Recap to remind you what their conversation was about.
Castle : So what are we going to do?
Beckett: About what?
Castle: We have to tell Ryan about Jenny
Beckett: What, why? Castle if we were getting married would you want to know about all the guys I've slept with.
Beckett : Seriously, You sign woman's chests at book readings. You cannot be shocked that I am not a virgin.
Castle: Arrh it's just the word all suggests a lot. How many are we talking exactly?
Beckett: Are you really asking for my number
Castle: You show me yours I'll show you mine
Beckett: Men, you all want to know but you don't want to know. Listen every woman have their secrets including Jenny. Sometimes for the sake of a relationship, it better not to share.
You're the 1 for me
Castle took a moment to think about what Beckett had said. Did he want to know about all the men she had slept with? Hell yeah. He needed to get her to open up, give a little take a little. He turned and chased after her. No this was not the end of their conversation.
He watched as she stopped at the elevator, her shoulders slumped before she pressed the button then turned to look at him.
"Let it go Castle," she turned back and waited for the doors to open.
"Three," he informed her.
Beckett frowned and looked back at Castle. "Three what?"
The doors opened so she stepped inside without waiting for him to answer.
"My number is three" he said following her inside. She obviously wasn't going to stand around listening to him so he had to chase her, had to show her why it was important.
Beckett couldn't help the laughter that bubbled out from inside her. She looked at man before her
"Three what Castle? Three hundred, Three thousand."
Castle rolled his eyes before taking a deep breath and shaking his head. Three thousand was she serious. Did she honestly believe he had slept with that many women? He didn't get a chance to answer her as the door opened and she was already making her way out the precinct. He chased after her again, grabbing her elbow gently and guided her to the side of the very busy side walk.
"Three woman, in the last three and a half years. Three women since I came to work with you guys at the precinct."
Beckett frowned at what he had just told her. Three women, that was all. She honestly expected more with the way the media carried on. Ex wife, probably some slut she thought, but which one, and his other ex wife. Hold on she had just told Castle it didn't matter.
"I didn't ask Castle."
"I know" he told her. "You were doing a very good impersonation of me, not asking very loudly."
Beckett gritted her teeth and tried not to let her lips betray her frustration, ok so maybe she did want to know.
"Ok so what, three in the last 3 and a half years, what about before then," If he was revealing some he may as well reveal all.
Castle shrugged. "I don't know, they were insignificant."
Beckett scoffed. "Yeah typical male, insignificant to you, but probably not to all those woman,"
She had turned and went to walk away but his hand captured her elbow.
She allowed him to use his light grip to spin her back towards him. Once she was facing him he let go of her.
"Do you think you are the only on with issues Beckett. I was burned by my first love, you know that. She moved half way around the world, if that's not the biggest rejection, then I don't know what is. It messed me up pretty bad; I had almost given up on love, until I met Meredith. I thought I had finally found someone who loved me, for me. I was wrong. Again."
Castle shook his head before rubbing his hand over it. After all this time it still hurt, the betrayal, the rejection, the sense of no one wanting him.
"She cheated on me. Did you know that? The Playboy you think I am got cheated on, by his own wife for an acting role. I felt like I wasn't good enough, if I was maybe she wouldn't have done it. I felt so rejected and unloved, then suddenly my books are a hit and I've got woman falling all over me. Woman who claim to love me, who want to love me, and I was weak. I was so desperate to feel anything, to feel something, and those woman helped me. I felt joy, happiness, exhilaration and I believed they loved me. It didn't matter that I didn't love them. Being loved was better than having no love in my life at all, at least that's what I thought. The trouble was with that kind of love it was fleeting. All too brief and the unloved feeling would return. I married Gina to try and get the being loved feeling all the time but I realised that what she wanted wasn't love so I ended it and returned to my philanderer's ways. Until 3 and half years ago."
