It's been three weeks since Meredith knocked at the front door. Three long weeks of meetings and hushed arguments between her and Rick, leaving Kate and Alexis to referee from the sidelines.
They gave up trying to organise something at the lawyers in the third meeting and settled for Meredith picking her up from school and brining her back for dinner and getting every second weekend with her.
It ended with Alexis running around the loft at midnight from a sugar rush and then vomiting all over the couch. Rick was fuming the next morning when he talked to Meredith on the phone. Apparently Alexis wouldn't eat her dinner so Meredith let her get her own dessert from the dessert bar, which included six scoops of ice-cream and more lollies than were needed. Meredith was too busy flirting with the director at the next table to notice her daughter eating her own weight in sugar.
But it's all over now, Meredith has her bags packed and is back to Los Angeles for a lead part in a new movie that Rick swore he had nothing to do with.
Kate looked up to see Rick standing in the doorway to their room.
"You alright? I feel like you've been hiding out in here today." He asks, walking over to the bed where Kate is propped up with a new book.
"Tired." She smiles but it falls flat against Rick's intense watch.
"Kate." He sighs, tipping his head to the side, the way he know it makes her crazy.
"I know that happy that Meredith has gone but I also know that deep down there is a part of you that is sad for Alexis' sake. I think Alexis is feeling the same way. I'm not hiding in here but I'm giving you both some time to deal with this."
"You are part of this family, Kate." He interjects.
"Stop," She shakes her head and he looks confused, "I know I'm part of this family, so don't you pull that card on me. All I'm saying is that it was you and Alexis for so long, and you had to deal with Meredith before I came along and you'll have to continue to deal with her for years to come, and I'm happy to stand next to you next time the hurricane hurdles into town but right now you have a ten year old out there that needs a day with her dad."
"I love you Katherine Beckett." He smiles, leans in and kisses her on the cheek.
"Bring me home a surprise." She asks and he raises an eyebrow at her seductively.
"Not that! A food surprise." She laughs throwing a pillow in his direction.
"Fine!" He laughs, dodging the pillow and blows a kiss in her direction.
"Rick!" Kate screams from the bathroom.
"What?" He answers, sliding into the doorframe and smacking his elbow against the wood.
"What is this?" Kate asks, holding up the towel he used moments before.
"A towel. It's a towel." He's rubbing his elbow, looking like a hurt little boy.
"Why is it on the floor?" Her voice escalades and Rick snaps his head up, clearly noticing the change in her voice.
"I forgot to put it in the washing basket." He says quietly, dropping his hands to his sides.
This was the third time this week that he'd left the towel on the floor.
"How hard is it to put it in the washing basket? Alexis is ten and she manages it every single day."
"I know. I'm sorry." He reaches his hand out to take hers but she turns away from him, throwing the towel in the basket and pulls open the drawer to get out her hairbrush. Rick stands in the doorway watching her until she pushes past him to get through into the bedroom.
She's not even that angry about the towel. There is this raging anger bottled up in her and everything that goes wrong, it spills out of control, and it's usually directed at Rick.
Today, she did yell at a uniform from the 19th Precinct that just came in and dumped all these files on her desk. She was unimpressed to see them when she got back from lunch and even though Esposito and Ryan tried to get to them before her, she was still quicker. Officer Ragley really copped a telling off and Kate didn't hold back. Then he had the balls to tell her that his captain sent him because the 12th Precinct had found a similar murder in their jurisdiction and it was now their case. Then she rung the Captain of the 19th Precinct and yelled at him.
Ryan and Esposito stood there in shock as she laid into the Captain and read him the proper protocol for dropping files at another precinct. Captain Montgomery even came out of his office and watched.
"Kate?" Alexis asked and Kate looked up from the kitchen counter.
As soon as she saw Alexis hold up the hairbrush and elastic hair bands, the anger simply melted away.
"Want braids?" She asks, walking with Alexis into the lounge.
"Could you do the French plaits again? Two of them?" She asks, eyes hopeful.
"Of course." Kate smiles, sitting down on the couch.
