Oh my goodness the last chapter. I'm so glad you all stuck with me on this one. I'm excited to finish this one, as I'll be shifting focus back to writing the third installment in my other series. Thanks again for your feedback! Enjoy and happy Monday.
Special thanks for fbobs for inspiring part of a very special scene this chapter. :)
Kate Beckett rushed through her house, racing from room to room in a flurry. She'd been running around all morning, attempting to get everything together before guests began to arrive. Alexis was in the living room keeping Ben occupied, a task that certainly became more demanding now that the world was opening up to the mobile little man.
Not only was the boy crawling everywhere, but now he was starting to walk, and consequently, getting into everything. His big sister didn't mind though, she relished in every moment spent with the little boy. Kate smiled fondly to herself as she thought back to the first time Alexis met her little brother.
June 5th, 2013
She was terrified, walking next to Rick through the airport while holding Ben close to her. Alexis' flight arrived about 30 minutes ago, and the girl was making her way through the multiple checkpoints to get back through customs. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and swore she could hear it beating loudly as she tried to calm her nerves at seeing the girl for the first time.
Soon after Ben was released from the hospital Rick showed Kate the house he bought. She had to hand it to him too, it was perfect. The townhouse was lovely and spacious, with great natural lighting and a spectacular location relative to her much smaller apartment. Ben's room was located just down the hall from their master bedroom and they decided to give the room an outer space theme, bright stars and planets hanging throughout.
The master bedroom was quite spacious and they had their own master bath, complete with a large tub that they enjoyed utilizing quite regularly. They decorated the guest room specifically for Alexis, wanting the girl to feel welcome and at home whenever she was visiting from college. Finally, Castle was able to turn the second spare room on the ground floor into a nice office. He was quite pleased to have his things out of storage and be settled into their new home.
On that afternoon, standing at the airport near baggage claim, Kate tried to keep herself occupied with Ben. It wasn't much of a problem to stay distracted, as the boy had discovered the fun of his new multi-colored plastic key ring toy.
Just the simple act of grasping and shaking the keys, brought the boy endless joy and entertainment. On that afternoon, he enjoyed taking the plastic key ring and shaking it in Kate's face. He babbled along happily as he did so. "bababababababa" followed by contented squeal "eeeeeeeeeeeeee." Kate loved his little baby noises.
After what must have been the 250th key shake and squeal, Kate lifted her head to find Alexis walking excitedly towards them. Rick ran up to her and grabbed the girl, spinning her around and placing kisses on her cheek and on her head. They embraced for several seconds, before Alexis turned her attention to Kate.
She walked calmly towards her, with an unreadable expression on her face. Kate swallowed back her nerves and tried to offer a tentative smile. Before she knew it, she was wrapped in the girl's embrace. Alexis kissed her on the cheek and smiled brightly at her.
"It is so wonderful to see you again detective!" She warmly spoke.
"Alexis, I think we're well passed formalities. Please call me Kate." She replied to the girl.
Alexis simply smiled to her, genuine happiness to see Beckett reaching her eyes as the red-head continued to grin. She then looked down at the small boy in her arms.
"Oh my God, is this him?" She asked in disbelief. Of course she knew it had to be him, but the moment of finally seeing her brother in person was overwhelming for Alexis. Kate smiled then, sighing in relief that there was no anger or resentment in the girl towards her.
"Yeah." Kate spoke softly, "This is Benjamin Alexander and he's been waiting to meet his big sister." Alexis looked into Kate's eyes in that moment, an expression of wonder on her face. It was the first time that Alexis had truly recognized the true permanence of Kate in their lives, she was the mother of her baby brother.
"He's a handsome little man, isn't he?" Rick spoke as he placed his hand on Alexis' shoulder. "He looks just like his father…almost…what's the word I'm looking for…ruggedly handsome." He spoke with a hint of pride, waiting for the pair of eye rolls he knew he'd earned from the women in front of him.
Kate looked back to Alexis, "Would you like to hold him?" She asked softly, filled with joy in witnessing the first moment between the siblings. Alexis nodded excitedly and held her arms out for the boy. Kate passed the baby to her, using care behind his head out of habit. Ben could hold his head up pretty much all of the time, really just needing the support when he was tired.
Alexis took the boy, stroking his cheek as he stared at her wide-eyed, before making a delighted "aaaaaaaaaaaa" sound. All three adults laughed at his attempt at verbal expression. Alexis cuddled the boy to her chest, speaking softly into his ear and planting kisses on his cheeks.
