"Girl, you better get that skinny butt in the shower right now if you plan on making it to the altar on time! Writer Boy is gonna think you got cold feet and became a runaway bride on him!" Lanie scolds. "You know that man has a wild imagination and will jump to the worst case scenario first! What are you doing in there any way?"

"Relax Lanie, I... I'll be right there." Kate huffs from the master bedroom where she spent last night alone, much to her displeasure. It was the first night she had slept apart from Rick since her somewhat awkward proposal a year ago today. "I've got plenty of time to get ready, so stop freaking out...you're gonna freak me out!

I was just thinking back over everything that has happened in the year since I finally admitted to myself and everyone else that everything I needed was standing next to me for four years and I was too stubborn to admit it and all of the stuff that Rick and I have been through to get to this. I just want today to be perfect, you know? I'm not a writer like he is and I know I am going to mess up my vows. He needs the words and I want to give them to him...I need to give him the words today of all days that express how much he means to me."

"Honey, that man knows how you feel about him. Everyone can see how much you guys love each other. It is in every look that passes between you. You two have always been able to have entire conversations with just one look. We could all see it from the beginning...the sparks flew between you two from that first case. It just took you guys FOREVER to finally do something about it. Damn girl, I still can't believe how long you held out on those feelings!" Lanie says shaking her head in disbelief. "There were so many times I wanted to smack you silly for not seeing what we all did that first case."

"So, you never did tell me who won the pool that Rick and I would 'hook up'." Kate says, making air quotes. "How many other pools did you and the boys have going about us? I know there was more than one. You, Dr. Parish, aren't subtle."

"I don't know if it is wise for me to reveal the winners of those pools to you, you might not wanna know. There are... were five pools. The 'hook up', 'dating/relationship', 'wedding' pools have all been paid out. There are still two open, one which will be paid out today and the other one will be paid out sometime in the future." Lanie mumbles as she finishes the last one.

"So, you still haven't said who won and what are the remaining pools? I want to know Lanie and I am not above threatening bodily harm to get those answers...even on my wedding day! Spill!" Kate blurts with a glare that really has no effect on her best girlfriend.

"Fine, I won the hook up pool, Javi won the dating pool and of course, Ryan got the wedding one. The one that will be settled today is the, 'who will cry first' pool. As you can probably guess, most of the money is on Castle to be the girl and cry as soon as he sees you! The other pool is... um..."

"Go ahead and say it...I'm sure it has to do with kids, right?" Kate smirks.

"Yeah, how long after the wedding until you are pregnant. You got any inside information on that one for me Detective Beckett? Cause I've seen that look in your eye when we have been shopping and run across mommas and their babies or anything baby related for that matter." Lanie says with a wink and a face splitting grin.

"Nope...I got nothing for you on that subject." Kate says as she grabs her robe and makes for the bathroom to shower.

"Girl, don't think this conversation is over just because you left the room. We will come back to it at some point in the very near future!" Lanie calls through the now closed bathroom door. Maybe I will have to address this topic with Castle. He will cave before Kate does anyway. I wonder how nervous Writer Boy is right now. My girl is putting up a pretty good front but it is only gonna take a little push to send her into all out panic mode. I have never seen Kate this happy before. I'm so glad she finally found the right guy. I think maybe I should give my girl some alone time to work on those vows that she is so anxious about. I'll talk to her when she gets back out here to see if she wants to work on the vows first or get her hair and make-up out of the way. Maybe I should text Javi to see how things are going over in 'man land'.

LP: How are things in Man Land? Is Writer Boy as nervous as Kate?

"Lanie, you ready to help me with my hair and makeup? Kate calls over the noise of the hair dryer.

JE: Castle is a basket case... keeps saying he can't believe Kate is gonna marry him today. U OK?

"Lanie, you gonna help me or what?" Kate yells again.

LP: Did u take his phone?

JE: No, Y?

LP: Maybe we should let them text each other?

JE: Might help them chill?

LP: Yeah, gotta go...Kate needs help.

JE: I'll tell him to text her.

