Kevin packed up a few essentials, stuffing them into a black duffel bag and one back-pack. He'd come back here and get the rest later. For now, he just needed out and away from Jenny. He couldn't believe what had happened and everything felt surreal as he drove through the city, radio silent, and lights dripping through the windshield to play like strobe lights in his car. Kevin felt slightly dizzy but shook it off and sped up as much as he dared. It wasn't too far to Castle's and traffic was light in the mid-week.
Pulling into the apartment complex's private parking lot, Kevin shut the car off and headed for the front door. He smiled to the doorman, waved a little to the woman in the office, having gotten to know them a bit from the years of visiting Castle. They smiled and waved back.
Kevin knocked on the apartment door and listened carefully, wondering if he was going to be met by lasers and guns or some other expensive toy Castle deemed necessary to have. As much as Kevin was thinking sarcastically, he figured the best part about moving in for a while would be the toys. It was certainly a step up from Madden.
The door was pulled open and there stood Alexis, a book tucked under her arm and a cup of something steaming in the other. The brown sweater she wore had a bulky collar that spilled over her thin shoulders. "Detective Ryan." She eyed his bags. "What are you doing here?" Alexis stepped aside to let him in.
Kevin smiled slightly and stepped in. "Staying here for a few days. Jenny and I- well…" he glanced around. "Where's Castle?"
"Oh," Alexis turned her eyes towards his office. "Writing. I was just going to tell him to hurry up and finish so we could eat and play laser tag." A tinge of red was dashed across her cheeks when she turned back to look at him.
"He threatened to drag me into it as well." Kevin's smile widened into something not so forced and he hefted the backpack higher on his shoulder.
Alexis watched him them became suddenly animated. "Here, let me help." She grabbed at the strap of the backpack and tugged. Kevin released it mostly so she wouldn't spill what was in her mug. "The guest room is upstairs." She stopped by the counter in the kitchen to deposit the drink first.
Kevin followed her up the stairs and down a bit of a hallway. "My room is here and yours will be across the hall…this one." She pushed open a door and stood off to the side so Kevin could go in first.
He waved her in though, standing back until she ducked in. He walked in behind her and looked around. It was large, the bed back against the far wall, a dresser to the side of the doorway, and a large closet stood with the door open. It was a walk-in and already holding hangers. "Whoa," Kevin breathed out.
Alexis turned a smile on him and put the bag down on the bed. "So it's okay for you?"
"Absolutely. Not that I can be picky anyway." He sat the duffel bag on the ground by the dresser and looked out of the window in the room. There were people meandering outside, dipping into open restaurants and bars, and the city lights looked beautiful. Kevin realized suddenly that the disorientation of the sex and fight had left when he'd reached Castle's and he was glad of that. Turning his eyes back to Alexis he watched her for a moment as she straightened the comforter on one corner of the bed and sat the backpack upwards from its fallen position. He felt suddenly self conscious, as if she could just see what he had done with Jenny before coming here."Thank you."
"Hmm?" Alexis turned un-judging eyes over to him. "It's really dad's place, not mine." She shrugged her shoulders, slipping her hands into her pockets.
Kevin smirked, "I know. I meant for helping." He shrugged back and moved towards the door. "How about we go get Castle and play some laser tag?"
"Sounds good." Alexis ducked out of the room and trotted down the stairs. She moved quickly across the foyer and to the office. Rapping on the door lightly at first, she waited.
Coming up behind her, Kevin listened too. When no answer came he reached around her and knocked harder on the door. "Castle?"
There was the sound of a squeaking chair and heavy footfalls to the door. It was pulled open and Rick stood there with a pen tucked behind his ear. Behind him was a board with a murder scene splayed digitally and papers strung across what looked like a clothesline. "Uh, oh! Ryan." He held his hands up as if displaying Kevin. "Right…" Rick turned from them to look over his shoulder at the mess of writing. "Let me just get this cleaned up then I will be right out. Alexis, did you show him to the guest room?"
Alexis smiled and patted her father's shoulder. "Yes, I've got it all covered. I'll make some dinner."
Rick smiled, slowly shutting the door on the widening smile.
Shaking her head, Alexis went towards the kitchen and started rummaging through the fridge and cupboards.
Not sure what he should be doing, Kevin leaned against the counter and watched. "He gets real wrapped up in the writing when he gets going, doesn't he?"
"Yeah, I get that much from him at least. He's got a lot of dedication, you know, buried beneath the five year old with too much money and too many toys." Alexis chuckled, pulling out chicken breasts from the fridge. "Do you like chicken Alfredo?"
Kevin nodded and walked around to sit on one of the stools at the counter. "So what sort of research will you be doing?" He set his arms on the counter, leaning on them.
"Ah, well…" Alexis coughed slightly, nervously. "I may be writing about the Precinct." She blushed and turned back around, preparing the chicken. Her hands worked quickly and delicately.
"Really, how does that work?" Kevin watched her moving about the kitchen and thought it would be quite interesting to have Alexis and Rick around. She may be more help at times than Castle. At least, he assumed, she wouldn't go running into crime scenes and lose the suspect for them, or become the suspect. Certainly they wouldn't let her go to crime scenes. Kevin mentally cringed at the thought that came unbidden, disliking his quick jump to some odd protection of her just because she was a young woman.
Alexis paused with her hands in the air, glancing around the ingredients, and then darted for the cupboard. "Well, I mentioned to a professor that my father worked with you guys and she figured it was good in for a blog." Setting a pan on the stove, Alexis continued. "She wants a real life look into the daily life of police detectives."