Castle moved behind Beckett, placing his arm around her shoulder as he watched both of his children, together for the first time. Sensing the impact of the moment on him, Kate reached her hand to where his was on her arm and took it into her own. He kissed her head in response and they enjoyed the magnitude of the moment together.
The meaningful interaction was not missed by Alexis, who was filled with a calm sense of relief. Watching the adults interact and be open with their emotions and affection was refreshing, and many of the girl's doubts about Beckett being emotionally available and supportive were laid to rest. They all left the airport that morning, feeling a sense of completeness with Alexis' return to the states.
That evening Martha visited, spending quality time with her grandchildren. Rick prepared Alexis' favorite meal, while the women in his life enjoyed watching Ben's facial expressions while introducing the boy to new solid foods. As expected, the boy preferred the fruits after just a couple of times, even though he'd only been introduced to vegetables for the first month of his journey into solid foods. After the boy had eaten, Kate and Alexis left the boy with Martha and retreated to the girl's room where they unpacked her things and caught up a bit.
"I was nervous you know." Alexis spoke after a few moments.
"You were?" Kate asked, somewhat surprised by the girl's confession.
"Yeah. I mean, the last time I saw you things were not so great between you and dad, and I just didn't know what to expect."
Kate nodded sympathetically to Alexis, who continued to speak. "I know that you'd worked things out, and dad's been assuring me that everything was ok. I guess I just needed to see for myself." Kate smiled at her and placed her hand over Alexis' arm and squeezed.
"I was nervous too." Kate admitted.
"You were? Why?"
"I was afraid that you blamed me for what happened, for hurting your dad. I was so scared that you would think I was purposely keeping Ben a secret." She looked down at her lap, unable to make eye contact with Alexis.
Since Ben was born, and especially after Castle's re-entrance into her life, Kate had been working on expressing herself. Although she had to acknowledge that admitting her fears to the girl was a major step, she still wasn't comfortable with having such an intimate conversation. Kate Beckett was still not comfortable with vulnerability.
Alexis simply listened to Kate, nodding at her with understanding and appreciation for her honesty.
"You know, at first I was really angry. Even more than angry I was terrified." She waited for Beckett to make eye contact again before continuing, "Kate, you are the one person, the one woman, in my dad's life who has ever had the power to hurt him like you did." Kate swallowed uncomfortably as Alexis spoke.
"Then I realized that you weren't out to hurt him, and that he hurt you as much as you hurt him. Now you have Ben, and you have even more power than you did before. You could break him before Ben, now you could kill him." She paused for a moment, and then continued, "but, I also see how much you love him. How much you love eachother." Kate nodded at Alexis, wanting to reassure the girl that she wouldn't consciously hurt her father.
"What I didn't realize before is that he has the same power to hurt you. You've got just as much to lose. I guess when it comes down to it, I needed time to think."
After taking in Alexis' words, Kate finally spoke.
"If there is ever anything that I can do, or say, to help you feel more secure please let me know. You are right, we both do have incredible power to hurt eachother, but I think that power wouldn't be there if we didn't truly love each other." Alexis nodded in agreement; she was glad that Kate got what she was trying to tell her without becoming offended.
"This is what I promise you Alexis." Kate began.
"I promise that I'm in this for good. I couldn't walk away if I tried. I also promise that in the event that things don't work out..." She paused to grab Alexis' hand and look her in the eyes, "I will never do anything Alexis, NEVER do anything to keep you or your dad from Ben. I also promise that I will always be here for you. Always Alexis." The red head smiled, hugging Kate.
"For what it's worth Kate," Alexis spoke, "I think that you two are going to last. I've never seen my dad as devoted to anyone before. I've also never seen him happier, and for that I'm so grateful." She smiled at Kate.
"Alexis, I love him." Kate reassured her. "I know, and he loves you." The girl paused moment, hesitating before she spoke, "and for what it's worth, I do too."
Kate was stunned, completely touched by the girl's words. She pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head, "The feeling is mutual Alexis."
From that moment on, Castle could detect a difference between the women, there was a calm affection between them, an ease of interaction that Alexis never enjoyed with his previous romantic partners. He smiled to himself as his family gathered around the table for dinner, Ben sitting in a high chair between Kate and himself. They were a family, they were happy and finally, they were together.