LP: K

"Lanie, what were you doing out there? I called you a couple times. Weren't you the one nagging me earlier to start getting ready so I don't stand Castle up at the altar?" Kate questions.

"Calm down Kate, I was just checking on the boys. I wanted to see if Writer Boy is as nervous about today as you are." Lanie smirks, "And girl, you can pretend all you want...I know you are freaking out a little. I know all your tells!"

"I... yeah I am nervous. How is he? Everything okay? What did Javi say?" Kate mumbles, the anxiety level rising with each question.

"He's fine, just pacing a rut into the floor and he might even be more nervous than you are. Javi is going to tell him to text you in a bit just to put both your minds at ease." Lanie tries to reassure Kate and decides a subject change is in order. "How long were you and Castle engaged before you decided to tell us? Tell me about the proposal."

"We got engaged the day you all came to the Hamptons, but we decided to keep it to ourselves for a while before we shared it with the extended family. My dad, Martha and Alexis all knew before you guys arrived but that was it. We just wanted it to be 'ours' for a little bit before we shared it with the world. It was kind of sudden but we knew it was what we both wanted. We were gonna keep 'us' to ourselves a little while longer too, but Maddox's appearance blew that idea out of the water." Kate says with a far off look in her eyes.

"You're thinking about Writer Boy's proposal aren't you?" Lanie says with a knowing grin.

"No, actually, I was thinking about the look on your face that night at the Old Haunt when you noticed the ring on my finger! I wish I would have had a camera. You looked like a fish out of water! I couldn't believe you, Lanie Parrish, were speechless!" Kate doubles over in laughter.

"I... it just caught me by surprise. I never expected to see a ring on your finger, especially that soon! I had never seen you smile like that...ever! And I never expected Castle to pick such a 'normal' ring. I figured him for some serious bling!" Lanie giggles at the memory.

"We picked it out together in the Hamptons earlier that day. He noticed me looking at this one when we walked into the store and knew it was the one but couldn't resist messing with me first. Typical Castle. He teased me with a few obscenely huge rings and then we chose this one with a matching wedding band for me and one for him." Kate grins as she plays with her ring.

"Let me guess, you made it very, very clear that you were paying for his ring, didn't you? Never one to take advantage of your man's wealth are you?" Lanie chuckles at her glowing friend.

"Lanie, there was NO WAY I was going to let him buy his own wedding ring! That's just wrong... besides, it's not like I don't have my own money. I'm not rich like him, but I'm not destitute either! It's not about the money Lanie! It never has been!" Kate says her voice rising to make her point.

"Hey, girlfriend. Calm down! Anybody that knows you, knows it isn't about the money. You two ooze with love for each other. Anyone with eyes can see that what you two have is the real deal! The sparks that fly between you two is amazing, and don't get me started on the eye sex that started on day one with you two!" Lanie says stroking Kate's hair as she debates how it should look for the most important day of her friend's life.

"Lanie, do you think people who don't know us will think it is about the money? I don't want people to think that I am only with him for the money. I really do love him... more than I ever thought possible. I know you are gonna think this is sappy and totally unlike me, but Lanie... there are some days that I can't think of anything but him, from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. I even find my mind wandering, I sit at my desk daydreaming about my future with him. I've never felt like this, and if you breathe a word of this to him I will hurt you!" Kate says amid the blush rising up her neck and cheeks.

"Kate, how can you be worried about writing your vows? I can't think of a better way for you to tell him how much he means to you than to share all of the 'un-Beckett like' behavior you just shared with me." Lanie says squeezing Kate's bare shoulder as she continues to work on her hair. "I know you aren't one to share what is going on in that brilliant brain of yours, but maybe you should make an exception to that rule you usually live by. If you don't want to say those things to Castle in front of all of us, maybe you can write it down for him and give it to him as a wedding present... then it stays just between the two of you."

"When did you get so smart? Especially where the 'L' word and the 'M' word are concerned? Weren't you the one who bailed on Espo because of the commitment issue?" Kate inquires.

"We aren't talking about me here, girlfriend. Besides, it's always more fun to talk about your love life... especially now that you have one worth talking about!" Lanie silences Kate with the raise of her hand, "Weren't you the one who said that man of yours needs the words? Well give him the words in written form since that is what brought the two of you together in the first place."

