Chapter Five: Can't move my lips, but my heart is screaming.
He wonders if she's got any idea how hard she's crying, but he doesn't think so. He doesn't think he's ever seen anyone sob quite this way – with their whole body, even as it's remarkable how quiet it is. Her breathing is erratic, shallow one moment – full-out gasping the next, her shoulders heave and the volume of tears pouring down her face – he doubts she can see anything right now.
It should be incredible painful for him to watch – but he feels nothing. Seriously – nothing, and it scares him terribly that this is true but he's completely unmoved by the desolation sweeping through her, and he doesn't understand at all why this is the case. Even with everything that's happened to them, Kate's pain should move him he thinks – it should. He's ached with her loss for so long now yet tonight when she turned up here it just – vanished.
One moment he's crippled by the weight of things crashing down on him and the next he's gone completely numb inside save wave after wave of anger buffeting him, anger that literally picked him up off of the floor.
And Castle doesn't know what to make of that. He's – confused.
Exiting the bedroom through his office, the writer leaves his wife to her misery for the moment. He needs to think and he can't when she's right there in front of him.
The office is dark save the ambient light from the street outside that filters through the blinds over the windows, and Castle sinks gratefully down into the chair behind his desk, his brilliant mind whirling as he tries to sort out the tangled jumble of thoughts in his head. Only one of which is clear in this moment - his filing for divorce has obviously woken Kate up out of whatever stupor or bubble she was living in.
And though he might not feel much else right now, he does understand that his anger is coming directly from how very much he hates that.
He hates so badly that the moment when he'd finally reached some sort of peace with everything, the moment when he'd accepted that he could and should – no more than that – that he had to let go – that was the moment when Kate decided she couldn't let him.
It's typical – it truly is.
He feels on the one hand like he should have seen this coming, (she does have a pattern there) and on the other like he's been blindsided by a truck because God knows he's tried so hard to get through to her before this. He's tried – everything, for a year.
He's given her space, but he stayed in contact. He sent her messages, he sought her out – he turned himself inside out and upside down in the hope that something he did would reach through her walls and enable her to reach back out for him. And he failed. Every attempt to locate his wife in the woman she'd suddenly become – failed dismally, and so he'd accepted it. He'd come to peace with her loss even though it's shattered him.
And as the writer sorts methodically through the maelstrom of thoughts within him he realizes the numbness comes from the scattered pieces of what's left of who he used to be. Pieces that are trying desperately to knit themselves back together and will not face even the possibility of allowing her to hurt him again.
It's simply not in him at this point to do it. And he can't see how it ever could be again.
Wasn't it Einstein who said, 'the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.' Well he was that way for a year –insane with it. His heart and soul broken and his mind – fragmenting - as he tried over and over and over and over. It got him nowhere. So he stopped, and he accepted, and he went about gathering the pieces of his life until he could stake some claim on his sanity again.
And if he plans on staying that way – he's got to stay strong against the lure of her, and that means getting her out of here before she does find a way through this wonderful barrier of numbness and anger that's sprung up around him like a fortress. A castle to protect a Castle – his brain helpfully supplies, and he holds onto it – to the mental image of something strong and impenetrable keeping these overtures of hers at bay.
He doesn't doubt for a moment that he still loves her – he always has, it was a part of him almost right from the moment she first told him her name. He just knows now that he can't let that love out, can't let it have power over him. It won't ever die, it will always be with him – but he can never allow it to control him or his actions ever again.
It's the opposite – the polar opposite of who he's always been, the way he's lived his life. But he can't see any other way so he swallows back the lump in his throat that wants to strangle him, and get's up out of his chair.
Kate needs to leave. And she needs to leave now.
Castle forces his lungs to draw air and then he blows it out between his pursed lips slowly, trying to get his heart to calm down and stop the rapid hammering its doing in his chest. His stomach is churning suddenly and he feels sick as he heads back into the bedroom to confront her again. He truly doesn't want to hurt her, it isn't malice that means he has to be so cold now – it's just self-preservation, because that's all there is.
He will preserve the fragile peace he's found, he has no other practical choice left.
Castle doesn't look at her as he enters the room - he doesn't dare. Instead his ears strain to pick up the sound of her, and it's only when the author hears nothing that he allows his eyes find her form - she's right where he left her, still curled up on his (their) bed.
She's - unmoving.
It freaks him out for single moment, a silent scream trapped in his lungs as he flashes back a year, but then he blinks and it's gone and Castle realizes he must have been sitting in the dark of his office for a lot longer than he'd supposed. And now that he looks closer he can see she's breathing, her torso rises slightly with every even breath.
She's just asleep.
Kate's curled tightly into a ball on the far end of their bed, her rest looks uncomfortable - like exhaustion and he feels it too suddenly. The weight of this long day pressing down on him from every angle, squeezing on him like a vice.
The writer sighs heavily – he could wake her, of course he could. He could remake his demands, he could beg again even - that she goes away. Instead Castle finds his feet carrying him closer, almost against his will until he looms over her in dimness of the room, staring down into her tear-stained face where it's pillowed on the fingers of her right hand.
She hasn't been here in just so long - and with her silent and still like this - making no demands of him, it's overwhelming in a different way than before.
He swallows unsteadily, because the lamp is still on at the side of the bed and it casts a gentle glow across her lovely face, illuminating her in all her glory. He has no control whatever over how greedily he maps her features now. No control over how it punches him in the gut all fresh and new how beautiful she really is. Behind his walls his heart quakes, screams even, pleads with his mind to be allowed to touch her again, wants nothing more than for him to gather her up in his arms and hold her close – to never let her go again.
But he didn't let her go because he wanted to, his mind remembers. He let her go because he'd had all he could take.
Still, he physically shakes with it, this internal battle between the heart Kate destroyed that will undoubtedly love her always, and the mind that's firmly in control and steadfastly refusing to bend. Minutes pass and Castle remains petrified to the spot, trembling until the light from a passing car bounces off the ceiling and hits the diamond that sits sparking on his wife's left hand.
She's still wearing his ring.
And he can't help it then – can't help but vividly recall the day when he gave it to her, how happy they were – how it seemed so many obstacles had been finally overcome and they were perched on the verge of the greatest chapter in their lives.
Kate gave him all his dreams when she agreed to marry him, then gave him all he never dared to dream when she bore him his son. It was everything – the life he'd held in his hands back then, and though he knows no one is to blame for Jack's death, she is entirely to blame for taking all the rest away. So damn her beauty and damn her tears, damn her to hell for ever coming back here.
Another car passes and the ring catches the light again – mocking him, and with grim determination the writer hauls himself away from her.
She can spend the night – but that's all the concession he's ever going to make.