Epilogue

The sun was just rising, dispelling the rainy gloom of the previous day. Its faint, yellow-orange glow spread across the city like the glow of a freshly ignited fire licking around its starting tinder. The light sparkled and reflected off the metal and glass of the skyscrapers playing a vibrant, shining game of hopscotch as it slowly wound its way westerly through the concrete canyons.

In Castle's loft, the light of early dawn was just peeking through the closed drapes of a warm, cozy bedroom where a sleeping couple, spooned together, lay in a king sized bed partly covered by sheets and blankets. Kate slowly opened her eyes. She expected to see the familiar surroundings of her bedroom in her apartment. But this morning, she saw a different room and it was familiar from last night.

Rick's bedroom, she mused with a small smile, softly sighing as she moved just a fraction.

She felt the warmth of his body behind her. He was cuddling her tightly to his chest and hips and the light puff of his breath on her shoulders and neck where her hair had fallen down on the pillow gave her goose bumps. Rick's left arm was bent under her left shoulder and she held his hand in hers beside her face touching the backs of his fingers against her lips. His right arm was draped and wrapped around her. During the night, Kate had pulled up his arm, holding his hand with their fingers laced between her breasts. Their hips were locked together, cradling each other in intimate contact, and their legs were intertwined comfortably resting on each other.

I love how this feels, she thought with another contented sigh. So right and natural. Like it's always been this way feeling him like this. She felt Rick stir slightly behind her and smiled more. He was awake now too.

Rick opened his eyes and saw familiar auburn curls of hair near his face and smelled the faint spicy and woody scent of his soap that lingered on the skin of the woman in his arms. He breathed in a sigh of contentment and smiled. Kate was here in his arms and in his bed with him, and it was no dream.

Oh boy, she feels good, he thought. This is right and the way it should be. Waking up with her like this is amazing.

He felt her move backward against him and knew she was awake. Her back and shoulders moved across his chest and her hips slowly shifted over his while she adjusted her legs around his. He realized his fingers were brushing the swells of her breasts as she held his hand between them. The intimate contact of their bodies was igniting a slow-burning fire between them.

"Morning, honey," he whispered into her hair in in velvety rich voice.

"I love it when you call me that," she smiled back at him, rolling part way from her left side onto her back so she could look at him. "Morning, my heart."

He dropped a light kiss on her nose and then lightly rubbed his nose on the end of hers, nuzzling her face.

"I like where my hand is," he said softly, gently moving his fingers against the roundness of her breasts, as his fingers were more fully touching her curves.

"I put it there because I like it there too," she whispered back as a small, playfully sensual smile spread over her lips and her eyes sparkled.

"We fit perfectly together," he sighed, pulling her even closer against him and slightly shifting her back to her left side.

"Yeah, we do, in every way. We're yin and yang."

He leaned his head forward and nuzzled the right side of her neck with his face. Kate sniffed a giggle as the stubble on his chin tickled her shoulder.

"Umph…that tickles."

"I bet this doesn't," he said, lightly kissing and licking her neck and shoulder and then travelling down her back where his shirt didn't cover her warm skin.

"Mmm…" she whispered. "No it doesn't. That feels much more stimulating."

"I could get really used to waking up like this," he murmured in her ear as he continued kissing and nuzzling her neck and back. "I could stay this way forever."

"Me too," she said sighing. "I liked feeling your arms around me as I woke up."

"So you slept ok then? No more bad stuff?" he asked, momentarily stopping his loving.

"No more bad stuff. Best sleep I've had in a really long time. All because I was sleeping with you," she said. Rolling over and turning onto her right side so she faced him, she put her arms up between them, and cupped his stubbly chin in her hands. She lightly ran her hands on his face loving the feel of the light hairy roughness on her palms. He smiled, his eyes briefly closed at her touch, and then opening his eyes he turned his head and kissed both her palms with an open mouthed caress.

"Good," he sighed in relief. "You freaked me out last night."

"Sorry," she answered, leaning in and tenderly kissing his lips. "I didn't mean to."

"I know, it's ok. Hey, want some coffee?" he asked as he sucked in a breath and let it out in a whooshed exhale.

"Of course," she replied. "Have to have two things in my day, every day–coffee and you."

"Likewise," he said huskily, wiggling his brows at her with a wicked smile. He kissed her lips and in a flourish, threw back the covers, and hopped out of bed like a kid waking up on Christmas morning hurriedly running to the tree to find what presents where left. She giggled at his exuberance and pulled herself up in bed.

He dashed from the bedroom into the bathroom and washed up before going to make their coffee. Coming out of the bath, he strutted off toward the kitchen. Kate watched him walking away, raising an eyebrow in interest as she watched the rise and fall of his rounded rear in his boxers as he strutted. Eyeing him with a playfully sexy smile and an ornery look sparkling in her green eyes, she called after him.

