Paperwork & Company

"It can't hurt to ask," Castle mused aloud. The words were muffled by his hands; his fingers, entwined, pressed firmly to his chin and over his mouth, his elbows on the table and helping to prop up his head.

Even so, Beckett immediately looked at him with that disapproving and impatient look she had long ago mastered. There was some confusion there too, and perhaps some relief at the fact he had broken the melancholy that had had been circulating the precinct all morning.

"What did you say?" she asked, turning her full attention on him.

"Oh, uh, nothing. I was just thinking out loud."

"Did you want to ask something? I'm sure I heard you say that-"

"No. No, I'm good. Well. I was wondering if I should ask you something, but now I think I"ll just leave it. Don't want to get in the way of your work."

"Why are you here anyway, Castle As you just pointed out, I'm doing paperwork – and will be all day. Your company, great as it can be, is only going to slow me down."

"Hinder you."


"I wouldn't want that," he said, dryly.

"Well," Beckett replied. "I will be here til I'm done."

"Unless there's a murder," Castle added in.


"You'll be here unless there's a murder."

She nodded. "Yeah. Yes, that's right. So you might as well help me out by asking me whatever it is you want to ask or getting out of here and going home to your family, who I'm sure would love to see you."

"Okay, fine," Castle said. He threaded his fingers together, wrung his hands, glanced over toward Esposito's desk and then looked at her again.

"What's it going to be, Castle?" Beckett prompted him.

He let his hands drop to his side and shrugged. "Just a thought, but… I have a reservation the next town over for tonight. Great place. They even waitlisted me, and now my date has gone and cancelled on me." He paused and frowned for dramatic effect. Beckett didn't need to know that he hadn't had a date for it in the first place and his intention had always been to invite her and play the 'wounded by a cancelled date' card.

She looked up at him, scrutiny in her expression. "You're inviting me?"

"If you want to go. I mean, it's one of those cheesy places people propose at, and it's very candles and romance, but if that doesn't scare you-"

"Why would that scare me?" Beckett said, taking the bait. The corner of her mouth twitched up into an amused smile, almost like she was merely putting up with him rather than anything else.

"Great! It's a date. I'll pick you up at seven. Reservation is at eight." Before Beckett could respond, he whipped his jacket off the back of the chair by her desk and hung it over his arm, winked at her and headed for the elevator.

"It's a date?" Castle heard Beckett repeat as he left. He glanced back a moment later, happy to see her smiling and momentarily distracted from the mountains of paperwork on her desk.