"You almost done with my hair? I have a letter to write and I think it might be best if I do that before I get my make-up on." Kate says as she fidgets in her seat almost willing Lanie to hurry. "When is Espo gonna let him text me? Where did you hide my phone anyway?"

"I'd get done a lot quicker if you would sit still and let me work my magic!" Lanie states, trying to be stern and failing. "I'll send Javi a text while you are writing your love letter to Writer Boy." Lanie giggles as she steps back to admire her work.

"Writer Man, Lanie. Definitely Writer Man!" Kate mutters as she brings her eyes up to see why Lanie is no longer working on her hair. "Oh Lanie, it's..." Kate gasps as her eyes fill with tears.

"Honey?" Lanie sputters, concerned that she has failed her friend.

"It's beautiful, thank you." Kate's voice trails off to a whisper as she takes in all of her friend's efforts.

"I guess it's a good thing we are holding off on our make-up until showtime, cause I'm sure we would look like a couple raccoons! Please tell me you bought waterproof mascara!" Lanie says, injecting a little humor into the moment. "I'll just go send that text now."

Rick,

I know I've never been good at telling you how I feel about you or anything for that matter, but I think it is important, today of all days, to finally share some of the things I know I have never said. I really wanted to write my own vows and share them with you in front of our family and friends, but I don't want you to hear these things from me for the first time with everyone listening. These words should be said to you and you only. You can thank Lanie for this idea...she knew I would chicken out if I had to say them during the ceremony. I've always been a very private person and you know better than anyone how high and how thick my walls were. You also know that you are the only person that I have ever let inside those walls fully and completely. I feel like I can finally be me now, the Kate that always dreamed of 'Once upon a times' and 'Happily Ever Afters', because of you. My life was filled with sadness until you. I never laughed and rarely smiled until you. I wasn't kidding when I said you made my job more fun. I love building theory with you; you push me to work harder and think smarter. You make me a better detective and a better person, just by being at my side.

You know that I am a fan of your books, but do you have any idea what your books have meant to me? Castle...Rick, your words were helping me long before that night I came barging into your book launch party for the last 'Storm' novel. Your books helped me through a few of the darkest moments in my life. I read your books to make it through the months following my mother's death, my dad's battles with alcohol and your books helped me survive myself imposed isolation at Dad's cabin after I was shot and almost bled out in your arms.

We have survived so many horrific events... explosions, serial killers, dirty bombs, freezers, tigers, and even drowning. Looking back now, we only survived that stuff because we are better together than we could ever be apart. We have survived bad choices, torturous silences, significant others, lies, and hired assassins to get to where we are today. I'm so glad that you stood by me through my nowhere relationships, my stubborn pride and my obsession with my mom's case that has almost killed me and almost ended us on multiple occasions. So, I just want to take this moment, to tell you three things before I put myself together and meet you at the altar before our friends and family in less than an hour now.

Thank you for being my shadow, my friend, my partner, my one and done.

I may be Kate Beckett at work, but I can't wait to be Kate Castle at home with you for the rest of our lives.

I love you, more than you will ever know, but I intend to show you everyday how much you mean to me.

Love,

Kate

PS

Maddie was right! Even then, I wanted little Castle babies.

Kate's phone alerts her to an incoming text just as she finishes her letter to Rick.

RC: Hello beautiful!

KB: Hi

RC: U OK?

KB: Yep, just nervous

RC: Me 2

KB: Only 1 more hour 2 go

RC: Can't wait!

KB: C U the altar

RC: ILY

KB: ILY2

"Kate? You ready to put that gorgeous dress and make-up on yet? Alexis, Maddie and Martha are all out here waiting to help you with the something old, borrowed, blue and new. Can I let them in?" Lanie asks as she peeks around the door frame to see if Kate has finished texting her fiance. "You all done in here with the love letters and the sexting?"

"I was not sexting or writing love letters! But I am ready... only have an hour to put myself together for the most important day of my life!" Kate beams with a smile that lights up the room and a blush she doesn't even try to hide anymore.