Kate smiled to herself as she thought back to Alexis' first visit. However, she was soon pulled from her thoughts by the ringing of the doorbell. She moved to answer it, passing Alexis and Ben in the living room. She saw Alexis standing across the room, holding her arms out and beckoning the boy. She watched for a second as the boy started to toddle over to his sister, laughing with each step.
Beckett answered the door and was met with a delivery man. He held a giant white box in his hands.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Castle." Kate smiled, not bothering to correct the young man's mistake. Besides, she really liked the sound of it.
"Hi." She smiled to him, motioning him to follow her into the kitchen and place the box on the island in the center of the room. Of all the rooms in the house, the Kitchen was among Kate's favorites. It was spacious, with plenty of counter space. The man disassembled the box, removing a bright yellow cake, before wishing her a good day and making his exit.
Kate looked at the clock, 2pm. She had about an hour before guests would start arriving. She took a moment to inspect her son's birthday cake, a giant yellow duck. The duck was situated on a piece of sheet cake, frosted light blue to resemble a bath tub and covered with white frosting dollops in places to resemble bubbles. She smiled at the cake,
"That is so adorable!" She heard Castle exclaim behind her. She hadn't heard him enter the room and he surprised her slightly.
"God, you scared me Rick." He rested his hands on her shoulders and kissed her cheek, "sorry love." He spoke softly. She just smiled at him, turning her head to access his lips and placing a quick kiss there.
"The dining room is coming along, do you want to see it? He asked her.
She smiled to him and followed him into the next room. There was a white table cloth on the table, soft yellow napkins, plates and cups at each setting. Light blue and yellow balloons and streamers adorned the walls and a custom banner reading "Happy 1st Birthday Benjamin!" hung across the center of the back wall.
They were preparing several different types of snacks and finger foods. Although Castle offered to pay a caterer, Beckett insisted on making the food themselves. She wanted her son's party to have her personal touch, much the way her own birthdays were growing up with her mother.
As she stood next to Castle, taking the room in, she sighed to herself, caught back up in thinking about the food that still needed preparation before everyone arrived. She really wanted today to be perfect. As she thought to herself she absent mindedly fidgeted with the ring on her left hand.
"Hey." He whispered affectionately to her. "Everything is going to be great today." She looked at him, surprised that he seemed to be reading her thoughts. At her questioning glance he smiled and clarified, "your ring, you always fiddle with your ring when you're nervous." She looked down at her hand then, taking in the diamond that he'd placed on it a few months ago and recalling the evening.
September 27th, 2013.
They finally got him to sleep. Beckett was exhausted, a long day at work only made worse by the guilt she felt leaving Ben. He loved his dad, but he was at the peak of his separation anxiety and although Kate knew it was perfectly normal, leaving him while he screamed for her was heart-breaking.
Still, the reunion at the end of the day was filled with joy and giggles, unless he was having a bad day. That night he'd had a bad day, feeling slightly cranky and warm. Both parents suspected that he was developing a cold, but his temperature remained low so they weren't alarmed.
After spending nearly 45 minutes in his room, the infant screaming and unsoothable, she finally got him to fall asleep. She turned on his night light, which featured stars and planets scrolling around and casting a glow from the lamp. Leaving his door cracked open, she made her way across the hall and into their bedroom to change.
Once comfortable for the evening, she made her way downstairs to the kitchen, following the delicious smell of dinner. She was surprised to find that Castle had set up the dining room table, candles lit in the middle. Lights were turned down low and soft music played on the stereo. As she made her way into the dining room he came in behind her, leading her to her chair and pulling it out for her.
"What is all this Castle?" She asked with pleasant surprise.
"Do I need an occasion to spoil you?" He spoke, somewhat mysteriously.
"No?" She replied, somewhat in question and somewhat in statement.
He laughed softly at her, "I just wanted to do something special. You've had a long day, and a long past couple of weeks." He was right. One grizzly case after another, the most recent involving the murder of a family, including their infant daughter, left Beckett drained. Once Ben's separation anxiety was factored into the equation, with her guilt over leaving her own son as she solved the murder of an infant not much older than him, things were simply too much.
She was relieved to find the killer and close the case, and ecstatic to have the next few days off to recuperate. "So," Castle interrupted her thoughts, "I wanted to do something special. I thought a romantic evening at home would offer the perfect place to relax." She smiled at him, pulling him down to her by the collar and planting a kiss on his lips. "This is one of the many reasons why I love you Castle."
