First things first, thanks so much to the wonderful Tadpole24 for the read through and the help with the title. If you haven't read her work, well what are you waiting for.
Secondly, happy birthday Bear also known as jenlovesbones, I am thrilled that you also lovecastle. Thanks for the livestreams, the skype dates and the theorising, have a happy day and enjoy all the presents you have headed your way.
Thirdly, this is post-The Limey and is Castle's perspective, very interested to see how this is received, so please leave me a review.
They say that you can see an accident before the impact. That everything slows and gives you a chance to react. They lie.
Reactions are instantaneous. You feel something instantly. Pain. Anger. Happiness. Surprise. You know how you feel about something. You know it instantly. It happens in the moment. You don't get the "chance" to decide how you feel, you just feel.
It's the process you can change. The process of how you react. How do you react to someone keeping the truth from you? Do you yell? Or do you just leave? Or do you do both? And then watch as everything you've built crumbles in your hands.
She doesn't know he heard, she thinks she's just speaking with a suspect. She doesn't realise he is behind the glass. But he hears what he hears and he decides what he decides. Maybe it's not what he should have decided. Maybe it's not what people expect him to decide but he decides.
Time doesn't slow. You can't see the accident coming. You don't get a chance to react. It's a split second judgement. You just feel. And you make split second decisions. Decisions that turn the world you've known on its head. People lie.
He just makes a decision, would you make the same? Go. Decide. Feel.
"Richard," his mother tuts as he wipes the sleep from his eyes as he sits down at the counter, "I sure hope you know what you are doing." She drops the newspaper in front of him, and there he is, the headline reads or screams, "Is the mystery writer up to his old tricks!" Then there is a photo, one of him and Jacinda, taken last night. They are laughing as they get out of his Ferrari, right outside Nobu. He has to admit all the talk of the place had him wanting to sample their delicious food. "Richard?" his mother questions expectantly, waiting for him to answer.
"Do I know what I am doing?" He asks his mother, "Yes." He says firmly.
"And you are okay with lying to yourself?" Martha states, "Because this is a lie." She adds, her fingers pointing at the photo. "This isn't you. You can pretend that it is, but I know you. You don't run to Las Vegas for the weekend. You don't bring flight attendants home with you."
He scoffs, "Mother," he begins, "It isn't like I haven't done things like this before."
"You had much less to lose back then. Think on that." And with that she leaves, the door closing softly behind her.
His trip to Las Vegas has been relatively uneventful; he saw a show, dropped a bundle on a blackjack table, ate a huge meal and is now flying home. "Your drink Mr Castle," the pretty flight attendant says with a smile as she places the glass down in front of him.
"Thank you," he begins, before reading her nametag, "Jacinda. It's nice to meet you." He adds with a smile. She smiles back, she's uncomplicated, she's easy and not in that way, although by the eyes she's giving him she'd be a willing participant in anything he wants to do. She's easy because he doesn't know about her. He doesn't understand her. Not like he understands Beckett. She's the first woman he's understood in a long time and right now he just doesn't know how to deal with that.
But she kept what she heard him from him, so maybe he never understood her at all. Jacinda smiles again as she begins to leave, he takes a deep breath before asking "Would you care to go out for dinner?" he watches her smile again.
Jacinda flits her eyelashes and smiles flirtatiously, as she leans over and whispers, "Yes, of course." And then for a moment she disappears. Yes, she's easy, uncomplicated and she doesn't need to be understood.
He leaves the newspaper on the counter and returns to his bedroom. It's early, he contemplates going back to bed. There are two messages on his phone, one from Jacinda thanking him for last night and one from his mother, telling him to keep thinking. Keep thinking, he scoffs to himself. He's only been able to think of one thing lately and it doesn't stop replaying.
It doesn't matter how much he pretends to not care or how pretentious the words sound coming out of his mouth. He still can't stop thinking about her. When she'd walked into the precinct in that dress, he'd had to take several internal deep breaths. She's beautiful. Breathtakingly so, and why he ever thought she could fall in love with him, he doesn't know.
She doesn't love him back and why should she. It's not like he's such a great prize to win. Twice divorced, no-father figure of his own, one wife who cheated on him and another he attempted a relationship with for the second time, and failed. Because things weren't extraordinary.
He shakes his head, the looks that he and Beckett shared weren't ones that showed how extraordinary a relationship between the two of them could be. They were just looks of pity. Looks of embarrassment. Looks that didn't mean she felt the same. Because if she did why wouldn't she tell him? His head slips in between his hands. He knows he isn't perfect. He's been lying to her. He has sinned by being silent too. He isn't blameless or innocent.
He's been investigating something that he shouldn't. But he's done that out of love, out of wanting to keep her safe. Wanting to keep her alive, so they could be together. Eventually. When the wall fell down.
Maybe there was no wall. Maybe the wall was just an excuse to keep him out. To keep from having to tell him the truth. She doesn't feel the same. In the moment he told her that he loved her she didn't feel the same.
He shakes his head, nothing makes sense at the moment. Everything he thought he knew, he doesn't know any longer.
And worst of it is that he misses her. He missed the theorising on this case, it's one of the reasons he took the mysterious numbers to Jacinda. His brain works better when it has another to work with, to bounce off, to throw ideas around.
He knows he's being horrible and acting like a man he barely recognises in himself, but it hurts less this way. He can't smile at her the way he used to. Not when her feelings aren't reciprocated. He needs uncomplicated at the moment, he needs to spend time with someone who he doesn't have a deep desire to understand. Or maybe he just needs a change of scenery. He just needs something.
He needs Kate. But she doesn't seem to need him. He lies back and closes his eyes, and hears voices in his head.
"Well, secrets are like time bombs."
"Yeah, eventually, they…explode."
They say that you can see an accident before the impact. That everything slows and gives you a chance to react. They lie. You don't get a chance. You just react.
Reactions mean decisions. You make them every day. Every second. He decided to make his life less complicated. That was a decision. But not all decisions are the right ones. Decisions make secrets. Secrets explode and leave broken fragments that need to be glued back together, piece by piece.