Kevin couldn't be sure, but it seemed like she was avoiding turning around and looking at him. "I think that would be great. It's better than those quick humanity pieces about shoot outs and kidnappings. It's not all exciting, heart racing stuff."
She turned with a smile for him. "Exactly. It's much more intricate and this way, personalities can come through. We're not just seeing a uniform, but an actual person." Her tone had become serious, brows furrowed quick like Rick's did when he was discovering the truth behind some murder, one that normally didn't fit his fantasy story.
Kevin smiled and looked down at his hands, intertwining his fingers. He looked back up at Alexis. "Should I be helping you with anything?"
"No, it's fine. You may just end up needing to go get dad." Alexis picked up a jar of Alfredo sauce and turned towards the stove. The jar slipped and crashed on the floor in a shattering of glass and sticky, white sauce. She yelped and jumped back, avoiding getting hit with either glass or sauce. "Damn it!" Alexis stomped her foot.
Jumping up quickly, Kevin made his way around the counter and over to Alexis, pushing her back a bit. "Here, let me." He bent down and grabbed the large pieces of glass, stacking them in his hand. "Can you wet some paper towels?"
"Sure." Alexis grabbed a handful and stuck them under the faucet briefly. Stepping over to him, she handed him the wet wad of paper.
"Garbage?" Kevin asked eyeing the vicinity of the kitchen.
"Under the sink," she said pointing to it.
"Thanks." He chucked out the glass, wiped up the floor with some of the towels, then patted the rest of the towels around to pick up any leftover pieces of glass. All the while he could feel Alexis at his back, watching and fidgeting.
She sighed heavily when he was done, frowning deeply. "That was all of the Alfredo we had."
Kevin cocked an eyebrow. "Have you ever made it from scratch? I can show you how."
"Really?" Her face lit up with the news and she stood up taller, sticking her thumbs into her pockets.
"Yeah, sure. It's not that hard. Here…" Kevin rummaged through the kitchen now and grabbed everything he need. "First we need pan for the flour." He was rolling up the sleeves of his button-down.
Alexis grabbed him a pan and handed it over, standing next to him in front of the stove. He turned it on, put the pan down and smiled at her. He cut off a hunk of butter from the stick and tossed it in the pan. Forking it around the pan to melt it more evenly Kevin pointed at the flour. "Can you measure out about a third of a cup of flour? I think that's right… I don't normally measure things." He chuckled a little.
Picking up a measuring cup and the bag of flour, Alexis knocked into his shoulder lightly. "I didn't peg you as the chef type."
"Oh, I'm full of surprises." Kevin grinned and stirred the butter. He offered the pan over to Alexis so she could add in the floor. "Mind taking over the stirring for a sec?"
She took hold of the pan and spoon and started stirring it.
Kevin was searching the fridge for some Mozzarella and Romano cheese. He pulled them out and looked over at Alexis. The flour was sticking to the spoon and edges of the pan. He smiled softly and set the things down. "Here, like this." He stepped up behind her and grabbed the handle and spoon over her hands. He tilted the pan and stirred it up faster, helping her with a circular, quick motion. "There." He stepped back, the heat of her slowly dissipating from him.
Alexis let out a breath and glanced back at him, a couple of red ringlets falling in front of her face. "Thanks," she whispered.
He gave her a nod and got the rest of the Alfredo stuff ready, shredding the cheese, adding the herbs, and waiting for the flour and butter to cook a little. When it was just starting to sizzle, he moved over with the bowl of ingredients and added them in, letting Alexis continue to stir. Kevin stepped back again to watch her fix up the dish herself. "See, not so hard."
"Yeah, it smells good already, too." Alexis dipped her head over it, inhaling deeply as she stirred the contents together. "So just wait for the cheese to melt then?"
"Mhm. You can add a little white wine as well, if you have some."
"What are we adding wine to?" Rick had appeared from his writing room, holding up top of the line laser tag gear.
Alexis turned around with a spoon covered in sauce. "Alfredo for the chicken! Detective Ryan showed me how to make it from scratch."
Rick turned to Kevin with raised eyebrows. "I should have figured you'd be the one to know how to cook. If it's good maybe I'll let you live here."
"Uh, thanks Castle but I think I'll take my own place." Kevin smiled at him, folding his arms over his chest.
"Whatever you say; but your own place won't have these." He hefted the laser tag vests and turned away with them, as if emphasizing Kevin's lack of them. Castle put them on a table in the living room then came back and took up a spot on a stool.
Kevin sat next to him and shot him a concerned look. "I really only intend on being here a few days, Rick. I don't mean to impose but I didn't know where else to go. My rent contract is up in just a few days and Jenny…" He looked down at his hands on the counter top, forehead crinkled in contemplative lines.
Rick leaned over, clapped Kevin on the shoulder. "It's not a big deal, really. Plus this place has been quiet for a while now. I'm really just welcoming the company."
Kevin couldn't help but smile, his whole body relaxing some. "Well, thanks. I appreciate it."
"You're cooking while you're here, though, if I can't keep you as a personal chef forever then you'll be one while you're staying here." Rick bumped Kevin's shoulder with his own, waggling his eyebrows playfully.
"Yeah, right," Kevin snickered. "I like being a cop too much to give it up and play house wife for you. I've seen what happens to your wives." Lowering his voice and leaning closer he added, "Plus I'm not crazy enough. If you're into deep fried twinkie, you gotta look elsewhere bro."
Rick laughed loudly and Kevin joined in, until Alexis turned around with hands planted on her hips. "If you two are finished, would you get some plates please? Dinner's ready."