just let it go. She wanted nothing more than to barge into his room and escort the woman back to her own room, at gun point, if necessary. The thought of the look on her face when Kate barged in and booted her bony ass out of the room was almost enough incentive all on it's own. The added bonus to that plan would be getting to spend the night with her husband.
"Just tell him I called and that I'm home," she muttered before hanging up and tossing the phone on the bed.
The wait on the bath was considerable. The excitement in the house at having guests took a while to die down and it was a struggle to get everyone bedded down and off to sleep. But somehow she and Alexis had finally managed it.
The young girl had barely left the loft, heading off to her own apartment, before Kate made a beeline for the tub.
She had been thinking about it all day long and finally she allowed herself to sink down into the bubbles. She let out a long, weary sigh as soon as she was submerged.
She was just reaching a hand up to take hold of the latest Nikki Heat book, the eighth in the series, when the bathroom door slowly began to open.
All her cop instincts went on high alert and she immediately searched the room for a weapon to grab.
Then she relaxed just as quickly as a very familiar face poked through the opening.
"I thought I might find you here," her husband smiled as he stepped completely into the room.
"What are you doing here?" she exclaimed, sitting upright quickly.
"Apparently, I was being a boorish ass. So I was instructed to go home for the weekend," he explained as he came to the steps that lead up to the raised tub and sat down.
He already had his jacket off, his tie as well and the top two buttons on his shirt were open.
"That little bitch," Kate muttered under her breath.
"What little bitch would that be?" he asked as his hands went to the remaining buttons and he began to undo them.
"Your ex-wife. I called your hotel room and she told me you weren't there, but she didn't say you were on your way home."
He smiled ruefully as he tugged the shirt from his shoulders and went to work on his shoes. "That sounds like Gina. So what's been happening around here? Am I an honorary uncle again?"
"Not yet. We are all on high alert though. Javi is practically bouncing off the walls and Lanie isn't much better."
"Speaking of being an uncle. I poked my head in to kiss Molly and Royce and I noticed there are more children here than there were when I left," he commented drily. "What happened? Did you feed them after midnight?"
She sat back in the tub and watched as he went about removing the rest of his clothing. Then she shifted to allow him to slip in behind her. Once his arms were securely wrapped around her and her back was settled against his chest she laced her fingers through his and turned her head to smile at him. "I couldn't help it. They were just so cute, staring up at me, begging with those huge eyes. I think we'll be okay as long as we don't get them wet as well."
He laughed against the column of her throat. "Actually, it was getting them wet that multiplied them, feeding them was what turned them into monsters."
"Of course, you would know that," she sighed before leaning in to kiss him.
"You look like you had a bad day," he whispered into his hair.
"I did," she nodded. "But it's better now."
She leaned back more firmly into him and let herself relax in his arms.
"Just because of me?" he teased.
"Everyday is a better day with you in it," she answered earnestly.
"I love you, too," he answered before pulling her down into a kiss.
Author's Note : It is a sad thing to see this end. I've had so much fun writing it. Readership to this fic is higher than any other fic I've published. I can't tell you what that means to me. Knowing you're out there, you're reading and you care is overwhelming, to say the least. Look for my newest Castle fic, Moments. It will be a series of one shots that fill in the gaps in the five years that pass in this story. I hope to see you there. I can't promise when I can get to it. Evernights is taking up a lot of my writing time. But I will get to it. And thank you so well to all those who have expressed interest and enthusiasm over Evernights. I am really hoping to step out of my safe zones and push my boundries with this new enterprise. Hope to see you there as well. I also wanted to give a huge thanks to those readers that have truly touched my heart through your reviews, Beetlebug, PKL, Nathanfan, Matchbox, phnxgrl, killmypatience , there are so many. I hope I didn't leave anyone out, if I did, apologizes, it doesn't mean you mean any less to me. And lastly, but most certainly not least, a HUGE HUGE thank you to Ariel119. You are the best beta a girl could have. So insightful and thorough. I couldn't have done it without you.