Alexis settles on the floor, between Kate's legs and bows her head. She doesn't make a fuss as Kate pulls the brush through her hair and then sections the hair into two. She can feel Rick watching from the office door but doesn't make eye contact with him just yet.
She feels horrible for being so angry about the dumbest of things. She didn't talk to him for two hours the day before because he drunk all the orange juice and didn't buy her anymore. He offered to go to the store and get her some, even make her freshly squeezed juice, but she went and sulked in their room.
She didn't even want the stupid orange juice because it gives her heartburn now.
"Did you watch this episode?" Alexis asks, flipping through the recorded programs and Kate looks up to the television. Her and Alexis have been watching documentaries on animals in Africa and Kate missed last weeks one.
"I watched it the other night when I got home but I fell asleep before the end." Kate leans back in the chair, admiring her work.
"I'm going to watch it again." Alexis clicks plays and leans back into the couch, resting her head against Kate's knee.
It's another ten minutes before Rick sits down next to Kate on the couch. He hands Alexis a small bowl of popcorn and some juice and then hands Kate some too.
Apple juice because she complained at the precinct that the orange juice or soda gives her heartburn and popcorn lightly covered in powdered sugar. Salty and sweet, just the way she likes it. She looks down at her popcorn and squeezes her eyes closed and tries to breathe. She feels his arm wrap around her and he moves closer, tugs her in and kisses the side of her head.
"I'm sorry." She says discreetly so she doesn't interrupt Alexis.
"It's fine." He answers, popping a piece of his popcorn in his mouth.
He brought his own in so she didn't have to share hers.
"I don't know why I get so angry. I rung the captain of another precinct and yelled at him today."
Rick chuckles and shakes his head.
"How?" Kate asks, moving away to look at Rick.
"Don't get angry with the boys, but they mentioned when I came in to meet you today that you had an eventful day." He's smiling at her, that lopsided grin that makes her melt.
"Of course they mentioned it." Kate rolls her eyes and snuggles back into Rick's side.
"Rick." Kate moans, shoving her cold feet against his legs.
"Cold." He shudders, rolling over.
"Stop snoring." She whines.
Five minutes later he's back to snoring like a freight train and she's getting wild. She has work in the morning and then an appointment at the doctors.
"Castle!" She pushes him to roll over again and he doesn't budge.
She drags herself out of bed, feet freezing against the cold floor and makes her way to the stairwell. She'll sleep in the spare room, the one they are yet to convert into the nursery.
Great, she's going to think about that all night now.
Alexis' door is open and she's asleep on one side of her queen-sized bed. Kate thinks for a moment before tiptoeing in and getting in with Alexis. She stirs and then rolls over, faces Kate and cuddles into the blanket.
She loves this girl.
"There you are!" Rick exclaims as Kate walks down the stairs in the morning.
"Here I am." She says, more snarky than she intended.
"I woke up and you weren't here but all your things were and I got confused."
"I slept in Alexis' room, you were snoring." She shrugs, walking into the bedroom.
"Why didn't you wake me up?" He asks, and she turns to face him.
"I did. Twice. You weren't budging and I've got a big day today." Kate pulls off Rick's shirt that she slept in and throws it into the washing basket. She leaves Rick standing in the bathroom and steps into the shower, not bothering to finish the conversation.
Both him and Alexis have gone by the time she gets out of the bathroom. She's ready for work and goes to grab her keys when she sees a note from Rick.
'I'm sorry about snoring. I'll make sure you fall asleep first tonight.
Ring me after you see Dr. Patrick.
I love you. R.'
The anger diminishes and she's left with guilt and remorse. She's going to apologise when she sees him because she knows how horrible the yoyo feeling is. It's how she felt with her dad after her mom died. Some nights he'd be so drunk when she got home that she'd have to carry him to his bed and others, he'd be sitting in his chair sober. She used to dread going home because she never knew what was waiting for her.
And now she's doing that to Rick.
"Everything looks good." Dr. Patrick says as she smiles up from the file.
Kate had been prodded and pushed for her fortnightly doctors appointment.
