Back to Where We Have Never Been
Disclaimer: I do not own Castle or any of it's characters. I just want to borrow them and change their backgrounds a little. :)
Plot: Thirty-one year old, newly engaged, Kate Beckett, PhD, has just returned from a trip to Russia to visit her parents in New York. Her life is at an all time high: a rising star in her academic field, in loving relationship. She finds herself at a cross roads when she meets a man: a man that she loathes and finds completely intriguing at the same time.
Richard Castle is at an all time low: his daughter, Alexis, is getting ready to leave for college. He hasn't had a serious relationship in years, and he is on the brink of living alone with his mother in his New York loft. To make matters worse, he has lost his zeal for writing. All this is about to change, though, with a chance encounter with a woman who seemingly hates his guts.
But what happens when two people, who are perfect for each other, meet in exactly the right place, and the completely wrong time? Only time will tell.
Kate dragged her suitcase through the airport, the wheels bumping over the creases in the tire floor; whirling, thumping as she trotted through the crowded space, effectively dodging and skirting the other milling patrons. It was the middle of the afternoon in New York City but Kate's body was still running on Moscow time, which ran nine hours ahead. For her, it was one in the morning.
"Yes, Mom, I just landed. I'm making my way out of JFK right now. Thank you for the prayers, I just might need them to make it through the terminal unscathed. Yes, Moscow was beautiful as always. I'll tell you all about it when I get home. Of course, I will be there for dinner. No, Mark isn't with me; he had to stay behind for another week. He told me to tell you that he can't wait to see you either. Okay, Mom, I love you. I have to go get my bags and catch a taxi. I love you too. See you soon."
Professor Katherine Beckett, PhD in Russian Literature, tapped the "end" button on her cell phone and slid it silently into the pocket of her blazer. Her stiletto heels tapped on the airport's tile floor as she continued her brisk walk through the terminal, her rolling bag whirling contently behind her. She had just arrived home from a two month stay in Moscow, and even though she was more than happy to be back on American soil, she already missed the cultured air, the rich history: good and bad. There was something about being surrounded by another language, another culture that was completely exhilarating. Now, hearing English all around her was strange.
She had spent the summer as a visiting professor at a university in Moscow, teaching a course on comparative literature: classic American to classic Russian. To Kate there was no possible comparison. American literature was crap: no history, only a few bad decisions to draw off of. Tolstoy on the other hand: nothing compared to the pain and anguish Tolstoy put poor Anna Karenina through. William Faulkner, her ass. Alas, Kate had managed to bullshit her way through six weeks of comparative analyses and hypotheses. She rolled her eyes as the wheels on her suitcase continued to thump along behind her. The kids had been bright enough though and she had been able to spend the time with her fiancé: Mark. There was something innately romantic about spending time with someone you loved in a foreign country.
Her feet slowed as she approached the tram and she ran a hand through her long light brown hair as she waited for it to show up to take her to her luggage. Her shoulders were tight from the flight and she shook them, rolling her head from side to side as she attempted to work out the kinks that had formed from the long hours sitting in the cramped seat. Her hair and skin felt sticky, her clothes smelled of recycled air. She needed a shower and a bed, maybe a day at the spa. That would definitely help. She let out a heavy sigh and her eyes fluttered shut. Just a few more minutes and she would be sacked out on her parent's couch: a two-week layover before she continued home to California.
The tram arrived to carry her to the baggage claim and Kate dragged herself onboard. The burst of energy she had mustered to make it off the plane and through the terminal dissolving suddenly with her halted movement.
Kate forced her way through the rest of the airport, collecting her bags, waving down a taxi. She could feel herself start to nod off on the slow jerking journey from Newark to the Upper West Side and sighed as her head lulled to rest against the warm glass window. It was August and in New York that meant steaming piles of garbage and stifling air. She had almost missed it. Between the school year and the summer spent abroad, she hadn't been to see her parents in a year. While she had truly missed them, she hadn't missed The City nearly as much.
She had loved New York growing up: the bustle of the city, the traffic, the lights. She had begged her parents to take her to see plays and musicals constantly as she was little, even briefly considering going to NYU or Columbia just so she could stay in the city of her childhood. Instead she had chosen to go to Stanford: a fresh start, a show of independence. She had fallen in love with California. She had fallen in love in California and seven years after they had met in graduate school, she was engaged to Mark Alexander, PhD in global economic theory. Everyone said that they were a power couple: doctors without the weight of malpractice insurance. Studying the world one former soviet country at a time. They had both fallen in love with Russia and that mutual love had led them to each other. After a couple heated and healthy debates used as foreplay, of course.
The cab pulled to a stop in rush hour traffic and Kate let out another sigh, bringing her hand up to rub her forehead. She had to stay awake, acclimate herself back to New York time. She brought her hand down to cover a jaw-cracking yawn. The shining rock on her finger caught her eye and she glanced down to look at it, study it, like she would deny that she had been doing every day since Mark had proposed two months prior, right before they had left the west coast for Russia. It was a gorgeous ring, elegant without being too over the top. The double strand ring, had little diamonds set all around both white gold bands with one larger diamond standing out in the middle. Okay, so maybe it was a little over the top, but Kate wasn't complaining. It was gorgeous and it was hers. She had to force herself not to let out a girly squeal, settling for a wide grin instead.
