It was so unfair. Not just unfair. It was downright cruel.
That last Halloween party, he was first disappointed and then delighted when Kate had showed up and revealed her costume. This year, when he decided to hold a party again, he had unashamedly pondered over what she would wear. Guess after guess after ridiculous guess, she kept saying no. He thought that ultimately, she would go in for something sober, in keeping with their policy of hiding their relationship, at least from the precinct lot.
Keeping his hopes not-too-high, he was so gob smacked when she first made her appearance that -well, the blood-colored fruit punch running down his chin might have given him away. Fortunately, everyone had their eyes on her. Because Kate Beckett had just showed up to Richard Castle's Halloween party dressed as Lara Croft, Tomb raider. Cruel.
What he wanted to do was grab her and drag her into his tomb and do a bit of raiding of his own. What he had to do, for the sake of their relationship, was pretend to just be happy. Happy, excruciatingly turned on - same thing, right? No. No, it's not.
He tried to keep his distance. He tried to direct his eyes at anything and anyone but her, because it was torture to have to look but not leap. Only, he was failing miserably. All he could look at was her. He did the whole hosting thing pretty well, even if he was slightly distracted. Earlier he'd even ushered her inside and thanked her for coming for the party. Eventually, once everyone was settled in and having a good time, hopefully distracted; he gave up the pretense of paying attention to anything but her.
He could see that she was pleased with herself for surprising him, but he also saw that she was looking at him hungrily, happy with his choice. Standing alone in the study, probably to take a break from the loud, bright party going on outside, she took him in as he approached her slowly after closing the door to give them some privacy. "So, Indy huh?"
"Mhmm," he nodded. "I guess that means both of us are feeling adventurous tonight." Nonchalant was what he was going for. The strangled sentence however, indicated otherwise. She bit down on her lip and looked down. A shy Lara Croft. Oh, the things Kate did to him. Angelina Jolie had nothing on her legs. Her long, creamy, silky, delicious looking and extremely distracting legs.
"I guess we are," she replied as she finally looked back up at him, slightly more in control of her features – everything but her eyes. It looked like they were both inordinately pleased with their synchronicity in choosing costumes.
"Why didn't you just use your real holster and guns?" He asked her, nodding towards the fake guns.
That earned him an eye roll. "I wasn't about to bring real guns to a party, Castle. A party where people are likely to get drunk, might I add."
"Ah, that's true. Good thinking, detective. The props are a safer bet."
"Speaking of which, where'd you get the whip?" Said whip was rolled up and resting on one of his shoulders. He did make for a rather dashing Indiana Jones.
He smirked. "Oh, this thing? I own it."
She looked slightly peeved, though she was still teasing him. "Hmm. Don't hurt yourself, Castle. With your luck, you'd probably take someone's eye out. Most likely your own."
He thought about teasing her back, but he'd heard the undertone in her words. Over the last few cases, he'd seen that they both still needed a little bit of reassuring, and heck, he was good at that. So he gave her a warm smile and chuckle and said, "You're probably right. I bought it back when I was writing Storm. I wanted to give him an adventurous case, where his only means of escape from near death was if he used the whip and swung from a chandelier."
"That didn't make it into your books," she pointed out.
"It didn't. See, I like doing my research, and doing it well."
"Don't I know it," she said with a leer.
He gave her a leer of his own. "Anyway, after a few days worth of trying to master the art of using the whip, and after a few broken lamps, several broken glasses, and one sore toe later, I finally gave up on it and let Storm use a crowbar instead."
"Castle!" They both turned towards the source of the noise.
"Sounds like I might need to replenish the punch," he said, looking amused. "Well Miss. Croft, feel free to borrow my whip anytime you need to." He leaned towards her, within the V of her legs as she sat perched on his desk.
When he was just an inch from her face, with her breath skirting his lips, he paused. "But you don't need it."
"I don't?" she whispered breathlessly, her eyes closed and hands resting on either side of his waist.
"Nope. 'Cause I'm completely –," he moved even closer so that his lips were aligned with hers but still, almost painfully, not touching.
She moved forward to cover the distance but he leaned back just as much.
" – utterly –," he said and moved so that his lips were just barely touching her cheek.
Seeking his lips blindly, she tried to turn, but he moved again so that his breath was tantalizingly flowing over her ear.
"Totally whipped," he finished and gave her a peck on her cheek before moving away from her and towards the door without turning behind.
He didn't turn around when he heard her huff, didn't turn around as he turned the knob, and so he almost missed what she whispered. Almost.
"So am I."