"I'm glad." Kate smiles, looking down at her ever growing belly and sits further up in the chair.
"Lets put the baby aside for a second, everything going alright with you? How is Rick?"
"I'm fine and so is Rick. Alexis has a school trip to the museum so that's where Rick is." Kate answers, not looking Dr. Patrick in the eye.
"Everything going alright at home? No tension or arguments?" Dr. Patrick asks, putting the file down on her desk and turns to Kate.
She is like a mind reader and Kate feels like she can be read like an open book.
"I've been getting angry at people over the smallest of things. I almost arrested someone the other day because they were walking too slowly on the sidewalk."
Dr. Patrick nods and a small smile hits the corners of her mouth.
"And Rick?" She asks, like she already knows the answer.
"Is getting most of it thrown in his direction. I can't help it, as soon as it's over I feel awful and he just takes it." Kate admits, feeling guilty from this mornings dispute.
"It's completely normal to feel the way you've been feeling. At this stage in a pregnancy your body has already given so much up to accommodate for the baby, your mind is working over time to adjust and it's constantly thinking about leaving work, giving birth and actually having a baby to look after, that your fuse is a lot shorter and you snap. You're not the only one that's yelled at their partner for eating all the ice cream and not emptying the dishwasher."
"It was orange juice and wet towels." Kate says with a slight grin.
Dr. Patrick throws her head back and laughs.
"Rick knows what you're going through, what you're putting your body through for this baby, your baby. He knows you get a get out of jail free card."
"Hi." Rick smiles, standing in the doorway to the office.
"Hey." Kate smiles, standing from his desk and walking over to him.
"You didn't call?" He asks, looking down at her belly.
"I know. I took the afternoon off because I knew you'd come home after Alexis' trip. Did she come home?"
"No, she wanted to go back for her science lesson. I told her that she could skip out and we'd get ice cream but she insisted on going back. She's so weird sometimes." Rick shrugs his shoulders and Kate laughs.
"Everything went well at the doctors. All ok." She wraps her arms around his middle and lets her head fall against his chest. It's harder to do now with her stomach cramped between them but he's just that bit taller that it still works.
"I'm glad. What else did she say?" Rick asks, kissing the top of her head.
"That it's apparently normal for me to be a raging angry bitch." Kate says, voice muffled against his shirt. He laughs loudly and she pulls her head back to look at him.
"You haven't been that bad." He smiles, kissing her quickly.
"I have so! I've been awful."
He shakes his head at her, still smiling and she pulls away from him.
"Dr. Patrick said something today that made me think, so I made these." She hold the cards she made today in her hand and Rick looks up to her baffled.
"I told her that I was feeling really angry at loads of different things, and that unfortunately you were getting the brunt of it all. She said that it's normal because of how much my body has adjusted and how my mind is working in overtime that the things I would normally let slide are causing the problems. She said that you're letting me off with it because of what I've given up and will give up to have this baby, you're giving me a get out of jail free card on being angry all of the time."
"It's not all of the time, Kate." He interrupts and then quickly closes his mouth.
She laughs at him this time, shakes her head slightly and then hands him the cards.
"Why are you giving me the cards then?" He asks, shuffling them into a pile.
"Because these ones are yours. Whenever I'm being a pain or annoying, you give me a card. Then I'll know and try to cool it down." Kate shrugs.
"So these cards are to get me out of jail? And by jail you mean when you're angry?"
"Yeah." She nods and he smiles again, looks back at the cards.
"This is so cool because you're an actual cop and could probably get me out of a real jail, you could probably break someone out of jail actually." He says excited, as he flips through the cards.
"I'll always get you out." She smiles, leans in and kisses him.
A/N: So it's been two whole months since I updated this story. I am SO sorry. I kind of lost my way with it and haven't really had enough patience to sit down and get on with it. It's not that I've been writing other stories, I literally haven't written at all.
But finally, you have a chapter.
I hope you all had a marvelous Christmas/New Years/School Holidays and endings! I for one am loving that it's finally Summer! YAY
Remember to let me know what you think!