Disclaimer- I don't own Castle, Andrew Marlowe does. Please don't sue me for writing this story! Just having fun playing in the Castle Sandbox! Errors corrected, but I do not have a beta reader, so there's probably typos and dropped words (my apologies). I am not getting into the fandom and making friends for a reason; all my experiences with fandom in the past have brought me friends and some great charity work, but at the same time, incredibly gross and unappealing drama (like having my account hacked. Nice job, right?). I actually had my life threatened by someone once (are you kidding me? It's only fanfiction!). I am never going to fall into that trap again. It's not worth it at all. But the nice people who've reviewed the prequel to this story, I do appreciate you! Thank you!
It had been five years since the release of my first novel and Ben and I had been together ever since. Ben asked me to marry him shortly after our books peaked at number one, respectively, on the New York Times Bestseller List a few months later, mine for YA, his for Adult Mystery. Dad and I are collaborating on a YA thriller, and he puts up with Ben, he doesn't really have anything to come down him about, now. Meredith started a small foundation of her own for people with bipolar disorder and Mom is now the full-time head of the Alexis Foundation. We have annual events in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, but the giant formal event is in New York every year. Noel is a baseball fanatic, playing for Marlowe Prep's varsity team as a freshman. Jace has found a fascination with building things and a love to dance; he's so good, he got into the Metropolitan Ballet School. We'll see what happens. Jo-jo insists on going by Johanna now, she wants to be a model, but Mom won't let her. God knows, she's pretty and tall enough already at age eleven. I hung up shell bra at the Mermaid Parade two years ago, and now Jo-jo's Ariel. She does a damn good job at it, but I personally think Jo's a little too smart for that.
Grams died, unfortunately. She got cancer and it spread before she caught it. "Well, if I'm gonna die, let's get this show on the road! Get busy living or get busy dying, they say!" Grams said to our stunned faces. We celebrated the last few months of her life as best as we could. I was sad to lose her, but at peace when it happened. I swore I'd live life to the fullest, like she would have wanted me to. She died in a hospital bed, surrounded by her family, the way she wanted it. Broadway went dark for a full minute in honor of her the night of her funeral. Her acting school still stands in a proud memorial to her and her passion. Mom and Dad have left her apartment empty so far. I don't think they'll ever fill it with another tenant.
Ben and I continued to build the photo album all that time. As writers, we'd go on book tours, and there were pictures of our feet in Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles and Atlanta. There were even pictures from Buenos Aires, London, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Paris (in front of the Eiffel Tower of course), and Milan. There were pictures of our feet in Nashville and at Jennifer and Matt's property and one at the lake in Tennessee.
There was a picture of our feet in boots outside a cafe in Manhattan that had a caption of "When I found a diamond in my cupcake icing at Manchester's. It was a ring." There was another picture of our feet, mine in light blue kitten heels under a white skirt, his in dress shoes on the beach that was captioned, "Our Wedding Day."
There was a picture of our feet on the day of my first memoir's release at a bookstore in Manhattan; all of the proceeds from the book went to the Alexis Foundation, nothing went to anybody's pockets. It was captioned, Written out of my Own Life and the book was propped up so it was in sight of the camera. There was another one in a bookstore with another memoir entitled, Growing up Castle. Several more of both our books had been captured the same way, and now, there were DVDs with our books' titles. We jet-set back and forth between New York and LA when our books were turned into movies. The Foxes' Den had been the #1 teen Movie Worldwide for a few weeks. Pandora's Box, the sequel to Ben's first novel, had been #1 in US Box Office sales and had won a few MTV Movie Awards. Ryan Gosling's return to acting as the main character hadn't hurt.
We had a picture of our feet from when we had crossed the East River and moved back into Manhattan in our new apartment, only a few neighborhoods over from Mom and Dad's. We were out on the balcony with our feet propped up, overlooking our neighbors in our Manhattan high rise.
There was one with a carton of ice cream and pickles between us, another with my feet swollen. There were a few pictures of our feet at the OBGYN's waiting room. Then, finally, a picture of us sitting in a hospital bed. My legs were unshaven and I had no shoes on. Between us was a diaper and two tiny, chubby legs were sticking out. The caption on this one says, "Martha Lysette Gaiman Haversham comes into the world." Another one's on his way right now.
Somewhere along the line, I realized that every woman needs three types of loves in her life: one to remind her how far she's come, one to go back to, and one to be the love of her life. Ben is all three.
A/N- Embarrassingly, this started out as an epilogue to the 10 Hospitalizations of Alexis Castle. I'm sure nobody's read this far, but I felt like there were too many loose ends and they needed to be tied up. Hope you enjoyed!