He laughed at her, "and I thought it was all my sexy body." He joked with her.
"Well, that's mostly it, but every now and then you do something like this." She teased him with a smile on her face.
He left her there, returning to the kitchen momentarily to retrieve their food. Soon he was back, placing a plate of lasagna and a glass of wine in front of her. He wanted everything to be perfect, and so far things were going well. He was nervous about whether or not doing this at the present time was a good idea, afterall, she was tired and Ben had been a wreck all day.
That, he reasoned to himself, was exactly why he had to do it that night. There was always something, some drama or stress in their lives. She was swamped with a case, he had deadlines, Ben was teething, Ben had diarrhea, Ben wouldn't go to sleep, Ben wouldn't stay asleep, and the list went on. There was always something. He was resolute that it had to happen that night.
After they finished eating he stood, holding out a hand to her. She looked up at him, her eyebrow arched in confusion. "Dance with me." He requested softly. She smiled, suspicion on her face, and took his hand.
He pulled her to him, and they swayed in their dining room to the soft melody of a love song that drifted through the air. She laid her head on his shoulder and he held her close, rubbing soft and calming circles on her back. "I love you Kate." He whispered in her ear. She smiled and nestled her head a little closer to the crook of her neck and replied, "I love you too."
"Do you know what I love most about you?" He asked her.
"What?" She replied, smiling softly as they moved to the music.
"I love your drive and your passion. It's what attracted me to you in the first place. Now, after years, it's only gotten stronger. You amaze me every day." She planted a kiss on his neck, sending shivers through him.
"Do you know what I love most about you?" She asked him.
"What?" He replied, secretly thrilled that she took his bait and went with him on the conversation topic. He already knew what she loved most about him, but wanted her to bring it up. Unknowingly prompted, Kate spoke.
"I love your loyalty, your love and your dedication." She sighed into his shirt, ghosting her fingers across his neck.
"I love that you are a great father, and that no matter what happens, you would go to the ends of the earth to protect your family." He kissed the top of her head and nodded.
"Yes I would. I love my children more than anything." He agreed with her.
"I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I love them, Alexis and Ben." She smiled and took a deep breath, letting it out in a contented sigh as the stress of the day melted away.
"When I think about Ben, so young and innocent, I think of all the things I want for him." He paused for a moment and then continued, "I think of what I could do for Ben, to show him how much I love him."
She hummed into him, touched by the sweetness of his dedication to their child.
"Do you know what the most important thing you could do for your child is, to prove your love for them?" He questioned Kate.
"What's that?" She asked, relaxation and contentment in her voice.
"To show their mother, every day, how much she means to you." She lifted her head and pulled back slightly, just enough to meet his eyes. She was moved by the sweetness of his words.
"That's the best thing you can do for your children, focus on loving their mother; showing her each day that she means more to you than she did the last. What better gift could a child have than for their parents to be solid, dedicated and in love?"
Kate smiled at him, as someone who had been raised by two of the most in-love people on the planet, she agreed whole-heartedly with the sentiment. Rick continued to speak.
"That is why I want to spend every day, for the rest of my life, showing you how much I love you. I want to spend every moment proving to you that you are the greatest gift I've ever been given. Would you let me do that?" He stopped them from moving to the music then.
She simply stared back at him, slightly confused and unsure of what the question was. How was she supposed to answer that, what could I possibly do that would allow him to love…? Oh. Her own question was answered in the next moment when he sank to the floor, coming down on one knee. In that moment her heart stopped, she was unable to breathe.
"Katherine Beckett. I have loved you since the moment I saw you. Through this journey we've taken to be together, this winding road with all of its ups and downs, its twists and turns; I've never stopped loving you. You are the one certainty in my life. Regardless of what happens, of how we change or of how the world may change, I am certain in you." He looked up to her and removed a small box from his pocket.
"I'm asking you to be certain in me; to give me the chance to show you how much I love you every day for the rest of our lives. Kate, will you marry me?"
He opened the box to reveal a solitaire diamond engagement ring. It was beautiful, but not over the top. The thing about the ring that struck her immediately was the design. He had custom designed the ring to resemble her mother's ring. The thought that he had done that brought tears to her eyes and made her even surer that he was her one and done.