She was happy, so happy and her she could already imagine the look on her mother's face when she saw the ring for the first time. Then, she would allow herself to squeal as they danced around in the living room, her father watching on in pure amusement. As much as Kate loved her father, they were probably the more alike than she and her mother were, there was something about the bond between a mother and daughter that held no comparison. And this occasion was one of those times that called for that bond. It would also probably involve ice cream.
The cab crept forward and Kate's window was brought up beside a bus, the advertisement on the side catching Kate's attention, causing her to roll her eyes. The latest thriller by Richard Castle was now available on shelves. Her mother, Johanna Beckett, loved Castle's books, called them her guilty pleasure. When Kate was a teenager she had even tried to get the girl to read them, but Kate couldn't bring herself to do it. She had muddled through a couple in the beginning but once she had gotten to college and started studying the classics there was no going back. Call her a book snob but she couldn't even bring herself to look at popular fiction anymore. It was frivolous with no imagination. Well, in some cases, like that of Richard Castle, it had too much imagination: CIA operatives and former alien abductees out for revenge. Please. Kate rolled her eyes again. Her mother still kept her up to date on the latest plots. This latest book was boasted to be "An out of this world adventure in mystery and mayhem" "promises to keep you on the edge of your seat" "A new twist around every corner". Kate snorted to herself. The butler probably did it.
The cab crawled to a stop in front of parent's building and Kate pushed a wad of bills through the slit in the plastic shield, thanking the driver for his service, before kicking the door open with a stiletto clad foot. Frank, the doorman greeted her with a warm hug as he came over to help pull her large suitcase from the trunk of the car. Frank had been the doorman of the building for as long as Kate could remember. She could still remember playing with his kids in the lobby when she had been little and bringing him cookies with her mother at Christmas time.
"Hi Frank, long time no see," she greeted, returning the hug. "How is Amy?"
"Katherine, dear. It has been too long. Amy is great, thank you for asking, the kids, as well. I am going to be a grandpa!" Frank announced, beaming, as he pulled back out of the embrace.
"Oh, congratulations!" Kate replied. "Which one?"
Frank had twins- a boy and a girl- who were only one year younger than her.
"Stella. She and her husband made the announcement at dinner last night. Amy and I are so excited." Frank gushed as he pulled out her bag and the cabbie sped off, forcing its way back into the steady flow of traffic. "Frank Jr. still seems to be content to be a bachelor. Amy has been on his case constantly lately to settle down, but he seems to have no interest in it. I'm guessing you wouldn't be interested?"
Kate let out a chuckle at Frank's wiggling eyebrows as they walked through the lobby to the elevator. "Sorry, Frank, but I'm taken."
The doorman let out a low whistle as he caught sight of the rock on Kate's wiggling finger. "I see that congratulations are in order for you as well. Lucky man. Say hi to your parents for me, Katie. I will see you later."
Kate leaned against the back wall of the elevator and let a content smile pass over her lips. She was happy to be home.
"Ash, that's great!"
Richard Castle emerged from his office in time to hear his daughter's, Alexis, exclamation into the phone. He shook his head as he padded his way across the living room towards the kitchen to grab a glass of water. Alexis had been on the phone for over an hour with her boyfriend, Ashley, gushing about the classes he was signing up for his first semester at Stanford.
"Dad, guess what!" Alexis called out to him, holding the phone away from her ear for a second as she talked to her father. "Ashley got into the class he wanted. The professor Dr. Alexander is supposed to be an upcoming star in global economics. Ash is so excited. I can probably sit in on some of the classes when I go to visit, also. Isn't that great?"
Rick couldn't help but smile at his daughter's enthusiasm before a thought hit him. Visit? What?
"Wait. Visit? When are you going to visit?"
Alexis tilted her head down with a questioning glare. It was a look that easily said: Really, Dad.
"I figured I could head out there during fall break. Ash won't be able to come home until Christmas. Plus, Mom has been bugging me to visit for a while. I begged off over the summer but a couple of days couldn't hurt, right?"
Castle nodded in resignation and let out a sigh as he slumped against the open door of the refrigerator. His little girl was growing up and in love with a boy: a boy who was leaving for college in less than a month. He listened as Alexis continued to chatter into the phone, her voice turning into a blur of words as Rick got lost in his own head, thoughts swirling through. Alexis would be leaving within a year and that just left him and his mother in his oversized loft. He hadn't had a serious relationship since his second marriage had broken up and years later he was finally starting to feel that yearning: the want of something more.
With another sigh he pushed the refrigerator door shut and made his way back to his office empty handed. His white undershirt and sweatpants rumpled from hours sitting, writing. He was tired, tired of writing, tired of his empty characters, tired of being alone. He loved his mother and his daughter, no doubt. Nothing in his life meant more to him than the two read headed women, but he couldn't help but want more. He was stuck for hours a day in his office, staring at a screen. He wanted to get out, he wanted adventure; he wanted a spark.
A couple of years before, he had considered shadowing a unit of the NYPD but the idea had fizzled after a couple of days. The guys he had been working with were nice enough, but something was missing. There was no spark, no connection. His idea of a police detective for a main character had fizzled away with it. So, instead of the series he had been planning, he had focused on a number of stand-alone books. Yes, they had all reached bestseller status but for once it still didn't seem like enough. He needed something more. Now, he just had to figure out what that "more" was.