"Nice ass, Rick."

He stopped and turned around, catching her in her appreciation, and flashed a wicked smile with a gleam of desire in his eyes at her. She lightly bit her lip in arousal. His face softened as he looked at her and she saw all his love for her right then. The more playful smile she had relaxed into one of tenderness as she looked at him. He saw her love for him shining on her glowing face. He sighed and turned around heading off to the kitchen.

She could hear him in the kitchen as he started making their coffee and swore he was humming some love song from the 80s. She listened closer, no wait, it was from the 90s by a band popular then and now. If she remembered the lyrics correctly, something about him loving her always, he'd be there forever and a day, always, he'll love me always. She wondered if he remembered that song and the band were favorites. She slightly rolled her eyes and shook her head with a contented smile.

That's my Rick, she thought.

Throwing back the covers, she swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up. Walking into the bathroom, she freshened up, walked back into the bedroom and climbed back in bed. Grabbing the pillows, she plumped them and stuck them behind her for support and comfort and then covered herself with the blankets. She smiled, gazing around the room taking in everything about it as the sun shone brighter through the curtains.

This is where I belong, she mused. I'm happy, finally. I see myself here with him…forever. Sleeping with him, waking up next to him, getting ready together, and sharing everything.

An appealing thought. Yes, this would be her home too.

She glanced around the room again and then toward the bathroom. Remembering the warm rush of water across her body in the shower the night before as she'd relaxed in its steady, steaming streams, her imagination wove a naughty fantasy through her mind. Kate's internal cinema took her on a sensual ride as she imagined her and Rick making love in the shower against the tiled wall. He was lifting her up, pinning her against the wall with each upward thrust of his powerful hips, plunging himself deeper into the moist heat of her feminine folds. Her arms clung around his neck while her legs locked around his hips and she moaned in ecstasy with eyes closed and lips parted as violent tremors of climax raced through her body.

"Here we go," he announced, coming back into the bedroom carrying a tray with two cups of coffee, a plate of bagels with cream cheese, and a dish of strawberries. She blinked and sort of shook her head because his voice forced her out of her fantasy. Rick set the tray down on the right night table nearest her and looked down seeing she was flushed across her checks and down her neck.

"You have a funny look on your face," he commented with a quirky grin, pulling back the covers. She moved over more toward the middle of the bed and he slid back in next to her. "What?" he asked.

"Nothing," she smiled slyly, lowering her eyes with a small shake of her head.

"Kate…," he drew out, raising his brows in a perceptive look, knowing from the way her eyes sparkled that she was lying.

"Fine. I was having a naughty fantasy about us in the shower," she confessed, clearing her throat while bringing her eyes back up to meet his and blushing more because he'd caught her having erotic contemplations about them.

"Um hmm," he nodded with a lopsided grin at her embarrassment and loving what the blush did to her lovely face. "Well, if it's anything like I've imagined…" he trailed off his thought on purpose, rolling his eyes and pursing his lips, deliberately implying their sexual intimacy.

"Uh… Rick," she playfully bumped his chest with her fingers and he chuckled. "Give me my coffee," she said laughing.

Rick grabbed the tray off the night stand and set it over his lap. He handed her a mug of steaming brew and then picked up the other. Kate carefully sipped the hot liquid, locking eyes with him over the rim of her cup. Playful desire and happiness flickered through her eyes as she was staring into his handsome face. He sipped his coffee staring back and all the love he had for her was shining in his eyes. He set down his mug and picked up a strawberry.

"Want a berry?"

"Sure."

He held the red, ripe fruit out to her holding it between his thumb and fingers. Instead of taking the berry with her fingers, she held his eyes in an erotic look and sensually wrapped her lips and tongue around it, taking a bite. Rick's eyes widened a bit and his breath caught in his throat as he imagined her doing the same thing to his manhood.

"What's the matter, Ricky, cat got your tongue?" she asked breathily, hoping he'd get the subtle play on her name that her voice heavily implied. "Have a berry, honey," she said picking one up as if to hand to him.

A devilish smirk crossed his face that made his eyes spark. He pulled her trick back on her. She smiled, shuddering at his sexy teasing, but wasn't surprised that he reciprocated her move. Then leaning in, she softly gave him an open-mouthed kiss, teasing his lips and tongue with hers. She tasted the berry juice on his mouth and he tasted the same lingering sweetness on hers. They pulled away from the kiss staring at each other.

"Good to know you like making breakfast an erotic affair," he commented with a radiant smile.

"Not hard to do when it's with you," she said returning his look.

Then they picked up their mugs, still steaming with their favorite drink, and sipped, knowing that this was just the beginning in so many ways.

And so began the day–the first day–of the rest of their lives together. Always. Forever.