With tears streaming down her face she cupped his cheeks, urging him to stand and meet her. When he did she pulled him in, hands remaining on his cheeks and kissing him; and through her kisses she whispered the word "yes" into his lips, over and over again.
He had proposed, and it wasn't over the top. There was no sky writing. There were no grand gestures that involved public embarrassment and Reggie the chopper pilot was nowhere to be found. For Kate, it was simply perfect. It was heartfelt, romantic and intimate, and she couldn't wait to marry him.
The ring, ah yes the ring. She had taken to fiddling with the ring, tilting it back and forth with her other fingers. They hadn't set a date yet, or better yet, life interfered with the date they had set. They were relieved that they made the decision to not share the original wedding date with their friends or family. Because they hadn't announced that they planned to marry on April 15th, there would be no need to inform them that the date would be pushed back.
The one thing that mattered more than anything else in the world was that Kate Beckett could wear her mother's wedding dress when she walked down the aisle. Lost in the thought of her mom's dress for a moment, she smiled when she felt Castle's arms wrap around her waist and land on the small bump that was her abdomen. He caressed it gently, much like he did at night when they were in bed, where he would mutter soft words and place kisses on her stomach.
Nobody else knew that they were expecting again. It would be a surprise for their family, as it was a surprise for them. They wanted to wait until Kate was safely beyond the first trimester before announcing it, which was only two weeks away. Still, they enjoyed the knowledge of the secret they shared. Their wedding date would be pushed back until after the baby was born.
She smiled again to herself, loving the thought of herself being too big to fit into the wedding dress by April, loving that the child inside her would be growing so quickly and Rick would be there by her side the whole time.
She turned to face him and gave him a quick kiss, "the room looks perfect Rick. Help me move the cake to the center of the table." She requested.
Soon it was 3pm and their guests were arriving. Kate's father was the first to arrive, delighting in his ability to spoil his only grandchild, he lifted the boy into his arms and began to tickle him softly. Lanie and Esposito were next, the couple came bearing gifts and planting Kisses on their God son's head.
Martha arrived soon after, bags in her hands filled with an absurd amount of presents for the boy. Kate hugged her and rolled her eyes, teasing her about spoiling the boy for what seemed like the millionth time. The last couple to arrive was Ryan and Jenny, who brought their 4 month old son Gabe along for the party.
They all gathered in the living room and watched the two babies interact. Gabe, who was on his stomach, pushed himself up to watch Ben with wide-eyed curiosity. Ben, for his part, pushed his favorite key ring towards the younger child, and watched Gabe grasp the toy and pull it towards him. The toy landed exactly where everyone knew it would, in the baby's mouth.
"It's a good thing they're friends." Ryan joked as he watched his son gum the colorful toy. Everyone laughed, which prompted Ben to start laughing too. Alexis rolled a multi-colored plastic bouncy ball towards him and he stopped it with his hands, pushing it back to her and yelling "ball!" Both Rick and Kate smiled with pride at their son's use of words.
Although he'd never admit it to Kate, Rick was secretly relieved that the boy's first word was "mama." He knew that Kate struggled leaving the boy for work, feeling like she should be able to be in two places at once. He was glad that she was able to have that moment, although he called dibs on their next child, making Kate roll her eyes.
There were at least 6 cameras on the boy as he sat in his high chair, as everyone sang him happy birthday. Soon he was handed a piece of his cake. Ben moved to touch and taste the cake initially, before proceeding to bury his face in the plate when he decided he liked it. Everyone laughed hysterically at the boy's antics, which earned them a high pitched laugh and a messy clap of hands, which sent pieces of cake flying in every direction.
Everyone laughed again, delighted in the boy. As Castle and Beckett simply watched the interaction, he wrapped his arms around her stomach again, resting it on her abdomen. Her back pressed against him, she met his hands where they rested on her stomach and laced their fingers while his chin came to rest on her shoulder.
"Hey Kate?" He asked her softly.
"Yeah?" She asked.
"Don't we have a beautiful family?" He tilted his head slightly to rest his head against her cheek.
She smiled at him and rested her head against his own, pulling his hands a little closer to her and enjoying the smell of him as he enveloped her in his embrace.
"Yes." She answered softly, "Yes we do."
Thoughts? I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it. :)
Special Note: For those of you who are following my ongoing series: "Walk Me Through This One," and "I Will Try To Fix You," I will be starting the 3rd installment soon and it will be called "The Story." Be on the lookout, they were by far my favorites to write so I'm excited :)