"I changed, I met three hard ass detectives and a by the book ME, who showed more love for each other every day, then what I had felt in a life time. At least love not from my own my mother or daughter. You, Ryan, Esposito, Lanie, even the Captain, you showed me that what I was getting from those nameless woman, wasn't love. It was false; love is about being loved and loving back. Once I realised that I stopped all that. Apart from the three woman. I slipped up, I made mistakes, and I am not perfect. The first two were me returning back to my old ways, a moment of weakness. I felt needed and wanted and it made me feel good about myself, for a brief moment at least. The last woman I slept with was well me feeling rejected again. I thought I had found someone who at least liked me for me but then I got turned down yet again. It wasn't even an offer of love it was once of friendship but it seemed like even that wasn't wanted, so I gave up on ever finding someone who could love me for me. I figured if you can't be with the one you love, love the one your with and when Gina called I thought I should try give it another chance. It took me awhile but I realised that I was deluding myself. You can't make yourself love someone, it just happens, you just do. Being in a relationship with someone you don't love even though they claim to love you is worse. Worse than not feeling love at all, because it leaves you wanting. It feels like second prize and it makes you feel like your second best, not good enough for the real thing. "
Beckett looked at Castle not really believing what she was hearing. She knew he was telling the truth but the truth was so unbelievable. His wife had cheated on him! She had never really thought about why he had split from his first wife or his second. To hear that Meredith had cheated on him for a job really shook her. The pain he must have felt, the pain he still felt had been obvious. The man before her always came across as a happy, fun guy, to hear him talk about feeling unloved and sleeping with random people to feel something was an all too familiar feeling. He had made mistakes just like she had.
"Castle you're just backing up what I said. You made mistakes and there better left in the past, better to just be forgotten.
"But I don't want to forget my mistakes. Well ok, the actually act yeah I could do without remembering that but I don't want to ever forget the reason why I made the mistake. I am who I am not only because of the success I've had in my life but also because of my mistakes. The way in which I handle them, what I have learned from them, how I apply that knowledge to future decisions, it's all part of who I am. I am not proud of what I have done but there is nothing I can do to change it."
Castle sighed, he aired his dirty laundry, she knew all there was to know. It was up to her on what she took from it.
"And I guess I just wanted you to know that. Bye."
Beckett stood there stunned and allowed Castle walk away from her. He was giving her the credit for him realising what real love was about. Well herself, Lanie, Esposito, Ryan and even the Captain, but he was wrong. Before Castle came along they had been a well oiled team, they worked well together. Worked. That was it. She trusted them with her life, her work life, and her personal life never came into it. Ryan and Esposito would get together for Game night and she and Lanie would go shopping. Occasionally the four or sometimes even five of them would go out for drinks after a particularly hard case, but that was it. It wasn't until Castle came along that the group finally became a group, both on and off the clock. Their friendship had blossomed because of him yet he said his offer of friendship was rejected. By who he was well liked by everyone, then dread swept over her like a cloud on a sunny day. He had said his offer was rejected so he had gone back to Gina. He had taken Gina to the Hamptons after she had told him he she couldn't go. His reason being that he couldn't be with the one he loved, loved! Had he loved her even back then, back when she wasn't as messed up as she was now? Back when she had been willing to take a chance on a relationship. If she had just spoken to him five minutes earlier would that have changed the last year and a half of her life? If he hadn't left with Gina would she have crawled back into her deep dark hole, would she have put her life in danger? She had rejected him yet he had still come back for more, still loved her. It was because of his influence that her faith in love had been restored, yet she had crippled his. Beckett turned and looked down the street looking for Castles familiar frame. She almost missed him, his stance wasn't his usual confidant swagger, he was hunched over and almost shuffling. He had however covered a great deal of ground.
She ran towards him as best as she could, trying not to knock over people on the busy street.
"Castle," he had to have heard her but he kept walking, not that she blamed him. He had bared his soul to her and she just stood there like a fool.
"Castle wait," she hated chasing after him but she figured that it was payback for all the times he had chased after her. She didn't like it; she didn't like it one bit. It had almost broken her heart when he had walked right past her when she had been waiting for him after his book signing. She didn't blame him but it still hurt. Did he feel that exact same kind of hurt ever time she walked away from him?
"Castle, please," still nothing. Was he angry, was he embarrassed, she wasn't sure. All she knew she needed him to stop walking and listen to what she had to say.
"You were right."
He stopped now but didn't turn around.
"Well not exactly right" she amended still coming towards him but at a slower pace.
He threw his hands and started walking again.
Crap, this was not going well.
"We are the same"
He stopped again.
No that wasn't right either,
"Well not exactly"
He started walking again.
This was not going the way she planned, not that she planned it. She was flying by the seat of her pants Castle style and wow she didn't know how he did it. She knew what she wanted to say but didn't know how to say it.
She ran in front of him and then forced him to stop by placing her hand on his chest.
"2 since I met you."
"You don't have to tell me," if she didn't want to tell him then he didn't want to know. He didn't want to push her into revealing things she wanted to keep secret, it would only force her further back.
