He was an idiot. She thought he was a shallow, pretentious jerk, for sure. She liked him, though. She knew better, but she couldn't help it. And she rocked that blue dress because she wanted to turn his head. She thought maybe he'd grown up some while he had been shadowing her. She thought she might be willing to give him a chance.

The captain told her she cleaned up nice when she walked into the Heat Wave release party. She knew it already (or at least she thought it), but it was nice to hear it from Montgomery. She knew where Castle was in the room, but she refused to look at him. In her peripheral vision, she could tell he was watching her, and she wouldn't make eye contact. She couldn't. She couldn't. This was a launch party. For a Richard Castle book. About her. She couldn't get all fan-girly where he (not to mention the cameras) could see. Especially when he was looking that fine.

He'd left his table and started talking to Paula. But she was oblivious, because Roy had sent her to read the dedication in the book.

So, so far beyond fan-girly; this was damn near euphoric. "To the extraordinary KB, and all my friends at the 12th." She could kiss him. He could end up in her bed without even trying.

"I meant it. You are extraordinary." Oh, he's right there, and she could really kiss him.

Then he had to go and ruin it by talking.

"Kate, remember the Heat Wave launch?" He held her hand in his as they walked down their beach in the Hamptons.

"Yep." How could she forget? She was willing to go for it with him, but instead he proved himself to be totally out of tune with her and said he was offered a contract to write James Bond. They argued, not a minute after she'd been wanting to kiss him.

"Did you mean it?"

She pursed her lips, weighing her response. "Mean what?"

He knew that she understood the question, so he waited her out.

"The part about not being flattered that you based a character on me? Or that I was okay with you writing Bond?"


She didn't answer, just squeezed his hand. Of course she didn't mean those things.

When he couldn't wait anymore, he said, "I meant it."

Her eyes snapped to his. He'd said some spiteful things in that little argument, not as spiteful as her words, though.

"About you being extraordinary."


"I was about to ask you out, you know. Then, when I switched to theorizing about the case, and you got angry, I always wondered if you were mad because you thought I was going to ask you out and didn't."

She wanted to say Duh. "Why didn't you?" Because you were oblivious to how much I already cared about you? You didn't have any real interest in me at all back then? You were fine with picking up some bimbo at the party?

"Because Paula told me to."


"She stood there looking at you, jealous that she'd only been mentioned in one chapter of one book, and you got a whole book, and I wanted to do more. She was irritated that I wasn't jumping all over the Bond deal because I wasn't ready to give up Nikki."

Kate quit walking and turned to look at him, waiting for what his point was.

He took both of her hands in his.

"She told me to go sleep with you, to get you out of my system, and to move on… And… I went over there to you to ask you out. You were so beautiful, reading the dedication. And I was thinking… that I really did want to sleep with you -" She chuckled. "- but I really didn't want it to be a one-time thing. I didn't want to get you out of my system. I already cared about you."

Kate was floored. This wasn't at all what she'd believed for the years between then and now. If only he'd told her, they could have been the real deal so much sooner.

"But that was a good decision," he continued. "Because I needed to grow up. I needed to become your real partner. We would have hated each other after a while. The sex would have been awesome, though."

She smiled. "You think so?" It would have been crazy good.

"Don't tell me you weren't already thinking about sleeping with me back then. I know you were. Which is why you got pissed off when I didn't ask you out that night. Right?"

"Maybe," she answered sheepishly.

"Now, aren't you glad we waited so that we wouldn't fizzle out? That we built something better and stronger?"

Kate lifted up on her toes and kissed him fully in response. He was right.

They were definitely better and stronger. Which, of course, made the sex way more awesome.

A/N: Please review! Reviews are addictive like homemade butter. That's some scrumptious stuff!