"But I want to, I need to, you deserve to know. Before I met you there were quite a few men. Honestly more than I like to admit. I cared about most of them at least to some degree but I didn't love them. Like you I was with them to feel something, not necessarily love but feeling something was better than nothing. You can understand that right?"
He nodded at her. He wasn't quite sure why she was revealing this to him but while she was he was going to do the hardest thing he ever had to do in his life, stay quiet.
"I really can't fault you for all the woman in your life, because I was no better. Unlike you I didn't learn from my mistakes, I kept repeating them. Over and over again, which is why I'd rather forget them. I want to forget that I am like everyone else, I am vulnerable and weak. You credit us for changing your ways but honestly you're the reason I changed mine too. Partly because I was worried about what you would think about me."
"What I would think about you. Beckett seriously I didn't think you would care what some playboy writer thought of you."
"Castle you write me as some sort of superhero I am surprised you haven't asked me to model Lycra underwear for you. I wanted to live up to your high standards of me at least that's part of the reason."
"And the other part." Ok so he said he was going to shut up but he needed to know.
Beckett bit her lip to stop it from trembling.
"Because you showed me what real love is about? Not all the men I have been with have been mistakes but the last two defiantly were. I slipped up to, I guess we really are alike; I needed to feel something again. Your friendship made me start to feel something and I liked it and I wanted more of it. I couldn't be with the one I wanted so I..." Beckett shrugged she wasn't quite ready for this but he needed to know. She lowered her head and looked away from him
Castle blinked twice and then shook his head. Had she just admitted that she had wanted to be with him? Had wanted to be with him but had gone off with that greasy long haired, motor bike riding Doctor instead. She was telling him now, here on the street. What did this mean?
"So where do we go from here," hr asked almost regretting the words as soon as they flew out of his mouth.
He watched as she looked at him apprehensively then looked away nervously. She opened her mouth to reply but then closed it, her mouth switching as if not sure which expression to take on. Castle sighed, she wasn't ready. That was ok. She had admitted to wanting him and that was enough, for now.
"Why don't we take things one day at a time, one minute at a time, one second at a time?"
Beckett looked up at Castle and smiled.
"You couldn't just say one moment at a time."
He had made her smile, had wiped that indecision off her face. That's what made all the pain worthwhile, seeing her smile.
"I'm a writer; you'd lose all respect for me if I hadn't said something so eloquent."
Beckett laughed. "You're assuming I had any respect for you to begin with."
"Ohhhh, low blow but a good one." he didn't know where they were going to go from here. His advice about one second at a time had been as much for himself as it was for her. Take things slow, that's what he needed to do. She was like a deer; if you moved too fast you would spook them.
"So I don't know about you but I was planning on going home, eating a nice dinner, getting a good night's rest. Tomorrow come back, start fresh, solve this case and be of a free mind to tear up the dance floor at Ryan's wedding."
He held his elbow out to her.
"Feel like joining me."
Beckett raised her eyebrows at him. He realised what exactly he had offered.
"Dinner" he reiterated. "Would you join me for dinner. With Mother and Alexis. "
Beckett smiled and took his offered elbow and began to walk. "Dinner sounds great. It will give me a chance to talk to Alexis."
Castle was confused; she wanted to talk to his daughter.
Beckett bit her lip.
"Well you mentioned tearing up the dance floor at Ryan's wedding. I know Alexis is your plus 1 but I wanted to see how she would feel about me monopolizing your time on the dance floor."
"Ohh Monopolize, you know I love it when you use big words"
Beckett gave him a coy smile. "Why do you think I do it?"
Castle raised his brows, today was definitely a day for surprises.
"You know we are walking in the wrong direction," Beckett informed him.
Castle stopped and looked where they were. Together linked at the elbow they turned and stated walking back in the direction they had just come from.
"Don't tell Alexis but you know I'd rather have you as my plus 1 right."
Becketts heart fluttered at his admission. She kept her eyes looking forwards so he wouldn't see her giddiness.
Castle almost stumbled at hearing those two little words. He thought he had been waiting his whole life to hear three little words from Beckett. Now he knew it was two words he wanted to hear. Not today, not tomorrow but someday in the future. He knew that after uttering those two words and what was to be a kiss to end all kisses, he would link his arms with this very same woman. Together they would walk off into their future just like they were now, then all would be right in the world.
AUTHORS NOTE: Thank you so much to Little Lizzie Zentara and Always Castle for urging me to write this one shot. And for helping me pick the title. You guys are the greatest.